Ithaca Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends
Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business
April 11, 2020
(The @ signifies that the minute has been read and approved during Meeting. Please note that copies of all annual reports provided during this Meeting are on file with and available from the Clerk or Recording Clerk.)
2020.4.1 Opening Worship
Ithaca Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends met on-line, using Zoom remote conferencing service, for Monthly Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business on April 11, 2020. At 12:30pm, twenty Friends settled into worship.
Clerk described how to use Zoom to “raise your hand” to signal your desire to be recognized by the Clerk and encouraged Friends to use the “mute” function when not speaking. The Clerk encouraged us to be gentle with one another as we navigate the ways in which technology facilitates our Quaker processes. Clerk further acknowledged that this has been a difficult week for many of us marked by considerable uncertainty for the future.
Clerk read from an epistle in New York Yearly Meeting’s Faith and Practice written on the occasion of the reunification of New York Yearly Meeting on August 4, 1955:
This is the message of our love.
[…] We wish to share with you our joy that the way to unity has been found.
We shall continue to share our differences, which serve a useful purpose. God does not ask us for conformity, but calls us to unity, in obedience to the leadings of the spirit.
We seek to recapture the radiance of simple, uncomplicated love… such love as will resist evil without violence, without hatred of the wrongdoer, and without compromise.
[…] To the lonely seekers in this hurried and soul-hiding world, we would say, “Dear Friends, we are walking beside you… seekers, too.”
Have lovingkindness toward one another. Have faith in the Lord, and he will help you.
Clerk recognized Nancy Gabriel who was holding Meeting in the Light.
2020.4.2 Memorial Minute for Marion DaGrossa
Garry Thomas read a Memorial Minute for Marion DaGrossa who died October 19, 2019. The minute described Marion’s lifelong commitment to the concept of that of God in every one. Friends spoke of their memories of Marion and appreciated that the Minute was faithful in portraying Marion’s life. Friends approved the Minute. @
2020.4.3 Extending Suspension of In-Person Meeting for Worship
Kris Altucher from Ministry & Worship read a report that began by reminding us that at a Called Meeting on March 15, IMMRSF had agreed to suspend in-person Meeting for Worship at the Third Street Meetinghouse and until at least our April Monthly Meeting. Since that time, Meeting for Worship has occurred remotely, using Zoom remote conferencing.
Kris reported that Ministry & Worship proposed extending the suspension of in-person Meeting for Worship in the Third Street Meetinghouse through our next Monthly Meeting on Sunday, May 3, 2020. The M&W report acknowledged that using remote conferencing is not a fully satisfactory replacement for in-person worship, but further described that the continued suspension of in-person activities has the best chance of supporting the health and safety of our of our whole community.
Friends expressed concerns about those who have had technological hurdles and spoke about the ways those hurdles have been addressed and might continue to be addressed, such as through phone calls and postal mail.
Friends approved extending the suspension of in-person Meeting for Worship in the Third Street Meetinghouse and the continued closure of the Third Street Meetinghouse to all groups through Sunday, May 3, 2020. @
As a further step, Ministry & Worship also proposes that the Hector Meetinghouse be closed to gatherings for this period.
Friends spoke of differences of opinion regarding safe interactions, the safety of outdoor gatherings, and the best ways to care for one another in this difficult time. We acknowledge that some Friends continue to gather in worship, in-person and outdoors, without this being an officially sanctioned IMM activity. Friends observed that we are not in unity about the specific boundaries around safe practices and that we have different opinions about the advisability of outdoor Meeting for Worship in particular.
Even as we recognized our differences on these matters, it was the sense of the meeting that we close both our Meetinghouses through May 3rd. @
2020.4.4 Paying IMM Contractors
Pat Sewell from the Finance Committee noted that before New York State issued its shelter-in-place order, IMM has been regularly paying two contract employees: one for the work of cleaning the meetinghouse and one for childcare during Meeting for Worship. CALM brought this to the attention of the Finance Committee. Subsequently, Finance and Third Street Meetinghouse Committee conferred and have come to the shared conclusion that IMM should continue to pay its contract employees their usual fees while the Meetinghouse is closed and IMM is not meeting in person. Indeed, they took this action before bringing this to Monthly Meeting for approval. With gratitude for the decision of the respective committees, Friends approved the following minute: IMM will continue to pay contract employees during the period that Meeting for Worship is not being held in the Third Street Meetinghouse due to the COVID-19 pandemic. @
2020.4.5 Ad hoc Care Committee
Nancy Riffer reported that the Ministry and Worship committee proposes the formation of ad hoc Care Committee to coordinate meals and errands for individuals and families in the IMM community. Bronwyn Mohlke and Antonia Saxon are assembling requests for care and offers of help. Requests can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. A budget may be established at later time, and the continuation of the committee will be considered at the end of August 2020. Friends approved the creation of this committee. @
At 2:30pm, twenty-one Friends settled in worship before adjourning.