2020 Yearbook Sixth Month 2020 Interim Meeting Virtual Event
I2020-07 Opening. Baltimore Yearly Meeting’s Interim Meeting held an online session on 6/13/2020. We heard the queries from our declaration as an anti-racist faith community. We held our Yearly Meeting and our world in the Light, mindful of our desire to change, be more inclusive, and be more whole.
I2020-08 Buckhannon Preparative Meeting. Grace Higgins (Buckhannon) reported on Buckhannon Preparative Meeting’s application for establishment of Buckhannon Friends; a copy of the 5/5/2019 minute of Monongalia Friends Meeting is attached. Grace noted the recent increased attendance at Buckhannon and its activity. We noted that Monongalia Friends Meeting is not part of a Quarterly Meeting. We FORWARDED to our upcoming Annual Session the application for establishment of Buckhannon Friends, recommending that it be approved.
I2020-09 Travel minute for Jolee Robinson. The Clerk read aloud a travel minute from Adelphi Friends for Jolee Robinson (Adelphi); a copy of the minute is attached. We ENDORSED this minute.
I2020-10 Search Committee report. Rebecca Rawls (Langley Hill), Search Committee Clerk, reported. Rebecca noted remaining vacancies to be filled; Rebecca noted the Yearly Meeting Presiding Clerk’s willingness to have a short term extension if need be. Rebecca noted that the committee is open to suggestions for filling vacancies. Rebecca stated that committee members held in their hearts our anti-racist queries in their work, and consulted with our Growing Diverse Leadership Committee. We heard concerns about the levels of diversity of the nominations. We heard of the usefulness of asking folks from under-represented groups to serve before asking folks from well-represented groups to serve. We heard a concern that we have not identified what we’ll do concretely to attend to our anti-racist queries; there are differing senses of how to do so. We heard a suggestion that committees might not only read the queries and minute that they have been read, but also respond in words and deeds and minute how they respond, and that decision items brought to the Yearly Meeting cover how the queries have been used. We heard that our Growing Diverse Leadership Committee plans to report on how committees and Meetings are using the queries. The Yearly Meeting Presiding Clerk is asking committees to cover their work on the queries in their annual reports. The Growing Diverse Leadership Committee stands ready to assist committees and Meetings with use of the queries.
We FORWARDED these Committee nominations to our upcoming Annual Session: Clerk of Interim Meeting, Meg Boyd Meyer (Baltimore, Stony Run), through 2022; Recording Clerk of Interim Meeting, ReBecka Richards (Gunpowder), through 2022; Nominating Committee, Chip Tucker (Charlottesville), Debby Suddeth (Goose Creek), Melissa Meredith (Bethesda), and Janet Eaby (Nottingham), through 2023; Supervisory Committee: Ramona Buck (Patapsco), through 2022.
I2020-11 Naming Committee. Dave French, Naming Committee, reported. At the Committee’s recommendation, we FORWARDED to our upcoming Annual Session the nominations of Catherine Tunis (Herndon) and Bill Mims (Langley Hill) to continue serving on Search Committee.
The Clerk of Interim Meeting asked folks willing to serve on Naming Committee to be in touch with the Clerk.
I2020-12 Youth Programs Manager’s report. Jossie Dowling, outgoing Youth Programs Manager, reported; the written version of the report is attached. Jossie shared videos from Junior Young Friends conferences held in the fall and winter. Online events have been held during the pandemic, including the annual appreciation of graduates. Jossie is returning to school to train to become a school counselor.
Becka Haines Rosenberg (Alexandria), Youth Programs Committee Co-Clerk, read aloud a Youth Programs Committee minute of appreciation for Jossie and Jossie’s service as Youth Programs Manager; the written version of the minute is attached.
