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January 2009 Newsletter

 

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

First Month 2009

“The Religious Society of friends might be thought of as a prism through which the divine light passes to become visible in a spectrum of many colors; many more in their richness than words alone can express.”
Faith and Practice


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 1/4/09 10:00 a.m. Singing, First Day School room
12:30 p.m. Potluck
Sunday 1/11/09 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 1/18/09 10:00 a.m. Singing, First Day School room
12.30 p.m. Meeting for Worship for Business
Sunday 1/25/09 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, 21st, 12th Month, 2008

Present: Bob Gaines, Michael Simon, David and Peggy Giltrow, Mary Ray Cate, Rebecca Cecil, Wyn Lewis, Frank Hirsch, John Kretzmann, Guthrie Miller, Stephanie Kirchhoffer, Rebecca Henderson, Philip Balcombe.

Clerk: John Kretzmann filling in for Jennifer Wellington

November Meeting minutes: approved

Regional meeting: Santa Fe will host regional meeting in Spring if approved. Planning will be done by Rebecca Henderson, Martha Davis and M. Johnson.

Treasurer’s report by Bob Gaines: Most bills have been paid with the exception of the land-gift legal fees. We budgeted more than we spent, and we expect to break even for 2008. The proposed 2009 budget is $5000 more than the 2008 budget, in order to return to parity between operating expenses and Good Works (the money that we donate to others). The amount for donations to others had remained stable in recent years. Two options discussed: continue budgeting for Good Works as in 2008, or increase the 2009 budget for Good Works. Discussion followed of possible guidelines for future Good Works committee meetings:
consideration of giving 50% more to local community needs
picking a theme for next year’s giving.
Discussion followed about several of the Good Works recipients, whom they served and what they provide. Peggy has printed information on each group. Frank broke Good Works recipients into three categories. His suggestion for learning more about the recipients is to visit the agencies and see what would make our involvement more meaningful. Wyn suggested that among our members there is such involvement already; it just needs to be shared. The increase in the Good Works budget would put the total 2009 budget at $31,375. The Treasurer’s report was approved. The proposed 2009 operating budget with Good Works parity was approved.

Building and maintenance: Hole under bathtub in guest apartment will be repaired. Congratulations to building committee on improvements to Ramada. (Today Kathleen had an open house in the Ramada.)

Ministry and Oversight committee report: by Philip. Report accepted.

Membership for Christopher Johnson: Approved enthusiastically. Philip will inform Chris and Ford will give him his copy of Faith and Practice.

Martin Luther King observance: John received an email from Nicole in contact with Jennifer about having a Friends representative at the Capitol rotunda on January 19th at noon. Mary Ray will call the event organizer and Phillip will take the idea to M&O to find our representative. Guthrie and Phillip agreed to either find the appropriate person or go themselves.

IMYM query report by Bob: The report will be given to the IMYM Continuing Committee in Tempe the second week in January. Joint Service Project query will be handled at the January potluck.

Last week’s called Meeting for Business: Report presented. At the request of the Future Committee, Ford Robbins, Clerk of Ministry and Oversight and acting for the absent Clerk, Jennifer Wellington White, opened a called business meeting at the rise of meeting for worship on December 14.  Beverly Busching, convener of the Future Committee, asked Bob Gaines to present two recommendations:
that the business meeting authorize the Future Committee to have Tony Sawtell, the Meeting's lawyer for the donation of land to the Meeting, create a "title-holding trust" to receive the title to the land on behalf of the Meeting,
to appoint the Meeting's officers –– Jennifer Wellington White, Marguerite Kearns, and Bob Gaines –– as the initial trustees, to serve as individuals and not in their capacity as officers of the Meeting. After explanation of the need for the trust –– that the Meeting does not have sufficient legal identify to hold title to land –– and discussion, the business meeting approved both requests. Tony Sawtell also suggested it would be better to have a clear legal identity. This should be discussed at a future meeting.

Recent land-gift developments: Guthrie talked about the discovery of a 1950s restriction on the deed excluding any kind of building except homes. This restriction can be waived by the neighbors on adjoining lots. The meeting decided to go ahead and sign the legal documents in the hope that these things can be worked out. Guthrie runs some risk of not getting a tax deduction for the gift and has yet to decide what to do.

Resident’s report read by Guthrie. Report accepted. David Giltrow is pursuing ways to increase guest-apartment rentals.

Minutes taken by Stephanie Kirchhoffer and Guthrie Miller

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.


