Minutes, Fall Sessions 2016

Submitted on 11/12/2016

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New York Yearly Meeting

Fall Sessions 2016

November 11–13, 2016

Ethical Culture Society, White Plains, NY
Scarsdale Meeting, Scarsdale, NY

 

Ethical Culture Society, White Plains, New York
Saturday morning, November 12, 2016

Lucinda Antrim (Scarsdale), Clerk
Jeffrey Aaron (New Brunswick), Assistant Clerk
Karen Way (New Brunswick), Recording Clerk
Robin Mallison Alpern (Amawalk), Reading Clerk

2016-11-01. The meeting opened with silent worship.

2016-11-02. The Clerk welcomed Friends, introduced the Clerks’ Table, and thanked those holding the meeting in the Light. She announced that a group journal is available for recording experiences during the weekend. We then entered into worship to hear a message from Christopher Sammond (Poplar Ridge) on the impact of our nation’s political situation.

2016-11-03. Christopher Sammond, General Secretary, spoke of the communion of Friends seeking to live out our lives in accordance with God’s will, whether Republican, Democrat, or any other political affiliation. With that in mind, Christopher addressed the trauma experienced by many Friends with the election of Donald Trump. Christopher named many fears: irreversible climate change, racism, religious persecution, gender discrimination, and others. But Christopher turned to what he realized he can trust—God’s presence and availability, the power of love and compassion to overcome fear, hatred, and bigotry and the power of non-violence and the willingness to suffer to soften people’s hearts. Christopher referenced a famous quote, reminding us that the arc of the universe does indeed bend toward justice.  In facing the challenges ahead, we are called to endure a “baptism of fire” that will shake us and temper us. Christopher affirmed that we have the resources to face this time, and ended with a query: “In what do you trust?”
    Friends divided into small groups to discuss this query and the issues that prompted it. The discussion time concluded with a song led by Jeffrey Aaron, “A Song of Peace.”
Christopher’s complete message will be attached to these minutes.

2016-11-04. The Reading Clerk read the roll of monthly meetings and worship groups. Friends stood in response.

2016-11-05. Jeffrey Aaron (New Brunswick), co-clerk of the Meetings for Discernment Steering Committee, described the value of extended worship for Friends in the past and the present. Comments from those attending the Meetings for Discernment at Summer Sessions spoke of deeper experience and growing community. The committee is working on issues of scheduling and on the nature of the queries that are offered at the beginning of a Meeting for Discernment. Friends were reminded that regions and local meetings can volunteer as hosts for future Meetings for Discernment. The winter Meeting for Discernment will be held at Poplar Ridge Meetinghouse on March 4, 2017. [Editor’s note:  this date was subsequently changed to March 11, with snow date of March 18, 2017.] Friends received the report.

2016-11-06. Dennis Haag (Old Chatham) reported for himself and Regina Haag on their first 120 days as Co-Executive Directors of Powell House. Dennis described the challenges and delights of learning a new job in such a busy place and of becoming “custodians of tradition and stewards of memory.” Dennis listed what is needed next in maintaining and developing Powell House, growing use and connectivity with NYYM. Dennis expressed his hope that Powell House will be instrumental in growing and enriching the Yearly Meeting. In turn, the goodwill and support of the Yearly Meeting makes all this growth possible. Friends received the report.

2016-11-07. John Cooley (Central Finger Lakes) clerk of General Services Coordinating Committee, opened the presentation of the proposed budget for 2017 (attached), offering it for approval even though it has yet to be formally approved by the Coordinating Committee. John introduced Matt Scanlon (Scarsdale), clerk of Financial Services. Matt noted that expenses for ARCH (Aging Resources, Consultation, and Help) have been shown in a separate column and then combined in the final column. Matt also noted that the uncounted contributions from hundreds of volunteers make the Yearly Meeting budget different from that of a business, in that decreasing expenses can lead to a cycle of decreasing monetary contributions.
    Matt presented the expense lines in detail, taking questions from the body. The projected expense total for 2017 is $621,120, an increase of $34,397 over last year. Increases come from the salary for the new Field Secretary for Children and Youth, various office expenses, and changes in sources of funds for Powell House and Oakwood School. Matt then presented the revenue side in detail. Increased revenue will come from reserves from 2016, grant income, redistribution of trust fund earnings, covenant donations, and individual donations. Meetings varied in their response to the 2017 request for covenant donations: of 57 meetings responding, 32 increased their donation over 2016, 12 kept their donation, and 13 decreased their donation.

2016-11-08. Friends approved the Budget for 2017

2016-11-09. Friends separately approved having Financial Services further investigate combining NYYM managed funds.

2016-11-10. Friends also approved transferring the excess revenue over expenses in 2016 into the revenue of 2017.

2016-11-11. Friends received the Financial Services report.

2016-11-12. Paula McClure (Montclair), Treasurer of NYYM, presented and explained the draft of the Treasurer’s Report as of October 31, 2016 (pdf file attached). Friends received the report.

2016-11-13. Mary Eagleson (Scarsdale) welcomed us for the Host Task Group. She reported that 124 adults and 13 youth registered for Fall Sessions; 115 adults and 12 youth attended. Mary thanked members from Purchase and other meetings who helped make this gathering possible. Friends received the report.

2016-11-14. The Reading Clerk read a Travel Minute from Fifteenth Street Meeting for Emily Provance. The minute describes how Emily is called by God to the ministry of building connections with and between people. She is exploring how Quaker practices from the past can help Quakers now, and how all people called to ministry can grow into their roles. Friends approved having the Clerk endorse the Travel Minute.

2016-11-15. Gabrielle Savory Bailey, Young Adult Field Secretary, thanked Friends for their support during her recovery from a heart attack. Gabi described how she has been sharing her workload with Emily Provance, an arrangement that will continue until Gabi is recovered.

2016-11-16. The minutes of this session were heard, corrected, and approved in stages.

2016-11-17. Meeting closed with worship and announcements.

 

 

Ethical Culture Society, White Plains, New York
Saturday afternoon, November 12, 2016

Lucinda Antrim (Scarsdale), Clerk
Jeffrey Aaron (New Brunswick), Assistant Clerk
Melanie-Claire Mallison (Ithaca), Recording Clerk
Rima Segal (Rochester), Reading Clerk

2016-11-18. Friends gathered in worship.

2016-11-19. The Clerk introduced those at the Clerks’ Table. She noted changes to the agenda, including a setting aside of the Consent Agenda to Sunday morning.

