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2020 Yearbook

Annual Session 2020 Attachments

Attachment Y2020-08: Epistle of the 2020 Friends General Conference Virtual Pre-Gathering of Friends of Color and Their Families

Epistle of 2020 Annual Pre-Gathering Retreat
The Outgoing Epistle of the 2020 Virtual Pre-Gathering of Friends of Color and their Families Friends General Conference

“We are a harvest of survivors. But then, that’s what we’ve always been.”
Octavia E. Butler, Parable of the Sower

To Friends Everywhere:

We begin by remembering our ancestors who were strong enough to make a way for us. Friends of Color and their families met for Pre-Gathering Retreat on 26 Day through 28 Day Sixth Month 2020. This is the eighth year Friends of Color have met for our Pre-Gathering Retreat. First-timers felt welcomed and validated. This year, we met virtually with our largest attendance yet. There were 47 attendees, ranging in age from 11 months through 77 years from Canada, Mexico, Switzerland and the United States of America.

The importance of this Gathering for Friends of Color worshipping in community together cannot be overstated. To our Friends in the wider Quaker world, we the Friends of Color, can’t breathe. During this weekend, we enjoyed the rare opportunity of not being othered In Quaker space. We experienced the joy of being seen as we are and the affirmation of a supportive spirit among ourselves in the “Amen corner”. The term “Amen corner” comes from the Black church and is a communal space that validates, affirms and uplifts the spirit. In isolation, due to COVID19, we are being kept apart and away from those we love, trust and need. The pre-gathering retreat brought back the source of community and family that has been missing. We were able to exhale, relax, and breathe together. Many of us did not realize how exhausted we were until we were able to relax with one another. The gifts of the spirit were abundant. We shared in worship, gentle yoga and meditation, meaningful discussions, journaling and self-discovery. We also listened and shared in each other’s joys, triumphs, pains and sorrows. We experienced spiritual renewal that was awakened by moving through pain to hope for the future for ourselves and our children. Attention and space was given for people to play games, dance, talk, grieve, play music, watch videos, and write.

We have much gratitude to the Program Coordinator for the Ministry on Racism; the pioneer who laid the groundwork to make the Pre-Gathering Retreat available to us within FGC gathering and who faithfully makes it happen each year. We are grateful for being able to acknowledge all that makes us human, for finding home and connection. Our inner Light is magnified and our capacity to breathe deeply is nurtured when that of God is acknowledged in each of us. It is our hope that other Friends of Color will know that such a space exists and know that they are desired, needed and will be warmly embraced.

The Pre-Gathering Friends of Color Retreat provides a reprieve. Friends of Color need respite from the systemic racism too often found in our American Quaker community that often goes unseen by many white Friends. Friends of Color need respite from the insidious lie of white supremacy manifested in daily oppressive traumatic stressors (microaggressions) which have the effect of blaming the oppressed for our own oppression. Friends of Color need respite and support which our home meetings have not provided. Friends of Color are fatigued from being asked to teach white folks.

We ask all Quakers to heed a Call to Action. Please sit with these queries:

  1. What is the Spirit leading me to do about the historic and ongoing racial pandemic across my meeting, my community, my work environment and my country?
  2. How can we honor the memory of people who have lost their lives to the struggle for a better world?
  3. How can we construct ways for people to engage and remain engaged beyond good intentions in the struggle for true equality in health, education, wealth and against state sanctioned violence?
  4. How can we encourage the support of Friends of Color in Quaker worship and meetings around the world?
  5. How can Friends de-center themselves in order to listen to and hear Friends of Color?
  6. How can I support respite for Friends of Color?

In this time of COVID19, People of Color discovered that a deadly pandemic is secondary to the long-time pandemic of racism in our lives. People of Color are more likely to die from COVID19 due to the effects of racism and oppression. Think about how this pandemic has turned your world upside down, economically, emotionally, psychologically. Now imagine there is no one working on a vaccine, and that if you get sick or die, no one notices or cares. For People of Color, the human-made pandemic of racism is deadlier than COVID19, and we need you to do work so that we can BREATHE.

In Peace, Love and ….
2020 FGC Virtual Pre-Gathering Retreat for Friends of Color and their Families



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Attachment Y2020-09: Growing Diverse Leadership Committee
Report on Use of Anti-Racism Declaration and Queries

Report on Usage of the
BYM Declaration as an Anti-Racist Faith Community
Baltimore Yearly Meeting Annual Session 2020

Presented by the Growing Diverse Leadership Committee
Clerk: Peirce Hammond,

At our 2019 Annual Sessions, BYM adopted a Declaration as an Anti-Racist Faith Community, which is both a statement of our commitment and a set of queries to evaluate consequences for our decisions. Since GDL was the committee responsible for bringing the Declaration to the body, we were asked to prepare and submit a report describing the Yearly Meeting’s experience with it over this initial year. Many of the BYM Committees or Working Groups and a few local Meetings provided reports about the uses they made of the Declaration and its queries.

Uses ranged from simply reading the Declaration queries in their meetings, as all those reporting did, to adopting it as their major theme for the year and noting instances where it was applied to their work. In one case, application began prior to formal receipt from the BYM office. In a few others, the given queries were adjusted or a new set was developed and employed. Reports included deep discussions of heightened awareness of racial tension in the United States, the murder of George Floyd and others, how a committee or meeting was deeply affected by these traumas and crimes, and calls to remake racist systems. GDL accepts these early efforts and continues to consult with and encourage local meetings, BYM committees, working groups, and Strengthening Transformative Relationships in Diverse Environments (STRIDE) groups to discuss applications for or concerns raised by the Declaration and our consequent experiences. One committee did raise the question of whether committees would be able to use these queries adequately if they have had no training in antiracism.

We pass this question to other committees.

In particular, the queries are to be used when considering decisions to be made by the Yearly Meeting and its committees. We would like to bring to your attention some recent events that illustrate how this Declaration holds all of us to account and how the consideration of these queries is vital to our body’s spiritual integrity.

First, at the Fall 2019 Interim Meeting, Friends heard that there was an incident of racial harassment from a motorist as campers were walking to Camp Opequon from Hopewell Centre Friends Meeting. Further, a person working at Hopewell Centre Friends Meeting made racist comments in reference to campers who stayed at the meeting on the same trip. At the July 2020 meeting with the Camping Program Committee (CPC), GDL members and BYM staff heard that CPC had not yet been in touch with individuals directly affected to ascertain what had happened or to provide for their well-being. The Committee’s consideration of the Declaration possibly could have led more quickly to CPC-initiated problem solving and healing.

Second, this spring, the COVID-19 pandemic forced BYM to make difficult decisions about our programs and, thus, our budget. An initial business-analysis framework assessing activities vital to the ongoing economic viability of BYM as a property holder and purveyor of camping programs was reworked, upon consideration of the Declaration, to a “We’re all in this together” frame-of-mind. Ultimately, our revised budget solution resulted from the resignation of three employees without immediate hiring of replacements, a major federal grant, plus across-the-board reductions in paid hours of work or an equivalent salary cut. However, in addition, some funds were shifted without negotiation between STRIDE and the senior staff of BYM. Several grant applications made annually by the STRIDE groups to support their programs and communities were redirected so that the funds could be used to cover overhead camp costs. The decision-making approach was that because camp was cancelled, no STRIDE campers would be at camp, so funds from grants usually obtained by STRIDE were assumed available.

But STRIDE is a year-round program, and the grants for STRIDE campers were not just for their time in camp. STRIDE shares the resources of love for that of God in everyone and joy in nature with campers and families all year long so campers will feel comfortable leaving home for the unfamiliar camp environment. The simple beauty of the STRIDE program and its success lies in building relationships and building trust -- with Friends, with grant funders, and, of course, with campers and their families. The decision to modify the grant applications impacts these important relationships. In reallocating STRIDE grant money, we give the message to these families that ongoing relationships are unimportant, that we think it is acceptable to abandon a local community that has been relying on us, and that the only reason we work with them is to meet our own needs. It is also difficult to recruit new families or STRIDE group members when the group’s efforts are undermined and unreliable. We worry that the message to donors is that our commitment to our stated priorities has wavered and we may be untrustworthy.

The STRIDE program has continued while the camps are closed. This summer, STRIDE has organized a range of programming on a limited budget. Programs include organizing mutual aid efforts to support families in their communities, hosting virtual events for campers, supporting campers in attending other summer camps (virtual and in person), assisting STRIDE families in making use of Catoctin cabin rentals, providing STRIDE families with gear to take their own summer trips, and connecting STRIDE families with fun summer activities, both facilitated by us and outside of STRIDE activities. We are asking Friends to hold strong to our body’s commitment to be an anti-racist faith community and to help us do the work to live up to our ideals. To act in line with the true goals of the STRIDE program means making clear through our actions that BYM is here to stay. To do this, STRIDE needs access to funding in order to continue its programming, separate from the BYM camping program.

The delay and limited initiative taken in addressing racist incidents combined with the decision-making process regarding grant funds has led to feelings of being undermined, feelings of frustration, anger, confusion, distrust, and disrespect on the part of both the STRIDE Coordinator and STRIDE group members. GDL is now engaged with Supervisory Committee to examine and respond to the pain caused by this decision-making process and to reflect on the process within the framework of the Anti-Racist Faith Community queries.

Our questions for our wider BYM community are: How do we envision ourselves as an Anti-Racist Faith Community? Who is in it? What do we/they look like? Where do we/they live?

In deep disappointment I have wept over the laxity of the church. But be assured that my tears have been tears of love. There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. Yes, I love the church. How could I do otherwise? I am in the rather unique position of being the son, the grandson and the great grandson of preachers. Yes, I see the church as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and through fear of being nonconformists.
- Martin Luther King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail. April 16, 1963

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Attachment Y2020-22: Manual of Procedure Committee
Report to Annual Session

Advance Report from Manual of Procedure Committee
to 2020 BYM Annual Session

The Manual of Procedure Committee has three new additions to the Manual to bring to Annual Session, describing two groups to be added to Section IX: Representatives to Other Organizations and one group description to be revised:

  1. QREC description to be added to Section IX: Representatives to Other Organizations

Quaker Religious Education Collaborative (QREC) is a network of Quakers from all branches of the Religious Society of Friends, who share a commitment to support Quaker faith development across all ages. QREC began in 2015 and since that time both the number of participants and initiatives continue to expand. Currently they offer online conversations, a searchable database of resources, and a partnership to preserve Quaker history in Africa.

To learn more about QREC and access their resources, visit their website: BYM appoints one representative to QREC for a term of three years and provides financial support.        2020

  1. RSWR description to be added to section IX: Representatives to Other Organizations, clarifying the change in relationship approved at Oct 2018 Interim Meeting

Right Sharing of World Resources (RSWR) is a Quaker non-profit organized to address the burdens of materialism and poverty, and celebrate the practice of stewardship of resources. They cultivate partnerships with marginalized women in several developing countries and make small grants to help improve their communities in a sustainable and self-determined way. RSWR is currently working with organizations in Kenya, India, and Sierra Leone. It is governed by a Board of Trustees. BYM appoints one person to serve a three year term as a liaison between RSWR and Baltimore Yearly Meeting.         2020

  1. William Penn House description removed from separate listing under IX. Representatives to Other Organizations, and added to the existing Friends Committee on National Legislation listing, describing its new structure

Friends Committee on National Legislation Education Fund (FCNLEF) assumed responsibility for the governance and management of William Penn House on September 1, 2019. William Penn House will remain a separate 501(c)(3) charitable organization, but Yearly Meetings no longer appoint representatives to the consultative committee. When the building re-opens after renovation, the house will strengthen and expand the Quaker presence on Capitol Hill by providing accommodation in four dormitory rooms and three private bedrooms, as well as daytime rentals of the conference room accommodating 30 people. For more information, email

Response to Anti-Racism Queries
It should be noted that the primary task of the Manual of Procedure Committee is to report what is done within the Yearly Meeting rather than necessarily trying to decide what ought to be. Nevertheless, our committee always tried, to the best of our human ability, to ensure that we did not use words or phrases in our recommendations to the Yearly Meeting that would be offensive to any group or category of people, especially people of color. In short, we always tried to make recommendations about the procedures and practices of BYM that were inclusive; culturally neutral; and sensitive to the attitudes, feelings, and circumstances of all members and attenders.

The members of our committee appreciated that we were about as culturally and geographically diverse as a group of four people could be. Hence, we did not have to be reminded of the need to be anti-racist, it was a natural part of our way of doing business as members of the Committee thought deeply and spoke freely about all matters that were before us. Stated another way, if the members of a group are culturally diverse and engage in openness and trust, the spirit and letter of the queries will always be a natural part of the process.

Revised July 22, 2020

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Attachment Y2020-23: Nominating Committee
Report to Annual Session

Nominating Committee
Baltimore Yearly Meeting Annual Session 2020

Report to Accompany the Roster: The BYM Nominating Committee has tried to prioritize diversity in filling vacancies this year. Of about 220 committee and representative positions we are responsible for, about 10% are now filled by persons 40 years old or younger, and 5% by Persons of Color, an improvement over last year in both categories. We do not know how these figures relate to the demographic make-up of Baltimore Yearly Meeting, since many local meetings have not provided their statistics, and we do not know how to begin measuring whether LGBTQ+ Friends are adequately represented. We would be glad to hear from the various committees about how they assess themselves with regard to diversity, so that we can be more responsive to their needs. We would also be glad to hear suggestions and recommendations from individual Friends.

