Minneapolis Friends Meeting
Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business, May 12, 2013
Ranae Hanson (presiding clerk), Tom Ward (recording clerk), Pat Jones (director of ministry)
- April Minutes were APPROVED with some corrections.
- Monthly Reports
- Director of Ministry – David Woolley Allen is home now and Pat is recovering at home, receiving home health care. Rusk A. had a stroke and is hospitalized. Nancy P. has been hospitalized, which is a challenge since she and Chester are relocating to the east coast in June. Mike F. mother’s died on Friday, unexpectedly. Clerk thanked David Woolley for filling in for Pat.
- Ministry & Counsel – Joanne Esser [full report is in file] David Woolley attended this month’s meeting of M&C, filling in for Pat. M&C continued to plan for a single summer Meeting for Worship. To better establish a reverent atmosphere as people gather for worship, a sign will be posted stating: “Be still … Enter with heart and mind prepared”. Also, M&C will make arrangements for hosting fellowship time after Meeting for Worship on third and fourth Sundays. A sign-up sheet was passed around for Friends to help with the hosting and refreshments. Worship Planning Subcommittee plans to have two people on the facing bench during summer Meetings – one from unprogrammed and one from semi-programmed. A Friend asked about status of potluck during the summer. Potluck will still occur on the first Sunday at 11:00 AM at the rise of unprogrammed Meeting for Worship. M&C reviewed the development and impact of recent activities in the Meeting to help newcomers and longtime attenders feel a sense of belonging at Meeting. These include a Book Club, Friends for Climate Stability, Circle Eights / Tens, Friendly Philosophers, Lunch Bunch, Lectio Divina, and a Writer’s Group and Play-reading Group. While these groups are posted on the Meeting website, it was noted that additional information should be posted, including a contact person and more specific information about each group. It was reported that these groups are “the part of the iceberg that you don’t always see” at Meeting. A Friend questioned use of word “iceberg” in this description, asking for a “Friendlier” substitute. Some suggestions: “roots of a tree” or “canopy”. M&C is continuing to explore ways to promote and advertise these groups.
- Liaison and Review, Annual Report – Gayle McJunkin [full report is in file] Liaison Committee members: Gayle McJunkin, clerk; Tom Wells, clerk of Ministry and Council; Ranae Hanson, presiding clerk; Barbara Ziegenhagen. The annual performance review process was explained. A few members and attenders had responded to an invitation to contribute to the process and their comments were incorporated into the review, and the two newly appointed committee members for 2013-14 also participated. The committee expressed gratitude for the commitment and spiritual depth that Pat shares with out Meeting and the committee feels that there is a freshness, engagement and liveliness of spirit in Pat’s work within the Meeting. The report reviewed Pat’s progress meeting her goals for this year and outlined her goals for 2013-2014. Discussion: A Friend expressed concern that the challenges facing Pat and her family may create additional work for Liaison and Review. The clerk said that the committee is prepared for this; and she is encouraged by the report from M&C showing the robustness and strength within Meeting to meet any new challenges, as demonstrated by all the activities that are taking place. Another Friend feels the Meeting may face many options as we work to support Pat through this process. People have shown they can take on many of the tasks in Meeting – we have “set the table”. There may need to be some changes in the Meeting and we would benefit from some long term thinking in light of the current situation. Presiding Clerk stated that there is a commitment to begin a long-term strategic planning process in January, following the conclusion of Quaker Quest. Thanks was expressed to all those who have been helping out in Pat’s absence this past few weeks.
- Stewardship, Annual Report – Suzanne Ferguson [full report is in file] Fiscal year ended on March 31, 2013. Budget for 2012-13: $114,445 Income received in 2012-13: $110,079 Expenses for 2012-13: $107,819 Surplus: $ 2,260 Plant operation expenses have gone up this year; and there has been an increase in some office expenses, but some of those expenses are figured over 3 years and won’t be included in next year. There was an overage in expenses for loaves and fishes of $398. Discussion: Is there an estimate of how much is actually on deposit in our accounts? Answer: No, but this will be added to the revised electronic copy for the minutes. As of June 9, 2013 checking balance is $39,004. How is it that the budget year had such a happy ending when reports throughout the year indicated we were always running behind? Answer: some people gave money they had not planned to give, many people in Meeting are generous in what they give, and budgeted numbers are routinely larger than actual expenses leading to over estimating the amount we will spend each year. Friend is concerned about why all of the janitorial budget was not spent and feels we need better accuracy in budget process. Answer: (by Jeff Naylor) There was a single person sharing the nursery and janitorial duties which led to some discrepancy this year in how the numbers were managed. One way to address the long-term issue of expenses not equaling the budgeted amounts is for committee clerks to strive to be more accurate in anticipating their expenses; but some things, like the price of gas, vary so much it is hard to predict the actual expenses year to year.
