Meeting for Business Reports

If you would like a copy of our most recent newsletter, please contact Dianne Marshall at dmarshall(at)pacific.net.   Thanks!

6/14/2020 (Scroll down for previous months in 2020.  Reports from 2019 and earlier can be acccessed with a request submitted on the contact form.)

APPENDICES:

  • MINISTRY & OVERSIGHT
  • Children’s Program Committee Report
  • Death and Dying section of Faith and Practice
  • GVFM PROPOSED SLATE COMMITTEES AND REPS 2020-2021

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 M&O Report to Meeting for Business – June 2020

  1. There will be a meeting next week after Meeting for Worship for current committee clerks and incoming conveners to help the transition be as smooth as possible. 
  2. Racial Justice – during this time of committee transition, we are looking for a Friend willing to host a weekly Racial Justice open meeting for hearing Friends’ concerns and creative collaborative responses. There are many ways to participate and support racial justice, and one can still help rallies/protests happen without being there, for those in high risk groups. There is an interfaith group that is in the process of planning a march or demonstration.
  3. Calling Friends – Anita McCormick has started the effort to be in touch with potentially isolated Friends (due to Covid-19), to check in, and check on current needs. Other Friends are encouraged to assist in this effort as moved. Contact Anita.
  4. Don McCormick will be keeping Friends abreast of events related to PYM Annual Session. There are opportunities to be involved, and in a strange way, these will be more accessible as no travel is necessary. Stay tuned…

Children’s Program Committee Report

June Meeting for Business, 2020

The Children’s Program Committee has offered First Day School each Sunday since our last report. There is a bit more comfort with zoom and using a breakout room for children’s program each week is now going quite smoothly. Thank you to Chamba and Amy for that.

During this past month, Dorothy contacted each of the parents by phone and heard similar stories of lots of zoom for the children during the week and lots of parental challenges combining work at home as well as monitoring children’s schoolwork. Families are in general doing well, but when the weekend comes they are ready for a break from the internet. This has meant that we have very small attendance. We are grateful for Hailey and for Grace Elliot-Sowaal (of San Francisco Meeting) who are our regular attenders. We, and they,  are always happy when they are joined by others which happens a few times a month.

Our curriculum continues to evolve as we progress with zoom and with the events of our world and nation. At this point we have a Bible story and accompanying song on first First Day, a story and a craft or activity on second First Day, usually a story plus a time of silent worship that has gradually increased over the months for third First Day and a creative and not necessarily predictable curriculum on fourth First Day. We provide the stories for Family worship on fifth First Day. We continue to invite all of our families and to email them mid-week to let them know what supplies and snacks are needed.Our teachers, Doug, Karen, Gordon and Chamba are truly a creative and faithful group and we have had others, Judy, Anita and Dorothy helping out to good effect.

The contact with our families was meaningful to let them know that we miss them and to really hear about their lives during this time. We will continue to keep in touch with them to help keep our community whole.

Respectfully submitted,

Dorothy Henderson, cler

 

Notes on Spiritual Life Session on Revision to Faith and Practice on Dying and Grieving

We should mention the kind of support that Terry received. At age 80 he found he had a thoracic aneurism. He told his doctor that he would not undergo a repair. It expanded, and for two years he prepared his wife for his plan that eventually he would stop eating and drinking. During this time he hosted Friday meeting for worship. followed by potluck. Many people attended. That continued. Sometimes he would participate but other times he couldn’t because he was in bed. In the end, people came and sang to him. They stood around his bed. It was a peaceful passing. Support from the meeting was helpful for others coming to the end. We do this especially for members who are well known. Dean and Karen provided solid support for Dave Barnett. 

There were many rich experiences. Especially with Gloria. She was afraid of dying. A lot of stuff was done. It was a big group that helped. At one time, a deer came up and looked in the room where she was. I was a Lutheran for a lot of my life, but nothing struck me as much as Quaker memorials. They are times of joy, celebration, honoring, and presence, These are all things that have to do with the human touch, not having to do with having a priest or pastor, or reading from the literature. 

Don talked. Will send things.

There should also be a discussion of slow decline from dementia as that is also part of the dying process. When Harry was descended into dementia, it took a long time. It was difficult to visit him. Sometimes he wouldn’t know who you are. It’s a kind of awkwardness and we need advice to help us cope with it. We left Jeannie alone with his care for too long a time. 

I have a friend who had a neighbor with dementia, and he would come over all upset and say, “The horses are out! The horses are out!” My friend go out and walk around for 15 minutes. He’d come back and say, “The horses are back in. It’s OK.” He dealt with the man in a creative way. He stepped into the place the person was experiencing. I know people who, instead of relating to where the person was coming from, would get frustrated and say things like, “You aren’t making sense mom!”

We know each other well in this meeting. And that’s probably one reason that we do more with people ahead of time. We regularly go to people’s houses ahead of time. This is helpful when we come closer to the time we say goodbye. 

A good example of this is the monthly singing and meeting for workshop that was held at (I forget their names)’s house before he died.

Susan and Tom Hopkins. Tom was in a senior living place and he is safe. Susan can have her freedom back. There are resources. We can call into the meeting.

When there is dementia, it’s hard on the spouse. There’s a lot of stress on their partner and relatives. 

When we get together and help relatives with the possessions of someone who passed, like Harry. Or help someone in decline to move their stuff, like Dave, the Spirit is strong. I even found it strong when I did things like use a carpet cleaner to clean up diarrhea that was on the carpet of the place that one person had to leave. 

It would be good if in the revision there are queries/questions for the Meeting, for the person who is dying, and for the relatives. Asking an open ended question and giving the person the space for the Spirit to respond is Quakerly.

You can’t create recommendations for every situation, but questions can open a space for answers to emerge.

How does a meeting proceeds when deal with these situations—someone dying, someone suffering from dementia, someone who dies suddenly. How do we handle that? A committee? A point person who has training and resources? 

This revision is the beginning of a longer process. They are asking for what comes up for us. 

I want this section to be inspiring.