Although numbers can give us a sense of where we stand, we know that we need to look beyond statistics. Our task, in essence, is to seek out untapped potential. We observe that there is much more diversity among attenders and non-meeting Quakers in the BYM area than among meeting members. We are exploring the possibility of reaching out to this broader community, trusting that drawing them into the work of the Yearly Meeting will not only help them feel more connected, but will enrich our life together. We also are very much aware that naming someone to a committee is just the first step. The search for wholeness will only bear fruit, individually and corporately, when all voices and experiences are heard and valued.

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Attachment Y2020-25: Working Group on Racism
Update on Change Group and Local Meeting Racial Justice Work

Working Group on Racism
Update on Change Group and local Meeting Racial Justice Work
for Baltimore Yearly Meeting 2020 Annual Session


NOTES: About a month before each BYM Interim Meeting, the Working Group on Racism asks for updates from local BYM Meetings about their racial justice work. The Working Group, however, has become aware of an upsurge in antiracism activity in the few weeks since we prepared our report for Summer Interim Meeting. Listed below are some of those activities that have come to our attention. All updates can be found at

Friends doing this work in the their local Meeting will have an opportunity to share and discuss their experiences in in a Connecting Local Meetings session on Friday July 31st from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Another Change Group Zoom training is being planned for a Saturday to be determined in September.

The BYM antiracism queries have been read at each WGR meeting after their adoption by the Yearly Meeting. At our February 2020 meeting we recorded our response to the queries with respect to our budget request and our proposals for workshops at annual sessions. We found that exercise quite challenging. While some of our responses were positive, others were negative or inconclusive.


Adelphi Friends Meeting
The Ministry and Worship Committee has asked the Meeting to consider the 2019 Declaration by Baltimore Yearly Meeting as an Anti-Racist Faith Community and the American Friends Service Committee's public statement on racial justice. An Adelphi Friend organized Refueling for Justice, a free, online event where those who have been striving for justice can refuel for the long-haul with meditation, movement, children's activities, art, and music. Another Adelphi Friend gave a sermon at West Hills Friends Church entitled “A Vision of Racism and the Cross.” The Meeting also added to its website a new page entitled Anti-Racism Resources.


Annapolis Friends Meeting
The local newspaper published the Meeting’s letter to the editor on police violence.


Bethesda Friends Meeting
The Meeting’s newsletter advised Friends of the online availability of the Black Lives Matter Instructional Library of children’s books read aloud that includes Black history, activism, self-love and empowerment. Many of those books are also available in the Meeting library collection or offered for sale at the Meeting’s book table. The newsletter also provided information about a comprehensive online resource list on how to be educated about and engage in anti-violence prepared by the Black Quaker Project and information about Juneteenth and the Fathers’ Day Bailout Fund.


Friends Meeting of Washington
The Meeting’s Change Group on Racial Equality is organizing a supportive space for Friends to engage in self-awareness and self-reflection around race. The Meeting has been convening socially distanced Meetings for Worship each Sunday on the “R” of the “Black Lives Matter” sign painted on the portion of 16th Street, NW now designated as “Black Lives Matter Plaza.” The Meeting’s Peace and Social Concerns Committee wrote to members of the DC Council urging them to reject the proposed $18 million increase in the budget of the Metropolitan Police Department and to invest funds from the existing MPD budget in programs and initiatives that support everyone in the city. The FMW Washington Interfaith Network Team is calling on Friends to participate in a large “virtual action” on July 2 together with 42 other congregations across the city addressing affordable housing, transportation, jobs, and policing.


Homewood Friends Meeting
About 15 Friends participated in a discussion about Ibram Kendi’s book, How to Be an Antiracist, which led to forming a Meeting Change Group. That Change Group is planning a threshing session on the BYM statement on anti-racism. Three Homewood members have begun participating in the BYM Working Group on Racism.


Langley Hill Friends Meeting
The Presiding Clerk signed the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy’s Statement Against Racism on behalf of the Meeting. An ad hoc group was formed to consider how the Meeting could respond to systemic racism. After hearing a report from the group, the Meeting approved alternating the messages, “Black Lives Matter” and “Nobody’s Free Until Everybody’s Free” on the Meeting’s driveway sign. The Meeting also approved establishing a new working group to address issues of systemic racism


Sandy Spring Friends Meeting
A Change Group has been established. It will begin its work by sponsoring a discussion group on the book White Fragility. A “simple supper” with about 25 Sandy Spring Friends in attendance was convened to consider how the Meeting might address the issue of racism.


Stony Run Friends Meeting
The Meeting wrote the President of the United States urging him to respond to the protests by listening to the protestors and supporting reducing funding for police rather than supporting the violent suppression of those protests.

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Attachment Y2020-26: Report from Interim Meeting

Interim Meeting Report to
Baltimore Yearly Meeting Annual Session 2020


Unprecedented is the word often heard to describe this pandemic time. The minutes of business accomplished during Interim Meeting this year are below, following an overview of the year in which these minutes were created.

Overview of our Unprecedented Year
Our lives changed in ways we never could have imagined this year. When we left Interim Meeting on November 2, 2019 the novel coronavirus (SARS –CoV-2 and the disease COVID-19) was still unheard of. By March 2020, the virus had become a global pandemic. In the fall, we were celebrating the leadership of one our teens in the global environmental movement, thinking about ways to improve our Annual Session, working on antiracism as a Yearly Meeting, and looking forward to having the Friends General Conference Gathering take place in the vicinity of our Yearly Meeting, and looking forward to the Friends United Meeting Triennial in Kenya in the summer of 2020. Writing these words creates images of Friends standing close together, enjoying one another’s company in person - a kind of community life we no longer experience, but miss deeply.

Our next Interim Meeting, scheduled for March, could not be held in person. Agreeing with the recommendations of health officials, we had mostly stopped meeting in person for worship, for business, or for any purpose at all. Figuring out how to have Interim Meeting online felt like too much in that moment. Our work lives, our children’s school lives, our ability to care for one another, all had greatly changed. The life of our Meetings had changed. We canceled our March Interim Meeting, and BYM’s Supervisory Committee took on the task of making the decisions that had to be made in a timely way.

By late April, however, so much was happening within BYM that an Interim Meeting was needed, and it felt possible. In just two months, our lives had settled into a “new normal”. Many of us had become more adept at using video teleconferencing for worship and business meetings. Quaker organizations provided trainings for Monthly and Yearly Meetings, and within BYM, Friends knowledgeable about technology generously helped those who were just learning. On May 16, nearly 130 Friends attended our first ever BYM business meeting online, and we found that yes! the Spirit does gather us when we meet online. It was a great blessing to worship together in this pandemic time.

Between our called meeting in May and our regular Interim Meeting in June, another major event took place. An international movement to oppose police brutality and systemic racism took root quickly after a man in Minneapolis named George Floyd, a Black man, was killed at the hands of local police officers, white men, a horrific event that was filmed and shared across the world. The new social movement calls for the building of new structures in our society that would dismantle our racist structures and build equitable structures appropriate for the needs of all groups in our society. Many Friends have taken part in peaceful protests here, around the country, and in other parts of the world.

Changes in activities
Our camps had to be closed this year because of the pandemic, something we never had imagined could happen. All the energy that our staff, committees, Meetings, and children and teens put into the camps suddenly ended. Our staff has found ways to use our camp properties and to keep in touch with our campers. Our Youth Programs were changed from in-person events to online events. Our Program Committee has worked very hard to plan an online Annual Session this year.

The FGC Gathering was still held, but online. The FUM Triennial was postponed, though, so that Friends can focus on caring for others during the pandemic.

Our Monthly Meetings mostly have turned to worshiping and otherwise meeting online, though some have opted to stay in touch through other ways. BYM Committees have sought ways to reach out to the BYM community during the pandemic time. Our staff has brought our community together by sharing information about Meetings and committees often on our website. Everything we do now is in some way shaped by the pandemic.

Change in finances
While the pandemic had brought huge financial challenges for BYM by March 2020, BYM in fact had come into 2020 in a difficult place financially. While we may have taken some months to consider what changes we should make mid-year, the closing of the camps brought a bigger and more immediate financial difficulty – how to pay our year-round camp staff and pay for the upkeep of the camps without the expected income from campers. Our staff and committees spent the spring months figuring and refiguring what we should do based on different possibilities. A loan from the Federal Government, which will likely be transformed into a grant, let us keep our full staff through the end of June. Many BYM Friends made generous donations during this time, and some Meetings were able to contribute their apportionment earlier to help with the cash flow of the year. Our staff and committees were hard at work to help make these things happen.

Decision making during the pandemic
Decision-making during the pandemic from March to June proved to be very difficult. With the financial challenge of having camps close, we needed to make big decisions in a timely way. The size of decisions, the amounts of money being discussed, seemed too great for Supervisory Committee, though this committee is normally tagged with making decisions on behalf of BYM between Interim Meetings. Similarly, our General Secretary is the one who handles the ups and downs of spending the budget, but the kinds of changes needed seemed too big for a staff person to make. Some policies related to our finances were unclear, and extra discussion was needed to apply our policies in these times. All of these situations caused a lot of tension. Conflicts that were unresolved on completely different issues now were causing tensions, too.

The Clerk of Interim Meeting has the task not only of clerking each Interim Meeting, but also discerning when a Called Interim Meeting is needed. By the end of April, it was clear to me, after seasoning the idea with others, that we needed to pull together as a community to make the decisions that would help BYM as a worshiping community and as an organization move forward. And we needed to do this in worship.

Our Called Interim Meeting on May 16 focused on how we would make significant cuts to our 2020 budget so that BYM would stay afloat financially. Many non-personnel cuts were planned, but these were not enough – cutting pension contributions as well as staff hours and salaries would also be needed. In a very long meeting, guidance was given from Interim Meeting for making the personnel reductions, this time in staff salaries and hours. We widened the circle considerably in who would participate in making decisions; we agreed that each committee with a staff person would be consulted, as well as the staff themselves. We wanted to understand the effect of cutting hours and salary both on BYM’s work and on our staff people. Many other considerations were suggested. The more inclusive way of making decisions helped our community move forward in unity. Supervisory Committee worked with as many of the considerations as possible between the May and June Interim Meetings. Other committee meetings were held as well to consider how the finances would work this year. While some people see Quaker process as slow, I have found the opposite to be true - Friends can act quickly and be very generous with their time and their attention to concerns.

Changes in Staff
During this time, two senior staff members decided to leave their positions. Our General Secretary and Comptroller both ended their employment on June 30. Before leaving, both took the time to get things in very good order so that the work could be passed on and continued without problems. We are very fortunate that our Associate General Secretary has agreed to serve as the Acting General Secretary, and that our Comptroller will serve as a consultant in the next months. Other staff members have stepped up and the work of the Yearly Meeting continues on and is in good hands.

Antiracism Work
At our Annual Session in August 2019, we approved a Declaration on Antiracism as a faith community, and all agreed to use a set of queries as a way to make our decision making more mindful of people who are directly affected by racism and who will be directly affected by decisions we make. The queries were read at the beginning of each Interim Meeting by members of our Growing Diverse Leadership Committee. For me as Clerk, the queries were especially meaningful as I worked on the agendas for each Interim Meeting and in the seasoning of agenda items. In clerking, there are many opportunities to include more voices, not only of those present, but of Friends who are not present at a given time. Being inclusive is a basic, all-important task for a clerk of any group, and these queries were supportive of this quest. When we discussed cuts to our budget, the queries became especially important for our gathered body.

BYM now has five committees with a special focus on working for racial equity and healing in the world and among Friends. In response to the birth of the global antiracist movement, our Peace and Social Concerns Committee wrote a Call to Action for our Monthly Meetings, working with the Growing Diverse Leadership Committee, the Reparations Working Group, Working Group on Racism, and the STRIDE Working Group. Rather than coming up with a statement, as many organizations have, the goal was to invite each Meeting to write a statement and decide what actions they would like to take. Many opportunities for action have been suggested, and these are updated regularly. This work will continue on through the next year and beyond.

What I have loved about seasoning business and clerking this year is that it has been very difficult and has required a lot of faith. The Spirit is always there for us, is here, right here, for us. I felt this mightily this year. We reached unity on our way forward as a Yearly Meeting. In the sorrow and anguish of a virus pandemic, and in the sorrow and anguish of a racism pandemic, the Spirit is here to love and guide us. We do not know where the events right now are leading us. We need to let ourselves be changed by the Spirit as we go through this very uncertain time so that we can build a diverse and equitable Yearly Meeting, a truly loving community, on an earth where life can be sustained.

Summary of minutes of approved business items in Interim Meeting,
Fall 2019 – Summer 2020

Preparative Meeting request
We approved forwarding to Annual Session the application for Buckhannon Preparative Meeting, now under the care of Monongalia Friends Meeting, to become a Monthly Meeting.

