North Pacific Yearly Meeting Coordinating Committee
Minutes of October 27, 2018
Multnomah Friends Meeting, Portland OR
Present at the meeting:
Mim Coleman, Olympia; NPYM Youth Coordinator
Ashley Davis, member from Boise Valley
Dave Ek, Multnomah; Annual Session Planning Committee
John Etter, Eugene; former Annual Session General Arrangements Clerk
Ted Etter, member from Missoula; Nominating Committee Clerk;
Georgia Foster, member from MGOF Monthly Meeting
Rocky Garrison, Bridge City; Associate CC Clerk
Lucretia Humphrey, Great Falls WG; Presiding Clerk
Nancy Irving, Olympia, Finance & Legal Committee Co-clerk
Janet Jump, Bridge City; Finance & Legal Committee Co-clerk
Nora J. Percival, University; NPYM Secretary
Alice Turtle Robb, member from Bellingham; Faith & Practice Committee
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, Tacoma; “Nom Nom Comm”
Dina Wills, member from Eugene
David Zeiss, Eugene; Rising Clerk
Clint Weimeister (NPYM Registrar) and Caroline Wildflower of Port Townsend were present during the morning. John Gotts (Pullman-Moscow; NPYM Webkeeper) gave his report by teleconference.
Meetings not represented today: Agate Passage, Billings, Corvallis, Lopez Island, Pullman-Moscow, Salmon Bay, Sandpoint, South Mountain, South Seattle, Tacoma, Whidbey Island.
We opened in expectant worship, then introduced ourselves.
CC 10/2018-1 Minutes
The minutes from the July 25 meeting are approved as sent out and posted, with thanks to the recording clerk for preparing minutes and meeting summaries.
CC 10/2018-2 Ministry & Counsel Committee, Formerly Ministry & Oversight (written report)
During and after Annual Session 2018, the committee went into discernment about its name. The committee proposes a change from Ministry & Oversight (which has connotations from slavery times) to Ministry & Counsel. Coordinating Committee approves the committee name change, and ask the Secretary and Webkeeper to update the website as needed.
The committee notes that there is much work to do move forward on the concern for uprooting racism that was the focus for Annual Session 2018. “We seek to actively apply our hearts, minds, and hands to this work.” Vanessa Julye, our AS 2018 Friend in Residence, is planning a workshop for Friends of Color to be held at Quaker Center in Ben Lomond CA next April. Can NPYM make it possible for Friends of Color to attend? (See Treasurer’s Report below for discussion.)
The next Ministry & Counsel telephone consultation will be on November 11, 2018, 6:30-7:30 (Pacific time), continuing the conversation about uprooting racism. How are we spiritually delving into this work? What help is needed?
It was noted that summaries of all previous consultations are available at npym.org.
CC 10/2018-3 Sharing from Meetings
Clerk Jane Snyder asked CC members from meetings to report how each of our meetings is doing in seasoning the proposed minute about uprooting racism. She encouraged sharing the titles of books and other resources. Her own recommendations: Waking Up White (Debby Irving), Inclusion: Making Room for Grace (Eric H.F. Law), and Management in Two Cultures (Eva S. Kras).
Bridge City: They had a “second hour” of initial exploration of their awareness/experience of confronting racism. They plan threshing and worship-sharing around the proposed minute, A new book to consider is These Truths: A History of the United States (Jill Lepore).
Great Falls: We’ve had good discussion about the minute. We are especially concerned with racism toward Native Americans; we’re also concerned about People of Color at the military base.
Missoula: Our energy has been taken up with city decisions about construction sidewalks at the meetinghouse location.
Tacoma: We’ve seen an influx of new people and have had attendance of as many as 27 at meeting for worship recently. We want to keep the conversation about race going. We are trying to incorporate it into Quaker 101 presentations.
Olympia: The racism subcommittee of our Peace & Social Concerns Committee has been very active for a year and a half. Our book group has read Fit for Freedom, Not for Friendship (Donna McDaniel & Vanessa Julye) and Between the World and Me (Ta-Nehisi Coates). We co-sponsor, with the Unitarian Universalists, a “meaningful movies” series that often includes racial equity topics.
