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Abbatial Restructuring - Bylaw Change


The Board unanimously adopted a resolution on October 14, 2012, amending Articles IV and VI of the bylaws to provide for the three-abbess/abbot structure with which we have been experimenting since April 2010. Please go to Amended Bylaw to see a copy of the adopted bylaw amendments showing the changes in wording from the previous bylaws. This decision represents the culmination of several years of work to craft a new structure for our religious leadership that will be sustainable for the individuals filling those positions and will facilitate attention to students and timely and efficient decision-making with the rest of Zen Center leadership.

The amendments to the bylaws were discussed, reviewed and modified by a Joint Committee of the Board and the Elders Council, the Governance Committee of the Board, the Board and the Elders Council. The Joint Committee issued a report to the Board in September 2012 which you can find in the Governance section of our website. Comments and feedback from the Sangha were invited. All the thoughtful questions, concerns and suggestions, especially about the term of the abbess/abbot were carefully considered by the Joint Committee. It was decided not to make any changes in the possible length of the term. The Elders Council, in proposing an abbatial candidate, will consider all appropriate concerns including, but not limited to, the well-being of the community, the need for stability, the need for change, the health and well-being of the candidate, the previous abbatial service of the candidate, the co-equal relationship of the abbesses/abbots, etc.

The Joint Committee did wish to clarify that the Board acts in appointing and reappointing an abbess/abbot only upon the recommendation of the Elders Council. The Committee also wished to amend Article IV to reflect the correct number of members of the Board including normally three abbesses/abbots. Finally, the Committee decided to delete “by unity” as the method of Board approval. This is a technical term used in a Quaker decision-making practice which is neither voting nor consensus. The Board has not used this process for many years, and it was deleted so that the bylaws reflect the current practice of the Board.

The bylaws provide that the changes adopted by the Board shall remain in effect unless they are disapproved by a vote of two-thirds (23) of the members who cast votes by written ballots, provided that written ballots are cast by a majority of the members.

AMENDED BYLAW - Showing changes in the text