North Pacific Yearly Meeting

of the Religious Society of Friends (QUAKERS)

Coordinating Committee Minutes of Oct 21, 2017

North Pacific Yearly Meeting Coordinating Committee

Minutes of October 21, 2017

Multnomah Meetinghouse, Portland OR


 

Present at the meeting:
Carl Abbott, Finance & Legal Committee [beginning of the meeting only]
Jonathan Brown, outgoing Treasurer
Margaret Coahran, member from Pullman-Moscow
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
Elee Hadley, Outreach & Visitation Committee Clerk
Lucretia Humphrey, Presiding Clerk
Nancy Irving, Finance & Legal Committee Co-clerk
Janet Jump, Finance & Legal Committee Co-clerk
Otis Kenny, CC Associate Clerk
Betsey Kenworthy, Ministry & Oversight Committee Clerk
Nora J. Percival, NPYM Secretary
Tom Rawson, member from Lopez Island
Alice Turtle Robb, member from Bellingham (also Faith & Practice Committee)
Martha Smith, member from Salem
Jane Snyder, CC Clerk, member from Bridge City
Donal Sullivan, incoming Treasurer
Debbie Townsend, CC Recording Clerk, member from Eastside (also Faith & Practice Comm)
Sylvie Weaver, member from South Mountain
Clint Weimeister, member from Port Townsend
Dina Wills, member from Eugene
Meghann Wolvert, Youth Committee Clerk (also Tacoma)
Joyce Zerwekh, member from Multnomah

Meetings not represented today: Agate Passage, Billings, Corvallis, Salmon Bay, Sandpoint, Whidbey Island

The meeting opened in expectant worship, with consideration of 1 Thessalonians 5:11: So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this; no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep doing it. (The Message version)

Clerk Jane Snyder welcomed everyone, and we introduced ourselves.

CC 10/17-1, Finance & Legal Committee (co-clerk Janet Jump)
The committee is getting up to speed after a somewhat slow start. They covered for outgoing Treasurer Jonathan Brown during his recent vacation. They are helping incoming Treasurer Donal Sullivan transition into the role. As a major step in this process,

Coordinating Committee approved authorizing Donal Sulllivan, Treasurer, and Janet Jump and Nancy Irving, co-clerks of the Finance & Legal Committee, as signatories for the NPYM bank account.

The annual review of the books is scheduled; this is not a formal audit but an opportunity to check up and take advice about possible improvements.

The committee will ensure that corporation fees and paperwork are completed for Washington and Oregon.

The committee will focus on greater transparency in the budget, particularly relating the Annual Session budget to the general budget. CC members expressed appreciation for this approach, especially noting that Annual Session was in the red for 2017.

CC.10/17-2, Treasurer’s Report (Jonathan Brown, outgoing Treasurer)
The Finance & Legal Committee has reviewed the draft year end report for FY 2017, which is posted on the treasurer’s page at npym.org. A few details from the Junior Friends and Central Friends camping trips remain to be wound up.

The General Fund had roughly $54K in income (compared to $55K budgeted), roughly $52K in expenses (compared to $68K budgeted). We currently have total assets of roughly $171K, but note that there are about $60K in accounts payable. The General Fund Reserve is $25K, the Annual Session Reserve is $20K.

Annual Session showed a deficit of about $8500 this year.

The Coordinating Committee wholeheartedly thanks Jonathan for his service as NPYM Treasurer.

CC 10/17-3, NPYM Secretary’s Report (Nora J. Percival)
The Yearly Meeting has a new laptop computer which is serving us well.

Nora has received census information from all groups except Chelan-Methow WG. Nora plans to simplify the forms next year. Friends asked that she also clarify the timeframe for census data—it’s a single-point-in-time count.

Quaker Voice (formerly Friends Committee for Washington Public Policy) has again requested an extract from the Directory for names and mailing addresses of Friends in Washington State for a one-time mailing. Coordinating Committee approves providing a WA State mailing list to Quaker Voice.

Nora demonstrated the new online directory and provided instructions for use. NPYM Friends who wish to see directory information must register at first use and must use their own e-mail address to log in. Directory information can be displayed several ways (full list, quarterly meeting, monthly meeting or worship group). Users can submit new records or request changes to existing records. By request, this is not an interactive directory; that is, users cannot edit the data online. Nora will handle all changes, for accuracy and consistency, as information comes in to her. Each Friends group can decide how to send changes to Nora (perhaps asking one person to collect and submit changes, perhaps allowing individuals to notify Nora of new info.) New entries must show an affiliation, either to a meeting or worship group on the list or one of the four “virtual meetings” of Isolated Friends.

