RepCom 2013 Minutes

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REPRESENTATIVE COMMITTEE OF PACIFIC YEARLY MEETING

2 March 2013       Santa Cruz Meetinghouse

PYM Representative Committee began at 9:00 am with worship.  Following worship, Presiding Clerk Steve Smith remarked that while he is a bit nervous about his role, he is also feeling privileged to serve PYM as Presiding Clerk.  He introduced the recording clerks, the assistant to the clerk and our host.

John deValcourt welcomed us on behalf of Santa Cruz Meeting and its coordinating committee, and gave logistical information for the day.

Steve suggested a theme from Robert Barkley:  “Being reached by the Life”.  Let us be touched to the heart.  Above all, let us be tender and speak the Truth in Love.  The clerk also asked us to examine and question our use of “twinkling” as an outward sign of agreement when we are engaged in corporate discernment on controversial issues.

Agenda Review: Steve reviewed the agenda. Additions were noted and are reflected in these minutes. He further noted that the length of the Annual Session may be addressed during the weekend.

Roll Call: (full report is soon to be attached)  A friend suggested that, in addition to meetings and worship groups, committees and their clerks might also be roll-called.  Stephen Myers (Sacramento) announced that Junior Yearly Meeting will be meeting separately this weekend.

Nominating Committee:  David Barrows, clerk, gave the report. The committee brought forward the following names for vacant positions, to be seasoned over the course of the session.

  • Walt Jones, Delta Meeting, for Ministry and Oversight Committee for a term ending 2014.
  • Brylie Oxley, Grass Valley, to serve on Junior Yearly Meeting Committee for a term ending 2015.
  • Roy Allen, Berkeley, to serve on the Finance Committee for a term ending in 2015.

It was noted with concern that an opening for Arrangements Clerk remains vacant, and there are also positions vacant on the Finance Committee. The apparent practice of alternating the PYM clerk between the northern and southern Quarters was questioned. This has been largely accidental; however, there has been some consideration for gender and location on the committee during past years.

Naming Committee: Three persons, plus an alternate, are needed for the Naming Committee. The following names were spoken out of the worship: Brendan Fagan, Reno (accepted). Sandy Kewman, Grass Valley (declined). Elizabeth Bills, La Jolla (to be contacted).  Alyssa Nelson, Davis (accepted). Alternate: Sue Scott, Inland Valley (to be contacted).

Treasurer’s Report:  Treasurer, Ed Flowers, reported on the General Account, income and expenses, loan availability, Youth Program Reserve, FGC Gathering scholarships, and Annual Session surplus.  Our goal is for 100% of the General Budget to be held in reserve.  We ask representatives to be sure that younger Friends know about the PYM assistance fund.  (Full report is attached)

Youth Program Coordinator Supervisory Committee: Jim Summers and Nathan Walker reported for the committee.  (Full report is attached.)

Other committee members present were introduced, as well as the PYM Youth Program Coordinator (YPC), Alyssa Nelson.

Based on consultation with focus groups, interviews and monthly meetings, the committee finds that there is unity among Pacific Yearly Meeting Friends that the program is successful, of great value, and should be continued. The value of the coordinator position was addressed, as well as the skills and talents of Alyssa Nelson, who currently serves in the position. Friends are guided to the submitted report for the full scope of the committee’s work.

The committee recommends to the PYM Representative Committee that the following minute be brought to the Annual Session of Pacific Yearly Meeting:

Pacific Yearly Meeting will continue to support the paid Youth Program Coordinator position.

The committee expects to submit proposed budgets to Finance Committee this year and subsequent years through the usual PYM budgeting process. As noted in the report, there are several financial issues that need to be addressed as PYM moves forward with the YPC position.

