In December the board emailed members of the Order with the collection of topics of concern that had been in our basket, suggesting a next step of forming discussion groups on each of the topics. Due to the rather small response, we contacted the interested people to suggest they might form their own discussion groups if they so wish, without further involvement of the interim board, unless they need any technical support.
This being so, after talking with Rev. Master Haryo, it seems good to start a process of winding up business for the interim board, and not take on any new issues. Together with the working groups we will work out arrangements to provide any support they need to get their projects completed or ready for discussion at the Monastic Gathering. When we committed ourselves last September for another year, there was the possibility of our arranging for the organising of the upcoming Monastic Gathering, but the present understanding is that Rev. Master Haryo will make those arrangements himself.
We will take time in the coming months to write a report on the interim board, its development and lessons learned, and will seek contributions from those who have been part of this effort over the past several years.
Of course we are still around for a while and we continue to be happy to talk if there is a need.
18 Month Public Statement Review
Rev. Master Haryo has asked Rev. Master Leandra and Richard Potter (lay minister) to prepare a report of our progress with the 17 points we agreed to undertake at the 2011 General Meeting. They have contacted the groups who agreed to work on particular areas as well as the chief priests of our temples, and have asked for feedback by 23 February hoping to have a review of our progress by the end of March. This is seen as a fact-finding task.
Structure & Function Group
The Structure and Function Working Group has been working hard for some time finalizing the questions for the survey it hopes to send out soon to members of the OBC asking for their thoughts on the current structure and function of the OBC and if or how it might be improved to meet current conditions. Those questions have finally been completed and we have turned our attention to refining the Preamble, which serves as an introduction to the questions. We have done much of that work, and when it is finished we will send the completed survey to Rev Master Haryo for comment. After that it will probably be sent to a focus group, which might include Rev Master Haryo’s Advisory Council and several other monks. Once this has been done it will be distributed to members of the Order.
In addition we have discussed issues related to confidentiality and anonymity of the responses we receive to the survey and how to go about analyzing those responses so that they can be written up into a report. Progress is being made on all fronts, and we hope to have the survey out soon.
The Rules Digest is nearly ready, the Overview of The Rules leaflet and webpage are almost ready and the Rules index is just being started. Marianne Florian has stepped down from the group and we are hoping for a replacement.
Following a meeting with Rev. Master Haryo to discuss ethical recommendations outlined in two documents, the Ethics Working Group has revised these accordingly. The first has been circulated and the second will be circulated when it is confirmed whether Rev. Master Haryo wishes his comments and annotations to be included. The group continues to meet regularly, in the interim. Karen Richards intends to retire from the group once the circulation of the documents is complete.
Rules Awareness & Education
The working group first met on 24th March 2012 and has now met 9 times. Mo Henderson and Tony Loyd, who were originally “researchers” for the group, have now agreed to become full members, joining Rev Masters Shiko and Ando, Rev Chandra, and Chris Hughes.
The group produced a draft leaflet, entitled “Guiding Principles for Spiritual Counselling and Teaching Relationships”. A focus group consisting of 7 monks and 4 lay ministers provided comments on the draft, and some of these comments are now being clarified. Assuming agreement to a draft text can be obtained within the focus group, the next step will be to send the draft to all senior monks and lay ministers for comment.
The group was tasked with producing an introduction to the OBC Rules. However, the pamphlet “An overview of the Rules of the OBC” produced by Rev Master Zensho and the Rules Digest and Cataloguing working group provides such an introduction.
The working group has also started work on a survey of how OBC temples make the OBC rules available to those who practice there, and whether the monk(s) in charge take any particular steps to make new members and others aware of the rules.