Report of the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Canadian Friends Historical Association (CFHA) held September 23, 2023 on Zoom 

CFHA board must call the members of Canadian Friends Association to meet an annual general meeting. CFHA was incorporated 2009 and is subject to the Ontario Non-Profit Incorporation Act. CFHA is also a Canadian Charity (Federal) and can be found on Canada Helps:

Elaine Bishop chaired the AGM as interim chair of CFHA. Reports were given:

At the beginning of the AGM Jim Thompson joined to report that in January 2024 CFHA should receive a legacy bequest of $75,000 from Gordon Thompson, former chair of CFHA who died in January 2022.

  • Interim chair report (Elaine Bishop). Elaine stepped down at the conclusion of the meeting.
  • Financial statements for the fiscal year ending May 31, 2023 (Robert Barnett)
  • Presentation of the budget for fiscal year June 1, 2023 – May 31. 2024. A deficit budget.
  • CFHA bylaw change to state our fiscal year is June 1- May 31
  • Transition to Business Sherpa Group (BSG) to manage our financial affairs. (Chris Landry has left)
  • Membership report. CFHA uses CiviCRM to manage membership. Membership year starts September 1.
  • CFHA space at Friends House (Haslam Room), 60 Lowther Avenue, Toronto. Much of the material had been at Gordon Thompson’s house. All of the material in Unionville has not been moved. Haslam Room material needs to be sorted out, inventoried, and some culled.
  • Report of Friendly Fridays which continues every other Friday reading George Fox’s Journal (Donna Moore and Chad Dionne). Those who participate feel spiritual inspiration.
  • Canadian Quaker Library and Archives (CQLA) report (Elaine Bishop, chair of the CQLA committee). CQLA is owned by Canadian Yearly Meeting (CYM) trustees and the committee that looks after it reports to CYM. The Archives receives and cares for minutes, records and related materials of the Yearly Meeting and its committees, and the constituent Monthly Meetings. The Archives is available for Yearly Meeting, academic, genealogical, and other research use by appointment. CFHA donates annually $500 to CQLA
  • Report of CFHA digital archivist (Allana Mayer) Allana manages the CFHA website.
  • Sydney Harker is the contact for the blog. She uploads material to the blog. She offers to edit submissions to the blog.
  • Nominations: Sylvia Powers has joined the executive board.
  • Discussion about the future of CFHA. The decision was taken that CFHA will continue as a not for profit organization and the executive board will meet as necessary to further the association’s organizational needs and its mandate.

The CFHA executive met 16 November, 2023. Evelyn Schmitz-Hertzberg chaired the meeting and will continue to do so until the next AGM in September 2024. We are looking to hold an in person AGM and are looking for a topic for a lecture and historic site visit in conjunction with the AGM. Volunteer help would be greatly appreciated.

CFHA is in a quiescent period. The loss of Gordon Thompson has made a big decline in the CFHA board. Other executive members have also stepped down. The board has legal status, but in the past was also the organizational body for the CFHA events/pilgrimages to Quaker sites. The pandemic forced CFHA to hold its AGMs on Zoom. Members of the board were located at great distances across Canada and this made in person meetings difficult. CFHA as with many organizations has migrated to online meetings (AGM and lectures). This can be alienating for many who have interest in Quaker history and may be non-academics. CFHA was not started by academics though Professor Arthur Dorland gave it his blessing, and CFHA has attracted over the years many who are not trained as academics in history or archives in records and information management. At the threshing session held October 2022, Rob Leverty of the Ontario Historical Society which has been in existence since 1888, stated that “people want…to protect history. If Quakers don’t save their history, it isn’t going to happen…Quaker history is a critical voice during this crisis of democracy and civil society. Groups such as ours can be exhausted and consider folding…Groups can go into hibernation or make a big shift in what they are trying to accomplish…He recommends we keep our executive alive. We may slip down to three executive directors legally and can always revive.”

“The mission of the Canadian Friends Historical Association is the preservation and communication of the on-going history and faith of Friends (Quakers) in Canada and their contribution to the Canadian Experience.” This is not the same as the Canadian Quaker Library and Archives mandate: “The Archives receives and cares for minutes, records and related materials of the Yearly Meeting and its committees, and the constituent Monthly Meetings. The Canadian Quaker Archives also includes the Arthur Garrett Dorland Friends Historical Research Library with the Rendell Rhoades Quaker Discipline Collection as its core.”  CFHA was started 1972 to encourage the study of and to communicate Canadian Quaker history. The Quaker Archives was located at the University of Western Ontario (now Western University) and was moved to Pickering College in Newmarket in 1983. It is clear that the two groups do similar work and as such must have a cooperative and collegial relationship.

CYM clerks’ opinion in May 2023 was that they were not interested in an amalgamation of CFHA and CQLA. They suggested rather that CFHA be laid down.

It has been stated that what can be said about Canadian Quaker history has already been written about. There is however much that still remains to be said. Quaker history has continued to be made in the past 50 years of CFHA. Our understanding of who we are as Quakers is evolving. Past events and people could be revisited on that basis. The next generation of Quakers is hopefully interested in our history. Marcus Garvey famously wrote: “A people without knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots”. Quakers must not become an unarchived group.

CFHA was started in 1972 and is therefore 51 years old. 40 years in 2012 was wonderfully celebrated at the AGM held in Isaiah Tubbs Resort and Conference Centre in Prince Edward County (PEC). Quakers had settled Prince Edward County (PEC) in the 1790’s and CFHA toured the county as part of the celebration. Gordon Thompson wrote a lovely article about the time in PEC: Canadian Quaker History Journal 77 (2012).

CFHA and others at Meeting for Worship Bloomfield 2012.

If anyone is interested in the details of the reports from the AGM please contact me:
Evelyn Schmitz-Hertzberg
November 30, 2023
[email protected]

Categories: AGM


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