New Ways of Passing the Hat: Re-visioning of Canadian Yearly Meeting

Revitalization… So many “re” words! On Wednesday, the business meeting addressed another “re” word, referring to the Contributions[1] Committee: “reactivation.” Or it could equally well be “revive.”

A ripple of laughter went through the floor when our Clerk asked whether we wished the Contributions Committee to continue its functions. Isn’t that a given? Perhaps this was her ingenious way of focusing our attention on a matter many Friends try their best to avoid: filthy lucre, mammon or, in plain English, money. Yet, it’s simple: we can only do as much as our funds allow.

Two hundred and thirty four people donate to CYM regularly. That means that 80% of Canadian Quakers do not donate to CYM. For several years now, our Treasurer and our finance people have been hammering home to us that the current level of donations to Canadian Yearly Meeting is insufficient to sustain its present level of activity. We have tinkered with our activities. In the view of some, and much to their grief, we have even tampered with them drastically( e.g., by switching to online documents and publications). We are on the way to a spiritually rich and financially sustainable Yearly Meeting, but we are not there yet.

Thus, the question is, how can we convey the benefits of CYM to Friends across the country? Communications are key, and the fact that our Clerk is now sending regular letters to Monthly Meetings and that CYM is sending personalized thank you notes to donors is to be welcomed. In order to get the contributions process rolling again, the Clerks are to call the next Contributions Committee meeting, and the nominating Committee is to seek two more Friends to serve on it. For all who feel inclined to dismiss the call to serve on Contributions Committee, please note that its members do not knock on doors or even necessarily make soliciting phone calls. Much of their work involves devising effective methods for reaching out to Friends, in other words, communications are key.

Hence, this is an invitation to revitalize the Contributions Committee, which is so central to the work that we do on a daily basis. As Friends contributing to this committee whether it is financially or through service is essential for the sustainability of CYM. Pass on the word to your Monthly Meeting or Worship Group!
Sheila Havard

Coldstream MM


[1] “Contributions”is a polite word for donations, as in donations to CYM