The General Anthroposophical Society, an esoteric movement based on the teachings of Rudolph Steiner, is facing cutbacks at its spiritual center, even as the group is experiencing new growth at some places.
The society will need to reduce expenses by 8 to 10 percent, since it is no longer able to cover all the costs for operating the Goetheanum—the spiritual center of the Anthroposophical Society worldwide near Basel, Switzerland—reports the EZW-Newsletter (August), based on information published in German Anthroposophical periodicals. The Goetheanum is supported by Anthroposophists around the world: the currency exchange fluctuations (weaker U.S. dollars and euros against Swiss francs) has an impact on real income and does not make it easier to plan a balanced budget.
The Anthroposophical Society, founded in 1912 with 3,000 members, currently numbers slightly less than 47,000 members, with established national societies in 50 countries (it also claims smaller groups in 50 more). “Without growth in the membership, and commitment to such development in core country societies, or the development of significant new sources of income, potentially disruptive reductions of traditional activity areas for the Goetheanum will likely take place,” warns the 2009–10 report of the General Anthroposophical Society. While the Anthroposophical Society has long had its stronghold in the Germanspeaking areas of Europe, it is also present in most other European countries, including a renewed presence in Eastern Europe following the end of the communist regimes there.
Torin Finser, general secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in the U.S., said in a recent interview that “for the first time in many years membership is on the increase” in America. Through its endeavors in various fields (Waldorf schools, Weleda medical products, biodynamic agriculture, eurythmy, etc.), Anthroposophy has had an impact going far beyond its numbers.
(EZW-Newsletter, in German.
The issue mentioned here as well as older issues can be downloaded from http://www.webmart.de/newsletter/de tail.cfm?kid=41596&catid=12; the 2009–2010 report of the General Anthroposophical Society can be downloaded in English from: http://www.goetheanum.org/uploads/ media/JB2009_EN_04.pdf.)