State of Society Report 1999

The months since our report during the Eighth Month of 1998 have been a time of celebration, reflection, and growth for Minneapolis Friends. There are many signs of the health and well being of our Meeting. We continue to welcome new members and attenders. Wrestling with a number of issues has provided opportunities to learn about Quaker decision making process.

We have been drawn together as a religious community by our efforts to reach out to others. However, it is sobering to realize that our Meeting’s health and well being is ultimately challenged by the turmoil and agony of the world at large.

We were blessed by the ongoing vitality of our First Day School program. We continue to use the Jubilee curriculum and to have four classes for First Day School. Thirty-eight children and youth attend regularly and twenty-four teachers serve during the year. The program has been sustained by a core group of dedicated teachers. We are thankful for their gifts and are considering ways to lighten up their load by seeking greater adult participation. We are prayerfully seeking guidance about how to minister to older young Friends.

During the Ninth Month, we commemorated the 20th anniversary of Pat Jones’ service as Director of Ministry. A combined worship service, time for sharing and storytelling, and potluck included representatives from other meetings. Pat’s tender, loving, faithful presence has upheld and sustained Minneapolis Friends Meeting beyond measure.

The celebration of Pat’s anniversary also included recognition of others’ service within the Meeting. Individuals who had been members for up to 5 years, 6 to 10 years, 11 to 15 years, and 16 years and beyond were asked to rise and be recognized. The Meeting remains thankful for the participation of a strong group of elders who have served the Meeting faithfully for many years.

The ongoing generosity of many members and attenders has enabled the Minneapolis Meeting to reduce a significant portion of the mortgage, thus shortening the number of months remaining to pay the balance to 36. The Meeting’s income covered expenses during the 1998-99 fiscal year. The long-range planning committee has been laid down and the trustees are developing a plan to anticipate large capital expenditures.

Minneapolis Friends grieve the loss of Vera Stephens, George Goodacre, and Edrie Goodacre, as well as Larry Schmidt, husband of member Judy Schmidt, all of whom died in the time period covered by this report, and Elaine Carte, Leland Beckes and Dorothy Sippel, all of whom died earlier in 1998. In addition, many members and attenders have lost family members and friends to death. A memorial service for all who are no longer in our midst, yet remain “written in our hearts” will be held soon.

Minneapolis Friends have celebrated six weddings in the last twelve months. Three were held under the care of the Meeting (one at Winona). We also have celebrated three births.

Minneapolis Friends Meeting has appreciated the opportunity to be part of Winona Preparative Meeting’s growth and development. In recent months, four new members of Winona Preparative Meeting were welcomed by Minneapolis Friends. Some Winona Friends attended Fall Camp, the midwinter Metro Friends gathering, and Pat’s anniversary commemoration.

Our community has been strengthened by other opportunities to reach out beyond Friends in Minnesota. The journey of a Meeting family, the Ericksons, to Tanzania for a year has prompted communication and gift-giving. Two-thirds of the Meeting’s White Envelope Gift was sent to the Ericksons to be distributed at their discretion. In addition, children from the Meeting joined in the AFSC Kits for Kosovo effort. A total of 76 kits were assembled and $586 was raised to forward them to Kosovo. Further, our Clerk and many individuals wrote to the Nebraska Governor and Board of Pardons to express our opposition to the death penalty and our support for Randy Reeves’ family.

In addition, four men from the Meeting sailed to Cuba so they could help repair the Puerto Padre Meetinghouse. They brought with them medicine and funds from the Meeting for Quakers in Cuba, as well as funds to buy paint supplies in Cuba. A festive fundraiser, including Cuban food and music, was held at the Meetinghouse during the weekend of the Metro Friends midwinter gathering.

Minneapolis Friends continues to search for unity concerning how, when, and where to provide adult education. We have reached a sense of unity about our desire to create additional opportunities for adult education, while also maintaining the quality of worship within both the unprogrammed and semi-programmed meetings for worship. A number of Friends and attenders would welcome expansion of our First Day schedule to include time between worship services for adult and intergenerational activities. Our wrestling has included consideration of how to provide meaningful participation for children while adults are further seasoned spiritually. An Adult Education Roundtable (which later became the Adult Program Committee) has proved helpful to foster patient deliberation. Through Listening Sessions and other discussion and prayer, we continue to seek the guidance of the Spirit. Meanwhile, two Quaker Education sessions have been very well attended on First Day evenings. When needed, other groups focused on members’ spiritual development have convened, such as a group that is meeting monthly to consider simplifying their lives.

God has richly blessed Minneapolis Friends during this past year. Yet, our awareness of the turmoil and agony in central Europe, Iraq, the Mideast, Ireland, and most recently in Colorado challenges us. As we hold in the Light those engulfed in violence within the United States and beyond our borders, we are humbled by the limits of what Friends can do and inspired by our sense of what God has done through faithful lives. We pray for guidance, seeking to discern how to let our lives speak, both within the life of our Meeting and beyond.

Membership Statistics
New Members: By Convincement – 7
By Transfer – 0
New Associate Members
By birth – 1
Total New Members – 8

Released From Membership
By death – 5
By transfer – 0
Total Released from Membership – 5

Currently there are 110 resident/active members (2 of which are of the Winona Preparative Meeting), 89 non-resident/non-active members (one of whom is of the Winona Preparative Meeting), 19 resident/active associate members, and 14 non-resident/non-active associate members.