We welcomed Khalila Lomax, our new STRIDE Coordinator, at our Fall Interim Meeting.

We had three minutes of appreciation for departing staff at our Summer Interim Meeting, for Jossie Dowling, Youth Programs Manager, Margo Lehman, Comptroller, and Ned Stowe, General Secretary.

Our Associate General Secretary became the Acting General Secretary as of July 1, 2020, a change that was announced at our Summer Interim Meeting. Our departing Comptroller will return to consult with BYM several hours a month until the end of 2020, and our Bookkeeping Assistant will increase her hours at least until the position of Comptroller is filled.

In response to the pandemic, the hours and pay of some of our year round staff were reduced as of July 1. Summer camp employees were paid for their planning time after camps closed. Filling the Youth Program Manager position will be delayed until September. The positions of Comptroller and General Secretary will not be filled in 2020 to help our financial situation.

Youth Safety Policy
A new introduction for our Youth Safety Policy was approved.

New ad hoc committee and working group
At fall IM, the ad hoc 350th Anniversary Committee was approved to prepare for BYM’s 350th anniversary in 2022.

The Supervisory Committee, in its role of making decisions between Interim Meetings, concurred with the recommendation from the Growing Diverse Leadership Committee to establish a Reparations Action Working Group. This was reported to the Called Interim Meeting in May.

Search Committee brought forward the name of Guli Fager (Baltimore, Stony Run) for Supervisory Committee, to begin immediately, in May 2020, which was approved. We accepted the resignation of Joshua Riley (Hopewell Centre) from Supervisory Committee, with thanks for his service.

The Naming Committee brought forward the names of Catherine Tunis (Herndon) and Bill Mims (Langley Hill) to continue serving on Search Committee. These names were erroneously sent forward to Annual Session for approval. The Clerk apologizes for this error. They could have been approved at Summer Interim Meeting.

We agreed to forward two names for BYM officers: Meg Boyd Meyer, for Clerk of Interim Meeting (Baltimore, Stony Run), and Rebecca Richards (Gunpowder), for Recording Clerk of Interim Meeting. There are two vacancies for other officers: Yearly Meeting Presiding Clerk and Yearly Meeting Recording Clerk. Committee nominations were also forwarded to Annual Session: Nominating Committee, Chip Tucker (Charlottesville), Debbi Sudduth (Goose Creek), Melissa Meredith (Bethesda), and Janet Eaby (Nottingham), through 2023; Supervisory Committee: Ramona Buck (Patapsco), through 2022

Travel minutes
Travel minutes for Jolee Robinson (Adelphi), Jade Eaton (Adelphi), and Mackenzie Morgan (Adelphi) were approved. Travel minutes for Meg Boyd Meyer and Arthur Meyer Boyd were returned to Interim Meeting.

Faith Witness and Social Action
We approved a change in the name of the Peace and Social Concerns Committee’s Working Group on Refugees, Immigrants, and Sanctuary. The Working Group’s name is now Refugee, Immigration, and Sanctuary Working Group.

We acknowledged the good work of Kallen Benson (Annapolis) who is part of the Fridays for Future international movement. Kallen told us of her work and let Friends know how they can partake in this work. Fridays for Future won two awards in fall 2019, one from Oxfam and one from the United Nations Environmental Program, though the latter was declined.

Supervisory Committee approved the Rassawek Minute of the Monacan Nation in Virginia and reported this to Interim Meeting in May.

Changes to the 2020 Budget
We approved repurposing funds designated for repaying the Catoctin bath house loans, funds accumulated from camper fees, to now cover some 2020 camp and property management expenses.

We approved recommended non-personnel reductions to the budget, a framework for reducing the budget, and at the same time, we approved doing what we could to keep all our programs in place, at least to some degree.

We approved the General Secretary, Supervisory Committee, our relevant Committees, and staff, considering this meeting’s guidance and other prompt guidance, proceeding to identify and implement personnel cost reductions as needed to prepare for staffing changes starting 7/1/2020. And we directed the General Secretary and Supervisory Committee to report on the decisions they made. We did note that this was not our usual process.

The full minutes are available in the 2020 Yearbook, and all were written by Arthur David Olson, the Interim Meeting Recording Clerk. Many thanks to Arthur David for clear writing and a hint of humor whenever possible.

Respectfully submitted,

Marcy Baker Seitel
BYM Clerk of Interim Meeting

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Attachment Y2020-27A: Peace and Social Concerns Committee
Request to Endorse "Quaker Statement on Potential Israeli Annexation of the West Bank

Peace and Social Concerns Committee
Baltimore Yearly Meeting Annual Session 2020
Request for BYM to Endorse
Quaker Statement on Potential Israeli Annexation of the West Bank
Contact Information
: From FCNL, Alicia McBride,;
From Peace and Social Concerns Committee, Bob Rhudy,
Recorded Oral Report: (at beginning)

Background Statement

Anti-Racism Queries
In their discernment, the Peace and Social Concerns Committee considered BYM’s four anti-racism queries as they relate to this request, with the following result:

1. How could this decision affect those who have been harmed by racist behavior?
Endorsement of the statement is aimed at preventing additional harm to Palestinians based on a category of race and ethnicity. The statement is specifically trying to prevent racist actions.

2. Will this decision promote equity, diversity, and inclusiveness?
This query is not applicable to this proposal, as the query is inward-looking, while this statement addresses state-based actions.

3. How will we provide opportunities for those most likely to be directly affected by our decision to influence that decision?
Palestinians have asked Americans to speak up and support their rights and humanity. This is one way to do that.

4. How does the decision support the declaration of our Yearly Meeting that we are an antiracist faith community?
This proposal addresses oppressed Palestinians who will be harmed immeasurably by annexation. The system that Israel has established with respect to Palestinians has been described by many commentators as an apartheid system that is highly racist; annexation as proposed would further cement an apartheid system. We do not want to have different standards on racism at home and abroad.

Discussion by Peace and Social Concerns Committee
On July 13, the Peace and Social Concerns Committee met to discuss and consider the request from FCNL that BYM endorse the Quaker Statement on Potential Israeli Annexation of the West Bank, developed jointly by three Quaker organizations. At the meeting, all Committee members expressed strong support for the statement, which describes the harms that will ensue from annexation and urges Quakers to contact their members of Congress to express their opposition to annexation.

The fact that both of Maryland’s senators, Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, and Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia have all made public statements in opposition to annexation provides support for the criticality of the issue and for the statement. We are not aware of Representatives from mid-Atlantic states having spoken out on annexation. Senator Chris Van Hollen (MD) has submitted an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, currently under consideration by Congress, that would prohibit Israel from using US taxpayer funds (through the annual military appropriation) in any annexation activities.

The Committee discussed whether it would be better to ask BYM to formally endorse the joint statement or for the Committee to simply announce the availability of the statement, with a request that people contact Congress. Ultimately, the Committee decided that because of the importance of this issue, it would be preferable for it to be a formal endorsement.

What Happens Next?
Once BYM has endorsed this statement, individual Quakers can cite the strong support for the issue that endorsement implies when they contact their members of Congress, giving added weight to their request. Our goal, as specified in the statement, is to support Palestinians and Israelis working both to end Israel’s occupation and to build a future where all people in these lands live in equality.

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Attachment Y2020-27B: Peace and Social Concerns Committee
Request to Endorse Health Equity Resource Communities Resolution

Peace and Social Concerns Committee
Baltimore Yearly Meeting Annual Session 2020
Request for Baltimore Yearly Meeting to Endorse Health Equity Resource Communities Resolution
: From Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, Stephanie Klapper, or 410-575-4035;
from Peace and Social Concerns Committee, Jean Athey,
Recorded Oral Report: at 10:00 minutes

The Peace and Social Concerns Committee of Baltimore Yearly Meeting is proposing that Friends endorse and approve signing on to a Resolution put forward by The Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative to increase health equity in our state. The Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, founded by Vinny DeMarco (Homewood Friends Meeting), has been working toward access to quality, affordable health care for all Marylanders since 1999. Together with the Health Care for All! Coalition of hundreds of faith, labor, business, and community organizations, the organization has made large strides forward in creating access to more affordable health care for everyone in our state. Baltimore Yearly Meeting has endorsed several Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative Campaigns in the past. Most recently, BYM supported a bill to create a prescription drug affordability board to prevent outrageous price gouging of prescription medications for Marylanders.

This year, the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative is working on a new campaign to improve health equity. Health inequities based on race, ethnicity, and place of residence persist throughout the state, and have been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Taking action now is critical. We believe that supporting a bill which would increase health equity for Marylanders is a vital step toward strengthening our beloved community. A Yearly Meeting goal is to increase our anti-racism efforts by taking actions to achieve justice and equality. Supporting a Health Equity Resource Community is one action we can take to move us further toward our goal.

Health Equity Resource Communities will be locations in the state with poor health outcomes that compete for grants, tax incentives, and health care provider loan repayment assistance to increase access to culturally competent care and ultimately reduce racial, ethnic, and geographic health inequities. The Communities will be modeled after the successful 2012-2016 Health Enterprise Zones Program which increased access to health resources, improved residents’ health, reduced hospital admissions, and created cost savings.

Funding for the Communities, as well as programs to address substance use and mental health disorders, will come from a one cent per dollar increase in the state alcohol beverage sales tax in 2021. In 2011, the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative led a successful campaign to advocate for alcohol tax increases. Passage of this law directly led to a reduction in underage and binge drinking, driving under the influence, and sexually transmitted infections. In addition to generating much needed funds, this 2021 proposed tax itself will save lives and lower health care costs by preventing the above.

Background Statement
Discussion by Peace and Social Concerns Committee

The Committee members agreed that the proposal was worthy. Some concern was expressed regarding the fact that it is a project specific to Maryland and so does not pertain to the other states in BYM, and thus perhaps it is more appropriate for Quaker Voice of Maryland (QVM) to take this up. However, QVM has not yet completed its decision process to identify priorities for the coming year, and this program might be one that is selected. Having BYM endorse it would strengthen the ability of QVM to work on it. It was suggested that PSC could also request MD Monthly Meetings to endorse the initiative. The endorsement of BYM would, it was felt, strengthen the initiative and also make it more likely that individual Monthly Meetings would take action in support.

The Committee decided that there is no other Committee within BYM that is more appropriate than Peace and Social Concerns. Also, the proposal is consistent with Quaker testimony, in particular with the concern for equality.

Anti-Racism Queries

1. How could this decision affect those who have been harmed by racist behavior?
People of color are overrepresented among those who get no or inferior health care. In some ways, this is akin to reparations in that it would enable the state to undo some of the pernicious results of racism. The project is trying to ensure that an adequate proportion of the funding will be used for mental health services and prevention of substance abuse.

2. Will this decision promote equity, diversity, and inclusiveness?
The original sponsors of the legislation in the General Assembly are African-American, and of the Hopkins researchers who are studying the pilot projects, one is also African American.

3. How will we provide opportunities for those most likely to be directly affected by our decision to influence that decision?
The folks most affected are part of the process. The communities themselves have to determine what the local projects will consist of.

4. How does the decision support the declaration of our Yearly Meeting that we an antiracist faith community?
This proposal is addressed at those people who are most oppressed, which is overwhelmingly people of color.

Next Steps
After endorsing the statement, an authorized representative will need to sign the resolution at this website ( BYM will then be added to a published list of Coalition Groups, which will be announced at a press event, likely in September 2020. We encourage as many Meetings to endorse this resolution as possible. The authorized representative will receive emails with updates on this initiative and optional ways for Monthly Meetings to advocate for the initiative in additional ways, for example by contacting key stakeholders, writing letters to the editor, and providing feedback on implementation.

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Attachment Y2020-27C: Peace and Social Concerns Committee
Request to Create Quaker Voice of Maryland Working Group

Peace and Social Concerns Committee
Baltimore Yearly Meeting Annual Session 2020
Request Regarding Quaker Voice of Maryland Working Group
Contact Information
: Molly Mitchell

Background Statement
Anti-Racism Queries

Below is a description of how Quaker Voice of Maryland’s activities have related to BYM’s four anti-racism queries:

1. How could this decision affect those who have been harmed by racist behavior?
In its first year, Quaker Voice of Maryland advocated for a number of policies that would help those harmed by racist behavior such as support for the Kirwan Commission, support for a policy to mandate rewards for prisoners’ educational milestones, and support for a successful override of the Governor’s veto of a bill that expanded the Maryland Dream Act, allowing immigrant students to receive in-state college tuition.

2. Will this decision promote equity, diversity, and inclusiveness?
This decision promotes equity, diversity, and inclusiveness. See #1 above.

3. How will we provide opportunities for those most likely to be directly affected by our decision to influence that decision?
Quaker Voice supports the work of larger organizations devoted to specific issues, such as Maryland Alliance for Justice Reform, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, and Interfaith Action for Human Rights. All Quakers are invited to participate in Quaker Voice, and these groups involved people directly affected by these policies.

4. How does the decision support the declaration of our Yearly Meeting that we are an antiracist faith community?
This proposal allows members of the Yearly Meeting who live in Maryland to become more effectively involved in advancing antiracist policies at the state level.

