A Report from the Council

A Report from the Council

The Anthroposophical Society in Canada

A Report from the Council

From L to R , Bert Chase, Micah Edelstein, Susan Koppersmith, Catarina Burisch, John Glanzer and Claudette Leblanc

The Council, composed of Micah Edelstein (NS), Claudette Leblanc (QC), Dorothy LeBaron (ON), John Glanzer (AB) and Susan Koppersmith (BC) along with Bert Chase (General Secretary) and newly proposed Council member, Catarina Burisch from Toronto, met in Montreal for meetings over the 2019 Victoria Day weekend.

We were all very happy to be in Montreal enfolded within the warmth of our French Canadian members and also able to attend the weekend Conference with Christine Gruwez, so well organized by Arie van Ameringen and Claudette Leblanc. The title of the Conference was about good and evil –‘Walking with Our Time – Can We Transform Evil?’ A report of this Conference will appear in the June eNews.

Council met in person two times in 2018/2019, one less time than in former years.

We communicate monthly via Zoom teleconferences as well as by email. We all agreed how much better it is to meet and discuss matters in person.

In Montreal, we started with a personal and then regional check-in. We studied Leading Thought #14.

Bert spoke at length about changes at the Goetheanum where the leadership is turning to greater circles of support with more input from the periphery. There is a desire to find new colleagues and a new way of working. The General Secretaries have been asked to engage more with the membership in their countries and to find ways of communicating to Dornach what is happening in each region of their country. The real life of anthroposophy comes through conversation and listening to each other and ideally being and working together in person.

Our Administrator, Jef Saunders, is retiring. Council is working towards a smooth transition to a new administrator. For the time being, Jef will continue to put out the eNews that comes to ASC members by email at the end of each month. We will miss Jef in the administrative position; he has contributed so much to our anthroposophical work in Canada. In fact, when Jef’s retirement was announced at the AGM on Sunday morning one member proposed a resolution to thank him for his years of service to our Society and especially for his “sensitivity” in dealing with complicated matters.

John reported on a world-wide Treasurer’s Circle to support the work of the Goetheanum. This Circle has met twice already in London and Dornach and will meet again this November in London. It recommended that the absolute minimum that needs to come from every member worldwide is 90 Swiss francs in order to keep the Goetheanum functioning at a basic level. This translates to $120 in Canadian funds — an increase of $45/year or a 16% increase in Members’ annual contribution of $275 to $320.

John intends to form a Circle of Stewards with the financial stewards of our Society’s branches and groups. The intent of forming this circle is to extend the gesture of the world Treasurers’ circle to the periphery. This will complement the Council by creating another circle of awareness across Canada to share challenges and opportunities in the financial (or any) area of Society life.

We spoke about the subject of vaccination after a member asked for clarification on the position of the ASC on the letter published by the IVAA and Goetheanum Medical Section. The IVAA (International Federation of Anthroposophic Medical Associations) put out a pro-vaccine statement that gives the impression anthroposophical medicine fully supports and encourages vaccine use. This statement has caused much confusion in anthroposophical circles and Waldorf Schools worldwide. After much discussion, we came to the conclusion the role of anthroposophy in Canada is to support parents and individuals to make personal and informed decisions. We will continue to explore this as a Council and issue a statement in the coming eNews.

We have a new annual Canadian publication, Perspectives, which was introduced at the AGM and will be mailed or delivered to every Society member. Susan Koppersmith, Claudette Leblanc and Jean Balekian worked on the publication over last winter.

We want to thank Eric Philips-Oxford, as always, for the French translations in the eNews and now for the extra articles that will appear in Perspectives. We couldn’t manage without him!

At the AGM

Micah reported that, unfortunately, the Waldorf Alumni Festival that was organized for this summer in Halifax needed to be postponed. There were many reasons for this including needing to build a better team, needing more time to reach alumni and to take advantage of local funding opportunities to make the Festival more affordable for young people. We all agreed that Micah had organized a fantastic lineup of presenters. Hopefully this Festival can go forward at a later date.

Bert talked about a new logo for the Society. Regine Kurek, Jean Balekian and Bert Chase worked on a motif which was showcased at the AGM. The group will take suggestions and make further changes.

At the Toronto 2018 AGM, two motions were passed to change the bylaw for a quorum from 10 to 7%. A new bylaw to accept a proxy vote was added, the process yet to be determined. This resulted in Council working on the Sharing Your Voice form which was mailed to members early in 2019 to make possible for those unable to attend the upcoming AGM to share their thoughts.

This would replace the traditional proxy. It was hoped that members present in person at the upcoming AGM would come to an agreement with all decisions. If those present decide that a formal show of hands was necessary, the form provided members with the opportunity to appoint those present to represent them.

It should be noted that during the 2019 AGM on the Sunday we did not have to go to a formal count for any of the motions.

At the AGM, it was noted that some members had questions around our legacy Reserve Fund. We spoke about the need for a member mandate group to take up and explore this important question.  We intend to remain a fiscally responsible Society while at the same time exploring how this fund could be managed further in support of anthroposophy in Canada.

Members are advised that they can approach any Council member for requests for funding. This past year we were able to offer contributions to support a member to travel and represent the biography program in Canada at the World Biography Conference, to support a new translation of the Mystery Dramas, and to support the eurythmy performance at the AGM/Conference in Montreal.

It is with great sadness that we note that Dorothy LeBaron, our President is leaving our group. Council members serve for seven years on the Council and, when their term is up, we must find new members to replace them. We have enjoyed and appreciated Dorothy’s work as President — her love for questions, her attention to detail, and her well-organized agendas for our many teleconferences. We will miss her!

At the same time, we are joyful that Micah has agreed to be our next President. We decided that we will explore a different way of working. Can we work more with mandate groups and involve the greater membership with tasks that need doing? Can we find new colleagues and a new way of working? Each mandate group would have a Council member who would report the group’s activity at the teleconferences. More than once over our days of planning we realized that our group is working in the same direction as the leadership in Dornach.

We were delighted to welcome Catarina Burisch into our Council as the new member from Ontario. Catarina is a retired school principal with strong ties with many members in that province.

It should be noted that in March 2019, Council passed a resolution to recognize the new Thornhill Branch in Toronto.  Thirty members signed the application to establish this Branch “to cultivate the life of anthroposophy in their community.”

There are now about 20 recognized branches and groups across Canada.

We all agreed that it was a wonderful set of meetings for Council in Montreal and that much was accomplished. We have one more teleconference before our summer break.

Our plan is to meet again in September in Ontario and then in January 2020 in Calgary with, of course, teleconferences and many emails in between.

Warm wishes to you all,

Your Council:

Micah Edelstein, John Glanzer, Claudette Leblanc, Catarina Burisch, Susan Koppersmith and Bert Chase.

A Fond Farewell to Dorothy LeBaron from Micah



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