Discerning FMC’s Future Financial Priorities
Friends Meeting at Cambridge has had deficit operating budgets for the last several years. This was by design the last five years, as we conducted the Beneficial Cycle experiment to bring more vitality to the meeting. However, our financial reserves will not allow us to continue this practice much longer. As a result, we are in the midst of a process to discern our priorities for a financially sound future.
This is what we have learned so far:
NOTES FROM THE JANUARY DISCERNMENT SESSION: Twenty-three Friends gathered on the afternoon of Saturday 19th January to consider recommendations related to FMC Contributions to Other Agencies. The three hours they shared included a lunch provided by the Ad-hoc Committee and extensive discussion about the issue. A summary of the conclusions reached, which will be subjects of future discernment, included the following:
- To cut any contributions to non-local, non-Quaker organizations. Some said the list of reductions/cuts should include even more on the list.
- There needs to be real vetting and review of any and all contributions.
- We need to think more clearly about how our NEYM contribution is based on “old numbers” in terms of members and we need to seriously look at the number of folks who contribute and who we “count as members?”
- To decrease our NEYM contribution, but as a piece of a larger picture. We need to give NEYM notice if we are going to reduce our contribution. Consider % reduction over 3 years.
NOTES FROM THE FEBRUARY DISCERNMENT SESSION: Forty-two Friends gathered on the afternoon of Sunday 24th February to consider recommendations related to Reducing Facility Costs and Increasing Facilities Revenues. During the two-hour session they spoke of many options including sharing our facilities with others, raising facility rental fees, publicizing our facilities more, and making sure our facilities are as environmental-friendly as possible. They then formed several working groups to study possible actions.
What’s happening in upcoming months:
The Ad-hoc Committee has scheduled additional sessions over four afternoons this Spring. Each of the sessions will provide an opportunity to discern FMC priorities for the future as we consider each of the topics. We hope Friends will place them on their calendars and take part in this important process. The schedule (with the topics of the sessions subject to change as the process continues) is as follows:
- Sunday 24th March 1:15 – 3:15pm Increase Revenue II
- Sunday 28th April 1:15 – 3:15pm Increasing Individual Contributions
- Saturday 18th May Noon – 3pm FMC Staffing I
- Sunday 2nd June 1:15 – 3:15 FMC Staffing II
Childcare will be provided at all sessions. Lunch will be provided at the Saturday session.
Midwinter Dance Fundraiser
Thanks again to Opposite People (including our own Andrea Condit) that played their great Afro beat and groove music while everyone danced and joined in community revelry! This year’s Mid-Winter Dance Fundraiser on February 7 for the Material Aid and Advocacy Program (located in the basement of our Meetinghouse) raised more than $700. The Marriage Family and Relationships Committee that sponsored the dance hopes that this it can become an annual event.
FMC Climate Questionnaire. Please respond!
Cambridge Quaker Earthcare Witness (CQEW) is circulating a questionnaire to learn more about our Meeting community (both members and attenders) with regard to Climate Disruption. The information will be compiled and shared within the FMC community, providing a broad picture of how our community regards this concern. The information gleaned from this questionnaire will help CQEW plan how to better serve the community.
Drop off your replies in the box outside the FMC Office or through the Office mail slot or email them to Mary Gilbert at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is the questionnaire. Thank you for your feedback!
March Reflection Questions: Faithfulness/Leadings
These queries will be considered at the March 24 Forum on the Faithfulness/Leadings chapter (pages 98-119) in the book Our Life is Love by Marcelle Martin.
- What leadings have you experienced about how to live?
- When have you felt led by the Spirit to undertake a particular action, big or small?
- How have you responded to leadings? Have you resisted a leading?
- How did you know you were experiencing a leading from God and not being motivated by something else?
- What helps you test a leading and respond faithfully?
- If you followed your leading, what were the fruits?
- Have you participated in a leading that was for the community?
Copies of the book are available in the FMC Library. All are welcome. You don’t need to have read the chapter in advance of the Forum.
Salem Quarterly Meeting Grant Applications
Deadline: March 31, 2019
Each fall and spring Salem Quarterly Meeting (which includes Friends Meeting at Cambridge) awards small grants (up to $1000) to fund work/ministry that arises from the meetings of the Quarter, nourishes and encourages a vital spiritual condition in those meetings, and strengthens bonds between them. The spring Salem Fund Grant Applications are due on March 31, 2019.
