Sunday, June 22, 2014

Notes from Business Meeting

:: this little light of mine ::

Joanne and family showed up as a worship group, This Little Light of Mine, with a prepared statement regarding Nominating's proposal to replace the Peace and Social Concerns Committee with a single individual, the PSC Coordinator.

Business Meeting was not in unity regarding this proposal.

Although the Peace and Social Concerns committee has in fact fizzled, its clerk, Debbie Averill is still up for making announcements and talked about our annual $75 contribution to the Hiroshima / Nagasaki Commemorative Ceremony (August 6th), which my mother helped start back in the 1960s.

Joanne proposed we have a threshing session, with PSC alums, e.g former clerks invited, to seek a way forward.

In her prepared statement, she mused on the theme of how far we might depart from Faith and Practice and still get away with the "Quaker" labeling on the box.  Truth in advertising is an issue, relating to our Integrity testimony.

Any mention of PSC on the Nominating slate might as well be stricken, said Debbie, as it's not realistic to show one, now that a threshing session is planned, and given the two on the slate (currently listed through 2016), besides herself, have not been coming to PSC meetings for some time, plus more recently we've stopped having any PSC meetings at all.

I moved that the AFSC Liaison position also be temporarily removed from the slate, given the job description mentions reporting to the defacto defunct Peace and Social Concerns.  My name was listed as "pending" anyway, and is slated to run through 2015.

The Clerk, turning Assistant Clerk after this meeting, denied my motion, saying she hadn't had time to fully study the AFSC Liaison job description.

Maybe AFSC and FCNL Liaisons and Peace and Social Concerns committee might be unlinked?

Perhaps that was the Clerk's thinking in wanting to keep my position alive while allowing the PSC committee to remain in abeyance.

Will the threshing session choose to go ahead with a Peace Coordinator, or "Peace Czar" as some call the position?

Other meetings, usually much smaller, have gutted themselves in this way and still go by the label "Quaker".

Even Multnomah itself, then smaller, flirted with having no PSC, back in the 1980s.  At least someone had been doing some homework.

I think the assumption most meetings and churches make is they're free to design a Liaison position however they like and AFSC is not really at liberty to have input. 

That may be accurate, although in our case the local AFSC office staff wanted their opinions known (they've been happy with me, as has been Debbie -- complaints to Nominating were from other corners and may have related to my eldering others in the meeting, in my capacity as former Overseer).

Even if a Friends Meeting is making the transition to Friends Church, as Multnomah has been doing, that needn't mean any interruption in liaising. 

Indeed, it's during times of radical surgery that these liaison relationships might be most needed and appreciated, as they bring a kind of legitimacy and continuity to the process.  The Quaker brand, valuable in and of itself, remains intact.