Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting Executive Committee Meeting Minutes
Eleventh Month 5, 2022
1. Opening Worship: The meeting opened with centering worship at 12:00 pm.
2. Introductions: Rachel Ernst Stahlhut, presiding clerk, invited Friends to introduce ourselves and to share how we are in spirit as a way to help build our spiritual community and get to know each other.
3. 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: Cathy Habschmidt
Auditing: Cathy Habschmidt
Braddock Fund: Steve Angell
Budget & Finance: Wilson Palmer
Children’s Committee: Susan Hyde
Development Committee: absent
Nominating: Paul Buckley
Peace & Social Concerns: absent
Personnel: Steve Angell
Religious Nurture & Education: Rex Sprouse
Yearly Meeting Planning: Ben Griffith and Martha Viehmann
Young Adult Friends: absent
Youth Services: David Hyde
Quarterly Meeting Clerks:
Miami: Peter Hardy
Whitewater: Christine Carver
Monthly Meeting representatives:
Bloomington: Rex Sprouse
Clear Creek: Cathy Habschmidt
Community: Eric Wolff
Dayton: Nikki Coffee Tousley
Eastern Hills: Wilson Palmer
Fall Creek: Daniel Day
Fort Wayne: MaryAnna Feitler
Lexington: Richard Mitchell, Betsy Neale
Louisville: Chris Harmer
Miami: Jeanette Rockwell
North Meadow: Dinah Duvall
Oxford: Cecilia Shore
White Rose: absent
Yellow Springs: Annie Blanchard
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
Publications Coordinator: Richard Mitchell
Registrar: Eric Wolff
4. Agenda review: The Clerk reviewed some changes in the agenda. The agenda was accepted with changes. The Clerk shared the color-coded system for indicating a request to speak, a question to raise, or approval.
5. Treasurer’s Report: Wilson Palmer provided a spreadsheet and written report in advance for Friends to review, and a question was raised regarding the deficit proposed in the budget if spending goes as planned. Wilson clarified that expenses are budgeted to be $6,560 more than income for the fiscal year. Gratitude was expressed for Wilson’s faithful work. The report was accepted.
6. Handbook Update for Budget & Finance Committee: Wilson Palmer, speaking for David Garman, the clerk of Budget & Finance Committee, presented a proposed revision to the OVYM Handbook description of Budget & Finance Committee, adding the responsibility of this committee to oversee and support the work of the Treasurer. The update was APPROVED. (Handbook section with approved changes attached below.
7. Auditing Committee: The committee provided a written report in advance for Friends to review. Cathy Habschmidt shared that the audit committee found everything in good order, and that Veronica Frost has kept the work of the Auditing Committee very organized. Cathy clarified that since she is not doing any bookkeeping in her current role as Assistant Treasurer, there was not a conflict in her participating in the audit. The report was accepted.
8. Demographic Data Report to Friends General Conference:: Susan Lee Barton presented the request from FGC for demographic data. This request came out of the work of FGC on anti-racism, as a strategy toward becoming an anti-racist organization. The data would serve as a benchmark to measure our progress in becoming more inclusive. This would include data on age, gender, race, and ethnicity to be reported on the monthly meetings’ annual statistical report. A question was raised about how monthly meetings would collect this data, which would involve a fair amount of work. A questionnaire for individual members to complete might be helpful. It was clarified that the statistics are being collected for both members and attenders. It was noted that when monthly meetings were asked about collecting this information in the past, there was quite a bit of hesitancy. It was clarified that anyone who does not want to participate would be able to decline sharing this information. A strong objection was raised to this request based on a conviction that Friends are one in Christ and should not be identified or separated by race, gender, etc. Caution was urged in being tender and clear with each other, and not rushing into this process. A suggestion was made that since we are not in unity in supporting this request, it might be more productive to find another strategy toward the goal of anti-racism with which we can unite. A perspective was shared, that Friends who identify as part of a group that experiences exclusion or prejudice often feel strongly about being seen and heard, and having their experience acknowledged. Without finding unity on this request for collecting demographic data, we sought another way forward. A suggestion was made that we need to get to know one another better, rather than placing one another in “boxes” that we may not be comfortable being open about. We were urged to be open to change and to center ourselves in love as we work toward becoming an anti-racist community. A suggestion was made to develop a few queries to encourage and support meetings in addressing the questions of becoming a more inclusive community. Friends APPROVED this suggestion. Barry Zalph, Chris Harmer, and Betsy Neale volunteered to draft these queries.
9. Handbook Revision for Administrative Assistant Job Description: Rachel Ernst Stahlhut presented a proposed revision to the OVYM Handbook, removing the sentence that the Administrative Assistant would take on all functions of the OVYM newsletter when there is no editor. She noted that the Administrative Assistant already has a heavy load, and as her supervisor, she wanted to protect her from this added heavy responsibility. A concern was raised that the OVYM newsletter is a critical form of communication, and that if there is no editor we need another way to ensure this communication takes place. A suggestion was made to create an assistant newsletter editor position instead. Another suggestion was made that, if the newsletter editor was not able to complete their task, other means of electronic communication could carry the yearly meeting over until a new editor could be named. There was a question and a clarification about how the Administrative Assistant’s pay is calculated, based on a record of hours worked over the year. The additional hours that would be required to put out the newsletter would be uncompensated time for this position. After some discussion, Friends APPROVED the proposed revision to the Handbook, without creating an assistant newsletter editor position. Two Friends stood aside from this decision.
10. Planning Committee: Martha Viehmann reported that OVYM Annual Sessions will be held June 14-18 2023, at Mount Saint Joseph University in Cincinnati. The theme will be “Finding Our Way: Your Gifts Are Needed.” Two plenary speakers have been contacted. One has accepted so far, Cai Quirk, an artist who is known to Bloomington Meeting. The report was accepted with gratitude for the committee’s hard work.
11. Nominating Committee: Paul Buckley reported that the committee is working hard, and they are having discussion about challenges in finding young adult Friends who are interested in participating on a Young Adult Friends Committee. Only one young Friend has expressed interest. They wonder if Friends in this age group may be in need of more pastoral care, so the concern has been passed on to Religious Nurture and Education Committee. The report was accepted.
12. Travel Minute for Diann Herzog: Rex Sprouse presented a travel minute for Diann Herzog. Diann’s monthly meeting, Fall Creek, brought the travel minute to Whitewater Quarter, which has approved the travel minute for endorsement. Diann is seeking support for travel within Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting to stir up love and light and unity in the Spirit in the current darkness of our times. Friends APPROVED endorsing this travel minute on behalf of OVYM Executive Committee. (Minute attached below.)
13. Braddock Fund Committee: Stephen Angell provided a report in advance for Friends to review. The committee has approved one grant of $3,000 in the past year. This report was accepted.
14. Youth Secretary Updates: Adam Funck reported that five youth attended Joint Quarterly Meeting at Happy Hollow. The youth ranged in age from 9 to 19, and they had a wonderful time. Youth came from Fall Creek, Dayton, and Clear Creek monthly meetings, and all were new to attending Quarterly Meeting. They are looking forward to other gatherings. Some older youth will be invited to attend the Quake that Rocked the Midwest in January, and a youth gathering will also be held at Miami Quarterly Meeting in January. The Youth Committee helped brainstorm some potential new committee members among parents of the youth. Friends were invited to encourage youth in our meetings to attend Quarterly Meetings. The report was accepted.
15. Announcements: Rex Sprouse shared that the workshop on clerking and business “Listening to Spirit: Clerking and Community” planned by Religious Nurture and Education has been postponed until spring.
16. Upcoming Executive Committee Dates:
- February 4, 2023, 12-4pm, hybrid in-person and Zoom
- April 1, 2023, 12-4pm, hybrid in-person and Zoom