Board of Directors

The duty of the BZC board of directors is to serve the sangha by ensuring that BZC fulfills the organization’s mission: to offer daily zazen and other intensive practice opportunities to lay and resident practitioners under the guidance of our abbot, Sojun Mel Weitsman Roshi, and with the support of our zen center community. In addition it is the board’s responsibility to:

  • Take care of BZC’s finances,
  • Manage BZC’s residences,
  • Keep up BZC’s physical properties,
  • Materially provide for our Abbot and Vice-Abbot, and
  • Generally administer Berkeley Zen Center

Meditation, called zazen or sitting in stillness is the center of our practice as well as following and adapting the traditions of Soto Zen Buddhism and our founder Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. At BZC, our everyday activity, as it extends from Zazen, is the field where practice finds its full expression.

Jake_Van_Akkeren Jake Van Akkeren


Jake began practicing at Berkeley Zen Center in 1998 and was lay ordained in 2001 by Sojun Roshi. He was shuso in 2013. Over the years he has held a variety of practice positions at BZC. He served as a Member-At-Large on the Board from 2008-09 and as Vice President from 2010-13. He is currently the BZC’s Board President. Now retired, he taught for 34 years in the California public school system. Jake lives in Pleasant Hill with his wife, Leslie Bartholic, and their two cats. He enjoys his volunteer work with the Mount Diablo Interpretive Association and Burton Valley Elementary School. His interests include reading, hiking, backpacking, bicycling and senior softball.

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Mary Duryee   Mary Duryee

Vice President

Mary is a psychologist, providing mediation and psychotherapy in private practice since 1994. Prior to that she was the director of Family Court Services at Alameda County Superior Court, where she set up and administered a mediation program for 12 years. After a long-standing interest in Buddhism, she came to practice through experiences in the wilderness (rafting, kayaking, and back-packing) which lead to several guest practice experiences at Tassajara and then to BZC, walking through the gate at BZC for the first time in 1993. She starting a committed practice in 2003 and was lay-ordained by Sojun Mel Weitsman in 2004 and received the name Honkyo Josu: Original Home, Stable Center.

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Laurie Senauke Laurie Schley Senauke


Laurie started formal Zen practice in 1980 at San Francisco Zen Center; she worked at Greens restaurant back in the day, and lived at Tassajara for three years. In 1989 she married Hozan Alan Senauke, moved to Berkeley Zen Center, and has been raising her family there ever since her daughter Silvie was born in 1990. Her son Alex was born in 1994. After several years of intense focus on childrearing, she gradually returned to more involvement in formal practice. She served as head student (shuso) at BZC in 2003 and received lay recognition in 2006. She is also studying and practicing hypnotherapy.

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Jed Appelman

Member at Large


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copithorne_mark  Mark Copithorne

Member at Large

Mark began practicing at Berkeley Zen Center when he moved to Berkeley from New York City in 1994. He has a BA in comparative religion from Harvard and a MA in transpersonal counseling from John F. Kennedy University. He lives next door to BZC with his wife and two children.

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dewey_stan  Stan Dewey

Member at Large

Stan has practiced at BZC since the early 1990’s. He was lay-ordained by Sojun in 1995, receiving the dharma name Kisan Kyosho (Noble Mountain, Harmonious Spirit). He has held various practice positions and was a long-time member of the Socially Engaged Dharma Group. During the 2004-2010 elections, he helped lead “Election Sesshins,” in which sangha members canvassed for candidates closest to Buddhist values. He is a member of HEAR, the Harmony, Ethics, and Reconciliation committee. Stan is trying to figure out what it means to be “semi-retired” and, these days, limits his law practice to criminal appeals. He loves singing classical music in BCCO, a large Berkeley chorus. He gets a kick out of spending time with his grandchildren.

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  Katy Guimond

Member at Large


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  Mary Beth Lamb

Member at Large

Who am I? I live in Pacheco with Terry Osburn, my partner of nearly 30 years, as well as Winston and Freddy-Toby (our cocker spaniels) and Fritz the cat. We sold the second car and drove out to Berkeley from Independence, MO in 1990, so I could earn a Ph.D. in the cultural and historical study of religion at the Graduate Theological Union. Currently I swim in streams of music and words: teaching piano and coaching writers. I found zen formally in 2009 at Hillcrest Congregational Church, where I served as organist, and where the Mount Diablo Zen Group sat on Wednesday mornings. In 2012, I received jukai from Baika Pratt and the name, Oshin Kyodo (Responding with Heart, Harmoniously Following the Way). Arriving at Berkeley Zen Center in 2013, I’ve stuck my nose into many things, including now serving on the Board! I feel lucky to have found my way here!

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