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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

Monthly Meeting September 2021

Ithaca Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends
Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business
September 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 are on file with and available from the Clerk or Recording Clerk.)

2021.9.1 Opening Worship

Ithaca Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends met online, using Zoom remote conferencing service, for Monthly Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business on September 12, 2021. At 12:30pm and after a technological hiccup, 21 Friends settled into worship.

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

2021.9.2 Worship Sharing: Observations on the State of the Meeting

Clerk Gina Varrichio read a prepared report regarding the Meeting’s current state and asked that Friends consider three queries:

  1. Do the above observations resonate with you? Which ones?
  2. What observations have you made that are missing from this list?
  3. Which of these observations do not belong on this list?

Friends shared out of the silence. Notes from the session were preserved.

2021.9.3 Communications Committee: Updates on A/V System

Nancy Riffer presented a report from the Communications Committee. The report highlights five needs: 

  1. the system should improve sound for those who need help hearing and provide teleconferencing ability,
  2. it will be professionally installed,
  3. it needs to be able to be used without an engineer or tech support there, so should be simple and straightforward,
  4. it needs to be versatile, and
  5. security from theft is a concern.

Questions were asked and addressed. Messages centered around the concern voiced by some Friends that the use of tech interferes with the spirit of Friends’ worship and appreciation for the work of the committee.

The clerk noted that the Communications Committee is creating opportunities for a functional, unobtrusive way to do the tech tasks that need to be done–the nuts and bolts. There will be separate conversations led by Ministry & Worship about how to use that tech during Meeting for Worship.

Melissa Travis Dunham of the Communications Committee noted that difficulty with tech and discomfort with tech in worship are two different things. Some, after a year of all computer screen communication, want worship to be computer free, or want that for their children. The committee also noted that the meeting room is intentionally plain.

She said further that the five-page report is very detailed and technical, probably too detailed for Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business. The Google Doc can be shared. Friends can ask members of the committee for the link. 

Friends received the report. 

2021.9.4 Ministry and Worship: Hybrid Worship in September

Barbara Chase of Ministry and Worship read a report about hybrid worship. IMM will continue hybrid worship through the month of October. In-person worship will continue in the Third Street Meetinghouse linked with online worship, both at 10:30am. Worship at Hector will continue through Thanksgiving.

A new laptop computer will be purchased as a stop-gap until a more permanent solution is identified. Money is available in M&W’s budget for this.

Ministry and Worship proposes that the Communications Committee be empowered to secure a more permanent system, in line with their guidelines document, as soon as possible. 

Questions were asked and answered. Friends received M&W’s report and approved their asking the Communications Committee to move ahead and to come up with one or more proposals for what the system might be.@

2021.9.5 Nominating Committee: M&W Nomination

For the Nominating Committee, Carolyn Kenyon reported the nomination of Ellie Rosenberg to serve on Ministry and Worship. Ellie has also asked to be released from Nominating. 

Meeting accepted Ellie’s leaving the Nominating Committee and approved her nomination to Ministry and Worship.@

2021.9.6 Earthcare Committee: Bell Station Property

For the Earthcare Committee, Elizabeth Keokosky read a report about working with the Finger Lakes Land Trust and other local organizations to preserve Bell Station, a property on the east shore of Cayuga Lake originally purchased for the construction of a power plant that was not built. Sale of the property for residential development is being considered and an auction is currently scheduled for early October. Preservation would be a far better use for the community, the lake and the land, these local groups point out. Earthcare asks the meeting to approve a minute to ask NYSEG to withdraw the auction for purchase and work with Finger Lakes Land trust to preserve the property. 

Friends who are not on Earthcare but who are familiar with the land and the situation spoke in support of the minute. Meeting approved the minute.@

Earthcare further asked that IMM approve sending a letter to officials speaking of our endorsement of this plan. The text of the letter was provided in the report.

Meeting approved Earthcare working with the clerk to send the letters to the representatives listed in the report’s Appendix.@

Monthly Meeting August 2021

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

August 8, 2021

Clerk: Gina Varrichio

Recording Clerks: Marin Clarkberg, Blair Jennings

(The @ signifies that the minute has been read and approved during Meeting. Copies of all written reports are on file with and available from the Clerk or Recording Clerk.)

