The Annual General Meeting

   Posted by: Julia Redlich   in News, NSW Branch News

This was an all-important meeting, time to review the year gone by and to highlight plans for the year ahead. Judith, our Chairperson, welcomed us all, and regretted the absence of those who couldn’t make the meeting. She then gave a summary of our Ricardian year of 2010 – 2011: the many interesting talks that had been given, such Dorothea’s account of the “Blood and Roses” weekend at Oxford, Dr Penny Bishop’s talk on plagues and pestilences in the Middle Ages , Isolde Martyn on life in Medieval London and the always interesting and innovative Scrabble talks.

Several branch members had attended the biennial Australasian Convention in Melbourne, and Kevin, Julia, Helen and Denise had contributed presentations.

Judith thanked all the committee members for their hard work and contribution during the year, especially welcoming Judy who had joined us mid-year as Treasurer, easing Dorothea’s workload.

Judy then gave her report as Treasurer, reporting that the Branch was in good order, able to continue operating. The major expense of the year had been the purchase of a data projector which had more than proved its worth. Judy also told members who might not have already heard of the Middleham Church Appeal to cover the cost of extensive repair work. The Committee had recommended that the NSW Branch contribute $300 to aid this significant site for Ricardians and, as Treasurer she advised that this donation is appropriate with respect to Branch cash reserves.

Julia, the Branch Secretary, thanked members for making it a successful year. She pointed out that we would need them all to help make a success of the Mittagong conference in May 2012 and 2013 Australasian Branches Convention.

Several more talks to groups such as U3A and National Seniors had been given, and special thanks were due to Joan and Eric (Hansen) who had introduced the Branch to St Mary’s Church, Waverley, and where such a memorable Bosworth service had been held.

Most speakers were in place for Mittagong in May and Helen was going to find out details for an event for the Sunday. Although 2013 seemed a long way off work had already begun with a working party checking on likely venues. The Australasian conventions were a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the life and times of the Plantagenets as well as meeting fellow Ricardians. She had been happy to contact our colleagues in the Western Australia Branch a week earlier to congratulate them on their Branch’s 20th anniversary.

She highlighted the speakers at forthcoming meetings and thanked her fellow committee members for being such hard workers and good friends. Sadly Jane and Xavier were unable to attend this meeting but, definitely not so sadly, their good news was their upcoming marriage and arrival next autumn of their baby.

Webmaster Dorothea reported that there had been 183 new posts during the past year and that unique visitors to the site had more than doubled. She thanked all the contributors who, apart from the regulars, included Narelle Bartley, Robyn Bliss and Denise Chambers from Queensland, Babs Creamer from Dorset and Isolde Martyn and Margaret Shaw. Guest posts had been received from Gillian Laughton, Anne Easter Smith, Helen Cox and Annette Carson. Links to our website had been regularly posted on the Facebook page of the Richard III Society, each time bringing an increase in visitors to the site. Since September this year the NSW Branch has had its own page that was slowly growing.

Kevin reported little or no activity with the library recently. A list of all the books was available, both fact and fiction.

Lynne, as Sales Officer said that sales had been fairly slow and she was trying to get in more items for the upcoming year. However contact with overseas Sales offices had been slow in getting a response.

In the absence of Social Secretaries, Jane and Xavier, Julia thanked them both for their efforts in finding venues for the various lunches this year and for notifying all the members and friends with all the details. Judith asked Julia to write to them expressing the thanks of the Branch for their work.

The current committee then stood down and past chairperson Carol Gerrard took over the election of incoming officers. In a most professional way she read out the nominations, the proposers and seconders and checked on the willingness of all those nominated to stand before declaring them duly elected.  As before Judith is Chairperson; Kevin, Deputy Chair; Judy, Treasurer; Julia, Secretary; Dorothea, Webmaster; Lynne, Sales Officer.

Judith thanked Carol for her conduct of the election and presented her with a small gift of thanks.

Hildegard of Bingen receiving a vision (from Liber Scivias)

The speaker for this meeting was Judith herself and her subject was Hildegard of Bingen*, and this proved to be a most enjoyable and enlightening portrait of the 12th century mystic and visionary. Although a sickly child, her exceptional gifts led to her being sent to live in a anchorhold with the hermit Jutta whose cell was attached to the Benedictine Monastery at Disibodenberg.

Hildegard’s skills were boundless. Apart from her great work Scivias (Know the Work of the Lord) that she illustrated with her own marvellous artwork, her greatest contribution to culture was her music. She wrote profusely, although she never received any formal training in notation or singing. The breadth of her music encompasses the vast range of all her writings, and she regarded music as the highest form of prayer.

Her many letters and other writings show her to be almost 21st century in outlook and her writing about sexuality, pregnancy, abortion and birth control. She also insisted that the draconian Benedictine dietary restrictions should be relaxed for the sick, elderly and children.

Judith’s talk was one to intrigue us all and the questions and comments afterward were numerous.

Julia thanked Judith for all her work on preparing this presentation. Carol then drew that winning raffle tickets, and afternoon tea was enjoyed before the meeting closed.

* A full copy of Judith’s paper will be published in the next issue of “The Chronicles of the White Rose”, which all members of the NSW Branch get as part of their membership.

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