Minutes of July 25, 2018
University of Puget Sound, Tacoma WA
Present at the meeting:
Steven Aldrich, Olympia; Pacific Northwest Quarterly Meeting Ministry & Oversight Committee
Margaret Coahran, member from Pullman-Moscow (her last time at Coordinating Committee!)
Dave Ek, Multnomah; Annual Session General Arrangements Clerk
Ted Etter, NPYM Nominating Committee Clerk; member from Missoula
Georgia Foster, member from MGOF Monthly Meeting
John Gotts, Pullman-Moscow; NPYM Webkeeper
Elee Hadley, Umpqua Valley WG; NPYM Outreach & Visitation Committee Clerk
Lucretia Humphrey, Great Falls WG; Presiding Clerk
Nancy Irving, Finance & Legal Committee Co-clerk
eric maya joy, member from Olympia
Otis Kenny, Boise Valley; CC Associate Clerk
Betsey Kenworthy, Multnomah; NPYM Ministry & Oversight Committee clerk
Thalia Newman, Eastside; Junior Friends Co-Clerk
Nora J. Percival, University; NPYM Secretary
Tom Rawson, member from Lopez Island
Alice Turtle Robb, member from Bellingham (also Faith & Practice Committee)
Leni Skarin, member from Agate Passage; AS Program Coordinator
Jane Snyder, CC Clerk, member from Bridge City
Joe Snyder, Bridge City & Mountain View WG
Ann Stever, member from University
Donal Sullivan, University; NPYM Treasurer
Debbie Townsend, CC Recording Clerk; member from Eastside (also Faith & Practice Comm)
Dina Wills, member from Eugene
David Zeiss, Eugene; Willamette Quarterly Meeting Ministry & Oversight Committee
Joyce Zerwekh, member from Multnomah
Meetings not represented today: Billings, Corvallis, Salem, Salmon Bay, Sandpoint, South Mountain, South Seattle, Tacoma, Whidbey Island.
Otis Kenny served as clerk at the beginning of the meeting since Jane Snyder was delayed in arriving. We opened with expectant worship, then introduced ourselves.
CC 7/2018-1 Minutes
The minutes from the March meeting were approved as sent out and posted, with thanks to the recording clerk for preparing minutes and meeting summaries.
CC 7/2018-2 Outreach & Visitation Committee (Elee Hadley)
The committee thanks the Nominating Committee: there may be as many as five members of Outreach & Visitation! Elee plans to step aside as clerk but will remain on the committee.
The Knitting Us Together program has been successful, with three visitors so far (Pablo Stanfield, Al and Sheri Hendrix, and Joe Snyder).
The committee’s original focus was helping isolated or remote Friends keep in touch with NPYM. Various online communications are now available that make keeping in touch easier. The committee is therefore looking at its job description and trying to discern what its best work is, and it asks Coordinating Committee members for feedback about the most useful kinds of outreach and visitation among NPYM Friends.
CC 7/2018-3 NPYM History Project (Debbie Townsend)
Debbie showed an example of what might become a history database on the NPYM website, to include the following basic information:
Friend(s) in residence
peace & social justice minutes (titles/topics here, with links to the full text)
Since all the information is public, there will be no need for security passwords. Webkeeper John Gotts and NPYM Secretary Nora J. Percival will help build the site, similar to the NPYM Directory, so that anyone can search for the information they need. Some of the information is already available on npym.org and can easily be linked. Debbie has volunteered to type in significant minutes from the early years before electronic storage devices—not the routine we-approve-the-budget minutes but the text of corporate witness minutes as listed in the History chapter of our new Faith and Practice.
Coordinating Committee agreed that this resource will be helpful to NPYM and the general public, and thank Debbie for suggesting it and collating information from various sources. There were several suggestions for additional information to include:
number of meetings and worship groups in NPYM
number of attenders at Annual Session
clerk of Steering Committee / Coordinating Committee
CC 7/2018-4 Secretary’s Report (Nora J. Percival)
Nora plans to transform the Nominating Grid into a searchable page on the website, similar to the Directory. She will eventually include historical material to show who has held which positions when. Nora will also post State of Society (state of the meeting) reports. Betsey Kenworthy will send the electronic files to Nora.
Directory: The “dribble in” approach to directory updates is working well. When information changes, just email Nora, or use the online form inside the directory itself. Please DO NOT send your meeting’s entire directory to Nora! Doing so creates much tedious work for her, hand-comparing every bit of every person’s information to what is already in the directory. If you must send Nora a complete meeting or worship group list, at least highlight or flag the entries that have been changed since last time. This saves Nora much work and gets new info into the directory faster.
All but five groups have sent in their census data (how many members, etc.). The missing census forms are: Bridge City, Eureka, Lopez Island, Mid-Columbia, and Whidbey Island. Census forms have meaning for more than NPYM assessments! Census information tells the rest of the Quaker world how many of us there are in NPYM. In addition, the number of members we have determines the number of representatives we can send to some of the major Quaker organizations. An accurate count is therefore important.
