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Board Activities

Board of Directors  ~ Great Tree Zen Women's Temple ~ Leadership and Mentoring

From the very beginning in 2004, many hands have joined together to create and bring forth a unique place of practice. The process has been one of gradual growth, mindful perseverance, dedication and sometimes, surprise. 


Our Board of Directors are volunteers, who meet monthly via video-conferencing and participate in strategic planning, continuity, and guidance. Do you have special skills or experience in planning, administration, fundraising?  Think about sharing your ideas  and skills with Great Tree. You can become part of our present and join us on the path toward the future. 





Annual Ballot to Ratify Board Members 

Our bylaws require that the board members be elected by the membership. They may also be appointed to fill a vacancy until the next fiscal election. Each candidate has a deep commitment to her or his practice and to Great Tree's future.  It is now the community's turn to acknowledge these highly committed individuals on our board. The election is a validation of the important role they fill in our community, our Sangha. They spend substantial amounts of their time in keeping Great Tree on track with its mission and in good financial health. They provide continuity, guidance, and share their unique skills. 


We hope for your to take time to acquaint yourself with those who are working together to make and create this place of practice, our Sangha.

Please take a moment to open your ballot when it arrives and respond. In this way, you participate not only in support of these individuals who have volunteered to to put their shoulders to the wheel of Dharma --you are helping Great Tree to grow and flourish.


We  will be sending you a ballot  by mail and ask that you return it by October 8th. Art Shindo Mandler is emeritus Board Member, ordained by Rev. Munnich and founding member of  Zen Center of Asheville.

Current  Board Members

Jan Blodgett

 I am a retired academic librarian and archivist living in Davidson, NC. My introduction to Buddhism came about 20 years ago through a student of Shohaku Okumura. When she moved to Davidson and offered meditation classes, a sangha formed and continued after she moved away. We continue to meet, virtually now and hoping to sit together in person soon.


I have also been active in the Quaker community and am a member of Davidson Friends Meeting as well as serving on the board of the School of the Spirit, a Quaker organization that offers programs for spiritual deepening and contemplative retreats at


I have also served as a retreat co-leader for the contemplative retreats.

Sarah McCarthy

Wendy Nufer

Members at Large

Sarah was introduced to Zen Buddhism during college in Arkansas where she attended retreats with Roshi Fukushima from Kyoto, Japan. She made her way to Great Tree, participating in Women and Children's Retreats. Her daughter Satya has been attending the Kids and Family Retreats for 10 years.

Sarah received the bodhisattva precepts from Teijo in 2012. She is also on the board of a contemplative elementary school in Floyd, Virginia where outdoor education, mindfulness and yoga are part of the curriculum. 

Sarah is a potter, yoga teacher, tea enthusiast and loves being on her bike on the back roads of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Wendy was first introduced to Zen in college, where she began her own zazen practice. Following graduation, she returned home to southern New York and began studying under Reverend Susan Ji-On Postal of the Soto lineage of Suzuki-roshi.  Today Wendy facilitates Tonglen meditation practice weekly online, for Great Tree and  practices in-person, as a member of Yorktown Zen, her local sangha under the leadership of Rev. Tesshin Silverman.


Wendy Nufer is a biologist, teacher/naturalist and educational consultant, presenting natural history and primitive technology programs for children and adults. Over the past 30 years, her focus has been on working with inner city, at-risk youth and emphasizing compassion and for others and for all the beings in our natural world through hands-on, environmental educational experiences.

Jennie Neighbors

Joseph Smith

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