Minutes, Summer Sessions 2010

Submitted on 07/19/2010

The 315th New York Yearly Meeting

Summer Sessions
July 18–24, 2010
Silver Bay, New York

Monday, July 19, 2010, 10:15 a.m.

Heather M. Cook, Clerk
Joseph Garren, Assistant Clerk
Roger Dreisbach-Williams, Recording Clerk
Karen Snare, Reading Clerk

2010-07-01. The meeting gathered in peace and settled into worship. The Clerk greeted the body with a sense of buoyancy, held up by Friends here and also those who might not be with us in person due to transitions in their lives. She asked that Friends speak what is on our hearts rather than holding it for later. The gathering theme for this year is Peace. How are we practicing peace in our daily life? Are we choosing love? Friends were encouraged to consider, “What is best for the community?” during this week and beyond. Our book of discipline is called Faith and Practice. This week is a wonderful opportunity to practice our faith.

2010-07-02. The Clerk introduced the Friends at the clerks’ table.

2010-07-03. A report from Junior Year Meeting (JYM) including absences and activities was presented by Carolyn Beer (Old Chatham) and Antonia Williams (Albany) of the 9th- and10th-grade group.

2010-07-04. The Clerk reviewed the order of worship for the morning session.

2010-07-05. The roll was called. All regions and many monthly meetings were represented.

2010-07-06. Visitors were welcomed: Lilian Vega from Guatemala, who is a partner with Friends Peace Teams, an Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) facilitator, and trained in trauma healing with support from New York Yearly Meeting (NYYM) World Ministries Committee; Jean Smith traveling with a minute from East Africa Yearly Meeting Kaimosi in support of her concern about the continuing prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Kenya; and Rob Sambosky from Earlham School of Religion.

2010-07-07. A memorial minute for Harold Risler of Buffalo Monthly Meeting was read. Harold was an active member of NYYM for many years and provided important service. Our practice of holding meetings in every part of the Yearly Meeting rather than just in New York City, Brooklyn, or at the Oakwood Friends School, was his vision. At least one happy marriage is due to his advice. His memory is cherished.

2010-07-08. The last section of the State of the Society Report was presented by Karen Way (New Brunswick). The full report is in the Advance Reports, which are available online and will be published in the Yearbook. The report indicated that Friends seemed to have the most trouble with the query, “What is the most hopeful vision of your meeting?” It is not our safety but our problems that will save us. We thank God for our challenges and our growth, and for continued blessings as we journey on.

Friends spoke of the saints they have met in prison worship groups and the importance of inviting young Friends to attend meeting. The Clerk asked, “What will we do now? Will we write the same thing next year?”

2010-07-09. A portion of Proverbs was read:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own insight.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
It will be a healing for your flesh
and a refreshment for your body. (Proverbs 3:5–8)

2010-07-10. The general secretary, Christopher Sammond (Bulls Head-Oswego, sojourning at Poplar Ridge), presented his report. The Advance Reports include a summary of his service to the Yearly Meeting over the past year. Based on his experience with a variety of monthly meetings and our budget process, he shared some thoughts on vision, change, resistance, and money.

Christopher reported that since 1969, this Yearly Meeting has been actively seeking renewal, seeking to become a more vital, Spirit-filled body. Yet this body has declined in membership since we reunified in 1955, every year save a few of the most recent five or six years.

What has become normal for many of our meetings is to be small. For our meetings to become larger, with more vibrancy, more depth, more powerful witness, would constitute change. An axiom of systems theory is that all systems resist change, including change for the better. For most individuals and monthly meetings, this very human, normal resistance to change often first centers around money: We can’t change because we don’t have the money to do so.

Christopher gave several examples, both personal and corporate, of where vision, energy, and commitment preceded the financial means to accomplish what had been dismissed as “impossible.” He reiterated that vision, energy, and commitment precede financial support, not the other way around.

In the original Aramaic rendering of the Lord’s Prayer, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done” section of the Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:10) could be read as: “Let our fiery hearts unite with yours into a common ‘We can.’”

