Board’s Activities 2020 – 21


The AGM of the Australian Board of the Vellore, CMCH Ltd

Saturday 17th October 2020

The AGM of the Australian Board of the Vellore Christian Medical College & Hospital took place via Zoom meeting on Saturday 17th October 2020.

The meeting commenced at 2 PM (AEDT). Stephen Aseervatham, the president of the Board chaired the session. The special guest was Dr. J.V. Peter, the Director of CMC.


In Attendance:


Stephen Aseervatham                     President

David Runia                                      Vice President

Richard Caitens                               Treasurer

Jenny Olver                                       Acting Secretary

Chellam Kirubakaran                       Publicity Officer

Board Members:

Bella George                                     Immediate Past President

Mahiban Thomas                             Alumni Association

Isaac Muthiah                                   Alumni Association

Robyn Bradley                                  NSW FOV

Sharon Thomas                                QLD FOV

Neeta Wilfred                                    QLD FOV

Ken Gilbertson                                  VIC FOV

Neil Champion                                  VIC FOV

Renjy Nelson                                    SA FOV

Daryl Teague                                    SA FOV

Ian Olver                                           AVB Invitee

Shoma Baidya                                  AVB Invitee

Anu John                                           AVB Invitee

Ian Roberts-Thompson                    AVB Invitee


The devotions were led by Dr. Peter and was based on Jeremiah 17: 7: But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him , pondering whether we could still delight in the Lord in an ‘off season’ such as Covid-focussed 2020. The answer is definitely affirmative based on God’s promises.

Presentation by Dr J V Peter

JVP painted us a clear and up to date picture of CMC’s response to the COVID pandemic. From the initial request from the authorities to establish 150 dedicated beds which grew up to the current 910 dedicated beds, it has been a constant problem-solving exercise. Responding to the evolving needs, the institution saw the preparedness of the hospital and the staff. Undergirding all of this was the statement, ‘We could not have done this alone’ and the declaration that God’s guidance has and will continue to be pivotal. JVP was clear that this has come at personal cost to all the staff and has brought many close to breaking. He also expressed gratitude to all sources of financial donations and prayer support.

The presentation was followed by a very robust and productive session of Q & A with very pertinent issues raised, mostly by the alumni participants.

The Board thanked JVP for his participation and contribution to the proceedings which was very much appreciated

Minutes of the previous AGM 24/8/2019

Jenny Olver tabled the minutes which were accepted as an accurate record.

President’s Report

Stephen presented his report. The main points raised were:

Auditing of our Accounts: We were three years behind with the auditing and they were done during the year. We also got the accounts for the year 2019-20 audited on time for it to be presented at this AGM.

Constitution: We have done a revision of our constitution which was more than 17 years old, to clearly specify the current set up of the organisation and the relationship between the Board and the state groups.

Annual National Newsletter: The long promised newsletter was finally sent early in the year and it was well received by the Friends from the state branches.
There was some discussion about the concept of a generic brochure to be produced by the publicity department at CMC, an idea which was originally proposed by us and was accepted with much enthusiasm by all concerned. It was agreed that it would be particularly useful to us in keeping potential donors informed. Agreed to follow it up with CMC regarding the progress.

Treasurer’s Report:

Richard presented his report in the new format, which in fact is what he normally prepares for ACNC. All agreed that the current format was easier to read and comprehend, compared to the one we used to receive in the past. The Board acknowledged with thanks the diligent hard work of Richard in getting the accounts up-to date. The treasurer’s report was accepted.

Stephen presented a summary of the designated donations. It was noted that there were twice the number donations received this year compared to last year and also from many newer sources. A very high proportion of the donations were to support the COVID Preparedness Fund. A special mention was made regarding the increased support by the undergraduate and post graduate alumni.

State Reports

The state FOV Reports were presented by Robyn Bradly (NSW), Sharon Thomas (QLD), Renjy Nelson (SA), David Runia (VIC) and Mahiban Thomas (Alumni Association).

Stephen reminded the states that according to the regulations of the ACNC they did not need to have their accounts audited  If their annual turnover was <$250,000 and as subgroups of a larger entity, they are covered by the financial obligations of the Board to ACNC.

Other Business  –  Constitution

The constitution was widely circulated for feedback from the Board members and state branches and many of the suggestions made have been incorporated. Minor changes for clarity not content recently suggested by Neil Champion will be included. The revised constitution was accepted, and it will be forwarded to the ACNC.

 Election of Board of Directors

The following were elected for the year 2020-21

President – Stephen Aseervatham

Vice-President – Mahiban Thomas

Secretary – David Runia

Treasurer – Richard Caitens

Publicity Officer – Sharon Thomas

Date / Venue 2021 AGM

It was agreed that due to uncertainty of circumstances in the ongoing Covid environment, the next AGM would likely be a hybrid of face-to-face and Zoom.

The date and venue to be decided in due course

Closure of the Meeting.

