Minutes, Summer Sessions 2015

Submitted on 07/20/2015

 

The 320th New York Yearly Meeting

Summer Sessions

July 19 - 25, 2015

Silver Bay YMCA, Silver Bay, New York

 

July 20, 2015, afternoon session

Silver Bay, New York
Monday, July 20, 2015, 3:30 p.m.

Jeffrey L. Hitchcock (Rahway & Plainfield), Clerk
Lucinda Antrim (Scarsdale), Assistant Clerk
Roger Dreisbach-Williams (Rahway & Plainfield), Recording Clerk
Sylke Jackson (Rockland), Reading Clerk

2015-07-01.    The Clerk welcomed F/friends to the 320th session of New York Yearly Meeting.  Those at the clerks’ table were introduced, and the agenda was presented – including a reminder to review the Consent Agenda which will be taken up on Wednesday night.

2015-07-02.    The Clerk welcomed visitors: 

2015-07-03.    John VanDyke Wilmerding, from Putney [Vermont] Meeting, New England Yearly Meeting,  is carrying a concern for developing an anti-racism training curriculum, based around the Alternatives to Violence Project, for working with white people to address their, and one another’s, racism in new ways.

2015-07-04.    A traveling minute was received from Friends General Conference for Carolyn Lejuste who is attending as the Yearly Meeting Visitor for FGC.  The Clerk was directed to endorse the minute.

2015-07-05.    David Male from Middleton Monthly Meeting, Ohio Yearly Meeting was welcomed and brought greetings.

2015-07-06.    Minutes 1-5 were approved.

2015-07-07.    Clerk of the Ministry Coordinating Committee Irma Guthrie (Perry City) presented the State of the Society Report.  Unlike in the recent past no queries were suggested. Twenty-four of seventy-four meetings responded in various ways and common themes emerged:

  • Quality of Worship and Spiritual Ministry – Friends described meeting for worship as welcoming, comforting and joyful, a spiritual home, well-grounded in the Light.
  • Spiritual Growth – Meetings are laboring to foster growth in the Spirit in different ways, striving to provide a welcoming, safe place for seekers.
  • Witnessing to Friends Principles – Friends participate in a broad range of witness activities in their communities, including Earthcare Witness, AVP, Amnesty International, AFSC, FCNL, Christian Peace Teams, Witness against Torture, prison ministry, war tax witness, gun control, sustainable agriculture, and work to overcome racism.
  • Personal and Family Relations – Because so many meetings are facing an aging membership, many have been having conversations on aging and now have members who have completed ARCH [Aging Resources Consultation and Help] training.
  • Relations with Community and Other Religious Groups – Many Friends Meetings are affiliated with local interfaith organizations; some have participated in ecumenical retreats; others mention exchanging speaking engagements with other religious bodies.
  • Concerns That Test Us – Some of our meetings report significant and growing concerns regarding aging and dwindling membership rolls, small or non-existent First Day programs and the difficulties of maintaining meetings both spiritually and physically.  Nevertheless, in nearly every report there is a sense of hope and an unwavering commitment to the worship that unites us in the cause of Love.

    Friends received the report.

2015-07-08   General Secretary Christopher Sammond (Poplar Ridge) presented his report:  He spoke of the response to his report following his sabbatical in which he spoke about the need for personal transformation and eliminating our reliance on hydrocarbons for energy.  There was excitement about eliminating hydrocarbons, but no one mentioned personal transformation.
    He dreams of a Yearly Meeting that people attend, where there are no “Yearly Meeting Friends” and “Monthly Meeting Friends”; where we aren’t trying to maintain or recreate who we used to be but energetically becoming who we are called to be; where our strengths as a powerhouse of ideas, accomplishments, finances and spiritual vitality are the core of our self-image and the basis of our lives; where limits are set on those in our midst whose behavior is destructive of the community; where we take responsibility for healing the wounds of racism; and where we can talk about money.
    “I want to live in a Yearly Meeting that is being transformed by God.  A Yearly Meeting that is setting the world ablaze.”
    Worship and ministry followed.
    Friends received the report. A version is attached.