2021.8.1 Opening Worship

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

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

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

2021.8.2 Clerk’s Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

for the meeting room in the Third Street Meetinghouse.

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

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

2021.8.4 Ministry & Worship – Hybrid Worship in September

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

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

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

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

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

Steve Mohlke volunteered to help with tech management.

Friends received the report.@

2021.8.5 Nominating Committee – Resignations and Nominations

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

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

·      Dreia Spies has asked to be released from Nominating Committee

·      Both requests are effective as of August

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

Friends received the resignation information & approved the nomination.@

2021.8.6 Treasurer’s Report – 2nd Quarter

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

Questions were invited; none arose.

Friends received the report.@

2021.8.7 Closing Worship

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

Respectfully submitted,

Blair Jennings

Supporting Federal Recognition for the Traditional Gayogoho:no Community

At IMM’s Peace and Social Justice Committee meeting on Sunday, August 15, we discussed a recent article from the Finger Lakes Times about Gayogoho:no (Cayuga*) people again living on their traditional lands around Cayuga Lake, and their interactions with the Seneca County Board of Supervisors (link below). We are deeply concerned about violence instigated by the federally-recognized Cayuga chief, Clint Halftown, against traditional Gayogoho:no living in Seneca Falls. However the article describes an inspiring development at the August 10 meeting of the Seneca County Board of Supervisors.

*Cayuga is the English spelling of Gayogoho:no, the Nation’s name in the Gayogoho:no language. Like the Finger Lakes Times, this article uses Gayogoho:no to refer to the traditional community and governance, and “Cayuga Nation” to refer to the organization headed by Clint Halftown, recognized as the sole chief by the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), but not by the Haudenosaunee Confederacy’s Council of Chiefs. Each of the Haudenosaunee nations has multiple clan chiefs, or sachems, who are selected and guided by the clan mothers.

For many months, Clint Halftown had not been willing to meet with the Board of Supervisors to discuss the destruction and violence Halftown ordered in February of 2020 against the Gayogoho:no community. (More recently, he has been threatening eviction of Gayogoho:no families renting homes owned by the Cayuga government.)

In spite of being frustrated by Halftown’s lack of cooperation, the Board of Supervisors had not reached out to the Gayogoho:no community, on the assumption that they could only interact with the BIA-approved chief. However Bear Clan Sachem Sam George and a group of traditional Gayogoho:no people showed up at the August 10 meeting, and respectfully asked to be able to speak. Sachem Sam George explained how their governance works both within each Haudenosaunee nation and among all Six Nations via the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Council of Chiefs; the commitment to peaceful cooperation between the Haudenosaunee and European Americans embodied by the Two Row Wampum belt; and thus why traditional Gayogoho:no leaders are more appropriate for the BIA and the Seneca County Board of Supervisors to be working with. 

The Board of Supervisors decided to write a letter to Deb Haaland, the US Secretary of the Interior, which administers the BIA, and to two key BIA staff. From the Finger Lakes TImes: “While Seneca County explained that they would not ‘pick and choose’ who they believe rightfully represents the Nation, supervisors insist it’s clear that the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫʼ leadership’s commitment to fairness and cultural values ‘offers our communities a better path forward to understanding and a positive model for the future.’”  

The Peace and Social Justice Committee concluded that Friends wanting to support the non-violent traditional leadership could write postcards or letters to Secretary of the Interior Debra Ann Haaland and to key BIA staff in support of recognizing traditional Gayogoho:no sovereignty rather than Clint Halfown. 

Debra Anne Haaland, Secretary of the Interior
United States Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20240

Darryl LaCounte, Director, Bureau of Indian Affairs
MS-4606, 1849 C Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 202

Kimberly Bouchard, Eastern Regional Office
Bureau of Indian Affairs, 545 Marriott Drive Suite 700, Nashville, Tennessee 37214

Since our meeting, an on-line petition by a group of allies has also been started: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/rescind-bia-recognition-of-halftown-recognize-the-gayogohon-council-of-chiefs-instead?source=direct_link&=&ltclid=febfe14a-48f7-44ab-9128-e9b5fc12f995

