2018 Yearbook Tenth Month 2017 Interim Meeting Homewood Friends Meeting
I2017-43 Opening. Baltimore Yearly Meeting’s Interim Meeting gathered on 10/14/2017 at the Homewood Meeting House in Baltimore, Maryland. A list of affiliations of attenders is attached. We thanked those from Homewood Friends Meeting for their hospitality. George Amoss (Homewood) welcomed us. Pat Powers (Sandy Spring) presented George with a fund-raising vinyl recording of songs of indigenous peoples for Homewood’s historical archives.
From the silence, those present named people and places to be held in the Light.
I2017-44 Report on Charlottesville event. Barbarie Hill (Charlottesville) read a report from Charlottesville Friends Meeting’s Peace and Social Concerns Committee on recent white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville and the responses of Quakers and others to them; the written version of the report is attached. Those with questions can be in touch with people from Charlottesville Friends Meeting.
We heard a sense that our Peace and Social Concerns Committee might develop specific proposals for actions for the Yearly Meeting to take in this matter; the Yearly Meeting’s Peace and Social Concerns Clerk indicated a readiness to be in touch with Charlottesville’s Peace and Social Concerns Committee to learn what the Yearly Meeting might do.
I2017-45 Epistles. Marcy Baker Seitel (Adelphi), Clerk of Interim Meeting, reviewed our latest Annual Session's work on our epistle’s treatment of racism, the lengthy, emotional discussion of the language involved, and the responses to the epistle and the process of approving it. Ruby Branyan (Sandy Spring) and Rosie Silvers (Shiloh) read aloud a statement prepared by Young Friends on being anti-racist and concern about the negative reaction to use of “anti-racist;” the statement is attached. We ACCEPTED the statement, recognizing that everyone is affected by and implicated in racism and committing to dialog, beginning at our upcoming 11/11/2017 Interim Meeting, taking us toward action.
We heard a hope that in statements we might say both what we are against and what we are for. We heard a sense that there are some issues where affirmation is no longer effective. We were reminded that many historic Quaker testimonies were testimonies against. We heard a hope that the Young Friends statement might be sent to local Meetings for responses, allowing wider consideration than possible by this group today. We were reminded that our need to continue discussion before we can unify with the word “anti-racist” is hurtful to members of our community. We heard a sense that dialog can be made possible if it includes apology and thankfulness to Friends of color. We were called to set aside the cynicism, doubt, tiredness, and pessimism that may come with age as we move toward action. We were asked to consider how the terms we use affect our actions. We heard a desire to get beyond words to underlying issues in dialog.
We heard read aloud a statement from the Baltimore Strengthening Transformative Relationships in Diverse Environments (STRIDE) Working Group; the written version of the statement is attached.
Alex Bean (Adelphi), on behalf of Young Adult Friends, presented an updated version of their epistle for this year; the written version is attached. Alex read aloud its disclaimer, which describes the epistle’s chapters and appendices. We ACCEPTED the updated Young Adult Friends epistle and APPROVED its attachment to the general Yearly Meeting epistle.
I2017-46 Nominating Committee. Margaret Stambaugh (Gettysburg) reported on behalf of Nominating Committee. At the Committee’s recommendation, on this first and only reading, we APPROVED this: we named Barb Adams (Richmond) to serve as Quaker Earthcare Witness representative through 2020 and Sue Hunter (York) to serve as Friends Wilderness Center representative through 2020. We ACCEPTED these resignations: Ken Orvis (Washington), Camp Property Management; Jules Arginteanu (Richmond), Religious Education; Michael DeHart (Sandy Spring), Religious Education; Jim Wagner (Frederick), Unity With Nature; Grace McFarlane (Baltimore, Stony Run), Youth Programs.
I2017-47 Visiting meetings. Meg Boyd Meyer (Baltimore, Stony Run) reported on behalf of the Baltimore Yearly Meeting Visit Group; the written version of the report is attached. We were urged to make a commitment to visit one Meeting other than our own in the coming year, and to report visits to the Visit Group using its web site.
I2017-48 Ramallah Friends School. Georgia Fuller (Langley Hill), Friends United Meeting representative, reported on Ramallah Friends School; the written version of the report and copies of correspondence are attached.
I2017-49 Peace and Social Concerns. Phil Caroom (Annapolis), Peace and Social Concerns Clerk, reported; the written version of the report is attached.
I2017-50 Working Group on Racism. David Etheridge (Washington), Working Group on Racism Clerk, reported; a list of ideas for lowering barriers for people of color is attached. David noted an effort to create local Meeting change teams to lower barriers; work with diverse congregations and congregations of people of color, listed with the ideas, can be helpful. David reported on anti-racist actions taken in Baltimore, Charlottesville, Dunnings Creek, the District of Columbia, and Annapolis. The Committee’s list includes many ideas for actions by Meetings and some ideas for individuals; an earlier list, developed in response to events in Ferguson, Missouri, is more focused on individual actions.