Information about all meetings and worship groups is also available in the directory and can be updated the same way. Groups should check the info listed, and send in corrections!

The directory database generates reports in PDF format which can be printed out. Friends can also ask Nora to print and send copies, if needed.

The Coordinating Committee is very grateful to Nora, and to Webkeeper John Gotts, for making the online directory work and creating a companion list of meeting and worship group information.

CC 10/17-4, Minutes
The minutes of the 7/26/2017 were corrected (re: Ministry & Oversight Committee) and approved, and will be posted as final.

The Coordinating Committee appreciates Ann Stever’s work as CC Recording Clerk for 2 years, and especially thanks her for the “sample reports” she sent to CC members after meetings. New Recording Clerk Debbie Townsend will try to follow that pattern.

CC 10/17-5, Sharing from Meetings
We considered the questions “What is your meeting doing that may be useful for other meetings to try? Are there needs in your meeting for which other meetings may offer help?”

South Mountain: Members are involved in work with homeless people; the meeting is working to support churches who offer parking lot space to people living in their cars. The meeting is concerned with racial justice and white privilege.
As a small meeting, we are reconsidering the committee structure and looking at job descriptions—how do we get things done with the resources we have? There are also concerns about the median age—how do we attract and keep younger people?
A worship group in Grants Pass has 4-5 attenders each week.

Boise Valley: We have started holding casual small-group dinners. We also have around-the-table sharing during snack time after meeting.
The children’s program is considering how to support families with children; there have been none recently.

Multnomah: The meeting is “bursting at the seams,” with 80+ on a typical Sunday, and with seven requests for membership and three requests for marriage under the care of the meeting in progress. Setting up chairs for small conversation groups during fellowship time has had good results. Every month several dedicated people—NOT parents of the children involved— organize a “Parents Night Out / Kids Night Out” when parents can leave their children at the meetinghouse for 2 ½ hours of games, stories, and other minimally-programmed fun with “honorary aunts and uncles”. This has been very well received by parents and kids alike.
How to help each other when we are all feeling pain and fear is a continuing concern. Offering worship-discussion about what’s going on might help.

Bellingham: The meeting has an active book group and a “Johanna Macy” group. We’ve considered gender inclusivity issues with the help of Multnomah Friends.
The place we worship is a major issue. Some people are very clear that we should look for property of our own, others are content with the rented space. We welcome advice from meetings that have gone through similar discussions recently.

Lopez Island: We typically have 20+ adults and 7+ children. We recently hosted a visit from our state representative (we had invited her when we met with her on Quaker Lobby Day last February). About 10-15 people from the meeting joined others for this event.
We don’t always have
silent worship. First Sundays are always worship-sharing, and fourth Sundays are singing Sundays.
We call our nominating committee “Gifts and Talents” and our ministry and oversight committee the “Spiritual Life Committee”.
Membership is a concern: now that we are a full meeting, we are getting some memberships transferred in; how do we engage attenders and invite them to seek membership in the Religious Society of Friends?

University: Because AFSC no longer has an office in Seattle, UFM was anxious about finding a tenant for the downstairs space. At the same time, Operation Nightwatch, a well-established organization serving homeless people, lost their space and had to find a new home. Serendipity! UFM has had a strong commitment to homelessness work over the years, but some of the activities created additional issues for the meeting. It’s good to be able to continue the ministry with Operation Nightwatch.
UFM is doing significant discernment about what to do with our building and grounds. Our neighborhood is changing rapidly with much dense development. The property value is rising commensurately. Should we stay put, or sell and move?
We have a number of genderqueer young adults; they bring in others who are glad to find an accepting place to be who they are
and have a relationship with God.

