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November 2007 Newsletter

Letter to Friends

Newsletter of the Santa Fe Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends

Eleventh Month 2007


“But if Vinoba Bhave is impractical, he is in good company. Was the founder of Christianity any more practical? Surely, if we were to take the Pale Galilean seriously it would shatter the foundations of the civilization our statesman, bishops, aldermen and respectable people generally —furnished with silver-knobbed hammers and silver-plated trowels— have been building and consecrating so proudly for nineteen hundred years!”


Bernard Llewellyn in 1955, on a Hindu leader who inspired Quaker peace activist Donald Groom, quoted from Peace Comes Walking by Victoria Rigney




Calendar of Events


All events take place at the Meetinghouse, 630 Canyon Road, unless otherwise noted. Meeting for Worship is held every Sunday at 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. Child care and First Day School are provided during the 11:00 a.m. Meeting. The South Santa Fe Worship Group holds Meeting for Worship every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. at the former International Institute for Oriental Medicine, 4884 La Junta del Alamo, Agua Fria.


Sunday 11/4/07 10:00 a.m. Singing, First Day School room or in garden

12:30 p.m. Potluck

Sunday 11/11/07 9:15 a.m. Ministry and Oversight Committee

10:00 a.m. Singing, First Day School room or in garden

Sunday 11/18/07 10:00 a.m. Singing, First Day School room or in garden

12.30 p.m. Meeting for Worship for Business

Sunday 11/25/07 10:00 a.m. Singing, First Day School room or in garden




Please tell the editors about any items that should be in the calendar: Alison Martinez, 438-0729 alison1@cybermesa.com. Thank you.


Meeting for Worship for Business

21st, tenth month, 2007


Present: Peggy Giltrow, Rebecca Henderson, David Vaux, Molly Vaux, Philip Balcombe, John Kretzmann, Helen Corneli, Kip Corneli, David Giltrow, Bob Gaines, Bettina Raphael, Jennifer Wellington, clerk, Mary Ray Cate, recording clerk.


Meeting began with silence at 1 p.m.


1. Minutes from ninth month’s business meeting were approved without corrections.


2. Finance Committee report was submitted by Peggy Giltrow and accepted by Meeting. The Finance Committee met on 9/24/07. Most of their work was concentrated on the draft 2008 general fund budget. They appreciate all the committees who have sent their reports and requests for next year. The Good Works Committee has met and forwarded its recommendations. The Finance Committee will meet tomorrow to finalize the draft budget to be presented to Business Meeting in November.

The Treasurer called to our attention the fact that, as usual in the fall, there is a significant gap between the amount meeting budgeted and what has so far been collected in 2007. As of August 31, the gap was $11,000 needed before Dec. 31 to meet the approved $22,375 budget. Currently the gap stands at just under $10,000. Meeting approved sending a letter to friends and attenders by the end of this month telling how much is still needed and asking people to consider sending funds.

Some Friends have had concerns about the safety of contributions that are mailed to 630 Canyon Road. One suggestion is for Meeting to rent a post office box, probably at about $65 per year. Nothing has been stolen from the Canyon Road mailbox so far, but when the resident is away often those filling in do not remember to bring in the mail. Purchasing a lockable mailbox was suggested. The finance committee will discuss and make a recommendation on this issue.


3. Treasurer’s report dated October 18, 2007 was presented by Bob Gaines and accepted by Meeting.


General Fund donations to October 18: $12,414

Percentage of budgeted donations received: 55%

General Fund expenses to October 18: $16,231

Percentage of budgeted expenses paid: 82%


********


Total cash in bank on October 18: $15,203

General Fund: $8,556

Maintenance Fund: $4,403

Turkle, Olmstead, & Sufferings Funds: $2,244


Meeting requested that a report of maintenance fund disbursements be presented next month and every month as part of the Treasurer’s report.


4. Special Advisory Committee for Stewardship and Long Range Planning

report was presented by Dave Giltrow. The Committee met on September 24, October 2, and October 13, 2007. Attending were David Giltrow, Frank Hirsch, John Kretzmann, Bettina Raphael, and Beverly Busching (convener).