Discussion by Peace and Social Concerns Committee
At BYM Interim Meeting in March 2019, the Peace and Social Concerns Committee (P&SC) made a request to have under its care a working group exploring establishing a Maryland equivalent of the Friends Committee on National Legislation, which was accepted. This working group subsequently has taken the name Quaker Voice of Maryland (QVM). Quaker Voice has been operating under the care of the Peace and Social Concerns since March 2019, and P&SC is now asking that BYM accept its charge and concur in recognizing the working group. That charge is:

  • BACKGROUND: In 2019, Friends in the Chesapeake Quarter of BYM were led to find a way for Quakers to have a more effective voice in the many policy decisions made at the state level. They organized a full-day meeting in which Friends could discern how to act on this leading. There was broad consensus to create a working group that can help Quakers in Maryland have an effective voice in statewide policy decisions that speak to our testimonies while also staying attentive to Quaker process. State policymakers consider legislation every year related to criminal justice, environmental stewardship, economic justice, immigration, and civil rights. These issues speak to our core principles, yet we are rarely able to have an impact on these policy decisions due to time-consuming Quaker process and the lack of a Quaker organization focused exclusively on Maryland.
  • CHARGE: This working group, known as Quaker Voice of Maryland, encourages and provides opportunities for all Maryland Friends to be involved, either as a member of the working group, or by providing input on their policy priorities, coming to a lobby day, calling their delegate or state senator, or providing testimony before a legislative committee. The clerk of the Peace and Social Concerns Committee will authorize disbursements.

What Happens Next?

  • •    Quaker Voice will continue to reach out to Maryland Quakers for their input on policy priorities and for their involvement in advocating for state policies that speak to our testimonies.

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Attachment Y2020-28: Supervisory Committee
Report to Annual Session

Supervisory Committee Report
to Annual Session, Baltimore Yearly Meeting, 2020


Good Day Friends: The annual report of Supervisory Committee was given at 6th Month Interim Meeting. The purpose of this report is to update Yearly Meeting on changes in the senior staff positions, as we cope with effects of recent reductions in staff and program resources. In brief, the General Secretary position and the Associate General Secretary position are combined in the temporary position of Acting General Secretary. This position was accepted at Interim Meeting. No decisions are asked for by Annual Session.

The Acting General Secretary is a temporary position. It was accepted by Interim Meeting in June 2020 as part of coping with great uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 crisis, and by a shortfall in income. BYM expects to recover from these problems and begin a process to hire a new General Secretary in late 2020. The Acting General Secretary is eligible for consideration for that position. We are grateful that Wayne Finegar agreed to accept this position. We think it is wonderful to have a well-seasoned Friend available.

Friends are reminded that this position description reflects the merging of two key administrative positions. It may be that not everything we have come to expect from staff can be accomplished during this period. We invite Friends to step forward to help as volunteers. The new “Job Description” for the eventual General Secretary will be brought to Interim Meeting before the job search begins, either in November 2020, or later.

POSITION DESCRIPTION Acting General Secretary, Baltimore Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, from July 1, 2020

Reports to: Clerk(s), Supervisory Committee of the Baltimore Yearly Meeting

As a member of the Religious Society of Friends, the Acting General Secretary provides Spirit-led, strategic leadership to Baltimore Yearly Meeting. The charge includes planning, supervising staff, raising funds, and monitoring programs, finances, and property. The Acting General Secretary facilitates the advancement of the faith, practice and vision of the Baltimore Yearly Meeting.

The Acting General Secretary works to strengthen a culture of consultation, accountability, outreach, and inclusion.


  • Ensures through example and participation that the Yearly Meeting continues to be rooted in Faith and Practice and in the practices of the Religious Society of Friends.
  • Manages fiscal resources in keeping with the articulated vision of the Yearly Meeting. Meets budgetary objectives.
  • Serves as lead staff in planning, organizing and producing Annual Session and Interim Meetings, in collaboration with relevant BYM officers, committees, and staff.
  • Provides support to local Meetings, BYM programs, committees and BYM officers. Builds and sustains relationships among staff, committees, and volunteers. Recruits, supervises, directs and nurtures volunteers.
  • Oversees production and distribution of the Yearbook, Manual of Procedure, Interchange, and other publications.
  • Serves as the principal office administrator, with responsibilities for office operations, staff supervision, budget, equipment, maintenance, physical plant, and property management.
  • Hires, guides, and evaluates employees consistent with the policies and procedures of the Personnel Handbook, while supporting their professional growth.
  • Develops, implements, and maintains a communication strategy that increases the effectiveness of and support for, the Yearly Meeting. Oversees the design and development of the BYM web site, Facebook, and other social media in collaboration with relevant BYM staff, committees, and volunteers.
  • Builds relationships among the staff and volunteers that facilitate communication, consultation and cooperation, and that nurture love and unity within the Yearly Meeting community.
  • Cultivates inclusiveness across the organization with particular attention to young adults, people of color, people of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, and people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities.
  • Consults with Yearly Meeting staff members and Committee clerks on issues that affect their work or within their areas of responsibility.
  • Initiates the development of policy changes or new policies as needed for presentation to Yearly Meeting Trustees or appropriate standing committees for action.
  • Cultivates relationships and supports Development staff members and the Development Committee in seeking funding from potential donors. Monitors applications for grants and their administration and evaluation.
  • Ensures that Yearly Meeting policies and decisions accord with applicable laws and regulations.
  • Monitors the communication of the Yearly Meeting’s mission and resources to local Meetings and Yearly Meeting committees, including the development and distribution of publications.
  • Ensures that record management procedures are clear and consistently implemented.
  • Supports sound and creative working relationships across the Yearly Meeting.
  • Serves as a voice for and about the Baltimore Yearly Meeting to local Meetings, Yearly Meeting Committees, and external groups.
  • Enhances opportunities to collaborate with Friends organizations, in order to advance the work of Friends and extend the influence of the Yearly Meeting and of the Religious Society of Friends.

Respectfully submitted on behalf of Supervisory Committee, 7/6/2020
Adrian Bishop and Ramona Buck, Co-Clerks

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Attachment Y2020-31: Treasurer of Baltimore Yearly Meeting
Report to Annual Session

Report from the Treasurer
July 2020

My report today is based on the financial statements of Baltimore Yearly Meeting for the first six months of the year and our financial position as of June 30. These six months have been unlike any we have seen before because of the pandemic and our need to implement large budget revisions for 2020. So, these reports give us a measure of how we are doing now that we are halfway through the year.

In summary, I am glad to report that we are holding up well financially. We are showing a $23,000 surplus for the first six months. There are reasons for this which I will explain later in my report. And we must be cautious going forward since we are faced with many unknown factors.

The first financial report is the Statement of Financial Position. This report shows the balances in our financial accounts as of June 30. It is sometimes referred to as the Balance Sheet. The report has three columns. Column B shows the balances as of June 30, 2018. Column C shows the balances as of June 30, 2019 and column D shows the current balances on June 30, 2020.

The assets of BYM are shown on lines 4 through 17. Our cash (line D6) is down compared to previous years but this is mainly a result of camps being cancelled. In previous years, we had collected camp fees during the first part of the year and not yet paid most of the camp expenses. Our cash position on June 30 is at or better than earlier projections. The apportionment receivable amount (D7) is lower than in past years because many meetings paid their apportionment early in response to our request. The balance in our investment accounts (D14) is up about 5% from my last report which recorded April 30 balances.

Liabilities are recorded on lines 19 through 28. I will note that the deferred revenue amount (D22) is higher than usual because it includes the government PPP loan of $178,000. We expect that all or most of this amount will be forgiven, at which time this amount will be moved from a liability to revenue. Deferred revenue also still includes some camp fees which will either be refunded or converted to contributions.

Our net assets are recorded on lines 30 through 42. Total net assets represent the difference between our total assets and our total liabilities. The net asset amounts are categorized as restricted, fixed assets, or unrestricted. We do pay close attention to the amount of our unrestricted net assets, sometimes referred to as unrestricted reserves. When we factor in the current surplus of $23,687, our unrestricted reserves on June 30 are $385,493 (line D46).

The second report is the Statement of Activities. This statement shows revenues and expenses for the six-month period ending June 30. Column B shows the activity through June 30, 2019. Column C lists our 2020 revised budget and column D shows the current year amounts.

Revenues are recorded on lines 2 through 27. Apportionment income (line D4) is up compared to the previous year because, as noted before, many meetings paid their apportionment early. The emergency government grants (line D7) is an amount received from Montgomery County, Maryland. If our PPP loan is forgiven, then it will show up here in future reports. Unrestricted contributions (D8) are also up because many people responded when requests went out earlier in the year. The total attendance fees received (D12) are down due to the cancellation of camps. There is some property rental income coming in (line D20) from the rental of camps this summer to families. The released funds amount (D22) represents amounts that were previously restricted (such as camp property donations) and have now been released from that restriction and spent for the intended purpose. Our total operating revenues for the first six months were $785,868 (D27).

The operating expenses are listed on lines 29 to 39. You will note in the budget column that the approved staff reductions amount of $114,000 is listed on line C38. This amount affects a number of different staff members and is not shown separately in the actual column. Also remember that the staff reductions did not go into effect until after June 30. Going forward from June 30, BYM will be paying an Acting General Secretary but not an Associate General Secretary or a full time Comptroller.

Page two of the Statement of Activities shows the property and equipment amount and also the restricted transactions. The net change in property and equipment (D46) was a reduction of $9,560. The restricted transactions are listed on lines 50 through 60. Restricted contributions (D51) total $47,032. The unrealized gain or loss amount (D54) is a loss of $56,906. This amount is recorded because we must record the amount of our investments in the Statement of Financial Position at market value. So, we record an unrealized gain or loss depending on this value. In my report for April 30, this amount was a loss of over $111,000. So, our bottom line as of June 30 is a surplus of $23,686 (D62).

A surplus of $23,000 is heartening to see given all the turbulence of the first six months. But keep in mind that it is there because many meetings and individuals sent apportionment and contributions earlier in the year than usual. This means that apportionment income will be less going forward. We hope that contributions continue to come but there is no guarantee. The surplus is there also because the market has recovered somewhat from its earlier lows. We do not know where it is headed for the next six months.

The staff reductions will go into effect the second half of the year. Also, we hope that the PPP loan will be forgiven, and we will be able to record that amount as revenue.

Thanks to all individuals and meetings who have so generously supported our Yearly Meeting this year. And I express special gratitude for our staff who have continued to carry on in the face of much uncertainty.

Jim Riley
BYM Treasurer
July 2020

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Attachment Y2020-32: Stewardship and Finance Committee
Report to Annual Session

Stewardship & Finance Committee
Baltimore Yearly Meeting Annual Session 2020
Contact Information
: Terence McCormally
Recorded Oral Report: (24:09 min)

The Stewardship and Finance Committee expresses gratitude to the members of Baltimore Yearly Meeting whose generosity makes possible the work of the Yearly Meeting. The co-clerks of the Committee extend special thanks to our dedicated staff and to the members of our committee, who diligently met for many lengthy sessions to thresh our responses to the unique challenges of the last year.

Budget timeline
Because of the uncertainty caused by the pandemic the Stewardship and Finance Committee has delayed the production of the 2021 budget. Even prior to the disruption of the pandemic, the Yearly Meeting was facing severe budget shortfalls, primarily because of the failure of contributions received by the YM to meet expectations. This means that we are faced with difficult decisions regarding the priorities of the YM—what we can realistically afford to do. By delaying budget decisions until later in the year we hope to have a more accurate understanding of what our income is likely to be both in apportionment and in contributions, and an understanding of what our expenses are likely to be, which depends on what programs we are able to continue and in particular our expectation as to how camps will operate next year. There is a somewhat pessimistic expectation that because of past performance, exacerbated by the financial stresses of the pandemic, that contributions to the Yearly Meeting will again fall below our budgeted projections for 2020, and if they do and that predicts our performance in 2021, there will be significant cuts to BYM programs. On the other hand, if Friends defy those predictions and meet or exceed budgeted contributions for 2020 then the options for 2021 expand.

We are asking all committees and programs to generate their budget requests and submit them to S&F either through Wayne Finegar or directly to Co-Clerks Karen Cunnyngham or Terence McCormally by 8/15/2020.

In September we will distribute a draft of the budget to Yearly Meetings with a request that Monthly Meetings provide feedback on the priorities and tradeoffs it will represent.

In October, Stewardship and Finance will be available to visit Monthly Meetings to clarify questions about the budget—likely by Zoom.

At Interim Meeting in November the budget will be presented for approval.

To streamline the budget development process and align it more closely with our other financial documents, the format of the budget will be different. Members of the committee will be available to help explain the budget lines, as well as the rationale for recommendations.

The 2021 apportionment figures presented here are based on the responses received from monthly meetings of their 2019 contributions. We recognize that 2020 circumstances may affect contributions and income to Monthly Meetings and make it difficult for Meetings to pay their expected apportionment in 2021.

