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Thanks to Chris Martin for chairing the meeting.
The next meeting will be back at the Associate Ministries next week from 10 am until noon. Address: 1224 S. "I" Street (the corner of 13th and "I")
The focus of the next meeting will be brainstorming these things: What does nonviolence look like in this time and circumstance? What would a public presence be for a non-violent stance? How can this occur? And how do we address education, both for ourselves and others?
Please look at the article "Antiwar Movement's Challenge" by Geov Parrish of the Seattle Weekly, which is on the website. It will be a good preparation for our next week's meeting.
For those who will not be attending, you can share brainstorming ideas through email. Flo agreed to gather these ideas and bring them to the next meeting, where she will be the facilitator. Members are encouraged to read through the previous notes, and particularly the following evolving statements of group purpose, so that in our meeting and discussions we remember to honor the stated and also evolving intentions of the entire group.
Evolving Statements of Group Purpose:
Web page info: our resources can now be found at: www.tacomapjh.org
Rather than circulating long items through the group list serve, it's wiser to post the origin link on the website. If we don't know the origin, or don't know how to do this, you can send it to Jean H. (our 'webmaster.' Many thanks!) and she will take care of it. Her email address is email@example.com
On the list of RESOURCES are links to sites to access all kinds of material. For instance, at the Global Exchange site under their Resources link, one can download handouts like the text of Barbara Lee's speech in Congress presented on one page with a nice design for a leaflet, posters, designs for buttons, all kinds of wonderful things!
Jean is getting us a new website with our own domain name(People for Peace, Justice and Healing); that will be announced next week. Our group email list serve continues to be at the yahoo address: firstname.lastname@example.org The instructions on subscribing to this group are at the end of these notes
The Wednesday vigil: Noon until 2, in front of the Federal Bldg as usual, please come
Please take a look at the Op-Ed page this Sunday and respond with individual, personal letters of support to the editor. We need them to be from a variety of individuals and groups on a variety of topics, so that our voice is heard in the larger community. If we don't write them, they won't print them!
Local news items: if you are looking for the tribune, or a particular writer, go to www.tribnet.com and the type the name of the author in the search box.
October 13th meeting notes:
The meeting began once again with an introduction circle. There were several people new to the group this time. Here are some of the things people shared about their presence in this group: -came to this group because of feeling bothered by the incredible support 'our' President is getting, and the flag waving without thought of what we are doing as we slide down this slippery slope on which we find ourselves-this is a diverse group with a basic unity, gratitude for the writing of the Op-Ed piece-.though we are not an organization, there is a group the Peace, Justice, and Healing Group, struck that as a group we are calling to each other for real understanding and definition, struggling to see what non-violence and no war means in this instance-..appreciating hearing another response that what the news media is reporting-.concerned that that last meeting was too soon to have a mission statement, a name, and a defined purpose, maybe we need to talk more--having not been to all the meetings, but from the emails it sounds as though things have been evolving, and all the pieces shared through the emails and website have been very nourishing-happy to be a part of a larger community of people who share-.as a new member who has been involved in the teach-ins at UWT wanting to connect with what is going on in the community-.enjoyed last week's process and discussion and how people were taking it all seriously and giving a lot of thought to it all, however also feeling that having a larger community gathering soon would be a good thing-..last week was bittersweet: liked the process as part of our discernment, glad to hear other perspectives, and yet it was also difficult-.appreciated last week and the groups willingness to work together; and also felt it bittersweet; love the idea of moving this activity into the wider community-.seeing this group as diverse in needs-.appreciated last week's meeting as a process coming from 3 weeks of meetings and vigils, and wanting to thin down some concepts and agree on who we are and what we want to do, while being aware of the different needs of individuals in the group-..appreciating the emails and the powerful energy in our community; we are all stronger in community; this is a birthing process as a human family, a learning process, it has been personally a painful, grieving time-..don't know what to do with news like the teachers Ft. Lewis being told by the General to prepare the children with extra clothes and food and water in case they might not be able to leave because of an "unpredictable asymmetrical event" (apparently meaning a terrorist act)-..wanting to serve the community in a group like this, wanting the group to function as a support for the diverse activities people in the group might choose-definitely don't want to be in another organization, prefer a loosely non-organized group, we are different and the ethos this group came out of is very different from the past-..thanks to Jean for being our 'webmaster'-.this sharing circle at the beginning of meetings has been helpful as supporting community and hearing others reflections, it meets the need for community-.
In forming the meeting's agenda, some of these ideas were brought forth: should we finish what was unfinished form last week-proposal to make a statement of support to Barbara Lee-how can this group serve the purpose of deepening our understanding? (education)-.shall we have a regular meeting of people to talk about the issues?-.larger community action-initially we came together to talk and how can we make this happen considering the diversity of needs in the group and our respect for that-.do we all need a consensus process, or not?
The day's agenda included: a process discussion, planning for next week to include concerns for education and larger community action, announcements, a discussion of support for Barbara Lee
Last week's smaller group reported on their discussion of consensus process and how that works, how it gives everyone a voice, an opportunity to be heard and then the option to stand aside, whereas the democratic style of voting often creates minorities that get out voted and then feel disenfranchised. The small group felt that the confusion experienced in their group may have come from misunderstanding consensus process as a requirement for agreement consensus does not require agreement, but it does give everyone a voice. The philosophical/theological basis of consensus comes form the Quakers believing that in any group "everyone has a little bit of the truth" so as a goal, consensus means to listen to everyone's bit of the truth and, rather than trying to convince "rightness", to bring it all together in trust and faith; trusting enough to let go of one's position and "stand aside" when one doesn't agree with the rest of the group. But this kind of process usually works with a defined group that has been together for a while and will continue to be together, so TPJH may not be enough of a 'group' for that.
