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December 2008 Newsletter

 

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

 

Twelfth Month 2008


“Assumptions can be of no value at all against the truth.” Al Qur’an

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. Childcare 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. on the top floor of 1730 Camino Carlos Rey.

 

Sunday 12/7/08 10:00 a.m. Singing, First Day School room
12:30 p.m. Potluck
Sunday 12/14/08 9:15 a.m. Ministry and Oversight Committee
10:00 a.m. Singing, First Day School room
12.30 p.m. Committee on Conscientious Objection
Sunday 12/21/08 10:00 a.m. Singing, First Day School room
12.30 p.m. Meeting for Worship for Business
Sunday 12/28/08 10:00 a.m. Singing, First Day School room


 

If you wish to have an item included in the calendar or contribute a notice, article or review to the newsletter, please contact the Clerk of Meeting. Thank you.

Minutes of Meeting for Worship for Business
Santa Fe Monthly Meeting of Friends, 16th Day, 11th Month

Present: Jennifer Wellington, Rebecca Henderson, Mary Ray Cate, Peggy Giltrow, David Giltrow, Philip Balcombe, Pamela Geyer, Ford Robbins, Allison Martinez, Bob Gaines, Kathleen Burke, Carolyn Stephenson, Marguerite Kearns.

The Meeting for Worship for Business began with silence at 12:45 p.m. in the Meeting room on Canyon Road. Friends entertained and then agreed to the suggestion of reversing the usual order of business where people-related concerns are considered after finances and the proposed budget. The thinking behind this is that member and attender concerns may have been given short shrift in recent months when their placement on the agenda was reserved to the end.

Resident’s Report: The new resident, Kathleen Burke, arrived on November 2. She booked the first guest, has been getting used to the process and settling in. She expressed the intention of transferring her membership from Atlanta to Santa Fe Meeting. A request from a high school class in Los Alamos was carried over from former resident, Peg Martin, who has spoken there on Quakerism in the past. Kathleen Burke is making arrangements to meet this obligation by finding transportation to Los Alamos.

IMYM: A query under consideration relative to the future of the IMYM Joint Service Committee will be given the airing it requires at potluck discussions during December and January. The query will be distributed by way of email.

Peace and Social Concerns: The present state of the Peace and Social Concerns Committee raised the concern that, as of the present time, the committee has not been functioning to its maximum potential since Ann McLaughlin is no longer able to continue as Convener due to personal obligations. The committee has not been operating with a full component of members, but instead with an active Convener who then has solicited the help of others on an ad hoc basis. Friends were of the opinion that the importance of Peace and Social Concerns is such that Meeting must put Peace and Social Concerns on all fours as soon as possible.

Nominating Committee: The uncertain future of Peace and Social Concerns led to another core issue––the fact that Nominating Committee has been laid down and thus the group has not been active in filling vacancies ever since the roster of positions was filled in June. There is the continuing need for the year-round work of a Nominating Committee, with the case in point highlighted of the urgent need to fill the gap left by Ann McLaughlin. It was felt that the issue of Peace and Social Concerns and the future of the Nominating Committee should not be left to slide, that both matters be held in the Light on a monthly basis, and kept visible and in everyone’s awareness through the newsletter and continuing discussion until a resolution is in sight.

Worship Groups: Los Alamos worship group continues meeting once a month with a core of three people. Between 15 and 18 individuals worship together in Las Vegas, twice a month. The 9 a.m. Meeting at Canyon Road continues to be viable with approximately 15 people attending and participating in special activities such as a shared breakfast once a month. The Taos worship group continues to face challenges and is in the process of reorganization, including moving to Peace House for the last First Day of the month. The Southside worship group meets at 10:30 a.m. every First Day; it involves at least a half dozen people, and as many as a dozen or more on occasion. The meeting space on the south side provides another venue for groups such as spiritual formation, simple suppers during the week and other events. Allison P. Martinez remains the contact, although others are stepping forward to take responsibility. [See changed contact details in Some Key Meeting Contacts in this newsletter.]

