2017 Yearbook Third Month 2017 Interim Meeting Richmond Friends Meeting
I2017-01 Opening. Baltimore Yearly Meeting’s Interim Meeting gathered on 3/18/2017 at Richmond Friends’ Meeting House in Richmond, Virginia. A list of the Meetings of attenders is attached. Randee Humphrey (Richmond) welcomed us. We thanked those from Richmond for their hospitality. We welcomed visitors Kathleen Wooten (Fresh Pond, Cambridge, Massachusetts) and Maille Wooten (Fresh Pond, Cambridge, Massachusetts).
I2017-03 Abingdon Friends Meeting. Marcy Baker Seitel (Adelphi), reported receipt of a letter from Abingdon Friends Meeting; a copy of the letter is attached. The letter notes Abingdon Friends’ leading to join Piedmont Yearly Meeting. Ken Stockbridge (Patapsco), Yearly Meeting Presiding Clerk, reported receipt of a letter from Piedmont Yearly Meeting indicating that they had welcomed Abingdon into their Yearly Meeting. We APPROVED this: we released Abingdon Friends Meeting from our fellowship.
I2017-04 Nominating Committee. Erik Hanson (Takoma Park) and Bette Hoover (Sandy Spring), Nominating Committee Co-Clerks, reported. At Nominating Committee’s recommendation, we APPROVED this: we named these people to serve as representatives to this year’s Friends United Meeting Triennial: Georgia Fuller (Langley Hill); Ken Stockbridge (Patapsco); Walt Fry (West Branch); Riley Robinson (Washington); Bob Fetter (Gunpowder); Jolee Robinson (Adelphi); Rosalie Dance (Baltimore, Stony Run); Bartholomew Mihesu (Adelphi); Adrian Bishop (Baltimore, Stony Run); Linda Coates (Eastland); and John Yost (Eastland). We ACCEPTED these resignations: Mochiko DeSilva (Sandy Spring), Indian Affairs Committee; Alex Jadin (Washington), Camping Program Committee; Roni J. Kingsley (Richmond), Camping Program Committee; Rachel Lord (Sandy Spring), Camping Program Committee; Gene Throwe (Washington), Religious Education Committee; Jodi Beatty (Herndon), Peace and Social Concerns Committee; Josh Wilson (Patapsco), Peace and Social Concerns Committee; Esther Sharp (Gunpowder), Miles White Beneficial Society Board. We heard a first reading of Marion Ballard (Bethesda) to serve on the Sandy Spring Friends School Board.
I2017-06 Catoctin bathhouse. David Hunter (Frederick), Camp Property Manager, reported on Catoctin bathhouse progress. David expects that bathhouse construction will be completed by 6/1/2017. David announced a concert set for 6/3/2017 at 7:00 p.m. at Frederick Friends’ Meeting House, a fundraiser for the Catoctin bathhouse project.
I2017-07 General Secretary’s report. Ned Stowe (Sandy Spring), Baltimore Yearly Meeting General Secretary, reported; the written version of the report is attached.
I2017-08 Peace and Social Concerns Committee. Ellen Johnson (Richmond), on behalf of Peace and Social Concerns Committee, reported; the written version of the report is attached, as is a copy of an open letter to Donald Trump. Ellen described the letter, and noted that Friends Committee on National Legislation has supported it. Ellen read the letter aloud. We APPROVED Baltimore Yearly Meeting signing on to the open letter to Donald Trump urging reconsideration of plans to nullify Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
Ellen reported on sanctuary and refugees. Ellen noted that Herndon Friends Meeting has recently produced a minute regarding sanctuary. Ellen announced a 4/1/2017 networking day at Friends Meeting School in Ijamsville, Maryland.
We heard of the creation of a Sandy Spring Friends Meeting working group on refugees; members of the group are visiting and trying to support refugee families. We heard the possibility that a Yearly Meeting working group on refugees might be created. We heard of the work of the Maryland Alliance for Justice Reform to improve the state’s criminal justice system; this year, the work is focused on bail reform. We heard of the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy and its work on sanctuary. We heard of Menallen Monthly Meeting’s work on rapid response teams for sanctuary situations (since the meeting’s small size precludes offering physical sanctuary). We heard a call for Meetings to provide physical safe haven.