- Adult Program Report – Mary Jean Port [full report is in file] Committee clerk says this is a great committee to work with! Two new people have been added to the committee this year. Committee is experimenting with a different approach this year (Sept 2012-May 2012) following a monthly pattern: First Sundays – continue the series of discussions on race, plus other programs initiated by Meeting people; Second Sundays: Business Meeting – no adult program; Third Sundays: One program, with varied topics focused on Quakers living in the world and with life in general; Fourth Sundays: Alternate between committee meetings and an all-meeting session focused on Peace and Social Concerns; Fifth Sundays: (Occasional) Varied programs Committee’s assessment: First Sundays seemed effective – a lot of appreciation for the format as a way to really get to know people in Meeting. Fourth Sundays were least effective. There was not enough time for committees to accomplish their business. But overall it was a good year, with program attendance up, averaging 20-30+ people attending; and some programs had close to 50. There were fewer speakers from outside Meeting. The most controversial aspect of this new pattern was inviting people to lead extra sessions in addition to the planned session on First Sunday. While the extra sessions encouraged more people to attend and afforded opportunity to explore new ideas – some of which have carried over to the formation of ongoing groups – some Friends were frustrated that they had to choose between multiple sessions that met simultaneously. There are so many requests and so few Sundays. There were 12-15 requests for programs that were not scheduled last year, so balancing all the interests is a challenge. Vision for the coming year, beginning in mid-September: Continue the race talks on First Sundays, and then perhaps change the topic, but not the format in January. Continue to invite people to lead additional sessions of their choosing on First Sundays, in addition to the race talks. On Third and Fourth Sundays we will offer just the one regular program throughout the year. The committee welcomes your program ideas, as well as your reactions to how the program year is going. A program on Quaker testimonies has been suggested previously, but Pat, who was very energized around the topic, had to let it go. Peace testimonies was another suggestion. A Friend commented that there is a lot of life and energy bubbling up in all this activity and they are excited about the direction the Meeting is taking. Committee clerk explained that some of the success evidenced this year may be a result of the committee’s straight forward approach in the previous year to resolve a conflict that grew out of programming priorities for the 10:15 AM hour.
- Follow-up Decisions
- Draft State of Society Report Draft copy was read. Clerk did some of the writing of the report, incorporating comments from last month’s discussion in monthly meeting, but most of it was based on Pat’s review of the year. Friend raised question of whether to include names of people within the report or not? Clerk reported that Meeting had previously decided to include names in the State of Society Report. In that case, it was requested to add Dan Jensen’s name in reference to his studies at Pendle Hill. Another Friend requested that for archival purposes it would be good to provide more details about the Marriage Amendment. Additional suggestions for inclusion: the Google group on climate change with Mary Jean as the “ad hoc” reference person, spell out acronyms FWCC and FCNL, Friends who have been published this year: Judith James and Nancy Peterson, Joanne Esser and Mary Logue won a book award, attendance numbers and basic budget numbers. Clerk cautioned that there is a word limit to the document and time is running out to put this all together for Northern Yearly Meeting. She indicated that the report may have to be submitted as it is and we can amend it later. State of Society Report was APPROVED.
- MFM response to Kickapoo Valley Monthly Meeting Marriage Equality Letter – [KVMM letter is attached at the end of these minutes] MFM draft version: read by Judith James. Ranae wrote most of the letter.
- Minute of Affirmation of God in All Family-Types and Individuals
- Minneapolis Friends Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) supports the action of Minnesota voters who chose to affirm the equality of family types.