2016-11-20. Peter Phillips (Cornwall), clerk of the Committee to Revise Faith and Practice, brought for second reading a new section for our Faith and Practice – "Use of Technology in the Conduct of Business” – first read at the 2016 Spring Sessions (NYYM minute 2016-04-07). Friends approved this new section as attached.
    Peter read “Covenant Relationships” previously presented for a first reading at the 2015 NYYM Summer Sessions (2015-07-26). This section includes new inserted text and significant deleted text. Friends approved these changes, per the attached. Out of the worship, Friends spoke to the joy and timeliness of the approval of this inclusive and non-judgmental expression of our faith. [Read this section in Faith and Practice.]

2016-11-21. Jillian Smith (Saratoga Meeting, attending Brooklyn and Powell House) reported on the Quaker Party held in June 2016 in New York City, reading their epistle (attached). She explained how the epistle was created using crayons and hashtags. Friends received the report and epistle, speaking to the remarkable space created at “Quite possibly the first ever Quaker Party…”
Jillian noted that the large group and the energy of the young adult Friends who attended the Quaker Party are not present here at our Fall Sessions. She asked that we hold this disconnect in the Light.

2016-11-22. Melinda Wenner Bradley (Philadelphia Yearly Meeting), NYYM Field Secretary for Children and Youth, began her report with this poem:

For the Children….
 by Gary Snyder

The rising hills, the slopes,
of statistics
lie before us,
the steep climb
of everything, going up,
up, as we all
go down.

In the next century
or the one beyond that,
they say,
are valleys, pastures,
we can meet there in peace
if we make it.

To climb these coming crests
one word to you, to
you and your children:

stay together
learn the flowers
go light.

Melinda spoke about the four highlighted items in her report (attached). First, the Monthly Meeting Partner Project will begin its work with Montclair and Wilton Friends Meetings. Melinda thanked all the Meetings that applied and are welcome to apply again over the three years of this project. She spoke specifically to the thoughtful and Light-filled overlap in this work with youth, young adults, and adults.
    Second, she is working on support for local meetings and worship group communities. She especially invites us to the first “Parent Meetup” being held on Saturday, December 3, 2016, at Fifteenth Street Meeting. She encourages us to take a poster home to our Meeting and attend.
    Third, Melinda is grateful for the collaborative work with NYYM Staff, the Powell House Youth Directors, and for her work with other Yearly Meetings and committees. She noted the dates for two upcoming Youth Institutes.
    Fourth, she took part in the planning of the Youth Program for these Fall Sessions and is grateful to the Yearly Meeting for providing this opportunity to create a gathering for our young Friends.

2016-11-23. Christopher Sammond introduced our interim Communications Director, Sarah Way (Brooklyn). Sarah spoke of her enjoyment working with the Yearly Meeting on our social and print communications.

2016-11-24. The minutes were read, corrected, and approved in stages throughout this meeting.

2016-11-25. Friends settled into open worship to meet together again as a body on Sunday morning.

 

Scarsdale Friends Meeting, Scarsdale, New York
Sunday morning, November 13, 2016

Lucinda Antrim (Scarsdale), Clerk
Jeffrey Aaron (New Brunswick), Assistant Clerk
Bridget Bower (Perry City), Recording Clerk
Elaine Learnard (Conscience Bay), Reading Clerk

2016-11-26. Friends gathered in a time of open worship.

2016-11-27. The Clerk welcomed Friends, noting that the only place for us to lay our heads is in God. She shared her long journey to becoming clerk and her gratitude to Friends for their help along the way.

2016-11-28. The Clerk introduced the Clerk’s Table.

2016-11-29. The Consent Agenda was held over from yesterday’s agenda. Friends approved the consent agenda.

2016-11-30. Deb Wood (Purchase) reported for Nominating Committee. Isabella Aguirre (Purchase) is nominated to the Young Adult Concerns Committee, class of 2017. Friends approved.

2016-11-31. Fred Dettmer (Purchase), reporting for the Trustees, requested authorization of the body to dispose of the Plattekill Meeting House and Property and the Town of Morris Cemetery and Associated Fund. The Trustees’ full report is attached. The authorization required two approvals:

Resolved that the Trustees of New York Yearly Meeting are authorized and directed to dispose of the property and building known as Plattekill Meeting House, and the contents of said Meeting House, and to place any monies derived therefrom in funds under management by Trustees.

Friends approved.

Resolved that the Trustees of New York Yearly Meeting are authorized and directed to dispose of the cemetery located in the Town of Morris, Otsego County, New York, and the cemetery maintenance fund associated therewith, for no fee or other charges except expenses incurred in connection with the transfer of the cemetery and fund, to the Town of Morris for the continued maintenance of the cemetery by the Town.

Friends approved.

2016-11-32. Deb Wood (Purchase) reported on responses from monthly meetings to Brooklyn Monthly Meeting’s minute on Friends United Meeting (attached). Friends received the report.

2016-11-33. Deb presented a minute of exercise from Nurture Coordinating Committee (attached), summarizing their sense of places where we have unity and where we do not have unity regarding Brooklyn Monthly Meeting’s minute. The minute of exercise was sent back to Nurture Coordinating Committee for additional seasoning, specifically to make sure that the following statement reflects unity, since at least one Friend heard that some meetings did hope that their withholding of funds would exert leverage: “Any current withholding of funds to FUM by meetings and individual Friends is a matter of conscience and integrity. We reject the practice of withholding funds for the purpose of trying to exert leverage in this process.” NCC was asked to report back at Spring Sessions 2017.

2016-11-34. Mary Eagleson (Scarsdale) reported for the Indian Affairs Committee. She presented a proposed minute supporting the Standing Rock Sioux. Friends approved the minute and its broad distribution (attached).

2016-11-35. The Indian Affairs Committee asked the Clerk and General Secretary to resend the letter originally approved in NYYM Minute 2014-11-11 to the U.S. president requesting a pardon for Leonard Peltier. The letter will also be sent to Leonard Peltier. Friends approved.

2016-11-36. The Indian Affairs Committee will make information available about the needs of the Standing Rock Sioux.

2016-11-37. Peter Phillips (Cornwall) presented a first reading for a change to the section on Spiritual Care of Members in Faith and Practice (attached). Friends are asked to express any concerns to the Faith and Practice Committee.

2016-11-38. Irma Guthrie (Perry City), clerk of Ministry Coordinating Committee, brought a request that the body direct the Clerk and General Secretary to write a letter to President-Elect Trump encouraging him to publicly repudiate hateful messages and actions that arose during and since his campaign. Friends approved.

