April 2021
There is that near you which will guide you. O wait for it and be sure you keep to it.”
― Isaac Pennington, 1678
In-Person Worship and COVID-19 Protocols

We are again offering opportunities for in-person worship, including on Sundays at both Hector Meetinghouse (10am) and the Third Street Meetinghouse (10:30am). In-person worship entails COVID-19 related protocols.

For attending in-person worship:
  • Do not attend worship if you are exhibiting any signs of COVID-19 or have reason to suspect you may have been exposed to COVID-19.
  • Plan to wear a mask the whole time you are inside.

For the Third Street Meetinghouse:
  • Enter through the kitchen door and fill out a COVID screening form as you enter (on a table on the right as you enter or a greeter will hand you one).
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after filling out the COVID screening form (there is a hand sanitizer dispenser mounted on the wall by the entrance to the library).
  • Enter the Meetingroom from the Library and exit the Meetingroom from the other door into the entry hall.
  • If you use the bathroom, please sanitize the surfaces there before you leave.

For the Hector Meetinghouse:
  • Bring a towel or blanket with you to throw over your bench before sitting.
  • Position yourself ~6 ft. away from others in the building.

How do we emerge from COVID?
— Carol Clarke

On Friday March 19, John Lewis and I were in the Meetinghouse for a Third St. Meetinghouse Committee meeting. We were both trying to connect to a Zoom meeting from the Meetingroom at a distance from one another.  The Zoom participant couldn’t hear John, so John suddenly turned to me and said, “I’ve had my second shot!” and the intonation was a question.  I immediately responded “so have I!” and John ripped off his mask and I did too.  This was a moment of almost indescribable exhilaration and liberation for me.  My mind was on the recently announced guidelines that small groups of people that are all fully vaccinated do not have to wear masks and maintain social distance.

In fact, though, John and I were in violation of IMM COVID protocol, that requires that everyone inside the Meetinghouse wear a mask the whole time they are there (unless they are alone). John and I have talked about this and we realize that this was a mistake and we apologize to the IMM community.

But this has raised a lot of questions for me.  I am the Clerk of the COVID Working Group for IMM.  I am wondering how IMM will negotiate the tricky situation ahead of us. Should we change our COVID protocols so that small groups of Friends in the building who know they are not putting themselves or each other at risk may remove their masks? 

Our Meeting Room is arranged to have chairs six feet apart from one another (and we have allowed same household groups to move closer to one another if they wish).  This has allowed a maximum or 27 people to attend Worship, although the most we’ve ever had in the Meeting in person is 13 during COVID.  As Friends get vaccinated and wish to join In-Person worship again, (which we will continue to attend wearing masks), what happens if we have more than 27 people?

We have also heard from the parents in IMM that they may want to come to In-person Worship in the Spring and maybe would want to be able to take their children upstairs during Worship - would that be allowed if they brought their own toys and planned to provide childcare themselves?

The COVID Working Group is beginning to do discernment about how we emerge from COVID. We have questions about both the process and the content of how we adjust our protocols. We would like to make sure that we are welcoming and as accommodating as we can be, while still ensuring that we are avoiding risk.  Official guidelines still require that we collect COVID Screening Forms maintain social distance and wear masks when gathering for In-person Worship. We would like to know what others in the Community think and how they feel about these questions.  We would like to hear from as many Friends as we can about where we stand as a community about this. If you have thoughts or concerns that you would like to share with the COVID Working Group about emerging from COVID over the next six months, please email me at firetendercarol@yahoo.com.

Spring Sessions of New York Yearly Meeting, April 9-11

Come be with Friends at Spring Sessions. Come to worship, come to work, come to visit over a virtual meal. Hear from the committees that help to keep NYYM running, make Quaker witness visible, and support vital ministry. The yearly meeting will gather online on April 9-11 for business and for worship. Friends are invited to attend any or all of the events on the schedule. Please register on the website, www.nyym.org/session/spring-sessions-2021.

