Recorded Minutes of the Clearwater Friends Meeting

Recorded Minutes of the Clearwater Friends Meeting

About Our Minutes

There are two main types of minutes:

Business Meeting minutes:  During the snowbird months (September through May) we hold a Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business. This meeting is where the business of the meeting is conducted, i.e. the operations, decisions, and approvals of proposed actions. It is not a meeting in the normal sense of the word in that it is led by the Clerk of the Meeting, and is conducted in a worshipful manner, with respect accorded to all views. 

Recorded Minutes: Occasionally we record minutes that become official statements of direction, intent, or purpose. These are also recorded at Meeting for Business, but are more specific, and are called Recorded Minutes. For example, we recorded a Minute on the Conflict in Israel-Palestine.

Once a year we record an annual "State of the Meeting" report that draws on the minutes developed during the year as well as other experiences and events in order to summarize the spiritual state of the Meeting.

(Adapted from midlothianfriends.org)

Quaker Minutes

In Quaker meetings and churches meeting minutes represent the wording of a decision or an agreed upon action to be taken by the meeting or church as a whole. FCNL recognizes the vitality of minutes as advocacy tools and as a means of communicating to members of Congress how a body of their constituents is thinking and acting on a particular issue.

-Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL)


A Call to End Conflict in Israel-Palestine (SEYM)

Apr 8, 2024 | News, Peace & Social Concerns 
At our 2024 Yearly Meeting sessions, Southeastern Yearly Meeting adopted this statement on the Israeli-Palestine conflict.
We are heartbroken by the terror, violence, and devastation in Israel and Palestine. War is never the answer. War does not address the root causes of a conflict or resolve injustices; it only settles which nation can mobilize its fighting forces best. It makes enemies more entrenched in ‘us vs. them’ and revenge narratives. It deepens hatred and increases enmities and violence, making all people less safe. War is a betrayal of our humanity, and of what is most sacred.

Our Quaker faith reminds us that there is that of God within every person, without exception. And that every person has the capacity to experience and respond to the love and guidance of God. We unconditionally oppose bigotry against Jews, Palestinians and other Arabs and Muslims that has led to the rise in hateful rhetoric and actions targeting these communities in the United States and worldwide.

We unite with the calls of people across the world for:

an immediate lasting ceasefire and a total end to hostilities on the way to a genuine effort towards peaceful and just solutions,
immediate release of all hostages and prisoners held under administrative detention without charges or trial,
provision of urgent humanitarian aid to Gaza including resumption of funding for United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
The government of the United States has a responsibility to think with greater vision rather than contributing to the further militarizing of a tragic situation. We urge the President and Congress to join with other nations to address the roots of war, to work for a lasting solution that provides for security, justice, and dignity for all Palestinians and Israelis.

Our faith challenges us to resist the escalating pressures throughout our human family that attempt to justify atrocities against other human beings, and to remember that we are each capable of evil, even in the name of good. We take up the commitment to turn from our own hostile impulses, from amplifying division within our local communities, and from the cycles of vengeful action in conflicts worldwide, so we can move toward the courageous work of peacebuilding.

Let us seek paths to work for peace, to act in faith and love, with persistence, patience, and courage. We ask everyone, including those in power, to learn from and work with the peacebuilders, who have labored long and hard. May they lead us all in creating an enduring peace built on justice and reconciliation that provides safety, sovereignty, and a future free of war as Palestinians, Israelis and all people of the region become partners pursuing the sacred goal of Peace, Shalom, Salaam.

This statement, which was written and adopted by St. Petersburg Friends Meeting in March, and brought forward by the SEYM Peace & Social Concerns Committee, draws from one that was minuted by the Tallahassee Friends Meeting on January 14, 2024, entitled “The Call to End Conflict in Israel-Palestine” and utilized passages from a minute from Bethesda Friends Meeting of January 7, 2024 entitled “An urgent call to protect human life and bring a just peace to Palestine and Israel.” Recent statements made by Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) and American Friends Services Committee (AFSC) influenced this statement as well.

SEYM Statement on Reproductive Rights

Apr 8, 2024 | News, Peace & Social Concerns
Through the testimonies and practice of our Quaker belief we respect the individuality of each person’s spiritual journey, knowing that decisions can lead to both endings and beginnings, often in unexpected ways. The decision to have, or not have, children and the decision of whom to marry, or not marry, are examples of deeply personal, individual decisions to be made by the person or people involved, in the presence of Spirit.
Sanctity of Life
We acknowledge the sanctity of all life, honor and value the beauty of procreation. We recognize that an embryo’s potential to thrive is wholly dependent on the support and nurturing of a biological or chosen family and of society. We seek to value this by addressing injustice, inequity, and coercion in society’s present stance on reproductive health.

