[saymaListserv] Wider Quaker Organizations

Susan Jeffers SusanJeffers at compuserve.com
Tue Jun 6 11:09:22 JEST 2000

>Back in the 1970s the Wider Quaker Organizations were
> usually given a limited time (five or ten minutes)to make
> their presentations.  Unfortunately, once a representative
> got the floor he or she would often go on and on for
> twenty or thirty minutes and they rest of us, being nice 
>polite Quakers, would sit there in distress watching our 
>schedule fall apart.  Business Meeting would then be 
>extended and the rest of the program was sacrificed.
>   I often wonder if we would support any of these groups 
>if they didn't have the "F" word in their title?

Interesting question.  I was assuming the organizations in
questions were FGC, FWCC, FCNL, AFSC, those type
groups, to which yearly meetings appoint representatives 
and in some cases (especially FGC) are the major source  
of financial support.  I know AFSC is controversial, but hadn't
thought the others would be.

I woke up this morning thinking about the 3 years I served
as a Yearly Meeting rep to FGC, and what a big disconnect
I felt between my participation in FGC  and my Yearly 
Meeting.  I tried to approach both worshipfully, seeking 
God's guidance, and really came to appreciate the role
of each of each group and the intended connection between
them -- namely me and the other YM reps.  

I also came to realize that, modern life being what it is,
almost no one has time to do this work worshipfully, and that
the point of connection (Yearly Meeting sessions) is 
especially stressed.

At FGC Central Committee meetings we'd all try to really 
represent our YMs, but I at least had never heard of
most of the issues until I started on Central Committee. And
I'd get big piles of handouts and requests to communicate
things back to the YM, and think and pray exactly how to 
proceed, knowing that most people attending YM wouldn't
know Thing One about FGC, any more than I had. It was 
very intense, lots of Central Committee discussions that
really needed to be seasoned by YM reflection. At YM, we 
reps would be lucky to get 5 or 10 minutes in Business Meeting
for a report (yes, some of us did run over), and the YM
would rotate year-to-year having a more substantial 
presentation by one organization, usually during or after
breakfast on the last day, which would be mostly attended
by older people, who had served as reps to that organization
themselves in the past and so knew some names and faces.

I don't know what the answer is.  Information overload is so
severe in most peoples lives that it seems absurd to add to 
it.  On the other hand, it's a matter of discernment, which
information and activity we give time to -- within YM sessions 
and outside them.  

Someone once said that Friends Meetings should only 
undertake as much business as they can conduct worshipfully.

I'll be holding SAYMA in prayer this weekend, and I ask 
y'all to do the same for Lake Erie Yearly Meeting the following

Susan Jeffers
member, Ann Arbor Monthly Meeting, Lake Erie Yearly Meeting
attender, Charleston (WV) Monthly Meeting, SAYMA

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