Tag Archives: minutes

minutes from monthly Meeting for Business or called meetings

Monthly Meeting April 2023

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

April 9, 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. Reports shared during this meeting were emailed before the Meeting, and can be viewed on Google Drive.)

2023.4.1 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 9, 2023. This was also Easter Sunday. At 12:35pm, fourteen Friends settled into worship.

Clerk recognized Margaret McCasland as holding our gathering in the Light today and Gina Varrichio for providing technical support for Zoom. Clerk reviewed the agenda.

2023.4.2 Clerk’s report

Barbara Chase, Clerk, reminded friends that last month we approved taking the marriage of Cai Quirk and Joshua Quirk under the care of Ithaca Monthly Meeting. We did not, however, approve the full minute documenting the discussion leading up to that approval. Since that time, Clerk worked with the Recording Clerk, the Assistant Clerk, and the Clerk’s support committee on refining the minute. The Clerk now asks for approval of the following minute:

Minute 2023.3.3 Clearness Committee for the Marriage of Cai Quirk and Joshua Quirk Under the Care of Ithaca Monthly Meeting.

Gina Varrichio presented the report of a Clearness Committee for Marriage convened at the request of Cai Quirk and Joshua Quirk. The committee met with the couple by Zoom on February 10th. Cai and Joshua are gender-fluid, queer, and polyamorous. The committee understands their request for marriage invites the meeting to consider aspects of relationship the Meeting hasn’t considered before.

Friends expressed an enduring love and support for Cai who has been a part of our community since their earliest days. We welcome Joshua to our Meeting and celebrate the love and commitment that Cai and Joshua bring to their relationship. Friends raised questions and concerns about polyamory, including and how different relationship structures relate to power, and whether and how other Meetings have addressed this.

For many Friends, a polyamorous marriage is a new concept, and perhaps an uncomfortable one. We are being asked to expand our definition of marriage, perhaps as we did when our Meeting began to marry same-sex couples. A Friend noted that agreeing to take this marriage under the care of our meeting is not the same as saying polyamory is good for everyone, just as taking any marriage under the care of the meeting doesn’t suggest that marriage is good for everyone. Our feelings around polyamory in general do not have to affect the support we offer to Cai and Joshua as a couple.

Cai and Joshua experience the Spirit in this relationship, and they are committed to following Spirit even into places which are uncomfortable. Polyamory is not the relationship’s central truth. The central truth is that this relationship is Spirit-led, and that it is a relationship that they intend will last the length of their lives.

Friends see integrity in Cai and Joshua’s relationship. Love is the heart of all things, and we seek to honor love where we find it. With joy, Friends approved taking the marriage of Cai and Joshua under our care.

Friends approved the minute for March. @

2023.4.3 Nominating Committee.

Nancy Riffer, a member Nominating Committee, shared that several people have stepped off of committees. Friends who have stepped off: Nancy Riffer off of Communications Committee, Miguel Piery off of Ministry and Worship; Drew Varrichio off of TSMH Committee, and Antonia Saxon off of the Pastoral Care Team. In addition, Barbra Bleeker has rotated off being Representative to NYYM Meeting for Discernment (that role remains vacant) and Steve Phelan has replaced Simon St. Laurent as Historian. Friends received the report.

The Nominating Committee brought forth the following names to serve on the Hospitality Committee. Bronwyn Mohlke, Miguel Piery, and Pat Sewell. All three were appointed for terms that run through 2025. Friends approved the nominations. @

2023.4.4 Treasurer’s Report

Pat Sewell, Treasurer, provided a summary of the first three months of 2023. In short, Ithaca Monthly Meeting’s overall fiscal health remains strong. Over the last year few years, our income has either met or slightly exceeded our expenses. It appears that this holds true for 2022 as well.

The 2022 budget request was for $73,400 in donations. We received about 5% less than that, but we also spent signficantly less than we budgeted. Accordingly, we ended 2022 with a net surplus of approximately $3000.