Discussion continued about whether consensus process is appropriate for this group along these lines: while consensus is often a lengthy process, it would result in a strong family felling for this group-.sometimes a voting process can be 'mean'-.can we find some kind of ground between the two (consensus or voting). The question was asked as to whether there is any opposition to operating with consensus, and the reply was "not this week," which underlined the group's diversity in members from week to week.
It was mentioned that the reason we need to determine a process is for the instances when we need to act as a group or in the name of the group, as when we are preparing letters or articles. But since the group members have such different needs and wants, and due to the differences in membership from week to week, it's probably premature to apply a particular model all the time and when we don't come to consensus, then we won't act as a group.
The vigils were offered as an example of something that some members of the group are doing and others are not.
The need for a group decision and name was illustrated by the situation of the Op-Ed piece last week. During this part of the discussion, Janie also offered her group, "Foundation for Global Community" as an originating group/name when one is needed in the future. If anyone has that sort of need, you are welcome to contact Janie for that purpose. There is even the possibility of this group becoming a chapter of the FGC, which is based in the Bay Area. It was also mentioned that should we ever need to make a large mailing, the "Shalom" organization has non-profit bulk mailing status and can offer that support.
It was mentioned that the heart of this subject is not what process we use, but that we honor each other and the piece of truth inside each of us. Consensus can be difficult sometimes when there is attachment to a view or opinion, but with valuing each other and our connection, then whatever model we use will be the 'right' model and we do value each other.
There was a wondering whether we even have to be a group with a name. In the early days of the Vietnam movement a huge number of people became involved marching and so forth because, rather than being a group there was a common ground in purpose. So what is our common ground? What do we agree on? How do we reach out in a way that we don't become exclusive? Do we need a name to be effective?
Yet having a few organization tools is a benefit, like having a name in order to have a basic organizational structure like calling meetings, issuing minutes, writing OPED pieces. So we need to recognize that we are a de facto ad hoc committee. We are "the group that meets Saturday mornings"
It was generally agreed that it is probably premature to have a consensus decision making process and that maybe we just need to agree on certain principles. We do need an organization to do things, but it could be very loose and then the organization can support individuals or subgroups doing things.
The worry in past experience in groups and organizations has been that if you don't have a clear structure, then the loud voices dominate or else personal alliances run the structure; additionally you also truly have to watch out for crazy people in groups. Many people in this group have a lot of experience in groups, particularly trying to find ways to have an organization work without a 'grandmother' (the one who takes care of everything).
There was a suggestion to continuing having Saturday meetings but on different topics or for different purposes each time, with different people taking responsibility for different topics, but after discussion, this was thought not to be appropriate right now.
There was some discussion about the possible 'problem' of not having a clear name or no name, and it was remarked that often more names are actually better in that they then reflect a variety of voices. One name can often be dismissed as only one voice and one view.
In summary, the group wants the following things: to have a loose organizational structure; to be a supportive community where people can get ideas and support and then go out and do it; to operate in a 'spirit' of consensus; to continue rotating the facilitator role; to live the principles it began formulating last week, and to leave them as is and refer back to them. (The are listed at the beginning of these notes.) The group is involved in Saturday meetings, a list serve, an ongoing vigil, and issuing meeting notes.
The next topic of discussion was possible support for Representative Barbara Lee (there will be a rally for her in Oakland on October 29th - the web page link to "Global Exchange" has the text of her speech). It was agreed that a small committee from this group would write a brief letter of support and thanks from this group. It was agreed that the group offers this committee their support and trust in writing the letter. Individuals from this group urge each other to write personal letters both to Barbara Lee and also to our own representatives in Congress supporting Barbara Lee's views and response.
The next topic of discussion the structure of future meetings: there was talk of dividing the Saturdays into different topics on different days, with a months schedule in advance. However, that is likely to lessen the ability of the group to respond to emerging issues. There was concern that elements and interests may be left out.
The group's main concerns seemed to be that we 1) not spend lots of time on organizational concerns, 2) a need for coming together in community, 3) a need for sharing and educating ourselves, 4) a need to make a public statement in opposition to the war. With regard to making a public statement, other than the vigil, we did not have any concrete plans for the future. So the next session will include brainstorming what we might do in the future. There was agreement that the group would like to remain whole on Saturdays, rather than splitting into interest groups or dedicating separate Saturdays to separate topics, though it was agreed that subgroups and interest groups might come out of the larger meeting.
It was agreed that the focus of the next meeting will be brainstorming these things: What does nonviolence look like in this time and circumstance? What would a public presence be for a non-violent stance? How can this occur? Comments were made about wanting to brainstorm a vision for the future that can echo down decades how do we put together a peaceful world economy? With the heart as guru and the head as student, we each do what little bit we can. How do we encourage that in the world community?
Next week we will also talk about shortening the time window for the vigil since there are a small number of folks coming, it might be better to group them more closely.
Thanks to Chris for facilitating the meeting Carrie led us in song: "All we are saying is give peace a chance!" John Lennon
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