North Pacific Yearly Meeting

of the Religious Society of Friends (QUAKERS)

Coordinating Committee Minutes of March 17, 2018

North Pacific Yearly Meeting Coordinating Committee

Minutes of March 17, 2018

University Friends Meetinghouse, Seattle WA

 

Present at the meeting:
Mim Lilly Coleman, Annual Session Children’s Program Coordinator
Ashley Davis, member from Boise Valley
Dave Ek, Annual Session General Arrangements Clerk
Ted Etter, Nominating Committee Clerk, member from Missoula
Georgia Foster, member from MGOF Monthly Meeting
Lucy Fullerton, representing Ministry & Oversight Committee
John Gotts, NPYM Webkeeper
Lucretia Humphrey, Presiding Clerk
Nancy Irving, Finance & Legal Committee Co-clerk (first half of meeting)
eric maya joy, member from Olympia
Otis Kenny, CC Associate Clerk
Johanna MacNee, member from Pullman-Moscow (substituting for Margaret Coahran)
Nora J. Percival, NPYM Secretary
Tom Rawson, member from Lopez Island
Alice Turtle Robb, member from Bellingham (also Faith & Practice Committee)
Leni Skarin, member from Agate Passage
Martha Smith, member from Salem
Jane Snyder, CC Clerk, member from Bridge City
Joe Snyder, representing Outreach & Visitation Committee (also representing Multnomah)
Ann Stever, member from University
Donal Sullivan, NPYM Treasurer
Debbie Townsend, CC Recording Clerk, member from Eastside (also Faith & Practice Comm)
Clint Weimeister, AS Registrar, member from Port Townsend
Kathryn Willard, AS Physical Arrangements Clerk, member from Tacoma

Meetings not represented today: Billings, Corvallis, Eugene, Salmon Bay, Sandpoint, South Mountain, South Seattle, Whidbey Island. CC assigned members to reach out to these meetings.

The meeting opened in expectant worship.

Clerk Jane Snyder welcomed everyone, and we introduced ourselves.

CC 3/2018-1, Webkeeper’s Report (John Gotts)
John has been in the Webkeeper position almost one year; he described the site as “under control and running smoothly” and outlined a number of refinements and fixes he has made, such as arranging for daily database backup and compiling Coordinating Committee documents into a searchable form. The new online Directory and Meeting Contacts Lists are working well. We have the capability to select mailing information by state; contact NPYM Secretary Nora Percival for help.

John has been working with Clint Weimeister (AS Registrar) to find replacement software for AS registration. They have decided to adapt a somewhat simpler version of the NPYM custom software that Pacific Northwest Quarterly Meeting modified for its own use. CC members are welcome to explore a test site and send feedback: npym.org/registration_test/register.php5.

John and Clint are working together to make the registration system and website function smoothly. Clint is working on the AS site: go to npym-as2018.info for a preview.

According to John, we have capacity for an online survey for AS evaluations. After discussion, it became clear that the AS Planning Committee is the appropriate group to identify someone to administer the evaluation survey.

CC members note that the decisions to create a contract position for Webkeeper and engage John to fill it were excellent. Many thanks to John for his continuing efforts.

CC 3/2018-2, Abundant Financing (Lucretia Humphry, presiding clerk)
Lucretia has contacted most meetings and worship groups about the change to an “abundant financing” model for NPYM’s Annual Session: Friends have been very positive about it. It is a leap of faith for us. Lucretia, Margaret Coahran, Dave Ek, Clint Weimeister, and Laura Arcidiacono have worked on the details. AS registration materials will state a basic general cost and give several options for Friends to pay as they are led: a traditional fee, a suggested amount for those with limited incomes, a suggested amount for those who can make an additional contribution, and a fill-in-any-amount blank.

Friends pointed out that “abundant financing” and “pay as you are led” are informed by how we each understand money, and that every Friend’s circumstances will be different. The hope is that individual Friends will do their own personal discernment about how much AS means to them. We want people to attend AS even if they have to put down $0.00 as the amount they will pay.

