The 203rd session of Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting was held June 14-18, 2023 on the campus of Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati, Ohio (with some online participation). The theme was "Finding Our Way - Your Gifts Are Needed!"
Sixth Month 14, 2023, 3:00 – 5:00 pm
1. Opening Worship: Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting gathered in centering worship at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati, Ohio for its 203rd annual session.
2. Welcome: The presiding clerk, Rachel Ernst Stahlhut, greeted Friends assembled for the 203rd session of the Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting.
3. Land Acknowledgement: The co-clerk, Barry Zalph, acknowledged that the land where we are meeting once belonged to the people of the Shawnee Nation and the Myaamiaki, or Miami Nation, with prayers of sorrow for the genocide of these peoples and for the well-being of their descendants. He also acknowledged the stolen profits incurred by our nation and our community at the expense of the enslavement and discrimination against people of African descent, which sustains a persistent gap in wealth and well-being. He asked the Divine Light that is in each of us to illumine and transform this body as we undertake the work of decolonization and anti-racism.
4. Clerk's Introduction: The clerk introduced the theme of this year’s sessions, “Finding Our Way – Your Gifts Are Needed!” She noted that we are living in a complicated world, and yet we carry on together in spite of shared trauma and anxiety in the wider world. We are coming together to share our gifts with each other and rediscover how Quakers can be faithful in our work to bring healing to the world. We can build community and pay attention to the spirit in our worshipful discernment together in business meeting. Since the meeting is being held in a hybrid format, Friends were asked to be recognized before speaking and to say our names before speaking.
5. Roll Call: The Recording Clerk called the roll of Yearly Meeting officers and administrators, Committee Clerks, Quarterly and Monthly Meeting Representatives, and Yearly Meeting staff.
Yearly Meeting officers:
Presiding Clerk: Rachel Ernst Stahlhut
Assistant Presiding Clerk: Barry Zalph
Recording Clerk: Lisa Cayard
Assistant Recording Clerk: Cecilia Shore
Treasurer: Wilson Palmer
Assistant Treasurer: (absent)
Young Adult Friends: (absent)
Braddock Fund: Wilhelmina Branson
Budget & Finance: David Garman
Children’s Committee: Hannah Branson
Development Committee: (absent)
Earthcare: David Duvall
Nominating: Paul Buckley
Personnel: Dinah Duvall and Steve Angell
Religious Nurture & Education: Rex Sprouse
Yearly Meeting Planning: Martha Viehmann Youth Services: David Hyde
Quarterly Meeting Clerks:
Miami: (currently vacant)
Whitewater: Christine Carver
Monthly Meeting representatives: (These names include those Friends who identified themselves over the course of the sessions as designated representatives of their respective monthly meetings.)
Bloomington: Rex Sprouse
Campus: Rhonda Pfaltzgraff-Carlson
Clear Creek: David Garman
Community: Lisa Cayard
Dayton: Nikki Coffey Tousley
Eastern Hills: Wilson Palmer
Fall Creek: Diann Herzog
Fort Wayne: Terre Holada
Lafayette: Karen Atchison
Lexington: Peter Hardy
Louisville: Laurene Scalf
Miami: Gretchen Stone and Phil Stone
North Meadow: Dinah Duvall
Oxford: Cecilia Shore
White Rose: (absent)
Yellow Springs: Bruce Heckman
Yearly Meeting staff:
Administrative Assistant: Susan Lee Barton
Youth Secretary: Adam Funck
Statistician: Rex Sprouse
Website Administrator: Daniel Day
Records Coordinator: Susan Hyde
Quaker Quill Editor: Cecilia Shore
Registrar: Eric Wolff
6. Introductions: The clerk asked Friends to introduce themselves, including those participating via Zoom. Friends welcomed two visitors: Norma Wallman, from Friends World Committee for Consultation, Section of the Americas, and Janice Domanik, representing Friends General Conference. The clerk then asked Zoom participants to raise their hand if they would like to speak, and to show something green to indicate approval.
