Category Archives: Meeting for Business

Information related to our monthly Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business, including reports and minutes

Monthly Meeting May 2020

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

May 3, 2020

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.)

2020.5.1 Opening Worship

Ithaca Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends met in Monthly Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business on May 3, 2020. At 12:31 P.M., 18 Friends gathered via Zoom and settled into worship.

Clerk recognized Karen Reixach who was holding the meeting in the light.

2020.5.2 Memorial Minute for Carol Kimball

Bronwyn Mohlke read the memorial minute written for Carol Kimball by her daughter, Erica Weiss along withPeggy Walbridge and Carolyn Kenyon.

Clerk invited Friends to share a few minutes of silent worship. Friends shared reflections out of the silence.

Friends approved the minute.@

2020.5.3 Ministry & Worship

Extending Suspension of In-Person Meeting for Worship The Sequel

At April’s Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business, IMM approved the following minute:

            Friends approved extending the suspension of in-person Meeting for Worship in the          Third Street Meetinghouse and the continued closure of the Third Street Meetinghouse to         all groups through Sunday, May 3, 2020.

Reporting on behalf of the committee, Nancy Riffer shared the following recommendation:

Ministry & Worship, with the support of the Third Street Meetinghouse Committee, recommends that we extend this same suspension through our next Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business, June 7, 2020. The following reasons impact the recommendation:

  • NYS Pause extension until May 15th
  • Planning considerations for returning to the Third Street Meetinghouse (fire inspection, cleaning, etc.)
  • Lack of clarity among all stakeholders about what exactly the “right time” is.
  • Faith that waiting for clearness on all of the above will indeed yield the right decision

Clerk invited Friends to enter into silent worship and share ministry out of this silence as led.

Friends approved the continuation of the current suspension. @

2020.5.4 Ministry & Worship

Meeting for Worship Online in May

On behalf of Ministry & Worship, Asha Sanaker shared the committee’s report and following recommendation:

In order to combat what many are now referring to as “Zoom-fatigue”, Ministry & Worship proposes that we make two changes in our First Day format for the month of May.

  1. Shortening our official online worship time to 45 minutes. Meeting for Worship will begin at 10:30 AM and end at 11:15 AM. For Friends who desire a more extended worship time, the Zoom worship space will be available starting at 10:15 AM each

      First Day.

  • Eliminating community announcements at the end of worship. Announcements concerning IMM will be made by Gina Varrichio, Clerk in a single, succinct list after worship.

Friends shared appreciation for the various committees that support IMM and participate in ongoing discernment of Meeting for Worship best practices during this pandemic, as well as their takeaways from this morning’s trial run of the newly suggested framework.

Clerk asked all who have suggestions related to matters of start/end time, length of break between Meeting for Worship & Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business, etc. discerned during our experience with the new format over the next five weeks be sent directly to the Clerk for consideration by Ministry & Worship.

Friends approved the changes to our Meeting for Worship format for May. @

2020.5.5 Treasurer’s Report

Treasurer, Pat Sewell shared a year-to-date report run on 29th April 2020. The document presents a different way to “look” at IMM’s financial health by comparing actual expenditures with budgeted amounts and noting the percentage variance between the two. Based on those percentages, treasurer reports that everything looks on track at this time.  

Questions about current costs and potential savings related to the Meetinghouse shut down were asked and answered as treasurer was able.

A Friend suggested the addition of a balance sheet that lists current amounts in IMM’s various funds would be helpful moving forward.

Treasurer will consider all requests and suggestions and report back.

Friends received the report. @

2020.5.6 Ministry & Worship

Mutual Support Fund

A member of meeting approached IMM’s Clerk with a desire to use an unexpected windfall to help meet any emergency needs that arise for other community members due to the pandemic. Clerk brought this request to Ministry & Worship for consideration of how to appropriately move forward with this gift.

On behalf of Ministry & Worship, Nancy Riffer shared that the committee has been led to recommend the establishment of a Mutual Support Fund.

The Mutual Support Fund is specifically for offering support to members of the IMM community, as opposed to the wider community, and therefore is separate from the Special Needs Fund.

In order to keep the activities of the Mutual Support Fund separate, Ministry & Worship will be working with the Finance Committee to set up a discrete line in the Meeting’s Chart of Accounts.

Requests for assistance will be received by the Clerk, and then disbursement decisions will be made by members of Ministry & Worship and Finance Committee. A monthly report on the total money spent and the balance in the Fund, omitting all confidential details of recipients, will be made to Ithaca Monthly Meeting at Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business.