Alyssa Nelson, YPC, reported that a notebook is available at this session with the assembled responses from meeting reports, meeting visits and interviews as well reports on events, articles and other YPC documents. She announced that the Spring Youth Work Camp will be held at the end of this month in partnership with the Unity with Nature Committee and Quaker Oaks Farm in Visalia. Adult Ally/Friendly Adult Presence (FAP) workshops will take place on the first Saturday in April at Sacramento Meeting and the first Saturday in May at Santa Monica Meeting. In addition, the pre-PYM Annual Session immersion program (Shalom and Koinonia in past years) will take place this year to foster the formation of a deeply held Quaker community immediately prior to the Annual Session.  Interested Friends 18 and older are encouraged to participate in the planning.

The clerk invited concerns, questions and comments.

Clarification was given that we are being asked to recommend a simple minute of continuation of the YPC program to PYM; discussions regarding further implementation, committee functions, nominating processes, financial considerations and the time span of the position are needed in the larger body of the Annual Session. We are not evaluating the employee Alyssa Nelson, but the continuance of the YPC position in Pacific Yearly Meeting.

Friends spoke to the deep listening work of the committee and the blessing and importance of the position and the role of the Youth Program Coordinator in our Yearly Meeting. There was concern expressed for the support of young adults post high school and college, and the committee echoed this concern. The committee are working to extend efforts to support those Friends ages 25 – 35.

Additional concerns were raised regarding the financial burden upon our monthly meetings.  The YPC position does not address the stresses we place upon our clerk and officers, which could be alleviated through a paid executive secretary. The current YPC, Alyssa Nelson, noted that she performs some of these duties on behalf of the Yearly Meeting—a distraction from her primary functions. Ministry and Oversight holds concerns for the long-term health of Pacific Yearly Meeting, and friends are invited to express their concerns to those committee members, as well as those serving on the Experimentation and Implementation Sub-committee.

Representative Committee notes that there are several questions and issues that we need to address corporately at this year’s Annual Session. The Youth Program Coordinator and the YPC Supervisory Committee are asked to hold informational sessions for monthly meetings in early summer so that Friends can enter come to the Annual Session fully informed and prepared for the threshing needed.

ACTION MINUTE 2013.01: Representative Committee recommends to Pacific Yearly Meeting Annual Session that the paid Youth Program Coordinator position be continued.

Ministry and Oversight:  Barbara Babin, committee clerk, summarized the work of M&O, including Annual Session scholarship applications, worship and worship sharing sessions at AS, planning for a panel of speakers on the theme “Being Reached by the Life”, intergenerational activities, children’s program transitions, business sessions and seasoning of concerns.  Many Friends come to the AS mainly for fellowship and spiritual enrichment, and find that business sessions can be contentious.  M&O is exploring how much and what kind of business can be done by RepCom.  Sub-committees continue to work on support of Reps, individuals with leadings, the Visiting Friend program and distant meetings.  She named the M&O liaisons to other committees and explained the connection process – requests for support should reach M&O before their meeting on Memorial Day weekend.

Barbara spoke to the disposition of copies of Faith and Practice.  She also reported on an M&O study regarding the number of representatives to other organizations, and their responsibilities. At this time, M&O does not recommend any changes to the number of representatives and the level of their support by PYM.  Representatives to organizations should submit to the Web Coordinator a written annual report on their activities.   M&O has also held discussions and alerted meetings and committees related to new requirements for sexual misconduct insurance, including trainings and background checks.  Guide One, our insurer, and FGC provide some training materials.  (Full report is attached)

Per the request of M&O, the following minutes were considered and approved.

ACTION MINUTE 2013.02:  RepCom establishes an Ad Hoc Sexual Misconduct Prevention Committee consisting of the Youth Program Coordinator, the YPC administrative supervisor, and the clerks or designees of the JYM Adult Committee, the Children’s Program Committee, and Ministry and Oversight.  The purpose of this Ad Hoc Committee is to:

  • review the Yearly Meeting’s policies around sexual misconduct prevention as well as the documents and procedures used by JYM and the children’s program to ensure consistency;
  • discern which officer or committee of the Yearly Meeting should administer the background checks and determine what to do with the information and how to archive it; and
  • bring recommendations to Annual Session.

