North Pacific Yearly Meeting

of the Religious Society of Friends (QUAKERS)

Coordinating Committee Minutes of Oct 31, 2015

North Pacific Yearly Meeting Coordinating Committee

Multnomah Meetinghouse, Portland, Oregon

October 31,2015

 

Present: Kenny, Otis, Coordinating Committee Clerk, Boise; Stever, Ann, Recording Clerk, University; Arcidiacono, Laura, Bridge City; Coahran, Margaret, Annual Session Planning Committee Co-Clerk, Pullman-Moscow; Hadley, Elee, Outreach & Visitation Clerk, Umpqua Valley Worship Group; joy, eric maya, Quaker Earthcare Witness Rep, Olympia; Kohan, Keith, Salem; Laird, Anne, Agate Passage; McLauchlan, Nancy, Ministry & Oversight Committee Clerk, Bridge City; Ostrom, Warren, NPYM Presiding Clerk, University; Spinner, Katherine, Youth Committee Clerk, University; Stockbridge, Allen, Bellingham; Thatcher, Jay, Annual Session Children’s Program Coordinator, Discipline Committee, Corvallis; Urner, Carol, Peace & Social Concerns, Multnomah; Urner, Kirby, Technology Committee Clerk, Multnomah; Weimeister, Clint, Port Townsend; Willard, Chris, Associate Coordinating Committee Clerk, Tacoma; Willard, Kathryn, Nominating Committee Clerk, Site Committee Co-Clerk, Tacoma; Zerwekh, Joyce, Multnomah.

 

Regrets: Brown, Jonathan, Treasurer, South Seattle; Ewell, Tom, Whidbey Island; Garnett, Lucy, Salmon Bay; Townsend, Debbie, Faith & Practice Committee Clerk, Eastside; Kocourek, Linda, NPYM secretary.

 

Groups unrepresented: Billings Meeting, Eugene Meeting, Lopez Preparative Meeting, Missoula Meeting, Montana Gathering of Friends (MGOF), Sandpoint Meeting, South Mountain Meeting.

 

CC10/15.1 Opening Worship

The meeting opened with worship.

 

CC10/15.2 Sharing from Meetings and Committees

Agate Passage: Attendance is increasing and there is emotional stability. The Group Discernment workshop on Whidbey was appreciated. They have a monthly sharing on a Saturday on a Quaker topic. They have had one on discernment and one is planned on how to deal with emotional responses to world tragedies.

Bellingham: There is energy for buying a building. A bequest helped start a fund for that purpose. The process has included tensions and concerns, but discussions have been healthy and brought them together. They need to decide November 8. They have an average of 35 at worship and have a mixture of ages.

 

Bridge City: They have about 25 at worship and good attendance at Business Meetings. The Meeting has a number of community events, such as an annual camping trip, an annual retreat and Friendly Sevens (which have issues and queries for discussion). They are active in Convergent Friends with includes 7 or 8 congregations from NPYM and Northwest YM. That group has been meeting for 3 or 4 years for worship once a month at a Meeting or Friends Church.

Boise Valley: The Meeting has started to have worship-sharing once a month. Members do not seem interested in attending Coordinating Committee or Annual Session. The Meeting clerk is talking with each member, to keep up attendance and make connections.

Multnomah: Attendance at worship is 80 – 90. A significant number of younger people attend worship but are not, engaged in Business Meetings.

Olympia: The Meeting is vibrant and doing well. They have many new comers and young families and have revived their Children’s Program. They have started an Adult First Day Program in which they have a potluck on one Sunday and consider queries, testimonies and history the other Sundays. They are preparing to sell the old Meetinghouse and are working with Agate Passage Meeting to plan spring PNW Quarterly Meeting.

Peace & Social Concerns Committee: The committee is at a low ebb, with its Clerk having resigned because of her health, the recent stroke of another key member and the immanent departure of another member who spends 6 months a year in California.

Port Townsend: They have about 25 at worship. They have had concerts at their new Meetinghouse and have finished their kitchen.

Pullman Moscow: This is a small, quiet, comfortable meeting, with members getting older and older, although they have one new family.

