Minutes of the 2003 CSBS
Annual General Meeting

Dalhousie University
Halifax, Nova Scotia
May 29, 16h00-17h00

Present: Dietmar Neufeld, Colleen Shantz, Michel Desjardins, John L. McLaughlin, Gary Knoppers, Fred Wisse, Glen Taylor, Mona Tokarek LaFosse, Stephen Wilson, Peter Richardson, Christine Mitchell, Bill Richards, Marion Taylor, Nancy Calvert-Koyzis, David Hawkin, Wayne McCready, John F. Horman, Paul E. Dion, Joyce Rilett Wood, Richard Ascough, Margaret MacDonald, Harry O. Maier, Catherine Rose, Karen Williams, Lincoln Blumell, Keir Hammer, Phil Harland, Matthew Mitchell, Lissa Wray Beal, Rebecca Idestrom, Adele Reinhartz, Randall Heskett, J. Richard Middleton, Susan Slater, John Kessler, Robert Derrenbacker, Keith Bodner, Daniel Smith, Allan Martens, Ian Henderson, Edith M. Humphrey, Sylvia Keesmaat, Terry Donaldson, Erin Runions, Fiona Black, Bill Morrow, Kimberly Stratton, John Kloppenborg, David Jobling, Jack Lightstone, Christiana de Groot, Murray Baker, Francis Landy, Michele Murray, Daniel Miller, Patricia Dutcher-Walls, Steven Muir.

1. Approval of the Agenda
The agenda was approved as circulated.

2. Approval of the Minutes
The minutes of the last Annual General Meeting (May 27, 2002) were approved as circulated (Richardson/Wilson), with one correction: David Tushingham (point 3) becomes Douglas Tushingham.

3. President’s Report
Fred Wisse expressed his thanks to the other members of the Executive for their service and collegiality, highlighting the importance of email communication and the website to the health of the Society. He also noted that membership remained high, with a healthy mix of junior and senior scholars.

4. Executive Secretary’s Report
Michel Desjardins announced CSBS’s Congress dates for next year: Sunday, May 30 through Tuesday, June 1, in the context of a Congress that will run from May 29 to June 5. He also reviewed the list of upcoming congresses: University of Manitoba (2004), University of Western Ontario (2005), York University (2006), University of Saskatchewan (2007), University of British Columbia (2008).

He reminded members of the Society’s links to the Canadian Corporation for Studies in Religion, mentioning the importance of contributing effectively to SR and the CCSR website. Peter Richardson added an ECSJ update, announcing the upcoming publication of Michele Murray’s Playing a Jewish Game and noting that several manuscripts were under review. He encouraged members to consider ESCJ for their monographs.

Michel reminded members of the Society’s links to the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, noting their advocacy work in helping to generate the new SSHRC Canada Research Scholarships (M.A. scholarships beginning this Fall; Ph.D. scholarships in 2004), and the two task forces (Scholarly Associations; New Scholars’ Needs) that would report on best practices in November 2003.

He also indicated that the Executive had started to plan for the Society’s 75th anniversary in 2008. Colleen Shantz added that the Executive intended to establish a planning committee to help build toward this event; an email note would go out to members in the near future asking for volunteers to serve on this committee. She added that Michel Desjardins also intended to prepare a study of CSBS members for this occasion.

Fred Wisse closed this section of the meeting by thanking Michel for his six years of service as Executive Secretary on behalf of the Society (saying lovely things that the secretary is too embarrassed to record).

5. Student Liason Officer’s Report
Colleen Shantz thanked those who contributed their time and energy to this year’s special session on writing: John Kloppenborg, David Jobling, Fiona Black and Michel Desjardins. She also encouraged student members to keep in touch with the Student Liaison Officer, expressing their interests and concerns—adding that the Society’s student membership was strong: about 1 in 4 members are students, and students contributed 18 CSBS Congress presentations this year.

Fred Wisse congratulated Colleen for her new permanent appointment at St. Michael’s College, and thanked her for her two years of exceptional service on the Executive.

6. Vice-President’s Report and Nominations
Gary Knoppers congratulated the student essay prize winners (Murray Baker and Lissa Wray Beal) for their exceptional scholarship.

He then submitted the following slate for Executive positions: David Hawkin (Memorial University of Newfoundland) as Vice-President (2003-2004), Dietmar Neufeld (continuing) as Treasurer and Membership Secretary (2003-2006), Michele Murray (Bishop’s University) as Executive Secretary (2003-2006), and Mona Tokarek LaFosse as Student Liaison Officer (2003-2004). With no other nominations coming from the floor, and following a motion that nominations close (Richardson/Reinhartz), the four were elected by acclamation, then thanked for their willingness to serve and continue to serve the Society.