New people in monthly meetings are frequently more imbued with this can-do energy, an ability and willingness to see a new vision. They are less entrenched in the present system, and have less investment in maintaining its present state. How can we recognize and use this precious resource of optimistic, willing enthusiasm, and not wear it down with the tired status quo, so weary it can’t envision something better?

He believes that we have pent-up resources, ready to get behind something that is right and true. In the midst of the economic downturn we raised $17,000 in response to the postelection violence in Kenya—more money, particularly on a per capita basis, than any other yearly meeting in Friends United Meeting. We have enormous resources looking for an outlet.

He ended saying, “O Lord, let our fiery hearts unite with yours into a common ‘We can!’”

A Friend noted that it is easier to respond to a crisis than to the everyday needs of our meetings.

2010-07-11. The Clerk invited us to hold what we have heard here today, to listen for what expands our sense of Truth, and to embrace the joy of mystery as we are held in Divine love.

2010-07-12. The Meeting approved the minutes.

2010-07-13. We gathered as a whole community for worship.

 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010, 10:15 a.m.

Heather M. Cook, Clerk
 Joseph Garren, Assistant Clerk
Karen Reixach, Recording Clerk
Karen Snare, Reading Clerk

2010-07-14. After introducing the Friends at the clerks’ table, the Clerk reviewed the order of worship for the morning, observing that we have the opportunity to hear the story of who we are as a yearly meeting.

2010-07-15. Grace Eskin (Purchase Meeting) and Chelsea Clare (Fifteenth Street) reported for the 5th- and 6th-grade group on some activities and learnings at JYM.

2010-07-16. A portion of the epistle from the Adult Young Friends Gathering in Wichita, Kansas, May 2010, was read by Boyce Benge (Brooklyn) of the Epistle Committee. “The Gathering drew young adults from different Friends traditions, and the epistle reported both challenges and joys. In studying Scripture together, we learned from Jesus’ example that Love requires crossing borders, going to places that are strange, foreign, and that seem dangerous. Now, like our Friend, we too are crossing borders seeking Truth in Love, and when we find Love we are going to find God because God is Love, and that Love waits to be awakened in all of us.”

2010-07-17. The Clerk introduced visitors from Friends United Meeting: Terri Johns, program manager of global ministries, and Katie Terrell Wonsik, editor of Quaker Life magazine. She also introduced Emma Condori, member of Misión Boliviana de Santidad Amigos and currently a student at Earlham School of Religion, and Liston Ayodi, director of the Rural Service Programme, a project of the Quakers in Kenya, who is traveling with a concern for HIV/AIDS victims and their families.

2010-07-18. A memorial minute for Carroll Garner of Quaker Street Monthly Meeting was read. Carroll, a birthright Friend and conscientious objector during World War II, was a dairy farmer, who cared for the animals and the land; he was an early practitioner of systematic soil and water conservation. He participated actively in monthly meeting and for a time in Friends World Committee for Consultation Visitation Committee until his retirement in 1988, when he became freer to serve the Yearly Meeting. From 1980–82 Carroll hired a farm manager in order to serve as director of Powell House. He was a man who quietly lived his faith; he was described as “the most articulate silent Quaker I’ve ever met.” Carroll is survived by Dorothy Garner, his wife of almost 63 years, four children, and their families, as well as many friends whose lives he enriched.

Out of the silence, Friends fondly remembered Carroll for his service to the regional meeting, his fun, his contagious faith, his tenderness, and his life of prayer.

