Saturday, June 4, 2011

Report from the Annual General Meeting In Vancouver

Dear friends, members of the Anthroposophical Society in Canada,

I would like to share some thoughts from the annual general meeting on the May long-weekend.  It was a very positive meeting with a number of poignant moments.  After all, it is not often that we must say goodbye to colleagues, to wish them well in their future tasks.  But on this occasion we were parting with two members.

France Beaucage has served on Council for the past ten years, bringing not only her passion and wisdom in the field of economy but also her depth of caring for all aspects of the life of anthroposophy in this country, together with her commitment to make anthroposophy more accessible to the members.  Her ability to find practical support for our shared visions was a gift I only now truly understand. France will now take up her next task of Class Holder in Montreal.

And of course, Philip Thatcher, our General Secretary: when Philip agreed to carry this task for us, he was clear that he would only be able to commit for seven years but that he would dedicate himself to bringing whatever skills he had to the service of anthroposophy in this country. And we have all benefited in many ways from this service. Philip not only travelled throughout this country but he also made sure to put individuals in touch with each other from various areas that carried similar research questions. As many of us remember the story, he was inspired in his meeting with his Norwegian counterpart, Frode Barkved, to initiate what would become the Conference on the North. This impulse wove together the many aspects of his work as General Secretary in bringing together the members within Canada and in sharing our unique way of working with the world society.  It was truly special to have Paul Mackay with us at this moment, to be able to share his own observations and recognition of the work of these two individuals. 

And with saying goodbye, on the one hand, we were also able to welcome our new General Secretary, Arie van Ameringen--although not new to us on Council yet new in this task. And it was a great pleasure to introduce and welcome Jean Balekian onto the council. Jean has been a very active member in the Montreal area for many years. He has been a teacher at the Waldorf School and is also part of a training program for teachers. But Jean should really be first and foremost introduced as an artist, and a man of incredible warmth with a wonderfully refreshing sense of humour. Where Jean is, there is always laughter.

And yes, we did also conduct some business. There are four points I would like to share with you now as an introduction to questions that the council will be working with in this coming year.

First, Doug Wylie has already brought to your attention in his report the need to correct the situation around the sending of our contribution to the Goetheanum. Please know that we are committed to sending our annual contribution and are simply putting into place the CRA-approved way of doing so.

Second is the question of the quorum, which has arisen for the last two years. As you know, over the years fewer and fewer members have been able to travel to the AGM from other parts of our vast country. This has the inevitable effect of reducing the number of members present and seriously jeopardizes our ability to meet the prescribed quorum.  We are looking at various options, which we will research thoroughly before presenting them at the next AGM that will take place in Toronto. One idea is to ask groups from various areas to send someone, not as a representative, but as a participant that can then share his or her experiences of their area and bring back a report from the AGM to the group.  This is somewhat in the spirit of the times when members across the country worked with a theme and then put together an artistic manifestation of their work, which was then shared at the AGM.

The third point I wish to share from our meeting is the possibility of a Prison Outreach Program here in Canada. The question of a prison outreach has been brought to the council, asking if we could support such an initiative under the auspices of the Anthroposophical Society in Canada.  We have said that in principle we think it is a wonderful idea. At the same time, we recognize that there needs to be a lot of research done. We will need to know exactly what this project would entail, who would be responsible for it, how the finances for it would be separated out from the finances of the society, among other things.  But we also recognize that we have a council member that is interested and willing to support such an initiative, and we feel it is worth investigating.  We will share our findings with you visa Glimpses and bring our recommendation to the next AGM.

Last, but most definitely not least, was the sharing of the news of the Society's gift of $25,000 to Hesperus, which is spoken to more in depth in this issue of Glimpses.

To close, on behalf of the council, I would like to acknowledge those who were able to join us at the AGM in Vancouver and to thank you all for your continued support.

With warmest regards,
Monique Walsh

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