Ministry and Oversight Committee Report
Ministry and Oversight Committee has had a full and productive year as we engaged in prayerful discernment as to how we could best support the spiritual life of Pacific Yearly Meeting.
• Following the Annual Session of 2011 we began with a prayerful review of the 2011 Annual Session and a study of the evaluation responses.
• We established two new subcommittees, the Experimentation and Implementation Subcommittee, and the Representative Support Subcommittee, which are assisting in the discernment around vision and in the practical aspects of communication for the Yearly Meeting. You will see changes to the schedule for this year’s Annual Session, an experiment which has come out of the Experimentation and Implementation Subcommittee’s seasoning of Friends’ input.
• In response to Friends seeking funds for traveling in the ministry, for relieving some of the financial penalties for tax resistance, and for supporting service as Friends in Residence at Casa de Los Amigos, we developed an application procedure for the Fund for Concerns. (see attachment)
• We have developed descriptions for our new Visiting Friend Support Committee and for the Visiting Friend position and are currently recruiting Friends to serve on the Support Committee. We hope to announce the members of the Support Committee at the 2012 Annual Session and begin accepting applications for Visiting Friend(s) in the early Fall of 2012. (see attachment)
• We are reconstructing the Mexico City Subcommittee (see subcommittee report below)
• We are in the process of gathering information about the Yearly Meeting’s representatives to Quaker organizations and their roles in those organizations.
• In June we participated in a mini-workshop on eldering which has better prepared us for caring for our spiritual community
• We are reviewing the State of the Meeting reports and will soon be posting a summary.
Much of our work is reflected in the following reports from our subcommittees.
Experimentation and Implementation Subcommittee
This subcommittee was created by M&O in the fall of 2011 as a follow up from the Futures Committee Report in 2011. It consists of a parent of elementary school age children, a parent of a teen, a Young Friend who grew up in the Children’s Program and Junior Yearly Meeting (JYM), a member of M&O with major PYM responsibilities and a person who has been involved with JYM, and served on M&O previously.
The committee met by phone conference 5 times for approximately a total of 6 hours and individually spent considerable time reading, digesting information and writing a report to M&O given at Representative Committee in March 2012.
The report focused on suggested changes to the 2012 Annual Session. The first and most important recommendations regarded nurturing ‘gathered’ or ‘covered’ Worship and Business Meetings at Annual Session. A second group of recommendations suggested scheduling changes to the Annual Session to better nurture each age group’s needs, and to create specific times for community building and activities that haven’t been in the official schedule in past years.
The committee is hosting an interest group at Annual Session to gain input on this year’s schedule and ideas for the future. After Annual Session, the committee will consider sending out a survey to those who have attended the gathering and especially to those who did not attend. With that information and the data from the evaluations, we will make recommendations on changes to Pacific Yearly Meeting, both in terms of the Annual Sessions and as a year round organization. We will move forward as M&O directs us.
Representative Support Subcommittee
We began our work with the help of conference calls arranged and led by Clerk of PYM, Marilee Eusebio and the participation of several PYM reps in January. Every rep who did not participate in the conference calls was then called individually by a member of our subcommittee.
We further refined and presented the job description for PYM reps at the RepCom meeting in March in LaJolla. We sent out emails to the PYM reps in mid June informing them of the Early Bird registration and listed our phone numbers for any questions. We have contacted the reps again through email, telephone and one to one conversations in July in order to find out which reps are coming and who might be substituting for Meeting reps. We have encouraged the reps to bring the concerns of their meetings to the Annual Session. We also asked for feedback on the scholarship process. Responses to date are included in the attached document.
We are planning to meet with Meeting reps at the Annual Session to help new reps to understand the schedule and to maximize their opportunities to connect with other Quakers and what they are doing in their home meetings. We are also exploring the possibility of writing Quick Quaker Notes for the Annual Session for reps to take home to their monthly meetings.
We intend to communicate with reps throughout this next year in similar ways as last year. We may explore the use of Skype.
