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Fall Interim Business Meeting Highlights

Friends from 10 Monthly Meetings gathered for Fall Interim Business Meeting, held online Oct. 17th. As usual, there’s lots of news!

Petra Doan

The 2021 Michener Lecture will be held online. Petra Doan, Tallahassee Meeting, will present the lecture and one workshop on Michener Lecture Sunday. The Worship and Ministry committee is currently accepting suggestions for our 2022 ML speaker; email Nancy Triscritti with suggestions.

The SEYM Gathering 2021 theme is “What Now?” Emily Provance will be the Walton Lecture Speaker and Retreat Leader.

Half Yearly Meeting Registrar Brian Olson reported that they are planning to hold Half Yearly Meeting online. They hope to have a few zoom events, including the Talent Show. See the latest on the Half Yearly Meeting webpage>

The Peace and Social Concerns committee is now meeting monthly, and hopes to have all Meetings and Worship Groups represented at their online committee meetings. They have made good progress toward that goal so far, especially in having representation from larger Meetings. For more information, contact Phil Stone, Clerk, at pscclerk@seymquakers.org.

St. Pete Friends

FIBM recommends that SEYM adopt both Ft. Myers Meeting’s Statement on Police Violence and Accountability and St. Petersburg Meeting’s Statement in Support of the Black Lives Matter Movement. The FIBM Clerk is asked to send the statement to Monthly Meetings for discernment, not only for adoption by SEYM, but also to encourage them to adopt this or similar statements as their own. Statements like these serve as a public testimony that is sent to elected officials, other Quaker or religious organizations, and the media.

Friends approved placing the SEYM Faith & Practice online so it will be more readily available to Friends everywhere.

Field Secretary for Earthcare Beverly Ward reported on her recent and upcoming activities, including: working with Tallahassee Meeting on ‘Green Sanctuary;’ helping Orlando Meeting on plan their eco-friendly landscape; working with Quakers of Melbourne to offer an extended workshop on ‘Project Drawdown;’ and working with QEW and the producers of the film ‘Sweet Home Monte Verde’ to show the film online. She noted particular environmental concerns around two road projects being planned in our region. She has been going to online meetings on the C-MORES and proposed toll roads in Hillsborough County.

Lynn Newsom was approved as the new SEYM representative to Quaker House (Fayetteville). Lynn had served as director there for several years. She sent us this report.

Quaker Earthcare Witness representative Brad Stocker (Miami) encourages Friends to consider writing an article the QEW newsletter ‘Befriending Creation,’ and also to send their earthcare testimony statements to them. He urges Meetings to consider applying for a QEW mini-grant for their earthcare projects. Friends are welcome to contact Brad for more information.

main building at Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice camp

We heard more news about the Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice property. Pete Ackerman, Gainesville Meeting, introduced us to Bryan Roberts, Facilities Manager, and Sara Tharp, Assistant Facilities Manager. They have been improving the facilities at the 14-acre camp, located in Hampton, Florida, 20 minutes north of Gainesville. The kitchen is being upgraded to commercial status; they are working on soil building and gardens; and there are plans to add more RV sites. Activities they host at the camp include retreats, pod schools, Youth groups, and camping. FCPJ is soliciting donations to help with their mission to provide space for groups working on peace, social justice, and environmental issues.

Immediately after rise of FIBM, Friends reconvened for a Threshing Session on a proposal for creating an ad hoc Retirement Committee, which would research interest, options, and possibilities for establishing a Quaker-run retirement facility in Florida. Dan Vaughen (Deland/Orlando), who is bringing forward the proposal, shared a great deal of information. The best option would be to find an existing facility which Kendal, a Quaker-run retirement community corporation, could take over and offer a mid-level price point.

Kendal is interested, provided there is an organization, such as SEYM, who is also interested in partnering with them. Friends shared and discussed several concerns including affordability, diversity, and whether SEYM has the energy and/or resources to partner with Kendal.

Dan’s proposal was included in the FIBM Documents In Advance. Interested Friends may contact Dan Vaughen for more information.

To see all the reports, see the FIBM Documents In Advance>.

The full FIBM Minutes will be posted soon.