2016-11-39. John Cooley (Central Finger Lakes), clerk of General Services Coordinating Committee, reported the GSCC approved their part of the review for the ARCH grant from the Friends Foundation for Aging and also their grant proposal for a business/development grant from FFA. GSCC also approved administrative support of a grant application by Emily Provance to a program at Duke Divinity School. John reported that the Audit Committee has recommended that we compose a management representation letter to complete our 2014 audit process and that the clerk of GSCC and the clerk of the Trustees will sign that letter.
    John reported that GSCC considered the report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Staff Structure. GSCC approved three items: 1) creation of a committee to recruit a new General Secretary, 2) creation of a job description for a General Secretary for consideration at Coordinating Committee weekend in January, and 3) a publicized announcement of an opening.

2016-11-40. Barbara Menzel (New Brunswick) presented the report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Staff Structure (attached). She noted that many changes have taken place in the Yearly Meeting since Christopher Sammond joined us 12 years ago. For example, there is more staff, covering the life cycle of Friends, from cradle to grave. Friends received the report. The committee was encouraged to seek out a Friend of color to join the work of the Ad Hoc Committee on Staff Structure.

2016-11-41. Claire Simon (Montclair) reported as the Spring and Fall Sessions Liaison for Sessions Committee. Spring Sessions 2017 will be at Friends Academy in Locust Valley and hosted by Long Island Quarter. Fall Sessions 2017 will be hosted by All Friends Quarter at Caldwell University in New Jersey, with Sunday meeting at Chatham-Summit meetinghouse. Claire expressed appreciation to the hosts for this Fall Sessions. Friends received the report.

2016-11-42. Friends asked Sessions Committee to consider moving the date of Fall Sessions so that it does not conflict with the FCNL annual meeting. Friends approved.

2016-11-43. The minutes were read, corrected, and approved in stages throughout this meeting.

2016-11-44. Friends closed with a period of waiting worship.

 

Attachments

 

Report of the General Secretary

Message—General Secretary, Christopher Sammond
Fall Sessions 2016

Good Morning,
         I had not planned on speaking this weekend, having originally found no leading to do so.  After the election, I gradually felt a leading to speak growing in me.  Lucinda and I felt that we could not just enter into our business without acknowledging the impact of this election on many of us.  This message is in response to that concern.
         I want to preface these remarks with the recognition that I know that some members of our yearly meeting are Republicans, and that they anticipated voting for Mr. Trump.  I respect their decision based on their best judgement and sense of leading.  And I know that they often feel in a distinct minority in our fellowship, even beleaguered, and I want to say that we as Friends are not Republican nor Democrat, conservative nor liberal, that we are a fellowship of people drawn to a practice of listening for God’s voice and leading, and seeking to live out our lives in accordance with the will of the Divine as best we can discern.  I believe we would be a healthier Religious Society if we had more people in our ranks who differed from what can often be an assumed liberal norm.
         That said, I have spoken with many Friends who are deeply, overwhelmingly traumatized by the election of Mr. Trump.  One Friend told me when it happened she was so distraught she repeatedly threw up.  Another reported waking up screaming in terror at the prospect of a Trump presidency.  I myself have had many a night with disrupted sleep over the past six months at that prospect, chilled with an overwhelming fear of what that might mean.
         Some here are not traumatized.  Some I have spoken with are concerned, yes.  Disappointed, yes.  But by no means bearing the trauma I witness in others.  We need to be able to be present to each other in all the different ways we are responding to the election.
         Some see the Trump presidency as being disastrous for abetting the growing impact of climate change.  Bill McKibbon, founder of 350.org, wrote that this election is “game over” for averting the catastrophic impact of global warming, meaning literally the eventual end of life on Earth as we know it.  Some see a Trump presidency as a legitimization of the racism which has permeated our society, now more visible, and now both tacitly and overtly acceptable.  In the night after Election Day, racial epithets and swastikas were spray painted in public places across this country.  Some see a Trump presidency as putting the world at grave risk, with someone whose emotional maturity and psychological balance they question now in charge of the largest military on earth, and the codes to deploy our nuclear weapons.  For some of us, the horror of having a racist, bigot, misogynist, and xenophobe in the Whitehouse is more than we can bear. Some see a Trump presidency as threatening our civil and human rights, as his campaign promises included resuming the practice of torture, limiting the rights of Muslims, and supporting an aggressive police response to those protesting the reality of racism in this country.  Some see a Trump presidency as threatening to fill the Supreme Court with justices so far to the right as to tip the balance in this country on a variety of issues for a generation, or more.
         I, personally, hold all these fears, and more.  And in the moments when I could find centered connection in the midst of the terror I felt leading up to and after the election, what I heard in that place where I know the voice of the Divine to speak in me, was “Will you trust me?”  Over and over I heard, “Will you trust me?”
         Now, I don’t interpret this to mean everything is going to be just fine.  But I do hear it as both a query and a request.  And I will tell you what I know I can trust:

I trust in God’s presence, and availability.
I trust in my ability, when I am centered and grounded that I will be led.
I trust in the power of love and compassion to overcome fear, hatred, and bigotry.
I trust that when I am aligned with God, that my meager resources of abilities and gifts are multiplied many times.
I trust in the power of non-violence, love, and the willingness to suffer to soften people’s hearts, and thereby overcome structures of domination, injustice and intimidation.
I trust that the arc of the Universe does indeed bend toward justice.

         Speaking with a friend about what I trusted, she told me the story of a woman in a village near Bophal, when the chemical plant blew up.  Everyone in the village was running away, screaming in panic.  She, having had a long practice of meditation, listened inwardly for what to do.  What she heard was “turn on the fan, lie down on the floor, and go to sleep.”  She did that, and she was the only one in her village that survived.  All those running away were breathing in the poison in great gulps, while her metabolism slowed down, in sleep.
         On a lesser note, the Friday before the election, I had had an intimation of which way it was going, and I was utterly undone, so upset and grieved that I couldn’t really function.  I could hardly manage to pack to go to the workshop on Beyond the White Privilege Conference.  I was already running late.  But I kept getting a pull to go out to the garden and weed.  I finally heeded it, and after about 45 minutes with my hands in the rich soil, I felt grounded and together enough that I could function.
         This is what we do.  This is what we do as Friends.  We listen, and are guided.  We act.
         Night before last, as I held the question of what to say today, the words “baptism of fire” came to me.  I believe we are at the dawn of a moment in history that will shake us as a nation to our very foundations.  We will be called to new depths in our practice.  We will be challenged in ways I can only imagine.  We will be tempered.  It will not be easy.  And we have the resources to face this time.  So I ask you, in what do you trust?