There was considerable discussion:

  • Will those who pay above the standard amount be able to deduct their contribution (minus the regular fee)?

  • This is a good time for NPYM to try this approach since we currently have a surplus; we can’t count on that lasting forever.

  • We want to minimize the stigma around being “low income” or “limited income”

  • How can we make it easy for Friends who don’t attend AS themselves to support the attendance of others?

Abundant financing” is an experiment in 2018; we will evaluate it after this Annual Session and decide what will be best for next year (recognizing that the pattern may shift as AS moves from region to region).

CC 3/2018-3, Finance & Legal Committee ( Nancy Irving, co-clerk).
NPYM maintains a small fund ($400) with OIKO, an international organization which provides micro-financing. The Finance & Legal Committee recommends that we transfer this money into the yearly meetings PAX World account. OIKO has over $1 billion in assets so losing our contribution won’t be a hardship for them. If we want to support micro-lending, we could consider doing so via Right Sharing of World Resources, a Quaker-based organization.
Coordinating Committee agrees that Finance & Legal Committee should close out the OIKO account and move the money into PAX World.

After last Annual Session, Friends pointed out to the Faith & Practice Committee that the language of the Bylaws and the language of the new Faith and Practice don’t match regarding decision making. Based on analysis and suggestions from Debbie Townsend of the Faith & Practice Committee (saved with these minutes), the Finance & Legal Committee recommends amending the bylaws to define Quaker decision making processes to reflect our actual practices (“sense of the meeting”) and refer readers to Faith and Practice for more information. These changes will bring the Bylaws and Faith and Practice back into consistency and will put us on solid footing in case of any legal challenge. Coordinating Committee recommends that this change to the NPYM Bylaws be presented to Annual Session 2018 for approval.

Finance & Legal Committee is glad to have Donal Sullivan as NPYM’s new Treasurer. Donal has familiarity with our systems from his past work as our informal auditor; he is learning all the tasks of Treasurer with help from former Treasurer Jonathan Brown.

CC 3/2018-4, Peace & Social Concerns Committee (Leni Skarin reporting for Sea Gabriel, clerk)
Leni presented Sea’s report (copy saved with these minutes). Highlights:

The ad hoc committee on Uprooting Systemic Racism is active and meeting regularly. South Seattle has held a retreat about racism; they (and other meetings, see notes from sharing time below) have discussed related topics in their adult education program. The P&SC committee on Uprooting Systemic Racism has invited the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond to hold one of their nationally-known workshops in Olympia this coming fall; they need at least 30 participants to go forward with this. Please encourage Friends in your meetings and worship groups to attend the Undoing Institutional Racism workshop at Olympia Monthly Meeting in the fall—dates to be announced. Olympia Friends can provide overnight hospitality for out-of-town participants.

Eugene Monthly Meeting is circulating a proposed minute regarding Consideration of U.S. Renewed Military Action against North Korea. Please encourage seasoning of this proposed minute in time for Annual Session. [Recorder’s note: See e-mail from NPYM Secretary dated 3/19/2018.]

Peace & Social Concerns and the Montana Gathering of Friends are seasoning a minute about Community Violence. They will share this minute as a gift to the wider NPYM community but do not intend to bring it to Annual Session at this time. [Recorder’s note: See e-mail from NPYM Secretary dated 3/19/2018.]

The P&SC Committee is building a website of its own. CC members expressed concern about a committee having a website separate from the NPYM website.

The P&SC Committee invites more Friends to join.

CC 3/2018-5, Treasurer’s Report (Donal Sullivan)
“Our financial position is OK” per Donal. We have not yet closed the books on 2017-18 because of an error in the University of Puget Sound billing after Annual Session 2017. The error—having to do with how we pay for commuters to AS—is in our favor. Dave Ek (General Arrangements) and Janet Jump (Finance & Legal Committee) are working to find the cleanest way to resolve the situation. Kathryn Willard can help if needed, since she lives close to UPS.