I2017-09 Singing. Dyresha Harris (Catoctin), Outreach and Inclusion Coordinator, and David Hunter (Frederick), Camp Property Manager, led us in singing “Gonna Let Life Move Me.” We heard of a Baltimore Yearly Meeting sing-in on 4/8/2017 at Richmond Friends Meeting House.
I2017-10 Junior Yearly Meeting. Ellen Johnson (Richmond), Junior Yearly Meeting Clerk, noted that the Junior Yearly Meeting program at our upcoming Annual Session is in need of volunteers, a need that may grow since young children are able to attend Annual Session for free this year. We heard from folks on Program Committee and Advancement and Outreach Committee who are are eager to have families with young children attend.
I2017-11 Travel minutes. Rep Pickard (Gunpowder), Intervisitation Working Group Clerk, reported. We APPROVED this: we endorsed Adelphi Friends Meeting’s travel minute for Jolee Robinson (Adelphi). We APPROVED this: we endorsed Little Britain Monthly Meeting’s travel minute for Linda Coates (Eastland) (previously endorsed by Nottingham Quarterly Meeting).
I2017-12 Manual of Procedure. Susan Kaul (Bethesda), Manual of Procedure Committee Clerk, reported; the written version of the report is attached. We APPROVED Manual of Procedure Committee’s substantive changes to the manual section on Search Committee for forwarding to our next Annual Session. We APPROVED Manual of Procedure Committee’s substantive changes to the manual section on Camp Property Management Committee for forwarding to our next Annual Session, changing the reference to Camp Property Committee in the third paragraph to refer to Camping Program Committee. We APPROVED Manual of Procedure Committee’s substantive changes to the manual section on Friends House Retirement Community (formerly Friends House, Incorporated and Friends House Nursing Home) for forwarding to our next Annual Session, removing the next-to-last paragraph.
I2017-13 Ad Hoc Faith and Practice Process Clarification Committee. Karen Cunnyngham (Annapolis), Ad Hoc Faith and Practice Process Clarification Committee Clerk, reported; the written version of the report is attached. Karen noted that the list of twelve Committee members does not give an idea of the wide variety of opinions on the Committee. The Committee plans to report to both our next Interim Meeting and to our next annual session. Karen reviewed the ad hoc Committee’s conclusions regarding our Manual of Procedure’s description of our current Faith and Practice Revision Committee, and read aloud suggested manual language on a Faith and Practice Committee, developed and to be further developed in cooperation with Manual of Procedure Committee. Karen described the Ad Hoc Committee’s recommendations for procedures for the Faith and Practice Committee, which would result in changes to Section X of our Manual of Procedure.
We heard concerns about whether Nominating Committee had sufficient guidance to bring names to our upcoming annual session, in particular in the area of diversity. We heard a sense that diversity needs to be a concern for all committees, not just the proposed Faith and Practice Committee.
We APPROVED this: we asked Nominating Committee to bring the names of six people prepared to work on Faith and Practice to our upcoming Annual Session.
I2017-14 Presiding Clerk’s report. Ken Stockbridge (Patapsco), Baltimore Yearly Meeting Presiding Clerk, reported; the written version of the report is attached.
I2017-15 Development report. Ann Venable, Development Director, reported; the written version of the report is attached. Ann noted that including gifts, outstanding pledges, and bequests, $427,177.42 has been donated toward the Catoctin bathhouse; about $270,000 of Friendly loans have been given or identified. Ann stressed that all of us can play a part in development; visiting other Local Meetings within the Yearly Meeting and spreading the word the value of the Yearly Meeting is one way to do so. Ann displayed the “Visiting Among Baltimore Yearly Meeting Friends” booklet as a resource.
I2017-16 Naming Committee (rerun). Marcy Baker Seitel (Adelphi), Clerk of Interim Meeting, made a second call for people willing to serve on Naming Committee. We were reminded that Naming Committee members are exempt from service on Search Committee or Nominating Committee. We APPROVED this: we named Dave French (Menallen) and Betsy Tobin (Frederick) to serve on Naming Committee.
I2017-17 Ad Hoc Healthy Organization and Purposeful Evolution Committee staffing recommendation. Ken Stockbridge (Patapsco) reported on behalf of the Ad Hoc Healthy Organization and Purposeful Evolution (HOPE) Committee; the written version of the report is attached. The Ad Hoc Committee now has four members: the Yearly Meeting Presiding Clerk; Clerk of Interim Meeting; the General Secretary; and the Camp Property Manager. Ned Stowe (Sandy Spring), described both vision elements and challenges identified by the HOPE Committee, stressing the challenge of staff’s increasing workload.