The Finance Committee notes that annual donations have slightly declined, possibly due to the passing of a few key donors. Finance Committee shared that just three donors were responsible for more than 50% of our overall donations in 2022. Our reliance on a handful of individuals may not be sustainable for the long run. Finance Committee has begun the work of long-term financial planning and plans to continue thinking about this issue in 2023.

After three years, Asha Sanaker will be stepping down as the bookkeeper and we are transitioning to LAP accounting services. Pat noted that checks will be deposited later than usual as result.

A Friend with experience in nonprofits relayed that this pattern of giving—where many give a little and a few give a lot—is typical among nonprofits. Another Friend indicated that our pattern of donations used to be more evenly distributed across our community.

In response to Friend’s question, the Treasurer noted that donations stemming from use of the Third Street Meetinghouse in 2022 were higher than 2021. Friends received the report. @

2023.4.5 Ministry and Worship: State of the Meeting Report

Ellie Rosenberg read the second draft of the State of the Meeting Report for 2022. (The first draft was read in March.) This report is shared with our region, Farmington-Scipio Regional Meeting, and with New York Yearly Meeting.

A Friend reflected how different the State of the Meeting Report for 2022 is from the reports from 2020 and 2021 when the Meeting was actively managing its response to the pandemic. A Friend offered to provide a little copy-editing. Friends accepted the offer of editorial support and approved the State of the Meeting Report for 2022. @

2023.4.6 Ministry and Worship: Naming Committee

Nominating Committee needs additional members. Naming Committee serves the Meeting in proposing members for the Nominating Committee. Ministry and Worship brings the names of Marin Clarkberg and Bronwyn Mohlke to serve on Naming with the Clerk and Treasurer.

Friends discussed our historical practice and referenced an IMM Minute of February 12, 1996 which stated that Naming Committee will comprise the Clerk, the Assistant Clerk, the Treasurer, a member of the “Ministry & Oversight Committee” and a representative from Trustees. This practice, however, was not used in the last several years. A Friend observed that a five-member Naming Committee would be larger than many of our standing committees.

A Friend asked whether this issue should be referred to someone for further consideration. The Clerk of Ministry and Worship offered that M&W will discuss.

Friends approved Ministry and Worship’s nominations for this Naming Committee. @

2023.4.7 Ministry and Worship: Return to Pre-pandemic seating plan

Carol Clarke from Ministry and Worship shared a proposal to return to the pre-pandemic chair arrangement in the Meetingroom, effectively increasing the number of chairs and decreasing the space between chairs over our current arrangement. Ministry and Worship has drafted placards that Friends can place on chairs directly adjacent to themselves to create social distance if they so desire. Friends noted that the camera (used for Zoom) may be a consideration in how chairs are placed. Friends expressed appreciation for this creative accommodation of difference. Friends wondered when we might return to the shaking of hands to close worship in a way that is similarly accommodating of different comfort levels. Ministry and Worship will discuss the closing of worship.

Friends received this report. @

At 2:05, fifteen Friends settled in worship before adjourning. Our next regularly scheduled Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business will be May 14, 2023.

Respectfully submitted,

Marin Clarkberg


Monthly Meeting March 2023

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

March 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.)

2023.3.1 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 March 12, 2023. At 12:36pm, 18 Friends settled into worship.

Clerk recognized Nancy Gabriel, who was holding the meeting in the Light, and Gina Varrichio, who was helping with tech.

Clerk shared ministry about Quaker process and practice during Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business.

2023.3.2 State of the Meeting Report, First Reading

Carol Clarke presented the first reading of Ithaca Monthly Meeting’s State of the Meeting report prepared by the Ministry and Worship Committee. The query from New York Yearly Meeting this year is, How are Friends living their faith?

The report speaks of the way the meeting is mending, rekindling, stirring, and reweaving itself together in the presence of Spirit.