Stephen thanked the Board members for their participation, with a special mention of those who attended the meeting for the first time. The number of alumni in attendance was very heartening. The ongoing support and encouragement from the Board of Directors during the year was very much appreciated.

He thanked the outgoing Directors – Evelyn Lehmann and Chellam Kirubakaran for their services during the past 3 years.The Board appreciated the help of Jenny Olver for the past six months as the acting secretary and her tireless work in organising the AGM.

He closed the meeting with a prayer which was followed by the members of the Board joining in singing the college song ‘Silver and Blue’.


President’s Report –  Australian Vellore Board  – AGM October 2020

We had quite an eventful year since our last AGM. Unfortunately, the COVID pandemic has put an end to all the plans for the various fund-raising activities for this year by the state groups. But the upshot was that a few things which were in the pipeline for quite some time were completed. We thank God for his divine guidance during the year gone by.

Accounts and Auditing

It has always been a concern that we don’t present audited accounts at our AGMs as we are expected to do. Also, for various reasons, our accounts weren’t audited for the past 3 years. We were able to address the above issues because of two main reasons. Firstly, there was a change of auditors and the current ones are very proactive and were keen to get the work done on time. We also started using a professional accounting package. The outcome was that our past accounts were all audited and furthermore, last year’s accounts, which are presented today, have already been audited ready to be forwarded to the ACNC. I wish to thank and congratulate Richard for all the hard work he has put into achieving this. Our thanks also go to the auditor Connor Hindom who completed the work in time for the AGM.


We have discussed in the past the need for a new constitution. Two main things were missing from the old one. Firstly, it did not mention the state groups, how they function and their relationship to the Board. Secondly, there was no mention of the support fund and its tax-deductible status.

Using a template provided by the ACNC we have drafted a new constitution which has been circulated widely among the Board members and state branches of FOV. Thank you all for your invaluable feedback. We have incorporated all your suggestions and today we are presenting the final draft for the Board’s approval before sending it to the ACNC.

I wish to express our gratitude to the following for their enormous input into the project. David has been involved from the word go. We also had legal input from Philip Slade, and John Connan has been meticulous in proofreading it at the end.

Donations and Transfer of funds to CMC

It has been an unusual year because of the large amount of donations we received especially in support of the COVID preparedness campaign. In April 2020 we made two transfers – $150,000 towards allocation of designated donations and another $250,000 from our reserve at the request of the CMC administration. This was used towards purchasing ICU equipment to be used for COVID patients. The understanding is that this amount will be considered as a ‘loan’ and could be used in the coming years towards our future designated donations. We will touch on the projects towards which we received donations and allocated our money during the financial report.

Council Meetings – January 2020

Chellam, David and I attended the council meetings. You would have received the report compiled and sent by David. We had the opportunity to visit Jawadhi Hills, Chittoor and Kannigapuram campuses. The highlight was the dinner meeting with the International FOVs. It gave us the opportunity to come to know them, share our concerns and exchange ideas. Many department heads also attended the meeting and gave short presentations.

International FOV Zoom meetings

One of the outcomes of the above meeting was, on our initiative, we have established a regular forum to meet via Zoom on a quarterly basis; the first meeting was a couple of months ago. JVP gave a power point presentation on the latest happenings at CMC. This is going to be a regular feature and we also hope to discuss combined projects in the presence of Hugh Skeil from the Development office.


Publicity Brochure: At the International FOV meeting in January, we raised the matter of the possibility of a generic publicity brochure to be produced by the Publicity Department at CMC, which could be used by various groups all over the world. They were quite enthusiastic about the proposal and we have agreed to help them financially. Unfortunately, it has been put on hold until the COVID crisis is over.

Newsletter:  In the past we have promised an annual newsletter from the Board to the friends at large and finally we managed to produce one which was circulated via the state branches earlier this year. I received positive responses back from some of our donor base in NSW. We hope to continue producing it in a more attractive format.

Tele / Zoom Conferences

Since the last AGM, the Board met via teleconference once and held one Zoom conference and the Board of Directors also recently had a Zoom meeting planning for the AGM. With the COVID restrictions, we may be using the online media for our meetings in the foreseeable future.


First of all, my sincere thanks to the Board of Directors for all your help during the year. We have maintained regular communication with each other via email and phone. Thanks to all the members of the Board with whom I have kept in touch during the year for all your input.

It was sad that Evelyn had to leave the Board early this year due to personal and family health reasons. She did a great job as the secretary for the past 3 years and we will miss her. I wish to thank Jenny Olver for stepping in to help us in the role as the acting secretary. It really took a big load off my shoulders as she worked tirelessly organising this AGM. We really appreciate all that she is doing for the FOV in South Australia.

Chellam has been a valuable part of the Board for the past couple of years. She is stepping down at the end of this term. The Board very much valued her knowledge and the years of experience at CMC she brought to all our deliberations. Thank you Chellam.

We are hoping to welcome a few new faces to the Board. We are quite excited about the prospect of a new lease of life to the organisation and looking forward to greater things in the coming years. Thank you.

Stephen Aseervatham

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