This committee is an information-gathering group to support visioning of the future of the Meeting. Emphasis is on the physical housing of the Meeting, guided by the spiritual aspirations and concerns of the Meeting, especially as expressed in the August, 2006 Meeting-wide visioning workshop. Perhaps the future planning process has slowed because of lack of information about alternative possibilities, making it hard to think creatively and thoughtfully together. An important part of the Committee's charge is to help the Meeting address two critical issues:

a) The physical needs of the meeting for an adequate and appropriate gathering space for spiritual worship, educational facilities, and other community activities; and

b) Responsibility for the care, management and preservation of Olive Rush's bequest: the historic buildings, gardens, furnishings and artwork.  

The committee has obtained and is reviewing the threshing and visioning meetings summaries, Olive Rush’s will and associated materials, and analysis of these documents from a legal standpoint.

They listed a variety of possibilities for future housing of the Meeting as a way to organize an approach to their work. These were gleaned from possibilities discussed in the visioning/threshing meetings, plus a few additions. They will gather pertinent information about each alternative.

As the first of a series of consultations with experts of various backgrounds, the committee will meet with officials of the Historic Santa Fe Foundation next month. They have been a long term ally and have kept in touch with alterations and repairs to the building. They also can be strong allies assisting us in considering alternatives and seeking funding.

At some point the committee will bring to business meeting the opinions of these outside experts. No target date has been set for presenting their findings. Meeting thanked the committee for its efforts and encourages them in their work.


5. Building committee: Bettina presented a detailed report. All major outdoor maintenance projects have been completed prior to winter. Work finished in September and October included repairing windows, fixing the guest apartment ceiling to prevent dirt sifting down, patching ramada roof, filling holes in walls, and patching stucco. A door was added to the ramada by Ross Pope and drainage problems were corrected. Bettina gave no figures as to how much was spent on these repairs.

Work still to do includes improving security lighting outside buildings and looking into improving the electrical capacity of the ramada.


6. Resident’s committee report was submitted by Molly Vaux and accepted by Meeting. The committee conducted an evaluation of the resident's past year and discussed needs and aims for the coming year, covering three areas of responsibility: (1) contact work, budget and record keeping, (2) Meetinghouse and garden, (3) guest apartment, and two quality of life areas – (a) casita and (b) fellowship.


The following summary touches on key points emerging from that discussion:

Peg's first year occurred during an ongoing transition period in which the Meeting was attempting to address some problems which had developed between former residents and the Meeting over expectations for the resident. During the past year our committee became aware of the need for better communications all around so that differences are resolved in a Friendly manner. Members of the Meeting who have concerns about the role and work of the resident are asked to raise those concerns directly (and tenderly) with the resident or to contact the committee for assistance. Peg is uncomfortable in larger groups, so she has attended the 9 a.m. meeting and avoided the 11 a.m. meeting and potlucks. However, she is interested in deepening her relations with all members of the Meeting, so she seeks out other opportunities, such as working with committees and building one-to-one relationships. Peg hopes that everyone will feel easy with engaging her individually.


To allow new opportunities for fellowship, Peg has volunteered to hold an open house in the casita (which was done on October 7) and a discussion of her experience at the Oklahoma Quaker Women's Fellowship Retreat, to be held in early November. [Please see "Messages and Announcements" in this newsletter for details.]


There was discussion of the extension of the resident's term for a third year. There will be further discussion at the November committee meeting.


With regard to the new gate, Peg noted that when the gate is closed it may just be latched and not locked. People wishing to enter the garden are encouraged to try the latch.


7. Resident’s report for September, 2007: Peg worked a total of 52 hours. Income from guest apartment was $625. Apartment was occupied 7 days out of 30 for an occupancy rate of 23%. Meetinghouse supplies cost $63.

Meeting noted that it takes Peg 4 hours to clean the guest apartment whether guests stay one night or ten nights. The idea of a 3 night minimum stay was suggested. Thanks to Peg for her report and work. Report accepted.