Long-Range Planning: David Giltrow is looking ahead to a pre-threshing session about the future of the Canyon Road Meeting House. Research continues on ownership and related legal issues. Ford Robbins requested that M & O be included in this process. Title clarification on the donation of land and the manner of transfer remain under discussion because of tax-related issues of the donor. The process is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Ministry and Oversight: The query for December was presented: “In what ways do we nurture an expectant silence in worship?”
M&O had recommended to Business Meeting that an interim care sub-committee include two members of M&O plus three to four volunteer members to receive requests for support of various kinds from Meeting members and attenders, to facilitate an appropriate response to practical needs, whereas M&O would continue to focus on spiritual matters.
Unity previously arrived at by M&O members on this issue was replaced by the addition of a suggestion by Philip Balcombe that the Care Committee become its own entity. The lack of time to allow this matter to season resulted in M&O convener Ford Robbins requesting that Business Meeting make a decision about this matter because of long-term chronic situations and several acute situations requiring care.
Whereas it was recognized that situations of such a serious nature might not be so pressing if a Nominating Committee is operative, this does not address the present need which requires moving forward with a Care Committee of some sort in the interim. Joan Spencer and Philip Balcombe are the M&O members serving as representatives on the Care Committee. Alison Martinez volunteered to participate on the Care Committee. Friends approved the creation of an interim sub-committee because of the pressing needs.

New Mexico Regional Meeting: There is no clear outcome yet on the status of NM Regional Meeting. Rebecca Henderson shared her work in this regard, which included attempts to contact Jim Dudley, Vickie Aldrich and Nadine Mills. Taos worship group participants have expressed an interest in the continuation of Regional Meeting as a way to connect with other worship groups. There’s the possibility of Santa Fe Monthly Meeting hosting NM Regional Meeting in the spring, possibly at Quaker House on the south side. The continuing exploration and outreach is in the context of the fact that Regional Meeting has not been officially laid down. It is described as in “hibernation.” Attempts to resurrect a fall regional gathering did not work out. The structure remains. “If we put out the word, I believe people will come,” Rebecca Henderson said. “Maybe the new energy can come from the worship groups, if there’s a need.” Meeting lent its support to Rebecca Henderson continuing her efforts and explorations, and to provide additional support in the future, if appropriate.

First Day School and Christmas Eve: The program for Young Friends continues in the absence of Marti Carroll who is on a temporary leave of absence from directing First Day School. This led to a discussion of Christmas Eve and the help usually needed by young Friends to set up outside. Mary Ray Cate will prepare the room for Meeting for Worship and work with the resident. Canyon Road closes at 5 p.m. and Meeting for Worship will begin at 5:30 p.m.

[Accounts which were submitted with the following three reports are reproduced on pages 7, 9 and 10 in the hard copy edition of this newsletter. Because some of those receiving the newsletter electronically have problems with tabulated formatting, this and other Meeting accounts will be omitted from the emailed newsletter and readers can find them on the Meeting web site, www.sf.imym.org.]

Treasurer’s Report: $26,916 was budgeted for 2008 and it’s expected $25,350 will be spent, although this could be lower. Unknown are the utility bills and the legal fees associated with the land transfer. The Treasurer’s report was affirmed because it is clear and easy to understand. Meeting still anticipates more donations at the end of 2008 to balance the books, which is the usual practice. This is hoped for, even with the downturn of the economy, but the concern remains. The maintenance fund is running ahead of last year and there are sufficient bookings in the guest apartment to count on these anticipated revenues. The cost of membership in the Interfaith Alliance is $25 plus $1 per congregant. Friends agreed to approve this line item.

Finance Committee: Friends approved the first reading of the proposed 2009 budget of $15,538 (not including Good Works and IMYM Assessment) after a discussion over the question of whether or not Meeting should return to parity. The total proposed operating budget for 2009 is $31,176. The report included a comparison to previous budgets of 2007 and 2008, with the differences noted. The question was raised by Peggy Giltrow about the practice of spending as much as possible on Good Works, a total proposed at $7,125. “There are extra needs in the community as the economy falls apart,” she said. The increased costs of First Day School were noted. Young Adult Friends have become a new line item. M&O was asked to review the membership roll in light of the monetary assessments to IMYM. There has been an increase in printing because more people have requested a hard copy of the newsletter. Friends approved the practice of Finance Committee looking at expenditures, readjusting the budget every quarter and reporting this finding to Meeting. Specific proposals for Good Works are expected at the next Business Meeting. [Increased printing costs were actually for other reasons, not an increase in hard copy newsletter requirements, and may be reversed in the coming year, although it was not possible to count on this when estimating for the budget. Ed.]

Building Committee: The anticipated expenses for building maintenance and repair were presented. These include estimates for the Meeting House, the guest apartment, the Ramada/Casita, and long-range restoration (writing a grant to begin the restoration of Olive Rush frescoes). The need for patching, restoration of the garage doors and other issues was noted, as well as the continuing problems with the heater in the Meeting room. Radiant heat is a possible consideration in the future. Friends approved the first reading of the report of the Building Committee.

