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by John Spencer

John Spencer


May 8th at Rochester
Area Meeting 8th May 2011 at Rochester (Minutes)



QFP 19.61 and 20.01 were read during worship



23 Members present

2 Attenders present



1. Membership. We record that Mary Batten of Sevenoaks LM has transferred her membership to Redland LM (Bristol AM). The clerk awaits a reply from Bristol. Rochester LM wishes to terminate the membership of Beverley Draper. Rochester Overseers will attempt a visit to Beverley, followed by a draft letter from the clerk, in consultation with Rochester Overseers, to Beverley, if necessary, in line with QFP 11.34, and bring it to the next AM. QFP 13.35 adds further clarity to this.



2. Courses Sue Laidlay is attending a course for Safeguarding Co-Ordinators, at Woodbrooke, in November 2011.



3. AM Nominations Having a correspondence clerk living some distance from AM clerk is not working. We appoint John Clarke as correspondence clerk until the end of 2013. The clerk will inform the appropriate places. We thank Carole D’Silva for her work as correspondence clerk. We record that Elizabeth Bates has been asked to act as Link Friend for Tunbridge Wells LM. Subject to her consent, we appoint her to this role to the end of 2013. We thank Rebecca De Saintonge for her work as Link Friend at Tunbridge Wells.

4. We heard a Report from Betty Raymond and Rosemary Dixon-Nuttall on the first part of their course in ‘Equipping for Ministry’. We thank Betty and Rosemary for their report.

5. Management Committee. Management Committee (MC) takes much of the burden off AM. Management Committee will endeavour to communicate clearly with LM and AM and minutes from MC will be sent out with AM minutes. We encourage LM members to read the minutes of MC. Also, they should know who their LM representative on MC is, and ensure that they use them and support them. MC is an open forum and any member may attend. We encourage MC reps to report regularly with LM’s. MC reps are responsible for bringing concerns from LM to MC, it is a two way process. (Clerk’s note: the next MC meeting is in Maidstone on 16th November, probably at 7pm)

6. Rochester LM Annual Report for 2010 – We thank Angela Davies for the report. (see copy below)

7. We thank Janet Sturge for her report on the Israel/Palestine issue.

Tea time collection of £62 was passed onto Wendy Arum for “Hands” of Rochester.

Next Meeting 10th July in Maidstone at 2pm.

Clerk’s note: The agenda item on Data Protection (DP) was put forward to the next AM. In general we comply with its demands, but, as last year, I am returning the annual form requesting compliance with the DP Act stating that we do not comply on a point of detail. I have telephoned Friends House and have been reassured that we need not worry.


ROCHESTER LOCAL MEETING

ACTIVITIES DURING 2010



Rochester Local Meeting meets regularly for Worship each Sunday at 10.30 a.m. for one hour. Usual attendance is between 20-30 people. Once a month there is a Meeting for Healing (3rd Sunday) between 10.15 and 10.30. On the first Sunday of the month a shared lunch takes place after Meeting.





The Meeting House is hired out to various groups on a regular basis. Current hirers are:



Monday: Alco Anon



Tuesday: 10am -2pm First Steps Pop-in for homeless or street people, Afternoon Yoga group



Wednesday: Evening Yoga group



Thursday: 10am -2pm First Steps Pop in for homeless or street people,



Friday: Morning - Music group for infants and their mothers, Evening -SAA, a group similar to AA.



Saturday: Mornings - Alco Anon, Afternoon - Open House Project,



Monthly: Sai Baba, Medway Archaeological Group, Amnesty Int’l.







The Wednesday fortnightly evening groups continue at the Meeting House, from 6.30 until 9.00. The topics for conversation have included a brief introduction to ‘A Course in Miracles’ based on the book ‘Love is Letting go of Fear by G. Jampolski. In 2011 we return to Quaker Faith and Practice, beginning with Chapter 2.





A monthly craft group has met in fellowship to engage in various structured activities such as; making a treasure map with goals for the year; making candles, working with clay and making Christmas decorations for the Open House Project.





The Meeting house refurbishment has begun with a new kitchen and library/ small meeting room and entrance.



On the first Tuesday of the month in Gravesend a Meeting for Worship takes place in a Member’s home between 7.30 and 8.30 followed by tea and conversation. Usual attendance here is between 6-10 people.





The second week-long retreat at Claridge House took place in 2010, entitled ‘Time to Listen, Space to Grow’. Twelve of us met and had a full and productive week.





At Christmas 2010 Rochester Meeting hosted its third ‘Open Christmas’ in the Meeting House over Christmas and New Year for the local homeless community. It was decided to open for five days offering food, warmth and support in a festive environment. An appeal for help turned out to be an overwhelming success; several hundred pounds worth of food, clothes, gifts and other Christmassy things was donated. Hot soup and a cold buffet type meal was provided with some Christmas treats, such as mince pies, cake and biscuits. Between 10 and 14 volunteers from local churches and secular groups came along each day and over 200 meals were served to our guests over the five days. Other cash donations made to the project will enable us to continue to fund the Saturday Open House Project for a further six months.







Angela Davies

Assistant Clerk


John Spencer


July 10th Maidstone
1.Membership. We have heard a report written by Josephine Bennington and Helen Nicholls concerning membership for Wendy Arum. We welcome Wendy into membership and appoint Hans Noak to welcome her and present her with a suitable book or book tokens and vouchers for ‘The Friend’



2. Bank signatory. Minute of Record. 'We agree to remove Aldyth Rowe, now a member of another AM, as a signatory to the Triodos and CAF Gold bank accounts and to replace her with Chris Spanner.'



3. Business Continuity. AM to set up a time-limited working group until the end of 2012 to look at business-continuity measures, with its terms of reference to include the following:



(a) To consider what additional measures*might be taken to improve business continuity;

(b) To plan for the possibility that Richard Wadey might want to step down from the integrated treasurer role by the end of 2012 (which would probably mean beginning a handover in the second half of next year).

AM to ask Nominations Committee to find people to serve on it. Members of Management Committee and local Treasurers may wish to consider joining.

* Some ideas are:

· Richard Wadey to run a ‘finance workshop’ for a few representatives of each meeting, to increase the level of understanding of our finances and, incidentally, to make people feel less daunted by the possibility of being treasurer;

· redesign the integrated r?les so that the ‘donkey-work’ part could make it possible to be handled by a paid person if no Friend were willing to take it on;

· outsource the finance operation. (See for example http://www.accountsinabox.co.uk , which is being looked at by the Annual Conference of Treasurers).

The group should be mindful of supervision and support for the Treasurer and has AM support to look at the full implications to the r?le of Treasurer.



4. Report from Maidstone on its activities for 2010. We thank Maidstone for their report.



5. We have had an information gathering session on communication and how it affects everyone at AM. A record of the discussion has been kept and this minute will be continued. (Clerk’s note: many positive suggestions were made in a lively sharing session. We will return to this)



6. Yearly Meeting Gathering. Request for organisational help before and during YMG. It is confirmed that Members can turn up at the information desk during YMG and book for the day, giving a donation if they wish. Anyone who is going to YMG and is willing to share telephone details with other AM Friends please contact AM Clerk who will co-ordinate this information. AM Clerk requests that LM Clerks convey this information and that in the appendix to Members and Attenders.



7a). Draft letter to terminate membership. The draft letter for termination of membership was accepted and will be filed.

b) Confidential minute (Clerk’s note: that means the minute is filed in my copy of the minutes only)



Clerk’s note: Data Protection held over to next AM.

On the table: nothing! Tea time collection for Open Saturday, £62 taken by J.Spencer

Report from Maidstone Meeting:

MEETINGS FOR WORSHIP have been held throughout the year. In addition a new Worship group has been held once a month by three Maidstone Friends at Sittingbourne, attracting new attenders there. Meetings for Healing have been held on most 3rd Sundays, and Meetings for Worship have been held in the homes of two F/friends unable to attend at Union Street. Our Meetings for Worship in HMP Maidstone have continued, and our Quaker Chaplain eventually received her keys.

NOMINATIONS, formerly the responsibility of the LM as a whole, were delegated to a small ad hoc group appointed in September, which has worked well.

LEARNING: Meetings after Meeting have included a series on the parables of St Luke. Our Woodbrooke on the Road focussed on the spiritual life of the Meeting, and 5 evening meetings for enquirers were run on the Quaker Testimonies facilitated by all 4 Elders ending with a meal and final session on What Next.?

A weekend at Claridge House on ‘ Home and Identity’ was led in a very enjoyable way by Frances Crampton of East Kent AM and four of our members.

PASTORAL CARE: Overseers have considered Friends’ names and held them in the light. They have visited 6 people at home. Other members of the meeting have assisted in keeping in touch with members and attenders needing support.

WELCOMING NEWCOMERS & MEMBERSHIP: We have been appreciative of our doorkeeper’s watchful eye, and of the enquirers’ meetings. Overseers considered members’ and attenders’ potential and need for development in the meeting. A Maidstone applicant for membership was encouraged in her wish to ask for a Meeting for Clearness. A member who had long-since moved away was encouraged to attend meeting in his new area with his young family, and his membership has now been transferred.

SOCIAL: A Bring & Share lunch celebrated a newly joined member; this was followed by a show of meditative photographs by Duncan Dwinell of Sevenoaks LM. An attender was invited to sing at our Summer Gathering, which was much appreciated, and Friends visited a member’s Open Studio.

OUTREACH: A presentation of the Quaker Tapestry has been taken to 12 outside groups. Hollingbourne Primary School’s Year 6 were welcomed to the Meeting House with a story and Quiet Time, and compared our room with other places of Worship they knew. Overseers have been in touch with the University of the Creative Arts [UCA] through its Student Services Officer regarding a voluntary chaplaincy.

CHILDREN’S MEETING has been regularly attended by two children. Topics included Human Needs, some of the Quaker testimonies, and an introduction to the Bible. A‘5th Sunday’ for creative activities has been added to the more structured meetings. In May we hosted a training day led by Howard Nurden and Chris Nicolay from CYPS/QLife. They helped us to think about reasons for working with children and to plan our sessions for the summer. A family was encouraged to attend YM and successfully took part in Under 19s programme. In August we visited Fant Wildlife site, and did some pond dipping.

Three of our 8 helpers attending a Friends’ House workshop explored the ‘Godly Play’ storytelling method and materials, and two Old Testament sessions have used these; the objects for ‘Jonah’ were made in ceramic by members of Children’s Meeting [now donated to CYP, Friends House].

CHILD PROTECTION: 4 helpers attended a workshop offered by CCPAS in Swanley.

BURSARY FUND: All requests have been met this year, grants having included counselling, advertising the new Meeting for Worship in Sittingbourne, and travel to conferences.

The fund is to be regularly topped up to £10,000 [this year from £6,484] when there are excess LM reserves, and Friends are encouraged to make use of it, e.g. for outreach, education or social need in the community.

PREMISES: The bulk of WKAM’s Premises spending this year went on our Meeting House’s flat roof covering, fortunately at a much lower cost than originally quoted. The copper-covered felt on the meeting room roof is nearing the end of its life, and through the generosity of a local Friend, Maidstone LM has created a dedicated ‘roof’ fund (interest bearing) to assist AM in the future cost of replacing both roofs.

LETTINGS: A request was received from an Afghan Shi’a group, for teaching and prayers, and they have successfully launched their Koran and language classes. This was offered free for 3 months.



Many thanks to all the Friends and Attenders who have made this busy year’s work possible. JS.




John Spencer


18th September 2011 at Sevenoaks
16 members and 1 Attender were present



A reading from the introduction to Advices and Queries and A&Q 1,28 and 29 was read during worship



1. We record with sorrow the death of Mary Adams, Rochester LM, on August 13th 2012. Her funeral after the manner of Friends was held at Medway Crematorium on 30th August.

2. A letter has been sent by AM Clerk to Beverley Draper. As no reply has been received we record the termination of membership of Beverley Draper, Rochester LM.

3. Transfer of Membership. Judith Hedges (Sevenoaks) has transferred her membership to Porthmadog Quaker Meeting. Jane Heydecker has written to and received a reply from Porthmadog meeting.

4. AM Nominations.
(a) AM formally reaffirms the appointment of Kay Schlapp of East Kent as Handbook Editor. The Clerk will put a suitable entry into the Handbook. We thank Kay for her effort.
(b) Elizabeth Bates has agreed to serve as Link Friend for TW meeting until the end of 2014.
(c) Betty Raymond appointed as AM Custodian of Records until the end of 2014. We thank Christopher Stacey for his service in this post.
(d) Wendy Arum is authorised to attend an Overseers course at Woodbrooke on September 30th – October 2nd .

5. We agree to stagger the appointment of AM Management Committee (MC) members to ensure continuity as all the members currently serving are due to end in December 2012. We agree that it should eventually be a four year appointment. We ask MC to come forward with a plan to implement this change. MC to liaise with AM Nominations.

6. Elders and Overseers bring the following suggestions to AM (clerk’s note: from YMG Canterbury 2011).

a) Each LM to implement an energy audit. We ask MC to liaise with LM’s. We ask MC to seek quotes for the audit. Note that funds for this may be available from Friends House.

b) AM asks Liz Gladstone to attend a Woodbrooke weekend September 23rd to 25th: The Time is Now’, as a follow up to the Swarthmore lecture 2011.

The Elders and Overseers minute and Yearly Meeting Gathering minute 36 are included separately as further background.

7. AM Data Protection Policy. This item is being considered by Management Committee and will be brought back to AM in November.

8. Communications within AM. We remind ourselves of the wider meaning of communication within our Quaker body (see QFP 10.1 to 10.20, and will bring this to next AM. We ask Friends to study these passages before the next AM. (Clerk’s note: I will select a few passages for study and email them before next AM)

9. £81.30 was collected for ‘Challenger Troop’ and was taken by Duncan Dwinell.

10. On the table at tea was a view of a website ‘Library Thing’ which Sevenoaks LM have used to categorise their library books. To access this www.librarything.com

username: 7oaksMeeting

password: Hollybush. (Capital letters matter)

I suggest turning off ‘Pirate Speak’ if it is on, and click on ‘YourBooks’ to see Sevenoaks Quaker Library.

We thank Sevenoaks for their hospitality and will meet again at Tunbridge Wells November 13th at 1.30pm


John Spencer


13th November 2011 at TW


21 members and 0 attenders were present



A reading from M.Jocelyn Burnell (Swarthmoor Lecture), Broken for Life, was read during worship.



1. We record with sorrow the death of Hans Noak, Rochester LM, on 18th September 2011. The Clerk will ask two Friends from Rochester to write a testimony for the Book of Testimonies and forward to the Recording Clerk. We record with sorrow the death of and Derek Forman, TW LM, on Friday 14th October 2011.

2. We record the transfer of Membership of Simon Beard and Daphne Fisher to West Kent AM from Sussex West AM. They are attending Sevenoaks Meeting. AM welcomes them to our community. The Clerk of Sussex West AM will send certificates of transfer shortly. (clerk’s note: certificates received 14/11/11 and will be passed to Catherine Smart). Judith Hedges has been accepted into membership at North Wales AM as of 10 September. Danny Chesterman has been accepted into membership of East Kent AM.

