- NYYM Handbook
- NYYM Handbook: Ministry Section and Coordinating Committee
EPISTLE COMMITTEE (2008)
Purposes and Objectives
- Prepare an annual epistle “To Friends Everywhere” conveying the greetings, spirit, and spiritual health and concerns of the NYYM Summer Sessions, to be sent to other yearly and general meeting of Friends, and to each monthly meeting in the Yearly Meeting.
- Receive, digest, and select epistles (or excerpts) from other yearly meetings of Friends for reading during business meetings at Summer, Fall, and Spring Sessions.
Functions & Activities: Staff
- As they are made available, review epistles sent to Yearly Meeting office from other yearly and general meetings, noting items that speak to the condition and concerns of New York Yearly Meeting.
- As way is identified by the Yearly Meeting clerk, read selected epistles or excerpts thereof during business sessions.
- Early in the week during Summer Sessions, review and read an age-appropriate epistle from another yearly meeting to each Junior Yearly Meeting group.
- Make sure all major gatherings during yearly meeting sessions (meetings for business, keynote addresses, Bible study, etc.) are attended by at least one—preferably two—committee members, who take notes about content, process, and spirit.
- By Wednesday, begin writing the epistle, which is usually given its first reading at the Friday morning business session.
- Receive and evaluate comments, preferably written, from Friends about proposed changes to the epistle and incorporate these and other materials into the epistle for its final reading, usually on Friday evening.
Functions & Activities: Committee
- Committee members are asked to help find material from their local meetings and to encourage people to submit material for the Web site and the newsletters.
- The committee reviews the information for Spark and consults with staff about submitted material where there is a question of suitability or considerations of space. The commit- tee reviews and approves printing of Letters to the Editor. The committee members also consult with staff on suggestions for improvements and additions to Spark and other documents. When needed, committee members sometimes do proofreading, copyediting, and coordination of themed issues.
- The committee suggests material for InfoShare and advises on distribution questions. t promotes knowledge and use of InfoShare within the members’ local meetings.
- The committee advises staff on editorial needs, production, and possible methods of distribution of new manuscripts submitted, and in determining the potential value of such manuscripts to the Yearly Meeting. The committee advises staff on NYYM's Web presence and explores the potential for other forms of technology for member outreach.
- The committee advises staff on content and use of the membership database and receives and reviews requests for it. Final authority lies with the General Services Coordinating Committee. The committee regularly reviews the number of changes to the Handbook and when necessary approves printing a new edition.
- Faith and Practice is updated whenever the Faith and Practice Committee directs staff to do so, and the Communications Committee decides when to issue new editions or reprints.
- Requests for staff consultation with New York Yearly Meeting groups or requests for printing or reprinting materials are reviewed by the committee, which recommends priorities and approves guidelines and deadlines.
Organization & Method of Appointment
- On the recommendation of the Nominating Committee, the Yearly Meeting appoints four to six members each year to serve two-year terms.
- The committee chooses a clerk to coordinate its activities and selects a representative to the Nurture Coordinating Committee.
Meeting Times & Places
- The committee meets daily during Yearly Meeting Summer Sessions, with two meetings per day often needed on Thursday and Friday.
- The remainder of the year business is conducted primarily via e-mail.
- Generally the committee has no expenses.
- If expenses are incurred, these are met by an appropriation in the Operating Budget.
Skills & Capabilities Needed by Committee Members
- Ability to put aside one’s own opinions and agendas and listen for the essentials of each session attended—the content, process, and spirit
- Ability to work cooperatively and constructively on a team, including the ability to value and listen clearly for the sense of what each committee member brings to the discussion
- Ability, on the part of at least two committee members, to write with clarity, succinct- ness, accuracy, and inspiration
- Perseverance and dedication to a demanding task, and capability of working under stress, especially in the latter days of Summer Sessions