The HOPE Committee recommends making our Administrative Assistant full time and changing our Administration Manager to an Associate General Secretary. The HOPE Committee estimates that their changes would result in a net increase of about $60,000 in Yearly Meeting costs. We heard that any staffing changes would not occur until 2018 and so would not affect this year’s budget.
We heard a concern that the proposal adds centralized staff and might not meet the goal of providing decentralized service. We heard a sense that increased travel to Local Meetings, allowing the General Secretary and Committee members to hear the challenges faced by Local Meetings, can help in filling those Meetings’ needs. We heard a concern that seeking to help fill the needs of Committees and Meetings might result in overwhelming demand for help; we heard that prioritization of requests will be required. We heard a sense that Committee members are not now visiting Local Meetings, and were asked how the HOPE Committee’s proposal would change this; we heard a sense that freeing staff to visit, and to encourage Committee members to visit, can produce more visitation. We were asked whether new communications technologies might be used in addition to visits to connect with Local Meetings; we heard that additional staffing might provide the time to explore such options.
We heard that getting the Yearly Meeting’s current job descriptions up-to-date is a work in progress. We heard appreciation for the telephonic responsiveness of current staff. We heard a sense that characterizing some work as being too specialized to be reasonably done by volunteers is unduly pessimistic.
We APPROVED, in concept, the staff change recommended by our Ad Hoc Healthy Organization and Purposeful Evolution (HOPE) Committee. We APPROVED this: we directed the General Secretary and Supervisory Committee to season the HOPE Committee’s job descriptions and bring them back to Interim Meeting on 6/17/2017, and we directed Stewardship and Finance Committee to explore the feasibility of HOPE Committee’s staffing changes and bring back its recommendation to Interim Meeting on 6/17/2017 and to our upcoming annual session as part of the 2018 budget. We APPROVED this: we extended the term of our Ad Hoc Healthy Organization and Purposeful Evolution (HOPE) Committee through our 2017 Annual Session.
We heard a sense from a HOPE Committee member that the HOPE Committee can complete its charge at its current size.
We heard and APPROVED this section of the minutes.
I2017-18 Supervisory Committee annual report. Mary Campbell (Washington), Supervisory Committee Clerk, presented its annual report; the written version is attached. Mary rapidly reported on some of the Committee’s recent activity. Mary noted that Supervisory Committee had allowed the General Secretary to hire an Administrative Assistant on a part-time basis, using available funds. Funds are available in the current year’s budget to continue this position. At Supervisory Committee’s recommendation, we APPROVED this: we extended our Administrative Assistant’s term through the end of 2017.
I2017-19 Treasurer’s report. Tom Hill (Charlottesville), Treasurer, presented an end-of-2016 report; the written version of the report is attached. Tom noted that for the first time at an Interim Meeting, the report includes information on restricted income and expenses. Tom highlighted a change in assets from about $3,960,000 at the end of 2016 to about $4,160,000 at the end of 2016, an increase of about $200,000. We ACCEPTED the Treasurer’s report.
I2017-20 Stewardship and Finance Committee report. Lee Henkel (Floyd), Stewardship and Finance Committee Co-Clerk, reported; the written version of the Committee’s apportionment proposal is attached. Lee noted that Local Meetings are in widely varied circumstances, as revealed by a survey conducted by the Committee. Whether a Local Meeting does or does not pay a mortgage seems to have little relationship to whether the Local Meeting sees its apportionment as burdensome. The Committee is proposing a system that asks each Local Meeting to report is total income, calculates the percentage of the grand total that the total Yearly Meeting apportionment represents, and asks each Local Meeting to provide that percentage of its income to the Yearly Meeting as its apportionment. For the current budget year, the new approach would have required about 22.9% of Local Meetings’ incomes to go to the Yearly Meeting. We heard that in the last five years, the percentage would have ranged between about 22% and 23%.
We ADJOURNED, to gather next on 6/17/2017, hosted by Gunpowder Friends Meeting in Sparks, Maryland, or at the call of the Interim Meeting Clerk.
Marcy Baker Seitel, presiding Arthur David Olson, recording