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2020 Yearbook

Eleventh Month 2019 Interim Meeting

Baltimore Monthly Meeting, Stony Run

I2019-40 Opening. Baltimore Yearly Meeting’s Interim Meeting gathered on 11/2/2019 at the Baltimore Monthly Meeting, Stony Run Meeting House in Baltimore, Maryland. Kallan Benson (Annapolis) reported on work on climate action, in particular work of the youth climate movement; Kallan’s contact information is attached. Kallan mentioned the recent visit of Greta Thunberg (Sweden) to speak at the United Nations headquarters. Kallan noted that the Fridays for Future movement received this year’s Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience Award. The Week For The Future two months ago included international strikes. A Champions Of The Earth award was declined based on the need for government leaders to be those champions. Climate action, of necessity, requires both hope and urgency. Kallan noted that Quakers with school associations can connect youth to the youth climate action movement. Parachutes For The Planet is a continuing, art-centered project to foster conversation. Kallan noted that adults can get involved in Friday For Future strikes, including one on 11/29/2019; a three-day action is set around Earth Day, 2020. Kallan urged folks to vote and to lobby for climate legislation.

Kallan mentioned that activity connected with the Maryland legislature’s upcoming session is being considered; Kallan’s personal action is likely to be different than Kallan’s discipline of silence during this year’s session. “When you’re silent, you get to listen to people a lot better.” We heard of a shift of focus from individual action in past decades to governmental action now; the shift is at least in part due to the climate emergency being more visible now. We heard a suggestion for a Quaker presence at the start of the upcoming Maryland legislative session; we heard interest in the idea, with the possibility of different timing.

We thanked folks from Baltimore Monthly Meeting, Stony Run, for their hospitality. Blaine Keener (Baltimore, Stony Run), Baltimore Monthly Meeting, Stony Run Clerk, welcomed and oriented us. Blaine mentioned that today’s lunch was prepared by a member of a family being supported by the Meeting’s Immigration Working Group. Blaine mentioned the Cease Fire 365 group seeking to address gun violence in the city; their Peace Fire exhibit is on the Meeting’s porch. Blaine noted a group using the meeting house for monthly Kenyan-style worship; some participants have become members of the Meeting. Blaine noted the Meeting’s recent adoption of a vision statement after two years of work by an Ad Hoc Vision, Functions, and Structure Committee; discernment on structure continues.

Abbey Compton (Herndon), on behalf of Indian Affairs Committee, noted that today’s Meeting site is Piscataway land; descendants are still our neighbors, and the state of Maryland recognizes three Piscataway groups. The Monacan Chief is to visit Richmond Friends Meeting on 11/22/2019 to address plans to disturb ancestral remains.

We heard the queries from our declaration as an anti-racist faith community. We were invited to keep these queries in mind as we go forward with our business.

David Etheridge (Washington) reported on the upcoming 6/28-7/4/2020 Friends General Conference Annual Gathering at Radford University in Radford, Virginia with the theme Way Will Open. David described work on and support for the event. The written version of the report is attached.

I2019-41 Camping Program Manager’s annual report. Jane Megginson (Frederick), Camping Program Manager, presented an annual report; the written version of the report is attached. Jane invited calls and electronic mail from folks desiring further information. Jane noted that camp enrollment was down this year; despite this, the camps did not lose money (as a result of adjustments made by staff). Efforts are planned to increase enrollment next year; Jane encouraged us to help spread the word about the program and a structured referral program including $100 payments and discounts is in place.

Jane noted that the increase of racism and its acceptability in general has affected our campers and staffers; specific training and preparation is required to address racism and eliminate blind spots; the art and music used at camp can use review for its content and presentation. Jane mentioned the goal of pushing people out of their comfort zones without pushing them in to their fear zones. Jane looks forward to working with Khalila Lomax, our new Strengthening Transformative Relationships in Diverse Environments (STRIDE) Coordinator.

We heard of the need for folks who created the problem of racism to do the work to overcome it; sitting in silence may not be adequate, but it is not yet clear what will be. We heard a suggestion to use electronic tools to record and report incidents.

