Closing the Priory
In line with the latest coronavirus lockdown, the Priory is closed to all visitors from 5th November, until at least 2nd December. Our events continue to be held online, via Zoom, and information can be found on our calendar. Anyone who is familiar with our practice and would like join the meetings can contact me for more details. We continue to offer individual introductions to our practice to newcomers online.
New website design
Our website has recently been redesigned. Many thanks to those people who worked on this project. The main changes to the website are to do with the lay-out and ease of use. The text and information are broadly unchanged and are relevant to how the Priory would normally function outside of coronavirus restrictions, to give people a sense of what the Priory is ideally. A text box at the top of each page says what the situation is currently. If you have any comments or feedback, just let me know.
On the path to a new Priory
For some time, we have been considering purchasing a property to become a long-term home for the Priory. Recently, there came onto the market a house that would make an ideal priory and we have had an offer accepted. This is, of course, an exciting development, but it is still early days. There are plenty of hurdles to be overcome yet, especially as purchasing a property as a charity is more complicated than an individual buying. Still, there is no other link in this chain, which is a bonus. We can’t know how this process will unfold – all we can do is take the next step and do what needs to be done at each moment.
The property, which is pictured below, is in a lovely setting and has a room that will make a great meditation space. It wouldn’t need any work done to it to make it suitable as a priory and there would be the facilities to be able to offer overnight stays. It’s about two miles from the current priory, to the west of the city, just outside the ring road. It’s on a road that is easy to find but isn’t too busy and parking shouldn’t be any problem.
I am extremely grateful to everybody who has offered donations and loans towards this project and to all those who have increased their standing orders to help cover our loan repayments in the future. In these strange and uncertain times, when there is so much concern about the economic future, this support is appreciated more than ever. If other people would like to offer financial contributions towards the many expenses that will be entailed if we are to make our new priory a reality, these would be very gratefully received – you’re welcome to contact me.
There will probably be various twists and turns as we continue on this long road to establishing a true home for the Priory. I’ll keep you informed with our progress.
New charity structure
We have been changing the structure of our charity from that of a trust to a charitable incorporated organisation or CIO. The new structure has a number of benefits, the main one being that when we purchase a property it can be held in the name of the charity (rather than in the name of individuals acting as “holding trustees”). The new charity (Norwich Zen Buddhist Priory) has a different charity registration number: 1190154. We have transferred the assets from the old charity to the new one and so we are now functioning as the CIO. This is one of those “behind the scenes” pieces of administration that has been a lot of work but shouldn’t have any impact on your interaction with the Priory.
At some point in the future, we shall have to set up new bank accounts for the new charity, but we’re not able to do that just now, due to the impact of coronavirus, which has meant that the bank isn’t opening new current accounts for business customers at present. I’ll let you know when this change has happened.
In addition to the gratitude already expressed in this newsletter, my thanks go to everyone who has helped with the many administrative tasks that have been necessary recently, including: contacting solicitors to organise a loan agreement; investigating and facilitating broadband options; helping to ensure the prompt getting together of the paperwork needed to begin the process of purchasing a property; and the work that has been required on the financial aspects of switching to the new charity. Also, thank you to those people who have brought round food recently and to those who have offered various types of practical help if the purchase of the new priory does go ahead.
With best wishes and in gassho,