2015-07-09.    The Clerk reported on the following interim action:
    In late May a Certificate of Insurance was issued to Oakwood School as the Yearly Meeting co-sponsored the Quaker Spring event held at Oakwood School.  Quaker Spring is a gathering of people from across the country, many from the East Coast, who seek an experience of the Inward Christ in Community.

2015-07-10.    The reading clerk read a travel minute for Robert Kazmayer (Sunfire) to attend the Parliament of the World’s Religions to be held October 15-19, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah.  This leading has grown out of a concern that all of the world’s spiritual leaders have a vital role in combating the hatred that is tearing the world apart.  Sunfire noted the call of the Parliament’s leadership to “all faith communities to move against violence and hatred,” and that this call is in harmony with Quaker testimony since the start of our movement in the seventeenth century.
    The Clerk is directed to endorse the travel minute.

2015-07-11.    A travel minute was heard for Heather M. Cook, who carries a concern for preventing and healing from all types of violence, and particularly sexual violence, by helping individuals, relationships, and communities strengthening their capacity for awareness, compassion, and commitment to engage with challenging work.  This ministry emerges from her own experience with violence, and a yearning for a path of healing.
    The Clerk is directed to endorse this travel minute.

2015-07-12.    Friends heard a travel minute for Rachel Pia to travel under the care of, and serving, Friends General Conference’s New Meetings Project.  Rachel is part of a team that works with Friends considering the formation of a new Meeting.
    The Clerk is directed to endorse this travel minute.

2015-07-13.    Minutes 7-8 are held for revision.  Minutes 9-12 were approved.

2015-07-14.    The meeting closed with announcements and a period of silent worship.

2015-07-15.    Minutes 7-8 were approved along with additional wording in Minutes 10 and 12.


July 20, 2015, evening session

Silver Bay, New York
Monday, July 20, 2015, 7:15 p.m.

Jeffrey L. Hitchcock (Rahway & Plainfield), Clerk
Lucinda Antrim (Scarsdale), Assistant Clerk
Karen Way (New Brunswick), Recording Clerk
Karen Snare (Bulls Head-Oswego), Reading Clerk

2015-07-16.    Friends gathered in worship. The clerk reviewed the agenda for the evening.

2015-07-17.    The reading clerk read a Travel Minute for Rebecca MacKenzie, who is a member of Quaker City Unity Friends Meeting in New England Yearly Meeting. Rebecca plans to offer programs in New England and New York with the goal of creating a human presence on Earth that is spiritually centered, environmentally resilient and sustainable, and socially just. The clerk was directed to endorse the minute.

2015-07-18.    The clerk introduced Friends United Meeting (FUM) General Secretary Colin Saxton. Colin thanked NYYM for our partnership with FUM in carrying out projects around the world. Colin reviewed some of the many extraordinary programs that FUM supports, but said that FUM is more truly a worldwide community of people joined together in the shared experience of love’s transforming power. He will be available for questions and discussion during the week.

2015-07-19.    A Memorial Minute was read for Nancy Caldwell Sorel, a long-time member of Bulls Head-Oswego Monthly Meeting, who died in February at the age of 80. Known to all as a kind, generous and loving spirit, Nancy was also a noted historian and author. She wrote about women journalists in war and about the experience of childbirth, and contributed many nationally published essays. Nancy first encountered Quakerism in London, and was led to volunteer for a UN program building homes for World War II refugees in Austria. Later she participated with her husband Ed in the Easter Sunday pilgrimage across the Peace Bridge to Canada to deliver medical supplies for North and South Vietnam. Nancy and Ed collaborated on books in their long relationship and raised a devoted family. She attended Yearly Meeting sessions regularly, serving as recording clerk and on many committees, and blessed us with her rare ability to speak truth from love. Friends spoke movingly of her openness and warmth, and the joyful energy she brought to serving the Yearly Meeting.

