The Theosophical Society in America

President's Diary

Septermber - October 2008

Betty Bland

Just when I think things can not possibly get busier, they do. TheosoFest kicked off our Fall season with a beautiful day filled with excellent speakers, vendors, and activities on the Olcott grounds. Although the more than 1000 participants generated nice income through parking fees and book sales, the most important results were the outreach to the public and the goodwill of the community.

Sandwiched between TheosoFest and the mid-September Inter-American Theosophical Federation (IATF) was another trip to North Carolina to finally settle my mother in an assisted living facility. Knowing that she has the care she needs relieves my mind and should greatly reduce the number of emergency trips I have to make to check on her.

Vice-president Tim Boyd very ably filled in for me at the opening night of IATF, and I joined in for the rest of the sessions. What a grand time it was! Seventy-three members, primarily from Latin American countries, came together for this triennial event for study and networking. The earphones for listening to simultaneous translations worked well, but sometimes during discussions it was hard to know when to put them on and off. However, language was no barrier to the camaraderie that developed when these fellow Theosophists shared meals and fellowship. Terezinha Kind from Brazil did an outstanding job of planning and coordinating the event and was reelected as president of IATF for another three years.



Terezinha Kind (standing far right) and international participants from seventeen countries smile for the official IAFT group photo.

The last main event of September was the Wheaton Chamber of Commerce “After Hours” reception for the business community of Wheaton. The more than 100 visitors were impressed with our excellent vegetarian hors d’oeurves, live music, beautiful facility and library, and welcoming atmosphere. Janet Kerschner, our archivist, presented several short programs about the Society’s involvement in Wheaton’s history and the unique architecture that we think will qualify Olcott’s Rogers Building to be designated a historic site.

Unfortunately, our need to continue downsizing made it necessary to release our longtime trusted employee, Francis Woyome, from the shipping department. The sad news was somewhat offset by the return of my assistant Anu Naresh after three months medical leave. And Elvira Carbonell filled in Kathy Kozak’s place in outreach and publicity. We have had several temporary live-in volunteers including Malati Ramvatnam, Govert Schuller, and Pat Phipps.

The happy news for staff has been twofold. David and I held an engagement party for Christine Pomeroy and John Cianciosi at the end of September, and then had the privilege of participating in their wedding, held in the Olcott Library on October 12. They have just returned from their two week honeymoon in the New England area. Their smiles are matched by another Olcott couple, Nicole Krier and Richard Smoley whose new baby Robert, 8 pounds, 4 ounces, arrived on October 16.

olcott experience  

I had the joy of visiting Arizona in early October—Sun City, Cottonwood, and Sedona. I was so busy giving talks on Akasha, Forgiveness, and Near Death Experience that I barely got to experience the unique beauty of the area. However, I did get to observe my host, Joel Boyd, officiate at a unique “Sedona Style” wedding, with cowboy boots, wide brimmed hats, and tuxedo jackets, all in view of Cathedral Rock.

Olcott Experience brought twenty members from groups around the country to connect with each other and with our National Center. This was an especially congenial group, exploring problems and solutions, and familiarizing themselves with our many resources, all in support of the work in their respective local groups.

This dynamic group attending the Fall 2008 Olcott Experience had plenty of questions for their staff presenters.    


On October 25, the Theosophical Order of Service (TOS) and the Science of Spirituality cohosted “Spirituality, Community, and Service.” During this day-long event, an interfaith panel fielded questions from participants as they explored the multifaceted role of service in our lives. Later on, the Special Spooky Soirée, complete with tasty treats, provided the guests with a “spooktacular” evening of Halloween entertainment including poetry readings, songs, comedy, and storytelling. Our Halloween luncheon (held early so staff attending the Mystical Heart of Christianity conference could participate) ended the month with assorted specters and characters roaming the dining room and halls.



  Dan Smolla, Anu Naresh, DAn Noga (staff) and Bill Vollrath (volunteer) dress for the occasion.



In the July-August issue, I mentioned that Tony Lysy had retired. That should be corrected to state that his position was eliminated as a part of our overall budgetary constraints that led to the closing of the Olcott Institute