Clerk Jennifer Wellington noted the receipt of newsletters and correspondence which she believes could be of interest to members and attenders. Some will be posted and the remainder made available on a table in the Portal.

There was no report of the Garden Committee.

Minutes of the Meeting for Worship for Business in the Tenth Month: Friends approved.

The Meeting for Worship for Business ended at 2:40 p.m. with silence

Respectfully submitted,
Marguerite Kearns

Minutes of Finance Committee Meeting of October 25, 2008
Report to Business Meeting of Nov. 16, 2008

Present:  Greg Cliburn, Bob Gaines, Peggy Giltrow

The meeting started with silence. The Committee worked on the proposed General Fund budget for operating expenses for Santa Fe Monthly Meeting of Friends for 2009, using replies from conveners of various committees which have line items in the budget and costs for program expenses. We also looked at projected expenses compiled by the Treasurer for the rest of 2008. We realized we needed to clarify two items and perhaps add another before presenting the draft to the November Meeting for Worship for Business on November 16. That has been done, and a draft budget is attached.

Total proposed expenditures for operating expenses for 2009 add up to $15,538. That is $157 more than the final budget for 2008.

In recent years, the Meeting had strongly tried to hold to the principle of matching operating expenses with the combined figure for IMYM assessment and good works. Last year the Finance Committee, worried about the potential total figure for the operating budget, asked the Good Works committee to hold to the figure of $11,480 from 2007.

The Finance Committee would like the Meeting to decide whether we corporately can afford to go back to our principle of parity in 2009. That would mean a total operating budget for 2009 of $31,076. Given the deteriorating economic climate it may be difficult for members and attenders to increase their donations significantly. However, it is precisely at this time that the needs of our community will increase, so the Finance Committee strongly recommends that Meeting make this commitment.

Once Meeting decides on the amount which we can spend on good works, the Good Works Committee will be able to meet and produce a recommendation for how the money should be spent. We can look forward to their draft at the December business meeting.

The Clerk of Meeting sent the Finance Committee a notification of expenses connected to the Meeting’s membership in the Interfaith Leadership Alliance. The group has incorporated, and charges members. Meeting’s cost would be $35 plus $1 per congregant. The Finance Committee recommends that this cost become a line item in the Good Works budget for 2009.

The Finance Committee considered Treasurer’s reports, overspending procedures, and how best to inform members and attenders of the seasonal shortfall between the 2008 budget and donations to date. The Treasurer has incorporated suggestions from the October business meeting into the quarterly and annual reports for the end of this year. Committees are asked to adhere to procedures which advise that requests for additional funds beyond the year’s budget be presented to the Finance Committee for consideration by Meeting for Business if at all possible. The Finance Committee will be reminding people of the donation shortfall in the newsletter and in the meeting news digest, with updates as the year winds down.

Respectfully submitted,
Peggy Giltrow, Convener of Finance Committee

Draft (Proposed) Operating Budget for 2009

[A copy of the proposed operating budget follows this in the hard copy edition of the newsletter.] The first reading was held at Business Meeting on Nov. 16. Please look at the budget carefully in preparation for the second reading at the December Business Meeting, Sunday, Dec. 21. If you have questions you can contact the Treasurer, Bob Gaines, at gaines@comcast.net (466-1746) or Peggy Giltrow at pgiltrow@cybermesa.com (988-4751).

In recent years, the Meeting has strongly tried to hold on to the principle of budgeting as much for helping others (the IMYM assessment and good works) as we budget for our meeting’s operating expenses. Last year the Finance Committee, worried about the potential total figure for the operating budget, asked the Good Works committee to hold to the figure of $11,480 from 2007. At the November Business Meeting this year, the Finance Committee asked the Meeting to decide whether we corporately can afford to go back to our principle of parity in 2009. That would mean a total operating budget of $31,076, an increase of about $4,000 more than we budgeted for 2008. Given the deteriorating economic climate it may be difficult for members and attenders to increase their donations significantly. However, it is precisely at this time that the needs of our community will increase. The Finance Committee strongly recommends the Meeting make this commitment as it accepts the budget in December. The proposed Good Works budget will be available at that time.

Please remember that the amount the Meeting agrees on for the operating and good works budget must be met with donations to the general fund. The budget agreed to for 2008 was $26,943. General Fund donations to date in 2008 are $17,277. We urge members and attenders, as you are able, to help meet this gap before the end of the year.

