The committee gives pastoral care to the Meeting and general care of the functioning of committees. Appoints committees on clearness for marriage. Appoints clearness and support committees for individuals on request.
The work of the Care & Counsel Committee involves many different aspects of the life of Mt. Toby. Over the years, the Committee has evolved a number of procedures and structures for carrying out this work. Since the membership on C&C tends to turn over fairly rapidly, though, human memory can’t always be relied upon to tell us what we’ve worked out earlier. To keep us from reinventing the same wheels too often, this Procedures Manual tries to collect in one accessible source the many different insights developed by previous incarnations of C&C. It is obviously not intended to be viewed as immutable scripture, to be carefully handed down unchanged to future Committees. Rather, it simply attempts to capture the current approximations to the best ways for handling the work given to us. Continuing revelation will undoubtedly keep on unfolding, and modifications to, or even wholesale replacements of, various parts will be developed, requiring new editions of this Manual on a regular basis.
By and large, this Manual only deals with the technical aspects of the Committee’s work. Given the often heavy press of business confronting us in our meetings, an ever-present pitfall is to see the work of Care & Counsel as primarily the efficient application of these procedures. Underlying the exercise of these techniques, though, should always be the awareness that we are acting, not as bureaucratic functionaries, but as members of a Spirit-led community, striving at all times to listen patiently and in a spirit of worship for the way to unfold. Our success is not measured by how efficiently we dispatch our agendas, but how rightly we are led.
Do we take care that each member of our community is held in sensitive awareness, with respect for personal dignity and privacy? Are we tender of one another’s feelings? Do we maintain confidentiality, avoid gossip, and refrain from unnecessary and inappropriate exchange of information?
As we offer pastoral care, do we each maintain awareness of our own needs and motivations and the effect these may have on our own care giving? Are we careful to distinguish personal feelings about individuals — positive or negative — from our charge to care for them? In striving to help others, do we seek the Spirit through prayer and silence?
Are we sensitive to the limits of our capacities and the limits of our responsibilities? Are we prepared to express these limits and recommend professional resources?
[Intermountain YM F&P notes: Adapted from material developed by Strawberry Creek Meeting]
Committee Description in Handbook
The Care and Counsel Committee offers pastoral care to the Meeting and has general oversight of the functioning of committees. It meets monthly. The Committee
- holds members and attenders in the Light with particular concern for elderly and children and for those whose names arise or who are known to be dealing with health, aging, conflict, possible leadings, or other life issues;
- receives requests for clearness or support on personal/spiritual matters and for marriage;
- greets members, attenders, and visitors each First Day, initiates contact with visitors living in this area, and tends the guest book in the lobby;
- lends one of the quilts in its care to Friends thought to appreciate a bit of extra nurturing in time of trouble or sorrow. See also Quilts.
Specific duties of Care and Counsel include:
- assisting family members in arranging a memorial meeting. One C&C member is appointed by C&C to be a member of the Burial Committee.
- writing memorial minutes or seeing that they are written.
- planning occasional discussions of Friends’ beliefs and practices for newcomers.
- overseeing jointly with Ministry & Worship: meeting for business, the annual State of Society Report, and other mutual concerns;
- meeting annually with Ministry & Worship, Child Care, First Day School, and Young Friends committees or advisors to reflect on how we are serving our children. See Committee On Care Of The Meeting And Its Children.
- acting on requests for financial aid from the Assistance Fund and the Scholarship Fund. They may solicit contributions for the Assistance Fund if the Fund is running low (7/09).
- bulletin boards with the Clerk. See also Bulletin Boards.
- the hearing amplification system.
- the work of the E-mail Minder and the Web Servant (10/03).
- providing ongoing discernment for how the Meeting will carry forward GLBT issues (1/10).
(Based on duties assigned by meeting for business 1981-2010; reorganized and approved by Care and Counsel 6/12).
Care and Counsel members are encouraged to attend meetings for worship and business regularly. Six members are appointed for staggered three-year terms. Membership in Mt. Toby Meeting is not a requirement (04/76). Minutes of the Committee are sent to Ministry and Worship, Meeting Clerks, and the History and Records Committee. See also Nominating And Appointing Procedures, Childcare, and Memorial Minutes.
Role of the Clerk
(Adapted 9/26/2011 from Margaret Cooley handout)
- Convene Committee meetings
- Set and distribute agendas for meetings
- Facilitate meetings
- Review minutes with recording clerk after meetings
- Follow up on items needing attention between meetings
- Serve as primary contact for those needing to communicate with C&C
- Keep meeting clerk informed of any items needing attention at meeting for business
- Follow up on items referred to C&C by meeting for business
- See that Committee follows through on duties as described in Handbook
- Work with M&W clerk(s) and others on joint efforts
- (Attend, or designate representatives to attend, monthly clerks’ gatherings)
- Administer Assistance and Scholarship Funds, or designate other Committee member to do so
- is organized
- easily accessible by phone and email
- keeps meetings focused and constructive
- understands and is committed to appropriate level of confidentiality
- tracks all the items; makes sure the tasks are assigned to someone and that the work gets done
It is important to realize that the clerk does not need to do all the work. An ability to distribute the work of the Committee among the members is important, not only to the mental health of the clerk, but to developing a strong and effective committee. A Committee with a clerk that tends to do everything often flounders when that clerk’s term ends.