2010-07-19. After a passage from Faith and Practice about travel minutes was read, the reading clerk then read the renewed minute of travel from Rochester Monthly Meeting, endorsed by Farmington-Scipio Regional Meeting and NYYM, for their members Mary Kay Glazer (Rochester, Ticonderoga Worship Group) and Mark Moss (Rochester, Ticonderoga Worship Group), who offer a ministry of couple enrichment under the care of Rochester Meeting and Friends General Conference (FGC) Traveling Ministries (minute of endorsement 2010-04-06). Mark and Mary Kay reported on the depth and breadth of their work, saying, “We continue to have a strong sense of the transforming power of this work in our relationship, and in the relationships of so many other couples. We also are deeply aware of couples work as peace work. When we deal creatively with conflict in our closest relationships, … [t]hat energy flows out from our core family relationships into the wider community, a blessing to all.”

A couple reflected from the body of the meeting on their experience of the clearness process for Mark and Mary Kay, of the initial couples retreat at Rochester a decade ago, and of the continuing couples group at Rochester Meeting.

2010-07-20. A minute of travel was read from Wilton Monthly Meeting for their member Judy Meikle, who is traveling among the meetings in New York and New England Yearly Meetings and other faith communities with a ministry of kindness, asking Friends and others to search their hearts for understandings and openings regarding the criminal justice system in the United States. Judy Meikle then spoke about her concern. She has been involved in the Alternatives to Violence Project for a decade and has a loved one in prison. She spoke of advocating for youth and for people who have been incarcerated, and of the unjust and irrational conditions that have led her to this ministry. She said the ministry is in its infancy and she asked to be held in loving care. Friends approved the Clerk’s endorsing this minute of travel.

2010-07-21. Clerk of Witness Coordinating Committee, Frederick Dettmer (Purchase), announced the establishment of the Sharing Fund Endowment, as a result of a very generous bequest to the Sharing Fund. The endowment will at times enable committees to fund work without waiting for the flow of contributions to the Sharing Fund. However, the Sharing Fund itself continues to be the primary means by which we support the witness activities of the Yearly Meeting and its constituent monthly meetings.

2010-07-22. The reading clerk read the renewed travel minute from Alfred Monthly Meeting for Nadine Hoover (Alfred), which is available both in English and in Indonesian. The minute has been endorsed by Farmington Scipio Regional meeting. In song and spoken testimony, Nadine, Sarah Rozard (Alfred, attending Cleveland Meeting, Lake Erie Yearly Meeting), and Autumn Star offered reflections on the work of the Indonesian Initiative of Friends Peace Teams and its relationship to the work of conscience. Nadine spoke of the power available to those who say, “Here I am, Lord,” then enumerated the diverse activities of the Indonesian Initiative and the Conscience Studio. Sarah spoke of the challenges of translating not only language but also technology to a different culture, and Autumn observed that we are all connected. A written report with details will be posted on the Yearly Meeting Web site www.nyym.org. Friends authorized the Clerk to endorse this travel minute.

2010-07-23. Fred then introduced the Peace Concerns Coordinator of the Yearly Meeting, Greta Mickey (Central Finger Lakes). Greta reported on the trip to Sakartvelo (the Republic of Georgia), May 18–June 22, 2010, to continue building relationships with Friends there and to reestablish AVP in Georgia. She and Shirley Way (Central Finger Lakes), coordinator of AVP/NY, facilitated five full AVP workshops, including a training for 12 facilitators. In addition, she and Shirley offered abbreviated workshops for 10- to 13-year-olds and 14- to 18-year-olds at an orphanage in the village of Tskneti near Tbilisi.

2010-07-24. Greta then reported on her other work as Peace Concerns coordinator, urging Friends to invite her to local or regional meetings; to have their meeting complete the survey that went out in May; to reflect on the broader meaning of peace not simply as the absence of war but as “conscious acts of love;” and to search deeply for a single issue that the Yearly Meeting could unite in acting on, not just in advocacy but in transforming our own lives.

2010-07-25. The minutes of this session were laid over to Thursday.

2010-07-26. The meeting closed in waiting worship, as JYM brought their energy to the meeting.

 

Thursday, July 22, 2010, 10:15 a.m.

Heather M. Cook, Clerk
Joseph Garren, Assistant Clerk
Karen Reixach, Recording Clerk
Robin Alpern, Reading Clerk

2010-07-27. Friends were invited into deeper worship with this opening reflection.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Marianne Williamson, A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles.

