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2009 IMYM Queries Report

2009 IMYM Queries Report
Santa Fe Monthly Meeting
December 6, 2009
Prepared by Rebecca Henderson and Bob Gaines

Fourteen members and attenders met during potluck on December 6 to consider the queries.  Although there were some differences among us about specific aspects of what the Yearly Meeting could or should do about supporting future service opportunities, there was general agreement in response to the queries.

Query I: Does your Monthly Meeting support a renewed service program at the Yearly Meeting level?

No, our Meeting doesn't support a Yearly Meeting service program organized similar to or on the scale of JSP.  We don't believe the Yearly Meeting has the resources or the administrative capability.  However, we would like for the Yearly Meeting to find ways to assist Friends, particularly young people, in participating in service opportunities or other experiences that provide interaction with the wider Quaker world and that would be cross-cultural and transformative.  We recommend that the Yearly Meeting appoint a committee to study how to meet these needs.  The committee might develop clear goals for a new approach and alternatives for implementing it, such as identifying service opportunities, providing scholarships for participation in wider Quaker experiences, and/or partnering with other groups.

Query II. Would your Meeting support an increase in IMYM assessments to support Yearly Meeting’s  operations?  If you are unable to support an increase, where would you choose to cut the budget?  What disposition should be made of the current budget line item of $24,000 previously entered for the Joint Service Project?

We do not support an increase in the assessment, but we also do not believe the assessment should be decreased.  During 2010 use some of the $24,000 budgeted for JSP for scholarships and to assist with wider Quaker experiences for youth and others.  Use some of the $24,000 to build up the reserve fund as recommended in 2003.

Participant Responses (paraphrased) to the Queries

Present:  Beverly Busching, Rebecca Henderson (note taker), Pelican Lee, Martha Davis, Peggy Giltrow, John Kretzman, Jonathan Ashworth, Michael Simon, Bob Gaines (note taker), Marcy Pompei, Lorraine Graham, Joan Spencer, David Giltrow, Pam Geyer.

Query I: Does your Monthly Meeting support a renewed service program at the Yearly Meeting level?

MD:  Not like the Joint Service Project.

MS:  I agree.

JK:  I'd like to see service expanded to include environmental restoration.

BB:  Our goal should be for youth and adults to come into contact with more than just people from their own meeting.  We should seek out like-minded projects rather than do our own, for example, AFSC, some of the Pueblo programs, etc.
PL:   Service projects are problematic because they benefit the helpers more than helping the disadvantaged.   It helps the helpers, not the helpees.  Parents of Quaker children loved the contact with other cultures for their children.  We need to ask what is the goal of the service projects?  Need  to provide youth with something, if service projects are not the way.  It's too hard to make service projects non-exploitative.  JSP did not achieve this.  YM didn't have the means to do this in a non-exploitative, non-racist ways.  There is the issue of class too.
JK:   One reason I'm not opposed to JSP is that despite its flaws, being involved in Quaker-led projects was essential to my children.  The experience was transformative.  This was with previous leaders, and on projects done in the U.S.  I went on one to help pick beans.  I ate more than I picked.  We were not exploiting them but we did help.  I found that an as office worker I couldn't add much.  I learned a lot.  People were very gracious.  I don't think it's undesirable just because it benefits those who go.  It's a Quaker presence.
BG:  And could other organizations do this?
JK: It's worth exploring other options.  IMYM would need help doing this.  It needs to partner if they do this.
BB:  We should avoid racism and class-ism.  We need to partner with others, for example, FOR peace caravans.  Yes, Quaker values are important.  Partners are best.  We don't have resources to muster a program ourselves.
PL:   We would have to do this with others.  Maybe we could design a program in consultation with the FGC Ministry on Racism committee.
MD:  The important thing is interaction with the wider Quaker world, cross-cultural, transformative.  These need to be built into it.  There are other paths to some of these goals.
BG:  Is there anyone here who feels IMYM itself should organize the service projects?
MP:  This is hard to do if there is no staff to administer it.  Are there some people in the YM who don't have access to service projects?
BG:  Gave an explanation of JSP.  The IMYM portion of the JSP budget in recent years was $24,000, with AFSC providing another $24,000 and administering the program.  But AFSC notified the Yearly Meeting in 2008 that they were ending their participation at the end of September 2009.  So the question is should IMYM continue on its own to provide service projects.
DG:  Did IMYM have a committee to study alternatives?
BG:  The YM Clerk wanted to do that to lay the ground work for a discussion at Annual Gathering next June.  Executive committee in August discussed her proposal and concluded that it was essential to hear first from the monthly meetings whether they wanted a YM service project and if so how they proposed to pay for it.  the executive committee discussion was long and contentious.  There was a lot of feeling that there won't be support for increasing the assessment.  That's why we have these queries.
JS:  IMYM should divide the current pot of money among the local meetings and they can organize their own service projects on a local level.
BG:  Back to the question of whether IMYM is capable of doing this.
BB:  Not by itself.
BG:  Maybe with a partner?
PL:  One of the issues was that not many IMYM people were participating -- some participants were from Quaker schools and other yearly meetings.
PG:  We don't think the Yearly Meeting can do a project on its own.  We think some opportunities are important.  It's not necessary for IMYM to do a project.  But it should help youth and others to participate.  Not invent projects, facilitate participation.
PL:  John?  What was so good for your children?
JK:  My children had the opportunity to work in Colorado with migrant farm workers and their issues.    They were away from Mom and Dad.  They were with other Quakers.  They got to see others.  This was not their regular life.  They saw migrant women organizing things and this was powerful for them to see.  Made a big impression on them.  Other projects were not as powerful.  But going to plant peach trees at Canyon de Chelly, where Kit Carson had cut them down, was important.  I'd like more projects in our area.  Another way to think about this is to realize that the service projects don't have to be the same as now.  Some could happen at Yearly Meeting early days.

