the friend online
21 April 2006


Letters - preview
Should we get rid of our Meeting houses?
People may be arguing for things which are not allowed under charity law (ie selling off Meeting houses and spending money elsewhere) or plain stupid, (ie selling off properties that are not only useful but also attractive, and irreplaceable
  • )

    I think it was William Morris who said 'Only have in your home things which are either useful or beautiful, preferably both
  • '

    We could look at Friends' property portfolio in the same way
  • Keep the best, most useful ones, and use the proceeds from sale of the least useful to ensure continuation of the better ones


    This is a preview of the full article - to see the whole thing, or to post a comment you need to login, or alternatively you could try a free sample!


    Peter A. Kennedy, 22 June
    David Lewis (Letters, 16th June) requests that light be shed on the process of appointment of Trustees of the Centrally Managed Work.

    These appointments were made by Britain Yearly Meeting in session, which QFP refers to as the final constitutional body of our YM. Yearly Meeting were free to accept or reject the nominations of the joint YM/Sufferings Nominations Committee; to throw out some or all of the nominations; or to appoint as a Trustee, any Friend, the Meeting's discernment may decide.

    The Joint Nominations Committee began its work last Autumn and considered some 70 names for the 13 vacancies it was asked to nominate to. (Among the 70 or so people considered, about half, for good and sufficient reason declined nomination). The remaining four trustees (17 trustees in total) are 2 Clerks, nominated by Committee on Clerks; along with the MfS
    Assistant Clerk and QFaP Clerk, serving 'ex-officio' although appointed by name for the duration of their period of office.

    Our Friend expresses surprise that no one from Meeting for Sufferings Committee (MSC) was nominated as a Trustee. The criteria given by the QFP drafting group (appointed by YM 2005) was that Trustees should have a working knowledge of central committee work.

    MSC acts as 'an advisory committee' to Sufferings. The skills and
    qualities required by MSC are not the same as those needed by Trustees. Members of MSC, given their specialised knowledge, are thus able to act as dedicated catalysts of a revitalised Sufferings, freed from Trustee responsibilities.

    There was also a desire to have a good spread of ages and geographical representation. No clear guidance was given on how many of the Trustees should come from those currently serving on Sufferings as is the case when seeking to make nominations to MSC.

    The matter was not discussed by Sufferings until April 2006, by which time all but one of vacancies available for nomination as potential trustees had been filled. Nominations is a slow process, often taking many months. Clear guidance needs to be given in plenty of time, not at the eleventh hour when the process of quaker discernment has been completed,
    and all that remains is the tying up of administrative niceties. In the event, 3 of the Trustees are currently serving on Sufferings. A further four of the Trustees have served on Sufferings in the past four years. .

    Six of the 13 Trustees live in the south east of England; three live in Wales, two in Scotland, one in the east of England and one in the west of England. No conscious effort was made to determine whether the Trustees supported RECAST's proposals.

    All thirteen Trustees nominated by the Joint Nominations Committee have recent (within the last 6 years) service on either YM committees or those of the centrally managed work. Their weight, height, eye colour, shoe size, etc were not considered important. We attempted to create a gender balance, but with 13 people this is never exactly possible. The appointed
    Trustees represent the whole breadth of Quakerism in our YM.

    David, makes reference to 'Paul Kennedy', who 'made his name (and earned a place on nominations) with a sustained attack on what he described as the 'in group''.

    This allegedly "sustained attack" was simply a query, in right ordering and transparency, concerning the length of service of those coming up for re-nomination, together with concerns about the right ordering of a process where the Nominations Clerk automatically clerked the nominating group seeking new members to the Nominations Committee. At no time was
    there any mention of an 'in group'.

    I was appointed to MfS Nominations Committee because of the desire to have a Scottish Friend on the committee and the other seven Scottish reps on MfS had either declined nomination or were ineligible to serve. Far from being the first choice, I was the last choice available from those serving on MfS!

    Having tried to caste light on the nominating process, perhaps David will now illuminate readers of The Friend as to where he got his information and why he thinks the criteria he lists in his second paragraph are anything more than irrelevancies?

    Fides Matzdorf, 02 May
    Had a look at new Q logo. Just one comment: Bonnets!!! (Thanks, Jenny Routledge!) What annoys me most is the thought that it might not have been designed by committee, but that someone probably got *paid* for this shoddy job... Please tell me it isn't true!


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