Both my parents consciously took their lives. Being with my dad was one of the richest times of their lives. The revision says that assisted suicide is legal in some places, but voluntary ceasing eating and drinking is legal everywhere. It allows you take control of your own dying has the potential to make the process of dying far richer for all concerned. It gives people have the opportunity to say and hear things. So many of the things that can be done are so deeply spiritual and can offer appreciation for the person dying. This is a huge opportunity. This is a huge invitation to these possibilities.

It was profound to be with Terry who stopped eating and drinking. It changed my attitude towards death because it made me realize that this is also a choice for me when the time comes. And that made a real difference to me. 

There was a lack in terms of specifics in the revision. But I love some of the quotes in it.

I want to read what Don is writing. and reread the revision with a new perspective. 

In lines 81-85 the language is not clear. When it says ‘it is sometimes important…. known.’ Doug thought it meant one thing. Theoretically we want to be there by request, but what about when the request is not forthcoming but there is still a need. 

People often beat themselves up if they feel like they aren’t dying the right way. The revision talks about ideals like “profound insights” that come from the dying process, but they don’t say how to go about getting them. This may be true, but it would be better if the way to this was clearer. People can feel bad because they aren’t doing it right. 

The revision could be wordy if it gets into too much detail. Perhaps it should present categories and there could be different sections that people could read where it describes what different people have done. 

The first time I heard about someone saying they stopped eating and drinking, I thought, “This is not suicide.” In one case it allowed Mary to pass while her daughter held her in her arms. It was beautiful.

This needs to be better organized—organized into sections. Faith and Practice is generally organized this way. Maybe organize it by the beginning of the process through to the end. 

I’ve also been with people who didn’t want to die, were angry, bitter. We can’t leave out that kind of experience. We want to support people and their families who face that. 

The revision says, “Some learn that they can feel angry at God, even deserted, and often through struggling with God have their faith strengthened.” Could the revision use more inclusive language? Or are we just using the word “God,” now. What about “with God or the Spirit” or talk about it in the inclusive way they do in twelve step groups. Quakers have been good about how we name the nameless.

It’s more correct to say “angry with” than “angry at.” I’d like to see that fixed.

What’s unique in my experience of this meeting is that with people who have passed, each person made their own choices, and their choices were respected. We worked to meet them where they’re at. Jesus met the people where they’re at. 

It is important to respect friend’s wishes.

In a society that denies death, it can be s struggle for friends to know what the possibilities are. And get the support they need.

Societally we are coming into a whole different awareness of death, and how to carry it. This is a challenging assignment. Especially since society is in such a state of flux.

My father was caretaker of Britton house of Quaker meeting in San Jose. When he decided to stop eating and drinking. He had esophageal cancer. The meeting said that if anyone wanted to visit him they should call first. When you stop eating and drinking, you get so clear. You get clear and still. Sometimes people would call and he’d stop and say, “That’s OK.” Or other times he’d say, “Maybe not today.” Gordon could see the richness of his father’s relationships. “I got to know him more through his friends. It was like an ongoing memorial service. He was very present and clear until the final couple of day. His meeting supported and protected him, so he had a clear space to go in his own day.” It’s a great example of meeting friends where they are. So often people aren’t consulted. My mom got a call from a friend of my Dad and just said, “Oh yeah, he’s right here,” without trying to find out if Dad wanted to take the call. Dad looked like he really didn’t want to talk to this person, but he took the call anyway.

When one person’s husband died, they kept the body for a bit. Tony and children went to the crematorium and watched the box go in. 

The wife of a good friend of mine was dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease. She didn’t want any visitors. She was ashamed of her condition. Meeting people where they are is important to know. It should be included in the language. 

This is such a large topic. There should be an addendum. Something more like a Pendle hill pamphlet. Give room for this to be explored in more depth.

It could be done since the new version will be online. I find the things that are most inspiring are stories. They couldn’t go in the main text but could go in an addendum.

What’s key here is the human element. The connection with what’s real is what brings the sacredness to it.

It’s possible there are more resources. 

“83 It is sometimes important to step in with supportive help, without offending the family, when those most closely involved are unable to make their needs known.” This is an important part and should be considered more. People have different levels of comfort with reaching out for help. Often the person who most needs it is most uncomfortable with it. I’d like to see this dealt with more fully.

 

Next steps: we could do this again. It would be good to bring to business meeting but that would be tough.

If we don’t have enough time to do this, we can say to the revision committee, ‘we are deeply engaged with this’ and it will take a while. 

Let’s look at it and send don our feedback. It’s within the workings of spiritual life.        

Don’s Comments

I think that what our fellow Quakers need in Faith and Practice is to realize that a Quaker approach to preparing for death can be a deep spiritual experience.  

In the section on preparing for death, there little in the revision that even hints that such an experience can happen. Friends need to know that this is possible. Instead, the pages on preparing for death are overwhelmingly about non-spiritual aspects of the dying process—financial, legal, funeral. These are important, but this information is widely available elsewhere. Faith and Practice not about  It is about Quaker spirituality. The finance, the law, and funeral arrangements stuff could be put on a web page and a link provided in Faith and Practice. Instead of 4/5 of the section being about financial, legal, and funereal topics and 1/5 being about the spiritual aspects of preparing for death, the ratio should be reversed. 4/5 should be about the spiritual and 1/5 about the rest.

—-

Here are some suggested additions to the revision.

A Quaker approach to preparing for death can be a deeply spiritual experience both for the person who is dying and the people tending to their needs. 

Many people become anxious when they know someone is grieving or dying, and they don’t know what to say. So they avoid them. Imagine you are that person, and friends in your beloved community avoid you. On top of the pain of grieving or dying you feel lonely and abandoned. Don’t let this happen. It is important to reach out to F/friends and others at times like this. 

Stephen Levine says, “If possible, no one should die alone. A hand that is held can be more pain relieving than a strong analgesic.” When someone is grieving or dying, it is often important to just be present. This could take many forms: just being physically present; sitting with someone in silent worship; being present in the moment; or being present for the person who is grieving or dying—your attention empathically focused on them. 