Ministry & Worship wishes to keep this fund active as proposed until the end of the calendar year, at which time the Fund may be laid down or the Meeting may decide to include the Mutual Support Fund in its budget for 2021, with any changes to the Fund’s oversight proposed and approved as part of that annual process.

A question about the tax deductibility of these funds will be addressed by a legal professional so IMM can assure it does what is both legal and appropriate.

Friends approved the creation of a Mutual Support Fund. @

2020.5.7 Ministry & Worship

State of the Meeting (Second Draft)

On behalf of Ministry & Worship, Kris Altucher read the State of the Meeting Report.

Clerk invited all to enter into a few minutes of silent worship and share ministry out of the silence as led.

Friends approved this as the final draft of the report to be sent to New York Yearly Meeting. @

2020.5.8 Closing Worship

15 Friends settled into silent worship at 2:05 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 June 7, 2020.

Respectfully submitted,

Blair Jennings

Monthly Meeting April 11, 2020

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

April 11, 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.)

2020.4.1 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 April 11, 2020.  At 12:30pm, twenty Friends settled into worship.

Clerk described how to use Zoom to “raise your hand” to signal your desire to be recognized by the Clerk and encouraged Friends to use the “mute” function when not speaking. The Clerk encouraged us to be gentle with one another as we navigate the ways in which technology facilitates our Quaker processes. Clerk further acknowledged that this has been a difficult week for many of us marked by considerable uncertainty for the future.

Clerk read from an epistle in New York Yearly Meeting’s Faith and Practice written on the occasion of the reunification of New York Yearly Meeting on August 4, 1955:

Dear Friends,

This is the message of our love.

[…] We wish to share with you our joy that the way to unity has been found.

We shall continue to share our differences, which serve a useful purpose. God does not ask us for conformity, but calls us to unity, in obedience to the leadings of the spirit.

We seek to recapture the radiance of simple, uncomplicated love… such love as will resist evil without violence, without hatred of the wrongdoer, and without compromise.

[…] To the lonely seekers in this hurried and soul-hiding world, we would say, “Dear Friends, we are walking beside you… seekers, too.”

Have lovingkindness toward one another. Have faith in the Lord, and he will help you.

Clerk recognized Nancy Gabriel who was holding Meeting in the Light.

2020.4.2 Memorial Minute for Marion DaGrossa

Garry Thomas read a Memorial Minute for Marion DaGrossa who died October 19, 2019. The minute described Marion’s lifelong commitment to the concept of that of God in every one. Friends spoke of their memories of Marion and appreciated that the Minute was faithful in portraying Marion’s life. Friends approved the Minute. @

2020.4.3 Extending Suspension of In-Person Meeting for Worship

Kris Altucher from Ministry & Worship read a report that began by reminding us that at a Called Meeting on March 15, IMMRSF had agreed to suspend in-person Meeting for Worship at the Third Street Meetinghouse and until at least our April Monthly Meeting. Since that time, Meeting for Worship has occurred remotely, using Zoom remote conferencing.

Kris reported that Ministry & Worship proposed extending the suspension of in-person Meeting for Worship in the Third Street Meetinghouse through our next Monthly Meeting on Sunday, May 3, 2020. The M&W report acknowledged that using remote conferencing is not a fully satisfactory replacement for in-person worship, but further described that the continued suspension of in-person activities has the best chance of supporting the health and safety of our of our whole community.

Friends expressed concerns about those who have had technological hurdles and spoke about the ways those hurdles have been addressed and might continue to be addressed, such as through phone calls and postal mail.

Friends approved extending the suspension of in-person Meeting for Worship in the Third Street Meetinghouse and the continued closure of the Third Street Meetinghouse to all groups through Sunday, May 3, 2020. @

As a further step, Ministry & Worship also proposes that the Hector Meetinghouse be closed to gatherings for this period.

Friends spoke of differences of opinion regarding safe interactions, the safety of outdoor gatherings, and the best ways to care for one another in this difficult time. We acknowledge that some Friends continue to gather in worship, in-person and outdoors, without this being an officially sanctioned IMM activity. Friends observed that we are not in unity about the specific boundaries around safe practices and that we have different opinions about the advisability of outdoor Meeting for Worship in particular.