- Quakers believe that there is that of God in all people, indeed in all forms of life. In witnessing the truth of God’s love to the wider community, we cannot support actions that give freedoms, rights, privileges or power to one group while excluding other groups. We note that marriage laws, as currently enacted, privilege legally-married couples above unmarried individuals (and people who have been legally married in the past), above same-sex couples, and above families that are not built on a dual-adult pattern. We call for thoughtful, respectful consideration of ways to honor all responsible, loving individuals and families, especially those with dependent children or adults.
- Minneapolis Friends Monthly Meeting joyfully recognizes the diversity of individuals and commitments within our religious and broader community. We affirm the goodness of committed, loving, responsible people, whether their commitments are to adult partners, or to other family members, or to children, or to single lives and vocations, no matter what their sexual orientations or choices may be.
- We take all such individuals, families, and households under our care if they request such care and seek clearness with us.
- While we affirm the rights of all couples to be recognized as couples if they so choose, we note with some concern that the privileges, rights, and honors attendant to marriage are not usually extended to non-traditional households (single adults living with aging parents, single parents living with children, aunts and uncles caring for child family members, brothers and sisters maintaining family homes). We honor same-sex couples equally with opposite-sex couples; however, we also honor gay and lesbian and straight and other individuals equally with our coupled brothers and sisters.
- [see attachments for previous MFM minutes] Comments from discussion: much prefer our meeting’s version of the letter… very positive tone… tone used in Kickapoo’s is more negative … suggestion made to add dates and references to previous minutes MFM has approved regarding marriage equality. [see attachments] Who is the audience for the letter? KVMM’s letter was intended to go to news media and legislators but MFM’s is a different focus and yet our MN legislature is addressing the issue right now. Friend supports our letter but suggests we season it until next month … send our letter to NYM … it’s great stuff, but duh, do we need to wave a flag again to advertise what we already believe and practice … our draft letter includes more wording supporting all types of family relationships than seen in other Quaker writings … should be “minuted” to show our support of families … important to show Quaker testimonies … agree that letter should be minuted but it is more than “duh” – married people have privileges that singles don’t, it’s good to mention this … this letter is timely, send it to the paper but call it something other than life equity – sounds too much like insurance … MFM letter supports individuals as well as families, it is good to support young people with the message that they do not have to have a spouse to have a decent life … let’s do it all, minute it, send to paper, wave the flag – attended for 8 years and it took a long time to learn about the testimonies, we don’t proselytize and many would gain comfort from this message if we would wave the flag a bit … can’t say the truth too often, likes the wording, it’s inclusive, correct and affirming of you people’s options in single lives whatever their occupation or gender identity. A Friend is concerned about the impact of printing the letter on conservatives already adjusting to the marriage amendment and wonders how they, themselves, would receive the message if they were conservative … Another Friend believes the message is important and that the conservative principles are supported by taking government out of religion. There was agreement to carry-over the discussion to next month’s meeting.
- New Business
- Seed money request for Quaker Quest – Sandy Olson Quaker Quest (QQ) core group will have seeds fund request in June. Right now they are doing background work. $1000 will come from Friends General Conference for Quaker Quest, with an additional $300 coming from Northern Yearly Meeting. Roland Barrett is clerk of the publicity for QQ, acknowledging the need to do outside promotion. A request was made and APPROVED by monthly meeting to hang a banner (approx 8’ X 3’) outside the Meeting House. It would be left up over the summer. There was discussion about the message on the banner as well as the need for a website to provide information about QQ. Bill Hendricks teaches design and volunteered to work with the core group on the banner. Further group discussion on the content and wording was ended due to time. QQ core group has been working on this for some time and would have appreciated the feedback earlier in the process if those with the suggestions had joined the core group, then.
- Peace and Social Concerns “fishbowl” threshing session – postponed until June. Suggestion made to include a representative the from George Watson discussion group. Notify the clerk if you or anyone else representing a group should be in inner circle during the threshing session.
