2019 Yearbook Third Month 2019 Interim Meeting Annapolis Friends Meeting
I2019-01 Opening. Baltimore Yearly Meeting’s Interim Meeting gathered on 3/23/209 at the Annapolis Friends Meeting House in Annapolis, Maryland. A list of affiliations of people present is attached.
We held the family and circle of Susie Fetter (Gunpowder) in the Light; Susie passed away on 3/21/2019.
Martha Baer (Annapolis) welcomed and oriented us. Martha noted the recent gift of a Zimbabwean statue to the Meeting and the Meeting’s seven-year-old solar panels, now supporting seven vehicle charging stations. The meeting’s traditional 13-bean soup continues to be available; a non-traditional Parachutes For The Planet program has been started.
Marcy Baker Seitel (Adelphi), Clerk of Interim Meeting, provided a brief Yearly Meeting update; a written “Report on Change Groups” is attached. Marcy mentioned a Friends Journal article by Debbie Churchman (Washington) on peacekeeping efforts at a political rally, Change Group training sessions held both in person and online, and the work of Patti Nesbitt (Sandy Spring) in New Zealand and Australia.
I2019-02 Faith and Practice Committee report. Davis Balderston (Alexandria), Faith and Practice Committee Co-Clerk, reported; the written report is attached. Davis thanked Wayne Finegar (Sandy Spring), Associate General Secretary, for help with the Committee’s work. Helen Tasker (Frederick), Faith and Practice Committee Co-Clerk, mentioned the Committee’s decision to change the 2013 draft Faith and Practice’s title to The 2013 Resource for Faith and Practice, reflecting minuted decisions made by the Yearly Meeting in 2013 and 2017; an introduction is to be included to make the status of the document clear. In revising Faith and Practice, the Committee plans to first address the topic of marriage. Folks with insights on Faith and Practice can contact committee members Davis Balderston (Alexandria), Helen Tasker (Frederick), Sarah Bur (Homewood), Diane Bowden (Richmond), or Arthur David Olson (Takoma Park).
I2019-03 Religious Education Committee report. Ellen Arginteanu (Richmond), Religious Education Committee Clerk, reported. Ellen briefly described the Quaker Religious Education Collaborative (QREC); the collaborative seeks to enrich religious education, in part as a way to help local Meetings attract and serve families. At Religious Education Committee’s recommendation, we APPROVED naming a Yearly Meeting representative to the Quaker Religious Education Collaborative; as with other Yearly Meeting representatives, the QREC representative would be eligible for financial support from the Yearly Meeting for travel. At Religious Education Committee’s recommendation, we APPROVED making an annual Yearly Meeting contribution of $200 to the Quaker Religious Education Collaborative, starting in 2020. We directed our Manual of Procedure Committee to add material on the QREC representative to the manual. We encouraged Religious Eduction Committee to suggest a name or names for QREC representative to Nominating Committee.
Ellen noted that a curriculum developed under the leadership of Windy Cooler (Sandy Spring) and Marsha Holliday (Washington) is now available online. The Committee hopes to make virtual “lesson boxes” available online. The Committee, now of two, would welcome additional members.
I2019-04 Peace and Social Concerns Committee report. Phil Caroom (Annapolis), Peace and Social Concerns Committee Clerk, reported. Phil announced a 4/6/2019 networking day to be held at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC.
Lauren Brownlee (Bethesda) reported on work of the Working Group on Refugees, Immigrants, and Sanctuary.
Phil reported on the work of the Back From the Brink group seeking to reduce the risk of nuclear war.
Victor Thuronyi (Adelphi) reported on end-of-life legislation in Maryland; an amended version being considered limits its effectiveness.