CC 3/2018-6, Outreach & Visitation Committee (Joe Snyder for ELee Hadley, clerk)
Joe will be NPYM’s third “Knitting Us Together” traveler: he will visit meetings and worship groups in the Puget Sound area. The committee invites more members, especially from Washington and Montana.

eric maya joy is now a released Friend (from Olympia Monthly Meeting) with a concern for spiritual unification work. He described the nature of his work, based largely on ancient cultures of the Americas. He will be glad to bring his message to meetings and worship groups throughout NPYM as way opens.

CC 3/2018-7, Sharing from Meetings
We considered a query from the Equality section of our new Faith and Practice: “What are we, as a meeting community, doing to overcome the contemporary effects of past and present oppression?”

Eastside has held one “Second Hour” each month on some issue around racism. A recent discussion about how individual Friends can intervene and interrupt microaggressions was particularly lively and fruitful. We clearly have more to learn, and we need more practice in responding in timely, principled, and appropriate ways.

Port Townsend maintains connections with a number of different local groups, especially in the Hispanic and Native American communities. The meeting has an active Social Concerns Committee. Port Townsend Friends are particularly concerned with immigration issues—working for policy changes and supporting those at risk of deportation.

Bellingham Friends are primarily focused on the meeting location issues. They are glad to have a Junior Friends group forming. They have not had any specific anti-oppression activities.

Pullman-Moscow is a small and somewhat fragile meeting; they too have not had any specific activities around oppression. They have looked closely at transgender issues. They are planning a combined activity with Spokane Friends Church. Pullman Friends hope that Friends Committee on National Legislation will strengthen the FCNL language around equality (compared to equity).

Agate Passage is also a somewhat fragile group, also concerned with meeting location. Some Friends meet as a home meeting on Bainbridge Island twice a month, some meet weekly in a new place in Kingston (Village Green Community Center). They are taking “baby steps” in engaging with the wider Quaker community. Their P&SC Committee has been re-energized around advocacy work with Quaker Voice, particularly the recent efforts around criminal justice legislation.

Salem Meeting’s focus is on homelessness: they take their children’s group to street feedings and similar activities to raise their awareness. Salem also has a monthly movie series. They work with the Oregon Fellowship of Reconciliation, especially on issues affecting the local Marshall Islanders community. In informal conversations after worship Salem Friends are learning to get past the barriers of language around race and privilege (e.g., just the phrase “white privilege” is a stumbling block for some) in order to have the necessary deeper discussion.

Multnomah Meeting has a very active P&SC Committee. Their Racial Justice Committee organizes workshops and film nights. A separate group working on immigrants’ rights is also active. Multnomah is building strong connections with the local Muslim community.

Olympia Friends are very busy. The meeting regularly schedules “community conversations” (like threshing sessions) on topics of immediate interest. Olympia Friends are still working on challenges presented by last summer’s gender inclusion minute. A book group has read and discussed Vanessa Julye’s book in preparation for Annual Session. Olympia Friends are concerned about right relations with indigenous neighbors, also with sanctuary concerns for a Pakistani attender. The safe transport to help gays and lesbians escape Uganda is being laid down—not because the need has disappeared, but because it is harder to find “conductors” to undertake the (risky) work. Friendly Water for the World has also spun off from Olympia Meeting to become an independent organization.

Great Falls Worship Group was inspired by Standing Rock and has been energized through an FCNL advocacy team. Individual Friends have strong connections into the indigenous community.

University Friends Meeting has roughly 60 people serving the meeting in some capacity – down from 100 in past years. UFM passed a minute about hiring staff without inquiring about immigration status. Every meeting for business begins with a reminder that “we are on the land of the Duwamish people.” Noticing that many local Quaker groups are stretched thin, Friends from UFM and North Seattle Friends Church cooperated to build a multi-meeting group to support peace and social justice work. The American Friends Service Committee and the preschool that used to share the building have gone; the space is now used by two groups offering nightly shelter and other supports for homeless people. Almost all the issues UFM is involved in involve racism in some way.