2015-07-20.    Director of Communications for NYYM Steven Davison (Yardley, PA; about to transfer his membership to Central Philadelphia Meeting in Philadelphia YM) spoke of how much he loves his job, the people he works with, and the people he works for. It has been an active year for NYYM in communications, particularly in press releases and website expansion. Using the large projection screen, Steven gave us a tour of the current website. Among other things, the website contains links to many videos and series of videos. There are also links to resources for monthly meetings: forms, booklets, curricula, and libraries of information and advice on topics such as racism and transforming conflict. There are also extensive resources on the Yearly Meeting and all its committees and concerns. There are online versions of Yearly Meeting publications such as Faith and Practice, the Handbook, the Yearbook, Spark, and so on. There is an online forum for viewing and contributing content on various topics. Steven encouraged Friends to spread the word of these riches to our monthly meetings, and to volunteer to help with posting content to the website.

2015-07-21.    NYYM representative to the Executive Board of the New York State Council of Churches Sara Niccoli (Brooklyn) reported on the work of the Council. The organization works to create a shared vision for advocacy, spiritual life, and education. This has been a busy year for advocacy, particularly for NY state budget topics such as addressing rural poverty, correcting inequality, raising the minimum wage, and other worker issues. The Council has also worked to ban fracking and support marriage equality. Friends can participate in letter writing campaigns and the annual retreat in October.

2015-07-22.    The work of the Aging Resources, Consultation and Help (ARCH) program was presented by Callie Janoff (Brooklyn), one of the ARCH coordinators. Callie presented surprising statistics to help us understand the growing population of people aging. The goal of ARCH is for all seniors and differently-abled members to be cared for by their meetings appropriately. To do this, ARCH offers training for volunteers to become Visitors, experts in the resources and understanding needed to support a humane and spiritual experience of aging. ARCH hopes to have at least 2 Visitors for each monthly meeting, and several training opportunities are available. Through educational workshops, supportive retreats, and advocacy, the ARCH organization helps meetings grow old gracefully, supports caregivers, and reaches out to aging incarcerated fellow citizens. Barbara Spring (Albany) is retiring at the end of December 2015. Thus the ARCH organization is being restructured with Callie Janoff as director and several local coordinators to be appointed. Callie urged monthly meetings to ask for help and send volunteers for training. Friends spoke from the floor, adding positive stories of help from ARCH.

2015-07-23.    Nurture Coordinating Committee clerk Deborah Wood (Purchase) presented a description of the Leadings and Priorities Working Group being created under the care of the Liaison Committee. The group will assess how the Yearly Meeting as a whole is living into the priorities approved at the 2014 Summer Sessions. This assessment will weigh both the use of money and the use of Friends’ time and energy. If the Working Group finds that the priorities are not being utilized, or not having sufficient impact, in consultation with monthly meetings, the group will advise ways that the yearly meeting committee structure can better support this work.
    The composition of the working group and the mechanics of its operation are attached to these minutes.

2015-07-24.    Meeting for Discernment Steering Committee clerk Roger Dreisbach-Williams (Rahway & Plainfield) reported on the concerns that arose at the March 7 Meeting for Discernment held at Old Chatham Meeting. Friends at that gathering heard a call to pray for the monthly meetings within NYYM, to love one another and to do what that entails. With that in mind, a specific concern was raised to bring mental health issues into the Light. Everyone would benefit if our Meetings could become a safe place for Friends to bring their whole selves into the faith community, including those mental health concerns that in the past might have been stigmatized. The Steering Committee thus brought forth a recommendation to develop a workshop blending pastoral care and professional mental health care. This concern is being forwarded to Ministry Coordinating Committee.

2015-07-25.    Friends received the preceding reports.

2015-07-26.    Committee to Revise Faith & Practice clerk Irma Guthrie (Perry City) gave a first reading of several revised paragraphs in the section on Covenant Relationships (attached). Friends who have comments should bring them to the committee.

2015-07-27.    Minutes 16-26 were approved and the Meeting closed with quiet worship.