Gratitude was expressed to the committee for the detail and thoroughness of the report. A Friend recommended changes to the text that better reflect Friends’ differing views and abilities. A concern was voiced about the scarcity of children and adolescents in the meeting. Wider Quaker bodies offer support and resources to our families. Another Friend noted that Ithaca Friends are working together with other meetings on how to bring children back to our meetings. A request was made for the meeting’s new assistive listening system be included. Concern was expressed about the use of the word “broken” when so many helped to carry the Meeting through the pandemic. It may be that sundered ties and relationships are now being renewed.

The State of the Meeting Report will go back to Ministry and Worship for changes. The report will come before the body again in April.

2023.3.3 Clearness Committee for the Marriage of Cai Quirk and Joshua Quirk under the care of Ithaca Monthly Meeting

Gina Varrichio presented the report of a Clearness Committee for Marriage convened at the request of Cai Quirk and Joshua Quirk.

[NOTE: The final text of this minute was not approved in the March MfWwAtB. See April 2023 MfWwAtB Minutes for full text of this Minute.]

 With joy, the meeting is clear to take the marriage of Cai Quirk and Joshua Quirk under its care.

2023.3.4 Ministry and Worship: Recommendation to move the date of April MfWwAtB

Ministry and Worship recommends that, in light of the date of Easter this year, April Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business be moved one week later, to the third Sunday, April 16.

A conflict was noted: that is the weekend of New York Yearly Meeting’s Spring Sessions.

The decision is referred to Ministry and Worship.

The remaining items on the agenda – the Treasurer’s Report, and the report from Nominating Committee were laid over until April.

The clerk announced that the Hector Meetinghouse would open for the season with a sunrise Meeting for Worship on Easter Sunday, April 9.

At 3:06, 15 Friends settled in worship before adjourning. No date has been set yet for April’s Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business.

Antonia Saxon, Recording Clerk


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:


MASKS ARE WELCOME.

  • 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

ALL ARE WELCOME.


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

Monthly Meeting January 2023

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

January 8, 2023 

Clerk: Gina Varrichio (outgoing clerk), Barbara Chase (incoming clerk)

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.)

2023.1.1 Opening Worship

Ithaca Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends met on-line, using Zoom remote conferencing service, for the Annual Meeting of the Corporation and for Monthly Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business on January 8, 2023. At 12:35pm, twenty-eight Friends settled into worship.

Gina Varrichio, outgoing Clerk, shared the day’s agenda and reviewed that the Annual Meeting of the Corporation would precede the regular, monthly Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business. Gina recognized that Nancy Gabriel would be holding both of these meetings in the Light today.

2023.1.2 Annual Meeting of the IMMRSF Corporation

Present for the annual meeting of the corporation: Barbara Chase, Marin Clarkberg, Carol Clarke, Chris Dunham, Melissa Travis Dunham, Karen Friedeborn, Nancy Gabriel, Linda Griggs, Fran Helmstadter, Carolyn Kenyon, Betsy Keokosky, Judith Knight, John Lewis, Bronwyn Mohlke, Steve Mohlke, Liam Murphy, Nancy Riffer, Ellie Rosenberg, Rachel Ruth, Antonia Saxon, Elizabeth Schneider, Pat Sewell, Mike Simkin, Connie Thomas, Garry Thomas, Gina Varrichio, Martin Willitts, and Ruth Yarrow. (Given 177 members of the Corporation, the 28 present exceed the 10% in-attendance requirement.)

Marin Clarkberg, 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. 

The report noted that trustees considered two issues in 2022: the signing of an agreement with the city relating to sidewalk repairs, and the status of the Memorandum of Understanding between IMM and Friends Center for Racial Justice.

Antonia Saxon, Secretary of the Corporation, then delivered the Secretary’s report. Antonia noted that timely and correct notice was given to the membership for the 2022 Annual Meeting of the Corporation (held on January 9, 2022). Twenty-seven members attended, and the reports from the Officers of the Corporation were received and approved at that time.

