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An Important Update About the Abode of the Message

April 12, 2022

Dear Friends and Companions on the Path,

I am writing on behalf of the Inayatiyya’s North American Board of Trustees. We find ourselves living in an unprecedented time and faced with an unprecedented situation related to the Abode of the Message, the Inayatiyya’s retreat center property in New Lebanon, New York. We would like for you to hear directly from us about our thoughts and actions concerning the Abode, which is in a precarious situation coming out of the last two pandemic years.

We wish to start by acknowledging the deep, shared love for the Abode throughout our community. This depth of feeling also lives within the Inayatiyya North American Trustees—almost all of us have lived, worked, studied, and/or retreated at the Abode. Of seven board members, six of us have a relationship with the Abode where it feels like our spiritual home.

Over the last months a thorough assessment has made it clear that the Abode’s facilities are in serious disrepair, partly from closure through the pandemic. It would take considerable investment—estimated at 2 million dollars or more—to address the damage. We hoped we could reopen this year, but quickly realized that the buildings and grounds need serious work to be ready to receive people. Also, with very few staff and community members on site, to reopen we would need to build a new organizational infrastructure from scratch, as well as secure new program rental groups and find other ways to raise considerable income.

The pandemic changed everything and residential retreat centers around the country are struggling and closing. In the last five years, the Abode has suffered significant annual operating losses between $200,000 to $400,000. Going back even further, the Abode always ran a deficit of $200,000 or more per year, even after program income and individual contributions. The Abode has survived this long thanks to the dedication of Abode residents and a few generous donors. However, the most significant current donor has let us know they can no longer continue to carry the Abode.

The Abode’s Board of Directors has honorably tried to address some of these issues, hiring a new Executive Director in November, and beginning to assess needs and repair damage. However, while the Abode has its own governance and management structure, the overall financial liability for the Abode falls to the Inayatiyya North America.

Taking all of the above into account, as a Board of Trustees with fiduciary and governance accountability, we have been in a process of discernment, meeting intensively and consulting with our legal counsel as well as trusted advisors in property management and real estate. Though difficult, the Inayatiyya North American Board has come to the following clear conclusions:

  • The Abode is not a sustainable enterprise for the Inayatiyya North America. Over the last 47 years many sincere leaders have attempted several operating models; none have achieved financial sustainability. The cost of running the 320 acre property with old Shaker buildings that need ongoing repair has always exceeded revenue, even in the best of times.
  • The amount of money required to make the Abode successful is extensive and beyond the Inayatiyya’s ability to raise. Also, we cannot risk taking on significant debt through loans or other means.
  • The risk to the Inayatiyya of financial responsibility for the Abode is untenable and would quickly deplete our limited reserve accounts, as well as take time and energy away from the larger work of growing Murshid’s teaching in the world.

Considering all of the above, as a course of action, we have decided that it is most prudent to sell the Abode. Our hope is to sell to a compatible and aligned organization that would continue to hold the land as sacred. It’s too early to say if or how this would unfold. As of now, we have begun a property appraisal, and are in conversation with a New York real estate attorney and real estate agent to get grounded in pragmatics.

As I write this, I hold both the sorrow and possibility of change. The Abode has been a spiritual and physical home for so many and a catalyst for the Message that we all strive to embody. During the pandemic, while the Abode contracted, the Inayatiyya expanded and responded to the call of many people all over the globe. Hazrat Inayat Khan brought us the Message in our time. It is our mission to carry that Message out into the greater world.

As Pir Vilayat often quoted, “The pull of the future is greater than the push of the past.” He also frequently talked about being careful to not become “sclerosed,” concretized in personality, position, or form. With this particular situation, we aim to follow Pir Vilayat’s guidance. It is important to note, the Inayatiyya no longer owning the Abode does not mean that the Abode ceases to exist. What is possible for the Abode property when we look onward, letting go of past conceptualizations? This is what now must be explored.

We hold in our hearts a prayer for a way forward that honors the legacy of our lineage and serves our future. We ask for your prayers and good thoughts for this process.

Toward the One,

Noor Amina Peterson, Chair

On behalf of Inayatiyya North America Board of Trustees including Pir Zia Inayat Khan, President, Yaqin Aubert, Vice President, Sohrob Nabatian, Vice Chair, Khatidja Rodriguez-Ruiz, Treasurer & Secretary, Rashid Gilbane & Basir Yasi


If you have questions and/or comments, they may be sent to us at We will make sure to address questions raised, as well as share any new developments, through future updates.