Monthly Meeting August 2021

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

August 8, 2021

Clerk: Gina Varrichio

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.)

2021.8.1 Opening Worship

Ithaca Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends met on-line, via Zoom remote for Monthly Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business on August 8, 2021.

At 12:34 PM, 9 Friends settled into worship with 8 more Friends joining during the introductory section.

Clerk reviewed the agenda for Monthly Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business and recognized Margaret McCasland for holding the Meeting in the Light.

2021.8.2 Clerk’s Report

Clerk shared her continued discernment of the message that underlies this report. If and when it clarifies, she will present the resulting report.

2021.8.3 Communications Committee (Comm Comm): Improved A/V System

On behalf of the committee, Marin Clarkberg posed the following big question:

Does IMM want an improved audio visual (A/V) system for the meeting room?

She then read the report, reviewing the history and current situation related to assisting those with hearing difficulties better access and participate in worship. She reviewed a number of questions, pros, cons and potential costs the committee considered.

The question — Would IMM like Comm Comm to proceed? – was offered for consideration to those in attendance and shared with the following for context & clarity:

·      Comm Comm pulled together the current “make do” A/V setup but does not see the current technology as a long-term solution… while it has worked to some degree for many months, it has been a source of frustration, for both the operators of the technology and the participants

·      Comm Comm sees limited opportunities to make incremental improvements to such a minimal setup

·      If Meeting wants an A/V system as “a tool that supports and enhances communications,” Comm Comm can undertake the work of generating proposals for IMM to consider

·      If IMM wants Comm Comm to move forward, Comm Comm proposes the following minute:

IMM charges Comm Comm to undertake the work of developing criteria,

exploring options, and coming up with a proposal for an A/V system

for the meeting room in the Third Street Meetinghouse.

Friends settled into a time of worship, after which the clerk invited logistics questions and ministry. Members of the committee responded to questions to provide clarity on equipment considerations, describe the committee’s specific role and process. Friends offered ministry and suggestions related to ongoing discernment about IMM’s desired quality of worship, including considering whether sound augmentation technology is comparable to other common accessibility features (ramp, elevator, etc.) that increase inclusivity in IMM activities.   

Friends approved Comm Comm’s moving forward and the proposed minute.@

2021.8.4 Ministry & Worship – Hybrid Worship in September

On behalf of the committee, Barbara Chase described the most recent uptick in COVID-19 infections in Tompkins County as well as the decision made at July’s business meeting to suspend hybrid worship at IMM for the month of August.

While it is impossible to know if the recent increase in COVID cases in Tompkins County is a short-term spike, or a longer-term increase, Ministry & Worship has concluded that this spike and the spread of the more transmissible Delta variant around the country, is likely to result in more people who are not comfortable coming to in-person Meeting for Worship.

Ministry and Worship believes it is important for IMM to provide an opportunity for all members of the IMM community, including those with impaired immune systems, underlying medical conditions, and other factors, to participate in Meeting for Worship on Sundays. Therefore, IMM will  resume hybrid Meeting for Worship from the Third Street Meeting House for the month of September.

Friends settled into worship and shared ministry out of the silence.

An addendum to the report was offered: the Communication Committee will not be required to coordinate the technology related to resuming hybrid worship; Barbara Chase has offered to clerk the four Sundays in September freeing Gina Varicchio to coordinate technology.

Steve Mohlke volunteered to help with tech management.

Friends received the report.@

2021.8.5 Nominating Committee – Resignations and Nominations

Nominating Committee communicated the following to Gina Varicchio, clerk, who reported this information:

·      Nancy Riffer has asked to be released from Ministry and Worship

·      Dreia Spies has asked to be released from Nominating Committee

·      Both requests are effective as of August

Nominating would like to nominate Dreia Spies to serve on the newly formed IMMPACCT (Ithaca Monthly Meeting Pastoral Care Coordinating Team) Committee.

Friends received the resignation information & approved the nomination.@

2021.8.6 Treasurer’s Report – 2nd Quarter

IMM Treasurer Pat Sewell offered an overview of finances for the quarter, highlighting key points of interest from the balance sheet and budgeted vs. actual expenditures documents. All financial activities (expenditures, donations, etc.) are in line with expectations for the year thus far. He offered a detailed explanation of why it appears as if our insurance costs are significantly higher this year from last; this is related to an accounting change, not a major cost increase. He also reported that the move of 50K of IMM’s savings into the Quaker Green Fund managed by the Friends Fiduciary Fund has been completed.

Questions were invited; none arose.

Friends received the report.@

2021.8.7 Closing Worship

17 Friends settled into silent worship at 2:16 P.M. before adjourning. Our next regular Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business will be held via Zoom at 12:30 P.M. on September 12, 2021.

Respectfully submitted,

Blair Jennings