Olympia: We have 40-60 adults every Sunday and are considering hiring a part-time staff person for administrative work especially around building rentals.
Even when we have a large group, we continue to introduce ourselves at rise of meeting, as a way of community-building. We also have a monthly women’s potluck dinner and now a men’s potluck breakfast.
We have faced the challenge of including a registered sex offender, with help from University Friends (where he formerly worshipped) and Church Mutual Insurance. This process has taken many meetings and threshing sessions. We’ve passed a minute of record outlining the steps taken, a new Sex Offender Policy, and a minute welcoming the individual and spelling out responsibilities.
We’re also dealing with transgender issues, membership applications, and a request to have ashes buried on the meeting property.
We are experimenting with tithing as a meeting: 10% of contributions to the general fund in any given month go to a specific charity (4 charities for December). We also keep a budget for one-time urgent concerns.

MGOF: MGOF meets four times a year now. We are looking for ways to encourage more people to share their gifts.
Like many others, we are facing heightened concerns and fears. In February we passed a minute on fear and healing; dissemination has been spotty. The focus of our summer gathering was “Living Our Faith Courageously” with former-Montanan John March. The fall gathering is about “Exploring our Response to Violence,” looking for the seeds of war in ourselves and our way of life.

Tacoma: We have up to 20 in attendance now. We’re concerned with homelessness issues.

Missoula: We’re looking for ways to sustain our children’s program and integrate middle- and high-schoolers into silent worship. How do we prepare them? We’d appreciate advice.
We enjoy a number of intergenerational traditions such as making gingerbread houses and taking bicycle or cross-country ski trips.
Our meeting went through the decision about purchasing a meetinghouse some time ago and we’re glad to share that history with other meetings. We did lose a few people who thought that our money should go to charity not property.
We’re cooperating with a church that has more space to provide support to the homeless community.

Eugene: We are close to 70 years old as a meeting and feel the influence of weighty Friends who have passed on.
Finding Friends to serve in offices and on committees has been a challenge recently. We have experimented with combining committees and naming co-clerks.
We have two meetings for worship each Sunday. The groups have been quite separate; we’re trying to structure social time that will include both.
We too are concerned about homelessness in our community and are working with another church to offer support.

Port Townsend: This is our third year in our new meetinghouse. We did need to restructure somewhat since there are now more things to keep going. Our meeting retreat had focus on “Gifts and Leadings” to help match people with what they are best suited to do. We’re getting a more regular children’s program started.
We’re trying to attract younger attenders. We have concerts to help raise money for the mortgage and to build connections and a wider presence.
There are many social action groups in Port Townsend which has advantages and disadvantages for us as a meeting.

Salem: We have 12-15 on a typical Sunday. We had a “massive” committee structure in the past which we have now shrunk down. Our meeting too knows the pros and cons of buying a meetinghouse.
We are working on encouraging attenders to consider membership. A personal invitation seems most powerful. It’s also powerful for someone – NOT a parent – to invite a Junior Friend “come sit with me during meeting for worship.” We’ve asked adult Friends to speak with the honestly about what happens during Quaker worship, how they center down, etc.
Our first Sunday always features potluck with some intergenerational activity. We also have one “Creek Day” a month: we “adopted” a section of the local creek about 10 years ago, and children and adults go both to clean up trash and to record their observations.
We have struggled somewhat with our charitable giving budget. We have set contributions to the main Quaker organizations and decided to give any budget excess to charities, with various ways to decide which ones.
We are cooperating with the local Unitarian Universalist Church which has been recognized as a sanctuary church. Salem is one of the helper congregations.
We have a “peace and justice movies” series which has been well attended.
We recently faced the painful situation of clearness committees for marriage not being fully clear about taking the relationships under the care of the meeting. Both couples are now separated.

Pullman-Moscow: We have around 12 attending each week. We’re getting older. We’re struggling with outreach to younger people. We’re working out logistics to hold one meeting a month in Lewiston/Clarkston to accommodate people who come from that area.
We’ve had a gender-learning workshop with help from Multnomah Friends and some transgender students from University of Idaho. We stand behind people doing social justice work but we don’t have any social concerns as a meeting.
Our experience with purchase of a meetinghouse was to set up a special fund, and if it grew big enough to become a down-payment, we would look for a property.

South Seattle: A member has had a leading to create a meeting newsletter. We’ve had our first request for marriage under the care of the meeting.

Bridge City: On the whole, we are “coming along fine.” We had a marriage under the care of the meeting. We have one family with children who attend in summers. We are deeply involved with Quaker Voluntary Service, cooperating with Multnomah and Friends churches in the area. We laid down our Peace & Social Concerns Committee several years ago; we are getting back on track for advocacy work connected with FCNL programming.

