Skip to main content

2019 Yearbook

Annual Session 2019

of Baltimore Yearly Meeting of the

Religious Society of Friends
Quaker Tools for the Journey

Hood College

Frederick, Maryland

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Y2019-1 Opening Worship. We opened with a brief period of settling worship.

Y2019-2 Queries, Reading. The Presiding Clerk read the queries:
As we reflect on the direct spiritual experiences of Friends who have gone before:

  • What speaks to the roots of our own Quaker faith?
  • What speaks to our condition in the present world?
  • What opens us to the Light?

Then he read this:

The silence we value is not the mere outward silence of the lips. It is a deep quietness of heart and mind, a laying aside of the preoccupation with passing things—yes, even with the workings of our own minds; a resolute fixing of the heart upon that which is unchangeable and eternal. This “silence of all flesh” appears to be the essential preparation for any act of true worship. It is also, we believe, the essential condition at all times of inward illumination.

Selections from her Quaker Strongholds (1890)

Y2019-3 Introductions of the Clerks Table and Agenda Review. Ken Stockbridge (Patapsco), Presiding Clerk, welcomed Friends to this Annual Session in the 348th year of Baltimore Yearly Meeting and thanked us for being here. Friends at the Clerks’ table introduced themselves: Helen Tasker (Frederick), Recording Clerk; Jason Eaby (Nottingham), sound and technology manager. The Clerk also introduced the Prayerful Presences who hold the Meeting in the Light and invited others to join them.

Y2019-4 Introductions of First-Time Attenders, Visitors, Travel Minutes. The Clerk noted that we have 30 Friends visiting us from outside of the Yearly Meeting and asked first-time attenders to stand and be acknowledged. He then asked visitors to stand and introduce themselves, and the following Friends did so:

  • Emma Condori (Holiness Friends YM/Bolivia; Evangelical Friends International) introduced herself and spoke of her anticipation of sharing her work of the spirit.
  • Dancan Sabwa (East Africa YM-North; Associate Global Treasurer, Quaker Men International) introduced himself.
  • David Eley (Keystone Fellowship, Ohio YM)
  • Beth Gorton (Quaker City Unity FM, New England YM) spoke of her leading to promote intervisitation.

The following Friends introduced themselves, and their travel letters/minutes were read by the Clerk.

  • Hayley Hathaway (Santa Fe MM, Intermountain Yearly Meeting) She announced her interest group for Quaker Earthcare Witness.
  • Emily Provance (15th Street Meeting, New York YM) announced her workshop (later this week) on Multi-age Inclusion and stated the query she brings to us “why are there not more young people in this room?” Her travel letter was read. Emily then mentioned Nikki Holland (Director of Belize Friends Ministries, but not present today) who is also visiting this Yearly Meeting who will be leading a workshop here “How do you discern your call?”

Y2019-5 Report on Opening Retreat. The Clerk noted that in giving this report it is hoped that some of the loving energy from the retreat will come into our session here. Sarah Bur (Homewood) wrote the report. It is included below:

The Baltimore Yearly Meeting Retreat this year drew over 60 Friends, by far the largest retreat we have ever had. Facilitator Marcelle Martin is the author of Our Life is Love: The Quaker Spiritual Journey, a title she selected because the Quaker journey is all about bringing God’s love into the world. The retreat was grounded in the discoveries of early Friends who experienced the presence and power of God working in them and through them. Marcelle spoke about how the word “power” is now a dirty word reflective of the evil misuse of power. Early Friends experienced the power of the Spirit working through them—a power that is greater than worldly power.

We started by centering on a quote from Isaac Pennington:

Be no more than God hath made thee.
Give over thine own willing;
Give over thine own running;
Give over thine own desiring to know or be anything;
And sink down to the seed which God sows in the heart.

This is the starting point for bringing God’s love into the world. Through a series of experiential exercises Marcelle led us to go deeper and deeper. We responded individually and repeatedly to the questions: “What is your heart longing for?” and “What does your tender heart know?” We participated in Experiment with Light, a guided meditation based upon George Fox’s writing about the Light which facilitates discernment being guided and searched by the Light. In small groups we held each other and our concerns in the Light, praying for each other.

There is a big difference between talking about God/the Light and being vessels of the Spirit. We enter BYM Annual Session hopeful that as a body we can be vessels of the Spirit and channel that Life, Light and Power.

Recorded by Sarah Bur

Y2019-6 Program Committee. Barb Platt (Sandy Spring), Clerk of Program Committee, welcomed us and asked others on the committee to stand. She welcomed Friends and gave a few notes on this year’s plenary space, Brodbeck Music Hall. She gave a few tips regarding logistics and described highlights of the week. She especially thanked Hood College staff and our own staff. She mentioned the Annual Report, to which we could refer for more detailed information about the work of the Committee, but she highlighted the Pay as Led (PAL) model for financing Annual Session, which Program Committee is exploring. She spoke of how some of the Hood staff spoke about our presence here, noting how this time seems to anchor our community.

Y2019-7 Nomination of Epistle Committee. The Clerk described the work of the Epistle Committee and then nominated the following people to serve on the Epistle Committee: Meg Regal (Sandy Spring), Rebecca Richards (Gunpowder), and Peirce Hammond (Bethesda). Friends APPROVED the nominations of these Friends to the Epistle Committee.

Y2019-8 Report from Interim Meeting. Marcy Baker Seitel (Adelphi), Clerk of Interim Meeting, updated us on the highlights from Interim Meeting. She noted that Yearly Meeting (Annual Session) and Interim Meeting are the two hearts of BYM and that the two clerks bring their different perspectives to the business and how that is a gift to all of us. She referred to the minutes of business actions which are elsewhere in the Yearbook. She spoke of the wondrous work that is done during Interim Meeting. Much of the work has been seasoning work of committees. She spoke of the way in which this work is carried through generations. She spoke of the joy it has been to work with so many Friends and how watching how thinking changes through the course of the year is a gift. She also spoke of how it is important to be mindful and tender towards the staff as our decisions may affect them. The written version of her oral report is ATTACHED, along with a summary of actions taken by the Interim Meeting.

Y2019-9 Staff Introductions. Ned Stowe (Sandy Spring), General Secretary, mentioned the camp caretakers, Mike Reid (Shiloh Quaker Camp) and Jesse Miller (Catoctin Quaker Camp), who could not be here and then introduced other staff members: Mary Braun (Patuxent), Development Director; David Hunter (Frederick), Camp Property Manager; Harriet Dugan, Bookkeeper; Jane Megginson (Frederick), Camp Program Manager; Jossie Dowling, Youth Programs Manager/Interim STRIDE Coordinator; Laura Butler (Sandy Spring), Administrative Assistant; Wayne Finegar (Sandy Spring), Associate General Secretary; and Margo Lehman (Sandy Spring ), Comptroller.

Y2019-10 Associate General Secretary’s Report. Wayne Finegar (Sandy Spring), Associate General Secretary, gave his report. He referred to the changes that have been implemented since he moved into the position of Associate General Secretary and the Administrative Assistant position was created. His full report is ATTACHED.

Y2019-11 Manual of Procedure (MoP) Changes—2nd Reading. Co-Clerks Peggy Dyson-Cobb (Maury River) and Donna Kolaetis (Menallen) gave the report. Donna briefly reviewed substantive changes, which are laid out in the Advance Report. These changes were APPROVED. See ATTACHMENT with final changes.

Y2019-12 Trustees. Greg Tobin (Frederick), Co-Clerk, gave the report and welcomed us to Frederick. He asked others to introduce themselves. He updated us on our financial investments. Trustees have been discussing how to explore even more socially responsible investments. He noted that our investment income allows us to support more work of the Yearly Meeting. Currently we have about 1.5 million dollars in these long-term funds. For details, see the Trustees’ Annual Report. A Friend noted how other Friends’ groups are divesting from fossil fuel companies.

