Reflections on Tuesday’s Meeting for Worship with attention to Business

I attended a Special Interest group focused on equipping Friends for serving as recording clerks. Ruth Pincoe was unable to lead it, as planned; yet, she made herself available in case we needed answers to questions our facilitators were unable to address.
It was a humid hot day so I was glad to be indoors for this session. M any of the attendees were notable recording clerks themselves. We started the session by introducing ourselves. Then, we shared our fears and uncertainties about the position, and I must say we were gifted with able facilitators, who took us through the resources Ruth had prepared.

These resources included

  • “Clerking with Attention to Recording ” compiled by Ruth Pincoe, with an accompanying “Selective Annotated Bibliography”
  • “Spiritual Responsibility in the Meeting for Business” by Patricia Loring of Hartford Monthly Meeting, and
  • “Quaker Business Method: the practice of group discernment” from Australia Yearly Meeting.

Some of the topics covered include  decision making methods, how to set and revise agendas, working as part of a clerking team, keeping the sense of worship, how to prepare a Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business, useful phrases and strategies for composing accurate minutes. The session also provided us with the opportunity to share real-life examples from our local meetings, and we were encouraged to look at the situations with fresh eyes while exploring solutions.

All the practical details had many of us scribbling madly. We aimed to capture useful methods, understandings and traditions developed to meet the requirements of local circumstances while removing barriers to business. Key to this process is focusing on the spiritual life of the meeting rather than gripping onto day to day mundane concerns.

The last portion of the session was spent roll-playing in a George Faux meeting for worship for Business. Tough concerns needed to be presented clearly, a worship meeting had to be facilitated, and a minute had to be composed. Neither scenarios were light, fluffy pitches aimed at the sweet spot on the bat; instead, they were complex issues tangled into deadlines, historic tender scars, and globalized issues visiting in an immediate sense; in one case, literally, on the front steps of the meeting house.

The clerking volunteer teams handled friends putting on their very worst behaviour while joyfully coaching and framing commentary as it was offered throughout by the facilitators. Members of the George Faux meeting had side conversations, meandered off topic, brought long winded historic metaphors to say what could have been said more simply, and had already been said repeatedly before. Clerks patiently gathered up the sense of the meeting in order to compose a minute after doing the tender discernment, using clarifying questions and redirecting/prompting the conversation, as required in real life situations. Reflective conversation yielded rich insights and supper put an end to a session the participants were caught up in, the most fearful coming out as the most astoundingly competent under such able guidance.

I hope they offer this session every year so that each meeting can access this incredible resource.  It would also be great to have those partaking in M4W4B sit in the clerks chair and see what is required of their Friends working to serve them in their discernment process.

 

Keith,

Winnipeg MM

CYM Quaker Study – Monday

Quaker studies is being given in 2015  by Deborah Fisch of Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative) and Associate Secretary of Ministries for Friends General Conference

Today’s presentation was the first of a five-part series.

If anybody can get you fired up with the joy of attending Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business, Deborah Fisch can. As she has said on a previous occasion, Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business builds community. Rather than being a dreary chore, it enables Friends to get to know each other on a deeper level. What a shame that so many Friends do not heed the admonition of the Advices and Queries and believe business meeting does not concern them.

Her presentation was not without its lighter moments. Bored with business meeting wordsmithing, some children in her Meeting composed a ditty to the tune of What shall we do with a Drunken Sailor? Part of it goes like this:

Hot air up she rises

Hot air up she rises

Move the comma one word over

Move the comma one word over


Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business has many functions:

        To help each other be faithful

    To help others in need

          To enable us to discern what our gifts are
          To give us space to practise them

      And more…

      We await tomorrow with anticipation.

      Sheila Havard
      Coldstream MM

      CYM 2015 Documents in Advance and Draft Agenda Now Available

      You can download the schedule here. Documents in Advance and the draft agenda for the upcoming CYM gathering in August are now available on line.

      To access them, you will need to get into the Business side of the site. To get into the Business side of the site, you will need to register.

      Click the Business button at the upper right corner to start the process.

      Once you are in, there are two places to access the documents. One is to click “CYM Docs” along the top of the page. The other is to click “CYM 2015”. In both locations, there should be a Documents in Advance “accordion” which you click to open.

      The “CYM 2015” entry will also take you to a page where Programme Committee will be posting information for those at CYM.

      Sunderland P. Gardener Lecture & Workshops by Alastair McIntosh- “Decolonizing Land and Soul: A Quaker Testimony.”

      August 16-20, 2015, UPEI.

      This year’s The Sunderland P. Gardener Lecture, named after a historic figure in Canadian Quaker history, will be delivered by Alastair McIntosh. McIntosh is a noted Scottish, scholar, speaker and author of many books including Soil and Soul: People versus Corporate Power and Hell and High Water: Climate Change, Hope, and the Human Condition. Alastair will be lecturing and facilitating workshops from August 16th to the 20th, 2015, as part of the annual gathering of Canadian Yearly Meeting 2015 at the University of Prince Edward Island.

      Alastair McIntosh- “(C) Médiathèque Lafarge – Alain Le Breton”.

      A member of the Religious Society of Friends in Scotland, McIntosh has built an international career as a scholar and public speaker, teaching and lecturing at a variety of universities, and as a frontline activist on behalf of environmental integrity and healthy, resilient human communities. He is especially known for the way he has combined scholarship in theology, poetics, anthropology, and human ecology with the organization of citizen based campaigns to save valued landscapes and human communities from industrial degradation.

      All events are open to the public

      Lecture
      Decolonizing Land and Soul: A Quaker Testimony
      Sunday August 16th, 2015, 7:00 pm

      Room 242, Alexander H. MacKinnon Auditorium (McDougall Hall)
      Open admission

      In this lecture Alastair will share his unique experience that spans the Maritime provinces of Canada, Scotland and France. He has titled the lecture

      “Decolonising Land and Soul: a Quaker Testimony.” He will explore the imperatives of Quaker witness for today and will touch on spiritual experience and the Cross as the supreme symbol of nonviolence in our times.

      Like Quakerism in Canada, McIntosh is broadly universal in his approach to understanding theology. He sees that deep rootedness in the land and attachment to place provide human communities with the best realization of their spiritual potential. An affinity with the traditional spirituality of First Nation peoples is evident in this understanding.

      Workshops
      Monday August 17th to Thursday August 20th, 2015, 3:30 to 5:30 pm (Location to be determined)
      More details to come! Stay tuned.