Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, May 2013 Interim Meeting
Report to Third Haven Friends Meeting
Peace and Concerns Standing Committee and its Eco Justice Working Group addressed the Yearly Meeting's treatment of adopted minutes with particular reference to minutes on gun violence and climate change. A number of minutes addressing climate change have been adopted by the Yearly Meeting but it is not clear to what effect. As in every other failed effort to change the way things are, the question was whether the flaws were in the plan or its implementation. Further details are available here.
General Services Standing Committee Sessions Planning Working Group discussed the upcoming annual sessions and the session a year hence. The important point seemed to be the preference for a "campus" venue, as opposed to sessions sprinkled throughout Philadelphia. Their report is available here.
The Alternate Clerk Steve Olshevski reported from a group who have been evaluating IM's shrunken meeting schedule, adopted as an experiment early in the current fiscal year. Their proposal was to add one more meeting to the schedule such that IM would meet on the third Saturday of Oct., Nov., Jan., Feb., April and May. This was approved.
The General Secretary Oversight and Evaluation Committee reported positively on Arthur Larrabee and the IM members present concurred.
The Worship and Care Standing Committee requested comments on Arthur Larrabee's piece on Quaker beliefs. A Friend made the point that if you google "Quaker Beliefs" you get a statement from a Quaker Church in Ohio that is not so much in line with beliefs of our Yearly Meeting. Meetings and members are requested to reply to Lane Taylor. (Action for TH's Worship and Ministry.)
The meeting was scheduled to end at 1 PM but at 12:40 the general secretary reprised the history of the Yearly Meeting's support for the Burlington Meeting House and Conference Center with focus on last year's decision to discontinue financial support after a one year transition period. A group of Trustee's for the facility was appointed by Yearly Meeting and in the intervening period enthusiasm for a further four years of funding has developed among some. Annual transfers would be around $70,000 with half of that coming from PYM's general fund. (This is where our Covenant goes.)
I am not sure what was decided on this issue. I left while the idea was being promoted from the facing bench. I left because, 1) it was 1 PM, 2) to agree with what was being suggested would have required quite a bit of information that it did not seem likely I would get, and 3) the strong sense that IM was backsliding into the practices that landed it in a difficult financial position last fiscal year. Regardless of the merits of funding Burlington for the next four years, presenting this idea at the end of a long meeting seems an imprudent approach that could only lead IM to agree (or, disagree) to things that they do not very fully understand.
Submitted by Rob Weiland, Interim Meeting Representative, Third Haven Friends Meeting