MAC has received a challenge offer from a prospective donor who has pledged to match, dollar for dollar, all contributions to our capital campaign made by December 31st 2019, up to a total of $100,000. This gives us the opportunity to double the value of our contributions - together we can complete Phase 1.
We encourage you to take advantage of this offer. No amount is too small!
Hugh, Scott, Renee, Jean and Ken.
Meher Archive Collective Board
We are happy to report that we are making great progress with renovations and repairs.
Here are some of our accomplishments since the last newsletter:
The Renovation of the Roof - in Pictures...
1. Ken going after the roof with a hatchet.
2. Roofing materials being raised by crane to the roof.
3. Peter giving Jeanne some specific instructions. New OSB layer in background.
4. A layer of OSB, laid down on top of the repaired original decking, being coated with tar before further roofing material is rolled out.
5. Hugh, Tino and Ken unrolling the underlayment.
6. After a spate of unrelenting heavy rain, Ken, Scott and Hugh spent many late night hours chasing and catching leaks from the exposed roof. Here’s Scott in the attic after a long, damp night.
7. After the rain - sunlight shining through the temporarily exposed spaces between roof planking. A little Baba art in His new building!
8. Approval from The Boss.
The Magic of Music, Happy Trails and a Big Thank You.
Jean Brunet Ludwig.
A most successful fundraising concert took place on November 3rd. After a major reworking of the keyboard by Peter Kutt, Cathy Riley’s former Steinway had its premier performance at Hugh Huntington’s home. At least 50 people attended, including two accomplished musicians who sang and played for us all. Firstly, Thea Stacey, a new-to-Baba Lover, who performed for the first time with her daughter Lauren, and secondly, Randy Hale. The final song of the evening, sung by Randy, was the old Christian hymn "Let It Be"; by the end of the concert, there were very few dry eyes in the room.
MAC is truly grateful for the musicians’ generosity in donating their time and talent for our benefit. A grand total of $830 was raised.
A wonderful Bon Voyage/Thank You party was held by MAC on November 16th at the home of Jeanne and Bruce Felknor. Over 35 people came to say goodbye to Debbie and Peter Nordeen (who, by now, have left for their annual trip to India) and to say thank you to all the MAC employees and volunteers for their hard work and dedication to His Cause.
In keeping with the season, a turkey dinner with all the trimmings was served along with a whole load of gratitude and encouragement for all those involved in keeping the dream alive and moving forward.
Meanwhile, we wish the Nordeens a happy season at His Home in the East and look forward to their return in March.
Old and New
by Jeanne Felknor
A resale table for the benefit of MAC’s building fund will now be appearing at some Baba events. Gently used and/or regifted items such as scarves, jewelry, Baba photos, etc. are most welcome.
For further details, please email Jeanne.firstname.lastname@example.org
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PARTICIPATE - HERE’S HOW…
Volunteer - Jeanne.Felknor@gmail.com – if you live nearby, or would like to visit the area, there are numerous opportunities for becoming involved. Jeanne Felknor is coordinating general site volunteers. If you have skills and experience relative to the building work, please contact email@example.com Eruch is coordinating archive volunteers (currently at our temporary Asheville location), you can contact him here firstname.lastname@example.org Help with processing materials and scanning is always needed.
Contribute financially – $325,000 is needed to complete Phase I.
Individual donations can be made via our website, where you will find options to contribute to the Capital Fund, or set up recurring monthly donations.
Donations can also be made by check, payable to Meher Archive Collective and sent to PO Box 18908, Asheville, NC 28814-0908, or by wire transfer. To discuss how we can best meet your desire to contribute, including gifts of securities, legacy giving and other means available for flexible tax-deductible benefits over time, please contact email@example.com
Some Words of Wisdom from Peter Nordeen
Peter Nordeen recently sat down with Diane Tower-Jones to talk about MAC and his involvement in the construction project; Peter is heading up the renovation of the building and has been interested in developing a Baba Center in this area for many years.
We will be sharing some of his stories and insights over the next few newsletters. In this first installment, Peter shares some of his views on the unique features of the Asheville area and how the vision for MAC fits into both the land and the future of the community.
Diane asked him about how he became involved in this project.
“My feeling is, it’s obvious to us. We (Peter and Debbie) came here over 25 years ago when there were few Baba Lovers here. And then suddenly people started moving here and the group grew and grew. There was a big response in Asheville that was different than other places in this country.”
Peter went on to explain that he was personally taking care of things that he had collected from his years in India and his close association with the Mandali, and that others had given him their collections as well. So, he began to see the need for safe spaces to be built or created for this purpose. With that in mind, Peter says, he indicated that he “...would support (this project) as much as I can.”