3. AM Nominations. We bring the names of the following to posts for the new triennium, to serve until the end of 2014. Meeting for Sufferings: Elizabeth Gladstone
Business continuity ctee. Chris Spanner, Derek Gouldsworthy, and a name to be confirmed from TW + Richard W will be a member. (This is the temporary committee for 2012 only to ease a changeover of financial affairs)
Elders: TW Jonathon Maw, Elizabeth Bates, Jean Ross (until the end of 2012 only). Sevenoaks: Elizabeth Dwinell, Sandie Wade, Josie Gray. Rochester: Sue Lycett, Chris Spanner, Angela Davies and Merrill Woolf (until the end of 2012) Maidstone: Pauline Waters and Jane Noak.
Overseers: TW: Catherine Smart, Dave Smith, Troy Jones (assistant), Anne Hebditch, Sevenoaks: Jane Heydecker, Diana Hynard, assistants Barbara Nieto and Elizabeth Cousins. Rochester: names later. Maidstone: Giovanna Hammet, Sue Laidlay, Mary Bain (assistant)
Elizabeth Dwinell has asked to lay down her role on the Management Cte. Duncan Dwinell until the end of 2015. (clerk’s note Elizabeth Dwinell is standing down). Liz Gladstone for AM Nominations Committee until the end of 2013. Both Quaker Life reps, Frances Hales and Val Hewitt, are standing down. We thank them for their work and ask AM Nominations committee to find new representatives. We also ask AM Noms to find a new AM assistant Clerk from Rochester LM (The Clerk will find an assistant for January 2012 AM)

4. Meeting for Sufferings report. See report at end of agenda. We thank Elizabeth Gladstone for her report. We need to seek a balance between the use of IT and face to face communication.

5. Finance for Woodbrooke on the Road day on conflict – see separate email for details. The cost is £400. Suggest a donation from participants with any shortfall made up from course expense funds account. Would participants please inform Sue Laidlay if they wish to attend. Participants from other AM’s are welcome.

6. Dates for AM next year, 2012

15th January Rochester 2pm (clerk’s note: Rochester Elders, in the light of item 7, wish to take to LM on 20th November that AM in January 2012 starts early, 11.45?, and consequently finishes earlier. How would you feel if that were done as a trial?)

11th March Maidstone 2pm

13th May Sevenoaks 2pm

8th July Tunbridge Wells 1.30pm

16th September Rochester 2pm (note this is 3rd week due to my prior commitment)

11th November Maidstone 2pm

7. Communications within AM. We remind ourselves of the wider meaning of communication within the Society, and AM in particular. QFP 10.11 was read as a starting point for discussion.

(clerk’s note: these contributions were introduced during a period of worship sharing)

· Have fun and humour over our difficulties

· Support and strength from the bigger organisation

· Making a community requires continuous work, like any relationship

· Gatherings for shared meals and discuss concerns

· How can we encourage others to come to AM?

· Send concerns from AM to Meeting for Sufferings; make it two way traffic

· NOT ‘what do we do’, but ‘who do we think we are’, corporately? Quote QFP 10.15 and 10.19 and Pam Lunn (2011 Swarthmoor Lecture 2011),’now it’s time to do the uncomfortable things’. Acknowledge the deep spiritual demands on my life.

‘The Clerk is trying to reduce routine business, using IT. Minutes from an earlier AM support using our Management Committee to free up time at AM for substantial concerns. Encourage concerns from the membership, even those who are not present. The Recording Clerk has asked us to find ways to strengthen our AM’s and make them more interesting.’

After discernment:

a) We hold in the light those on our committees. We ask a lot of them. Bear in mind what we are asking them to do on our behalf.

b) There is a concern about the use of email on personal issues. We need advice on how to use emails sensitively.

c) (AM representatives) Report back decisions from AM to LM regularly.

d) Send some items from LM newsletters to other LM’s (face to face may be better, to make a personal connection)

e) We ask LM’s to discuss topics from S/11/10/D (http://www.quaker.org.uk/suffs-oct-2011) in preparation for March AM and send any minutes to the clerk (clerk’s note: we did decide January AM, but this may not give time to discuss items, so May AM is better).

A collection of £ 208 was collected for S4SK (www.s4sk.org.uk) and taken by Rosemary Dixon-Nuttall

Report. MEETING FOR SUFFERINGS 1ST OCTOBER 2011

1. We heard a report from Jonathan Fox, Clerk to BYM Trustees – largely about reorganisation of both staff structures and the work of standing committees. Work on refurbishment of the Large Meeting House is to go ahead at a total budget of £4.25m – this will be paid for by proceeds of the sale of Courtald House.

2. A full consideration of government cuts was introduced by Michael Bartlett, Parliamentary Liaison secretary, and Catherine West who is leader of Islington council. The council had set up an ‘Islington Fairness Commission’, led by Richard Wilkinson, co-author of The Spirit Level, to look at what the council could do about inequalities in the borough and to help them establish guidelines for their budget. Catherine had many concerns about income disparities in the borough, the lack of affordable housing, the impact of changes to housing and disability benefits, and access to healthcare. As a result of the Fairness Commission’s work, her council had taken their cleaning contract back in-house: this meant both that the cleaners now get the London living wage, and that the council are actually spending less on cleaning than they did when paying private contractors. Michael Bartlett focussed on two particular issues: the reduction in disability benefit, and legal aid cuts. The principle of equality, which is at the heart of the Beveridge reforms, is now under threat – yet a more equal society works in the interests of everyone, not just the poorest. Increasing poverty now will actually cost us more money later. We minuted ways in which Friends could challenge growing inequality from the perspective of spiritual values, morality and social welfare, both in the political sphere and in local communities. We asked for a public statement on equality and we supported our Parliamentary Liaison Officer's lobbying of the House of Lords in respect of the Welfare Reform Bill. Friends are asked to lobby their MPs on these issues: letters to the press may also assist. Meetings were particularly asked to consider whether they should pay their own employees the living wage rather than the minimum wage – maybe we in West Kent need to think about this?

3. Paul Parker, the new Recording Clerk, introduced a consideration of the state of our area meetings. He asked us, are our AMs clear about their purpose; are they fit for that purpose, and what kind of support and guidance would help? Paul had prepared a set of more detailed queries to help focus our discernment: these can be downloaded from the BYM website at http://www.quaker.org.uk/suffs-oct-2011. I hope we can find ways to use them locally.

4. Other matters on the agenda included: Topics for YM 2012; minutes from several AMs concerning boycott, divestment and sanctions; reflections on YMG 2011.


John Spencer


15th January 2012 at Rochester, 11.30am Minutes


(Clerk’s note: as there were many new attenders at the meeting the clerk carefully explained our business method throughout. We welcome David Birmingham, new clerk of East Kent AM)

19 members and 9 attenders were present.

QFP 10.32 was read during opening worship.

We record with sorrow the deaths of Chris Stacey on 16th November 2011, Julian Harrison on 13th December 2011, Margaret Slaney on 25th December 201, all of TW LM and Philip Headley of Sevenoaks, on 6th January 2012.(Funeral on Monday 23rd January 3.30pm at Kent and Sussex Crematorium)
AM Nominations. We appoint Sue Hall, from TW LM, and John Clarke, from Rochester LM to sit on the Business Continuity committee. Frances Eagle for Overseer at Rochester until the end of 2012. Wendy Aram and Jean Spanner as Overseers for Rochester until the end of 2014. Richard Wadey as Elder at Maidstone until the end of 2014. Josie Bennington to serve on Meeting for Sufferings from July 2012 until June 2015 (note: under the new arrangements for MfS this appointment is ‘standing in’ for the main representative.). Wendy Aram for Nominations Committee until the end of 2014. Tessa Donaldson as Quaker Life rep until the end of 2014. Our trustees Carole D’Silva and Claire Grant are staying in post until the end of 2012. We ask Nominations to seek a representative for Summer School/ Senior Conference to replace Alison Ruff. We re-assert that all post holders can go for training at Woodbrooke to support their post. We ask nominations to ensure in appointing new people a) to advise what the post entails b) to consider asking in writing.
Reserves policy from Management Committee (MC). Minute of Record.
Data protection policy from MC. Minute of Record. Management Committee (MC)will suggest action, such as training, for those using personal data. These policies (3 and 4) are open for comments and change at future AMs. We thank MC for their work in bringing these policies to AM.
AM Budget proposals for 2012 and Tabular Statement. We are mindful of the increase in quotas, but building costs are increasing. We retain 1.15% of the insured value of meeting houses to transfer to the premises fund. We accept the budget for 2012 and thank the Treasurer for drawing up the budget. We note the drop in membership of 6 over the last year and thank Catherine Smart for compiling the Tabular Statement. We propose a collection before all 2012 AMs to be shared between Claridge House and Woodbrooke, asking all members and attenders to contribute. (clerks note: this will therefore be the tea-time collection for all AMs this year)
Meeting for Sufferings report. We thank Liz Gladstone for her report. We ask all LMs to use ‘The Toolkit’ to calculate their present carbon emissions and send results to the recording Clerks Office, and AM Clerk, by 31st March 2012.

We ask that we read Minute 36 of BYM 2011 ‘We ask area meetings to consider how truth prospers with regard to sustainability, taking care to relate this to all our testimonies – peace, truth, simplicity, equality and care for the environment.

We encourage local and area meetings to practise speaking truth to power at local level by establishing relationships with all sections of local communities, including politicians, businesses and schools, to encourage positive attitudes to sustainability.’

(clerks note: two contributions)‘We live our testimonies because we love and are loved’. ‘We must be tender with one another’.

Sevenoaks are running a DVD on Sustainability and discussion, followed by a shared meal, on Saturday 18th February at 5pm.

We fully endorse the request to ask Pam Lunn to Claridge House in 2013 (see attached Maidstone minute).

We note that there are Woodbrooke courses on this issue (Sustainability) and fully endorse attendance from the Area Meeting.

West Kent Clerk and David Birmingham, Clerk of East Kent Quakers, seek more communication between East and West Kent Quakers. We are visiting each others AM, adding each other to mailing lists and conveying information as required. The AM clerks will consider what can be done jointly, socially and spiritually.
Rochester report on activities. We thank Rochester for compiling the report. (clerks note: I hope reports can be given to AM spontaneously by reps, and the written report attached with minutes)

£ 126.50 was collected for Demelza House and was taken by Chris Spanner.
On the table were the Tabular Statement, Open Saturday report and details of course at Glenthorne.
We thank Rochester for their hospitality and will meet again at Maidstone at 2pm on March 11th 2012


John Spencer


West Kent Area Meeting 11th March 2012

20 Members and 3 Attenders were present.
A reading from QFP 29.03 was read during worship.
1. We record with sorrow the death of Clifford Pearce, Maidstone LM, on February 8th 2012. Minute from Maidstone LM 26th February 2012, ‘12/11 Clifford Pearce - We ask AM to consider commissioning a Testimony to the grace of God in the life of Clifford Pearce.’ AM requests that two members are found from Maidstone to write a testimony to be sent to Friends House. Guidance may be found in QFP 4.27- 4.29 and on the downloadable document at www.quaker.org.uk/qfp (Testimonies to the grace of god in lives – an enduring presence). An extract from the prepared testimony of Hans Noak was read and will be forwarded to the Recording Clerk’s Office by AM Clerk. If anyone would like a copy please contact AM Clerk.
2. Nominations. We seek a finance guardian to oversee the accounts procedures. We seek 3 trustees to begin in 2013. There is a suggestion that the finance guardian becomes a duty of AM Clerk (if so, consider until the end of 2013 for now). However, we ask Nomination’s Committee to seek representatives for all these posts. AM proposes that the end date for trustees be staggered in principle, perhaps by one trustee staying on
until the end of 2013. Trusteeship involves considerable responsibility. We ask Management Committee (MC) to liaise with Nominations Committee (NC) concerning the job description for a trustee. We ask that MC and NC report back to AM in May 2012.
3. Quaker Prison Chaplain work. We may like to seek a replacement for the role Hans Noak had at Stanford Hill and Swaleside prisons. An outline was given by Jill Russell, and a written report will be attached to the minutes. We ask that NC find a suitable person for these posts. We endorse the funding for Jill to attend QPC Regional Development Day, April 14th at Friends House, costing £30 plus train. We thank Jill for her work in this area.
4. Accounts. Presented by Richard Wadey. We thank Richard for his report.
5. Trustees Report for 2011,( for the Charities Commission). The Clerk has taken advice from the Recording Clerk’s Office and suggests that the trustees all sign it from next year, plus AM Clerk. We thank the trustees for their report and accept it.
6. Business Continuity proposed arrangements. We thank the committee for its work, and wholeheartedly accept its suggestions and financial implications.
7. Outreach fund activity over the last year. Held over until May AM.
8. Representatives at Britain Yearly Meeting (BYM). It is the responsibility of AM to ensure sufficient representation at BYM. BYM is May 25-28 2012 at Friends House. Topics include Economic Justice, Sustainability
and ‘What it means to be a Quaker today’.Would LMs please inform AM Clerk of those attending. Funding for travel expenses is available for 2 friends from each meeting, others may request funds from overseers. Please see the handbook for the procedure and contact AM Clerk before applying (clerk’s note: if requesting funding). Attenders need permission to attend YMG. Please see your local LM Clerk.
9. Post-Swarthmore retreat/conference at Claridge House, with Pam Lunn. We ask Nominations Committee to find 3 people for an ad-hoc committee to work on design, date and financial arrangements for the event. We authorise our clerk to make appointments in consultation with Nominations Committee.
10. Report back on conflict day from Elders and Overseers. We thank Sue Laidley for her report from E and O’s meeting. Rochester and Sevenoaks are taking this back to LM to discuss.
A tea time collection of £110 was collected, £55 for each of Claridge House and Woodbrooke and was taken by Pam Page.
A reminder that the next Management Committee is on April 11th in Maidstone.
AM meets again May13th in Sevenoaks at 2pm.
We thank Maidstone for their hospitality.


John Spencer


WKAM Sevenoaks 13th May 2012


Hi all,

Here are the minutes of AM from Sevenoaks yesterday. They are also attached as a pdf file. Those below can be copied to a word document. Please take time to read it through, there is sure to be something of interest. John

A reading called ‘A dedication’ was read during worship

A dedication
Lord, we offer you ourselves
For the work you want accomplished
For the people you want us to meet
For the Word you want to be uttered
For the silence you want to be kept
For the places you want us to enter
For the new ways you want pioneered
Go with us along the way, Lord
And enable us to realize your presence
At all time and in all places

(Seen on the display at Rochester Quaker Meeting House on 10th day fifth month 2009)



18 members and 2 attenders were present (Wendy Aram was prevented)


A Testimony to the grace of God in the life of Clifford Pearce was read during the silence and will be forwarded to Friends House. Please ask AM Clerk if you would like a copy. (clerk’s note: I have lodged a copy of the testimony in my copy of the minutes, also for Hans Noak from last AM)

1. Rikki Vafidis has stood down as Prison Minister for Elmley and Nominations committee brings the name of Christine Parker.

Also, nominations committee bring the name of Josie Bennington as Prison Minister for Swaleside and Stanford Hill, subject to preliminary visits to the prison. We ask AM Clerk to write to the Governor of Swaleside and Stanford Hill.

Sonja Le Vay to AM Nominations committee until the end of 2014. (LM appointment)

Carole D’Silva to serve one more year as Trustee, to end of 2013.

Jill Clarke to Finance Guardian, until the end of 2012.

Liz Gladstone to Overseer at Maidstone until Giovanna Hammet returns or until the end of 2012.

Liz Gladstone and Pam Page to Post Swarthmoor Lecture retreat organisation.



These names being acceptable they were duly appointed.



2. Report back on finding new trustees. A job description is in preparation and will be forwarded to AM Nominations Committee for its perusal.



3. Transfer of Membership of Elizabeth Ruff to WKAM. We have received a certificate of transfer from Hampshire and Islands AM. We welcome Elizabeth to TW Meeting.