Because this article has not been reviewed or approved by any Gayogoho:no people, any errors, inaccuracies or omissions are mine alone. I wrote it based on coverage from the Finger Lakes Times and email updates by allies working with the Gayogoho:no community. For more general background, I am learning from programs given by Gayogoho:no and Onondaga elders and educators offered by NOON (Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation, a group of allies associated with the Syracuse Peace Council) and by the Skä•noñh Great Law of Peace Center in Liverpool. –Margaret McCasland

RESOURCES:

Finger Lakes Times stories:

–Story about Sachem Sam George’s presentation to the Seneca County Board of Supervisors: https://www.fingerlakes1.com/2021/08/11/there-is-no-negotiating-with-halftown/

–Update on the letter written by the Seneca County Board of Supervisors to Sec. of the Interior Deb Haaland, which includes an overview of events since the February 2020 destruction of Gayogoho:no community buildings:

–Background on the February 2020 destruction of buildings built by traditional Cayugas and the aftermath:

Background on the Haudenosaunee:

Because of the genocide and disruption caused by European and then United States governments, bands from each of the six Haudenosaunee Nations are based in Canada as well as in various parts of the US. https://www.haudenosauneeconfederacy.com/who-we-are/

The Onondaga Nation, which lost much of their land but is still based on part of their original territory, remain the home of the Confederacy’s “central fire.”   

The Skä•noñh – Great Law of Peace Center is a Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Heritage Center focused on telling the story of the native peoples of central New York. The history is told through the lens of the Onondaga Nation and covers topics such as Creation, European Contact, The Great Law of Peace, and more. The Onondagas, or People of the Hills, are the keepers of the Central Fire and are the spiritual and political center of the Haudenosaunee. Skä•noñh is an Onondaga welcoming greeting meaning “Peace and Wellness.”   https://www.skanonhcenter.org/about-the-center

Allies:

http://peacecouncil.net/noon

Cayuga SHARE (not currently active except as a listserve): To sign up for the listserv, please contact the list manager, Karen Edelstein, at karen.edelstein@gmail.com

Monthly Meeting July 2021

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

July 11, 2021

(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.)

2021.7.1 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 11, 2021. At 12:40pm and after a technological hiccup, sixteen Friends settled into worship.

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

2021.7.2 Worship Sharing: Preparation and opening to the Spirit

Clerk read:

“I had shown up for Meeting for Worship with an ideal image, an agenda of sorts. I had decided that I wanted Meeting for Worship to have a certain tempo, a certain fragrance, a certain flavor. I wanted a hyacinth, and I got a rose. And I spent the entire hour with my nose out of joint, telling God I was right about how things should be unfolding.”

—Elliott Robertson, in Preparing for Intimacy with God, Friends Journal, April 1, 2017

Friends were asked to consider:

  • Are our Meetings for Worship and Business held in expectant waiting for divine guidance?
  • How can we “keep our noses in joint” when things don’t unfold as we might wish them to? When worship doesn’t look/sound/feel the way we might wish it to?

Friends spoke with gratitude of how Meeting hears the spirit through our many ears. To keep our noses “in joint,” we must come with the expectation not that we will get what we want, but that we will hear from the Spirit. Using the metaphor from the quotation: sometimes we must let go of our own desire for a “hyacinth,” and welcome the “rose” that comes from a place that is larger than us as individuals.

2021.7.3 COVID Working Group: Proposed changes to COVID protocols

Carol Clarke read a brief report from the COVID Working Group that proposed moving some chairs more closely together to increase the seating capacity. The COVID Working Group does not want to move more quickly than the speed of trust. Friends acknowledged that we have different needs and have made different choices, even as some of those choices might not sit well with us. Friends approved moving chairs on one side of the room to 2-3 feet apart while maintaining a 6-foot distance between chairs on the other side of the room to accommodate those who desire the greater space. Friends expressed a preference that the chairs be set ahead of MfW time rather than moved on an as-needed basis when the room fills to capacity. Masking requirements will remain in place, and members from the same household are welcome to move chairs closer together. @

2021.7.4 Nominating Committee proposal for a pastoral care committee

Cai Quirk read a report from the Nominating Committee that grew out of a threshing session and Nominating’s extended reflection on the multifaceted pastoral care needs of the meeting. Nominating Committee observes that IMM is not doing all it could provide pastoral care, but that the breadth of pastoral care activities—ranging from spiritual nurture to transportation to assistance in navigating social support agencies—is a challenge for a single committee to manage.