Antonia noted that at the December 11, 2022 Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business, the membership of the Board of Trustees for 2023 was approved as: Barbara Chase (Clerk of the Meeting), Pat Sewell (Treasurer of the Meeting), Antonia Saxon, Marin Clarkberg, Gina Varrichio, and Steve Mohlke.

Pat Sewell, Treasurer of the Meeting and of the Corporation, gave the Treasurer’s Report for 2022. Pat reported that IMM received $26,191 in donations by the end of November, and our total expense in 2022 was $67,700. As of the end of the year, Ithaca Monthly Meeting held approximately $43,000 in checking, approximately $26,000 in savings and approximately $92,000 in a Friends Fiduciary Account. Pat noted that the Meeting is able to meet all of its financial obligations and that final numbers for 2022 will be provided in March.

Liam Murphy, co-President, reported that in 2023, Marin Clarkberg will serve as President of the corporation (and clerk of Trustees), Antonia Saxon will serve as Secretary of the corporation (and recording clerk of Trustees), and Pat Sewell will serve as Treasurer of the corporation.

Friends received the reports of the corporation. Marin Clarkberg adjourned the Annual Meeting of IMMRSF, Inc.

Gina Varrichio reflected on her time as Clerk and the intensity of clerking during the pandemic. Gina expressed enthusiasm for Barbara Chase as our Meeting’s new Clerk. In turn, Barbara Chase, in-coming Clerk, expressed gratitude for Gina’s work over the last few years. Friends are encouraged to hold Barbara in the Light as she takes on the new role.

2023.1.3 Nominating Committee

Carolyn Kenyon from Nominating Committee brought forth the name of Antonia Saxon to serve as co-Recording Clerk for a one-year term, closing at the end of 2023. Friends approved the nomination.@

2023.1.4 Annual Reports

A share of Meeting’s annual reports 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:

  • Carol Clarke read the annual report of the Ministry & Worship Committee. Comments included two clarifications. Friends received the report.
  • John Lewis read the annual report of the Third Street Meetinghouse Committee. Friends asked questions and expressed gratitude for the work that was done in 2022. Friends received the report.
  • Karen Friedeborn read the annual report of the Ithaca Monthly Meeting Pastoral Care Coordinating Team (IMMPaCCT). Friends discussed the scope of the “buddy system” and appreciated the availability of pastoral care in our Meeting. Friends received the report.
  • Antonia Saxon read the annual report of the Burtt House Committee. Friends asked questions about the Friends Center for Racial Justice and expressed appreciation for the contributions of the committee to the substantial work of maintaining this old building. Friends received the report.
  • Although not a member of the committee, Gina Varrichio read the annual report of the Hector Meetinghouse Committee. A Friend reflected on the value of worshiping at Hector. Friends received the report. @

2023.1.4 Clerk’s Report: Hybrid Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business (MfWwAtB)

Barbara Chase invited Friends to share their thoughts regarding switching MfWwAtB from an online-only format to a hybrid format (with in-person gathering in the Third Street Meetinghouse in addition to Zoom). Friends commented on the value of the in-person experience. Other Friends spoke on the value of including Friends who cannot join us in the Meetinghouse. Friends noted that there are logistical issues that would need to be addressed to facilitate hybrid Meetings. In particular, the technical support role would need to be filled and those serving in this role may be unable to fully participate in worship. A hybrid format also poses additional challenges to clerking, in part due to the subtle differences in how we communicate and experience one another across the different formats. A Friend observed that the world has changed, and we are challenged to learn new ways of being and new ways of working together.

Clerk encouraged us to continue this discussion. @

At 2:20, twenty-four Friends settled in worship before adjourning. Our next regularly scheduled Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business will be February 12, 2023.

Respectfully submitted,

Marin Clarkberg

Monthly Meeting December 2022

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

December 11, 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.)

