Author Archives: immrsf

Monthly Meeting August 2022

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

August 14, 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.)

2022.8.1 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 14, 2022. Assistant Clerk recognized John Lewis for holding the Meeting in the Light & Carole Clark for providing Zoom hosting duties.

At 12:31PM, 10 Friends settled into worship with 5 more Friends joining during the introductory section. 

Assistant Clerk shared the agenda for Monthly Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business.

2022.8.2 Burtt House Working Group: Scheduling Community Discussions

Having been minuted/approved at IMM’s November 2021 MfWwAtB, the Burrt House Working Group (BHWG) was created to explore the Meeting’s leadings with respect to the Burtt House property. On behalf of the working group, Steve Mohlke shared the group’s first goal: community-building for IMM. Having been separated from each other for more than two years, the group perceives this charge to mean facilitating ways for everyone in IMM to be included and to be heard on the subject of our relationship to the building which has been part of the life of IMM since the Burtts were active members. They bequeathed their house to the Meeting in 1981.

To do this as equitably as possible, the group acknowledges each person comes from a self-defined starting point and needs a chance to reflect on their present state of awareness about the Burtt House. Therefore, the group has scheduled the following “come as you are with the experiences you’ve had” discussions:

Sunday, Sept 18 @ 12:30PM: In person ONLY at the Third Street Meetinghouse

Wednesday, Sept 21 @ 6PM: Online ONLY via Zoom

Sunday, Sept 25 @ 9AM: Hybrid, e.g. online via Zoom AND in person at the Third Street Meetinghouse

Friends are invited to join in one or as many gatherings as they wish. Contact any member of the BHWG with your requests, comments, thoughts, reactions so far. BHWG Members are Antonia Saxon, Steve Mohlke, Nancy Gabriel, Angela Hopkins & Gina Varrichio.

Friends settled into silent worship to await spirit-led questions & thoughts. Assistant Clerk expressed deep appreciation for the BHWG & invited ministry. Friends shared comments & affirmation.

Friends received the report & approved the committee’s recommendation for discussions.@

2022.8.3 Naming Committee: Progress Report

On behalf of the committee, Bronwyn Mohlke shared the report as follows:  Approved in November 2021, the current Naming Committee members are Gina Varrichio, Pat Sewell, Bronwyn Mohlke, and Kris Altucher. Since November, Naming has met several times to consider possible nominations to the Nominating Committee. In December 2021, Naming Committee brought Kathleen Gale’s name forward, and she was approved to join Nominating. Several other possibilities came out of our discernment, but none of those asked were available to serve at this time.

The Naming Committee agreed that it would be better to share a report of our observations so far rather than fall into slot-filling. Observations:

  • Ithaca Monthly Meeting seems to be in a time of reinvigoration right now. After a time of dormancy, committees are beginning to reconvene, new projects are starting up, we’ve managed a few successful potlucks. 
  • A portion of this time has been the end-of-semester time or the summer, neither of which is conducive to conducting IMM business, even in the best of times. People may have more energy to direct to committee work in the fall.
  • The Naming Committee’s inability to bring other names forward to serve on the Nominating Committee might be a visioning issue. There could be a name that we’ve failed to see. We have been disconnected for the last few months, and there very well could be folks we simply missed. If Naming Committee has not approached you about serving on the Nominating Committee and you think you are led to do so, please contact us.
  • Considering the size of the Meeting functionally at this time, our oscillating needs, post-pandemic realities, and where the energy of IMMers seems to be drawn, this may be a time for reinvention. Do our current committees – type, size, structure, etc. – serve our current needs? How are Meeting members and IMM as a whole being led at this time? What work must be done vs. should be done vs. could be done?

The Naming Committee is not yet asking to be laid down. We will continue holding these concerns in the light as well as remaining open to unexpected inspiration. 

 Friends settled into silent worship, then offered ministry out of the silence that included observations, questions, ideas & hope that way will open for a potentially reimagined organizational work paradigm and functional sufficiency of both the Naming/ Nominating Committees & IMM, itself moving forward. The Naming Committee will continue addressing questions; perhaps looping Ministry & Worship into this discernment process. Bronwyn encouraged all to continue sharing their thoughts and ideas with the Naming Committee. Assistant Clerk expressed deep appreciation for the work of the Naming Committee and its willingness to engage IMM’s consideration of the “bigger” issues revealed by its work.

Friends received the report.@

 2022.8.4 Closing Worship

16 Friends settled into silent worship at 1:21P.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 11, 2022.

Respectfully submitted,

Blair Jennings

Monthly Meeting July 2022

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

July 10, 2022

(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.)

