The week of June 13th to 17th 2011 saw the interim board meeting together at the farm in Cornwall where Andrew Taylor-Browne and his wife, Julie, breed alpacas and carry on a variety of other farming activities. Pam, Rev. Berthold and Rev. Master Meiko flew from the US and Rev. Master Jigen, Rev. Willard, Rev. Master Saido and Rev. Alicia traveled the length and breadth of England to get to West Cornwall.
We started with supper on Monday night and talked a little about the arrangements for the next four days. We had planned to have our sessions facilitated by a congregation member who had offered her professional facilitation skills and a wish to help the board in our work, but to everyone’s regret she fell ill at the last moment. Nevertheless, we benefited from her help in planning the event and we decided to take turns facilitating the sessions.
We spent time the first day identifying a number of different ways of viewing what the Order is, both from our own perspectives and those we have come across, including images such as a boat and a jewel. From there, we came up with as many of the possible purposes that the Order serves that we could think of. This gave us a starting point for expressing more explicitly what we understand the Order to be doing, grouped into larger categories such as providing support and maintaining governance. Over the next two days we talked about each category and developed questions that could form the basis of a review, by others, of each area of activity.
Between us, the members of the board have a wide range of experience in the Order, and we have established a way of working together that promotes open and honest discussion, so our days together in Cornwall, whilst being quite intense and challenging, were very productive and also personally rewarding.
On our last morning we talked about our next steps. One of these is to write a report on our activities with suggestions for further action; we plan to get this out at least a month before the conclave in September. We also recognised the importance of personally involving others by having one-to-one conversations in which we actively seek feedback on the work we are doing and use that to inform how we proceed.
And we had some fun – meeting the alpacas and looking around the farm, an evening walk with the dogs at Church Cove and an afternoon tea at Porthleven.
Huge thanks to Julie and Andrew and all at the farm, both 2- and 4-legged, for hosting us and helping to make it such a delightful and valuable week, and to the OBC and others for their donations and support which made it all possible.
Photo attached below.