Helping the dying can be informal. You don’t need to be a trained hospice volunteer. Just being caring, loving, empathic friends who are present in the Spirit with the person who is dying and their family can do so much. You can do this on your own, but doing this with other Quakers can be uniquely fulfilling. This often just happens informally. You don’t need an approved care committee to do this, (although this can be helpful). 

Spiritual accompaniment of someone who is dying takes many forms. You might sing songs from the Quaker hymnbook at the f/Friend’s bedside—singing with them or to them. You may pray with them, or pray aloud. Say goodbye to them. Contact relatives, including estranged ones. Care for the family. All this can be healing

Spiritual accompaniment can also be practical. You may take person to treatment, shop for them, arrange for hospice or other medical care. Or care for the family of the person who is dying.

Many (maybe most) people don’t know or want to know that they are dying. Pay close attention to the person who is dying and their wishes. Respect them, even if they are in acting in ways that you don’t approve. They may be in denial, but that is their right. It is their death, not yours. 

There is no one right way to grieve. There are a thousand different ways, and many of these include thoughts and feelings that the grieving feel guilty about. It’s common for someone who is grieving to say something like, “Sometimes I’m glad and relieved that my father is dying. Am I a bad person?” Their grief is suffering enough and doesn’t need guilt piled on top of it. If someone says something like that to you, reassure them that all sorts of thoughts and feelings come up during grief and they don’t need to beat themselves up about them.

Preparing for death can be a spiritual crucible that is ideal for cultivating compassion and wisdom. Stephen Levine says, “Death is a perfect mirror for life. It clarifies priorities. It will point out the way to the heart. From there the best sort of changes arise naturally: compassion and loving kindness, generosity and courage.” 

This is not to be added to the revision, but maybe a version of it could be in an addendum. It comes from talking with a Quaker friend, Stan Searl, who has a very real leading when it comes to working with the dying. I find his Quaker approach inspiring. This has the spirit of the kind of thing I would like to see in Faith and Practice.

This is his story of a woman I’ll call her Sofia. She was a long-time member of meeting and who always went to business meeting, worship and quarterly meeting. She was a very faithful friend that way. Chit chatting with people after meeting, I learned that she had cancer. Now she was very self contained, and not an easy person to chit chat with. So I made an effort and I went visited her. I discovered that she was so alone and she couldn’t get herself back and forth to the hospital to get treatments. Compassion and love in action meant that I took her to the treatments at the hospital. 

We sat in a large room with a bunch of other people who were dying. You’d sit there for three or four hours. And after all of her chemo treatments, I went with her to her oncologist, who had an office next to the chemo room. He told her that even after all the chemo, her other tumors had decreased less than 10%. It was in her stomach and in her lungs and everywhere. I cried and we cried coming back to her condo. We were just beside ourselves. It was devastating because she had gone through all this effort, and treatments and it was difficult—going to a place where there’s all the people like you are at different stages of their dying from cancer and with the chemo treatments. Anyway, I talked to people in the meeting, and by the end we had about 15 people helping her. This was all informal, although it was essentially a care committee. We realized that she really isn’t well, and she needed help. So, we did the shopping. We were there to help her, day to day, with dressing, bathing, food and stuff. We got hospice in. Now hospice made sure the medication was okay, so she wasn’t in pain, but they weren’t doing 24 hour care. Cause they don’t. But we were doing that.

So I started bringing a keyboard over when I visited, which was almost every other day. I brought my Quaker hymnbook and would play these hymns and we would sing along. And as she got worse she fell in and out of consciousness. I talked to her brother who was going to help with the estate because there was nobody else. And I talked to her mother, and I urged both of them to come and visit. She and her mother were estranged. Her mother lived in Sedona and was wonderful. She was also the complete representative of Sedona in terms of energy and fields and stuff like that.

Because she was dying, her brother and mother really needed to come. Her mother came and spent a few days. Often Sofia would sit in a chair in the living room and the light would pour in and it was so beautiful especially in the late afternoon. Her mother talked to her and one day, they held hands. She sat back in the chair, and her mother said a presence appeared right there in the room, and a Holy light surrounding her that came out of the top of her head in the midst of a bowl of light. And I thought, “Oh my gosh, this is so wonderful” because they had been estranged for years. Sofia and her mother had a kind of epiphany, and it was wonderful. 

And it was very healing and it felt very deep. And you know, it was a way that the Spirit found a way into their lives, to connect them and to heal them. And I’m not saying that Sofia was healed, she was dying and she still died, but it was very healing. Toward the end, when I was there visiting, there were other people, fussing with food and things. She was in and out of consciousness and I was at the keyboard. I played through the whole Quaker hymnbook, and there are like 400 hymns.

Now they’re just a chorus in one hymn. It’s called great faithfulness. And it’s from lamentations in the Old Testament. Somebody like Job, is lamenting about how God took away all his health and possessions. Complaining and complaining. And then toward the end, the person says that it feels like he’s forsaken me, yet “great is thy faithfulness.” This is the one I sang toward the end, which was a way to connect with her. So that was part that was part of the ministry as well. And then looking back, I think doing this really was a calling and very practical, but Spirit-led. There are other people in meeting we’ve helped in the same way, but maybe not as dramatically because she was all alone. Her brother was in Utah and her mother in Sedona, you know that at first there was nobody, but then we were, and we became her family. 

I think Quakers do this intuitively–pastoral care.

I just want to give you another example. I don’t know whether you knew. Ann (not her real name) Three of us from meeting were there with her daughter when she actually died. We were sending love to her, we were praying with her. We were being with her, we were telling her how much we loved her. And it was funny because the three of us were just were visiting with each other and one of us said, “Oh, well, let’s go visit Ann. I mean, she’s really sick and, we’ll find her home.” Her daughter happened to be there. And so we found her. Her breathing was intermittent. She had the nurse there, but she was dying. We didn’t know that when we were there.