Y2019-13 Closing Worship and Announcements. We entered a period of closing worship in which we shared news of friends. We then heard announcements.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019 (morning session)

Y2019-14 Opening Worship. We opened with a brief period of settling worship.

Y2019-15 Queries, Reading. The Clerk read the queries:

  • In seeking wholeness, how do we embrace and learn from our shadow as well as the Light?
  • How do we find God in our mistakes?
  • How do we find God in our brokenness?

Y2019-16 Introductions of the Clerks’ Table and Agenda Review. Ken Stockbridge (Patapsco), Presiding Clerk, welcomed Friends to this Annual Session in the 348th year of Baltimore Yearly Meeting and thanked us for being here. Helen Tasker (Frederick), Recording Clerk, and Jason Eaby (Nottingham), sound and technology manager, introduced themselves. He updated us on the agenda for the rest of the week.

Y2019-17 Introductions of First-Time Attenders, Visitors, Travel Minutes. The Clerk asked first-time attenders to stand and be acknowledged. He then asked visitors to stand and introduce themselves.

  • Marcelle Martin (Retreat leader, Swarthmore, Philadelphia YM) introduced herself and announced that she will be leading a workshop on Faithfulness Groups. A Minute of Religious Service from Swarthmore Meeting was read by the Clerk.
  • Howard von Breeman (Wicomico River FM, Philadelphia YM) introduced himself. He is on the Planning Committee for the 2020 FGC Gathering in Radford, VA.
  • Jacqueline Stillwell’s (Monadnock MM, New England YM, General Secretary for Right Sharing of World Resources) travel minute from Monadnock Meeting was read.
  • Chuck Schobert’s (Madison, Northern YM, Travelling Ministry Corps with Friends World Committee for Consultation) travel minute from Madison was read.
  • S. Jean Smith’s (Kaimosi, East Africa YM) travel minute was read.
  • Ruth Reber (Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia YM, Friends General Conference staff visitor) introduced herself and announced her interest group; her travel minute was read.
  • Nikki Holland (New Association of Friends, House of Peace, Friends United Meeting staff member) introduced herself. She announced her workshop later this week.

Y2019-18 Announcement. Barb Platt (Sandy Spring), Clerk of Program Committee, gave an announcement and asked us to hold elevator repairmen in the Light! (Addendum: by the end of the day’s business session it was repaired!)

Y2019-19 Ministry and Pastoral Care. Co-Clerks Melanie Gifford (Adelphi) and Rebecca Richards (Gunpowder) gave their report based on the Committee’s Annual Report. Melanie touched upon the two roles of the committee: offering pastoral care to the local Meetings themselves and offering help to Meetings to find ways to nurture the pastoral care skills of members in the local Meetings. The Committee has asked to start the Pastoral Care Working Group. She also noted that the Committee has realized that Meetings and schools associated with the Yearly Meeting may sometimes fail to respond to Friends in crisis; the Pastoral Care Working Group seeks to support local Meetings in this work. She noted that the Committee met with Trustees about the lawsuit this past year. The Committee learned of the pain that was not addressed and of Friends who helped ease that pain. There is a need for deep and unflinching people to do this delicate work, and she invited such Friends to make themselves known to the Committee.

Y2019-20 Intervisitation Working Group. Joan Liversidge (Sandy Spring) gave the report, which included a slideshow highlighting the Working Group’s work over the past year; the slideshow began with the audio of the Paulette Meier’s song, “Our Life is Love” from Isaac Pennington’s words. She related this to the query from this morning and also to the work of the Working Group. She continued with the mission statement, a brief history, and explanation of what it means to have a ministry of presence. She noted that over the past year the Working Group held six workshops in 2018 and 2019 at Annual Sessions, hosted the Intervisitation Lounge, assisted three of the Friends travelling abroad, and hosted three workshops at local Meetings. She reported statistics about Working Group members’ travels and visits. She asked us to hold Sylvia Graves of Western YM, FUM in the Light, whose husband, Dale, died this past year. The Graves have been visitors here at BYM and also hosted BYM members at their home. Other slides showed photos of BYM Friends visiting with Friends around the world. She ended with the query: How do we in BYM corporately embrace ministry? The Clerk noted that letters go out each year to invite Friends from other Yearly Meetings to attend Annual Session and funds to cover their registration are provided regardless of need.

Y2019-21. Transition. We were called back from the break with the song “When Jesus Wept,” accompanied a Friend on the piano, which led into a moment of settling worship.

Y2019-22 Faith and Practice Committee. Sarah Bur (Homewood) and Helen Tasker (Frederick), Co-Clerk, gave the report, which included highlights from the Annual Report. In addition, Sarah thanked those who worked on the creation of the 2013 Resource for Faith and Practice, as the current committee uses this document extensively. They also announced the interest groups for the week, a dinner meet-up, and welcomed Friends to attend their committee meetings this week.

We heard a Friend’s concern for the reading level of the document and encouraged the Committee to make it more accessible to Friends whose first language is not English. Also she cautioned us that when we quote the Bible, we should not necessarily use the King James Version, which was the state of the Bible in the early days of Friends. The first generation Friends used a Geneva translation, and Friends encouraged the Committee to use the appropriate translation given the context.

Y2019-23 General Secretary’s Report. Ned Stowe (Sandy Spring), General Secretary, gave his report. He began by thanking us for our trust in him to serve as General Secretary and thanked staff for their hard work and good humor; and he thanked the Supervisory Committee and his personal spiritual support committee, as well as his family. He related his time as General Secretary to navigating a river that started out calmly but quickly changed into whitewater, with continual challenging situations. Ned also spoke of the difference between strategic leadership and Spirit-led leadership. He reviewed this year’s activities and posed several queries, one of which was “Who are we as a faith community?” He specifically noted his goals for facilitating long range planning for the Yearly Meeting, noting that he will be addressing this with Supervisory Committee and other Friends in this Yearly Meeting. His report is ATTACHED.

We heard a question about modeling from other Friends groups for strategic planning, and Ned clarified that they will be looking to some of our experienced Friends, organizations. and local Meetings to share their wisdom around strategic planning. He emphasized the talents within this Yearly Meeting and how he looks forward to drawing on those. Another Friend asked if there are one or two major concerns driving this need for planning. Ned stated that he is looking to answer the questions: Where do we want to be in five to ten years and what are our priorities? Another Friend asked how this denomination compares to other organizations and their goals and plans. Ned explained his view that fundraising will come after we have a clearer vision of who we are spiritually, and after that we can work toward our priorities.

Y2019-24 Catoctin Bathhouse Report. Ned Stowe (Sandy Spring), General Secretary, updated us on the Catoctin bathhouse, noting that Friends have been using it now for two years. He then updated us on its financial status. The details can be found in his written report. He reminded us that: “The total cost of the project was $772,735. Member contributions paid more than $430,000 of the cost up front. The balance, $340,000, was financed by ten Friendly lenders who provided low-interest loans to BYM Trustees for three to five years at an average interest rate of 2.3 percent (rates ranging from 0.0 to 4.0 percent).” He noted the expected schedule of repayment of the Friendly loans. He also noted that some of the loans were forgiven and thanked Friends for that. He encouraged Friends to give as they feel led, so that obligations can be met.

A Friend wanted to take a moment to appreciate our staff and especially our General Secretary, noting that the work they do requires them to be skilled and spirit-led. The report is ATTACHED.

Y2019-25 Friends United Meeting (FUM). Georgia Fuller (Langley Hill), Adrian Bishop (Baltimore, Stony Run), and Nikki Holland (House of Peace, New Association of Friends, and Friends United Meeting staff member) reported. Georgia reminded us to check out the FUM website so that we can decide how our YM wants to be involved. She reminded us of the 2020 Triennial in Kenya and invited us to go. She asked us to read her report and invited us to events later this week. Georgia then introduced Adrian and Nikki. They spoke of their work at Belize City Friends Center over the last year and spoke of the three areas which the Belize Friends Ministries focuses on: school, church, and community. Adrian outlined how their work is to turn the school over to the local community. Nikki spoke of her responsibilities in taking over the leading of the school, personal involvement with, and leading for this endeavour in Belize. She read an excerpt from a recent newsletter. The transcript of their remarks is ATTACHED.

