November 2020 Letter to Members & Friends



 532 Morgan Bay Road, Surry, ME 04684 ~




November 2020


Dear Friends of Morgan Bay Zendo,


When much of the country shut down in mid-March due to Covid-19, we were just a couple of weeks from opening the Zendo for the season. We quickly realized that would not be possible and instead decided to offer meditation via Zoom until we could once again meet in person. Beginning in April we have offered an hour of meditation, reading, and discussion every Sunday morning at 9 am with a sangha member as host. Every Wednesday at 5 pm Nancy Hathaway offers an hour of meditation, talk, and discussion called “Tea House Zen” in the Korean Zen tradition. We have continued offering online meditation for more than seven months, far longer than we thought would be necessary. While this format does not appeal to everyone, people have joined in who live at a distance and could not have participated otherwise. As some doors have necessarily closed, others have opened. The meditation schedule is posted on the calendar at the MBZ webpage and all are welcome to participate. Our 2020 season will end with the week of Rohatsu meditation, December 1-8, an annual time for reflection and meditation in Buddhist communities on Buddha's enlightenment and our effort toward clarity and compassion in our own lives. We are discussing ways to continue offerings via Zoom through the winter. Please check the website for updates.  

While the buildings are closed to the public, the grounds of the Morgan Bay Zendo are as cared for as ever. The Moss Garden, listed on Maine Trail Finder, is open to the public. Many people have come down the path these past months to walk in the garden or sit by the pond.

We are fortunate to have two residents who not only help take care of the property but welcome visitors. They have worked on many projects the past few months including restoring the main path after severe winter damage; raking, mowing, and trimming; repainting windows and shingling the Fern Cabin; hauling yards of gravel to improve Osprey Lane; hauling even more yards of gravel to reestablish the path from the rhododendron to the Zendo; and clearing an area where we hope to construct tent platforms next year. We could not manage without them and are grateful for their presence.

As you may remember, we had the Fund for the Future capital campaign in 2015 with a goal of raising funds to work on foundation repairs to several of the buildings, starting with the Zendo entryway, then improved drainage around the Meeting Hall, and new foundations for the garden shed and Fern Cabin. Our final project was to have been the Pond House which needs not only foundation work but interior restoration as well. That project was put on hold when replacing the electric line to the Zendo became a priority. This past year, an electrical contractor along with sangha volunteer Tom Poole installed new electric lines to the Zendo as well as a new line to the Meeting Hall.  We plan in the future to raise the necessary funds to complete the Pond House restoration.

On November 1st, we held our annual meeting online with presentations by board members about the four facets of our strategic plan: dharma practice, sangha, buildings & grounds, and creating financial health and sustainability. During the discussion that followed, sangha members made suggestions and offered insights that will help to guide us in the year ahead. 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the Zendo. We are discussing ways to celebrate this important milestone, recognizing that the Zendo building is among the first zen meditation halls constructed in North America. We welcome suggestions about how best to mark this occasion. 

Morgan Bay Zendo’s mission is to support individuals and communities as they cultivate awareness and compassion in everyday life. Your financial support is critical to making that possible. With this appeal letter, we invite you to contribute as you are able, knowing that you will be supporting this exceptional place.


With appreciation and gratitude,

Board of the Morgan Bay Zendo


Susan Guilford, President

Hugh Curran, Vice President 

Dana Polojärvi, Secretary

Monica McAndrews, Treasurer

Nancy Hathaway, Member-at-large