To address this, Nominating Committee proposes creating a system of “Pastoral Care buddies” overseen by “IMMPACCT”—the Ithaca Monthly Meeting Pastoral Care Coordinating Team.

Pastoral buddy relationships are conceived as flexible. Buddy relationships could be reciprocal, or not. They could encompass a variety of needs—spiritual nurture and transportation—or be more specialized. Buddies might also mobilize a support team for buddies in crisis and/or with long-term needs.

IMMPACCT, in turn, would help Friends find buddies and help define the scope of these relationships. IMMPACCT would periodically check in with buddies and assist with the support they need as care providers.

Friends noted this as a somewhat new and untested idea. Concern was expressed that this might not actually meet our obligation to pastoral care; Friends are asked if they are individually willing to participate in this buddy system.

With the agreement that IMMPACCT report on its progress to Monthly Meeting after a six-month trial period, Friends approved the creation of IMMPACCT as a pastoral care committee.

Nominating asks Friends to consider how they are led in serving Ithaca Monthly Meeting, and shared a list of nominations as a starting place for this committee. The nominees are all people who have given the topic of pastoral care considerable thought and who hae given richly of their time in support of the Meeting and of individual Friends. A Friend raised a concern that committee members will be drawn into the administrative tasks of IMMPACCT and thus drawn away from actual tasks of pastoral care that have served the Meeting so well.

Friends approved the nomination of Bronwyn Mohlke, Antonia Saxon, Karen Friedeborn, and Dreia Spies to serve on IMMPACCT. @

2021.7.5 Sound system for the Third Street Meetinghouse

Melissa Travis Dunham read a report jointly prepared by the Third Street Meetinghouse Committee (TSMC) and the Communications Committee (Comm Comm) relating to a sound system for the meetinghouse.

On several occasions this spring, TSMC and the Comm Comm met conjointly to explore whether an appropriate technological solution could be identified that would achieve two goals: make hybrid Meeting for Worship easier to support and support hearing assistance for those who are hard of hearing.

The report briefly described: the recent history of the search for assistive hearing technology in the meetingroom; the current, the low-cost technology that has supported our hybrid Meeting for Worship experience during COVID; and conversations that have taken place with others in and beyond IMM.

The report describes that “the myriad of options can be overwhelming and each one produces more questions.” The group was unclear whether they should be focused on improving hybrid worship or assistive listening or both.

The report states that work on this issue will go forward only if there is a clear directive from the Meeting.

Friends who have provided technical support on Sundays during the pandemic shared some frustration over recurring problems with the current set up.

Friends spoke of technology as an enabler and noted that sound can be an accessibility issue.

Friends received the report.

2021.7.6 Ministry & Worship: Suspending Hybrid Worship and New Midweek Meeting Online

Nancy Riffer from Ministry & Worship read a report recommending two changes to our Meetings for Worship. First, a suspension of hybrid worship through the month of August and, second, the addition of an on-line-only midweek Meeting for Worship.

While hybrid meeting for worship has allowed us some flexibility in providing for a changing COVID situation, hybrid worship is not without drawbacks. Of special note, it has been a stressor to make our cobbled together system operate effectively each week. A break in hybrid worship will provide some respite from technical support issues and may allow us some time to consider other solutions.

The report asks meeting to reflect: “During this time period, it will be important for us to consider what place technology—whether streaming events, hybrid worship or religious education programs, online committee meetings—has in Ithaca Monthly Meeting. How do we take the lessons, opportunities, and failures of the past year and use them to move more consciously toward a plan for the future? How do we hold on to the core of our past practices while embracing some change?”

Friends expressed a need to better understand Friends’ needs and expectations for Meeting for Worship.

Friends received the report. @

2021.7.7 Closing

At 3:15, fifteen Friends settled in worship before adjourning. Our next regularly scheduled Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business will be August 8, 2021.

Respectfully submitted,

Marin Clarkberg

Monthly Meeting April 2021

Ithaca Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends

Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business

April 11, 2021

(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.)

2021.4.1 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 11, 2021.

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

At 12:37 PM, 23 Friends settled into worship.

