MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF
THE ANTHROPOSOPHICAL SOCIETY IN NORTH CAROLINA
RUDOLF STEINER BRANCH
MARCH 25, 2017
Present: 21 members and friends of the Branch were present.
Welcome and Opening Verse: The American Verse and the Calendar of the Soul by Rudolf Steiner.
Remembrance of community members who have died in the past years: Richard Dancey, Mark Eisen, Linda Folsom; previous years: Else Wierbicki, Jean Young, Renate Wend, Natalie Slapo.
Remembrance of those in our community in need: Mindy Kash, Melanie Maupin, Laura Shmania, Olga Wierbicki, Margaretta and Bruce Bornhorst.
Poetry Presentation by Eve Olive and Joanna Carey (lyre):
“Poems of Birth, Poems of Earth and a Fairy Tale for our Time” These are writings most of which have come to me over the past year. They are all inspired by anthroposophy but with an intention of being able to share them with a larger public. I would value feedback on how folks think this objective is achieved in what you hear. I would also be interested in ideas for possible venues for sharing – public ones but also simple gatherings in people’s homes with a few extra friends who might be open to these ideas. And if any of you have ideas on other aspects of anthroposophy that might find their way into such a presentation I would be glad to hear them.
Circle: A brief check-in with all present.
President’s Address – Robert Mays
I want to look at how the Board has assisted the life of the community since the last Annual Meeting and how we will carry forward in 2017. In 2016, the Board continued to work to improve communications and sharing among our members, and to encourage, sponsor and support Branch festivals and events. The Board and the Branch faced a number of challenges during the year, including the deaths of two beloved members, Linda Folsom and Mark Eisen, and more recently Rev. Richard Dancey. There were serious illnesses among several Branch members and friends, and individual life challenges. As a result, many Board members and Branch members could not continue with their usual commitments, and some regular activities had to be set aside. Nevertheless, we managed to accomplish several things in 2016:
- Sponsored and supported celebrations of Branch festivals and several Branch events during the year, and we actively encouraged workshops, lectures and similar offerings from Branch members.
- Supported a member with a serious health challenge by encouraging donations to our Heart Fund.
- Adopted changes to the Branch’s Bylaws after a review with Branch members. The changes accomplish 4 things: (1) clarify the wording and simplify procedures; (2) improve the procedures for organizing the Annual Meeting; (3) restrict the power of the Board in deference to the members in setting the size of the Board and in spending over a certain limit; and (4) make explicit certain practices that the Branch already follows: in nominating members to serve on the Board, in voting for Board members and in amending the Bylaws.
- Brought order to the Branch’s membership records such that we now know how many people are active members. We continue to encourage our members to renew and our former members to join the Branch again. We also improved the operation of our web site, especially the on-line payments of dues and donations.
- We had one resignation from the Board — Tatiana Zybin moved out of town — and we elected Michael Navascues to serve her remaining term, through March 2018.
A number of challenges remain, among them:
- We continue to look at how we can grow the membership of the Branch and encourage new people to get involved with Anthroposophy. We are investigating ways to attract new members to the Branch, for example, with public educational offerings and basic book study groups advertised through Meetups.
- We want to clarify how cultural events are organized, supported and sponsored by the Branch. We want to encourage freedom among all members to offer festival celebrations, events, workshops, educational courses, etc. to the Branch community. We want to support those initiatives with postings to the calendar and the Branch listservs, providing financial support for rent, and providing liability insurance for events sponsored by the Branch.
- Our Newsletter editor, Kathleen Wright, has stepped down as editor of the monthly Michael Messenger. We are hopeful to find someone else to take up this task, perhaps as on-line blog posts sent to members during the month. In addition, we are hopeful to find someone else to help enter events on the Branch calendar and send out the calendar each month.
Financial Report for 2016 – Kelly Calegar
Treasurer Kelly Calegar presented a report of the financial activities of the Branch in 2016. We received a total of $6200 in dues and donations and had interest earnings of $300. Our total expenses were $5200 for a net income of $1300. A major accomplishment was raising nearly $3800 for the Heart Fund to assist a member with a serious health condition. The full 2016 financial statement is available here.
Reports from Initiatives
Study Groups: We heard brief reports from the Rose Cross Study Group and the Threshold Study Group. Mention was also made of the Biodynamics Study Group.
Festival and Cultural Initiatives: Kathleen Wright gave a summary of the festivals and other cultural events that were offered in 2016. Kathleen’s full report is available here.
School of Spiritual Science – report from Judy Frey: Most societies, businesses, churches, associations and the like have an inner core of dedicated members whose purpose is to promote the life and interests of that group. In our Anthroposophical Society, this inner group is the School of Spiritual Science. It was founded in the early months of 1924 by Rudolf Steiner. Anyone who wishes to make a commitment to follow a meditative path of development and to represent Anthroposophical work in daily life may apply for membership in this School so long as he or she has been a member of the Anthroposophical Society for two years and is willing to work in collaboration with other members of the School. In September, Suzanne Mays stepped away from her work as Class Holder in order to further her work with Robert on following the traces of consciousness after death, a much-needed area of research in our time. The members of the School wish to thank Suzanne for her years of dedicated love and devotion to the Class work. Eve Olive and Judy Frey are pleased to announce that Ben Bingham has agreed to take up the work of Class Holder, along with Judy Frey. We all know Ben as a former Waldorf School teacher, a businessman, an author and a friend and are grateful that he will be taking up the work of the School. The School of Spiritual Science meets once a month from September to June. Anyone wishing to find out more about the School may contact Ben Bingham, Judy Frey or Eve Olive.
