At the Greater Boston Zen center, we have adopted a model of shared leadership. Having directly experienced the problems resulting from power being concentrated in one or a few senior teachers, we now empower many different sangha members to take on various responsibilities. All persons in leadership roles have read and agreed to abide by the GBZC Ethics Policy.
Our major organizational groups are:
- Board of Directors
- Senior Teaching Community (currently vacant)
- Practice Leaders
- Working Groups
- Ethics Council and Ombudsperson
Board of Directors (2023–2024)
- James Lopata, President
- Ryan Iuliano, Vice President
- James Peregrino, Clerk
- Cheryl Morrow, Treasurer
- Karen McCormack, Member-at-Large
The GBZC Board of Directors is elected by members of the community at our annual meeting and takes as a sacred trust the overall care of the sangha in organizational and financial matters. They study and take seriously their legal obligations of care of the sangha, loyalty (to the sangha’s mission), and obedience (to the law and bylaws).
Contact: [email protected]
Tuesdays: Inger Bergom, James Peregrino, Julie Nelson. Contact [email protected]
Saturdays: Jill Gaulding, Karen McCormack, Jim Lopata, Cheryl Morrow, and Julie Nelson. Contact [email protected]
Practice Leaders are the first people one sees and talks to when first investigating GBZC, as well as those we look to to keep our sitting periods on track. PLs are experienced students who are very familiar with all the forms of Zen practice used in our weekly or monthly sits. They instruct and guide participants in chanting, bowing, playing instruments, and so on. They are also trained by senior teachers to offer basic guidance in zazen (sitting meditation) to newcomers. Those interested in becoming a Practice Leader should talk with the teacher(s) and PL(s) of the group they sit with.
We currently have six active working groups with leadership voted in annually by GBZC’s elected Board of Directors:
- The Facilities Working Group tends to the needs of our Cambridge Center’s physical space — contact Dan Peterson at [email protected];
- The Communications Working Group manages the newsletter, other emails, and website — contact Julie Nelson at [email protected];
- The Finance Committee prepares and attends to our budget — contact Cheryl Morrow at [email protected];
- The Programming Working Group Encourages or develops the creation of new programming that is consistent with Zen practice and GBZC’s aspirations of engaged Buddhist practice, and administers and coordinates these events — contact Jill Gaulding at [email protected].
Working Groups at GBZC are the secret to GBZC’s flourishing. Members of working groups are the behind-the-scenes heroes who make sure that our newsletter goes out, our drinking water shows up, our checks get written, our fundraising happens, and our activism is stoked. Drawing on a wide variety of skills, they are GBZC’s way of “using all the ingredients of our shared life,” to paraphrase the 8th precept, in service of the Dharma and all beings.
The Board (and/or Senior Teaching Community) appoints Working Group leaders (and possibly members). Members are encouraged to volunteer! Working Group leaders submit periodic reports to the Board about their group’s activities.
Ethics Council and Ombudsperson
The Ethics Council was established to further GBZC’s aspiration to prevent and remediate ethical harms. Its mission is to create and organize events, as well as co-host events with other individuals or groups, that facilitate thinking about ethics. Members include the Ethics Ombudsperson and other sangha members. Contact Luis Valles at [email protected].
The Ethics Ombudsperson (“Ombuds”) is appointed by the Board, and is neither a Board member nor a Senior Teacher. The Ombuds also offers informal assistance to practitioners who have questions or concerns related to an ethical matter at GBZC, impartially and, to the extent possible, confidentially. Contact Paul Miller at [email protected].