Abode Village View, Monthly Update – Feb. 2017
Update from our Executive Director – Al Bellenchia
2017 is a building year for the Abode.
Thanks to the work of our vast and diverse Community — residents, staff, volunteers, the Steering Committee/Board, teachers, guests, program partners, and donors — we began 2017 on a firmer footing than in past years.
This can be seen in the schedule of programs and events already on the calendar, in the rhythm of spiritual practice and classes we are establishing, in the reinvigorated Khidmat program and our Farm-to-Kitchen initiative, each of which is outlined below. All of this new activity is guided by our Eco-Sufi orientation, which is the foundation for building new vibrancy and energy at the Abode.
Nothing worthwhile, however, is ever absent a few challenges. One of which is adding to our wonderful staff. In the coming weeks, we will start actively recruiting for housekeeping, the Mountain Camp, program support, and other positions as we begin to gear up for the opening of our Programs season. We will post these opportunities on our website and on Basecamp.
Also, please mark February 14 on your calendar for the launch of our Abode Ambassadors membership benefit program. The program will be our way of sharing the love you have for the Abode, by giving back in a meaningful way.
– Membership starts at only $10 per month.
– There are Individual and Family membership options.
– Ambassadors will enjoy exclusive events and activities.
– Ambassadors can receive free merchandise, books and discounts at the Abode Store (open Spring 2017).
– Discounts on programs, rooms and meals will rise with your contribution.
More to come!!!
Thanks for all you do to support our mission.
Update from our Spiritual Director – Netanel Miles-Yépez
I happily returned to the Abode on January 27th, after spending a few weeks in Boulder, Colorado, where I taught a Sufism intensive retreat course at Naropa University. The five-day Naropa course was a wonderful opportunity to experiment with new forms of group practice to use in the community in the future, and to talk about the Khidmat program to students who are both interested in Sufism, and with living in community. I will return to Colorado for a weekend in the middle of the month to teach Sufism at a conference of students from around the country on “Embodied Spirituality.”
Now that I am back, I am looking forward to an exciting Spring schedule of classes and programs, capped by the Season of the Rose, the Inayati Order’s annual summer school in June. While things naturally slow down through the holidays and the cold of January, as we head into February, I want to invite everyone back to attend our new schedule of weekly Tuesday and Thursday classes.
For our first Traditions classes on Tuesdays, I have chosen to begin the year with two classes on the life of “The Prophet Muhammad,” both to address and counteract the misinformation so prevalent in the media, and to renew our appreciation for one of the most important figures in world spirituality. On Thursdays, for our Message classes, I will continue (though I had to cancel my first class after losing my voice) exploring themes in the new Message volume, The Inner Life, as Pir Zia has suggested for all Inayati Order centers around the world.
Please come out for these classes when you can, as they are the first and most important aspect of the Abode’s new commitment to spiritual education for the community, helping us to strengthen our understanding of who we are and what we represent in the world today, an important thing to know right now.
Update from our Director of Programs – Ibrahím Pedriñán
Dear Friends of the Abode,
I cannot say how exciting 2017 feels already and we’re still buried in snow and cold! So many things are moving and shifting and the Abode is already blossoming with new life.
Starting in March, we are inviting people to join us monthly for our Village Visits – times where explorers, seekers, or old friends may come to the Abode and visit our growing village. These times will include farm-fresh meals, invigorating music and dancing, intimate sharing, a bit of work, orientation to Eco-Sufism, Universal Worship, and more! It is a time where we will highlight the Abode and demonstrate all the goings-on while immersing people into life here in this Eco-Sufi Village. Join us or invite a friend to Visit!
Village Visits are pre-requisites to the 2017 Khidmat Program, which will be an re-invigorated, rejuvenated offering with more opportunities for service, for study, for community, and for exploring life in an Eco-Sufi Village. Each session is 4 weeks and traces the 4 sections of Pir Zia Inayat-Khan’s book “The Holy Mysteries of the Five Elements,” exploring the elements within us and within our larger world. Khadims (lit. “servants”, those on khidmat) have the ability to live at the Abode for the whole season (March-November) and create something exciting as the Abode bursts forth into full bloom. If you know someone who would want to participate, or you have ever considered, now is the time.