2022.12.1 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 11, 2022. At 12:35pm, nineteen Friends settled into worship.

Clerk for a volunteer to hold the Meeting in the Light. Nancy Riffer agreed to do. Clerk shared the agenda. (The agenda and accompanying reports were also shared on the listserve.)

2022.12.2 Ministry and Worship: Lifting the Mask Requirement

Barbara Chase read a report from Ministry and Worship Committee. This report was developed after two gatherings, on 11/16/22 and on 11/20/22, where Friends were invited to share their experiences and leadings about mask wearing. The report proposed that mask wearing result from “individual discernment” rather than a global policy for the Meeting, and recognized that whatever our policy, there will always be people discomfited to some degree.

Friends spoke about the continuing risk of COVID as well as RSV, flu, and other illnesses. Some suggested a more prescriptive approach of “recommending” or “encouraging” mask use.

Friends approved sending the minute back to Ministry and Worship for further seasoning and invited M&W to bring a minute on this issue in the future. Friends who have additional thoughts are invited to share them with members of M&W. @

2022.12.3 Naming Committee

On behalf of Naming Committee, Bronwyn Mohlke brought the name of Nancy Riffer to serve on Nominating Committee beginning in January 2023 and ending in December 2025. Friends approved the nomination.

In addition, the Naming Committee asks to be laid down as it currently constituted. Friends approved. @

2022.12.4 Nominating Committee

On behalf of Nominating Committee, Carolyn Kenyon brought the following names to fill vacancies in committees and positions:

  • Greeter: Liam Murphy
  • Trustees: Gina Varrichio
  • Historian: Steve Phelan
  • Third Street Meeting House: Chris Dunham

Carolyn further noted that Nominating Committee has been unable to fill all the slots for several of IMM’s committees. These committees include:

  • Nominating Committee (will have three members)
  • Finance Committee (will have three members plus the Treasurer)
  • Burtt House Committee (will have three members)
  • Third Street Meetinghouse Committee (will have four members)

After a decade of faithful service, Blair Jennings is stepping back at the end of this year from serving as one of IMM’s Recording Clerks. Nominating Committee is searching for a Friend to serve as Recording Clerk, or to share the responsibilities of Recording Clerk. We encourage Friends to continue discerning how they are led.

Friends approved the nominations. Friends appreciated Nominating’s diligent efforts to fill the vacancies and recognized that our Meeting’s needs and abilities change over time. Friends released Nominating from continuing to search for additional members for the four committees listed above. @

2022.12.5 Trustees: MOU with FCRJ

Steve Mohlke read a report from the Trustees. Trustees met to discuss the status of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Ithaca Monthly Meeting and the Friends Center for Racial Justice that is currently in effect through December of 2023. At Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business in October of 2021, Friends noted a desire to give FCRJ a year’s notice to extend, modify, or discontinue the MOU. We are now one year away from the end of the current MOU.

Recognizing that recent worship sharing events concerning the Burtt House were deep and community building, Trustees see that Meeting is moving forward in discernment.

Trustees support the idea of giving FCRJ at least a year’s notice before altering or discontinuing the MOU but propose that we do not establish a new end date for the MOU this month. Trustees expects to be able to propose the next steps with respect to the MOU no later than June 2023, as we observe spirit moving within the Meeting.

Friends received the report. @

2022.12.6 Earthcare: Recommended Donations

Jim Grant reminded Friends that half of the Earthcare’s donation budget of $1,500 is “non-discretionary”, and thus requires Meeting approval. Accordingly, Earthcare brings the following donations to the Meeting for approval:

  • $100 to Gayogo̱hónǫʼ Sovereignty and Rematriation, a traditional segment of Gayogo̱hónǫʼ that is suffering while it struggles with another less-traditional faction for recognition by the Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • $150 to Indigenous Environmental Network, a country-wide alliance of indigenous peoples whose mission is to protect the sacredness of Mother Earth and who have been active in protesting the Keystone Pipeline
  • $150 to Girl Child Education, which supports secondary education for girls who have attended Quaker schools in Africa
  • $150 to Our Children’s Trust, a group seeking to change the United States constitution to make a clean environment a constitutional right
  • $200 to Amazon Watch, a group working to protect the rainforest by partnering with indigenous peoples

