Reflections on my 17-month term as clerk

by Richard Fuller

Wow! What a ride!

My assistant clerk, Anne Supplee, and I celebrated out last day on the job on August 31.

We had a running query through our term which I believe we repeated to each other monthly: “Are we (still) having fun?”

The shared answer has always been “yes!” And it was “yes!” again this week.

Not that it hasn’t been a challenge. Being asked to form up an ad-hoc committee to oversee the repair of our sick building, and receiving a challenge to the meeting about giving up a Friend in Residence, in order to have more classroom space, are the top two that come to mind.

And WE, dear Friends, we have handled these challenges well. As you Quakers know well, the clerk makes a contribution to our shared work by trying to anticipate what will need to happen, and encouraging meeting members to address the issues in a timely fashion. The clerk’s role IS very important, but it is the membership who actually make the spirit-led decisions, and we community members are the ones who step up to the plate and do what needs to be done.

Thank you, thank us all!

And it has been fun. I think probably the most important part of that, for me, given my personality, has been that I have always been clear on your affection, or at least your respect. Even those of you who have complained to me (many of you will remember who you are) you have complained to me affectionately, or at least you have respected that I have been doing the best I could.

Since I wasn’t in it for the money, your love has been crucial.

And, I must say, it has been a spiritually-enlarging time for me. I originally said “yes” to Nominating Committee in response to something within me that felt larger than my conscious self, and I have tried to stay aligned with that “larger” purpose, putting myself “in the place of TCFM,” as I tried to understand the right way forward at crucial moments. Your respect and concern, your support, both careful and casual, have made a big difference in my not having to fall back into “little-me-self-protective mode.” We have all done well.

And the icing on the cake has been this “Shake the Piggy Bank” mini-fund-raiser, that started and ended just in the last two weeks. I saw we were coming up on some tough choices with less than enough information. I put out the word, and plenty of you responded quickly enough that MOMSAH was able to confidently make choices which will bring this construction to a close in a durable and beautiful fashion, with a minimum of loose ends that would soon be claiming our attention, AGAIN.

And for those of you who were out of town, or for other reasons missed a chance to contribute, fear not! Development Committee will be informing us in the months ahead that retiring the mortgage we took out to finance the construction will require the contributions of EVERYONE in our community, if we are to pay it off in a timely fashion. A huge amount of work has been done, and done well, and quality work doesn’t come cheap.

Except when it’s free. The leadership of MOMSAH has been exceptional, and I guess I should note that that has been another source of inspiration and strength to me, during my term as clerk. Every time I would finish a load of clerkly work, getting some Quaker ducks in a row, I would be in a position to notice another large bunch of careful, knowledgeable, patient work being done by MOMSAH members. I never felt like Anne and I were “doing all the work, or at least a lot of it.” Far from it. We felt ourselves part of a community, with people on MOMSAH and on many other committees giving that community wonderful devotion-filled work. Thank you, thank us, all! It has been a wonderful time.

“And for my next act…” That will have to wait a bit. Betsy and I are off to the Oregon coast for what promises to be an amazing workshop, and will miss the September MWB. On my return I’ll eager to dive back into the life of the meeting, as the Gaia Troubadour, and as Richard, member of First Day School Committee.



One Response to Reflections on my 17-month term as clerk

  1. iljungScott September 4, 2009 at 10:10 am #

    Thank you for your welcome to a new participant in the midst of this transition

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