Minutes:20050923

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Intentional Community Building

Meeting #1

When: September 23, 2005 5-9pm

Where: 3181 King Edward Av, Vancouver, Shannon, James, Tara, Jesse and Elsa’s house

Welcome and Thanks to those present: Shannon Binns, James Cowan, Vivienne Grace and Nic, Tara McKeigan, Stacy Friedman, Jesse Weise, Sean Clancy, Lauren Goldman, Sarah Joy Hopkin, Sarah Martz, Jill Lance

Regrets: Siobhan and Chris, Brenda and John Carmichael, Colin and Wendy, Charis and Dulcie, Caroline and Eric and many more out of towners.

Community-Forming is a Process.

Community living is also a Process, and rich with gifts and challenges. We welcome and love each one of you for who you are, and what you have to offer this community formation. Please read on with the perspective of your own experiences and dreams. Comments Much Appreciated! Anything is possible!

MEETING HIGHLIGHTS:

James and Shannon Greeted and Introduced a Rough agenda: Introductions James and Shannon Share about Our Vision James and Shannon Share about Building Community Workshop they took in Aug 2005 with Diana Leafe Christian (author of Building a Life Together) All commented and questioned 20 mins of brainstorming Vision Delicious Food was Shared

    • next meeting date was set for: Sunday October 30th, 3181 King Edward Ave., starting at 1pm.

VISIONING HIGHLIGHTS:

All of the following is up for discussion via emails, phone calls and chats between meetings. If you have brainstorms with one or two other people, please do your best to jot them down and relay this information to us all in the next gathering, or by email if you cannot attend. *JS – stands for James and Shannon’s vision and values as we’ve developed so far, and they are not “set in stone” at all, but a jumping off point for ongoing discussions about the many factors that make up our particular group of people coming together to form community.

Our Intentional Community Visioning Brainstorm of Sept 23,2005:

  1. “What” we wish to create as a community:
    1. Workable, loving relationships within community and extended out to society JS
    2. Sustainable management of local resources
    3. Economic stability both within the limits of the community and in mainstream global society JS
  2. “How”… these may be our first set of GOALS
    1. communication model: having a shared language and ongoing education, interpersonal context and commitment to ways of dealing with conflict
    2. all get training on CONFLICT-RESOLUTION and LISTENING JS
    3. all get training on working with different personality styles (e.g. enneagrams, myers-briggs, Marshall Rosenberg’s Non Violent Communication, others)
  3. “Who”
    1. 8-10 committed member units (a unit may be solo, couple or family) – up to 25 people max. JS
    2. the only restrictions on membership would be: consensus within the existing group to accept new member (protocol to do so will be developed)
    3. note: financing should not be considered a restriction until the group makes agreements on the form of legal entity and financial infrastructure they wish to create (i.e. internal loans, external grants, loan repayment options are all up for discussion)
  4. “Values”:
    1. Spiritual connectedness: individual, group
      1. discussed how this would work in our view from an “open” and “communicative” place rather than a certain style or dogmatic approach
      2. accept that everyone has their own version, embrace the differences, share in each other’s versions openly and commit to listening to the various ways
      3. develop protocol to keep the communication about the spiritual variations and spiritual values we each hold, so that it does not become divisive or hidden
    2. Acceptance of personal differences in learning, communicating and being:
      1. working with equitable process - all people as equals for who they are NOW
      2. also agree that each person agrees to participate from the perspective that they are willing to GROW, TRANSFORM and UPLIFT others, and themselves, through community process
    3. Ecological Stewardship (e.g. land covenants, preservation, management for resource longevity)
    4. Education: about communal living, about permaculture design and alternative building styles and materials, about sustainable organic horticulture/animal husbandry, about arts/culture/spiritual practice (eg. Dance, yoga, pottery, native spirituality, etc.)
    5. Resource-sharing (ecologically, and economically by forming agreements)
    6. Having awareness and application as key foci, rather than simply knowledge or training: choosing to stand for our values, and to accept our humanity while working towards applying our education ongoingly, choosing together to be a community of lifelong learners who are committed to learning, not attached to being “right” or “wrong”
    7. Balancing Energies – supporting the ebb and flow of a group of people involves awareness of personal energetic balance and commitment to creating neutral space and healing space for each of us as persons, and as members of the group
  5. “Where” and “When”
    1. This was not discussed except for what JS presented as their vision:
    2. Gulf islands (preferably with Ambulance Service), Sunshine coast, Other areas of mainland B.C.
    3. Size of land depends on community goals and vision – (minimum of 5 acres per member unit? JS )
    4. Timeline (JS):
    5. Now  June 2006 = building community ;
    6. June 2006  spring 2007 finding the right property;
    7. Summer 2007 onwards financing, purchase, developing property

PROCESS:

Community building process follows these major steps (Diana Christian’s book):

  1. Creating vision documents
  2. Choosing a decision-making method
  3. Creating agreements and policies (in writing)
  4. Establishing your legal entity
  5. Finding the right property
  6. Financing your property
  7. Developing your property
  8. Establishing internal community finances
  9. **ongoing: Mastering communication, process and dealing with conflict

ELEMENTS OF COMMUNITY VISION by Diana Leafe Christian

  • VISION – How the world will be better and transformed by the community
  • MISSION – What this community will DO to make it better and transformed; “who” “what” “why”?
  • VALUES – behaviours, processes you deem worthy
  • GOALS – measurable milestones arising from values that you commit to accomplish in set period of time (months, years)
  • ASPIRATIONS – strong desires, ambitions that arise from values, elevated goals that may not yet be measurable or “do-able” but are helping direct the future
  • INTERESTS- experiences, states of being, or physical things; often expressed as goals
  • STRATEGY: a series of goals in a particular time frame
    • “how” “when” and “where”
    • this may include budgets, time-lines, cash flow projections and more

SAMPLE VISION DOCUMENTS FROM EXISTING COMMUNITIES:

Earthaven Ecovillage
We are an evolving village-scale community dedicated to caring for people and the Earth by learning, practicing and demonstrating the skills for creating holistic sustainable culture, in recognition and celebrations of the Oneness of all Life.
Meadowdance Community
We are an egalitarian, child-centered community that welcomes human diversity, ecological sensibility, mutual learning and joy.
Lost Valley Vision Statement (1999) –this one includes values and goals as well
The mission of Lost Valley Educational Center is to create and foster mutually beneficial relations between humans and all parts of the web of existence. We believe that these relationships provide a means to well-being as well as survival.

In fulfilling this mission, our purpose is to create and maintain an intentional community and an educational center dedicated to three goals which guide us in all activities:

  • To educate broadly in areas such as: ecology, sustainable agriculture, human-made environments, personal and spiritual growth and community development
  • To live an ethic in which we are open to spiritual diversity, demonstrate right livelihood and sustainable economics, support individuals in their personal growth and healing, and steward the land to sustain and heal the Earth for generations to come
  • To participate in the global community, network with others, and facilitate the evolution of cooperative societies and socially responsible relationships at every level

We dedicate ourselves to learning and teaching this way of life.


List of Resources Discussed

(Please add to this, and let us build a Reference Library for one another):

BOOKS AND PEOPLE:

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