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November 2017

Every Gift Counts — Little or Big


What do we Will?

Spending or giving money is an expression of will. We vote with our dollars on what we want to happen in the world. And our will — our dollars — combine with other people’s dollars to help make what we will, a reality.

Is the result a simple summation — a total of the dollars — or does the will expressed in those gifts work beyond the money itself to pave the way in unseen realms, for the realization of shared goals?

Each Person in the Support Community

We like to think that the participation of as many people as possible is an important goal of our fundraising effort, and that if each person in our support community gives whatever they feel they can or want to give, then the total dollar goal will follow of its own accord.

So please accept this reminder. There is so much going on this time of year that it’s easy to forget. And if you value what is cultivated at the Rudolf Steiner Centre, please make a gift —however small or large — to help that work to continue and grow into the wide world. Thank you.

Photo: Full-time Teacher Education program graduation for 2017

Read the original Annual Gift Appeal Letter

Make an online donation through Canada Helps

  

Your Help is Needed – Annual Gift Appeal


Dear Friends of the Rudolf Steiner Centre,

We are living in perilous times.

The overall picture of Waldorf teacher development in North America has changed dramatically in the last 10 years. Rudolf Steiner College in Sacramento has closed its teacher education programs, Sunbridge College has closed its full-time teacher education program, and the Waldorf Institute of Southeastern Michigan (WISM) will be closing in two years.

Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto and the Centre for Anthroposophy are two of the remaining Waldorf institutes to offer full-time programs in teacher development. Here at the Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto, the full-time program is not reaching its potential. As well, the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skill Development (MAESD) has imposed new regulations on the programs. Toronto Waldorf School has chosen, upon the expiry of our lease, to buy our building and now we are tenants.

An Uncertain Future

RSCT faces an uncertain future in a time of financial restraint and instability.

Yet we must survive and not only survive but grow, in order that the benefits of anthroposophy and Waldorf education continue to be accessible to the many who are seeking. To do this we must adapt, we must be courageous, we must work hard and smartly. Only then can we count on the support of the community and of the spiritual world.

These great challenges also present an opportunity. The RSCT board of directors has taken a bold step by developing a 10-year vision to be realized in three areas — teacher education, cultural outreach and anthroposophical service work.

On September 29, RSCT held a visioning meeting with 50 participants, who self-selected their topics and groups. Fifteen themes were addressed with energy and enthusiasm. For a full report on the meeting, please refer to the “Blog” section on our website https://www.rsct.ca under the heading “Envisioning the Future Follow-Up”.

As we move forward from the vision to developing an actionable 3-year strategic plan with three key objectives, we will be looking forward to further opportunities to consult with our partners, stakeholders, staff and supporters.

Strengthening Waldorf Teacher Education

In Teacher Education, we need to strengthen and deepen our current programs. A massive amount of work went into obtaining a Designated Learning Institute number to enable the Centre to enroll international students. RSCT is also working in partnership with the Douglas Cardinal Foundation for Indigenous Waldorf Education to provide scholarships for Indigenous students.

Taking Foundation Studies International

For Cultural Outreach, we plan to strengthen our mentoring services and expand Foundation Studies internationally. We have started by engaging two French-speaking mentors. A Foundation Studies Encounter course will take place this year at the Everlasting Tree School on the Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve. As well, members of our extended faculty are currently planning to hold a Foundation Studies Encounter course in Vietnam in the coming year. As we know, these programs can inspire and change lives. They require seed money to grow.

Protecting the Threatened Forces of Childhood

The third area is Anthroposophical Service Work. We plan to establish Waldorf childcare centres to protect the threatened forces of childhood. We are about to hire a National Childcare Director and our first project is to open childcare centres in Ottawa. In collaboration with the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America (WECAN), we are expanding our Birth-to-Three Program to respond to the professional development needs of the early childhood educators in our future childcare centres. We need funding for scholarships to support them as they develop their capacities to better care for the young children.

These are all steps towards realizing a new vision for our Centre. More than ever we need your support. Last year we raised $15,000 from our gift campaign. This year, we have set a goal of $25,000.

We thank all past donors and we ask you all to give generously to fund our future work.

Thank you.

