Dear Sangha, dear friends along the path,

Thich Nhat Hanh writes, “Thanks to impermanence, everything is possible.” In these uncertain times I find great comfort in this profound truth. Every moment of life is rich with change and possibility. When I am able to embrace the creative unfolding of this moment, and let go into it with faith, I take my place in the beautiful dance of existence.

For the last three years I have filled the role of Guiding Teacher at ICD, and the term of that office is now complete. It has been a true privilege to serve the sangha that I love in this way, to hold your sacred trust, and to grow in ways that I never dreamed possible. Our sangha is truly a living, breathing being, one that is nourished by your practice and generosity. The challenges of the last year have made that crystal clear. Together, we create a gift for one another, and for our wider communities. There is no higher joy than supporting that!

Our first and second Guiding Teachers, Larry Yang and Beth Mulligan, taught me the wisdom of holding a role to benefit the organization rather than being that role. That humility is a mark of all of our teachers and part of what makes this sangha unique and strong.

The initial organizers of ICD valued a form that is not personality-driven or hierarchical, but rather one that is more lateral and shared. Essential to our organizing documents is the intention to rotate leadership roles among qualified people. That intention is to ensure that ICD remains fluid, responsive, and benefiting from diversity and creative change.

Reflecting that intention, the board and teachers have developed a new form to hold the teaching and spiritual guidance for the sangha: the Guiding Council. The Guiding

Council, a subset of our Teachers Circle, is comprised of teachers who are local, available, and committed to jointly holding the functions of the Guiding Teacher. The Guiding Council will hold collaboratively the functions that were formerly held by one person.

It’s a great joy for me to join teachers Jokai Blackwell and Lorene Jabola as our first Guiding Council. Together, we will work with the board, all our amazing teachers, and you to respond to sangha needs — spiritual, pastoral, and organizational.

Please join me in welcoming this creative change and the great potential for blessing our sangha and our wider communities.

With deepest love for you, for our sangha,

Ian Challis

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