Canadian Young Friends Yearly Meeting 2014 Minutes
Monday, August 11, 9-10.
In attendance: Maggie Knight (YAF clerk), Rachel Urban Shipley (associate recording clerk), David Summerhays, Annie Takaro, Thea Walmsley, Shaun Bartoo, Stephen von Schulmann, Misia Robins.
- Opening worship: The meeting opened with silent worship. The clerk read number 16 from advices and queries: “Do you welcome the diversity of culture, language and expressions of faith in our yearly meeting and in the world community of Friends? Seek to increase your understanding and to gain from this rich heritage and wide range of spiritual insights. Uphold your own and other yearly meetings in your prayers.”
- Introduction to Meeting for Worship for Business: We began with a brief orientation on Quaker business process, followed by a round of introductions.
- Overview of this week’s major business/review of the agenda: We reviewed the agenda for the week.
- Naming from the floor: Misia Robins, Stephen von Shulmann, and Shaun Bartoo will write the epistle. The decision was made by seating arrangement, in true Quaker process.
- Nominations: We heard a report from Nominating Committee, which will be attached. In the report, the concern was raised that, although Nominating Committee has the responsibility to check in with Young Friends and Young Adult Friends serving on Canadian Yearly Meeting committees, there is no clear structure for supporting these Friends if they are not comfortable in their CYM positions. We discussed potential structures for Nominating Committee, discussing the appropriate size of this committee and whether the committee should continue through the year, as is the current practice, or whether it should simply be formed during the week of CYM. We agreed to take some time to consider these ideas and will reopen the discussion in Tuesday’s business meeting.
- Fruit break: we celebrated the diversity of peeling and eating techniques for bananas. We anticipate a Family Night act rising out of this important piece of business.
- Report from the Clerks: Maggie Knight reported on behalf of the clerks. The report will be attached.
- Closing Worship: We closed with silent worship.
Tuesday, August 12
- Opening worship: We opened with silent worship. The clerk read Advices and Queries #13: “do not assume that vocal ministry is never to be your part. Faithfulness and sincerity in speaking, even very briefly, may open the way to fuller ministry from others. When prompted to speak, wait patiently to know that the leading and the time are right, but do not let a sense of your own unworthiness hold you back. Pray that your ministry may arise from deep experience, and trust that words will be given to you. Try to speak audibly and distinctly, and with sensitivity to the needs of others. Beware of speaking predictably or too often, and of making additions towards the end of a meeting when it was well left before.”
- Reports from committees: we heard reports from a listener, the webminder, and YAFs currently serving on CFSC. These reports will be attached.
- Nominating Committee structure and form, part II: Friends approve the idea of appointing additional Friends to Nominating Committee to serve during the week of Canadian Yearly Meeting, should members of Nominating Committee be unable to attend. Friends decided that it would be appropriate to appoint two members to Continuing Nominating Committee, with two alternates appointed to replace them if these committee members need to lay down their service. We task the Canadian Young Friends Yearly Meeting clerks to stay in contact with Nominating Committee throughout the year to discern whether they wish the alternates to step in.
- Support for Friends struggling with their service: Nominating Committee raised the question of what is the appropriate response if, during check ins with Canadian Young Friends Yearly Meeting-appointed Young Friends and Young Adult Friends serving on Canadian Yearly Meeting committees, these Friends say that they are not, in fact, comfortable in their roles. The meeting felt that, should this situation arise, Nominating Committee should consult with the clerks of Canadian Young Friends Yearly Meeting, as well as the clerk of the committee on which the Young Friend or Young Adult Friend is serving (if appropriate). Additional resources could be Canadian Yearly Meeting Nominating Committee and Canadian Young Friends Yearly Meeting listeners.
