How Charlottesville Friends Meeting Works ~ a note from the Nominating Committee

Charlottesville Friends Meeting (CFM) continues the 350-year tradition of un-programmed Quakerism. What you notice in Meeting for Worship is that we don’t have a minister. What you may not perceive so easily is that all the work that in another kind of congregation might get done (or supervised) by a minister, in our community gets done by a network of committees made up of members of the Meeting community.

Joining a CFM committee is a good way to become part of the Quaker tradition, to become better acquainted with other Friends, and to learn more about how Quakerism works through its spirit-led practice. Another good way to achieve these ends is to take part in the Meetings for Worship for Business: these are held on the first First-Day of each month, except in midsummer. Business Meeting is where the CFM community discusses and adopts all its major decisions, according to the Quaker way of seeking a spirit-led unity, rather than majority rule or consensus.

There are a number of tasks that are done on behalf of the Meeting by individuals, rather than committees. These include the Clerk (or Co-clerks) of the Meeting, the Treasurer, Recording Clerk, Newsletter Editor, and people who keep in contact with various Quaker organizations. Many of these positions require some experience of Quakerism. Most of the Meeting committees, by contrast, require little or no experience of Quakerism as such: just a willingness to contribute to the Meeting community, and to become part of Quakers’ long history of self-governance.

If you would like to help strengthen our community, we urge you to consider joining one of the committees described below or serving in one of the listed positions. An up-to-date list of committee members is maintained on the Clerk’s bulletin-board in the Meeting House lobby. To find out more about joining a committee, contact the relevant committee clerk, or any member of the Nominating Committee.

Finance Committee

This committee’s tasks are to prepare the Meeting’s annual budget, and to support the Treasurer in her/his work as necessary. The Committee reviews the Meeting’s general financial management, and keeps an eye on the level of contributions in relation to expenses. Members do not have to have specialized financial expertise, but can seek it from within the Meeting community when needed. Membership entails:

(1) no regularly scheduled committee meetings, but
(2) a concentration of work at the time of budget preparation, which should be in (but may run later than) early Fall each 􏰀􏰁􏰂􏰃􏰄

You might consider joining this committee if you:

(1) are willing to help watch over Meeting finances,

(2) are fairly well organized!and,

(3) have financial skills equivalent to those needed to run, say, a simple household budget.

Building Committee

The Building Committee takes responsibility for the care and maintenance our Meeting House property–both the building and the grounds. We love and care for the meeting as our home and strive to attend promptly to its health in all ways. Here is a sample of our duties:

●  Arrange for repairs and updates, as well as the regular maintenance of our buildings, gardens, trees, and landscaping.

●  Look for ways to maintain and prolong the useful life of building systems.

●  Continuously assess the building for places that need possible renovation or replacement because of obsolescence, disrepair, or the growing needs of our community and bring our

  • recommendations to the Meeting for Business.
  • Tend to the safety and security of our building and maintain the electronic lock system.
  •   Schedule work days for the Meeting community to participate in maintaining the Meeting House with detailed cleaning, minor repairs, and upkeep of the landscaping.
  •   Coordinate and communicate with the resident caretaker.Membership typically involves:
  1. (1)  Meetings approximately monthly (8-9x yearly)
  2. (2)  Participation in bi-annual work days
  3. (3)  Making minor repairs and calling professionals for other repairs
  4. (4)  Calculating a budget each year for anticipated expenses

You might like to join this committee if:
(1) You are handy and like to repair and/or clean, organize, or tidy spaces
(2) You like to garden or maintain yards
(3) You have expertise in any related building field: contracting, architecture, or any of the trades (4) You are present at Meeting often and have an eye for details about the condition of our property (5) You are good at organizing and keeping records to help facilitate on-going maintenance tasks (6) You have any knowledge of making and keeping budgets

Friendship Committee

The Friendship Committee looks for ways to foster connection between members / attenders of the Meeting. It seeks to help the Meeting to welcome visitors and newcomers, and to offer them opportunities to be included in our community, and to be involved in our Meeting. The committee also looks for ways to enhance the opportunities that will enable the Meeting to facilitate reaching these goals. Among the projects sponsored by the committee have been: organizing ‘greeters’ for all regularly-scheduled Meetings for Worship; producing a Welcome brochure for newcomers; and publishing this directory.

This committee might be for you if:
(1) you are an out-going person who enjoys meeting new people,
(2) you would like to help strengthen social ties within the Meeting community, OR (3) you have some energy and creative ideas to contribute to this goal.

