AGM Australian Vellore Board 2022

The Annual General Meeting of the Australian Vellore Board was held at Nazareth Lutheran Church, Woolloongabba, Queensland, on Saturday 22 November 2022. It was the first AGM since the outbreak of the pandemic. There were 22 attendees, with twelve physically present and the remainder participating via zoom.

The meeting started with a presentation by the Director of the CMC, Dr Vikram Mathews, who had recently commenced his term of office. He gave a thorough overview of the operations of the College and Hospital at the present time and outlined the challenges facing the organization. There are three fully operational campuses, in Vellore, Ranipet and Chittoor, which has necessitated some changes to administrative structures. Dr Mathews placed much emphasis on the continuing need for mission and outreach, both to the mission hospitals throughout India, and to the work being done in the local area, with the project in the Jawadhi Hills serving as a model. Research too was a priority, and he emphasized the need for it to be context sensitive. The biggest challenge facing the institution was finding the right people who would show the dedication that has been the hallmark of the CMC throughout its existence. He was optimistic that this would continue to be the case.

Devotions was led by the Rev Brian Lee, who read from 1 Corinthians 13 and emphasized the role of hope, which can propel us forward as individuals and as communities. The CMC, he said, is a ?palace of hope.?

In his report the President, Dr Stephen Aseervatham, noted that the past year had been a quieter year after the two hectic years dominated by the covid-19 pandemic. This meant that the volume of donations was less than the previous years. In addition, the state branches were not yet able to resume the level of activities before the virus struck. Nevertheless, it had been a successful year for the Board. It was an opportune time to review the financial situation, notably the way that the AVB transfers its funds to Vellore. It was noted that there had been an accumulation of unallocated funds. A new system for managing donations has been put in place and is working well. In addition, there was concern that donors were not receiving acknowledgment and information regarding the way that funds were used. For this too, new procedures have been developed.

In his report, the Treasurer, Mr Richard Caitens, gave a thorough overview of the state of the AVB finances. In the past financial year $250,000 had been transferred to Vellore. Of this sum only $14,000 remained unallocated. Soon another similar amount would be sent. Expenses were very low, almost wholly confined to audit, insurance, and bank fees. At present assets stand at a healthy $615,000.

There followed reports by the State Presidents of the NSW, QLD, SA and VIC branches. Each of the branches has differing challenges, but a common element is that they are all rethinking their strategies in relation to both fund- and friend-raising in the post-pandemic situation. It was also reported by the secretary of the Alumni Association, Dr Geeta Sales, that its activities were slowly restarting, mainly via electronic contact.

Communications and publicity are important aspects of the AVB?s task. At present a brochure for use by all the branches is being prepared and will be ready early in the new year. The Board is conscious that its website needs a thorough facelift. The information that it provides is basically adequate and reasonably up to date, but it needs to be presented in a more attractive and current manner. The meeting accepted a proposal to modernize the site at a cost of about $7000?$8000. This will be carried out in collaboration with a professional firm that assists not-for-profit organizations.

The current Board of Directors were renominated for their positions.

Stephen Aseervatham       President

Mahiban Thomas              Vice President

Secretary                         David Runia

Treasurer                         Richard Caitens

Publicity Officer                Sharon Thomas

The meeting accepted the proposal of the President that the Board would continue to consist of the Directors, the Presidents of the State branches and one further representative from each state, together with the President and the Secretary of the Alumni Association. Dr Ian Olver announced that he would be stepping down from the Board. He was warmly thanked for his long service to the FOV and the Board, which included the Presidency in 2008?2014.

The meeting was closed with a word of prayer pronounced by the Secretary, Prof David Runia.

The same evening the Queensland branch held a most convivial dinner at the same venue. The guest speaker was the Vice-President of the Board, Dr Mahiban Thomas (Darwin), who spoke about what Vellore has meant for him as a super-specialist Christian surgeon.

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