All posts by 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 and received lay entrustment in 2017. He currently co-leads a dharma group with his wife Leslie Bartholic. Over the years he has held a variety of practice positions at BZC and also served on the BZC board for ten years including being president. Now retired, he taught for many years in the California public school system. Jake lives in Pleasant Hill with his wife and their two cats. He enjoys his volunteer work with the Mount Diablo Interpretive Association, Sierra Club and Burton Valley Elementary School. His interests include reading, hiking, backpacking, bicycling and senior softball.

Board Transitions

With the conclusion of 2015, Stephanie Solar and Shelley Brock have stepped down from their positions as members-at-large on the board, and we welcome both Mary Beth Lamb and Katy Guimond who will now be serving the sangha in this important role.

In her two years on the board, Stephanie first served on the Development Committee, proposing ideas for fundraising projects and helping to make the 2014 September fundraising party a huge success. More recently, she has been an integral part of the Board Nomination and Election Committee, speaking with sangha members about the work of the board and encouraging them to consider serving in that capacity. She has graciously agreed to continue on that committee. During board meetings, Stephanie’s voice was always one of even-keeled, calm reflection, and that was most appreciated.

Shelley has served four years on the board, and from the very beginning she made valuable contributions in her role on the Project Management team. Early on she was very involved with seismic upgrade projects around the property, including the zendo, the community room porch and the garage. For many months, Shelley devoted a huge amount of time managing the community room kitchen remodel project, actually spending large chunks of her days on site working with the contractor, dealing with an assortment of surprises, and ably responding to concerns and questions about the project from the board and sangha members. Shelley’s wholehearted dedication to the success of the kitchen remodel has resulted in a lovely and very functional kitchen space. Thank you, Shelley, for all that you’ve done for the BZC community during your two terms on the board.