Monthly Meeting November 2021

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

November 21, 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.)

2021.11.1 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 November 21, 2021.

At 12:35PM, 19 Friends settled into worship.

Clerk reviewed the agenda for Monthly Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business and recognized Melissa Travis-Dunham for holding the meeting in the light.

2021.11.2 Worship Sharing: The Vital Cell

Considering the variety of ways people are participating in worship at this time (online or in person at the Third Street Meetinghouse & Hector Meetinghouse), the many reasons for their choice to do so, and the fact there are many more who are not worshipping regularly with us at all, IMM seems to have reached another inflection point, where we get the chance to ask: what now? To facilitate spiritual consideration, clerk shared a passage from Rufus Jones’ 1941 William Penn Lecture entitled, “The Vital Cell” & after some time spent in settled worship, posed three queries:

  • Have you had the experience of utterly losing yourself in worship, either in a Meeting For Worship or elsewhere? What/whom did you find?
  • What do you do to prepare yourself for Meeting for Worship to ensure you come as a “lit candle” or a “burning coal?”
  • What might this (or any) Monthly Meeting do to fulfill its role as a “sustainer of souls?” 

Friends offered reflections and ministry out of the silence.

2021.11.3 Nominating Committee: Nominations & Resignations

On behalf of the committee, Carolyn Kenyon read the report & brought forward the following nominations – new & renewing members – to committees:


  • Carolyn Kenyon (24)
  • Nancy Gabriel (24)

Recording Clerk

  • Marin Clarkberg (24)


  • Simon St. Laurent (24)


  • Bronwyn Mohlke (24)


  • Ruth Yarrow (24)


  • Mike Simkin (24)
  • Kelly Moreland (24)

3rd St. Meeting House

  • Drew Varrichio (24)

Ministry & Worship

  • Carol Clarke (24)

Neighborhood Outreach

  • Karen Friedeborn (24)


  • Antonia Saxon (24)

In terms of resignations, Michelle Brimage has asked to be released from Nominating Committee and the Third Street Meetinghouse Committee. Dreia Spies has asked to be released from Nominating Committee.

A friend raised a concern about how folks are engaged in participation at IMM; this is a concern that both Nominating & IMM as a whole are trying to discern, both in terms of having the conversation & finding a meaningful way to engage folks according to their leadings.

Friends approved the nominations & resignations.@

2021.11.4 Trustees: Burtt House Working Group

On behalf of the committee, Antonia Saxon reported the following: To better explore the Meeting’s leadings with respect to the Burtt House property, IMM Trustees proposes establishing a Burtt House Working Group. This group would be charged with planning and facilitating next steps in this discernment, likely beginning with worship sharing sessions regarding IMM’s relationship to the Burtt House. Trustees requests Antonia Saxon, Steve Mohlke, Nancy Gabriel, Angela Hopkins, and Gina Varrichio be named to serve on this working group. If there are others wishing to serve, they should contact the clerk at

Friends shared memories of and experiences with Marjorie & Ned Burtt and reflected on how these memories of the couple’s generosity, intent and loving spirit might lead IMM forward in its discernment process via this working group, not with a predetermined answer, but with a sincere effort to determine how best to honor the Burtt’s gift in the context of the present time.

Friends approved the formation of the working group.@

Friends approved the initial members named to the working group, understanding others may be added. @

2021.11.5 Neighborhood Outreach: Northside Signage

On behalf of the committee, Karen Friedeborn reviewed the history and current status of Northside United. While largely dormant throughout 2020, recent gun violence has prompted the group to respond by engaging with law enforcement and reinvigorating neighbor-to-neighbor connections to highlight a united opposition to and resilience in the face of crime. To that end, Northside United organized to have yard signs produced and placed throughout the neighborhood. An example of the sign which says, “Northside United for a Safe Community. Sponsored by Ithaca Northside United” was shared with those gathered. The group has asked permission to place a yard sign on the Meetinghouse property at the corner of Third and Madison

Friends shared thoughts, questions, comments, affirmation for ongoing efforts and encouragement to participate in this neighborhood-wide signage display.

Rather than traditional “Neighborhood Watch” or other “policing” models, Karen clarified the “collective care” nature of Northside United’s efforts to bind each to the other.

Friends approved the recommendation.@

2021.11.6 Ministry and Worship: Naming Committee

On behalf of Ministry & Worship, Barbara Chase reported that in light of the shrinking

Nominating Committee, the need for a Naming Committee has arisen. M&W asked for approval to establish a Naming Committee to discern new nominations to Nominating. Gina Varrichio, Pat Sewell (both “obligated” members in their roles as Clerk and Treasurer of IMM), Kris Altucher, and Bronwyn Mohlke have been asked to serve on this committee.

Friends approved the formation of a new committee comprised of the members named.@

2021.11.7 Peace and Social Justice: Donations for Approval

In line with IMM practice, the following 2021 donations required Meeting approval. On behalf of the committee, Margaret McCasland shared information about & recommended 2021 grant amounts for the following organizations:

Opportunities, Alternatives and Resources / OAR of Tompkins County           $200

910 West State/MLK Jr St, Ithaca, NY 14850

Donation at website:

College Initiative Upstate/OAR of Tompkins County   $200

TC3 Extension Ctr, Ithaca Commons, 118 No. Tioga St., Ithaca, NY  14850

Donation at website:

Open Doors English   $200

Donation at website: or by check to “CTA” with “Open Doors English” in memo line. Mail to Ctr for Transformative Action, PO Box 760, Ithaca, NY 14851

No More Deaths/No Mas Muertes   $200

Donation can be made at their website:, or by check made out to UUCT/No More Deaths and mailed to No More Deaths, PO Box 40782, Tucson, AZ 85717

Border Angels   $200

Donation can be made online at their website:, or, to make a donation by check, they advise contacting

A Friend confirmed a change in the current committee’s membership and asked that the list of names be amended in the reports document.

A Friend requested to know all other donations made by the committee during the calendar year; Elizabeth Schneider, representing Peace & Social Justice shared the full list with those gathered. 

Friends approved the donations@

2021.11.8 Ministry and Worship: Hybrid Worship through the Winter

M&W has received confirmation that the quality (both technological and spiritual) of hybrid worship has increased. Based on this information, the need to be nimble regarding our opportunities and modes for worship during the winter months, and the possibility that a new A/V system will soon be installed, M&W recommends that we continue hybrid worship through March 2022. We would continue to use our current system until such time that the more permanent A/V system can be installed.

Friends shared gratitude for & insights derived from this experiment into technologically-enhanced Meeting for Worship.

Friends approved the continuation of hybrid Meeting for Worship through March 2022@

2021.11.9 Closing Worship

16 Friends settled into silent worship at  2:25P.M. before adjourning. Our next regular Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business will be held via Zoom at 12:30 P.M. on December 12, 2021.

Respectfully submitted,

Blair Jennings