Our communications with the members have been fully digital this year with no paper Journal. We have been able to publish more this way and the DzogBlog has been more comprehensive, more topical and more interactive than the Journal ever was. We can respond to events much more quickly.
There has been good feedback on the newsletters overall, more people tend to click on these than weekly reminders. Dorota’s and Dion’s design talent has really helped make everything look cohesive. We are now setting quite a high standard visually which is good for people’s perception of us.
Although we lost some of our mail-list subscriptions during the GDPR shift, the list is expected to grow again with the hard-copy sign up. The facebook pages have been more active this year and the reach has been steadily increasing. The newsletter will be monthly which seems the right interval.
The Webcast for Drajyor from Lekdanling recently went well. Lots of people signed up after the £35 concession webcast fee was announced, so we can already see in principle that webcast capability should work well in the business plan for next year. There were more than 10 people using it each time.
Fabian used Zoom and also made recordings available afterwards which was very helpful for this kind of event. Zoom is perfect for events like Drajyor which have transmission elements, but are less sensitive than our restricted practices. For collective practices and some Dzogchen Community courses, a private webcast will be a better option and provide more flexibility than Zoom. There are plans in motion to help us become even more digital such as increased future webcast capability and card payments. The What’sApp groups set up by Dion have been very helpful and dynamic and we encourage members to sign up for them.
Generally at Lekdanling, new and regular faces are showing up which is nice to see and this may translate to more members in the future.
Courses and events wise over the year results were good. The Mandarava and Dance group retreat in Kunselling was a success with a good turn out. Mandarava Tsalung in London was very well attended for Nina and incidentally was the most financially successful course for the Community in London last year. Dance Practice Weekat Kunselling had a big turnout. John’s intermediate Yantra at Kunselling went off very well with good attendance. Julia also held a popular Tara weekend in Lekdanling. Jakob’s SMS course, organised by Rita Arqueros, at Kunselling was a success as was Igor Berkhin’s SMS Level 1 retreat. We hope that Steve’s Chod retreat organised by Peter White will also attract members. Vajradance courses with Cindy and Algis went well. Numbers were on the small side but a lot better than in the past couple of years.
In terms of regular practices, at Lekdanling, the weekly practices of Yantra, Khaita and Vajra Dance continue on weekday evenings. We have established the first weekend of each month as a community practice weekend of collective practice, Vajra Dance and SMS study and practice.
There has been an active SMS group all year thanks to Snow Mei and this is something we could develop. Thanks to Julia, Jowita, Trinley and Gao Ya for helping to keep this going.
We have tried really hard to improve internal communications among the Gakyil. We held a successful Awayday where we tried to look further ahead than usual and consider the bigger picture. We did more brainstorming of risks and how to ameliorate them and this has already been valuable in terms of responding to the passing of our dear Master. Our communications with the members have improved and we were able to respond rapidly to change the schedules at Lekdanling and Kunselling to respond to the fast changing events at Merigar after Rinpoche’s death this Autumn.
We have run a successful recruitment campaign to replace Gakyil members this Autumn. Dorota Dylka joins Blue, Nick Segust and Gao Ya join Red and Russell Pond and Alexander Studholme join Yellow. We restructured the roles to reflect gaps in provision particularly in terms of Lekdanling management.
Thanks are due to the U.K. Community’s qualified instructors – Algis L, John Renshaw, Leo Isacchi, Julia Lawless and Cindy Faulkner, for continuing to support and enrich our community with their help. We have also had some much needed extra course organisers this year – Rita Arqueros, Peter White and Stephanie Mulholland – who have helped a great deal to make a success of courses at Kunselling. Thank you! If anyone would like to organise a course and/or has an idea for one next year, please let Cindy Faulkner know.