2022.7.1 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 July 10, 2022. At 12:35pm, thirteen Friends settled into worship.

Clerk shared the agenda that includes only two reports. The Clerk shared that she and the Assistant Clerk will stay on Zoom after the end of our Meeting for open discussion.

2022.7.2 Ministry and Worship: Plans for Worship

Barbara Chase read a report from Ministry and Worship Committee that grew out of two gatherings in May where Friends reflected on the experience of hybrid worship. The report described positive and negative aspects of the hybrid worship experience. Overall, Friends have shared that the that the benefit of providing accessibility for Friends who are unable to attend in person outweighs the discomfort of using technology as a part of worship that some Friends experience. That said, we haven’t heard from all Friends, and we are continuing to learn about how this most recent development in our practice of worship will impact our spiritual community.

Ministry and Worship proposes that hybrid worship continue at the Third Street Meetinghouse indefinitely. Friends expressed gratitude for those who make the technology work each week, and for the recent dish-to-pass that gathered us together in person to share food together.

Friends received the report. @

2022.7.3 Treasurer’s Report: Quarterly Summary

Pat Sewell, treasurer, described that last year, the Meeting received a gift of significant size and as a result the Finance Committee is now developing a protocol for managing large gifts that might go beyond the annual budget request.

In reviewing the financial activity, Pat noted that the stock market has not been performing well, but that there were no immediate concerns for our Meeting. He further noted that this time of year is slow in term of financial activity, with few donations coming in and fewer expenses as well.

After Pat described the creation of a fund for “Project Abundance,” the Clerk invited Pat to describe the difference between a “fund” and a “budget line.” In short, a fund accumulates a balance that can be spent down in any year; lines in our annual budget, in contrast, do not roll over balances from year-to-year.

A Friend asked how our property values are assessed. Pat indicated that the properties were valued last year and described some of what went into the assessment.

Friends received the report. @

Friends raised questions about the meanings and implications of property values, monetary and non-monetary. Friends asked that Ministry & Worship consider fostering a broader discussion of our properties.

At 1:45, twelve Friends settled in worship before adjourning. Our next regularly scheduled Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business will be August , 2022.

Respectfully submitted,

Marin Clarkberg

Monthly Meeting April 2022

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

April 10, 2022

(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.)

2022.4.1 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 April 10, 2022. Clerk reviewed the agenda for Monthly Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business and recognized Steve Mohlke for holding the Meeting in the Light.

At 12:32PM, Friends present settled into worship & by 12:37 they numbered 13.

2022.4.2 Ministry and Worship: State of the Meeting Report (Second Reading)

On behalf of Ministry and Worship, Carol Clarke read the second report (revised with input from Friends after its first reading in March). The report details the highs and lows of IMM’s membership & worship engagement related to the extended duration & nature of Covid-related restrictions and realities. While individual engagement has been challenged by a variety of factors, committee work has been more consistent and fruitful in 2021 as compared with 2020. Additionally, small group gatherings (for discussion, social connection, service, deep spiritual investigation and exploration of leadings) have flourished. Bottom line, in 2021, we have continued to make ourselves vulnerable and to do everything possible to come together, keep ourselves and each other safe, and follow the leadings of Spirit.

Clerk made space for questions, concerns & ministry. Friends requested the following addition: “We extended our Memorandum of Understanding with the Friends Center for Racial Justice to continue its work in the Burtt House for an additional year, through 2023.”

Friends approved sending the report on to FSRM and NYYM @

2022.4.3 Ministry and Worship: Plan for Worship

On behalf of the committee, Barbara Chase reported that Ministry and Worship would like to continue hybrid worship temporarily and sees a need to create gatherings, both in person and on Zoom, so that Friends can share and discuss their experience of worship now, both from attending worship in person and on Zoom. M & W plans to have these meetings in May and will announce when it will do this on Zoom and in person as soon as the committee is able to set dates.

Friends shared reflections, comments and concerns related to the availability & quality of hybrid meeting for worship, as well as appreciation for the efforts of IMM to make those attending worship electronically feel included in the process. They requested the May meeting announcements be distributed widely with the goal being to include as many people as possible, by as many modalities as possible to encourage as large a virtual gathering as possible. Carol Clark shared that there are many options for gathering still being suggested & considered, especially those for utilizing outdoor spaces as weather permits.

Further, IMM will hold an indoor sunrise Worship at the Hector Meetinghouse on Easter Sunday with regular indoor worship at Hector set to resume at 10:30 AM in person on Sunday, April 24.

