Nominating Committee Annual ReportS
Every spring, each Committee of the Yearly Meeting is requested to prepare a report of their activities over the prior 12 months. These reports are gathered and shared during Annual Session, and then are printed in the Yearbook for that year.
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The Nominating Committee identifies gifts and interests of Friends within the Yearly Meeting and matches those to the needs of BYM committees and the organizations to which we send representatives. Because those of us who serve on Nominating Committee know only a small portion of the people who make up Baltimore Yearly Meeting, we are very dependent on and grateful to others who help us identify Friends who may be right for Yearly Meeting service. We welcome all suggestions, and specifically ask for help from committee clerks and other committee members, local meeting clerks, and Yearly Meeting staff members. We are particularly interested in learning about potential nominees from historically underrepresented local meetings and groups. We sent representatives to the Growing Diverse Leadership committee meetings and hope that initiative will show us new ways to increase race and age diversity on Baltimore Yearly Meeting committees.
Nominating Committee met at each Interim Meeting and an additional time in April, with one or more committee members joining us by phone at several of these meetings. We also held three phone meetings between our in-person meetings, primarily to check in on how tasks were progressing. We will finalize our slate of this year’s nominees at two committee meetings during Annual Session. Our goal is to nominate people to fill approximately 85 vacancies; slightly over one fourth of these are likely to be filled by people who agreed to serve a second term and slightly less than a fourth will be filled by people identified during Annual Session. Throughout our work, we strive to discern the true needs of committees and the true leadings of Friends, and ensure that all committees have the people they need to do their work.
The 10 members of Nominating Committee have met 5 times since 2014 Annual Sessions and plan to meet at least 3 more times before we present a final report at the 2015 Annual Sessions. In this time we looked to fill 79 vacancies on 16 Baltimore Yearly Meeting committees and 11 outside organizations. As most our nominations are for 3-year terms, renewable for a second 3-year term, these 79 vacancies represented only about a third of the 228 positions total that Nominating Committee is responsible for. Currently, 35 of the 55 BYM’s meetings and worship groups are represented on committees or outside organizations. While we hope to have all 221 positions filled by the end of Annual Sessions, the committee is not solely focused on counting numbers of names and empty slots. We strive to discern the true needs of committees and the true leadings of Friends, while still seeing that all committees have the people they need to do their work.
The manual of procedures says, “In order for the business and concerns of the Yearly Meeting to be effectively carried forward, it is desirable for committees to be representative of various age groups and interests and for Friends to become acquainted with various aspects of Yearly Meeting affairs.” This is not work the nominating committee can do on its own. We need recommendations from Friends as to who might be interested in BYM committee service. We need Friends to consider committee work outside their comfort zone. We look forward to working with the person hired through the Shoemaker grant, but we realize that promoting race and age diversity on our committees may require us to examine the ways we structure our work. We also look for people from underrepresented racial groups, underrepresented age groups and underrepresented monthly meetings to consider serving on nominating committee.
The Nominating Committee identifies gifts and interests of Friends within the Yearly Meeting and matches those to the needs of the committees and organizations to which we send representatives. Our committee believes that when the Yearly Meeting correctly discerns the work we are collectively called to do, the Spirit will provide us with the people we need to accomplish this work.
At the start of this nominating cycle, we were seeking individuals to fill around 100 committee or representative positions. About one fourth are likely to be filled by people who agreed to serve a second term in positions they already hold. Because those of us who serve on the Nominating Committee personally know only a small portion of the people who make up Baltimore Yearly Meeting, we are very dependent on and grateful to many people not on our committee who help us identify Friends who may be right for Yearly Meeting service. We welcome suggestions from anyone, and specifically ask for help from committee clerks and other committee members, Monthly Meeting clerks and Interim Meeting representatives, and Yearly Meeting staff members.
At tenth month Interim Meeting, our committee began the process of discerning nominees for a new Faith and Practice Revision Committee, a charge given us at Annual Sessions. We met again in January to continue that work and consider potential nominees to represent Baltimore Yearly Meeting on the FUM General Board and at the FUM Triennial. We presented the names of those nominees at third month Interim Meeting. At the same time, we began the process of learning about each committee’s needs, possible nominees from each Monthly Meeting, and individual Friends interests. We met three more times before gathering at Annual Sessions to complete our work.