So, so it was kind of like ‘Here we are,’ just being ourselves, just being present. And my way of being present in this was to sing and pray and we were all singing and praying and being with her during her last couple hours, with her last breath. So, that’s simply visiting people, right? I mean, we’re not trained as hospice volunteers or anything like that. We’re being friends—caring, friends who love her. We can be present in the Spirit with her and help her. And help her daughter, her daughter was so upset. Dying is hard. It was wonderful and it was serendipitous. Yeah. I feel we could be much more intentional about it. Now we have a pastoral care committee and it is more intentional, but I think people who have that kind of sense of intuitive openness to accompanying people and to being with them can do so much. And for myself, I’m a musician and was a choir director and I know all these hymns. I go there, and that’s my source of connection and my source of prayer and my source of spiritual compliment.

I think it does help to, to be able to pray aloud and to be able to be with people and not, and not be afraid, you know? Yes, we’ll all die, but to accompany people in this last journey is very special, 

And there was Dee (not her real name) I was very close to her. She was about to be taken off a ventilator and her family invited to be there. We had a real spiritual friendship for a long time. When they took her off the ventilator, it only lasted about two minutes, but, we were there with her surrounding her in her bed. Now they say that the last sense to go is hearing. So I sang and we sang and we prayed and we said goodbye. And then we left the room. And somebody came in and removed her from the ventilator. Her son was there and, and then she died right there. And we came back in and said goodbye. I think it was very helpful to her son and his wife.

So there were Quaker friends surrounding the family—being there and supporting them in their terrible decision to bring her off the ventilator. We were with her and the family to offer emotional and spiritual sustenance there.

 

NOMINATING:  GVFM PROPOSED SLATE COMMITTEES AND REPS 2020-2021

COMMITTEES: (conveners in bold)

STEWARDSHIP:  Mary Starr, Gordon Starr, Reed Hamilton, Pat Phillips, Doug Hamm, Fosten Wilson (Treasurer, Ex-officio), Dianne Marshal (Librarian), Shera Banbury, Hailey Wilson

SPIRIT/WITNESS: Gordon Starr, Judy Hamilton, Gordon Bishop, Don McCormick, Anita McCormick, Amy Cooke 

WELCOME:   Hilary Elllis-Lavigne, Karen Olson, Kathy McCreary, Amy Cooke.

CHILDREN’S PROGRAM:   Karen Olson, Judy Hamilton, Dorothy Henderson, Gordon Bishop, Chamba Cooke, Anita McCormick, Doug Hamm

NOMINATING:  Pat Phillips, Doug Hamm, Karen Olson

OFFICERS                                                                        REPS:

Co-Clerks: Don and Anita McCormick AFSC:   Dean Olson

Communications Co-ord.:  Pat Phillips College Park Quarterly: Gordon Starr

Directory Coordinator:  Nancy Anderson FASE:   Anita McCormick

Librarian:  Dianne Marshall FCL:CA:   Amanda Wilcox

Mail Clerk:  Dean Olson FCNL: Vacant

Newsletter Editor:   Dianne Marshall FGC Liaison: Vacant

Newsletter Distribution:   Pat Phillips PYM Observer: Vacant

Newsletter Reader:  Vacant

Placer County Worship Group:   Stuart Smith PYM:   Don McCormick

Recorder: Nancy Anderson Quaker Center:  Hilary Ellis-Lavigne

Recording Clerk:   Amy Cooke QUNP:  Shera Banbury

Treasurer:   Fosten Wilson Right Sharing of World Res.: Dianne Marshall

Website Maintenance/Zoom:   Amy Cooke Woolman/Sierra Friends Center:  Dean Olson

Interfaith Nevada County:  Dianne Marshall

5/10/2020 APPENDICES:

  • Outreach Committee Report
  • Children’s Program Committee Report
  • GVFM PROPOSED SLATE COMMITTEES AND REPS 2020-2021

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Outreach Committee Report, Fifth Month, 2020

Current members of the Outreach Committee were invited to respond to assuring that obituaries are sent to the Friends Journal and Western Friend on behalf of the Grass Valley Friends Meeting and that information re: Spiritual Life offerings are submitted to The Union.

Based on input received from one Committee member, the obituaries question would seem to bear on two things, the first being who has responsibility for writing the obituary in the first place and, secondly, is notification of these publications now part of a new job description for the Outreach committee?

The Outreach Committee requests clarification about our Meeting’s history for writing and submitting obituaries.  Has it been past practice that the writing of the obituary fell to the Clerk and M&O who would either handle it or nominate/ find someone to do it? 

The Recorder responsibility was/is, as part of keeping track of members(ship), to notify PYM of any deaths in their yearly report on membership, and the Hospitality and Outreach committee was responsible for Memorial arrangements which had more to do with the memorial service itself. In that roll, it may seem logical that they would be responsible for notifying all parties including media. 

With the new committee structure, new job descriptions are needed that answer these questions.  Assuring clarity of the purpose of the Welcome Committee is also needed. 

The Outreach Committee recognizes and thanks the Spiritual Life Committee for their efforts to get information into The Union about offerings provided by the Grass Valley Friends Meeting.  This is a function that seems appropriate for Outreach/Welcome to assist with.  

The current Outreach Committee supports the Meeting in adding a smartphone to the Meeting’s budget that would generate a phone number for the Grass Valley Friends Meeting. We also support establishing a g-mail account for the Meeting to be able to receive email.  Stewardship of both the phone and the email account would lie with the Clerk/Co-Clerk of the Meeting, our recommendation.  Access to the g-mail account would be determined by the will of the Meeting

In conclusion, Dianne Marshall, convener of the Welcome Committee under which Outreach will fall beginning in July, 2020, will ask members to define the purpose of the Welcome Committee and what we recommend to the Meeting that outreach will endeavor to accomplish for presentation at  Meeting for Business as soon as possible.

Submitted by Dianne Marshall, 5-9-2020

 

 

Grass Valley Friends Meeting

Children’s Program Committee Report

May Meeting for Business, 2020

 

The Children’s Program Committee has offered First Day School each Sunday since our last report. This has entailed a challenging and ultimately rewarding adjustment to using zoom for the past two months. Our four primary teachers, Doug Hamm, Karen Olsen, Gordon Bishop and Chamba Cooke have stepped up to the challenge and created a First Day program each week that has been attended by at least one and on occasion, up to five children. 