- Guidelines for Young Friend and Young Adult Friend events: the clerk spoke to the challenges faced in organizing gatherings given that we lack a clear set of guidelines to help us fulfill our legal responsibilities and help us act in the spirit of the Safe Nurture of Children in Our Care policy. We also discussed whether we wish to have guidelines about more general norms that should be part of Young Friend and Young Adult Friend gatherings. We spoke of the typical practice at Young Friend and Young Adult Friend gatherings of creating group guidelines at the opening of the gathering, and affirmed our appreciation for this practice. We suggest that this could be accommodated by having a list of topics facilitators may wish to nudge the group to consider in this group guideline process. We ask the Youth Subcommittee of Education and Outreach to carry this work forward in close consultation with Canadian Young Friends Yearly Meeting.
- Threshing Session: How do we foster connections and community amongst Young Friends and Young Adult Friends through the means and resources we currently have?: We held a productive threshing session, generating ideas of how to foster a close community across distances with our limited means. Many of the ideas generated involved using social media and internet video calling to hold activities and discussions throughout the year. We also discussed ways of promoting youth attendance at gatherings. The notes are attached and will be provided to the Youth Subcommittee of Education and Outreach.
- Closing Worship: We closed with silent worship.
Friday, August 15
- We opened with overdue merriment followed by gathered worship.
- Inquiry and Healing – CMMC: We heard an update from the clerk on the status of the Inquiry and Healing process being organized by Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Council. The clerks will ensure that relevant information on this is passed on to Canadian Young Friends Yearly Meeting.
- Nominations: Annie Takaro reported on behalf of Nominating Committee. We approved the following names.
Young Adult Friend clerk: Christina Tellez
Nominating Committee: Misia Robins
Listener: Isaac Klaassen-Wright
Education and Outreach: TBA.
Sporadical editors: Shaun Bartoo and Thea Walmsley
Co-recording clerk: Jonah Egan-Pimblett
We ask the Nominating Committee to continue discerning names for Education & Outreach Committee.
- Memorial minute for Isaac Miller: We spent some time in worship sharing to celebrate the life of Isaac Miller, who died this winter. Friends shared their appreciation for Isaac’s energy and vitality when he gathered with us last year as part of the Youth Challenge. We feel this loss on our hearts. We hold his family and New Brunswick Friends in the Light.
- Minutes of appreciation: We thank the following Friends for their service to Canadian Young Friends Yearly Meeting: Keith Barber for organizing Youth Programme and attending to our needs with great enthusiasm; Cate Friesen for the thoughtfully-curated and abundant snacks, as well as her organizational expertise; Caroline Balderston-Parry and Richard Reed Parry for inviting us to participate in the Arcade Fire concert (!!!!!!); and Bill Curry and Dale Dewar for their always-excellent sex talk.
- Closing worship: we closed with silent worship.
Unofficial gleanings from the Epistle Committee:
“We have kind of a mental draft.”
“Yeah, we can improvise.”
“I mean, we’ve been here all week.”
“I think the Holy Spirit is just silly this evening.”
Young Adult Friend Clerk’s Report
It’s been another busy year, although quite different from the previous year.
Some of the work undertaken this year has been:
- Follow up administration and support for the 2013 Youth Challenge – including helping YFs and YAFs get reimbursed for their costs, coordinating with the CYM office, sending reminders to evaluation forms, and writing and presenting a report to Representative Meeting.
- Attending Fall Representative Meeting with YF Clerk Angelica Dixon in Ottawa
- Attending Spring Representative Meeting in Toronto
- Participating in CYM Finance Committee meetings
- Working with Education & Outreach Committee and the Trustees to get access to funds left over from last year’s Youth Challenge for CYM 2014 and 2015.
- Working with a subcommittee of Education & Outreach to transfer administration of Youth Challenge funding for CYM 2014 – thanks Brent and Christina!
- Coordination with Programme Committee re scheduling and logistics for CYM 2014.
- Periodic communications stuff – posting to the CYFYM website and Facebook group and sending out a couple of emails to the YF/YAF contact list.