Salem: Friend Rose Lewis is recovering well from her stroke of 3 weeks ago. The Meeting has a new young family and there are now up to 7 children. Once a month they worship in the evening.

Tacoma: The Meeting “somehow survives”. Five Friends rotate, serving in key positions. Two of these five have other commitments this year and cannot serve the Meeting. Their website brings some new people who appear to want something from the Meeting rather than actively contributing. There may be significant land-use zoning in their area, which could change their surroundings.

Umpqua Valley WG: The group shrank by half last year. They meet in homes for worship and discussions with queries. They visit Florence WG and Eugene Meeting once a year each.

University: Attendance is steady and the average age is a bit younger, as the Meeting now has a vibrant children’s program. The largest attendance at 11 o’clock worship is about 80 and at 9:30 now 30 – 40. The midweek evening worship has 2 regular attenders! Parking is a serious issue because of near-by construction. A number of members have been or are involved in Way of the Spirit. There are enough children that the elementary school group has been divided into two classes. The Meeting is continuing discussions with Quaker Voluntary Service and Meeting discernment about a possible merger, perhaps in the fall of 2017. The volunteers to draft the State of the Meeting Report have already been selected and have been asked to focus on the spiritual health of the Meeting during the year.

Whidbey Island: The Clerk of CC read the e-mail from Whidbey Island Meeting. They have 15 – 20 people at worship each Sunday, a Meeting for Learning one evening a month, a once a month sharing on “Let Your Lives Speak”. The clerk sends out a weekly commentary Saturday evenings, “Saturday Evening Post” to their list-serve. They held a workshop October 24 on Group Discernment, attended by members of Agate Passage, Port Townsend and Bellingham Meetings as well as Whidbey. (Written report attached to file copy of minutes.)

Willamette Quarter: A new ad hoc committee is looking at revitalization of Quarterly Meeting. There were about 65 at the last Quarterly Meeting. There is a new Nominating Committee and a new Site Committee, which is exploring sites away from the beach, a site that did not work well for older Friends.

Youth Committee and Annual Session Children’s Program: Jay Thatcher, the staff person, reported they held a Play Shop workshop just before Annual Session to explore active and joyous spiritual for children and adults. He and clerk visited some Meetings during the year. He encouraged Friends to talk with him with ideas for the Children’s Program. The Clerk of the Youth Committee noted that the committee is seriously depleted and needs strengthening.

 

CC 10/15.3 Minutes

 

Coordinating Committee APPROVED the July 15, 2015 minutes as corrected.

 

CC 10/15.4 Executive Committee Report

Otis Kenny reported on Executive Committee actions:

a) Executive Committee approved changing the term for NPYM representatives to Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) to three years.

b) Executive Committee approved the following nominations:

Lee Bennett for Finance & Legal Committee

Margaret Coahran as General Arrangements Clerk

Ted Etter as Assistant General Arrangements Clerk

Ann Stever as Recording Clerk for Coordination Committee

Gayle Matson as one of the 2 NPYM Reps to the Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) World Plenary Meeting in Peru in January 2016.

c) Friends Committee on Washington Public Policy (FCWPP) asked once more to use the Washington State mailing list of those who are willing to receive a once-a-year mailing list. We were assured that the technology to do that. Coordinating Committee was informed that some Friends in Oregon are exploring development of a committee similar to FCWPP to relate to the Oregon legislature.

 

Coordinating Committee APPROVED making the Washington State mailing list available to FCWPP for a one-time use.

 

CC 10/15.5 Outreach and Visitation Committee

Elee Hadley, Clerk, reported that there have been two additions to the committee: John Alcott of Eugene and Candida Quinn of Helena, Montana WG. The committee would still like two more members from larger Meetings to add to continuing members, Elee and Pablo Stanfield.

 

Elee clarified that the “outreach” in the title of their committee refers to visitation within NPYM rather than reaching out into communities to attract people to Meetings.