Warmly,

Waldorf Teacher Education, Waldorf Schools  
  

Six Questions for Carol Triggiano


Rudolf Steiner Centre

Next Friday and Saturday Nov. 10th and 11th, the Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto will host its annual Waldorf Development Conference on the theme of “Parents and Teachers Working Together in the Age of the Consciousness Soul”. 

Keynote speaker for the conference will be Carol Triggiano, who has a lifetime of experience in Waldorf education, and in teacher education as well. Click here for the details on Carol's educational background, the conference schedule, and a link for online registration.

We thought it would be interesting to ask Carol a few questions in advance of her visit, and to share the answers, as a way of encouraging interest in the Friday evening lecture for parents, as well as in the Friday / Saturday conference.

The RSCT's questions and Carol’s answers follow below:

Not Just a Teacher, but Also a Parent

RSCT: In your bio there's a lot about your experience as a teacher. Have you been a parent as well? If so, can you say a bit about that, ie how many children, ages, educations etc.

Carol: I am the mother of two adult children, a son age 36 and a daughter age 31. They both attended Chicago Waldorf from early childhood through high school. My son Nick is married, has a 10 month old baby and is a part time stay at home dad. He is enrolled in a Waldorf early childhood teacher training program. My daughter Amy has an undergrad degree from Earlham College in drama. She then studied nursing at University of Illinois and currently is a nurse in a hospital Intensive Care Unit. 

RSCT: In the title of your talk -- Speaking as a Teacher Using the Three Pillars to Build Relationships withTeachers, Parents & Administrators, you refer to three pillars. Which three pillars are these?

Carol: The three pillars I will be addressing in teacher parent relationships are: Interest, Empathy and Trust.

Living in Chicago

RSCT: Not directly related to your talk, but more as background as to where you're coming from -- you're coming from Chicago where a Waldorf teacher has recently been shot on the street by a stray bullet. Can you say a bit from your perspective about what that event says about life in Chicago as a Waldorf teacher. Do you feel like you're on "the front lines"? What has this event catalyzed in terms of relations between the Waldorf community and the wider world in Chicago?

Carol: The tragic death of our colleague called forth astounding support from our Waldorf parent community, the Rogers Park neighborhood and the city of Chicago, including from some of its top officials. There was an outpouring of compassion, service, financial donations, prayers and a call for unity in support of her husband, our faculty and community. The Chicago Waldorf School was founded over 40 years ago as a city school. We are committed to serving the children who have been born into one of the most beautiful, cultured, historical, diverse cities in the world. My dear colleague passionately loved Chicago and would want us to embrace our important work here.

Home and School

RSCT:  Do you feel that Waldorf blurs the boundaries between home and school more than other educations? I'm thinking of things like field trips and camping that, in the past, might have been seen as belonging more to the parents' domain, but maybe now the schools -- or at least Waldorf schools -- are doing more of what used to be called parenting. In many of today's busy families with both parents working full time jobs to pay Waldorf tuitions, this might be welcome, while in other cases, maybe less so.

Carol: Our responsibility is to make as clear as possible to the parents the scope of our pedagogy. Field trips and class trips are meant to deepen the classroom work: i.e. a 6th grade caving trip after the study of mineralogy. If we communicate well about the curriculum, then the parents can decide if this education can meet the needs of their child. We also should offer parents the opportunity to learn about child development and how the curriculum meets the child at different ages. Our sphere of influence is in the classroom, not the home.

The Times we Live in

RSCT:  You visit a lot of Waldorf communities in your travels. Are there recurrent themes and dynamics currently playing out between parents and teachers now that are different that they were ten or twenty years ago?

Carol: I think many parents today are overworked, overstressed and tired. Many also feel greatly pressured to do everything "right," whatever that may mean. I think the same may apply to many Waldorf teachers. This dynamic offers a ripe opportunity to explore new ways of communication.

School and State

RSCT:  Notably in the medical realm, the state has been making demands in areas belonging to parenting -- such as compulsory vaccination. What role can Waldorf teachers or schools play in helping parents deal with this kind of state pressure with regard to parenting.

Carol: These state demands are strictly in the hands of the parents and I don't think we should be interfering or offering advice in any of these arenas. Parents need to decide independently how to deal with these situations.