Eastside: We have been experimenting with how to arrange the meeting room chairs given our somewhat smaller numbers recently. Several of our second hours this year will be on “racism and ….” looking at the connections between racial justice and other peace and social concerns.
Our children have created “calm jars” (water, glycerin, glitter) that they use at the end of their Children’s Meeting sessions. We also have a basket of koosh balls and some “calm jars” to help them focus during meeting for worship.

Umpqua Valley: We have 5 people. We meet on Sunday afternoons – that timing works well for us and we commend it to other Friends groups.

CC 10/17-6, Youth Committee (Meghann Wolvert, clerk)
The committee’s full report is saved with these minutes. The committee has evaluated new AS Children’s Program Coordinator Mim Lily Coleman– she has done very well – and is looking for ways to integrate her into the committee’s work.

The committee is very enthusiastic; they have set themselves a number of tasks, including review of the safety policy. They are considering ways to give children more options during Annual Session, especially child-led play. They want to promote the Youth Opportunity Fund more. They will plan an Annual Session interest group about raising Quaker youth. To help them in their work, the Youth Committee asks meetings to consider and respond to these questions:

  • Parents, what role do you see the Annual Session’s Children’s Program playing in the spiritual life of your child? And how can the Youth Committee help support this vision?

  • How can our children’s program coordinator support your meeting’s First-Day activities, lessons, and/or experience?

  • If you have volunteered for Annual Session children’s program as your volunteer assignment, would you have found a volunteer orientation helpful to explain safety procedures and assignment details? Would you be willing to attend such an orientation during a meal time on the first day of AS?

  • If Annual Session children’s program was structured in a child led play type of set up with different stations during each session, would you have any activities, lessons, or projects that you’d feel led to share?

Responses should go to mdw.wolvert@gmail.com.

CC 10/17-7, Outreach & Visitation Committee (Elee Hadley, clerk)
All rumors that we are laying down the traveling Friend program are false! Joe Snyder will be the next traveler in the “Knitting Us Together” series. He will visit meetings in the Puget Sound region. The O&V Committee has received many applications from potential travelers. They need to hear from Friends who could serve as traveling elders also. The committee is considering how much “say” meetings and worship groups might want in determining the topics visitors could bring.

The O&V Committee is looking at changes in its perspective. With modern communications and online resources, “isolated Friends aren’t so isolated any more.” CC members who are or have been remote Friends say that visitation remains very important for them. Others noted that visitors have benefit even for large meetings, particularly for older Friends who can no longer travel to Quarterly Meeting or Annual Session.

The committee would appreciate having a few more members. They have 3 of 6 positions filled.

There was wide-ranging discussion of monthly meetings’ care for worship groups.

CC 10/17-8, Peace & Social Concerns
Jane read out the committee’s report since P&SC clerk Sea Gabriel was not able to attend. The full report is saved with these minutes. The committee will hold monthly online worship-sharing “for support and inspiration”; anyone is welcome to participate. The online group is not an action group. The subcommittee working on systemic racism will begin work in November. The subcommittee on gender inclusion needs more members.

CC 10/17-9, Nominating Committee (Ted Etter, clerk)
The committee brought several names for consideration.
Coordinating Committee approved the following nominations:

  • Susan Davenport (Olympia), AS Volunteer Coordinator, 10/2017 – 9/2018

  • Jana Ostrom (University), Faith & Practice Committee, 10/2017 – 9/2020

  • Claire Leonard (MGOF), Faith & Practice Committee, 10/2017 – 9/2020

  • Valerie Milleron (Sandpoint), FWCC representative, 1/2018 – 3/2021

  • Helen Park (Eugene), Junior Friends Advisor, 10/2017 – 9/2019

  • Paul Christiansen (Eastside), Junior Friends Advisor, 10/2017 – 9/2019

Ted will update the Nominating Grid to post on the website. The committee will try to keep closer track of when nominations are approved. The committee may bring a recommendation that its own members begin terms on 9/1 instead of 10/1 each year, to make preparation for the fall Coordinating Committee meeting easier.

There was lively discussion about who should notify nominees that they have been approved (likewise the committee clerks involved). For now, the Presiding Clerk will make the contacts about Annual Session positions; the CC Clerk will make the contacts about other YM officers and standing committee members. (We may need to update the two job descriptions to reflect this approach to notifications.)