July 22, 2015

Silver Bay, New York
Wednesday, July 22, 2015, 7:15 p.m.

Jeffrey L. Hitchcock (Rahway & Plainfield), Clerk
Lucinda Antrim (Scarsdale), Assistant Clerk
Karen Way (New Brunswick), Recording Clerk
Karen Snare (Bulls Head-Oswego), Reading Clerk

2015-07-28.    Friends gathered in worship. The clerk reviewed the agenda for the evening.

2015-07-29.    A travel minute was read for George and Margery Rubin from Medford Monthly Meeting of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. Friends directed the clerk to endorse the minute.

2015-07-30.    The clerk introduced Lynn and Steve Newsom of Quaker House, from Fayetteville Monthly Meeting, and both North Carolina Yearly Meeting Conservative and Piedmont Friends Fellowship Yearly Meeting. On Friday they will give a report on Quaker House and its work to bring Light to the military.

2015-07-31.    The clerk introduced Chris Jorgenson from Friends Meeting at Cambridge, New England Yearly Meeting. Chris is at Silver Bay to tell us about Casa de los Amigos, a Quaker guest house in Mexico City.

2015-07-32.    Ministry Coordinating Committee and Committee to Revise Faith and Practice clerk Irma Guthrie (Perry City) gave a first reading of the revised section “Revision of the Discipline” from Faith and Practice (attached). Friends who have comments or suggestions should bring them to the committee. A second reading will be offered at next year’s summer sessions.

2015-07-33.    John Cooley (Central Finger Lakes), clerk of General Services Coordinating Committee introduced Peter Phillips (Cornwall) to present the first reading of the proposed By-Laws of New York Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, Inc., attached. Copies of the full text were distributed to the body. Peter explained that the yearly meeting was incorporated in 1901, but never had by-laws of the corporation. To fix that omission, the Trustees have drafted a set of by-laws consistent with our Faith and Practice and with current law. Peter reviewed the major sections of the by-laws, noting that there is no provision in the proposed version for removing a trustee or an officer of the corporation. In general, the power to make decisions rests with the members, but no individual member or monthly meeting is liable for the actions of the corporation. Members may expend corporate funds to further the work of committees, but committees are accountable to the members for work they undertake.
    Friends who have comments and suggestions should bring them to the Board of Trustees. The Trustees plan to present a second reading at Fall Sessions.

2015-07-34.    Minutes 28-33 were approved.

2015-07-35.    The reading clerk read the Epistle from Britain Yearly Meeting from May, 2015. Friends in Britain described how they felt called to identify and understand the root causes of social and economic injustice in the world. They spoke of an urgent readiness to take corporate action — to bring together and use the resources of the yearly meeting and Friends around the world. “We can’t do everything,” they wrote, “but we can all do something.”

2015-07-36.    Members of the White Privilege Conference Task Group introduced the 17th Conference, to be held April 14-17, 2016, in Philadelphia, PA and co-hosted by New York Yearly Meeting and Friends General Conference.  Elizabeth “Buffy” Curtis (Mohawk Valley) asked the body three queries:

Have any of you experienced white privilege? Who among you is open to learning more about white privilege? Who is willing to help with this task?  Nearly everyone stood and quite a few Friends came forward.

    Charley Flint (Rahway-Plainfield) and Robin Alpern (Scarsdale) spoke about the long work in this Yearly Meeting of discerning, understanding, and addressing white privilege and the ubiquitous influence of racialization. They reviewed the Yearly Meeting’s history of speaking out against racism and called for turning values into action. With this in mind, Friends were urged to attend the Conference and to register early as it may be over-subscribed.
    The White Privilege Conference Task Group has been formed within Witness Coordinating Committee to publicize, support, and encourage our participation in the conference. Several committees contributed members to the task group: Black Concerns Committee, Young Adult Concerns Committee, Task Group on Racism, European American Quakers Working To End Racism, Prisons Committee, and Indian Affairs Committee. There are also some At Large members. Additional task group members are welcome.

