Friends General Conference

Nurturing faith and Quaker practice

CANCELLED: Recording as a Ministry of Listening

Workshop Number: 
Deborah Haines, Becka Haines Rosenberg
Who may register?: 
Open to All (adult & high school)
Experiential Activities: 
full-time attenders only

This workshop will explore the joys and challenges of serving as a recording clerk in a Quaker meeting, committee, or organization. It will focus on the art of deep listening as central to the work of a recording clerk, as well as addressing the do's and don'ts of taking minutes.

Workshop Description

The purpose of this workshop is to encourage Friends to consider whether they are called to the ministry of being a recording clerk, and to explore what such service requires.  Each day will begin with worship, followed by activities and discussion on some aspect of the work of a recording clerk: Topics will include:

What needs to go in the minutes, and what should be left out;

How minutes can support discernment, by identifying underlying conflicts and emerging unity;

The value of reading minutes in the face of the meeting, to affirm the work that has been done in the Spirit;

The need for the recording clerk to set aside his or her own opinions and preferences, so that the minutes will serve as an truthful reflection of everything they record;

The power of deep listening to bring Friends together and enrich our experience of each other and our community. 

Each day's activities will include an interactive exercise designed to provide practice in crafting minutes.  Participants will be asked to identify the central elements in a story or discussion, and to write a summary that captures its essential truth.  The emphasis will be on deep listening, and reflecting back to a speaker the essense of what he or she has said. Presentations and activities will be followed by discussion, so that participants have an opportunity to reflect on what they have learned.  We welcome current and former recording clerks with wisdom to share, as well as those who have not yet served.

Leader Experience

We have both served as recording clerk in a number of different settings.  Deborah is currently recording clerk for FGC Central Committee, and Becka is recording clerk for Baltimore Yearly Meeting Interim Meeting. Deborah has led workshops on Quaker spirituality, the power of early Quakerism, and Quaker business process, and Becka has facilitated activities for Baltimore Yearly Meeting youth for several years. Both have traveled widely among Friends.