7. Gratitude to Youth Workers: The clerk expressed gratitude to Adam Funck and Alondra Barera Garcia who will be working with the youth group, and the staff (Lupe Raab, Maria Hernandez, and Paz Santana) who will be working with the younger children.
8. Appointment of Visitor to youth business meeting: The clerk asked for a volunteer to visit the youth during their business meeting. Christine Carver offered to serve as the youth visitor.
9. Agenda Review: The clerk reviewed agenda items for the day. Friends APPROVED the agenda as proposed.
10. Epistle Summary: Rick Boyce presented the summary of Epistles received by Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting. Friends accepted the report.
11. State of Society Report: Rex Sprouse presented the Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting State of Society report, which summarized central themes of the individual reports of the monthly meetings. The complete report will be printed in the minute book. The report was accepted with gratitude.
12. Nominating Committee Initial Report: Paul Buckley presented the initial report from Nominating Committee. He noted that there is a full slate of officers, following a four-year rotation of clerks. Annual session roles were approved at the April Executive Committee, with the addition of Steve Angell on the Epistle Committee. Friends approved this nomination. There are still a few vacancies, which Nominating Committee will seek to fill during annual sessions. It was noted that Development Committee has never met, so Nominating Committee is recommending that this committee be laid down. Planning Committee has two new names of Friends who are returning to service on this committee. Religious Nurture and Education needs two additional members. Youth Services Committee has one new name. It has been challenging to find representatives from OVYM to other Quaker organizations, and Paul encouraged Friends to consider serving in one of these important roles to maintain connections with the wider Quaker world. Representatives to the Braddock Fund has two names for approval. It was noted that Friends Music Camp has not been held for three years, and they have been unable to hold the camp again this year. Sam Garman has agreed to serve on the Friends Music Camp Board as a Quaker representative. This organization is trying hard to reorganize after pandemic challenges. The full slate of nominations will be brought back for approval later in these sessions.
13. Introduction to Consent Agenda: In order to free up space on the agenda for business meeting sessions, the clerk explained the recommendation to accept a selected number of written reports that appear in the Reports in Advance without discussion on the floor of the Yearly Meeting. If there are concerns or a need for discussion regarding any of the reports, Friends are asked to let the clerk know before Saturday’s session. A list of these reports was shared. Friends were asked to read these Reports in Advance and contact the individual who wrote the report if they have any questions. Unless concerns are raised, it will be recommended that these reports be accepted without discussion.
14. Review and Approval of Minutes: The minutes were read, corrected, and approved.
15. Announcements: Susan Lee Barton called our attention to the documents available on the table for review, including paper copies of the directory and the reports in advance, which have names of those who requested them and names of each monthly meeting on them. These reports are also available on the yearly meeting website.
16. Closing Worship: The session closed at 4:40pm with a brief period of waiting worship. Friends will reconvene Sixth Month 15, 2023, at 10:00 am.
Sixth Month 15, 2023, 10:00 am – 12:15 pm
17. Opening worship: Friends gathered at the appointed hour in centering worship.
18. Clerk’s Introduction: The clerk welcomed Friends to the second day of annual sessions, with an invitation to be mindful of the ways we are already living in an ocean of light and love, in the New Jerusalem, encouraging us to be brave and live into a world of abundant gifts.
19. Roll Call of Representatives: The recording clerk called for representatives from monthly meetings not previously recorded to introduce themselves. The list of Friends who identified themselves over the course of the sessions as designated representatives of their respective monthly meetings is noted at the beginning of these minutes.
20. Introductions: The clerk asked all those in attendance to introduce themselves, including those participating via Zoom. Friends welcomed Della Stanley-Green representing Quaker Leadership Center at Earlham School of Religion. As a way of building spiritual community, the clerk asked us to share our favorite bird or insect with a person sitting nearby.