4. TW have a problem hosting AM on July 8th. We agree to swap Rochester AM on September 16th with TW on July 8th.



5. Minute of record from Management Committee (MC) about the responses of Trustees/ Management Committee to the letter from Friends’ Trusts, re. Clifford Pearce’s will. (clerk’s note: Trustees discussed and agreed the way forward by email and all trustees and management committee agreed the way forward)

Clifford Pearce, bequest:

We have heard from the Secretary of Friends Trusts Ltd in connection with Clifford Pearce’s will. His residuary estate is to be divided equally between nine charities, one of which is West Kent Monthly Meeting (sic). The funds are currently in the form of stocks and shares. The executors would prefer to sell the shares and allocate the proceeds among the various beneficiaries; but it is apparently a legal requirement that the beneficiaries should also be offered the option of receiving some of the actual shares in part settlement of their entitlement. The executors will act on the majority decision of the beneficiaries.



The latter course of action would increase the administrative costs considerably and, bearing in mind the wishes of the Executors together with the views of our treasurer the Trustees and Management Committee have expressed their preference for the sale of the investments and the distribution of the resulting cash proceeds.

6. TW problem appointing a Clerk. AM help requested. We first looked at general issues of appointments to posts using ‘worship sharing’. The undiscerned shared points are listed as bullet points below:

· One year appointments may help. They may then carry on

· Consider a mentor scheme for new appointments

· Share appointments between us

· Don’t look at this negatively. People have grown while in new r?les. Training is available

· Use technology more in committees

· Management Committee has email committees, but beware computer illiteracy

· The Clerk’s post needs continuity; someone has to know what’s going on

· We should look at TW problem now (clerk’s note: the following comments began to focus on TW)

· We have elaborate arrangements, making things harder than necessary. Look at psychological routes through the dark shadow.

· Ask one month at a time

· The learning curve is what you need to know to do the job

· Two people can work well together (6 months minimum)

· AM Clerking can be stressful – you are part of a team

· In Meeting for Worship we know we are all responsible, but sad that one person feels responsible.

· We are not running the Greek economy

· Can we use attenders to help?

It is recognised that Clerking can be stressful, but we realise that there are joys as well. We hold TW in the light and offer our on-going support. Jane Heydecker has offered to speak to TW concerning a Stewardship group (as currently used by Sevenoaks for their business meetings)


A teatime collection of £50 was collected equally for Woodbrooke and Claridge House and was taken by Elizabeth Dwinell



7. A report from Meeting for Sufferings concerning Asylum seekers, from Liz Gladstone. We thank Liz for her report and agree that AM Clerk send the following letter to local MPs. Please send suggestions for revision to the Clerk by May 21st (clerk’s note – I have indicated on the letter a few suggested changes in BOLD/UNDERLINED)

‘Dear MP for……]

The right to liberty is a fundamental right enjoyed by all people in the United Kingdom, whether British citizens or subject to immigration control. It is a right established in common law as well as protected by the European Convention on Human Rights.

However, thousands of people (Asylum Seekers) are kept every year in detention by the UK Borders Agency with no date set for their release. While detained they have fewer rights than those convicted and sentenced.

The decision to detain is made by immigration officers without reference to a court. In theory each detainee has the right to apply for bail after 7 days, but many people are unaware of this procedure and find it difficult to access legal advice.

In theory it is Government policy not to detain survivors of torture or those with serious medical conditions or mental health problems, but in practice even proven survivors of rape and torture, pregnant women, and those with severe mental and physical health problems are often found in detention. Many of those who have been locked up in immigration detention centres have suffered(developed) severe mental health problems (as a result), with detention in many cases adding to trauma already suffered in their home country.

In 1822, when campaigning against the slave trade, British Quakers argued that ‘That which is morally wrong cannot be politically right’. The same principle holds true today, and we uphold now as we did then the principles of the value of each human person and their equality before God.

We call for the ending of indefinite detention, which is fundamentally unjust and causes much suffering to its victims. We urge you represent our views to government ministers and to press for a fair and equitable immigration system. ‘

Gravesham – Adam Holloway

Chatham – Tracy Crouch

Tonbridge – John Stanley

Tunbridge Wells – Greg Clarke

Sevenoaks – Michael Fallon

Rochester – Mark Reckless

Maidstone – Helen Grant

8. Items from Management Committee. Future of TW Meeting House, report for info only. See attached report at end of these minutes.



AM requested to approve the principle of civil partnerships being conducted in Quaker Meeting Houses. We approve the principle of civil partnerships being conducted in our Quaker Meeting Houses. We ask Management Committee in consultation with our recording officer, to look further into this in November 2012 when there is further clarity on the issue.



9. Outreach Fund report from Chris Spanner. We thank Chris Spanner for his report (attached). We should consider how the fund can be topped up by including it in budget planning for next year and by encouraging individuals to make donations. The terms of reference of the Outreach fund are in the handbook for 2012.

Report: A number of grants were made during 2011 totalling £1460.

£355 to set up and maintain the RESET website

£505 each to two Friends as assistance towards the cost of following the Equipping for Ministry course. This is part of £2500 as a total grant covering the period of the course. As convenor of the fund administrators I apologise to the meeting for forgetting that grants over £500 should be authorised by AM. It is hoped that AM can confirm that the rest of the grant may go ahead (clerk’s note: to AM in July).

A grant of £95 was made to an attender to attend a seekers conference.

Fund balance at end of 2011 was £5126

We thank Sevenoaks for their hospitality and will meet again in Rochester on 8th July at 2pm

Clerk’s note: I am reminded that all items concerning application for membership will in future be written as ‘confidential minute concerning membership’ until a report is bought to AM.

Clerk’s note: Expenses for all post holders, including prison representatives, may be claimed at 35p a mile.

On the Table: Retreat Newsletter. – Kindlers events- Deepening the life of the Spirit.

Minute 4.1 of MC mg April 11th 2012 – see item 8

4.1 Future of Tunbridge Wells Meeting House –update by Steering Group:

We have had a report from Derek Gouldsworthy and Pat Thomas of the Steering Group that following the award of an additional feasibility grant from QHT, architectural services were commissioned from Churchill Hui to produce a bed sit scheme. Given that TWBC planners require the facade and flank walls to be retained in any development, the best that could be produced with the minimum of internal re-structuring was 5 x bed-sit units of 25m2 each with a communal lounge and office.



The Steering Group had meetings with YMCA representatives who were keen to provide management services for move-on accommodation if a Housing Association would provide the development.



The TWBC Housing Officer (HO) brokered a meeting with Moat Housing Association which the Steering Group were advised had funds available for the type of units proposed. A revised scheme for 6 x bed-sits was requested by Moat. Churchill Hui redrew the scheme which was costed at a budget estimate of £405,000 excluding land costs (long lease), VAT, fees and other associated costs for the scheme.



The Steering Group met with TWBC HO and the Senior Development Manager for Moat on 24 February. Whilst keen on the scheme, the impression gained was that it was marginal from Moat’s point of view which was later confirmed. An offer to release the whole site has been made, with or without Quakers retaining a presence on site.



A number of organisations have shown an interest in the building for various social housing uses, but none with the resources for development without partner funding except for a sale at less than best price.



At the time of this meeting, there are no further options being explored by the Group nor is there any prospect of a development partner coming forward enabling Quakers to jointly use the site. It is proposed to report to TWLM, through its May newsletter that the Steering Group has explored all development options and that as no feasible scheme for joint use has been found, Members may wish to consider leaving the site altogether.



If no further progress can be made with the Group’s remaining enquires, it will be recommending that the Meeting House be placed on the market for sale late 2012 early 2013; how and on what terms to be decided, subject to alternative arrangements being made for continuation of a Local Meeting in Tunbridge Wells area.


John Spencer


Rochester 8th July 2012
A reading from QFP 3.05 was read during worship
12 Members and 2 Attenders were present
Announcement of the death of John Lowe, Friend of Rochester Meeting. We record with sorrow the death of John Lowe, Rochester LM, on June 15th 2012
Announcement of the death of Madge Bishop of TW Meeting. We record with sorrow the death of Madge Bishop, TW LM, on June 4th 2012

1. Nominations. Josie Bennington cannot take up the post of Quaker Chaplain at local prisons nor Meeting for Sufferings representative. We ask AM Nominations to seek representatives for these posts.

2. Transfer of membership of Imogen Wedd from Ipswich and Diss Meeting.
We welcome Imogen to West Kent.

3. Membership issues – The Clerk would like to clarify the procedure once an application for membership has been made to the Clerk. The Clerk contacts the Overseers from LM where the application has been made and they appoint one visitor. LM Overseers contact Overseers from another LM who appoint a second visitor, arrange a visit and report for AM. The visitors need not be Overseers.

4. Report back from letters to MP's over Asylum seekers. We have received replies from John Stanley MP, Greg Clerk MP and Michael Fallon MP. The Clerk is meeting Adam Holloway (Gravesham MP) on July 13th , and will report back in due course. Please uphold the Clerk in prayer.

5. National giving to fund Quaker work. Are we giving enough? We live in difficult financial times and the pressure on Quakers to fund LM, AM and BYM concerns is considerable. Could each LM please consider prayerfully the situation of giving to BYM and seek discernment, and bring to AM after LMs have discussed it.
The Trustees report, on giving to BYM, is attached (clerk’s note: this report may help the discernment process).
6. Website as an outreach site. The website exists www.westkentquakers.org.uk. It is an outreach resource and does bring inquiries in. Proposed: To acquire a new mobile telephone and contact card and to promote these. (£60 made available for this). Note: Training is available from John Spencer in entering information onto the website. Clerk’s note: inquirers encouraged to text or leave a message on the phone



7. Request for speaker from 'RESET' to be invited to November AM. Maidstone minute:
Minute 12/35 RESET: Maidstone Local Meeting June 2012
There are continuing signs of a ‘re-birth’. We confirm that RESET is a continuing concern of Maidstone LM. We ask Area Meeting to set aside a half-hour at its November meeting for Michael Bourne, the new Resettlement Manager at Kenward Trust, to tell us about progress and plans. We then hope that AM will record a minute reaffirming that this is a Quaker concern to which the Area Meeting will give its continuing support. If this is done, the Minutes can be sent to Lucy Roberts at Friends House. As a Quaker concern we may be eligible for continued support from Friends House under the ‘Supporting Local Initiatives’ programme.
We invite Maidstone LM to invite Michael Bourne to speak to AM in November 2012.
(Clerk’s note: RESET is an organisation involving local churches and faith groups to provide support for ex-offenders when they are released into the local community)


8. Confirmation of Outreach fund grant to two TW Friends
We confirm that the Outreach Fund pays £525 x 2 = £1050 in 2012 to support Betty Raymond and Rosemary Dixon-Nuttall in their ‘Equipping for Ministry’ course which ends this year.. We ask them to report back in January 2013.
9. Brief feedback of the special AM on the refurbishing work at Friends House. Minute from that meeting:
From a specially convened Area Meeting of West Kent AM on Sunday 17th June 2012
‘We have heard about the details of the proposed Turrell designed SkySpace for Friends House and further factual information, particularly the minute of Trustees (BYMT 10th May 2012)
We do not feel that there has been proper consultation or communication on the matter of the SkySpace, but reluctantly fall short of asking for the decision to be re-opened. We are asked to ‘Live Adventurously’. We have missed an opportunity for something special at Friends House.
We do ask for the Terms of Reference of Trustees to be reconsidered and ask that items concerning ‘Vision and Values’ should be the province of BYM and Meeting for Sufferings.’
Signed John Spencer, Clerk
The minute has been taken to Meeting for Sufferings. BYM trustees are considering a response at their next meeting.
10. Minute of record: annual DataProtection form returned to Friends House saying that we comply.
A tea time collection for £57 was collected, £28.50 each for Claridge House and Woodbrooke, and was taken by Jean Spanner.
Thank you letter from Woodbrooke and Claridge House for previous donations on the table

Kindlers course at Woodbrooke by two Rochester Friends - dates of meetings in August – see attachment. Kindlers coming to Canterbury on October 6th 10-4pm

Report from a Rochester Friend taking a gap year shortly (to table)

TW report to table (taken from Annual report).
Maidstone Summer gathering 22nd July




John Spencer


Tunbridge Wells 16th September 2012

24 Members and 1 Attender were present
A reading from G. Durham ‘The Spirit of the Quakers’ was read during the silence
An extract from the ‘Testimony to the Grace of God in the life of Betty Topley’ was read during the silence. The Clerk will pass the testimony to Warwickshire AM. If anyone would like a copy please contact The Clerk.
1. Membership. We thank the visitors for new members for their thorough and sensitive reports. We welcome Sue Hall, Al Raine and Madelyn Meredith into membership. We are asked to consider with discipline and sensitivity what we do to prepare attenders for membership and how we support new members afterwards. We recommend that all new Friends are given a supporter/ adviser to continue to discuss the responsibilities of membership. We ask Betty Raymond to visit Sue Hall, Jonathan Maw to visit Al Raine and Liz Bates to visit Madelyn Meredith. (clerks note: new members can have ‘The Friend’ free for 8 weeks – please contact the clerk if you want this).

2. We appoint two new Elders – Hazel Metcalfe (TW) from 1st October 2012 until the end of 2014 and Pat Thomas (TW) for 2013 only and we nominate Simon Beard (Sevenoaks) as alternate representative for Meeting for Sufferings until the end of 2015. We are reminded by AM Nominations ctee that individuals may approach the committee to offer their skills for the meeting. Please take this back to LM’s for dissemination.

3. Request to liaise with Danish Friends. We are asked whether we can support the 33 Danish Friends by email contact. (clerk’s note: contact Betty Raymond for further info)


4. Do Elders and Overseers have anything to report from their Meeting? Nothing to report at this time.

5. Report back from Meeting for Sufferings. We ask our treasurer to bring the item ‘Financing national Quaker spending’ to November AM in response to a minute from East Sussex AM. We are asked to consider whether we have found ‘A Framework for Action’ useful. Could LM’s report back to November AM.


6. Link Friend for the post of Finance Administrator, r?le and possible options.
We are asked to look at the issues concerning the Link Friend for the post of Finance Administrator. We are asked to consider taking professional advice in, say, employment law and that a trustee may need to take responsibility for this. We ask Management Committee to look at this at its November meeting and liaise with AM Nominations ctee.

The Clerk will look at how we can use Friends House, other Area Meetings, Quaker Life and Quaker Stewardship committee in support of our AM.

7. The Clerk is attending a course at Woodbrooke designed to improve Clerking within AM 16 – 18 Nov paid by AM. Christine Parker is attending a conference on ‘Prison Chaplaincy’ at Woodbrooke paid by AM.

8. Proposed AM dates for 2013 and note that amendments for the Handbook are due by the end of November 2012


January 13th Sevenoaks 2pm
March 10th Tunbridge Wells 1.30pm
May 12th Rochester 2pm
July 14th Maidstone 2pm
September 15th Sevenoaks 2pm (3rd Sunday)
November 10th Tunbridge Wells 1.30pm

The dates were confirmed

A teatime collection of £ 76 was collected to be shared between Claridge House and Woodbrooke and was taken by Betty Raymond

We thank Tunbridge Wells for their hospitality and meet again November 11th in Maidstone at 2pm

Additional information – not part of AM
We have a request to visit an aged Friend, 88, in West Malling. Contact the Clerk for more information.
The Kindlers (Alec Davidson) are coming to East Kent Oct 6th 10-4 Canterbury Meeting.
A Resident Friend for Claridge House is required.
21st September is a peace day. www.peaceoneday.org has more information.