8. Ministry and Oversight committee report was accepted. This is a summary. The archives and documents of the Meeting are scattered in various locations and the files in the Meetinghouse file cabinet are not in order. Meeting approved formation of an ad hoc committee on archives to report back to M&O. The committee will consist of the archivist, Dave Giltrow, the recorder, Beverly Busching, and the librarian, Jonathan Ashworth, if he agrees.

In their June report M&O favored placing a small peace sign in the window facing Canyon Road. The sign from AFSC, “Friends for Peace,” was to have been presented for approval at the July business meeting. The issue was discussed at this business meeting and no agreement was reached. Some are concerned that someone would break the expensively repaired historic window in protest of the sign. A sign on the outside wall of the building or an FCNL yard sign are alternatives. The issue will be brought up at next business meeting.


9. Elevator 9, letters, and the sufferings fund: Philip has received lots of offers of help to pay his $300 fine. The question of whether people who want to help pay the fines of other members of the Elevator 9 could contribute to our Meeting’s sufferings fund was raised. Further discussion of uses of the fund was postponed.

Jennifer would like to write a letter to Senator Domenici and the newspapers about the Elevator 9. A letter to the prosecutors and judge was also suggested. Quakers in other regions need to know what is happening here, so copies of any letters sent by the Meeting should be sent to Friends Journal and Friends Bulletin. It was decided that those who want to write letters should share their drafts via e-mail and bring them to a called meeting for business during potluck on 9-4-07.


10. Earthcare committee report: The committee will have a table at the opening of the environmental resource center at the new Southside library on Saturday, November 3.


11. No reports were received from Peace and Social Concerns or from the First Day School committee.


12. Appreciation was expressed to Justin for his work to rebuild the shade structure in the garden. Meeting will send a goodbye and thank you note to Lyn and Justin.


13. Naming committee will consist of Rebecca Henderson and Ford Robbins.


15. A thank you note from Eddy Bieg, a young Friend, was read aloud.


16. Next month’s agenda will include planning for Christmas Eve.


Meeting for worship for business closed with silence at 3:45 p.m.

Mary Ray Cate, recording clerk





Sentencing Statement

Philip G. Balcombe, for October 16th, 2007


The charge upon which I have been found guilty is trivial – but the issues involved are not.


The verdict of this court, based on the charge, is trivial too – but the travesty of justice it represents is not.


At very least it is open to interpretation as part of a pattern of governmental action that trivializes democratic discourse.


More than a year ago I was one of a group of nine constituents of Pete Domenici's who were stalled in an elevator by action of representatives of our government. We were and are deeply concerned about the course that our country is following in waging war in Iraq. We wanted and still want to engage in dialogue about our concerns.


The symbolism of the government's action in disabling our elevator speaks clearly to a real issue in this case: our government doesn't want to raise the level of debate about the war.


This court feels that it is enough for citizens to be allowed to hand over petitions to staff members – no response from their elected representatives required or to be expected.


I do not. I don't believe that is what the authors of The U.S. Constitution intended either.


Since I was child, a disabled child disregarded not only because I was disabled but because I was one of only two American children in an English boarding school – I have held a conviction that war, that violence, is not the way to resolve conflict. That conviction has not faltered. I feel an obligation to speak out in favor of a more constructive alternative.


I believe our country's war in Iraq is an abomination, a perversion of the ideals and a betrayal of the men and women of our armed forces whose courage and capacity for self sacrifice make it possible. I believe the cost, the waste in lives lost and ruined and treasure squandered is unconscionable.


There must be, there is a better way. I wanted to talk about that with our senator, who had been unwilling to meet with opponents of the war and who by the 26th September last had not even looked at The Declaration of Peace, which many groups and individuals from his constituency had been sending to him for weeks. If he wasn't willing to respond I wanted to make that ignorance of his obvious to all.


Pete Domenici has yet to respond to our petition.