21. Letters of Introduction/Travel Minutes: The assistant clerk read a travel minute for Cai Quirk, who is traveling in the ministry with a message of spiritual and gender diversity among Friends under the care of Ithaca Monthly Meeting and New York Yearly Meeting. The clerk then read a letter of introduction for Norma Wallman, representing FWCC Section of the Americas Committee. Norma is available to nurture relationships with FWCC. Friends warmly welcomed these visitors.
22. Review of Agenda: The clerk added a few items to the agenda that was printed in advance reports. Friends APPROVED the agenda with these additions.
23. Whitewater Quarterly Meeting Report: Christine Carver, clerk of Whitewater Quarter, reported that three quarterly meetings were held in the past year, including a joint quarterly meeting at Happy Hollow in October. The experience of meeting in person was revitalizing to those who attended. Business included acting on a concern about a display of a Confederate flag at Levi Coffin Days in Fountain City, Indiana. The complete report is included in the minute book. The report was accepted.
24. Miami Quarterly Meeting Report: Peter Hardy, former clerk of Miami Quarter, reported that there were three quarterly meetings held in the past year. The joint meeting at Happy Hollow was the first in-person quarterly meeting since 2020, which was a great joy. Meeting virtually in the interim did make it possible to carry out important business and to share information among monthly meetings. Peter noted that after five years he has stepped down as clerk, and the quarterly meeting is seeking a new clerk. The complete report is included in the minute book. The report was accepted.
25. Spring Grove Trustees Report: J.P. Lund reported that Miami Quarterly Meeting holds a section of Spring Grove Cemetery, and there is a part of this section comprising about ten additional plots which has not yet been engineered. The cost of this engineering will be about $2,700. Miami Quarterly Meeting is establishing a fund to pay for this work, and donations are requested from all monthly meetings and individuals in OVYM. After the needed funds are collected and the work is completed, any remaining funds would be placed in the Benevolent Fund. Checks for donations can be made out to Miami Quarterly Meeting and mailed to Alice Palmer in Cincinnati. The full report is printed in the minute book. A suggestion was made to ask Budget and Finance Committee to consider contributing to this fund. Friends APPROVED this suggestion. In response to a question, it was clarified that anyone in OVYM and their family members may be interred at Spring Grove.
26. Report from Diann Herzog, Yearly Meeting Travel Minute: In 2022, the yearly meeting approved a travel minute for Diann Herzog to travel among OVYM meetings in order to stir up love and light and unity in the Spirit. Diann was invited to share with us some reflections on her travel. Diann shared that Jesus said, “If you love me, feed my sheep.” Diann’s modern interpretation is “if you love me, feed my cats!” She experiences the same hunger for love in herself and in others, and shared that we are all seeking to find sustenance in the life-giving power of God. Diann shared the travel minute that Fall Creek Monthly Meeting approved for her ministry. She has visited two monthly meetings so far, and she would welcome invitations to minister at other meetings. The report was accepted with gratitude.
27. Report from FWCC: Norma Wallman showed a map of the four sections of Friends World Committee for Consultation. She referred to the FWCC report which is printed in the minute book. Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting will be able to send an in-person representative to the upcoming World Plenary in 2024 which will be held in South Africa, as well as a representative who participates virtually. The theme is “Living the Spirit of Ubuntu: Responding with hope to God’s call to cherish Creation – and one another.” Norma is available to answer questions about the work of FWCC. The report was accepted.
28. Friends General Conference Report: Janice Domanik shared appreciation for the gifts that OVYM has given, including time and talents to the work of FGC. Three members of OVYM are serving as FGC staff, and financial support has also been greatly appreciated. Janice reflected on the gifts of young Friends that have been mentored and nurtured by FGC, including clerking, discerning about finances, and seeking the will of God in making decisions. These experiences can transform people’s lives. Janice shared about a campaign called “Gathering Together” to sustain the long-term vitality of the FGC Gathering, the Ministry on Racism, supporting youth ministries, and doing a better job of connecting yearly meetings. She is available to answer questions about the work of FGC. The report was accepted.