2021.4.2 Worship Sharing: Listening as a Community

As we return to shared worship spaces differences among the community regarding COVID-19 best practices and perspectives have resurfaced. How we navigate these conflicts together will provide an opportunity to actively “listen across differences” and to practice these skills among F/friends. To facilitate this exercise, clerk posed three queries:

·       In what ways is listening different than simply not saying anything?

·       Is it possible to listen deeply when you have already settled on your opinion?

·       Is the goal of “listening across differences” coming to a shared viewpoint, or embracing different viewpoints as true, even when in conflict with one another?

Friends offered reflections and ministry out of the silence. 

2021.4.3 Earthcare Committee Annual Report

On behalf of Earthcare, Betsy Keokosky, Miguel Piery and Margaret McCasland shared reading this report and answered questions.

Issues of racism, authenticity, intention, impact and respectful interaction were shared. A question was raised whether members of color were directly requested to participate in the drafting of the letter mentioned. In future, when letters addressing issues of racism are written, a friend offered an invitation to ask for help directly from her, a black woman and provided an example of how that can be done with respect. Another friend suggested we not rely solely on the “only two people of color” we may know, but rather we’ll know we’ve evolved when we no longer have to be reminded to ask at all. Appreciation for honesty, eldership, comfort in discomfort and the fortuitous nature of spirit was shared.

A suggestion for Nominating Committee to consider asking friends of color to fill important committee vacancies was made.

Invitations to participate in specific IMM activities and committees were offered.   

Friends received the report. @

 2021.4.4 Finance Committee: Solar Panel Gift

 Prior to reading this report, clerk held silence with attention to the contributions and loss of Chuck Mohler, its author. On behalf of Finance, Mike Simkin reported the offer of RENOVUS solar panels from Olivia White (wife of long-time IMM member Will White). He reviewed details, including the projected positive impact 21 panels would have on IMM’s budget. A F(f)riend from the Earthcare Committee provided further background on Chuck’s contribution to the process. Another F(f)riend requested the Third Street Meetinghouse Committee be apprised of any further requirements in terms of communication and/or next steps. Finance is empowered to address logistics. A letter from IMM will be sent to Olivia White to communicate the meeting’s appreciation.

Friends approved the gift, contingent on its review by IMM’s Trustees. @

2021.4.5 Finance Committee: Quarterly Report

 On behalf of Finance, Pat Sewell, treasurer shared that the reported total for 2020 donations has been updated from $49,965 to $74,677 for the following reasons: a large donation (stock gains) was dated for the wrong year; a batch of checks (including many year-end donations) that was misplaced by the bookkeeper has been discovered and deposited; and holiday postal delays resulted in several donations (dated 2020) arriving after business meeting. This means that instead of being $5,741 short of expenditures, we received $18,971 more than we spent. This is excellent news and means that our actual donations from 2020 are very close to how we budgeted for 2021. This oversight has been corrected and measures have been taken to assure it does not happen again.

Treasurer also reported on the committee’s consideration of options for long-term financial planning and reviewed several.

Lastly, treasurer shared and reviewed IMM’s balance sheets, highlighting both form/function as well as specific lines/funds of interest. F(f)riends can access each of these documents via live links in the report, itself or by emailing the clerk.

Friends received the report. @

2021.4.6 Ministry and Worship: Donation to QuakerSpeak

On behalf of Ministry and Worship, Barbara Barry described the history, work and financial difficulties of QuakerSpeak, as well as its use to enhance the life of the meeting. Ministry and Worship recommends a $1000 donation from the General Fund be made to help sustain QuakerSpeak. If the donation is sent by April 16, the amount will be matched by another donor. Ministry and Worship would like to join other Meetings in supporting this unique form of Quaker education and encourages individuals to make donations to QuakerSpeak, as they are able.

Friends approved the donation. @

2021.4.7 Ministry and Worship: State of the Meeting Report (Second Reading)  

On behalf of Ministry and Worship, Barbara Chase read the report. Clerk recognized the contributions of those who helped to compile the report and appreciation was expressed. Once approved, it will be shared with both Farmington-Scipio Regional Meeting and New York Yearly Meeting.