2010-07-28. Heather Cook, Clerk, welcomed Friends, and described a recent conversation of vision and commitment with Emma Condori of Misión Boliviana de Santidad Amigos. When their quarterly meeting gathers, they are 8,000 Friends; when their Yearly Meeting gathers, they are 25,000.

2010-07-29. After introducing those at the clerks’ table, the Clerk provided the order of worship for the morning.

2010-07-30. Natalie Mattson (Brooklyn) and Melanie Storey reported for the 7th- and 8th-grade group of JYM.

2010-07-31. The recording clerk for the Wednesday session read the minutes of that session. Friends approved the minutes.

2010-07-32. The Clerk presented the consent agenda for approval and reminded Friends that a consent agenda means that no further discussion is needed. Friends approved minutes 33–35 in accord with the consent agenda.

2010-07-33. Friends approved the nominations. Friends received the requests for release from service. The new lists of appointments can be found following the minutes and epistles of these Summer Sessions, in the listing of Friends under Appointment to New York Yearly Meeting in the Yearbook.

2010-07-34. Friends approved the creation of an unrestricted trust fund known as the Florence Stevens Fund to be administered by the Trustees for the benefit of the Yearly Meeting.

2010-07-35. Friends approved the following statement of purpose for the Meeting Visitation Fund:

“The Meeting Visitation Fund is supported through provision made in the New York Yearly Meeting (NYYM) operating budget and through designated or restricted contributions made by meetings and individuals. Its purpose is, at the Yearly Meeting level, to develop and support meeting visitation, primarily to small or struggling meetings and worship groups, and make possible travel undertaken by designated Friends to visit meetings and worship groups within NYYM at those meetings' request.

“This work may include the training and visits of Traveling Friends and elders performed under the care of the Traveling Friends Advisory Group, the travel of elders supporting Yearly Meeting staff visitation, or other meeting visitation initiatives as approved by the Ministry and Pastoral Care Committee.”

2010-07-36. A memorial minute for Sanford (Sandy) Segal of Rochester Monthly Meeting was read. Sandy balanced many commitments: to Judaism for its emphasis on community and freedom and to Quakerism for its testimonies of equality and peace; to teaching and mentoring at the university level and to writing articles and books about mathematics, the history of math and science, the pedagogy of mathematics, peace issues, and nuclear concerns; to service at the monthly meeting, regional meeting, and yearly meeting levels (most recently as a member of the Committee on Conflict Transformation and as reading clerk); to travel, word games, chess, and gardening. He and his wife, Rima, celebrated their 50th anniversary last year with their three children, five grandchildren, and many friends. Sandy suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and stroke while gardening, and spent two weeks in intensive care at Strong Memorial Hospital before his death on May 7. That time was a powerful one for Rochester Friends and others, as the family embraced his life in all its fullness and shared the opportunity for deep community.

Out of the silence Friends spoke of learning from Sandy’s life and death, of his capacity for generous friendship and encouragement, and of his “wicked [superlative] smartness.” His wife, Rima, recalled his life and death, closing with the Hebrew prayer “Blessed art thou, Lord, our God, Ruler of the universe, who has given us life and sustained us and enabled us to reach this season.”

2010-07-37. Clerk of Witness Coordinating Committee, Fred Dettmer, introduced the clerk of Indian Affairs Committee, Sybil Perry (Bulls Head-Oswego), who presented a minute for first reading, endorsing the United Nations (UN) Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery. This minute has been approved by Indian Affairs Committee and Witness Coordinating Committee.

“We seek to live in a just peace with our fellow human beings, both as individuals and as peoples.

“We call on the United States Senate to ratify the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of 2007, so that it becomes the law of the land in the United States of America.

“We repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery, which originated in the 15th century from Papal bulls and European royal charters issued at that time. We cannot accept that the Doctrine of Discovery was ever a true authority for forced takings of persons and land. It is false for the United States to assert the Doctrine of Discovery to compel a jurisdiction over indigenous peoples or their land.

