[saymaListserv] What should we call an Oversight Committee?

Evdavwes at aol.com Evdavwes at aol.com
Sat Mar 11 07:47:01 JEST 2006

Dear SAYMA Friends,
I thought some of you might have some ideas about this.
I am on an ad hoc committee creating a procedure for marriage for Asheville  
Friends Meeting.  Our Meeting has in the past made marriage  decisions on a 
case-by-case basis.  We have not had an official procedure,  but we have been 
aware of and sometimes cite SAYMA's Faith and Practice for  guidance without 
having agreed that it will be "our procedure."
Traditionally among friends the "Oversight Committee for marriage" oversees  
the ceremony.  We are uncomfortable with the words "overseer" and  
"oversight."  They describe well what is intended by an "oversight  committee," but, as 
Friends may be aware, they are rejected by many  African-American Friends 
because of their connotation regarding  slavery.
I wish the slavemasters had appointed "supervisors" or "managers" or  
"bosses" or "executive assistants" instead of "overseers."
So what other words are there that we might use to describe the Committee  
that carries out a marriage?  Supervision, Guidance, Eldering, Steering,  
Support?  Sometimes we have used the phrase "Support Committee" to  describe a com
mittee that should be giving Guidance and Eldering to the person  who is the 
focus of the Committee.  But "Support" leaves out so much that  is important to 
Friends -- the sense that one is not acting alone, but with the  Guidance and 
Support of others who are seeking together to find the will of  God.
I'd love to have any thoughts on this, whether privately or on this  list.
In Friendship,
David Clements

David Clements, Evan  Richardson, Wesley Clements, Lila Richardson
43 Vermont Court,  #G24
Asheville, NC 28806
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