29. Administrative Assistant Job Description Update: Susan Lee Barton brought some proposed changes to her job description. The full text of the changes are included in the minute book. The proposed changes included:
- The position would consist of 347 hours of annual service (rather than 416) as included in the current contract.
- Clarifying the procedure for handbook updates that are factual rather than reflecting changes to the substance of a committee’s work.
- The Administrative Assistant would serve as the backup to the website administrator.
Friends APPROVED these proposed changes.
30. Review and approval of minutes: The Administrative Assistant would serve as the backup to the website administrator.
31. Announcements: Planning Committee would appreciate it if Friends would complete an evaluation either on paper or by using the QR code or on the website. Peggy Spohr encouraged Friends to shop at the bookstore. Cecilia Shore requested photos for the Quaker Quill.
32. Closing Worship: The session closed at 12:00 pm with a brief period of waiting worship. Friends will reconvene Sixth Month 15, 2023, at 3:30 pm.
Sixth Month 15, 2023, 3:30 pm- 5:00 pm
33. Opening worship: Friends gathered at the appointed hour in centering worship.
34. Clerk’s Introduction: The clerk welcomed Friends to the afternoon session. She reminded Friends that all of us practice spiritual discernment in the spirit of worship during business meetings, and thus we all participate in clerking the meeting together.
35. Roll Call of Representatives: The recording clerk called for committee clerks and representatives from monthly meetings not previously recorded to introduce themselves. The list of Friends who identified themselves over the course of the sessions as designated representatives of their respective monthly meetings is noted at the beginning of these minutes.
36. Introductions: The clerk asked Friends who were not present at the previous sessions to introduce themselves, including those participating via Zoom.
37. Agenda Review: The clerk reviewed the agenda, and added one additional item. Friends APPROVED the agenda with this revision.
38. Ad Hoc Restructuring Committee:
- Paul Buckley brought an initial report from the ad hoc committee with a proposal to lay down the Peace & Social Concerns Committee and the Earthcare Committee, and to instead create one or two Peace, Justice, Earthcare and Social Action coordinator positions. It was clarified that at this time the PJES Coordinator position is intended to be a volunteer position, to be named by nominating committee. In response to a question, the ad hoc committee explained that the proposal responds to concerns raised by monthly meetings that social action is primarily local, and that the role of yearly meeting is to support the work of the monthly meetings. The proposal also is intended to reduce redundancies and duplication of effort, since many committees are difficult to staff at this time.
- Rex Sprouse shared the ad hoc committee’s assessment of diverging concerns about the current structure and function of quarterly meetings. They did not have clarity to make a recommendation at this time. The clerk noted that it may be helpful to consider creating a new ad hoc committee to consider the future of our Quarterly Meetings.
- Another concern heard by the ad hoc committee was the need for enhanced intervisitation and communication among monthly meetings, but no proposal was brought forward to address this concern. It was suggested that this concern might be referred to Religious Nurture and Education Committee for consideration.
- Friends were advised to review the full report that was printed in advance, and to enter into discussion and discernment regarding possible options for moving forward during the next two days. The proposals will be brought back for action on Saturday. The entire report is included in the minute book.
- Great appreciation was expressed to the ad hoc committee for completing this challenging task.
39. Review and Approval of Minutes: The minutes for this session were reviewed, corrected, and approved.
40. Closing Worship: The session closed 5:00pm with a brief period of waiting worship. Friends will reconvene Sixth Month 16, 2023, at 10:00 am.