Don Bean; Sandy Kewman, clerk; Carol Mosher, PYM M&O Liaison; Tom Yamaguchi
Subcommittee on Ministry and Leadings
The subcommittee, Sue Torrey, Judith Favor, Laura Magnani, and Elaine Emily, held a very productive meeting in June, reviewing their job description and evaluating their work thus far:
1. developing means and assisting monthly meetings to develop means for helping Friends to discern when they are experiencing a leading and supporting them in fulfilling a leading
2. recommending procedures to monthly meetings for ways of supporting individual leadings and ministry through the use of clearness committees, anchor committees, and/or oversight committees.
3. developing mechanisms for helping to fund Friends traveling in the ministry, including overseeing Yearly Meeting funds for these purposes.
The document, Faithfulness in Action, provides a guide for monthly meeting to help discern when Friends are experiencing a leading and describes ways to provide different kinds of support and oversight needed to fulfill that leading, including some mechanism for helping to fund Friends traveling in the ministry.
Much of the subcommittee’s work since the completion of that document has been dealing with issues and concerns around the ministry of two individual Friends. Spiritual Accountability Committees were initially found for each of them, but problems were encountered in both instances. Those problems were due to geographic issues and also to a lack of clarity around expectations. This is not a mechanism that seems to be effective for ongoing accountability. Having these committees drawn from other than the monthly meetings to which Friends with ministry belong is not really workable and the oversight and support for Friends with leadings needs to be at the monthly meeting level.
The subcommittee will follow up with the two Friends, as to where they are with their leadings at this time.
4. sponsoring interest groups and other adult education opportunities related to ministry and leadings
This is an area where we will be developing approaches to be brought as interest groups, workshops and even retreats for presentation at the PYM, at the monthly meeting level, or at Quaker Center. We are excited about this work. We will be meeting in early October to review any new information and plan for our continued work.
Racial Justice Subcommittee
The Racial Justice Subcommittee of Ministry and Oversight of the yearly meeting, consisted of Alvaro Alvarado,(Sacramento), John Cantu (Santa Cruz), Cayman Howard (Visalia), Heather Howard (Visalia), Laura Magnani, co-clerk (Strawberry Creek), Deborah Marks (Strawberry Creek), Diego Navarro, co-clerk (Santa Cruz), Charla Robertson, co-clerk (Orange Grove), Steve Smith (Claremont), and Jim Summers (La Jolla), plus two very dedicated ex officio members, Barbara Babin and Marilee Eusebio. We met by conference call approximately 5 times during the year. Four of our members attended the White Privilege Conference in Albuquerque, at the urging of Vanessa Julye and Janice Dominic from FGC. There were many good workshops and opportunities – but perhaps the highlight for each of us was meeting in caucuses as people of color, or allies, and taking bigger risks than we were sometimes able to do in mixed groups.
In April we held a weekend retreat at Ben Lomond, Quaker Center, attended by approximately 25 Friends. We worked with facilitators from Seven Generations Consulting to understand issues of culture and race, and how we determine our identities. For some the content was not challenging enough. For others it was a good balance between challenge and healing insights and options. We consider it just a beginning of our work within the Yearly Meeting to become more culturally competent and aware. A disappointment of the weekend was that despite our efforts at outreach, we did not have high school or college-age Friends in attendance, although we did have the youth coordinator.
We go into PYM 2012 planning an interest group, preparing for affinity groups, and testing the waters on Transformative Quakers of color.
Electronic Communications Subcommittee and Web Coordinator Report to M&O 2012
Work has continued on increasing PYM-relevant content on our website. We have created an on-line registration process for both RepCom in March and this current Annual Session at Walker Creek and ask for Friends feedback so we learn where we can improve this process in the future. Our Youth Program Coordinator has been able to manage the Youth Program’s content directly on the site, and we encourage other committees to learn more about utilizing this outreach for your own committee’s work.