The Information Technology Committee does not yet have a clerk. The NPYM Secretary and the Webkeeper are ex officio members of that committee.

There was discussion to define ex officio membership. For NPYM, an ex officio member is a fully participating member of the committee by virtue of the position held. The only limit on participation would be for paid staff members, who should not be part of decision-making about their own performance evaluations.

CC 10/17-10, Faith & Practice Committee (Debbie Townsend, co-clerk)
Mary Klein of
Western Friend is currently working on page design, covers, etc. for the new book. The committee was able to fill all the offers for gift subscriptions to the magazine, which was part of NPYM’s agreement for publication.

CC 10/17-11, Ministry & Oversight Committee (Betsey Kenworthy, clerk)
The full report is saved with these minutes. The M&O Committee will name members to be liaisons to other standing NPYM committees.
The next consultation conference call will be on December 3, and will be based on the new material in Faith and Practice called “Be Not Afraid.” The consultation calls last about an hour and are designed for monthly meeting clerks of ministry and oversight committees (or equivalents). Betsey asked for names to be invited. Notes from previous M&O consultations are on the website under “Friends Experiences.”
There was a suggestion for M&O to consider videoconference technology instead of conference calls.

CC 10/17-12, Annual Session, 7/25 – 29/2018 (Lucretia Humphry, presiding clerk)
Abundant Financing: CC members are encouraged to ask their meetings to make contributions to NPYM for “abundant financing” so that no one thinking of attending Annual Session will be held back by money concerns. Some meetings have given financial aid to members and attenders for a variety of purposes in the past, not just AS attendance, so those meetings will need discernment in their budgeting. Lucretia stressed that the move toward abundant financing is a form of ministry. It can be hard to be a fully participating Quaker these days. Bringing more Friends to Annual Session helps all of us.
Checks to NPYM for this purpose should be marked “Annual Session Abundant Financing”. Individuals will also be able to designate contributions on the registration form. An Individual who contributes beyond their own AS expenses may declare the contribution as tax-deductible.
There was a suggestion that NPYM compensate people for lost wages as well as for Annual Session fees.
It was pointed out that time is often as much of a factor as money when people decide not to attend AS. Lucretia notes that AS planning is getting underway; send any ideas about making AS more inviting and accessible to her.

AS Friends in Residence: The speaker for AS 2018 is Vanessa Julye, co-author of Fit for Freedom, Not for Friendship. Lucretia shared Vanessa’s invitation to us to be tender to one another on racism and to create brave space – not necessarily safe space – for our time together. Nora will set up an information page about AS 2018 soon, using this invitation message.
The Friend in Residence for AS 2019 will be climate activist Jay O’Hara.

CC 10/17-13, Announcements and Concerns
Dave Ek, AS General Arrangements clerk, noted that there will be other groups using space at University of Puget Sound during our Annual Session, so there will be competition for meeting rooms. CC members should stay aware and encourage anyone who might want to hold an Interest Group to contact Dave early so he can be sure to rent enough classrooms.

NPYM Secretary Nora J. Percival expressed joy at being with the group today and dismay at Friends’ silence between meetings. Getting needed information can be very frustrating. She asks Friends to stay connected and please respond when she sends messages out! CC members can help by talking to our meeting clerks, etc. It’s our job as CC members to help connect those who aren’t “Yearly Meeting Friends” to the larger NPYM community.
CC members can also help by checking and correcting the meeting and worship group contact information in the new online directory, so that messages from NPYM go to the right people at the local level.

The ad hoc committee for gender concerns at Multnomah Meeting asks:
In 2017, NPYM Annual Session united with a minute, and some meetings adopted their own minutes, stating our desire to be a welcoming community for people of all genders. What have been the fruits of this aspiration for Friends over the past year?

CC 10/17-14, Next Meeting
Coordinating Committee will meet on Saturday, March 17, at University Friends Meeting in Seattle, starting at 9:00 a.m.

The meeting ended with worship.


 

Jane Snyder, Clerk

Debbie Townsend, Recording Clerk


 

Addendum to meeting notes:

CC 10/17-15, Executive Committee activity
Between Annual Session and the October CC meeting, the Executive Committee approved the following nominations:

  • Annual Session Program Committee: Leni Skarin (Agate Passage)

  • NPYM Treasurer: Donal Sullivan (University)

  • NPYM Registrar: Clint Weimeister (Port Townsend)