A Friend reflected on a question raised last year about how we are in danger of becoming a quaint remnant of old-time Quakersim in the modern world if we do not engage with communities around the world. Georgia said that there has been an upswing in engagement in discussing the future of Friends—within both dually-affiliated and FUM-only Meetings. She stated that there are still challenges. Finally, she stated “We do challenges. That is why God put us here.”

Y2019-26 Closing Worship. We settled into a period of closing worship.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019 (afternoon session)

Y2019-27 Opening Worship and Welcome. After a brief period of settling worship, the Clerk welcomed us back to this session. The Clerk introduced Helen Tasker (Frederick), Recording Clerk.

Y2019-28 Strengthening Transformative Relationships in Diverse Environments (STRIDE) Working Group Report. Rosie Eck, Co-Clerk Baltimore STRIDE (also Co-Director at Teen Adventure), gave the report. She encouraged us to read Hannah Brown’s (Co-Clerk of Baltimore STRIDE) report. Rosie spoke of how the STRIDE work is done. She spoke of Jossie Dowling as Interim STRIDE coordinator for this summer. She greeted Catoctin campers (who hiked 14 miles from Camp Catoctin to Hood College) as they entered into this space. She said this year has been a process of articulating clearly what the program does in supporting campers and the camps. As they have repeatedly spoken about the program, they have clarified the understanding of their work. Rosie spoke of the desire for campers to connect with the Yearly Meeting and that this process enables those connections to develop. She spoke of how special it is to work with Meetings and the whole BYM community. The Clerk asked other STRIDE program folks to be recognized. A Friend commented on her beautiful experience visiting Catoctin Quaker Camp and seeing the work of STRIDE in action. Hannah Brown’s written report is ATTACHED.

Y2019-29 Camping Program Committee. Harry “Scotty” Scott (York), Co-Clerk, gave the report, highlighting the Committee’s ongoing work. He mentioned the four camps: Shiloh, Opequon, Catoctin, and Teen Adventure. He noted that the program involves over 600 people (campers, staff, volunteers) and that the budget is over $1,000,000. Scotty asked committee members present to stand. Scotty introduced the Camp Directors: Jesse Austell and Rosie Eck, Teen Adventure; Hope Swank, Shiloh; Jesse Miller, Catoctin; and Sean Hickey, Opequon. He mentioned Family Camp Weekends that this Committee co-hosts with the Camp Property Management Committee. These happen six times a year (twice a year at each of our three camp locations) and include activities, programs, and service projects. Scotty said that reunions at the camps happen every five years. He also noted that the Committee works closely with the Development Director and Development Committee.

Scotty introduced our newest director, Sean Hickey, Opequon, who made some remarks. Sean briefly outlined his long relationship with the camps: from a camper, to counselor, to kitchen manager, and staff person to his present position as Director. He encouraged us to talk to the real experts—the campers—some of whom are with us. Sean said that he thinks a lot about the metaphor of a garden and how it relates to the camps. The staff, volunteers, and committee members are trying to create the conditions so that the campers who, like seeds, intrinsically know how to grow, can do so. Sean spoke of how the staff seeks to create a balance between offering challenging activities and creating a safe space to grow. Giving children experiences of hard fun is key to the work. He ended with a call-and-response song: “Forget your perfect offering// just sing a song that you can sing// there is a crack in everything// that’s how the light gets in.”

We heard the following: A Friend asked about our relationship with the Pigeon family, who owns Opequon. David Hunter, Camp Property Manager, noted that the Camp Property Management Committee is still in conversation with the Pigeon family, who have not seen the way clear to sell the property to us. Many costly improvements need to be made on the site over the long term, so thinking about moving the camp to a different site has begun. A camper from Catoctin shared how it is a great place, discussed some camp legends, lovingly mentioned protective counselors and how he was sure that Opequon and Shiloh are also great camps. Another Friend asked about the STRIDE Program and if it has sufficient members to serve the needs of the YM. Rosie Eck responded that since we have a dedicated STRIDE Coordinator, we have more capacity. She reminded us that the program is still in the building relationships stage. Another camp counselor spoke of her experience of growing up in the camps and making deep connections as an early participant due to the efforts of the STRIDE Program. She has loved being in the camp community, both as a camper and a counselor.

Y2019-30 Closing Worship. We closed with a period of worship.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Y2019-31 Opening Worship. We opened with a period of worship.

Y2019-32 Queries, Reading. A Reading Clerk read the queries:

How have Quaker tools and practices drawn us into deeper faithfulness individually? …in our Quaker community?

A Reading Clerk read this:

Quakers did not invent queries. Mothers did. Without queries, motherdom would be hamstrung.

In my memory, many of my mother’s queries are categorized in clusters: “Did you brush your teeth? Did you clean your room? Did you shine your shoes?” A negative response to any of these necessitated corrective measures.

“Ha!” you might argue (if you’re in an argumentative mood). “Those aren’t really queries. Those are specific questions asking for specific responses.”

“You’re right,” I answer. “But so are many of the queries read at many Quaker business meetings”:

Do you participate regularly in meeting for business?

Do you read the Bible?
Do you practice family prayer?
Do you support the public schools?

These queries, like my mother’s, are designed to keep me focused on generally accepted principles. Like my mother’s, they also carry the implication of a right or wrong answer and the advisability of altering unsatisfactory behavior.

As with Quaker queries, my mother’s were not limited to ones requiring only a right or wrong answer. A favorite of hers was, “What did you accomplish today?” I hated that one.

A Query Buff Looks at Queries
by Barry Morley, Friends Journal, May 1, 1988 

Y2019-33 Introductions of the Clerks’ Table and Agenda Review. Ken Stockbridge (Patapsco), Presiding Clerk, welcomed Friends to our Annual Session in this 348th year of the Yearly Meeting. He invited Friends at the Clerks’ table to introduce themselves: Helen Tasker (Frederick), Recording Clerk; Young Friends Serena Gander-Leach (Adelphi) and Ayiana Croft (Adelphi); Young Adult Friend Devin Gillespie (Homewood), Reading Clerks; Jason Eaby (Nottingham), sound and technology manager; and Rick Post (Langley Hill) assistant technology manager. The Clerk also introduced the Prayerful Presences who hold the Meeting in the Light and remind us of the worshipful way in which we conduct business. He also made several announcements regarding our process and the agenda.

Y2019-34 Introductions of First-Time Attenders. The Clerk asked first-time attenders to stand and be acknowledged.

Y2019-35 Growing Diverse Leadership Committee. Peirce Hammond (Bethesda), Clerk of the Committee, presented the report. He spoke of how the Committee has been involved in visioning a future as an anti-racist community. Peirce spoke of how Clinton and Kathryn Pettus helped the Committee develop the proposed “Declaration of Baltimore Yearly Meeting as an Anit-Racist Organization.” He emphasized that some of the language within it is taken from the 2016 revision to the Yearly Meeting Vision Statement, the 2017 and 2018 BYM epistles, and Clinton Pettus’s report to the GDL Committee, as footnoted. Peirce then read the proposed declaration. (The final version of the Declaration as approved can be found at ATTACHMENT Y2019-72.)

Peirce made additional comments of how the Committee intends this to be used. He noted that a Friend has suggested changing the word “organization” to “community” as “organization” implies a hierarchical structure and the word “community” does not. He noted that this is meant to be applicable and impactful and is based on using the queries and Quaker process. He emphasized that we must be serious about it if we do adopt it and hold ourselves accountable. We need to record that we have used this process in our Annual Reports and that leadership has applied these queries. He also stated that good practice would be to keep records of the ways this is used, the results when using it, learnings, and recommendations which may come from the process. The idea is that the principles ascribed to in the Declaration would be embedded in how we practice our work at every level of the Yearly Meeting—from committees in local Meetings to the many decisions made at the Yearly Meeting level. We settled into worship as we considered this proposal.

