Fourth letter to the members - Mid-June 2018

Dear Members of the Anthroposophical Society

The non-confirmation of another term of office of Paul Mackay and Bodo von Plato at the General Assembly, has led to the need for far-reaching resolutions to be taken during the June retreat of the Goetheanum Leadership. In three previous letters, we informed you about the development up to this point, since 24th March, 2018. (1)

Paul Mackay (NL) and Bodo von Plato (DE) have contributed significantly to the work of the Executive Council from 1996 and 2001 respectively. Their work has been of vital importance to the Executive Council after the death of Manfred Schmidt-Brabant (DE, 2001) and the death of Heinz Zimmermann (CH, 2011), Sergei Prokofieff (RUS, 2014) and the retirement of Rolf Kerler (DE, 2002), Cornelius Pietzner (USA, 2010) and the retirement of Virginia Sease (USA, 2015) and Seija Zimmermann (FIN, 2018) up until 2018. They thus formed a bridge from the former centralized focus on the Executive Council to the establishment of the Goetheanum Leadership since 2012 and the current decisions in which the Council members and Section Leaders work together as equal partners. (2) Since 2014, this has also been stated in the Statutes of the General Anthroposophical Society. (3) The Goetheanum Leadership took up the development and expansion of the activities of the various Sections, which began at the beginning of the 90s, building on their significance for the structure and leadership of the School of Spiritual Science.

New steps

In the June retreat, all the Section Leaders together with Paul Mackay and Bodo von Plato, as well as the current four members of the Executive Council, confirmed the decision of 2012 to lay the full responsibility for the School of Spiritual Science (the First Class: path of inner development and the vocational fields of the eleven Sections) in the responsibility of the Goetheanum Leadership. A new decision was made that in future the members of the Executive Council will be nominated out of the awareness of the Goetheanum Leadership from the perspective of the School of Spiritual Science and proposed to the General Assembly for confirmation. Initially, no addition to the Executive Council is planned before the next General Assembly. The Council currently consists of Justus Wittich (since 2012), Joan Sleigh (since 2013), Constanza Kaliks (since 2015) and Matthias Girke (since 2017). At the 2019 General Assembly, the question of another term of office for Justus Wittich is due.

Guidance of the affairs of the First Class of the School of Spiritual Science (confirmation of admission of membership to the First Class, appointment of local or regional Class Holders) will be transferred to Claus-Peter Röh, who remains responsible for the Pedagogical Section. He will take on this task in collaboration with Joan Sleigh (for the English-speaking members) and Dr Constanza Kaliks (for the Spanish and Portuguese speaking members).

It was decided to dissolve the coupling of the management of the General Anthroposophical Section with the members of the Executive Council. At the same time Justus Wittich was appointed responsible to guide a transparent process in which, within one year, a suitable leadership to run this central section, taking up the tasks of the 21st century, can beput in place. Florian Osswald (Goetheanum Leadership) and René Becker (General Secretary of France) will support Justus Wittich in this process. During the transitional period, Joan Sleigh will remain the contact person for the section.

It follows from this development that the Executive Council is particularly responsible for the care of the Anthroposophical Society, which has since grown into a worldwide society. In the future, this must also be visible in the execution of the General Assembly and in the reporting and communication procedures from the Goetheanum.

Finally, the numerous tasks of Paul Mackay and Bodo von Plato in the operation of the Goetheanum Organisation were reassigned. It is essential that the individual departments and areas such as, for example, the building administration, the gardens, the documentation and the art collection, are assigned to the Sections of the School of Spiritual Science. The spiritual content of the School and the practice within the organisation should not fall apart. For a stronger orientation of the house organization to a suitable design of appropriate tasks within the financial framework, a Management Group has been commissioned. This group consists of one employee (Rebekka Frischknecht), one member of the Goetheanum Leadership (Stefan Hasler) and one member of the Executive Council (Justus Wittich).

With this reorganization of the conditions at the Goetheanum, the Goetheanum Leadership has decided, by mutual agreement with Paul Mackay and Bodo von Plato, that they no longer belong to the Goetheanum Leadership. Both will continue their advisory work in connection with the Goetheanum: Paul Mackay as emeritus Council member and for special projects; Bodo von Plato in connection with Studies and Further Education at the Goetheanum.

Future developments

These decisions and setting the course, make it clear who will be responsible for which tasks from now on. Together with you, as members of the locational and vocational branches, groups and national societies, we wish to prepare the next steps towards the second century of Anthroposophy. This includes:

  • the fertile consolidation of the worldwide practice of the vocational fields in the needs of the time with the inner path of schooling of the School of Spiritual Science;
  • the enlivening of the Anthroposophical Society spread over many countries and different cultures on the common basis of the Foundation Stone Meditation;
  • the collaborative partnership of the Goetheanum with the many thousands of institutions and companies that work from the impulses of Anthroposophy. In doing so, we strive for the long-term formation of a solid foundation both for the worldwide spiritual scientific work of the School, as well as for the preservation of the cultural heritage of Rudolf Steiner (in this context is also the recent founding of the World Goetheanum Association).

Request for your help

In the context of this step, we depend on your empathic thoughts and your positive support. Constructive proposals are very welcome, because only together can we create the Anthroposophical Society that we consider necessary for the future, both at the Goetheanum and in your respective places.

Despite all the current and longstanding challenges, we look forward with confidence to the working year ahead and send warm and heart-felt greetings from the Goetheanum in Dornach. Many of the Section Leaders will soon commence their travels to all parts of the world during the summer months, where you may meet them in your countries and be able to share ideas with them.

Ueli Hurter and Justus Wittich for the Goetheanum Leadership

(1) See Internet: www.goetheanum.org/aag/generalversammlung-2018/ and printed in "Anthroposophy Worldwide" Nos. 5, 6 and 7.
(2) The Guidelines and Procedures of the Goetheanum Leadership have stated since 2012: "The Goetheanum Leadership, whose members from the Executive Council and the Section Leaders, having equal status, collaborate in their intention to do justice to the shared responsibility for Anthroposophy, as manifested at the Goetheanum and alive in the world."
(3) Valid Statute of the General Anthroposophical Society, § 3: "The General Anthroposophical Society is the bearer of the School of Spiritual Science in accordance with Articles 5, 7 and 9 of the Founding Statutes. The Goetheanum Leadership as stated in the Founding Statutes comprises the members of the Executive Council as well as the individual Section Leaders of the School of Spiritual Science, who together design their method of work.”

The decisions taken on June 12, 2018 in a nutshell:

  1. The Goetheanum Leadership assumes full responsibility for the School of Spiritual Science and will in future appoint members of the Executive Council from the viewpoint of the perspective of the School. These will then be proposed to the General Assembly for approval by the members.
  2. The Executive Council consists of Justus Wittich, Joan Sleigh, Constanza Kaliks and Matthias Girke. An addition to the Council is not planned before the next General Assembly. In 2019 Justus Wittich is due to stand for the reconfirming of another term of office.
  3. The administering of the affairs of the First Class of the School of Spiritual Science has been taken up by Claus-Peter Röh. This will be supported by Joan Sleigh (English) and Constanza Kaliks (Spanish / Portuguese).
  4. Justus Wittich is in charge of a process responsible for setting up the General Anthroposophical Section, within one year, with its own leadership. The process team includes Florian Osswald and René Becker. Joan Sleigh remains the contact person for the General Anthroposophical Section during the transitional period.
  5. The Goetheanum Leadership commissioned Rebekka Frischknecht (for the staff), Stefan Hasler (Goetheanum Leadership) and Justus Wittich (Executive Council) as the Management Team of the Organisation and the Building administration.