John Spencer


AM November 11th 2012 Maidstone minutes


18 members and 2 attenders were present (plus 2 visitors until the end of item 1)

A reading from ‘Letters of the scattered brotherhood’ was read during the opening worship.

1. We have Michael Bourne from the Kenwood Trust to speak to us about RESET, the charity in Kent to help with the resettlement of offenders. RESET aims to have volunteers in some local prisons early in 2013 and hopes to expand their work to all Kent prisons. They hope to offer planning and support to prisoners for up to 6 months. Volunteers are being recruited for RESET. Full training is offered soon. There are many ways to support the community aspect of the project. For more information see the leaflet in Meeting Houses and on the website www.kenwardtrust.org.uk. We thank Michael for his input and renew our commitment to continue to fully support RESET.



2. We have heard read the report of a visit to Liz Whelan, an attender at Sevenoaks Meeting. We agree to record her as a member of West Kent AM and ask Jane Heydecker to offer continued advice and guidance.



We have heard read the report of a visit to Anne Simpson, an attender at Gravesend Meeting. We agree to record her as a member of West Kent AM and ask John Spencer to offer continued advice and guidance.



3. Nominations: We appoint Evelyn Everist as Assistant Overseer for Rochester until the end of 2013 and Chris Spanner as AM Treasurer until the end of 2015. We ask Richard to deputise until Chris returns from Australia on May 1st 2013. (Clerk’s note: there are reasonable training costs for Chris in support of this post).We support Sue Lycett’s request to visit Swaleside and Stanford Hill prisons with a view to nomination as Prison Chaplain. (Clerk’s note: this would be a Home Office appointment).



The wider issue of individuals finding out about posts has been discussed. We ask Nominations to look at this wider issue.



4. We note the membership transfer of Jane Brown (Rochester) into West Kent from Wandsworth AM and Josie Bennington from West Kent to Northumbria AM.





5. Minute of record: “Elders and Overseers are planning a Quiet Day at St. Mary’s Abbey, West Malling, on Saturday April 20th 2013. The proposed theme is “Gratitude, Growth and Renewal”. Full details will be circulated to LMs in the New Year.”



6. Outreach conference January 2013. We appoint Sue Lycett as delegate from West Kent AM to this conference at High Leigh, January 18-19 2013, expenses paid by AM.





7. Pre-budget for discussion for 2013. We thank the treasurer for his report and for all the work over many years as AM Treasurer. Item discussed and passed to Management Committee for discussion. See attachment.



8. Updating posts for the handbook supplement (under headings changes, deletions, additions and deaths). A reminder to Overseers to send changes to AM Clerk and Kay Schlapp by 20th November. (clerk’s note: I have received Sevenoaks and Rochester’s entries)





9. Minute of Record ‘The Clerk is attending a national Clerk’s conference at Woodbrooke next weekend’.



10. Discussion of ‘A Framework for Action 2009 to 2014’



We are asked to consider whether we have found ‘A Framework for Action’ useful. Could LM’s (clerk’s note: Sevenoaks and Rochester to report if possible) report back to January AM.





Other items from the agenda were held over until a later date.



A collection of £87 was taken to be shared equally between Woodbrooke and Claridge House and was taken by Jill Russell.



We thank Maidstone for their hospitality and will meet again in Rochester on 13th January 2013 at 2pm



On the table: Elders and Overseers would like to bring ‘Eldership and Oversight Days 2013’ to our attention, with a view to all of us learning more about what Elders and Overseers do. We could work with East Kent AM on this. This supports the final sentence of minute 4.

Eldership and Oversight Days 2013

These days are a chance to focus on the role and tasks of eldership and oversight, to ask questions and share with others with these responsibilities. They will give Friends the opportunity to build confidence in their ability to undertake the role and give energy for nurturing the life of their meetings. The day will include: input and reflection on the roles; exploration of the responsibilities; work in groups on issues that elders and overseers may face; ideas and free resources to use in meetings. Open to Friends new to eldership and oversight and a refresher for those continuing in these roles. The days will run from approximately 10am – 4pm. The day will be led by members of Woodbrooke Eldership & Oversight Training Team who are all experienced Elders and Overseers.



Would your Area Meeting like to host one of these days in 2013? The day would take place within your Area Meeting but would be open to Friends in other AMs. This would give those in your AM with responsibility for eldership and oversight the chance to explore the role and learn more about the responsibilities as well as the opportunity to come together with others and share experiences, questions and insights.



There are three dates available: 22nd June, 14th September, 19th October


John Spencer


AM November 11th 2012 Maidstone minutes


18 members and 2 attenders were present (plus 2 visitors until the end of item 1)

A reading from ‘Letters of the scattered brotherhood’ was read during the opening worship.

1. We have Michael Bourne from the Kenwood Trust to speak to us about RESET, the charity in Kent to help with the resettlement of offenders. RESET aims to have volunteers in some local prisons early in 2013 and hopes to expand their work to all Kent prisons. They hope to offer planning and support to prisoners for up to 6 months. Volunteers are being recruited for RESET. Full training is offered soon. There are many ways to support the community aspect of the project. For more information see the leaflet in Meeting Houses and on the website www.kenwardtrust.org.uk. We thank Michael for his input and renew our commitment to continue to fully support RESET.



2. We have heard read the report of a visit to Liz Whelan, an attender at Sevenoaks Meeting. We agree to record her as a member of West Kent AM and ask Jane Heydecker to offer continued advice and guidance.



We have heard read the report of a visit to Anne Simpson, an attender at Gravesend Meeting. We agree to record her as a member of West Kent AM and ask John Spencer to offer continued advice and guidance.



3. Nominations: We appoint Evelyn Everist as Assistant Overseer for Rochester until the end of 2013 and Chris Spanner as AM Treasurer until the end of 2015. We ask Richard to deputise until Chris returns from Australia on May 1st 2013. (Clerk’s note: there are reasonable training costs for Chris in support of this post).We support Sue Lycett’s request to visit Swaleside and Stanford Hill prisons with a view to nomination as Prison Chaplain. (Clerk’s note: this would be a Home Office appointment).



The wider issue of individuals finding out about posts has been discussed. We ask Nominations to look at this wider issue.



4. We note the membership transfer of Jane Brown (Rochester) into West Kent from Wandsworth AM and Josie Bennington from West Kent to Northumbria AM.





5. Minute of record: “Elders and Overseers are planning a Quiet Day at St. Mary’s Abbey, West Malling, on Saturday April 20th 2013. The proposed theme is “Gratitude, Growth and Renewal”. Full details will be circulated to LMs in the New Year.”



6. Outreach conference January 2013. We appoint Sue Lycett as delegate from West Kent AM to this conference at High Leigh, January 18-19 2013, expenses paid by AM.





7. Pre-budget for discussion for 2013. We thank the treasurer for his report and for all the work over many years as AM Treasurer. Item discussed and passed to Management Committee for discussion. See attachment.



8. Updating posts for the handbook supplement (under headings changes, deletions, additions and deaths). A reminder to Overseers to send changes to AM Clerk and Kay Schlapp by 20th November. (clerk’s note: I have received Sevenoaks and Rochester’s entries)





9. Minute of Record ‘The Clerk is attending a national Clerk’s conference at Woodbrooke next weekend’.



10. Discussion of ‘A Framework for Action 2009 to 2014’



We are asked to consider whether we have found ‘A Framework for Action’ useful. Could LM’s (clerk’s note: Sevenoaks and Rochester to report if possible) report back to January AM.





Other items from the agenda were held over until a later date.



A collection of £87 was taken to be shared equally between Woodbrooke and Claridge House and was taken by Jill Russell.



We thank Maidstone for their hospitality and will meet again in Rochester on 13th January 2013 at 2pm



On the table: Elders and Overseers would like to bring ‘Eldership and Oversight Days 2013’ to our attention, with a view to all of us learning more about what Elders and Overseers do. We could work with East Kent AM on this. This supports the final sentence of minute 4.

Eldership and Oversight Days 2013

These days are a chance to focus on the role and tasks of eldership and oversight, to ask questions and share with others with these responsibilities. They will give Friends the opportunity to build confidence in their ability to undertake the role and give energy for nurturing the life of their meetings. The day will include: input and reflection on the roles; exploration of the responsibilities; work in groups on issues that elders and overseers may face; ideas and free resources to use in meetings. Open to Friends new to eldership and oversight and a refresher for those continuing in these roles. The days will run from approximately 10am – 4pm. The day will be led by members of Woodbrooke Eldership & Oversight Training Team who are all experienced Elders and Overseers.



Would your Area Meeting like to host one of these days in 2013? The day would take place within your Area Meeting but would be open to Friends in other AMs. This would give those in your AM with responsibility for eldership and oversight the chance to explore the role and learn more about the responsibilities as well as the opportunity to come together with others and share experiences, questions and insights.



There are three dates available: 22nd June, 14th September, 19th October


John Spencer


Area Meeting January 13th 2013 Sevenoaks – minutes –
SEE MAIN MINUTES AFTER THIS

This is my personal viewpoint, based on a wide range of courses and workshops, particularly the conference for AM Clerks at Woodbrooke, of the direction WKAM is going from 2012 into 2013.
This is the Clerk in the role of leadership.
Britain Yearly Meeting (BYM)/ Friends House (FH) viewpoint
Paul Parker, our Recording Clerk, thinks that the Quaker movement is about to go ‘WHOOSH’, a descriptive word which is not easy to define. It has tones of:
• A continued spiritual deepening in Meeting for Worship (MfW)
• An increase in the number of Attenders to MfW
• A strengthening of the Quaker community
• Living adventurously through our testimonies
In the words of the opening reading from John’s Gospel, we should ‘Love one Another’
At the other end of the pole, however, is:
• Nationally there is a decreasing number of Members and consequently
• Increasing difficulty for BYM to set a budget to pay for all that we do
West Kent Area Meeting (WKAM)/ Local Meeting (LM) viewpoint
Are we, in WKAM, about to go ‘WHOOSH’?
• We have challenged the r?le of BYM Trustees over ‘SkySpace’ installation at FH, a concern which came initially from a concern in one meeting
• We have taken a concern to a local MP, who came to speak with two of us over the indefinite detention of Asylum Seekers
• We are being challenged to consider sustainability and to take uncomfortable steps in this direction
• We are being reminded that AM is a core event for Friends, as it was for early Friends in the 1650’s (I do my best to make it interesting and forward looking)
• We have been involved in positive actions: RESET, Open House, Asylum Seekers and many others
These things give us the potential to WHOOSH.
On the other hand
• We have more than a few Members and Attenders who are challenging our beliefs, our understanding of community, our processes and how we worship (basically pushing our boundaries)
• We are on a knife edge for filling posts (there are examples from every LM)
• Some don’t feel ‘ good enough’ to be Quakers
My own advices and queries for 2013 and beyond:
• How do we convey that we have much to offer to people who don’t know about us? (MfW, silence, community, action)
• How do we respond when newcomers cross our threshold? (at one meeting I went to somewhere in the UK recently I was completely ignored and left without speaking to anyone, at another I was never left alone - I know which I prefer)
• How do we advertise our presence? There is a badge available at FH saying ‘I’m a Quaker, Ask me why’. I challenge us to wear it.
• How do we build a vibrant, tolerant yet disciplined community which ‘loves one another’? How do we open to new light?
• How do we each accept a responsibility for some aspect of our community? (supporting our post holders, learning about our legal, financial and business processes)
• How do we redefine what we stand for as Quakers? How do we define our boundaries (see * below)?
• What does it mean to be a Member or an Attender? How do we support new Members and Attenders?
• How do we view ‘A Framework for Action’ ? What do we want its successor to look like?
*From a booklet ‘Moving into Membership’ we are asked how we might respond to the following situations (edited down and not part of the original presentation)
Would we be unhappy if any of us:
*Was a priest in another church
*Did not believe in god in any form
*Had a significant problem with one of our testimonies
*Had a prison record
*Seemed unable to accept the normal discipline of MfW
*Harassed members of the meeting
or
*If any of these arise in relation to someone already in membership?

There were 19 members and 3 attenders present.
Gospel of John Ch. 15 verses 11-17 was read during worship.
1. We have heard a report from AM Clerk – who attended a large gathering of other AM Clerks at Woodbrooke in November. We thank the Clerk, who has given us many points to think about, particularly answering ‘I’m a Quaker. Ask me why’ and ‘Love one another’. A transcript of the report has been sent out separately.

2. Nominations are asked to seek an Asst Clerk for 2014 and Asst Treasurer and Quaker Life 2nd representative as soon as possible. Also to seek a link friend for AM employees. We appoint Chris Spanner to continue to stand as Trustee. We appoint Claire Grant and Carole D’Silva (already minuted) to continue as Trustees until the end of 2013. We appoint Josie Gray to stand as Trustee. We appoint Derek Gouldsworthy as Clerk to Trustees until end of 2013. Mary Bain as Asst Overseer until the end of 2013, Helen Allinson as Elder until the end of 2015 and Liz Gladstone as Asst Registering Officer until the end of 2015. We thank them for being willing to stand under the circumstances.


3. We appoint Liz Gladstone to attend a course at Woodbrooke for Asst. Registering Officers (March 21-22, cost £100 plus travel). (clerk’s note: the course is full, so Liz will have to wait for the next opportunity)

4. We record the Transfer of Membership of Peter Thornton from WKAM to SE London AM.


5. Budget 2013 and Tabular Statement. We accept the budget for 2013 and thank the treasurer for drawing up the budget. We acknowledge the efficient and effective work from him and from Janet Tibbit as Finance Administrator. We note an increase of 3 in membership last year and thank Catherine Smart and Chris Clark for compiling the Tabular Statement. The Clerk has signed the Tabular Statement and will send it to Friends House.

6. Open House – Thanks to those who offered support. Clerk has been asked by a member to point out that Open House is, and wishes to be thought of, as a completely independent organisation. Activities such as Open House are of interest to us and can be included in local newsletters. Upon request, a report of Open House at Christmas was put on the table.


7. Meeting for Sufferings report on ‘Minute 36’ from Canterbury 2011. We thank Liz Gladstone for the report, which will be included with the minutes. Quoting from the report ‘There may be resistance to the Group because of the perception that we are being told what to do. Friends could study and reflect together and develop their own spiritually centred motivation’ at LM and small group level. We remind Friends that Management Committee has allocated up to £1000 per LM to have an energy audit completed (TW are exempt as the future of their meeting house is uncertain).

8. Info from Management Committee (MC) see a) and b) below. We have considered b) and ask MC to prepare additions to the general trustees job descriptions for the 5 r?les (Child Protection issues is 5th r?le). We remind Friends that training is available.

9. Writing testimonies to deceased Friends. We thank Janet Sturge for her report, which is included with these minutes. We remind LM’s of the procedure in QFP Ch. 4 24-27.

10. Moving into Membership. We pass this issue to Elders and Overseers for consideration and to report back to AM at an appropriate time. The booklet ‘Moving into Membership’ is good. This issue is worthy of a significant time allocation. The Clerk will consider this. (Moving into Membership. Quaker Books ISBN 978 1 907123 18 4)

11. Report on Asylum Seekers visit by Adam Holloway MP. We have heard a short report from John Spencer. John will pass the report to Michael Bartlett, Parliamentary Liaison Officer. Would Friends please tell John about any local work with Asylum Seekers that they do.

12. Training for Elders and Overseers planned. Would Richard Wadey and Merrill Woolf please go ahead with this funded by AM.

a) MC Nov 2012 Charitable Registration:
We accept our Treasurers recommendation to consider charitable registration of WKAM. We request Richard Wadey to investigate the matter further once a fully audited set of accounts is available.
b) MC Nov 2012 Role of Trustees – to consider whether individual trustees should take on the oversight of finance, employment, property and information matters: We agree the principle of asking trustees to take on a portfolio responsibility. We emphasise that they would not be required necessarily to have previous experience nor expertise in any chosen area. We request AM to consider the matter at its January meeting.


