State of Society–Minneapolis Friends Meeting
April 2000 to March 2001
Approved May 13, 2001
This year has seen us undertake two major spiritual journeys as well as sustaining the on-going efforts of the Meeting.
As a Meeting we prepared for and entered the sabbatical leave for rest and renewal for our Director of Ministry, Patricia Jones, who has served the Meeting for over 23 years. The sabbatical leave, which will take place April 1 through September 30, is intended to provide an occasion for both Pat and the Meeting to assess independently their missions and focus and the ways we all support one another’s lives and work in the Spirit. During her sabbatical leave, Pat will study right relationship with nature, the relationship between outer landscapes and the landscape of the soul. She will take three trips to places where spiritual life and understanding have led people to manipulate natural elements as part of their celebration of the divine. During the sabbatical time in the Meeting, Terry Hokenson and Barbara Ziegenhagen will jointly serve as Ministry Coordinators, and other people will serve as First Day Meetinghouse Stewards. Meeting members and attenders will participate in two retreats, one on the meaning of sabbatical for all our lives and one on the meaning of ministry. The Meeting was fortunate to receive a grant for Clergy Renewal from the Lilly Foundation to fund Pat’s three journeys, the two coordinator positions (for a total of 15 hours a week), and leadership stipends for the retreats.
A second major project of the Meeting this year has been Cuba 2001. Between March 30 and April 6, nine young people and five adults from MFM and the Twin Cities Friends Meeting lived with Friends in Valasco, Cuba, and helped paint the meetinghouse in the nearby community of Bocas. The project was the result of over a year’s planning and preparation. During that time, the people searched individually and together for direction and calling, held clearness committees for adults and young people who wanted to go to Cuba, and planned and processed extensively. The participants and dozens of supporters worked together consistently and fervently for months to raise the needed money ($17,500, two thousand dollars of it, a grant from the American Friends Service Committee’s New Initiatives Project) and prepare themselves for the journey. The Cuba Dinner, the Cuba Concert, and the Cuba garage sale were all major community building events in themselves. When the youth (Kirk McDowell Shafer, Alberta Arneson Hokenson, Ruth Schulz, Josiah Hanson, Andy Kincaid, Brett Harding, Alex Holzinger, and Devin Helfrich) and the adults (Fred Harding, Scott Wright, Angelika Shafer, Linda Harding, and Sigurd Hoppe) left on the adventure, they took with them the energies, prayers, and blessings of the entire community here. In Cuba, they played, painted, swam, ate, and worshiped with Friends, developing ties that will nurture them for their lives. The experience has given all the participants deepened appreciation for community and for our Cuban Friends.
Through Northern Yearly Meeting, we have established a relationship this year with El Salvador Yearly Meeting. Angelika Shafer, a member of MFM, has served as clerk of the NYM El Salvador Liaison Committee and was selected along with MFM member Jon Shafer to represent NYM at the El Salvador Yearly Meeting in May. Portia Jones, now attending Albany Meeting, traveled with Angie and Jon as a translator and health clinic worker. Angie and Jon brought back first-hand reports of the spiritual and community strength of monthly meetings they visited as well of as the Yearly Meeting. Since their visit, we have maintained a connection with El Salvador friends as they cope with the effects of the earthquakes and aftershocks.
Significantly, during the year, the Meeting has celebrated the paying off of the mortgage on our building. We have also continued with the Meeting’s many other activities: Fall Friends Camp, Thursday Community Night, Loaves and Fishes involvement, hosting of the Friends for a Non-Violent World Craft Fair, preparation of the masterpiece quilt for that fair, and sponsorship of the fall retreat, this year with John Calvi and Elizabeth Watson presenting. Ministry and Counsel launched a Friendly Contact program with the goal of about ten Friendly Contact persons contacting members and attenders several times throughout the year. The Meeting has adopted its official personnel policies, addressed audio concerns in the meetinghouse, and formulated a minute on care for creation. Our newly appointed ad hoc History Committee has begun preparation for our sesquicentennial, the 150 year celebration of the origins of Minneapolis Friends Meeting. The adult education program continues strong, with special appreciation for the spiritual journeys presentations by some of our older members. Peace and Social Concerns Committee has been active in its revitalized form.
During this year, we have celebrated the lives and mourned the passing of three long-time Meeting members, Grace Gibas, Gil Farnell, and Eleanor Bradway and Leslie Gilland.