New England Yearly Meeting Student Scholarship Grants
Application deadline: May 15, 2019
New England Yearly Meeting (NEYM) offers grants to students of any age enrolled in post-secondary educational or professional training programs, whether full- or part-time. Awardees are eligible on the basis of spiritual connection to the Religious Society of Friends and participation in NEYM.
You do not have to be a member of a monthly meeting to apply, but you must be committed to Friends’ principles and willing to share the role of Quakerism in your life. You should be able to describe in your personal essay what draws you to Quakerism, whether you are an attender or member of a meeting or otherwise connected to Friends. Your references should be chosen carefully to speak to your commitment to Friends principles and your prior participation in the NEYM community.
To apply, complete the Student Financial Assistance application, including a personal statement and two letters of recommendation, one of which must come from the clerk of your Monthly Meeting, a representative of NEYM (for example, a youth programs coordinator or Quaker camp administrator), or a Quaker school teacher or administrator.
For questions and final submission of the application by the May 15th deadline, please contact the NEYM Student Scholarship Grants Committee: email@example.com. Ian Harrington (FMC’s Co-Presiding Clerk) is a member of that committee.
Remember to Spare the Floors
Wear slippers inside at FMC and make a fashion statement! This is a gentle reminder to bring slippers to Meeting to save the wear and tear on our floors and rugs, especially during wet and/or snowy days. We do not wish to cause hardship for anyone, but for those of us able to bring a change of footgear, every little bit helps. Some slippers to borrow are available in the Meetinghouse and in the entryway to the Friends Center. Put your wet/salty/snowy footwear in the plastic trays.
Amateur Photographers Wanted
Capture moments that are special to you at FMC—committee meetings and activities, forums, lunch, seasonal changes in the gardens, and special events–and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org for publication on Facebook and our website. Before you shoot, though, be sure to ask any subjects if they are comfortable being included in a publication photo. Children need their parents’ written consent before being photographed.
Member Lucie Jarkovská writes, “There is not a day I do not think of FMC. We are great. I work at the University in the Institute for Research of Inclusive Education and the team is very nice and the head of the department very supportive. Emil is a first grader this year. He likes his classmates and is very excited about many lessons like ozobots (some kind of robots), yoga, singing or school journal, but he is slightly resistant to the teacher´s ideas on how to educate him. Any exercise he has in his textbook he either refuses to do or changes the instructions. Fortunately, the teacher is very understanding. Ota is a very relaxed kid. My mom took him skiing last week. I hope I will have a chance to come to Cambridge and see all of you. I send my love to all FMC.
“I continue to work on the book project that I started at FMC. I was collecting children’s books thematizing social issues such as gender and cultural diversity. I donated them to the Brno public library. Later I got money through Czech Quakers to buy more books of this kind and we have already organized two readings with children in the Library.
“If you ever visit the Czech Republic or Vienna (that is close to Brno), don´t hesitate to contact me.”
Contact the office for Lucie’s address.
During March our member Elizabeth (Minga) Claggett-Borne is traveling to the border between the United States and Mexico at Tijuana/San Diego with a leading to witness. She carries a concern for refugees and wants to continue our Meeting’s covenant to provide Sanctuary for those who are threatened. She will then join the Friends World Committee on Consultation (FWCC) Traveling Ministry Corps.
Before she left she wrote a blog entry about her upcoming trip. You can read the full entry here (and subscribe to get more updates).
Here is an excerpt:
Go and come back. Go forward and see. Pray and listen. Come home and share. Breathe it in and breathe it out. Love through hate. Hope in darkness. In March I will live for a few weeks near refugees, and hear their stories in the hot sidewalks of Tijuana/San Deigo. On quick appraisal, traveling to the Mexico border is foolish. My spouse asks if I’m going to the border or to the edge? Is this sojourn on the Mexican border ministry? Reflect with me reasons to leave a comfortable home and go to the epicenter of dislocation.
“Greetings and love to all my well wishers from Chris Connaire on my 85th birthday”
Photo taken at the Parlin Hospice Residence in Wayland, February 10, 2019.
Greg Williams passed away around 7:00 am on February 14, 2019. He was a longtime Quaker, who earlier in his journey worshipped at FMC and was a member and worshipped at New Bedford (MA) Monthly Meeting.
An African-American man who lived his Quaker faith deeply and was also a justice seeker and activist around many issues, and especially around race and racism within and beyond Quaker Circles, Greg was instrumental in bringing Toussaint Liberator to New England Yearly Meeting and to FMC, where he leads a Drumming Circle on Thursday evenings. Please see Greg discuss “Quaker Non-Violence in the Times of Black Lives Matter” on “Quaker Speak” here
Greg had been living in hospice for much of the last year plus. May we feel Greg’s spirit ever present and continue to learn from his faithful life.