For more details about the Nov. 10th and 11th conference and a link to online registration, click here.

Waldorf Teacher Education, Waldorf Schools, Family  
  
October 2017

Warren Cohen @ Teacher Education Delegates Circle


RSCT is one of Eight Full-Member Institutes

The Steiner Centre is a full member of AWSNA and of the TEDC, Teacher Education Delegates Circle. This delegates circle is comprised of representatives from each of the full member Waldorf teacher education institutes from acrossNorth America. Going from west to east and north to south the eight full member institutes are: Sound Circle Center, Eugene Waldorf Teacher Training, Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training, Waldorf Institute of Southern California, Great Lakes Waldorf Institute, Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto, Centre for Anthroposophy, Sunbridge Institute. There are also nine associate member and registered initiative institutes across Canada, USA and Mexico.

Demands on Teachers Continue to Grow

This autumn the TEDC met in New Hampshire where they were warmly hosted by the Center for Anthroposophy, Antioch University and the Monadnock Waldorf School. On the first evening they met with representatives from seven regional Waldorf schools to learn about the needs for teacher preparation and continuing professional development in their schools. Conversations were far reaching and the needs for more and better targeted professional development clear, especially as the demands being place on teachers seems to grow. Waldorf schools want well prepared teachers on all levels and subjects. They also need a variety of continuing professional development opportunities for their teachers as well as longer term apprenticeships for aspiring teachers.

Collaborative Work Among Waldorf Institutes

The TEDC, formerly the Teacher Education Network, was founded in 1989 as the Teacher Education Task Force for the purpose of distributing loans and grants to aspiring Waldorf teachers. Since then the group has grown and changed through a number of incarnations to meet the growing needs for Waldorf teacher education and professional development. The TEDC now meets twice yearly in person at one of the member institutes and then every other month by conference call. Their task is to support the healthy development of each institute of the association through collaborative work among Waldorf institutes and strengthened relationships with Waldorf schools. Every full member institute is represented in the circle by a delegate who is responsible for overseeing, supporting, and upholding by consensus the continental membership agreements for association member institutes. The teacher education Leadership Council member coordinates this work.

Teacher education delegates’ circle responsibilities include:

· Determining membership and membership category for institutes, per the agreements in the association’s by-laws and path to membership handbook.

· Connecting to potential registered initiatives and member institutes and supporting their application for membership.

· Supporting Registered Initiatives and member institutes through support visits, per the path to membership handbook guidelines in order to support member institute progression on the path to membership.

· Supporting and assessing the regular self-study and peer reviews process of full member institutes.

· Cultivating an environment that both creates a safe space for member institutes to bring challenges and promotes the upholding of membership agreements.

· Providing opportunities for associate institute members to actively engage in regional and continental association activities, including regional meetings, conferences, etc.

· Engaging in activities that strengthen and promote teacher education, including but not limited to: promoting dialogue between member schools and institutes, hosting periodic colloquia, developing position papers related to pedagogical practices, engaging in the regular study of themes related to teacher training, identifying and supporting contemporary and future needs for institutes, etc.

Shared Standards of Waldorf Teacher Education

Amongst the many other items on their agenda was the implementation of shared standards in Waldorf teacher education. Each of the institutes has developed organically to meet the needs of Waldorf teacher education in its region and has had to develop its course offerings and program structures to meet the unique demands of its context and regulatory jurisdiction. Some programs are full time. Others are part-time or summers only. While much of the content is similar; including: course work on child development, Waldorf curriculum, artistic practice, inner development of the teacher and observed teaching practice; the programs themselves are remarkably individual. Each has unfolded in its own way to meet its local needs. The TEDC is presently working on creating common standards and agreements so that Waldorf teachers across the continent will be better prepared to meet the needs of children, families and schools.

Upcoming Teacher Education Colloquium

The TEDC is also busy designing the third Waldorf Teacher Education Colloquium. This will be called: Waldorf Teacher Training in the Age of the Consciousness Soul, and will be held in Marin, California on January 4 to 6, 2018. For more information please contact Tiffany at tiffany@bacwtt.org

 

Waldorf Teacher Education, Waldorf Schools  
  

"The Portal of Initiation: Mystery Drama, to be performed in Thornhill, Nov. 4th


Tim and Magi Nadelle and their troupe of TQuest actors and stage hands have been working for three years now on producing Rudolf Steiner's "Portal of Initiation", gradually adding more scenes over the course of the three years. Some actors have been part of the project from the start, while others have come and gone.

