Albany Meeting: Witnessing the Importance of New York Yearly Meeting

Letter from Albany Meeting

on a called meeting for worship to consider NYYM's request for an increase in its covenant donation.

October 5, 2014

At a called meeting on October 5, 2014, members and attenders of Albany Friends Meeting took up the request from New York Yearly Meeting to increase our covenant donation by 3.75%. We began our meeting with a period of silence. We then reviewed the history of our meeting's covenant donations since 1997. After discussing the factors that have led the Yearly Meeting to make this request, we turned to a question posed by the clerk: What benefits do we receive from New York Yearly Meeting? What value does New York Yearly Meeting hold for us?

In response to this question, we identified many benefits that come to us from New York Yearly Meeting. For ten years we received financial support for our summer Peace Week. We also received financial and organizational help for our Quaker Quest Project. We received spiritual support from New York Yearly Meeting during a time of crisis in our meeting as we moved to recognize lesbian and gay marriage. We have deeply appreciated the services and assistance to our meeting from the ARCH program and the related Committee on Aging Concerns. Members and attenders spoke movingly about the insight, inspiration, and information they get from reading Spark.

We also expressed our deep appreciation for other services that New York Yearly Meeting provides its members. We particularly noted the value of the outreach activities of the Young Adult Field Secretary and the support New York Yearly Meeting provides to the youth program at Powell House and Summer Sessions. Many of the young friends associated with our meeting have benefitted from these services over the years.

We support the work of New York Yearly Meeting committees that articulate our witness on social justice issues (e.g. European American Quakers Working to End Racism) and New York Yearly Meeting representation on national committees such as the National Campaign Against Torture. Above all, we wish to support New York Yearly Meeting as the body that can best provide a public witness to our collective concerns.

After this review of benefits, we enthusiastically agreed to recommend to the October business meeting that we increase our covenant donation by the requested amount. The recommendation was accepted and approved at our October business meeting. We do this even though our current covenant donation is higher than our donation in 2008 and even though we have large capital expenses on the horizon. It is our way of witnessing the importance to us of the continued presence and work of New York Yearly Meeting. We hope that other meetings will share our assessment.

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