Friends thanked Nora for her continuing excellent service to the yearly meeting.
CC 7/2018-5 Youth Committee (written report from Meghann Wolvert)
The committee has met by phone conference. They have focused on encouraging attendance at Annual Session.
The committee suggests that the title of “Annual Session Children’s Program Coordinator” be changed to “NPYM Youth Coordinator” to reflect more accurately the scope of the work being done outside annual sessions. No additional hours will be added to the job description. Coordinating Committee approves the name change for this paid position.
CC 7/2018-6 Nominating Committee (Ted Etter)
Ted reports that the committee is “slightly dispirited” in its work. For many years now, there have been many more positions in “the grid” (the spreadsheet of offices and committees) than this yearly meeting seems prepared to fill. The committee has set its own priorities regarding essential jobs to fill first (for example, Physical Arrangements Clerk for the Annual Session just starting: thank you to Kat Willard for stepping up into that position, and to John Gotts for taking on the Volunteer Coordinator job that Kat had originally agreed to do).
CC entered a period of quiet worship and Clerk Jane Snyder asked those present to speak out of the silence about their local groups’ successes and challenges with the nominations process.
Olympia Meeting recruited two former clerks as a Nominating Committee. This group meets monthly; they also meet with committee clerks.
Nine people volunteered for Olympia’s subcommittee on systemic racism. “If Friends are invested in the work and in the community, then it happens.”
Eugene Meeting has recently combined its Worship & Ministry and Nurturing Committees. Their Peace & Justice Committee is very active. Their Children’s Program does not have as many children as in the past.
Eugene Friends noted the difficulty in finding people to run Willamette Quarterly Meeting, notably a clerk. A “jubilee year” without quarterly meetings has been suggested (WQM will meet in October 2018 as planned).
Agate Passage is very small and has recently moved worship sites (a painful experience). They do not have a Nominating Committee as such because no one could be found to serve on it. On the model of Pacific Northwest Quarterly Meeting’s practice of nominating at the Continuing Committee, Agate Passage is looking at nominating as “a committee of the whole.” An important question to ask new attenders is: “we can see you have this gift, could you try it out?”
University Friends have similar issues as other meetings. “We tend to insist that ‘this is the way we do it’ until it doesn’t work at all….”
The meeting population is aging; those who are of working age are almost all working outside the home full-time, so finding people with energy to take on meeting tasks is difficult. Co-clerking seems to work in many cases.
Joe Snyder described a meeting he visited on his Outreach & Visitation travels in which someone visits with every person in the meeting during the fall—not for a nominating “ask” but just to deepen the relationship between the individual and the group. This exercise contributes significantly to the meeting’s nominations process in spring.
Eastside is having the same kind of difficulties that other meetings report, and will likely have to restructure offices and committees soon. They have many members on the rolls who either live at a distance or have stopped regular attendance for some reason, so the pool of potential nominees is small.
Boise Meeting has only one committee: a committee of all members (not attenders) that handles all necessary tasks.
It was pointed out that nominating woes are an international problem, even in Britain Yearly Meeting.
It was also pointed out that nominations and finances are perpetual “see-saw” challenges among Quaker groups (and others): if one is not a current problem, the other likely will be.
A jubilee year of a minimal structure to keep essential functions functioning can be a helpful pause for a group to reconsider its fundamental purposes, then discern where the Spirit is leading and how to make the structure support that.
We’re in a time of change. How do we support the life of the meeting today?
How can we adjust our structures so that we take proper care of essentials (finances, children, memberships/marriages/memorials, etc.) and free up energy for issues that truly energize us?
Look for the vision—and share the joy of the work!
An ad hoc group will meet to consider the challenges outlined here today and report back with ideas. Members of the group: Ted Etter, Joe Snyder, Jane Snyder, David Zeiss, Nora Percival. Ted will convene the first meeting of the group, but will not serve as clerk, since he is already clerk of NPYM Nominating Committee.
CC 7/2018-7 Ministry & Oversight Committee (Betsey Kenworthy)
The committee organized three conference calls this year. The topics were the new section in Faith and Practice called “be not afraid”, State of Society reports, and racism (in preparation for this annual session.)
Ministry & Oversight Committee invites clerks or representatives from monthly meetings to meet during lunch on Friday.
Advice to Friends: please retire that phrase “We don’t do it that way”!
CC 7/2018-8 Draft Minute on Racism (Steven Aldrich)
Steven shared copies of a draft minute about systemic racism. A copy is attached to these notes. The NPYM Peace & Social Justice Committee’s subcommittee on systemic racism will ask for comments during this Annual Session, send a revised version out to meetings and worship groups for seasoning, and bring a final version of the minute to next year’s Annual Session for action.
The meeting closed in grateful worship.
Jane Snyder, Clerk
Debbie Townsend, Recording Clerk