June and I have been running Zen Centers for most of our lives. We founded the Zen Center of Hawaii in 1992. We began a Zen Center out of our home on Humphrey Avenue in May 2004. We transformed it into the Zen Life & Meditation Center, Chicago in 2010 that pioneered the approach to teaching and practice that we currently enjoy in Oak Park, Illinois.
Over the last seven years, we have seen the Center grow from 8 to 115 members. Over 2500 people have benefited from our Core Curriculum Primer and Gateway classes. As a result, our sangha community has grown vital and strong..
After great care and thought, June and I announced at our last Board of Director meeting on February 25, 2018, that we will step down from all of our administrative duties and responsibilities by February 25, 2020. We intend to continue teaching and leading ZLMC, and will do our best to help the community make this transition over the next two years.
June and I are aging, and as such, we are moving into the next phase and journey of our lives. On March 20, 2018 we will celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary during our Spring 7-day Meditation Retreat. On March 29, 2018, Roshi will turn 69 and on June 6, 2018, Sensei will turn 68.
As teachers we are modeling self-care. We want to spend our time differently. So we are asking the sangha to help us make this transition. We believe this change will be healthy for us, and also healthy for the sangha. When our teaching and administrative duties are clearly separated we will be better able to continue teaching and holding the vision that carries the Center forward into the future.
The Center is strong enough to make this transition. We plan to hire our first administrative manager within the next few months. We are farming out our marketing tasks to a company, Jumpfly in Elgin. We may also consider working with a local bookkeeper to do our accounting.
We know that change will bring challenges and we are up for the task ahead. We ask you to join us. One way you can help make this change and transition smoother is to join our Shared-Stewardship Circle and become active stake-holders in the health and well-being of our sangha community.
Should you have any questions about this, June and I are open to answer them. We value openness and transparency so we want to make sure everyone is fully aware of our decision and what lies ahead. It has been the honor of our lives to bring forth this Zen Center and we are forever grateful for your practice and commitment to living a Zen-inspired life.
Zen Master, Robert Joshin Althouse
Abbot, Zen Life & Meditation Center, Chicago