Friends approved the report. @

2021.4.8 Closing Worship

At 2:46, 12 Friends settled into worship before adjourning. Our next regularly scheduled Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business will be May 9, 2021.

Respectfully submitted,Blair Jenings

Monthly Meeting March 2021

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

March 14, 2021

(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.)

2021.3.1 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 14, 2021. At 12:30pm, sixteen Friends settled into worship.

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

2021.3.2 Worship Sharing: Continuing Revelation

Clerk asked Friends to consider the following queries:

  • How can we remain open to our own continuing revelation, even that which we find unwelcome or uncomfortable?
  • How can we respond faithfully when these revelations result in the need for change to ourselves, our Monthly Meeting, and/or the Society of Friends?

Friends shared from the Spirit about the work we do within ourselves and within our communities, the challenges of leaning, the shame that can come with unlearning, what it means to be open and inclusive, and enhancing our sense of connection to the universe.

2021.3.3 Ministry & Worship Committee: In-Person Meeting for Worship

Nancy Riffer shared that the Ministry and Worship committee proposes:

  1. Reopening the Third Street Meetinghouse on April 4 (Easter Sunday) for hybrid worship (in-person combined with Zoom worship) at 10:30am and continuing in this manner on Sundays for the foreseeable future.
  2. Resuming worship at the Hector Meetinghouse on April 4 (Easter Sunday) with an in-person sunrise service at 6am. Beginning April 11, worship will be at 10am through at least the month of April, with future worship opportunities communicated via the IMM listserv and the newsletter.

Friends noted the ongoing uncertainty that surrounds the pandemic and the possibility of having to adjust. Friends approved the resumption of hybrid worship at Third Street and of in-person worship at Hector Meetinghouse. @

2021.3.4 NYYM Witness Coordinating Committee

On behalf of the NYYM Witness Coordinating Committee, Cai Quirk reported New York Yearly Meeting minuted support of a new amendment to the US Constitution that would modify the 13th amendment to no longer allow any exceptions in the abolishment of slavery. NYYM also approved sending a letter to congressional representatives, calling them to act on this matter, and asked that individuals and monthly meetings consider doing the same.

Meeting is asked to approve the minute of 15th Street Meeting that has been adopted by the NY Quarter and New York Yearly Meeting. It reads:

Friends considered a statement regarding the 13th Amendment to the Constitution Section 1 of the 13th amendment of the US constitution states: ​Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. ​We propose a new amendment to the constitution that amends section 1 to state the following: ​Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Friends approved the minute.

Cai also read a proposed letter to be sent from Ithaca Monthly Meeting to be individually addressed to U.S. Senators for New York Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and to Congressman Tom Reed. Friends raised issues pertaining to particular phrases in the letter. Friends approved asking the Clerk to send the letter without the first sentence. @

2021.3.5 Travel Minute for Cai Quirk

Barbara Chase from Ministry and Worship read a proposed travel minute for Cai Quirk. This letter invites other meetings to welcome Cai into their community, and notes that Cai’s photography, storytelling, music, vocal ministry, and writing opens doors to fresh perspectives and ways of seeing the world and each other. Friends shared thoughts about how the letter may be stewarded and approved the travel minute. @

2021.3.6 State of the Meeting Report (first reading)

Clerk noted that this is the first reading of the Ithaca Monthly Meeting State of the Meeting report. A revised version will be shared in April, and the finalized report will be sent to New York Yearly Meeting where it is shared more widely.

Shirley Way read the draft report, and the clerk invited Friends’ ministry as well as direct feedback. Friends offered some reflections and comments. Friends received the report.

2021.3.7 Annual Reports

Jim Grant read the annual report from Area Congregations Together. Friends explored questions around how the various religious communities relate with one another.

Tom Brown read the report from the Burtt House Committee. A suggestion was made to add Majesty Hopkins’s name to the list of people addressing maintenance. Friends received these two reports.

The annual report for Earthcare Committee is held over until April. @

At 3:05, nineteen Friends settled in worship before adjourning. Our next regularly scheduled Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business will be April 11, 2021.

Respectfully submitted,

Marin Clarkberg

Monthly Meeting February 2020

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

February 14, 2021

(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.)

2021.2.1 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 14, 2021. Clerk reviewed the agenda for Monthly Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business and recognized  Asha Sanaker for holding the Meeting in the Light.

