COV&R-Bulletin No. 3 (Sept. 1992)
Executive Secretary's Report: Conference at Stanford University 1992
There were 37 registered participants who came to discuss "Ethnocentrism and the Study of Violence." Tobin Siebers did a fine job of keynoting on the theme. His paper was in the form of comment on the debate between Geertz and Rorty concerning the tension between "truth" (seeking to understand the other) and "solidarity" (the importance of affirming concrete social and community bonds) in the work of anthropology, the discipline engendered by ethical reflection (Rousseau). All the papers were good, and we had an intense debate over Robert Hamerton-Kelly's book, Sacred Violence, a discussion that seemed to be cathartic and finally (I hope) conciliatory. We owe special thanks to Vern Redekop, who intervened at a crucial moment when the discussion had seemed to reach an impasse and got us back into a dialogical mode.
There was also a preconference workshop at the First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto that was led by Roel Kaptein. The topic of the workshop was "Human Desire, Healing, and the Holy Spirit." About 20 COV&R members plus 30-40 others from the host church and the Stanford community came to become engaged with Roel and his inimitable style. The Advisory Board agreed that some such praxis oriented event would be desirable to continue offering in conjunction with the annual meetings.
As noted in the letter to members last summer, a number of decisions and recommendations were made at the 1992 meeting:
(1) Regarding the relation of the Bulletin to membership, the Advisory Board has decided to permit subscription to the Bulletin without membership for $15 per year.
(2) Another Advisory Board decision: for future annual meetings the registration fee for members will be lower than for nonmembers.
(3) The Advisory Board decided to recommend five changes in the constitution, which will be presented for approval at the next annual meeting. They are:
a. In Article I, add at the end of the first sentence"at Stanford." This is purely for fund raising purposes. In most of our communications we would still refer to the society as the Colloquium on Violence and Religion or COV&R, but for fund raising efforts it was thought that the institutional identification would be attractive to potential supporters. Apropos of the use of the Stanford name in this way, it does not require the university's legal permission.
b. In Article III, the addition of the office of treasurer. Gil Bailie, already on the Board, has agreed to accept this position, which will be on a pro tem basis until the amendments are approved.
c. In Article IV, eleven elected members in addition to the officers rather than eight as present. (The present Board, which began as a pro tem advisory group, will continue two more years in order to synchronize the election of Board members, which is to occur in 1994.)
d. In Article V, it is recommended that we drop the Nominating Committee as too cumbersome for a small society. We can always add this committee later if it appears appropriate for democratic processes. This article would thus read "Standing Committees may be formed and distinguished from the Advisory Board as deemed necessary by the Board."
e. In Article VIII, deletion of last clause requiring three months prior notification for amendment. Again, this was thought to be too cumbersome for a small society at our present stage.
Finally, a word of gratitude to all of you who have contributed to COV&R in various ways. In his president's report in this issue Raymund Schwager singles out some of us for special thanks, but I think we would be remiss if we did not acknowledge his contribution to our work and collegiality. He has been very important to us not only as an esteemed theologian but also in his judicious leadership, personal warmth, and spiritual presence.
James G. Williams (Syracuse University)