A reminder that the Annual Report should be in place by March AM. Could meetings please complete reports of activities and send copies to the Clerk.

A teatime collection of £73.06 was collected for Loaves and Fishes, connected to St. John’s Church in Sevenoaks – A Food Bank, and was taken by Elizabeth Dwinell.

We thank Sevenoaks for their hospitality and will meet again at TW on March 10th at 1.30pm






John Spencer


Minutes for WKAM at TW on 10th March 2013

16 members and 1 attender were present
A reading from A&Q numbers 2,3,7,8,18,26 were read during the opening worship
1. AM Nominations: We appoint Rosemary Dixon-Nuttall to AM Nominations Committee until the end of 2014, Merrill Woolf to Assistant Clerk until the end of 2014, Christine Parker as Elder until the end of 2014, John Spencer as Clerk until the end of 2014. Giovanna Hammet is standing down as Overseer, and Merrill as Noms. Committee member.

Stanford Hill prison do not want a Quaker Chaplain, but they are pleased to have a quaker contact to visit if the need arises. (Note: Jill Russell is still chaplain for Maidstone).

We ask AM Nominations to consider appointing another Overseer to Sevenoaks LM and Maidstone LM. We ask Rochester LM to nominate someone for AM Nominations Committee. Sonja Le Vay is standing down as trustee to Bernhard Baron Cottage Homes. We appoint Ian Metcalfe to take over as trustee of BBCH from July 2013. (Clerk’s Note: Anyone accepting any post as ‘Assistant’ (for instance Clerk) does not imply pressure to take over the full post in the future.)

2. Membership: We accept the resignation of Al Raine. We have heard read a report of a visit to Kay Murphy. We welcome Kay into membership and ask Jane Noak to offer continued advice and guidance and Sue Laidlay to welcome her. We accept Ian Metcalfe’s transfer of membership from South Wales AM and Bill Schaeffer from West Weald AM.

3. Britain Yearly Meeting and attendance – We note a request for volunteers to the pastoral desk or other duties at BYM (24th to 27th May at Friends House). During the first session of Yearly Meeting, on Friday evening, we will hear a distillation of responses to the queries below. If you or your meeting want to contribute, you will need to send your thoughts by 7 May. The earliest Yearly Meetings asked Friends “How has the Truth prospered amongst you since the last Yearly Meeting, and how are Friends in peace and unity?” We can still ask ourselves questions – what makes us Quaker? What makes us distinctive? What unites us?

It is the responsibility of AM to ensure sufficient representation at BYM. Would LMs please inform AM Clerk of those attending. Funding for travel expenses is available for 2 friends from each meeting; others may request funds from overseers. Please see the BYM website (www.quaker.org.uk/files/Documents-in-advance-part-1.pdf ) for the procedure and contact AM Clerk before applying if requesting funding. Attenders need permission to attend BYM. Please see your local LM Clerk.

4. New Quaker contact cards were distributed to LM reps. The contact cards include the Clerk’s dedicated mobile phone number. Please distribute these widely as it can be an effective measure for outreach and hirers. Updated details for West Kent Quakers (not Rochester) were left with Kent libraries information service.

Chris Clerk has taken the initiative to investigate QLIST and suggests the following minute: Use of QList secure web-site for contact information. We have received information from Britain Yearly Meeting staff about the QList service to assist local and area meetings to manage their contact information securely. Christopher Clark as database Co-ordinator has looked at QList and is content that it fulfils AM requirements including our responsibility for data protection and that it is easier to maintain than the existing West Kent database that runs on a personal computer in Access. It will become possible for one person from each Local Meeting to access records for that meeting.

We (West Kent Area Meeting) would like to participate in QList and agree that Christopher Clark will serve as our QList representative for maintaining and sharing our information until further notice. We will forward a copy of this minute to Britain Yearly Meeting at qlist@quaker.org.uk". We ask Chris to keep AM updated.

5. Meeting for Sufferings report. We thank Liz Gladstone for her report.

6. Juliet Prager, Assisstant Recording Clerk, is visiting AM in November to discuss an aspect of community or links between AM and Friends House. Meeting for Sufferings reps and the Clerk will consider the content to recommend to a future AM.


7. Equipping for Ministry (EFM) report from Betty and Rosemary. We thank Betty and Rosemary for their report. (Clerk’s note: this minute cannot convey the depth of their report). They discussed the following questions.
a) What sort of a course is EFM?
b) How did the course relate to prior expectations?
c) What difference has doing the course made for you?
d) What would you say has been the difference in your life?
e) Has the course had any influence on your own plans for the future?
f) Has the course had any effect on your understanding of being a Quaker?
g) What will you miss now that the course has finished?
8. Christine Parker is attending a Woodbrooke Course Mar 13 - Mar 15, ‘Creating Support for End of Life and Bereavement’ funded by AM, in support of her prison work at Elmley Prison. Jonathan Maw is attending a conference for Registering Officers at Woodbrooke 22- 24 March funded by AM.

9. Of interest to Overseers and Elders. From Documents in advance for BYM. “The sessions at this Yearly Meeting are the second part of a process that was started last year and will take us through to Yearly Meeting in 2014, when we are likely to consider the meaning of membership”. Also, two meetings have had uncertainty about whether E’s and O’s should meet together at all. QFP 12.11 is clear as guidance.

10. Environmental Group – weekend at Claridge House with Pam Lunn “Environmental Responsibility” . Further to minute 6 of January AM 2012, a Planning Committee has been formed. It currently consists of: John Spencer, Trish French, Liz Gladstone, Pam Page and Richard Wadey. They have booked Claridge House for the weekend of Aug 2nd – 4th and have booked Pam Lunn, the 2011 Swarthmore Lecturer. The aim of the weekend will be to formulate our collective response both to the Swarthmore Lecture and to Minute 36 of BYM 2011 (‘We ask area meetings to consider how truth prospers with regard to sustainability, taking care to relate this to all our testimonies – peace, truth, simplicity, equality and care for the environment.’). We note that the Planning Committee will present a draft programme to our next Area Meeting in May, together with proposals about the financing of the event. In the meantime we invite Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells LMs to consider if they would each like to designate a representative to sit on the Planning Committee (which hopes to do all of its work by email).


11. The Clerk will write a formal letter of thanks to Nick Pearce, son of Clifford Pearce and Michael Noak, son of Hans Noak, for their bequests to WKAM.
12. Terms and Conditions for Hirers – The common T&C for new hirers are distributed for LM information. (Clerk’s note: requested by Management Committee and a good example of business which MC conducts to make the work of Area Meeting easier).

13. We (Quaker Life Central Committee) are writing to invite you to the next Quaker Life Representative Council, which is due to be held from 19th – 21st April 2013 at Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre in Birmingham. The theme for the weekend is “Discovering Spiritual Gifts – Quaker Nominations”. We ask nominations committee to consider this at their next meeting.

14. Quaker Council for European Affairs request. Quaker Council for European Affairs – British Committee. Not discussed. Details were sent out before AM. Individuals can respond if they wish.
The Retreat, York details to table and sent as an attachment.
A teatime collection of £50 was collected for Woodbrooke and Claridge House (£25 each) and was taken by Betty Raymond.
We thank TW for their hospitality and agree to meet again 12th May, Rochester at 2pm


John Spencer


AM Minutes Rochester May 12th 2013

19 Members and 5 Attenders were present (24)

A reading from QFP 26.30 was read during worship

1. We record with sorrow the death of Constance Turner of Sevenoaks Meeting on 10th April 2013, and remind LM of the procedure to write a testimony (QFP 4.29).
2. A resignation letter from Chris and Jean Spanner has been read. The procedure is outlined in QFP 11.36 (11.30 depending on version) on Resignation by an individual. We record that a visit is not requested and accept the Elders and Overseers minute from their meeting ‘ We accept Chris and Jean’s resignation with great regret. We thank them for all the work they have done and wish them well.’
3.Nominations - Pauline Waters is standing down as Elder. We ask AM Nominations to seek a replacement. We also ask AM Nominations to find an Overseer and Elder for Rochester and Trustee consequent to the above resignation.
We appoint:
Pam Page as Overseer (Maidstone) to the end of 2014.
John Spencer to continue on AM Management Committee until to the end of 2014
Sandie Wade and Janet Sturge as members of AM nominations to the end of 2014.
Gordon Gemmill as examiner of accounts to the end of 2015.
Catherine Smart as Membership clerk to the end of 2015.
Betty Raymond to Quaker Life Rep.Council and Tessa Donaldson as her deputy to the end of 2015.
Melanie Byford as Child Protection Co-ordinator at TW to the end of 2014.
And Sue Laidlay as Child Protection Co-ordinator for Maidstone to the end of 2015
Quaker Life Rep Council report after recent conference (concerning the r?le of nominations). We have heard a report from Rosemary Dixon-Nuttall. We thank her for the report and hope to have a discussion on the report, in small groups, at a day set aside, with Betty and Rosemary facilitating.

4.Accounts and Annual Report. We thank Richard for his report. We thank Gordon Gemmill for independently examining the accounts. The Annual Report is accepted and has been signed by the Clerk, and Carole De Silva on behalf of trustees. It will be sent to Friends House forthwith.
R?le of Integrated Treasurer.
It is urgent that the burden on Richard Wadey is greatly reduced. We ask AM Nominations to consider this urgently. We seek to simplify the r?le of Integrated Treasurer to make it easier to find a new one. We seek to engage LM Treasurers further to improve our financial controls. We authorise Richard to open a current account with Triodos Bank. We may have to agree the possibility of compensating future post holders for loss of income according to circumstance. Giving to Britain Yearly Meeting. An attachment shows our giving to BYM. AM gave £9000 last year.
5.A report of Tunbridge Wells works and endorsement of spending on reports will be sent out with minutes. We accept the requested spending (minute from Management Committee 1st May 2013 quoted below) and wish the deal with YMCA good fortune.
4.1.2 We agree to make available to the Steering Group an initial sum of up to £10,000 towards the cost of planning and other fees and a further £15,000, provisionally, subject to further approval from Management Committee.
4.1.3 We request the report and this minute be referred to next AM to be
ratified.

We thank Pat Thomas for her vision.

6.Meeting for Sufferings Report. A report has been sent out along with a document on recent government funding cuts. We ask the question ‘Is the Book of Discipline (QFP) out of date?’ We support the continuance of QFP as a book! We thank Liz Gladstone for helping us to understand the issues.
7.Pam Lunn workshop 2nd - 4th August at Claridge House. After discussion, finalising a minute was left with the organising committee and will be sent out separately.
8.BYM preparation – requests for funding. Amanda McKenzie, who is on the pastoral team, has requested travel to and from Essex if no other funding from BYM is forthcoming. We accept this request and ask that Amanda requests assistance from the AM Outreach fund if required. (Clerk’s note: Chris Spanner was convenor of this fund. Jill Russell has offered to convene this fund for the time being. AM Nominations are asked to find a fourth person for this committee)
9.Outreach item Sue Lycett after attending conference. We thank Sue for her report. A full set of ‘ideas’ for Outreach is attached to minutes for LMs to consider. The following four points were emphasised.
a) Reduce the number of jobs, do not always have to have a committee. Be prepared to be spontaneous. Juggle roles for what the Meeting needs. Shorter time commitment for the jobs.
b) Reduce the business.
c) Make AM more accessible. Try a conference/telephone call for AM. Address one of the 3 aims of YM at an AM; strengthening the spirit, witnessing to the faith, promoting Quakerism.
d) Try only 4 times a year, providing something for the U19s, all age worship. Most of the day is worship/study then shared lunch then short business at the end. Then on the other months have a working AM with LM reps, trustee, E&O rep, U19 rep, Noms rep, clerk.

10. Betty and Rosemary have been invited to Nordic Yearly Meeting. The Clerk will write as appropriate to the Clerk of NYM.
A collection of £42.60 was collected for Quaker Bolivia Link (www.qbl.org) and was taken by Jill Russell.
We thank Rochester for their hospitality and meet again in Maidstone on 14th July at 2pm



John Spencer


Minutes for AM Maidstone 14th July 2013

15 members and 2 attenders were present
A reading from QFP Ch 10 ( extract from 10.19, 10.20,10.21 and 10.22) was read during worship
1. It is accepted that the treasurer and clerk swap posts at the end of the year. John Spencer is happy to take on the post of Treasurer until the end of 2016. Richard Wadey to take on the Clerkship for 1 year. This gives us stability for a while. There is a longer term problem of filling posts. See minute 3 of AM May 12th 2013.

2. Pam Page wishes to lay down her rôle as Overseer for Maidstone. We ask nominations to seek a replacement and thank Pam for her conscientious work.

3. Mary Bain and Liz Whelan are attending courses at Woodbrooke for Overseers, paid for by AM. The meeting is reminded to inform the clerk of such courses before application is made. A newly appointed Overseer would be funded to go on a similar course at Woodbrooke.

4. The clerk is signing and returning the annual Data Protection form reporting that we comply. We ask anyone using email to send as ‘Blind Copy’ and to ask the Clerk for clarification of this if necessary. It is often useful to know who has been emailed. This is fine if permission has been given, eg for Overseers. We are reminded that the Handbook should be kept secure. The Clerk will send out our data protection policy by email.

5. Meeting for Sufferings report. We thank Liz Gladstone for her report. Her report has been sent out by email. Please send in the survey about benefit cuts. The information on Regional Gatherings will be sent out with minutes. The Clerk will speak informally with East Kent AM Clerk and report back to next AM. The World Council of Churches report will be sent out with minutes.

6. An update on TW meeting house redevelopment was read and will be sent out with minutes (clerk’s note: I need an email copy from TW to do this)

7. A report of the work of our prison chaplains is on the table and included in minutes. Christine Parker spoke from the heart on prison chaplaincy. (clerk’s note: Jill Russell is the other chaplain). We are grateful for the work of our prison chaplains.

A tea time collection of £123 was collected for “Freedom from Torture” and was taken by Liz Gladstone. www.freedomfromtorture.org

We thank Betty and Rosemary for their inspiring workshop. (clerk’s note: this was a substantial part of AM and is a model I would like to continue as often as possible)
We thank Maidstone for their hospitality and will meet again in Sevenoaks on September 15th at 2pm.