ACTION MINUTE 2013.03:  We authorize the Treasurer to purchase sexual misconduct insurance and the Ad hoc Committee to coordinate background checks starting with the FAPs and children’s program staff who will serve at the 2013 Annual Session.  Finance Committee will discern how this will be reflected in the budget.

Nominating Committee: David Barrows, clerk of Nominating Committee, brought forth for seasoning the name of Marilee Eusebio (Davis) as Arrangements Clerk, with a term ending in 2014.

Naming Committee (cont’d): Elizabeth Bills (La Jolla) accepted the nomination to Naming Committee. Sue Scott declined to serve as alternate. A convener must be named. Rhea Farley (Strawberry Creek), accepted the position of alternate. Alyssa Nelson was nominated as Convener and accepted.

Pacific Friends Outreach Society (PFOS): Liz Baker, clerk of the board of Pacific Friends Outreach Society, reported, giving history of the committee and its work.   After more than 19 years of work to develop a permanent site for the holding of the annual session of Pacific Yearly Meeting, they are not able to move forward.  The board will dissolve the 501c3 that now exists and following the dictates of the state law, gift any remaining funds to an organization chosen by the board.  The board suggests that these funds go to Pacific Yearly Meeting as the Bob Vogel Endowment, to be used as determined by the PYM Youth Program Coordinator Supervisory Committee or a successor committee, with the exception that it cannot be used for salary or wages.  They also expressed appreciation for the help and support of many Friends over the years. (Full report is attached)

PFOS, as a servant of PYM, wants to return to PYM the funds that remain.  The PFOS Board felt that support of youth programs would be the cleanest and least divisive way to return the funds.  The endowment would be for about $400,000 which would yield income each year to be distributed.  We cannot foresee all of the possible uses of these funds, but their availability will allow our vision to grow.

ACTION MINUTE 2013.04:  We ask Finance Committee to work with members of PFOS and the YPCSC to explore how we might accept and manage this gift.  We ask them to bring recommendations to the Annual Session.

ACTION MINUTE 2013.05:  Many Friends feel grief at the laying down of PFOS and the end of this effort.  We extend our thanks to members of PFOS for their faithful work over many years and their gracious offer of remaining funds to the Youth of PYM.  

Registrar:  Sarah Tyrrell and Joyce Samati, Registrars, gave the report. The 67th Annual Session will be held at Mount Madonna July 29, 2013 through August 3, 2013. There are some challenges for our group at this site. Any persons who have concerns about the site should contact Sarah, Joyce or Jim Avera (Arrangements Clerk), and should not contact Mt. Madonna directly. Registration materials and the Call to Session will be out by the end of March.

Joyce Samati gave a report (appended in full)

on behalf of the ad hoc committee charged with developing an explicit process for the selection and approval of a registration service for Annual Session. The committee recommends that PYM contract with the Berkeley Monthly Meeting registration team this year, at a cost of $3000.   This represents decrease of $2000 due to the greater ease introduced by the on-line registration process.

The ad hoc committee will meet again to consider the application, selection, and evaluation processes for the contract registration service. Once the process is set up and formalized, a standing committee will have to own this process.

ACTION MINUTE 2013.06: Representative Committee of PYM approves contracting with the Berkeley Meeting registration team for the 2013 AS for a payment of $3,000.

It is proposed that the application process for the contract registration team be announced at Annual Session and advertised among Meetings of PYM. Applications would need to be submitted to the PYM registrars by October of the same year; the registrars would make a recommendation by early December to the appropriate PYM committee, yet to be determined.  This will come before the Annual Session 2013 for discernment and possible approval.

The gathering gave heartfelt thanks to Don Bean for his work at making the on-line registration process for Pacific Yearly Meeting effective and easy to navigate.

Carl Anderson, Nominating Committee, encouraged Friends to read the Registrar’s job description, posted on the PYM website, which is in the process of being updated.

Finance Committee: Ed Flowers, Treasurer, reported and asked for two augmentations to the general budget.

ACTION MINUTE # 2013.07:  We approve an augmentation of $235 to the PYM Delegates, Western Friend Board, Expense Account (line 5271) bringing that line total to $1735.