I2019-42 Camp Property Manager’s annual report. David Hunter (Frederick), Camp Property Manager, presented an annual report; the written version of the report is attached. David mentioned the purposes served by our camp properties, including serving our youth, preserving the environment, and providing space for reflection. David noted that this year’s property fundraising efforts are falling short, though there is time to fix this. David noted upcoming cabin, well, and art structure projects at the camps. David mentioned a need for pickup trucks; sales or donations are welcome.

We heard of the life-saving, spiritual-healing value of our camps when facing personal difficulties; we heard a sense that the value of the camps is underappreciated and that the work required to maintain them is underestimated. We were encouraged to take advantage of family camp weekends; David can help with preparation for projects.

I2019-43 Faith and Practice Committee report. Davis Balderston (Alexandria) and Helen Takser (Frederick), Faith and Practice Committee Co-clerks, reported; the written version of the report is attached. We APPROVED this: we forwarded to our upcoming annual session Faith and Practice Committee’s recommendation to add our vision statement to Faith and Practice, replacing the current preface.

I2019-44 Program Committee report. Barb Platt (Sandy Spring), Program Committee Clerk, reported on consideration of “pay as led” financing for Annual Sessions; the written version of the report is attached. A subcommittee focused on “pay as led” met for the first time today. The subcommittee plans to be in touch with committees and groups within the Yearly Meeting. The “pay as led” plan may lead to increased attendance and a strengthened Yearly Meeting community.

I2019-45 Friends United Meeting report. Georgia Fuller (Langley Hill), Friends United Meeting (FUM) General Board member, reported; the written version of the report is attached. Georgia noted the desire of the FUM Executive Committee to have the FUM Triennial Nominating Committee in place early in 3/2020.

I2019-46 Return of travel minute. Arthur Meyer Boyd (Baltimore, Stony Run) and Meg Boyd Meyer (Baltimore, Stony Run) returned a travel minute; a copy of the travel minute is attached. They reported that 97% of the graduates of Ramallah Friends School go on to college; the school is owned by Friends United Meeting (FUM); the school’s endowment is inadequate to cover costs; the school is a safe place in an occupied area. Arthur and Meg welcome invitations to share their experiences; the school is glad to have American visitors.

I2019-47 Peace and Social Concerns Committee report. Bob Rhudy (Patapsco), Peace and Social Concerns Committee Clerk, reported. The Immigration, Refugee, and Sanctuary Working Group has changed its name to Refugee, Immigration, and Sanctuary Working Group. The Committee has been focused on state and local matters; it may consider working on national issues; it may also consider changes to its eight associated groups. A networking day is tentatively set for 5/9/2020 at the Langley Hill Friends Meeting Meeting House. Quaker Voice for Maryland has adopted priorities for 2020.

I2019-48 Growing Diverse Leadership Committee report. Ned Stowe (Sandy Spring), General Secretary, introduced Khalila Lomax, the Yearly Meeting’s new Strengthening Transformative Relationships In Diverse Environments (STRIDE) Coordinator. Khalila thanked folks for their welcome and appreciates the Yearly Meeting opening up the space for Khalila.

Peirce Hammond (Bethesda), Growing Diverse Leadership Clerk, introduced Nikki Richards (Teen Adventure) who presented a Baltimore STRIDE Working Group report. Nikki summarized the group’s fundraising efforts, work to help campers register for camp, and review of the year; we heard that STRIDE groups in Philadelphia and Washington operate similarly.

Jolee Robinson (Adelphi) reported on change groups; a written supplement is attached. Jolee focused on work at Adelphi Friends Meeting; a two-hour implicit-bias workshop was well attended; an event was held to mark the 400th anniversary of the first of arrival of enslaved people in Virginia; cooperative efforts with Adelphi’s Peace and Social Concerns Committee have begun; movie nights are planned.

David Etheridge (Washington) reported the availability on the Yearly Meeting’s web site of information on change groups at about a dozen local Meetings. “It’s not enough to walk the walk; you also have to talk the talk.”