Query II. Would your Meeting support an increase in IMYM assessments to support Yearly Meeting’s  operations?  If you are unable to support an increase, where would you choose to cut the budget?  What disposition should be made of the current budget line item of $24,000 previously entered for the Joint Service Project?
BG:  So the next part is are we willing to increase the meeting assessments?
PG (clerk of SF finance committee):  No.  Santa Fe Meeting is having to scale back.  We are readjusting the money we put out for Good Works to meet the light of reality.  We can't ask meetings for an increase.  I can't in good conscience advocate that.  We need to be more realistic.
PL:  What's going on with this question (i. e., the second query)?
BG:  The budget for 2010 approved at Annual Gathering in June 2009 has $24,000 for JSP.  However, that budget was approved by the business meeting before it began the discussion of whether to continue or lay down JSP.  There was no unity on continuing JSP or providing an alternative in 2010, so the result was that JSP was effectively ended when the AFSC fiscal year ended in September.  IMYM now has $24,000 budgeted in 2010 for a project that no longer exists.
PL:  So why increase the assessment?
BG: Because over the last few years the Yearly Meeting was using its reserves to make up part of the $24,000 for JSP.  If the Yearly Meeting continued to budget for a service program at the current rate of $24,000, reserves would be exhausted by 2014.   We could decide to just continue with the current $45 assessment, but other items in the budget -- for example, travel support for IMYM representatives to Quaker organizations such as Friends General Conference and increased support for "Western Friend" -- are increasing as well.  The issue is that we can't continue as we are.  Should we scale back?
PL:  First we could release the $24,000 budgeted for JSP to other purposes, e. g., local service projects, for early days, etc.  The amount for JSP was increased because of salary needs.  If no one gets a salary, and local projects are the replacement for JSP, then there doesn't need to be an increase in assessments.  It would be nice to have a pot of money available to help young people and their Quaker experience.
MD:   There could be scholarships to Pendle Hill, to Wider Quaker Fellowship, to young friends conferences and so forth.  
JS:  We could send the money back to the meetings because they are better able to help local people.  Divide it and send it back.  Then there is no money for the Yearly Meeting to quarrel about.
BG:  If you don't think the Yearly Meeting should attempt to have a $24,000 service program, should the assessment be reduced in 2011 and after?
JS:  We need to do things for young people.  Each meeting decides what works best.
MD:  Some allocation should be available for Yearly Meeting scholarships for people to do things in the wider Quaker world.  There is not a critical mass of young people in most meetings so that they can experience age-peer Quaker decision-making that is so powerful.  This was provided, for example, by Young Friends of North America at one time.  Youth can't get this kind of experience in their local meetings.
PG:  We need to keep the assessment the same and look for ways to promote the fellowship of Quaker youth, including offering scholarships.  The money should not be frittered away.
BG:  Is it important to rebuild the reserve fund?
RH (responding to the question: Why does the Yearly Meeting need reserves?):  A reserve is needed to smooth out cash flow -- Annual Gathering registration fees and monthly meeting assessments are not always received in time to meet cash requirements - for example, the Yearly Meeting must prepay about $100,000 to Ghost Ranch in the spring. 

BG: The 2010 budget will require taking $7,000 from reserves if the $24,000 is actually spent.
BB:  Don't sent the money back to local meetings.  Youth need experience with wider Quaker groups.  Not something extra, but if we can keep on, we need to keep money for youth, wider Quaker experience.  Don't give up the money.
MD:  So not just service projects but other experiences as well.  This helps keep kids in meeting.
RH:  We need to ask Yearly Meeting to appoint a study committee for this money and the opportunities.
DG:  Yes all the alternatives should be studied before a recommendation is made.  Gave the example of the value of a recent Habitat for Humanity project in Cambodia.
PG:  Yes, study alternatives.
PL: When the JSP Oversight Committee was asked to consider alternatives, those running JSP didn't think the project would be dropped and did not study alternatives other than continuing JSP.
BG:  Do we have a clear recommendation to Continuing Committee?
MD:  No increase in assessment.  For 2010 use some of the $24,000 budgeted for JSP for scholarships and to assist wider Quaker experiences for youth and others.  Use some of the $24,000 to build up the reserves.   For the future, form a committee to study alternatives and administrative requirements.  That committee could lay out various alternative proposals to the service projects.  (There was concurrence on this, although some had had to leave early.)

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