 

This has been an ever changing process of working with parents and with zoom to create a robust First Day school program for our children. Below are the details of how it has evolved and is now working.

 

Each teacher prepares a plan for the program. About mid-week or by Saturday, the parents are emailed with an invitation for their child(ren) and a description of what they should have on hand for the activity of that day. The curriculum has been loosely based on themes: Black History month in February, Women’s History in March, and Earth Day in April. Activities have included a story each time, as well as possible crafts, songs and meeting for worship with the children. We have also ventured to have the children do something mid-week, such as a garden project that they then shared with the group on Sunday.

 

On First Day we were using two computers in order to have one zoom account for First Day class and one for Meeting for Worship. Last week our increasing zoom skill meant that we now have one zoom account online and we use a breakout room for First Day class. This means the children and families are together at the beginning of Meeting and then the children and teacher are in a separate zoom room for the hour. The host then returns them to the larger Meeting after the hour. So far this seems to work well. 

 

In addition to First Day activities, we have been in contact with some of our families that are not attending Meeting or First Day school just to check in and see how they are doing. That has proved valuable in keeping our sense of our larger community spirit. We miss those that have not been able to join us and do look forward to in-person First Day School again!

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Dorothy Henderson, clerk

 

 

NOMINATING:  GVFM PROPOSED SLATE COMMITTEES AND REPS 2020-2021

COMMITTEES:

STEWARDSHIP:  Mary Starr, Gordon Starr, Reed Hamilton, Pat Phillips, Doug Hamm, Fosten Wilson (Treasurer, Ex-officio), Dianne Marshal (Librarian), Shera Banbury, Hailey Wilson, Judy Hamilton 

SPIRIT/WITNESS: Gordon Starr, Judy Hamilton, Gordon Bishop, Don McCormick (ADD: Anita McCormick) 

WELCOME:  Dianne Marshall, Hilary Elllis-Lavigne, Karen Olson, Kathy McCreary (ADD: Amy Cooke) 

CHILDREN’S PROGRAM:   Karen Olson, Judy Hamilton, Dorothy Henderson, Gordon Bishop, Chamba Cooke, Anita McCormick, Doug Hamm

OFFICERS                                                                        REPS:

Clerk: Don and Anita McCormick AFSC:   Dean Olson

Communications Co-ord.:  Pat Phillips College Park Quarterly: (ADD: Gordon Starr)

Directory Coordinator:  Nancy Anderson FASE:   Anita McCormick

Librarian:  Dianne Marshall FCL:CA:   Amanda Wilcox

Mail Clerk:  Dean Olson FCNL: Vacant

Newsletter Editor:   Dianne Marshall FGC Liaison: Vacant

Newsletter Distribution:   Pat Phillips PYM Observer: Vacant

Newsletter Reader:  Vacant

Placer County Worship Group:   Stuart Smith PYM:   (ADD: Don McCormick)

Recorder: Nancy Anderson Quaker Center:  Hilary Ellis-Lavigne

Recording Clerk:   Amy Cooke QUNP:  Shera Banbury

Treasurer:   Fosten Wilson Right Sharing of World Res.: Shera Banbury

Website Maintenance:   Amy Cooke Sierra Friends Center:  Dean Olson

Interfaith Nevada County:  Dianne Marshall

NOTE:  The 03.2020 Meeting for Business was canceled.

04.2020 APPENDICES:

  • Treasurer’s Report
  • 2020 Report on the State of Grass Valley Friends Meeting
  • Quaker and Beyond Mutual Aid Network | Young Adult Friends/Elder Assistance Project

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Grass Valley Friends Meeting

Treasurer’s Report

4-12-2020

summary = Medium, a little short

The “stay-at home” order that is caused by the new coronavirus may be financially hurting your family. Please remember that our Meeting has a Sharing Fund to help with money problems. Contact a member of our M&O committee for more information.

“Meeting may still need to pay its bills . . .” Yes we do. We continue to pay monthly rent to Sierra Friends Center, help fund Pacific Yearly Meeting, etc. From January thru March we received $3,259 in contributions, about $900 less than last year. The contributions received have allowed us to stay current with our rent. We have paid over $3,000 of our annual dues to P.Y.M. ($1,000 more still to pay). Our donation to College Park Quarterly Meeting is paid. THANK YOU all for your contributions.

Still, we need to find the money to pay our budgeted donations to support the work of others, such as A.F.S.C. & F.C.L. of California. I am requesting additional contributions if you reasonably can. My shirt pocket is staying at home, so either by mail to my address below or online by using the “give” button at “gvfriends.org”.

The Finance Committee has approved spending some money on the Zoom program to insure we can have a seperate Zoom gathering for our children. Costs are expected to be modest & Business Meeting will be consulted when our costs are known.

All contributions to the Grass Valley Friends Meeting — whether money, service, or prayer – are deeply appreciated.

Fosten Wilson, Treasurer

2020 Report on the State of Grass Valley Friends Meeting

Grass Valley Friends Meeting does important work. We help each other to know the Spirit and we also help others. Doing this inspires us to live simply and with integrity, and to build a world of peace, justice, and care for the earth. 

We’re Smaller. While as a Meeting we experience considerable unity, we continue to lose members and attenders. Two families moved away in part because of fire insurance problems. We also mourn the loss of some of our elders this year; among them were a founding member of our Meeting. We will miss their presence, institutional memory, and wisdom. Many of us helped the family of one of them with their house and property after they died. Other elders moved to a retirement home. To keep in touch with them we meet monthly for an hour of music and Meeting for Worship at their retirement home. It starts with singing and this draws in other residents. The Spirit is strong here. 

Outreach. We can learn from other meetings and churches. One idea came from the local Methodist church—welcome bags that we offer to new attenders. They contain information about our Meeting and Quakerism (and some chocolate). We plan to use flyers to help families attending the Woolman Summer Camp to see that our Meeting is a place that they can come to year round. 