The Farm-to-Kitchen Program is new and exciting Hands-to-Heart volunteer opportunity for 2017! With the hiring of both Evan Thaler-Null as Manager of Ecology (Abode farmer) and Evan Young (a former Abode farmer) as Kitchen Manager, we have a newfound synergy between farm and kitchen. When so many groups are advertising “farm-to-table”, the Abode is offering “farmer-to-table” by providing a program aimed at giving a select number of volunteers the opportunity to live at the Abode, work on the Abode Farm CSA, and cook in the Abode Kitchen. Splitting their time between farm and kitchen, these participants arrive in May and depart in November, watching the entire cycle of planting, growing, harvesting, and cooking – tracing the entire food-cycle. This new service track promises to be key to our energizing the kitchen and growing the farm. Again, share this information, and come for a meal when you can!
Update from our Kitchen Manager – Evan Young
The kitchen crew has been busy with a variety of projects the past few weeks!
We have focused a good deal of our energy on making improvements to our coolers and storage facilities while brainstorming some new systems to help us better serve our Abode family and the greater community in the coming year. In January we established some exciting new relationships with regional farmers (including some right here in New Lebanon) offering sustainable eggs, diary and produce. We are also proud to report that the Abode Farm root cellar and greenhouses continue to supply us with the bulk of our vegetable needs- just last week we preserved some of the last of the Abode winter squash, which will be enjoying into spring.
Save the date! WORK DAY: Saturday, February 18th, 2017 (9am start, special brunch at 12:30pm).
Please join us for a spirited work morning! We will be giving some much needed love to the Rezak kitchen and cellar! Tasks will include: organizing supplies, dusting, cleaning a bit of painting and, hopefully, a little dancing in the basement. We will begin at 9am and a special brunch will be served at 12:30. The dust bunnies and I look forward to seeing you!
Update from our Manager of Ecology – Evan Thaler-Null
Chickens, Bees, and Trees!
Several exciting projects are in motion on the agro-ecological front this season. The Abode will once again have a flock of free-range organic laying hens–arriving this spring! About 70 chickens will make their home in a movable coop on the fields of the Abode Farm. They will move around regularly foraging as they go and caretaken by Abode Khadim and Hands-to-Heart participants.
We will have three-new honeybee hives at The Abode this year. The farm has been tending hives fairly informally for the past several years, and last weekend I took a Biodynamic Beekeeping intensive to prepare for more bees and learn more beekeeping practices. These hives will be located on the farm but the bees will be adventuring all around The Abode and surrounding community gathering nectar and pollen with glee. With healthy happy hives, we hope to steadily grow our honeybee colonies and create a sanctuary for the bees on our land.
Fruit tree pruning has begun–campus apple trees, plums, and the Orchard of the Prophets’ trees are getting some love and attention this dormant season and we hope for a good fruit set this year!
Update from our Maintenance Manager – Wajid Jackson
Maint Man is back from a refreshing warm vacation and ramping up more work on the downstairs cooler for Rezak Kitchen. I’ve already replaced the ceiling with 1″ rigid insulation and fastened the exchanger/fan to the ceiling. Fairly extensive foaming and caulking was done to seal the cooling envelope. Looks like, at this quiet period of our operation, some painting of the insides could possibly be done, also.
2nd phase is as involved. Some may remember the door that led into the unused portion (may have been a freezer originally) at the inside end of the cooler box. This has been removed and the doorway will be sealed up; however, not before a doorway is cut into that unused portion, opening it to the basement. In the short term this extra area will be utilized for storage. Down the road, this opens the door (love it!) for demo of this section and our ability to exactly create a plan of replacement.
Abode Weekly Village View
Tuesday February 7th
– 6:00pm Community Dinner – Rezak Dining Room
– 7:00pm Traditions Class with Netanel Miles-Yépez – Meditation Hall
“The Prophet Muhammad: Part II” – Exploring the life of the Muhammad, peace be upon him, as the Prophet of God revealing the Qur’an, and as the first link in the chain of Sufi silsilas.
Thursday February 9th
– 6:00pm Community Dinner – Rezak Dining Room
– 7:00pm Message Class with Netanel Miles-Yépez – Meditation Hall
“Initiation” – Exploring the nature of bay’ah, ‘initiation,’ in Inayati Sufism—everything from establishing a relationship with a guide to understanding the commitment to a path, as discussed in the new Message volume, The Inner Life.
Sunday February 12th
– 11:00am Universal Worship with Nur Gale – Meditation Hall
– 12:30pm Sunday Brunch – Rezak Dining Room