Friends expressed gratitude for the discernment that Earthcare brings to this decision. @

2022.12.7 Finance Committee: IMM 2023 Budget

Pat Sewell, Treasurer, reviewed the proposed budget, noting that the 2023 budget is quite similar to last year’s with two notable exceptions. First, reflecting inflation, property costs and especially utility expenses have increased, driving a 10% increase in that budget line. Second, we have included $1,000 in the Young Friends budget line; this budget line has been $0 in recent years. This is an exciting change, and indicative of vitality in our Meeting.

The Treasurer touched on a few other points of interest in the budget, including the fact that we paid for our Powell House subscription last year even though the subscription program was suspended due to the pandemic. With our subscription essentially pre-paid, the proposed budget eliminated the Powell House subscription cost for this year. Friends suggested that we might instead donate last year’s expense and pay our Powell House subscription this year. Similarly, Meeting erroneously gave twice it’s expected contribution to the Paul Schreur’s Dinner last year. The proposed budget removed this year’s contribution, but Friends suggested we restore our annual $250 donation.

Friends approved the 2023 budget with the two revisions: restoring our Powell House contribution and continuing our annual $250 donation to the Paul Schreur’s Dinner. @

At 2:40, thirteen Friends settled in worship before adjourning. Our next regularly scheduled Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business—also the annual Meeting of the IMMRSF Corporation—will be January 8, 2023.

Respectfully submitted,

Marin Clarkberg

Monthly Meeting November 2022

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

November 13, 2022 

Clerk: Gina Varrichio

Assistant Clerk: Barbara Chase

Recording Clerks: Marin Clarkberg, Blair Jennings

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

2022.11.1 Opening Worship

Ithaca Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends met on-line, via Zoom remote for Monthly Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business on November 13, 2021.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friends approved the proposed changes.@

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

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

2022.11.3 Nominating Committee: Nominations

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friends approved the nominations.@

2022.11.4 Burtt House Working Group: Burtt House Sharing

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

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

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

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

Friends received the report.@

2022.11.5 Peace and Social Justice: Nondiscretionary Donations

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

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

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

Friends approved the donations.@

2022.11.6 Closing Worship

16 Friends settled into shared worship at 2:17 P.M. before adjourning. Our next regular Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business will be held via Zoom at 12:30 P.M. on December 11, 2022.

Respectfully submitted,

Blair Jennings

Monthly Meeting October 2022

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

October 9, 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.)

2022.10.1 Opening Worship

Ithaca Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends met online via Zoom for Monthly Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business on October 9, 2022. At 12:40pm 9 Friends settled into Worship.

Clerk reviewed the agenda.

2022.10.2 Treasurer’s Report : Third Quarter of 2022

Pat Sewell, treasurer, reviewed the Treasurer’s Report for the Third Quarter of 2022. Highlights include: current donations are on track with last year at this time, spending on utilities is up due to inflation, and there has been very little spending by committees which suggests that IMM has not yet returned to its pre-pandemic level of activity. Other trends Pat noted include: a potential decrease in future donations due to the deaths of several beloved and generous older Friends and an increase in community use of TSMH which is resulting in increased donations along with increased expenses. The treasurer also noted he is reaching out to committee clerks for requests for next years budget.

The treasurer also gave an update on the monetary value of the 3 properties IMM owns in response to questions that arose at MfWwAtB in June. We use the county assessed value of the Burtt House ($750,000). The assessment of the TSMH has not been updated by the county since 2016. Property values in the area have increased 20% since then, which applied here would lead to us valuing TSMH at $440,000. There is no estimated change in the value of the Hector Meetinghouse. Pat noted that we keep track of the monetary value of our property to understand the financial situation of IMM and because we budget maintenance costs on a percentage of their value.