John Spencer


AM Sevenoaks Sept 2013

There are 13 Members and 4 Attenders present.
A reading from 'The Last Runaway' by Tracey Chevalier was read during worship. Also, we note with sorrow the deaths of 2 Attenders; Al Raine from Tunbridge Wells Meeting and Alaina Mahon from Rochester Meeting.
Sue Laidlay, Rosemary Dixon Nuttall and Betty Raymond were prevented from attending (clerk's note: for individuals who have stated that they really wanted to be at AM. I have added the last two names retrospectively)
1. Nominations. Richard Wadey is standing down as an Elder for Maidstone. John Spencer is standing down as Management Committee rep for Rochester. We ask Nominations Committee to seek replacements. We appoint Jane Brown (Rochester) as Trustee until the end of 2016 and invite her to the next Management Committee meeting on November 20th.
2. Richard Wadey has led us through the intricacies of our required charity status (The three options, advantages and disadvantages, are outlined in an attachment). We record AM approval, in principle, for West Kent to become a Charitable incorporated organisation (CIO). This option protects Trustees. We await a constitution to be agreed (between Quaker Stewardship Committee and the Charity commission) and will get back to AM again when we have this. The meeting expresses its gratitude to Richard Wadey and Derek Gouldsworthy for their hard work.
The Clerk visited Beak and Kemmeroe, accountants, who will charge £2500 + VAT for drawing up our annual accounts (clerk's note: in a format suitable for the charity commission). We hope the fee can be reduced in future years. Beak and Kemmeroe to prepare an itemised bill.
Our current signatories to the West Kent Quakers current account with Co-operative Bank are Richard Wadey, Sue Laidlay, Jonathan Maw and Janet Tibbit. We resolve that, before the end of 2013 at a time to be determined by our treasurer and clerk, the signatories will become our new Integrated Treasurer, the Local Treasurers, and our Finance Administrator i.e. John Spencer, Sue Laidlay, Duncan Dwinell, Sue Hall and Janet Tibbit. We agree to continue the present arrangement whereby cheques over the value of £500 will require two signatures; and all online payments will require the authorisation of any two signatories (normally John Spencer and Janet Tibbit). Attached to these minutes are the resolutions that the bank requires us to adopt. Subject to their being no objections we confirm that we have passed those resolutions. We therefore authorise our Clerk to certify that those resolutions have been recorded in the minute book and signed by the Clerk; and we authorise our Clerk to confirm that the specimen signatures of the individuals named above are correct.
3. Feedback on a proposal for a Regional Gathering with East Kent from last AM. The Clerk has been in contact with David Birmingham (East Kent AM Clerk). We already invite each other's members and attenders to events. We also have difficulty with a venue for both AM's together. We will continue to work together on a Regional Gathering. This meeting would be about communication between Meeting for Sufferings and AM.
4. Tessa Donaldson is being funded to attend a Quaker Life gathering in October.
5. Handbook Preparation deadline is the end of November 2013. All changes to be sent to Kay Schlapp in the format handed to Overseers (or meeting reps)
6. (These are notes, not discerned minutes). We discussed the weekend with Pam Lunn on 'Sustainability' at Claridge House and made the following points:-
a) our aim is to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in everyone (George Fox 1656)
b) start with ourselves but work assertively and approach other groups to link with us
c) We may be discouraged and feel weak, but must not allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by drawing on our spiritual roots.

The following minute was sent to AM from the participants of the event.
'Minute on Sustainability Workshop, set up by AM, with Pam Lunn, 2 to 4th August 2013 to follow up the Swarthmoor Lecture of 2011
Discerned by Amanda McKenzie, Betty Raymond, Rosemary Dixon-Nuttall, John Spencer, Janet Sturge, Pam Page, Trish French, Nick Ford, Geoff Cooper, Jane Heydecker, Angela Davies
We have discussed sustainability and green issues and how they relate to us as Quakers at LM, AM and National level.
We considered how we act in the world and where that comes from.
This led us to consider the relevance of deepening our spiritual roots and our connection to and the actions of the early Quakers and early Christian church.
We ask AM to consider asking Woodbrooke on the Road to run a one day workshop in Maidstone in the second half of 2014 on ‘Engaging with our spiritual roots’ (connecting to the passion of the early Quakers and the early Christian Church) to be facilitated by Tim Peate Ashworth'
We ask our LM's to discern a way forward.
(Clerk’s note: I have forwarded a full summary of the Pam Lunn event to all those who were participants at the event or who attended AM and are on email. The requested Woodbrooke on the Road event was not discerned by AM as right at this time!)
notices: Felicity Kaal visiting Rochester and the Kindlers running a workshop in Maidstone in February 2014.
A teatime collection of £27 was collected for Claridge House and taken by Elizabeth Dwinell.
Thanks to Sevenoaks for their hospitality.
We meet again at TW on Nov 10th (noting that their MfW is at 10.15, AM begins at 1.30 and that parking options have reduced. It is also Remembrance Sunday and some roads may be closed)



John Spencer


TW 10th November 2013

18 members and 3 attenders were present
A reading from QFP 2.36 was read during worship
Janet Sturge is prevented from attending.

1. AM Nominations.A letter from Jonathan Maw was read explaining that he is leaving the area and must stand down as Registering Officer and Elder.
We appoint
• As Child Protection co-ordinator for Sevenoaks LM until the end of 2016. – Diana Hynard.
• As elders until the end of 2014. – Pam Page, Pat Thomas.
• As registering officer until the end of 2016 – Liz Gladstone (clerk's note: no assisstant being sought at this time)
• As assistant overseers until the end of 2014. – Mary Bain, Liz Whelan. Evelyn Everist, Troy Jones.
• As database co-ordinator until the end of 2016 - Chris Clarke
We ask nominations to find a replacement Elder for TW to replace Jonathan Maw.

2. Membership transfer. We welcome Jeremy Harris to West Kent AM and accept the transfer of membership from East Sussex to AM. We (via the clerk) will ask someone to welcome him when he attends a meeting.

3. We accept the AM dates for next year (Jan 12 Rochester, Mar 9 Maidstone, May 11 Sevenoaks, July 13 TW, Sep 14 Rochester, Nov 16 Maidstone *3rd Sunday)

4. Report from our Quaker Life representative. We thank Betty and Tessa for their report from QL rep council (copy attached). We were asked in pairs to discuss 'The meaning of membership'. We are asked to consider how we make best use of our Quaker Life reps.
We will revisit this issue in 'the staff report' (clerk's note: not sent out yet!) at January 2014 AM. We note that there is a new QFP Chapter
11 on Membership, for use now, for inclusion in the new QFP fifth edition. We are asked, as an AM, how we view membership. We are encouraged to experiment and to be transparent. (Alastair Heron/Fuller is willing to come to LM/AM to discuss this issue).
(clerk's note: we are encouraged to view the Yearly Meeting Gathering video
http://groupspaces.com/QuakerYMG/
and consider attending YMG in Bath next year

5. The budgeting process for 2014. We thank Richard for his report (included in minutes). We note that this is AM budget and separate from LM budgets. Please take the issue on the quota back to LMs ready for January 2014 AM

6. Brief Meeting for Sufferings report. We thank Liz Gladstone for her report (already circulated). In January 2014 we will consider asking our LMs what they are doing on issue 2 (Cuts to welfare benefits)
7. We thank Juliet Preger (Assistant Recording Clerk for BYM) for leading us in a workshop on 'Our Quaker Community'
A teatime collection of £35.30 was collected for Stepping Stones Partnership and was taken by Betty Raymond (clerk's note: I believe the charity is supporting the fund raising for TW's building development)
We thank TW for their hospitality and agree to meet again 12th January in Rochester at 2pm


John Spencer


Minutes of the Meeting Held on 12th January 2014
West Kent Area Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)

1. Attendance
17 Friends and 6 attenders are present, including the following representatives of Local Meetings: Liz Gladstone and Jane Noak (Maidstone); Wendy Aram and Angela Davies (Rochester); Imogen Wedd (Sevenoaks);Sonja Le Vay and Rosemary Dixon-Nuttall (Tunbridge Wells). Jane Heydecker (Sevenoaks) was prevented.
2. Opening Reading
The following passages were read during the opening period of worship: Quaker Faith & Practice 3.02 (first paragraph); and lines by Rumi, a Sufi mystic and poet1
3. Membership .
An application for membership has been received from Nick Whiting of Rochester Meeting and we have heard the report of Merrill Woolf and Richard Wadey. We are very pleased to accept Nick as a member of West Kent Area. We ask Rochester overseers to welcome him into membership on our behalf.
A request has been received from North West London Area Meeting for a membership transfer by Eileen French to our Area Meeting. We agree to accept the transfer and we ask Sonja Le Vay and Rosemary Dixon-Nuttall to welcome her on our behalf.
4. Nominations and Appointments
(1) Our Nominations Committee brings the following names for our consideration:
Trustees: Sue Laidlay (Maidstone) to serve as trustee to 31.12.2015; Claire Grant to be reappointed as a trustee to 31.12.2014. We note that Jane Brown was appointed as a trustee at our September 2013 meeting and will serve to 31.12.2016. We thank Jose Gray and Carole D’Silva for their service as trustees to 31.12.2013.
Management Committee: Janet Ferguson and Chris Clark to 31.12.2016.
AM Outreach Fund Committee: Sandie Wade to 31.12.2016.
Link Friend for our Area Finance Administrator: Janet Sturge (to 31.12.2014).
Elder at Tunbridge Wells: Estella Lovett (to 31.12.2014 – taking over from Jonathan Maw).
The above names being acceptable, we appoint those Friends accordingly.
(2) Proposals from Local Meetings to serve on Area Nominations Committee: Maidstone LM asks us to appoint Liz Gladstone; Sevenoaks LM asks us to appoint Jane Heydecker; Tunbridge Wells LM asks us to reappoint Sonja Le Vay. All to serve to 31.12.2015. These names being acceptable, we appoint these Friends accordingly.
(3) Sue Laidlay(having been appointed today as a trustee) will be attending the Trustee Training Course at Swarthmoor Hall from 28th to 30th March. This has been approved by the Area Clerk under Guideline 2.
(4) It has not been possible to find anyone to attend the Annual Conference of Treasurers at Woodbrooke 9th to 11th May 2014.
5. Area Budget:
Our treasurer has presented a draft budget, which incorporates the Management Committee’s recommendation to keep the quota at its 2013 level. We accept this and also ask the treasurer to look at making specific provision for the expenses of our prison ministers and to consider (with the Management Committee) if the Tunbridge Wells quota should be reduced given its loss of lettings income due to redevelopment.
6. Report on the December Meeting for Sufferings
Liz Gladstone’s report is attached as SUPPLEMENTARY PAPER No. 1. We thank her and agree to look at the reduction of religious education in schools at a future Area Meeting.
7. Quaker Life Representative Council
Betty Raymond has presented part two of her report of QLRC held in October 2013. This is attached as SUPPLEMENTARY PAPER No. 2. With regard to point 4 (Outreach) our clerk has asked if we would like to make this subject a main item of consideration at one of our 2014 Area Meetings. W agree to our clerk’s suggestion.
8. Welfare Cuts
Liz Gladstone’s introduction to this subject is attached at SUPPLEMENTARY PAPER No. 3. Our clerk has suggested that we focus our discussion on our personal experience of the impact of welfare cuts and on what we are called to do whether individually or as an Area Meeting. Introducing the subject, Liz referred to a paper from Quaker Peace & Social Witness “What Friends Can Do” (attached to these minutes) and suggested that there were three potential categories for action:
• Relief of need;
• Challenging current policy;
• Correcting false presentations (such as demonising the poor and suggesting that they deserve their fate).
In the ensuing discussion, the following points and questions were raised:
o Do we do enough as Friends to seek out other local groups with the same concerns (e.g. Churches Together) with a view to common action?
o Could we support the local Citizens’ Advice Bureaux by (a) feeding in information, about the effect of welfare cuts, which they can use in their policy representations to government; and (b) encouraging local councillors to give adequate funding to the CABs?
o Food banks, such as the new one in Crowborough, are increasingly having to support people in work as well as those who are unemployed.
o Poverty and hunger are affecting children as well as adults.
o The Rochester Open House project is now feeding 70 people a week – the numbers (particularly the numbers of women) are increasing, clients are hungrier and many do not eat during the week. Should it seek to work collaboratively with its affiliated groups to create a campaigning organisation in addition to meeting immediate need?
o Many people on benefits are desperate to work but suffer financially if they do so. We could act politically to campaign for the ‘Living Wage’ (and we could ask Meeting for Sufferings to do this at a national level);
o The proposed payment system for Universal Credit may increase poverty for those recipients who do not know how to handle direct block payments (who don’t know how to budget);
o There is a need for mentors to help people on benefits to manage their money and to make it go further by cooking with basic ingredients rather than buying processed foods. (Quaker Social Action may be a source of advice here.)
We ask our clerk to liaise with Local Meetings clerks to draw up proposals for next steps (which we can consider at our March meeting).
9. Terms of Reference of Nominations Committee
Our clerk has suggested that there is currently too big a time-lag between the announcement of a course and the next Area Meeting; he believes that it would be better if a knowledgeable group such as Nominations Committee could react quickly. It would effectively have delegated responsibility for the conferences budget with the Treasurer providing regular updates of how much was left. The Nominations Committee would liaise with the Area Clerk to ensure that all Friends receive appropriate training for their posts of responsibility; and it would report regularly to Area Meeting on how it is deploying the conferences budget. We agree to our clerk’s proposal.
10. Terms of Reference for Trustees
Further to minute 8 of our January 2013 meeting, our Management Committee has drafted terms of reference and has updated the trustee job description. Copies of these documents have been circulated and are attached to these minutes. In principle, each trustee will take on a portfolio responsibility so that there is a single point of accountability for each of the key areas of: finance, property, employment, data protection and child protection. Friends were invited to submit any comments in advance of today’s meeting. No comments having been received, we record that these documents have been approved by Area Meeting.
11. Energy Conservation
At its meeting on Nov 20th 2013, Area Management Committee recorded the following minute: “This meeting supports energy-conservation measures and encourages LMs to consider what can be done in this respect within their Meetings. In principle, we agree to provide match-funding on energy conservation measures.”
12. Kindlers Workshop 22nd February 2014 (10.00am-5.00pm)
The theme is 'Deepening Worship; Place: Maidstone Meeting House. Janet Sturge is co-ordinating this and reports that “We have room for about 14 more participants, so are opening up to our other West Kent and East Kent members and attenders, up to a maximum of 30”. Applicants are asked to make a donation of £5 towards the £20 admin fee and travel expenses of facilitators.
13. West Kent AM Child Protection: annual report to AM, Management Committee and Trustees Dec 2013
Sue Laidlay, WKAM Child Protection Co-ordinator gave the following report:
Once again, there was no cause to act as the named link between AM and Social Services during 2013. I can report that the AM's Child Protection policy, procedures and guidance have been followed in Tunbridge Wells and Maidstone LMs which have established children's meetings and that Sevenoaks and Rochester CP Co-ordinators receive regular updates from CCPAS and have the correct plans in place should children come to Meeting for Worship.
As AM's link with the Churches Child Protection Advisory Services (CCPAS) I have forwarded regular updates and details of training available to the LM CPCs. I attended a training session organised by CCPAS in November on the new Disclosure and Barring Service referral system and bought the updated version of the Facing the Unthinkable DVD and training notes which will be used by the LM CP Co-ordinators during 2014. The LM Co-ordinators have remained in post, apart from Sevenoaks where Diana Hynard has replaced Elizabeth Dwinell.
I have completed the annual review of the AM CP Policy, updating contact details and handed hard copies to each of the LM Co-ordinators.
We thank Sue for this report.
14. The Meaning of Membership
Following Betty Raymond’s report (at our November 2013 meeting) of Quaker Life Representative Council’s conference in October 2013 on ‘The Meaning of Membership’, our clerk proposes that we ask elders and overseers to look at this issue, with particular regard to the revised guidance in the latest (5th) edition of Quaker Faith & Practice, and to report back to our July meeting with proposals. We agree this proposal.
15. Collection – Open House Project
John Spencer reports: The Open House Project has been running now for five years. During the past year numbers attending the project have increased and those who come are more needy. We regularly get 60 people on a Saturday afternoon. We have seen a growth in the number of desperate families, particularly young families, whose benefits have either been reduced or have come through late. We have seen an increase in the number of newly homeless for the same reason. The number of women attending has increased. The minimum amount we need to continue is about £2,500 to £3,000 a year. (A full written report is available from John Spencer.)
Our collection has raised £103.38.
16. Closing Minute
We thank Rochester Friends for their hospitality. We hope to meet again at Maidstone on March 9th at 2.00pm.
1 Lines by Rumi:
'In silence there is eloquence
Stop weaving
And see
How the pattern improves.'


