Report of the Question & Answer Session on Becoming a Monthly Meeting

Held 17 March 2002 at Patapsco Preparative Meeting
Hebron House, Ellicott City, MD

There were 15 Friends in attendance, including BYM General Secretary Frank Massey.

Clerk of the Ad Hoc Monthly Meeting Committee Ken Stockbridge opened the session after a brief period of silence.  The process for discernment and decision making were laid out, materials prepared by the committee were presented and questions were invited.  This report highlights only those items not clearly answered in the materials presented.

What is the role of trustees if the meeting were to incorporate?  Can trustees be limited by language in the Articles of Incorporation that states the trustees must act according to decisions reached in Meeting for Business according to Quaker “sense of the meeting”?  It was generally thought that in fact the trustees could be so limited.

It is important for the trustees to be clear about their role in relation to the meeting and in relation to the state.

Insurance Coverage:  Who is covered?  How does membership affect insurance coverage, if at all?  When we have regular attenders charged to act for the meeting, are they covered when acting in that capacity?

Burial Grounds:  Is more information available about who owns title to the Ellicott City Quaker cemetery?  Not really.  Friends Ron Mattson and Lamar Matthews are Quaker historians who might have some information about this.  Frank Massey asked Friends to seriously consider whether we want to take responsibility for the graveyard, given the financial and legal responsibility required for the upkeep of such property.

One Friend mentioned Joetta Graham, Howard County historian and member of the Mt. Hebron Presbyterian Church, as a possible source of information about the graveyard.

The meeting should negotiate/discuss clearly with Sandy Spring Friends Meeting about burial rights, but to what extent do Patapsco Friends care about this issue?  This could easily delay the process of becoming a monthly meeting for months.

Timing of Incorporation and Becoming a Monthly Meeting:  Who can we appoint trustees and have members for the new corporation when it doesn’t exist until approved by BYM?  How do we set up the timing of incorporation and becoming a monthly meeting so that there are not lapses in liability protection.  It was pointed out that insurance coverage will continue with the same protections regardless of our status (provided appropriate notice of changes is given).  There is some difference in the liability protection available due to incorporation and that afforded by insurance.  Friends could approve the decision to request monthly meeting status with the understanding that incorporation would be pursued as soon as it can be accomplished.

Frank Massey encouraged the meeting to have a conversation with Sandy Spring Clerk Betsy Meyer as soon as possible if we are seeking to bring this item to their business meeting in the next month or two.

Friends requested that the committee make specific recommendations for the meeting as to how best to proceed with the various matters involved.

A Friend asked about the value of a Quaker meeting organizing under the auspices of BYM.  Frank Massey shared the following:

  • BYM is affiliated with both FGC and FUM.  Members of individual Friends Meetings who do not wish to be counted toward the payments made to FUM and FGC by BYM can specifically request not to be included and the payment to those organizations will be reduced by that amount.
  • Some of the benefits of organizing a meeting under BYM:
    • Being a part of the Quaker faith community process & in connection with other Friends.  You can’t be a Quaker in isolation.
    • Financial support available for attendance at Quaker schools and camps.
    • Being “part of the family;” “taking the good with the bad.”
    • BYM needs Patapsco as much as Patapsco needs BYM.
  • The BYM apportionment for monthly meetings is based on:
    • Amount of contributions
    • # of contributing households
    • Investment income
  • BYM funds go to:
    • Friends organizations
    • Administration of BYM Committees
    • BYM Camping Program
    • BYM office and staff
    • R.E. Library
    • Youth Programs
    • Young Friends Conferences

Submitted by:  Sherri Morgan, Recording Clerk for Ad Hoc Monthly Meeting Committee

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