North Pacific Yearly Meeting

of the Religious Society of Friends (QUAKERS)

Coordinating Committee Minutes of March 16, 2019

North Pacific Yearly Meeting Coordinating Committee

Minutes of March 16, 2019

Olympia Friends Meeting, Olympia WA

 

Present at the meeting:
Steven Aldrich, Olympia; PNQM Uprooting Racism Committee
Mim Coleman, Olympia; NPYM Youth Coordinator
Ashley Davis, member from Boise Valley
John Etter, Eugene; Annual Session General Arrangements Clerk
Ted Etter, member from Missoula; Nominating Committee Clerk;
Georgia Foster, member from MGOF Monthly Meeting
Lucy Fullerton, University, representing Ministry & Counsel
Rocky Garrison, Bridge City; Associate CC Clerk
John Gotts, Pullman-Moscow, NPYM Webkeeper, co-Registrar
Lucretia Humphrey, Great Falls WG; Presiding Clerk
Nancy Irving, member from Olympia, Finance & Legal Committee Co-clerk
Hazel Jordan, Olympia; representing Junior Friends
eric maya joy, member from Olympia
Johanna McNee, member from Pullman-Moscow; representing Site Committee
Nora J. Percival, University; NPYM Secretary
Alice Turtle Robb, member from Bellingham; Outreach & Visitation Committee and Faith & Practice Committee
Leni Skarin, Agate Passage; AS Program Clerk
Martha Smith, member from Salem
Jane Snyder, member from Bridge City; CC Clerk,
Joe Snyder, member from Multnomah; Outreach & Visitation Committee
Ann Stever, member from University
Donal Sullivan, University; NPYM Treasurer
Debbie Townsend, member from Eastside; CC Recording Clerk
Kathryn Willard, member from Tacoma
David Zeiss, Eugene; Rising Clerk

Clint Weimeister (co-Registrar) and Caroline Wildflower, Port Townsend, were present for the morning.

Meetings not represented today: Billings, Corvallis, Lopez Island, Salmon Bay, Sandpoint, South Mountain, South Seattle, Whidbey Island.

We opened in expectant worship, then introduced ourselves.

 

CC 3/2019-1 Sharing from Meetings
The Clerk asked CC members from meetings to respond to two questions: (1) How has your meeting seasoned the proposed minute on uprooting racism? (2) What gifts does your monthly meeting bring to the Yearly Meeting?

 

Bellingham: (1) Some Friends of Color will attend the conference in April.

 

Multnomah: (1) Multnomah has its own minute about racism. (2) There are 70-80 in attendance every Sunday, with quite a few new people. There is an active and engaged Peace & Social Concerns Committee, with two subgroups focused on racial justice and immigration issues. Financially the meeting is very solvent and is able to help out with emergency requests. The committees are functioning well.

 

Missoula: (1) The draft minute has been distributed to members & attenders; they have no plans for specific action. (2) There has been a gradual decline in membership. There is an outreach committee looking for ways to make the meeting more visible in the community. The meetinghouse itself is a gift although recently there have been burdens from city ordinances requiring a sidewalk and then requiring that the sidewalk be cleared quickly after snow falls.

 

Agate Passage: (2) They have 27 regular participants, eight of whom are members in the Religious Society. Their Peace & Social Concerns Committee has been re-energized around issues of climate change and immigration. It is difficult to tie the monthly meeting to the Yearly Meeting; “what we have to offer is potential.” They continue to have some concerns around the dual meeting places (Kingston; Bainbridge Island).

 

Olympia: (1) The Peace & Social Justice Committee held a workshop about racism. Many members and attenders are participating in “Learning Right Relationships” with indigenous peoples. (2) The use of the meetinghouse is a gift Olympia Friends can offer, most recently on Quaker Lobby Day [recorder’s note: and today for the CC meeting—thank you!] Olympia Friends are using the “Be Not Afraid” queries from the new Faith and Practice to help identify root issues beneath many current issues. Another gift is the tithing model of supporting worthy causes, which has more than doubled the meeting’s charitable contributions and raised contributions to the meeting overall.