Library Committee

The Library Committee acts as steward of the Meeting’s library space and books. It tries to maintain a distinctively Quaker collection of books and periodicals, including both Quaker classics and more recent literature (fictional, devotional, and topical) by and about the Society of Friends. Among other tasks, the committee sorts and organizes the many pamphlets, periodicals, and other materials that pour into the Meeting library, undertakes some planned acquisitions, supervises the circulation of library materials, and removes out-of-date materials as necessary.

Membership typically involves:
(1) taking part in the monthly meetings/work-sessions held by the committee, and (2) undertaking other committee tasks as necessary.

You might be right for this committee if you:
(1) love books, especially Quaker-related books, and
(2) have some basic organizational skills. Formal librarian training is not required!

Ministry and Worship Committee

This committee is responsible for nurturing the Meetings for Worship and for fostering the spiritual growth of members and attenders. It seeks to encourage spiritually alive ministry. It may, at times, work with the Overseers, Religious Education Committee, or other committees on overlapping concerns regarding the spiritual life of the Meeting and our sense of community. The committee also works with the rest of the Meeting each spring to prepare the annual report on the Spiritual State of the Meeting.

Membership typically involves:
(1) taking part in monthly meetings, Sept. – June,
(2) monitoring the First-day Meetings for Worship, and working to have quality meetings, and (3) providing ongoing small discussion groups on Quakerism or related religious themes.

You might consider joining this committee if you:
(1) are a faithful attender at Meetings for Worship,
(2) are knowledgeable about Quaker beliefs and practices, or (3) are called upon by others to provide Personal Ministry.

Nominating Committee

This committee nominates Friends for service in most Meeting positions and for all Meeting committees other than itself. The committee considers the leadings, experience, and special gifts and talents of members of the Meeting community when it recommends nominations to monthly Meeting for Business. By varying the assignments of Friends, the committee helps to foster the growth of individuals and the Meeting’s corporate life.

Membership typically involves:
(1) taking part in infrequent committee meetings, and numerous consultations by e-mail or phone,
(2) a commitment to becoming acquainted with as many members of the Meetingmcommunity as possible, and
(3) a concentration of efforts in early spring to ensure that committees are fully staffed.

You might consider joining this committee if you are:

(1) interested in people, and
(2) fairly familiar with the organizational life of the meeting, and committed to learning more about it and helping to strengthen it􏰄

Overseers’ Committee

Overseers’ committee supports the spiritual well being of the Meeting’s individual members. Its responsibilities include:

(1) setting up and supervising the work of clearness committees for attenders considering recorded membership, or for anyone considering marriage under the care of the Meeting;

(2) arranging for regular visits or contacts with needy or isolated Friends;
setting up clearness or support committees in relation to personal or spiritual concerns;

(3) arranging for welcoming newly arrived children;
(4) maintaining a file on friends’ wishes concerning final affairs, and assisting with arrangements in time of death.

The Overseers also work with the rest of the Meeting community to achieve many other goals, including:

(1) listening for and responding to the needs of members and attenders, however expressed; (2) identifying and supporting the special gifts or talents of Friends;
(3) helping to reconcile differences that may arise in Meeting.

Membership on Overseers can be deeply rewarding, but it does involve a non-trivial amount of time, and above all, of loving attention. You might consider joining this committee if you:

(1) are a generally well-organized person,
(2) feel called to work with individuals as they face both the joys and troubles in life, and (3) can work well with other Overseers on tasks that are sometimes demanding.

Peace & Social Concerns Committee

This committee brings into focus and organizes into practical action the corporate leadings of our Meeting that bear on social and political life. We support individual Friends’ leadings with counsel, with liaison to like-minded persons and groups in town and around the world, and with monetary contributions. We also alert the whole Meeting to fresh concerns that arise in Quaker or other organizations. Recent concerns include 􏰂􏰅􏰅􏰃􏰁􏰆􏰆􏰇􏰈􏰉 􏰁􏰈􏰊􏰇􏰃􏰋􏰈􏰌􏰁􏰈􏰍􏰂􏰎 􏰏􏰋􏰈􏰏􏰁􏰃􏰈􏰆􏰐 􏰇􏰌􏰌􏰇􏰉􏰃􏰂􏰍􏰇􏰋􏰈 􏰇􏰆􏰆􏰑􏰁􏰆􏰐 d􏰁􏰂􏰍􏰒 􏰓􏰁􏰈􏰂􏰎􏰍􏰀 􏰂􏰔􏰋􏰎􏰇􏰍􏰇􏰋􏰈􏰐 􏰓u􏰔l􏰇􏰏 􏰂􏰓􏰓􏰁􏰂􏰎􏰆 for 􏰓e􏰂ce􏰂bl􏰁 alternatives to anti-terrorist panic, same-sex marriage rights, military draft counseling.