The Clerk asked us to begin with clarifying questions. Friends asked about the end goal of this document. Peirce clarified that adopting the Declaration would mean that we would begin by asking and responding to the queries it poses. As we become more familiar with the practice of stating these responses, they would become integral to our process and may not need to be stated out loud each time. Another Friend on the GDL Committee spoke about how this document would make all of us accountable and asked if this would lock us into being an anti-racist organization. He made the suggestion to flip the order of queries 1 and 2 in the section “A Major Step Toward Becoming More Anti-Racist Is to Vet Decisions We Make” in order to emphasize and prioritize the harm the racist behavior causes rather than how the decision reflects our adherence to becoming an anti-racist community. Another Friend asked how the queries will be reflected in our process and how they could be explicit in our records. Peirce reiterated that this will be an ongoing process and the hope is to internalize these questions. The Clerk added that his role is to ensure that business items which are placed on the agenda are well-seasoned and that as Clerk he can verify in conversations he has with presenters that this process has occurred. The Clerk suggested that we lay this over to a future meeting as this is the beginning of the process. Another Friend shared an adage that she had heard that “management is concerned with doing the thing right, and leadership is concerned with doing the right thing.” She referred to the last section of the document titled “In Love and Peace, We Can Live as Friends” and pointed out that as we welcome diversity, we must also have healthy boundaries, and this means being clear about saying “no.” Another Friend commented that this declaration seems to be reflective of those here at Annual Session and of the work of the Yearly Meeting, rather than being brought by a local Meeting. The Clerk clarified that seasoning in local Meetings is certainly a possibility. Another Friend pointed out that we need to clarify what is basic to our faith and what is non-essential. She added that being clear about this would help people understand whether Quakersism suits them. Another Friend asked where in the statement does it mention boundaries, and why would we want to declare aspects of boundary that have nothing to do with race in this document? The Clerk encouraged us to continue talking about all of these issues as we move forward in the seasoning process.

Y2019-36 Reading. A Reading Clerk read:

In my workshops, I often ask people of color, “How often have you given white people feedback on our unaware yet inevitable racism? How often has that gone well for you?” Eye-rolling, head-shaking, and outright laughter follow, along with the consensus of rarely, if ever. I then ask, “What would it be like if you could simply give us feedback, have us graciously receive it, reflect, and work to change the behavior?” Recently a man of color sighed and said, “It would be revolutionary.” I ask my fellow whites to consider the profundity of that response. It would be revolutionary if we could receive, reflect, and work to change the behavior. On the one hand, the man’s response points to how difficult and fragile we are. But on the other hand, it indicates how simple it can be to take responsibility for our racism. However, we aren’t likely to get there if we are operating from the dominant worldview that only intentionally mean people can participate in racism.

Robin DiAngelo, White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for
White People to Talk About Racism
, 2018, Beacon Press, p. 113

Y2019-37 Clarification. A Friend asked for assurance from the Clerk that we will return to the Anti-Racist Declaration on Saturday, and the Clerk noted that this is a possiblity, depending on how quickly we are able to move through the other business—and this depends on each of us and our ability to be mindful as we work through other business items.

Y2019-38 Reparations Action Group Report. Nikki Richards (STRIDE, GDL) gave a report on the informal reparations action group. She noted that there will be an interest group today about this. She said that in May the action group was formed around the question “What would it look like for our community to address reparations?” She outlined the three current areas of work: education, logistics, and communication. Nikki acknowledged the others involved. This group hopes that others will join in their work. The details are in the ATTACHED report.

Y2019-39 Transition. The clerk welcomed us back from break with the song “Hush, Somebody’s Callin’ My Name,” and others joined in. We then settled into worship.

Y2019-40 Nominating Committee—1st Reading of Nominations. Co-Clerks Erik Hanson (Sandy Spring) and Deborah Haines (Alexandria) gave the report. They brought the full slate of committee memberships, drawing our attention to the nominees, noting that the second reading will be later this week.

Deborah Haines noted that we have more than 200 people serving on committees, and she asked committee clerks to consider if their committee is right sized. Erik noted several updates to the printed report, and Deborah encouraged Friends to communicate any corrections or additions. After the second reading, the final slate will appear in the Yearbook.

Y2019-41 Search Committee—2nd Reading of Nominations. Rebecca Rawls (Langley Hill) presented the slate below, the first reading having occurred at June Interim Meeting.

Search Committee of BYM
2019 Nominations
Second Reading, August 2019

Yearly Meeting Officers: (all serve 2-year terms)
Presiding Clerk: Ken Stockbridge, Patapsco (14)
Recording Clerk: Margaret Boyd Meyer, Stony Run (19)
Treasurer: Jim Riley, Hopewell Centre (1/20) (term expires 12/21)
Assistant Treasurer: Arthur Meyer Boyd, Stony Run (1/20) (term expires 12/21)

Interim Meeting Officers: (all serve 2-year terms)
Clerk: Marcy Baker Seitel, Adelphi (16)
Recording Clerk: Arthur David Olson, Takoma Park (14)

Supervisory Committee:
(This committee has 2-year terms)
Peirce Hammond, Bethesda (16)
Ramona Buck, Patapsco (18)

Josh Riley, Hopewell Centre (17)
Adrian Bishop, Stony Run (17)

Ex-officio committee members:
Tom Hill, Treasurer (until 12/31/19)
Marcy Baker Seitel, Clerk of Interim Meeting
Ken Stockbridge, Presiding Clerk

Nominating Committee:
(This committee has 3-year terms)
Chip Tucker, Charlottesville (17)
Kathryn Munnell, Homewood (17)
Alex Bean, Adelphi (17)
Deborah Legowski, Sandy Spring (18)

Rebecca Rhudy, Patapsco (15)
Kevin Caughlan, Sandy Spring (18)
Jolee Robinson, Adelphi (18)
Gene Throwe, FMW (18)

Ollie Moles, Langley Hill (16)
Deborah Haines, Alexandria (16)
Karie Firoozmand, Stony Run (19)
Marilyn Rothstein, Gunpowder (19)

Names in bold type are being nominated or re-nominated at this time. All other names are for information only.

Dates above each group of names indicate year when the present term of service will end.

Y2019-42 Treasurer’s Report. Tom Hill (Charlottesville), Treasurer, reported. He reviewed his role, the process, the audits, investments, balance sheet, and the Miles White Beneficial Society. He emphasized the fact that we are in a steady financial situation. A written version of his report is ATTACHED. The financial documents to which he referred are elsewhere in the Yearbook. The Clerk asked us to take questions directly to Tom before Saturday’s second reading of the budget.

Y2019-43 Development Report. Mary Braun (Patuxent), Development Director, and Liz Hoffmeister (Bethesda), Clerk of the Development Committee, reported. Their Advance Report is ATTACHED.

Mary Braun asked committee members to stand and be acknowledged. She emphasized that she took this job because she believes in our work and our gathered community. She emphasized that the money comes from each of us and that we create Baltimore Yearly Meeting. She reviewed the various ways we can give. She went over two graphs: one emphasized the historical view of our giving toward development, and one showed how much money it takes to raise $1.00 in development funds. She also emphasized the need for giving fundraising for long term growth and sustainability. She stated that we are at 21% of our goal at this time. She also noted that we secured over $18,000 in grants and have 276 donors. She also talked about apportionment but emphasized that development dollars enable us to do more. She also touched upon planned giving. The Clerk asked us to ask direct questions to Development Committee members.

