March MfW w/ Attention to Business

March 8, 2020

Clerk: Gina Varrichio

Assistant Clerk:

Recording Clerks: Marin Clarkberg, Blair Jennings

(The @ signifies that the minute has been read and approved during Meeting. Copies of all written reports are on file with and available from the Clerk or Recording Clerk.)

2020.3.1 Opening Worship

Ithaca Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends met in Monthly Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business on March 8, 2020. At 12:05 P.M., 17 Friends gathered and settled into worship.

Clerk recognized Kathleen Gale who was holding the meeting in the light.

2020.3.2 Ministry & Worship

Clerk described the process for receiving and approving the annual State of the Meeting report. Asha Sanaker read the first draft for those gathered. After a period of silent worship, Friends shared their responses and reflections, as follow:

§  Wish to include IMM’s commitment and action in response to the climate crisis

§  Demonstrated balance between accomplishments and room for growth

§  Sadness that arises related to “problems in the wider world” that Friends are hoping to engage with in a loving manner

§  Lack of mention of connections between IMM and the wider Quaker community

§  A discussion of the use of the term “weighty” when applied to Friends

Ministry & Worship will consider ideas that arose from these discussions as they compose a final draft. Friends will be asked to approve the final draft at April’s Meeting for Worship w/Attention to Business.

Friends received the first draft of the report.@

2020.3.3 Annual Reports

Friends presented annual reports and answered questions for committees as follow: Jill Marie for Children and the Life of the Meeting (CALM) and Asha Sanaker for Ministry & Worship.

Additionally, gratitude for Ministry & Worship’s work related to Pastoral Care was expressed.  

Friends received the annual reports.@

2020.3.4 Clerk’s Report

Clerk acknowledged the following reasons why Annual Reports from Greeters and Hospitality were not rendered:   

§  For Greeters, lack of information to report, as well as the fact that the group neither meets nor takes up much business outside of providing a welcoming presence on Sunday mornings

§  For Hospitality, lack of active membership and organized committee structure. This has been referred to the Nominating Committee for discernment.

Friends received the report.@

2020.3.5 Ministry & Worship Report

On behalf of Ministry & Worship, Nancy Riffer shared proposed preventive measures IMM might take in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, including signage; temporary use of paper products instead of cloth towels and rags; increased professional cleaning of the meetinghouse; wiping down of door handles, light switches, railings and chairs before meeting for worship; and lovingly mindful acceptance of folks’ hesitation to shake hands and/or share physical contact.

Friends shared comments, reflections, experiences and suggestions, including a recommendation to strike a balance between proactive planning and alarmist over-reaction in our level of preparedness. While there are currently no known cases within Tompkins County at this time, experiences from other places suggest it may circulate long before an officially-identified case. A question was also raised about IMM’s responsibility and/or liability as a public-use space. Friends expressed concerns about the need for, cost and effectiveness of increased professional cleaning. 

Ministry & Worship will continue to assess the situation and make additional suggestions and/or revisions to IMM’s COVID-19 response plan as they arise.

Signage will be created and posted by the Third Street Meetinghouse Committee.

With the exception of increased professional cleaning, Friends approved the proposed measures.@

2020.3.6 Worship Sharing (Committees)

Two pieces excerpted from: The Use of Committees and Aspects of the Work of Committees, both by Arthur M. Larrabeeof Philadelphia Yearly Meeting appeared in the March newsletter. In response to these passages, Friends were asked to consider the following queries:

In what ways does our committee structure support deep discernment and faithfulness?

When does this structure distract from the greater calling of Friends to cultivate community?

How can we encourage the spirit of worship be carried into our committee meetings?

What would make the work of a committee “not trustworthy” and how can we guard against it?

After a period of silent worship, folks were invited to share their considerations out of the silence as led.

All were encouraged to take these queries to their committees and continue to share insights with the clerk. @

2020.3.7 Other Concerns

Treasurer, Pat Sewell let all know that a formal treasurer’s report is forthcoming as he continues to familiarize himself with all processes and practices. He assured those gathered that the financial health of the meeting is good.@

2020.3.8 Closing Worship

10 Friends settled into silent worship at 2:06 P.M. before adjourning. Our next regular Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business will be held at the rise of Meeting on April 12, 2020.

Respectfully submitted,

Blair Jennings