With every branch in the South East region represented we were off to a fantastic start for our recent national workshop and annual meeting (October 15–16, 2011) in St. Petersburg, Florida. Some 107 members in total gathered for the weekend.
Registration was brisk as we checked in and reserved meals, offered workshop contributions, and of course, sold T-shirts! The T-shirt table was knee deep as we picked up the beautifully designed shirt sporting a Florida-native orchid.
The St. Pete Kitchen produced its inaugural meal under the superb guidance and direction of Sean Dennison—each course carefully prepared, polished, and presented. For sure, no one went hungry!
Our early morning chanting of the Guan Yin lighting ceremony was moving and lively. A candle was lit with each bold call to the heavens. With each candle—first east, then west—chanters stood, chanted and knelt. One could not help but be caught up with the rhythm and depth of the movement and sounds.
The ceremony ended with a traditional walk outside the building and around the grounds while chanting in the unexpectedly pleasant, cool weather for October in Florida.