Lopez Island Friends sent a strong presence to Quaker Lobby Day; of the 7 participants from our legislative district, 6 were from Lopez Meeting.

Missoula Friends have long been concerned about relations with local Native American groups, and the Standing Rock protest was significant for them. They are seeing more immigrants in our community, especially from Syria and from African countries; there is pushback from neighboring counties, so they know they have work to do. They are also concerned with homelessness and are supporting a project to build housing for 50 homeless families, including survivors of domestic violence.

Montana Gathering of Friends is taking action around gender inclusion, such as including preferred pronouns on all name tags. The theme of the MGOF’s summer gathering will be “White Privilege” – they’d be glad of recommendations for a Friend in residence. Like other groups reporting, MGOF Friends are also concerned with Native American issues.

Tacoma Meeting fluctuates in size and energy; they are currently at a low ebb. However, they are getting energized about the immigration detention center—the largest in the U.S., and likely to be expanded further. In particular they are seeking ways to help the volunteers who provide funding, clothing, and other support to detainees as they are released from the center, so it will be less likely they’ll be picked up again and -detained. Tacoma Friends are also exploring ways to recognize and respect other cultures.

Boise Valley is a small meeting with no P&SC Committee. Individual Friends are active in anti-oppression work.

Bridge City has an active Advocacy Team. Friends there are exploring the meeting community for opportunities to be of service, such as support for day laborers.

CC 3/2018-8, Personnel Committee (Otis Kenny, clerk)
The Personnel Committee has reviewed the work of the Webkeeper and Secretary and is highly satisfied with both. (Both positions are contractors, not employees.) As NPYM Secretary, Nora Percival has asked to be paid a flat monthly fee, rather than invoicing for specific hours which vary widely during the year. Personnel Committee is making the change to a monthly rate ($400) as of April 1.

There was some question about who evaluates the work of the Children’s Program Coordinator. [Recorder’s note: Per Faith and Practice, the Children’s Program Coordinator is “hired by the Personnel Committee and supervised by the clerk of the Youth Committee.”]

CC 3/2018-9, Minutes
The minutes of the 10/21/2017 meeting were approved, and will be posted as final.

The Coordinating Committee thanks Recording Clerk Debbie Townsend for the summary notes for meeting and worship group use that she sent out after the October meeting, and hopes she will continue to do so.

CC 3/2018-10, Youth Committee / Annual Session Children’s Program (Mim Lilly Coleman, AS Children’s Program Coordinator)
Youth Committee Clerk Meghann Wolvert is moving out of the area, so will no longer be able to participate. (We’ll miss her!)

There have been few recent requests for Youth Opportunity Fund support; the committee will look for ways to make the opportunities more widely known.

At Annual Session 2018 the children’s program will change to a “play as led” model. Instead of structured, age-segregated age groups during the day and free play for everyone in the evenings, there will be a variety of activities throughout the day for children to choose among. All of the options will be for multi-age activities for ages 3-13. (Infants and toddlers 0-3 will still be cared for separately; Central Friends may have some activities of their own also.) This structure will mirror the grown-ups’ experience of Annual Session. There will be many opportunities for adults to share a skill or an activity with children; Friends who would like to lead a “play as led” activity can get in touch with Mim with ideas. The Friend in Residence will be one of the options, as will planning for community night, etc.

The Youth Committee has reviewed safety considerations for the Children’s Program; as part of registration they will ask parents to specify whether their child would benefit from a 1-on-1 caregiver, and if so, to identify someone who will provide that extra care—so that the extra caregiver is an adult the child knows and trusts. (Someone who provides 1-on-1 care in this way will get a fee waiver to AS.) This is not meant to be punitive but to help all children to feel safe at the AS Children’s Program.

Questions for the Youth Committee that arose later in the CC meeting:

Will there be a Central Friends Camp this year? No. Last year there were only three Central Friends. There’s another cohort coming up; the Youth Committee will revisit the possibility of CF Camp again.

