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November 2008 Newsletter

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

Eleventh Month 2008

“What has happened is a matter of the past. It is what we do now that determines our future.” Taoist saying

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 11/2/08 10:00 a.m. Singing, First Day School room
12:30 p.m. Potluck
Sunday 11/9/08 9:15 a.m. Ministry and Oversight Committee
10:00 a.m. Singing, First Day School room
Sunday 11/16/08 10:00 a.m. Singing, First Day School room
12.30 p.m. Meeting for Worship for Business
Sunday 11/23/08 10:00 a.m. Singing, First Day School room
Sunday 11/30/08 10:00 a.m. Singing, First Day School room
10:00 a.m. Meeting for Muffins

If you wish to have an item included in the calendar, please contact the Clerk of Meeting. Thank you.

Meeting for Worship for Business
Santa Fe Monthly Meeting of Friends, 19th Day, Tenth Month

Present: Mary Ray Cate, Joan Spencer, Steve Spencer, Philip Balcombe, Beverly Busching, Ford Robbins, Bob Gaines, Rebecca Henderson, Peggy Giltrow, David Giltrow, Jennifer Wellington, Marguerite Kearns, Roxanne Seagraves.

The Meeting for Worship for Business began with silence at 12:40 p.m. in the garden under the crabapple tree at 630 Canyon Road. The minutes for the Ninth Month were approved.

Report of Treasurer and Finance Committee: While the outside gathering lent an air of solar warmth to the occasion, the Friends gathered in the garden continued their usual attentiveness to detail when considering the report of the Meeting’s finances. Making the financial report accessible to members and attenders was the focus of a lengthy discussion, especially when considering an income and expense statement from the Treasurer this month featuring a financial breakdown with columns highlighting the annual budget figure, what has been budgeted to date, the actual to date, and the differences during the third quarter. Friends were in agreement that while the Treasurer’s intent was to provide considerable information, such a reporting [format] tended to be confusing when trends, interpretations and guidance would be more helpful.

Current trends can be clearly identified, such as the increase in First Day School staff expenditures (a bonus for Beverly Weiler and an increase in stipend for Marti Carroll) and more money has been spent in the garden due to a more active Garden Committee, not to mention bills for higher utilities (an increase of $1,000 over last year because of a cold winter). Awareness of trends such as these are important for planning purposes, Friends agreed, as well as an understanding of what budget categories have been overspent or underspent. This is relevant when assessing the financial health of the Meeting and whether or not donations will keep pace with previous years when members and attenders have tended to wait until the end of the year to make significant donations. If this will continue this year in the context of the current financial economic stability remains to be seen, and thus an especially critical investment of time appeared to be necessary for Business Meeting participants to sort through the financial issues and their implications.

Friends agreed to request that Treasurer Bob Gaines reformat and simplify the reports and have the Finance Committee send an email to members and attenders with a message similar to what appears in the 10/19/08 Finance Committee report to Business Meeting. This will state that while Meeting is presently short on donations to the General Fund (which includes Good Works, as well as Operating Expenses), this may or may not be deserving of alarm. In the spirit that information with clarity and an overview are essential, the email message will be similar to what appeared in the October Finance Committee report, and may contain some or all of the following spirited language:

“Customarily, people donate generously at the end of the year. We would encourage you to do so to the best of your ability, despite the current dismal financial picture for the country and the world. Each contribution is greatly appreciated for the love and thought with which it is given. The widow’s mite is as precious as the prince’s gem.”

Treasurer Bob Gaines offered an opportunity for interested individuals to request as much detail from him and the Finance Committee as would help them understand and feel more comfortable with the Meeting’s financial situation, obligations and responsibilities. Reports can best be made in PDF format.

The reports from the Finance Committee and the Treasurer were accepted.

First Day School: Marti Carroll has been asked and she has accepted the position of First Day School Director for the 2008-2009 academic year, with the understanding that this will include a leave of absence for her to work at Findhorn in Scotland. While she is away, the responsibilities of First Day School will be rotated and shared by the parents of young Friends, an agreement gratefully acknowledged and appreciated. Older Friends will be joining Young Friends for trick or treating on Canyon Road. A special request for First Day School coverage to continue through next summer was noted and referred to the First Day School Committee for consideration.

Resident’s Committee: Although no formal report was submitted, various Friends shared their understanding of the current state of affairs associated with the impending arrival of the new resident, Kathleen Burke. This includes welcoming, settling in, and preparing the Ramada for a new residency. There will be a welcoming potluck for the new resident.