The Electronic Communications Subcommittee consists of Don Bean (Clerk and PYM Web Coordinator, Conejo Valley WG), Tom Yamaguchi (Strawberry Creek MM), Jan Tappan (Orange Grove MM) and Eric Moon (Berkeley FM). We wish to add Brylie Oxley (currently at Woolman Semester) and Kerwin Flowers (La Jolla FM) for the 2012-2013 Term to provide logistical and technical support for the subcommittee to establish this project.
The subcommittee is seasoning a leading, Maintaining Community Connections in the Digital Age:
After years of working with various data points from Quarterly and Yearly positions, and sitting in on recent AS Evaluation meetings, it’s become abundantly clear to me that something fundamental needs to change in the collection, management and distribution of all the “meta data” that makes up our Pacific Yearly Meeting. By meta data, we are referring to the sum total of our Yearly, Quarter, Monthly Meetings, Worship Groups data, including Members and Attenders, Nominating rosters from each level (YM, QM, MM), full contact details of committees, representatives, meeting houses and individuals, PYM Organizations and Schools, and the full calendar of events for each level.
Currently each level of our structure collates their own pile of data to do their committee work, and frequently has to resort to word of mouth, emails or phone calls to find out what’s happening at other levels (if they know other levels exist or whom to contact). This means that each level is duplicating the work of the other two levels, or working with limited knowledge of the community as a whole. This is wasteful of our limited resources and time, and takes away from the core focus of our officers, representatives and committees.
Also, most of the data we use is locked in from the date of printing of the Quarterly Directories each July/Sept, assuming you have a copy, so changes that might happen after printing are difficult to be known throughout our community.
Create an on-line database that is a searchable “virtual” duplication of our Yearly Meeting organizational structure, and let each branch of the organizational tree manage their own data.
It is my belief that open-source solutions are inherently more robust long-term as you are not placing your resources into a propriety program that has unknown support or maintenance costs going forward. I suggest we tap into the experiences of groups currently using such programs, such as Brylie Oxley of Woolman Semester.
There are open-source products that provide Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions that can be adapted to fill our needs in a single on-line database with a web-friendly interface to manage data, return basic query results (e.g. “Who are our MM Reps? And how do I contact them?”, or “How do I contact all the MM/P&SO/M&O Clerks?”, and support for all levels of our Yearly Meeting, from Nominating to Registrations, Members and seekers alike.
A searchable library/archive of recent minutes, reports, newsletters, etc could also be integrated into the project.
Once the database is launched, for example; each MM can appoint someone to update their own MM data as changes happen at the local level year round, thereby updating the whole community in real time and the data is no longer locked in from last printing of the directory.
We would follow best-practices for securing the data, require account registration and password controls to access the data at all times. We would assign various roles from “read only, basic searches” to “MM edits” “NomCom edits” etc. to control the security of the data and restrict access as needed.
To start out the project, we would import both current quarterly directories, the nominating rosters and other relevant details, so we ask for a minute of support for the Electronic Communications subcommittee to oversee this project and report back on our progress at RepCom 2013.
Mexico City Subcommittee
Mexico City Monthly Meeting is feeling healthy now, with an increased number of attenders, and no longer sees a need for support from Ministry and Oversight’s Mexico City subcommittee. However, there are other meetings, such as Guatemala, which are not associated with a Quarterly Meeting and which do need help. Ministry and Oversight will ask the 3 current members of the Mexico City subcommittee if they are willing to continue to serve on the renamed subcommittee. Members of the renamed subcommittee will be charged with assessing the scope of the work, specifically whether to include Hawaii, will make a recommendation to Ministry and Oversight as to the appropriate number of members needed, and will make a budget proposal. They will also recommend a name for their committee to Ministry and Oversight.
On behalf of the Ministry and Oversight Committee,
Barbara Babin, Clerk
Sharon Gates, Robin Durant, Carol Mosher, Gary Wolff, Sarah Rose House-Lightner, Bronwen Hillman, Joe Magruder