What we do: meet monthly, maintain the Meeting House Peace Nook for citizens’ letter- writing, work in coalition with local peace and justice groups, and make grants from the Corporate Witness fund. What we don’t do: all the peace work of the Meeting.

What motivates us: the Quaker vision that meaningful social change is effected by a deep transformation of personal attitudes and social relations, and the Quaker insight that the means of action are as important as its goal.

(See also BYM Faith and Practice I (B) 15-17, II (B) 9-10, III (B) 4e)

Program Committee

The Program Committee facilitates worshipful sharing and growth for the Meeting community. Its primary focus is the 9:45 a.m. Connections hour that meets from September to early June. During Connections, we provide adult education and an opportunity for sharing among people from the different worship hours.

Our committee strives to bring a wide spectrum of activities and topics to the community. Subjects include Quaker history, Bible study, social action, and spiritual journeys, among others. We also provide opportunities for singing, and for both individuals and committees to share topics of concern to them.

As members of the committee we:
(1) meet as needed to plan programs and line up presenters and childcare. Between meetings we often communicate via email and phone to share ideas and confirm plans. (2) are present at Connections on a rotating basis to introduce the program, assist the presenter as needed, see that the program starts and ends in a timely manner, and– most importantly– make sure that the hour is worshipful. Connections start and end in silence.

Religious Education Committee

This committee works to foster the spiritual growth of the younger members of the Meeting community. Its main job is to organize and supervise the First Day School (FDS), but it also organizes periodic inter-generational worship-sharing sessions. The FDS’s primary goal is to teach young Friends about what Quakers believe, how they worship, and how Quaker values affect how Quakers live and act. We strive to tie our committee into current events that affect our children and their families, as well as other children around the world. The committee highly values the inter-generational connections made in FDS classes, and during shared worship experiences and other Meeting events.

Membership typically involves:
(1) taking part in monthly meetings, and keeping Meeting as a whole updated on Religious Education (R.E.) programming
(2) helping plan, develop curriculum for, find teachers for, and monitor the FDS classes. (Note that R.E. Committee members do NOT have to teach all, or indeed any, of the FDS classes themselves), and
(3) organizing and leading Intergenerational Worship groups several times a year, (4) providing support for FDS teachers and guest speakers, and
(5) throwing an end-of-year “thank-you” party for teachers.

You might consider joining this committee if you:
(1) want to help provide an enriching R.E. program for the Meeting’s young people, and (2) can bring energy, imagination, and commitment to this rewarding work.

PACEM Liaison

The PACEM liaison supports Charlottesville Friends Meeting’s volunteer participation in the community’s efforts to serve the homeless through the organization People and Congregations Engaged in Ministry (PACEM). This includes: maintaining contact with the PACEM organization; serving as the Meeting’s contact with our partner congregation; coordinating the Meeting’s participation in the shelter operation; engaging Friends to volunteer at the shelter when housed at Charlottesville Friends Meetinghouse or our partner church; maintaining a contact list of Friends who wish to be involved in any capacity with the shelter; serving as a resource for Tandem Friends School to participate as a PACEM host “congregation.”

Interfaith Gay Straight Alliance Representative

This individual will serve as representative of Charlottesville Friends Meeting to the IGSA, attending meetings and keeping CFM informed on issues and events related to gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgendered concerns.

Childcare Coordinator

The Childcare Coordinator finds appropriate paid staff to provide childcare during Connections, later Meeting for Worship, and Business Meeting. The Coordinator is not expected to find childcare for other gatherings, but may be called upon for help in finding appropriate resources.

Interchange Correspondent

The Interchange correspondent writes a short update on the Meeting’s news and activities and submits it to BYM’s quarterly newsletter. This news can be gleaned from newsletters, Business Meeting minutes and other sources.

Rose Hill Neighborhood Representative

The Rose Hill Neighborhood representative attends the Rose Hill Neighborhood Association meetings with the goal of fostering neighborly relations and effective communication between the meeting and the neighborhood of which our Meeting is a part.

Tandem School Liaison

Tandem Friends School is not officially under the care of our Meeting, but we have a strong relationship with the school, and the individual serving in this capacity will make efforts to maintain communication between the school and the Meeting, exchanging information of mutual interest. This individual could also be involved in administering the Tandem Scholarship Fund.