2015-07-37.    The clerk presented the Consent Agenda for approval, reminding Friends that, after advance opportunity for expressing concern, items on the Consent Agenda require no discussion.  Friends approved minutes 2015-07-38 through 2015-07-40 in accord with the Consent Agenda.

2015-07-38.    Friends approved the nominations for service to the Yearly Meeting.  The nominations can be found following the minutes and epistles of this Summer Sessions, in the listing of “Friends Under Appointment to New York Yearly Meeting” in the Yearbook

2015-07-39.    Friends received these requests for release from service:

Colleen Hardiman attender at Purchase Epistle 2015
Elizabeth Edminster Fifteenth Street Committee to Revise Faith & Practice 2017
Jeffrey Aaron New Brunswick Trustees 2018
Richard Regan Rochester Committee on Sufferings 2016
Ann Wright Scarsdale Committee on Sufferings 2015
Jeffrey Hitchcock Rahway & Plainfield Committee to Revise Faith & Practice 2016
Dennis Haag Adirondack Powell House Corporation 2017
Mark Hewitt Chatham-Summit Junior Yearly Meeting 2018

2015-07-40.   The Handbook page for NYYM Trustees is amended to include the appointment of a Trustee to the Audit Committee.

2015-07-41.   Three nominations were made for Friends outside the Yearly Meeting, requiring separate approval.

2015-07-42.   For Oakwood Friends School Board: Ralph Skeels of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.
    Friends approved.

2015-07-43.   For Oakland Friends School Board: Elizabeth Porter of New England Yearly Meeting.
    Friends approved.

2015-07-44.   For Powell House Committee: Esther Gilbert of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.
    Friends approved.

2015-07-45.   Ministry Coordinating Committee clerk Irma Guthrie (Perry City) gave the second reading of the revised section “Care of Ministries and Recording of Gifts in Ministry” (appended).
    Friends approved.

2015-07-46.   Minutes 35, 36 & 45 were approved (minutes 37-44 having been approved as they were presented or as part of the Consent Agenda).

2015-07-47.   Meeting closed with quiet worship.


July 24, 2015, afternoon session

Silver Bay, New York
Friday, July 24, 2015, 3:30 p.m.

Jeffrey L. Hitchcock (Rahway & Plainfield), Clerk
Lucinda Antrim (Scarsdale), Assistant Clerk
Roger Dreisbach-Williams (Rahway & Plainfield), Recording Clerk
Sylke Jackson (Rockland), Reading Clerk

2015-07-48.    The Clerk welcomed Friends with a message:

A ministry of love without an understanding of justice is a tool of the privileged.

A witness of justice without an understanding of Spirit is like a rudderless ship that takes us no place and may do harm as it collides with others in the harbor.

When we do it well, our ministry and our witness are not so different.  They are really the same thing.

We are NOT the Religious Society of the privileged.

We are NOT the Secular Society of Friends.

We are the Religious Society of Friends.

My pathway into the Yearly Meeting, nearly 20 years ago, came through our witness activities, and from there I grew a broader understanding of who we are.

When I became Assistant Clerk, I was pulled into a journey of spiritual development that still continues.  I came to understand that our Yearly Meeting had experienced hurt and division in the not so distant past, and that many Friends had worked hard to heal those wounds and ground us in Spirit.  Eventually I came to see and understand how that spiritual work, and our collective and growing understanding of Spirit-led eldership was, and is, the foundation of our Yearly Meeting.

If we lose that, we lose ourselves as a Yearly Meeting.

I have felt myself held, and I have experienced our Yearly Meeting being held by Friends who have done this work of eldership.  There is some mystery to it.  But it is a learnable task and role, and one that does not necessarily have to do with age.

I believe that our foundation remains strong; and that it will be this way as long as we attend to it.  And then we have, and will have, something on which to build our collective witness and ministry.

It feels to be so wonderful to be part of that.

    He introduced those at the clerks table and reviewed the agenda, cautioning Friends that while we have time, we do not have as much time as earlier sessions this week.

