Members of the Swedenborg Foundation and invited guests met at Pendleton Hall on the campus of Bryn Athyn College, Bryn Athyn, PA, for the Foundation’s annual meeting on April 28, 2017. The meeting was streamed live as it was happening, and a recording is available on the Swedenborg Foundation YouTube channel.
The meeting began with a brief business session. Following the president’s remarks, Executive Director Morgan Beard kicked off a round of program reports with an overview of how all of our activities relate to each other and to the mission and goals of the organization. Throughout 2016, all of our online ventures grew dramatically: our offTheLeftEye YouTube channel racked up a total of more than 31 million minutes of watch time and 3.5 million individual video views; the Heaven and Hell Facebook page came close to 400,000 page followers (surpassing that number in early 2017); our website had about 180,000 visitors and more than 48,000 free e-book downloads. Members also heard Curtis Childs, digital media producer and host of the weekly webcast Swedenborg and Life, report on new developments, talk about the process of creating the show, and share the positive feedback the show had received over the past year. Jonathan S. Rose, series editor of the New Century Edition, presented information on the progress of the translation series and sales and download figures. Karen Feil, Swedenborg Foundation treasurer, spoke about income, expenses, and the financial health of the organization.
During the business meeting, members elected a slate of four board members to serve for the next term of four years (2017–2021). Three of them—Karen Feil, Jeremy Simons, and Kathy Tafel—are continuing their service. The fourth, W. Bergen Junge, is filling a vacant position. Junge is part of the business department faculty at Bryn Athyn College; prior to that, he spent thirty years as an information technology professional. He is also a lifelong Swedenborgian, having been active in many New Church societies across the United States.
Members also welcomed Soni Soneson Werner, a mid-term replacement for outgoing board member Sylvia Montgomery Shaw, who resigned for family reasons in early 2017. Werner is an associate professor emerita of psychology at Bryn Athyn College, with a long career of work in developmental psychology, human resource management, organizational psychology, forensic psychology, and conflict management.
Following the meeting, the audience stayed to hear Dr. Jane Williams-Hogan, co-director of the Master of Arts in Religious Studies program at Bryn Athyn College and organizer of the upcoming Swedenborg and the Arts International Conference, give a talk entitled: “Swedenborg and the Arts Conference—A Hundred Years Overdue . . . or Not!”