 

 

Faith and Practice—new section: Use of Technology in the Conduct of Business

USE OF TECHNOLOGY IN THE CONDUCT OF BUSINESS
Approved Fall Sessions 2016

The use of digital communication systems in the conduct of Friends’ business has great benefits and has also created challenges for Quaker business process. The use of technologies such as video conferencing and electronic mail makes it possible to reduce the need for travel, and thereby expands participation by distant Friends. Our business can be responsive to the fast pace of developments in the world. Many Friends expect to use these technologies as they engage in the life of the Society. At the same time, we must be mindful that among us are Friends who cannot or choose not to use these technologies freely.

When use of these technologies replaces or augments face-to-face meetings, we must maintain discipline so that corporate worship, spiritual discernment, and the presence of the Spirit in our meetings and assemblies is retained. Each Yearly Meeting body that uses these technologies should establish agreements and protocols to ensure inclusivity and full participation, protect privacy and confidentiality, maintain collegiality, and support openness to Spirit.

Committees and other Yearly Meeting bodies seeking to conduct business by ways other than physical meetings should do so only upon formal approval at a face-to-face meeting. While they may choose to use e-mail or other asynchronous digital communication for scheduling meetings or distributing documents, they are advised not to use it to share ministry, respond to proposals, or engage in substantive discussions. These activities are best suited to synchronous communication such as physical meetings or telephone or video conferencing.

[To be inserted on p. 90 as the last paragraph in the section “General Business Procedures” that begins on p. 87.]

 

Faith and Practice—revision: Covenant Relationships

COVENANT RELATIONSHIPS
Approved Fall Sessions 2016

Page 38 in the Faith: Fruits of the Spirit section, starting in the middle of the last paragraph, changes in bold:

We joyfully acknowledge the sustaining, enriching presence of loving unions among us, whether between persons of different or the same sex, and we want the meeting’s strength to undergird these covenants.

[Delete Crowell quotation]

Some of us live alone and find love and community among our friends. Some of us are single parents caring for our children. Some members’ families follow traditional patterns; others do not. Many monthly meetings honor committed gay and lesbian relationships and support or perform same-sex marriages. Just as there is that of God in every person, there is that of God in every relationship that calls upon God. We seek to treat responsible, loving relationships tenderly and respectfully. We seek to hold each other in the light of our ideal that Spirit-filled covenant relationships are the one sure basis for love and sexuality.

In prayer and worship, each meeting can speak truthfully to the particular needs and difficulties of its members and their relationships. Through committees of clearness, for example, a meeting can respond with great care and concern to requests for marriage that come before it, following the procedures described elsewhere in this book.

[Delete rest of paragraph]

Marriage is a covenant intended for life. [Delete rest of paragraph] Families need the support…. [etc.]

 

Epistle—Quaker Party, June 2016, NYC

Quite possibly the first ever Quaker Party, sixth month, seventeenth and eighteenth days, at 15 Rutherford Place, New York City, in the year called two thousand and sixteen . . .

How does a Quaker Party? Hello, Friend!
This meeting house is huge!
You Are Loved even before You ARRIVE HERE. appreciation for learning. form shared experiences. Joy in community
dancing in a cuddle pile
Quakers create safe space in the city
One vegetarian says to the other vegetarian, "How do we cook the bacon?"

The Quaker Party has started! Friends are here from all over the world! It’s amazing how much joy is waiting if we welcome opportunities to play Care for humanity
courage to move freely
The appearance of Spirit in unexpected places openness easy intimacy

Quakers are quite loud when they're not being quiet and sometimes loud even when they are being quiet
"I'm kinda a junkie for the Holy Spirit."
PLAY might defuse the duty and dread of Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business

There is beautiful singing coming from the plenary in the meetinghouse. Harmonies when we know the song—but great enthusiasm when we don’t
I’m gonna share something I just learned, because when you learn something new, why not share it?
I’m pretty sure the kids are off playing the magnetic cello. Does anyone have any bike tools with them?

What do you do in the world and how does it align or contrast with your Faith?
"it should be as easy to give money to my Meeting as it is to spend money at the bar with my friends."

we spoke about how we can have integrity in our actions with money and Quakers and our communities. Earmarked funds from the 1800's are no longer pertinent to the Light or Truth of Friends
we see that there is still racism in the US and we are ready to work! Who wants to work with me?

Friends and Meetings need to do more to disrupt homophobia.
I felt embraced in a way I hadn't expected.
We need to challenge our cliché response of talking about love and kindness.
I've been away from Quakerism for a long time
We need to create safe spaces for people to heal.
I felt called to come back.
No one in our community should be grieving alone, but so many of us are.

Staying up late in the kitchen of Brooklyn Meetinghouse=crucial fellowship at the quaker party
How do we share and manage financial and other resources with each other in the best way?
I'm gonna throw some Quaker on you . . .
We need to write queries about sex and not rules perspective can change.  NEVER STOP ADVOCATING.

"Quakers can do anything and it'd be a lot of fun"
How do we get out of these challenges to our connection? How do we deal with the pain of negotiations with reality? I feel like I just shed layers of no longer needed weight.

For the first 25ish years of my life the only Quakers I knew were pale skinned folks....here at the Quakerparty the people are from many countries, many states, and many cultures. we are all different individuals.

Let people try worship (even if they aren’t ready to be a Quaker)
we make our “traditions” and practices new every day and every time we engage. If I don’t understand I will learn by being part of the change.

sell your cleverness and buy some wonderment.

#QuakerParty

 

Report—Children and Youth Field Secretary, Melinda Wenner Bradley

Report—Children and Youth Field Secretary Report
New York Yearly Meeting
Fall Sessions: November 12, 2016

In the months since our Summer Sessions, I’ve been engaged in communication and visitation across the yearly meeting and worked on several different projects related to supporting children and families as well as First Day School and yearly meeting programs.