“We honor the inalienable rights that sustain the existence of indigenous peoples. Indigenous people have rights to their homeland, water, spiritual practices, language, cultural practices, and to self-government. Indigenous peoples have the right to make decisions and conduct international relations on their own behalf.”

Joan Cope Savage (Syracuse) provided further information on the UN Declaration and on the doctrine of discovery, offering examples of violations of “free, prior and informed consent” that Friends protested and of issues in other countries. She said that the roots of the Doctrine of Discovery are connected to slavery and to the taking of land. Friends reflected on the questions of claims and the way the Declaration would resolve them, and heard counsel to engage in specific efforts at conflict resolution around indigenous peoples, corporate interests, and other stakeholders rather than a broad policy statement.

Friends approved the Yearly Meeting receiving the minute from Indian Affairs Committee and Witness Coordinating Committee endorsing the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery, and directed Indian Affairs Committee to share the minute with the monthly meetings and worship groups, together with explanatory and educational materials, and to travel among the meetings to explore with Friends the opportunities and challenges offered by the minute.

2010-07-38. Friends approved the minutes for this session.

2010-07-39. [Approved 7/23/10, minute 2010-07-43] Margaret Lechner (Purchase) reported on her work with Friends Peace Teams in Central America. Young Friends joined us in community worship to hear the later part of her report. Margaret began by describing how the loss of a job last year led to increasing her availability to facilitate AVP workshops in New York prisons and to her joining Val Liveoak in offering AVP workshops in Honduras and El Salvador. She offered several stories that illustrate important aspects of peace work: Peacebuilding en las Américas works in partnership; we don’t have to be perfect to do peace work; transforming power is as simple as seeing the adversary as our family and offering water to them when they are thirsty.

She closed with a poem:

Nunca diga “no puedo”.
Lo podemos hacer
Con la ayuda
De Dios y de su poder.
Never say “I can’t.”
We can do it
With the help
Of God and his power.

 

Friday, July 23, 2010, 10:15 a.m.

Heather M. Cook, Clerk
Joseph Garren, Assistant Clerk
Steven Ross, Acting Clerk
Elaine Learnard, Recording Clerk
Robin Alpern, Reading Clerk

2010-07-40. Out of the silence, Friends heard, from the Gospel According to John: “You must love one another just as I have loved you. It is by your love for one another that everyone will recognize you as my disciples.” (John 13:34–35)

2010-07-41. The Clerk expressed gratitude for the unifying power of love. She introduced those at the clerks’ table and Steven Ross (Shrewsbury), who will clerk a portion of the meeting, and reviewed the order of worship for the day.

2010-07-42. Coclerk of the Nominating Committee, Deborah Dickinson (Butternuts), brought additional nominations for service to the Yearly Meeting for a first reading.

Members of the Nominating Committee stood so that Friends can talk with them about nominations and opportunities for service to the Yearly Meeting.

2010-07-43. The recording clerk for the Thursday morning session read the final minute from that session. Friends approved that minute (minute 2010-07-39).

2010-07-44. The clerk of the Epistle Committee, Roger Dreisbach-Williams (Rahway & Plainfield), read the draft of our epistle to Friends everywhere. Friends were encouraged to offer their comments to the committee at the rise of meeting, so that the final version can come to a later session today.

2010-07-45. Friends heard, “The mutual trust at the heart of community is born of each day’s forgiveness and the acceptance of our frailty and poverty. But this trust is not developed overnight. That is why it takes time to form a real community.…It is often after suffering, after very great trials, tensions and the proof of fidelity that trust grows. A community in which there is truly mutual trust is a community which is indestructible.” —Jean Vanier, Community & Growth: Our Pilgrimage Together

2010-07-46. Clerk of the Steering Committee for the Meetings for Discernment, Janet Hough (Chappaqua), reported on the sixth meeting, held on Tuesday, July 20. Friends considered the queries: “What has your meeting or worship group learned through your experience of resisting change or embracing change?” “How are we as a yearly meeting being called to change?” A report on the Meeting for Discernment will be circulated to appointees, monthly meeting clerks, and the wider Yearly Meeting.

