Friday, June 14, 2013

Call to Action

- by Jean Balekian

Dear Friends,

The Montreal AGM afforded us an opportunity to engage in true meetings and conversations with others. It was a time to listen with open heart to what others had to say, a time to work together in conversation groups. You will find reports describing these warmth-filled morning events in this issue of our newsletter. In the afternoon, it was a time to look back upon the past year and look ahead at the year to come.

I would like to share with you one aspect of the council’s work, something that we are required to complete by 2014 and that will determine how the Anthroposophical Society in Canada relates “officially” to Canadian society as a whole. As we became aware of the various procedural steps which lay ahead, it also became clear to us that expressing the goal of the Anthroposophical Society is something that concerns the entire membership; we share in a collaborative effort which flows from the periphery to the centre. The council is looking forward to learning what the members have to say on this matter during the coming months.

Indeed, for a year now we have been studying what will have to be done to comply with the new rules laid out by Corporations Canada, the body which oversees not-for-profit organisations. We shall  have to apply for a Certificate of Continuance and  file our bylaws with Corporations Canada. We have already begun to make the necessary administrative and accounting changes, as was explained by our treasurer when he presented our financial statements during the AGM. The final date for applying for a Certificate of Continuance is October, 2014; the bylaws must be filed during the course of following year (2015). For this work we will seek the legal expertise necessary to ensure that the Anthroposophical Society in Canada continues to be recognized as an official not-for-profit organisation in Canada.

However, this also implies filing the legal documents which define our cultural identity. Who are we and what is our goal? We find the following statement of purpose in our charter, dating from 1953:

a) to promote and foster the study of the science of Anthroposophy and the dissemination of its principles, according to the teachings of Dr.Rudolf Steiner, and thereby to promote and foster the development of human brotherhood and the moral, artistic and cultural life of humanity;
b) to enter into such trust arrangements as may be necessary or desirable to enable the use of the income and capital of such trust fund or funds as may be created by or for the Corporation for the study and propagation of the science of Anthroposophy and the more effective carrying out of the objects of the Corporation.

Upon reading these lines a question immediately comes to mind: does this statement still accurately reflect our participation in the cultural and spiritual life of the society we live in? The world has changed. There are new methods of communication and dissemination of information, new ways of entering into contact with others. What changes should be made in order to better reflect our goals? It goes without saying that any changes to our charter must be approved by the membership.

The council therefore invites all members to participate in a consultation process which will begin now and is to be completed at the 2014 AGM. Here is a brief outline of the stages of that process.  This is a provisional schedule, pending legal consultation:
2013 –June: invitation addressed to all members
-September: discussion in the various branches and groups
-October: Members’ input (thoughts, comments) will be sent by email to council
            Council will summarize the main points raised by the members
            Legal advice will be obtained
            The results will appear on the members’ website and in Glimpses
The General Anthroposophical Society in Dornach will be informed of the ongoing process
-December: Final date for members to share thoughts and comments concerning the published summary

2014     -January:  Complete the prorogation request and seek legal confirmation
             -April: Send out the final draft to all members with the invitation to the 2014 AGM
             -May: Seek members’ approval of the modifications at the AGM     
             -June to September: complete the final verifications and submit the request

Let us carry this consultation process as a seed that will develop through our conversations in our groups and branches into thoughts and comments that can be sent to council as suggestions, and from there be included in a final document to be brought back to the members themselves for approval.

                                  That good may become

                                  What we from our hearts would found

                                  What we from our heads would direct

                                  In conscious


Jean Balekian


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