Stewardship and Finance has made a commitment to have each monthly meeting personally contacted by a member of the committee to inquire into the financial well-being of the meeting and concerns they may have regarding BYM’s finances. Each Monthly Meeting has an assigned liaison who will be contacting the Clerk, or Treasurer of the Monthly Meeting go learn about the status of the meeting and to answer questions about BYM’s budget. We will be using the most recent information that we have as to those assignments but if a meeting has a change or wishes to delegate this conversation to a particular Friend or group of Friends, please contact us by email so we can honor that request.

Priorities and Philosophy
Crisis creates the necessity for change and the opportunity to decide what to shed and what to create. Friends face difficult choices in programming, in staffing, and in how we will support the Yearly Meeting. In the Godly Play (or Faith and Play) First Day school curriculum the teacher tells a story—often retelling a Bible story— in a formal and symbolic way, illustrating the story with simple props. After the story, the teacher asks the young Friends to reflect on some questions. One is “Where are you in the story?” and one question is “What part of the story could we take away and still have all the story we need?” It is time to ask those questions about our relationship to BYM.

In often changing form, BYM has persisted since 1672. Faith tells us it will persist into the future, and we have the opportunity and the responsibility to shape that future.

Karen Cunnyngham, Co Clerk            Terence McCormally Co Clerk

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Attachment Y2020-44: Acting General Secretary
Introduction Letter to Community

Letter from Acting General Secretary Wayne Finegar
Baltimore Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)

July 2020


On July 1, I began serving Baltimore Yearly Meeting as the Acting General Secretary. I am honored and wanted to reach out about what is being done in our community.

Baltimore Yearly Meeting is an organization of the members of its constituent Meetings that functions to nurture the spiritual life of Friends and the wider dissemination of the principles and testimonies of the Religious Society of Friends. In other words, BYM serves to promote the religious, charitable service, and education of its members and represents us to the broader Blessed Community. This is done through our staff, programs, events, volunteers, and you.

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected each of us as participants in our Meetings, as members of our local community, and as a part of the Yearly Meeting. The offices of the Yearly Meeting have been closed since late March and staff have been working from home, just like many of you. Long-planned, and eagerly anticipated, spring events and programs were cancelled or held virtually. Our summer camps were cancelled, a shortened Annual Session 2020 will be held virtually instead of being in-person at Hood College, the Spiritual Formation Retreat became a one-day virtual event, and our youth conferences had online graduation ceremonies. Also, like so many other businesses and organizations, the Yearly Meeting’s finances suddenly faced unanticipated costs at the same time that income streams disappeared and our reserves were savaged by the marketplace.

Yet, in the face of all of these challenges, the staff and volunteers who support our Yearly Meeting found new and innovative ways to adapt to the crisis. The Program Committee has assured that many of the activities of the Yearly Meeting will continue through the virtual Annual Session 2020 while allowing them to test the Pay-As-Led model. Interim Meeting has been held twice with greater participation than is often seen when we are together. The Camp Property Manager and his committee have created a new program to allow individuals and small groups to safely rent portions of our camp properties. Such rentals will facilitate our communities’ return to the outdoors while in part offsetting steep expenses in preserving camps. The crisis of the Yearly Meeting’s finances was met with significant changes to our 2020 budget to reduce expenses. Combined with an overwhelming level of support from local Meetings and from individual Friends, we believe the immediate crisis has been relieved. Going forward, we still have a great deal of work in the coming months to balance the books while achieving our goals

Each of us is finding new solutions to new challenges as the pandemic evolves. We have learned to wear masks when we go out in public, tried to become comfortable with the paradox of “social distancing,” and dealt with the daily stresses of an economy that has been changed in ways that we still are trying to understand. Everyone who is involved in the work of our Meetings is facing similar problems:

  • When to return to corporate in-person worship;
  • How to have religious education for children while keeping them and their teachers safe; and
  • How to assure the continued life of the Meeting in uncertain economic times?

As a Yearly Meeting we face versions of these same concerns, and those are the challenges that I am taking on as the Acting General Secretary. In working with our staff and volunteers, we need to make sure that the Yearly Meeting continues to weather the immediate situation while making new plans for the future. Some of you have worked with me during my nearly 11 years of service to the Yearly Meeting. I started as the Administrative Assistant, became the Administration Manager in 2012, then became Associate General Secretary at the beginning of 2018. In all of these roles and still today, my most important duty is to strengthen our Yearly Meeting community. Whether that is accomplished by publishing our Interchange newsletters and Yearbooks, managing the website, or providing staff support for Annual Session and Interim Meetings, I have sought ways to nurture and strengthen the life of Friends and our community. Now I am seeking to help us find new solutions for the future of our Yearly Meeting.

These are daunting, yet surmountable, tasks for all of us. We are being presented with a chance to do more than we have done before. We have seen and heard the demands for justice, for fairness, and for radical reimagining of how things can be done. These are demands that many of us have been deeply touched by and that we all need to respond to. In the coming weeks and months, I will be working with our committees, volunteers, and staff to find new ways to move our Yearly Meeting forward. We must do administrative things like developing a budget for 2021 in the face of an unpredictable economy and ongoing pandemic. We must do much harder things like considering what we all expect from our community and how to move towards those goals. And, we must do the greatest work of all by learning to include everyone in our community in our work.

I hope that everyone in our Yearly Meeting will join in. I am certain that by working together we will find ways to make our community stronger and better able to support all of us as we bring our witness to the wider world. Please contact me at at any time. I look forward to hearing from you.

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Attachment Y2020-46A: Faith and Practice Committee
First Reading of Proposed Revision to Marriage Section

Faith & Practice Committee
Baltimore Yearly Meeting Annual Session 2020
First Reading of Proposed Revision to Marriage Section
Contact Information

Second Reading Regarding Preface
At Fall Interim 2019 (I2019-43), Friends heard the proposal to replace the “Preface” in the Faith and Practice ( with our current Vision Statement (, which was first approved in 2011 and revised in 2016. At that time, Interim Meeting approved forwarding the recommended change to this Annual Session. We bring this proposed edit to you for a second reading. The “Preface” contains the quote from the Elders (Quaker) at Balby: 1656, which is included as part of the Vision Statement.

First Reading of Proposed Revision of the Marriage Section for Faith and Practice
Faith and Practice Committee has prepared a First Reading of the proposed revision to the Marriage Section of Faith and Practice. See After sending out an initial draft for comments in April, we received 7 responses from various monthly meetings and a yearly meeting committee that were incorporated into this document. We ask Friends to season this within their monthly meetings, and yearly meeting committees, working groups, and other associated groups. Please send comments back to When we undertake work of seasoning, we trust that it will be undertaken in a manner attentive to spirit.

We ask Friends to consider how this works both as a practical document (our practice) and as a conceptual document (how well does it articulate our collective history, faith, and vision). Is it logically and right ordered? Is it a tool that expresses our living dynamic Quaker faith with the understanding that such a document cannot fully capture the sense of the spirit?

While working on the marriage draft, we’ve discovered some significant concerns with the BYM Style Manual and its inability to promote consistency, simplicity, and clarity. There are stylistic and editorial issues, and we are working to resolve a path forward to gain clarity and consistency throughout BYM documents. We will be coming forward at Interim meeting with a recommendation for revising the Style Manual. In the meantime, the Marriage draft has a minimal amount of capitalization.

We seek to make this document something that reflects BYM Friends' diverse experiences and beliefs, with the understanding that the true faith and practice is not within a book, but is in our shared experience of the Light as we join in worship together.

We will continue to update you through the regular BYM channels (The Interchange, BYM Announcements, etc.) and need comments (from groups that have seasoned this together) by the end of January 2021 so that we may have a revised version prepared by March Interim Meeting. We will send it out again for seasoning before the planned Second Reading at Annual Session in 2021.

We also look forward to revising other sections under the Life of the Spirit in the upcoming year, and continuing the seasoning process with you.

In the Light,
Faith and Practice Committee

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Attachment Y2020-46B: Faith and Practice Committee
Proposed Revision to Marriage Section

II. Faith // B. Life of the Spirit//10. Home Life
B. Quaker Marriage

Early Friends believed that marriage was based upon a spiritual leading from God. Therefore no priest or minister was needed to sanctify the marriage. To this day Friends marry each other without an intermediary.

For the right joining in marriage is the work of the Lord only and not the priest’s or the magistrate’s; for it is God’s ordinance and not man’s; and therefore Friends cannot consent that they should join them together; for we marry none; it is the Lord’s work, and we are but witnesses.                George Fox, 1669

It is earnestly advised that individuals with a leading to marry engage in spiritual discernment in reaching their decision. Recognizing that life can be joyful and unexpectedly challenging, a Quaker couple can ground their relationship in the life of the Spirit and be supported by the meeting community.

In the Quaker meeting for marriage, a couple rises in a meeting for worship and promise with Divine assistance to be loving and faithful as long as they both shall live. As in other meetings for worship, a wedding includes an opportunity for Spirit-led vocal ministry arising from the silence and deep listening to the Spirit that lies behind each message.

From the beginning, Friends have emphasized equality of marriage partners. The roles and responsibilities of each partner within a marriage may change over time and may differ from couple to couple.

We thank God, then for the pleasures, joys and triumphs of marriage; for the cups of tea we bring each other, and the seedlings in the garden frame; for the domestic drama of meetings and partings, sickness and recovery; for the grace of occasional extravagance, flowers on birthdays and unexpected presents; for talk at evenings of the events of the day; for the ecstasy of caresses; for gay mockery of each other’s follies; for plans and projects, fun and struggle; praying that we may neither neglect nor undervalue these things, nor be tempted to think of them as self-contained and self-sufficient.
London Yearly Meeting, 1959

Baltimore Yearly Meeting Friends today remain committed to the principle of marriage equality between two partners. In addition, nearly all of our monthly meetings now embrace marriage of couples without regard to gender. We acknowledge that leadings to marry are not bound by gender, sex, or sexual orientation. We affirm the right of all adult couples to explore their leadings to marry.

See Section III (Quaker Marriage Procedure) for specific information about Quaker marriages as well as a discussion on marriages in distress.

III. Practices and Procedures//B. The Monthly Meeting //6. Marriage Under the Care of the Meeting -- renamed “The Quaker Marriage Procedure (moving Appendix F up to this section so that all aspects of marriage are located in one place for ease of reference)

6. Quaker Marriage Procedure
Those considering marriage under the care of the meeting should closely review the procedures recommended below to gain a clear understanding of the process. See Section 10 (below) for an overview of responsibilities of the couple, the meeting clerk, the clearness committee, and the marriage committee.

1. Questions to Consider When Requesting Marriage Under the Care of the Meeting
Friends considering marriage under the care of the meeting should first review and discuss the following questions.

a. What values and beliefs do we hold in common? On what matters do we differ? Do we know each other’s habits, likes, and dislikes? Are we ready to make adjustments and meet, with kindness and understanding, areas of possible conflict?
b. Do we feel spiritually led to marry? Are we open to seeking Divine assistance both when things are going well and when we encounter difficulties? What are our plans for nurturing the spiritual basis of our marriage? Do we understand and have sympathy for one another’s religious beliefs?
c. Do we see each other and treat each other as equals? Do we have the willingness to listen to each other and to strive for open communication?
d. How do we feel about each other’s economic and cultural background? How do we react to each other’s parents, children, friends, and relatives? Do we share interests which we can enjoy together? Do we respect each other’s individual interests? How will we balance the needs of our marriage with our friendships and responsibilities outside the home, such as work, volunteer activities, and education?
e. Will our professional or family obligations mean that we are apart for short or long periods of time? How will we handle the challenges of these separations?
f. Do we share each other’s attitudes on earning, spending and saving money, and the handling of finances and debt? How are family responsibilities to be shared? Are there prior obligations—legal, financial or both—that need to be met? If this relationship will not be recognized legally, how will we protect each other’s legal rights?
g. For those with prior partnerships: Do we have unfinished emotional business with our previous partner(s) that can productively be brought to completion? Are there failures whose acknowledgment might open the way to apologies and forgiveness, the healing of wounds, and new beginnings?
h. Have we explored our attitudes toward sexuality and monogamy? Have we discussed how we will express our individual sexualities in our marriage? What desires do we have in common and where do we differ? What are our opinions on contraception and abortion?
i. Have we explored our attitudes and visions for family life, including how many children we want, if any, and whether we might consider adoption or foster care? How might our family reflect Friends’ testimonies of simplicity and of stewardship of the environment? What are our expectations about how we will raise, discipline, and educate our children?
j. For those with children already: How will we co-parent with our children’s other parents going forward? How do we envision relationships among children we may already have and our new partner? How do we envision that any children we may have together will relate with our other children?
k. Have we considered together how we will work to reconcile inevitable differences? Are we willing to make a strong commitment to permanence in our marriage? Are we open to seeking outside help if such support seems warranted?
l. Do we know each other well enough to have considered all of the above questions frankly and openly? If not, should we wait—six months, a year—before proceeding with marriage?