Mackenzie Morgan (Adelphi), on behalf of the Working Group on Civil and Human Rights of Transgender and Non-Binary People, presented a “Letter on Trump’s proposed policy on transgender people in the military;” a copy of the letter is attached. Mackenzie noted that the military is the largest employer of transgender people and that the military’s employment practices influence those of society at large. We heard a suggestion that the first sentence of the letter might be strengthened and clarified. We APPROVED this: we endorsed our Working Group on Civil and Human Rights of Transgender and Non-Binary People’s “Letter on Trump’s proposed policy on transgender people in the military,” changing a reference to “Religious Society of Quakers (Friends)” to “Religious Society of Friends (Quakers),” and adding the sentence “While the peace testimony calls us to protest violent military action, the equality testimony calls to acknowledge that of God in all soldiers and in all transgender persons.”
Phil Caroom mentioned that Peace and Social Concerns has agreed to have a working group exploring establishing a Maryland equivalent of the Friends Committee on National Legislation; such an equivalent might be exclusively Quaker or might be interfaith; other equivalents might be considered for other Baltimore Yearly Meeting states and districts. We accepted our Peace and Social Concerns Committee having under its care a working group exploring establishing a Maryland equivalent of the Friends Committee on National Legislation. We asked Peace and Social Concerns Committee to bring a working group charge to our next Interim Meeting.
I2019-05 Travel minute. Jolee Robinson (Adelphi), on behalf of our Intervisitation Working Group, presented a travel minute from Adelphi Friends Meeting for Jolee; a copy of the travel minute is attached. Jolee briefly outlined travel plans. We APPROVED this: we endorsed Adelphi Friends Meeting’s 3/10/2019 travel minute for Jolee Robinson.
I2019-06 Unity With Nature Committee report. We saw slides and videos soliciting one-or-two minute nature videos for “Ten Steps to Nature” being started by our Unity With Nature Committee. Karie Firoozmond (Baltimore, Stony Run), on behalf of Unity With Nature Committee, described the Committee’s hope to make use of the videos at our upcoming Annual Session; details of the project are to appear in the Interchange.
I2019-07 Nominating Committee report. Deborah Haines (Alexandria), Nominating Committee Co-Clerk, reported. At the Committee’s recommendation, on this first and only reading, we APPROVED this: we named these people to serve the Yearly Meeting: Bethanie Bruninga Socolar (Annapolis), American Friends Service Committee Corporation through 2021; Meg Meyer (Baltimore, Stony Run), Friends House Retirement Community Board, through 2022.
I2019-08 Naming Committee. Dave French (Menallen), on behalf of Naming Committee, reported. At the Committee’s recommendation, on this first and only reading we APPROVED this: we named Ann Bacon (Hopewell [Centre]) to serve on Search Committee through 2021.
I2019-09 Trustees report. Ned Stowe (Sandy Spring), General Secretary, reported. Ned asked us to hold a survivor of rape and abuse at Friends Community School twenty years ago in the Light. Greg Tobin (Frederick), Trustees Co-Clerk, reported; the written version of the Trustees’ report is attached. We heard a desire to hold all those involved in the lawsuit reported on by Trustees in the Light.
I2019-10 General Secretary’s report. Ned Stowe (Sandy Spring), General Secretary, reported; the written report is attached. Ned noted that Ann Venable is staying on as Development Director through the end of 4/2019. A Friendly Adult Presence training session for those working with Young Friends and Junior Young Friends has been scheduled for 9/8/2019, most likely at Sandy Spring. We minuted our appreciation for Ned’s work, calm demeanor, focused attention, and skill in capturing Friends’ insights in sensitive words.
I2019-11 Growing Diverse Leadership Committee, and Strengthening Transformative Relationships In Diverse Environments (STRIDE) program. Marcy Baker Seitel (Adelphi), Clerk of Interim Meeting, presented a document on the Strengthening Transformative Relationships In Diverse Environments (STRIDE) program and needed discernment regarding the program; the document is attached. Marcy noted that grant funding of the program will be exhausted this year; developing a way forward has been complicated by the program’s current loose connections with Yearly Meeting committees.