At 12:34 PM, 21 Friends settled into worship.

2021.2.2 Worship Sharing: Reflections on Brokenness, Part III

Clerk read reflections shared at December’s monthly meeting and posed three queries:

  • Are there unexpected joys and/or sorrows about our Meetings for Worship or the IMM community that have risen for you this year?
  • How have you experienced the quality and faithfulness of corporate worship in the past year?
  • Where have you heard God’s voice this year? How can you be sure to hear what is being said?

Friends shared out of the silence on the mixed sorrow & joy of meeting remotely – a lack of face-to-face interaction balanced with the increase in accessibility of friends to our meeting; missing unstructured conversation time & its connecting quality; the joys of breakout rooms, Friendly Fives and “lighter” in terms of work committee meetings; gratitude for the work of the Communications Committee to help people use & connect via technology; experiencing God in corporate worship at Meeting for Worship faraway with Friends from around the world – and bringing back the experiences to share with IMM; the perseverance of Friends to make Zoom meetings connected, deep & meaningful. 

2021.2.3 Ministry & Worship: Recommendation for Membership of Nichole Nettleton

On behalf of Ministry & Worship, Barbara Barry read the following:

The clerk received a letter in January 2021 from Nichole Nettleton requesting membership. A clearness committee, consisting of Gina Varrichio, Antonia Saxon, Barbara Barry, and Mike Simkin, met to consider the request. Nichole was forthright, thoughtful, and open throughout the clearness committee process and expressed a desire to become more deeply involved in the life of the Meeting. Her clearness committee enthusiastically recommends Nichole for membership in IMMRSF.

Friends approved this recommendation & welcome Nichole Nettleton into membership. @

2021.2.4 Annual Reports

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

Cai Quirk read the report of the Nominating Committee. Friends suggested the following:

1. To continue IMM’s discernment of right sizing emphasis on pastoral care,

2. To seek meaningful ways to engage young children in Quaker practice.

Garry Thomas read the report of the Ad Hoc Working Group for Immigrant Support aka The Working Group. A Friend acknowledged how working on this committee highlights the challenge of being new to the US & expressed gratitude for IMM’s ability to offer much-needed support. Another Friend let folks know about an ongoing Meal Train for Ambroise Lumanikio Nganyinoko’s family.

Barbara Barry read the report from the Ministry & Worship Committee. Friends expressed both admiration and deep gratitude for the profound work, spirit and impact of this group.

Marin Clarkberg read the report from the Communications Committee. Friends expressed gratitude for the hard & unexpected work of this committee, especially in terms of maintaining connection among & between each other. Clerk acknowledged that this committee together with M & W collectively served as Assistant Clerk for 2020.

Clerk, Gina Varrichio read the report from the IMM Historians and clarified the extent to which historian, Tom Brown has been meticulously cataloging IMM policy minutes.

Friends received these five reports.@

2021.2.5 Closing Worship

At 2:10, 17 Friends settled into worship before adjourning. Our next regularly scheduled Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business will be March 14, 2021.

Respectfully submitted,

Blair Jennings

Monthly Meeting January 2021

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

January 10, 2021

(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.)

2021.1.1 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 10, 2021. At 12:35pm, thirty 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.

2021.1.2 Annual Meeting of the IMMRSF Corporation

Present for the annual meeting: Tom Brown, Barbara Chase, Marin Clarkberg, Carol Clarke, Chris Dunham, Melissa Dunham, James Finlay, Nancy Gabriel, Jim Grant, Angela Hopkins, Dave Horton, Carolyn Kenyon, Elizabeth Keokosky, Judith Knight, John Lewis, Melanie-Claire Mallison, Jill Marie, Margaret McCasland, Bronwyn Mohlke, Steve Mohlke, Elsa Mohlke, Liam Murphy, Pat Pingel, Cai Quirk, Nancy Riffer, Ellie Rosenberg, Antonia Saxon, Elizabeth Schneider, Patrick Sewell, Mike Simkin, Gail Steinhart, Gina Varrichio, and Ruth Yarrow.

