Overseers Annual Report,
Calendar Year 2015
The role of the Overseers Committee is to help maintain a caring community within Third Haven Friends Meeting, with a special emphasis on pastoral care and counseling. We embrace that role while recognizing that each member and attender of THFM plays a part in the well being of our faith community. Since much of the work of Overseers is one-on-one or in small clearness committees, this annual report can only highlight some of our activities.
In 2015, these members of Third Haven Friends Meeting served as Overseers: Paige Bethke Tilghman, Molly Burgoyne, Larny Claggett, Marsie Hawkinson, Connie Lewis, John Schreiner, Dona Sorce, Joan Wetmore, Winslow Womack and Adrienne Rudge, clerk. As before, I begin my report with thanks to all of the committee members for their constructive suggestions, their timely actions, their senses of humor and their devotion to pastoral care. And I bid farewell to Molly and Winslow, who retired from the committee at the end of December.
The Committee met monthly with the exception of June, July and December. We kept in touch with the Third Haven Friends Meeting community through a calling tree by dividing members and attenders alphabetically. We spoke with, wrote to and visited with individuals as the year progressed, with special attention to those facing challenges.
One of the most rewarding aspects of Overseers Committee work is participation in clearness committees for new members. In meeting with nine prospective new members this year, we got to discuss their spiritual journeys as well as their understanding of Quaker beliefs and practices. Any clearness committee meeting with a prospective member also includes a discussion of the responsibilities of membership. In 2015, we welcomed to membership Jack Coady, Amy Owsley and Ryan Ewing and their children Liam and Finley, Jennifer Coleman and her son Giuseppe Colburn, Christine Brooks and Ted Corbett, John C. Turner, Susan Dickinson and Bill Schauer.
A great aid to the membership process has been the leaflet called A Pathway to Membership at Third Haven Friends Meeting, which was written chiefly by John Schreiner after input from both the Overseers and the Outreach Committees. Can it be only a coincidence that after its publication in 2014, THFM had a record number of attenders who applied for membership?
Overseers are responsible for responding to requests for marriage under the care of the meeting. This year, it was a privilege and joy to take the lead in the marriage of Paige Bethke and Ben Tilghman, who were married on November 28th.
The committee also assisted in the memorial services of longtime members, Betty Jean Wheeler and Molly Bond. Our ongoing mission is to encourage each member to fill out a Memorial Intentions Form and have it on file with the Overseers. For those who wish to have a plaque added to the THFM memorial wall, there is an also an opportunity to reserve a spot. We continued in our discussions of creating a scatter garden for ashes in the graveyard and will pursue that potential project in 2016.
The annual new member and attender recognition luncheon was held on March 1st as a steady snow fell outside. Although attendance was hurt by the weather, a hardy group enjoyed fellowship and the ample offerings of the buffet table. We sponsored another lunch in September with a focus on storytelling. It was well attended and the stories (mostly about the journey to Third Haven) were wonderful. The Hospitality Committee was our partner in each case.
In 2015, members of the Overseers Committee attended an informational meeting of the Exploratory Committee for Helping Citizens Age in Place in Talbot County. That exploratory committee has become Talbot Village Connections. Our committee continues to consider ways to help members of the THFM community age in place successfully.
Adrienne Rudge, Clerk