 

Port Townsend: (1) There is an active Peace & Social Concerns Committee which has worked on many issues around racism. (2) Port Townsend Friends continue to enjoy their new meetinghouse, which helps bring the community in. More than one-fourth of the members at Port Townsend have participated in Way of the Spirit, which has enriched the meeting as a whole. They have offered summer day camps as a form of ministry, for example with focus on local tribes taking part in the canoe journey, also looking at Japanese internment during WW II.

 

Montana Gathering of Friends: (1) Both Summer and Winter sessions of MGOF have looked at uprooting racism. They don’t want to burden the native communities with responsibility for educating them; they have brought in Paula Palmer of Boulder Meeting (Colorado) as a resource. They have looked particularly at issues of cultural appropriation. At Great Falls Worship Group there has been much support for the minute on racism, with attention to how it could apply to tribal issues. MGOF Friends are also working on bringing their own child safely policy into line with NPYM’s. (2) Some of MGOF’s gifts to NPYM include Starshine, Lucretia, and Ted! Another member, Jasmine Krotkov, is now a member of the Montana legislature.

 

Bridge City:(1) They have had two or three discussion sessions about racism, but nothing specific to the proposed minute yet. (2) A gift to Yearly Meeting is the number of Bridge City Friends willing to serve in NPYM offices and committees.

 

Eastside: (1) They have not discussed the draft minute yet but plan to do so this spring. (2) The “jubilee” process has been fruitful at Eastside, which might be a model for other small meetings.

 

Eugene: (1) They will plan a threshing session. (2) They are still celebrating the new solar panels on the meetinghouse. Friends in Eugene could consult with other Friends about solar installation.

 

Salem: (1) They have a Second Hour scheduled for later this month. (2) They are a smaller, older meeting, so energy and activity levels understandably wax and wane. There is a continuing challenge around multiple pulls: individuals do a lot and meeting encourages them in their leadings, yet there is not much action as a meeting as a whole. Salem Friends contribute on a regional team supporting Friends Committee on National Legislation issues.

 

Tacoma: (1) Discussion is scheduled for April. (2) They’ve had a wonderful surge of new attenders—very hopeful. They are teaching Quakerism 101 and using the Faith and Practice queries. They have an active Peace & Social Concerns Committee again. After rise of meeting and introductions, they have five minutes of special worship for the health and welfare of the Puget Sound, responding to specific concerns about naval activity with sonar and other issues affecting the orcas. Ten people went to a training about the immigration detention center and how to help people when they are released from it. Despite challenges such as roof repair and kitchen remodeling, there is a sense of “rediscovering what Quakerism is about.”

 

University: (1) University Friends at a recent discussion were not in unity with the proposed minute as currently worded. There is a LOT of work for white Friends at UFM to do. (2) Depth of experience with difficult issues is a gift to the Yearly Meeting. UFM is struggling with challenges around certain individuals; this has led to a “minute on common understanding of process and practices.” They strive to understand the differences between uncomfortable and unsafe. UFM can share their minute with CC after their meeting for business approves final language.

 

Pullman-Moscow: (1) They have not considered the racism minute and are not likely to. (2) They are looking carefully at their spiritual needs at this time. Spiritual Healing will be the theme when P-M is next responsible for a Quarterly

Meeting program. “We’re small but we’re still here.” They have supported Nora Percival’s ministry in Kenya. They make contributions to Right Sharing of World Resources based on their collective gasoline purchases.

 

Boise Valley: (1) They have not yet had a discussion session, but plan to. (2) Boise is another small meeting with special concern for community-building activities, such as individual sharing after every meeting for worship and potlucks with themes such as bringing an inspirational poem. Boise Friends work with local Mennonites and also Sandpoint Friends as an FCNL action team.

 

CC 3/2019-2 Minutes
The minutes from the October meeting are approved as sent out and posted, with thanks.

 

CC 3/2019-3; Treasurer and Finance & Legal Committee (Donal Sullivan, Nancy Irving)
There have been no significant changes or fiscal issues since the October CC meeting—“on the whole, we’re doing OK.” Assessments are coming in (reminder: assessments are $60 per adult counted). Donal can provide a 5-month report to anyone with questions.
 