Friends approved the committee’s recommendation @

2022.4.4 Communications Committee: Sound System

On behalf of the committee, Melissa Travis-Dunham provided a detailed report on IMM’s new sound system. Melissa reviewed the components & layout, technical hurdles & triumphs, process for integrating, offering & facilitating the use of included listening assist receivers (2), as well as the final costs & equipment acquisitions as follows:

  • $7,400. to Audio Chef, LLC (Paul Acosta’s business) for the A/V system as installed (hours he spent consulting with IMM prior to equipment purchase & troubleshooting after installation were included).
  • $830. for an overhead projector purchased and installed in January 2021
  • $399. for a new laptop acquired in fall of 2021

Friends asked questions, expressed wide-ranging gratitude and specific reflections, and acknowledged that IMM currently has a de facto technical assistance “working group” that helps troubleshoot & facilitate user experience. A suggestion was made to formalize communication between ComCom & these tech helpers to address questions, problems and/or solutions related to the system.

Friends received the report.@

2022.4.5 Treasurer’s Quarterly Report

Treasurer, Pat Sewell shared transactional details to supports the following statement:

At the end of 2021, our Meeting remained in very good fiscal health. IMM received roughly $73,000. in donations, which was very close to its budget of $76,000. Covid meant less was spent on in-person necessities (childcare, hospitality), but more was spent on technical equipment. In response to a solicitation about including IMM in estate planning,  IMM received an estate planning gift ($100K) that has provided a strong financial base from which to operate moving forward.

Major 2021 projects included the following:

  • Solar Panels donation/installation, resulting credits (about $50./month) & fees
  • A/V Upgrade (numbers are slightly different — $7400. as reported by ComCom represents the initial estimate; final number includes $225. billed at the end of the project for additional services/equipment support rendered)
  • New furnaces for Burtt House
  • New ramp for TSMH

Pat shared details about IMM’s long term financial planning (see estate gift above), as well as the reality that the Meeting-approved portion of our savings ($50K) housed in an environmentally focused mutual fund managed by Quakers is currently down about 4% from our initial deposit due to supply chain issues and the war in Ukraine.

After acknowledging Quakers’ testimony of simplicity that encourages us to use our resources deliberately in ways that make life truly better for oneself and others, Pat provided Friends with a visual breakdown of where/how money was spent in 2021.

  • 48% properties
  • 28% Quaker organizations
  • 10% Witness
  • 8% Admin
  • 6% Nurture (funding lines that help IMM do IMM “things” specifically related to meeting such as childcare, etc.)

Additionally in 2021, IMM housed $127,000. in Alternatives Federal Credit Union, which used the money to invest in our community by way of loans for individuals and businesses.

A Friend asked if IMM has a specific process/procedure for how it handles estate planning gifts. While estate gifts are not treated as income, finance is presently working on a plan to formally address & communicate the process/procedure by which they are received, accounted for, held &/or utilized.

Additional questions, comments & reflections about expenses related to the Third Street Meeting House (repairs, improvements, etc.) were asked, answered, shared & received, and the resulting investments acknowledged.

Friends received the report.@

2022.4.6 Closing Worship

At 2:16PM, 10 Friends settled into worship before adjourning. Our next regularly scheduled Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business will be May 8, 2022.

Respectfully submitted,

Blair Jennings

Monthly Meeting March 2022

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

March 13, 2022

(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.)

2022.3.1 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 March 13, 2022. At 12:35pm, sixteen Friends settled into worship.

Clerk shared the agenda and recognized Carol Clarke holding us in the Light.

2022.3.2 Memorial Minute for Chuck Mohler

Liam Murphy read the memorial minute for Chuck Mohler who died in April 2021 and who had been a member of our meeting for thirty years. The minute—compiled by Melody Johnson, Dick Crepeau, assisted by Linda Heyne, Steve Mohlke and Mike Simkin—noted Chuck’s contributions to agricultural sciences, to our Meeting, and to our sense of community. Chuck loved to dance. Friends remembered Chuck’s kindness, integrity, and beautiful depth. Friends received the Memorial Minute.

2022.3.3 Memorial Minute for Tom Brown

Shirley Way read the memorial minute for Tom Brown who died in October 2021. Tom had been a member of our meeting for nearly fifty years and had served the Meeting in many capacities, including as Clerk. The minute was compiled by Dre Spies assisted by Judith Knight. Friends reflected on all the Meeting has lost with the passing of Chuck, Tom, their wives Carol and Wilma, and others in our Meeting. Both Chuck and Tom were deeply connected to nature in their lives and in their studies. Both used their words parsimoniously. Friends shared that they were honored and humbled to have been let into their lives. Friends received the Memorial Minute. @

2022.3.4 Ministry and Worship: State of the Meeting Report (First Reading)

Barbara Chase began by recognizing Carol Clarke for her work on the draft and, in particular, for her attention at both worship sharing sessions held to reflect on 2021. Barbara then read the first draft of the State of the Meeting report.

