Interim Meeting

Interim Meeting
Feb 9, 2014

Paula Cell, with the help of Laura Melly of Chestnut Hill Meeting, presented the proposed new structure for Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, which is a result of at least two years of work by PYM’s Long Range Planning Committee. The overall goal is that “our organizational structures are simple so our primary bond may be to God.” PYM is comprosed of 11,000 Friends, of whom only 3,000 are really active. Historically, the number of volunteers to PYM had diminished over time, so more staff had been hired. Now that PYM has had to cut so many staff, there is an even greater need for volunteers. The proposed structure reduces the number of committees, simplifies the organization and establishes two councils: The Administrative Council and The Quaker Life Council, as well as a Nominating Committee.

The proposed change in sessions will be to continue Annual Sessions in the summer and replace the current system of “Interim Meetings” six times a year, with “Continuing Sessions” 2-3 times a year. The sessions would focus more on extended worship, fellowship, teaching and learning, and leadings emerging from Meetings. Decisions regarding operations would be delegated to the two Councils. The Quaker Life Council would create, oversee, and lay down committees or “clusters,” whose work would reflect the priorities of the Yearly Meeting and the constituent Quarterly and Monthly Meetings. The Administrative Council was not discussed. (Long Range Planning Group: Roles and Responsibilities across Philadelphia Yearly Meeting filed with these minutes)

Friends had the opportunity to ask questions. Penny proposed that next month we have as our main agenda this question: Will the proposed structure bring PYM closer to the priorities, interests and involvement of Germantown Monthly Meeting? Friends were invited to email Suzanne Day, Penny, or Paula with their concerns and opinions.


Report from the Long Range Planning Group (LRPG)

ProposedStructureofPYM2.14


PROPOSED STRATEGIC DIRECTIONS FOR PYM

1. Assist local Meetings in fostering dynamic, Spirit-led faith communities that (a) nurture spiritual disciplines and practices; (b) welcome seekers and encourage diversity.

2. Connect Friends through effective communications and
technologies.

3. Develop and communicate widely clear messages about Quakers and PYM.

4. Simplify and strengthen governance and administration.

5. Foster a climate conducive to innovation and change within PYM.

6. Plan and hold annual sessions and other PYM-wide gatherings.

————————————————————————

Priorities LRPG has learned that have shaped the current proposals:

1.Desire for greater participation, particularly among the young, by providing new ways to participate.

2. Nurture vital Meetings.

3. Simplify and strengthen our structure and governance.

7. Facilitate effective, PYM-wide corporate witness and social action.

8. Partner with other organizations to achieve common goals.

————————————————————————

Simplifying and strengthening our Structure and Governance

We do not have the staff and volunteer capacity we once did.
Let us:

  • Combine and consolidate the oversight and management of some of our functions
  • Reorganize essential functions into 2 main areas of responsibility and service:
  • Administrative
  • Quaker Life

PYM Administrative Functions

  • Property and Finance
  • Budgeting
  • Personnel
  • Grant-making
  • General Secretary support and oversight

Quaker Life in and among our Meetings

  • Worship and Witness
  • Faith and Practice
  • Visible and welcoming communities
  • Speaking out about our faith
  • Children and youth; families
  • Peace and social justice
  • Caring for one another, our neighbors and the Earth

Long Range Planning Group (LRPG)
———————————————————————

PROPOSED STRATEGIC DIRECTIONS FOR PYM

1. Assist local Meetings in fostering dynamic, Spirit-led faith
communities that (a) nurture spiritual disciplines and practices; (b).
welcome seekers and encourage diversity.

2. Connect Friends through effective communications and
technologies.

3. Develop and communicate widely clear messages about Quakers
and PYM.

4. Simplify and strengthen governance and administration.

5. Foster a climate conducive to innovation and change within PYM.

6. Plan and hold annual sessions and other PYM-wide gatherings.

————————————————————————

Priorities LRPG has learned that have shaped the current proposals:

1.Desire for greater participation, particularly among the young, by providing new ways to participate.

2. Nurture vital Meetings.

3. Simplify and strengthen our structure and governance.

7. Facilitate effective, PYM-wide corporate witness and social action.

8. Partner with other organizations to achieve common goals.

————————————————————————

Simplifying and strengthening our Structure and Governance

We do not have the staff and volunteer capacity we once did.
Let us:

  • Combine and consolidate the oversight and management of some of our functions
  • Reorganize essential functions into 2 main areas of responsibility and service:
  • Administrative
  • Quaker Life

PYM Administrative Functions

  • Property and Finance
  • Budgeting
  • Personnel
  • Grant-making
  • General Secretary support and oversight

Quaker Life in and among our Meetings

  • Worship and Witness
  • Faith and Practice
  • Visible and welcoming communities
  • Speaking out about our faith
  • Children and youth; families
  • Peace and social justice
  • Caring for one another, our neighbors and the Earth

Role of Quaker Life Network

1. Reservoir of volunteers with skills and enthusiasm.

2. Self-selected to do a variety of tasks, some on-going long term, and some short term.


Role of Quaker life Clusters

1.Groups of Friends within the Network
brought together by common interest


Quaker Life Council & PYM Staff

1.Help build the framework for the network and clusters,

2.Support access – short term assignments, etc.

3.Help provide training

4.Maintain resource banks.


Quaker Life Council

1.Provides sustained coordination and oversight of programs.

2.Oversees the process to identify a few priorities;

3.Reports to Annual Sessions.


Proposal for “Continuing Sessions”

What the LRPG learned:

1. Annual Sessions of Yearly Meeting should continue to serve us as described in Faith and Practice. Friends would like attendance at Sessions to grow.

2. Annual Sessions and Interim Meeting do not need to make all the decisions we ask of them now. We do not do effective committee work as a large body.

3. There is a need for a small group to make decisions in a timely manner on our behalf for matters such as property, finances, personnel.

4. We seek extended time together to worship and discern on matters related to our ministry and witness in the world.


The LRPG proposes:

1.Delegating decisions regarding operations to the Administrative and Quaker Life Councils.

2.Holding Continuing Sessions 2 or 3 times a year instead of the current 6 Interim Meetings a year, with attention to policy issues in order to
focus on worship and leadings emerging from Meetings.

3.Increase participation by younger Friends and newcomers through innovative forms of access with Friends from across the region

4.Called meetings may be needed in rare situations.


We propose that Continuing Sessions may include:

1. Extended worship

2. Extended time for considering topics of wide importance

3. Time for sharing and seasoning how we are doing
on our corporate leadings and priorities

4. Meeting for worship for the continuing business of
the Yearly Meeting, as needed

5. Additional work of being a community including:
teaching and learning, working on projects and committees, friendship and fun.


Proposed Nominating Committee

  • Committee would have approximately 20
    members.
  • Each Quarter to name 1 member, and an
    additional at-large members would be brought to
    Annual Sessions or Continuing Sessions by a
    Naming Committee appointed by the Admin.
    Council.
  • If the Quarter makes no appointment, then the Naming Committee will seek someone from that Quarter to serve on the Nominating Committee.

Nominating Committee nominates with approval by Annual Sessions or Continuing Sessions:

1. PYM Clerk, Alternate Clerks, & Recording Clerks

2. PYM Elders

3. PYM Treasurer & Assistant Treasurer

4. Clerks and members of Quaker Life Council and
Administrative Council

5. PYM reps to outside groups such as FCNL, FGC,
AFSC, Friends Fiduciary, interfaith councils

 

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