 

They are working on the Visitation Proposal. They hope to bring a draft proposal to the April CC meeting and to Annual Session 2016. They may ask a Friend to travel in the spring as an experiment. They have identified the following areas to be visited:

1. Billings and MGOF, Boise and Sandpoint;

2. Southern Oregon, perhaps up through Salem;

3. San Juan Islands in Washington.

She listed the work that needs to be done: figuring out who should be on the Visitation Subcommittee (it would include 1 or 2 members of Outreach & Visitation); identifying “Remote Friends” who need contact (Remote Friends is the new name for Isolated Friends); identifying which Meetings need visitation.

 

CC 10/15.6 Site Committee

Kathryn Willard reported that Annual Sessions in 2017 and 2018 would be held at the University of Puget Sound (UPS) in Tacoma. Because of the schedule at UPS, Annual Session will be LATER THAN USUAL - July 26 – 30, 2017 and July 25 – 29, 2018. The committee is excited about the site, which has a small campus with good accessibility, a revamped dining hall with an organic section, a swimming pool and good potential as a long-term site for NPYM. The Committee has determined that dining costs at all university sites seem to be going up 3 – 5% a year. A number of CC members expressed pleasure at the later date.

 

CC 10/15.7 Friend in Residence Committee Job Description

Otis Kenny, CC Clerk, noted that the Executive Committee looked at a minor revision in the Friend in Residence Committee job description, changing “Steering Committee” to “Coordinating Committee”. There was some discussion and clarification about the Friend in Residence and Committee. Friends were reminded that Friends are invited to make suggestions to the committee about themes and individuals. We were reminded that the Friend in Residence is a relatively well-known Quaker, assumed to be in touch with issues and concerns. Friends in Residence are chosen two years in advance. The committee tries to alternate between speakers bringing an inward focus one year and an outward one the next. Presiding Clerk, Warren Ostrom explained that the Clerk confers with the Friend in Residence in the fall to develop the theme before the Annual Session the following July. CC was urged to trust the discernment process and to leave the committee room to operate, rather than constrict their choices.

 

Coordinating Committee APPROVED the revised job description for the Friend in Residence Committee, changing Steering Committee to Coordinating Committee. The committee agreed that no other changes needed to be made.

 

CC 10/15.8 Ministry and Oversight (M&O) Committee

Nancy McLauchlan, Clerk, asked CC members to remind clerks of their M&O Committees to participate in the consultations by conference call, initiated by the NPYM M&O Committee. The Committee has found the names of those clerks as well as the clerk of the Meetings, in order to make contact. We were reminded that CC has asked to be copied on emails that go to Meetings and Worship Groups and so can encourage participation in these calls. The conference calls have been well attended and appreciated. A summary is sent to Meetings. The process of reaching out to Meetings was commended to other NPYM Committees, especially Youth and Peace & Social Concerns Committees. A question was raised about whether younger Friends find conference calls a good way to communicate. CC was informed that the Discipline Committee is drafting a piece on Conference Call “etiquette”.

 

CC 10/15.9 Youth Committee

Katherine Spinner, Clerk noted that the committee now consists of herself, Chinda Roach and 2 members who do not attend Annual Session. Nominating Committee is aware of their need. The committee had serious problems finding teachers and “children’s activities” leaders for Annual Session last July. We may need to pay more and hire more. We need to think more about how to meet the needs of the young families we want to attract. Standing committees are to determine how work should get done rather than trying to do it all. If the Youth Committee remains stressed, it should identify the needs and discern resources.

 

CC 10/15.10 Nominating Committee

Kathryn Willard, Clerk shared her personal goal to visit Meetings in NPYM, to find out needs, talents and resources. Each member of Nominating Committee takes a position that is open and finds possible nominees. The possibilities come back to the committee for discernment about who would be best for a particular position. She noted that electronic communication is useful to provide information; however, direct contact, mostly by phone, is needed when asking people to serve, explore what talents and gifts they have and what might be a good fit. Personal connections are critical.

 

The committee suggested that we develop new positions of Assistant Treasurer and Assistant Registrar. These are separate positions and are not expected to lead to becoming Treasurer or Registrar. Kathryn reported on positions open.

 

The Archivist position has been dormant. Nominating Committee will get ideas from those who have served. It is a difficult time of transition between paper and electronic records.

The Web keeper position urgently needs to be filled. Suggestions are needed.

A Clerk and 2 members for Epistle Committee are needed.

