Post-Fire Update, 2.2.16

February 2, 2016

Dear Sangha Members,

Since the fire Sunday morning, Lama Kathy, Director Kim Miracle and the CKTC Board, and our wonderful KTC community have been hard at work: first to address immediate needs and then to turn our attention to our strategy for moving forward. We would like to share with you the most recent developments.

First, this evening, Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016, we will be holding our regular Chenrezig practice at 7pm at the Covenant Presbyterian Church in Upper Arlington, 2070 Ridgecliff Rd. (at Redding Rd.) – Upper Arlington, OH 43221 614-451-6677. Pastor Tracy Keenan is eager to welcome us. The space is carpeted, chairs will be available, and it sounds very comfortable, but as Lama Kathy has phrased it, consider this Chenrezig a “BYOC” (Bring your own cushion) event. Copies of the sadhana will be available in 8.5 x 11 format, but if you have your own copies and puja tables, you are encouraged to bring them. We hope to see many of you there; it will be great to be together. (Please reach out to KTC friends for carpooling purposes if you need a ride or can offer others a ride).

Looking beyond tomorrow evening, it is possible that we will become a bit of a nomadic community over the next few weeks, holding events and services at various locations that have been generously and warmly offered to us from around the Columbus community. Previously scheduled events should be considered on stand-by. We will announce what services and events we will be able to offer and their location as those decisions are made. Presently, we have a three-stage approach in mind: 1) short-short term — where to host services until we find the most appropriate interim location for Columbus KTC; 2) short term — where to settle as an interim location until a new Columbus KTC building is realized; 3) long term — planning for the Columbus KTC building. There are so many factors to consider as we sift through the offerings of temporary locations: placement within the city, capacity, parking, when the space is available, etc. . . Please know that we are doing our best to accept offers that we believe will meet as many of our needs as possible. At the same time, it is possible that a single interim location will be found in short order. We welcome your thoughts at this time and have created a Google form to collect your feedback (Click here to fill out response form). You may also contact with your communications.

Concerning our home of 231 South Grubb street, a large portion of the day Monday was spent working with city officials to determine the next steps for the building. The decision has been made to demolish the building, which will be done within the next four to five days. ***It is very important to know that the building is unsafe at this time. There is debris–glass, nails, wood, . . . –around the perimeter of the building and those who wish to visit the site should do so from the sidewalk or parking lot. Thank you for respecting this guideline and making everyone’s safety and well-being our priority at this time.*** On a related note, all utilities to the building have been shut off. The water was still running Monday, but that problem has been fixed.

Our treasurer, Chuck Drake, spent most of his day Monday working with our insurance company, and our claim is presently in process. Both Kim and Chuck spent most of Monday on the phone and at their computers addressing all of our most pressing concerns at this challenging time. We are so grateful for their tireless service to Columbus KTC! Lama Kathy, Cathy Lhamo Jackson, and Tanya Schroeder, are working together to catalog lost items, and Cathy Lhamo will be working with OSU restoration services to preserve our copies of the Kanjur and Tanjur. Thank you to all who helped rescue items from the building Sunday afternoon! Again, this is no longer something you should do, but when it was permitted briefly Sunday, everyone’s support was greatly appreciated.

Lama Kathy received a call from Mayor Andrew Ginther on Monday, and the two spoke for twenty minutes. Mayor Ginther expressed his sadness at the fire at Columbus KTC and offered support in a variety of ways. Both he and Jim Sweeney of the Franklinton Redevelopment Association have expressed their wish that Columbus KTC remain in Franklinton.

The kindness and generosity that has been shown to Columbus KTC has been incredible! Our GoFundMe campaign “Columbus KTC Rebuilding Fund” raised roughly $12,000 in its first 24 hours of being posted and has raised $16,339 at last count. The link to the campaign is here.

To close, Lama Kathy, contacted in Mexico (where she is teaching at the invitation of Kagyu centers there) sent the following message: “We are all praying for you here. Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche’s words of encouragement are so true – the best prayer we can offer is to rebuild the KTC for the benefit of beings. We are all sad to lose the building that has been the container for our aspirations for awakening for so many years, but it may be helpful to remember that the sources of Refuge – Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha – are actually present even now, within each of us. It is my hope that, from that place of inner blessing and strength, through collective effort and harmony, we will manifest new external supports. May all beings be comforted in their moment of loss and may all beings be free of suffering.”

We will continue to offer updates as we have them, and we hope to see you at our Chenrezig service this evening.

Yours in the Dharma,

The Columbus KTC Board – Kim Miracle, Tanya Schroeder, Chuck Drake, Justin Fitch, Eric Weinberg, and Lama Kathy Wesley