Minutes of The 2019 Sufi Movement In Canada/Sufi Circle Canada Annual General Meeting
The meeting was held as a video conference on Tuesday, September 17, 9:00AM PDT, 10:00AM MDT.
COUNCIL MEMBERS PRESENT
Kuan Yin Cindy Pujos-Michel, Akbar Lody Kieken, Nirtan Carol Ann Sokoloff, Fazalunissa Carole Harmon, Jelaluddin Gary Sill, and David Murray
Azima Martha Toy and Qahira Francesca Becker
The Invocation was recited by Qahira.
Call To Order
Meeting called to order by David
APPROVAL OF 2018 AGM
Moved by Fazalunissa that the minutes of last year’s AGM dated Monday, September 18, 2017 be approved. Seconded by Kuan Yin
As all reports were made available to councillors and members before the meeting, the individual reports were not read out but were voted on for approval. All reports appear in full below.
National Representative Report from David Murray
There has been quite a bit of activity this year among the National Representatives of the International Sufi Movement. In the organization, the National Representatives represent the activities of their countries within the International Council. The Council is an advisory group to the Executive Committee and is intended to be the link between the ISM members and the leadership.
There were 3 ZOOM conferences over the year in order to carry on the activities from the previous year (2018) when the National Representatives began to prepare a “vision statement” that reflects the ideas, goals and suggestions for the ongoing activities of the ISM. The latest ZOOM conference of the International Council (the first ever) was Friday September 6, 2019 when the vision statement was presented to the International Council for discussion. This document will be available in the near future when the amendments have been completed. At the same time, Pir Nawab presented his summary of the current status and operations of the ISM. His report is attached.
The countries/Centres represented among the National Representatives include Russia, Riga Latvia, Holland, Belgium, Ticino Switzerland, Barcelona Spain, Mexico City, Capetown South Africa, Columbia, Ecuador, Australia and Canada. In order to coordinate our activities, Baasit Patricio Carillo from Quito was appointed as the International Coordinator and moderator of our ZOOM conferences. Reports were prepared from many of the countries and they are attached as separate documents for those who are interested to learn more about what is happening in other parts of the world.
Attachment #1: The International Sufi Movement Year in Review – August 2019
This report would not be complete if it did not mention that Fazalunissa and I are retiring from the Sufi Circle Canada Council/Board. There are several reasons why we have taken this decision the two principal ones being that we have been involved with the Council/Board for many, many years and it feels like it’s time to leave before experiencing some kind of burn out. Another, possibly more important reason, is that we sincerely hope that our leaving will encourage somebody arriving. And actually that has already happened in the person of our dear friend and Sufi sister, Azima Martha Toy from Alberta, who has agreed to take on the very important job of treasurer. Fazalunissa is working with her and the Council/Board for an efficient transition.
This year, Fall 2019 to Fall 2020, has seen other developments. I have been maintaining the Sufi Circle Canada website with a special focus on creating viable and living Centre web pages. It now looks possible that by using software called a “Content Management System” there could be direct input by delegated members into the Banff, Edmonton, Vancouver and Victoria Centre pages. This approach, when properly set up, would make it possible for the Centre webpages to be more current and interesting as text and images could be entered more often and more easily.
More work needs to be done to make the SCC site more “responsive”, that is, easy to use with laptops, tablets and cell phones. This is particularly important for the sections on the various practices, as there is increasing interest by International Sufi organizations in using these precious resources.
Another tech project that has been recently implemented is an online membership database for the use by the SCC Council/Board members and centre leaders. Data from the present database on our computers has all been transferred to this online resource. It is now possible that in the future, when Council/Board members leave or retire, this database will not disappear with them. What remains is to do a simple set of instructions on how to use and navigate in the new database which I will be preparing this fall.
The last 12 months have seen numerous Zoom online meetings which I initially facilitated. After a tentative beginning, it has become much more common to have meetings using this very effective communications modality, bringing about the blessing of fewer hours spent reading emails! Submitted by Jelaluddin Gary Sill
Treasurer Report from Fazalunissa Harmon
Report for September 25, 2019 AGM
On the Sufi Circle Canada website are:
• May 31, 2019 Financial Statement • Duties of the Treasurer as of September 2019
Jelaluddin has provided a link below. As these are public documents they should be in a recognizable category of their own under Council. Perhaps the Board can request this for 2020.
This year I helped Nirtan with registration for Conference of the Birds Retreat as well as my usual duties as treasurer. That workshop broke even but I don’t have exact figures. Since I will be resigning as Treasurer after the Annual Report for 2019 is submitted in late September I have spent a lot of time trying to provide an overview of this job as it currently exists with recommendations to simplify and spread the workload.