I2017-51 Camp Property Manager’s annual report. David Hunter (Frederick), Camp Property Manager, reported; the written version of the report is attached. David noted of the new Catoctin bathhouse: “it is beautiful; it is functional; and we still need a little bit of money to pay for it.” David highlighted ongoing consideration of the future of the Opequon camp site, complicated by the fact that the Yearly Meeting does not own the property (which is not for sale); some investigation of alternatives has been done; no decisions have been made. The evolution of work weekends to family camp weekends has increased both participation and fun.
I2017-52 Camp Program Manager’s annual report. Jane Megginson (Frederick), Camp Program Manager, reported; the written version of the report is attached. Jane was okay with reporting non-record-breaking camp attendance this year; camps were at 91% of capacity, about the 90.7% average for the years since 2004 (with a low of 86% and a high of 98%). Jane mentioned the camping program’s excitement, passion, and chaos. Jane noted the value of providing about 120 young people with summer employment. Jane reported that 26% of campers were people of color, 36% were Quakers, 108 campers received financial aid from the Yearly Meeting, and 58 campers received financial aid from local Meetings. Jane was pleased with the new bathhouse sitting on our Catoctin camp. Jane appreciated the work of Yearly Meeting volunteers in making the camping program possible.
We heard appreciation for the participation of campers at our Annual Session.
I2017-53 Presiding Clerk’s report. Ken Stockbridge (Patapsco), Yearly Meeting Presiding Clerk, reported; the written version of the report is attached. Ken’s sense is that the title of the report, “Our Yearly Meeting At A Crossroads,” is not overly dramatic, that we have before us vital matters: how to budget for and pay for our activities; service to local Meetings; the nature of the relationships among our camps, our local Meetings, and the Yearly Meeting; maintaining efforts to grow diverse leadership; and both support for staff and levels of staffing.
I2017-54 Development Director’s report. Ann Venable, Development Director, reported; the written version of the report is attached. Ann sought to focus not on budget numbers but on what budget numbers mean. Ann projected apportionment totals staying relatively constant, as they have in recent years, and donations continuing to grow, as they have in recent years. Ann highlighted the success of the Strengthening Transformative Relationships in Diverse Environments (STRIDE) program, with participants at Catoctin, Opequon, and Shiloh camps. We heard of the involvement of younger Friends in the work of the STRIDE groups.
I2017-55 Staffing. Ken Stockbridge (Patapsco) began presiding. Marcy Baker Seitel (Adelphi), Supervisory Committee Clerk, presented Supervisory Committee’s staffing recommendations; the written version of the recommendations is attached. Supervisory Committee recommended changing from having an Administration Manager and a part-time Administrative Assistant to having an Associate General Secretary and a full-time Administrative Assistant.
We APPROVED Supervisory Committee’s Associate General Secretary and Administrative Assistant job descriptions. We MINUTED our appreciation to Supervisory Committee and the Healthy Organization and Purposeful Evolution Committee for their work, and to staff for their patience.
Marcy Baker Seitel (Adelphi) resumed presiding.
I2017-56 Treasurer’s report. Tom Hill (Charlottesville), Treasurer, reported; the written version of the report is attached. Tom noted that the form of the year-to-date reports has changed. Long-term investments are listed at market value; their future value is unknowable. About $360,000 of costs, primarily on bathhouse construction, came from the release of funds accumulated from restricted donations. When asked whether restricted or unrestricted donations were preferred, Tom’s answer included “both.”
I2017-57 Stewardship and Finance. Jim Lynn (Sandy Spring), Stewardship and Finance Co-clerk, presented a report on Friendly bathhouse loans and, for first reading, our 2018 capital and operating budgets; the written versions of the documents are attached.
Jim noted that the budget includes the additional expenses associated with staffing changes. Jim reported that development folks are confident in our ability to meet the budget’s unrestricted, youth program, and camp contribution levels. The net operating loss for 2018 is currently $69,100 in the budget. Jim reported efforts to redirect donations restricted for capital purpose to either unrestricted donations or donations restricted for operating purpose.
We heard a concern about reductions to funding for other Quaker organizations; we heard that Stewardship and Finance devoted considerable time to consideration of the levels of funding which, for the large organizations, are consistent with 2014 levels.
We heard appreciation for the work of the Treasurer and the Stewardship and Finance Committee.
We ADJOURNED, to gather next as Interim Meeting on 11/11/2017, hosted by Sandy Spring Friends in Sandy Spring, Maryland, or at the call of the Clerk of Interim Meeting.
Marcy Baker Seitel, presiding Arthur David Olson, recording
Ken Stockbridge, presiding