Privacy of Health Decisions
We affirm life by endorsing laws and policies that provide access to comprehensive reproductive medicine, including access to safe and legal abortion care, for women and families. We hold that the many-faceted impacts of both pregnancy and the termination of that pregnancy, including abortion care, is a profoundly personal health care decision which should be decided by a pregnant person in consultation with their doctor and their partner if they find it appropriate. We affirm life by respecting and protecting the inalienable right every human has to determine their individual role in human reproduction and family planning. We believe that no other rights of any government, group, or individual supersede this right.

Immorality of Forced Pregnancy
We come to this view by acknowledging the historical litany of suffering caused by forced procreation and its kindred injustice, outlawed procreation. These are dual horrors which have been wielded by persons and groups of certain classes, parties, races, sexes, and genders at various times and in various places to enforce their sometimes legal, yet always unequal and morally illegitimate, privileged status among their fellow humans.

The discussion of women’s reproductive health must be divorced from biased, politically motivated, misinformation. We call for medically-accurate sex education for all ages on the safe practice and choices related to sexual behavior. Information relating to sex, contraception and termination of pregnancy (abortion) care must be easily accessible and delivered in a truthful, non-coercive environment without religious bias of any sort. It is vital to the well-being of our communities that quality and affordable medical care and comprehensive sex education should be available to everyone.

Religious Liberty
We support rights of conscience, freedom of religion, and separation of church and state. We value honest religious liberty which upholds the right of each person to make their own faith-based or conscience-based healthcare decisions. Each person should have opportunity for personal deliberation in accordance with their own moral codes, faith beliefs and consciences, and access to the level of care they believe is right for them. We reject any notion that religious, governing, or political bodies should have any say whatsoever in women’s reproductive health decisions. Religious leaders and government officials have no business imposing their personal faith strictures or religious definitions of medical services into the laws of the land or the private lives of women and families. We protest the enshrinement of any faith strictures as public policy and disassociate ourselves from these restrictive voices.

We are opposed to recent federal and state legal actions which threaten the autonomy of pregnant peoples’ bodies, and which criminalize their private, personal decisions. We should not be outlawing an individual’s right to choose an abortion, which historically has led to many tragic cases of desperation and death. We reject the reasoning that would enable judges and legislatures to ban abortion and promote forced birth. We believe we should work to decriminalize any such decisions, and to preserve an individual’s right and ability to carry out their decision.

Parenthood Rights
We believe that every child should be wanted, cared for and educated in a safe, healthy and loving, environment. Our society must share the responsibility of ensuring families and children realize their full potential and aid the termination a pregnancy if desired. In the case of non-consensual conception, sexual abuse, domestic violence, health concerns and even birthing situations where trauma is not present, the health and desire of the person giving birth is paramount.

Future Ramifications 
As a religious organization that adheres to the testimony of equality, we believe that rights and equitable access to care must be available to all individuals and provided where their needs can best be met. An acceptance of all the variables in regard to sexuality and gender must be introduced at all levels of society so that the rights of all parents and their children may be respected. The current frenzy of exclusion which is marginalizing and demonizing non- heterosexual parents and their families must be reversed. We are opposed to any restrictions affecting same sex and transgender families.

Societal support
We seek a country with an equitable health care system that does not impose the greatest burdens on those least able to bear them. We must maintain and improve the physical and mental health of our population with affordable, equitable, and accessible healthcare that covers the entire life span, from family planning, contraception access, and prenatal care to end-of-life care.

All families must have equal opportunities to prosper. One of the most significant factors that lead to mental and physical health failure and the termination of pregnancies is poverty. Along with prioritizing public health services and affordable health care with robust federal support, we must target poverty, ensuring that policies regarding family must also include a living wage, paid family leave, affordable housing, affordable childcare, and high-quality public schools.

It is our belief that implementation of such measures will lead to a more affirming and nurturing society.
This statement on reproductive rights was approved at our 2024 SEYM annual sessions. It originated in St. Pete Meeting and was brought forward by the SEYM Ad Hoc Committee on Reproductive Rights.