Ministry and Oversight Committee Report
Representative Committee, March 2013
Ministry and Oversight Committee has assisted the Presiding Clerk in preparing for the 2013 Annual Session by seasoning the theme of Being Reached by the Life and reflecting on how we might refine the schedule. Some of the ideas will remain on hold until 2014 when we return to Walker Creek and can work around a more flexible meal schedule.
For the Ministry and Oversight plenary of the Annual Session, we plan to invite a panel from within Pacific Yearly Meeting to speak to how they are Being Reached by the Life. We anticipate an interesting variety of experience.
We will ask our Worship-Sharing subcommittee to write queries based in the theme, and the presentation of the State of the Meeting Reports will focus on how our meetings are Being Reached by the Life.
Ministry and Oversight Subcommittees
The Experimentation and Implementation Subcommittee has met several times by conference call, beginning with a review of the 2012 evaluations. Overwhelmingly the evaluations for the 2012 Annual Session supported the innovations introduced, with the exception of some logistical issues that will be resolved. Some of these issues have to do with allowing adequate passing time between events, and making sure that Children’s Program staff have a reasonable schedule. Although the concept of introducing business early in the week and coming back to it later in the week received wide support, we also received suggestions that more time to discuss and season business within plenary sessions would be appreciated—it was noted that some 2012 plenaries felt rushed and incomplete.
Since many people in their evaluations expressed interest in more fellowship and spiritual growth at the Annual Session, the Experimentation and Implementation Subcommittee is working on ideas for moving some of the business of the Annual Session to Representative Committee so that the Annual Session could be focused more on fellowship and spiritual growth. Ministry and Oversight has no specific recommendations at this time…more seasoning is needed
The Experimentation and Implementation subcommittee feels that it has completed its initial work related to the re-structuring of the Annual Session and will turn its focus to the overall structure of the Yearly Meeting (beyond the Annual Session).
The Representative Support Subcommittee is active and have had conference calls and individual phone calls with Monthly Meeting representatives since annual session. They will be holding a session with representatives at the Representative Committee Session to review the representative job description and discuss how to improve the two-way flow between the monthly meetings and the yearly meeting.
Ministry and Leadings Subcommittee met in October to review their support for Friends with leadings and to clarify the committee’s role in terms of long-term accountability. They are clear that local (rather than yearly meeting) support is desirable as it is very difficult for Friends around the state to find common meeting times and to meet face-to-face. They are working on the part of their job description that involves: “sponsoring interest groups and other adult education opportunities related to ministry and leadings”, and have requested an interest group at the 2013 Annual Session, on the topic of “Naming, Nurturing, Supporting and Providing Accountability for Ministry and Leadings”
In addition they hope to bring workshops to monthly meetings on the theme: “What is the Meeting’s Role in Naming, Nurturing, Supporting and Providing Accountability for Ministry and Leadings”.
The Visiting Friend Support Subcommittee consists of Eric Moon, Martha Hunkins and Eva Miller. The Ministry and Oversight Liaison to this subcommittee, Bobbi Kendig, is also contacting one other Friend to see if she is able to serve. The committee is preparing a call for applications which will soon be sent to the monthly meetings through their representatives.
The Support for Distant Meetings Subcommittee formulated a letter to send out to monthly meetings. The committee has plans to look into the status of Guatemala Monthly Meeting, when Bronwen Hillman and Rolene Walker visit there in April.
The Ministry and Oversight Committee has requested an interest group time at Annual Session. In addition, interest group sessions have been requested by the Electronic Communication Subcommittee, the Ministry and Leadings Subcommittee, and the Racial Justice Subcommittee. These requests have been submitted to the Assistant to the Clerk.
M&O Liaisons to Yearly Meeting Committees:
Children’s Committee—Sarah Rose House Lightner, SM/OG
JYM—Bobbi Kendig, ML
Young Adult Friends—Linda Rowell, CH
Youth Program Support Committee—Barbara Babin, RF
Discipline Committee—Joe Magruder, BE
FOLLOW UP ITEMS:
2012 Minute 2012.9 (moving copies of Faith and Practice from AFSC office)
The clerk of Discipline Committee and clerk of Ministry and Oversight were charged with finding a new home for the Faith and Practices which were stored at AFSC’s Los Angeles Office. The clerk of Discipline Committee has managed a division of those Faith and Practices between Southern California Quarterly Meeting and the AFSC offices in San Francisco.