In reflecting on what they heard, Friends highlighted the losses to our sense of community that we have sustained during the pandemic—dishes not passed; children’s faces not seen—but also expressed gratitude for all the work that has been done to keep us going.

A Friend noted that the report seems to be filled with contradictions, but those contradictions reflect our reality.

Friends received the first draft. Clerk noted that Ministry and Worship will weigh the commentary offered today and return in April with a final draft of this report.

2022.3.5 Earthcare Committee: Donation to Fridays for Future

Margaret McCasland presented a proposal from the Earthcare Committee to donate $150 to Fridays for Future (FFF), an international youth climate action group founded by Greta Thunberg and Kallan Benson. With Meeting’s approval, this donation would come from Earthcare’s budget line. Friends approved the donation. @

2022.3.6 Annual Reports.

Continuing our reading of annual reports from 2021:

Melissa Travis Dunham read the annual report from the Communications Committee. Friends expressed gratitude for the work supporting our community given such limited face-to-face opportunities in 2021, and for supporting the hearing-impaired going forward.

Miguel Piery, Elizabeth Keokosky, Margaret McCasland, and Jim Grant alternated through the reading of the annual report from the Earthcare Committee. Friends spoke on the gift of 21 solar panels (on a solar farm) from the estate of Will White and of Chuck Mohler’s role in our handling of that gift. Friends also expressed gratitude for the beautiful, raised garden supported through Project Abundance.

Friends received the reports.@

At 2:35, fifteen Friends settled in worship before adjourning. Our next regularly scheduled Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business will be April 10, 2022.

Respectfully submitted,

Marin Clarkberg

Monthly Meeting February 2022

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

February 13, 2022

(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.)

2022.2.1 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 February 13, 2022. Clerk reviewed the agenda for Monthly Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business and recognized Shirley Way for holding the Meeting in the Light.

At 12:30 PM, Friends present settled into worship & by 12:35 they numbered 14.

2022.2.2 Memorial Minute: Beth Jolles

Steve Mohlke read the memorial minute. Friends listened deeply then settled into worship to reflect on what was shared. Friends shared memories & ministry about Beth’s life, her work, her service to IMM, her spirit-driven practicality, her abundant generosity & love.

Friends received the report @

2022.2.3 Memorial Minute: Martin Jolles

Mike Simkin read the memorial minute. Friends again listened deeply then settled into worship to reflect on what was shared. Friends shared memories & ministry about Martin’s wisdom, his steadfastness, his support for Friends during difficult times at IMM, his willingness to playfully engage both children & elders in demo work at TSMH, as well as his overall ability to make things happen – including an unexpected smile from a Friend just waiting for the school bus.

Friends received the report @

2022.2.4 Annual Reports

Friends presented annual reports and answered questions for committees as follows:

Karen Friedeborn read the report of the Ithaca Monthly Meeting Pastoral Care Coordinating Team (IMMPaCCT), sharing highlights & details about members, initiatives and plans both practical & spiritual the group has made for the year. After a moment of reflection, Friends shared gratitude to the folks building community through pastoral care & connection

Pat Sewell read the report of the Finance Committee, sharing highlights & details related to the financial life of IMM; he recognized the passing of two valued committee members, and the newly assembled group that serves on this committee. Friends reflected silently, then shared their appreciation for the group’s flexibility and continued good work in the face of many changes.

Karen Friedeborn read the report of the Burtt House Committee, sharing the committee’s immense gratitude to long-time member, Tom Brown as well as a list of maintenance tasks – both anticipated and emergency – that have been undertaken by various Friends through the year. After silent reflection, Friends shared their appreciation.

On behalf of the Peace & Social Justice Committee, Garry Thomas, Ruth Yarrow & Margaret McCasland each read a section of the lengthy report. They shared details that illuminated the varied & impactful work of this committee – from peace advocacy & social justice activities to the research for & distribution of 16 IMM Witness Grants, as well as 11 Peace & Social Justice grants. Friends again entered a period of silent reflection, then shared the following:

1. Clarification of specifics related to the Cayuga Share Farm’s eviction risk (not negligence, but consideration of sovereignty) & IMM’s support

2. Clarification of specific years requests

3. Acknowledgment of the wonderful work of women in India that is supported by this committee

4. Recognition of Elizabeth Schneider’s two decades of service on this committee

Friends received these four reports.@

2022.2.5 Closing Worship

At 2:08 PM, 17 Friends settled into worship before adjourning. Our next regularly scheduled Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business will be March 13, 2022.