Lucy Fullerton and Jonathan Brown are conducting a review.
 

The Finance & Legal Committee meets by conference call every 4-6 weeks. One current issue is looking at investment opportunities. We have money with Pax World Funds but find it hard to change signatories with them (which we have to do frequently as offices changes). The Committee is researching Friends Fiduciary and Everence (formerly Mennonite Mutual Aid). Both these organizations have good values. The Committee is likely to bring a recommendation for investment to the next meeting. We have a significant amount available to invest at this time: $60-100,000.
 

The “abundant financing” experiment of pay-as-you-are-led for Annual Session worked well in 2018 and will be used again this year. Finance & Legal will continue to monitor it. The Yearly Meeting presently enjoys good financial health. it is inevitable that an organization like ours will have ups and downs, but we are in one of the “up” phases now, which makes it a good time to experiment with abundant financing and, possibly, additional paid positions.

 

CC 3/2019-4 Ministry & Counsel Committee (Lucy Fullerton)
The Committee has brought proposed changes to their job description—starting with the committee’s new name. Additional changes: appointing a visitor to the new Sierra-Cascades Yearly Meeting, participating in a retreat before Annual Session; organizing consultation calls.
CC accepts the revised M&C job description, with thanks, after a couple of minor edits.
 

State of Society reports are to be sent to Quarterly Meetings.
 

Memorial minutes should be sent to Ministry & Counsel by June for inclusion at Annual Session.
 

The next M&C consultation call will be May 12, 6:30 p.m.; the topic is nurturing vocal ministry.
 

The committee is looking for people to represent NPYM at the Annual Sessions of both Northwest Yearly Meeting and Sierra-Cascades Yearly Meeting. Details will go out soon. The due date for applications will be April 15.
 

Ministry & Counsel Committee currently does not have a Clerk; the members have divided up the main responsibilities among themselves. Members: Lucy Fullerton, Elinor Jordan, Tom Head, Melody Ashworth, Jim Humphry, and Judith Clarke.

 

The question was raised: who decides what types of worship groups will be available at Annual Session? A request has been made to include a worship-sharing group for Friends of Color. Ministry & Counsel considered the request and wants to respect it and the Friends of Color who brought it. Some Friends have expressed concern that such a worship group would tend to segregate rather than integrate. These Friends also have concerns around the process leading to the decision. After discussion, CC asks the M&C Committee to go ahead with this worship-sharing for Friends of Color – Lucy will provide a description of it for the AS registration material – and address any further concerns that arise. It was the sense of today’s CC meeting that declining the request made by Friends of Color would be a step back in NPYM’s efforts to uproot racism in our own Quaker institutions as well as elsewhere.

 

CC 3/2019-5 Annual Session Arrangements (John Etter)
Members of the AS Planning Committee recently visited the Linfield College campus, where we will have AS 2019 and 2020. The campus is compact, not requiring a lot of walking. Only one of the dormitories is fully ADA compliant, so NPYM will request use of that one. Some details of interest: the food looks good; linens will be provided as part of the rental agreement; children will be able to sleep on dorm room floors at no cost. Registration will be ready by April 1. The committee is still looking at cost details for registration, considering that we have about 23 fee waivers. The likely rates are: $425 for 4 nights in a single (adult), $378 for 4 nights in a double, $190 for Junior Friends.

 

CC 3/2019-6 Presiding Clerk’s Report (Lucretia Humphrey)
Lucretia expressed great gratitude and great excitement for the way the Annual Session is coming together. As mentioned, we will use the abundant financing model again; The Finance & Legal Committee encourages Lucretia to announce and explain abundant financing at least a couple of times this spring, to make sure the message gets out: We encourage all Friends to participate without worrying about cost. We also encourage meetings and worship groups to contribute to abundant financing again.

 

There is a good array of interest groups shaping up, including bystander intervention training. Send Interest Group proposals to Susan Jones.
 