ACTION MINUTE # 2013.08:  We approve an augmentation of $150 to the PYM Delegates, Evangelical Friends Church SW, Expense Account (line 5283) bringing total to $300.

The Treasurer asked,  “If you could charge the Annual Session expense to a credit card, would you pay a 3% surcharge and use that option?”  Many Friends present indicated that they would use this option.

Finance committee is exploring alternatives to banking with Wells Fargo, including Bank of the West.  Friends are invited to send their views about this possible change to the PYM Treasurer, Ed Flowers at flowers2@sonic.net.

Annual Session Proposed Budget and Proposed Fees were distributed:

ACTION MINUTE # 2013.09:  We approve the Annual Session Budget as proposed.

One option not included on the fee schedule at this time is for day attenders staying off site.  Finance Committee will determine the final schedule of fees in coordination with the Clerk and Registrar.  The lower levels of accommodations are subsidized by the more expensive levels.

Junior Yearly Meeting (JYM):  Stephen Myers, clerk of the adult committee of JYM, JYM adult committee members, and JYM clerks and members, gave the report. Members include Emma Castanedo, JYM co-clerk; Clare Griese, JYM co-clerk; Nathan Walker, clerk of JYM M&O; Hannah McKinney, JYM M&O; Anna Lichterman, JYM M&O; Brendan Fagan, JYM M&O; Shannon Fagan (Reno); Steve Leeds (San Francisco); and Bryan Runyan (unaffiliated). We were reminded that the wider PYM nominates the adult committee and the JYM body nominates their own slate of clerks and JYM Ministry and Oversight.

JYM has reviewed the evaluations from last year and discussed possible changes. The group came to unity in deciding to work closely with the Young Adult Friends and the Middle School group to help smooth the transition into and out of JYM. They worked on scheduling, a list of possible FAPs, activities for community building, and committee structures.

Arrangements:  Jim Avera, Arrangements Clerk for 2013,  reported.  Recent changes at Mt Madonna include a new high school building that we can use, the removal of some of the older cabins and additions of some new ones, and the addition of new categories of foods in consideration of allergies.  We are not allowed to bring any food onto the property.  Special needs should be addressed to the Arrangements Clerk.  More details are forthcoming as negotiations continue.  Part of the registration materials will include descriptions of the distances and inclines between areas of the site.

Discipline Committee:  Carolyn Stephenson, clerk of Discipline Committee, noted that the ad hoc committee formed at Representative Committee in 2012 to oversee the transition of the existing copies of Faith & Practice from the AFSC Los Angeles office has completed that task.

ACTION MINUTE 2013.10: We approve laying down the ad hoc committee formed by RepCom Minute 2012.9.

Children’s Program Committee: Terrill Keeler, clerk, named the members of the committee.  The position of Children’s Program Coordinator has been advertised and they hope to hire someone within the month.  They are in the process of reviewing a draft proposal for teacher and FAP scholarships.

Schedule for Annual Session (draft):  Steve Smith, Presiding Clerk, gave the report. He noted that there has been much appreciation expressed for the 2012 schedule and some of the innovations that were brought in for that session. However, schedule challenges at Mt. Madonna (especially fixed meal times) make it difficult to implement some of those this year. It is hoped that at Walker Creek Ranch in 2014 we can return to some of the scheduling innovations from 2012.

The draft schedule (appended)

was distributed and reviewed. Friends were encouraged to give feedback to Steve Smith and Pat Smith, Assistant to the Clerk.

Unity with Nature Committee: Muriel Strand, co-clerk, reported.  She described the Interest Groups in 2012 AS, a committee retreat and mini-grants for meeting projects.  The Unity with Nature proposals for 2013 AS include an Interest Group, a simple meal and an affinity group.  (Full report is attached)

Earthlight Bookstore:  Tom and Sandy Farley, bookstore managers, gave the report, which is appended to these minutes.

