For many of us, this year has been challenging, drawing on our depths of compassion and humour, demanding that we strive harder to keep our balance in choppy waters. Events in the Middle East, particularly Syria, deaths of iconic figures, surprises in the democratic process in the West, news about the effects of global warming have placed us in a position now where we may have to adjust the stand that we wish to take, our values and our priorities. It is certainly a time of change, when we need to think differently and decide what to keep and what to discard. Events within Lapidus have led us to a position in 2016 when we have reviewed our history, our core ideology and have begun to look towards the future. Some key members of the Board with a long-term relationship with the company have moved away and some fresh faces have stepped up. We felt it important to forge a strong working relationship between the team, with those who are paid by Lapidus and with our members. To that end, Barbara made contact with a number of regional groups and visited them. Lisa continued to steer the activities of the (new) Digital Editor (Christine) and our Membership Secretary (Caleb).
We celebrated our 20-year birthday at the Lapidus Day in May – and a fine day it was, weather-wise and in content. The Board met at an Awayday in October in order to envision how Lapidus might develop and to share the values and ambitions that drive each of us. We consulted the company’s articles and sought information from those who had been involved at the inception, in order to remain true to our origins. We investigated the meaning of the word ‘Lapidus’ and found that it could have its derivation in ‘stony’ or pleasant/charming. It was the surname of a thirteenth century alchemist, too, someone who sought to convert base metals to gold, whilst we also infer that ‘gold’ means ‘love’. From these we formed the three fundamental elements that underpin the visions that we began to construct: Pursuit of Gold, Strength of Stone, Light in the Dark. We decided that we would strive for our ‘words for wellbeing’ business to flourish and to have an impact in the wider world. We allotted roles and responsibilites amongst the members of the Board, to ensure that we each take a lead in some regard. I am investigating partnerships and possible collaborative enterprises, Tony is considering HE opportunities, Barbara is liaisng with the regional coordinators, Lisa is considering ways that storytelling can be a significant thread for the company. Practicalities have also had an influence, as we have had some significant diffiulties associated with our website. Consultation with IT experts informed us that the version we have is no longer fit for purpose and that we should make significant changes in order for it to be as useful as Lapidus needs it to be. We brought all this to the AGM and shared our thoughts with the members. You can find a masterly description of the events of the day by Caleb Parkin elsewhere. The Treasurer’s report and my Powerpoint are available to members. We were pleased that Annie Bell-Davies was approved as Treasurer. We were delighted by the positive and supportive feedback from those who attended and feel that we now have the authorisation to progress our ideas. Everything is now in place for the tribe that is Lapidus to move forward together, to the benefit of all concerned. We have arranged for Caleb to undertake some specific project activity as Creative Director, working as a coordinator on the Metanoia/Lapidus convention 2017, production of a short promotional film and improvement of the Journal and blog. We are hoping to award a contract to a website design company for a better websaite very shortly. To concude, I would like to share some words about the importance of words from an actor I admired hugely, Alan Rickman, who was one of those who left us this year, ‘And it’s a human need to be told stories. The more we’re governed by idiots and have no control over our destinies, the more we need to tell stories to each other about who we are, why we are, where we come from, and what might be possible.’ Clare Scott, Chair, Lapidus Board December 2016 Here is the powerpoint presentation we saw on the day.Enjoy!
I Cannot Remember the AGM I cannot remember the 10th December when we turned Engineer’s House into a campfire to tell stories around, a studio, a visionary space, a gallery, a treasury, an abundant stone soup, a shape into which we placed our hopes and feelings. As AGMs go, it was quite an extraordinary one – and highlighted what makes Lapidus so special: the transformative potential of its members, uniquely and collaboratively, of working with words for wellbeing. The morning was a wonderfully creative and immersive visioning of Lapidus for the coming year, with story-time led by Lisa. It set a magical tone, of collaboration and energy, which carried through to lunch. The AGM went smoothly (more from Clare’s report) and there was a fond farewell to Victoria Field (with an R S Thomas poem, and treasure, of course). For the last part of the day, poet Kate Clanchy presented her talk and workshop, Poem In, Poem Out: how reading liberates writing, and the other way about. Her passion and robust energy about her role in the Spires Academy, Oxford, was inspiring and practical. For me, it showed how reading and writing together are a powerful force in expression and cohesion. It showed the way a skilled writer/facilitator can subtly invite creativity and revelation, through their choice of a poem’s themes and form. As Kate put it, in her sessions they don’t usually talk about ‘techniques’ or ‘devices’, instead: “I’ve brought you shapes and asked you to put your feelings into them”. As such, we were invited to put our feelings into the shape of poems by Tagore and a response by of her students, with the refrain ‘I Cannot Remember’: the results were moving and beautiful. 2017 is an exciting time for Lapidus, with new people, energy and ideas in abundance. Part of this will be my involvement as Creative Director, leading on reinvigorating the Journal, blog, and experimenting with Lapidus podcasts (name TBC!), as well as creating a film of our two-day event in July. I’m looking forward to getting started on these projects in the new year, and invoking the massive creativity of the Lapidus network which Saturday so beautifully displayed.