Committee on World Ministries (2000)
The Home and Foreign Missions Board of New York Yearly Meeting (Five Years Meeting affilia-tion) was started June 4, 1889, with representatives from each quarterly meeting. The first projects involved assistance to schools in Victoria, Mexico. This work continued until terminated by the Mexican government. In the meantime other projects had been assumed, and the work led into cooperation with the Mission Board of the Five Years Meeting (now Friends United Meeting). With the reunion of the two New York Yearly Meetings, the Mission Board continued as a body of the united Yearly Meeting. The broader concept of wider ministries adopted by Friends United Meeting led to the name's being changed in 1971 to Committee on Wider Ministries, and later to Committee on World Ministries.
Purposes & Objectives
To provide a means whereby members and meetings can encourage and support programs of world ministries of New York Yearly Meeting, Friends United Meeting, and other Friends' groups.
Functions & Activities
The committee administers the income of trust funds bequeathed to New York Yearly Meeting for "mission purposes."
The committee has occasionally sponsored interest groups at Yearly Meeting sessions. It has provided financial support for special projects from time to time.
- Grants are generally made to organizations or committees rather than to individuals. The committee prefers the accountability and oversight a larger supporting body can offer, as well as the advice and experience available in a larger body of Friends.
- Levels of funding for major programs should not be changed suddenly, as this makes it difficult for programs to run smoothly. Annual review of current and past funding should take place.
- Grants can be made either for the general program of an organization or committee or for specific programs or requests.
- Scholarship aid, if given, should go to schools or other organizations that can screen individual students, assess their needs, and offer nonmonetary support.
- Grants are not generally made to individual meetings for the construction of meeting-houses, as there are other sources of funding for this, either in their yearly meetings or through Friends Extension Corporation. Exceptions have been made for meetings with no other source of help, especially in areas in crisis or where Friends' witness is needed.
- Travel support has been given in the past for mission workers going to or from the field, New York Yearly Meeting members traveling on concerns related to this committee's area of interest, and mission workers visiting our Yearly Meeting sessions.
- Most funding decisions are made at regular sessions of the committee; in time of crisis or in the face of an urgent need, approval has been obtained by phone poll or letter.
- Full and continuing information is vital, and personal contacts with Friends on the spot are essential. The committee does not want to simply put checks in the mail and forget about the people! It is strengthened by the experience of Friends who have "been there." At the same time, the committee must be careful not to allocate funding only to the "pet projects" of our own members.
- Given the funds at its disposal, the committee looks for places where a small amount of money can make a large difference. Seed money has often been given to projects that later became self-sustaining and to pilot projects in new areas of concern.
- The committee is looking for new ways to help, new doors that are standing open, and new uses for its funds.
Organization & Method of Appointment
The Yearly Meeting appoints about twelve members to the committee for three-year terms, one-third appointed each year, on the recommendation of the Nominating Committee.
The committee appoints its own officers, presently consisting of a clerk, a secretary, and a treasurer. It names a representative to the Witness Coordinating Committee.
Meeting Times & Places
Meetings may be held at the call of the clerk but have been regularly held at Spring, Summer, and Fall Sessions.
The committee depends on three sources for its income:
- The income from trust funds held by the Yearly Meeting trustees and designated for "mission purposes" is administered by the committee. Most of this money is forwarded to Friends United Meeting for its programs of world ministries, but some of it is used for related concerns coming before the committee.
- The Committee on World Ministries also seeks funds from the Sharing Fund of New York Yearly Meeting, not only for the work of Friends United Meeting, but also for other projects of interest to New York Yearly Meeting.
- The Lindley Murray Fund has also contributed to the work of the committee.