Olympia Friends have recently taken the Lower Columbia Worship Group under their care. They are also working through the issues of having a registered sex offender in the meeting community.
Eugene Friends are still working through gender-inclusion issues. They are looking at racism as their next year-long focus. They acknowledge that undoing racism “is kind of abstract for us” as a group with no People of Color.
Boise Valley has started discussion the draft minute. Ashley would welcome Friends to share best practices around encouraging robust discussion.
Multnomah is perhaps the largest meeting in NPYM now, with many new attenders. Size has both challenges and rewards! They are discerning how to be radically inclusive without “diverging from being Quaker.” The Racial Justice subcommittee remains very active.
MGOF spent its summer gathering exploring issues of white privilege with Laurie Childers of Corvallis, with compelling queries and deep worship-sharing. Montana Friends will continue the anti-racism conversation at the winter gathering in February. MGOF Friends recommend the book Native American Postcolonial Psychology (Eduardo Duran & Bonnie Duran).
University Friends intend to discuss the proposed minute. They did include racial justice in their recent Quarterly Meeting program. These issues can be hard to discuss! “But what we say is not as important as what we are called to do.” White Fragility (Robin DiAngelo) is a good introductory book.
Recently University’s focus has been on use of the meetinghouse (with homelessness services in the space vacated by AFSC) and finding a full-time facilities manager.
University has taken the lead in forming the Quaker Social Concerns Network which includes Eastside, Salmon Bay, South Seattle, and North Seattle Friends Church.
Eastside has not yet discussed the proposed minute because they have just started a jubilee period of reflection and discernment.
CC 10/2018-3 Eugene Friends Meeting Minute About War in Yemen (Dina Wills)
Eugene Friends have approved a minute opposing the war in Yemen (copy saved with these minutes). This is an issue of immediate concern. Other meetings in NPYM are encouraged to consider Eugene’s minute as a model for their own action.
CC 10/2018-4 Presiding Clerk’s Report (Lucretia Humphrey)
Lucretia acknowledged and thanked the members of the Annual Session Planning Committee present today. She noted that the “abundant financing” experiment was successful, and will continue. We have a small fund as a start for next year. Lucretia also noted that evaluations from AS 2018 were very positive.
Lucretia will invite Vanessa Julye, our 2018 Friend in Residence, to attend our Annual Session again next year to help follow up on the anti-racism initiatives.
Friend in Residence for 2019 will be Jay O’Hara, well-known Quaker environmental activist.
Lucretia expressed grave concern that we do not have a General Arrangements Clerk for Annual Session 2019. We will also need to find an Assistant Registrar to learn from Clint Weimeister.
CC 10/2018-5 Site and Date for Annual Session 2019 (John Etter)
We had announced that AS 2019 will be the 4th weekend of July at Pacific University in Forest Grove OR, but Pacific U has had a scheduling mix-up and proposed moving us to the 3rd weekend, when they also host their annual car show. NPYM has generally preferred the 3rd weekend for Annual Session but we will not share the Pacific U campus with the car show again. NPYM Friends have felt considerable dismay at how Pacific U has treated us our recent times there. Oregon State University is available for our preferred weekend (3rd) for 2019. OSU is slightly more expensive than Pacific U. Coordinating Committee agrees that NPYM should pursue a contract with OSU for AS 2019. John is willing to co-clerk or to mentor a new General Arrangements Clerk. Jane Snyder will follow up with John about making contact at OSU.
CC 10/2018-6 Ad Hoc Committee re: Nominations (Ted Etter)
The ad hoc group named last July has considered the questions how do we fill positions? Are there too many positions to fill? Are there some positions that would be more suitable for hired staff? The group surveyed other yearly meetings with membership numbers and geographical expanse similar to NPYM. All of them have a permanent site for every Annual Session. Some of them pay event planners and/or registrars. (The ad hoc committee’s report is saved with these minutes.)
The ad hoc committee recommends that we consider the issue of returning to one site every year instead of rotating Annual Session around our region. A fixed site would save a great deal of “reinventing the wheel” for each new campus we work with.
