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Response to 2010 IMYM Queries

Santa Fe Friends Meeting Response to IMYM Queries
January 2, 2011


Query 1: Should IMYM create a directory of individuals, and how should it be used?

Most of the questions were about the origin of the idea for a directory and why FGC would want one.  One person stated emphatically that there would need to be strong "op-out" provisions.  One person felt it would be useful for contacting persons in other meetings, but another pointed out the obstacles to creating such a directory and was skeptical that it could be adequately maintained.  Another person said that she wouldn’t want SF Meeting to stand in the way.   Yet another said there was the possibility that it might be helpful.  We all agreed that there was no enthusiasm for having a directory.

Query 2. Would your Meeting favor starting Yearly Meeting on Tuesday instead of Wednesday, so that Yearly Meeting gains an extra day?

We agreed there was no enthusiasm for adding a day, and there were concerns about the current arrangements and suggestions for changes for a different approach to the affairs of the YM.  We are also including a report from 10 persons who attended the 2010 Annual Gathering and met soon afterward for a "debriefing."

Concerns:

Four days at Ghost Ranch already costs too much, which discourages some from considering going, even though scholarships are available.

Four days is a good amount of time.  We need to practice simplicity and say no, offer fewer choices, accept that we must make choices.

Why is Intergenerational Worship sacrosanct -- why couldn't all worship sharing be scheduled then?  (Another pointed out that a commitment had been made to Intergenerational Worship, and scheduling other worship at that time would undercut the commitment.  Another said that if we did this we would have to make some other arrangements for intergenerational activities.)

Evenings are not fully utilized.  (But another responded that YM is a special time to hang out with other Quakers, and trying to crowd more business in is a mistake.)

Business meetings are crowded because committees haven't been able to prepare the business adequately, and too much is left to work through at the business meetings.  The size of the YM makes it difficult for committees  to meet to prepare their business except at Annual Gathering

Suggestions:

Committees could meet before the Yearly Meeting begins, during Early Days. 

Action items should be prepared well in advance of Annual Gathering so that all can see what will be dealt with at the business meetings.

Friends should be encouraged to read the prepared reports before going to Annual Gathering, although the representatives to Quaker organizations submitting reports really need time during business meetings to make short reports to feel that their service is worthwhile.

Query 3. What can IMYM do for monthly meetings? How could there be more back and forth between IMYM and monthly meetings?

The YM could help monthly meetings make contact with those in other meetings who could lead retreats or other workshops, and could encourage more sharing of visiting Quakers across the regions.  We need to do more to share our IMYM region talents beyond each monthly meeting.

The YM provides valuable support just by receiving favorably -- seasoning, mentoring in business meeting, providing a budget -- for initiatives that bubble up from monthly meetings, for example, the Spiritual Formation Program and the Mountain Friends Camp.

There needs to be a smoother way for concerns to rise from the monthly meeting level to yearly meeting attention.

Santa Fe meeting held a debriefing session afterwards for those attending the annual gathering.  A new member inquired whether or not other meetings did this and was this a time when more could be shared with the whole monthly meeting about what when on at the gathering.

We need to remember the importance of yearly meeting being the place where young people learn to do Quaker process that they usually don’t learn at the local level because of few numbers.  Also, youth learning that happened formerly on service projects needs to happen somewhere.

Maybe we expect too much.  It is already a miracle that the annual gathering happens.

“Yearly Meeting” is more than just what happens at the Annual Gathering, with the ongoing work of committees, and other contacts between people between annual sessions.

Another added that we need to keep it simple and not add to clutter.  We also need to offer ways to calm ourselves and add to our spiritual depth.

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