Eight Month 2017 Minutes
Trenton Monthly Meeting
Meeting for Business
Eighth Month 13, 2017
Present: Joan Ordille (clerking), Barbara Vadnais, Jules Simon, Maia Simon, Charles Hardy (recording), Fred Millner, Nikki Mosgrove, Leon Pulsinelli, Judy Burton, Jim Harford, Sandra Johnson, Louis LeFevre
Meeting for Business opened with worship at 9:00 am
The Seventh Month Minutes were approved after agreement that a detailed report by Louis on the PYM Called Meeting in June should be removed as it went beyond the report he made at Meeting for Business. This information will be a separate document, available in the Minutes book.
Treasurer’s report - Fred
Fred distributed the monthly financial reports. He reported that the checking account has a discrepancy that seems to be bank error. He will be in contact with the bank to resolve this.
Maia mentioned that there have been problems with our bank especially since it (First Choice) has been taken over by Berkshire. Meeting is asking the Property and Funds Committee to look into changing banks
In order to take a distribution from Friends Fiduciary Fund, the Meeting needs to approve a Minute signed by clerk and treasurer. Said Minute to take a $15,000 distribution was approved, and was signed by clerk and recording clerk.
Treasurer’s report was approved with gratitude of the meeting
Property and Funds – Maia
Maia reported on the quote for parking lot wall repair of $750 by Edwin Menendez - Approved
Exterior sign concerns transferred to Communications Committee – Approved
Maia explained the options for a removable ramp for wheelchair and handicap access. We would also move the bell to a height that could be reached from a wheelchair. Meeting selected the best ramp from a short list provided and approved the purchase thereof.
Maia presented information and a quote for a sound system for worship area by Action Network. They had come to the Meeting House to help us as we look for a system that would provide amplification in the Worship area. The proposals included 4 hanging microphones, a handheld microphone, speakers and/or headphones. The cost was in the $4000 to $5000 range depending on the microphone and speaker/headphone choices we might make. Louis noted that a meeting in Rochester, NY has hanging microphones which they do not use. They use only the handheld microphone, passed to a person who rises to speak. He also recalled that Haddonfield had, but abandoned use of hanging microphones. Maia said that the quote would be $1000 less if we did not get hanging microphones.
Sandra mentioned a system called Hearing Helpers which is used in a group she attends and is a different concept and less expensive. Sandra will look into this product.
Several members, including Jules, Barbara, Judy, Joan, Fred and Nikki expressed various elements of concern about the microphones and speakers subject. Some felt passing a handheld microphone would interfere with the spontaneity of messages. Joan mentioned unsatisfactory experiences with amplification elsewhere. The intrusiveness of a microphone during worship was mentioned. There were concerns that the expensive system would not actually be a viable solution. There will be additional work by Property and Funds and more information next month
Regarding our investment distribution between the Friends Fiduciary Fund and the “Green” Fund, Maia distributed a helpful Fund Performance sheet which showed that the two funds did not significantly differ in performance. Fred mentioned that originally we were going to evaluate the performance in order to know if we should proceed with our plan to increase the percentage of our endowment invested in the Green Fund. Louis said he felt the Green Fund will do even better as its assets increase.
Meeting adjourned at 10:00 am, to be reconvened at the rise of Worship.
Meeting for Business reconvened at 11:31 am
Fred proposed that $80,000 be moved from the Consolidated to the Green Fund. Approved
Electricity supplier – Maia and Jules started the process of changing our electricity supplier, at the request of Meeting, in order to be using renewable sources of energy to produce our electricity. In this process it was determined that we had, in fact, signed up with a fully renewable supplier some time ago so no change is necessary, and the current supplier has offered a low fixed rate and other incentives to “keep us”.
Upstairs kitchen - Joan has brought forward the need for repairs and cleanup in the upstairs kitchen. She had concerns about dust and chipping paint and old pipes which need attention. Louis said he was glad it is being used.
The discussion moved to include the library repair and changes. Sandra asked what are the plans for the Library and learned that the ad hoc Library Committee, which she clerks, is being asked to suggest design changes in the room. Sandra will poll the committee to see if they wanted to be involved with the room design or just the books.