There was much discussion around the ad hoc committee’s second recommendation, that we consider hiring an event planner or event manager to do the work of the General Arrangements Clerk, and possibly of the Physical Arrangements Clerk and/or Registrar or Assistant Registrar – AS jobs which work very closely together.
Some points brought up in the discussion:
▪ Our framework was built in a much different time. Many more Friends now are working full-time now that a generation ago, and cannot volunteer as much as earlier Friends did.
▪ Young adult Friends often simply cannot afford to do big volunteer service jobs.
▪ General Arrangements Clerk requires a very specialized skill set.
▪ Other organizations, notably FWCC Section of the Americas, hires professional planners to handle contracts, site logistics, etc. These tasks are not Quaker-specific.
▪ Annual Session 2019 is in jeopardy. We don’t have the luxury of time to season a decision about hiring staff. We need a decision and a hiring process as soon as possible.
▪ The event planning tasks would be more manageable if Annual Session were always at the same site. Depending on the site, there may be staff there we can contract with.
▪ In our current structure, the Presiding Clerk and General Arrangements Clerk co-clerk the AS Planning Committee. It’s very hard to move forward in the Spirit with the current level of anxiety.
▪ Pacific Northwest Quarterly Meeting goes to the same site every time, which has great advantages even though it is far away from all the meetings.
▪ Pretty much the same people come to Annual Session no matter where it is held.
▪ Hiring another staff person or contracting another service would have financial impact. According to Treasurer Donal Sullivan, NPYM does have reserve funds in the budget that would cover for 2019. We would have to determine how to meet the expense in 2020 and beyond. It was noted that NPYM has the lowest assessment of the yearly meetings surveyed.
▪ We can’t afford to thresh the issue of hiring an event planner for very long! We need a General Arrangements Clerk (or equivalent) now and registration assistance within the next three months if we are to hold AS 2019.
Coordinating Committee made two decisions:
1. Ask Monthly Meetings to discuss and respond to the idea of holding Annual Session at the same site every year.
2. Appoint an ad hoc group today to determine whether we will hire event planning and/or registration assistance for AS 2019; and, if so, to draft a job description, recruit for the services, and bring recommended candidate(s) to Personnel Committee.
The ad hoc committee consists of Nancy Irving and Kat Willard (co-convenors), Dave Ek, John Etter, Lucretia Humphrey (as Presiding Clerk), Nora Percival (as Secretary), and Mim Coleman (as Youth Coordinator). If the group cannot complete its work by the end of 2018, they will ask Executive Committee for help.
We will evaluate the 2019 experience before making any hiring decisions permanent.
Kat Willard expressed interest in leading a group to consider the question of a permanent site for AS.
CC 10/2018-7 American Friends Service Committee (Caroline Wildflower)
Carolyn described AFSC’s strategic planning efforts to guide the next 10 years of its work. AFSC requests input from monthly meetings to help its discernment. Carolyn will send information to Nora to distribute.
CC 10/2018-8 Secretary’s Report (Nora Percival)
The census has finally been completed. We have 45 meetings, preparative meetings, and worship groups. We report 1569 active adults (which includes 891 adult members of the Society), 40 children of pre-Kindergarten age, 75 children of grade-school age, 31 Central Friends, and 31 Junior Friends. Meetings have reported a total of 953 adults for calculation of NPYM assessments. Nora will post census details on the website.
Nora asks meetings to send directory changes as they occur. Please do not send a full meeting directory list and expect Nora to compare each detail to what’s in the NPYM directory.
NPYM receives epistles from between 60 – 100 yearly meetings around the world. Nora posts the most recent epistle NPYM has received from each group under “Friends’ Experiences” on npym.org.
Nora invites comments or concerns about our website.
Western Friend has invited NPYM to use their Zoom (teleconferencing) account if we need it. This prompted a lively discussion of whether NPYM should set up an account of our own. Nora will forward the question to the IT Committee. Joe Snyder noted that he has his own Zoom account and, as an experiment, will set it up for CC members who are not able to attend the next CC meeting in person.
Nora recently visited Pullman-Moscow and would be glad to visit any other meeting—please invite her!