Sixth Month 16, 2023, 10:00 am – 12:15 pm
41. Opening worship: Friends gathered at the appointed hour in centering worship.
42. Clerk’s Introduction: The clerk welcomed Friends to the third day of annual sessions, and shared some reflections about spiritual mentors who have been important in our lives, and trusting that way will open. Friends were invited to share with one another about a spiritual mentor in our own lives as a way of deepening our spiritual community.
43. Roll Call of Representatives: The recording clerk called for representatives from monthly meetings not previously recorded to introduce themselves. The list of Friends who identified themselves over the course of the sessions as designated representatives of their respective monthly meetings is noted at the beginning of these minutes.
44. Introductions: The clerk asked Friends who were not present at the previous sessions to introduce themselves, including those participating via Zoom. Friends welcomed Megan Fair, representing Right Sharing of World Resources.
45. Agenda Review: The clerk added a few items that were not in the original printed agenda, and Friends APPROVED the revised agenda.
46. Treasurer’s Report: Wilson Palmer reported that financial support from constituent monthly meetings has been very strong this year. He referred to the proportional share, which is $120 per member, for each monthly meeting. Some meetings pay more than their proportional share to help with extra expenses, and many individuals also make additional contributions. As of the end of the third quarter, our assets have increased by 6.2% since March of 2022. Fiscally, over the long term, our finances are doing very well. In response to a question, Wilson explained that yearly meeting funds are held in Friends Fiduciary Corporation accounts that are invested in socially responsible and fossil-fuel free organizations that treat employees and communities with respect. The report was accepted with gratitude.
47. Budget & Finance: Wilson Palmer reported that the 2023-2024 budget was preliminarily approved by Executive Committee in April. The budget was available for review in the printed reports. It was noted that, although the budget does include a deficit, our expenses have historically resulted in a surplus of funds. Friends APPROVED the proposed 2023-2024 budget.
48. Statistician’s Report: Rex Sprouse expressed appreciation to the 13 monthly meetings that submitted statistical reports. Based on those reports, yearly meeting statistics overall remained very stable in the year 2022. Unfortunately, because three monthly meetings did not submit a statistical report this year, the overall report is not as complete as hoped. Rex expressed regret for being unable to present a full report, but he was assured that his integrity and faithfulness in service were deeply appreciated. Friends accepted the report. Gratitude was expressed to Frank Huss for his many years of faithful service as statistician for the yearly meeting.
49. Yearly Meeting Planning Committee: Ben Griffith and Martha Viehmann shared that the committee consisted of five members, plus the Youth Secretary, Children’s Program leaders, and the Registrar. The assistant clerk also participated in the Planning Committee this year. The work of the committee in preparing for annual sessions was explained, and Friends were invited to consider volunteering to serve on Planning Committee next year. The important work of the Registrar was also highlighted, and Friends were invited to consider taking on this role as well. Martha shared that this year, attendance at yearly meeting sessions was much larger, and we have filled the space at Mount St. Joseph University to capacity. If we return to this location next year, we will need to seek additional space to accommodate overnight participants. Earlham College has not been able to commit to a date for next year, and previously Wilmington College was not accommodating to our needs. Costs are also continuing to increase, and this may present a barrier to many Friends. It was recommended that the yearly meeting establish a scholarship fund to offset these increased costs as needed. Since the pandemic, annual sessions are now offered in a hybrid format, and the additional responsibility of setting up technology for virtual meetings has been a great challenge. COVID has significantly reduced the participation of families with children and youth. Another new challenge that has fallen to Planning Committee has been developing COVID policies for annual sessions. It has not been clarified that these responsibilities will become an ongoing part of Planning Committee’s work. Discussion included suggestions for offering alternate hospitality in Cincinnati to make it possible for us to return to Mount St. Joseph University. It was recommended that the concerns of Planning Committee should be brought to the August Executive Committee for further discernment. Friends APPROVED the recommendation to task Budget and Finance Committee with developing a proposal to address the need for a scholarship fund to support attendance at yearly meeting sessions, to be approved by Executive Committee before the next annual sessions. There was unity that we want to have a scholarship fund established. The report was accepted with gratitude.