Do we have a policy about children using their electronic devices during Children’s Program? – No, we don’t. Basically it’s a family-by-family decision to allow phones & other devices or not. Youth Committee will consider all the factors and concerns.

CC 3/2018-11, Secretary’s Report (Nora J. Percival)
Please send back the census (statistical report) by May 1. This information is the basis for NPYM assessments. It’s not just about the money; it also goes out to the wider world of Friends. Other organizations want to know how many of us there are!

Please work with whoever is responsible for your meeting or worship group directory to keep the online NPYM directory up to date. It’s easy to do, and provides up-to-date contact information for everyone.

The NPYM office has 150+ copies of the 1993 Faith and Practice. What should be done with them? Decision: keep some (10-12?) for any future need, whatever that might be, and take the rest to Annual Session for the children to use in crafts, etc.

Some unidentifiable phone calls have appeared on the NPYM Conference Call billings. Decision: Nora will ask the company to assign a new access code, which she will send to clerks of standing committees. Friends are reminded to request use of the conference line from the Secretary in advance: to avoid double-booking of the line, and to tell the Secretary and Treasurer how to assign the costs out to the committees which used the service.

Nora will be in Kenya from May 15 through June 13. Please hold her in the Light as she participates in a health workers’ training project there. If you need her help on an NPYM project, please ask early! She will be able to do some of her work by e-mail while in Kenya, but her access will be limited. Friends are welcome to contact Nora about the work project in Kenya (yes, she is fundraising).

CC 3/2018-12, Faith & Practice Committee (Debbie Townsend, co-clerk)
Debbie is working with Mary Klein of
Western Friend to complete the Faith and Practice index—the last step before preparing the book files for the print-on-demand publishers. Depending on the printer’s schedule, we should have books ready to ship out during the first weeks of April.

As a reminder, NPYM will supply books to meetings on the basis of assessment count plus 2. If a meeting wishes to order more copies in this first printing and distribution (and be invoiced for them), let Debbie know as soon as possible. If your meeting’s books should be sent to some address other than the mailing address on the NPYM meeting contact list, let Debbie know as soon as possible.

Once Western Friend is set up for ordering the new book, Nora will post a link on the NPYM website.

CC 3/2018-13, Question re: Background Checks (Debbie Townsend, member from Eastside).
Eastside Meeting asks for advice about ordering background checks for people who will work with our Children’s Meeting. Advice from CC today is:

  • Set up a separate account with a service. Olympia Meeting uses Trusted Employees and orders checks at the lowest level. Information comes back to the requester, who can then ask the person in question for clarification as needed.

  • The Washington State Patrol can run checks for 501(c)(3) organizations at no cost, but only for Washington State records.

  • The monthly meeting’s insurance carrier may have other resources or advice about reducing risk via background checks.

  • Remember that not all criminal charges have to do with safety of children and other vulnerable people, and that criminal justice is one of the institutions in “institutional racism.”

CC 3/2018-14, Ministry & Oversight Committee (Lucy Fullerton for Betsey Kenworthy, clerk)
NPYM sends official visitors to our sister yearly meetings: Northwest Yearly Meeting and the new Sierra Cascades Yearly Meeting. Last summer Jay Thatcher was selected as visitor to Northwest YM but an accident made it impossible for him to attend. M&O has contacted Jay: he feels clear to be the visitor to Northwest YM this year. M&O is now looking for an NPYM visitor to the first Sierra Cascades YM Annual Session, May 18-20.
Friends interested in being NPYM’s visitor to Sierra Cascades should send application letters to Melody Ashworth by April 16. NPYM will cover the visitor’s cost of attending.

State of Society Reports are coming due: send them to your Quarterly Meeting clerk. Reports will again be posted to NPYM.org (under “Friends Experiences”) so that all can read them.

Meetings who have approved memorial minutes about Friends who have passed away since last Annual Session should send those minutes to Melody Ashworth by early July so those Friends will be included in the Meeting for Memorials.