PERSONAL NOTICES & MESSAGES


From Eliza Packard:

Position sought –– as carer for elder or child (older than three and a half years).
I am a 43 year old, quiet, respectful, neat & clean person who is a good cook, can run errands, has Waldorf and Montessori Preschool experience, and is great with animals. I am chemically sensitive –– no neurotoxins please! I can provide excellent references and am damned good company. Looking forward to meeting you.
Eliza, 310-4104, surrender2grace@yahoo.com



 

Pima Monthly Meeting
Religious Society of Friends
931 N. 5th Ave.
Tucson, AZ 85705-7723

 

Resident Caretaker Position Open

 

Pima Monthly Meeting in Tucson, Arizona is seeking a Resident Caretaker to live in a small one-bedroom apartment in the meetinghouse and interact with our fellowship. Free room and utilities (not including phone) in exchange for about 10–15 hours per week cleaning, maintaining and scheduling use of the guest apartment and Meetinghouse. Starting date on or shortly after Feb 1, 2009. Position will be for a one-year term(s), with options to renew yearly by mutual agreement six months into new service year. Please send letter of interest and résumé to: Eileen Haney/4135 E.Cooper St, Tucson, AZ. 85711-3464 or email Eileen-Haney@cox.net. Deadline Dec. 15 or until the position is filled.
For detailed information about the caretaker’s duties, go to http://pima.quaker.org/caretakerposition.html.
For additional information, contact Eileen. Please, no calls to the Meetinghouse number. Thank-you.

 

Notes from the Meetinghouse Library

 

New books should be in the library by the time you read this. This year I continued to build the mysticism section of the library, while adding some juicy titles in the peace, earthcare, introductory Quakerism, and women’s sections. Please scan the shelves for new books and take something wonderful home. Borrow the books for a month, then return them. The library works best when its contents circulate.

 

At this fall and winter season I invite you to reach under your Quaker bedsteads as well as other hiding places, and return any books you have been pretending to read. Books that have not been touched for over a month are especially encouraged to return to their home.

 

Many thanks to those who have donated books in the last year. Thanks to those who have made requests. I have tried to honor them as much as possible.

 

Best wishes and happy reading,
Jonathan Ashworth, Meeting Librarian

 

First And Last Things, Richard Hoggart, (Reflections on faith, etc.)
Globalization And The Good, Peter Heslam, Ed.
Heart To Heart: Deepening Women’s Friendships at Midlife, Patricia Shapiro
Inner Christianity, Richard Smoley
The Magic Of Conflict, Thomas Crum
Peace, Jay Vickers
Plain Language, Barbara Wright, (Fiction)
Quakers In Fiction: An Annotated Bibliography, Anna B. Caulfield
Soul Of Politics,
Jim Wallis
But I Tell You (A Quaker tackles The Sermon on the Mount), Karen Oberst
(This title was donated to the Quaker House library)
 An Introduction To Quakerism, Pink Dandelion
Silence And Witness: The Quaker Tradition, Michael Birkel
 Earthcare For Friends, Edited by Louis Cox, Ingrid Fabianson, Sandra Moon Farley, Ruah Swennerfelt
 Healing Ourselves And The Earth, Elizabeth Watson (Booklet)
 Dao De Jing: A Philosophical Translation, Roger Ames and David Hall
 The Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks
God's Breath: Sacred Scriptures of the World, Edited by John Miller and
Aaron Kenedi
 Zen And The Birds Of Appetite, Thomas Merton

 



 


The First Christmas

 

“The First Christmas: What the Gospels really teach about Jesus’s Birth”
by Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan, 2007. Available at the Santa Fe Library.

 

New Testament scholars Borg and Crossan view the nativity stories in Matthew and Luke as "parables" and "overtures to the story of Jesus." They "are not concerned with the factuality of the birth stories" (probably just that Jesus's parents Mary and Joseph were from Nazareth in Galilee). Rather they focus on the "truth" of the two "quite different" stories––what each meant for the communities which adopted them perhaps 50 to 60 years after Jesus's death and on what each means for us today.

 

As in their companion book “The Last Week: What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus's Final Days in Jerusalem,” Borg and Crossan understand the stories about Jesus as challenges to personal and political transformation. Readers familiar with Crossan's many books will recognize his recurrent theme of Jesus's message contrasted with the imperial religion of Rome: God's Kingdom based on justice versus the Pax Romana based on violence.

 

For the authors, Advent and Christmas are about a transformed world. Borg and Crossan reject two of the three traditional Christian responses to the Gospel stories: waiting on God to bring about the transformation, or focusing on one's individual salvation without regard to the world's fate.

