North Pacific Yearly Meeting

of the Religious Society of Friends (QUAKERS)

Coordinating Committee Minutes of Oct 29, 2016

North Pacific Yearly Meeting Coordinating Committee

Multnomah Meetinghouse, Portland, OR

October 29, 2016

 

Present: Kenny, Otis, Coordinating Committee Clerk, Boise; Stever, Ann, Recording Clerk, University; Arcidiacono*, Laura, Bridge City; Brown, Jonathan, Treasurer, South Seattle; Foster, Georgia, MGOF; Dart, Helen, Eugene; Eck, Dave, General Arrangements Clerk, Multnomah; Fritz*, Anna, Multnomah Ad Hoc Committee for Gender Concerns; Garnett, Lucy, Salmon Bay; Hadley, ELee, Outreach & Visitation Clerk, Umpqua Valley Worship Group; Humphrey, Lucretia, Rising Clerk, NPYM, Faith & Practice Committee, Great Falls WG; McLauchlan, Nancy, Ministry & Oversight Committee Clerk, Bridge City; Ostrom, Warren, NPYM Presiding Clerk, University; Percival, Nora J., NPYM Secretary, University; Petzing*, Kepper, Multnomah Ad Hoc Committee for Gender Concerns; Simmons*, Ellen, Multnomah Ad Hoc Committee for Gender Concerns; Snyder, Jane, Associate Clerk Coordinating Committee, Multnomah; Stockbridge, Allen, Bellingham; Townsend, Debbie, Faith & Practice Committee Co-Clerk, Eastside; Weimeister, Clint, Port Townsend; Wolvert, Meghann, Tacoma; Zerwekh, Joyce Multnomah.

* Present for only part of meeting

 

Meetings unrepresented: Agate Passage, Billings, Corvallis, Lopez Island, Missoula, Olympia, Pullman-Moscow, Salem, Sandpoint, South Mountain, Tacoma, Whidbey Island.

 

CC 10.16.1The Meeting opened with worship.

 

CC 10.16.2 Reports from Meetings and Committees

Bellingham Meeting: They have gradually grown to 20 – 25. They have many week-day activities, including an FCNL advocacy group. They are looking at renting a new facility and are having discussions on committees and decision-making so that issues can be addressed more richly.

Boise Meeting: Attendance is static. A new couple has inquired about transferring membership. They have worship-sharing every other month and potluck and sharing on the other months. The clerk interviewed all members about what is going well, what is not, whether needs are being met and if not, how might they be.

Bridge City Meeting: They are getting some new people. They have started a discussion on the book, On Being Mortal. They are very involved in Quaker Voluntary Service (one of 4 sponsoring Friends Meetings/Churches) and Convergent Friends, in which people from Meetings and Churches meet together for worship once a month.

Eastside Meeting: They have concerns about membership and capacity to fill committees. They have created a fund to support a member working on Climate Change.

Eugene Meeting: They are in a process of transitioning generations of leadership. They have cut the number of committee members. They need Religious Education for new comers. They have an ad hoc committee focusing on building community.

MGOF and Great Falls Worship Group: Over 10 – 20 years the Worship Group has grown from 2 to 3 to 9 to 12. They have been energized by one of their members who works with FCNL’s Advocacy Teams. Ruth Flower of FCNL will be the speaker at Winter MGOF, February 24 – 26, 2017.

Multnomah Meeting: They have 60 – 90 at worship on Sundays, with a lot going on. They are slowly growing younger leaders, including the present clerk. They are somewhat estranged from NPYM.

Port Townsend Meeting: The Meeting is doing well with a strong Ministry and Counsel Committee and spiritual nurture groups. They are involved in many social concerns. The new Meetinghouse is doing well. They have some regular renters. They have 20 – 25 at worship on Sundays.

Salmon Bay Meeting: They are thriving with 13 children coming regularly on Sundays. They had a wedding in October.

Sheridan, WY Group and Wyoming Friends: Sheridan has a steady attendance of 9 – 12. They have had a lot of loss the past 9 months, which has resulted in a tenderness and a coming together. There was a recent state-wide retreat.

South Seattle Meeting: The theme for the years is “gifts”. Community Spiritual Life Committee is concerned with how to avoid or deal with burn-out.

Umpqua Valley Worship Group: The group remains small, but is now meeting twice a month in a public place (a church) and advertising.

