About 50 Friends attended Winter Interim Business Meeting (WIBM) Saturday, January 16th, and about 85 gathered for the Michener Lecture and Seminars on Sunday, January 17th. Many thanks were expressed to Orlando Friends for hosting both events: providing lunch on Saturday, the Michener Luncheon on Sunday, and overnight hospitality.
Winter Interim Business Meeting approved the Field Secretary for Earthcare Job Description, Anchor Committee Description, and Search Committee Description. Approval of these key documents allows SEYM to move forward with seeking a Field Secretary for Earthcare (FSE), a new staff position created at our Yearly Business Meeting last spring. Friends have worked hard in discerning way forward since then. Members of the Earthcare Committee and Executive Committee created the draft job descriptions, which Monthly Meetings and Worship Groups took under their discernment. At WIBM, Friends worked together at the Executive Committee Friday night, the Earthcare meeting Saturday morning, and business meeting Saturday afternoon to incorporate Meeting and Worship Group comments into the documents, respond to concerns, and to finally reach approval of these Job Descriptions. The Search Committee will begin seeking candidates for the position soon. The creation and implementation of the FSE position is exciting and precedent-setting, not only for our yearly meeting, but also for Friends in the wider Quaker world.
Several reports followed the FSE decisions. Some of the highlights include: Nominating Committee: Nominating Committee is seeking Friends for some critical yearly meeting positions, including Youth Committee Clerk, Gathering Committee Clerk, and IBM/EC Recording Clerk. Peace & Social Concerns: Warren Hoskins, P&SC clerk, reports that the Alternatives to Violence Program (AVP) project of Jacksonville Monthly Meeting is growing, and encourages other Meetings to help with their donations and expertise.
Gathering Committee: Richard Frechette, Gathering Program Coordinator, reports that Bridget Moix will lead the Walton Lecture and Retreats, with the theme of “Active Peace,” for our 2016 Yearly Meeting Gathering, March 23-27.
Youth Gathering Program: This year the Youth program will feature intergenerational activities Wednesday through Saturday, with workshops for the different age groups on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The teens have stepped forward to plan their own program, working with Cece Yocum, Youth Gathering Coordinator, and the Gathering Committee. CAPP-certified Friends are needed for all Youth Program sessions, to be a supportive presence and assist workshop leaders.
Worship & Ministry Committee: Clara Diaz, clerk, reports that the committee is presenting an in-depth worship at the Gathering, “The Unspoken Rules of Quaker Meeting for Worship.” She also announced that Susan Waltz has agreed to be the speaker for our 2017 Michener Lecture. The committee has also designated fifth Sundays “Intervisitation Sundays”— an invitation for SEYM Friends to visit other Monthly Meetings or Worship Groups when there is a fifth Sunday in a month.
ProNica: Pam Haigh introduced Bambi Griffin, new Nicaragua Program Director, who is joining the ProNica team as Ada Lopez focuses on partner accompaniment and Ramon Sepulveda shifts into providing delegation services. SEYM Friends Caroline Lanker, Vicki Mariner and Jim Meade and two other friends went on the10-day Witness Tour to Nicaragua in December, joining Pam Haigh for the Acahualinca Beauty School graduation. For more news, visit the ProNica website: pronica.org.
On Sunday, January 17th, about 85 Friends gathered at the Orlando meetinghouse for worship, the Michener Luncheon, and the Michener Lecture & Seminars.
The 46th Annual Michener Lecture, “The Undivided Life: Being Spiritual & Political,” was presented by Diane Randall, Executive Secretary of Friends Committee on National Legislation, the Michener Luncheon.
Throughout the lecture, Diane returned to three core messages:
- God’s love is sufficient
- Our spiritual lives are integral in every aspect of our beings, including our political lives. This Undivided Life calls us.
- The wholeness of Friends faith and practice is needed now more than ever in the political life of our country.
She shared many examples of how Friends, nourished and grounded in our worship, our practice, and our Meeting communities, have been empowered to carry forward a prophetic witness for peace, social justice, and sustainability— creating real change at the national and local levels. She gave specific suggestions for how we can work for change, both individually and collectively. Many Friends stayed for the seminars after the lecture, where Friends asked questions, considered some queries, and shared stories.