Monthly Meeting December 2020

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

December 13, 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.)

2020.12.1 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 December 13, 2020.At 12:30pm, twenty-one Friends settled into worship.

Clerk recognized Steve Mohlke as holding the Meeting in the Light.

2020.12.2 Worship Sharing: Reflections on Brokenness

Clerk read a reflection on brokenness that began with lyrics from Leonard Cohen:

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in

Clerk reflected that amidst the pain of being broken, there is a promise: you have some say in how the pieces get put back together or if they get put back it all. Clerk posed these queries:

  • Where have you experienced the spirit speaking to or through you this year?
  • What new life have you seen take hold in your own crevasses?

Friends shared from the spirit on brokenness, healing, racism, pain, numbness, love, trust, and openness to Spirit.

2020.12.3 Nominating Committee

On behalf of the Nominating Committee, Ellie Rosenberg read the slate of Nominations for 2021. With one correction to the report, Friends approved the Nominations. The committee will ensure that full list of committee members is updated on the website. @

2020.12.4 Earthcare Committee: 2020 Donations

Elizabeth Keokosky from the Earthcare Committee reminded Friends that IMM budgets $1000 for this committee to make donations. Half of this amount requires meeting approval (MA in the list below) and the other half may be given from the committee’s discretionary funds (DF in the list below). The donations were presented in categories of: local, in another state, and national or outside the country. All donations were in the amount of $100 except for the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition for $200, an organization that pays fines for former felons in order to clear the path to voting.


  • Project Abundance (MA), an organization supporting community gardens in Ithaca on land owned by religious organizations.
  • Project Growing Hope Community Garden (MA), the community garden near us across Route 13 that acts as a food hub for the Friendship Donations Network, an organization that serves in excess of 2100 people weekly.
  • Groundswell Center for Local Food and Farming (MA)
  • Ithaca Children’s Garden (DF)
  • Cayuga Lake Watershed (DF)

In other states:

  • Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (DF)

National or outside the country:

  • La Via Campesina (MA), an organization that promotes food sovereignty and farmers’ rights to use, develop, and reproduce their own seeds.
  • Indigenous Environmental Network (MA)
  • Earthjustice (DF)

Following a consideration of the words we use to describe others, Friends approved these donations with gratitude to the work of Earthcare in identifying and bringing our attention to these important organizations. @

2020.12.5 Ministry & Worship: Meetings for Worship December 20 – January 10

Nancy Riffer from Ministry & Worship read a report regarding in-person Meeting for Worship recommending the following:

  1. The Hector Meetinghouse will remain open for worship each First Day in December at 10am. Those most intimately involved in making that worship possible, in concert with M&W, will determine on a month-by-month basis whether Meetings for Worship will be continued.
  2. In-person Meeting for Worship at the Third Street Meetinghouse will not occur December 20, 2020 – January 10, 2021. M&W will bring a recommendation to January’s Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business recommending whether this hiatus be extended or if in-person worship at TSMH should resume.
  3. Zoom worship at 10:30am will continue for the foreseeable future. We also want to acknowledge the faithful efforts of Friends to clean, clerk, host, notify, firebuild, troubleshoot, and technicalize in support of our desire for corporate worship, without whom we would not even have these choices to make.

A Friend asked about the legal limits for in-person worship indoors. Clerk reminded us that we had adopted the limit of fifteen for the Hector Meetinghouse, well below the New York State limit. Friends approved the recommendations of Ministry & Worship with gratitude to the COVID Working Group.

2020.12.6 Finance Committee: Year End Report and 2021 Budget

Patrick Sewell, Treasurer, provided a financial summary for 2020. He noted that we spent less money on activities related to in-person activities such as childcare. On the other hand, we spent more money on technology and supporting our remote worship activities. Highlights of the budget include the following.

We spent $2700 at the Burtt House to remove a tree and rebuild a retaining wall.

We spent just over $6000 on refinishing the floors and $2160 on removing a tree at the Third Street property.

The Treasurer also noted that have something called the “Special Needs Fund” that can support individuals and families in times of need. It currently contains $2831 and has not been drawn upon recently.

In a similar vein, the Mutual Support Fund was set up to help Friends with issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. That fund has not been used at this point.

Friends received the report.

2020.12.7 Finance Committee: 2021 Budget

The Treasurer moved on to the subject of the 2021 IMM Budget, highlighting some of the changes. First, he highlighted that income relating to building usage is projected to be down. Second, he noted that the budget for “AVP – Local Area” that is associated with workshops in Elmira and Cayuga correctional facilities is reduced since the in-person workshops were stopped due to the pandemic. (There are two other AVP budget lines: AVP New York and AVP International.) Third, he noted that the Communications Committee has requested a budget of $1000, largely for technology (e.g. software and hardware associated with our emerging needs).

Friends came to the realization that the budget had not been shared prior to our gathering today, but the link was shared through the “Chat” window.

Treasurer scrolled through the budget noting that many individual budget lines remain the same in 2021 as they were in 2020. However, there are many changes to the “Nurture” budget category, including reductions to Child Care, Greeters, Hospitality, and First Day School.

The net result is the budget request is 4% less for 2021 than it was for 2020.

Friends asked questions about the expenses related to the COVID Working Group and the finances associated with the Library committee.

Due to the late reveal of the detail, the approval of the budget will be held over for to the January 10th Monthly Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business. @

2020.12.8 Ithaca Area Clergy Request

Nancy Gabriel described a bit about the informal group Ithaca Area Clergy. This group has proposed taking out a newspaper ad that would appear on or around December 20-21 (the shortest day of the year) and that would read:

As the longest of nights gives way to ever-lengthening days, remember … things will get better!

A message of hope from the following faith organizations whose (virtual) doors remain open to all desiring support and hope as we weather these difficult times:

[Signed, perhaps twenty to thirty area congregations]

Friends noted that improvement comes from action rather than from assurances. While we yearn to stand with other progressive congregations and to articulate a message in the public sphere, Friends we were not fully united behind this expression. To offer hope without help falls short, especially during these very difficult times. We observe that this is not the first time we have wrestled with the issue of singing onto a statement written by another congregation or group of congregations. Friends should seek ways to name our concerns when we work with other groups and to share our Quaker values within diverse religious communities. @

At 3:11, twelve Friends settled in worship before adjourning. Our next regularly scheduled Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business will be January 10, 2021.

Respectfully submitted,Marin Clarkberg