CC 10/2018-9 Outreach & Visitation Committee (Joe Snyder for Warren Ostrom, Clerk)
Joe reminds us that visiting other meetings and worship groups is a blessing to both visited and visitor. The committee is functioning well; they’d still like a member from Idaho or Montana.
Outreach & Visitation is recruiting for the next Knitting Us Together visits, in spring 2019, to Friends in the Columbia/Snake Rivers corridor. CC members, please encourage Friends to consider being either a visiting Friend or an accompanying elder to support the visitor with prayer and accountability.
The committee is starting discussion about outreach to our non-Quaker communities.
CC 10/2018-10 “Nom Nom Comm” (Kat Willard & Mim Coleman)
Kat and Mim are very glad to report that Brontë Miller has volunteered to serve on the NPYM Nominating Committee. The “Nom Nom Comm” needs one more person for the Nominating Committee, ideally from east of the Cascades, and welcomes any leads. “Knowing who is who in the yearly meeting” is important but not crucial: a Young Adult Friend could be of great assistance.
CC 10/2018-11 Nominating Committee (Ted Etter)
The committee is experiencing the familiar difficulties and asks Friends for help publicizing the various opportunities and encouraging people to step up into opportunities, especially to take on clerking roles. There is a new vacancy on Ministry & Counsel. There is no one on the Epistle Committee for 2019.
With many thanks, Coordinating Committee approves the nominations brought today:
Pablo Stanfield, NPYM Recording Clerk
Gabi Clayton, IT Committee
Brontë Miller, Nominating Committee
Eric Straatsma, Peace & Social Concerns Committee
Tom Head, Western Friend Board
Jonathan Betz-Zall and John Allcott, AFCS Corporation
CC 10/2018-12 Youth Committee (Mim Coleman for Meghann Wolvert, Clerk)
The committee is pondering:
▪ How can our committee help NPYM’s Children’s Program embrace current educational philosophy, welcome all learning styles, while incorporating Quaker testimonies and history?
▪ How can we honor our Yearly Meeting traditions while speaking the language of this generations’s youth?
▪ How can we support each group of our youth (elementary age, Central Friends, Junior Friends) while encouraging some “mentoring” and intergenerational play?
The Youth Committee is very pleased with Mim’s work as Youth Coordinator. She has great ideas and has been a valuable asset in committee meetings. The committee supports her efforts and growth in this position.
The committee is reviewing the NPYM Safety Policy. They would welcome Friends with education and/or legal experience to assist them in this process.
On the whole, the “Play as Led” pattern worked well during Annual Session 2018. Mim and the committee have some ideas for improving the experience, such as preparing expectation sheets for children, parents, and staff members. Mim also proposes a new ‘middle tier” of adult helpers—volunteers who are willing to be background-checked and will volunteer 4 hours with the children (instead of the usual 2-hour assignment). This will make it much easier to have the required level of adult supervision for a wider variety of children’s activities.
Mim’s hierarchy of concern is safety first, then fun, then Friendly enrichment. The Central Friends felt a bit bored in 2018 and Mim will look for more activities for them. Central Friends will write their own code of conduct.
The Youth Committee is planning to prepare some brief Quaker-themed videos to be available to parents and meetings year-round. (There was a reminder to have videos captioned.)
There was considerable discussion about the NPYM Safety Policy. Coordinating Committee reminds all Friends that any group which is covered by NPYM’s Church Mutual Insurance policy must comply with the NPYM Safety Policy. Failure to comply jeopardizes the yearly meeting’s insurance coverage. Among other things, the safety policy requires two adults who have been background-checked to be within sight of each other at all times when any children are present.
When Pacific Northwest Quarterly Meeting requests a certificate of insurance coverage for its meetings, Nora Percival will send this minute and a copy of the safety policy with the certificate.
CC 10/2018-13 Finance & Legal Committee (Janet Jump, Co-Clerk)
The committee continues to work on the transfer of responsibilities to new Treasurer Donal Sullivan. They have worked with Annual Session Planning Committees to straighten out problems with payments to or from AS sites. The “abundant financing” experiment was successful: NPYM came out well ahead and has a pool of funds as basis for next year. Finance & Legal will continue to monitor the abundant-financing pattern of paying for Annual Session registration. Given discussion at today’s CC meeting, Finance & Legal will look carefully at NPYM’s insurance position.