- Updates, Communications, and Announcements
- Climate Stability Group Update – Mary Jean Port Gave brief synopsis of the origins of the group and its accomplishments, so far. Concern arose out of discussions in monthly meeting … world just passed an all-time record CO level record … some in MFM felt strong calling to do something. Mary Jean, as clerk of adult program committee was asked to coordinate some programs. Terry Hokenson spoke on his experience in Washington DC at the climate change demonstration in February. Tom Ward spoke on responding to New York with the American Red Cross and the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the coast. Fred Harding presented a program on resisting frac sand mining. Two more programs are scheduled: Jim Lovestar on gardening and a showing of the documentary film, “Price of Sand” made by a friend of Fred Harding. After a great stir of initial activity leading to the programs at the meeting, there has been a short lull as the group does some reassessment. Three areas of focus have been identified for going forward: 1) How do we do climate work as Quakers and how can our work be infused with The Spirit. 2) Take action close to home. Find practical ways to save energy in our own lives. Consider joining the interfaith power and light program which helps churches with energy saving activities, although there is a fee of $1 per member per year. 3) To work on general community building. Mary Jean suggests this topic be included on June’s agenda.
- Monthly Meeting ran a little late and was closed so semi-programmed worship could begin
- Reminder – Clerks’ Meeting, June 2
Previous minutes recorded by Minneapolis Friends.
- July 11, 1990 Monthly Meeting Minutes: “We affirm that our belief in that of God in every person embraces all persons regardless of sexual orientation; we affirm that we welcome to our meetings for worship and to all occasions for fellowship attenders who are gay and lesbian, and we affirm that we welcome and encourage full membership in our Meeting for lesbians and gays who are or wish to become Friends. We do this without regard to whether such persons choose to speak to any or all of us of their sexual orientation. “Further, we commit ourselves to educating ourselves and others in the Religious Society of Friends about the condition of those who are lesbian and gay in a society that is frequently hostile to them and about prejudice toward and discrimination against people who are lesbian and gay in the Religious Society of Friends and in society at large.”
- August 14, 1991 Friends approved the following minute: “Minneapolis Friends Meeting will witness and celebrate same-sex relationships and take them under its care. This includes the Meeting’s clearness process and a ceremony to celebrate the union. “While this minute does not represent an end to our efforts to reach clarity, Minneapolis Friends desire to record the sense of the Meeting at this time in our on-going process. The Meeting does not have unity in regard to the use and meaning of the term ‘marriage’. However, with this minute, we officially take same-sex relationships under our care.”
- March 9, 2003: The Meeting approved language change to support marriages of same sex couples rather than unions.
- August 2011: Minneapolis Friends made a statement of support for the Resolution against the Constitutional Amendment to Ban Marriage for Same-Sex Couples.
Kickapoo Valley Marriage Equality Letter with intro:
Dear Friends, Inspired by NYM Clerk Robin Greenler’s similar letter, the Kickapoo Valley Monthly Meeting recently approved the attached letter and sent it to local papers and our legislators. I am happy to tell you that 5 or 6 folks from the area expressed appreciation of our doing that. We had no negative comments, although that isn’t definitive as people in our area are more likely to not say anything than to start a conversation if they aren’t in favor of something. Having 6 positive comments is excellent. I am sending the letter to you to share with your Meetings and Worship Groups. We hope you will feel encouraged to do something similar if that fits for your group. In Friendship, Ellen Brooks, for Kickapoo Valley Monthly Meeting
Kickapoo Valley Monthly Meeting Marriage Equality Letter
Kickapoo Valley Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) supports the action of Minnesota voters who left the door open to provide same sex couples with the sanctity and benefits of marriage.
Quakers believe that there is that of God in all people. In witnessing the truth of God’s love to the wider community, we cannot support any action that gives freedoms, rights, privileges or power to one group while excluding another. This is unacceptable in any form, whether it is supporting slavery and segregation or denying voting, legal or civil rights to any group. It is unacceptable for individuals to be denied rights and privileges that are provided by marriage merely because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Kickapoo Valley Monthly Meeting joyfully recognizes the diversity of sexual orientation within our religious and broader community. We affirm the goodness of committed, loving relationships that endure, are unselfish, and that provide mutual support and tenderness. We have and will continue to affirm equal status in marriage for all people. We will follow the same careful process for all couples who wish to unite in marriage under our care.
On this issue, Kickapoo Valley Monthly Meeting is in unity with public statements made by our regional Quaker association that includes local Meetings from Wisconsin, Minnesota, and parts of Michigan, Iowa, and North Dakota. Our commitment to egalitarian treatment of all couples has remained consistent and firm over three decades of consideration.
Kickapoo Valley Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends
Dave Hackett, Clerk