University Meeting: The Meeting is facing some major issues. The University District is changing radically and the Meeting realizes it needs to consider its mission and its resulting options, such as whether it should move, radically redevelop the property or what. The seasoning of the Inclusivity Minute will be challenging, as we know there are people who have expressed discomfort as well as two trans members of the community. There seems to be better age diversity in worship and there have been a number of new memberships.

 

General Arrangements Committee: They are now working on the contract with the University of Puget Sound for the 2017 Annual Session.

North Pacific YM Annual Session: Peterson Toscano is the Friend in Residence for 2017 and Vanessa Julye will be FiR in 2018.

Outreach & Visitation Committee: They have been inactive since sponsoring Pablo Standfield’s travels last spring, but are now getting back to work.

Willamette Quarterly Meeting: They have no clerk. Corvallis, Eugene and Multnomah Meetings rotate hosting the meetings and the hosting Meeting provides the clerk. The Quarterly Meeting Ministry and Oversight Committee is strong, because it can meet face-to-face.

Youth Committee: Meghann Wolvert reported she was a new member of the committee, as of October 1.

 

Nora J. Percival introduced herself as the new NPYM Secretary. She is a member of University Meeting where she clerks the Personnel Committee. She represents Friends (4 Meetings and North Seattle Friends Church) on the Board of the Church Council of Greater Seattle.

 

Jane Snyder introduced herself as the new Associate Clerk of Coordinating Committee. She is member of Multnomah, but attends Bridge City. It is a joy to participate in Convergent Friends. She co-led the NPYM Jr. Friends August 2016 service trip to Guatemala where they taught English in a bilingual school (Spanish and Kakchiqel), planted trees and helped clean up a river. There were 10 Jr. Friends.

 

CC 10.16.3 Minutes

Minutes of the July 13, 2016 meeting were approved.

 

CC 10.16.4 Faith & Practice

Debbie Townsend, Co-Clerk of the Committee, presented the report and recommendation.

 

a) Update: The Committee is on the last leg of the 10+ year process of revising our Book of Discipline, Faith & Practice. They have looked at all the quotations, and are particularly looking for quotes from the West Coast and younger Friends and are checking the ratio of men and women being quoted. They have had quite a few responses on the Testimonies chapter and they are revising it. Lee Neff of South Seattle MM is doing the copy-editing and another outside person is also reading the drafts, looking especially for internal consistency.

 

The Committee is still looking for art (not photographs. The Committee will be working on appendices and plans to include sample letters, forms, a timeline of Meetings, a glossary, index of subjects, sources of quotes and a bibliography.

 

The Transitional edition should be complete and ready in January. Meetings are urged to look for this and work with it, e.g. have study hours or other ways to engage Friends. The Committee will take comments but is hoping there will be nothing significant, since chapters have been circulated, edited and re-edited over the years. Comments should be sent to Debbie Townsend and Theo Mace, Co-Clerks of the Committee. Several appendices are planned: communications, sample letters and forms, time line of Meetings, glossary, index of subjects, source of quotes and a bibliography.

 

We were reminded that it is the responsibility of CC members to be sure their Meetings really look at and use the draft F&P and respond to the Committee between January and June, 2017.

 

b) The committee proposed a revised Job Description of Faith & Practice Committee (attached to file copy of minutes). Changes included naming the committee Faith & Practice rather than Discipline. This will be a standing committee with only 3 members when in “maintenance mode” (for minor edits, e.g. name changes for committees) and 6 when in “revision mode.” The job description will be used to seek members for the committee to start their terms October 1, 2017.

 

In response to questions, Debbie noted that members of the F&P committee, including a Clerk, will be proposed by the Nominating Committee, as with other standing committees and approved at the Annual Session or by Coordinating Committee between Sessions. We were reminded Faith & Practice will be distributed by Western Friend (not the NPYM Secretary). The revised job description will go into effect and the committee will gradually move to “maintenance mode” after Annual Session 2017, provided the transitional text is accepted then. The Secretary will need to send the revised job description to the Nominating Committee for use when asking people to serve as new members of the F&P Committee.

 

Coordinating Committee approved the name change and revised Job Description for the Faith & Practice Committee.