Watch your announcement sheets to learn when his memorial meeting is scheduled
Former FMC Member Sanford (Sandy) Michael Isaacs died on January 24, 2019. His memorial service will take place on Saturday, March 2, 2019 at First Church of Jaffrey, NH at 10:30 am. His Boston Globe obituary can be found here.
Seeking 2019-2020 Quaker Voluntary Service Fellows
APPLICATION DEADLINE: March 15,2019
Grounded in the Quaker faith tradition and open to people of all backgrounds, Quaker Voluntary Service QVS provides a Fellowship opportunity for young adults (21-30 years old) to live in intentional community with their peers and work in professional settings that aim to change unjust social structures. QVS addresses racial, economic, and gender justice by helping our partner organizations increase capacity to fulfill their missions. We provide young adults with invaluable experience and training that equips them for a lifetime of social change work. QVS currently has houses of service in Atlanta, Boston, Minneapolis, Philadelphia and Portland (OR).
The 2019-2020 season begins late August 2019 and runs through July 2020. Applications are due March 15. You can apply here. Watch this brief video to get a window into the experience of many Fellows. You can see the kinds of issue areas our organizations work with here. If you have questions, you can reach out to Zaneida Peterson at email@example.com.
FCNL Summer internships in Washington, DC
Applications due: March 29, 2019. 8-week paid internships June 4-July 27, 2019 provide a broad introduction to federal policy, grassroots organizing, and nonprofit management. These internships are typically filled by those ages 18-23 but sometimes are offered to older participants. More details here.
INTERNSHIPS AT WILLIAM PENN HOUSE
Washington, DC | Summer & Year-Round 10-12 week social justice internship offers college students a unique combination of service and civic engagement, along with structured opportunities for personal, spiritual, and professional development; William Penn House Social Justice Residency offers similar opportunities but with sustained support for college graduates committed to building more peaceful, just and inclusive communities. More information here.
Nine Month Nurturing Faithfulness Program Returns in 2019
Nurturing Faithfulness is a program for individuals who have a spiritual nudge to orient one’s heart towards the Divine, be more faithful in discerning gifts and leadings, and nurture one’s home spiritual community. Perhaps you know someone who participated in the first iteration of this program, called Nurturing Worship, Faith, and Faithfulness. Good news is: we’re offering this program again! Take a look at the Woolman Hill website for more information or keep reading.
Nurturing Faithfulness is a 9-month program consisting of three residencies at Woolman Hill in Deerfield, MA (August 2019, December 2019, and May 2020), monthly webinars (that are actually connective and grounding), readings, and small-group opportunities for deepening relationships through local care committees and Faithfulness Groups.
Co-teachers for Nurturing Faithfulness are Hilary Burgin (Beacon Hill Friends Meeting, NEYM) and Marcelle Martin (Swarthmore Monthly Meeting, Philaadelphia Yearly Meeting). This program is co-sponsored by Woolman Hill and New England Yearly Meeting. For more information take a look at our video.
Applications are due in Spring 2019, so we encourage you to start considering if this program might be right for you. If you RSVP to Marcelle Martin (link sends e-mail), we will also send you a reminder about the informational webinar and the application.
Early application deadline, with priority for NEYM Friends: April 1, 2019
Final application deadline: July 22, 2019.
NEYM Sessions August 3-8, 2019
Image by © Skip Schiel, teeksaphoto.org
Each August, more than 600 Friends, come together for worship, fellowship and seeking how God will guide us in meeting for business. Having first gathered in 1661, New England Yearly Meeting of Friends is the oldest “yearly meeting” in the Quaker world. While this gathering is large—among the largest Quaker events in North America—there are many opportunities to connect with Friends old and new: vibrant youth programs, adult small groups, variety shows, topical interest sessions and shared meals. In recent years, Sessions has featured plenary addresses, Bible Half-Hours, a contra-dance, and coffeehouse. Our 2019 theme is “Provoke one another to Love.” For more information about the Bible Half-Hour and Plenary Speakers for 2019, click here.
Other Events on the NEYM Calendar
Junior High Yearly Meeting Retreat March 1 at 6:00pm – March 3 at 12:30pm • Wellesley, MA
Young Friends (Grades 9-12) Retreat March 1 at 7:00pm – March 3 at 12:00pm • Providence, RI
Dwelling in Watchfulness: A Weekend for People with a Concern for Ministry March 15 – March 17.