This year for the first time, they're putting on the whole play, all six hours of it. And there are no plans for follow-up productions in future years. So this may be your best chance to see this mystery drama produced locally by people who have been devoted to this work for three years.

RSCT Foundation-Studies-Program-Director, Paul Hodgkins (lead photo) is one of those who has been involved in the project since the start, playing the role of Benedictus, a spiritual teacher. He writes about his experience with the production:

"At first, I was not so happy to be allocated the role of Benedictus, because I could find nothing in my life experience which could inform me for this role; but, gradually, something unfolded.  I am very grateful to have been a part of this initiative, and to work with such a fine and cooperative group of people.  Tim Nadelle, especially, has done an amazing job of holding things together.  

A Knot of Karmic Threads

In Scene I, a group of people, practically the entire cast, meet and discuss spirituality from very divergent points of view, seemingly unable to find a point of agreement.  In Scene III, Benedictus tells Maria that a knot is forming, woven out of karmic threads.  In the final Scene XI, we see all the people from Scene I, meeting in the spiritual world, and, together, they comprise the very knot of which Benedictus earlier spoke.  In spirit, they dedicate themselves to each other for healing work in the world; it is a beautiful picture.  

This has led me to look in a new way upon the communities in which I have lived and worked.  I now feel gratitude for my fellow human beings, even those who have opposed me, because I can see that our coming together is founded together in spiritual intentions which want to serve the good.  It is my hope that, if nothing else, the audience members can take this away with them...."

For a synopsis of the play and a link to register online for tickets, press here.

  

HOW WE WILL Forum Report -- Thurs. Oct. 19th


This Thursday Oct. 19th at 7 pm, retired Waldorf teacher Elisabeth Chomko, will give a talk about what she learned at a recent anthroposophical youth forum on the subject of social transformation, which she attending in Los Angeles, over the Labour Day weekend. 

Elisabeth says she has been interested in how anthroposophy addresses social issues since she first encountered Rudolf Steiner’s ideas on the threefold nature of the social organism when she was studying anthroposophy in Jarna, Sweden, which co-incidentally is the current home of YIP — a youth initiative program.

So when Elisabeth heard about this conference on applying Steiner’s ideas on social threefolding, she took notice. And then when she looked into it further and learned about the keynote speakers, she was determined to go. 

One speaker was Nicanor Perlas, who ran for president of the Philippines back in 2010 and has been a lifelong social activist and advocate for Steiner’s social ideas. Another speaker was Orland Bishop, who is originally from Guyana, and has been a long-time community activist, working with youth gang members in Los Angeles. And the third keynote speaker was Gerald Hafner, who was co-founder of the Green Party in German, and current leader of the Social Science Section of the School of Spiritual Science in Dornach.

Another speaker at the conference was Laura Summer, who runs an art school in the United States that does not charge tuition.

The fact that this initiative seemed to be coming from young people made it doubly interesting. The organizers of the conference are affiliated with the Elderberry Cafe and bookshop on Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles, which is a combination of anthroposophical hub and social outreach centre. 

There were about 150 participants in the conference, some coming and going over the five days — an intergenerational mix of young people and older experienced people who had been working on these ideas for decades. The conference provided a forum for sharing ideas, and lots of opportunity for people to make person connections, and carry each other in their hearts and minds going forward. 

An initiative to found a second Elderberries cafe is underway in Chicago. Some conference attendees from Detroit offered to help with getting that new cafe going.

  

Anthroposophical Funnyman Ronald Koetzsch


Ronald (not McDonald) Koetzsch is a Professional Comedian

Ronald Koetzsch is a professional stand-up comedian and monologist specializing in humor about Waldorf Education, Anthroposophy, and related matters. In the past twenty years, Ronald has given over 500 performances at Waldorf schools and conferences and at anthroposophical institutions and events in North America and other parts of the world, including New Zealand and Australia. In August 2010, he performed in the Great Hall of the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland, giving perhaps the first example of stand-up comedy in that venerable venue.