Ministry and Oversight: The return of the Meeting House schedule from M&O to the Resident is anticipated. This involves scheduling the Meeting House for regular and special gatherings, such as on September 29th for AFSC regional, as well as all day event on December 16th. Discussions will soon commence about a request from an a cappella group to perform for 30 to 45 minutes, possibly during the Christmas holiday season. M&O convener Ford Robbins will discuss the return of calendar responsibilities with members of the Resident’s Committee.

Reports from worship groups under the care of SFMM found Las Vegas, Los Alamos and Southside worship groups are doing well, with special attention reserved for Clearlight (Taos) where the death of three participants in recent years have been felt dramatically. Peli Lee and Rebecca Henderson, liaisons to Taos, are working closely with the group that meets on the fifth Sunday. Visitors to the Taos worship group are encouraged and will be most welcome.

The new query is as follows: “What inspires us to develop our spiritual and religious life?”

Chris Johnson has requested membership. A Clearness Committee will be formed.
“Quakerism 101” is scheduled to meet on six consecutive Wednesday evenings beginning on January 8, 2009. Eight people have expressed some interest so far. Roxanne Seagraves will order the texts: “Friends for 350 Years” and John Woolman’s Journal. These meetings may be held at South Santa Fe Worship Group’s Quaker House site.

The heavy responsibilities falling on the shoulders of M&O members [suggest] the need for a Care Committee [to address this matter], considering the fact that SFMM has many older members potentially requesting assistance. Generally the requests for help fall into three categories: short-term help, ongoing help, and repeated requests involving practical needs and situations. The experiences of other Meetings were considered, based on Joan Spencer’s research into Yearly Meetings and their recommendations and practices. In IMYM and Pacific Yearly Meeting, some Ministry and Oversight Committees of Meetings have separated these responsibilities. An invitation was extended for interested individuals to share their views by way of email with M&O, to air the possibilities and implications, as the matter of a Care Committee needs to be seasoned and M&O members themselves [to be in] unity.

The future of New Mexico Regional Meeting was discussed, without definite conclusions, although there are signs that it has been “sputtering.” Rebecca Henderson will write something about NM Regional for the Meeting newsletter.

Two individuals (no names revealed) facing serious challenges were held in the Light by Friends attending Business Meeting.

Building Committee: Routine maintenance matters have been and will be addressed, such as attention to the circuit breaker in the Ramada, the Ramada pilot light, and furnishing the Ramada appropriately for the new resident. Slow drains in the Meeting House kitchen and bathroom have been attended to.

Future Planning Committee: The legal paperwork is still in process. Carolyn Stephenson has joined the committee.

The Meeting for Worship for Business ended at 2:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Marguerite Kearns


A Reminder from the Finance Committee

Friends,
This is the time of year when we look carefully at the 2008 General Fund budget which Meeting agreed to support ($26,916.00), versus the amount of donations which have been received so far ($16,030.00). We still need $10,886.00 in donations for the remainder of the year if we are to meet the budget.
Customarily, people donate generously at the end of the year. We would encourage you to do so to the best of your ability, despite the current dismal financial picture for the country and the world. Each contribution is greatly appreciated for the love and thought with which it is given. The widow’s mite is as precious as the prince’s gem.
The committee will not mail a reminder letter this fall; please consider yourselves reminded. We will send an up-date on the Meeting News Digest in mid-November and perhaps mid-December to let you know how things are going. We also agreed at a recent committee meeting to ask the Treasurer to let each household know by e-mail how much it has contributed financially to Meeting so far during 2008. Thanks again for all you do to support the Meeting in so many ways, most of which are not at all quantifiable.
The draft budget for 2009 will be presented for a first reading at the November Meeting for Worship for Business on Nov. 16. Please plan to attend and express your concerns.
Peggy Giltrow, Convener, Finance Committee



More on Donations from the Treasurer

As I explained last month, I use a software program called Custom Church Software Accounting (CCS) which is designed specifically for churches. CCS provides typical bookkeeping functions –– but it also tracks donations and special funds, which familiar programs like Quicken and QuickBooks can't easily do (and it only cost $50).

Tracking donations and special funds is essential, because donor-restricted contributions MUST be used for the purpose for which they were given.

Each Sunday a member of the Finance Committee (not the Treasurer) collects the donations and completes a "Weekly Collection Record." One copy of the collection record goes to the Treasurer and one copy to the Committee Convener to hold until the annual audit. The committee member then deposits the checks and cash in our account at Guadalupe Credit Union.

Using the collection record, I record the amounts going to each fund or earmarked purpose. I also record each donor's contribution so I can provide an acknowledgment to the donor at the end of the year.

Normally the Treasurer doesn't see any of the donated checks or cash. Separating responsibility for handling the donations from accounting for them improves accuracy and avoids concerns about possible misuse of funds.