The body of the Meeting for Discernment approved the appointment for three-year terms of Roger Dreisbach-Williams and Elizabeth Edminster (Fifteenth Street) to the Steering Committee.

It is the sense of the Steering Committee that the promise of these meetings is still unfolding, and they recommend that the Yearly Meeting approve that the Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Counsel be suspended for another year. Friends approved.

2013-07-47. The Clerk and assistant clerk stepped aside from the clerks’ table, and Steven Ross came to the table to clerk the presentation of the report from the Liaison Charge Group.

2010-07-48. A member of the Liaison Charge Group read the Group’s report on the background and work done so far to develop a process, as the Yearly Meeting body directed at Fall Sessions in November 2009, “to guide the Yearly Meeting in discerning who we are, how we are led and how we support the work of those leadings and needs.” (minute 2009-11-36) The full report is attached. Six minutes are proposed in the report: to approve development of a statement of priorities; to establish a working group to guide this process, including how the membership of the group is to be constituted; to approve a charge to that working group; to approve actions and activities the working group will undertake for the discernment required; to approve that the working group shall bring a proposed Statement of Priorities to the 2011 Summer Sessions, as way opens; and approve that the four coordinating committees allocate funds from their current budgets to this working group. Friends received this report.

2010-07-49. [Approved at evening session, minute 2010-07-73] The Acting Clerk then summarized the elements in the report and the possible approaches the body could take in considering it, including delaying approval of any or all of the minutes. Friends expressed appreciation of the uncertainty and lack of specificity in the proposal, seeing those as strengths. One Friend asked that we approve these minutes only if we are willing to say that we ourselves commit to this work. In response to a question, a committee member stressed that the working group will be asking monthly meetings “What is important to you?” not some version of “How do you want to interact with the Yearly Meeting?” Friends voiced an uneasiness, a concern about “corporate language” in the report and a sense that we would be creating a business-style strategic plan. Others said that they would like to assure that the body has adequate time to consider this report. Having tested his sense of the meeting that the body was close to but not ready to approve the minutes in the report, the Acting Clerk proposed that the minutes in the report be held over to the evening for further consideration. The report was held over.

 2010-07-50. Friends approved minutes 2010-07-40 through 48.

2010-07-51. The Clerk and assistant clerk returned to the clerks’ table and resumed their responsibilities.

2010-07-52. Friends from JYM arrived singing. Out of the silence, specific requests for prayer deepened community worship.

 

Friday, July 23, 2010, 3:00 p.m.

Heather M. Cook, Clerk
Joseph Garren, Assistant Clerk
Karen Reixach, Recording Clerk

2010-07-53. The meeting opened in worship.

2010-07-54. The Clerk expressed the joy in gathering together. She introduced the assistant clerk and the recording clerk.

2010-07-55. Clerk of JYM Peter Close acknowledged assistant clerk of JYM Jennifer Lindop and recording clerk Mary Eagleson; recognized JYM coordinators Ginny Haines (Mohawk Valley) and Susan Stillman (Montclair) and introduced incoming JYM coordinators Ginny Haines and Miriam McGiver (Quaker Street). Steven Mohlke (Ithaca) is the new teen clerk adviser. Peter thanked the JYM volunteers and the JYM Committee for their contributions.

2010-07-56. Rebecca Wolf (Rochester), one of the leaders of the 1st- and 2nd-grade group, read their epistle, which is attached.

2010-07-57. Tori Close (Purchase), JYM Volunteer, read the epistle of the 3rd- and 4th-grade group, which is attached.

2010-07-58. Nora Mattson (Brooklyn), Dwight Huey (Manhattan), and Jaslyn Soto (Brooklyn) read the epistle of the 5th- and 6th-grade group, which is attached.