In an effort to be more welcoming, we offer the Quaker Minute during announcements. It’s a short explanation of a key Quaker concept. The library now has a newcomers’ section with free books, magazines, and pamphlets for visitors. (We are also considering developing a reading list for newcomers.) To encourage social connection between us we have offered potlucks at various members’ homes. One couple hosted our Christmas party at their new home. Forty-two people attended and the children acted out the Psalm XXIII. And we hope to develop other places for people to connect, like seekers’ meetings. 

Children. Because it was difficult to get adults to staff the children’s program, it was almost laid down. But after a large meeting of all those concerned, enough people volunteered so that we have two adults each week teaching the children. The committee is now our largest and is very dynamic. We have also hired a teen to help each Sunday with the program. All of this says to the children, ‘You are important to us.’ We are blessed to have parents who regularly bring their children to Meeting, especially since consistent attendance by young people can be rare in Quaker meetings. The children’s program is now offered online. We find it is important to listen to our kids to better understand their needs, what they want, and what would be fun for them. 

Getting Things Done. Our shrinking membership has led some of us to take on more responsibilities. It may be that if no one volunteers to be on a committee, we need to lay it aside for a time. We want outreach, peace, and social justice activities to happen, but we haven’t actually done much. Our Meeting has 46 slots for representatives and committee members but only 34 members, so we have decided to reduce the number of committees to five areas of concern: Children, Stewardship, Welcoming, Ministry & Oversight, and Spirit/Witness.

Environmental, Peace, and Social Action. With regret, we ended our years-long practice of helping to feed the people at our local homeless shelter every month. Many of us are upset about this and unhappy that we aren’t involved in more ongoing social action; it is such a central part of Quakerism. On the other hand, we participated in an annual interfaith march for peace and justice, and one of our members is active in organizing it. Also, we co-sponsored, publicized, and organized a workshop for the community led by Quaker activist George Lakey on organizing nonviolent direct action campaigns for climate justice. Sixty people attended. Because it helped other environmental, justice and peace activists learn to be more effective, it could have a big impact. A display and brochures about our Meeting helped get the word out about us. A fourth Sunday Spiritual Life (Adult Ed) session on white privilege, in concert with PYM, inspired ten of us to start a new book group that is reading White Fragility. It was successful and is continuing to meet online—reading another book recommended by PYM, My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies. In a meeting where we gathered input for this report, a friend spoke movingly about raising his mixed race children here years ago. He got involved in our children’s program, and soon, up to eight mixed race kids began participating. They went camping, visited an amusement park, did a road trip, and had discussions (about things like sex and consent). Looking back on this, he said that he could see where he had originally been in denial about the need for it. “Now what I can’t see is my own denial in the present. I can’t imagine there isn’t a need in this community that we can’t touch. If we can open our eyes, we can meet that need. In the 80’s it was a need for mixed race kids to meet.” Can we open our eyes today to community needs that we can meet?

Woolman at Sierra Friends Center. There were potential difficulties with Sierra Friends Center’s new lease for the Meeting House, but these were handled amicably among Friends. At the center’s annual family work camp only 20% of the people were Quaker, but all participated in family Meeting for Worship, and many also participated in early morning Bible study and worship sharing. Also there are people who stay short-term in rental cabins. It seems we should have something that invites them to join us for Meeting for Worship. We have such beautiful grounds, that we wonder who in our community can we host and invite here? We could have big potlucks, or we could have a soccer game with the Unitarians.

The Meeting House & Signs. We moved or removed various posters and clutter from the walls and from outside the Meeting House. We put up more relevant educational posters about vocal ministry, welcoming newcomers, and Quakerism in general in places that didn’t detract from the Quaker aesthetic of simplicity. Our Building and Grounds committee recently patched holes, painted walls, and performed other repairs to the Meeting House. A roof leak resulted in black mold inside, but we met this threat with caulk and remediation. Much-needed directional signs were put up at Jones Bar Road and on campus that we hope will help newcomers find us.

Community. Each week we have group singing beginning at 9:00 AM before Meeting for Worship. Appreciation for it has been expressed and participation has increased. We began meeting online in order to practice social distancing. We have been pleasantly surprised at the high quality of Meeting for Worship, our book group, and committee meetings. We have seen people in our online Meetings for Worship and children’s program that we haven’t seen for quite a while. A lot of work that supports the community is invisible because it is confidential. Perhaps our greatest strength is the many people in the Meeting who have a strong Quaker practice. In our Meeting community, the Spirit is strong and noted by many. As one member said, “On Sunday mornings, I feel like, I’m going to my dear Meeting. I feel so accepted.”

Quaker and Beyond Mutual Aid Network | Young Adult Friends/Elder Assistance Project

From: YouthProgramsCoordinator PacificYM <pym.youthcoordinator@gmail.com>

Greetings from Young Adult Friends to all Clerks and Representatives to Pacific Yearly Meeting,

This is a time of great change and great stress for both Meetings and individuals. We are a group of Young Friends who would like to be of help to your Meeting community in these difficult times. Are you struggling to remain connected to members and attenders because you cannot meet face to face? Do older Friends have trouble getting connected to Meeting for Worship or Business by Zoom? Have Friends lost jobs, become isolated, unable to get out to buy groceries or are being otherwise stressed by age, isolation, or the unaccustomed demands placed on them by school closures? Do you have within your community any young adult Friends who have lost their jobs and would like to join us in this work?

We have written a grant that seeks to empower all community members and provide various forms of assistance to those in need. Young Adult Friends (YAFs) in PacYM circles have lost jobs as a result of the Covid-19 quarantine; this grant offers them a small stipend to tide them over temporarily, while releasing them to provide assistance to Friends. This might include helping elders or others access Zoom meetings, making grocery or pharmacy runs, planting gardens or doing yard maintenance, outreach and emergency response to parents of young children, or essential workers working long hours in response to this pandemic as well as elders and others at high risk. 