Experiments in Quaker Worship: Forms with Life! March 15 at 4:30pm – March 17 at 2:00pm • Deerfield, MA
Resurrection, Before and After Friday, March 15 6:00pm – Sunday, March 17 at 2:00pm • Old Chatham, NY
A Birthday Celebration for Frances Crowe Saturday, March 16 at 1:00pm • Northampton, MA
White Privilege Conference Wednesday, March 20 – Saturday, March 23 • Cedar Rapids, IA
FWCC Section of the Americas Gathering Thursday, March 21 – Sunday, March 24 • Excelsior Springs, MD
FCNL Spring Lobby Weekend Saturday, March 23 – Tuesday, March 26 • Washington, DC
NYYM-NEYM Pastoral Ministry Retreat Friday, March 29 – Sunday, March 31 • Old Chatham, NY
Handwork, Heartwork Friday, March 29 at 4:30pm – Sunday, March 31 at 2:00pm • Deerfield, MA
Events at Beacon Hill Friends House
SPIRITUAL STRENGTH FOR THE STRUGGLE: AN EVENING WITH ALJOSIE HARDING
Wednesday, March 6, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Beacon Hill Friends House, Boston, MA
In this participatory program, Aljosie Harding, a movement veteran of six decades will share “healing potions: of Gospel music, freedom songs, meditation and prayer. Participants will engage in reflection and conversation to call form the wisdom of the gathered community. More info here.
Campus Ministry Consultation
Saturday, March 9, 10:00am-4:00pm.
Coffee at 9:30 am.
Beacon Hill Friends House, Boston, MA
Come and discuss ways to both reach out to college students on campuses and how to welcome students into our Quaker Meetings within the New England Yearly Meeting. Gene Throwe, the Quaker Chaplain at American University will be joining us to talk about his experiences. A simple lunch will be provided. This event is being organized by Greg Woods (FMC Youth Ministries & Education Coordinator and by Beth Collea.
Join us in person or electronically via Zoom.
How We Win: A Workshop with George Lakey on Nonviolent Direct Action Campaigning
Saturday, March 30 ,1:00pm-4:00 pm
Bag lunch at 12:30 pm
Beacon Hill Friends House, Boston, MA
In this participatory workshop led by internationally known trainer George Lakey, participants will engage in a lively exploration of how to use direct action campaigns to build power toward a movement of movements. Workshop participants who have read How We Win: A Guide to Nonviolent Direct Action Campaigning will get the most out of the workshop, but it is by no means a prerequisite. Copies of the book will be available for sale and can be ordered at here. .
Sliding scale $10-$30. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. Registration is required in advance.
Advocacy for the Long Haul: An FCNL Workshop & Team Launch
Sunday, March 31, Workshop 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm. Rescheduled for Sunday, May 20
Brown bag lunch at 12:30 pm
Beacon Hill Friends House, Boston, MA
What can we do to change what’s happening in this country? For over 75 years, the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) has shown that our voices can make an impact on federal policy. Join Sarah Freeman-Woolpert of FCNL for an inspiring workshop that will provide concrete strategies for effective advocacy and a structure for taking next steps together.
- Influence your members of Congress and their staff through face-to-face conversations.
- Drive the media coverage you want to see.
- Build a strategic team in your community that lobbies as part of a powerful national advocacy network.
- Join FCNL’s 2019 Advocacy Team campaign to stop endless wars by urging Congress to reassert its constitutional authority. Advocacy Teams are supporting legislation to repeal the Automatic Authorization of Military Force (AUMF) and encourage public debate on all issues of war and peace.
RSVP requested. Childcare is available upon request.
Discounts for Friends General Conference 2019 Gathering
Thanks to a generous donation, Friends General Conference (FGC) is offering discounts for the 2019 Gathering!
Children and teen’s program fees are waived.
50% of children and teen’s meals are covered.
More scholarships are available to families and teens.
The fee for young adult Friends is reduced.
Location: Grinnell College in Grinnell, IA
Early Registration: April 1-14, 2019!
Dates: June 30-July 6, 2019
Theme: Peace in Our Hearts, Justice in the World
Click here to find out more about the 2019 FGC Gathering in Grinnell, Iowa.
Friends General Conference is a North American association of Quaker groups of which New England Yearly Meeting of Friends is a member.
A Brief History of the Facilities of Friends Meeting at Cambridge
Presented by David White, co-clerk of Trustees, at the Financial Discernment session, Sunday, February 24, 2019.