  1. Monthly Meeting Partner Project:
    • Following the October 15 deadline and receipt of several thoughtful applications, members of the NYYM staff and Youth Committee reviewed these applications in a discernment process. The first two partner meetings will be Montclair Meeting and Wilton Meeting.
    • In addition to the applications received, there were conversations with seven other meetings who engaged in some level of discernment with the application questions and may apply in years two or three.
    • The survey tool for the project, which will also be shared yearly meeting-wide, has been a big task. It measures both experiences of life in meeting communities and the demographics of “who we are” as a monthly meeting/worship group/yearly meeting. We’re working with Alan Krieger, a consultant, and NEYM counterparts on this jointly developed piece of the project. Gratitude to Melanie-Claire Mallison, for her work on setting up and formatting the survey tool (there were many edits!), and to Old Chatham Meeting for helping us to test the survey and focus group model with our facilitators.
    • In addition to completing the survey, partner meetings will engage in focus group discussions to delve more deeply into their survey responses and helps us to understand what works (and what doesn’t) with outreach and welcome, programs and inclusion. We’ll listen to the wisdom from our meetings about where they are, as well as for yearnings and hopes as we engage in this work. At the end of each year of the project, we’ll do the survey and focus groups again, and see where there has been growth and what we have learned.
    • Seven Friends from across the yearly meeting are part of a “facilitation team” for the project, who will lead the focus groups in partner meetings over the next three years. They have received facilitation training from Alan Krieger (consultant) and most of them were able to attend the day spent testing our survey/focus group questions. We are grateful for their service.
  2. Support for Local Meeting and Worship Group Communities:
    • I’m developing themes and content for quarterly e-newsletter cycle for RE/FDS clerks with an emphasis on resources and tools for religious education programs and practitioners and information to share with families in the meeting community. With other staff, considering the creation of a separate list for NYYM families and how this would also be useful for communication about events and programs.
    • Visitation: the Monthly Meeting Partner Project includes an expectation that I’ll visit twelve meetings in the first year of the program; this is an intersection with my work to support meetings and worship groups. I want to be sure these visits are spread across the nine quarters/regions. Since Summer Sessions, I’ve visited seven monthly meetings in five quarters/regions/half yearly meetings and scheduled two more.
    • Programs for Meetings: This fall, programs at monthly meetings have focused on building multigenerational spiritual community and introducing Godly Play/Faith & Play stories as a tool in FDS programs. I’ve also supported meeting FDS/RE committees with planning for their 2016-17 programs.
    • At the invitation of a Quaker Life committee supported by Friends from Westbury Meeting and others, led a “Quakerism 101” professional development session for faculty at Westbury Friends school; addressed families at Back to School Night about Quaker history, faith and practice.
    • NEW PROGRAM! “Parent Meetups” are an opportunity for spiritual and social fellowship and refreshment with other parents in the YM. First one: Saturday, December 3rd, 3:00-5:30pm at 15th Street Meeting (childcare provided). In addition to this first event, we are planning a series of four more in NYQM in 2017, and I hope to bring events to 3-4 other quarters/regions in 2017 as well. Glad to be working on this with Gabi Savory Bailey and Emily Provance.
    • Traveling Resource Library: My hope is to come to Fall Sessions with these resources somewhat refreshed. I’m working on a new system to catalog and share what’s available.
  3. Sta, Powell House and Committee Collaboration:
    • Working with Steven Davison on reorganizing, refreshing and adding to the YM website pages for children and youth.
    • Working with Chris DeRoller and Mike Clark on two 2017 Youth Institutes:
      • Farmington-Scipio Regional Meeting will host a Youth Institute on March 4 at Rochester Meeting. The hope is to build a community of practice in FSRM of Friends who are interested in supporting youth and working on planning program for the Spring Gatherings in the region, and together develop clear outlines and expectations for that planning.
      • April 21-23, at Powell House — YI 2017 will include workshops from the “REnewal and REsources” program I developed with Beth Collea, my staff counterpart in NEYM. This includes support and resources specifically for Friends working with First Day programs. We’re excited about the pairing of YI and RE+RE, and the places in the weekend where we’ll intersect and share our learnings.
    • I had a lovely, generative conversation with a staff person for youth in Britain YM. They are doing similar work to the Partner Project, and we expressed a shared hope for continued communication and learning together.
    • Spoke at the NYYM Fall Fundraising dinner about the work of the CYFS and the Partner Project.
    • Serving on the “steering circle” of the Outreach Working Group under MCC care.
  4. Yearly Meeting Sessions:
    • Helped with children and youth program planning for Fall Sessions; created and distributed flyers for children and teen programs.
    • An idea is taking shape, to create a “Fall/Spring Sessions Task Group” model where a core group of Friends provide leadership for planning children/youth programs at these gatherings, working each time with representatives from the host quarter/region. This is a developing idea, but one that seems like it would be helpful for program continuity and success, and support for sessions host committees.

Melinda Wenner Bradley,
Children and Youth Field Secretary, NYYM

 

Trustees report—Trustee minutes on disposal of two properties

Minutes from Trustees for New York Yearly Meeting
To Approve Disposal of Plattekill Meeting House and Property,
and Town of Morris Cemetery and Associated Fund
(November 13, 2016)

In 1969, Nine Partners Quarterly Meeting transferred to the Huguenot Historical Society a parcel of land and building known as the Plattekill Meeting House.  In 2015, the Huguenot Historical Society advised Nine Partners Quarter that it no longer could maintain the Meeting House and sought to return it.  The Quarter was unwilling to accept title but alerted the Yearly Meeting of this offer.  Trustees of New York Yearly Meeting agreed with the Huguenot Historical Society to accept the Plattekill property and Meeting House for NYYM.  All of the required approvals have been received so the property and building shortly will become the property of NYYM.  Trustees intend to expeditiously dispose of valuable or historic contents of the building for continued use, if possible, and the property and building to a purchaser who will preserve the historical nature of the Meeting House.

Section 203 of the Religious Corporations Law provides that the trustees of any meeting of the Religious Society of Friends may sell, convey and grant any property whenever any meeting of said society by resolution so directs.  Accordingly, the Trustees request that NYYM approve the following minute:

Resolved that the Trustees of New York Yearly Meeting are authorized and directed to dispose of the property and building known as Plattekill Meeting House, and the contents of said Meeting House, and to place any monies derived therefrom in funds under management by Trustees.

Trustees also are in the process of negotiating the transfer of the cemetery located in the Town of Morris, Otsego County, New York, and the cemetery maintenance fund associated therewith, to the Town of Morris so that the cemetery will continue to be maintained and cared for in the future.  The Trustees currently have about $34,000 under their care for the cemetery maintenance fund, all of which will be transferred to the Town of Morris, less any costs incurred in the transfer of the cemetery and the fund.  Accordingly, the Trustees request that NYYM approve the following minute:

Resolved that the Trustees of New York Yearly Meeting are authorized and directed to dispose of the cemetery located in the Town of Morris, Otsego County, New York, and the cemetery maintenance fund associated therewith, for no fee or other charges except expenses incurred in connection with the transfer of the cemetery and fund, to the Town of Morris for the continued maintenance of the cemetery by the Town.

