Monthly Meeting June 2020

Ithaca Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends
Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business

June 7, 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.)

2020.6.1 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 June 7, 2020.At 12:35pm, eighteen Friends settled into worship.

Clerk indicated that written reports were shared on Thursday, but that some Friends did not receive them until Saturday (due a technical glitch). She indicated that she would use the “share screen” feature of Zoom to display these reports as they are also being read during our gathering today.

Clerk recognized Nancy Gabriel as holding the Meeting in the Light.

2020.6.2 Memorial Minute for Ann Rhodin

Antonia Saxon read a Memorial Minute for Ann Rhodin who died July 5, 2019. Friends remembered Ann as well as appreciated new insights about our longtime Friend from this minute. Friends approved the Memorial Minute.

2020.6.3 Ministry & Worship: Meeting in the COVID-19 Pandemic

Nancy Riffer from Ministry & Worship read a report with three proposals.

First, M&W proposes extending the practice of remote Meeting for Worship through July 12th, (our next monthly meeting date). As approved last month, Zoom-based worship would run from 10:30 to 11:15, and IMM-related announcements would be conveyed by the clerk. (Friends who have announcements they would like to have read should alert the clerk by phone or email no later than Saturday evening.)

Second, Ministry & Worship proposes an outdoor Meeting for Worship on Wednesday evenings from 5pm to 6pm, beginning June 10th. With the removal of New York State restrictions around small religious gatherings, this option provides a low risk way to support in-person worship.

Third, Ministry & Worship proposes that the enclosed courtyard at the Third Street Meetinghouse could be used for IMM committee meetings that do not exceed twelve people. To facilitate this option, tape marks will be placed on the ground to help place chairs at a safe distance. A bin with gloves, spray cleaner and paper towels will be placed under the stairs to the backdoor, and Friends are asked to wipe down chairs and tables after using them.

Regarding the first proposal, Friends asked questions related to the timing of four phases of reopening in New York State. We are currently in “phase two,” and this week the governor approved indoor religious services at 25% of their seating capacity. Friends heard there are some practical things that need to be done to re-open the Meetinghouse, such as the legally-required inspection of the elevette and a plan for systematic cleaning of the space as it used, and these may require a bit of time for planning. Friends expressed a wish to continue having Zoom as an option on Sundays even after some Friends return to the Third Street Meetinghouse for worship.

Friends approved the first proposal.

On the second proposal, Friends spoke about a group of Friends who have been Meeting outdoors in Stewart Park on Sunday afternoons. Friends raised questions about the 5pm time posing a challenge to those who work standard business hours and to the timing of dinner.

Friends approved an outdoor Meeting for Worship at 6pm outside of the Hector Meetinghouse on Perry City Road. Those who attend this week could discuss the meeting time and propose an a different time if so led.

Regarding the third proposal, Friends approved opening the patio at the Third Street Meetinghouse for use by Ithaca Monthly Meeting committees. @

2020.6.4 Clerks’ Report: Letters related to Black Lives Matter

The Recording Clerk read two letters that have been circulated among local religious leaders regarding police brutality against black and brown people. The first letter is from an evangelical pastors’ group, and the second is authored by Mother Megan Castellan of St. John’s Episcopal Church. Friends have been invited to sign both letters.

Friends spoke to the value of uniting with other congregations around this issue while acknowledging that there were elements of both letters—but especially the first letter—that troubled some Friends.

Friends were in unity with signing the letter authored by Mother Megan Castellan. Friends could not unite with the full content of the letter from the evangelical pastors, while deeply appreciating its genesis and its conclusion.

Friends are seeking ways to effectively address systematic racism as a Quaker community. Margaret McCasland offered to coordinate an FCNL approach for engaging with law enforcement regarding tactical training. Asha Sanaker offered to be a point person for Ithaca Monthly Meeting in thinking through structural racism and our response to it as a Meeting. Asha’s proposal is referred to Ministry & Worship for further consideration and discussion. @

The Clerk noted the time. After some reflections from Friends regarding their stamina and availability for additional meeting, Friends opted to hold over the agenda item regarding the laying down of CALM.

2020.6.6 Nominations

On behalf of Nominating Committee, Pat Pingel brough forth the following recommendation: Barbara Barry be appointed to replace a vacancy on Ministry & Worship created when Dreia Spies resigned. Barbara asked to be released from Nominating Committee in order to serve on M&W, and the Naming Committee will seek to find a replacement for Nominating.

2020.6.7 Third Street Meetinghouse Committee

Carol Clarke shared a list from the Third Street Meetinghouse Committee of major Meetinghouse improvements for 2020, including: 1) refinishing the wood floors with a water-based polyurethane, 2) removing a small dead tree on Madison and a large box elder next to the building in the children’s play area, and 3) rebuilding the ramp at the main entrance to address structural issues and bring it more in line with building codes. Friends received the report from the TSMC. @

At 3pm, thirteen Friends settled in worship before adjourning. Our next regularly scheduled Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business will be July 12, 2020.

Respectfully submitted,

Marin Clarkberg