CC 10/2018-14 Treasurer’s Report (Donal Sullivan, Treasurer)
It has been a somewhat challenging year for Donal but he is finding his way into this work, with thanks to the Finance & Legal Committee for support. He notes that we routinely approve a budget with a deficit—and routinely spend down less than budgeted. We generally at least break even. We do encourage Friends to use the funds for their budgeted purposes.
After discussion, Coordinating Committee directs the NPYM Treasurer to reimburse Friends of Color from NPYM to attend Vanessa Julye’s workshop at Quaker Center in Ben Lomond. Friends of Color includes members or regular attenders of meetings and worship groups in NPYM who identify themselves as FOC. This financial support can come from the CC Extraordinary Opportunity fund.
CC 10/2018-15 Webkeeper’s Report (John Gotts, by teleconference)
The searchable outline of NPYM history promised at the July CC meeting is taking shape. John showed the first decade’s worth; Debbie Townsend will fill in the rest of the information. The Nominating Grid is also available online for current and previous committees and offices held. There is some question about how the Annual Session Planning Committee should be shown, since it includes so many ex officio positions which are also shown elsewhere. Note that the history outline and the nominating grid are public information—no password required.
The data behind NPYM’s website are automatically backed up on a regular basis, and at intervals John does additional back-up to his own system.
John will continue to work with Registrar Clint Weimeister to smooth out hiccups in NPYM’s registration software, until a final decision made to hire some specific event planner or planning service. (See above, 10/2018-6.) It was noted that some event planning or event management services might propose to use their own registration software, and others may choose to use the software we have designed.
CC 10/2018-16 Communicating with Meetings not Present Today
The following Friends will get in touch with the following groups after today’s meeting (and, ideally, again before the spring CC meeting):
Ann Stever: Agate Passage, Salmon Bay
Georgia Foster: Billings
Dave Zeiss: Corvallis
Alice Robb: Lopez Island
Ashley Davis: Pullman-Moscow
Kat Willard: Sandpoint
Lucretia Humphrey: South Mountain, Whidbey Island
Jane Snyder: South Seattle
CC 10/2018- 17 New Business and Other News Shared Today
Mim Coleman spoke about a recent workshop at Ben Lomond Quaker Center. In that group, Mim heard a Friend from New England Yearly Meeting: “If we (Friends meetings) can’t find women, People of Color, and young adult Friends to fill positions, maybe there is something wrong with the positions.”
Willamette Quarterly Meeting has had some difficulty organizing its recent sessions. There may be news from Willamette QM for Coordinating Committee in spring.
Multnomah Friends are preparing a minute about Palestine.
Jane Snyder shared the card game “Unwilling, Unable” (sadly, out of print now) about Quakers and nominations to committees and offices.
We held Clint Weimeister and Caroline Wildflower in the Light, with a laying on of hands, as they face Clint’s health challenges.
Barclay Press in Newburg OR is an open and affirming organization; the press is seeing its traditional support fall away because of this stance. Barclay Press carries some Bible study materials that work well for unprogrammed Friends, and can supply books put out other Quaker publishers as well. NPYM Friends discussed ways that we could support Barclay Press, such as ordering books for our AS Bookstore through them. We could offer the manager of Barclay Press a fee waiver to come to our Annual Session with Barclay Press books for sale.
Marge Abbott has a new book out, titled Everyday Prophets.
Joe Snyder plans to experiment with Quaker Bible study over Zoom teleconference technology
The unsold used books and pamphlets from the Annual Session bookstore have been packed up and sent to Kenya, where Nora will distribute them next spring.
The 2020 Friend in Residence will be Kenya Casanova of Cuba. She may be able to send a list of needed items in advance of Annual Session so that we can collect and contribute supplies for her to take back to Cuban Friends.
CC 10/2018-18 Next Meeting
Coordinating Committee will meet again on March 16, 2019, at Olympia Friends Meeting.
We closed with a period of grateful worship.
Jane Snyder, Coordinating Committee Clerk
Debbie Townsend, Coordinating Committee Recording Clerk