The first 2018 meeting of the Anthroposophical Society New Zealand Council was held in Hawke’s Bay on 8-9 February.

On the Thursday evening 15 Hawke’s Bay members joined Council members at Steiner House where a stimulating discussion contributed to several of the issues below.

3 Strategic directions: All Council members carry consciously the 3 strategic directions and annual plan of the Anthroposophical Society in New Zealand and review them at each meeting. The 3 directions are: to connect anthroposophy to the 21st Century; to reach out and engage both with members and those on the periphery who are connected with anthroposophical purposes and endeavours; to support initiatives as the pathway to incarnating anthroposophy into our world.   

Council monitors the Society’s spending to ensure it aligns with these goals and each Council member engages in action research on the Foundation Stone Meditation, bringing this will connection back to the Meeting as ongoing work for the year. Some of the Council members’ points of focus are: supporting those in the workplace who are experiencing the disconnect between everyday work and its purpose; human relationships; understanding youth suicide – its contributing factors and a response; the Foundation Stone’s connection with the work of Ceres; uniting the will impulse of The Land Trust NZ to others with similar concerns and purpose. In all these situations what are the Parsifal questions from the heart, not solely those overridden by the intellect? We recognise the need to take time to live in the experience of the heart, to create connection, share experience and process rather than focus on outcomes and data.

The Council also carries consciously ongoing work with each level of Anthroposphy: the World Goetheanum; the School of Spiritual Science, the national Society and the movement. The Goetheanum leadership team asks the national Societies whether it is “realistic and of interest to work with a world theme?” The suggested theme is the Foundation Stone Meditation, integrating it into study, work and meditation and life generally. Council members have committed to doing this.

2018 AGM: The AGM in August will continue working with the 3 strategic directions and seek a speaker from within NZ. Discussion is underway on the options for members to register a vote prior to the AGM and the process for motions.  For discussion is a question from the Goetheanum whether there is an interest from ASNZ members in having the right to vote on GAS motions and would this mean a stronger sense of connection with Dornach? Sue Simpson has penned an article in the issue of Scope on the suggested AGM voting changes for GAS and for the AS worldwide, including ASNZ.  It was noted that motions at the Goetheanum AGM have more than doubled recently, from 6 to 13 with the time for the presentation of motions extended to 3 days rather than just one. Two motions which members may or may not be concerned with are: the rehabilitation of Ita Wegman and Elizabeth Vreede and the re-election of Paul McKay and Bodo von Plato to the Executive.

The Annual Conference: in October will be held in Christchurch and we look forward to hearing more from the Christchurch conference team:  Anne Odile, Stephen Roberts, Istvan Martinka, Penelope Lait, Benjamin Wolpert, Diederic Ruarus, Gritt Enevold, Justin Barton, John Bartley and Robin Mackenzie.

Financial Questions: facing ASNZ are outlined in a November 2017 letter to members from Chair Noel Josephson. The New Zealand Society has been running a substantial annual deficit. This is obviously unsustainable. The main reason for this deficit is that of the Society’s 560 NZ members only 260 are paying their membership dues, some not fully. To become viable the Council suggests that the 2018 contribution to the New Zealand Society rise from $170 to $200 while the contribution for the General Anthroposophical Society (GAS) rise from $130 to $150. As the ASNZ is a registered charity (number 227101) we have IRD donee status which means that our NZ contributions attract a tax refund of one third the amount so each member’s net contribution to ASNZ would come to $134 annually.  The contribution to GAS is not tax deductible.

The suggestion was made that regions call locally to talk to members who have not responded to the contribution request from Silke Carter, Treasurer. Several Hawke’s Bay members have offered to do this for Hawke’s Bay. The Council is seeking similar support from the other regions.

General Secretary’s role: The question was asked about the role of the General Secretary. Sue Simpson has responded with a “living description” of the GS role in this issue of Scope. Sue will also put her annual itinerary on the website.

Council succession: The question of succession and suggestions for new and future Council members was discussed. The Council is open to receiving a registration of interest for others to join the Council in the coming year. You may well know a potential candidate and, when thinking of someone, please consider their commitment to the Society, availability and strengths they would bring.

Communications: Currently all members receive 3 issues of Scope and 1 issue of Sphere annually, in addition to the email newsletter Ardent. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, the 2017 issue of Sphere has been delayed until later this year. Articles and write up of events around the country are being sought for both Scope and the website. All appropriate contributions are welcome.

For new members: Suggestions are made that an e-leaflet/booklet be available to explain the purposes, structure and roles of GAS, the national Societies, the School of Spiritual Science, the Movement, the role and expectations of membership and that a mentor be partnered with a new member.

As always the Council of the Anthroposophical Society New Zealand welcomes your suggestions, comments, news on your initiatives and introductions to prospective new members.