At the same time, though, it is important that the clerk be kept fully informed of the activities Committee members are pursuing on behalf of the Committee.
Responsibilities of the Recording Clerk
- Takes minutes of the C&C Committee meetings; goes over a draft with the clerk, then sends a draft to the Committee, to the Clerk of Ministry & Worship, and to the Meeting Clerks.
- After the minutes are formally approved at the next meeting, final copies are sent to the above list and a copy is given to the History and Records Committee.
- Makes sure an up-to-date list of greeters is posted outside the meeting room door.
- Takes minutes at the spring joint meeting with Ministry and Worship.
Minutes are usually not approved at the meeting they cover, except for instances where the Committee has worked out very careful wording on some topic. In general, the Recording Clerk takes notes during the meeting then prepares a draft which is sent to the Clerk for comments and suggested modifications. When the Clerks are agreed, draft minutes are sent to the other Committee members and to the clerks of the Meeting and of Ministry and Worship. Final changes and approval are made at the next C&C meeting. Copies of these approved minutes are sent to the previous recipients and to the History and Records Committee.
September Organizational meeting; select Clerk and Recording Clerk; distribute copies of the Handbook and the C&C Procedures Manual to new members; review Committee description in the Mount Toby Handbook; discuss major tasks for the year ahead.
October Consider agenda items for joint meeting with M&W.
November C&C convenes and clerks the joint meeting with Ministry and Worship. The M&W recording clerk takes minutes. Decide on a process for writing the State of Society report.
January Perhaps 11:40 Hour worship sharing (with M&W) around State of Society.
February Determine agenda items for joint meeting with M&W.
March M&W convenes and clerks the joint meeting. The C&C recording clerk takes minutes; primary focus is thinking about SOS report; appoint 2 or 3 people to draft report. Either at this meeting or later nominate one or two people to serve on the Mt. Toby Nominating Committee beginning in September.
April Approve draft of SOS report in time for April meeting for business.
May Present annual Committee report to business meeting.
August Transition meeting with new members and those completing terms.
Care and Counsel does not need to provide all the pastoral care in the Mt. Toby community; there are many Friends not on C&C who are gifted in prayer and visitation. What Care and Counsel should try to do is to maintain a conscious oversight of the Meeting to ensure that needed pastoral care is taking place. From time to time, the Committee should set aside time to reflect on the meeting and see if there are any who need to be tended to in some way.
Care of the Elderly
As Friends age, some will gradually slip out of sight. They may no longer serve on committees; they will find attendance at meeting increasingly difficult – either because of transportation issues or because of the physical discomfort of sitting for an hour. C&C should try to see when this is beginning to happen and devise ways of helping them maintain a sense of connection to the Meeting. This might be done by ensuring that they have rides to attend meeting for worship or other meeting programs; providing appropriate seating at meeting for worship (arm chairs, reclining chairs, etc.); regular visitation; perhaps an occasional meeting for worship at their homes.
It may be useful at the beginning of each year to assign specific members of C&C to keep in touch with these individuals, or to check to see that some other member of Mt. Toby is providing this kind of oversight.
Care of the Sick
When Friends are ill or recovering from illness/surgery, they may need meals brought by, visits, help with shopping, or other kinds of support. Some will ask in advance for such assistance, but, in other cases, the Committee may need to take the initiative in suggesting the kinds of help that the Meeting could offer. This will often require that someone (not necessarily from C&C) be designated as the coordinator for meals and for being the contact person to keep the rest of the Meeting appropriately informed about the sick Friend’s progress. As with any support committee, those involved need to remain aware of the limitations in terms of time and expertise that the Meeting can provide, discerning when outside professional help is appropriate.
As we come to rely more and more on the internet to announce special events or to inform the community of births, deaths, or illnesses among us, we need to remember that some members of Mt. Toby still lack regular access to this kind of communication. To ensure that such Friends don’t feel excluded from the life of the Meeting, Care and Counsel should make sure that there is someone who will call such Friends promptly when there is news that should be shared.
Lending of the Quilts
Care and Counsel has custody of a few hand-made quilts, including one sized for a child, that it lends to Friends who may appreciate a bit of extra nurturing in a time of trouble or sorrow. Friends are asked to bring the names of such people to the attention of the committee. When they are not on loan, these quilts adorn the walls of the Champney Room.
See the full PDF version of the C&C manual for many more details on Clearness and support, marriage, the role of the Greeter, Memorials, etc.