“The local group looked around for about a year and realized that doing this in (downtown) Asheville would be too expensive. Then this building came up and it is actually a perfect location.” (About 15 minutes from downtown Asheville.) “It’s very nicely accessible and I believe, in the future, it will still be a comfortable spot,” said Peter.
Once the building was found, as Peter explained to Diane, he saw both unique potential and even a refuge in the buildings and land. ”... MAC is located in a semi rural area, but also close to main roads. Geographically, this is a wonderful place...” He also pointed out that there are no hurricanes here since any that come this way lose their force when hitting the mountains. And while there can be flooding in the lower elevations in rivers and creeks when it rains heavily, the MAC buildings are up on a hill. “We don’t get forest fires here,” he continued, plus “we have a good ecological environment and it is a great environment for growth.”
Diane asked Peter what he meant by refuge. “Here we are relatively isolated… which also makes this location safe, but close to a small urban area that is a desirable place to live.”
Because of the desirability of the area and the proximity of a sizable Baba community, Peter is convinced that a colony will grow up around this building and he would love to build a house out there himself. “It’s a beautiful spot, always 2-3 degrees cooler than Asheville. It’s wonderful, quiet, and not congested. The nearby areas are also just beautiful and idyllic mountain land. So I think, yes… we will have a colony grow up around this area with all kinds of meetings and things for Baba.”
Updates From the Archive
Most recently we have been pouring over a collection of Swiss material collected by Ove Wittstock, a Swiss-born Baba lover who has resided in Berkeley since the 70s, where he first heard of Baba. When Ove found out about the Baba-Swiss connection, he took it upon himself to interview the surviving Baba lovers upon his next trip to Switzerland, which was in 1978. As a result, there are letters and recordings from Baba lovers who were with Baba in Switzerland. Ove’s crowning work is a promising manuscript outlining where Baba visited and the stories of His time there over the six trips he took to Switzerland between 1932 and 1956. Local German-speaking Baba lovers are already reviewing letters from Irene Billo, books about Helen Dahm and other Swiss-German material. This collection came from Ove via Cheryl Longo, who was his Baba connection and helped Ove with various Baba projects over the years.
Sometimes archival donations come in waves and take on certain themes. In the early days we had phases of receiving pamphlets, pamphlets, and more pamphlets. From the common; the famous; to the rare; and the obscure. Then, batches of photographs, including a series of slides from Jean Adriel, Fredella and Robert Dreyfuss, as well as Tim Owens’ slides of the 1969 Darshan.
Recently, there have been two distinct themes of archival donations - firstly, published books and secondly, audio tapes.
It is MAC’s stated goal to have a spiritual library focused on Meher Baba. Whether that happens in phase one or phase two has not yet been decided, but recently we have received three large batches of mostly Baba books. Two are from former regional Baba collections; namely Don Eucker’s collection from New York and the library of the former Chicago Center; and the third is part of a combined private collection. In addition, other books continue to trickle in.
Looking ahead to the two branches of MAC’s library:
The Lending Library will hopefully serve both the Baba community and also the larger Western North Carolina community of spiritual seekers. By keeping a broad selection of works by and about various religions, especially the writings of Masters and Saints identified by Baba, as well as an extensive collection of works by and about Baba, this library stands to reach a wide audience.
The Archival Library will ultimately house a reserve copy of all the main Baba books. A number of these will likely be signed copies and/or rare first editions. They will archived for long term preservation as well as for potential viewing in the event of a specific reason to pull out an original edition. We already have copies of various Baba magazines and periodicals such as The Awakener, in addition to a nearly complete set of Glow International, with a set of duplicates being completed for the Lending Library.
We have been slowly gathering a large library of donated audio tapes. Recently we received a large batch of around ten boxes/cases from Betty Grant. We are currently assessing and pre-organizing the collection which reaches back to at least 1970.
This ongoing project will involve several stages - digitizing, labeling (metadata of who, what, where, and when), clean-up where necessary, and then sharing in an organized fashion.
There are a lot of audio tapes of the Mandali around the world. Some of them are valuable for the enjoyment of listening. Some were not recorded well but contain invaluable information. Others may include rarely told stories of a first hand memory of Baba. Many of these tapes might be most accessible when transcribed, so that people can carry out a search for a particular subject.
When once we could have turned to the Mandali to answer our questions, we now have to rely upon memories, books, documents, audio tapes, films and videos. Even more reason to do our very best to collect and caretake all that remains of Him!
We are currently looking for volunteers to scan documents on Wednesdays or Fridays (or both) at our Golf Street office in Asheville. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Double Your Donation
A prospective donor has offered to match, dollar for dollar, all contributions to our capital campaign up to $100,000, given by the end of the year.
You can double the value of any and all donations made between now and December 31st!
Please consider MAC in your end of year giving.
Hugh, Scott, Jean, Renee, and Ken.
News, blogs, and updates on interesting archival finds and events.