Finance & Legal Committee needs 2 more members, one to serve as clerk.

The description of the work of the IT Committee (Information Technology) needs simplification to attract possible candidates.

M&O Committee needs another member, preferably from MGOF. M&O will have 3 members stepping down next year.

John Etter is Clerk of Site Committee and Lyn Gordon, Associate Clerk, is apprenticing in preparation for stepping in next year.

Outreach and Visitation needs two more members.

Youth Committee has major needs.

We have had no NPYM rep to Friends Peace Teams for a number of years. Until interest arises, Nominating Committee will not seek a person to fill that position.

 

Coordinating Committee APPROVED new positions of Assistant Treasurer and Assistant Registrar. The Clerk and Associate Clerk of CC will develop job descriptions for these positions and revise the job descriptions of Treasurer and Registrar to include training their assistants. Executive Committee will be asked to approve the new and revised job descriptions when ready.

 

Coordinating Committee members are ASKED TO SHARE with their Meetings the joys of the experience of serving the larger Friends community and to actively suggest names to the Nominating Committee.

 

CC 10/15.11 Finance and Legal Committee report

CC reviewed the materials sent by Jonathan Brown, Treasurer. In response to questions, it was clarified that the Annual Session Scholarship Fund uses only the income generated by the Fund and that individuals do donate to it. Meetings offer most of the scholarships. Appreciation was expressed to Jonathan for the reports.

 

CC 10/15.12 Timing of NPYM Directory Distribution

The Meeting Secretary proposed that the date for distribution of the Directory be changed from Annual Session to the fall Coordinating Committee meeting.

 

Coordinating Committee APPROVED changing the date for distribution of the annual NPYM Directory to the fall meeting of Coordinating Committee.

 

CC 10/15.13 Update on search for new Meeting Secretary

Ads for the opening for a new NPYM Secretary will be placed in Friends Journal and Western Friend. Notices will be sent to Monthly Meetings in NPYM. The closing date will be in the spring of 2016. The job is quarter time and pays $14 – 16 an hour. Most of the time spent is less that quarter time, except around the time of Annual Session. The job description has already been approved. We are grateful our current Secretary is willing to work until she is replaced.

 

CC 10/15.14 Report on Annual Session 2015

Margaret Coahran, General Arrangements Clerk, reported that Annual Session basically went smoothly. Bathrooms were the big issue. Having gender inclusivity worked out well with the exception of showers, in which there was inadequate privacy. Evaluations indicated possible confusion between Plenary Session and Business Sessions, with some complaints about sitting too long. A huge amount left at AS, mostly clothing and water bottles. Suggestions included having Lost and Found at the Registrar’s desk and being sure that this location is well advertised. In response to a concern that some may not come in 2016 because of discomfort with the bathroom situation, Margaret said information will be in the information booklet. There will be signs to hopefully prevent tripping in the dining hall.

 

CC10/15.15 Information Technology Report

Kirby Urner, Clerk of the Committee reported that they address three areas: registration, Directory and the website. A major question is whether the website is intended to serve only NPYM or to inform the world who we are. Currently it is basically for us. Use of list-serves was suggested. The IT Committee uses Google groups. Information in list-serves can be organized so that it can be searched with key words and particular topics can be followed. A workshop or training by Jr. Friends was suggested for those less knowledgeable about technologies. Some concern was expressed about privacy if, for example, the Directory were a pdf. On the other hand, the Directory is now on discs, which could be used by anyone who could get hold of one. Opinions varied widely about whether there should be any limited access to NPYM information. Many forms of electronic communication were discussed, including Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, Google Drive. It might be useful to consult some other Yearly Meetings to see how they use technology for communications.

 

Finding a new web-keeper is a very high priority. The new person needs to use Drupal, “a free, open source software that can be used by individuals or groups of users -- even those lacking technical skills -- to easily create and manage many types of Web sites. The application includes a content management platform and a development framework.” (Definition found on-line by Recording Clerk!) It was suggested that Kathy Hyzy is familiar with this and she should be asked to talk with Clint Weimeister (out-going web-keeper) about how the website works and might be changed.

