Annual Report of the Wellington Study Group March 2016
Once again we gather to review the duties and projects managed by your committee. It is easy to see these tasks as a separate activity to our core reason for being here which is, to quote from our own website, to:
“bring together people who want to discover more about their own nature and the universe, look at the real questions of human life, and experience their true potential.”
The committee duties I speak of are caring for our material assets and finances which do link with our core objective by providing the environment within which we can pursue this voyage of discovery.
In keeping with our teachings, our committee work should be done in the simplest way possible so we reserve our energy for the voyage. Once again to quote from our website:
“There is an unity underlying everything about us; but with our minds preoccupied with our separate lives we lose touch with it and forget who we really are.”
Are we in danger of our duties and projects providing too much “preoccupation”? When reviewing the activities of the committee over the past year this question did come up in my mind. With that thought in mind I offer you the following report of our activities.
Strathean has once again been used by Study Group members for several retreats including the week long one in January. It has also been used by a wide variety of other groups for their retreats, whatever form they may take. The big news for all its users is that the toilet upgrade has been completed. We received a grant for $30,000 from the Lotteries Grant Board and this paid for 2/3 of the total cost. The Accountability Report has been completed and we believe we have met all their requirements. Several of the groups who have since stayed at Strathean have commented very favourably on the final result. The next stage is to upgrade the bathroom block and an application has been made for a further funding of $38,000 to help complete this. We will not know until May this year whether we have been successful.
Meanwhile Yvonne and John have had steady stream of maintenance issues to attend to including a new roof for the workshop, replacing Novaroof on the cottage, waterproofing the balcony, water blasting various corners of the house and managing the constant challenges of the vegetation. Once again our thanks go to them for their ceaseless care of our retreat centre.
Our house here at Hobson Cres continues to provide us with a warm and inviting place to meet each week. It has also been hired by a variety of other groups who consistently comment on its convenience and homely feeling. We have had a number of issues attended to over the past year including an earthquake assessment report which was required by the Wellington City Council. This was provided by an independent engineer and submitted and then updated due to changes in the interpretation. The end result was that both the house and the garage meet the criteria, being greater than 33% of the current building code.
Various maintenance jobs have also been completed including flooring at one end of the large room, painting of the large room ceiling and the men’s loo and repair of the leak in the green room. Several small jobs in the upstairs flat have also been completed.
A number of members have helped with the management of Hobson Cres. Glennis Wilkinson has taken over the general management from Lucette Kuhn and with the help of Frances Rutland keeps supplies topped up and provides a point of contact for Julie McCurley our cleaner. Lucette has continued to introduce new hirers to our facilities and the terms of our hire agreement. David Weekly manages the book sales and banking, has taken over the booking agent role using our new online booking system, and mows the lawns at Hobson Cres. The library has continued in the good care of Priscilla Arnold, Ron Ward, Behroz Rabady and Joy Paris. Thank you all for your very valuable contributions.
As you can see there have been a variety of tasks which your committee has been involved with over the year. Each project, whether it is organising maintenance, managing hirers, applying for grants or overseeing work done by contractors requires effort by someone from the Study Group Committee. It also requires careful management of the finances involved and we have John Masters to thank for continuing to fulfil this role in a most professional manner. His partner Kaye Davey also fulfils an important role recording all transactions, paying invoices and reconciling the balance each month.
I must also thank Gillian Harris for continuing as secretary and ensuring our records are correct and up to date. My grateful thanks to the other committee members Michael Harris, Yvonne Norfolk, Joy Paris, Jim Shaw, Ron Ward and David Weekly who have all made significant contributions in their own way.
Outside the committee but no less significant has been the transition of our newsletter to a members only page on our website. My thanks to Jim Shaw for facilitating this and to Kieron Horide-Hobley who has volunteered to be the point of contact for this. I encourage all members to offer contributions as they see fit, including those members from out of town.
As you can see it has been another busy year for the group and its committee. Our finances are in good shape with income from our tenants upstairs at Hobson Cres, our hirers of both properties and of course our member’s fees balancing out the cost of running and caring for our facilities. Our properties are being well maintained providing the environments which are so conducive to our real work.
However, as I review the year I do wonder whether we have found the right balance between our “preoccupation with our separate activities” and our exploration of the “unity underlying everything about us”. Can we simplify how the group works so we have less demands on the separate activities and more time and energy for the exploration. What options have we got which may help us achieve a more appropriate balance. Just because we have done it a certain way for many years does not mean it is still appropriate to continue. I am very open to any comments members may have on how we may spend more of our time and energy working together on the voyage of discovery. How can we achieve more simplicity in our journey?