I2020-13 Friends General Conference Gathering report. Patsy Arnold Martin (Roanoke) and Tony Martin (Roanoke), Friends General Conference (FGC) Gathering Co-Clerks, reported; the written version of the report is attached. The 2020 Gathering has been shifted online; an in-person Gathering is being planned for Radford University in Virginia in the summer of 2021. Tony noted the need for additional people to serve on the 2021 local arrangements, evening program, and communications subcommittees. Planning is underway for both an in-person gathering and a hybrid gathering. Planning meetings are to be held online.
I2020-14 Report of Clerk of Interim Meeting. Marcy Baker Seitel (Adelphi), Clerk of Interim Meeting, reported on efforts of Supervisory Committee to increase transparency and of Stewardship and Finance Committee, Trustees, and other committees’efforts to proceed in a Spirit-led manner. The Clerk noted out-of-the-ordinary efforts of staff to deal with the pandemic and its effects.
I2020-15 Development Director’s report. Mary Braun (Patapsco), Development Director, reported; the written version of the report is attached. Mary expressed appreciation for departing staff members Ned Stowe (Sandy Spring), Margo Lehman (Sandy Spring), and Jossie Dowling. Mary noted Yearly Meeting participation in a Giving Tuesday program. Mary noted that the $26,000 donated by Meetings to meet camp expenses is not part of their apportionments but represents donations of funds budgeted for other camp purposes (such as scholarships). Mary believes that grants for diversity work may be forthcoming in the last half of the year.
I2020-16 Treasurer’s report. Jim Riley (Hopewell Centre), Treasurer, reported; the written version of the report is attached. In answer to a question, Jim noted that “expenditures to meet restrictions” represent the total of spending from funds with associated donor restrictions.
I2020-17 Supervisory Committee reports. Ramona Buck (Patapsco), Supervisory Committee Co-Clerk, presented the Committee’s annual report, a personnel budget report, and a report regarding the position of Acting General Secretary; the distributed versions of the reports are attached. The annual report includes information on staff compensation.
The personnel budget report includes the determination of how to achieve $110,000 of the personnel cost reductions budgeted at our most recent Interim Meeting. Ramona noted that, in addition to steps outlined in the report, retirement account contributions have been suspended. In answer to a question, Wayne Finegar (Sandy Spring), Associate General Secretary, noted that the position of Youth Programs Manager is to be filled after a two-month vacancy; the new manager, Alexis “Sunshine” Klein (Shiloh), has been hired. We heard an introduction from Sunshine. Ramona noted that our Assistant Bookkeeper’s role is to be increased and that our outgoing Comptroller will serve as a consultant for now to meet bookkeeping needs. Ramona believes that staff are taking the changes as best as they can and being as flexible as they can be. Wayne appreciated the work of Supervisory Committee to make changes as little painful as possible. In answer to a question, Wayne noted that future makeup additions to retirement accounts are allowed, funds permitting.
Ramona undertook to share a job description for the Acting General Secretary so that meetings can know what is appropriate to ask of the Acting General Secretary; Wayne expressed openness to all questions, not all of which may be answered.
We ACCEPTED the reports of Supervisory Committee, appreciating their results, numerous meetings, and communication.
I2020-18 Program Committee report. Barb Platt (Sandy Spring), Program Committee Clerk, reported; the written version of the report is attached. Barb noted that registration for our online Annual Session is open; early registration is a help to Program Committee. While a bookstore and ice cream nights are precluded, the Committee has sought to keep as many elements of our Annual Session as possible. Barb invited us to use the new format as an opportunity to invite participation by new people. Barb noted the possibility of local Meetings hosting Annual Session viewings; we heard of the possibility of outdoor viewings (WiFi range permitting). Ken Stockbridge (Patapsco), Presiding Clerk of Yearly Meeting, noted an imminent mailing on how Annual Session business is to be handled.