Jay O’Hara of the Climate Disobedience Center will be Friend in Residence for 2019. Shelley Tannenbaum of Quaker Earthcare Witness and Lucy Duncan of the American Friends Service Committee will also be with us. The 2020 Friend in Residence will be Kenya Casanova of Cuba.

 

CC 3/2019-7 Personnel Committee (Rocky Garrison)
Rocky described the components for personnel relations: a good job description, a contract, based on that description, between the organization and the individual, and regular evaluation based on the job description. The cycle is complete for Nora Percival, NPYM Secretary; the Personnel Committee will turn next to John Gotts as Webkeeper and Mim Coleman as Children’s Program Coordinator. Please respond to Rocky’s requests for evaluation material!
 

Nora expressed her thanks to Rocky and the Personnel Committee, noting how much a clear job description helps the employment relationship.

 

CC 3/2019-8 Minute on Uprooting Racism (Steven Aldrich)
Steven appreciated hearing what all the meetings are doing around seasoning this minute. He noted that the language distributed today (and on the website) is slightly different from that seen last summer and fall. He encourages Friends to use the background material provided.
 

Why a minute at the Yearly Meeting level? “It takes a system to fix a system,” and our job is to restructure the institutions that we live in and that define us. Lingering inequity is the issue for our time, stemming from generations of “affirmative action for people of European descent.”
 

Friends shared out of the silence:
Taking mobility [about where to live, specifically re: moving back in with parents as needed] for granted is a privilege
The statistics page [in the background material] will, we hope, help move people past the typical “but I’M not a racist” response; these numbers show that there is something serious and structural going on.

 

CC 3/2019-9 Webkeeper’s Report (John Gotts)
According to John, the website is “holding steady.” There was a significant upgrade to the program in November; all is well now. If any Friends find problems on the site, please let John know!
The web page for Annual Session, AS.npym.org, is under development now. Again, if any Friends have issues with the AS site please contact John. John is serving as co-registrar with Clint Weimeister—thank you, John!

 

CC 3/2019-10 Secretary’s Report (Nora Percival)
Nora brought several issues and requests for help to CC members’ attention:
• Please keep meeting and worship group contact information up to date for e-mail distribution.
• Please keep contact info for Coordinating Committee members up to date.
• Please check the Meeting Contacts information regularly and send changes, for example when a new Clerk takes office.
• Please coordinate NPYM Directory updates with meetings and worship groups. It’s easiest for Nora if changes come in a few at a time. Please do NOT send an entire meeting directory for her to double-check—that is far too time-consuming.

 

There was a security breach recently when an NPYM Friend copied many e-mail addresses from the directory to send personal messages. This is a misuse of NPYM Directory information. The person who misused the information has been contacted and has apologized. John Gotts will add language to the directory page to remind everyone that the directory is for YM use only.

 

Nora is glad to work with anyone about website content: if there is something that is there but shouldn’t be, or should be there but isn’t, feel free to make suggestions.

 

The NPYM census forms are due soon. The counts are important—to us, and to the wider world of Friends. Nora will post census details when the totals are in.

 

Nora will leave for Kenya shortly, to lead three weeks of training for health workers. Her work is under the auspices of Nairobi Yearly Meeting. Please hold Nora in the Light during this time! Friends who wish to support her work financially can contribute via the University Friends Meeting website. Nora will be able to do some basic work for NPYM—digitally, that is, nothing involving physical materials—while she is in Kenya, to the extent that power and internet connections are available. CC members wish Nora health and strength for her ministry in Kenya.

 

CC 3/2019-11 Outreach & Visitation Committee (Joe Snyder)
The committee is functioning well; they’d still very much like a member from Idaho or Montana. This is a fun and rewarding committee to be part of! They meet by teleconference once a month.

 

Paul Christiansen of Eastside Friends Meeting will be the next “Knitting Us Together” visitor. Logistics are still coming together; the plan is for him to travel among Friends in the Columbia / Snake Rivers corridor. O&V Committee has asked Julie Peyton of Sierra-Cascades YM to serve as his traveling elder. One message that Paul brings is “no arks.”

Joe notes that with this trip, Outreach & Visitation will have sent visitors to almost every monthly meeting, preparative meeting, and worship group in NPYM since “Knitting Us Together” was organized.

 

The committee would be delighted to hear of any new worship groups taking shape. Let them know!

The committee is starting discussion about outreach to our non-Quaker communities. They welcome suggestions.

 

CC 3/2019-12 Nominating Committee; Ad Hoc Committee on Nominations (Ted Etter)
Ted noted that the current Nominating Committee report sounds much like the past several reports. The Committee has only four members (it should be six). Most people they contact are extremely busy in their local meetings. The Committee understands this—but it does make their work more challenging.

 

The ad hoc committee looking at possibilities for trimming back or restructuring NPYM committees has not reached any clarity yet. The Nominating Committee is therefore operating on the basis of the existing grid (while acknowledging the possibility that some tasks may be hired out in the next year or so). They are starting to look at all the positions that come open on October 1, 2019. (Ted will circulate a list of such openings to CC members.) Some Friends may be comfortable taking new terms in their current positions, some may wish to serve elsewhere. Ted hopes to have at least a partial slate for consideration at AS.

 

With many thanks, Coordinating Committee approves the nominations brought today:
Assistant Registrar, Judy Lackey
Epistle Committee (2 yrs), Iris Graville
Volunteer Coordinator, John Gotts

Other issues and ad hoc committees: John Etter agreed to take on General Arrangements again, and other Friends have stepped forward for Annual Session planning for 2019. NPYM is very grateful to all of them! The urgency we felt at the October CC meeting is therefore eased for the moment, but we still need to look at the underlying question about hiring some assistance for AS planning as discussed last fall. There was wide-ranging discussion of several interconnected issues:
• Ways to ease the Nominating Committee’s difficult work by reducing the number of positions NPYM expects them to recruit for;
• Ways to make planning and running Annual Session more manageable by hiring out for some of the tasks instead of relying on volunteers, which has become more and more problematic (and which might free up some volunteer energy for other NPYM work); this could entail either making General Arrangements and/or Registrar into paid positions or contracting with a professional conference planner or planning service;
• Choosing a permanent site for NPYM Annual Session instead of moving from site to site every other year.
[recorder’s note: although discussion of all these issues happened all at the same time, this third topic is presented in a separate section in these notes, below.]

 

In October, CC set up two ad hoc committees to consider the first two issues above. Both these groups have been more or less dormant since the immediate urgency re: AS 2019 was relieved. After considerable discussion today, CC agreed that both ad hoc groups be revived and charged to bring information and (if at all possible) recommendations to the next CC meeting, during Annual Session.

 

CC asks the Ad Hoc Committee on Nominations to continue exploring ways to reduce committee sizes and/or recombine committees and offices to be more effective, given NPYM’s current levels of energy and engagement. Ted Etter convenes this group.

 

CC asks the Ad Hoc Committee Considering Annual Session Management to reconvene. Their task is to consider whether NPYM should hire general arrangements and/or registration assistance for Annual Sessions, and, if so, to bring a draft job description with an estimated hours/year time commitment for it: The October CC notes list Nancy Irving and Kat Willard (co-convenors; see below re: Kat), Dave Ek, John Etter, Lucretia Humphrey (as Presiding Clerk), Nora Percival (as Secretary), and Mim Coleman (as Youth Coordinator). We ask David Zeiss as Rising Clerk to join this ad hoc group instead of Lucretia.

 

Kat will have very limited availability this summer and cannot serve as co-convenor. She is however willing to remain our contact to Dave Pierce, who has organized FWCC events for 25 years. He is close to retirement and therefore is not to be considered for the work we need done, but he is willing to consult with NPYM on registration software and on conference planning generally, and might also be able to help shape a job description and a training plan so that we could hire someone for Annual Session 2020. Dave Pierce would need information from NPYM by October 1 if we are going to have his help before a draft job description is ready for a timely hiring process.

