September 21, 2020
A Bow of Gratitude to San Francisco Zen Center Volunteers

For the past several years in September, City Center has hosted a dinner for volunteers whose constant efforts help to keep the temple open and functioning. This year we are unable to offer our thanks in person, but we want to acknowledge their vital contributions to the practice life of San Francisco Zen Center. Truly the volunteers and the residents together are the strong threads that weave the seamless fabric of this practice.

At Tassajara, the volunteers who bring their work, energy and skills during the work periods and the summer season make the guest season possible. Though the work periods and the guest season were cancelled this year, we are grateful for the firefighters currently defending Tassajara, and we look forward to the day when we can open the monastery again as a place of refuge for both visitors and residents. Without their work it is impossible to imagine that happening.

At Green Gulch Farm, volunteers work in the garden, on the farm, and in the kitchen, nurturing the field of practice and maintaining Green Dragon Temple as a community resource and treasure. They also help staff the Green Gulch Farmers Market booths, participate in the monthly Watershed Work party, assist with sewing projects, and provide parking assistance for the Sunday program. Groups assist on the farm with school visits and kids’ camps and to help put on the popular New Year’s program. We are also grateful for those who run the Engaged Family Practice and Coming of Age Programs.

Though this is not currently possible, the Saturday volunteers at City Center staff the zendo and help sustain the vitality of the public programs. They serve on the kitchen crew and in the bookstore and library. Other volunteer activities include cooking and delivering food to homeless people, bringing meditation into the jail, and assisting with the book sales that fund San Francisco Zen Center’s outreach projects. Our rooftop bees are taken care of with volunteer help, as well as help with our Online Zendo and in the sewing room. These are just a few of the ways that the urban temple is nurtured by the energy and enthusiasm of volunteers, and we look forward to their return to these mutually supportive activities.

This year we’ve added volunteer writers to help us with our Sangha News articles and volunteer designers to create images, emails, and other important visual documents for our Communications Department. Our IT department is grateful for the volunteers who help us with some of our database management and Zoom logistics.

Those who guide the organization as a whole “Board members and Board Committee Chairs” do the often invisible work of integrating temple life with public life and culture. Particularly during this challenging time, the Board members made essential contributions to and on behalf of establishing the emergency fund. They maintained contact with SF Zen Center supporters and called to thank them for the donations which allow the temples to continue to function while the hospitality programs are suspended and the practice programs are limited or offered only online.

There is no adequate measure for how much our volunteers do. We miss meeting you face to face and warm hand to warm hand, but please know that you are in our hearts and that we look forward to your return, not only in spirit but in person.

With a deep and humble bow of gratitude to you all,

Shinchi Linda Galijan
SFZC President