The Ministry & Oversight Committee has organized two phone consultations this year so far: one on “Be Not Afraid,” one on State of Society reports. The next consultation will be about racism, with focus on white privilege and/or white supremacy. This language can be challenging for us: “It’s time to let the discomfort in.” The consultation is set for April 22, 6:30 p.m.

CC 3/2018-15, Nominating Committee (Ted Etter, clerk)
Recent efforts have concentrated on finding a Physical Arrangements Clerk. Kat Willard is willing to serve in this capacity. The three nominations presented to this CC meeting are:

  • Kathryn Willard (Tacoma) – Physical Arrangements Clerk for AS 2018

  • Jasmine Krotov (MGOF) – representative to Friends Committee on National Legislation (10/2018 – 9/2021)

  • Amanda Franklin (University) – Epistle Committee for AS 2018

CC approves these three nominations, with great thanks.

Kat Willard moving into Physical Arrangements leaves a gap in Volunteer Coordinator. John Gotts volunteered to be Volunteer Coordinator for AS 2018 – thank you, John!

The Nominating Committee will now turn to filling out the Youth and Outreach & Visitation Committees.

There was a suggestion that Nominating Committee circulate information about open positions before Annual Session begins as well as having copies of the vacancies list available during AS.

It is particularly difficult to find someone willing to be clerk of a committee. There was considerable discussion about why this might be so:

  • The job descriptions are out of date (some still refer to Steering Committee)

  • The responsibilities and task lists are intimidating

  • People understand that clerks have work to do in between meetings, and are leery of taking that on the “organizational gatekeeping piece”

  • No office or committee history is passed along from clerk to clerk. There are no “this is how we really do it” handbooks or operations manuals—past practices are unknown and processes need to be re-created

Suggestions from this CC meeting: Hold an interest group at AS about clerking a Quaker committee, with experienced people sharing their experience; identify a group of long-time committee clerks willing to be resources for new clerks.

Ted noted that it would also be very helpful to keep a database of who in NPYM has held what position over the years. Nora knows someone who could create a simple database structure to keep this information (someone else would need to populate the database from old nominating grids.)

Nom Nom Com: Coordinating Committee needs to name a Pre-Nominating Committee at its spring meeting—that is, two or three people to find nominees for the Nominating Committee. Mim Lilly Coleman and Kat Willard agreed to serve in this capacity (as long as they can call it “Nom Nom Com.” –Done!) This year there are three Nominating Committee vacancies to fill.

CC 3/2018-16, Annual Session Planning, 7/25 – 29/2018 (Lucretia Humphry, presiding clerk)
Dave Ek listed the positions that are filled and still vacant. We still need a Transportation Coordinator and a Golf Cart Coordinator.

Anyone wishing to lead an interest group should fill out the form and get it to IG Coordinator Pablo Stanfield by March 30 to be included in the registration info (and if not by March 30 then by July 1). We need to know title, brief description, anticipated size of group, whether the leader needs a projector (and if so, does the leader need a Mac adaptor), should the rooms furniture be movable, etc.

eric maya joy will lead an interest group about why the Religious Society of Friends is declining in numbers and what can be done about it. He seeks a co-facilitator and a good note-taker.

The Planning Committee is working to get the contract finalized. There will be some construction at UPS during our time there, but nothing like what we experienced last year.

Registration should be available online in early April. There will be no paper-based registration this year. Friends who don’t use the internet should ask for help within their meetings or contact the Registrar directly.

Presiding Clerk Lucretia Humphrey encourages Friends to hold our Yearly Meeting in the Light. Our Friend in Residence Vanessa Julye will challenge us. This is the work of the Spirit!

CC 3/2018-17, Next Meeting
Coordinating Committee will meet on Wednesday afternoon, 7/25/2018 (the first day of Annual Session), at the University of Puget Sound.

The meeting ended with grateful worship.

 

Jane Snyder, Clerk

Debbie Townsend, Recording Clerk

CC Notes, 3/17/2018, page 9