When the couple have seriously considered the above questions and others arising from them, the following additional questions should be considered before asking for marriage under the care of the meeting:

m. Why are we asking for marriage under the care of the meeting? What do we anticipate our relationship with the meeting to be in our life together? Are we aware that care of our marriage by the meeting involves a continuing concern for our life together and the values established in our home? Will we welcome the continuing concern of the meeting?
n. Are we clear that we are ready to make promises in the presence of God and of our family and friends to be loving and faithful partners as long as we both shall live?

Once a decision has been made to marry under the care of the meeting the following questions might be considered for planning the wedding.

o. What traditions and beliefs (religious, cultural, familial) are important to you? Do you want to incorporate them into the traditional Quaker ceremony?
p. Who (family, friends, community) do you want to include in the process of planning how your wedding will be accomplished? What traditions, beliefs, and values might they hope to see represented as you formalize your commitment in the wedding? How might they differ from the traditional Quaker ceremony? How will you work to reconcile any difference of tradition, belief, or values that might arise?
q. Who (family, friends, community) do you want present at your wedding as participants? What roles do you see for them? Do the people you are including in the process of planning your wedding have feelings about this?
r. Do you want to hold a reception following the wedding ceremony? Note that typically alcoholic beverages are not served at meeting houses.

2. Seeking Monthly Meeting Approval
The couple write to the meeting under whose care they wish to be married. See Section 10a, Responsibilities of the Persons to be Married, for suggested content of the letter. The proposed wedding date should be at least three to six months in the future to allow the meeting time to fulfill its responsibilities. The letter of request should be addressed to the meeting in care of its clerk, who forwards the request to the appropriate committee (usually pastoral care or care and counsel), which will name a clearness committee of usually two or three members. Some meetings establish the clearness committee at business meeting.

3. The Clearness Process
As it relates to Quaker marriage, the term “clearness” historically referred to clearness from other marriage commitments. Today, the marriage clearness committee also explores with the couple what it takes to achieve the permanence and satisfaction of a committed, loving relationship, and the extent to which the couple is prepared for the dedication and constancy such a relationship requires.

The clearness committee meets privately with the couple in a spirit of loving concern as many times as necessary. The clearness committee members should ask thoughtful questions, listen carefully, and leave space for worship. If concerns for the couple arise during the clearness process, it is important for committee members to speak candidly, recognizing that failure to speak truth in kindness is to risk possible suffering.

The clearness committee does its best to confirm in the couple a true leading to marry. If the clearness committee is satisfied that there are no obstacles, it reports back to the standing committee that appointed it on the readiness of the couple for marriage.

Specific responsibilities of the clearness committee are outlined in Section 10c, Responsibilities of the Clearness Committee.

4. Monthly Meeting Approval
A recommendation that the couple be married under the care of the meeting is presented by the standing committee to business meeting for approval. Some monthly meetings require that the request be held over for a month after the first presentation to the business meeting.

5. The Marriage Committee
The marriage committee is responsible for ensuring that the wedding is carried out with dignity, reverence, and simplicity, in the manner of Friends. Those appointed also accept personal responsibility for upholding the meeting’s continuing concern for the marriage, and, as possible, for remaining in touch with the couple after the wedding and reaching out from time to time. Marriage partners who are not members of the meeting should be welcomed into the life of the meeting and be invited to attend meetings for worship and business and other meeting activities.  See below Section 10d, Responsibilities of the Marriage Committee below.

6. The Marriage Promises
The traditional Quaker marriage promise is:

In the presence of God and of these our Friends, I ______, take thee ____ to be my [partner, spouse, husband, wife] promising with Divine assistance to be a loving and faithful [partner, spouse, husband, wife] as long as we both shall live.

The couple should review and discuss these promises to decide if they wish to modify them. Any significant changes to the marriage promises should be reviewed with the clearness committee and/or marri age committee for approval.

7. The Marriage Certificate
The form below reflects the traditional wording of the marriage certificate. It may be modified as the couple wish to reflect their terminology for one another. At a minimum, the certificate includes the full names of the couple; name and location (city and state) of the monthly meeting; date of the wedding; statement of the promises exchanged; signatures of the couple; and the signatures of all in attendance.

A couple wishing for a certificate with substantially different wording from the standard form below should make this known as early as possible to the clearness committee and/or marriage committee. If this committee feels the changes are substantive, the changes should be brought to the attention of the appropriate standing committee of the monthly meeting for approval.

A Friends’ marriage certificate is typically prepared by hand by someone with calligraphic skills using archival paper and permanent ink.

Whereas [full name] of [City, State], [son/daughter/child] of [parent name] and [parent name] of [City, State] and [full name] of [City, State], [daughter/son/child] of [parent name] and [parent name] of [City, State], having declared their intentions to marry each other to ____Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends held at [City, State], according to the good order used among them, this meeting allowed their proposed marriage.

Now this is to certify that for the accomplishment of their marriage, this __day of the __month, in the year ___, they, [full name] and [full name], appeared in a meeting for worship of the Religious Society of Friends, held at ______Meeting, and [first name], taking [first name] by the hand, did on this solemn occasion declare that [he/she/they] took [first name], to be [his/her/their] [partner/spouse/husband/wife] promising with Divine assistance to be unto [him/her/them] a loving and faithful [partner/spouse/husband/wife] so long as they both shall live; and then in the same assembly [first name] did in like manner declare that [he/she/they] took [him/her/them], [first name], to be [his/her/their] [partner/spouse/husband/wife], promising with Divine assistance to be unto [him/her/them] a loving and faithful [partner/spouse/husband/wife] so long as they both shall live. And moreover, they did as further confirmation thereof, then and there, to this certificate set their hands.

[spaces for signatures of couple, with the names they will use after the wedding]

And we, having been present at the marriage, have as witnesses set our hands.

8. Customary Sequence of Events at a Quaker Wedding
The meeting for marriage is a traditional meeting for worship with some programmed elements. The usual sequence of events (subject to change by request of the couple and consent of the marriage committee) is as follows:

a. If music is desired, it may be played or sung during the period when people are gathering.
b. At the hour appointed for the start of the meeting, the marriage committee and the wedding party enter and take their seats.
c. After a few moments of settling, a designated person rises to explain the purpose of the meeting, its nature as a Quaker meeting for worship, and of a Quaker wedding specifically (see 9. Introducing Weddings, below, for suggested wording).
d. The meeting then settles into silent worship.
e. Following a period of silence, as long or as short as the couple is led to observe, the couple stand, face each other and join hands. Each recites to the other their promises in a loud clear voice so all may hear.
f. If there are rings, the couple exchange these after their promises. A kiss is often exchanged at this time.
g. The couple sit down and the marriage certificate table is brought before them for signature.
h. The signed certificate is then read aloud by a designated person to the meeting in its entirety, including the signatures just appended.
i. The certificate table is then moved away.
j. The meeting settles again into a period of worship during which those who are moved to speak do so. The meeting is closed by the designated person.
k. After the wedding company withdraws, all wedding guests (including children) sign the certificate under the supervision of designated persons. If desired, spaces may be reserved for the signatures of the wedding company, marriage committee, and family.

9. Introducing Weddings
Some meetings have used the following language in introducing the meeting for marriage. Friends are urged to take it as a guide, making whatever modifications seem appropriate.

Friends, We are gathered here today in a meeting for worship to witness the marriage of _______ and _______. They have asked me to say a few words about what will happen, especially for those who have not experienced a Quaker meeting for worship.

When Friends gather for worship, they come together sure in the knowledge that God, also called by some the Inner Light, the Truth, Love, or the Spirit of Christ, will be with us. You are invited to join us in the silent power of this corporate worship.

Because your presence and attention are requested, and to avoid distracting others, we ask that you not take photographs during the worship. There will be plenty of time later for that.

_______ and _______ have asked me to extend a special welcome to young children, who are encouraged to stay with us as long as is comfortable for them and their parents. Whenever they may prefer it, children are welcome to join in the child care, which is being provided ______[insert location]______ .

When these comments are finished, we will settle together into a period of silent worship. When they are ready, _______ and _______ will stand and, facing each other, exchange their marriage promises. In the manner of Friends, they will join themselves in marriage without the intercession of a minister or other official. After the promises are spoken, the marriage certificate will be brought for them to sign. When _______ and _______ have signed the certificate, it will be read aloud to us and returned to its place.

At that time we will enter again into a period of corporate worship, opening our hearts to the joy of this occasion and reflecting upon our hopes and prayers for _______ and for _______ and for their life together. Out of this second period of silent worship, it may be that some are led by the Spirit to offer a message out of the silence. If you are so led today please stand and speak loudly and clearly so all may hear allowing a period of silence after any previous message so it may settle. Please do not hurry; we will have enough time. Once the time is right, worship will be closed by shaking hands. At that time please remain in your seats until you are invited to sign the wedding certificate.

Let us now enter into the silence with ________ and ________ with joy and expectation.

10. Overview of Responsibilities
To promote clarity and mutual understanding, the duties and responsibilities of the several persons involved are outlined separately below. These outlines should be reviewed in conjunction with the preceding text.

a. Responsibilities of the Persons to be Married

1) Write a letter, signed by both persons, to the monthly meeting under whose care they wish to be married. The letter at a minimum should say:

We intend to marry and request marriage under the care of ___ Meeting. We have discussed the “Questions to Consider Prior to Requesting Marriage Under the Care of the Meeting.” Our proposed marriage date is __/__/__ . (The proposed date should be at least three to six months in the future) .

2) Meet with a clearness committee to explore their leading to marry. This may involve one or more meetings.
3) Review traditional marriage promises and discuss any proposed changes.
4) Identify persons that they suggest might serve on the marriage committee.
5) Mail out invitations only after approval has been granted by the monthly meeting.
6) Meet with the marriage committee to discuss plans for the wedding.
7) Identify persons to introduce and conclude the meeting for worship and to read the marriage certificate.
8) Have language of the promises and marriage certificate approved by the standing committee or monthly meeting.
9) Have the certificate prepared in ample time before the marriage.
10) Become informed, with the assistance of the marriage committee, of all legal requirements and forms needed in the state in which the marriage is to take place.
11) Arrange to secure the marriage license and provide it to the marriage committee prior to the wedding.
12) Commit to memory the promises to be made.
13) Sign the marriage certificate after the promises have been made.

b. Responsibilities of the Monthly Meeting Clerk

1) Present the letter of request to marry to the appropriate standing committee (usually pastoral care or care and counsel) at the earliest opportunity. (That committee will assure that a committee for clearness is appointed.)
2) Arrange for presentation by the standing committee of the clearness committee’s report at the next monthly meeting for business following receipt of the report.
3) After the report has been accepted and the wedding allowed by the monthly meeting, ensure that the meeting name a marriage committee.
4) Inform the couple that the wedding has been allowed and that they should next meet with the marriage committee.
5) Ensure that the marriage committee reports to the meeting for business following the wedding.

c. Responsibilities of the Clearness Committee

1) Arrange to meet with the couple privately, in a spirit of loving concern, at least once, and as many more times as is deemed necessary.
2) Learn whether both are clear of any other commitment that is inconsistent with the intended marriage.
3) Discuss their responses to the “Questions to Consider When Requesting Marriage Under the Care of the Meeting.”
4) Make sure that the welfare and rights of any children by a former marriage have been properly considered and legally secured.
5) Review the conduct of a Quaker wedding, including customary wording of the promises and the marriage certificate.
6) Discuss the Quaker regard for reverence, dignity, and simplicity in the meeting for marriage and reception.
7) Discuss the specific date, time, and location of the wedding to be included in the report to meeting for business.
8) Explain the functions of the marriage committee with whom the couple will discuss wedding arrangements, including that the role of this committee is to provide continuing care for the couple following the marriage.
9) Obtain suggestions from the couple of names for the marriage committee to be included in the report to the monthly meeting. There should be no fewer than four persons on the marriage committee, of whom at least half should be members of the meeting.
10) Report to the standing committee that appointed it regarding the readiness of the couple for marriage, discussing any proposed substantive changes to the promises.

The committee (usually pastoral care or care and counsel) that named the clearness committee then presents a recommendation to business meeting that the marriage be allowed including the proposed date, time, and location for the wedding and suggested members of the marriage committee.

d. Responsibilities of the Marriage Committee

1) Arrange to meet with the couple in a timely fashion.
2) Make clear their availability to the couple to help them before, during, and after the wedding with ongoing responsibility for continuing care for the marriage.
3) At the first meeting of the committee plan a rehearsal date, ideally with all members of the wedding party.
4) Make sure that the wedding site is reserved for the rehearsal and wedding; make sure that the reception site is reserved.
5) Review Section 6: “Customary Series of Events at a Quaker Marriage Ceremony.”
6) Review and approve the promises the couple will exchange at the wedding and the language of the marriage certificate, making sure that the promises are exactly reflected in the certificate.
7) Discuss the Quaker regard for reverence, dignity, and simplicity in the meeting for marriage and reception. If the couple desires to include elements from other faith traditions assure they are in keeping with the simplicity of a meeting for worship. Discuss proposed decorations, music, or any arrangements desired by the couple. Remind the couple that photographs are not to be taken during the meeting for worship. Express the meeting’s hope that simplicity will also be observed at any reception held.
8) Determine who will introduce and conclude the meeting. Discuss what will be communicated by this person at the beginning of the meeting for worship. See Section 6 “Introducing Weddings” above.
9) Determine who will read the certificate. (This person does not need to be a member of the meeting or of this committee.) The person selected to read the certificate should have an opportunity to see and read it in advance.
10) Discuss whether or not there will be a handout that provides an overview of the Quaker meeting for marriage, and, if so, how it will be produced and distributed.
11) Decide upon any special seating arrangements, if desired, for families and friends of the couple.
12) Be aware of local laws related to Quaker marriages and communicate this to the couple. Make sure that the marriage license and wedding certificate have been secured, that needed signatures can be obtained on the license, and that all legal requirements will be met.
13) Ensure that weights for the certificate, pens with permanent ink, and a portable table are available for the certificate.
14) Appoint two persons to assist those present to sign the certificate after the wedding.
15) Attend the rehearsal.
16) After the wedding

a) Arrange for the care of the marriage certificate, give it to the meeting recorder to copy for the meeting records, retrieve it from the recorder, and return it to the couple.
b) Obtain the needed signatures on the marriage license and mail or deliver it to the proper authorities.
c) Report to the business meeting whether the marriage has been suitably accomplished, whether legal requirements were satisfied, and any name changes resulting from the marriage.

