IMP^o^050 AFSC Forum Summary/Minute

Mary Calhoun moriah at preferred.com
Fri Mar 24 14:52:25 JEST 2000


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IMP ^o^ Bulletin 050
Summary and Minute:  Atlanta Friends Meeting
Forum on Relationship of AFSC and SAYMA
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(from e-mail from Beth Ensign and Courtney Siceloff, 3-19-00)


<|>  "what follows is a minute approved by Atlanta Friends Meeting at third
month meeting for business." (Beth Ensign)

<|>  "Forum Held at the Atlanta Meeting on the Relationship of AFSC and
SAYMA

<|>  "A forum on AFSC and its relationship with the Yearly Meeting (SAYMA)
was held on October 24, 1999.  Present were 28 members/attenders of the
Atlanta Meeting and three regional office (SERO) representatives.
    "SAYMA  had requested feedback from Meetings in regard to the
SAYMA/AFSC relationship.  Currently SAYMA contributes $800 annually to AFSC,
and sends 2 of 3 allocated representatives to the AFSC Corporation, as well
as a representative to the SERO executive committee.  The co-clerk of SERO
sits on the National AFSC Board by virtue of the position.  There are four
other National Board Members from the region, including James Fletcher from
the Atlanta Meeting.  There is a proposal that SAYMA withdraw its
contribution to AFSC.
    "In self-introductions of those present, a number had had an extensive
relationship with AFSC as volunteers and/or staff.  Others indicated that
they know little about the organization.  Three persons not in attendance
sent messages giving their opinions; two were critical and one was
supportive.
    "There was an opportunity to express concerns and support about the
organization.  The concerns included that few Quakers are currently on
staff, that some did not know what programs AFSC had undertaken, and  that
affirmative action procedures used by AFSC precluded a substantial number of
Quakers on the staff.  There was mention that AFSC no longer conducts
workcamps for young people, that AFSC has little connection with Monthly
Meetings, and it appeared that decisions on programs were strongly
influenced by staff rather than the Board. A concern was expressed that AFSC
has become an amorphous organization, spending too much time, money and
energy on organizational and personnel matters at the expense of focusing on
its raison d'etre: program work.
    "Others felt that AFSC provided opportunities  for individuals to
support Quaker testimonies through the support of AFSC domestic and
international programs, and provided an outlet for the Meeting First Day
students to make concrete connection in relieving suffering, as in kits for
Iraqi children impacted by sanctions.  There was an opportunity for persons
from Meeting to serve on SERO program committees, as well as for young
people to participate in the nonviolence program of Help Increase the Peace
(HIP) led by a young man who grew up in the Meeting.  One person expressed
pleasure that AFSC's affirmative action program made certain that the staff
achieved and maintained a balance of minorities, females and gays and
lesbians.  The requirement that AFSC staff be committed to the principles of
nonviolence and peaceful resolution of conflict was seen as positive.
    "There was no attempt to come up with a concluding statement or
recommendation. No one called for withdrawing SAYMA funds to AFSC.  Some
expressed a need for SERO to relate more closely to Meetings,  so  that
Friends may learn more about the SERO programs.  Others expressed
appreciation for a Quaker agency involved in social and economic issues in
which individuals could be a part.*

<|>  "The Atlanta Meeting encourages SAYMA to continue funding of AFSC at
$800 or more per year, to select representatives to the SERO and national
office to participate in the administration of the agency, as well as to
convey concerns and support of SAYMA Meetings. We acknowledge and encourage
the positive efforts that have been made by AFSC in response to concerns
expressed by SAYMA.  Likewise, we encourage SAYMA to participate more
actively in the governance of AFSC, including filling SAYMA's vacancy on the
Corporation.

<|>  "Forum summary prepared by committee of participants: Beth Ensign, Jack
Honderd, Dan Hungerford, Bill Jenkins, Courtney Siceloff.

<|>  "*Note on followup:  It is the understanding of Courtney Siceloff that
Charles Zoeller, former interim SERO director, took the forum comments to
include in the strategic planning process, and that these, along with the
comments from other Meetings, are being taken seriously in that process."

~~~~~~~end ^o^ ~~~~~~
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Please address corrections and additions to moriah at preferred.com,
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Abingdon, VA 24210.  Thank you! ^o^ Mary Calhoun, AA
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