I2020-19 STRIDE Working Group report. Rosie Eck (Homewood), Baltimore Strengthening Transformative Relationships In Diverse Environments (STRIDE) Co-Clerk, Khalila Lomax, STRIDE Coordinator, and Nikki Richards (Reparations Action Working Group) reported; a written report is attached. Rosie detailed efforts in Baltimore focused on meeting the immediate needs of families. Khalila focused on mutual aid—voluntary reciprocal exchange that can be seen as the opposite of charity, helping avoid the sense of superiority and inferiority that can accompany charity. Nikki noted joint work of members of STRIDE and our Reparations Action Working Group; a list of resources has been created and is available. The Reparations Action Working Group plans to have a document available for our consideration at our upcoming Annual Session. Nikki noted that STRIDE fundraising events have been precluded by the pandemic; we were invited to nonetheless contribute financially to the work.
I2020-20 Report on Change Groups. David Etheridge (Washington), Working Group on Racism Clerk, reported on racial justice Change Group work; the written version of the report is attached. David shared a booklet inviting local Meetings to “live as members of the blessed community,” prepared by the Working Group on Racism and the Growing Diverse Leadership Committee. David noted that today’s report does not include meeting actions of recent weeks; an updated report should be available for our upcoming Annual Session.
I2020-21 Faith and Practice Committee report. Helen Tasker (Frederick), Faith and Practice Committee Co-Clerk, reported. The Committee hopes to bring to our upcoming Annual Session for first reading revisions to the marriage section; draft revisions have been circulated to groups within the Yearly Meeting, and consideration of the revisions by those groups is encouraged.
We heard reports of Meetings that have not received draft revisions; we heard a sense that the pandemic may prevent adequate seasoning of revisions before our upcoming Annual Session. Wayne Finegar (Sandy Spring), Associate General Secretary, reported that draft material was sent to Meeting Clerks 4/7/2020. Davis Balderston (Alexandria), Faith and Practice Committee Co-Clerk, noted that the Committee envisions only a first reading at our upcoming Annual Session.
I2020-22 Minutes of appreciation. Ramona Buck (Patapsco), Supervisory Committee Co-Clerk, presented a Supervisory Committee minute of appreciation (attached) for Ned Stowe (Sandy Spring), and Ned’s service as General Secretary, and a proposed Yearly Meeting Minute of appreciation. We APPROVED this:
We of Baltimore Yearly Meeting express our gratitude and appreciation to Ned Stowe for his service as General Secretary of BYM from 2016 to 2020. He has devoted his full time and energy to the Yearly Meeting, seeking to discern the right way forward for the community as a whole. Ned oversaw the staff, the Yearly Meeting programs, and had overall responsibility for the camps. He served the committees, the members of BYM, and all 49 local Meetings. He saw the Yearly Meeting through some difficult challenges and attempted to stay connected to all of its many parts. It is not possible here to list all that Ned did as our General Secretary. But we can say, “thank you.” Thank you, Ned, for all that you have done in this position. We appreciate you, and we wish you all the best in the future.
Ramona presented a Supervisory Committee minute of appreciation for Margo Lehman (Sandy Spring) and Margo’s service as Comptroller. We APPROVED this:
Margo Lehman has announced her retirement from BYM’s employment as of June 30, 2020. We accept Margo’s decision with some sadness but with gratitude for her many ways of service to the Yearly Meeting since 1999. Over her entire service, Margo showed extraordinary patience with know-it-all Quakers. Her recent service as Comptroller was described by one BYM Treasurer as a perfect example of Quaker “servant leadership.” As Comptroller she remained aware of the many situations faced by the BYM local meetings while keeping in mind BYM’s overall perspective and providing corporate memory of how BYM had worked through other situations in the past. She provided smooth communication between Friends and our successive CPAs auditing BYM’s financials while communicating back to Friends the pertinent provisions of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. She has shown extraordinary attention to detail in her work with BYM’s very complex nonprofit accounting software. She has been thorough in her work and in her communications with Friends. We wish her every success in her expanding artwork.
Marcy Baker Seitel, presiding Arthur David Olson, recording