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President's Report - November 2012

posted 30 Nov 2012, 23:46 by Sunshine Coast Lodge Theosophical Society Australia

Presented at the AGM of 29 November, 2012:

My first year as President of the Sunshine Coast Lodge has come to a close. 2012 – what a year it has been for so many, on both global, local and personal levels. As most new presidents do, I came into the position with high hopes for what we might achieve this year. Some of these things have come to pass, others have been harder to get off the ground, but with a year that has been full and moved along extremely quickly, this is no surprise!

It has been interesting to see the ebb and flow of members and non-members alike, and changing faces, with old faces dropping off for a while, then returning to the fold once more. I think this has been indicative of the busy year it has been for us all, with many on the move either travelling, moving house, or moving relationships! Our membership base has stayed strong, with Sue Wason working hard keeping national headquarters up to date, despite her being away for a lot of the year, and keeping track of dues and so on. A big thank you to her, and I am sorry to see her move off the committee, but understand her need for more travel!

We have included more dinner nights throughout the year, at both the Buderim and Tewantin groups. This was to give our members a chance to share in the brother/sisterhood, and also get to know each other a little better. Coming together in community, sharing food and conversation, helps to bring us all closer together with more understanding of who we are as individuals, and helps make the nucleus stronger.

I was hoping to have more discussion groups, and thank you Dan St George for organising those we did have. It gave some the opportunity to express their viewpoints, and share their own experiences on the spiritual journey, which is very important in allowing us to learn respect for others’ opinions and the concept of freedom of thought. I thank Dan further, and also Jean Carroll and Janet Blake early in the year, for their assistance in contacting and arranging some of the speakers for our programmes this year. I couldn’t do it on my own! We have had a very broad range, with speakers from Adelaide, (Victor and Olga Gostin), NSW (Pedro and Linda Oliveira, Stephen Strong and Simon O’Rourke), Brisbane (Aldo Donadel, Anthony Petcopoulos and Julie McNall), Toowoomba (Barry Bowden) and of course locally, and some of our own members and attendees. We also ran a couple of members only meetings, utilising the Kawana Library, and then Jean’s home (thank you for opening it up to us), with Barry Bowden. This allowed us to learn, discuss and gain insight, in a more informal and relaxed fashion.

Our Lodge ran a very successful and well attended weekend at the Springbrook Retreat Centre in July. We were very fortunate to have the contribution of James Cowan, renowned author and spiritual seeker who came up from Bangalow in NSW to join us. We now have some of his books in our library. Along with James, we had talks by Rachele Wilson, Krystina Lamb, Dan St George, one of our past presidents, Betty McAllister and me. It is wonderful to see the contribution of our very own members, and this includes Paul Robb and Joyce Tozer who helped Kay Schiefelbein in the kitchen, and Joyce Thompson for the music introducing each session. Thank you to all. The weekend closed with a tree planting ceremony – let’s hope the tree is thriving, and will be a reminder in future of the growth we are all making along our path.

Our committee decided to instigate an early opening library session through part of the year, in the hope it would encourage more people to borrow from our vast resource of books and CD’s. However, this was unfortunately not utilised, so went by the wayside. We still continued however to hold the library every 1st and 3rd week of the month, and I would like to give an enormous thank you to Francois Billy for being ever so willing to sit at the library table and keep it running smoothly. Bob Lawrence also deserves a thank you for the computer setup of the library, and he will be updating this during our break over the next couple of months.

Thank you to both Jim Orchard and Olga Monagan for running study groups at Buderim and Tewantin respectively. This is another resource that I would love to see more greatly utilised. I hope to see other members stepping up to offer sessions next year on a variety of Theosophical topics.

The year would not have run as smoothly if it were not for our other committee members also, so a big thank you to you all - Paul Robb for taking on the difficult task of Treasurer, who is also leaving us and will focus on the Maleny group in 2013, Joyce Thompson as secretary and often being the first at the lodge to set up each week, Jean Carroll, former president who has assisted with ‘how it all works’ and is leaving to concentrate on the national TOS and Carmen French for your assistance, especially in the kitchen and bringing along yummy food to share with everyone (this is her forte!). Joyce Tozer, although not on our committee, is a tour de force for the TOS, looking after the kitchen, and encouraging us all to contribute both funds and our time in service to others. Thank you Joyce. I would like to give a particularly big thank you to Rachele Wilson, our publicity officer. What a job she has done, keeping us informed through weekly updates, advertising in the local papers and radio, managing our website and facebook page, a mammoth task all up. I hope we can get someone to fill her shoes, as she is also regrettably, retiring from the committee.

Lastly, I would like to thank Janet Blake for co-ordinating the Tewantin group and encouraging members to form a nuclelus to further the TS work, and also Deborah Taylor for collecting the key, setting up and generally assisting Janet with the group. They were both formally thanked at their end of year celebration.
To all those who attend our weekly meetings, thank you for your appreciation of, and respect you have shown for our speakers and all we have tried to achieve this year. There would be no lodge without its members.

I wish you all a very merry Christmas and Happy New Year for 2013, and hope to see you all return on our first Thursday in February (the 7th).

Love and Light,
Penny Houghton