Monthly Meeting November 2022

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

November 13, 2022 

Clerk: Gina Varrichio

Assistant Clerk: Barbara Chase

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.)

2022.11.1 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 13, 2021.

At 12:45 PM, 19 Friends settled into worship with 3 more Friend joining during the introductory section.

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

2022.11.2 Third Street Meetinghouse Committee: Changes to COVID-19 Policies

On behalf of the committee, John Lewis read the submitted report which notes that requests to use our meetinghouse have started to increase dramatically in the last few weeks & reviews past and current policies, procedures and public attitudes toward both COVID and use of TSM. Based on the reported information and their discernment, the committee proposed the following significant changes to IMM’s COVID protocol at this time:

  1. Outside groups be permitted to follow their own COVID policiesFriends are reminded to put your committee and other gatherings on the calendar so that everyone is aware of who is in the building.
  1. The kitchen be opened for cooking and other appropriate uses to outside groups and us.

Friends shared current masking information/recommendations with regard to multiple groups using the space concurrently, as well as reflections and suggestions about how to manage the practical realities of sharing our space – kitchen readiness, etc. Clerk noted that TSMC has confirmed the good working order of all building amenities. Significant discussion swirled around the idea of requiring outside groups to follow our mask-wearing policies if there is more than one group in the building and the sense of the meeting was to remove the language around required mask-wearing altogether.

Friends approved the proposed changes.@

Additional note: due to ministry that arose in October’s Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business, the third proposal from TSMC is being held over until December. In the interim, the Ministry & Worship Committee would like to create opportunities to share our experiences in a way that is inspired by the recent gatherings held by the Burtt House Working Group. The committee plans to hold two gatherings: a Zoom meeting on Wednesday, November 16th at 7pm, and a hybrid gathering at 12:15 on November 20. At both of these TSMC invites Friends to share about their experience with, and feelings about, wearing (or not wearing) masks in public or in groups and current COVID.

The hope is that a sense of community is created by sharing with each other our direct experience with these things and that this will help IMM move toward a gathered leading on this. Making a decision about the question of changing our mask requirement during Worship will not be considered at these gatherings. We ask only for Friends to speak from their own experience about this – their experience of wearing or not wearing masks in public or in groups.

2022.11.3 Nominating Committee: Nominations

On behalf of the committee, Carolyn Kenyon placed the following names before Ithaca Monthly Meeting to be considered to fill vacancies in committees and positions at the end of 2022.

  • Assistant Clerk – Marin Clarkberg;
  • Burtt House Committee – Mike Simkin;
  • Communications Committee – Carol Clarke

The following will serve another term in their position/committee:

  • Liaison to Hospital – Bronwyn Mohlke; 
  • Greeter – Bronwyn Mohlke, David Horton; 
  • Library Committee – Margaret McCasland, Simon St. Laurent; 
  • Third Street Meetinghouse Committee – Pat Pingel

NOTE: The Nominating Committee will be down to two people at the end of the year and needs at least two more people.

Friends expressed gratitude for those who’ve agreed to serve, as well as concern about ongoing vacancies/needs on specific committees – TSMC, Finance, etc.

Friends approved the nominations.@

2022.11.4 Burtt House Working Group: Burtt House Sharing

On behalf of the committee, Nancy Gabriel shared the flavor and outcome of three community discussions to explore Ithaca Monthly Meeting’s leadings with respect to the Burtt House held at the end of September.

The invitation to the discussions read, “A metaphor that seems apt is that of a river, with many streams springing from different sources and gradually converging into a single flow.”

The metaphor of the river helped frame Friends’ expectations; all three meetings were characterized by quiet, warm reflection and deep listening. Friends shared stories, memories, wishes for documentation of Friends’ Burtt House experiences as part of the meeting’s history. Concern was expressed about responsible stewardship. There was a sense that the house’s importance in the life of the meeting has diminished over the years, particularly after the move to the Third Street meetinghouse. All in all there was appreciation for sharing, listening and being heard and a sense that the discussions felt grounded. Also, it was agreed that a sense of community did emerge – a community with a history. 

The Working Group felt that the way these discussions went would guide the meeting toward its next steps, including discerning what exactly the next question in the process is/will be. The group continues to meet and is planning for a second round of community discussions.

Friends received the report.@

2022.11.5 Peace and Social Justice: Nondiscretionary Donations

On behalf of the committee, each member present (Garry Thomas, Ruth Yarrow, Margaret McCasland & Jill Marie) read a portion of the report, sharing information and anecdotes about the organizations (national, international, local) represented on the list of recommended 2022 non-discretionary donations. The following donations require meeting approval:

  • $200    National Religious Campaign Against Torture
  • $200    Council of Chiefs – Tiny Seeds
  • $300    Afghan Women’s Fund
  • $200    Opportunities, Alternatives and Resources / OAR of Tompkins County (General Fund)
  • $200    No More Deaths/No Mas Muertes    
  • $250    Village at Ithaca

Total: $1,350 (includes $100 donated to Peace & Social Justice in Barbara Barry’s name). Friends have access to the organizations’ contact/donation information in the report in the event they feel called to further support these organizations individually.

Friends approved the donations.@

2022.11.6 Closing Worship

16 Friends settled into shared worship at 2:17 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 December 11, 2022.

Respectfully submitted,

Blair Jennings