2015-07-49.    Lynn and Steve Newsom reported on the work being done at Quaker House, Fayetteville, NC.  It was a report of extensive ministry to our military men, women and families; as well as to youth who need to reconsider their relationship to the military.  They will be with us through the end of sessions.

2015-07-50.    General Services Coordinating Committee clerk John Cooley (Central Finger Lakes) introduced the following:

2015-07-51.    The Trustees’ Report was presented by Linda Houser (Purchase).  A report of their activities is attached.  Two minutes were brought for our approval:

2015-07-52.    The dividends received from the Martin Leach Fund will be re-designated from “for distribution by the Advancement Committee” to the Operating Fund.
    Friends approved.

2015-07-53.   The dividends received from the Florence Stevens Fund will be re-designated from “for distribution by the Trustees” to the Operating Fund.
    Friends approved.

2015-07-54.   The Treasurer’s Report was presented by Paula McClure (Purchase). Total receipts, $234,467 (compared to $197,529 last year); Total expenses, $218,192 (compared to $219,951 last year).  For the first time in many years, receipts to date exceed expenditures.  

2015-07-55.    The Financial Services report was presented by Matthew Scanlon (Scarsdale).

We reviewed the description of Financial Services in the Handbook which includes revising the budget process in order to more closely track the priorities of the Leadings and Priorities approved last year, and the preliminary expense and revenue estimates for the 2016 fiscal year.

2015-07-56.    We heard the Epistle from Belgium and Luxembourg Yearly Meeting:
    Thirty-eight Friends gathered – a rare event when so many Friends were able to be together.  Under the guidance of Helen Meads and Andrea Freeman they explored their theme: ‘Leaning into the Silence, Leaning into the Light’.  During the weekend they learned we could be flexible and pragmatic, whilst maintaining their enthusiasm. “We take a new sense of experimentation into our worship.”

2015-07-57.    Friends received these reports.

2015-07-58.    Friends approved minutes 48-51 and 54-57, minutes 52 & 53 having been approved when presented.

2015-07-59.    Friends next considered “ A Call to Pope Francis and the Roman Catholic Church to formally repudiate and revoke the ’Doctrine of Christian Discovery’” to be sent as a letter to Pope Francis. The letter says, in part:

“We are grateful for your recent words in Bolivia, recognizing the humanity and dignity of the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas and of the world, and apologizing and asking forgiveness for ’grave sins‘ and ’crimes‘ against the native people of America in the name of God.”

“Several Papal Bulls, notably the Papal Bull Inter Caetera, issued in the 15th and 16th Centuries, express the doctrine that certain human beings, because they were not Christian, are not entitled to fundamental dignity and rights. This doctrine has led to exploitation, discrimination and genocide carried out throughout the following centuries against many peoples of this earth, including the area now known as the United States of America. The Doctrine continues to cause further harm and suffering to indigenous peoples within the borders of the United States and in many other places around the world.”

The words of his Encyclical Laudato Si, that “disregard for the duty to cultivate and maintain a proper relationship with my neighbor, for those whose care and custody I am responsible, ruins my relationship my own self, with others, with God and with the earth” are cited along with examples from the Gospels where Jesus accepted those whose faith is different.

The time has come, we believe, to repudiate the Doctrine of Christian Discovery so that we may all join with our Indigenous sisters and brothers to meet “the urgent challenge to protect our common home [which] includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development” (Laudato Si 13).”

    A copy of our 2013 Minute repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery is to be included.

2015-07-60. Friends asked that revisions be made to the letter before it is brought back for final approval this evening.