Treasurer's Report
For January 1 to December 15, 2008

Prepared December 16, 2008

 

 

Dec 15, 2008

Dec 31, 2007

General Fund donations to date:

19,293

21,710

Percentage of budgeted donations received

72%

97%

General Fund expenses to date

24,245

19,891

Percentage of budgeted expenses paid

90%

88%

 

 

 

Maintenance Fund donations to date

11,889

10,579

Percentage of projected donations received

119%

127%

Maintenance Fund expenses to date

5,622

17,075

Percentage of projected expenses paid

80%

87%

 

 

 

Total cash in bank

23,483

20,452

Checking

3,073

2,977

Money market

2,960

11,285

CDs (3, 6 and 12 month)

17,349

6,090

Share

100

100

 

 

 

General Fund

7,999

14,112

Maintenance Fund

9,610

3,736

Olmstead Fund

162

225

Sufferings Fund

1,300

1,200

Turkle Fund

778

778

Adult Education Fund

502

431

Young Fund

120

0

New Meetinghouse Fund

3,012

0

 


Notes

The Meeting budgeted $26,916 for 2008, and the treasurer projects that the total expenses in 2008 probably will be about $25,350. The cost of legal expenses to complete the gift of land is the largest remaining uncertain expense. It is unlikely that the total will be higher.




Building Committee Proposed Budget for
Maintenance and Repairs of Santa Fe Friends Meeting for 2009


Meetinghouse
Patch most conspicuous holes and stabilize major cracks
in interior walls with mud; paint these as well as old
Structolite patches $1000-1500
Patch and replaster the mud finish in the garage and
entrance covered walk as needed $ 800
Explore alternatives to noisy heater in Meeting room $ 500-2000
Check and patch roof as needed $ 500
Continue project to reframe Olive Rush works with
archival materials $ 500.00
$3400-5300
Guest Apartment
Create more effective insert for hole in bathroom floor $ 100

Ramada/Casita
Misc. repairs and up-grades of electrical and heating $ 800

Grounds
Improve drainage on brick walkway on west side $ 800-$1000
Reconstruct/Restore original wooden doors at south end of garage $1000-1500 ?
$1800-2300 ?
____________
Total Proposal $6100-$8700

Long Range or Restoration Projects
Write grant to begin treatment of frescoes $1000-?

(All costs are rough estimates)

Prepared by Bettina Raphael and Dave Giltrow


Primer on the Meeting's Involvement with the IRS
and the State of New Mexico

Like it or not, the Santa Fe Monthly Meeting is involved with the IRS and the State of New Mexico.

Although the Meeting has chosen not to apply to the IRS for tax exempt status (commonly referred to as "501(c)(3) status"), the Meeting still has an automatic tax exemption as a church.

The IRS has a handy 28 page pamphlet "Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations" (IRS Publication 1828), which states: "Churches that meet the requirements of IRC section 501(c)(3) are automatically considered tax exempt and are not required to apply for and obtain recognition of tax-exempt status from the IRS."

The requirements to be considered a church by the IRS are pretty straightforward: The organization must "be organized and operated exclusively for religious or other charitable purposes," "no substantial part of its activity may be attempting to influence legislation," and it "may not intervene in political campaigns." (The "no substantial activity" test is not specifically defined. The financial director for FCNL says "courts have generally ruled that less than 15%... is not substantial," but he has "not heard of any churches ever being examined by the IRS about their lobbying activities.")

So, we can be a church and acknowledge deductible contributions without being formally recognized by the IRS. And normally the Meeting is not required to file a tax return. However, we must submit a tax return if we have "unrelated business income" greater than $1,000. Fortunately, the Meeting doesn't have any income of that kind (for example, income from advertising, gaming, or sale of merchandise), and our income from the guest apartment is not considered "unrelated business income."

We must also file Form 1099-MISC because the Meeting pays "an unincorporated individual or an entity $600 or more in any calendar year" to clean the Meetinghouse once a month. The Meeting has had an IRS Employer Identification Number since the early 90s, and each year our bank submits a Form 1099-INT to the IRS showing the interest they've paid.

The "Tax Guide for Churches" can be downloaded from www.irs.gov. It answers most general questions about a church's tax-exempt status, charitable deductions, and lobbying or political activity. It also lists IRS publications which answer more detailed questions on charitable deductions and other topics of interest to churches. And there is a handy table that shows the forms that churches may be required to submit.