We were reminded that following the closure of the AFSC Bookstore, a minute at the 2012 RepCom authorized the Farleys to sell books at our annual sessions. Tom and Sandy have since made books available at Quaker and other gatherings. EarthLight, a non-profit corporation managed by a board of directors according to Quaker principles and practice, was created by the PYM Unity with Nature Committee to support spirit-led environmental witness and education. Its activities include publication and sale of print and recorded materials.

ACTION MINUTE 2013.11: Representative Committee approves using EarthLight as the bookstore provider at annual sessions. Appreciation is given to Tom and Sandy Farley for their continued efforts to bring books to our annual sessions.

The Farleys hope to hold an Interest Group on Meeting libraries at the Annual Session, and are looking for experienced Friends to help lead this IG. They also hope to renew their collaboration with the Unity with Nature Committee, and invite Friends to join them in serving on EarthLight’s board of directors.

Holding Corporation: Lanny Jay, President of the PYM Holding Corporation, reported.

There are three active requests for funds to purchase or improve meetinghouses.  There is $102,000 in the fund and the committee hopes to make decisions in the next few weeks.

Site Committee:  Lanny Jay, Site Committee Clerk, made the report.

He encouraged Friends to register early for the 2013 annual session and to specify their food needs clearly.

The 68th Annual Session of Pacific Yearly Meeting will be held at Walker Creek Ranch, July 14-19, 2014. There has been some discussion on the committee about making Walker Creek Ranch our permanent site. Nominating Committee has been asked to find a Site Committee clerk from the southern Quarter so that a balanced view on this matter can be brought to the discernment process.

Peter Neumann (Santa Barbara) read a minute approved by Santa Barbara Meeting that encourages PYM to make a multi-year commitment to a site for our Annual Sessions in order to encourage greater attendance. The clerk invited discussion on this issue, and several friends spoke to the history, benefits and challenges in establishing a long term relationship with a site for the Annual Sessions.

Nominating committee:  We approved the following:

ACTION MINUTE 2013.12: Representative Committee of Pacific Yearly Meeting approved the nominations of Walt Jones, Delta Meeting, to serve on Ministry and Oversight Committee for a term ending 2014; Brylie Oxley, Grass Valley, to serve on Junior Yearly Meeting Committee for a term ending 2015; Roy Allen, Berkeley, to serve on the Finance Committee for a term ending in 2015; and Marilee Eusebio (Davis) as Arrangements Clerk, with a term ending in 2014.

ACTION MINUTE 2013.13: Representative Committee of Pacific Yearly Meeting approved the nominations of the following persons to serve on the Naming Committee for one year terms: Brendan Fagan, Reno; Elizabeth Bills, La Jolla; Alyssa Nelson, Davis (convener); Alternate: Rhea Farley (Strawberry Creek).

M&O Sub-committee on Representative Support: Sandy Kewman, clerk, reported.  She named the other members of the sub-committee; Tom Yamaguchi (Strawberry Creek), Don Bean (Conejo Valley WG), and Carol Mosher (Berkeley).   Information is flowing from the sub-committee to reps and reps are urged to be familiar with the PYM website, contact the committee with questions and rep changes, and know how to encourage participation in the Annual Session.   Registration will be available on-line April 1st.  Observers should be included in these communications.  (Full report is attached)

A Friend pointed out that the job descriptions of PYM Reps are determined by the Meetings they represent, rather than by PYM.   Yet PYM pays the travel expenses of the Reps and has expectations of the work they do in support of the Yearly Meeting.  Recommendations from the M&O Subcommittee on Experimentation and Implementation regarding this and other concerns are being investigated and explored.   There may be changes in expectations for Reps as the business tasks assigned to RepCom increase or change.   Reps may be called upon to discern the spirit of their home Meetings, and convey sometimes subtle matters to RepCom and PYM, while staying open to the Light revealed there.

The preceding minutes and record were read and approved with appreciation.

Friends expressed appreciation for the hosting by Santa Cruz Meeting and the meals provided.

Following closing worship, RepCom 2013 ended at 8:20pm