Veronica Barron, Jan Nisenbaum, Tom Sander, Jonathan Vogel-Borne
Dear FMC Community
We are now eight months into our year of reflection on FMC’s future staffing needs. The Imagining Faithful Structures Working Group is mulling over the results of their recent survey to see how they are led to come up with a plan for the future. We had originally thought that this process would take a year, but it appears that we will need to go into a second year of discernment. It is clear to the Coordinating Team that this team, or some other similar configuration, is necessary for the executive functioning of the Meeting.
After meeting every other week since July, the Team offers the following observations:
The functions that the Coordinating Team has focused on are not identical to what Resident Friend was doing: As a group we are doing less pastoral care, putting a greater focus on supervision, integrating newcomers, and more strategic thinking about the Meeting.
The Coordinating Team structure, while largely invisible to FMC, has worked well but we are not sure that it is replicable because of the high level of experience among the current team members and the large amount of volunteer time it takes to serve on the team. The meeting at large may not necessarily know what needs to be done (and that’s okay!), but will feel it if this group was not doing its functions and certain things don’t get done.
Our group has only committed to serve through June 30, 2021 and any extension of that would require a request to those serving to see if they would serve until a later date. While not yet formally asked to continue, the Coordinating Team members are each considering whether they will continue service past the end of our fiscal year on June 30th, if asked to by the clerks team.
We think a group approach has worked well where the group coordinates well and where each person on the group, in their role, is working on issues they are well-skilled in.
Having a single person to shepherd the experience of newcomers seems beneficial (as opposed to relying solely on committees).
Jan, Tom, Veronica, and Jonathan + Debby Colgan (from Clerks Team)
About Our Roles
Our meeting decided to take the coming year to reflect on what we want and need in terms of staffing. In this interim year of reflection, many of the core responsibilities once held by the Resident Friend will be now shared among a four-person team for the coming year—the FMC Coordinating Team!
As Staff Coordinator, Jan Nisenbaum supervises FMC staff and works with the First Day School, office operations, and facilities committees.
As Finance Coordinator, Tom Sander oversees the FMC budget, monitors expenditures, and works with the finance subcommittee of Trustees.
As Welcome Coordinator/”Friendly Presence”, Veronica Barron works on outreach + inreach to help folks connect more deeply with the meeting, and works with the Fellowship & Outreach committee, the Adult Education Working Group, and Young Adult Friends.
As Communications Coordinator, Jonathan Vogel-Borne helps connect the dots between the work done by FMC’s various committees, working with the clerks team and others.
In short: if there’s something for which you used to turn to the Resident Friend, reach out to the FMC Interim Coordinating Team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org!
Short Bios of the Team
Veronica Barron is a non-theist Friend who started attending Friends Meeting at Cambridge in 2015, never having previously participated in a spiritual or faith community. She is a communications professional for a music conservatory, a performing artist working domestically and internationally as a puppeteer, actor, and composer, and a community leader for a radically inclusive brass band and dance troupe. She grew up in Seattle, Amsterdam, and Florida, and since 2007 has lived in Cambridge with her bicycle, Papaya.
Jan Nisenbaum has been an active member at FMC for over 30 years, serving as Co-Presiding Clerk, and representative to Ministry & Counsel, Trustees, Pastoral Care Team, Personnel, Fellowship & Outreach, and the Ad Hoc Financial Priorities group.
Her professional experience as a Social Worker included roles at the Department of Mental Health and Department of Children and Families, as well other as other non-profit agencies. The focus of her work has been on Secondary Trauma, child welfare and mental health clinical practices, organizational and program development, training and quality improvement.
Tom Sander has been a member of FMC since birth (those baby Jesus days!) and comes from Quakers that stretch back to the 1700s in New Jersey. For the Meeting he has served on Trustees, Ministry & Counsel, Peace and Social Concerns, Fundraising, and has been a co-Clerk of the Meeting, among other responsibilities. He looks forward to cooking soup and constructing salads for the community on First Days again.
When Tom is not working for the Meeting he has helped led research teams looking into the decline of social and civic connections in America, the role of religion in America and the growing opportunity gap between rich and poor. He serves his town (Lincoln, MA) on Finance Committee and on the Community Preservation Committee and the Water Board. He enjoys hiking, cooking, traveling, and puzzles. He has not yet named his bicycle.
Jonathan Vogel-Borne and his spouse Minga Claggett-Borne were invited to come to Friends Meeting at Cambridge to serve as Resident Friends from 1985–1990. Growing up in a Friends family in California, Jonathan has traveled widely across the full Quaker spectrum, from evangelical to liberal. His ministry is to seek deeper unity and a clarity of vision and witness among all peoples. Jonathan was the lead staff person at New England Yearly Meeting from 1991 to 2013. In addition to serving on the FMC Coordinating Team, he is also assistant clerk of the Meeting and clerk of Friends Peace Teams, an international Quaker organization promoting justice and healing. Jonathan’s paid work is as a graphic artist / website developer. He also loves group singing and plays violin, guitar, and electric bass.