Respectfully submitted,

Blair Jennings

Monthly Meeting January 2022

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

January 9, 2022

(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.)

2022.1.1 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 January 9, 2022. At 12:35pm, twenty-six Friends settled into worship.

Clerk shared the agenda and reviewed that the annual meeting of the corporation would precede the regular, monthly Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business.

2022.1.2 Annual Meeting of the IMMRSF Corporation

Present for the annual meeting: Liam Murphy, Chris Dunham, Melissa Travis Dunham, Shirley Way, John Lewis, Bronwyn Mohlke, Steve Mohlke, Gina Varicchio, Mike Simkin, Angela Hopkins, Pat Sewell, Ellie Rosenberg, Judith Knight, Tom Ruscitti, Carolyn Kenyon, Jill Marie, Margaret McCasland, Connie Thomas, Gary Thomas, Barbara Chase, Nancy Riffer, Elizabeth Schneider, Joanne Sturgeon, Marin Clarkberg, Ruth Yarrow, Kris Altucher, and Antonia Saxon.

Liam Murphy, co-Convener of Trustees and co-President of the Corporation convened the Annual Meeting of IMMRSF, Inc., and read the President’s Annual Report to Membership. Liam noted that trustees met by video/phone conference three times in 2021. Given a number of new trustees in 2021, we reviewed and discussed the Meeting’s Corporate by-laws to be familiar with their requirements.

With Meeting’s approval, Trustees signed contracts for the following expenditures in 2021:

Antonia Saxon, Secretary of the Corporation noted that timely and correct notice was given to the membership for the 2021 Annual Meeting of the Corporation (held on January 10, 2021). Thirty-three members attended, and the reports from the Officers of the Corporation were received and approved at that time.

Pat Sewell, Treasurer of the Meeting and of the Corporation, gave the end of the fiscal year budget report. Pat reported that IMM received $144,000 in donations while our total expense was $63,000. As of the end of the year, Ithaca Monthly Meeting held nearly $135,000 in checking, approximately $26,000 in savings and $50,000 in a Friends Fiduciary Account. Pat noted that final numbers for 2021 will be provided in March.

Liam Murphy noted the officers for 2022 would continue to be co-Conveners and co-Presidents Liam Murphy and Marin Clarkberg, with Antonia Saxon continuing to serve as Secretary for the Corporation.  Pat Sewell serves as Treasurer of the Corporation and of the Meeting.

Friends approved the officers for 2022.

Liam Murphy adjourned the Annual Meeting of IMMRSF, Inc.

Clerk reviewed the agenda for Monthly Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business and recognized Pat Sewell for holding the Meeting in the Light today.

2022.1.3 Annual Reports

Clerk reminded Friends that not all annual reports are to be read in January. For the last few years, we have distributed annual reports across two or three months. Friends presented annual reports and answered questions for committees as follows:

  • Ministry & Worship Committee. Friends reflected on the activities related to organizing two memorial meetings for Friends of 2021 and noted that these and other pastoral care activities were done by Friends not serving on M&W. M&W will amend the report to reflect the activities relating to Memorial Meetings. Friends received the report and expressed gratitude for the care that we receive from one another during difficult times. @
  • Third Street Meetinghouse Committee. Friends expressed gratitude to the committee for their care of our Meetinghouse, even while opportunities around the Meetinghouse have been limited by the pandemic. Friends received the report.
  • Hector Meetinghouse Committee. Friends reflected on the role of the Hector Meetinghouse during the pandemic. Friends received the report.
  • COVID Working Group that covered its work for 2020 and 2021; that is, from the creation of the committee through to its laying down. Friends expressed gratitude for the work of this committee in a difficult and rapidly changing environment. Friends received the report.
  • NYYM Representative. A Friend noted that it was just announced that NYYM Spring Session’s beginning on April 1st will be virtual. Friends received the report. @

At 2:10, nineteen Friends settled in worship before adjourning. Our next regularly scheduled Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business will be February 13, 2022.

Respectfully submitted,

Marin Clarkberg

Worship Sharing

A Friend spoke about the murder of George Floyd, of learning with othersand listening to others—as we strive to fight racism, and of hope for the future.

A Friend reflected on the realities and illusions of American democracy and our troubling history as a nation.

A Friend longed for us to use some of our time together to introduce ourselves and “check-in.”

A Friend wondered if this period of the pandemic might be followed by a period of radical extroversion. How do we reach out to one another? We must go beyond acceptance and actively, lovingly include people of color, gender-nonbinary people, and others. Are we truly welcoming to everybody?