7. Programme Coordinator’s Report
Glen Taylor thanked members for submitting paper proposals: this year’s program was brimming with 59 contributions, one third of which were from students. He also announced a few changes to the program, gave instructions on how to get to the dinner, and thanked Susan Slater for her work as local representative on the Society’s behalf (confirming rooms, choosing a dinner locale, welcoming the Executive).

8. Communications Officer’s Report
John McLaughlin reported on the following issues:

n His current e-mail list comprises 268 out of 288 members. Both First and Second mailings were distributed via this list, as well as membership news as it became available. E-mail communication continues to be a money-saving mechanism, and an effective way to share information. He encouraged members to send him news (including the completion of dissertations) and book publication notices, and to to keep him updated on email address changes.

n Webpage additions continue to be added. Programmes and abstracts from 1989 through 2002 are now available. He offered heartfelt thanks to Paul Dion for his ongoing translation of webpage sections from English into French.

n The Bulletin was prepared and distributed. A slight change this year: forthcoming publications were not listed under publications; he encouraged members to wait until full bibliographic information is available before including these works as publications.

n Five volumes were nominated for the 2003 Francis W. Beare Award and four volumes for the 2003 R. B. Y. Scott Award. The unsung heroes in these deliberations are the judges (three for each award), who are anonymous and remain unknown even to one another. He encouraged members to recommend outstanding books in Christian origins for consideration for the upcoming Beare Award, and outstanding books in Hebrew Bible / Old Testament and Ancient Near East, with formal notification of the awards to go out in the Fall in the First Mailing. Self-nominations are accepted, as are ongoing financial donations earmarked for these prizes.

9. Treasurer and Membership Secretary’s Report
Dietmar Neufeld, acting as both Membership Secretary and Treasurer, touched on the following points:

n Membership numbers remain strong—up to 288 from 272 in both 2001 and 2002, and 255 in 2000. 29 new members were nominated for 2003. New members include: John Harvey, Sandra Boyko, Cameron Boyd Taylor, Karl McDaniel, Gerbern S. Oegema, Elizabeth Morton, Matthew W. Dunn, Jennifer Pfenniger, Dean Brady, Barbara Craig, Briana Lee, Ken Ristau, R. Glenn Wooden, Jean-Philippe Fontanille, Etienne Haché, Pierluigi Piovanelli, Elizabeth M. Davis, Murray Baker, Amanda Benckhuysen, Catherine Rose, R. S. Kraemer, Anders Runesson, Pauline Hogan, Wei-Hua (Wesley) Hu, Allan W. Martens, Michael Pahl, Margaret Dore, Rene Baergen, Ian McDonald, and (added late) Randall Heskett.

A motion to accept these people as new members (Neufeld/Lightstone) received unanimous support.

n SSHRC renewed its travel grant of $4755 for this fiscal year. He distributed it (with some money carried over from last year) to registered participants using a formula of 25% (for full members) and 40% (for students) of people’s requests.

n The Society’s financial picture is stable, mainly as a result of recruitment of new members, high membership, generous donations, and sound investment by the Endowment Committee. Projected expenses for 2003-2004 (ca. $16,000) will be offset fully by projected receipts.

n Wayne McCready reviewed the history of the Endowment Committee’s work (chaired by himself, and also including Peter Richardson, Harold Remus and William Klassen): investing $56,425 with Merrill Lynch Canada in 1998 (transferred to Jennings Capital Inc. in 2002), to ensure long-term financial health. The Society has a 30 year investment strategy that is reviewed annually by the Society’s Executive on the recommendation of the Endowment Committee. Features of the investment plan include: (a) a commitment to long-term investment strategies for endowed funds; (b) a conservative approach to investment for an income and growth portfolio; (c) and a judicious use of interest from the investments. The portfolio market evaluation in May 2002 reached $71,567; in May 2003, despite ongoing financial troubles worldwide, it stood at $72,258.91. In addition to growth in the principal invested, these funds have provided the Society on average $4,000 per annum in extra income; this past year for the first time the Society was in a position to start re-investing some of this (interest) income.

The Treasurer thanked the Endowment Committee for their work, then moved (Neufeld/Murray) that his report be received and approved.

10. Other Business
It was brought to members’ attention that the Women’s Scholars Breakfast did not take place as it had in previous years. Edith Humphrey encouraged interested people to take the initiative next year to ensure that a breakfast (or late afternoon beer, etc.) be arranged.

Francis Landy announced that all that remained of his department in Edmonton were three biblical scholars: Willi Braun, Ehud Ben Zvi, and himself.

Fred Wisse thanked everyone for their participation, the members of the Executive for their work, and the Society at large for their support.

11. Adjournment
Peter Richardson moved (seconded by Steve Wilson) that the meeting be adjourned.

(Minutes prepared by Michel Desjardins, June, 2003)

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