Approved Minutes from our 2022 AGM on 17/2/22

We sent out the last AGM’s minutes in advance and there were no matters arising.

Reports were shared by our clerk (Tim), membership secretary (Kiera), treasurer (Steven), and website (Trevor). The reports led to

  • Questions about the network’s QF&P revision committee liaison,
  • Interest in the forthcoming nontheist Woodbrooke courses, and
  • Praise for the strength of our current membership numbers.

Steven raised the subject of our membership fee, which has been reinstated at £10 per annum.

The working groups presented reports on their work through the past year.

  • Kiera and William talked about the Creative Conversations and about plans to shift the format towards giving space for discussions around a leading question, where Friends can raise their concerns and receive thoughtful answers.
  • David Boulton presented our conference in Summer 2021 and reflected on the advantages (and disadvantages) of Zoom. One weakness of the conference was that it was spread over three weeks which detracted from the sense of unity that a conference held on one day could achieve.
  • David also reported about the newsletters. We managed three (March, June, and December) last year. David “wondered aloud” as to whether we still need a newsletter in the same way we did at the beginning of the network. Perhaps the website and the notices at the end of the Creative Conversation deliver news more effectively.

We reflected on the depth and precision of the Creative Conversations, and the breadth of ideas presented. As we move to shorter question-style presentations we would want to keep this depth and precision available.

The Quaker Universalist Group are having a Woodbrooke conference at the beginning of April, which may be valuable for network members keen to meet face to face.

These reports are all available in full on our website.

Gisela is standing down from the Steering Group. She has been a fantastic clerk and SG member and will be missed. Trevor, Catherine & Bryan put themselves forward as new Steering Group members and others may approach us after the AGM. We will look at the constitution to check the procedure.

We returned the existing office holders, Tim as Clerk, Kiera as Membership Secretary, and Steven as Treasurer. We embarrassed the office holders with praise.

We recorded the deaths of two of our members, Michael Wright in June 2021 and Michael Rutter in October 2021. We hold them in our thoughts.

We thought about new and continuing working groups: Creative Conversations, a conference in 2022, liaising with the Quaker Faith & Practice Revision Committee, our website, Woodbrooke courses, and our newsletter.

There was enthusiasm (especially from Bryan and Trevor) for keeping the newsletter going and extending it into an outreach activity, and outreach is also a theme that comes up in Our Creative conversations.

Might we extend the network to fill some of the feel of a local meeting, with pastoral roles, meetings, etc.? Some nontheists feel a real sense of relief when they find our network. This was the seed for the Creative Conversations. Sharing thinking in small groups would be supportive. Can we build out that idea? Can we do it in a way that does not separate us from our local and area meetings? Perhaps not meeting on a Sunday morning.

It may be that some of these working group ideas, like the QF&P revision committee and the online meetings would feed into each other.

QCCIR are taking great interest in the theological aspect of the revised QF&P, following on from the draft revisions of the Church Government portion. We need to make sure we remain a vibrant part of this revision, and be aware of their timetable so a working group is important. Ann James, Brian Waldrop, David Boulton, and Gisela expressed their enthusiasm, and we expect a vibrant working group to coalesce around this concern.

We touched on the wider community of nontheist friends beyond the UK, and were asked to think about how we might connect with American nontheists.

Website and blog of the Nontheist Friends Network

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