In the aftermath of the Youth Secretary’s resignation and report to CYM 2013, there was increased work load from Friends coming to CYFYM clerks where they used to go to the Youth Secretary. This was at times helpful and at others frustrating and burdensome. While there is much enthusiasm for supporting YFs and YAFs amongst Canadian Friends, there is not always a deep understanding of how best to do this.
Nominating Committee report
Two years ago in CYFYM business meeting we decided to re-create a YF Nominating Committee which would serve throughout the year not only during CYM in session. This new Nominating Committee was given the task of checking in with all of our YF/YAF representatives to other Canadian Quaker bodies. In May I sent emails to our representatives on CFSC, E & O, Publications Com, Records Com, and Programme Com asking how their work went and if they felt supported by their committees. I received replies from Christina Tellez (E & O), Lucy Miller (Programme Com) and Nat Egan-Pimblett (Pub Com). All three are content in their work and feel that they have enough support from their committees. I enjoyed doing the check-ins because it gave me a good reason to connect with other Friends and hear briefly about their well-being. I realized while sending out these check-ins that we have no system in place to support YF/YAFs who are struggling or unhappy with their committee work. If one of the Friends I contacted reported negatively, would I be expected to help alleviate the negative situation? What body could I go to for more support? Other Nom Com members? CYFYM Clerks? Is it Nom Com’s job to facilitate communication and healing between YF/YAFs and their CYM committees? These are questions that I’m not sure have definite answers, especially with the limited infrastructure of CYFYM.
Nom Com was also asked to report on continuation of our committee throughout the year. As always, our main difficulty was staying connected during the year. I had good response from some Nom Com members and limited or no response from others about the check-ins and the preliminary nominations before CYM. I can think of three possible options for moving forward. 1) We continue on as we have for the last 2 years with committee members active for 2 full years, 2) we go back to the way things were before that when Nom Com was named from the floor of CYM and was laid down at the rise of the meeting or until all necessary positions were filled, 3) a combination of the two. Nom Com can consist of less members during the year (maybe 2, one Eastern and one Western Friend, if possible). These two will deal with check-ins and any arising nominations during the year. A couple more members can be named from the floor of business meeting to assist with the larger nomination rush during CYM and lay down their position at the end of the week. The newly named members can still work with full-time members to carry out nominations during CYM even if these full-time members cannot attend gathering (power of the internet!) Hopefully you all can discuss my ideas in business meeting. That’s all for now.
Light, Jessica K-W
Despite having served as CYFYM’s webminder for 12 months, there’s relatively little to report. My activity has been mainly posting things to the CYFYM blog and some light maintenance to do with the CYFYM email accounts. Bruce Dienes has been very helpful, engaging, and patient in getting me up to speed on the ins and outs of technical side of things. However, Young Friends seem to be doing at least as much business on sites like Facebook as on our own infrastructure.
In addition to keeping up our blog, I also served on Publications and Communications Committee (PubCom) in the same period. We met once in person in Toronto, and convened a few times via conference call and email. This committee’s work is divided between CYM’s website (and the associated forums where other committees can pursue their business) and CYM’s publications. This year we hired a new web-editor, and have discussed possibilities for the future of the Canadian Friend (the committee’s major publication) existing online as well as in print. I invite any Young Friends interested in what we’re doing online to get in touch with me for more details.
No one contacted me this year, and so, not a whole lot to say, I suppose.
I’m missing the CYM crew this year – send my regards and hugs and stuff to everyone.
Rachel Urban Shipley and Maggie Knight, who are both serving on the board of Canadian Friends Service Committee, reported in the absence of Stephen Robins, the Young Friend representative to the board. These Friends gave a brief overview of the overall structure of Canadian Friends Service Committee, including the subcommittees, and then gave updates on their activities through the year. Most salient were the trips: Maggie went to Elsipogtog, New Brunswick on behalf of the Quaker Indigenous Rights Committee to bear witness shortly after the RCMP acted violently towards the Indigenous-led anti-fracking protests there, while Rachel attended a Restorative Justice conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland, to represent Quakers Fostering Justice.