50. Antiracism Queries Working Group: Cindi Goslee reported on the queries on inclusion that were approved by Executive Committee in February 2023. An ad hoc committee was appointed to write queries to encourage monthly meetings to examine their leadings and witness to become more inclusive and diverse, removing cultural barriers that might get in the way of welcoming people of color to our meetings. Monthly meetings are invited to consider these queries and to share the outcome of these discussions with Executive Committee. The report was accepted.
51. American Friends Service Committee: Jana Schroeder shared that she and Cindi Goslee are appointed to represent OVYM at AFSC events. They attended the annual meeting virtually. Jana shared some of the history of AFSC, and that current initiatives include immigration, prison reform, and economic justice. Often the work of the organization involves communities that are not primarily Quaker groups, but the focus and inspiration remains grounded in Quaker values. The report was accepted.
52. Child Abuse Prevention at Annual Sessions: At April Executive Committee, Friends asked the youth services committee and the children’s committee to develop an agreement with parents and older youth attending 2023 yearly meeting sessions regarding expectations for safety. The clerk shared a brief report from the Youth Secretary. Since only one child under 18 is attending overnight, and that child is rooming with a parent, the concern for overnight safety has not been a relevant issue this year. The report was accepted.
53. Review and Approval of Minutes: The minutes for this session were reviewed, corrected, and approved.
54. Announcements: Paulette Meier shared that she would welcome invitations to visit monthly meetings to provide workshops or presentations with her Quaker quotes set to music as part of her music ministry.
55. Closing Worship: The session closed at 12:15 pm with a brief period of waiting worship. Friends will reconvene Sixth Month 17, 2023 at 10:00 am.
Sixth Month 17, 2023, 10:00 am – 12:15 pm
56. Opening worship: Friends gathered at the appointed hour in centering worship.
57. Clerk’s Introduction: The clerk welcomed Friends to the fourth day of annual sessions. She shared a sense of excitement about how the spirit will lead us as we labor together in love today.
58. Roll Call of Representatives: The recording clerk called for representatives from monthly meetings not previously recorded to introduce themselves. The list of Friends who identified themselves over the course of the sessions as designated representatives of their respective monthly meetings is noted at the beginning of these minutes.
59. Introductions: The clerk asked Friends who were not present at the previous sessions to introduce themselves, including those participating via Zoom. Friends welcomed Sharon Goens-Bradley, who is representing the American Friends Service Committee. As a way of building our spiritual community, the clerk invited us to share with one another our favorite form of aquatic life.
60. Letter of Introduction: The assistant clerk read a letter of introduction for Sharon Goens-Bradley from the Quaker Engagement team of the American Friends Service Committee.
61. Agenda Review: The clerk reviewed the agenda for the morning session, which had one addition. The revised agenda was APPROVED.
62. Report from David and Susan Hyde on travels to Northern Ireland: The yearly meeting approved a travel minute for David and Susan in 2022. They visited Northern Ireland last summer, including Grange Meeting where Susan’s Hinshaw ancestors were members. They also visited the Irish Republic near Cork. Their travel minute was endorsed by the clerk of Grange Meeting.
63. Nominating Committee Final Report: Paul Buckley shared the final Nominating Committee report. The final report is included in the minute book. Names of those newly nominated to yearly meeting committees and representatives to other Quaker organizations were read aloud and shared on the screen. Friends APPROVED those names. There were no nominations to the Adult Young Friends committee.
- There was discussion about an individual who is listed as a representative to FWCC but who has withdrawn her membership from the Religious Society of Friends and who no longer attends meeting for worship. The clerk proposed that this name be removed from our list of yearly meeting representatives at this time. The clerks of Eastern Hills offered to contact this individual to inform her that she has been released from service, to thank her for her service, and invite future engagement. Friends APPROVED these actions.
- Nominating Committee recommended that Development Committee be laid down, since this committee has not met. It was clarified that there is not a great need for fundraising at this time. Friends APPROVED laying down this committee.
64. Ad Hoc Restructuring Committee Final Report: Paul Buckley brought forward the recommendations of the Restructuring Committee presented previously:
- Proposal to lay down the Peace & Social Concerns Committee and the Earthcare Committee, and to instead create one or two Peace, Justice, Earthcare and Social Action coordinator position(s). Friends shared their experiences on these committees, and expressed that the Earthcare Committee has been well staffed and has met regularly, and has a strong sense of purpose. Current members are willing to increase outreach to monthly meetings as part of the committee role. The Peace & Social Concerns Committee, however, has been mostly non-functional in recent years. It was clarified that the yearly meeting role is more appropriately to coordinate, empower and support the work of monthly meetings. There was support for the value of this role, and for giving someone the specific charge of connecting and supporting monthly meetings. There was concern, however, about losing the important role of Earthcare Committee of planning and carrying out workshops and leading initiatives at the yearly meeting level. There was also concern about asking an individual to take on what has been the work of two committees on a volunteer basis. The vital importance of improved communication among monthly meetings was lifted up.
- The clerk asked if there was unity to approve laying down the Peace and Social Concerns Committee, and Friends APPROVED this action, while maintaining the Earthcare Committee at the yearly meeting level.
- There was further discussion of the proposed Coordinator position. It was suggested that a volunteer Coordinator could be provided with support, but that a paid position would be difficult to fill. Support was expressed for creating a position for a passionate and committed volunteer who could serve an important role in supporting, encouraging and connecting the social action work of monthly meetings. It was further noted that part of this role is to be an organizer, and that it’s exciting that we are on the cusp of moving to a structure that could help build morale and energy for this important work. It was proposed that we could move ahead with creating this coordinator position as an experiment to support social justice work of monthly meetings, working in conjunction with the Earthcare Committee. Another proposal was made to assign the coordinator function to the Quarterly Meetings.
- Since there is still more work to be done, the clerk asked if a new ad hoc restructuring committee could be asked to continue the work that was begun on this task, as well as continuing to work on a recommendation regarding restructuring Quarterly Meetings. Friends APPROVED this recommendation. Nominating Committee will welcome volunteers to serve on the new ad hoc committee, as well as checking in with members of the current ad hoc committee to see if they want to continue.
65. Closing Worship: The session closed at 12:15 pm with a brief period of waiting worship. Friends will reconvene Sixth Month 18, 2023 at 10:00 am.
Sixth Month 18, 2023, 10:00 am – 11:00 am
66. Opening worship: Friends gathered at the appointed hour in centering worship.
67. Clerk’s Introduction: The clerk welcomed Friends to the final session of Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting’s 203rd annual sessions. She reflected on her gratitude for the way Friends have given each other grace during business meeting sessions this year as we worked together to complete our business.
68. Review of Agenda: The clerk reviewed some changes to the morning’s agenda. The revised agenda was APPROVED.
69. Roll Call of Representatives: The recording clerk called for representatives from monthly meetings not previously recorded to introduce themselves. The list of Friends who identified themselves over the course of the sessions as designated representatives of their respective monthly meetings is noted at the beginning of these minutes.
70. Introductions: The clerk asked Friends who were not present at the previous sessions to introduce themselves, including those participating via Zoom.