Those of us doing this work will be happy to work with your Clerks, Ministry and Oversight Committees, and will be responsible to our own Oversight Committee.  We will begin with training on social distancing, safety, and infection control.

We hope this project will be able to operate during the duration of the shelter in place order from the State of California. We have received $5,000 seed money from the Youth Programs Fund, but will need more to continue long term. Donations from Meetings and individuals to augment the grant would be welcome. 

If you invite us in, we would ask you to:

1)  Review your MM’s current support of your members and attenders.

2) Pinpoint individuals in your community with specific needs, so that we can match them with friends who can be of assistance to them.

3) Identify young adult friends with financial need and interest in perhaps joining us.

4) Establish a contact from your MM, Worship Group or Quaker organization to stay in touch  with us throughout the duration of this project. This might be someone from M&O.

5) Consider a Meeting contribution to this effort, a request to members, or a fundraiser of some kind.

Though we must at this time be physically apart, there are still many ways to engage in community and maintain our social connections. We hope that the connections between young Friends doing this work, and the connections between the generations will help us build a stronger community in the long run, even after the pandemic is over.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Please forward this application to any YAF who is out of work, or anyone else who might be interested in serving in a volunteer-capacity. Please respond with your interest or questions to: 

Rebekah Percy | Interim Youth Programs Coordinator

Pacific Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)

Pronouns: She/Her

Main: (530) 563-6369 | Email: pym.youthcoordinator@gmail.com

Be safe.  We all need each other.

The Steering Committee:

Evan Nelson, Bertha Peña, Kylin Navarro, Laura Adair, Marc Lichterman, Nate Secrest,

Kiernan Colby, Cris Haggins, Jim Summers and Rebekah Percy (Acting Youth Programs Coordinator) 

02.09.2020:

APPENDICES:

  • Ministry and Oversight
  • Children’s Program report

 

Ministry and Oversight 

Report to GVFM Meeting for Business 

February 2020

  1. New Committee Structure proposal. Seeking approval of the minute recorded in January 2020 regarding the new proposal which follows:
Stewardship Spirit/Witness Welcome Children’s Program Nominating
Buildings and Grounds

Finance

(Library)

(Newsletter)

Ministry & Oversight

Spiritual Life

Peace and Social Justice

Outreach

Hospitality

Intergenerational Ed Nominating

 

Extra thoughts on the proposal

As Nominating discerns and prepares a slate of Friends for various committees and roles, we highly suggest strong potential clerks for each new committee.

 

As we make this proposal we are clear that we are not clear about:

  • Committee Sunday or not? – would all committees meet on first Sunday of each month in preparation for business meeting
  • Representatives might be paired with certain committees (accountability and support)
  • Nominating composition – will stay the same this year (nominated by Naming Committee)

 

  • Memorials
      1. Bob Barns – set for Saturday May 2nd (1pm ish). We are looking for volunteers to make lemonade and oatmeal raising cookies (specifically – Bob’s favorite). We will also look for volunteers to set-up and clean-up and bring other finger food potluck items.
      2. Dave Barnett – Dean has been working with Dave’s brother to set a date. Dave’s brother (Bruce?) cannot travel the distance but would like hear the service and what people say. We are investigating a live transmission, if not then a recording. The date is one of the first two weekends in April. We will ask for the Meeting’s help when we are more clear on the details.
  • State of the Meeting Report
      1. Listening session on February 16th (3rd Sunday), 2020.
  • Clerks Meeting
      1. Clerks Meeting – Gordon B will be contacting clerks of the meeting’s committees to gather. This functions as a check in on the Meeting, but also as the Naming Committee (the group that helps create the nominating committee (the group that …)).
      2. 3rd Sunday of March 3/15
  • Regional Meeting
    1. M&O proposes that we host a Regional Meeting on one of the 1st two Saturdays in April (available at SFC). This is an invitation to nearby (1.5 hours) meetings to gather at enjoy fellowship, worship, and possible interest group/worship sharing. We have been asked by Friends at Chico Meeting to consider hosting. We are delighted with the idea.

Children’s Program Committee Report

Meeting for Worship for Business

February 9, 2020

 

We continue to have dedicated group of teachers and helpers serving our children for First Day School each Sunday. We have had some challenges with people traveling over the holidays and the seasonal illnesses but have managed to be present each First Day. The theme for the month of January was Peace and the children made collages, videos, heard stories, learned songs, all with Peace as the theme. In addition, the children are engaging in increasing minutes of their own silent worship in some of the First Day classes.

 

Roster of First Day School Teachers and accompaniment

 

We now have complete coverage of the Children’s Program within the committee, except for Kathy McCreery who is willing to participate in First Days but does not want to be on the committee. Our regular roster is as follows:

 

First First Day: Doug Hamm, teacher, and Judy Hamilton, accompaniment.

 

Second First Day: Karen Olsen, teacher, and Dorothy Henderson, accompaniment

 

Third First Day: Gordon Bishop, teacher, and Anita McCormick, accompaniment

 

Fourth First Day: Chamba Cooke, teacher, and Kathy McCreery, accompaniment

 

Fifth First Day: Karen Olsen, story teller.

 

Substitutes

 

We recognize the need for substitutes for times when the second adult is not available. Teachers expect to cover for each other, but we will be asking for volunteers for those who accompany the teacher. To be clear, we are asking for volunteers for just the accompanying adult, not for the teacher. Dorothy will send a clipboard around to get a list of volunteers.

 

Gavin’s role and status

 

It is our understanding that Gavin now has another job and will no longer be working for the Children’s Program. We will verify this and consider if we think it is necessary to have a paid staff person now that we have two adults each week.

 

Curriculum

 

The committee members have agreed that having a theme (Peace for the month of January) has worked well, allowing the teachers some guidance and enough freedom to create their own program for the day. We will continue, with Equality for this month (it is Black History month) and perhaps Quaker Women for March (Women’s history month). We now have a list of the monthly Advices and Queries from M & O and will look into incorporating some of those themes in the future.

