Monday, June 16, 2014

Impressions from the Calgary Members Meeting and the Annual General Meeting

 - by Jean Balekian

Dear Friends,

On the way to the Vancouver AGM, Arie van Ameringen and I took the time to meet with members and Friends in Calgary on May 13th.

There were twelve of us at this gathering, which was held at the Calgary Waldorf School. We took turns speaking, introducing ourselves and briefly describing how we came to meet anthroposophy. After this warm biography sharing, we entered into the process of exploring together our thoughts on the aims of the Anthroposophical Society in Canada, as it appeared in our 1953 charter. This process had begun at the Montreal AGM and had then been taken to Ottawa and to Toronto, with the Class Holders and was soon to be experienced at the Vancouver AGM and finally in Nova Scotia in the fall. One common thread has come out of these workshops so far. It is the metamorphosis of the words “to promote and facilitate” anthroposophy into the term “to embody” anthroposophy. Dorothy LeBaron, who has been in charge of this process for the Council, will provide you with an update in a more detailed report.

Following this gathering, we were taken on a rapid tour of the new building that will house classes for students from kindergarten to grade nine. We became immediately aware of all the care and concern that had gone into providing for the children’s true needs.

On the following day (beautiful and sunny!) we held a conversation with Class members which ended with an exchange on the subject of meditation. After a potluck meal, all then went their separate ways, and we headed for our flight to Vancouver. We extend our most sincere appreciation to Margaret and John Glanzer for their warm welcome and a special thanks to John, who had organized this series of gatherings. This stopover in Calgary made abundantly clear the need to provide more of these opportunities for members from the various regions of the country to meet and exchange with one another.

After a brief flight, we were breathing sea air and admiring the beautiful colors of the flower-laden landscape so typical of Vancouver in May. The first council meeting took place at the home of our new colleague, John Bach. He welcomed us in his garden, where he was caring for his bees. The preparatory meetings for the AGM took place in the Rudolf Steiner Center (RSC).

The AGM and Conference were held in the large hall of the Vancouver Waldorf School and in the RSC. The morning was given over to building an image of how anthroposophy is living in Canada and in the world. It began with eurythmy exercises led with enthusiasm by Esther Chase. These rhythms and movements warmed the atmosphere and prepared the mood for a day of conversation and dialogue.

Arie van Ameringen brought news of activities at the Goetheanum and elsewhere in the world. He introduced the theme of the year: The “I” knows itself in the Light of Michaelic World Affirmation. Following this, in a large circle, some forty members introduced themselves and briefly described the activities and questions carried by the groups in their respective regions.

After a well-deserved break, Philip Thatcher called our attention to the difficult situation in the Ukraine, and encouraged us to carry our conscious support for the members and friends who are undergoing this trial. This was followed by a “café-style” conversation on the theme of the aim of the Anthroposophical Society in Canada. Led by Dorothy LeBaron, the members were invited to sit at various tables so as to form six separate groups. The following are some of the ideas that came out of this exercise:
  • To be in true conversation with the world.
  • To reach out.
  • To live love in the world
  • To connect to Christ
  • To actively explore the science of the spirit
  • To nourish human artistic social work.

  The afternoon began with our being led by Patricia Smith through several speech exercises. Patricia soon had us “speaking” the Saturday rhythm of the Foundation Stone Meditation – enthusiastically … contemplatively. Our warm thanks go out to her for giving us the experience of how these words could stir us both outwardly and inwardly.

After adopting the minutes of our last AGM, we moved on to a review of the year’s activities including obtaining our certificate of continuance and rewriting the bylaws. We are sincerely grateful to all those who took part in this arduous task. These changes are absolutely essential if we wish to be able to retain our status as a charitable organisation.

The presentation of the budget by our treasurer Douglas Wylie afforded us the chance to discuss the financial needs of the Society in general and also those of the Goetheanum. The assembly approved the contribution increase of $10 per member to cover these needs.The assembly approved the Council’s resolution to apply for our certificate of continuance and confirmed the issuing of the new bylaws. This approval will allow us to file our official request within the time limit prescribed by the new law. Before adjourning, we announced that the next AGM would be held on Saturday, May 16, 2015 in Toronto.
The weekend then focussed on the conference. The conference theme, “Christian Rosenkreuz and Anthroposophical Meditation” was carried by guest lecturer Dennis Klocek. The approximately 60 participants, members and friends alike, were extremely attentive during the three lecture/workshops. The lecturer characterized for us the three stages of the soul’s pilgrimage on the path towards spiritual development.

As St-John’s tide approaches, let us open ourselves up to “the revelation of the spirit which becomes active everywhere and fills all of nature with life.” (Rudolf Steiner)

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