2010-07-59. Erin Clark (Old Chatham), Emrigael Alpern (Scarsdale), and Jessica Chapman (Wilton) read the epistle of the 7th- and 8th-grade group, which is attached.

2010-07-60. Martin Glazer (Rochester, Ticonderoga Worship Group) read the epistle of the 9th- and 10th-grade group, which is attached.

2010-07-61. Kai McGiver (Quaker Street) introduced the epistle of the 11th- and 12th-grade group, and it was read, enacted, and rapped by members of the entire group. The rap section is attached.

2010-07-62. Clerks for 2011 7th and 8th grades: Simon Michaud (Old Chatham) and Erin Clark (Old Chatham); alternates Soren Grunder (Fifteenth Street), Columbine Loza (Brooklyn), Leela Archibald (Manhattan).

9th and 10th grades: Mariah Goodwin and Martin Glazer (Rochester, Ticonderoga Worship Group), Alternates, Lily Bergstein and Antonia Williams (Albany).

11th and 12th grades: Noah Pomerselig (New Paltz), Grace Prial (Chatham-Summit)

 

2010-07-63. The assistant clerk read “The Peace of Wild Things” by Wendell Berry.

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for the light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Wendell Berry, Collected Poems.

2010-07-64. Barbara von Salis (Brooklyn) and Niko Tsocanos (Wilton) read the epistle from the Circle of Young Friends, which is attached.

2010-07-65. Friends approved the minutes.

2010-07-66. The meeting continued in open worship with song and silence.

 

Friday, July 23, 2010, 7:45 p.m.

Heather M. Cook, Clerk
Joseph Garren, Assistant Clerk
Steven Ross, Acting Clerk
Elaine Learnard, Recording Clerk
Karen Snare, Reading Clerk

2010-07-67. Out of the silence, Friends heard, from Isaiah:

The Lord will guide you continually,
     and satisfy your needs in parched places,
     and make your bones strong.
and you shall be like a watered garden,
     like a spring of water,
     whose waters never fail.
Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
     you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
     the restorer of streets to live in.
(Isaiah 58:11-12)

2010-07-68. The Clerk recalled a message from a traveling Friend at the Farmington-Scipio Spring Gathering: “I let my joy be my guide,” and of his life, “It’s not perfect, but it’s beautiful.”

2010-07- 69. The Clerk introduced those at the clerks’ table and described the order of worship for the evening.

2010-07-70. The clerk of the Epistle Committee, Roger Dreisbach-Williams, gave the second reading of this year’s epistle. Friends approved the epistle and instructed the Clerk to sign it on behalf of the Yearly Meeting.

2010-07-71. Coclerk of the Nominating Committee, Deb Dickinson, gave the second reading of the nominations that had been read at the morning session. Friends approved the nominations, which are included in the listing of Friends under Appointment to New York Yearly Meeting in the Yearbook.

2010-07-72. The Clerk and the assistant clerk left the table, and Steve Ross returned to the clerks’ table as Acting Clerk.

2010-07-73. The Acting Clerk reminded Friends that the minute from the morning session concerning the discussion of the proposed working group had not yet been approved. The recording clerk read the revised minute and Friends approved. [minute 2010-07-49]

2010-07-74. The Acting Clerk briefly reviewed the need for further discussion of the proposed minutes from the Liaison Charge Group and invited ministry on the matter. Friends spoke about the importance of including young Friends in whatever process is undertaken. Another spoke about a similar process in FGC that had raised many of the questions that were raised at this morning’s session, saying that FGC had come to see the need for stewardship and that this process furthers stewardship. Another Friend spoke about inclusion of all Friends in the process, with hope that we might be, not Yearly Meeting Friends or monthly meeting Friends, but Friends together. One Friend questioned whether we are able to have accountability and follow-through in implementing the results from proposed work and about how to assure that vision and energy are part of the work. We were reminded to locate all the many sources of energy among us. Friends noted that setting priorities is not the same as “discerning who we are and how we are led…” as stated in the proposed charge. One concern was that the structure proposed is too large and repetitious. Another Friend spoke of the need for this imperfect but needed element for advancement.