A Friend expressed a concern that Friends may have left the meeting because of they did not feel welcome because of their political views. Are we “othering” those with whom we have a lot in common but not everything in common?

A Friend spoke of including families and children.

A Friend hoped that we might leave behind guilt as a foundation for action, and that guilt is a brick in the wall between us and the spirit.

A Friends spoke of a compelling need to find common ground. This is true in our own meeting as well as in society at large. The starting point for finding common ground is communication: talking with one another with curiosity and not with the assumption that we will always agree.

Monthly Meeting December 2021

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

December 12, 2021

(The @ signifies that the minute has been read and approved during Meeting. Please note that copies of all reports provided during this Meeting have been distributed on the listserv and/or are available from the Clerk or Recording Clerk.)

2021.12.1 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 12, 2021. At 12:35pm, fifteen Friends settled into worship.

Gina Varrichio, Clerk, began by reviewing the agenda. Barbara Chase was recognized for holding the Meeting in the Light.

2021.2.2 Memorial Minute for Will White

Ruth Yarrow read a memorial minute for Will White, a lifelong Quaker who began attending Ithaca Monthly Meeting after moving to Ithaca in 2003. Will’s life expressed Friends’ testimonies in deep and meaningful ways. Having known Will only in his later years, Friends shared a wish to have known more about the fullness of his life while he was still with us. Friends received the Minute.

2021.12.3 Clerks Report: Upcoming Memorial Minutes

Clerk noted that Memorial Minutes are expected for five deceased Friends. Compiling a Minute on behalf of someone in the IMM community that has passed away is a way to remember, discover, and celebrate the significance of that person. Memorial Minutes are the responsibility of the entire Monthly Meeting and, ideally, are not authored by those who are closest to the deceased, so as not to burden those most grieving.

Help is needed. The Memorial Minutes pertain to: Tom Brown (whose Memorial Minute is being compiled by Dre Spies, who would like an additional person to help), Beth Jolles (being compiled by Melanie-Claire Mallison), Martin Jolles (compiled by Mike Simkin, who would like an additional person to help, Chuck Mohler (compiled by Dick Crepeau and Melody Johnson), and Esther Darlington (whose Minute is being compiled by Nancy Riffer).

Friends are invited to share remembrances or suggestions for these minutes. Contact the Clerk or the people identified above. Friends received the report.

2021.12.4 Clerks Report: Response from FCRJ

IMM forwarded the minute from the October 2021 Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business expressing a desire to extend the current Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Friend’s Center for Racial Justice (FCRJ) for an additional year to the FCRJ Coordinating Committee. In an email dated November 17, 2021, the Coordinating Committee approved extending the MOU such that the MOU will now run through December 31, 2023.

Friends received the report.@

2021.12.5 Finance Committee: 2022 Budget

Similar to 2020, IMM’s spending this year was strongly shaped by a world adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our spending on “in-person” activities remained low, but we invested heavily in ways to better connect and communicate virtually. Looking forward, our 2022 budget reflects a desire to rebuild our connections among ourselves and in our community.

Pat Sewell, Treasurer, read a report to highlight significant changes in the 2022 budget as compared to 2021. Friends noted a discrepancy in the narrative of the treasurer’s report that did not accurately reflect the Earth Care Committee Distribution line. Clerk highlight that line and the Friendship Donation Network line in the budget spreadsheet where they are accurately represented.

Friends approved the budget for 2022. @

2021.12.6 Earthcare Committee: Donations for Approval

Members of the Earthcare Committee described the work of five organizations that they propose sending $100 each: Fridays for Future, Girl Child Education, La Via Campesina, Our Children’s Trust, and Right Sharing of World Resources. Earthcare seeks Meeting’s approval for allocating these funds.

In addition, Earthcare described using their discretionary funds to give $100 each to Project Abundance, Cayuga Lake Watershed Network, Project Growing Hope Community Gardens, Earthjustice and Indigenous Environmental Network.

Finally, Elizabeth Keokosky gave a synopsis of how the garden boxes adjacent to the Third Street Meetinghouse—a part of Project Abundance—were funded, created, and used. Earthcare hopes that in the next year, these can become a more familiar and well-utilized part of the neighborhood and that we can expand this practice to other religious organizations in Ithaca through Area Congregations Together.

Friends approved the donations for 2022 and received the report from Earthcare.@

2021.12.7 Nominating Committee: Nominations

Nominating Committee is bringing two additional nominations, effective January 2022: Steve Mohlke for Trustees (for a term that runs through 2024), and Barbara Chase for Assistant Clerk (for a one-year term that runs through 2022).