John Spencer


West Kent Area Meeting March 9th 2014

1. Opening Minute
21 Friends and 1 attender are present, including the following representatives of Local Meetings: Janet Sturge and Jill Russell (Maidstone); Janet Ferguson and Nick Whiting (Rochester); Jane Heydecker and Imogen Wedd (Sevenoaks); Estella Lovett and Christopher Wilson (Tunbridge Wells).
The following passage was read during the opening period of worship: an extract from ‘A Mystery’ by Diana Lampen from The Friend 29th March 2013. A copy is appended to these minutes.
2. Nominations and Appointments
Our Nominations Committee brings the names of:
? José Gray to continue as a trustee until the end of 2014;
? Nick Whiting to serve as an assistant overseer to the end of 2014.
Rochester LM brings the name of Anne Simpson to serve on AM Nominations Committee until 31st December 2015. These names being acceptable we appoint the above Friends accordingly.
Nominations Committee reports that:
? It has sent nominations (to Friends House) for Hannah Qureshi and Rowan Evenden to attend Junior Yearly Meeting. East Kent Friends have kindly offered to contribute to the funding of one of these;
? Nick Ford is attending the Swanwick conference ‘Transforming ourselves – transforming the system’ (Mar 7-9th) which aims to refocus and re-energise our work on becoming a low-carbon, sustainable community. We look forward to hearing a report from these Friends.
Our Treasurer has asked if Jane Brown (one of our trustees) can be an additional signatory to our CAF and Triodos deposit accounts as this will make it easier to arrange movement of funds between those accounts and our current account. We authorise Jane Brown to be a signatory to these accounts.
We note also that, on the advice of our accountants, our Treasurer should be regarded de facto as a trustee.
3. Tabular Statement
At 31st December 2013, the numbers of members and attenders were as follows (previous year figures in brackets):
Members
Attenders
Total
Maidstone
25 (23)
19 (17)
44 (40)
Rochester
30 (33)
32 (31)
62 (64)
Sevenoaks
25 (25)
24 (20)
49 (45)
Tunbridge Wells
39 (39)
32 (30)
71 (69)
TOTAL
119
107
226 (218)
The above figures (for 31.12.2013) comprise 139 women, 77 men, and 10 children.
We thank our Assistant Clerk for Membership and our Database Co-ordinator for preparing these figures.
4. Meeting for Sufferings Report
We have received the attached report from our Sufferings representative, Liz Gladstone. We were reminded of the need to respect the process of prayerful and thoughtful discernment in our own business meetings.
5. Mental Health in our Meetings
In November of last year, Janet Sturge of Maidstone Meeting attended a Woodbrooke course: “Mental Health in our Meetings”. The aim of the weekend was to consider how to respond to suffering amongst Friends. Janet’s report gives a variety of insights and techniques for responding to mental suffering, whether the suffering is primarily borne by the individual (as would often be so with depression) or whether the suffering impacts on the whole meeting (as may be the case with personality disorders or schizophrenia). Janet was appointed by Maidstone Friends to attend this conference but they have asked that her report should be made available to the wider Area Meeting. AM Clerk has initially invited elders and overseers to consider it in their local meetings (possibly inviting other Friends to participate). We ask them to let us know what meetings take place and if there are any general issues that AM needs to consider. We note that Janet’s report will be considered at the joint elders and overseers meeting on May 11th and we look forward to receiving their minute.
Janet has also prepared for each meeting a folder of relevant material to take away today.
6. Maidstone Meeting – An Overview
Jill Russell has told us about the life and activities of Maidstone Meeting.
7. Welfare Cuts
Following our deliberations at January Area Meeting, AM Clerk sent a summary paper to LM Clerks and asked them to put this subject on the agenda of their next LM business meeting – not with a view to taking lots of new initiatives but to ask if they had any leadings about the way forward, whether at local or Area level. A theme that stood out from the January discussion was that of strengthening our links with other organisations that are working with people on the margins, organisations with whom our members already have many contacts – through their work in CABs, prisoner-resettlement, Homestart, Open House, etc.
LMs have sent the following responses:
Maidstone Friends are planning to work with other churches to convene a symposium of faith-based and secular organisations who are working with people on the margins; they hope to engage their local MP in this review of the welfare needs of the area.
Rochester Meeting focused on the personal experiences of its members and expressed its wish to challenge the prevalent discourse in which people are dehumanised and demonised. Rochester Friends plan to approach the Public Relations Officer of Medway Council to find out how to proceed. They also feel that a concerted effort at AM level of letter writing to local papers, MPs and councillors would be invaluable.
Sevenoaks Friends report that they support the local churches that run a food bank and that the LM has collected money for the Bridge Trust. They propose to send a letter to local MPs; and they would strongly support any initiative by Area Meeting.
Tunbridge Wells Friends reviewed the various problems (such as those with the Work Capabilities Scheme) and initiatives (such as the campaign for a Living Wage). They noted the importance of collaboration at a local level with churches and other like-minded groups; and hoped that Friends at a national level would support Wanstead Meeting’s “Fair Penny Campaign”. Several Friends said they would be joining in with the “End of Hunger Fast” and
proposed to give the food saved to a local Food Bank. The Meeting will ask for a speaker to come from the CAB with the particular aim of telling them what they can do to help with the CAB campaign for better conditions. They will be preparing a letter to the local press about the Fast, why they are supporting it and why we need to recover a sense of true community (‘Ubuntu’).
Our clerk has kept the East Kent clerk informed of our deliberations on this issue and will be meeting with him on March 12th to explore the possibility of joint action by East and West Kent Areas.
Friends were invited to consider if there is anything further that they would like Area Meeting to do to take this concern forward. We agreed that there is a need to tackle the system issues and not just to apply a ‘sticking plaster’. We accept the offers of Liz Gladstone, Estella Lovett and Janet Sturge to form an Area letter-writing group (as requested by Rochester LM, above); we ask them to seek the public-relations advice of Jane Brown. We also ask Local Meetings to report back on this issue at future Area Meetings.
8. Future Topics for Shared Exploration at AM Level
During the past several months a number of substantial topics have emerged in our Area meetings. In order to avoid the dangers of superficiality and fragmentation, our clerk suggests that – during the period of his clerkship – we might identify, and focus on, four major themes. These might be:
? Living sustainably (continuing the ‘environmental responsibility’ theme of the 2013 Claridge House conference);
? Working with the marginalised (to include issues such as the impact of welfare cuts, prisoner resettlement, and outreach);
? The faith basis of our Quaker witness and service (to include recent concerns about religious education – of ourselves and of society in general);
? Caring for ourselves (to include reviews of our spiritual and pastoral care, of the maintenance and growth of community, and of related topics such as mental and physical health). We agree with the principle of this proposal providing we keep ourselves open to new issues and concerns as they arise.
9. Review of Today’s Meeting
Friends were invited to comment on the conduct of today’s meeting. (These comments were not minuted but, in summary, Friends felt that the preparation aided participation and spontaneity, produced an atmosphere of serenity and calm, and allowed the speedy completion of business.)
10. Closing Minute
The tea-time collection was for Beacon Church, Shepway, Maidstone, which runs a food bank and also provides support (e.g. debt counselling, furniture store, and computer courses) for people on the margins. £112 was collected.
We thank Maidstone Friends for their hospitality. We hope to meet again at Sevenoaks on Sunday 11th May at 2.00pm.
SUPPLEMENTARY PAPERS
1. Today’s Reading (see Opening Minute)
Once I was asked to lead a day on 'Experiment with Light' in Sweden. There was time for one last question: 'Before you go, Diana, please give us an exact definition of "The Light"?'! I paused and centred myself and then heard myself say: 'It's a presence and a power that some of us call "God":
I have since felt that I could have added 'and a guide; for I have come to know, through experience, that guidance is available. I can't explain this – it is mysterious – but I can say I know it. When I follow the guidance I'm given, I find all indecision melts away and there is an inward, quiet certainty that gives me the courage to respond. Again and again, this taking the first step of saying 'Yes' is followed by unforeseen happenings, which both confirm the leading and take it forward.
So, I can't explain the mysterious 'something more'; but I can try to live in response to it. This response includes wonder, a sense of being accompanied and a knowing and trying to live out love and find, through this, some meaning for my life.
At the very lowest, darkest moment of my life, as I sat by the broken body of my mother, who was dying, when I cried out from the depths of my anguish and helplessness, I had the deepest, most profound experience of my life. It was of both of us being held in a love beyond measure; of a peace 'beyond all understanding'; of a sense of joy and a certainty that 'all is well’.
Extract from ‘A Mystery’ by Diana Lampen from The Friend 29th March 2013
2. REPORT OF MEETING FOR SUFFERINGS 1ST FEB 2014
1. We heard about some of the work of the Trustees, and also had an update from the Treasurer on changes to investments following our recommendation last October to divest from fossil fuel extraction. It was good to hear that this has happened and that some of those investments have been transferred to investments in renewable energy.
Trustees’ report also enabled some Friends to share their unease about the additional name of 'The Light' for the Large Meeting House. We were reminded of the process of prayerful and thoughtful discernment that took place in the Hospitality Board and Trustees, and part of the Yearly Meeting 2013 minute on Trust in Trusteeship: 'We all belong to the same worshipping community, we are all working together and it's the same spirit that leads us'.
2. How do Quakers speak out in public, and who is authorised to speak for us? In 2012 Meeting for Sufferings thought it was time to take another look at BYM’s policy on public statements, as set out in QF&P 3.27, to take account of changes in the media, particularly the rise of the internet. The group set up to do this revision came back with a very thorough piece of work which was accepted: a shorter version for use locally will be produced and circulated to meetings.
3. We heard from two new members of staff about their work. Lizzie Rosewood, is the Vibrancy in Meetings Programme Developer and has been looking at ways in which meetings could be better supported. One possibility is the appointment of some paid regional workers to support meetings. Jessica Metheringham, Parliamentary Engagement Officer, is at the moment chiefly concerned with the Lobbying Bill, which could restrict the type of campaigning which charities can do in an election year.
I can provide contact details and copies of their reports for anyone who is interested.
4. Is it time to begin the revision of Quaker Faith and Practice? The Recording Clerk reported to us on a wide-ranging consultation within BYM, which had yielded very varied responses. Some meetings felt that there is already a lot of change happening within BYM , that we have much work to do in the world, and we would be better to give that priority. But there was also a strong feeling from some Friends that QF&P needs to speak for the present and coming generations: The Light is the same always, but it illuminates life differently for us as we move through time. The process of revision may take up to ten years. Meeting for Sufferings decided to recommend to Yearly Meeting that the time is right for revision.
5. Communication within Meetings. We received a minute from Sheffield and Balby AM, where there had been some difficulty about inappropriate messages being sent around the meeting. The AM Elders had drawn up some advice which they thought might be valuable more widely: Meeting for Sufferings agreed. I append it below
Liz Gladstone
6th Feb 2014.
Advice for Friends writing or circulating information within the Meeting:
Enabling communication about the wide range of activities in our Meeting is a valuable ministry.
We wish to encourage the sharing of views, experiences and information between Friends and with the wider world.
Do you seek to ensure that information you are responsible for publishing or circulating is fair and accurate? Take particular care with statements that refer to any individual or group whether within or outside the Meeting especially those who may be vulnerable for whatever reason. Be mindful of our special responsibilities for protecting the confidentiality of children and young people.
If you are uncertain about publishing anything, seek advice from Friends who are in a position to give extra information or guidance. Remember that elders and overseers are always willing to offer their support.


John Spencer


West Kent Area Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) Minutes of the Business Meeting on May 11th 2014