The Acting Clerk observed that many this morning and tonight have spoken of their reservations about the proposal but have also said that they support going forward with it.

He summarized the responses to this proposal, noting requests for assurance of participation of Friends of all ages and hopes that the proposal be both more and less. He tested his sense that we are close but not yet ready to approve this proposal, that some in favor still have reservations, that there is not a sense of urgency, and that absent an elegant piece of ministry to draw together the contradictions, we are not yet ready to approve this proposal.

A member of the Liaison Charge Group rose to clarify some background on the proposed charge to the working group, saying that he believes that the language in the charge does reflect the concerns that were raised at Fall Sessions, although he sees that the written proposal does not clearly show the connections with those concerns.

Following additional ministry, the body voiced significant approval but some “no” voices were heard. The Acting Clerk concluded that the matter must be held over, there being no unity for either approving or not approving.

2010-07-75. The Clerk and assistant clerk returned to the table.

2010-07-76. The following was read:

As I lived according to the highest light I had, I discovered that other light was given; that I opened myself to receiving more light as I lived the light I had.

Peace Pilgrim, Peace Pilgrim: Her Life and Work in Her Own Words

2010-07-77. The clerk of General Services Coordinating Committee, Jeffrey Aaron (New Brunswick), introduced the work of that section. He asked Friends to “restart” and to understand that the coordinating committee is not perfect, but it is beautiful, a power source for the Yearly Meeting.

Noting that many young Friends have an unsettled life and have difficulty participating in the life of monthly meetings, and giving some of the history of trying to meet the needs of these young Friends, he introduced a proposal to establish a half-time Young Adult field secretary position for a two-year trial period.

Jeffrey introduced the clerk of the Personnel Committee, Heloise Rathbone (Brooklyn), who gave the background for proposing this position and a description of the qualifications, supervision, and responsibilities of the position. She discussed the estimated salary and other costs of the position and the anticipated funding approach. Copies of a funding approach were distributed. Most of the funds would be coming from adjustments to the current budget and grants from the Trustees and the Fund for Youth and Young Adults. Additional funds are anticipated from other grants and contributions. The report is attached.

One Friend said that we should do this but that it is not enough, that the Religious Society of Friends desperately needs a comprehensive, nationwide system for serving young adults. Many expressed concern that the position will not include health insurance benefits. Jeffrey responded to this concern, saying that if Friends wish to instruct the Personnel Committee to provide benefits for part-time workers (less than 30 hours/week), this would be a radical change of policy but that this is not the appropriate forum for that discussion. Many spoke in support of the Young Adult Friends field secretary proposal. Friends approved the proposal.

2010-07-78. Jeffrey introduced the treasurer, Susan Bingham (Montclair), who summarized the status of the income and expenses for the operating budget as of June 30, 2010 (attached). The opening balance in January was $205,911. Year-to-date receipts are $194,125, year-to-date expenses are $226,661, for a net change of (-) $32,536. After taking into account receipts in-hand but not deposited by June 30th, we were in a slightly better position at this time last year [(-)$19,536 compared to (-)$14,156 in 2009]. The full report is posted on the Web site.

2010-07-79. Jeffrey introduced the clerk of Financial Services, Sandra Beer (Old Chatham), who asked that Friends attend Budget Saturday on October 2, location to be determined. She asked that Friends engage fully in the setting of priorities that is enfolded in the budget and the budgeting process, and that they urge their meetings to do so as well as they work together in establishing the amount of their covenant donation.

2010-07-80. Friends approved the minutes at 10:18 p.m. and the meeting closed, to meet again in Flushing at Fall Sessions November 12–14, 2010.

Dates for upcoming Yearly Meeting Summer Sessions
July 17–23, 2011
July 22–28, 2012