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Minute 2008-63: Discernment on Budget
63. Eileen Cummings, clerk of Finance Committee, presented their final version of the FY09 budget. She thanked those who participated this week in informational and discussion meetings. Friends brought several concerns: the need for NEYM to do a better job communicating with monthly meetings, the significant reductions to our travel budgets, and our continued financial support of FUM.
The Finance Committee commits to better communication with monthly meetings. They restored $16,150 for representatives and staff travel and also increased the Puente de Amigos budget by $800 to cover the costs of registration for Cuba YM representatives to NEYM sessions. Those additions leave us of a deficit of $17,000. Friends witnessed to their sense that we can cover this deficit and even restore the budget to its FY08 levels with an expanded commitment of everyone in the yearly meeting.
The committee also committed itself to exploring, over the course of the coming year, how we can honor the conscientious objection of some Friends to their participation in our financial contribution to FUM.
Friends spoke to their pain, to their desire to uphold the testimony of equality, to their sense of intolerable complicity with the intolerance of the FUM personnel policy. Many Friends see opposition to the approval of a budget that includes our Minutes 33 contribution to FUM as an expression of their conscience. Many Friends see approval of the budget as presented to be an affirmation of their commitment to remaining members of FUM. Many Friends resonated with the call to continue that process of “cleaning our own house” that we began with our 07-67 Minute of Commitment.
The clerk found the gathering united in our desire to get our house in order. We need to discern how we can honor the call of conscience to follow our Minute of Commitment. We recognize the unity of love that we have here for one another and all our neighbors. We accept this budget as amended by the Finance Committee, naming that there are Friends among us who are not easy — who are in pain — with this decision. We commit ourselves to moving forward in the faith that way will open in our monthly meetings and in the NEYM Finance Committee to enable Friends in good conscience to contribute to NEYM without contributing to FUM. We give thanks to God for giving us those Friends among us who hold us to our commitments.
We give thanks that NEYM has been called to proclaim that it is our experience that God gives us the gifts of ministry, leadership and grace — regardless of how are fellow beings may regard us.