 

For Borg and Crossan, the transformed world announced by Advent and Christmas requires "a two-fold affirmation: we are to do it with God, and we cannot do it without God. In St. Augustine's brilliant aphorism, God without us will not; we without God cannot."

 

Although Borg and Crossan have 90 years between them of scholarly endeavor, "The First Christmas" has less than a page of footnotes and is an easy read. Most of the book is devoted to a close reading of the two nativity stories to illuminate their historical and political context, especially their relationship to imperial Rome and the Old Testament.

 

Bob Gaines

 


“When the Rain Returns: Toward Justice and Reconciliation in Palestine and Israel”

 

This is the title of a book which describes the experiences and analyses of an International Quaker Working Party, composed of eleven Quakers and three friends-of-Quakers, who recently visited Israel, Palestine and neighboring countries.

 

It includes their deliberations on what they saw and learned in discussions with more than 90 individuals representing a range of personal histories and political views. It also provides background information, maps, and appendices and can be a valuable resource in understanding this very complex troubling issue.

 

This report is not an AFSC position paper, but a resource to facilitate discussion and help others comprehend this very complex situation.

 

Ann Hardt, Professor Emeritus of Cultural Education at Arizona State University, and a member of Tempe Friends’ Meeting, says “This document talks about nonviolence and Quaker concepts of peace in the context of what is happening in Israel/Palestine. It can help Quakers and other peace activists to see peace and nonviolence in a larger perspective.”

 

Nadia Hijab, Executive Director of the Palestine Center in Washington, DC, says:
“This book has a richness and texture in taking the story of the people and the dimensions of the conflict beyond its borders. Two aspects of this work will draw attention: what it says about two states vs. one state, as possible outcomes, and the position on the Palestinian refugees as a party whose views must be taken into account to reach a just and lasting peace.”

 

We oppose the use of violence to resolve human conflicts. We grieve for each precious life lost or shattered. We mourn especially the civilians––Israeli and Palestinian––who have been killed and we condemn without reservation the acts of violence that have struck them down in the course of their daily lives. We recognize the grievous harm done to societies who come to rely upon the use of force to solve their problems, as well as the damage done to those they attempt to coerce. As many persons in the region have concluded, there is no solution to this conflict through violence.

 

This American Friends’ Service Committee publication is available for purchase by mail order ($15 + shipping). Write to AFSC Literature Resources, 1501 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102, or telephone 888-588-2372.
Messages and Announcements
­­­­­­
The Committee on Conscientious Objection will meet at 12.30 p.m. after worship on December 14. The committee will work on ways of publicizing conscientious objection and opposition to the draft to IMYM Meetings and their newly elected representatives. For more information contact Howard Shulman at 984-9908
Friends are reminded that M & O maintains a Meeting Calendar. Please contact Ford Robbins (505-466-7665) to schedule use of the Meetinghouse for your event. This will help avoid conflicts and will allow Meeting to maintain security of the premises.
Friends who know someone who would like to reserve a stay in the guest apartment are asked to have the potential guest(s) contact the resident (505-983-7241) directly to make the booking, so that she can know exact dates as early as possible and coordinate reservations. If there is a change in plans, this also should be communicated directly to the resident by the guests.
Junk no more!  Your excess calendars, greeting cards, and old magazines can help
women prisoners to maintain connections with friends, families and the outside world.  Just call Audrey Miller at 424-1208.  She'll pick up your donations and get them to the women.  Thank you!
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.

 


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, convener, 466-7665 fordrobbins@earthlink.net; Joan Spencer, 984-2217 ssspencer@pol.net; Dimitri Mihalas, 474-0870; 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.) currently Peg Martin, 983-7241, handing over this month to Kathleen Burke.
To schedule use of building: Contact Ford Robbins, 466-7665,
fordrobbins@earthlink.net
Recorder: Marguerite Kearns, 505-753-9760 mkearns@cybermesa.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!
The Peace and Social Concerns Committee welcomes new members. Anne McLaughlin, 995-9655 caunteton@msn.com. Meetings as and when announced.
The Committee on Conscientious Objection meets as needed. For information please call Howard Shulman, 984-9908. (For special December meeting see Messages and Announcements above.)
The South Santa Fe Worship Group telephone number is 471-2288, and the email address is ssfqwg@cybermesa.com.
For a complete list of committees, see the Meeting Directory. 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 (mvaux@desertgate.com, 505-454-9352) 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.

 



 



 



 



 



 



 

 

 

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