1. Opening Minute
17 Friends and 4 attenders are present, including the following LM representatives: Mary Bain and Pam Page (Maidstone); Wendy Aram and Evelyn Everist (Rochester); Jane Heydecker, Elizabeth Dwinell and Duncan Dwinell (Sevenoaks); Liz Bates and Estella Lovett (Tunbridge Wells).
Jane Heydecker has read the appended passage, by the elders of the Hopi nation, during our opening period of worship1.
2. Membership Application
Maureen Davidson of Sevenoaks Meeting has applied for membership. Pam Page and Liz Whelan have visited her and we have heard their report. We decide to record Maureen as a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). We ask Liz Whelan to welcome her on our behalf.
3. Membership Transfers
Transfers In
Jeremy Harris: We have rescinded Minute 2 of AM held on 10.11.2013 accepting the transfer from East Sussex to West Kent. There is no record of where the transfer request came from but the membership clerk of East Sussex AM confirms that it did not come from them and there is no record of a letter from Jeremy himself. We now have a Certificate (dated 9th March 2014) from East Sussex requesting a transfer and an email confirming that, until we have accepted the transfer, he remains a member of East Sussex. Sue Laidlay has spoken to Jeremy on behalf of overseers and reported her conversation to us. We ask Maidstone overseers to arrange for one or two Friends to visit Jeremy. If and when we receive their report we will re-consider the transfer request.
Desmond Bates: a Certificate of Transfer has been received from South London Area Meeting. Jane Heydecker has reported on behalf of overseers. We accept the transfer and note that Jane Heydecker has welcomed Desmond and his wife Eve on our behalf.
John Marsh: a Certificate of Transfer has been received from West Weald Area Meeting. Jane Heydecker has reported on behalf of overseers. We accept the transfer, noting that John is already playing an active role in the life of Sevenoaks Meeting.
Transfers Out
Sue Lycett: Having moved to Scotland, Sue has requested a transfer of her membership to East Scotland Area Meeting. Since this request came from Sue, AM Clerk issued a Certificate for Transfer of Membership on 25.03.2014, rather than waiting until May AM. The Certificate of Acceptance has not yet been received.
Jonathan Maw: The clerk of West Somerset AM has contacted our membership clerk to say that Jonathan wishes to transfer his membership there. AM is requested to authorise the issue of a Certificate of Transfer. We agree to this.
Transfer Procedure(1): when a member of West Kent moves to another Area and requests a transfer of membership, the official procedure is that AM Clerk waits until next Area Meeting in order to gain the approval of our AM for the transfer out. This may cause an unnecessary delay and our clerk therefore requests permission, in cases that are uncontroversial and where the transfer out is requested by the member concerned, to issue the Certificate for Transfer and to report his action to the next AM business meeting.
We ask AM overseers to consider this issue and bring a recommendation to us.
Transfer Procedure (2): our clerk wonders if it would be appropriate to send a ‘farewell minute’ to those Friends who are transferring out. We agree to this proposal.
4. Nominations and Appointments
Nominations Committee bring the following names:
? Imogen Wedd as Custodian of Records (to 31.12.2016)
? Michael Evans as Quaker Life representative (to 31.12.2016) These names being acceptable we appoint them accordingly.
Our clerk has reported that, when a group of West Kent Friends visited Friends House in March, Paul Parker, the Recording Clerk, indicated that he would like to come to Kent in 2015, preferably to a joint meeting of East and West Kent Quakers. The clerk of East Kent AM is very much in favour of such a meeting and Paul Parker has subsequently agreed the date of Saturday 18th April 2015 and the venue of Maidstone Meeting House. We ask our Nominations Committee to find two Friends to work with a similar number of East Kent Friends to make the detailed arrangements, including agreeing with Paul Parker a suitable format and subject. We ask for an update at our July meeting.
5. Annual Report and Financial Statement for 2013
At its meeting on 30.04.2014 our Management Committee recorded the following minute:
We agree the Annual Report and Financial Statement and confirm that the Treasurer and Jane Brown as trustees may sign it off. This decision to be reported to AM at its meeting on the 11 May. Our clerk will circulate the report, via LM clerks, in the near future; and our Treasurer will present the Financial Statement at our July meeting.
6. Tunbridge Wells Stepping Stones Project
The Project Steering Group reports that, on April 2nd of this year, a planning application was submitted by our architects, Churchill Hui, in the name of West Kent Quakers, to Tunbridge Wells Borough Council (TWBC) as the local planning authority, for the following works to the Quaker Meeting House:
The demolition of the rear wall of the main building to form ten bed-sits that, under the auspices of West Kent YMCA, will provide accommodation for vulnerable single young people in the Tunbridge Wells area. The development will include a single-storey extension and refurbishment of the rear hall for continued use as a Quaker Meeting House.
WKYMCA will:
? be granted a long lease of the bedsit accommodation. (The precise length is being negotiated.);
? pay a nominal rent of £100 per annum;
? pay the total development costs, currently estimated at £700,000 inclusive of the works to the Quaker elements (last estimate £170,000).
At its meeting on 30.04.2014, our Management Committee recommended that we support the project on the above terms and that we delegate decision-making authority to our trustees. Given that this recommendation is the culmination of exhaustive work by the Project Steering Group, by Management Committee and Trustees, our clerk recommends
that we agree to this, on the understanding that trustees will keep AM Clerk informed of their key actions so that he can report to us as appropriate. We accept our clerk’s recommendation and agree to empower our trustees to take all necessary decisions. We hope to have a substantive item devoted to this at our July meeting.
7. Data Protection
Having circulated relevant information and queries to all office holders, our clerk now proposes to complete the Friends House form certifying that our Area Meeting is complying with Data Protection rules. We agree to this.
8. Our Key Themes 8.1 Working with the Marginalised Meeting for Sufferings has produced a ‘Yearly Meeting Statement on Economic Inequality in Britain’ . A copy of this was circulated with the agenda and a few copies have been made available at today’s meeting, for study and when speaking to the media.
At its March meeting, East Kent AM recorded the following minute: “ We hope to explore the matter of cuts to Welfare benefits with West Kent Area Meeting and we ask our Local Meetings to report to our next meeting on ways in which Friends are engaged in overcoming the deficiencies in welfare provision.” We look forward to working with East Kent on this issue. We note that our Local Meetings are continuing to progress the various actions on welfare cuts described in the minutes of our March meeting. We hope to hear more of these as they progress.
8.2 Living Sustainably
Nick Ford has introduced this item drawing on his experience of attending the recent Swanwick conference “Transforming ourselves: transforming the system”, which aimed to “refocus and re-energise our work on becoming a low-carbon, sustainable community ..... examining the personal and systemic changes needed to transform ourselves and transform the system”.
In the ensuing discussion we have taken stock of where we are, individually and collectively, in relation to BYM Minute 36 (“Our Canterbury Commitment”) and where we hope to be in the coming months and years.
We have agreed to:
Compile a list of what we are currently doing to reduce our carbon footprint and what alliances we have forged with other organisations further advanced. Our clerk will liaise with LM clerks to produce this;
Draft a menu of what can be done at an individual and a LM level so that, as individuals and as local meetings, we can indicate our proposed lines of action. Alison Seddon will draft this; Compile a list of useful books: Nick Ford will do this. We recommend that each of these is purchased by LM libraries.
We will return to this subject at a future meeting.
9. Notices of Forthcoming Events
Interfaith Pilgrimage around the Medway Towns departing from Rochester Quaker Meeting House on Sunday June 22nd. It will begin with a short (9.45-10.00am) meeting for worship to launch the pilgrims and the normal Sunday meeting for worship will be held as usual at 10.30am. All Friends welcome. Further details from Merrill Woolf.
“Let the Healing Fountains Flow”: A Retreat at St. Mary’s Abbey, Saturday Sept 27th 2014. A one-day retreat with meditations on four lines from W.H. Auden:
“In the deserts of the heart,
Let the healing fountains start.
In the prison of his days,
Teach the free man how to praise.”
Booking details will be circulated in May or June. This event is organised by Maidstone Elders but (subject to limitations on numbers) open to all West Kent Friends.
September Area Meeting will now be on the first Sunday (Sept 7th), still at Rochester Meeting House. PLEASE UPDATE YOUR DIARY!
10. Closing Minute
The tea-time collection is for Sevenoaks Christian Counselling Service. £47.90 has been raised.
We thank Sevenoaks Friends for their hospitality. We hope to meet again on 13th July at Tunbridge Wells, beginning at 1.30pm.
1 You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour.
Now you must go back and tell people that THIS is the hour.
And there are things to be considered:
Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?
Know your garden.
It is time to speak your truth.
Create your community.
Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for the leader.
This could be a good time!
Banish the word struggle from your attitude and vocabulary.
All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.
We are the Ones we've been waiting for.
The Elders, Hopi Nation


John Spencer


Area Business Meeting on July 13th 2014

1. Opening Minute
19 Friends and 1 attender1 are present, including the following LM representatives: Sue Laidlay (Maidstone); Wendy Aram (Rochester); Imogen Wedd (Sevenoaks); Estella Lovett and Christopher Wilson (Tunbridge Wells).
During the opening period of worship Estella Lovett has read section 20.27 of QF&P on the theme of simplicity.
We record with sorrow the death of our Friend Jack Lacey on 29th June 2014. The funeral, not after the manner of Friends, will be held on Wednesday 16th July at St. Mary's Church, Thame. At a later date a memorial meeting will be held at the Rochester Friends Meeting House.
2. Membership Issues
2.1 Applications
Evelyn Everist of Rochester Meeting has applied for membership. We have heard a report by the visitors, Gill Sephton and Liz Gladstone. We record Evelyn as a member of West Kent Area Meeting of the Society of Friends.
2.2 Transfers
Further to minute 3 of 11th May 2014, Jeremy Harris has decided that he would like his membership to remain with East Sussex Area Meeting. The clerk of East Sussex thinks that their overseers are likely to recommend that Jeremy's membership stays with East Sussex in the hope that at some time he will return there or find another meeting that he would like to transfer to.
Our clerk has been informed by the Membership Clerk of North London Area Meeting that a Certificate of Transfer will shortly be issued for Alison Seddon, now of Tunbridge Wells. We have heard a report from the clerk of Tunbridge Wells in consultation with overseers and we ask our Assistant Clerk (Membership) to accept the Certificate of Transfer when it arrives.
Our elders and overseers have submitted the following minute in response to AM minute 3 of 11.05.2014 (Transfer Procedure): “We feel no need to shorten the transfer procedure as outlined in QF&P 11.23-26. We feel it is important for both the transferring member and the meeting to get to know each other before the transfer is accepted.”2
2.3 Resignations
Our clerk has received a letter of resignation from John Marsh. We record John’s resignation. On the recommendation of Sevenoaks elders and overseers we ask our clerk formally to invite Him to submit a paper to us setting out the issues that led him to resign and to present it to us if willing.
3. The Meaning of Membership
Further to Minute 14 of AM Jan 12th 2014, in which we asked elders and overseers to look at this issue with particular regard to the revised guidance in the latest (5th) edition of Quaker
1 The attender was accepted into membership during the meeting!
2 Clerk’s note: There may have been some confusion here. Minute 3 of 11.05.14 referred not to acceptance of transfers but about responding quickly to those members who had moved away from West Kent and who had requested a Certificate of Transfer to be issued. (This would not affect the way in which we consider the transfers of incoming members and it wouldn’t affect the ability of the ‘new’ AM to decide in its own time whether or not to accept the transfer.)
Faith & Practice, we have received the following minute from elders and overseers in response:
“While accepting the desirability of being flexible, we feel that a moment of commitment is necessary nevertheless, so that we can be sure the applicant understands what is involved. Being visited can be a most positive experience but is not essential. Nurturing attenders and making opportunities for them to learn more, formally or less so, is vital.”
On the theme of nurturing attenders, Evelyn Everist reported on meetings for attenders currently held at Rochester. Meetings are driven by the needs and requests of those attending (up to 10 people at any one meeting). The meetings are held flexibly at different times and on different days as convenient. We encourage other meetings to follow this example; Evelyn is willing to act as an adviser.
4. Nominations and Appointments
Nominations Committee bring the following names:
? Derek Gouldsworthy as Maidstone rep on Management Committee to 31.12. 2015;
? John Adams to be Quaker Life deputy representative to 31.12.2016
? Wendy Aram to be the Rochester representative on the AM outreach fund group to 31.12.2016;
? Sue Laidlay and John Clarke to work with a similar number of East Kent Friends arrange the joint meeting with the Recording Clerk, Paul Parker, on April 18th 2015.
Tunbridge Wells LM brings the name of Estella Lovett to serve on AM Nominations Committee (replacing Rosemary Dixon-Nuttall – to serve until the end of 2015.)
These names being acceptable we appoint these Friends accordingly.
5. Reports
5.1 Meeting for Sufferings Liz Gladstone has prepared a report (attached) and has spoken to it. We agree to set aside time at future AMs to discuss the Long-Term Framework and we encourage our LMs to do likewise.
5.2 Interfaith Pilgrimage
Merrill Woolf has spoken to us about this excellent venture in interfaith dialogue. Our clerk will distribute details with the minutes. We encourage other LMs to promote similar ventures in their localities.
6. 2013 Accounts
Our Treasurer has presented the Financial Statement, which forms part of the Annual Report, which our clerk will distribute. We thank our treasurer for his work.
7. Financial Framework for Stepping Stones Project The Stepping Stones Project will entail:
The demolition of the rear wall of the Tunbridge Wells Meeting House to form ten bed-sits that, under the auspices of West Kent YMCA, will provide accommodation for vulnerable single young people in the Tunbridge Wells area. The development will include a single-storey extension and refurbishment of the rear hall for continued use as a Quaker Meeting House.
Under the proposed agreement, YMCA will be responsible for funding the construction stage of the project; but together with Quaker Housing Trust we have already allocated funds for the planning stage and have indicated our wish to help the project succeed by making further
contributions if possible. The following framework, to govern our project expenditures, has been drawn up by our clerk, treasurer and Management Committee and is now submitted for the approval of AM. (This is supplementary to minute 6 of AM held on 11.05.2014, which empowered our trustees to take all necessary decisions in relation to the project.):
? AM will only be directly involved in expenditure issues for Stepping Stones if Trustees refer an issue to it or if the Steering Group makes a request for additional funds from AM;
? With the approval of Trustees, one designated member of the Steering Group (the Project Manager) will be empowered, with the backing of one other member of the Steering Group, to make small expenditures (up to £200);
? Expenditures above £200 will be proposed by the Project Manager to other members of the Steering Group and authorised by them. (This could be done by email.) Such proposals will be copied to AM Trustees so that they can question – and if necessary veto – any expenditure about which they have doubts;
? All receipts, payments and current balances will be reported by the Project Manager to AM Trustees and to AM Clerk on a monthly basis;
? John Spencer, as both the Treasurer and a Trustee, will act as a link between the Steering Group and Trustees in relation to expenditure issues;
? Trustees will be expected to seek the explicit approval of AM if the Steering Group proposes making expenditures or financial commitments in excess of the available funds.
We agree this framework.
8. Claridge House Weekend – Proposal from Elders
Estella Lovett has presented this proposal. We note that Claridge House will have enhanced accommodation with ensuite facilities in all bedrooms from February 2015. Our clerk has suggested that we refer the proposal to Local Meetings and give further consideration at September AM in the light of their responses. We agree this proposal.
9. Our Key Themes
At our March meeting we agreed the following key themes for our continuing consideration. (The purpose is not to generate lots of new initiatives but to reflect on what we are already doing as a basis for future evolution.):
a) Living sustainably (continuing the ‘environmental responsibility’ theme of the 2013 Claridge House conference);
b) Working with the marginalised (to include issues such as the impact of welfare cuts, prisoner resettlement, and outreach);
c) The faith basis of our Quaker witness and service (to include recent concerns about religious education – of ourselves and of society in general);
d) Caring for ourselves (to include reviews of our spiritual and pastoral care, of the maintenance and growth of community, and of related topics such as mental and physical health).
In pursuance of out theme of working with vulnerable people we have heard an inspirational report from Alison Ruff on behalf of the Tunbridge Wells Stepping Stones Steering Group. Alison described how vulnerable young people will be helped through the provision of move-on accommodation in part of the converted Tunbridge Wells Meeting House. She has emphasised the value of working in partnership to achieve this goal – with West Kent YMCA, Habitat for Humanity, the local council and other organisations. We reaffirm our support for this project.
10. Notices
Today’s collection is for Wells for India and Brenda Copus has spoken to us about this. A sum of £90.50 has been raised.
On Sunday 27th July Tunbridge Wells Friends will be holding their last meeting for worship (10.15 start) in the current meeting house, before conversion works begin. They invite us to join them for the meeting (10.15 start) and for a shared lunch afterwards. If coming to the lunch, Friends are asked to inform Sonja LeVay or Madelyn Meredith.
Beyond the above date, Tunbridge Wells Friends will hold their meetings for worship at the Pagoda Centre (details are being circulated with these minutes).
11. Closing Minute
We thank Tunbridge Wells Friends for their hospitality. We hope to meet again on Sunday 7th September at Rochester Meeting House, beginning at 2.00pm.
MEETING FOR SUFFERINGS 7TH JUNE 2014 – REPORT TO WEST KENT AM
The chief business before the meeting was the revision of the Long-Term Framework for Quaker work. We had reports from a number of bodies, including QCEA, Central Nominations Committee, and the Minute 36 group , and considered various minutes from AMs.
1. Long-Term Framework. Local and area meetings are being asked to set aside time this autumn to consider their broad vision for Quaker work for the next 5 years, and to discern priorities both for the central work of BYM and for the work of their own meetings. Meeting for Sufferings considered a draft of the consultation document which will be used. A revised document will be coming to meetings in due course.
2. Minutes from AMs. There were some interesting ones, in particular:
? Two minutes concerning assisted dying and end-of-life care. Leeds AQM had devoted a lot of time and thought to these issues, and I have more information for anyone who is interested – please ask me. MFS referred the minutes to Quaker Life for advice, and will consider the questions raised more fully at a later meeting. I’d be glad to hear from anyone with views on the subject or experience to share.
? A minute from Gloucester AM about the current situation in Ukraine. MfS heard that FWCC Europe and Middle East Section considered the situation in Eastern Europe and agreed to encourage and uphold the concern of Misha Roshchin of Moscow Monthly Meeting and Roland Rand of Tallin Worship group to visit Eastern Ukraine to hear views on the situation and what needs to be done; to work with individuals and organisations to defuse tension; and to talk to international bodies concerned with averting open conflict. We also heard that money is needed to continue this work.
3. Becoming a low-carbon community. Transforming ourselves into a low-carbon community has proved to be a huge task. We had a report from the “Minute 36 group” set up to forward the commitment which BYM made in 2011 to work toward this end. They brought recommendations on strengthening our communities, changing our lifestyles, dealing with our properties, and working for public policy change. There is still a long way to go on all of these. Members of the current group have come to the end of their appointments, but a successor group is to be set up.
4. Central Nominations Committee. This committee plays a pivotal role in the life of BYM in bringing names to MfS and to YM for appointment to 22 committees and groups each year. 540 “offers of service” forms received from Friends are currently held on a database which is used to search for suitable names. MfS representatives were asked to take forms back to their meetings for Friends to use , thus hopefully expanding the database.
5. QCEA: It was good to hear from our representative about the work of QCEA. Responding to the EU consultation about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment partnership (TTIP) is an important current activity. More information on this and on QCEA’s other work in 2013 can be found on their website - www.qcea.org