Y2019-44 Stewardship and Finance Committee—1st Reading of Budget and Apportionments. Karen Cunnyngham (Annapolis), Clerk of the Committee, asked committee members to stand and thanked them as well as the staff for their hard work. She noted that the Provision for Plant Replacement, Renewal and Special Maintenance (PPRRSM) fund and the STRIDE Coordinator are new items. She highlighted the fact that some cuts came from reductions to organizations to which we send representatives, and the budget totally cut funds to organizations to which we do not send representatives. Monies for committees have also been reduced, but a separate fund for committee expenses will allow for additional committee requests if needed. She noted that money given for diversity work has also been used to balance this proposed budget. She explained that this budget relies on Meetings to pay their full apportionment, unlike other years. She emphasized that this budget relies on increased donations. She explained the new PPRRSM fund sets aside money for camp properties rather than relying on restricted funds. Karen also described the Committee’s ongoing discussion with the Trustees and General Secretary about refinancing Friendly loans, as the loans will need to paid off in a few years. She encouraged Friends to go to the interest groups to further discuss the budgets. The second reading of the budget and apportionments will be on Saturday. Those items, as approved, and her budget notes are included in the Financial Reports section of the Yearbook.

We heard from various Friends about the following: The Clerk clarified that the STRIDE Coordinator position is not new, but our funding of it is new. He noted and expressed appreciation that Stewardship and Finance presented a balanced budget. A Friend asked for clarification about the apportionment formula. Karen clarified that most Meetings pay 25% in apportionment, but some Meetings asked to pay less because of difficult financial circumstances.

Y2019-45 Reading. A Reading Clerk read the following:

Ministry has often been defined as categorically different from occupational choice or even vocational pursuit. Rooted not in cultural expectations for productivity, but in ancient religious story and metaphor, ministry is entered into as a “calling.” … We experience this calling so profoundly that we have no choice but to say “yes” to it even when we feel inadequate to the task; even when doing so could jeopardize our security, our peace of mind, and our physical comfort.

In the broadest terms, our call embraces advocating for those on the margins, the poor, the vulnerable, and those treated unjustly… Division based on race and culture can only be worked out in diverse community. There is an urgent need to come together and not and not be driven farther apart by the divisions of the larger culture.

The Pentecost Paradigm: Ten Strategies for
Becoming a Multiracial Congregation
2018, Westminster John Knox Press.

Y2019-46 Announcements and Closing Worship.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Y2019-47 Opening Worship. We opened with a period of settling worship.

Y2019-48 Introductions of the Clerks’ Table and Agenda Review. Ken Stockbridge (Patapsco), Presiding Clerk, welcomed Friends to this Annual Session in our 348th year of Baltimore Yearly Meeting and thanked us for being here. Friends at the Clerks’ table introduced themselves: Helen Tasker (Frederick), Recording Clerk; Young Friends Miles Hudson (Sandy Spring) and Jake Regal (Montclair, NJ), along with Young Adult Friend Jennifer Vekert (Sandy Spring), Reading Clerks; Jason Eaby (Nottingham), sound and technology manager; Rick Post (Langley Hill) assistant technology manager.

Y2019-49 Roll Call of Meetings. The Reading Clerks read out the list of Meetings, and Friends stood as their Meeting was called. Photos of Friends gathered at their Meetings were displayed as each Meeting was called.

    Takoma Park Preparative
Baltimore, Stony Run
Deer Creek
Dunnings Creek
Friends Meeting of Washington
Goose Creek
Fauquier Friends Worship Group
Hopewell Centre
Langley Hill
Little Britain
    Eastland Preparative
    Penn Hill Preparative
Little Falls
Maury River
    Buckhannon Preparative
Pipe Creek
    Lynchburg Indulged
Sandy Spring
State College
    Augusta Worship Group
West Branch
    Norfolk Preparative

Y2019-50 Junior Yearly Meeting (JYM). Carol Seddon (Stony Run), JYM Co-Clerk, presented the report, which is below. She mentioned her Co-Clerk, Alex Bean (Adelphi). Behind her was a slide with the names of staff who volunteered this week with the JYM program.

JYM Report
August 2, 2019

This year we have had 40 children ages 2 through 14yo. This number is an increase by about 10 children! This is great and we are pleased to welcome some new families to our community. Please help us spread the word at your local Meetings that BYM is free for kids. This is our future, and we would love more children here!

The children who have gathered with us this year are exploring the theme “Quaker Seeds” through stories, games, activities, and the ever important “teachable moments.” The children’s interactions with non-JYM members of our faith community during Capture the Flag, All-Age Celebration, Intergenerational Plenary, and less formal times, play a crucial role in their development as Quakers and growing members of our BYM community. We encourage all to join us and get to know the younger members of our community. “It takes a village” to keep our young families supported, engaged, and to keep returning.

JYM could not happen without the support of many adults, YAFs, and YFs. Thanks to all of our workers. This year, we again struggled with finding enough staff. Like much of the work of the Yearly Meeting, a number of our long time regulars have moved on to other things. We are using spaces that are not designed for small children and are in older buildings, so we are creative in the way we are using space. More staff is needed in order to give children the physical space that they need for themselves and from each other. Community works best when people have the space that they need. More adult involvement will add to our ability to create this space. We want the entire community to know that working with our kids is a great way to get involved, save some money on Annual Sessions costs, and have a great time! Please join us!

She showed a slideshow with photos taken of JYM this week.

Y2019-51 Queries. A Reading Clerk read the queries:

  • What perils and pitfalls have we experienced in using Quaker tools? What has helped to overcome these challenges?

Y2019-52 Reading. A Reading Clerk read the following:

We believe God calls all of the church to the work of inclusion, justice, and peacemaking. And we believe that every monocultural congregation is called to dismantle racism and xenophobia. This means embracing the diversity in our communities and leading the larger culture on issues of inclusion…

God has not called the church to circle the wagons in the interest of the status quo or avoid issues that challenge dominant thought; nor has God called the church into community for comfort alone. It is the faith community that must question conventional wisdom. The church is uniquely called to confront injustice, exclusion, and fear. … It is also true that much of the church has too often avoided difficult conversations in the interest of congregational harmony. In so doing, congregations create a culture of silence on these issues. Rather than create discomfort, congregations have accepted the false social construct of “race” and embraced an underdeveloped theology that reinforces the siloing of human community into separateness. Addressing racism and xenophobia should be viewed by faith communities as an essential spiritual practice.

Jacqueline J. Lewis and John Janka
The Pentecost Paradigm: Ten Strategies for
Becoming a Multiracial Congregation
2018, Westminster John Knox Press. p. 8.

Y2019-53 Introductions of First-Time Attenders, Visitors, and Travel Minutes. The Clerk asked first-time attenders to stand and be acknowledged. He then asked visitors to stand and introduce themselves.

  • Eileen Flanagan (Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia YM), Carey Lecturer, introduced herself and announced her workshop. Her travel minute from Chestnut Hill was read by a Reading Clerk.
  • Annie Chiorazzi (Friends Committee on National Legislation-FCNL) introduced herself, and her travel letter from FCNL’s General Committee was read.
  • Shoshana Abrams (FCNL Advocacy Team Manager) introduced herself, and a letter of introduction was read.
  • Christine Ashley (Whittier Friends Meeting, Iowa YM, Quaker Field Secretary, FCNL) announced her workshop, and her travel letter from the FCNL General Committee was read.

Y2019-54 Spiritual State of the Yearly Meeting Report—Ministry and Pastoral Care. Co-Clerk Rebecca Richards (Gunpowder), David Fitz (York), and Greg Robb (Friends Meeting of Washington) presented the Spiritual State of the Yearly Meeting Report, which appears on page one of the Yearbook. She added that Tim Hunt (Langley Hill), along with those presenting, read all the Spiritual State of the Meeting Reports, from which they drew.