 

CC 10.16.5 Report from Executive Committee

The Clerk reported that Executive Committee had approved the following nominations:

Dave Eck as General Arrangements Clerk

Diane Pasta as Program Coordinator for Annual Session

ELee Hadley for Outreach & Visitation Committee Clerk

Janet Jump on Finance & Legal Committee

Caroline Wildflower as rep to AFSC and clerk of those reps

Lucy Fullerton for Ministry & Oversight Committee

Tom Head for Ministry & Oversight Committee

Rosy Betz-Zall for Rep to Friends Peace Teams

Diane Pasta, member of the Western Friend Board.

 

CC 10.16.6 Site Committee

We were reminded that we have already approved that Annual Sessions in 2017 and 2018 will be at University of Puget Sound in Tacoma and will be the last, rather than 3rd weekend in July (July 26 – 30, 2017 and July 25 – 29, 2018). The Site Committee proposed that we meet at Pacific University in Forest Grove, OR the last weekends in July in 2019 and 2020. Other sites in Oregon did not work out and these dates avoid the car show held at Pacific University in past years. While some Friends who go to Friends General Conference appreciated the later dates for Annual Session, others expressed strong concern that this timing not be a precedent because they overlap with Northwest Yearly Meeting’s annual meeting. We have an exchange with NWYM in which we send an official visitor to their Annual Session and they send one to ours. This exchange with our sister Yearly Meeting is deeply valued. The Site Committee was asked to consider this issue when seeking sites for the 2021 and 2022 Annual Sessions.

 

Coordinating Committee approved meeting at Pacific University in Forest Grove for Annual Sessions July 24 – 28, 2019 and July 22-26, 2020.

 

CC 10.16.7 Information Technology

There is only 1 person on the Information Technology (IT) Committee and we have no web keeper. Allen Stockbridge, the one committee person, noted his major concern is the link between users and IT people. Some parts of the website are not currently working and the website needs to be cleaned up. Our current Secretary is comfortable with technology, but is not a program writer.

 

Many ideas were shared. Asking Western Friend to host our website might be a good idea. We cannot hire someone now because we do not know what job we want done and therefore what skills are needed. We were warned about the tendency to expand rapidly when revising websites. We need a good description of what we have in place – what language, host and structure. We are clear that we are not ready to reconstitute the IT Committee, and so there is a problem figuring out who will hire and supervise anyone we hire to fix the website.

 

The whole draft Faith & Practice needs to be posted on the website by the middle of January. The priority is to focus on broken links, update information and be able to put up new information. We were assured that we have the capacity to post items on the website now. We were reminded that we have made the decision to hire someone to make the website current and accurate. We need to find someone to do this work and then be on call and to hire now. We clarified a web-keeper is not responsible for content of the website; we (NPYM) are responsible. Clint Weimeister, former Clerk of IT Committee, expressed willingness to be available for consultation by the NPYM Secretary.

 

Coordinating Committee APPOINTED an ad hoc committee: Jane Snyder, Associate Clerk of Coordinating Committee, Nora J. Percival, NPYM Secretary, and Allen Stockbridge, remaining member of the IT Committee with a particular concern about the interface of users and the tech folks. John Gotts, registrar for Pacific Northwest Quarterly Meeting will be asked to join. Jane Snyder will clerk the ad hoc committee. The ad hoc committee is asked to report to the Executive Committee in January about how to proceed.

 

CC 10.16.8: Welcoming/Inclusivity minute, proposed by Multnomah Meeting, to be seasoned for next Annual Session.

Kepper Petzing, Anna Fritz and Ellen Simmons from Multnomah Meeting’s Ad Hoc Committee for Gender Concerns joined us to answer questions and share their experience of coming to unity on this minute. They hope that NPYM meetings will go deep as they season the proposed Inclusivity minute and see the process as a spiritual opportunity. Multnomah found education and worship sharing helpful. They provided an extensive resource packet (on the NPYM website) which includes useful queries. Salmon Bay has already approved the same minute as Multnomah’s. Port Townsend has also approved that minute without the detailed list at the end. Faith & Practice is already using pronouns “they, them, their”. Bridge City M&O has received the minute and will present it to their Business Meeting the first of the year. The minute was distributed at last summer’s MGOF. While Eugene has had discussions, the minute has not come to monthly meeting.