The CCS program allows me to easily produce standard reports for any time period (including in the past year). The reports can focus on any aspect of our finances: just the General Fund or just the Maintenance Fund, or any types of restricted donations, such as those for the Mother's Day Peace Rally or the honorarium for Beverly Weiler.

And of course the CCS program produces the data which I use in the annual acknowledgments to donors. In fact, if you ever want information on donations you've made, just let me know –– it's only a few mouse clicks away!
Bob Gaines, Treasurer
* * *


PERSONAL NOTICES & MESSAGES

From Kip Corneli:
Helen and I want Friends to know that I have developed a metastasized
melanoma. I'm currently part of an ongoing trial on a promising new drug
that acts in sync with the human immune system. The odds aren't great,
but we remain optimistic that it will help fight this particular cancer.
So we ask you to hold us and our family (and the trial) in the light.
Thanks and good cheer, Kip

From Eliza Packard:
Position sought –– as live-in 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. Must be a household with a dishwasher as I am mostly one-armed and 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

Soldiers of Conscience

In World War II, only 25% of U.S. soldiers who were in combat—under fire, with their own lives at risk, not those stationed far from the front—actually fired their weapons at the enemy.

“Wow,” says filmmaker Catherine Ryan. “If 75% of soldiers in combat, under fire, choose not to kill—that proved to us that human beings are not killers at our core.”
That statistic and a conversation with attorney Stan Friedman, who defended conscientious objectors during the Vietnam War, sparked the idea for “Soldiers of Conscience.”

“We naively thought that only conscientious objectors would be able to talk about why killing was wrong,” Ryan says. “But in fact, every single soldier we talked to could describe why killing is wrong—especially those who are willing to do so.”
Getting the Army’s permission took time and persistence, but Luna Productions finally got approval, although they had to submit the completed film for review. The response from the Army: “Approved. This film is thought-provoking.”

The topic of killing in war is a delicate one, usually considered taboo. But soldiers had thought long and hard about it. “They erupted with a volcano of emotions on the subject of killing,” Ryan says. Whether they felt a moral duty to serve or to object, Ryan found that what they have in common is far greater than where they disagree. “We made this film to honor them both.”

Excerpted from the American Friends’ Service Committee
Find at: http://www.afsc.org/Youth&Militarism/


Erratum & Editor’s Note

In our October issue, the story headed “Soldier Imprisoned” contained an incorrect statement in the first paragraph. The editor had erroneously assumed that the report on Robin Long had been given by Joe Volk. A better final sentence of that paragraph would have been “Joe would surely counsel us to do the same for a new conscientious objector in prison.” Thanks to Bob Gaines for setting us right.

Friends might like to consider ways they could make use of this newsletter in a section titled Personal Notices and Messages. We had two important contributions for such a section in this issue, from Kip and Eliza. Friends may feel that this format provides for a longer notice than would be suitable for Messages and Announcements. The phrase “blood out of a stone” sometimes comes to mind, but for our newsletter to be alive and interesting it really needs to be USED! Please don’t hold back with your contributions, large or small. Ed.

Carbon Emissions and a Transformation Moment

Given the great concern, within our Meeting, about urgent green issues, this report from an Australian newspaper offers a window on how politicians are working on it in another (relatively obscure) country.

Tackling climate change through a carbon emissions trading scheme should not be postponed because of the global financial crisis, Victorian [State] Premier John Brumby has warned.
"Some people argue that [an ETS] should be deferred because of the global financial circumstances," he told the Global Foundation's Australia Unlimited conference in Melbourne yesterday. "I don't believe that now is the time to defer such a scheme. In fact, what business and the community want is decisiveness and clarity."
Delivering the keynote address to a crowd of business and community leaders, Mr Brumby said the world was living through a "transformation moment" in its history.
“In the medium to long term we are facing environmental and social 'big bangs', if I can use that term, with climate change and our ageing and growing population [in Australia]," he said. “In the short to medium term we are facing big bangs with the global financial crisis and, of course, the US presidential elections."
Mr Brumby said the scope of the challenges we are facing could not be addressed by one level of government alone and that all three tiers needed to co-operate closely. He praised recent decisions of the Council of Australian Governments, saying the Murray-Darling [interstate water resource sharing] deal, and the progress on emissions trading showed the heads of government forum was working as well as it ever had.
"These are challenging times and they are exciting times," he said.
"We all know the global financial crisis is causing international uncertainty; and, yes, climate change, growth and our ageing population and the rise of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) economies is changing the way we live and work.
"But we have always been a very progressive and a very forward-looking nation ... Now is not the time for the faint-hearted, and Australia is not a place of the faint-hearted."

From The Australian, October 29, 2008
Messages and Announcements
­­­­­­
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.
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. 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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