As of today we have $9067.70 in our bank account. We have not received the final invoice for the recent Self Realization Workshop at The Crossing. There also may be outstanding revenues from this workshop when Kuan Yin does the final tally. I am waiting for invoices from Jelaluddin for:
Website renewal $240 Zoom subscription $197.34
I will be applying for a GST rebate of 386.34 from the Sufi in the World Retreat and a rebate of 50% of GST paid for the Self Realization Workshop. These applications are made in 6 month increments.
I’ve floundered a bit this year with GST rebate applications. Although our head office has been changed for many years, the GST department was still sending correspondence to Padmani’s address in Toronto and no-one we know lives there now so it took me months to complete the one from 2018 and I didn’t want to proceed until that was sorted out. From now on things should be straight forward.
This does point to an issue the Board will have to address as soon as the AGM is over. Our Head office is currently my address. We may be moving later this year so we should change this address. If Board terms are coming into practice having this address follow the treasurer isn’t wise. I believe you can add additional names to the records. I’ll look into this.
I will be providing a list of Government website links to the new treasurer and assisting with access to our bank account.
Banff Centre Report from Kuan Yin Cindy Pujos-Michel Beloved Sufis:
It's been a really busy year for our Banff Sufi Centre. We came out of Fall 2018 having just completed our 'end of August' 2018 Retreat, Pearls from the Ocean Unseen. We were so excited about that retreat and already beginning to think about another Sufi retreat for August 2019 - same venue site, The Crossing at Ghost River.
Our Banff retreat planning committee consists of Jill McAulay, Sitara Karen Joy Minish and myself. Jill spends 6 months in Mexico each year, October - April so we began our planning almost immediately before Jill left. First up we had a wonderful Sufi initiation of both Jill and Sitara at the beginning of October, 2018. Jill was initiated into the Sufi Movement in Canada itself, a momentous step, and also initiated as a Healing Conductor in the Spiritual Healing Activity. Sitara was initiated as a Healing Conductor in the Spiritual Healing Activity. So we were off, out of the gate and on our way to new Sufi adventures.
Sitara and myself continued our weekly Sufi meetings as well as planning discussions for the next retreat. We would also get together periodically with other members of our Banff/Bow Valley/Calgary Sufi group for community time together. 'Busy' was always on the agenda.
We were all hit very hard in December by the news that our beloved Sufi sister Sitara had cancer. She is now doing very well but we went through some very difficult and painful months together.
Jill and I carried on together with the retreat planning via email. We came up with our retreat theme for 2019 ~ Self-Realization, The Aim of the Sufi. Lots and lots of work in between but I am happy to report that we held a very successful August 2019 retreat again at The Crossing at Ghost River. Our Sufi leaders for the retreat were David Murray, Qahira Fran Becker and myself, with tremendous support from Jill McAulay, Azima Martha Toy, Naseera Wendy Ross and our own Sitara Karen Joy. There was so much love and joy abounding. With heartfelt gratitude for all of the inspiration, self-realization and kindness that came out of this retreat as a guideline for the future.
We had a joyful initiation take place at the retreat also. Naseera Wendy Ross was initiated as a Spiritual Healing Conductor by both Qahira and myself.
During the time Jill was in Mexico last year, she developed a strong friendship with the woman she was studying Spanish with, named Irene. So Jill went ahead and opened her own little centre, The Sufi Circle of Puerto Escondito also known as SCOPE......ha ha. They did lots of work with Jelaluddin’s help for the Wazifas and Nawab's help with the Sufi prayers in Spanish.
Here we are now early September and looking to the future and the Divine Beloved to sustain us as we continue to travel the road together toward the One.
Kuan yin Pujos-Michel, Banff Sufi Centre Edmonton Centre Report from David Murray
The Sufi Circle Canada Edmonton Centre has remained active over the past year. We hold weekly evening meetings on Tuesdays at my office/gallery, which can include wasifas, pranayama breathing practices. The evenings end with the singing zikar. Attendance can be sparse but is dedicated.
In fall 2018 and through the winter 2019, we also hosted the monthly Dances of Universal Peace which were led by Khabira Auni Amini and Rashida Deenar Dhanji. Attendance at the final Dances in May included many long-time sufis from the community. There is an appetite to continue the Dance evenings into 2020.
I was able to attend several retreats this year, at the Bethlehem Centre in Nanaimo and the Crossing near Calgary where I was able to contribute leading the Universal Worship service on the theme of Self-Realization.