I went to the Federal Building as an advocate for peace. My eight companions and I, mostly elderly, cleared through security, defenseless and committed to nonviolence, spent 51/2 hours in the elevator there surrounded by as many as a couple of dozen armed men and women who had been told to treat us as a threat to the Republic. In the end we were cited for "failing to follow signs and directions".


This court heard testimony that we were on constitutionally protected business and agreed that that was the case.


Our defense established that the senator's office manager had no authority to restrain us, whatever our business, except in her office.


This court heard testimony about a sign that the magistrate himself acknowledged was as good as illegible and which none of us had seen.


This court heard testimony that established that we had been given no clear directions to leave the elevator.


Nevertheless this court found us guilty of failing to follow signs and directions.


This court thought that we should have had the common sense not to loiter in a disabled elevator and not to obstruct others in their business by remaining in the elevator.


I say that common sense is hard to maintain in the face of an armed blockade thrown up to stop citizens from going about their constitutionally protected business. I think it is ridiculous to describe people on constitutionally protected business as loiterers. I believe it was we petitioners who were obstructed in our business.


Perhaps we should have figured out a less obstructive way to pursue our legitimate objective, but under the circumstances I think we might be excused for feeling stymied and hoping that those obstructing us would recollect their own common sense.


I don't want to go to jail, although I am willing to if that is what it takes to call attention to what this government is doing. I don't want to pay a fine – I'm already struggling to cope with the financial consequences of my divorce last year, coming out of disability retirement in an effort to keep my house and otherwise pay my bills – but I'm willing to if that is what it takes.


I must say that this court's (at very least) narrow interpretation of the law and its trivial finding that we are guilty as charged are hard to understand, except as a continuation of the government's desire to minimize dissent, especially when taken along with this court's failure to find anything amiss with the actions of the government's forces in this matter.


That verdict in combination with that statement of approval puts a stamp of approval on the absurd overreaction of the authorities to our peaceful and legitimate action.


The charge is a petty charge.


The verdict constitutes an act of petty repression.


We the People have rights in this country and the voices of the people of this country, who do not want the slaughter and the squander of the war in Iraq to continue, will be heard.


I believe that peace is the constructive alternative! Whatever penalty this court imposes will be worth paying if it helps to underscore the real issues in this case: the war is wrong and the government's concerted attempt to discredit dissent is wrong.



A Time for Timidity?


These seem to be dangerous times. We live in a culture of fear. Civil rights have been curtailed, and it is easy, even for Friends, to become timid. Quakers, however, have traditionally taken courageous stands on social issues, both as individuals and as meetings. Following the leading of Spirit we have voiced unpopular opinions even if it meant spending time in prison or losing material possessions.

Earlier this month I worshipped with Friends in Chicago. On the front of the meetinghouse a large banner proclaims, “Torture is Wrong” and a sign in the front window says, “War Is Not The Answer.” Other meetings are showing their opposition to war in various ways. A meeting in Michigan has been placing small white flags in the grass in front of their meetinghouse to represent those who have died in Iraq. In our own Meeting we have at least one person who recently risked going to jail for his pacifist beliefs – Philip Balcombe.

So it was rather startling when, during last Meeting for Worship for Business, objections were raised to our putting a sign in our Meetinghouse window, “Friends for Peace,” as suggested by M&O, out of fear that someone would take offense and break our expensive, recently repaired “historic” window. If our present building keeps us from expressing our Quaker testimonies, I say let’s move to a place where we can stand up for our beliefs. This is not a time for timidity.