The clerk of Ministry and Oversight has been given custody of 152 copies of Fe y Práctica and 48 of Consejos y Preguntas. Ministry and Oversight Committee will develop a plan to make these copies available at little or no charge. We have received requests from individuals in South/Central America for materials and we are looking at resources for mailing copies to them, possibly with/through FWCC.
2011 Request from RepCom regarding representatives to Quaker organizations
As part of the Treasurer’s report at the 2011 Representative Committee, the minutes reflect a discussion of the PYM policy to fund travel expenses for representatives to Quaker organizations. “There were strong feelings expressed that costs be cut because the new assessment is difficult for some meetings and are cutting into local programs. One way to cut travel expenses is to lower the number of reps named to various organizations this will be considered. The Futures Subcommittee of Ministry and Oversight Committee and the M&O Committee are involved in this process. The recommendations from these committees will be brought to the Annual Session.”
In 2012, Barbara Babin and Robin Durant surveyed the conveners of nearly all of our representatives, asking questions such as: how the organization communicates with them and how often; how many representatives actually attend the face-to-face meetings and what tasks are they asked to do; how does their participation benefit the organization, the representatives, and PYM.
We also contacted some of the organizations with similar questions. We found out that the representatives are active with the organizations, that their involvement is useful to the organizations, and the representatives are contributing and growing in their personal knowledge and abilities. Their actions benefit the Yearly Meeting as they act on our behalf. The numbers of representatives that we send to AFSC, FCNL, and FWCC are in line with the numbers from other Yearly Meetings.
Based on these findings, Ministry and Oversight does not recommend lowering the number of representatives to any of the organizations. However we do recommend that the representatives be asked to make a written report and be given the opportunity to present information in appropriate venues at the Annual Session (ex. Plenary, interest group, lunch table).
Last April our PYM treasurer submitted an application to the yearly meeting’s insurer, Guide One, for sexual misconduct insurance, which used to be covered under our liability insurance and now must be covered by a separate policy. The application was denied because, although we do have guidelines in place to ensure the safety of our attendees, we do not conduct background checks for volunteers and employees working with children and youth.
We held a session to discuss this at the 2012 Annual Session, including members of Ministry and Oversight, the JYM adult committee, and members of the finance committee. We also invited Laura Magnani to speak to us, as AFSC has a great deal of experience with background checks, and we had talked with Quaker Center staff. We learned that JYM has a lot of screening and training procedures in place.
At the end of January a conference call was held with the Youth Program Coordinator, the Youth Program Coordinator supervisor, and clerks of the JYM Adult Committee, the Children’s Program Committee, and Ministry and Oversight. At that time we learned that the children’s program also has a lot of procedures in place. Both the children’s program and JYM could meet timelines for getting background checks on employees and volunteers in time for Annual Session. We learned that Quaker Center does background checks for the summer camp employees and we found out that the background check does not include fingerprinting. Participants in this phone call stressed that careful screening, education, and good training would be far more effective than background checks in preventing sexual misconduct, however insurance coverage would give the Yearly Meeting access to legal representation in case of an incident that led to litigation. The group recommended the insurance for PYM.
Guide One has referred us to a resource called “Safe Church” that has excellent information on how to set up policies and procedures to prevent sexual misconduct, and they work with an agency that does background checks ranging from $8-$30 per person.
Recognizing that background checks are not especially useful in preventing sexual misconduct, Ministry and Oversight is in agreement that getting insurance coverage is advisable, and supports getting the background checks as a condition of the insurance.
However, we are left with a number of tasks to complete as we move through this process: our policies around sexual misconduct should be reviewed and possibly revised, our application forms for FAP and children’s program positions should be reviewed and may need to be revised, and we need to find a way to administer the background check process, discern how to handle the information we get back, and decide what to archive and how.
Ministry and Oversight submits two requests to Representative Committee and will likely submit another to the Annual Session:
- Formation of an ad-hoc committee consisting of the Youth Program Coordinator, the Youth Program Coordinator supervisor, and clerks of the JYM Adult Committee, the Children’s Program Committee, and Ministry and Oversight. The purpose of this ad-hoc committee would be to:
- review the Yearly Meeting’s policies around sexual misconduct 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.
- An augmentation to the 2012-13 budget in the amount of $900 to cover background checks for the FAPs and children’s program staff that will serve at the 2013 Annual Session.
- An augmentation to the 2012-13 budget will be requested at the 2013 Annual Session to cover the premium for sexual misconduct insurance. At this time, the insurance company has not responded with a quote.