2015-07-61. Friends World Committee for Consultation Committee’s report was presented by Michael Clark (Old Chatham), Emily Provance (Fifteenth Street), Isabella Aguirre (Purchase) and Sylke Jackson (Rockland). Isabella Aguirre and Sylke Jackson shared their experiences at the Quaker Youth Pilgrimage and the Section of the Americas gathering in Mexico City. The gatherings revealed the power of connecting and communicating within a faith whose divisions and branches are numerous and complex. Friends saw how Quakers in their corners of the earth bring a wild flowering of goodness to their communities. The love, strength, and faith of the world body of Quakers inspired New York Friends and deepened their grounding in the spirit. Michael Clark (Old Chatham) reported on plans for the future, including a restructuring – including the suspension of the Quaker Youth Pilgrimage – to conform to available funds which are much less than in the past, and advised Friends to take their copies of Faith & Practice because they will be asked questions. The full report is attached. Friends received this report.

2015-07-62. Ministry Coordinating Committee clerk Irma Guthrie (Perry City) brought forward the following announcement and proposed action for approval:

2015-07-63. Margaret Webb is recorded as having gifts in the ministry.

2015-07-64. The Meeting on Ministry & Counsel is suspended for another year.

2015-07-65. Minutes 59-64 were approved.

2015-07-66. The Epistle from New York Yearly Meeting received its first reading.

2015-07-67. Minute 66 is approved.

2015-07-68 Friends gathered in worship before adjourning.


July 24, 2015, evening session

Silver Bay, New York
Friday, July 24, 2015, 7:15 p.m.

Jeffrey L. Hitchcock (Rahway & Plainfield), Clerk
Lucinda Antrim (Scarsdale), Assistant Clerk
Andrew Mead von Salis (Brooklyn), Recording Clerk

2015-07-69.    Junior Yearly Meeting Co-Coordinator Dawn Pozzi (Rochester) was introduced to welcome us to the Friday evening celebration in our meeting for worship.  She gave her farewell from the Coordinator role, and introduced Rebecca Wolf (Rochester) as her successor.  Rebecca introduced her new Co-Coordinator, Eleanor Rosenberg (Ithaca).

2015-07-70.    Rebecca Wolf brought on the 1st and 2nd graders to present their Epistle.  Led by Will Tesdell, Faith Brzostoski, and Andrew Wolf on guitar, they lined up silently onstage with the huge yellow submarine scenery they had painted.  We learned of their week from their unison sign-language for "me too!" as we heard of experiences with nature, visitors, worship and their other activities, followed by a spirited rendition of the "Yellow Submarine" song itself that animated the entire Meeting.

2015-07-71.    The 3rd and 4th graders marched on to pantomime as their leaders, Theresa Oleksiw, Kai McGiver and David Gerhan recited the events of their week.  Their silence broke only at appropriate moments such as bawling their eyes out when "saying good-bye" to each day, gasping at the specter of an encounter in the bear cave, and snoring just enough in worship.

2015-07-72.    An eager onslaught of 5th and 6th graders followed, with adult leaders Bryant Henning, Virgil Bunting, and Margie Morgan-Davie.  Tallulah Klein, Caroline Lape, Jack Kane, River Festa-Rios and Devante Hooper alternated in reading their Epistle; the rest of the group demonstrated — and even satirized — the events, guests and activities of their week.

2015-07-73.    Eric Menzel and Abigail Byrtus, clerks, led on the Junior High (7th, 8th and 9th grades) group.  Chelsea-Clare Wilhelmsson, Jack Lawson, Starianna Wolf, Irena Rosenberg and Analea Blackburn MC'd as they lined up to deliver each day's key word, ending in "Peace" for Friday.  Mark LaRiviere, Susan Stillman and Patrick DiGiovanni provided adult guidance.  The group's chosen clerks next year are Analea Blackburn and Kaya Gibbs-Hobgood, with alternate clerk Abigail Byrtus.

2015-07-74.    On came the high schoolers, sitting silently until their clerks were ready to speak.  Then we were told by their clerks, Soren Grunder, Amariah DiGiovanni, and Simon Michaud, that Juliet Ramey-LaRiviere and Kwame Gibbs-Hobgood were chosen as next year's clerks, with Elsa Mohlke and Roman Gavrila as alternates.  Their supporting adults were Sylke Jackson and Luke Jones.  All their graduating seniors were named, and those remaining to carry forward were acknowledged.  Finally, Erin Clark and Columbine Loza read their Epistle, brimming with poetic images, rhythm and rhyme as well as with spirit, and praising the potential of rising toward the future on "this pretty little planet."