Friends expressed gratitude for restoring the role of Assistant Clerk and enthusiasm for these nominations. Friends approved the nominations. The full slate of Nominations for 2022 is available at the following link: [insert link]

2021.12.7 Naming Committee: Nomination

Naming Committee recommends Kathleen Gale for Nominating Committee for a term that runs through 2024. Friends approved the nominations. @

2021.12.8 COVID Working Group: Laying Down CWG

Carol Clarke read a report from the COVID Working Group. The report described that the COVID guidelines that the group developed have been robust and few changes have been made in them over the last six months—even as pandemic is still with us and COVID cases in our community are higher than they have ever been.

The tasks of the working group—at least as they pertain to meeting at Third Street—will be picked up by the Third Street Meetinghouse Committee.

Friends appreciated that considerable time and effort has been made to listen to Spirit throughout this pandemic. With gratitude and appreciation for the work that has been completed over this difficult time to keep our community together, Friends approved laying down the COVID Working Group. @

2021.12.9 Closing

At 2:25, eighteen Friends settled in worship before adjourning. Our next regularly scheduled Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business will be January 9, 2021.

Respectfully submitted,

Marin Clarkberg

The Amazing New York Climate Bill

Letter from Earthcare

The spirit is leading the many thoughtful people in New York through the difficulties of shaping one of the most progressive policies in the union in regards to climate change.  We in Ithaca Monthly Meeting, who advocate stewardship and respect for the Earth, can only be very excited and encouraged by the historic clean energy transition now underway, unfolding largely unnoticed by numerous people until recently.

The driver for this transition is the 2019 NY Climate Act – official name: the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.  This bill sets the most ambitious goals in the nation for emissions reduction – 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 and then to 85% below 1990 levels by 2050.   Not only are these goals impressive, but also the commitments made to achieve them will be enforceable and written into law.

The methods and processes set into motion by this bill have been painstaking and deliberate.   The bill authorized a ”Climate Action Council” to be formed by a diverse set on NY Departments, people, and organizations, representing a political spectrum of opinions from multiple sectors of the economy – renewable energy, transportation, fuels, buildings, agriculture, and waste sectors – to come up with the policies and actions to make the climate goals happen.    Over the past 2 years the Council has been formed and has been working on how and what to implement.  Just this past December they completed a draft “Scoping Plan,” which is now open for a 120 day period of public comment.  See:

https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/About/Newsroom/2021-Announcements/2021-12-30-Climate-Action-Council-Releases-Draft-Scoping-Plan-for-Public-Comment

The “Scoping Plan” is a huge financial commitment, but at this point funding is unclear, especially since federal aid from the “Build Back Better” legislation has collapsed. Both a tax on the rich and a carbon tax have been proposed. Like all such large projects projected into the future many of its figures are based on estimates and unknowns. Practically minded accounting people are asking for more transparency, which is entirely understandable and important, yet how do you estimate what climate inaction will cost NYC or what affect the bill itself will have on the economy?  Even the authors of the “Scoping Plan” admit this aspect needs more work, and it will be one of the major talking points in the public hearings ahead.

Expectations are that moving from fossil fuels will initially raise costs and money will have to be transferred to those who cannot afford to meet them.  Expectations are also to create 160,000 new jobs – as well as lose some old ones.  Economic justice is a serious consideration of the bill and there a requirement to direct at least 35-40% of the program’s benefits to historically disadvantaged communities

The Climate Action Council and it’s advisory panels include two people from the Ithaca area: Bob Howarth, Ecologist & Earth system scientist from Cornell, and Suzanne Hunt, a strategist and a seventh gen­er­a­tion farm and Finger Lakes winery owner.  Suzanne serves on one of the advisory panels to the CAC, “The Agriculture and Forestry Advisory Panel”.   The new proposed laws will require updated accounting for methane emissions, a strong driver of atmospheric warming. That updated accounting was recommended based on Howarth’s research. There are seven advisory panels covering everything from energy efficiency to land use to waste, as well as a “Just Transition Working Group”.

Looking into the “Scoping Plan” and trying to understand it requires some investment in time, but the impact on New York (it will set into a motion a whole shift in energy use to electric vehicles, heating pumps, and off-shore wind energy, for one) is so great that it is well worth your time.

Earthcare will be reporting occasionally as this bill progresses.  A few links and sources of education:

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:

Greeters

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

Recording Clerk

  • Marin Clarkberg (24)

Historian

  • Simon St. Laurent (24)

Directory

  • Bronwyn Mohlke (24)

FCNL Rep

  • Ruth Yarrow (24)

Finance

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

3rd St. Meeting House

  • Drew Varrichio (24)

Ministry & Worship

  • Carol Clarke (24)

Neighborhood Outreach

  • Karen Friedeborn (24)

Trustees

  • 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 clerk@ithacamonthlymeeting.org.