Tom Brown, Recording Clerk of Trustees and Secretary of the Corporation convened the Annual Meeting of IMMRSF, Inc., and read the President’s Annual Report to Membership followed by the Secretary’s Report to Membership. The President’s report noted the following changes in the membership of trustees: Gina Varrichio, as the Clerk of the Meeting, and Pat Sewell, as the Treasurer of the Meeting, both joined trustees in 2020. Marin Clarkberg was appointed to Trustees beginning January of 2021.

The Secretary’s report reminded friends that trustees approve contracts for expenses exceeding $3000. In 2020, the trustees approved such an expenditure for the floor refinishing.

Pat Sewell, Treasurer of the Meeting and of the Corporation, gave the end of the fiscal year budget report. The annual budget request to membership was nearly $80,000, but donations fell substantially below that number at approximately $69,000. Our actual expenses were also far short of anticipated, however, at closer to $57,000. Thus, our net income was roughly $13,000. Mike Simkin, a prior treasurer, noted that our net income is generally applied to our reserve fund.

Liam Murphy, trustee, noted that Trustees met on January 8, 2021 and nominated Marin Clarkberg and Liam Murphy, as co-conveners of Trustees and co-Presidents of the corporation, and Antonia Saxon, Recording Clerk of Trustees and Secretary of the Corporation. Pat Sewell, Treasurer, serves as Treasurer of the corporation. Other members include Gina Varrichio, in her capacity of the Clerk of the Meeting, and Carolyn Kenyon. Friends approved the officers.

Gina Varrichio adjourned the Annual Meeting of IMMRSF, Inc.

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

2021.1.3 Worship Sharing: Reflections on Brokenness, Part II

Clerk read reflections shared at December’s monthly meeting and posed three queries:

  • What impact, positive or negative, has this time of brokenness/openness had on our Meeting?
  • What pieces of our Meeting should be put back together?
  • What pieces should not be?

Friends shared from the Spirit on inclusion, “othering” those with whom we have a lot in common but not everything in common, listening to one another with a sense of curiosity, guilt as a barrier to connecting to Spirit, and the possibility for “radical extroversion” after the pandemic.

2021.1.4 Ministry & Worship Committee

Barbara Chase of M&W shared that M&W proposes:

  1. In-person Meeting for Worship at the Hector Meetinghouse at 10am on First Days will continue through January. Those most intimately involved with making this available in coordination with Ministry & Worship will make decisions about worship at Hector on a month-by-month basis.
  2. There will continue to be no in-person worship at TSMH through March 14th. M&W will bring a recommendation to March’s monthly meeting regarding the resumption of in-person worship.
  3. Zoom worship at 10:30 on First Days will continue for the foreseeable future.

Friends approved these recommendations. @

2021.1.5 Finance Committee: 2021 Budget

Pat Sewell, Treasurer, provided an overview of the 2021 budget, noting that our expenses in 2020 and projected for 2021 reflect the impact of the pandemic. Accordingly, the overall budget request for 2021 of $76,000 is down from nearly $80,000 last year.

Notable changes in the 2021 budget as compared to 2020 pertain to a reduction in expenses associated with in-person activities, reduced income associated with others’ use of our properties, and new technological expenses to support remote activities.

Friends approved the budget for 2021 with gratitude to the Treasurer and the Finance Committee.

2021.1.6 Naming Committee

The Naming Committee brought forward the name of Carolyn Kenyon for the Nominating Committee. Further, the Naming Committee suggested that this iteration of Naming Committee be laid down. Friends approved Carolyn Kenyon’s nomination and the laying down of this iteration of Naming Committee. @

2021.1.7 Annual Reports

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

Pat Pingel read the report of Third Street Meetinghouse Committee. Friends asked questions about the TSMC’s intentions for the sound system and intentions relating to the currently gas range.  

Jim Finlay read the Hector Meetinghouse Committee. A Friend appreciated the opportunities afforded through the Hector Meetinghouse.

Melanie-Claire Mallison read the report from the New York Yearly Meeting Representative. Friends appreciated Melanie-Claire’s enthusiastic representation and reflected on the observations stemming from New York Yearly Meeting.

Friends received these three reports.@

At 2:55, twenty-eight Friends settled in worship before adjourning. Our next regularly scheduled Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business will be February 14, 2021.

Respectfully submitted,

Marin Clarkberg