 — Melanie-Claire Mallison
New: Sharing our Spiritual Journeys, Fourth Sundays
Ministry and Worship is sponsoring a new worship sharing series on the fourth Sunday of the month from 9:30 to 10:15 am. The focus will be on Sharing our Spiritual Journeys. M&W will ask one Friend each month to spend about 15 minutes sharing about their spiritual journey and then we will have about 30 minutes for worship sharing.
Join us on Zoom March 28 at 9:30am when Steve Molke will share his spiritual journey followed by worship sharing. Barbara Chase will facilitate. The Link will be sent out with announcements closer to the date.
Peace and Social Justice Committee invites you

The Peace and Social Justice Committee is an open committee, which means that participation is open to any Friend who wishes to be a part of it. Participation does not go through the Nominating Committee process. All are welcome at our meetings, which are held on the third Sunday of the month at 12:30. Of course, at this time, we are meeting via Zoom.
At recent meetings we have discussed: continuing our work with the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) which keeps us abreast of matters coming before Congress, following the local issue of reorganization of the Ithaca Police Department and the Tompkins County Sheriff's Office, as well as other issues. We each bring our concerns to this committee, and as a group we decide how to focus our energies. If you have questions about the Committee or want the Zoom link, please contact Elizabeth at 351-0057, or at neschneid@aol.com. 
Our next meeting is on Sunday, April 18 at 12:30, via Zoom.
Remote Meeting for Worship every Sunday at 10:30am

Friends can join online Meeting for Worship using a computer, with or without a video camera, or by phone. Join online with this link or from your Zoom app with Meeting ID: 372 632 479 and password: friends. You can also join by phone by calling (929) 205-6099 and entering Meeting ID: 372 632 479 when prompted.

These instructions and more are available in the ithacamonthlymeeting.org site with a big Connect to Meeting for Worship button.
Where are Monthly Meeting minutes?

The minutes from Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business can be found on the right-side column of our website. The minutes from March are here.

April Calendar of Ithaca Monthly Meeting
IMM Guys Lunch
Thursday, April 1, 12n

First Thursdays of the month, and a time together for Quaker men and people who dont mind talking to them. Bring your lunch and enjoy fellowship.
Easter Sunrise Service
Sunday, April 4, 6a

Join Friends (masked and dressed warmly) for in sunrise service at Hector Meetinghouse at 6am. The beautiful Hector Meetinghouse is heated by a wood stove, and has no electricity or plumbing. It is located 5 miles northwest of Ithaca at 5066 Perry City Road, off Route 96.
Sunday, April 4, 9:30a

Join Friends to watch a brief QuakerSpeak video and discuss what you watched. This week, we will be watching "My Journey as a Transgender Quaker."
Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business
Sunday, April 11, 12:30p

Please send annual reports to the Clerk by Monday, February 8. (Contact information is at the bottom of this newsletter.)
Womens Fellowship is Zooming
Friday, April 16, 6:30p

Bring your knitting, wear your best sweatpants... or not... and join us for an informal hangout. Hope to see you there!
Sunday, April 18, 9:30a

Join Friends to watch a brief QuakerSpeak video and discuss what you watched.
Womens Chair Yoga now by Zoom
Monday & Thursdays, 11a to noon
This long-running group, which met for years at the meetinghouse, now runs on Zoom, making it more accessible than ever. To join in, email <jaihari10@gmail.com> The group is about half Friends and half neighbors, nurturing the Inner Light. No yoga experience required. There is a sliding-scale fee. For more info or questions, Nancy Gabriel, 607-339-7123; ntg2@cornell.edu.
120 Third Street • Ithaca NY 14850
Gina Varrichio, Clerk

Pat Sewell, Treasurer
Marin Clarkberg, Newsletter editor
Newsletter contributions due on
last Monday of the month at 5pm