Sarah Dean (Adelphi), Anna Goodman (Sandy Spring), Maria Adamson (Opequon), Hannah Brown (Shiloh), Jamie DeMarco (Homewood), and Rosie Eck (Homewood), STRIDE Group Clerks, Co-Clerks, and participants, showed slides describing the STRIDE program; a STRIDE overview document is attached. The program covers four cities, with a core group in each; each core group establishes fund-raising and camper-retention goals. The program hopes to foster not only camp attendance but also leadership by eliminating barriers to participation. Training of camp staff on diversity and inclusion is provided. Jamie noted that the STRIDE program has raised about $45,000 toward camp expenses. The current focus of the STRIDE program is on increasing participation by people of color on a path toward ownership and leadership. We heard a sense that other areas of diversity (such as religious diversity) might be addressed.
Peirce Hammond (Bethesda), Ad Hoc Growing Diverse Leadership Committee Clerk, presented a proposed charge for a standing Growing Diverse Leadership Committee with the STRIDE Working Group under its care; the written charge is attached. We heard a sense that this change in structure would bring more Yearly Meeting attention to the STRIDE program. We heard a desire for the charge to be clearer on the role of the Committee in the employment of a coordinator. We APPROVED making the Ad Hoc Growing Diverse Leadership Committee a standing committee. We APPROVED the proposed charge for the standing Growing Diverse Leadership Committee.
Marcy presented a STRIDE Coordinator job description; the job description is attached. Marcy presented budget figures for the position (attached); it would be grant funded in 2019, starting as 25% time, then becoming full time; it would be full time thereafter. We heard a question about why we needed to go from 25% to full-time; we heard a sense from a Working Group member that while a 25% position would help the group with its work, a full-time position would allow for a substantive, transformative program. We heard from Karen Cunnyngham (Annapolis), Stewardship and Finance Committee Clerk, that it is considering whether to keep the apportionment rate constant at about 25% or allowing it to increase to fund increased Yearly Meeting programs, staffing, and expenses. There is not yet a plan for covering the increased expense of a new position; there is both a sense that a way to cover the expense can be found and a sense that doing so will be a challenge, even though we may have the capacity to raise additional funds to make our vision real. We were reminded that we raised a large amount of money for toilets.
We heard appreciation for Dyresha Harris and Dyresha’s work as a volunteer and as Outreach and Inclusion Coordinator, the foundation on which the STRIDE groups have built.
We APPROVED establishing a STRIDE Coordinator position, to be 25%-time through 8/31/2019 and full-time thereafter. We APPROVED the proposed full-time STRIDE Coordinator job description.
I2019-12 Supervisory Committee annual report. Ramona Buck (Patapsco), Supervisory Committee Co-Clerk, presented the Committee’s annual report; the written report is attached. The Committee has had success in having a distant member take part in its meetings electronically.
I2019-14 Comptroller and Bookkeeping Assistant job descriptions. Ned Stowe (Sandy Spring), General Secretary, reported on a change to staffing in the Yearly Meeting accounting office; the change, and position descriptions for our Comptroller and Bookkeeping Assistant, are attached. The change would not increase Yearly Meeting expenses.
I2019-15 Development Committee report. Liz Hofmeister (Bethesda), Development Committee Clerk, reported; the written report is attached. While we did not meet our fund-raising goal, we did increase total donations by about 25% from 2017 to 2018, with an increase in unrestricted donations from about $90,000 to about $250,000, but with a drop in camp property capital donations from about $82,000 to about $67,000 (about half the goal). We heard of factors (delays in mailings, stock market drops) that reduced year-end donations.
I2019-16 Unaudited 2018 financial report. Tom Hill (Charlottesville) presented an unaudited 2018 financial report; the report is attached. Tom noted that with write-downs of receivables approved by Trustees, our unaudited net 2018 surplus is now about $10,000; changes may occur when the audit is done. Unrestricted reserves are close to the 25% of operating budget goal. Tom senses we are in a good, solid position to go forward. We accepted the report.
I2019-18 Closing. We heard, improved, and APPROVED these minutes. We adjourned, to gather next on 6/15/2019 hosted by Friends Meeting of Washington in Washington, D C, or at the call of the Clerk of Interim Meeting.
Marcy Baker Seitel, presiding Arthur David Olson, recording