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2009 IMYM Queries

2009 IMYM QUERIES

Greetings to Friends in all the Monthly Meetings of Intermountain Yearly Meeting:

We are pleased to send this fall letter with queries we want to lay before Friends for discussion and discernment in your Meetings and Worship Groups.

We ask that your Meeting share these queries in whatever ways work best for you and that you prepare responses to be reviewed at the Continuing Committee meeting at Tempe, AZ on January 8-10, 2010. We know that it is sometimes a challenge for Monthly Meetings to find effective ways to give full and informed consideration to these queries, although over the years your Meeting has probably adopted a traditional method of doing so. The queries are being sent out earlier this year to allow you more time for their consideration.

We have heard reports that those Meetings considering last year’s alcohol and drug queries at regular business meetings found them rather irritating, while those who used a special called meeting, perhaps convened by the Continuing Committee representative, found their consideration a rewarding exercise.

It is not necessary to come to unity in a formal minute-- it is often more helpful to Continuing Committee or the Yearly Meeting Business Sessions if a summary of the range of ideas and responses from within each Meeting can be shared fully and then considered in the light of the Spirit. Of course we would be very interested in any conclusions that could be described as the sense of your Meeting. Even though the queries concern IMYM or the Annual Gathering, some aspects of them are relevant to Friends who seldom attend the Gathering and may know little about IMYM. Continuing Committee can profit from their responses as well.

Meeting responses should be sent to Rand Hirschi by e-mail before December 25, so that he and the Yearly Meeting Clerk may prepare a summary for Continuing Committee that will be part of the agenda of the January meeting. Continuing Committee has the authority to act on behalf of the Yearly Meeting between sessions and can only reflect the leadings of individual members if it has their thoughtful responses.

I. IMYM SERVICE PROGRAM

Nineteen years ago, Intermountain Yearly Meeting and the American Friends Service Committee formed the Joint Service Project (JSP). This program has taken youth and older Friends on service projects, especially among indigenous populations in the United States and Mexico. AFSC withdrew from the project effective September 30, 2009, and despite efforts of Friends to find a way forward, at its annual gathering at Ghost Ranch last June, Yearly Meeting could not come to unity on continuing the project in its present form without AFSC.

QUERY I. Does your Monthly Meeting support a renewed service program at the Yearly Meeting level?

You may consider the following questions in discussing this Query, but please don’t feel constrained by them in any way:

(1) What would be the goal(s) of such a program?

(2) In view of its far-flung geography and its lack of a permanent staff, in what ways can IMYM administer and oversee a service program?

(3) What communities or interests might be served by a renewed program (e.g., border issues, environmental work, inner-urban projects, etc.)?

(4) Should the program be designed primarily as a vehicle for younger Friends’ service or should this not be a consideration?

(5) Are the youth in your meeting interested in participating in a Yearly Meeting program?

(6) Are there forms of personal service other than providing physical labor (i.e., work-camp style projects) that might be useful for providers and recipients?

(7) What community service is your Meeting now involved with? Could an IMYM project complement or assist your Meeting’s projects, or might it divert energy and resources from it?

The foregoing questions assume a positive response to the Query, for the most part. Please report also your Meeting’s or Friends’ significant negative responses and the considerations underlying them.

II. MONTHLY MEETING ASSESSMENTS

The budget of the Yearly Meeting for 2010 will result in a shortfall of about $7,000. In 2003 the IMYM finance committee recommended maintaining reserves at $20,000, but we have been spending our reserves at an alarming rate and will have totally expended them by 2014.

At current expense levels, Monthly Meeting assessments must be increased to support IMYM operations. An increase in the per capita assessment from the present level of $45 per member to $52 per member would be necessary for the 2010 budget to balance income and expenditures, and $55 per member would be necessary to stabilize the reserves, which we are withdrawing from each year.

These assessments are used only for such expenses as travel and support of Yearly Meeting officers, support of our service mission, minor contributions, Western Friend, and travel of our representatives to Quaker organizations with which we are affiliated. Registration fees and room and board charges paid by those who attend completely fund the Annual Meeting.

The need for increased assessments assumes a continuing budget item for a service program at current levels ($24,000) assuming that any new program will need start-up funds as well as ongoing support.

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?

III. ANNUAL GATHERING DATES

QUERY III, about a change in the date of the Annual Gathering, has been overtaken by a change in plans by Ghost Ranch, which is no longer offering the August dates (IMYM will continue to be in June, returning to the second full week in 2012).  So, we won't need to consider it.

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