COURTNEY SICELOFF csiceloff at mindspring.com
Sun Jun 3 21:25:01 JEST 2001

The attached was a report of a forum on October 24, 1999 on the subject of 
the relationship between SAYMA meetings and AFSC/SERO.  SAYMA had requested 
Meetings  to discuss the relationship and report on the ensuing discussion.
courtney siceloff

                                     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 
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.

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