As we spoke to potential nominees this past year, we heard from some Friends that the time and expense of traveling long distances for multiple meetings a year discourages them from committee service. Because of this as well as concern for the environmental impact of so much long distance automobile travel, some of our members feel a growing need to explore the increased usage of electronic technology by yearly meeting committees. We plan to enlist other interested Friends and continue working on this issue over the next year.
While membership on our committee requires hard work and perseverance and we almost always have multiple homework assignments between meetings, we find great pleasure in the deeply spiritual nature of our work and feel blessed with each other’s company at our meetings.
The Nominating Committee identifies and calls forth gifts of Friends within the Yearly Meeting and matches those to the needs of the committees and organizations to which we send representatives. Our committee firmly believes that when the Yearly Meeting correctly discerns the work we are collectively called to do, the Spirit will provide us with all the people we need to accomplish this work.
This year the Nominating Committee is seeking to find appropriate Friends to serve the Yearly Meeting in 102 positions. Of these, 26, or about one fourth, will likely be filled by Friends who agree to serve a second term in positions they already hold. That means we are looking for more than 75 people to serve the Yearly Meeting in new ways in the year ahead.
If past experience is a reliable guide, we will not fill all of those positions. But we will fill enough of them that the Yearly Meeting will have the human resources it needs to continue to function well in the years ahead.
Those of us who serve on the Nominating Committee know personally only a very small segment of the people who make up Baltimore Yearly Meeting. We are very dependent on and grateful to many people not on our committee who help us identify Friends who may be right for Yearly Meeting service. We welcome suggestions from anyone, and we specifically ask for help from committee clerks and others serving on specific committees, Monthly Meeting clerks and Interim Meeting representatives, and the Yearly Meeting staff members who work closely with particular committees.
For the past several years we have sponsored a one-day Clerking and Quaker Leadership Workshop at various locations around the Yearly Meeting. This year’s workshop was held at Frederick Meeting in February and was again facilitated by Arthur Larrabee of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. Thirty Friends from 13 Monthly Meetings attended, the smallest group yet, but one of the most deeply connected and Spirit-led ever, according to participants. Through a series of exercises that immediately established a strong bond of community within the group, participants explored the Quaker process of clerking and conducting business from a center of worship. Plans are underway to offer the workshop again next year, probably at a Monthly Meeting in the Baltimore-Washington area.
Our committee is given certain, but not unlimited, discretion regarding those we propose for Yearly Meeting service. We have been reviewing the guidance in the Manual of Procedure concerning membership in Baltimore Yearly Meeting and, in some cases, in particular Quarters as a consideration for service on committees. Although portions of the Yearly Meeting still have active Quarters, most Friends in the Yearly Meeting are not part of a Quarter any more. We want to understand what earlier Friends had in mind when they advised that the membership of certain committees, including our own, should include Friends from each Quarter. We are working with the Manual of Procedure Committee and Quarterly Meetings to consider what guidance about inclusiveness is helpful for the Yearly Meeting now.
The Manual of Procedure also states that all committee clerks should be members of Baltimore Yearly Meeting, as should essentially all committee members, with only a few exceptions. This is not current Yearly Meeting practice. We are laboring to come to unity ourselves on whether and when it is appropriate for seekers who are not yet members to serve on Yearly Meeting committees. The issue has both practical and spiritual implications and has not been an easy one for us. We continue to labor with it.
We have also been working to strengthen our relations with the boards of Friends House and Sandy Spring Friends School, two organizations that are under the care of Baltimore Yearly Meeting. The Yearly Meeting’s relationship with each of these bodies is different. In each case, however, the Yearly Meeting appoints a significant portion of the members of the organization’s board but is not otherwise involved in its day-to-day operation. We seek to clarify how we can best support the organizations in our selection of board members and what we are asking of our appointees as the embodiment of the Yearly Meeting’s care for the organization. This work is ongoing.
Rebecca Rawls (Langley Hill)
No report received.
No report received.