2015-07-75.    The Epistles of these Junior Yearly Meeting groups were received.  Rebecca Wolf concluded by expressing gratitude for the loving support the Junior Yearly Meeting program has enjoyed, and our young Friends left us gracefully to continue our business.

2015-07-76.    The Meeting waited in renewed centering worship.  The Clerk introduced those at the clerks’ table and reviewed the rest of the agenda

2015-07-77.   The Clerk introduced Emily Boardman (Cornwall), who read the portions, amended since its first reading this afternoon, of the proposed letter to Pope Francis, Bishop of Rome, urging repudiation of the centuries-old Doctrine of Christian Discovery and remediation of its past and continuing harms.  (Minute 2015-07-59,-60.)  She reported that each objection heard earlier has been addressed in whatever way may be feasible.  A copy is attached.
    Questions about the language were raised; explanations were given and some edits were made.  The letter was approved for the Clerk to issue to the Pope.

2015-07-78.    Nominating Committee clerk Elaine Learnard (Conscience Bay) brought forward the following additional nominations:

Advancement 2018 John Choe ('15) Flushing
State of the Society 2018 Marissa Badgley ('15) Poughkeepsie
Development 2018 John Choe ('15) Flushing
Young Adult Concerns 2016 Scott Daly ('15) Brooklyn (attender; co-opted)
Young Adult Concerns 2018 Jens Braun ('15) Old Chatham
Indian Affairs 2018 Charles Brainard ('15) Fifteenth Street
Indian Affairs 2018 Elizabeth (Buffy) Curtis ('15) Mohawk Valley

    These seven nominations were approved.

2015-07-79.    Nurture Coordinating Committee clerk Deborah Wood (Purchase) reported that the Yearly Meeting had received a minute from Brooklyn Meeting, joining in an initiative of Canada Yearly Meeting by advocating that New York Yearly Meeting limit its periodic donations to Friends United Meeting so as not to support general programs that are subject to FUM's hiring policy, which discriminates in hiring against some employees' marriages.
    Because of developments within FUM's General Board, openings have been discerned by our Nurture Coordinating Committee for a constructive resolution of the initiative.  The Yearly Meeting office will be asked to send a letter describing these to each monthly meeting, and Friends who wish to engage in the issue will be invited to explore the possibilities with the Coordinating Committee.
Friends received the report.

2015-07-80.    Sessions Committee clerk Roseann Press (Housatonic) reported on this week at Silver Bay.  506 registrations were received; 137 were for Junior Yearly Meeting and 41 overall were from first-time participants. 
    Our fund-raising efforts yesterday were summarized.  The Tagless Tag Sale brought in $1,044.17, the Fun(d) Fair realized $1,000.00, and Café Night took in $6,125.40. 
    We looked forward to our upcoming Sessions. Friends were earnestly invited to plan on attending Fall Sessions, hosted by Northeastern Regional Meeting, at Doane Stuart School in Rensselaer and at Powell House, November 6-8, 2015; and Summer Sessions 2016 at Silver Bay next July 24-30. 

2015-07-81.    The Epistle was given its second reading by Elizabeth Gordon (Binghamton), incorporating many suggested improvements made upon this afternoon's first reading.  The power of many specific elements of our experience this week is conveyed in its clear yet poetic words; we are truly as "variegated yet gathered" as a bouquet. 
    With additional elements requested from the floor, the Epistle was approved for issuance to Friends everywhere; it is attached.

2015-07-82.    The Minutes of this session were read, corrected and approved.

2015-07-83.    The meeting concluded in worship, the clerks stepping down to sit among the body of the Yearly Meeting.  Friends rose at 9:40 p.m., to meet again in November at our Fall Sessions as noted in minute 2015-07-80 above.

 

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