Y2019-55 Grow Our Meetings Working Group. Victor Thuryoni (Adelphi) gave the report. He referred to their report on “Thinking About Growth,” which is ATTACHMENT Y2019-55A. He talked about growth and how this is a complex and multi-faceted topic that presents issues for the Yearly Meeting and even our local Meetings. But even as we seek to grow, we have to answer questions about growth and about who we are and what we want to be. He explained that local Meetings need to plan for growth, and the Working Group will help local Meetings facilitate these conversations.

He also spoke about the need for us to be welcoming to people of diverse theological views and asked us to adopt the following minute to set up the process to create a statement on theological diversity, as presented in a separate Advance Report, which is ATTACHMENT Y2019-55B. The minute is below:

Proposed minute on theological diversity seasoning process

The working group asks the Yearly Meeting to embrace the process for seasoning the proposal from the Working Group on Growing Our Meetings to adopt a minute on theological diversity.

He mentioned the workshop scheduled for Saturday, in which Friends are invited to help craft a statement on theological diversity among BYM Friends. The Clerk clarified that the Working Group proposes a process to develop the statement. We will return to this on Sunday. We settled into closing worship.

Y2019-56 Memorial Meeting for Worship. Several Friends read excerpts from the Memorial Minutes for the following Friends who were active in the Yearly Meeting: Susan Lepper (FMW); John Davidson “Jack” Fogarty (Sandy Spring); Betty Hutchinson (Annapolis/Sandy Spring); Joseph E. “Joe” Rogers (Chestertown, PhYM and Seneca Valley/Sandy Spring); Edward “Ted” Kenneth Hawkins (Bethesda); Elizabeth Ann “Susie” Hutcheson Fetter (Gunpowder). Each reading was followed by a period worship out of which Friends shared reflections.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Y2019-57 Opening Worship. We settled in for a period of worship.

Y2019-58 Queries, Reading. A Reading Clerk read the queries:

  • How can we share Quaker tools to help address challenges in the wider world? How can we keep them fresh and adaptable in an ever-changing world?

Then another Reading Clerk read this:

So the real question is whose comfort, whose pace, whose toleration are we talking about?

While we wait for that answer, people are actually dying.

Friends, we cannot endure this pace any longer. The time has come to commit to sustained discomfort. To refuse to shift our attention as the fads come and go. To understand that our very ability to choose to do so reveals our privilege, and our very willingness to do so reveals the fragility of our solidarity with those who have no choice in the matter.

True solidarity means we do not get to make the decisions and we do not get to walk away; we must follow the lead of those most impacted by the injustice in our system, and see it through to the end.

We must plant our feet, and refuse to be moved. Speak our truth, and refuse to be silenced.

We must commit to sustained discomfort not only for ourselves but for all around us, until we are no longer able to endure the denigration of our own humanity that takes place when any one of our brothers and sisters is put down, put in their place, or put away.

Selection from the essay, “Dear Fellow White People,”
by Hannah Adair Bonner,
as presented in New England Yearly Meeting’s
Committee on Racial, Social and Economic Justice’s
Healing Racism Toolkit.

Y2019-59 Introductions of the Clerks’ Table and Agenda Review. Ken Stockbridge (Patapsco), Presiding Clerk, welcomed Friends to this Annual Session in the 348th of Baltimore Yearly Meeting and thanked us for being here. Friends at the Clerks’ table introduced themselves: Helen Tasker (Frederick), Recording Clerk; Young Friends Robert Finegar (Sandy Spring) and Megan Roush (Sandy Spring) and Young Adult Friend Jennifer Vekert (Sandy Spring), Reading Clerks; Jason Eaby (Nottingham), AV manager; Rick Post (Langley Hill) AV assistant technology manager. The Clerk reviewed the ambitious agenda. The Clerk also introduced the Prayerful Presences who hold the meeting in the Light and remind us of the worshipful way in which we conduct business.

Y2019-60 Introductions of First-Time Attenders and Visitors. The Clerk asked first-time attenders to stand and be acknowledged. He then asked visitors to stand and introduce themselves, and one Friend did so:

  • Rachel Bergsieker (Washington, DC Peace and Economic Justice Office, American Friends Service Committee).

Y2019-61 Nominating Committee—2nd Reading of Nominations. Co-Clerks Deborah Haines (Alexandria) and Erik Hanson (Sandy Spring) reported. Erik thanked Friends for their service. They noted two additional updates to the first reading. The Clerk asked about representatives to the Friends United Meeting (FUM) Triennial, and Deborah Haines clarified that these names will be will be brought to March Interim Meeting. Corrections to the roster were noted. The nominations were APPROVED and are reflected in the Yearbook. Deborah Haines expressed the Committee’s deep appreciation for Erik and his faithful service.

Y2019-62 Friends Peace Teams (FPT). Bob Rhudy (Patapsco), BYM Representative to FPT, gave the report and reviewed FPT’s work. He also related his history in becoming involved with this organization. He encouraged us to read his Annual Report and check out the materials on the display table. The FPT website, highlighting some of the work, was displayed. He began with describing the history of the organization. He will continue as an alternate rep to the organization. He emphasized that he would like to see more Young Adult Friends involved. He read a statement from a Young Friend in New Zealand, describing the excellent training that was received. He concluded with a quote from Nadine Hoover, founder and current co-coordinator of Friend Peace Teams’ Asia and West Pacific Initiative, speaking at Northern Yearly Meeting’s Annual Session:

“We suffer from a public crisis of faith brought on by the myth that human destructiveness is greater than the power of life… Can we reclaim our faith in the power of life? Can we post a photo of Hiroshima today on our wall, where the grass, trees and birds are back, the people are back, the city is busting with life? This does not diminish the magnitude of the human tragedy of dropping an atomic bomb on a city, but the power of life if greater than any human destructiveness or industry. We call people to trust and therefore rely on the Spirit of Life. To believe that not only peace is possible, peace with the earth and humanity is the only path to sustainable society. We testify that peace IS possible, reliable and essential and call on everyone to stand up for and demand the end of state-sanctioned violence and the full commitment to peace with the natural world and humanity.”

Y2019-63 Peace and Social Concerns Committee—Cummings Letter. The Clerk explained the context for a letter from BYM proposed by the Committee that expresses appreciation to US House Representative Elijah Cummings for his long history of faithful service. The Clerk asked Friends to consider sending the letter, and we immediately APPROVED sending it, of which a copy is ATTACHED.

Y2019-64 Quaker Earthcare Witness (QEW). Barb Adams (Richmond), BYM Representative to QEW, read her report which described their work over the past year. She had hoped to play a video clip of a speech by Greta Thunberg to the United Nations but was not able to do so. Her report is ATTACHED.

Y2019-65 Unity with Nature Committee. Debbi Sudduth (Goose Creek) introduced Kallan Benson (Young Friend, Annapolis), who reported about her work on environmental justice with the group Climate Stewards of Greater Annapolis. Kallan presented a slideshow, “Youth and Climate Change.” She spoke of her on ongoing witness for environmental justice, including her vigil outside the Maryland General Assembly during the spring legislative session. Kallan reviewed many of the effects of climate change. She spoke of the recent flooding in Frederick (just blocks away from our site here at Hood College) as an example of the disruptive effects of climate change. Kallan discussed her work with Greta Thunberg, young Swedish activist and Nobel Prize nominee and is anticipating meeting with her this fall. Kallan encouraged us to participate in Parachutes for the Planet and Fridays for the Future, in which youth around the world participate. Kallan spoke lovingly of her mentor from Annapolis Meeting who recently passed. She mentioned the Week for Future and Strikes September 20-27. The Clerk noted our appreciation for her work. A Friend spoke of an article by Kallan in the January-February-March 2019 Quaker Earthcare Witness newsletter.

Y2019-66 Right Relationship with Animals Working Group. Dayna Bailey (Penn Hill), Edie Silvestri (Langley Hill), and Margaret Fisher (Herndon) reported on the Working Group’s work over the past year. The Working Group extends an invitation to us to consider reserving one day where all of our meals are animal free and welcomes us to continue this conversation with members of the Working Group. A written version of their oral report, along with their Advance Report, is ATTACHED.

Y2019-67 Friends General Conference (FGC). Becka Haines Rosenburg (Alexandria), one of our BYM Representatives to FGC Central Committee, reported. She encouraged us to check the resources on the website. She mentioned the extensive resources which are available from FGC and asked Friends to raise their hand if they have been on an FGC committee. She described the Annual Gathering and announced that the Gathering will be in Virginia next year, and there are about 50 Friends (many from BYM) involved in the planning. She introduced the Clerks of the 2020 Gathering Committee. She ended by describing FGC’s “Institutional Assessment on Systemic Racism” and how the organization is in the implementation phase of addressing this. She shared the query that FGC uses to check their counteracting racism practices: “How does this decision support Friends General Conference in its goal to transform into an actively anti-racist faith community?” She invited Friends to hold the 2020 Gathering in the Light with the planning committee each Sunday at 5:00 PM. The Clerk thanked her for the report. The Representatives’ Annual Report can be found in the Reports of Affiliated Organizations section of the Yearbook.

Y2019-68 Transition. We were brought back from break with the song “Magic Penny.”

Y2019-69 Reading. A Reading Clerk read:

…It is our experience that our community has been in a state of contentiousness and unfriendliness that has separated us in what seem to be secular ways. Several factors have contributed to this condition: tensions regarding a vision for undoing racism; adjustment to new structures; abuse of social media; the unfamiliarity that many Friends seem to have with Quaker decision-making practices in large groups; and hurtful behavior that has gone unaddressed. Some Friends stay away either out of frustration or because our public conflict is uncomfortable.

It can be hot and messy when we do not manage conflict well. When we are challenged, it is essential that we stay in relationship with one another while seeking the way forward and resolving individual differences. Love still abides in and with us. We can, in all humility, love one another even when there are painful differences.

…with God’s help, we can transform these struggles into something new—strong, penetrating and effective to address all matters before us, including our concerns with racism.

A Letter to Philadelphia Yearly Meeting
from the Former Clerks
April 2019

Y2019-70 Introduction and Announcement. The clerk noted that Kenyan Friends, now living in Baltimore who worship under the care of Stony Run, arrived here today. He extended the invitation for a programmed worship (in their tradition) and a tea hosted by the United Society of Friends Women International. He invited these Friends to introduce themselves, and Damaris Kifude (Stony Run) did so.

Y2019-71 Stewardship and Finance Committee (S&F)—2nd Reading of Budget and Apportionments. Clerk Karen Cunnyngham (Annapolis) updated us on changes since the First Reading. She clarified that we will not be putting in the $25,000 at this point for future planning, but it may come back to us through Interim Meeting. She noted the changes and how those changes are reflected in the revised budget. She encouraged people here to reach out and provide feedback on the apportionment process.

We heard from Friends about the budget. A Friend asked about where development fund goals are reflected in the budget, and Karen clarified that this can be seen in line 46-Total Contributions. The Clerk of the Development Committee emphasized that this money is above and beyond apportionment from Monthly Meetings and emphasized the need for continued donations so that we can meet the goal. She also noted that this may include grant monies, if such monies are secured. The Clerk said that when we approve a budget we are expressing our intent to fulfil the goals.

Friends APPROVED the Operating, Capital, and Apportionment Budgets which appear in the Financial Reports section of the Yearbook.

Y2019-72 Growing Diverse Leadership—Declaration by Baltimore Yearly Meeting as an Anti-Racist Faith Community—Second Reading. Peirce Hammond (Bethesda) noted the changes to the revised document, including the title, a subtitle, and the rearrangement of some of the queries.

The Clerk had us settle into worship before opening the floor to comments. Friends voiced concerns that because local Meetings have not been involved in the seasoning of this, it may make Meetings feel as if this was imposed on them. We heard that we have a widely held understanding that our Yearly Meeting is not a hierarchical organization that imposes authority on its local Meetings. Other Friends emphasized that if we approve this, those of us who are here would be compelled to bring this document and the queries it sets forth to our work in our local Meetings. It was stated that even if we do not approve this, we could still use the document to check ourselves. Others expressed deep appreciation for the Young Adult Friends who have brought this concern to us and described their work as prophetic ministry. We were reminded that these queries, and other tools taught in our plenary session, have already been used by the Change Groups and other groups in our Yearly Meeting. We heard several advices: A Friend asked how can we measure this work of the heart? We heard discussion about what it meant to say that we are an “anti-racist faith community.” We became clear that it did not mean that we had arrived at the final stage of ending racism within our community, which is work that could take a hundred years or more. It meant that we were committing ourselves to work diligently toward that end. We also heard that it means we must work simultaneously to dismantle racism both within our Yearly Meeting community and in the wider world. Another Friend suggested the term “erace-ism” rather than “anti-racist” or “anti-racist” to express our intention in a positive and proactive way. One Friend spoke of the difficulty of becoming numb to racist statements by dominant powers but added that he sees the richness of God working among us to change ourselves so that we can change our world. The Clerk tested the sense of the Meeting several times, with Friends voicing approval but still moved to comment. He asked if any Friends felt a stop to going forward. After a period of settling worship, Friends APPROVED the “Declaration of Baltimore Yearly Meeting as an Anti-Racist Faith Community,” which is ATTACHED.

Y2019-73 Epistle of Baltimore Yearly Meeting—1st Reading. Meg Regal (Sandy Spring), Rebecca Richards (Gunpowder), and Peirce Hammond (Bethesda) prepared the draft epistle, which they read. It will come before us tomorrow for the second reading.

Y2019-74 Announcements and Closing Worship.

Y2019-75 Reading. A Reading Clerk read the following:

On another occasion the meeting was unusually restless and this restlessness seemed to increase as the time for closing the meeting approached. Suddenly [William] Bacon Evans arose and in his abrupt way said, “Two skeletons were hanging in a closet.” Pause. “One skeleton said to the other, ‘If we had any guts we would get out of here.’” Then he sat down.
From The Wit and Wisdom of William Bacon Evans
Pendle Hill Pamphlet #146, p. 39.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Y2019-76 Opening Worship. We opened with a brief period of worship.

Y2019-77 Readings. A Reading Clerk read the following:

At my art college, in the context of equity, students have taught me a very important “Eureka Moment” lesson about equity of access, which may also be worth being mindful of in terms of economic, age, and racial bias: “First come, first served” is the bastion of blind privilege. It sounds “fair,” but it always favors 1) people with the best communications connections, 2) the most ready money, 3) the capacity to risk changing circumstances, and 4) confidence of being welcome. We have banned “first come, first served” for jobs, rooming, and courses.

Note to the Clerk
Baltimore Yearly Meeting Annual Session 2019
from Annie Storr, Adelphi Meeting

Another Reading Clerk read the following note left at the Clerks’ Table:

To my Beloved Community—

Some of you are not listening. And when someone did hear, there was no space for the message. (Sigh).

The message: You are Quakers! You are all independent thinkers! You can all listen to the still small voice! If the queries from the Antiracism minute resonate within your heart, you are responsible for keeping them alive in all your decisions. This is not about BYM being mindful; this is about each and every one of you being mindful. Keep your minds open. Listen. Then Listen more.

All my deep and abiding Love—


After a moment of worship, the Clerk encouraged us to notice who is speaking and encouraged us to consider the query: Is it time for us to step back, so that others may step forward?

Y2019-78 Introductions of the Clerks’ Table and Agenda Review. Ken Stockbridge (Patapsco), Presiding Clerk, welcomed Friends to the final day of our Annual Session in the 348th year of Baltimore Yearly Meeting. Friends at the Clerks’ table introduced themselves: Helen Tasker (Frederick), Recording Clerk; Young Friends Sonny Kennison (Homewood) and Hannah Regal (Montclair, NJ) and Young Adult Friend Savraj Moore (Maury River), Reading Clerks; Jason Eaby (Nottingham), sound and technology manager.