And a Card-Carrying Academic...

Ronald holds degrees from Princeton (BA) and from Harvard (MA and PhD) and has taught at Boston University, Dartmouth College, and Hampden-Sydney College of Virginia. He was for many years a senior instructor at the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School and also a writer and columnist for East West Journal. Ronald is the founding and current editor of Renewal: A Journal for Waldorf Education.

For many years he was a faculty member and the Dean of Students at Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks, California. Ronald lives in Fair Oaks with his wife, Anne, his ginger Maine Coon cat, Amelia, five bicycles, and six fountain pens. His son, stepson, and stepdaughter all attended Waldorf school.

Ronald's show is rated “G” and is appropriate for sixth graders and above. All the humor is positive and comes out of respect and love. There is no humor that is demeaning or hurtful. The show contains no profanity, no bathroom humor, and no picking on members of the audience—unless they seem to deserve it.

Photo (above left) showing how Ronald embraces the cultures of other NAFTA partner nations -- and will therefore fit right in, in contemporary Canada -- is via the City of Lakes Waldorf School website.

Comments from Survivors of Ronald’s Performances

“Ronald is a comic genius.”

—Lorenzo D’Aleo, psychotherapist (not Ronald’s!)

“Ronald is a great comedian who helps us to lighten up, laugh about ourselves, love one another more, and experience the joy of living.”

—Margit Ilgen, storyteller, speech artist, and psychotherapist

(also not Ronald’s!)

“As one of a rare and treasured breed of stand-up comedians in a too serious world, Ronald brings the healing hilarity of the most unusually combined percepts and concepts you will ever have the joy of responding to.”

—Ted Mahle, artist and painter

“Ronald gets to the heart of the matter and makes us laugh.”

—Arline Monks, Rudolf Steiner College

“Ronald was hilarious when he performed ‘The Beeswax Conspiracy’ in our community. Along with broad Waldorf themes—the Parent Total Indenture Tuition Program, the Steiner Points Lifestyle Quiz, How to Survive the Teacher Home Visit, et al.—he brought humor based on personalities and hot issues in our school. In closing, he gave a very moving picture of the larger ideas that stand behind Waldorf Education in a way that even new parents could understand. The laughter and sincerity of the evening was a wonderful medicine for our school community. It was great! He was great!”

—Patrice Maynard, former class teacher and AWSNA leader, currently director of Waldorf Publications

And from parents and teachers at the Susquehanna Waldorf School, Marietta, Pennsylvania—

“Ronald was a delight. . . . When he started talking about the temperaments, I couldn't stop laughing . . .

“It was amazing that he knew so much about our school and the personalities in it. It was so much fun to just spend an evening laughing at ourselves, our community, and at perceived Waldorf eccentricities. It really brought us all together."

“Although it was his first visit, Ronald was at total ease and was enthusiastically embraced by all. He was able to make each of us laugh and enjoy being together. It was an evening of laughter and joy and of a much-needed irreverence.”

Ronald's Koetzsch's free public lectures this week -- "Anthroposophy 101" on Wed. Oct. 11th and "The Beeswax Conspiracy" on Fri. Oct. 13th are co-sponsored by the Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto and the Toronto Waldorf School. 

Waldorf Teacher Education, Waldorf Schools, Consulting, Storytelling  
  

Envisioning the Future Follow-up


Photo above: Diana Hughes gives a brief history of the Rudolf Steiner Centre as part of the introductory presentations.

Friday, September 29, 2017, 4 to 6 pm

This past Michaelmas, Sept. 29th, the Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto presented its new 10-yr plan and invited ideas and suggestions for further work and development from the community. Some 75 people took up the challenge and worked together for two hours on a Friday afternoon to brainstorm about how the work of anthroposophy in the world could be furthered in various fields through the RSCT.

Spontaneous groups formed at the meeting to address everything from anthroposophical therapy, to deepening of foundation studies, to Waldorf teacher education, to anthroposophical hubs, to childcare and homeschooling.

Open Space - An Evolving Exploration

Using the technique “Open Space: An Evolving Exploration into the Head, Heart and Hands of Energy Descent”, participants created groups around themes from the 10-year vision and chose which group or groups they wanted to participate in.