Peirce reported that letters have gone to local Meeting clerks on the Yearly Meeting’s declaration as an anti-racist faith community; Growing Diverse Leadership is also in touch with Yearly Meeting committee clerks and presiding clerks.

I2019-49 Reparations Action Group report. Nikki Richards (Teen Adventure) reported on behalf of the Reparations Action Group. The group has begun working on structure; a retreat was held last weekend; the group is considering a minute on changing to a working group or ad hoc committee; the group sees repair as an important part of anti-racism. A fundraiser today raised $380.

We heard appreciation for the leadership of young adults in the reparations discussion.

I2019-50 Presiding Clerk’s report. Ken Stockbridge, Yearly Meeting Presiding Clerk, reported. Ken mentioned six committees and working groups on which Ken serves; the reports of those groups may speak to what Ken has been doing. Ken mentioned an upcoming retreat for Meeting clerks past, present, and future. Ken mentioned the practice of “spiritual accompaniment,” unexpectedly brought up by the Development Committee at a Friends General Conference (FGC) event; Ken senses that spiritual accompaniment can be used by and extended to other committees, groups, and individuals as well. Spiritual accompaniment and retreats are ways for us to know each other better in that which is eternal. “Well, duh.”

I2019-51 Treasurer’s report. Tom Hill (Charlottesville), Treasurer, reported; the written version of the report is attached. Tom noted an unaudited deficit of about $66,000 through nine months of 2019; there was a roughly $59,000 surplus through nine months of 2018. Restricted contributions through nine months are down from last year. Net assets are up from year to year except for temporarily restricted assets; restricted donations have not kept up with spending from restricted funds. Tom characterized the Yearly Meeting’s financial situation as stable, with the need for a strong finish to the year to have a good start for 2020.

After Tom’s last report to Interim Meeting, we minuted our appreciation for Tom’s years of service as Yearly Meeting treasure and Tom’s committee service in ex officio roles. Tom’s work has included detailed work documenting Baltimore Yearly Meeting (and constituent Meeting) property.

I2019-52 Development report. Mary Braun (Patuxent), Development Director, reported; the written version of the report is attached. Mary indicated that through three-quarters (nine months) of 2019, we’ve raised one-quarter of budgeted donations for the year; camp property capital gifts are 11% of those budgeted. Mary previewed forthcoming fundraising efforts, both for current gifts and planned giving. Mary handed out material on “sustaining Quakers” (folks who make monthly gifts). Mary has faith in our ability to fund the work of the Yearly Meeting; “don’t destroy my faith.”

Mary noted several matching-gift efforts now in place. Mary mentioned the importance of both donations and apportionment in funding the work of the Yearly Meeting. Mary highlighted the upcoming 350th anniversary of the Yearly Meeting in 2022 and the hundredth anniversary of its camps.

I2019-53 Ad Hoc 350th Anniversary Committee. We heard of a request for an Ad Hoc 350th Anniversary Committee; two Development Committee members are willing to serve on it; the desire is to have anniversary events that are not exclusively focused on development. We APPROVED this: we created an Ad Hoc 350th Anniversary Committee, to be laid down at the end of 2022 unless otherwise led.

Liz Hofmeister (Bethesda), Development Committee Clerk, passed around a sheet for ad hoc committee sign-ups, suggestions for Yearly Meeting speakers, and suggestions for local Meeting events.

I2019-54 General Secretary’s report. Ned Stowe (Sandy Spring), General Secretary, reported; the written version of the report is attached. Ned encouraged us to carry the story of the Yearly Meeting to our local Meetings, nurturing the relationships. Ned echoed earlier calls to recruit campers and encourage contributions. Ned mentioned that the Yearly Meeting is seeking a director for Opequon Quaker Camp. Ned and other Yearly Meeting staff are open to invitations to visit local Meetings.

I2019-55 Closing. We heard, improved, and APPROVED these minutes. We adjourned, to gather next on 3/21/2020 hosted by folks from Hopewell Centre Monthly Meeting in Virginia, or at the call of the Clerk of Interim Meeting.

Marcy Baker Seitel, presiding            Arthur David Olson, recording

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