 

CC 3/2019-13 Considering a Permanent Site for NPYM Annual Session
[recorder’s note: this discussion actually took place during the Nominating discussion; it is pulled out here for clarity. See also the Site Committee section below at 3/2019-16]
In October and again today, Coordinating Committee has begun to discuss pros and cons of identifying a permanent site for NPYM Annual Sessions instead of moving every two years to some new location in our NPYM area. This issue is somewhat related to the desirability of hiring some assistance for Annual Sessions. At today’s meeting we briefly noted that NPYM might want to look beyond college campuses—which have their own difficulties, and which tend to raise prices every year—to other types of conference facilities, although these might be somewhat less comfortable for us. Nancy Irving offered to take a look at the conference site (near Yelm WA) where the Women’s Theological Conference will meet next year, with NPYM in mind.

 

Other yearly meetings have found that the advantages of a permanent site outweigh the disadvantages.

NPYM needs a site that can serve 300+ people –perhaps as many as 500 in the future. We have a number of requirements and wishes for any site. Accessibility is a central concern. The Site Committee has an extensive list of questions and characteristics to consider.

 

It was suggested that AS could offer some kind of discount to Friends coming from far away.

 

CC 3/2019-14 Junior Friends (Hazel Jordan)
The Junior Friends winter gathering was very successful!

 

Junior Friends have decided on their next service trip (summer 2020) which will be to Camp Restore in New Orleans, working on repairs and restoration still to be done after Hurricane Katrina.

 

Junior Friends expect about 15 to attend Annual Session in July. They are looking for a sex education expert to be a resource for the “fishbowl” question-and-answer activity during Annual Session.

 

An adult Friend challenged Junior Friends to consider what changes they’d like to see in NPYM as an institution to better meet their needs.

 

CC 3/2019-15 Executive Committee (Jane Snyder)
Since the October meeting the Executive Committee has approved a pay increase for the NPYM Secretary; holding Annual Session 2019 at Linfield College; a one-time use of NPYM mailing information for Quaker Voice on Washington Public Policy; and several nominations: John Allcott as representative to American Friends Service Committee, Jim Humphrey to the Ministry & Counsel Committee, John Etter as Acting General Arrangements Clerk (AS 2019), and John Gott as Acting Registrar (AS 2019).

 

CC 3/2019-15 “Nom Nom Comm”
It is the Coordinating Committee’s responsibility to name two or three Friends who will bring nominations for members of the Nominating Committee. No CC Friends stepped forward.

Friends suggested several non-Coordinating Committee names as potential “Nom Nom Comm” members: John Allcott, Tom Rawson, Deborah Lewis, Jay Thatcher, Liz Willey. CC Clerk Jane Snyder will contact these Friends. It would be best to have a complete Nominating Committee in place by Annual Session.

 

CC 3/2019-16 Site Committee (Johanna McNee)
Site Committee members are Lyn Gordon (Clerk), Don Goldstein, Bev Young, Margaret Coahran, and Johanna McNee. The Committee has considered possibilities for Annual Sessions 2021-2022 and recommends the University of Montana. CC approves putting NPYM on the conference calendar at University of Montana for the third weekends in July 2021 and 2022, understanding that there may be a decision about a permanent site for Annual

 

Sessions before that time. CC asks Site Committee to review the University of Montana cancellation policy. Campuses typically do not ask us to make a deposit until much closer to the event, so there is not likely to be a financial impact.

 

CC asks the Site Committee to take up the question of whether to seek a permanent site for Annual Session, and to include the NPYM Secretary and the Youth Coordinator in their discussions. If the Site Committee is able to do the necessary discernment, and if it determines that a permanent site would be best for NPYM and can make recommendations about potential sites, the committee could eventually be laid down.

 

CC 3/2019-17 Next Meetings
Coordinating Committee will meet again on Wednesday, July 19 (the first day of Annual Session) 3:00-5:00 p.m., at Linfield College in McMinnville OR. The fall meeting is planned for October 26 at Multnomah Meeting (Portland OR).

 

We closed with a period of grateful worship.

 

Jane Snyder, Coordinating Committee Clerk

Debbie Townsend, Coordinating Committee Recording Clerk