My Board participation continues as the National Representative of the Sufi Circle Canada within the International Sufi Movement, which has involved a number of video conferences with NRs from around the world. Our friendships are a source of inspiration and the International Council participation will continue into 2020.
Sending warm greetings to the SCC members across Canada.
This is our intimate meeting space in my office/gallery with changing exhibitions of paintings by Christl.
Qualicum Beach Centre Report from Akbar Kieken
During the last year we have developed a close relationship with Adrian Symonds and the Sufi group in Courtenay, sharing Zikar evenings, workshops and dinners with them. We have also been keeping contact with Joanne Sales who leads Sufi dances in Errington. Since we are relatively isolated here we find that this type of brotherhood work is the best expression of the message we can offer at this time.
Vancouver Centre Report from Fazalunissa Harmon In the fall of 2018 we resumed our usual weekly Sufi meetings and found attendance was really spotty because people were traveling or involved in other programs. After Christmas, several of us became ill which unfortunately continued through the winter. We decided to suspend our weekly meetings as we weren't getting enough attendance and we were not really able to attend to it ourselves.
Energetically there needed to be a new start. In the summer, we all got together for a wonderful potluck and discussion. Before that we had met with each member in our group individually for coffee and discussed what to do about the future. We've decided to go ahead with monthly potlucks and evenings for practice and discussion beginning October 9th. 2019. There is also a workshop in our future, as of yet unspecified as to exact format and date.
We have a very loyal and enthusiastic Sufi group in Vancouver. If there's any challenge, it is finding the format that works for people who live quite far apart and have busy lives but who, in their hearts, really appreciate the gift of the Sufi message and the warm and inspiring atmosphere that we create together when we do practices.
In August, one of our members fell seriously ill. This prompted the decision to start a healing circle, which we've long wanted to do. We have been meeting every week to 10 days, sometimes in person but mostly by Zoom to do the Sufi healing ceremony.
Jelaluddin and I participated in the Conference of the Birds retreat held at the Bethlehem Centre in Nanaimo from June 29 - 30, 2019 which was a great success. I worked with Nirtan on the financial aspects of this retreat. Submitted by Fazalunissa Harmon Victoria Centre Report from Nirtan
The Victoria Sufi Centre has been quite active in the past year. Monthly meetings for dances and sufi thought continued (first Tuesday of the month at the Quaker Meeting House) through the year and benefited from the presence of an additional dance leader, Shoshana Heather Macleod, who moved here from the Nelson region. Victoria Centre leader, Nirtan Carol Ann Sokoloff again ran an 8 -week program at the University of Victoria exploring the Mystics Poets of Persia (in translation). Nirtan also organized a Sufi Circle Canada board of directors retreat at the Bethlehem Centre in Nanaimo at the end of June. For the final evening zikar and the following day Vancouver Island sufis were invited to take part and a very successful 'Conference of the Birds' was held, attracting participants from all parts of the Island. This gathering proved most inspiring as the interest and enthusiasm was high and several new memberships in Sufi Circle Canada resulted. Sufis in Courtenay then invited Nirtan to lead a day of practise in that region and a workshop called 'Elements of the Way: A Creative Exploration of Sufi Practise' has been scheduled for Saturday September 28th and is almost fully-registered. Please see the Sufi Circle Canada website for more information. Victoria- area members and friends have suggested the workshop be repeated locally, so that may be something that will happen this Fall or in the New Year. Submitted by Nirtan Carol Ann Sokoloff
APPROVAL OF REPORTS
Moved by Akbar that the the reports, with the exception of the Financial Statement, be accepted.
Seconded by Kuan Yin
APPROVAL OF FINANCIAL STATEMENT
Moved by Fazalunissa that the Financial Statement of 2018 - 2019, ending on May 31st, 2019 be accepted.
Seconded by Akbar
Nirtan extended the board's hearty thanks for her work.
Election of Members to the Board of Directors
Fazalunissa nominated Azima Martha Toy to join the board of Sufi Circle Canada.
Seconded by David
Kuan Yin nominated Qahira Francesca Beckery to join the board of Sufi Circle Canada.
Seconded by David
DATE OF NEXT AGM
Moved by David that the next AGM be held Thursday, September 17, 2020.
Seconded by Kuan Yin
MOTION TO ADJOURN
Moved by David to adjourn the AGM.
Meeting ended at 10:24 AM PST/11:24 AM MST.
A video conference General Meeting to be held immediately after the AGM to discuss new business.
An unedited video of the conference call is available here: