Like the yearly meeting quilt, Annual Sessions knits together Friends everywhere. Saturday August 1st began with worship and All Together Time where we all made a haiku poem. This was followed by Youth Programs, then a lunch break. The afternoon featured a Bible study class with Chris Mohr and George Schaefer. At 2:00 the PYM community convened 102 Friends for a meeting for business. It included a review of the budget, and nominations for the positions of Clerk, rising clerk and other roles. Minutes follow:
340th Annual Sessions Philadelphia Yearly Meeting
Held by Zoom video conference, Saturday, August 1, 2020
Jonathan Rhoads, alternate clerk, serving as clerk
Introductions: Clerk asked clerks group, elders, pastoral care team members, visitors and first-time attenders to introduce themselves. Visitors included Bobby Trice from FCNL, BYM; and Tom Roberts, Western YM. Christie Duncan-Tessmer clarified the procedures for Zoom. We settled into worship for a few minutes. Jonathon then called on Andrew Anderson, treasurer.
Budget: Andrew Anderson told us that he and Linell McCurry, associate secretary for business and finances, did extra work this year—including a Zoom plenary session to allow people to ask questions, and an article they wrote to put everything into perspective.
He started with a slide presentation, to give us an overview. This included a subtle request for contributions. Andrew then read some of the article “PYM’s Budget: Planning Our Work & Working our Plan” that appeared in the Summer issue of PYM News Flash. He told us that, with a great deal of work, PYM has joined Friends Fiduciary Corporation in creation of a 1-million-dollar Investment Reinvestment Fund. Linell told us that we received a PPP loan from the government, which was spent as anticipated—8 weeks of payroll. The major piece of our income comes from support from Meetings (covenant) which is projected to reduce by 1% in 2021. Christie explained to us that every 3 years there is a review of staff salaries to make sure everything is fair and equitable, which happened last year. The Admin Council did benchmarks this year for the senior level employees. The pension plan is 96% funded and, because of positive moves in the stock market, we received a break on assessment. And a healthy cushion was added to the budget for health care costs.
A Friend asked about the benchmarking for salaries. Linell explained that there is an outside agency to provide information and comparisons with other non-profit organizations in Philadelphia with similar sized budgets. In response to a question about equity screens in our process for benchmarking wages, Christie responded that currently equity is assessed in the review of the pattern of changes that are required only. She shared with Friends that a next step of the ongoing work on the staff handbook that can be addressed and stated that she welcomed input, resources and tools. Christie announced that Oskar Castro will join our organization as Director of Human Resources and Inclusion in September.
Jonathan explained that in this video conference format, we need to look primarily for objections as we seek approval. He asked us to electronically raise our hands and found approval for the budget.
Nominating Council: Melissa Rycroft expressed appreciation for the flexibility to make it possible to meet electronically. She then showed us a list of members of the Council and thanked them all for their hard work this year.
Melissa then turned it over to Elizabeth Bayardi, recording clerk of the Council, to present the proposed individuals for presiding clerk, which she explained is now presumed to be a job that takes 12 hours per month. There is now a two-year term for presiding clerk and rising clerk. Nominees Jean-Marie Prestwidge Barch and Frank Barch are nominated to serve as co-clerks in the single position of clerk. Meeting approved.
Elizabeth then told us Melissa Rycroft is nominated to be rising clerk, and explained that she has done a wonderful job as clerk of Nominating Council. Meeting approved this nomination.
Melissa then gave us Andrew Anderson as nominee for treasurer, which was approved. The recording clerks, Jim Herr and Kri Burkander were nominated and approved as recording clerks for two more years. James Waddington was nominated and approved as clerk of Administrative Council for a 3-year term. Anthony Stover was nominated to move from acting clerk of Quaker Life Council to formal clerk with a term through 2023. This nomination was approved.
Melissa then gave us groups of nominees from the attached list. Five names were given for Administrative Council, and were approved. Three people were nominated and approved for Quaker Life Council. Five people were approved for service as elders. Melissa then gave us lists of people nominated to serve PYM as representatives to outside organizations including FGC, FWCC, and FCNL. These were approved. She then gave us a list of affiliated organizations with PYM members on their boards and we accepted the list.
Melissa went through a list of releases: Chris Lucca, presiding clerk; Jonathan Rhoads, alternate clerk; Terri Whiteford, clerk of administrative council; Amy Taylor Brooks, clerk of Quaker Life Council; Melissa Rycroft, clerk of nominating council. She also read to us the list of people who have fulfilled their last terms and are, therefore, released. Melissa said it is particularly difficult to release all these people, and we accepted the list.
A Friend expressed great appreciation for the strength and gifts of the people brought forward by Nominating Council this year.
Admin Council: Terri Whiteford started off by expressing great appreciation for Melissa Rycroft in her role as clerk of Nominating Council. The vast majority of members of Nominating Council are appointed by the Quarters, but Administrative Council is responsible to bring at-large members. Today, Terri said they bring forth Suzanne Day to serve a term as one of the at-large seats. This was approved.
Terri then read the attached minute from the clerks group of great appreciation for the work of the staff to make this meeting so successful.
These minutes were read, corrected, and approved.
Please note that attachments are not yet added but will be included in final postings.