Even as we recognized our differences on these matters, it was the sense of the meeting that we close both our Meetinghouses through May 3rd. @

2020.4.4 Paying IMM Contractors

Pat Sewell from the Finance Committee noted that before New York State issued its shelter-in-place order, IMM has been regularly paying two contract employees: one for the work of cleaning the meetinghouse and one for childcare during Meeting for Worship. CALM brought this to the attention of the Finance Committee. Subsequently, Finance and Third Street Meetinghouse Committee conferred and have come to the shared conclusion that IMM should continue to pay its contract employees their usual fees while the Meetinghouse is closed and IMM is not meeting in person. Indeed, they took this action before bringing this to Monthly Meeting for approval. With gratitude for the decision of the respective committees, Friends approved the following minute: IMM will continue to pay contract employees during the period that Meeting for Worship is not being held in the Third Street Meetinghouse due to the COVID-19 pandemic. @

2020.4.5 Ad hoc Care Committee

Nancy Riffer reported that the Ministry and Worship committee proposes the formation of ad hoc Care Committee to coordinate meals and errands for individuals and families in the IMM community. Bronwyn Mohlke and Antonia Saxon are assembling requests for care and offers of help. Requests can be directed to clerk@ithacamonthlymeeting.org.  A budget may be established at later time, and the continuation of the committee will be considered at the end of August 2020. Friends approved the creation of this committee. @

At 2:30pm, twenty-one Friends settled in worship before adjourning.

Respectfully submitted,

Marin Clarkberg

Called Meeting March 15, 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.)

2020.2.1 Opening Worship

Ithaca Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends met for a Called Meeting on March 15, 2020 with participants gathering both in-person in the Third Street Meetinghouse as well as joining us on-line, through Zoom.  Sometime shortly after noon, a total of thirty-seven Friends—twenty in the room and seventeen friends joining by Zoom—settled into worship as technical issues relating to Zoom were addressed.

Melissa Dunham read a quote posted to New York Yearly Meeting’s Instagram account:

Virtual is not the opposite of real. It is the opposite of physical. They are both real. This means your virtual church service is still a very real church service as it connects with real people in their real lives.

—Jim Keat

Clerk read a report prepared by Ministry and Worship and previously shared through the listserv as a Google Doc. Clerk interjected during her own reading of the report to comment that the circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic described by the report drafted just a few days prior had already changed.

Ministry and Worship’s report brought forth a proposed minute to temporarily end in-person Meeting for Worship as a respond to the growing thread of Covid-19.

Friends asked questions about how this would work, about dates, and about Easter (April 12th). Friends expressed a sense of loss over in-person connection, and asked questions about what it is to be selfish, what is to be compassionate, and what it is to be selfless. Meeting electronically satisfies some of our need for connection, but probably not all our need for connection. Friends asked whether there might be other opportunities to be together, such as gathering outdoors, either in worship or in activity. We need connection, especially at this challenging time for humanity. 

Friends acknowledged that any decision we make may have consequences that we don’t fully understand, especially in this time of great uncertainty. We must understand that our decisions are made in love.

Friends came to approve the following:

In-person Meeting for Worship in the Third Street Meetinghouse is suspended at least until our April Meeting for Worship with Attention for Business. Friends are invited to gather for worship on First Days at 10:30am via phone and/or computer. During this time of the suspension of in-person meeting, Ministry and Worship will seek to identify other opportunities for connection and fellowship. Ministry and Worship will continue to confer regarding next steps. @

Clerk revisited two elements of the Ministry and Worship report:

  • First, Ministry & Worship will offer a daily on-line (or by phone) check-in opportunity. Clerk will be available tomorrow, Monday March 16th, on-line (through Zoom) from 6-7pm. Once established through Ministry & Worship, a regular schedule of check-in times will be circulated through our email listserv.
  • Second, while there is no Pastoral Care Committee in our Meeting at present, Antonia Saxon and Bronwyn Mohlke have offered to coordinate the needs of people and how Meeting friends can help. In this period, Friends needs may range from shopping and errands to technical support. Please be in touch with Antonia and Bronwyn if you need assistance or can offer assistance.

A Friend asked whether the building will be closed to the public. Clerk indicated that Ministry and Worship and the TSMC have decided to close the meetinghouse as of the end of the day (that is, March 15, 2020).

Friends spoke about ways of meeting outside while minimizing opportunities for contagion.

A Friend asked about how to use the listserv at this time. Clerk described the appropriate uses of the listserv as minuted by the Meeting previously. Marin Clarkberg and Melissa Dunham, members of the Communications Committee, spoke about their committee’s consideration of groups.io as a possible discussion venue, and invited Friends’ input on how that forum could be used.

A Friend asked whether the Meetinghouse might be of use to the Red Cross, the Health Department and/or another entity directly managing the Covid-19 pandemic. Friends expressed an openness to considering such uses should they come before us, but there is no information about such a possibility at this time.