 

In discussing how the current First Days have gone, it was suggested that we have a “teacher bag” with some small items that children could play with quietly while the group is gathering to share reflections or hear a story. Some of the younger children have a harder time sitting for even ten minutes and this may help them.

 

April, Fifth Sunday

 

We are bringing a proposal to the Meeting that we do a repeat of a previous Fifth Day when we invited parents and children to attend in order to increase connection with the parents regarding their experience of our Meeting and of the Children’s Program. We are suggesting that this take place on the Fifth Sunday in April (the 26th) with the expectation that the children will be with us for a story for about a half hour and then will leave the Meeting with some of the First Day School committee, while the parents remain in Meeting for an open exchange with the Meeting for the remainder of the time. 

Our outreach to the parents and children before Christmas was moderately successful and we would like to continue in our efforts at outreach to bring our families to Meeting in ways that work for them.

 

Meeting times

 

We will continue to meet every other month. Our next Meeting is March 15th third First Day, at the rise of Meeting at Woolmanhouse. We changed our meeting date back to Third First Day as it is difficult for our committee members who are on both M & O as well as CPC to do both committee meetings in one day. We regret that this means that Susan Hopkins will not be able to join us, but we hope to continue contact with her in other ways.

01.2020: 

MINUTES WE ARE SEASONING  (These are items that have been presented to this Meeting for Business and are being held over for future discernment before approval.  They will appear on the next month’s agenda under Seasoned Minutes.)

Minute 2020.02.__:  Grass Valley Friends Meeting approves the new committee structure of five committees – The Stewardship Committee, the Welcome Committee, the Children’s Program Committee, the Spirit/Witness Committee, and Nominating Committee –  to take effect for the 2020-21 slate with the awareness that this decision is provisional upon future discernment over the 2020-21 year.

01.2020 APPENDICES:

  • Proposed Changes to the 2020 Rental Agreement
  • Children’s Program report

 ________________________________________________________

Proposed Changes to the 2020 Rental Agreement

Between Grass Valley Friends Meeting and Sierra Friends Center

Proposed changes are italicized 

  1. Premises.  The premise leased is THE MEETING HOUSE located at 13075 Woolman Lane, Nevada City, Ca. 95959. Additional spaces and terms:
  2. The Meeting house is leased for Sundays from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM unless otherwise agreed.
  3. Additional Leased Spaces.
  4. Southeast corner closet for the sole use of the tenant
  5. Southeast alcove for the GVFM Library
  6. The classroom in the Administration building
  7. Northeast alcove coffee and tea bar 

    Tenant’s signature conveys understanding that this is a multi-use space and that care of tenant’s possessions cannot be guaranteed. Landlord agrees to apprise other renters of this building of agreements with Tenant.

  1.   Term. This agreement will be for a term beginning January 1, 2020 and continuing month-to-month until either Landlord or Tenant alters or terminates this Agreement by providing the other party with proper written notice to be delivered 30 days in advance of the alteration or termination.
  2. Use of Premises. The Premises will be occupied only by tenant and Tenant’s immediate family and use only for residential purposes.( this sentence should be struck, it is not applicable) 
  3.   Condition of Premises. Tenant has examined the Premises, including the appliances, fixtures and furnishings, and acknowledges that they are in good condition with repair, normal wear and tear excepted, and accepts them in its current condition, unless otherwise noted.

 The following items of furniture are owned by the Landlord:

  • Meeting House benches
  • Conference table and chairs
  • Upright piano, black
  • Bookshelves
  • Kitchen cabinets
  • Lectern

The following items of furniture are owned by the tenant:

  • Two 6” folding tables
  • Table, chair, books and periodicals, and magazine rack in GVFM library
  • Children’s table and chairs
  • 8 padded folding chairs
  • Upright Piano donated by the family of Lois Bailey
  1.   Maintenance and Repairs.  Tenant will maintain premises, including the grounds and all appliances, fixtures and furnishings, in clean, sanitary and good condition and repair. Tenant will not remove Landlord’s appliances, fixtures or furnishings for any purpose. Landlord is responsible for ensuring that all appliances, fixtures and furnishings are available to tenant after any shared use in clean, sanitary and good condition. If repairs other than general maintenance are required, Tenant will notify Landlord for such repairs. In the event of default by tenant, Tenant will reimburse Landlord for cost of any repairs or replacement.

Children’s Program Report:

The Children’s Program Committee has offered First Day School each Sunday since our last report. We have been able to coordinate coverage of a teacher and one adult accompaniment for each class, with committee members serving as substitutes when needed. The following items constitute our report for January:

  1. Our job description was approved at the December Meeting for Business. We are grateful.
  2. We are very happy to report that we now believe we have enough adults to cover all four Sundays within our committee. One of our members has stepped forth to be the lead teacher every fourth Sunday. This means that we now have full coverage for first, third and fourth Sundays with a lead teacher and accompaniment. On second Sunday we have a lead teacher and we are expecting to be able to cover the position of accompanying adult by having all of the regular committee members rotate through. This would mean that each member would be the accompanying adult once every five months. All but one of our regular members has agreed to this and we expect agreement from our final member soon. 
  3. The Christmas play of the 23rd Psalm during the Grass Valley Friends Meeting Christmas party, was a success in that we had several children participate and gracious teachers who were willing to adjust the script each First Day to keep everyone going. The parents were kindly willing to do their part as well. The length of the play, approximately 90 seconds was somewhat of a surprise, but for a first attempt, we were pleased. We are even making the generous interpretation that some of the message of Psalm 23 has reached our children.
  4. We will have a full discussion of how we want to go forward with curriculum for the coming months when we meet in February. There is not complete agreement about how to approach this subject so we are looking forward to seeking a truth among us. 
  5. In the meantime, we are using the Peace Testimony as a theme for the month of January to be consistent with what the Meeting is doing as a whole.
  6. We are agreed to meet every two months at the rise of Meeting on First Sundays. Our next meeting will be February 2nd at Doug and Dorothy’s.

Respectfully submitted,

Dorothy Henderson, clerk 

 

 

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