My Surprise at Our AGM
I’m brimming over to tell you about my surprise at our AGM on Friday night! They completely caught me off guard!
You know what AGM stands for, eh? It’s the abbreviation for Annual General Meeting. It’s something that all non-profits and charities have once a year, when they report to their membership or supporters and followers on the fiscal year just past.(I guess business corporations do this too). But AGM’s can vary tremendously. You may think that you have to listen to boring reports and endure long, dry speeches. Not in my experience.
I’ve been to church AGMs every year of my adult life, (even prepared those report books for many years), and I’ve been at the WTM – now ICM AGMs for about 16 years. These are quite informal, and with Arnold in charge have included a lot of stopping to pray about each department as it reported. The last few years we’ve found that starting with a Pot luck supper would draw out people who might not otherwise show up. So these are very friendly social events.
But this one on Friday for ICM was really special. Arnold Stobbe, our Director, (who will be 89 in May) has been hanging on for years, waiting to turn over the Directorship to a cable younger man. He has been grooming one man for at least 5 years, and so it was a BIG DEAL for Arnold that at this AGM he would be able to formally, and publicly turn over his job to Michael Ruten, who now felt ready to take on the role.
As a member of, and secretary of our Board of Directors, I had been part of this saga, and I was excited about this milestone too. A Big time for our mission!
I’d prepared a crockpot of spaghetti and veggie balls (meatless). Some others brought small roasted chickens, so there was great food choices, for the 30-36 people that came. Two families brought along their children.
Michael had asked Grandpa Arnold (his wife Esther’s true Grandpa) to be the chairman of this AGM. Arnold gladly agreed.They had worked out an agenda together, but once Arnold stood up there, and after he’d had us sing a hymn, he got so choked up, that he mixed up the agenda, and skipped the part about the constitutional changes, and went right to his glad announcement that he was handing over the baton to Michael Ruten. He called him up and handed him a large, framed certificate, with a Bible passage from Jeremiah as a blessing. (Our cameras snapped left and right).
Then Michael, who doesn’t normally get emotional, got up and made a short acceptance speech, but then to honour Arnold, called him up for some gifts of appreciation for his 25 years of leadership in WTM/ICM. He gave him also a large framed certificate, plus, a black sports jacket (in the style Arnold usually wears) with the new Impact Canada logo embroidered over the left pocket. And, a Tim’s Card.
Arnold is known for often taking individuals or young couples out for coffee at Tim Horton’s so that he can witness to them, or encourage them. I don’t know how much money was on that card, but Arnold gasped when he saw it so, I imagine it was a sizable amount. He admitted that he averages taking out at least one person a day out for coffee.
I was busy making notes and snapping pictures, but then Michael turned to me and called me up. He announced that I had been secretary of and to the Board for 15 years, and had never missed a single meeting. That deserved some recognition too. So he handed me one of those large, framed certificates. But then Priscilla came up behind him, and handed him a bouquet of flowers to give me, and then pulled out of a glossy bag, a rust-red leather jacket. It was such soft supple leather too!
I’m afraid I was utterly floored. I couldn’t come up with much of a speech. I tried the jacket on and it was a perfectly tailored fit! But I quickly got hot in it. The room was already warm, and I was too excited.
Later, after the meeting was over, and I don’t think it was much more than half an hour, while I was packing up my laptop and things, and also talking with some individuals, who wanted to examine my new jacket, I suddenly spotted the price tag under the one sleeve. I gasped!
Grabbing the jacked I ran to the next room, sought out Priscilla, and said to her, “You didn’t pay THIS MUCH for this jacket, did you?” (I knew she’d done the shopping because she has great taste in flowers and clothes).
She assured me that they’d got a very good deal on it. But wouldn’t say how much. She’d left the tag on in case they had to take it back to exchange for a different size. Wow! Even if they only paid 25% it is still an expensive jacket!
I wore it on Sunday, where I am usually cold in that large sanctuary, but this air-tight leather jacket kept me warm! I spent the afternoon with a friend, and then we went to another AGM together, and I kept the jacket on almost all day.
I’m still looking for the right words to use to do a proper thank you. I usually sense if something special is in the air, but they caught me totally off guard with my surprise at our AGM.