Friends expressed gratitude for the Clerk, for Ministry and Worship, and others leading us at this time. @

The Clerk welcomes regular communication and visitation with members. Email Gina at clerk@ithacamonthlymeeting.org or call her at home at (607) 272-2512 for any reason.

At 1:40pm, twenty-six Friends—fourteen through Zoom and twelve in the meeting room—settled in worship before adjourning.

Respectfully submitted,

Marin Clarkberg

March MfW w/ Attention to Business

March 8, 2020

Clerk: Gina Varrichio

Assistant Clerk:

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.)

2020.3.1 Opening Worship

Ithaca Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends met in Monthly Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business on March 8, 2020. At 12:05 P.M., 17 Friends gathered and settled into worship.

Clerk recognized Kathleen Gale who was holding the meeting in the light.

2020.3.2 Ministry & Worship

Clerk described the process for receiving and approving the annual State of the Meeting report. Asha Sanaker read the first draft for those gathered. After a period of silent worship, Friends shared their responses and reflections, as follow:

§  Wish to include IMM’s commitment and action in response to the climate crisis

§  Demonstrated balance between accomplishments and room for growth

§  Sadness that arises related to “problems in the wider world” that Friends are hoping to engage with in a loving manner

§  Lack of mention of connections between IMM and the wider Quaker community

§  A discussion of the use of the term “weighty” when applied to Friends

Ministry & Worship will consider ideas that arose from these discussions as they compose a final draft. Friends will be asked to approve the final draft at April’s Meeting for Worship w/Attention to Business.

Friends received the first draft of the report.@

2020.3.3 Annual Reports

Friends presented annual reports and answered questions for committees as follow: Jill Marie for Children and the Life of the Meeting (CALM) and Asha Sanaker for Ministry & Worship.

Additionally, gratitude for Ministry & Worship’s work related to Pastoral Care was expressed.  

Friends received the annual reports.@

2020.3.4 Clerk’s Report

Clerk acknowledged the following reasons why Annual Reports from Greeters and Hospitality were not rendered:   

§  For Greeters, lack of information to report, as well as the fact that the group neither meets nor takes up much business outside of providing a welcoming presence on Sunday mornings

§  For Hospitality, lack of active membership and organized committee structure. This has been referred to the Nominating Committee for discernment.

Friends received the report.@

2020.3.5 Ministry & Worship Report

On behalf of Ministry & Worship, Nancy Riffer shared proposed preventive measures IMM might take in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, including signage; temporary use of paper products instead of cloth towels and rags; increased professional cleaning of the meetinghouse; wiping down of door handles, light switches, railings and chairs before meeting for worship; and lovingly mindful acceptance of folks’ hesitation to shake hands and/or share physical contact.

Friends shared comments, reflections, experiences and suggestions, including a recommendation to strike a balance between proactive planning and alarmist over-reaction in our level of preparedness. While there are currently no known cases within Tompkins County at this time, experiences from other places suggest it may circulate long before an officially-identified case. A question was also raised about IMM’s responsibility and/or liability as a public-use space. Friends expressed concerns about the need for, cost and effectiveness of increased professional cleaning. 

Ministry & Worship will continue to assess the situation and make additional suggestions and/or revisions to IMM’s COVID-19 response plan as they arise.

Signage will be created and posted by the Third Street Meetinghouse Committee.

With the exception of increased professional cleaning, Friends approved the proposed measures.@

2020.3.6 Worship Sharing (Committees)

Two pieces excerpted from: The Use of Committees and Aspects of the Work of Committees, both by Arthur M. Larrabeeof Philadelphia Yearly Meeting appeared in the March newsletter. In response to these passages, Friends were asked to consider the following queries:

In what ways does our committee structure support deep discernment and faithfulness?

When does this structure distract from the greater calling of Friends to cultivate community?

How can we encourage the spirit of worship be carried into our committee meetings?

What would make the work of a committee “not trustworthy” and how can we guard against it?

After a period of silent worship, folks were invited to share their considerations out of the silence as led.

All were encouraged to take these queries to their committees and continue to share insights with the clerk. @

2020.3.7 Other Concerns

Treasurer, Pat Sewell let all know that a formal treasurer’s report is forthcoming as he continues to familiarize himself with all processes and practices. He assured those gathered that the financial health of the meeting is good.@

2020.3.8 Closing Worship

10 Friends settled into silent worship at 2:06 P.M. before adjourning. Our next regular Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business will be held at the rise of Meeting on April 12, 2020.

Respectfully submitted,

Blair Jennings