Q&B Management Committee Meeting October 2017 - a personal reflection
I am still new to everything Quaker. After an email was sent out to members requesting assistance for upcoming tasks, I decided to allocate a bit of time to volunteer for the Q&B. Then the agenda of the next committee meeting with hyperlinked attachments arrived to my email box. As I read through all the materials before the event I became curious about the topics and the people contributing. This was the first time I attended a committee meeting as a visitor. I am a new member of Q&B and have been a regular attender on Sundays at Friends’ House meetings since last year.
We started this meeting with a short period of silence sitting around the table, then all three visitors were warmly welcomed by the Clerk, followed by a quick round of introduction to get to know each other. The Clerk read the agenda and we moved accordingly from point to point. Members reported to the group about the progress of the project they have been doing which was followed by short discussion. Challenging questions were raised, experiences shared and exchanged, ideas bounced back from each other, new connections and relationships formed. If a topic discussion felt longer than it needed to be or started to become side tracked, the Clerk gently steered back the conversation on track, reminded members of the time and the next points of the agenda. However, the issues which were raised through the ‘side-tracked conversation’ were also appreciated, even visitors’ contributions were welcomed and recorded.
It felt, people around me were very active participants, even when they were silent. I experienced the meeting as dynamic, open, honest and spacious, packed with content and effectively managed by the whole group. The responsibility for the meeting was equally shared among people present and the Clerk’s service to the group was essential. He set the rhythm of the meeting and writing up the real time minutes, which were clarified and agreed by the group on the spot. The silent mini-breaks during the meeting, while we were waiting for the Clerk to summarise contributions, actually deepened the conversation. People seemed not only focused on the task but had the time to connect both intellectual and heart level. I found these impressive. We closed the meeting with a short period of silence. As I was leaving the building and pondering on my experience, something was strange. Although, I came in as an outsider meeting with many present for the first time, but it felt as if I would have been belonging here for many years.