The Theosophical Society in America

President's Diary

March - April 2005

Betty Bland

Autumn is usually the time for completions, so I’d like to observe in this issue a completion that actually took place this past spring. Our eight-month project of renovating the Mills Building to relocate the publishing offices and expand the Quest Bookshop has been accomplished. Christopher Dixon, our bookshop manager, was excited about the new space but not the prospects of all the aches and pains of moving everything in our well-stocked retail space. Yet, the transition went remarkably smoothly with very little disruption thanks to good contractors and hardworking staff. The new bookshop serves as a welcoming gateway to the north side of the Olcott property. We hope many of you will get to visit and appreciate its ambience. If you spend a few extra dollars, so much the better!

My whirlwind trip by plane, train, and automobile in early April gave me a chance to visit with quite a few members in the northeast. After making a presentation for the Surya Study Center in Westfield, New Jersey, a most pleasant train ride brought me to the Washington, DC Lodge. Then it was on to Providence, Rhode Island, and by the time I reached the final destination of the Springfield, Massachusetts Lodge in Chicopee, I was definitely ready for a break. However, it was a privilege and pleasure to visit with these groups, each of which is a unique and special building block of our Society.

In mid-April David and I attended the memorial service at the Seattle Lodge for Johnny Kunz, a long time member and friend. While there we met with several key members concerning future plans for a northwestern regional conference in the fall of 2006. This conference and the one being planned for the Mid-Atlantic States in the spring of 2006 are the cornerstone of our explorations for new ways to promote membership and support the local groups. We also had the bonus of being able to attend the lodge’s Saturday interfaith seminar on spiritual breath and chant with Jamal Rahman (Sufi) and Rabbi Ted Falcon. These two have obviously done the work and are committed to interfaith dialog and peace.

The Fourth Kern Lecture and Seminar with Don Campbell author of The Mozart Effect, was held at the end of April. Don’s amazingly rich background in both his primary field of music theory, performance, and conducting, as well as his lifelong exploration of spirituality, came together in the wonderfully effective, experiential program. The Olcott School of Theosophy incorporated Don’s musical talents with the visual arts presented by Tom and Susan Ockerse in such a way that all participants left with a more sensitized eye and ear for the patterns and beauty around us.

During the first week of May, the Theosophical Publishing House staff celebrated the completion of the Mills Building makeover with a pizza picnic on the grounds. Sharron Dorr crowned David Bland, the Society’s project manager for the venture, with a hard hat topped by a paper crown. All expressed appreciation for the assistance from the Sellon Charitable Trust which has made this transformation possible.

Since the Theosophical Society in America is a membership organization with an elected board of directors and national officers, the recent triennial national elections mark an important beginning and ending in the cycles of our administration. During April and early May the specially marked ballot envelopes arrived on a steady basis. Then on the appointed day, May 11, the national secretary met with several local independent members to carefully open and tally the votes. I take this opportunity to welcome to the new Board, which will officially begin in July, the following officers (besides myself continuing as president):

Vice President—Barbara Hebert
Eastern District Directors—Sylvia Knowles and Carol Ward
Central District Directors—Christopher Richardson and Elwin Barrett
Western District Directors—Joseph Gullo and Nelda Samarel

This is also a time to express appreciation to those who have served so well but who are now rotating off the board—Vice President Robert Ellwood and Directors Minor Lile, Brant Jackson, and Tom Ockerse. They served with dedication, and I give to each special thanks for sharing their time and expertise for the benefit of the Society.