The Meeting has also chosen not to seek formal recognition by the State of New Mexico by filing Articles of Association or becoming a NM nonprofit corporation. (We would need to become a nonprofit corporation in order to have 501(c)(3) status with the IRS). Currently, we are simply an "unincorporated association," which, as the lawyer preparing the documents for the donation of land advised, is "not sufficiently defined to hold title to real property." That's why the Meeting agreed to create a "land-holding trust" to receive the donated land.

Still, the Meeting has a relationship of sorts with the State. Many years ago the Meeting applied to the State for exemption from the Gross Receipts Tax on purchases and the State established a NM Tax ID Number for the Meeting. At least one past treasurer has had to correspond with the State about presumed tax liabilities.

And of course the Meeting has requested exemption from property taxes from the County Tax Assessor for the Canyon Road Meetinghouse and will need to do so for the donated land. So, even if you hadn't noticed, we have lots of involvement with government entities.

Friends, Money and the Earth

What would our economic behavior look like if we adopted a more “Earth-friendly” view of money and learned how to better use our money to create a better world?

Earning

SHOULD WE REDUCE OUR INCOME?
In his book, Deep Economy, environmental writer and activist Bill McKibben cites recent studies that found only a low correlation between happiness and income above what most of us would consider a modest wage. Following the examples of 18th century Quaker John Woolman and many others in our own time, we can gain inward peace and outward integrity, by shifting to livelihoods that require fewer hours of paid work while generating sufficient income for basic needs. We can join the programs that help us take back control of our lives through financial discipline, freeing up time to devote our life energy to good work. We can learn from books, join simple living support groups, or take lessons from elders who learned to live with less during the Great Depression.

Spending

CAN WE MAKE GREENER PURCHASES?
If we pay slightly more to buy from local businesses and farmers, or if we participate in local barter or alternate currency systems, we keep money circulating in the local economy, supporting local jobs and community services. If we buy marginally more expensive products made from recycled materials, we reduce net waste and extraction of nonrenewable resources. If we buy goods that are durable, repairable and reusable, or if we shop at thrift stores, we reduce our total throughput of energy and materials. If we buy from businesses that we know have good social and environmental track records, we influence how people and the earth are treated in the production of goods and services.

Investing

SHOULD WE SHIFT OUR INVESTMENTS?
Using “socially responsible” funds to steer capital toward renewable energy, for instance, can make us part of a powerful “voting bloc” for the kind of world we want to leave for our children. (By 2007, assets in socially screened portfolios had grown to more than $2.7 trillion!) Guidance on such choices can be found in many books and websites. See <www.greenmoneyjournal.com/>.

This page contains excerpts from: “Friends, Money and the Earth: Why is there always money for war but not for education?” –– a pamphlet published by Quaker Earthcare Witness, www.quakerearthcare.org. For further information on this topic or on where to find a copy of the pamphlet contact Mary Ray Cate, Earthcare Committee, 505-989-1630 or sunlitart@hotmail.com

 

Book Review

Zen and The Birds of Appetite
Thomas Merton, New Directions Books, 1968, 141pp.

This slender yet heady book, by Catholic thinker Thomas Merton, examines parallels and distances between Christianity and Zen. Merton acknowledges that this is not a comparison, because it would be like comparing math and tennis. It’s also evident from the philosophical and theological language bandied about, including words Quakers never use—such as apophatic, that Christianity is math in relation to Zen’s tennis.

The opening of the book draws on Christian mysticism, notably Meister Eckhart, to illuminate the evolution of Christian consciousness. Though this may seem a bit ponderous, if not self-reflexive, it’s a valid path since Zen is largely about emptiness and consciousness. Perhaps most notable for Friends is the notion that we let go of our idea of God as an object or Being outside or inside ourselves and instead experience God as Freedom and Love.

Many other interesting hoops are played with and occasionally jumped through. One discussion aims to get at the ground of Zen, which ends up being direct experience itself. The essence of this particular hoop is that because Zen is consciousness or metaphysical intuition, it is perfectly compatible with Christian belief and mysticism: it prepares the way for revelation.

If you can remove yourself from Merton’s academic style and the fragmentary nature of this collection of essays, there are many goads to thought here. The book finishes off with a dialogue of essays between Zen teacher D.T. Suzuki and Merton.

Jonathan Ashworth


PERSONAL NOTICES & MESSAGES

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

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.)
Kathleen Burke, 983-7241, kathyburke302@yahoo.com
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 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 David Vaux (dvaux@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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