Christian Community – report from Diana Haynes. The Christian Community has grown stronger in 2016. We moved from five priest visits per year to 10 and had alternating visits from both Rev Carol Kelly and Rev Richard Dancey. Rev Dancey had just returned to us after many years absence and he quickly became an invaluable support to those in our community facing spiritual trials. He counseled Linda, Mindy, and Mark regularly, as well as others. He helped each of them find peace in their own way. He energized our congregation with his talks and with his ‘can do’ attitude. Then, when Linda unexpectedly crossed the threshold on April 11th, Rev Carol was here to console us and to weave a deeply meaningful memorial, blessing us with a true Easter experience. Mark Eisen crossed the threshold just a month later on May 12th. Rev Dancey came to counsel the family and deliver a moving eulogy that strengthened the ties of love and compassion amongst us all. Sharing the awareness of our loved ones who are now on the other side has deepened the awareness of the nearness of the Spiritual world and for many of us, made the Act of Consecration of Man, even more potent – as we share it with our beloved dead. When Richard Dancey suddenly died on Feb 14th of this year, many hearts stopped in deep shock and sorrow, to lose such a wonderful human being who seemed to have such great forces of compassion and energy to share with each of us. How we each make peace with his passing will take time, but it is part of the mission of the CC to help us find solace and answers to the deepest mysteries of life and death. While we don’t know what 2017 will bring, whether we will be able to continue with monthly priest visits, we do know that the CC sacraments provide real healing forces and a medicine to make us whole. For this we are thankful.
Emerson Waldorf School – report from Viorica Comaniciu: The EWS enrollment is about 260 this year. There were several major improvements to the campus, including the construction of a new high school wing and a new facilities building. Early Childhood is now offering extended days and 3 and 5-day nursery programs. The full EWS Annual Report is available here.
Triangle Home Nursery Association – report from Marie Nordgren: The Triangle Home Nursery Association nurseries are thriving. There are currently 9 operating nurseries throughout the Triangle. Collectively we serve approximately 100-120 children and families in the communities. Two existing THHA member nurseries will be expanding in 2017-18 to serve more students and families. Also a new program in downtown Raleigh is forming to begin fall 2017. A program has also opened up in Clayton, NC but has not officially joined the association. The THNA teacher’s host regular ‘faculty’ meetings to study, share resources, craft and work on puppet shows for the community. In 2016-17 we preformed in the fall and spring at Shakori music festival and once in Raleigh at a public library as a “friendraiser” for the Raleigh Oak Charter School (a Waldorf charter school initiative which has been approved to begin in SE Raleigh in fall 2018). A list of THNA schools can be found at the THNA web site.
Artistic and Educational Workshops:
Painting workshops: Martha Kelder submitted the following report: This year I offered four workshops: “The Etheric World” in April 2016, “The Color Circle of Wholeness” in May 2016, Veil Painting Workshop for the Foundation Studies Program in September and “After-Image Colors” in October.
Sophia School of Movement: Kelly Calegar gave a report of the activities in the Sophia School this past year.
Werbeck Therapeutic Singing: Joanna Carey describe her course offerings.
Heart Math: Margaret Heath described her work with Heart Math for people in the community.
Foundation Studies Program: Margaret Heath summarized the work to support the Foundation Studies Program and the plans for a new Foundation Studies in the future.
The Art and Practice of Sacred Conversations: Lynn Jericho described her workshops and her offerings to many people across the globe.
Eurythmy Initiatives: Christina submitted the following report: The adult eurythmy classes are going well. Regular members of the classes who are present can report on our work. I am working on a touring program of speech, eurythmy and music with speech artist Beatrice Voight. Beatrice spoke for the larger eurythmy performance here in 2015. More information on this initiative in the future.
Karen Rivers workshops and courses: Karen is offering three courses this semester: (1) Parenting as a sacred path: cultivating truth, beauty, and goodness in the home, (2) The living power of the Lord’s prayer, and (3) Karma and human destiny: an exploration of the seven healing miracles in the gospel of St John. The Rosamira circle is a community of friends who come together to celebrate the cycle of the year in its spiritual depth. Drawing upon spiritual teachings from the great religions of the world and honoring Christ and Sophia as divine beings of love and wisdom, we seek to deepen the conscious unfolding of the human soul and spirit. Sophia grail circles are opportunities for people to come together for an evening of meditation, sacred readings, and live classical piano music. The Sophia grail circle allows a community of people to come together to embody this principle serving divine love and divine wisdom for the spiritual evolution of humanity and the earth.
Election of Board members
There are currently four vacancies on the Board. The two nominees were Roger Schulz and Robert Mays. Both were elected with a majority of the votes cast.
Closing Verse and Adjournment: “I Bear Within Me Peace”.