 

The Friends from Multnomah noted that all the bathrooms in their meetinghouse serve only one person at a time and warned Friends that making bathrooms non-gendered can make people uncomfortable and be controversial. This was and will be an issue at Annual Session. It is important to find out what people need to feel safe. This can lead to a rich discussion. Having educational events and hearing first-hand stories had a huge impact for Multnomah. Friends were warned that sometimes people can ask inappropriate questions which can be painful to those who identify as gender non-confirming. It is important that their special gifts be honored. We were reminded that unity can contain some sadness. We were warned that those who are uncomfortable may avoid the discussions and we should work to draw them in.

 

PROCESS: Meetings are asked to educate themselves about gender variety and consider the proposed minute. Multnomah Friends are willing to provide educational resources and share their experience. The minute will be considered at Annual Session 2017. Meetings should send responses to Kepper Petzing, kalmkalm@msn.com. Responses may report complete agreement, suggest revision(s), or acknowledge that they do not have unity. A summary of each Meeting’s process is requested. If a meeting has no unity about the minute, they should send a “minute of exercise”, explaining the Meeting’s process, where there was agreement, issues raised and next steps. It was recognized that this process may take more than a year.

 

CC 10.16.9: Nominating Committee:

The Nominating Committee was concerned about filling the IT Committee. Minute CC10.16.7 above suggests that it is not yet time to try to appoint a new IT Committee, as there is a lack of clarity about what is needed. The Clerk of Outreach and Visitation understood that Pablo Stanfield was willing to be a consultant to the committee but not a member of it. There should be consultation with FWCC reps about changing their terms from 3 years and 3 months to 3 years. It was reported that Linda Ellsworth is unable to serve on Youth Committee because of a heavy teaching schedule.

 

  1. Nominating Committee is asked to check if Pablo Stanfield

agreed to serve another term on the Outreach & Visitation Committee.

b) Coordinating Committee APPROVED Barbara Westmoreland as a member of Peace & Social Concerns Committee. Otis Kenny is asked to notify Barbara and explain there is no clerk for those reps.

  1. Coordinating Committee could not consider Peter Husby for rep to FCNL because that person must be a member of the Religious Society of Friends and Peter is not.

 

CC 10.16.10 Ministry and Oversight Committee:

Nancy McLauchlan, Clerk reported that M&O is sponsoring a consultation on Eldering by conference call on Sunday, January 8 at 6:30PM, PST. More information, including queries, will be forthcoming.

 

The Committee shared its concern that few people read the State of the Meeting reports from our Meetings that are posted at Annual Session. The committee finds the reports worthy of wider exposure and would like to post them on the NPYM website. A question was raised whether Meetings would report only the good things and not the challenges and issues with which they are wrestling. Friends felt it was valuable to hear about struggles. Another person had read State of the Meeting reports on the Northern YM website and found them helpful and included challenges.

 

Coordinating Committee approved an experiment and asks M&O to collect the State of the Meeting reports and post them on the NPYM website. Coordinating Committee will evaluate the experience in the fall of 2017.

 

10.16.11 General Arrangements Report:

Margaret Coahran, General Arrangements Clerk, sent a report that in the evaluations of 2016 Annual Session, no one mentioned there was too much business! The area for the Quaker Fair was too small, but it was good to have the displays up during the whole session. She is in the process of reconciling the finances with the Treasurer.

 

10.16.12 Treasurer’s Report:

Jonathan Brown, Treasurer, reported there is no end of the year report yet. There is a surplus in general funds and Annual Session more-or-less broke even. The Finance and Legal Committee is at full strength! A committee clerk suggested it would be useful to send end-of-the-year reports to committee clerks.

 

10.16.13 Youth Committee Report:

Meghann Wolvert, a member of the Youth Committee, reported that the Children’s Program Coordinator position needs to be filled. The committee has had a request for the Youth Opportunities Fund and helped fund the Jr. Friends Guatemala trip. They hope to make Annual Session more family friendly and accessible.

 

10.16.14 Annual Session Planning Committee Report:

Dave Eck, General Arrangements Clerk reported that the committee has visited University of Puget Sound (UPS) twice and reported about the spaces. It is unclear where we may have control of signage for the bathrooms. One dorm is accessible. Friends who are able will be encouraged to use the stairs. The next step is signing the contract with UPS.

 

10.16.15 Announcement:

The winter gathering of Friends for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Concerns (FLGBTQC) will be held at Camp Collins near Portland, February 17 – 20. Friends in NPYM are invited to attend.

 

The meeting closed with a period of worship.

 

Otis Kenny, Clerk

Ann Stever, Recording Clerk

 

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