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An Update and Message from the Sufi Order International – North America
Warm greetings to each of you. We hope that this letter finds you well and flourishing in the enfoldment of the One. We are writing to update you on the recent changes that are occurring at a critical moment in the life of the Sufi Order International – North American, and to invite your contribution and participation in our emerging future.
In many ways our Order is thriving; collectively we hold a wisdom that is the antidote for so much of the pain and suffering that humanity endures at this time. This wisdom is held so beautifully by our beloved Pir, by the many inspiring teachers of our Order, and by each of us who undertake the selfless task of allowing our hearts and minds to be cultivated and transformed by our path.
The Message brought by Hazrat Inayat Khan over a century ago is indeed spreading far and wide. There are now more than 9,000 mureeds worldwide. New and growing centers are being established in Australia, Turkey, Chile, and Brazil, and more than 2,500 people attended retreats and seminars offered by our Order in 2014.
Several events in the past year, however, have made it clear that the organizational structure of the Order as we have known it no longer meets the needs of today. These include the recent resignations, in quick succession, of the Executive Director and Secretary General – which point to an unsustainable workload and staff structure, and financial challenges at the Abode, which has begun to operate at a deficit. In addition, we continue to be challenged in keeping pace with the Information Age, having yet to fully harness virtual technologies in service of the Message.
A TIME OF TRANSITION
Given these realities, the Board of Trustees, along with Pir Zia, has decided that a complete and holistic reworking of the organizational aspect of our Order is necessary. We thus find ourselves in an in-between phase, a time of transition. The old form has fallen away, and the new form has yet to take shape.
We are beginning a process that will take some time. Jennifer Alia Wittman, a devoted mureed and seasoned business professional, has been hired to manage the Sufi Order during the transition. She has been working closely with the Board to help streamline operations and orient the Board as it plans for the future.
NEW OPPORTUNITIES ARISING
Transitions can be challenging, but Sufis have always known that in the midst of change there exists, for a time, a state that contains infinite possibility. One benefit of intentionally entering this state is that we can now seriously consider new possibilities, many of which have been discussed for years. These include a potential relocation of the Secretariat, whether there is a future for the Abode and if so, what that may look like, and how to best deliver the teachings of Murshid and support the vision of Pir Zia in this age of virtual communications.
A PLACE FOR EVERY VOICE TO BE HEARD
A critical component of the transition process is an open dialogue in which everyone’s
voice may be heard. This is necessary to ensure that the new form that arises out of the process meets the needs of today’s Order. In the coming weeks you will be introduced to the Sufi Order Transition Blog. This online forum will be the centerpiece of the discourse surrounding the transition.
When you receive your invitation to subscribe to the blog, please do so. The Board of Trustees intends the blog to be the primary vehicle for keeping our membership up to date. It will also be a place where you will be able to offer your inspired thoughts and ideas about the Order and what shape a future organization might take.
A FINANCIAL APPEAL
One of the most important ways that you can support our collective efforts is to contribute financially. Many of you do this is by participating in trainings and retreats offered by Pir Zia and other teachers, and we sincerely thank you for supporting these core activities.
In addition, the Order relies heavily on those who donate on a monthly or annual basis. Historically, a significant minority of our membership contributes in this way. One goal of our transition is to considerably expand this base of support. If you are an existing supporter, we thank you, and your continued and, if possible, increased support would mean a great deal to us. If you do not contribute in this way, please consider doing so today. No amount is insignificant, as your participation will help to demonstrate the strength and unity of our Order, which in turn is critical in seeking additional funding sources.
FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY, YESTERDAY AND TODAY
Since Murshid’s time, the Sufi Order has been a relatively low budget organization, and all that has been accomplished has been done within the limits of the budget. This remains true today; outside of the near-term financial challenges at the Abode, which must be resolved, the Sufi Order remains completely solvent, and the Abode remains its most valuable asset, which it wholly owns without a mortgage.
RESPONDING TO THE PULL OF THE FUTURE
We have accomplished a great deal together, but so much more work remains to be done. Your participation and financial support will help us to realign the Sufi Order International – North America into an organization ideally suited to spread the Message today, and for years to come. Please take a moment to donate online to indicate your level of support. Thank you in advance for your kindness and generosity.
In gratitude and service,
Amina Linda Hall, Chair
Bayazid Jonathan Ware, Vice Chair
The Sufi Order International – NA Board of Trustees
PS — If you prefer to send a donation via the United States Postal Service, please send to Sufi Order, PO Box 480, New Lebanon, New York 12125. All those who give a donation by January 15, 2015 will receive a special gift.