Judy recalled that there was some concern that the pace of the choice to do the library ran ahead of our discernment of all issues as we decided how to use the funds from Jean Hallowell’s estate.
Several members expressed their feeling that the kitchen should be a priority. Property and Funds will proceed to make a plan for cleaning and repair of the upstairs kitchen.
Gratitude was expressed to Maia for all the work that she has done this month.
CMW – Judy
Joan explained the process for Alison Stewart’s transfer of membership to Princeton Meeting. Approval was given for this process to move forward.
Several items that came out of the June retreat were discussed.
Holding our annual BBQ. This had strong agreement from the members present. Maia mentioned that we should schedule it in October not November.
Holding a “no-sale sale”. To benefit the community, a no-sale is like a yard sale but with all items free. It could possibly be done in conjunction with the BBQ and again in April. That the items should be useful, not just “junk” was expressed by Barbara, Judy and Maia. There will be expense involved in transporting items to the meeting house and members wondered where will we keep stuff before the no-sale event.
Hosting a Community Round Table. This would involve identifying some specific community members and inviting them to gather with us so we can further learn of the community needs and how we can be of assistance with those needs.
Judy brought up the Queries from PYM (c.f. Seventh Month Minutes) that came out of the Called Meeting in June. We discussed how to approach the responses. It was decided that we would meet to discuss our response to each query separately at the rise of worship on the third First Day in the Ninth Month and the fifth First Day in the Tenth Month. In the discussion that led to the above decision, a number of members recalled the Judith Weiss and James Wells conflict. Joan recalled that CMW waited for a request from the parties for Clearness Committee or other help or intervention. When such a request finally came it was then closed down as Judith chose not to participate. Judy reminded us that a significant part of the difficulty was because of money and the appearance of racial bias caused by Meeting providing financial assistance to S.A.G.E. without much process but asking James’ 501(c)3 to provide a lot of support information.
Maia reminded us that AVP (Alternatives to Violence Project) teaches conflict resolution that might be useful.
Judy has agreed to be on the Nominating Committee. She and Barbara (approved last month) will serve three-year terms running from July 2017 through June 2020.
Sandra mentioned that Nikki wants to join the Patriots Week Committee for 2017-18. Approved
Peace and Social Concerns – Sandra
Sandra asked if Meeting was interested in sponsoring the Coalition for Peace Action annual dinner as we have in the past. The $100 contribution will come from PSCC budget. Approved.
A lengthy discussion of the Black Lives Matter-Trenton group use of the Meeting House took place. There has been a flurry of requests beyond the bi-monthly BLM Books and Breakfast program which is on going. Requests have not given us enough time to bring them before Meeting for Business. Charlie asked that we consider that these young organizers may make requests that we cannot accommodate and there is no arm-twisting going on. Louis suggested we might show more sensitivity of time frames. Judy added that we still need some lead time.
Maia reminded us that our guidelines for use restrict partisan politics. Jules said that the trailer for “13th”, the movie BLM chose for their Friday Movie night seemed political. Members pointed out that politics and partisan politics are different. Maia also spoke about the group getting key permission but that is not a current desire of BLM nor did Charlie, the usual sponsor of BLM events, think this was the right approach at this time.
Sandra brought up the fact that the BLM Fish Fry on Sunday the 6th was “a big messup”. With Charlie out of town, Shan who volunteered to sponsor and others who were helping were caught off guard by some unexpected turns of events. The event went much longer than expected for example.
Our current toilet issues were mentioned by Jules who stated perhaps we should not allow people to use the bathrooms until they are fixed
Commenting on the movie night, Judy said censorship of content is not what she would like to see happen
Sandra commented that we need to decide how open and welcoming we should be.
Several members expressed a desire for the opportunity for conversation with BLM. Charlie agreed to facilitate this conversation.
Maia suggested that PSCC needs to come up with a plan for BLM.
Use of Meeting House Friday 8/18 general meeting of BLM was approved
Burlington Quarter Trustee Report
Jules reported that Quarterly Trustees will meet Wednesday the 16th at Burlington
The Quarterly Meeting location for the September meeting is not known at this time. Our next hosting of Quarterly will be March of 2018
Meeting for Business closed at 1:30 pm