The key questions were:

What ideal goal do we want to achieve in three (3) years for this theme of the vision?

What can I/we do to get there – actions, resources, ideas?

What are questions/concerns to address?

Yes, there was a lot of “blue sky”, but that's where it starts. Now we need to bring this enthusiasm and these ideas down into actionable steps and realize some short-term goals.

To That End:

The board members and staff of RSCT will develop a three-year strategic plan with five key objectives we want to realize. Please see the description of the process of developing the strategic plan at the end of this report.

We ask you to aid us in that by continuing your conversations. Connect to the contact person of the group(s) you were in to continue the conversation and help move it towards actions that we can undertake.

Read over the notes from your group and from others. Where can we take a step, what do we need to do it, what can “I” do to make it happen? One small step at a time . . .

Please connect with me at jbrian@rsct.ca or 613-791-8325, or come into my “office” to bounce off ideas and see what the centre can do to help.

This was a great event, with so much energy and good will from every person there. Let's continue it and use the amazing individual resources and gathered on this spot.

Take me to the full "Envisioning the Future" report.

Elisa Vander Hout came all the way from Durham to participate in the Envisioning the Future event. She brought this dragon bread which was baked by her husband Michael Schmidt. Those are red flowers in the dragon's mouth.

Waldorf Teacher Education, Waldorf Schools, Family  
  

Hamo Hammond Memorial Service Oct. 7th


Photo above of Hamo Hammond is from May of 2017, at a tulip festival.

Note: For those who couldn't make to to Hamo's funeral in Smith Falls on August 18th, here will be a memorial service for Hamo Hammond on Saturday October 7th, 2017, at 10 am in Thornhill at the Church of the Christian Community at 901 Rutherford Rd.

Eulogy for Hamo Hammond

by Rev. Evans 

(somewhat modified by Brenda Hammond)

Hamo was born November 9th,1937, the second son of Joan and Percy Hammond. Percy was chairman of Goldfields, one of the big mining houses in Johannesburg, South Africa. Joan was a wonderful cook and particularly gifted with creating an aesthetic home environment. Hamo’s brother Tim was already nearly five years old.

Hamo's Near Death Experience

He grew up in Johannesburg and described his childhood as being “well held”, but that he was a sensitive child. When he was about six years old he had a long hospitalization of two years – first a bad case of measles, an ear operation and finally rheumatic fever. He was so ill that everyone including the doctors believed he would die. His mother prayed intensely for his life and felt that because he survived her prayers were answered and “his life was a gift”. Indeed, Hamo was a gift to so many.

Hamo attended a weekly boarding school for primary, and for high school became a termly boarder at Michaelhouse in the beautiful Natal midlands, only going home to their gracious stone house on the farm for the holidays. He enjoyed maths and sciences and decided to become a chemical engineer, hoping to attend Cambridge University in England. He spent a year in London preparing for the entrance exams, but wasn’t accepted.

Captain and Crew

Instead, he returned to South Africa and began studying at the University of Cape Town. Here he took full advantage of the magnificent winds of the South African peninsula and was an enthusiastic sailor. One year he helped recruit new first year students to the sailing club, and one of these students was our dear Brenda. After Hamo was continually eyeing her in the rear view mirror on the way to sailing and after Brenda saw him in a glowing light at a stock car race, they fell in love and were soon married.

Hamo and Brenda began their long and happy married life of almost 55 years in London, where their first child Belinda was born. They returned to Johannesburg to have Kate and finally Cape Town where William was born. When looking for a school for Belinda, they stumbled across Michael Oak Waldorf School, and felt this was the place for their daughter. When Hamo’s great-aunt heard this, she was pleased because it turned out she was an anthroposophist! As the children went through the school,

Setting a New Course

Hamo and Brenda discovered Rudolf Steiner’s work and this changed the direction of Hamo’s life. Anthroposophy became his guiding star. When he was laid off from Shell, where he had been employed as an engineer, he decided to fulfill a long held wish to become a biodynamic farmer. The family moved to a beautiful historic farm in the winelands near Wellington, South Africa. On this farm Brenda and Hamo’s fourth child, Miles was born. Hamo loved being on the farm, getting up early and caring for the land and spending time in nature.

