The Committee of Oversight provides pastoral care for the Meeting,
following the guidance of Faith & Practice to “assume leadership in
maintaining a caring community.” As such, overseers help members and
attenders deal with mental and physical illnesses, disease, surgery and
broken bones, housing needs, loneliness, personal/political
disagreements, ailing parents, marital problems, funeral arrangements
and weddings. In the spirit of “helping all members find their right
roles as nurturers of others”, overseers also host dinners and lunches
for their Care Circles, visit the ill and home-bound elderly Friends,
and organize at-home Meetings for Worship. Some of us cook, some of us
bake, some of us share music, some of us loan books, some send cards—our
dedication and sharing of our talents takes a variety of forms.
This past year, we have been a 13-person committee, each of whom takes
on the responsibility to care for a list of member and attenders. We
also have a working relationship with the Outreach Committee which
becomes acquainted with newcomers. When newcomers are ready for an
overseer, Outreach refers them to Oversight along with notes on their
interests, Meeting experience, etc..
Recognizing that our seniors have less energy but much experience and
knowledge, we asked the Nominating Committee to establish a “wisdom
council” of elders for Committees to call upon.
In the Spring, we conducted an Opening Exercise to educate members and
attenders about the Committee’s purpose and functions.
To promote bonding among overseers and afford us a few meetings less
constrained by time, we initiated quarterly Eat & Meet sessions. These
potluck dinners, held in the home of a committee member, have been well
attended and productive.
This year we spent considerable time discussing the different degrees of
connectedness in our community relative to the need for oversight. This
exchange of ideas recently led to two significant administrative
(1) We pared down the lists of those in our Care Circles to 249 active
members and attenders, including about 30 college-age Young Adult
Friends (YAF) and 60 school-age youth. This approach will enable
• focus on pastoral work with
people who have relationships at Meeting, benefiting all concerned
spend more time with attenders who may
need information and/or encouragement relative to becoming members
Relative to college-age YAF’s in these
lists, the Committee recognizes that many of them appreciate their
connection to Meeting. As such, the Committee will make a concerted
effort to help them maintain their ties to the Meeting and Quakerism.
For example, a discussion with Young Friends yielded the idea of a part
live/part Skype interactive evening between YF’s and YAF’s to forge a
network among young Meeting “alum’s.”
(2) We identified 180 inactive or “`dormant” individuals who once
attended but now have nominal or no recent contact with Meeting. They no
longer have an overseer. The Committee is considering ways to maintain
contact with them through annual letters, our newsletter email
distribution list, and our Meeting's Google Group.
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