Mary Ray Cate




Creating a Culture of Peace


Dear Friends,

Some of you may remember that I wrote in the spring about a retreat called

"Creating a Culture of Peace". That particular event was eventually

rescheduled to November 16-18. We are now gearing up for the retreat

where we will look both internally and externally to move from a culture

of violence into the creation of a culture of peace. This will, we hope,

be the first of many retreats which offer not only "nonviolence training"

but also the rest, renewal, and hope of community, and build a network of

folks working to create peace visible throughout New Mexico. I want to

thank you for your support and ask that you hold us in the Light as we

gather and then return to our communities (like Santa Fe Friend's Meeting)

inspired and renewed. We already have four folks from the Meeting attending,

and registration is nearly full. However, you can contact me (505-216-5219), or check out the website for more information: www.laughingtreespace.com/ccp.aspx

Sarah Cutler




Messages and Announcements

 

ར The new Meeting Directory is available. Friends and attenders can request a copy at any time, either 'printed on demand' and mailed to you or sent to you electronically, i.e. as an email attachment. For hard copy please contact Molly Vaux (mollyvaux@comcast.net, 988-9545) or to receive by email contact Bob Gaines (gaines@comcast.net, 466-1746). In either case please specify whether you want the local Santa Fe directory or the outside Santa Fe directory, or both.

ར On Sunday, November 11, at 5:00 p.m. Peg Martin will host a gathering for all Friends who would like to hear about the Oklahoma Friends Women's

Gathering. Peg will be serving light snacks and––weather permitting––tea and cocoa by campfire.

ར Friends and attenders are reminded that Michele Chrabot collects brown paper grocery bags for recycling at the Santa Fe Food Bank. They may be given to her after 11 o'clock Meeting for Worship or placed in the designated bag in the Meetinghouse kitchen.

ར Reminder: Betsy Bartels' blog site, where we can read about her Costa Rica journey is: http://madrugadora.blogspot.com

ར Are you cleaning out closets, cupboards and bookshelves this fall? Would you like to help our new South Side Worship Group? The group has been running an electronic white elephant sale to help cover its modest expenses—selling books, music CDs, vintage political buttons and miscellaneous items on e-Bay, half.com and Craig's list. Almost anything that you no longer need can help. Please contact Alison (alison1@cybermesa.com or 439-0729) to arrange pick-up of your excess treasures. Thank you.






Some Key Meeting Contacts


Santa Fe Meeting Websites: http://sf.imym.org http://santa-fe.quaker.org/index.html

Ministry and Oversight Committee: (for personal or meeting-wide concerns, and needs for pastoral counseling) Ford Robbins, convenor, 466-7665 fordrobbins@earthlink.net; Joan Spencer, 984-2217 ssspencer@pol.net; Dimitri Mihalas, 661-7414; Philip Balcombe, 466-2982 pjbalcombe@cybermesa.com; Jennifer Wellington, 438-9399 jfloresta@gmail.com; Michael Simon, 989-3817 msimo@lycos.com; Roxanne Seagraves, 438-3714 rstories@aol.com

Meeting Clerk: Jennifer Wellington, 438-9399 jfloresta@gmail.com

Meeting Resident: (for guest apartment, or to report building problems, etc.) Peg Martin, 983-7241.

To schedule use of building: Contact Ford Robbins, 466-7665, fordrobbins@earthlink.net

Recorder: Beverly Busching, 984-8742 bbusching@mindspring.com

Treasurer: Bob Gaines, 466-1746 gaines@comcast.net Please mail financial contributions to Treasurer, Santa Fe Monthly Meeting of Friends, 630 Canyon Rd, Santa Fe NM 87501, or put in “birdhouse” box. Thank you!


Young Friends (18–40ish) get together often. For information please contact Sarah Cutler, 216-5219 smcutler@mtholyoke.edu.

The Peace and Social Concerns Committee welcomes new members. Anne McLaughlin, 995-9655 gscondon@comcast.net Meetings as and when announced.

The Committee on Conscientious Objection meets as needed. For information please call Howard Shulman, 984-9908.

Newsletter: Alison Martinez, 438-0729 (ph/fax). Please e-mail submissions to alison1@cybermesa.com, no later than the day after business meeting. Put paper submissions in the Newsletter box at the Meetinghouse by the day of business meeting and alert the editors.

South Santa Fe Worship Group contact person is Alison Martinez, 438-0729 alison1@cybermesa.com

For a complete list of committees, see the Meeting Directory. (Available as advised in first item of Messages and Announcements above.)


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