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Monthly Meeting February 2023

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

February 12, 2023 

Clerk: Barbara Chase

Assistant Clerk: Marin Clarkberg

Recording Clerks: Marin Clarkberg, Antonia Saxon

(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.)

2023.2.1 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 February 12, 2023. At 12:33pm, ten Friends settled into worship.

Clerk recognized Nancy Gabriel, who is holding the meeting in the Light today.

2023.2.2 Ministry and Worship: Lifting the Mask Requirement

In December, after holding two meeting-wide listening sessions, Ministry and Worship proposed changing the IMM requirement to wear masks in the Third Street Meetinghouse. The proposed policy left decisions about mask-wearing up to individual discernment. The Meeting did not come to unity about the proposed wording of the policy. The ministry that followed reflected the difficulty of balancing care for those in the community who are at risk, and care for Friends who cannot or will not wear masks; Friends whom the Meeting hopes can rejoin Meeting for Worship in the Meetinghouse.

This month Ministry and Worship brought a revised policy to the body.

Meeting approved the following statement regarding masks, and will post it at the Meetinghouse and on the Meeting’s website:


  • Some of us are at a higher risk for serious illness, and some disabilities are not visible. Please be considerate of those among us who are trying to avoid illness.
  • Stay home if you have any symptoms of a contagious disease
  • Consider wearing a mask, to protect others (as well as yourself)
  • Consider social-distancing, especially from others wearing masks


Ministry and Worship also expressed support for – and this policy does not preclude – the idea of small groups of Friends requiring masks for activities that they organize; for example, organizing a supplemental meeting for worship where masks are required.

Friends expressed gratitude for Ministry and Worship’s bringing this promptly back to the body.

Friends approved the policy. @

2023.2.3 Ministry and Worship: Transfer of Membership

For Ministry and Worship, Carol Clarke brought a request for transfer of membership for Friend Rachel V. Ruth from the clerk of Poughkeepsie Monthly Meeting.

Meeting approved the transfer and warmly welcomes Rachel Ruth to the Meeting.@

2023.2.4 Ministry and Worship: Process for the State of the Meeting Report

Marin Clarkberg reported that Ministry and Worship is preparing to draft the State of the Meeting report, an annual report that is sent on to Farmington-Scipio Regional Meeting and from there to New York Yearly Meeting. This year, the query given to monthly meetings by New York Yearly Meeting is, “How do you live your Quaker Faith?”

In the past few months, the Meeting has had many opportunities to gather in worship-sharing.

Ministry and Worship invites Friends to reflect on the query and to share their thoughts with the Clerk or with Carol Clarke, the clerk of Ministry and Worship. The committee is not proposing to meet to share worship about the query. The committee will bring a draft of the report to Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business in March.

Friends received the report. @

2023.2.5 Burtt House Working Group: Report on the Second Round of Worship Sharing.

Gina Varrichio presented a report from the Burtt House Working Group on the second round of worship sharing sessions held in January 2023. The queries for those sessions were:

  1. How has the Burtt House contributed to the Meeting’s Quaker life in living out Friends’ testimonies?
  2. How has the Burtt House helped me live out my faith as an individual?
  3. What would it mean to you as a Friend if Ithaca Monthly Meeting released the Burtt House? What would it mean to Ithaca Monthly Meeting as a community to release the Burtt House?

Friends who attended the worship sharing sessions shared memories of ministry connected with the Burtt House, individual and corporate experiences of Quaker life in the house, and a sense that the place of the House in the life of the Meeting had changed since the Meeting moved to the Third Street Meetinghouse. Friends were comfortable with the use of the word “released,” and the concern was voiced that support for the FCRJ continue no matter how the Meeting is led to go forward. The Committee is working on queries for the next round of worship sharing.

Friends received the report. @

2023.2.6 Committee Annual Reports

A share of Meeting’s annual reports for 2022 are to be read this month. For the last few years, we have distributed annual reports across two or three months. Friends presented annual reports and answered questions as follows:

  • Barbara Chase read the annual report of the Greeters. Friends expressed gratitude for the work of the Greeters and joy that the Meeting is coming to life again. Friends received the report.@
  • Pat Sewell read the annual report of the Finance Committee. Friends asked questions and received the report.@
  • Margaret McCasland read the annual report of the Library Committee. Friends expressed gratitude for the work of the committee and received the report.@
  • Jill Marie read the annual report of the Peace and Social Justice Committee and detailed contributions the committee made from their discretionary funds. Friends expressed gratitude for the work of the committee and received the report.@
  • Marin Clarkberg read the annual report of the Communications Committee. Friends expressed gratitude for the work of the committee and received the report. @  

At 2:09, 13 Friends settled in worship before adjourning. Our next regularly scheduled Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business will be March 12, 2023.

Respectfully submitted,

Antonia Saxon

In-Person Worship at Third Street

Third Street Meetinghouse, early July 2020

At Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business in March 2021, Ithaca Monthly Meeting agreed to re-open our Third Street Meetinghouse for hybrid Meeting for Worship. Revised guidelines for in-person worship were accepted.

If you would like to join us, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Agree to wear a mask the whole time you are in the Meetinghouse and enter through the kitchen (unless you need to use the ramp).
  2. Email Carol Clarke (firetendercarol@yahoo.com) and to let her know you’d like to come – we need to know in advance who is coming.
  3. Enter through the kitchen door and fill out a COVID screening form as you enter (on a table on the right as you enter or a greeter will hand you one).
  4. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after filling out the COVID screening form (there is a hand sanitizer dispenser mounted on the wall by the entrance to the library).
  5. Enter the Meetingroom from the Library and exit the Meetingroom from the other door into the entry hall.
  6. If you use the bathroom, please sanitize the surfaces there before you leave.
  7. Maintain social distance from others as you arrive and as you leave and not to approach anyone at any time in the building – please take conversations outside.

In addition, people may bring a closed container with liquid into the meetinghouse but no food will be consumed there. Only the downstairs of the meetinghouse will be used. During Meeting for Worship, or any other IMM event in the meetinghouse, if there are fewer than 10 people in the meetinghouse, we will open the windows if the temperature is above 50 degrees. If there are 10-20 people in the meetinghouse, we will open the windows if the temperature is above 40 degrees. Otherwise, the windows will remain closed. Our intent is to use common sense while not making Friends uncomfortable unnecessarily.