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March 9, 2021 Newsette

Last March when I was visiting Austin Zen Center, we discussed plans to hold the 2021 Branching Streams Conference at a nearby retreat center in October of 2021. Now, due to Covid-19, conditions are too uncertain to plan an in-person conference this year. However, getting together can lift our spirits and provide connection – so the Branching Streams Advisory Committee is planning an online gathering for Branching Streams leaders and members. Please save the date, Saturday May 24th from 9 a.m. to noon PST. We will have details about the program soon.

This Newsette will highlight a few ways sanghas are meeting the ongoing challenges of the pandemic with creative programming, including ceremonies. It will also feature two ways in which sanghas that participated in last year’s Unpacking Whiteness class with Crystal Johnson have continued the work explored in that course, and a related event offered by SF Zen Center. This Newsette also includes a letter from the Board of Mid-City Zen in New Orleans about a significant change in their sangha.

The Mountain Rain Zen Community in Vancouver, B. C., Canada has found, despite “tedium, fatigue, impatience, inertia… also gratitude for small mercies and joys, friendships, Zoom connections. One of the sustaining joys has been seeing the home altars of sangha member in their Zoom squares, candles lighting our way through the pandemic, connecting us in the dharma. Please enjoy the home altar album slide show now available on the Mountain Rain website homepage!”

Richmond Zen Center will offer a Spring Equinox Ceremony and Gathering March 20 7:30 – 8:40 a.m. outdoors at Shields Lake, Byrd Park . “The spring equinox closely coincides with the one-year mark of our weekly outdoor Boundless Zendo meetings that began in response to the pandemic. Following our usual zazen and kinhin, we’ll have a spring equinox ceremony, which includes chanting the Heart Sutra and poems read by anyone who would like to share a reading. Live music and other surprises might happen, too. Remember: mask, distance, and connect.”

Austin Zen Center offers a Waking Up to Racism and White Supremacy Group.“All are invited to join this continuing group, a peer-led study of personal & structural racism and bias through the lens of Dharma. J oin us for the new module beginning March 14 from 1 to 3 p.m. (other meetings March 28, April 11, and April 25) which will focus on Resmaa Menakem’s 2017 book My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending our Hearts and Bodies . ALL are WELCOME!”Read more and register… 

Awakening to Difference + Unity: Richmond’s Unhealed History Tour and Discussion is being offered by Richmond Zen Center, five Saturday Mornings: March 13, April 10, 24, May 8, 22 
We will be reading local author, pastor, and activist Ben Campbell’s Richmond’s Unhealed History over these five weeks and each week we will meet at a different site in Richmond relevant to our reading. Possible sites include the Powhatan Stone at Chimborazo Park, the slave auction and burial sites around the 15th St. + Broad St. corridor, the Maggie Walker Plaza, and the Lee Monument. Please contact Blythe if you want to join us on this journey.

San Francisco Zen Center is offering Healing is the Revolution on March 13 th from 6 to 8 p.m.led by Denese Shervington Lisa Richardson and Dojin Sarah Emerson .

In this evening of conversation Dr. Shervington will bring her expertise in psychiatry, trauma, and community healing, paired with Dr. Richardson’s experience in Public Health and community resilience and Reverend Dojin’s deep understanding of Buddhist principles and practice engagement. For more information, click here and you can register here. 

A message from the Board of Mid-City Zen in New Orleans: “We will be moving from a priest-led to a lay-led sangha with the leaving of our Reverend Michaela O’Connor Bono, who has led our sangha since its inception with her fierce strength, humor and compassion. Michaela has dedicated nearly a decade to guiding MCZ. As a small token of our gratitude and recognition of her dedication to our sangha – a community that would not exist if not for her – we will be holding a Departing Teacher Ceremony on March 21, 2021 at noon via Zoom. (The link will be in next week’s Newsette). We hope that you can join us.”

Jon Voss’s weekly Zoom drop-in Clinic continues on Wednesday, March 10thrd, from 11 a.m. to 12 PST. Here’s the Zoom link or Meeting ID: 222 402 816, Passcode: 057143