 

Report—Nurture Coordinating Committee on local meeting response to the "Brooklyn Minute" on FUM personnel policy

REPORT TO NYYM FALL SESSIONS 2016 ON THE BROOKLYN MINUTE

Friends may recall that, at Summer Sessions 2015, Nurture Coordinating Committee reported that we had received a minute from Brooklyn Meeting with the following concern, and I will quote the minute:

Brooklyn Monthly Meeting urges that New York Yearly Meeting (“NYYM”)
Follow the example of Canadian Yearly Meeting and draft a letter to Friends
United Meeting (“FUM”) expressing displeasure at its current discrimination
against LGBT Quakers in paid and unpaid positions of service or leadership.
The letter to further state that until such time as such policies are laid aside
and equally embraced for all Quakers, it will only designate its payments to
FUM for specific projects, such projects which in the opinion of New York
Yearly Meeting are worthy enough to exceed the damage to Equality and
human dignity done by FUM’s discriminatory personnel policies.

At such time that New York Yearly Meeting undertakes such designation of
Its payments to FUM, Brooklyn Monthly Meeting will cease its present
withholding of a portion of its Covenant Donation to NYYM in protest of
FUM’s discriminatory personnel policies.

Following the 2015 Summer Sessions, NCC asked the YM office to send out to all monthly meetings a memo that included the Brooklyn Minute, the NYQM endorsement, the wording of the FUM personnel policy in question, the historical connection between NYYM and FUM and some of the NCC minutes of our discernment. A few responses were received.

NCC considered this again during Coordinating Weekend at the end of January. It became clear that not enough background information had been given with the first letter, so a follow-up letter was sent with more information about FUM’s deliberations, and several documents were added to the FUM area of the YM website. It was sent a month or so before Spring Sessions.

To date, NCC has received responses from 12 monthly meetings. The following meetings forwarded a minute that spoke about both their reactions to the Brooklyn minute and their recommendation for how NYYM could best work toward changing FUM’s personnel policy: Bulls Head Oswego, Ithaca, Flushing, Cornwall, Old Chatham Manasquan, and Collins. Flushing reduced their 2016 covenant donation by the percentage they felt would be sent to FUM. Bulls Head, Ithaca and Manasquan encouraged NYYM representatives to FUM to pursue their efforts of “continued and purposeful dialog” with FUM. Collins believes that “the best method of expressing our concern is in the way of John Woolman, in a spirit of humility, love and prayer for our fellow Friends.” Bulls Head pointed out that NYYM does not have its own sexual ethic. Bulls Head is not clear to withhold funds from FUM, and continues in discernment. Ithaca, Cornwall and Manasquan expressed their appreciation to Brooklyn for highlighting this concern, but did not unite with NYYM’s withholding financial support to FUM. New Brunswick and 15th Street Meetings have spent several months in discernment, but NCC hasn’t yet received a minute from those meetings. Hudson Meeting has found this a divisive issue, and has lost one member because of it. Poughkeepsie sent a report of comments made during a meeting considering the Brooklyn minute. Poplar Ridge sent a minute from 2005, when NYYM did a great deal of discernment around this concern.

Manasquan Meeting is troubled by the personnel policy of FUM.  “Manasquan Meeting is troubled by the personnel policy of FUM.  We find it to be contrary to Friends' testimony as to that of God in every person.  Our commitment to the Quaker values of integrity and equality leads us to encourage continued and prayerful dialogue between New York Yearly Meeting and FUM.  We support New York Yearly Meeting's efforts as you continue to struggle with this issue, and we hold you in the Light.”

From Ithaca Monthly Meeting: “Ithaca Monthly Meeting appreciates Brooklyn Meeting for highlighting this important issue. IMM supports LGBTQ F(f)riends; LGBTQ members are an integral part of our meeting and we marry couples under the meeting’s care. Despite FUM’s having a personnel policy we believe to be hurtful and discriminatory, we also value our relationship with and the work of FUM. Therefore, Friends did not feel called to unite with Brooklyn Monthly Meeting’s Minute.” 

The Old Chatham Meeting “remains deeply troubled by the issues of discrimination represented by the personnel policies of Friends United Meeting…” Old Chatham discontinued financial support of FUM nearly a decade ago. They are deeply troubled “that our financial covenant with NYYM includes allocations for FUM, and feel this underwriting of discrimination must end.” Old Chatham will withhold 1% of its covenant donation, and will redirect that as a contribution to Ramallah Friends School. Some Old Chatham Friends, as a matter of conscience, do not wish to support any FUM programs, so a corresponding amount will be withheld from their contribution to Ramallah Friends School. Old Chatham encourages NYYM Nominating Committee to seek qualified self-identified LGBTQ Friends to serve on the FUM Board. They also request that “NYYM continue to labor with the discriminatory issues which so trouble us, and to consider whether continued financial support of and membership in FUM is in keeping with NYYM testimonies and the Light given us.” Quite recently, Old Chatham send the final payment of their covenant donation for 2016 to the yearly meeting office, with a cover letter explaining that they were withholding 1% of that amount as they had previously stated that they would.

From Cornwall Monthly Meeting: “Cornwall Monthly Meeting is not in unity with respect to the mission and operations of Friends United Meeting.  However, it is profoundly disturbed by the discriminatory hiring practices of FUM.  It encourages New York Yearly Meeting to engage in FUM’s transition to grow into an organization that more closely conducts itself consistently with Quaker testimonies of equality, particularly through our continued representation on FUM’s Board. “ 

From Flushing Monthly Meeting: “Flushing Monthly Meeting is withholding $114 of our covenant donation as a statement of conscience against FUM’s discriminatory hiring practices. We further encourage New York Yearly Meeting to follow Canadian Yearly Meeting’s practice of designating its payments to FUM for specific projects determined worthy enough to exceed the damage of equality and human dignity done by FUM’s discriminatory personnel practices.”

It was reported to NCC at Summer Sessions that Rochester Monthly Meeting has a line in their budget for benevolence in escrow for FUM, an have sent a good portion of that earmarked for Ramallah Friends School.

Currently, NYYM contributes $2,500 to FUM for general support. Another $2,500 is allocated to the World Ministries Committee for support of FUM projects. These amounts are included in the 2017 NYYM proposed budget.

To date, NCC doesn’t feel that we have heard from enough monthly meetings for NYYM  to recommend any change in our policy toward FUM. NCC would like to hear the discernment from other monthly meetings. We appreciate the spirit-led work that our representatives to the FUM General Board do on our behalf, and we recommend that they continue the dialogue.