To England and Weleda

When the worsening political situation in the mid-seventies coincided with not being able to make a living off the land, Hamo and Brenda decided to move the family to England again. This was not an easy time for Hamo, especially because these were years of economic depression. He applied for many jobs but eventually he joined Weleda (UK) as marketing manager. Soon after, the company moved to the midlands. Here at Weleda he had found a place to work based on anthroposophy but also incorporating his love of plants. For years afterwards he would enthusiastically share his deep knowledge of the remedies and their preparations. He was able to boost sales considerably.

After four quite difficult years in England the family returned to South Africa. Through Weleda, Hamo had met Chris Schaefer and the anthroposophical work in organizations, where consultants facilitated the human and spiritual development of individuals and organizations.

Hamo and "The People's Car"

One of the biggest clients Hamo worked for was Volkswagen in South Africa. At this time this factory was the focus of tragedy and violence, many labour protests and police clashes resulting from apartheid taking place in the township. So it was not an easy environment to work in. However, Hamo managed to bring light into the situation on both sides, and through his sensitivity to human relationships and his humour, he was successful in helping the organization develop.

Another large project was his work in a small rural settlement called Montague. Here the emphasis was on community development, bettering the lives of the poor and developing opportunities for change and growth in individuals. Eventually this work lead to him founding the Community Development Resource Association in Cape Town. This Community Development Resource Association not only inspired others like Archbishop Tutu to work with him, but Hamo's ability to bring out the best in people, his capacity to facilitate their development, and his innovative vision all contributed to the real success of this work. Indeed, Hamo felt that this was the most significant deed he had done in this life, founding an anthroposophical association to give back, support and develop communities that suffered deprivation and need.

The Canadian Chapter

In 1993, Hamo, Brenda and Miles moved to Toronto. Hamo was contracted to work again for Volkswagen in Canada, where he was a consultant for a number of years. He continued working freelance as an organizational consultant, working also for Sekkem in Egypt and for the United Nations in Guyana among others.

He became a well loved member of the anthroposophical community in Richmond Hill, attending and hosting study groups, serving on various boards, including the Rudolf Steiner Centre and The Christian Community.

Learning to Walk All Over Again

Also, during these years he suffered an unknown virus, and again, like in his childhood, was incapacitated and had to learn to walk for the third time in his life. He learned to walk as a child, then a second time after his two year hospital stay, and again after this virus. Perhaps this is what gave Hamo such uprightness, such integrity of soul.

Hamo was a man who inspired trust. Many of us sought advice from him for he was a person who one felt was qualified to advise. He was also reserved, in the best way, even one could say private. Hamo was one of the most dignified people I have ever met. And this dignity of his awakened dignity in those around him.

His upright being, his warmth, his sensitive understanding and his humour were evident to all who met him. Even though Hamo struggled with self-criticism and never felt fully successful, he touched so many lives, helped and inspired so many individuals. In this way he fulfilled his humanity, for in the words of Rudolf Steiner “the goal of development is to move from being a taker to being a giver”.

The Deeper Secret

And yet, there is an even deeper secret of human development which Hamo found at the very end. Just before he crossed, I asked him what the greatest blessing in his life had been. With tears in his eyes, he said, “I could say Brenda, I could say art, but the most blessed I have felt has been in the past few days, being able to really receive and feel so loved by my children, by Brenda, by God. Giving and receiving love is the most important thing in human life", he said. 

May Hamo be a shining beacon for us of what being human really means, to become able to give and receive love.

Thank you, dear Hamo.

For more on Hamo and his relationship to the Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto, see our earlier post.

Hamo at a street party.

Recollections from Friends

About the author of the next memory, Brenda writes: "This is from our dear friend Judy Cooke. She and her husband Julian both came from Johannesburg, but moved to Cape Town where their sons also attended Michael Oak School. I first met Julian when I was 15! Judy and I became friends at the University of Cape Town and we maintain a deep and wonderful connection." 

Thinking about our dear friend Hamo, one thing that leapt out of our memories was FOOD, glorious food, which we enjoyed so often with him and the whole family. It started in London, in 1962, on a freezing winter's day, when he and Bren took us to the Shah Indian Restaurant, where you could get a marvelous curry dish for four and sixpence, and where we learnt what "proper" curry was all about. We still have the Shah's little business card from that day, and we nearly always celebrated being together in later years with a superb curry which Hame was the master of.