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: http://www.oartompkins.org/donate

College Initiative Upstate/OAR of Tompkins County   $200

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

Donation at website: ciutompkins.org

Open Doors English   $200

Donation at website: sites.google.com/view/open-doors-english/ 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: nomoredeaths.org/en/, 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:  http://www.borderangels.org/donate.html, or, to make a donation by check, they advise contacting admin@borderangels.org.

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

Monthly Meeting October 2021

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

2021.10.1 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 October 10, 2021. At 12:40pm, sixteen Friends settled into worship.

Gina Varrichio, Clerk, began by reviewing the agenda. Tom Ruscitti was recognized for holding the Meeting in the Light. (Later in the Meeting, Tom Ruscitti left and Margaret McCasland held Meeting in the Light.)

2021.10.2 Worship Sharing: Worship as Refuge or Refreshmen

Clerk read an excerpt from “The Meeting as Covenant Community,” which appears in the collection Essays on the Quaker Vision of Gospel Order by Lloyd Lee Wilson (North Carolina Yearly Meeting).

Friends were asked to consider the following queries:

  1. Do we treat our Meetings for Worship as places of personal retreat or places of spiritual refinement?
  2. Have you had the experience of being grown and shaped through your relationships with others? Through your relationship with the Meeting? Through your relationship with the divine?
  3. How can we lean into our identity as a “Covenant Community” rather than as a club of like-minded individuals? Is this even important

Friends reflected on the reading and considered the ways that they grow in relationship with other, the Ithaca Monthly Meeting, and the Divine.

2021.10.3 Trustees: Memorandum of Understanding with Friends Center for Racial Justice

Antonia Saxon read a report from the IMM Trustees. Since 2016, the Burtt House has been used by the Friends Center for Racial Justice (FCRJ). A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between IMM and the FCRJ has existed since March 2019, and the agreement currently runs until December 31, 2022. Previously, Friends expressed desire to give FCRJ at least a year’s notice about plans to extend, modify or discontinue the MOU. Meeting that timeline would mean that IMM would have to make decisions related to the MOU within the next two months.

Previously, Friends have expressed a variety of thoughts, feelings, and leadings about possible next steps regarding the Burtt House and the MOU with FCRJ. In order to explore the fullness of this discussion while also ensuring FCRJ has the ability to plan effectively for the future, Trustees is recommending:

  1. We will offer to extend the current MOU between FCRJ and IMM for an additional year, until December 31, 2023, and
  2. A MOU Working Group be established to assemble all the comments and concerns about both the building and IMM’s relationship with FCRJ. This group will propose a plan for discernment that offers Ithaca Friends the opportunity to ask questions, to speak to be heard, and to listen to each other.

Friends asked questions about how FCRJ will be included in discussions that pertain to the relationship between IMM and FCRJ. Friends offered that a distinction should be made between IMM’s relationship to the Burtt House and IMM’s relationship to the FCRJ. Friends pointed out that there is currently no entity providing oversight of the MOU or the relationship between IMM and FCRJ. The Clerk cannot effectively manage this discussion for the entire Meeting by herself.

Friends approved the extension of the MOU until December 31, 2023. Friends asked Trustees further consider the proposal for a Working Group and report back to Monthly Meeting in November.

2021.10.4 Communications Committee: Improved A/V System

Nancy Riffer read a report from Communications Committee, revisiting the topic of A/V issues in the Meetinghouse that have been raised in Monthly Meetings from July, August, and September. Since the early months of the pandemic, our hybrid Meeting for Worship has been enabled by a patchwork technology setup that is piecemeal and finicky. Many Friends are eager for a better solution.

The report describes that Communications Committee has consulted with a local audio expert with broad and extensive experience and now has a proposal from this expert, Paul Acosta, for a comprehensive A/V system. This system includes pendant-style ceiling microphones, a mixer/amplifier, wall-mounted speakers, an infrared assistive-listening system, and a wide-angle high-resolution camera. In preparation for today, Communications Committee also prepared answers to frequently asked questions. These were shared over the listserv.

Meeting approves hiring Paul Acosta to install the audio/visual system described in this report, with the understanding that Communications Committee will coordinate with the Third Street Meetinghouse Committee on scheduling and installation

2021.10.5 Closing

At 3:01, fifteen Friends settled in worship before adjourning. Our next regularly scheduled Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business will be November 21, 2021.

Respectfully submitted,

Marin Clarkberg