Y2019-79 Plenary Reports. The Clerk clarified with the body whether we should hear the plenary reports read aloud. Friends asked them to be entered into the record. They include: Tuesday’s plenary by Patti Nesbitt; Wednesday’s plenary offered by Young Adult Friends, and Saturday’s Carey Lecture presented by Eileen Flanagan. They appear below.

Report on Tuesday’s Plenary Session Given by Patti Nesbitt (Sandy Spring)
We were blessed to hear Patti Nesbitt share from her transformational journey the “tools” that have sustained her travels around the globe and across vast heart spaces. Patti told us that “Quaker Tools for the Journey” both nurture and propel us forward; they sustain and empower. She shared an affirmation that grew out of being challenged at the edge of life, fighting cancer. Spirit breathed over her shoulder, into her ear: “You are loved. You are not alone. You will be OK.” This assurance of God’s presence, the experience that Spirit indeed speaks to our condition, has never left her and has been a touchstone in other difficulties. And it is far from the only tool in her “tool belt.” Having the right tool is a lesson Patti learned from her “fix-it” Dad, and her own career of nursing. For Patti, developing the Quaker tools has been a life-long passion.

One specifically useful tool Patti spoke of extensively and with great effect is the Travel Minute. She relayed how warmly she and husband Michael were received in their travels as they presented their Travel Minute. That particularly when visiting another Yearly Meeting or in sensitive situations, as they found themselves in Christchurch NZ following the mass killings at the Mosques there, the endorsement of our Yearly Meeting gave their presence a deep grounding and credibility.

More recently, as witness to a tragic and deadly accident, Patti again drew on these deeply engrained tools. She was able to stay with and offer loving care to both the deceased and the first responders. With calm compassion she was able to reassure them all: You are loved. You are not alone. You will be OK.
Prepared by Rebecca Richards (Gunpowder)

Report on Wednesday’s Plenary Session Given by Young Adult Friends (YAF)
YAF is grateful to Tom Webb for being the driving force and organizer behind this year’s plenary on transformation and racism. Through his guidance, YAF taught an introductory process on how to access the “heart space” within oneself and one another to engage in, not closed or combative, but transformative dialogue on the subject. We are thankful to all who came and hope that this in turn fosters growth in planting seeds of understanding as to the journey we must each undergo in dealing with our own capacity for racism. Recognizing once more that our work has only just begun, YAF is ready to move forward in having the difficult conversations needed to face the conflict of racism found not just outside our community, but within it as well. We hope that you will join us.
Prepared by YAF

Report on Saturday’s Plenary Session Given by Eileen Flanagan (Philadelphia YM)
At its Annual Session in Frederick, MD, Baltimore Yearly Meeting has been deeply and richly blessed by Eileen’s faithful and inspired ministry through her workshop, plenary address, and countless interactions with individual Friends throughout her time with us. In living out her prophetic leading, she has helped equip and encourage us to discern and live out our own, finding the courage to do so, and nurturing each other to do so as well. In her faithfulness to her leading, she has called us to faithfulness in ours. She has helped us understand the tools we need and have for our own transformation, which in turn can transform our troubled world. We are deeply grateful.

Endorsement to Eileen’s Travel Minute
written by BYM Presiding Clerk

Y2019-80 Roll Call of Committee Clerks. The Clerk called out the names of committees and working groups, leaving space for them to announce their clerks. Their names will be printed at the top of the committee rosters in the Yearbook.

Y2019-81 Report of Registrar. Barbarie Hill (Charlottesville), Registrar, reported 395 attenders, 10 short of our 405 in 2016, with 100 more attending than last year. There were 22 adult first-time attenders on Saturday. See the report below.

  2019 2018 2017
Total Attendance 395 295 405
First-Timers 87* 22  
Children (2-14) 43 20  
Young Friends 19 16  

*22 adults came for the first time on Saturday

Y2019-82 Report of Bookstore Manager. Michael Conklin (Sandy Spring) reported for Steve Morse (Langley Hill). Michael Conklin expressed appreciation for Steve Morse’s work to change our model of how we order. He encouraged workshop leaders to suggest books for the bookstore. He explained that there are three people who have been working on this committee: Michael Conklin, Steve Morse, and Nancy Moore (Baltimore, Stony Run). Michael hoped Friends would express appreciation to Steve Morse for his work. Total sales were $3,900. We paid $2,020 to vendors; the cost of books is $1,850, leaving us with a net of $170.

Y2019-83 Report of Program Committee. Clerk Barb Platt (Sandy Spring) thanked us for our work, made announcements, and encouraged us to fill out the evaluation. She encouraged us to sign the BYM Register and invited us to come to Annual Session on July 27 through August 2nd, 2020, for which the theme will be Courage, Faith and Hope to Love Across our Differences.

Y2019-84 Growing Our Meetings Working Group—Proposed Minute on Theological Diversity Seasoning Process—Second Reading. Victor Thuronyi (Adelphi) presented the second reading of the proposed minute in bold, below, which is presented with background in ATTACHMENT Y2019-55B.

The Working Group asks the Yearly Meeting to embrace the process for seasoning the proposal from the Working Group on Growing Our Meetings to adopt a minute on theological diversity.

The Clerk explained that this Working Group is asking us to embrace the process for creating a theological diversity statement, which includes working with committees of the Yearly Meeting and local Meetings. A Friend noted that in addition to faith diversity, diverse forms of worship are also in need of being embraced. Friends APPROVED the proposal.

Y2019-85 Epistles of Baltimore Yearly Meeting. We heard epistles from:

  • Junior Young Friends. Ob Cooler-Stith (Adelphi/Sandy Spring) and Graham Hill (Charlottesville) presented the Junior Young Friends Epistle.
  • Young Friends. Robert Finegar (Sandy Spring), Clerk of Young Friends Epistle Committee, read the Young Friends Epistle to us.
  • Young Adult Friends. Amrit Moore (Maury River) presented the Young Adult Friends Epistle.
  • Women’s Retreat. Betsy Tobin presented the Women’s Retreat Epistle.

Attaching these epistles to the Yearly Meeting epistle was APPROVED.

Y2019-86 BYM Epistle. Meg Regal (Sandy Spring), Rebecca Richards (Gunpowder), and Peirce Hammond (Bethesda), this year’s Epistle Committee, presented the second reading of the Yearly Meeting Epistle. We heard improvements to the epistle which were noted and will be included in the final version.

The Clerk reminded us that, to test our decisions, we approved using queries from the Declaration by Baltimore Yearly Meeting as an Anti-Racist Faith Community,” which were read:

  1. How could this decision affect those who have been harmed by racist behavior?
  2. To what degree have privilege, class, stereotypes, assumptions, and our ability to include other perspectives affected this decision? Will this decision promote equity, diversity, and inclusiveness? Will it enable us to be more friendly and whole?
  3. How will we provide opportunities for those most likely to be directly affected by our decision to influence that decision?
  4. How does this decision support the declaration of our Yearly Meeting that we are an anti-racist faith community?

The epistle was APPROVED. The Clerk expressed thanks to the Epistle Committee.

The epistles appear in the epistle section of the Yearbook and are sent to Friends around the world.

Y2019-87 Minutes. Minutes were read, improved, and approved throughout the session.

Y2019-88 Minute of Appreciation to Helen Tasker, Recording Clerk. The following minute of appreciation was read and APPROVED.

Baltimore Yearly Meeting minutes its gratitude for the six years of diligent and faithful service of Helen Tasker as Recording Clerk of our Annual Sessions. We appreciate the deep listening, loving care, kindness, warm smile, determination, and courage with which she approached her difficult task. Her efforts revealed a desire to make sure that Friends knew they had been heard. Thank you, Helen!

Y2019-89 Announcements and Closing Worship. We closed with worship.

Respectfully submitted,
Helen Forsythe Tasker, Recording Clerk

Powered by Firespring