...are happening at the Shadhiliyya Sufi Retreat Center (the Mother Center) that give all of us up here in the Napa Valley/Pope Valley area lots of himma and hope. First, much needed improvements and upgrades to the physical facility are in progress. They include a complete overhaul of the yellow house where Ibrahim Jaffe and his family lived for many years, major repairs and refurbishments that protect and enhance the physical structures at the Center, a physical reorganization of the office space, including a very welcome enlargement of the book store.
Another long-awaited area of improvement is the complete restructuring of the Retreat Center organization. Thanks to the beyond-generous help of Abd al-Qadr Davies and Khadijah Gigliotti, our “Running the Retreat Center Circle” has produced written job contracts for all Center employees, including job accountabilities and organizational flow charts that create a new consensual model of decision-making. Our Running the Retreat Center Circle is made up of both staff and volunteers who meet and work together a minimum of 4 hours a week to work through all the issues associated with getting our new organization up and running.
A third area of change is the new programs that are beginning to flourish at the Center. The first year class of the University of Spiritual Healing and Sufism completed their first week of class at the Center, with thirty-eight students, six assistants, and three faculty. Our local community programming is benefiting from the twice-a-week dhikrs held by our Imam Said bin Yunus. The local community has begun exploring new ways to use the Center as an integral part of their lives. For example, one couple rented the entire Center for their wedding. Their guests included the extended families of both bride and groom, as well as the entire local Sufi community.
And last, but certainly not least, the plan for agricultural development on the land around the mosque, a dream long held by our guide, is beginning to take shape under the steady, patient work of our Imam, Said bin Yunus. Stay tuned for further developments…