November 5, 2016

ADDENDUM: New Brunswick Meeting sent their minute on response to the Brooklyn minute. They stand in solidarity with LGBTQ Friends, and support amending or eliminating the current personnel policy. They ask NYYM representatives to the FUM Board to “advance the conversation to amending or deleting that policy.” In addition, they ask that NYYM continue to make its budgeted contributions to FUM.

 

Minute of Exercise, Nurture Coordinating Committee, regarding the "Brooklyn Minute" on FUM personnel policy

Nurture Coordinating Committee, November 2016

For over a year, NYYM is laboring with concerns being raised about the integrity of our supporting Friends United Meeting, given the discriminatory nature of the sexual ethics portion of the organization’s personnel policy.  During the past year, the Nurture Coordinating Committee has twice asked monthly meetings from across the yearly meeting to weigh in on this issue.  Only a small fraction have responded.  From these responses, and times of discussion and discernment by NCC, we can name places where we sense unity, and places where we as yet do not have unity.

Places where we have unity:

  • We joyfully affirm that each and every person is equally loved and cherished by the Divine, equally worthy of love, respect, and equal treatment, and that the gifts which God bestows upon a community are equally distributed to all for the benefit of the community regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, race, class, or any other distinction.
  • We find the Friends United Meeting sexual ethics portion of its personnel policy to be at variance with that knowledge and experience, and therefore discriminatory and unjust.
  • We hope for, and advocate for, its revision.
  • We are deeply pained to be in the position of financially supporting an organization engaging in injustice and discrimination.
  • We seek actions which might be effective in changing this situation.
  • Any current withholding of funds to FUM by meetings and individual Friends is a matter of conscience and integrity. We reject the practice of withholding funds for the purpose of trying to exert leverage in this process.
  • We recognize and value the good works that FUM is doing throughout the world.

Places where we do not yet have unity:

  • We are not clear as a yearly meeting to disaffiliate from the other yearly meetings that comprise FUM.
  • We are not clear as a yearly meeting to withhold financial contributions from FUM as either a matter of conscience, or in protest.
  • Some NYYM Friends are aware that the FUM General Board does not have unity on this portion of the personnel policy, either unity to retain it, or to revise or eliminate it.  Some do not.
  • Some of our meetings see the benefit of withholding funds from the general fund of FUM, while others do not.
  • Some of our meetings, as a matter of conscience, are withholding from their covenant donation an amount they deem equivalent to what would go to the FUM general fund.  Some are choosing not to.
  • Some of our meetings would support a more aggressive advocacy on this issue by NYYM’s representatives to the FUM General Board, while others support the more quiet diplomacy and ministry of presence which has characterized the stance of board members over the past nine years.

October 22, 2016

Minute in Support of the Standing Rock Sioux protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline

Minute of conscience regarding Standing Rock Sioux
New York Yearly Meeting
November 12, 2016

New York Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) supports the Standing Rock Sioux in their actions opposing construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. This 1100-mile pipeline would create the same dangers as other projects, such as the XL Keystone Pipeline, and should be rejected for the same reasons. The proposal should properly have been subjected to the same thorough review prior to approval as the XL Pipeline, so that the Standing Rock Sioux could have their voices heard and their historic rights respected, including the right of access to clean water, the foundation of all life, and the protection of their burial sites and other sacred sites as the 1978 Native American Religious Freedom Act guarantees. This includes honoring and respecting the promises of the United States to the Great Sioux Nation in the 1851, 1859 and 1868 Treaties of Fort Laramie which this project would violate.

All the others affected by the project are also entitled to be heard. Anything less, particularly for a project of this scope, is a failure of the democratic process and is a lack of transparency. It is a deliberate avoidance of the environmental review process and undermines the laws intended to ensure that all environmental effects are considered and properly weighed before approving an undertaking of this magnitude.

As Friends, we bear witness to the equality and to the sacred nature of every person, since every person carries the same Spark of Divine Light. The principle of equality is also a fundamental principle of a democratic society. When we shut out voices and ignore the rights of the people of Native Nations within the U.S., we deny that principle.

Friends also have had a particular concern for the relations between the European settlers on this continent and its First Nations, beginning with our founder George Fox’s encounters with Native inhabitants during his North American travels in the 1680s and the founding of Pennsylvania. New York Yearly Meeting has had a standing Indian Affairs Committee since the 1790s and maintains warm relations with Native Nations and Peoples of this region up to this day. Thus we stand beside our First Nation brothers and sisters in insisting that the legal and treaty rights of the Standing Rock Sioux must be honored and must not be violated by the construction of this pipeline. Too often, Native Nations have paid the price for projects intended to benefit American society by actions that violate treaties and Native rights, such as taking land or constructing dams.

As Friends, we also hold sacred our responsibility, the responsibility of all humanity, to care for the Earth, our home, and preserve it for the future generations of humans and of all life. Our Native sisters and brothers have long led the way in showing the importance of taking into consideration not only our own desires, but also the needs of the future generations, before we act. Projects such as the Dakota Access Pipeline imperil the waters of the earth, vital to the Standing Rock Sioux and to all life. Pursuing the use of fossil fuel rather than finding renewable and sustainable alternatives imperils the atmosphere, the air we breathe and the climate necessary for the continued existence of humanity and of the many forms of life that we know and claim to cherish. We must move quickly to implement environmentally sound practices to preserve our Earth-home and all life on it.

Send to:

  • Standing Rock Sioux Tribe*
  • US President
  • NY Senate and Congressional Representatives
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Other meetings and NYYM clerk
  • NY & NJ Councils of Churches
  • Governors of the states of North Dakota, New Jersey, Connecticut
  • Association of Religious Communities (Connecticut)

* The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has received notice from 87 Tribal Nations who have officially taken action to support our opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline. Below are the current lists of those tribes who have sent us signed resolutions and letters of support. We are aware that there are more tribes who may have taken action who we are not aware of yet, and also tribes who have indicated that they will do so. To get your tribes Letter of Support or Resolution to SRST, please email an electronic copy to publicrelations@standingrock.org. Mail copies to contact info below. In one week we have garnered support from nearly 1/6th of the tribal nations in the U.S. We will continue to update this list as we move forward and hope that more tribe’s and organizations join our efforts. We welcome non-indigenous support as well. Standing Rock cannot express the gratitude we have for the overwhelming support from both Indigenous and Non-Indigenous peoples here in the United States and globally. We are forever grateful.