FMC was the result of the merger of the pastoral Boston Meeting, which had a building in Roxbury, and the unprogrammed Cambridge Friends, which then met in the Andover Common Room at Harvard. They held joint meetings from 1926-1937 and many Friends continued to be members of both bodies. Friends Meeting at Cambridge (FMC) was formally incorporated in June of 1937.
The current site of FMC was purchased in December 1936. The house on the property had been built by Longfellow’s daughter Allegra and was purchased from Longfellow’s granddaughter Amelia Thorpe Knowels. This house became the Friends Center and was remodeled for that purpose during the Spring of 1937, with an office and meeting rooms on the first floor and an apartment on the second. The Meeting House construction started in the summer of that year, was completed by December, and the first Meeting for Worship there was held there on December 5, 1937.
From Quakers in Boston, page 204-5:
The new meeting house was described by The Friend of Philadelphia:
The interior of the meeting-house is finished very simply, with facing seats at the front and wooden benches of a simple yet comfortable design for the main body of the meeting. On the main floor can be seated 160 persons, and 45 more in the balcony at the rear, although 50 or 60 persons more can be accommodated when necessary. Around the lower part of the wall is panelling of wood, while at the front as a center of focus is a fireplace which serves to lend an informal and distinctly non-ecclesiastical air to the whole room.
When the architect was asked why there should be a fireplace in a meeting house, he replied, “That came from the Andover Common Room which we all had enjoyed very much during our time there.” As a compromise with certain Friends who objected to having a fireplace as the center of focus, there was a wooden panel to cover it during the summer months.
The first meeting for worship in the new meeting house was held on Sunday, December 5, 1937, when the house was well filled. The burden of this first meeting “was that the new building should be looked upon not as an end in itself but as a means of rendering more effective service to the community. The true temple of God, it was said, is not one of human designing, but is the human heart.
About two hundred persons were present at a special dedicatory meeting on Sunday evening.
The Friends later arranged one “open house” meeting for the neighbors in the community around Longfellow Park, and another for representatives of various organizations in Cambridge and Boston having an interest in the work of Friends.
Over the next decades Quakerism flourished and grew in the Boston area with the formation of new independent Meetings at Wellesley, Beacon Hill, Framingham, Andover, South Shore, Fresh Pond and many worship groups at other locations.
The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) established a clothing room (material aid center) in the basement under the Meeting House in 1946. Since then this program has had the volunteer support of many FMC members.
By the 1970s the facilities at Longfellow Park were feeling cramped and somewhat antiquated. There were many long discussions about whether to renovate at this location or move elsewhere. Eventually a decision was reached in May of 1992 to renovate and expand the Friends Center with new meeting and classroom space and a fellowship hall.
Meeting for Business Minute of May 14, 1992:
For the Building Committee Tim Nicholson discussed the revised report on details of the building plan and reductions in building costs. Additional contributions towards the project have also been received in the last two weeks. Friends discussed the prudence of having a performance bond to provide financial protection and certain other questions.
The clerk read our minute of Fifth Month 19th, 1990 authorizing that we go forward with the initial planning phase of the project.
Friends settled into silence to consider whether we are led to approve proceeding with the construction phase of the building project.
Friends again reminded us of our concern to be of service to those on the periphery of society, and to do outreach to people beyond those who worship here. Some Friends who have misgivings about the building project expressed willingness to stand aside, but urged strongly that we seek ways to use the new space, and also our hearts and minds, energy and resources, to do God’s work wherever we are led. With the understanding that building a better building does not define our purpose as a Quaker community, the Meeting united in wishing to go forward with the planned construction.
Great gratitude was expressed for the work of the Building Committee and of the Building Fund Committee.
This project was completed in the spring of 1993. The most significant change was the creation of the fellowship space known as the Friends Room and four attractive classroom spaces in the basement. Also included in this project were handicap access ramps, an elevator, and a tunnel connecting the basement of the Meeting House and the Friends Center. An apartment was also created on the third floor to provide living space for Center Residents who help care for the facilities.
In 2012 the Trustees Committee put forward a proposal for a new accessible entrance to the Meeting House facing Longfellow Park. After extensive community discussions the plan was approved in 2014 and the new entrance completed in the spring of 2015.
In 2017 the AFSC discontinued their support of the material aid center in the Meeting House basement. Since then it has continued independently as the Material Aid and Advocacy Program (MAAP) with the support from FMC and others.