An exciting venture was when the family moved to Wellington, where he developed a wine farm which grew the "stokkies" for propogating new vines. How we admired his ethical stand on the situation of the labourers he worked with - refusing to allow the "dop" system, (paying the labourers in wine instead of cash) which was the norm then, to be used on the farm and using a totally different approach to the generally brutal disciplining methods of most farmers in the area.

Later came CDRA - his commitment to this wonderful organisation which he helped to create, and which inspired and promoted the development of leadership in community organisations in the Western Cape in a unique and lasting way, during the difficult last days of apartheid, and into the new dispensation. Both Julian and I, in our different NGO's, experienced the creativity, the humanity, the empowerment that CDRA offered, and were among those who benefitted enormously from it. A lasting legacy of his, to this country.

Hamo's deeply ethical position and serious engagement with his country, was belied by a lightness of touch, a gorgeous sense of humour, a twinkle in his eye, which was just a delight to be around. We shall miss him hugely.

From Diana Zinter

Diana was one of Hamo's students at the RSCT.

Hamo’s course in school during the day was received with respect and reverence by our entire class. This mood enabled a vivid experience of intentional conversation we willed in a particular class. We were in the school library that day – our usual room was not available for some reason. The room was small, the space intimate. I recall each thought being built sequentially, logically, one upon the next. It stands as my ideal of the real working of social space.

From Dawne McFarlane

On the occasion of the 2017 RSCT Part Time Waldorf Educator Program Graduation

I’m sharing these words in honour of Hamo Hammond, one of my esteemed teachers.

During my RSCT teacher education year, Diana Hughes went on her honeymoon with John Kettle. In her absence, Hamo carried our class and became a formative mentor for me. He met me full on right from the start- at my admission interview. Hamo challenged me to deepen my interest in the material world as well as my self reflection. He gave our class tools for using conflict as an opportunity for growth.

He counseled me to explore my relationship with my angel. Hamo did this with generosity of heart, without judgement, and without nuance. At my graduation he presented me with my certificate and spoke directly, with great warmth and without sentimentality, about my wrestling with challenges. The wrestling continues, as does my appreciation.

Photos: 

1. Hamo at a tulip festival, in May of 2017

2. Hamo at Niagara Falls, a couple of summers ago

3. Hamo in London, Trafalgar Square, the Christmas before last.

4. Hamo at a street party

5. A certificate of special achievement, from Volkswagen.

Thanks to Brenda for the photos and other material.

  
September 2017

Looking ahead to 2027 this Friday Sept 29th


The Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto has been around for decades now, running training programs in anthroposophy and Waldorf teacher education, but recently it seems like change is in the air.

Hiring James Brian as the Centre’s new director is part of it, but it’s the Centre’s new ten-year plan that really sets the stage for what will unfold in the decade ahead.

Envisioning the next ten years

But it’s one thing to have a plan, and it’s another thing to build a team that will carry it forward. That’s why Friday’s "Envisioning the Future" presentation and feedback session looks to be so interesting. You can have all the great ideas in the world but if they don’t find resonance within a community of human beings, what does it amount to?

And although they will be sharing their views and reactions, the group that will come together Friday from 4 - 6 pm at the RSCT will not be pronouncing final judgements on the merits of the RSCT Board’s ten-year plan. In fact the people who may ultimately implement that plan, or some future iteration of it, may not even be in the room this Friday.

Plans and Ideas for the 21st Century

Still, these are brave moves we’re talking about — developing a ten-year plan for the expansion of anthroposophical work in the 21st century — and then taking those ideas to your community for feedback and suggestions. Kudos to the RSCT leadership for boldly stepping forward like this into the future.

Read the details of the RSCT’s ten-year plan here. And come to the RSCT this Friday Sept. 29th to hear it presented and to share your feedback and perspectives. 

Join us after the meeting to share soup and dragon bread, and continue the discussion, at 6:15 pm in the Hesperus dining hall.

Photos are from the July 6th, 2017 event at which new RSCT director James Brian was first introduced to the community. In the lead photo, James Brian (middle) chats with Jef Saunders and Regine Kurek.

 

  
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