Friends gathered at the SEYM Summer Executive Committee Meeting considered key developments arising from the need to adjust to an ongoing pandemic, heard reports, and considered new possibilities. 32 Friends from 12 Meetings and Worship Groups attended the meeting, held on August 8th via Zoom.
With no end to the pandemic yet in sight, plans for upcoming SEYM in-person events are needing to be re-evaluated and moved online as necessary. There will be a called EC meeting in December to consider, among other things, whether the Winter Interim Business Meeting, Michener Lecture, and/or the Yearly Meeting Gathering will be planned as an in-person or virtual events.
Half Yearly Meeting, a nature-oriented gathering usually at held Wekiwa Springs State Park over the 4-day Thanksgiving weekend, will be held virtually this year. The committee is planning a short get together Thanksgiving evening, an environmental presentation on Friday, and a talent show on Saturday. After Halloween, the committee will be inviting Friends to propose additional activities.
The Executive Committee approved a proposal brought forward by Youth & Young Adult Coordinator Kody Hersh, with support from Youth Committee, to suspend the position of the YYAC from September 1st until December 31st. Being able to have youth and family gatherings and events in person is essential to Kody’s work and ministry; and while SEYM has offered several online youth program events, those have seen extremely low attendance. Youth are not as interested in online interaction as had been expected — a phenomenon seen throughout the wider Quaker community. Kody’s leading to serve as SEYM’s YYAC for three years will not be affected by the suspension; he will finish out that time commitment when the position is resumed. He will continue to be available to the Youth Committee, who will be finding resources to help Meetings’ support and outreach to youth and families. Meetings can contact the Youth Committee co-clerks Cece Yocum or Jennifer Mendoza .
The Committee on Ministry on Racism (CMoR) is available to meet with Meetings online to lead discussions on racism; Friends can contact Susan Taylor, co-clerk, for more information. They will also be focusing on the recently emerged concern for the need to care for young People of Color within Southeastern Yearly Meeting. See the CMoR Report to EC for information and resources for Friends.
The Nominating Committee’s nomination of Peter Ackerman (Gainesville), to serve as a Representative to Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) was approved. The committee is seeking Friends to serve as YM Recording Clerk, Representative to Friends LGBTQC, and Representative to Quaker House. They are also looking for additional members for the Worship and Ministry and Yearly Meeting Gathering Committees.
Worship and Ministry co-Clerk Clara Diaz reported that Petra Doan (Tallahassee Meeting) will be the speaker for the 2021 Michener lecture. The event may need to go virtual.
Peace and Social Concerns Committee Clerk Phil Stone (Clearwater) reported that he has asked each monthly meeting to appoint a liaison that his committee can be in touch with. Friends can email Phil for more information.
Friends also heard brief verbal reports from SEYM Secretary Susan Ward (St. Petersburg), Field Secretary for Earthcare Beverly Ward (Tampa), Earthcare Committee Clerk Bill Carlie (St. Petersburg), SEYM Treasurer Joel Cook (Treasure Coast), and others.
Dan Vaughen (Deland) presented a concern for a starting a Quaker retirement community in Florida. After some discussion, EC decided to have a threshing session or workshop on this concern.
Shawna Doran and Pete Ackerman, both of Gainesville Meeting, presented an informational report on their efforts to breathe new life into the Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice’s property and organization, and promote the property’s availability for use by peace and social justice related groups for retreats, workshops, and other activities. The property, located in Hampton, Florida, has two residences, a Peace Education Center, and RV and tent camping sites. See their flyer>