11. What Does it Mean for Marriages to be Under the Care of the Meeting
The following queries may be helpful for meetings and marriage committees:

1) What does it mean for the meeting to take a marriage under its care? What are the meeting’s responsibilities after the wedding? How often do members of the couple’s marriage committee reach out to them after the wedding?
2) What is the responsibility of others in meeting who were not on the marriage committee?
3) How do marriages between members affect the meeting? How does the meeting balance holding the marriages of members as both personal, intimate relationships between partners and as relationships that affect the community as a whole?
4) How does the meeting care for marriages established before the married partners join the meeting?

12. Marriages Not Under the Care of the Meeting
Marriage of members elsewhere

When meeting members are married elsewhere, it is requested that they inform the meeting of their marriage. The meeting should then assign members to contact the newly married couple to express the meeting’s continuing care for the couple.

Marriages of Friends from other Meetings
Sometimes meetings will be asked to host a wedding for Friends from other meetings who wish to be married there, but to have the marriage remain under the care of their home meeting. Good communication between the two meetings can help ensure an appropriate wedding.

Marriage of non-members
Non-members may request marriage at a meeting using the Friends meeting for marriage (“in the manner of Friends”). Meetings are encouraged to consider in advance if they are willing and able to offer this. Some meetings require that at least one of the persons to be married be a member or attender well known to the community. Meetings should also investigate the legal aspects of marriage of non-members. The couple should be fully aware of the nature and procedures for a Friends meeting for marriage.

13. Marriages in Distress
Many marriages end in separation or divorce. These situations present challenges to Quaker meetings as they seek to show care and support for the couple and their children. If there is a conflict within a marriage, the couple is encouraged to seek assistance early, long before differences become irreconcilable. This may take the form of a request to meet with their marriage committee, to meet with a clearness committee, or receive counseling.

Meetings are advised to recognize their role as providing spiritual support. If there is a need for professional counseling, this assistance should be sought outside the meeting. The meeting is encouraged to maintain a list of qualified counselors who understand Quaker values, as a reference for couples who may desire professional help.

It is important that the meeting supports both people and that both feel welcome at meeting for worship. Members of the meeting, especially those who serve on committees that provide pastoral care, should strive to keep open lines of communication, avoid blaming individuals, and help each individual act with integrity. Confidentiality is essential.

The meeting’s role is to support everyone in the family (including children). When there are children involved, the meeting should take care to ensure that they are welcome and feel the loving and practical support of the meeting. Be aware that children may feel bewildered, blame themselves for the difficulties their parents are experiencing, or feel caught in the middle.

If, ultimately, the couple decides to divorce, the couple may want to meet with a clearness committee to consider how the meeting can support them.

Queries for the couple:

1) Are you open to seeking spiritual support through a clearness process or asking for  professional help when difficulties or distress become evident?
2) Do you seek to keep the Spirit as a vital force in your life to help you deal with the changes that come with separation or divorce?
3) Do you avoid hurting your former spouse through your relationships with others, either in or out of the meeting?

Queries for couples with children:

1) As individuals, are you committed to the reality that you are both still parents of your children and must continue to find creative ways of fulfilling this responsibility?
2) Are you mindful of your children’s need to continue a loving relationship with each parent?
3) Are you mindful of your children’s pain and suffering?
4) Can you avoid both shutting your children out of your own pain and leaning on them too much?
5) Are you mindful of the special love between children and grandparents or extended family, and do you endeavor to further strengthen these ties?

Queries for Meetings:

1) Does the meeting actively and sensitively reach out to married persons or couples who may be troubled?
2) Does the meeting recognize that strong emotions may lead to different perceptions of what is true? Is it able to honor emotional truth without siding with anyone?
3) Is the meeting prepared to offer a clearness or support committee if requested by the couple?
4) Is the meeting providing ongoing spiritual and practical support affording stability and  continuity to children during this difficult time?
5) If the meeting finds itself too emotionally involved to help, will it consider calling on  another monthly meeting, its quarterly meeting, or yearly meeting for resource persons?

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Attachment Y2020-50: Memoral Meeting for Worship
Memorial Minutes

Ruth Naomi Miles Mattheiss
November 29, 1919—April 22, 2020

Naomi Miles Mattheiss joined Stony Run Monthly Meeting in the 1950s, along with her husband, Theodore (Ted) Mattheiss. In 1959 Ted was hired to be the Executive Secretary of Baltimore Yearly Meeting, Stony Run – a decade before unification of the two yearly meetings. Not long after that, those of us who grew up in Baltimore Yearly Meeting in the 1950s and 60s got to know Ted and Naomi because they became directors of Catoctin Quaker Camp as part of Ted’s job with the yearly meeting. Together, Naomi and Ted were friendly and cheerful, with a good sense of humor. They pulled together a group of adults from BYM to lead the camp programs. Counselors were high school and college students. Around the campfire, Naomi’s voice could be heard.

After the two Baltimore Yearly Meetings united in 1968, Ted became its General Secretary. In 1970 the Yearly Meeting office was moved into its new quarters in Sandy Spring, and Naomi and Ted took up residence in the upstairs of the building, and transferred their membership from Stony Run to Sandy Spring Monthly Meeting.

Naomi traveled widely with Ted around Baltimore Yearly Meeting. In the history of BYM, it is noted that one year they visited 44 Monthly Meetings for Worship and Business, attended quarterly meetings, and countless committee meetings, as well as attending to various national Quaker organizations. Naomi and Ted were seen frequently around the yearly meeting, and were well liked. Ted would often offer messages in Meeting for Worship, however we do not remember Naomi offering ministry.

Naomi’s published obituary says:

“After Ted’s death in 1979, Naomi led programs at Koinonia Foundation in Lutherville, MD. She then moved to Tennessee, studied and received a Master’s degree in Theology. A highlight of those years was her trip to Israel, visiting many Biblical sites. In the next 16 years, Naomi assisted her brother in ministry at his church in Williamsport, MD. She and her sister Vivian also provided counseling, food pantry items and clothing for those in need. In 2008, Naomi became a resident of Friends House in Sandy Spring, and delighted in the independent living community of friends she found there.”

Although it has been many years since Naomi has been able to attend Annual Sessions, Friends remember Naomi joining us for the 50th Anniversary of Camp Catoctin (Catoctin Quaker Camp) in 2008.

Naomi died on April 22, 2020 at the age of 100 years. Naomi Mattheiss was almost fragile looking, but underneath she was strong and supportive of what she believed in. Her family says she always believed in possibilities, and set an example by her work in counseling and encouraging others. That was our experience as young Friends at Camp Catoctin. Naomi Mattheiss, a quiet leader in Baltimore Yearly Meeting as it was reuniting in the 1960s and 70s.

Caroline Esther Cole Kirk Hagen
September 6, 1929—January 12, 2020

With heavy hearts we announce Caroline Esther Cole Kirk Hagen died on January 12, 2020 at the age of 90. Complications of pneumonia took her away from us.

Caroline was born September 6, 1929 in West Grove, PA, daughter of the late William R. and Edna Patricia Volin Cole of Lincoln University, PA. She had a sister, Patricia Volin Cole Vinther (Patsy), who predeceased her. Caroline attended high schools in Oxford, PA, Pittsfield, MA and San Diego, CA, before returning to graduate from Oxford in 1946. She attended Penn State University before studying voice and piano at Ornstein School of Music in Philadelphia. While growing up and into adulthood, many enjoyable summers were spent at her parent’s cabin on Lake Willoughby, Vermont.

Caroline and Edwin Fillmore Kirk, Jr. were married on September 11, 1948. They raised three children in their Christiana, PA home. They are Timothy William Kirk, married to Claudia, of Paradise, PA, Phillip Haines Kirk, married to Pati, of Hyde Park, VT, and John Elliott Kirk, married to Dr. Bradley Peterson, of San Francisco, CA. She and Edwin shared 38 years of marriage until his death in 1986.

Caroline met Dr. John W. Hagen, DDS while they were both singing in the LanChester Chorus. Their relationship developed after the passing of their former spouses and on October 17, 1998 they married, and she moved to Parkesburg, PA. They traveled extensively, enjoying trips to the Hawaiian Islands, South Africa, Austria, Germany, Norway, England, Scotland, Canada, Florida, California, Washington, and Vermont. They shared 21 years of marriage.

Caroline joined Nottingham Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, Oxford, PA, on Dec. 8, 1963. She was very active in the Meeting, serving on many committees and as Clerk. Additionally, she served Baltimore Yearly Meeting as Representative Meeting Recording Clerk, Registrar, and on several committees, including Program, Friends House Trustees, and FGC Central Committee. She traveled to the 1991 F.W.C.C. Triennial in Kenya as a BYM representative. Health issues limited her ability to attend Meeting over the past several years.

Her children and grandchildren were her greatest joy. Music, theater, and traveling were her hobbies. She taught private music lessons for over 40 years. She additionally served as Choir Director of the Methodist Church in Odessa, DE, and Interim Director of the Chancel Choir of Lancaster Church of the Brethren. She shared her lovely Contralto voice with the LanChester Chorus, the Lancaster Church of the Brethren choir and had been a guest soloist with the Lincoln University Glee Club. She was an Avon representative for many years and a teacher’s assistant at Octorara Middle School from 1981 to 1988.

Caroline is survived by her husband, John, her sons, and their spouses mentioned above. Four grandchildren: Barton (Erin) Kirk of Pittsburgh, PA, Samuel (Amanda) Kirk, of Newtown Square, PA, Alison (Todd Sammons) Kirk of Lewes, DE, Caroline (Thomas) Csala of Milton, DE, and six great-grandchildren: Thomas, Sennawyn, Tyler, Luke, Oliver and Frances.

A Friends Memorial Meeting was held on Saturday, February 15, 2020 at Oxford Friends Meeting, Oxford, PA. There was music and deep fellowship shared by over 180 people wishing to honor her. Her family was deeply moved.

Caroline was a kind, gracious and generous person, whose spirit continues to inspire us.

Richard Lee Sutton
January 17, 1950 - July 26, 2020

Richard Lee Sutton, born January 17, 1950, passed from cancer on July 26, 2020 at Western Correctional Institution, Cumberland, Maryland at 70 years of age. Richard played a primary role in the creation of South Mountain Friends Fellowship, a Quaker ministry of Patapsco Friends Meeting (PFM) and Goose Creek Meeting at Maryland Correctional Institution-Hagerstown (MCI-H), a state prison, from 2007-2017.

In the summer and fall of 2004 Patapsco Friends Meeting (Ellicott City) hosted a regular Thursday evening workshop on “Discerning and Following a Leading.” One Thursday evening, one of the participants, Susan Norris Rose, presented a letter she had received, addressed to her as prior Clerk of PFM, from Richard Sutton, a prisoner at MCI-H, asking PFM to host a Meeting for Worship in that prison. Richard indicated that he had participated in a weekly Quaker meeting for worship when he was incarcerated at Patuxent Institution (Jessup) in the 1980s, but that he had been incarcerated in the Hagerstown prison since 1998 where there was no Quaker meeting. He explained that incarcerated persons within state prisons could only meet for worship if ministers from that worship group would meet with them for the religious gathering. Susan indicated that she was led to respond affirmatively to Richard's request and asked if other Friends were led to support her. In early 2005, PFM agreed to support the creation of a weekly Meeting for Worship at MCI-H and transmitted its request to the prison sample. The ministry began in the Spring of 2005 on Saturday mornings, 10:00 am –11:30 am.

From the time of the first meeting until his transfer out of the Hagerstown facility, Richard acted as the clerk of the Quaker meeting within the prison. Over time he brought about 25 prisoners to the Saturday meetings, some of whom became regular members of what came to be the South Mountain Friends Fellowship (named after South Mountain, east of Hagerstown), under the care of PFM and BYM. The fellowship continued until about 2017, when almost all its members had been released, transferred, or passed on. Patapsco Friends continued their spiritual support for prisoners through letters, calls, and visits, as well as limited assistance for those released to their communities.

