Shrewsbury is a UK town close to the border with Wales, and to Taraloka, Triratna’s retreat centre for women. Its sangha is now large enough to buy a building, having started over a decade ago with classes run by Order members visiting from Birmingham Buddhist Centre and from Taraloka.
Akasaraja writes: “Efforts to find a building in Shrewsbury to use as a Buddhist Centre began about a year ago. Then, in August 2014, a property unexpectedly became available which was pretty much as good as we could have wished for.
The building is a brick-built and slate-roofed former church hall from 1899 which the previous owners had begun to convert for a mix of private and community use, mainly by adding a three-bedroom flat to the rear of the property. The state of the hall made it a daunting project but we could see a potentially fabulous space shining through the broken windows and dilapidated interior full of junk! So, after a frenzy of consultation, we took it on. Money, mainly substantial loans, flowed into our coffers, and our offer was accepted.
Tim, our architect, who is heading off to Guhyaloka next year to be ordained, came up with a series of designs, all of which envisaged the creation of a fantastic, light and lofty shrine room at the front. (He’s also worked on the redevelopment of Adhisthana.) The demolition and clearance work began with a will.
We are now at the point of using contractors to rewire the hall, renew the plumbing and install a heating system. Many members of the sangha have been contributing their time and labour: in addition to Tim I must single out for special mention Simon, a retired army officer who has been helping Tim coordinate the project. Much more work - and money - is still needed, but we’re under way!
The Shrewsbury sangha has amply shown its maturity in this project. Many people, old and young, have pitched in, in the hall itself and in fundraising efforts, and there has been universal enthusiasm. Up to three of our mitras are likely to be ordained next year, and what a wonderful new centre awaits them!”
The good news: the Shrewsbury sangha are halfway through their building project. The less good news: the money they’ve raised so far runs out in early February.