71. Review and Approval of Minutes: The minutes for the Saturday morning session were reviewed, corrected, and APPROVED.
72. Consent Agenda: The clerk asked for acceptance of all other reports submitted in advance without discussion:
- Young Adult Friends (Uta Brewington)
- Religious Nurture and Education (Rex Sprouse)
- Braddock Fund (Christine Snider, Wilhelmina Branson)
- Executive Committee (Rachel Ernst Stahlhut)
- Website Administrator (Daniel Day)
- Administrative Assistant (Susan Lee Barton)
- Records Coordinators (Susan Hyde, Karen Campbell)
- Youth Services Committee (David Hyde)
- Children’s Program (Hannah Branson)
- Prevention of Child Abuse Ad Hoc Committee (Susan Lee Barton)
- Earthcare Committee (David Duvall)
- Quaker Quill (Cecilia Shore)
- Personnel (Steve Angell, Dinah Duvall)
- Quaker Earthcare Witness (Allen McGrew)
It was noted that Carol Simmons has a letter from someone who has benefitted from the Braddock Fund. This letter will be included in the minute book.
Friends were encouraged to read all the reports printed in advance. Friends accepted these reports.
73. Registrar’s Report: Eric Wolff reported that a total of 111 adults over age 35 attended yearly meeting sessions, plus 13 young adult Friends age 18-35, 3 teens, and 5 children age 10 and under. There were 92 who attended in person, 16 visitors, and 17 attending via Zoom. It was clarified that Young Adult Friends and first time attenders only pay half price. The report was accepted with gratitude.
74. Report from visitor to youth business meetings: Christine Carver reported that she attended the youth business meeting on Thursday morning. Some young adults participated along with the teens. The youth shared ideas for planning activities that included bowling, roller skating, making bracelets, and practicing their skit for the variety show. Christine did not observe a review of rules or guidelines, and there didn’t seem to be any need for that. The youth interacted with respect and joy, modeling good Quaker practices. The report was accepted with gratitude.
75. 2024 Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting Annual Sessions/ Planning Committee: Ben Griffith and Martha Viehmann reported that the position for our contact with Mount Saint Joseph University has been discontinued, and it is not likely that this location will be available for rental for our group next year. Planning Committee will pursue Earlham College as our preferred location for next year’s sessions. Friends were asked to complete evaluations. The report was accepted.
76. Nominating Committee Update: Paul Buckley presented an updated report. They contacted current members of the Ad Hoc Restructuring Committee, and all but one will continue. Peter Hardy, Christine Carver, Al McGrew and Ben Griffith have volunteered to join this Ad Hoc Committee. Friends APPROVED these names. Paul Buckley will continue to clerk the Ad Hoc Committee.
77. 2023 Children’s Epistle: Hannah Branson presented the Children’s Program Epistle. The epistle was accepted.
78. Youth Epistle: Brian Garcia and Elana Branson, and shared the Youth Epistle. The epistle was accepted with appreciation.
79. Adult Epistle: Peter Hardy read the OVYM Epistle of the 203rd annual sessions. The epistle was APPROVED with gratitude.
80. Minutes of Appreciation:
- Appreciation was expressed to Paul Buckley for his leadership, wisdom, and insights on the Nominating Committee and the Ad Hoc Restructuring Committee.
- Appreciation was expressed for the child care workers and those who work so hard to plan activities for our children.
- Appreciation was expressed to Rachel Ernst Stahlhut, for her faithful and loving service as presiding clerk for the past two years.
- Appreciation was expressed to Ben Griffith for his tireless and faithful service as the Zoom technician, making it possible for Friends to participate virtually, as well as for his piano playing and organizing for singing together.
- Grateful appreciation was expressed to the members of Planning Committee: Martha Viehmann, Gloria Stearns-Bruner, Peter Hardy, Ben Griffith, and Beth Lewis for the huge labor of love that they gave to all of us.
- Appreciation was expressed to the staff and food service at Mount Saint Joseph University for providing for us during sessions.
- Appreciation was expressed to Lisa Cayard for her service as recording clerk.
81. Review and Approval of Minutes: The minutes for this session were reviewed, corrected, and approved.
82. Closing Worship: The session closed at 11:20 am and Friends moved to the Interfaith Chapel for Meeting for Worship. The Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting will reconvene in Sixth Month 2024 for the 204th annual sessions.