 

CC10/15.16 Annual Meeting Concern

Joyce Zerwekh led an interest group on re-energizing Yearly Meeting at Annual Session (AS) last summer. There was not time for discussion in a Plenary Session. The list of ideas generated was e-mailed to Coordinating Committee members, Meetings and Worship Groups September 3rd. Joyce convened a discussion at Multnomah on the topic. Main ideas generated there were presented and briefly discussed at the October Multnomah Business Meeting. Multnomah did not consider a possible a minute or make any request. Background papers reporting on these meetings were sent to CC (attached to file copy of CC minutes).

 

Joyce asked how could we go forward with “energizing” activities at AS. We were reminded that the Annual Session Planning Committee (ASPC) is empowered to do creative work and has made a variety of changes over the years, for example, Quaker Fair and Play Story. One person found the process of coming to a sense of unity spiritual and exhilarating, but we were cautioned that all do not have the same experience. We must be careful to not devalue one another. We were reminded of the Vision and Structure process, which involved collecting feelings about AS from Meetings and Worship Groups. After that process, the decision was made by the YM to do more business/decision-making at AS. One Friend liked making decisions at AS because there was time for explanations, discussion and discernment. There appeared to be a misperception that all Plenary Sessions are for business. We learned that we actually spend about 6% of the time at AS doing “business” in plenary sessions. However, it is important to recognize perceptions as well as realities and deal with both. There is a difference between doing business to keep the Yearly Meeting going and to address the larger issues in the world. Nancy McLauchlan has attended Intermountain YM (IMYM). They have a retreat before their Annual Session. It was her perception that IMYM then does more business at their AS than NPYM does.

 

CC suggested that Multnomah could write a minute and send it to the ASPC for consideration. Such a minute would need to articulate goals, since “revitalization” is not measurable. CC recognized that the list shared at Multnomah was aimed at stimulating the ASPC and simply a list suggestions raised in discussions as opposed to ones to which all agreed.

 

Coordinating Committee AGREED to forward the ideas and suggestions to the ASPC for them to look at and consider. If Multnomah Friends are not satisfied, they can then consider developing a formal minute.

 

CC 10/15.17 Request for support

eric maya joy is the NPYM Rep to Quaker Earthcare Witness (QEW). He reported that Gretchen Castle, General Secretary of Friends World Committee for Consultation, contacted him and urged him to attend the World Plenary Meeting in Peru in January and lead an interest group there. QEW has set up a fund to assist him. It was noted the NPYM budget has an item for extraordinary opportunities. The Clerk of CC said he would need to do some consultation to consider this. A decision can be made by Executive Committee.

 

CC10/15.18 Contacts for Meetings that had no member at this Coordinating Committee meeting and had not sent regrets

The purpose of these contacts is to let people know what we decided and what is coming up (e.g. date of the April meeting) AND to find out what is going on in their Meeting – their joys, concerns and challenges. We want to know what is going on throughout the whole Yearly Meeting.

 

The following CC members agreed to be in contact the following Meetings:

Margaret Coahran – Sandpoint

Elee Hadley - Billings Meeting

Nancy McLauchlan - Eugene Meeting

Katherine Spinner - Missoula

Ann Stever - Lopez Preparative Meeting

Kathryn Willard - MGOF

Chris Willard - South Mountain

 

CC10/15.19 Announcements

eric maya joy announced that Olympia and Agate Passage Meetings are planning the spring PNW Quarterly Meeting with the theme: Deepening relationships with all Creation.

 

Ben Lomond Quaker Center in California is holding a Complementary Quaker Centering Consultation, December 11 – 13. They have invited each Meeting in NPYM, IMYM and PYM to send 2 members. More information is on the Ben Lomond website. CC members were encouraged to remind their Meetings of this opportunity and to send people if possible.

 

We were sad to discover that after someone tried 3 discs for the Directory, that they were missing a lot of the information!

 

The next meeting of CC will be hosted by Eastside Meeting in Bellevue, WA on Saturday, April 2, 2016. They would appreciate assistance from some of the Seattle Meetings.

 

CC10/15.20 Closing worship

The meeting closed with worship.

 

Otis Kenny, Clerk

Ann Stever, Recording Clerk