PYM AS 2015 – Meeting for Business III

Friday, July 17, 2015

We began with worship at 8:45 am.

Epistle Reading: Diego Navarro (Santa Cruz), Reading Clerk, read the epistle of Britain Yearly Meeting 2014, University of Bath.

Visitors. One visitor introduced herself: Kevan Insko, Friends Committee on Legislation of California (FCLCA).

Ministry and Oversight Committee’s Abuse Protection Policy has been pulled off the table for further consideration and revision. It will come to the 2016 Representative Committee. The Clerk announced that the Finance Committee topics may be deferred to a called Meeting for Business after family night this evening.

The Presiding Clerk read a quote from George Fox on good order in Meeting for Business:

On Good Order in Meeting for Business

Now dear Friends, let there be no strife in your meetings, nor vain janglings nor disputings . . . . In all matters of business, or difference, or controversies, treat one another in such things kindly and gently, and be not fierce, or heady and high minded . . . Be careful in all your meetings that they be kept peaceable, in the wisdom of God, which is pure, peaceable and easy to be entreated . . .that, being ordered by the pure, gentle, heavenly, peaceable wisdom, easy to be entreated, they may be holy and virtuous examples to all others. Let all be careful to speak shortly and pertinently to matters in a Christian spirit, and dispatch business quickly and keep out of long debates and heats; and with the help of the Spirit of God, keep that down which is about questions and strife of words and tends to parties and contention.” -George Fox, Institution of the Discipline, 1683

Friends General Conference (FGC). Barry Crossno, Executive Director, thanked supporters of FGC. The FGC Gathering was recently held near Ashville, NC, with some 1400 in attendance. Videos of some speakers from that gathering are available online. Next year’s Gathering will be in northern Minnesota. Barry invited all to visit the FGC website for information. FGC’s Quaker Books revenue has been declining. The service will not close and decisions are happening about how it will adjust. Central Committee is making those decisions. The way to help is to buy books. The experiment of moving Quaker Books to Pendle Hill seems to be doing well.

Latin America Concerns Committee (LACC) and Peace and Social Order Committee (P&SO). Donna Smith of LACC, Anthony Manousos of P&SO and Lynnette Arnold of the Child Refugee and Migration Subcommittee presented the minute for approval. The minute was approved.

AS Minute 2015-04. Pacific Yearly Meeting approved this minute

Those gathered at the 2015 Annual Session of Pacific Yearly Meeting support the efforts of the Latin American Concerns Committee and numerous other Friends who are seeking justice and showing compassion toward those who are fleeing the violence in their home countries and need a place of refuge in the United States. We encourage monthly meetings and individual Friends to read the minutes passed by Monthly Meetings and take them to heart. We also encourage Friends to support the efforts of American Friends Service Committee and Friends Committee on National Legislation to promote just and compassionate policies toward immigrants.”

Unity with Nature (UWN). Muriel Strand (Sacramento) and Catherine de Neergaard (Strawberry Creek), Co-clerks of UWN, read the minute concerning divestment of fossil fuel companies.

Several comments were made concerning the level of commitment in divesting oneself of fossil fuel support. Also mentioned was that a next step may include divestment in anything nuclear. After several comments the Presiding Clerk noted that, although considerable support exists for the idea, there is not unity at this time. A proposal was made that a revised minute may be approved. The minute was redrafted and approved.

AS Minute 2015-05. Pacific Yearly Meeting approved this minute with one person standing aside.

We hold a deep concern for over reliance and investment in fossil fuels. We ask that monthly meetings and individuals engage in discernment on how to reduce their dependence and investment in fossil fuels. Meetings and individuals are asked to share their efforts with the greater community.

Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC). Roena Oesting (La Jolla), Hulda Muaka (Palo Alto), Anthony Manousos (Orange Grove), and Jan Turner (Humboldt) presented the report. Roena Oesting reminded attenders that not all Friends are like those in PYM, which is on “the outer fringes.” The Quaker family is very diverse and often members are not accepting of those different from themselves. FWCC is the one body that tries to talk to all Friends of all varieties around the world in a loving manner. “If we cannot make peace within our own family how can we make peace in the world?” Several perspectives of other meetings in Latin America were shared. Anthony Manousos (Orange Grove) described the diversity of meetings overseas. He has a power point presentation to share from those experiences. Hulda Muaka (Palo Alto) announced the next FWCC gathering will be in Peru next January. She described the theme and the invitation to delegates and showed some of the items whose sale will support the attendance of Peruvians to that gathering. Jan Turner (Humboldt) reported that FWCC is going through a reorganization, reducing its staff and relying more upon volunteers. She urged support of FWCC.

Discipline Committee Report. DJ Bloom (Appleseed), Discipline Committee Clerk, described the process that the committee has begun. The queries circulated to PYM Meetings and Worship Groups, asking them to reflect upon the current Faith and Practice just the first round; more queries will follow. Roughly one third of the meetings have responded and others are encouraged to do so. The Committee appreciates the responses received. Many respondents expressed the value of newly studying Faith and Practice.

DJ read the letter that the Committee initially sent to all meetings and Quaker groups to remind all what was requested.

Nominating Committee update. Stephen Matchett (San Francisco), Co-clerk of Nominating Committee, shared the latest developments. He mentioned a few positions that still needed to be filled.

Registrar’s report. Sarah Tyrell (Berkeley) and Joyce Samati (Strawberry Creek), Registrars, said the report is available on the website. Brylie Oxley, webmaster residing in Finland, was thanked for getting items on the website promptly. The Registrars itemized the numbers of attendees from various groups. The total this year is 303, which is 22 more than last year. They also made a call for application for registrar contractors.

Friends Committee on Legislation in California. Kevan Insko, Director of Outreach and Development, described the organization that represents Quaker values in Sacramento. She noted President Obama’s visit to a prison yesterday where he also asked for reform. There seems to be a movement in the direction of reform. She described some criminal justice reform bills that FCLCA is supporting. This week it was reported that one third of Californians live in poverty. FCLCA is supporting actions that provide relief to those living under the burden of poverty. FCLCA also supports actions protecting the environment, demonstrated by the Green Day last Monday at the legislature. In particular, she noted the support of a clean water bill now being brought to the legislature. FCLCA needs support to continue the work. Kevan described how help can be given. Bill numbers and descriptions are on the FCLCA website.

An important fundraiser for FCLCA is the Harvest Festival each September produced by Palo Alto and San Jose meetings. Donations of books and nice stuff is needed for that event.

Draft Epistle. Kate Connell (Santa Barbara), Jim Anderson (Chico), and Margaret Mossman (Berkeley) reported. Jim described the purpose of the epistle, which is to try to provide a sense of the gathering. The draft was read. The draft will be posted at the back of the plenary tent and on the wall next to the cafeteria. A suggestions box will be placed next to the Dining Hall after this meeting.

Finance Committee. The issues remaining were deferred until the called meeting at 8:30 this evening.

Minutes. The minutes were read, corrected and approved.

The meeting concluded with worship.