The treasurer will send out to the email list serve the Third Quarter Budget to Actual and Balance Sheet.

Friends expressed gratitude for the work of the treasurer. Friends received the treasurer’s report.@

2022.10.3 Third Street Meetinghouse Committee: Combination Change.

John Lewis reported that the TSMC will change the combination on the kitchen door of the TSMH on Nov. 1. The relevant people will be notified.

Friends received the report.@

2022.10.4 Third Street Meetinghouse Committee: Changes to COVID-19 Policies

The Clerk stated that we would not be making decisions on these items at this meeting. We would hear the report, have opportunities for ministry, questions, and sharing today. We will hear this reports again at the November MfWwAtB and have the opportunity to make a decision on these proposed changes at that time.

John Lewis read the report from the TSMC proposing 3 changes to IMM’s COVID-19 policies. The report notes that we are in another time of transition as we move through the COVID-19 pandemic. There are increasing requests from outside groups to use the TSMH. Very few places except medical facilities require the use of masks. IMM has been enjoying more events such as potlucks that have been taking place outside, but that will be less possible as the weather becomes colder.

The first proposed change is that outside groups be permitted to follow their own COVID policies. In response to questions, it was clarified that this is what is actually happening now. Several Friends expressed support for this change.

The second proposed change is that the kitchen be opened for outside groups and ourselves. Several Friends expressed support for this change.

The third proposed change is that the wearing of masks be made voluntary for Meeting for Worship and other IMM events.

Friends offered ministry, comments, and sharing in response to this proposal which is summarized here. More detailed notes were also recorded.

There was a longing expressed for Friends to feel more connected to each other and recognition of how masks inhibit this for some and make it possible for others. Most of those from whom we heard during this Meeting expressed a reticence to remove the mask requirement, saying it was a way that we ‘protect each other’.

Friends expressed appreciation for the opportunity for this sharing and listening. Friends received the report. @

Closing Worship 2022.10.5

Friends settled into closing worship before adjourning. 

Respectfully submitted,
Barbara Chase, serving as Recording Clerk

Monthly Meeting September 2022

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

September 11, 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.)

2022.9.1 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 September 11, 2022. Clerk recognized Nancy Gabriel for holding the Meeting in the Light.

At 12:30PM, seven Friends settled into worship with 8 more Friends joining during the introductory section.

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

2022.9.2 Worship Sharing: Moving in Community

A key focus for IMM committees and attenders of late has been how to bolster and build our religious community, especially after years of pandemic separation. This, of course, is to be able to better support and connect with each other, but importantly, is also because community is a foundational component of our faith. Learning to do this well is religious practice.

Those in attendance considered the following queries:

1) How do/can we listen to that of God in each other?

2) How do/can we discern the spiritual direction we are being led as a Meeting community?

3) How do/can we build the IMM community?

Out of the silence, Friends shared reflections, hopes & messages about love, communication, vulnerability, showing up, imperfection, as well as looking for that of God in someone else rather than looking for oneself.@

2022.9.3 Nominating Committee: Nominations

Nominating committee members are Carolyn Kenyon, David Horton, Kathleen Gale. On behalf of the committee, Carolyn shared the report as follows:  

The Nominating Committee nominates Miguel Piery to serve on Ministry and Worship, beginning immediately and running through 2025, acting Assistant Clerk Barbara Chase to serve as Clerk, beginning January 2023 through 2025, and Pat Sewell to continue serving as Treasurer, beginning his new term in January 2023, continuing through 2025.

Friends expressed deep gratitude, as well as reflections on their individual journeys to & away from nominated positions.

Friends approved the nominations.@

2022.9.4 Closing Worship

Thirteen Friends settled into silent worship at 1:53 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 October 9, 2022.

Respectfully submitted,

Blair Jennings

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 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