Richard had been incarcerated much of his life since 1974, except for 1992-98, initially at Patuxent Institution (Jessup), and from 1998-2014 at Maryland Correctional Institution-Hagerstown. During the time that several Friends at Patapsco Friends Meeting became deeply acquainted with him, we learned how much of a mentor and spiritual guide he was to many of the persons he was incarcerated with inside Maryland's prisons. As one PFM member put it, Richard “had a special place in our hearts because his leading began a ministry that transformed our lives as well as the lives of many of the prisoners we visited. The voices of prisoners were carried to the wider fellowship of BYM, often through words written by Richard himself.”

At one meeting, Richard shared that even though any gift might be seen as a bribe in the prison context, Richard he wanted to be able to give. He often carried seasonings with him—a way of making the prison's dreadful food a little more palatable—and freely offered it. Also, touch was usually a no-no and could be misunderstood. But Richard often put his hand on the shoulder of young prisoners, feeling they could use a little fatherly support. Often both gestures were appreciated, sometimes not; but it was the risk-taking, the giving, and the caring that characterized Richard.

Richard was highly literate and quickly became South Mountain's librarian. A great reader, he kept books and Pendle Hill pamphlets in his cell for others to take and read as they were able. When he was required to move from Hagerstown to Jessup Correctional Institution, he left his Quaker book collection at Hagerstown. Over the years, Richard became involved in other spiritualities, including Judaism and Native American faiths, reading widely and allowing them to touch and transform his life.

Richard was a pioneer from within the prison setting. He did what he could to promote positive change around him even though he felt he was wrongly imprisoned. He was also a very active letter writer, and the following quotations from his letters capture some of his spirit:

“Here it is, two days after our last SMFF Meeting and I find myself thinking about and being affected by our group sharing. I have talked about and shared much with some of my fellows for two or three decades. I am still in the game but with a different mind and heart. I have prayed many prayers over my six decades on earth. The most fervent prayers were from my states of despair, fear, pain, loneliness and feeling lost in the sea of darkness. . . I do what I can on a case-by-case basis in this prison setting in my daily walks. Today, I have not and will not engage in any verbal or physical conflicts. I will exhibit tolerance and tenderness to all I encounter. I will smile and offer an ear to all who require my attention. So, in the end, if I still feel some doubt or still experience a sense of lacking, I will turn it over to God.”

“As you and some of the others know, prisons are not what most folks think they are. It has been a major impact having the Quaker ministers show up each week and just listen. Having like-minded people in a room discussing all manner of things without fear is a miracle. I have seen a number of inmates turn some major corners without psychotherapy or drugs. To help one turn within and heal spiritually opens the door to many of our folks to heal emotionally and mentally.”

In one letter, written after he had left MCI-H, Richard wrote that “I have been going into silent worship at the same times that South Mountain Friends Fellowship and Patapsco Friends Meeting are “Meeting” on Saturday and Sunday. I am still a part of the groups as a prayer warrior—each according to his ability and openings. . . . I'm going to Jewish Service on Saturday mornings [in Patuxent Institution]. It's the same time that South Mountain Fellowship is held. We read the Torah and have discussions much like our Quaker Meetings. I miss all the Friends but am content and blessed.”

A Friend who knew Richard well observed that “Richard was a close friend. He was a dear and caring support to many of his incarcerated members where he served. I appreciate his work within the prison system as well as his important role within our Quaker fellowship. I will miss him deeply and hope we continue to promote the justice reforms he has helped lift to our attention.” PFM’s Clerk observed, “the very simple fact that Richard was instrumental in initiating SMFF and all that has evolved since that time is remarkable and filled with grace. I have deep respect for Richard and all he offered to our world. He will be sorely missed.”

Judith Marie Riggin
January 24, 1946—June 2, 2020

Judy was a warm, thoughtful, dedicated and treasured member of our Meeting for many years. She was a mentor to many of us, always leading us with kindness, knowledge and a dash of humor. She helped us to see the living legacy of our historic building and to ensure it is protected for future generations. She connected us all in more ways than we can count. We miss her deeply.

Judy was born in Springfield, Missouri and graduated from Parkview High School. She obtained her degree in English from Arizona State University. Judy was an Associate Professor of film and literature at Northern Virginia Community College from 1970-2010. While there, she developed many close friendships and served as a mentor to students in ways that challenged them to excellence and helped them to succeed in their future studies and careers.

Judy had a calming presence, and was a devoted and loving daughter, sister, neighbor, friend and Aunt. She was an ardent gardener, a passionate dog lover, and a frequent traveler. She enjoyed trips to California, Alaska, Florida and Mississippi, frequently traveling with long-time friends from her childhood and teaching career. One of her favorite trips was a rafting experience down the Colorado River, which she made when she was already in her 70s.

Judy was a leader at Alexandria Meeting in the best sense of the word. She had a gift for seeing all aspects of the Meeting in a comprehensive way and inviting members to become involved in making the community inclusive. . She possessed a kind and compassionate spirit and was an attentive listener. She kept track of the needs of the meeting and its members Often, it meant nurturing Friends to become more involved in specific roles that contributed to the overall meeting, or lovingly encouraging people to more carefully consider their words or actions to help us to see that of God in everyone. She played a central role in binding us together as a cohesive and caring community.

She also defended our physical community – our treasured meetinghouse. She served on the property committee for many years, where she helped us to see the way to preserve and renew the building and grounds. She worked closely with our Historian and state authorities to ensure the integrity of our space as both our spiritual home and a site of profound historical significance. The meetinghouse was built before the Civil War, but since then Fort Belvoir has grown up around it. Judy represented our meeting in discussions with the military base to protect our physical space and the silence we treasure for worship. She did so by building relationships of trust and respect.

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Attachment Y2020-57: Reparations Action Working Group
Recommendations for Engagement with Reparations

Recommendations for Engagement with Reparations
Suggested by the Reparations Action Working Group of the Baltimore Yearly Meeting
Clerk: Nikki Richards,

The Baltimore Yearly Meeting Reparations Action Working Group has developed a list of recommended actions that specifically white people in the Yearly Meeting, Monthly Meetings, Camp Community, and Youth Programs can take to engage with Reparations. Racial violence is interwoven through our society and within our communities. It is our responsibility and moral imperative to work together to repair past and present harms that result from racial violence and oppression. We urge our Yearly Meeting community to consider these recommended actions and pursue a process to carry them out.

We invite Friends to work with and seek guidance from the Reparations Action Working Group and the Growing Diverse Leadership committee in developing such a process and embracing these recommendations. We have attached two appendices to this document; one, a list of examples for ways Friends might engage with our recommendations, and two, a powerpoint to outline the ways the Light and Spirit are part of this work.

We recognize that Baltimore Yearly Meeting is not an all-white community, however we also acknowledge the reality that the vast majority of our Members and Attenders in BYM are and have historically been white. Thus, we are addressing white persons in the BYM community, as it is their responsibility to actively participate in this work of repair.

We especially want to make clear the importance of centering the voices and experiences of those who have been harmed. We urge our community to follow the lead of those who have been harmed. We stress the importance of nurturing trust across individuals and groups of different cultural backgrounds. We hope that Friends seek to build relationships, examine our history, acknowledge our past harms, and work with those most impacted to determine how to repair those harms. Centuries of harm will not be overcome quickly, and at the same time, we must ensure not to ask those who have been harmed to wait forever for justice to come. We understand this to be a process. When should we start? A Friend has said, “The best time to plant a tree is 150 years ago. The next best time is today.” We hope that Friends will embrace these recommendations and work together to repair harm.

“Until we are all free, we are none of us free” - Emma Lazarus

Announcement: A group of Friends are hosting a Reparations workshop during the 2020 Annual Sessions from 2pm - 4pm on Wednesday, July 29th. As slavery, oppression of Native people, Jim Crow, red-lining, mass incarceration, and other myriad racial injustices have changed, racial inequity has outlasted generations into the present. This workshop invites Friends to consider our roles as Friends - individually, in Meetings, locally and nationally. Is there a "win-win" vision to repair and renew?

We the BYM Reparations Action Working Group recommend:

  1. Centering & Leading: it is imperative that Friends center the stories, experiences, and voices of those most impacted. We recommend that Friends consistently follow African American and Native leadership when working toward Reparations. Sit with those who were harmed and talk about the appropriate form of reparations. Only those who were impacted can truly determine what repair can look like.
  2. Internal self-work & guidance from the Light/Spirit: Historically, the suffering caused by oppression and exploitation has traumatized generations. What did slavery, land theft, racial violence, and oppression cost Black and Indigenous people and how do these still impact Black and Indigenous people today? Reparations will require understanding of both past and present harms, apologies, economic restoration, and fundamental changes in our systems of government and social customs. These steps call upon us to make sacrifices. Some Quaker traditions and practices that were developed when virtually all Quakers were white need to be re-examined to see how they may tend to keep People of Color away. We recommend examining the level of sacrifice we need to make to repay our debts based on these past and current harms.
  3. Understanding at a Yearly Meeting Level: We recommend that BYM conduct research to identify racially unjust policies, procedures, practices, and actions that have historically been perpetrated by the Baltimore Yearly Meeting, as well as current policies, procedures, and practices of BYM. Historical research would need to include both the Orthodox and Hicksite bodies when the Yearly Meeting was divided as well as the various predecessor Yearly Meetings such as West River, Maryland, Virginia, and Philadelphia with respect to those local Meetings transferred from that Yearly Meeting in 1790.
  4. Understanding at a local Meeting, Camps, and Youth Programming Level: We recommend that local Meetings, the Quaker Camps, and the JYF and YF programs receive training in peacebuilding process and restorative justice practices, and conduct research to identify potential harmful and oppressive structures, policies, and procedures within our smaller local communities. We recommend developing a process to dismantle these structures, policies, and procedures within our Monthly Meetings, the Quaker Camps, and the JYF and YF programs. We recommend moving beyond restrictive and precautionary “conversations” and basic land acknowledgements and move toward plenary action, payment, and repair in each of these localities.
  5. Understanding at an Individual level: Understanding our own family history is critical to understanding our roles in dismantling systemic oppression and repairing past harms. We recommend researching and investigating our spiritual and familial ancestors to understand who may have been impacted and how.
  6. Historical Insight to the Society of Friends: We need to examine Quakers’ own intentional and unintentional history of complicity and participation in slavery, land theft, and genocide. We need also to examine Quaker’s own history of complicity and participation in racial violence and oppression in the era following slavery and initial land theft from Tribes. We recommend deeper research and publication of this information to the wider Yearly Meeting.
  7. Education & Knowledge: It is important that members of the Baltimore Yearly Meeting community work to educate ourselves about the best ways to be anti-racist. We value knowledge and we believe it puts us in the best position to act aligned with the values of those most impacted. We recommend that Friends seek out educational opportunities both within and outside the BYM community.
  8. Apologizing and Recognizing: It is imperative that individuals and larger institutional structures both recognize and apologize for past and current harms, whether those harms were intentional or unintentional. It is our responsibility to make right even those atrocities our ancestors committed. We recommend public acknowledgement of past harms and sincere apology to those who have been impacted by such harms. We recommend pushing for acknowledgement and apology from local, state, and federal governments and institutions in addition to apology from our own institution.
  9. Distinction of issues: We recommend that Friends consider both the parallel yet separate issues of Reparations for Indigenous folks and Reparations for Black folks; Reparations for these two groups will likely look different. In addition, we recommend that repatriation be part of the conversation about reparations.
  10. Local Community-based businesses and groups: Equity is important. We recommend taking actions to support a just economy and local Black & Indigenous - owned businesses and Black & Indigenous - led groups. We recommend that Friends regularly shop at these businesses. We recommend that Friends consistently support local organizing groups in tangible ways, including financially.
  11. Yearly Meeting Repair: We recommend BYM work to address past and present harms with individuals and institutions that have been traumatized, harmed, and impacted by racial injustice, both in the area and beyond. This will involve looking at and changing our policies, and examining our assets. We recommend BYM regularly re-examine our investments and the use of those funds, and learn what our money is invested in and how it has been used. We recommend taking action to divest if those uses are harmful.
  12. Local Meeting, Camps, and Youth Programming Repair: Establish relationships with predominantly African American churches and traditional tribal religious circles in the area. We recommend Friends work to address past and present harms with individuals and institutions that have been traumatized, harmed, and impacted by racial injustice, both in the area and beyond.
  13. Policy & Outward-facing: We recommend supporting reparative policies and legislation at the federal and state level that require the United States to acknowledge the lasting impacts of slavery and land theft, Jim Crow laws, redlining, the GI bill, and all systemic and institutional forms of racial oppression, and establish and execute a plan to address those impacts. We also recommend engaging with local officials to push for legislation with a specific focus on reparations.
  14. Preventative measures: History repeats itself unless we actively work to prevent it. We recommend implementing measures to ensure that everyone in Baltimore Yearly Meeting knows the details of our history. We recommend the creation of internal policies which stop racial oppression and prevent it from ever happening again.
  15. Measures of success: What are our measures of success? How do we know we have reached our goals? We recommend developing and utilizing a tool for measuring success.

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