Steve Sitting Bear
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe - External Affairs Director
PO Box D, Bldg #1, N. Standing Rock Ave - Fort Yates ND, 58538
701-854-8638 work - 701-301-1484 - cell 701-854-3488 fax
ssittingbear@standingrock.org

 

Faith & Practice—Spiritual Care of Members section, first reading

SPRITUAL CARE OF MEMBERS
Presented to Fall Sessions 2016

SPIRITUAL CARE OF MEMBERS. Seeking divine guidance in their discernment, members of ministry and counsel should seek to:

  • foster the spiritual growth of the meeting membership and enhance their religious life and fellowship, including especially the nurture and strengthening of corporate worship of the meeting;
  • consider individual needs for guidance and to make provision for personal counsel and assistance in matters of interpersonal relationships among members;
  • assist individuals and families confronting problems pertaining to illness, financial matters, marital relations, and decisions of conscience, keeping in mind at all times the limits of ministry and counsel’s expertise;
  • review annually the spiritual condition of the meeting and its membership and to write the State of the Meeting reports;
  • develop programs and conferences, study groups, and public meetings to disseminate information regarding Friends' spiritual concerns and to assist members and attenders to deepen the life of the spirit;
  • where desired by local meetings, consider qualifications and make recommendations concerning recording gifts in ministry or engagement of pastors or meeting secretaries;
  • foster a meeting culture that encourages the emergence of gifts, and assures support and accountability for Friends who carry individual gifts in ministry.

[This replaces the section on p. 122.  Note also the language addressing related topics at p. 118.]

NOTE: A reading of parts of this section was offered in Spring Sessions 2015 (see yellow Yearbook at p. 28). The final “bullet point” has been modified to emphasize support for individual gifts of ministry. The Committee to Revise Faith & Practice seeks the Coordinating Committee’s guidance on whether presentation to the body at Fall Sessions 2016 would constitute a first or second reading.

 

Report—Ad Hoc Committee on Staff Structure

11/12/16

Background:

The ad hoc committee on staff structure was created by the General Services Coordinating Committee in response to the resignation of our General Secretary announced for summer of 2017. The committee is charged with looking at the current staff structure and making recommendations as to possible changes.The recommendations will inform our search for a new General Secretary. Members of the committee are: John Cooley, Lisa Gasstrom, Deb Wood, and Mike Clark, with Karen Way and Barbara Menzel serving as co-clerks.

Our Process:

The committee created a set of questions to guide our interviews with Friends involved in the work of NYYM. These questions were used to structure interviews with over 30 people—including all YM staff, YM clerks present and past, CC clerks, and so on. At a recent committee meeting we shared the interviews and looked for both common themes and novel approaches to the work of the Yearly Meeting.

Role of the General Secretary:

During the tenure of our current General Secretary, the Yearly Meeting staff has expanded. We now have part-time field secretaries for young adults and for children and youth, as well as a full time director of our senior resource program (ARCH). We feel that with the broadening of staff we should be able to strengthen our outreach and ministry to monthly meetings.

It is clear from our interviews that Friends feel the need for a person who can offer both spiritual leading and management oversight. The following recommendations emerged during the interview process.

  • The General Secretary should be a facilitator who engages staff and volunteers in the work of the Yearly Meeting.
  • He/She should live within commuting distance of the NYYM office and should be a presence in the office at least three days a month. On those days, it might be useful to gather all staff into the office for better communication, cross-pollination of ideas, and team building.
  • The General Secretary should be able to articulate the Leadings and Priorities of the Yearly Meeting and facilitate implementation. This involves the development and nurturing of staff and volunteers in serving the needs of the monthly meetings.
  • The General Secretary should work closely with the Clerk of NYYM in fulfilling the leadings and priorities. The relationship should be collegial and mutually supportive.
  • The position of General Secretary could be a contract position (for example, three to five years, with possibility of renewal).
  • The other requirements in the existing job description also hold: be a member (or willing to be) of NYYM monthly meeting; strong spiritual grounding; experience with Quaker process; good communications skills.
  • IN PROCESS: We did not come to clarity regarding the supervision structure for the future General Secretary. The roles of the personnel and supervisory committees are still being considered.

Additional Recommendations:

Several other suggestions emerged during our interview process.

  • The list of tasks for the Associate Secretary has grown too large, much like the list for the General Secretary. It would be good to have some of the Associate Secretary’s tasks (whatever does not strictly require a Quaker point of view) distributed to full- or part-time administrative help.
  • We currently contract for bookkeeping services, which might be brought into the office. With more people already on staff, we also need Human Resources expertise, either contracted or on staff.
  • Financial Services has recommended hiring a person with development expertise who might be able to serve the Yearly Meeting, Powell House, and Oakwood School together. This idea needs to be explored further to see if it could be done by a consultant or as a part-time staff responsibility.
  • Another task that requires much time for current staff and volunteers is event coordination for Fall, Spring, and Summer Sessions. While Summer sessions are well-managed by Sessions Committee and Silver Bay, local meetings often struggle to meet the needs of Fall and Spring. Adding the task of event planning to an existing or new position in the YM office would free Friends for better fellowship and participation.
  • Visitation among meetings and particularly from the Yearly Meeting to the monthly meetings is a core priority. YM staff (General Secretary, Associate Secretary, Field Secretaries, ARCH) can manage around 15 visits each per year. To build effective community, members of YM committees and other volunteers need to add to these visits significantly, enhancing their contact with Monthly Meetings. For example, existing groups such as Spiritual Nurture Working Group, CTC, and Ministry and Pastoral Care could expand and coordinate visitation. Financial help with expenses should be available.
  • ARCH should be integrated into the staff and work of NYYM, perhaps as a third Field Secretary function.
  • Powell House staff and NYYM staff should have a defined collaborative relationship, including regular joint meetings and exploration of mutual opportunities.

Future work

We present this report as a beginning, open to seasoning by Friends. We will be contacting Monthly Meetings as part of the usual letter that solicits comments on the performance of the current General Secretary to obtain their sense of what Monthly Meetings need from a General Secretary and staff of NYYM.

Recommendations

  1. We recommend that Personnel and the Ad Hoc Committee begin to develop a job description for the General Secretary to be presented at the General Services Coordinating Committee during Coordinating Committee weekend in January for discernment.
  2. A committee for recruitment and search for the General Secretary should be appointed.
  3. Public announcement of the open position should begin soon.

The Ad Hoc Committee for Staff Structure
Presented at Fall Sessions 2016