BFM Clerks form ad hoc Committees as they are needed.
Some information about current and recent ad hoc committees are listed below.
Discernment on Growing Diversity (BYM)
HISTORY of BYM's Growing Diversity initiative: In 2015, Baltimore Yearly Meeting (BYM) formed an ad hoc Growing Diverse Leadership Committee (GDLC), which was charged with discerning how BYM and local Meetings can work together to strengthen our faith and communities by increasing the participation of and quality of experience for young adults and people of color in our local and yearly meetings. As of 2019, Peirce Hammond of Bethesda Friends Meeting (BFM) is a member of BYM's GDLC. [At Third Month 2019 Interim Meeting, BYM approved making the GDLC a standing committee of the Yearly Meeting.]
As one of its first acts in 2015, the GDLC requested information from individual Meetings of their current demographics (specifically age and racial identity), so that BYM can chart its progress. [As of 2016, BYM’s annual Community Statistics report asks for details of membership (though not individual members) by age and racial identity.] BFM has, over the years, collected age data for its members (not attenders), but we have never collected the racial identity of members and attenders. If collected, this information would only be shared with BYM in aggregate form.
BFM's discernment process in 2016: In fall 2016, BFM began a discernment process regarding its response to the GDLC’s request.
The following lists the elements of our 2016 discernment process
Some of us may feel uncomfortable talking openly about racial identity and may be reluctant to ask our members and attenders to provide that information. However, Quakers have long understood that there can be value in putting conscious attention on a topic and allowing ourselves to sit with and wrestle with it.
If we agree with the principle of the GDLC’s request, the logistics of collecting this information would need to be determined. We hope that the Meeting will both read the supporting documents on our website and think deeply about this topic over the summer to prepare for this discussion.
A good way to start would be to review the excellent materials the GDLC has prepared, especially the Diversity "Survey FAQs” document.
In April 2017, as a result of considering the BYM Diversity Initiative, the BFM co-clerks appointed an ad hoc Committee on Assessing Racial and Generational Inclusion.
This committee, its mission, and the results are listed under "past ad hoc Committees" below.
2019 Demographic Request from Baltimore Yearly Meeting (BYM): At the April 2019 Meeting for Worship with a Concern For Business, the BFM co-clerks brought forward a request from BYM that monthly meetings repeat the demographic survey done in 2017. The co-clerks reminded us of the process by which we responded to the request in 2017. Friends approved using the same approach of an open-ended postcard system as was done in 2017 to accomplish this task with appropriate updates and edits. The co-clerks convened a small group to edit the postcard and to accomplish this task.
Update in June 2019: From the Clerks of BFM: Who Are We?
Baltimore Yearly Meeting has again asked us to gather data about the racial/ethnic and generational composition of our BFM community. At the April Meeting for Worship with attention to Business, BFM approved the Co-Clerks’ recommendation that a survey be carried out in a way that is in harmony with a similar exercise in 2017. We do this with the understanding that it is only one step in our communal reflections on the opportunities and challenges of becoming the diverse community we wish to be.
Accordingly, beginning on June 16 and continuing through the end of September, all who attend our Meeting for Worship will be invited and encouraged to answer three questions on a postcard as they are led (or to decline) to answer some or all of the questions.
The cards will be collected in a box on the credenza and will be anonymous. Thank you for your participation in this endeavor.
(1) The Ad Hoc Committees on Digitization (2017-2020)
(a) The first ad hoc Committee for the Digitization of Records (DRC) was formed in April 2017.
The DRC was formed and charged in April 2017 to support BFM in a Meeting-wide discernment process for identifying the best way to assure that information about our community is accessible, useful, up to date, and secure. Read the full charge here.
In May 2018 the DRC presented a final report, which recommended that the DRC be laid down, and in its place some type of ad hoc Records Implementation Committee be formed.
In June 2018, BFM concluded that: "After nearly two years of sustained effort, the ad hoc Digitization of Records Committee (DRC) has completed its work and proposed a set of next steps for the implementation of a digitization plan for Bethesda Friends Meeting. With deep gratitude for the sheer industry and clarifying insight of the DRC, and in keeping with its recommendations, the Co-Clerks now appoint an ad hoc Committee for the Implementation of a Digitization Plan (CIDP)...."
(b) Thus the second digitization ad hoc Committee was formed in June 2018 and called the Committee for the Implementation of a Digitization Plan (CIDP).
The CIDP was given a two year mission to set up a new digitization system and to follow that system for one trial year. Read the full charge here.
(1) The Ad Hoc Committee on Assessing Racial and Generational Inclusion
[This committee was laid down 2017, but the survey was reenacted in July 2019, see below]
Formed in April 2017, this Ad Hoc Committee submitted an interim report and a proposal on June 4, 2017.
The proposal was accepted by Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business. Please click here to read the full report (PDF).
Bethesda Friends Meeting is interested in including a diversity of people in our meeting activities, especially young adults (ages 18 through 35) and people with various racial and ethnic identities.
The first question is worded as follows: “We understand that race is a social construct and that all human beings share a common ancestor; nevertheless, how would you describe your racial and/or ethnic identity?”
The second question is worded as follows: “Are you between the ages of 18 and 35 inclusive?”
(2) The Ad Hoc Committee on Opportunities for Our Future (AHCOOF) [laid down 2016]
On 11/6/2016, at BFM's Meeting For Worship with a Concern for Business, a member of the Ad Hoc Committee on Opportunities for Our Future read the following minute, which was approved at the called meeting for discernment on the 8th day of the 10th month, 2016
Bethesda Friends Meeting joyfully and gratefully accepts the invitation of Sidwell Friends School to move to the consolidated Wisconsin Avenue campus.
Friends expressed great appreciation for the hard work of the committee in preparation for this decision.
As the Ad Hoc Committee on Opportunities for Our Future has completed the tasks assigned to it by the Meeting, Friends approved laying it down (as of Meeting for Business dated 12/4/2016.)
(Click here to go to the archival web page for AHC-OOF activities and FAQs, including the AHC-OOF Charge)
(3) Ad Hoc Committee on the Future of the Library Committee [laid down 2016]
The Ad Hoc Committee on the Future of the Library Committee was charged with “helping the Meeting discern the best way forward in structuring the [Library] Committee so as to protect and develop the resources of the library and to maximize its usefulness to the community.” It was formed in June 2016.
The ad hoc Committee report was submitted in October 2016, and is available in a short or longer format: