Minneapolis Friends Meeting

Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business, 7-14-2013

Attendance: Ranae Hanson (presiding clerk), Tom Ward (recording clerk), Pat Jones (director of ministry)

Clerk opened the business meeting with a quote from “Letters to a Fellow Seeker”

  1. June Minutes – APPROVED
  2. Monthly Reports
    1. Director of Ministry – Patricia Jones     Happy to be back – appreciated the love and support of the Meeting these past months.
    2. No Ministry and Counsel report since they did not meet this month
  3. Reports
    1. Nursery Committee (Annual) – Betsy Souther    Numbers are up – cared for 27 different children (74 visits) attendance sporadic – committee no longer pre-arranges volunteers in advance to assist Susie Kanemitsu in the nursery. Betsy and Susan Hoch alternate months carrying pager with frequent assistance from Annette Smith, but there is no pager coverage during unprogrammed worship – committee members more involved, now, with fewer requests of members on the approved list to volunteer. Nursery overlaps with both Child Welfare Committee [who manage the approved list of attenders who may work with youth] and with Religious Education. There is no early childhood class now, so those children would be watched in the nursery during First Day School. If no children are in the nursery, Susie may help out in the classroom or contribute in other ways to the Meeting. During the new summer hours Susie cares for those 12 years old and under and her hours have been reduced: 1st Sunday – 9:45A-11:15A (no potluck coverage), 2nd Sunday – 9:45A-11:15A (extending her hours if parents are attending monthly meeting for business), 3rd & 4th Sunday – 9:45A-11:15A (hoping children attend the fellowship time), 5th Intergenerational Sunday- only the youngest children in the nursery. Quaker Quest may put additional demands on Susie’s childcare responsibilities and there may be increases in nursery demand both short term and long term.  Clerk – The nursery supports many people in the meeting, including grandparents and other family members.
    2. Religious Education Committee (Annual) – Rae Cornelius   The Committee is charged with supporting the Religious Education of the Meeting’s children, ages 3 – 18. Acknowledging that parents are the main teachers of their children, we seek to involve parents in discussions and decisions regarding the activities and curriculum of the 1st Day School Program. The last threshing sessions have been our guiding spirit: “We believe that Minneapolis Friends Meeting has an important role in the religious education of our children and youth. We acknowledge, however, that the Religious Education programs are only one component in the development of our children’s spiritual lives. “Our programming will integrate families, the larger community, books and other resources as well as the individual’s own personal searching into religious education. Our children will know what it means to be a Quaker. Our program will model what it means to be a Quaker by nurturing trust, inquiry, community, and service.”   Accomplishments: new attenders in First Day School, one room classroom approach enjoyed by both students and the community, parents very involved, increased participation of youth in meeting for worship, regular hymn singing and music with Allen G the musician, neighborhood bike ride, serving in kitchen during FNVW Holiday Fair, sleepovers, experiencing Quaker values serving others, raised $150 for Feed My Starving Children.  Challenges: How to best meet needs of junior high age youth who are not regular attenders, how to keep curriculum cohesive while honoring the gifts / visions of individual members helping in classroom.  Upcoming Points of Attention: presently, program does not serve junior or senior high youth, will Quaker Quest bring in more students and do we have the teachers and resources to expand. Child Welfare, Nursery and Religious Ed have distinct yet similar interests – could there be discussion on reconfiguring them?  Open to the leading of the Spirit? We have the goal of supporting youth in their religious education but the path that follows is open. All stakeholders’ opinions, questions and concerns are listened to, reflected upon, and discussed before any path is chosen. Constant review of that path  opens to further leadings of the spirit. Discussion: Barb M – everyone has done fabulous job this year – wonderful feeling in class; Mary Jean – heard from others in meeting about involving meeting youth in projects – we need to keep looking for ways to work together; Friend asked if MFM would offer support and mentoring for parents. She had wanted a Quaker sponsor but did not know how to ask. Clerk suggested this query might be forwarded to Child Welfare Committee.
    3. Shepherd Scholarship Committee (Annual) – Allen Gibas  As of July 1, 2013 total of scholarship grants given since inception – $201,714.25   In 2013 6 grants were made totaling $2,000.  Disbursements are made from interest only  History:  Principal amount in Trust- $187,600.00  6/30/2012 UBS Investment account – $192,699.62 (prior to withdrawals to pay $2,000.00 in 2012 grants)   6/30/2013 UBS Investment account – $174,673.72 (following withdrawals to pay $2,000.00 in 2013 grants).    In recent years the rate of return has been ½ of one percent. The committee agreed to switch the account from a CD to various municipal bonds, although we would have to pay a premium to get a higher rate of return. It is anticipated that the rate of return should exceed 2.5-3 %.  Discussion: Examples of how scholarships are used? One of the 6 grants this year was for $300 to cover a member’s expenses at Pendle Hill. A Friend’s son received help for his physician assistant training. Another Friend acknowledged that the amount wasn’t great – enough to cover costs of some books – but the outward expression of support from meeting is important. Allen encloses a letter of support along with the check. A Friend asked for a show of hands of those who have received or know of someone who has received support from the Shepherd Scholarship Fund. Over half the business meeting attenders raised their hands.
    4. Membership and Attendance (Annual) – Carolyn VandenDolder  Carolyn said she does not have the numbers and has not been taking attendance. It appears there is no process in place for taking attendance at both meetings. Connie Archbald has been doing attendance for unprogrammed meeting but says her consistency is drifting off. No one is doing it at semi-programmed. Pat asked the question: “Do we want to know?” There seems to be a lot of ambivalence over the whole idea.
    5. Northern Yearly Meeting (NYM) (brief reports from attenders)  No formal report.   John Kraft – NYM generally was fine … great group of kids. He encourages Meeting youth to attend Northern Yearly Meeting, People Camp, Friends General Conference – a great way to engage with the broader community of Quaker youth which is large and dynamic. Pat added that she had neglected to report MFM attendance at recent conferences – something she usually does. In addition to those who attended NYM a number of people attended some or all of Friends General Conference – Mattie, Mary and Steve S, John Kraft.
  4. Follow-up Decisions
    1. Draft Minute on Equity  Clerk read Minute. There was question if the version she was reading was the most current revision.  [See addendum for most current version]    Discussion: Friend thought we had changed wording to be more supportive – initial sentence still has negative tone … Zach W suggested need to spell out some additional family types since when we say “all families”. In his professional practice he knows that this often does not include some relationships that reflect more than just being gay, straight, or monogamous – some which are quite outside societal norms. When we say “all families” are there some that we are excluding? … Clerk said she and Judith James, who helped her write the Meeting’s Minute, had tried to make distinction between sexual orientation and supporting family types without delving into personal issues … Pat added the Minute is coupling together committed loving and responsibility … Dick M says that Minute, as presented, is all inclusive and is ok as it stands and that Zach’s comment is very specific to his unique perspective … Friend feels clearness process when taking couples under care of Meeting will discern a lot of those questions and that it will lead to potential confusion if we mention all possible types of relationships … Friend asked for clarity on the reason the Minute was written … Clerk reviewed the request from Kickapoo Monthly Meeting to join them in support of the Minute on Marriage Equity they had written with the intent that the Minute would be distributed to state elected officials and the media … In that case, what is the point? … what are the next steps? … Send it to the State? … Clerk responded that this is a minute for us and would likely go to Kickapoo and Yearly Meeting … John K: if this is a minute to clarify our position we should not be under any pressure or time lines to finish it … is there need for a threshing session? … are there greater questions like civil rights to consider? … is this reflecting the Meeting’s position? … Another Friend agrees with John’s questions … Religious Education is seeking to reach out and draw in more children – publicizing the Meeting’s open heart and inclusiveness – and might draw community members to Meeting. A new attender says she appreciates the current wording of the Minute, supports distributing it to the media and likes having a query on the role that marriages and relationships play. Another Friend agrees with John’s points and would like the word “consensual” added to Minute. Clerk added that Kickapoo Meeting had asked us to publish the Minute in the local paper. She drew discussion to a close by reading some of the edits she would make to the Minute that were gleaned from the discussion. The revised Minute will be printed in the weekly bulletin before next month’s monthly meeting, where the issue will be considered again.
    2. Appointing Ed Souther and another as liaison for Exploring Together; asking for help getting people to the September 8th Quaker Quest gathering   Friends APPROVED Ed Souther as a liaison to Exploring Together
  5. New Business
    1. Proposal for Peace and Social Concerns support from Minneapolis Friends Meeting  The following proposal was presented at Meeting for Business on July 14, 2013.  It represents the work of an ad-hoc committee made up of David Woolley, John Stuart, Mary Jean Port, and John Robey which convened following the threshing session on this topic that was held in June. Friends are asked to read it and consider it as a possible way forward.
      1. “We met as an ad-hoc committee to recommend a way forward with how peace & social concerns might best be dealt with at Minneapolis Friends Meeting. Roland Barrett, Kyle Johnson, and Mary Gochnauer had also indicated interest in being involved but were unable to attend for various reasons.
      2. We would like to propose that Peace & Social Concerns be reinstated as a standing committee of the meeting. As with most other committees, we expect that Nominating Committee would identify and recruit a committee clerk and committee members. We would like to see committee membership rotate, with 3-year terms being standard as with other committees, so that there is a continuing infusion of fresh faces with fresh ideas. We did not discuss how many members would be appropriate for the committee.
      3. “ In the past few years our Meeting has become an incubator for the spontaneous formation of groups either around a particular interest (philosophy, reading) or devoted to various causes (climate stability, same-sex marriage, racial equality and diversity). This is a wonderful thing! It contributes enormously to the health and vitality of our Meeting, keeps us involved with one another in a variety of ways, and creates openings for new people with related interests to get involved. We certainly do not want to do anything to impose bureaucratic requirements on the formation of such groups. We do see a possible role for a P&SC committee to assist these groups in various ways.
      4. “Following are some things we envision as being part of the charter of a new P&SC committee. Some of them are things the P&SC committee has traditionally done in the past, others are new.
      5. Traditional Responsibilities  * Point of entry for those outside the Meeting to carry concerns to the Meeting. This includes looking at material and requests that come in by mail, email, etc. and deciding whether it needs a response, can be passed on to a group or individual with a related interest, deserves being brought to the attention of the Meeting, etc.  * Creating or seasoning statements of corporate witness for possible presentation to Monthly Meeting.   * Notifying the Meeting community about events and opportunities for activism or volunteerism (e.g. Habitat for Humanity projects). Since the number of such things is huge, this requires listening to the “pulse” of the Meeting in order to discern which issues are most closely aligned with the interests and energy of members and attenders.   * Annually reviewing the Meeting’s budgeted contributions to other groups (AFSC, FNVW, FCNL, etc.) and recommending changes when appropriate.   * Soliciting suggestions for recipients of the annual White Gift and making a recommendation to Monthly Meeting.   * Promoting awareness of what individuals in the Meeting are doing related to peace and social justice issues.   * Occasionally providing educational opportunities for members and attenders about P&SC issues.   New Responsibilities   * Maintain and publicize a master calendar of P&SC-related committee and interest group meetings and events. This might include actively prodding some groups to tell us what’s going on, since informally organized groups don’t always have a designated member to keep those outside the group informed.   * Acting as a consulting/advisory resource for informally organized groups regarding Meeting process, such as handling money or bringing proposals to Monthly Meeting and possibly advising about lobbying and political activism.   * Holding, and communicating, answers to the question: How do we do political and activist work as Quakers?” 

      Process of ad hoc group: Met one time and did email followup. Lot of spontaneous bubbling up of energy around issues – don’t want to restrict this – there may be role for committee to assist in the process

      Main Conclusions:   Reinstate P&SC as standing committee with clerk and 3 year term appoint by nominating.    *Combine traditional responsibilities – point of entry for people outside meeting and seasoning of statements, provides many opportunities for activity, supports activities of other groups, brings forth suggestions for Christmas “white gift”, a locus within meeting for what people are doing about peace and justice.    *New responsibilities – maintain master calendar meetings / events of what groups are doing. Consulting /advisory on how to bring proposals forward to lobby for political activism 3) holding and communicating about how we do political and activist work as Quakers.Pat – this is quite a list. Is this the job description or does it need to be worked more?Sandy – could include rep from FCNL, and other groups etc. – might be easier and quickerClerk – we may want to limit who wants to do this.

      1. Clerk: Are we comfortable with general direction outlined? Friends APPROVED the general direction  Connie: if we give to nominating to resolve … it really is a Monthly Meeting task.   Ad hoc committee feels it is done – it has solidified this as much as it can.  Comments: Let’s do it … it might help to know who is planning to go off the committee from before.   Clerk – should we have nominating select a committee?   Clerk: Sense of the Meeting right now seems to be – hold for a month – publicize
      2. Discussion:   Seems struggle is how to combine the spiritual and political  …  Hold for one more month with this in mind. Pray for a month think about it.  Pat – still a lot of different ways to go. Committee could be formed and look for a way forward – but what about a meeting mandate? – we need to make a decision – what is most important for meeting to do? …   we have struggled in the past to support actions for social justice – don’t want to lose that concept …  the statement captures the range of activities P&SC committee might do – represents vision – possibilities and priorities- kicking it along further. Either do it or lay it down  …  It is not nominating committee responsibility to form a job description  … Clerk suggested we take this directive and give to Nominating to move forward  …   the brainstorming of the list did not involve those who most likely would be on P&SC. Those who are doing this should shape the discussion more  …  There was no mention of JRL – some of the heads of those committees could just be assigned to P&SC  …   because the P&SC commit has been open – could some volunteers just start while nominating is moving to select committee members?  …  John K –  nominating would try to accomplish this in next few months rather than wait until 2014.
    2. Divestment letter update from Climate ad hoc committee  Mary Jean – This would normally go to P&SC. It is a really moving letter from Delaware Monthly Meeting about divesting stocks in gas, oil, etc with a focus on supporting alternative and renewable energy. This is one way that Quakers can do climate work. It is more than just symbolic action and would include writing letters explaining the reasoning behind the actions to support alternative energy. Fifty meetings have received the letter so far. Mary Jean will respond if we want her to.
  6. Communications
    1. Center for Victims of Torture: Thanks for using meeting space from centers for victim torture
    2. Thanks for Meeting contributions to the following groups were received from:  Quaker house ($190), Quaker Earthcare Witness ($100), Right sharing of world Resources ($690), Friends School of Minnesota ($440), American Friends Service Committee ($980), Earlham School of Religion ($140), Friends World Committee for Consultation ($340), Friends General Conference ($490), Friends for a Non-Violent World ($2580), Friends Committee on National Legislation ($980), Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches ($240), Joint Religious Legislative Coalition ($100)
    3. Refer Earthcare Witness letter directly to climate change work group for info on grant money that would be available to meeting for a project.

Adjourned 

[Some names and information have been edited or removed for publication on the web]

 Addendum:

This is draft to be considered by Minneapolis Friends Meeting and, if approved, would probably be sent in response to the Kickapoo Meeting’s minute and to Northern Yearly Meeting to indicate where our deliberation is right now.

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 notice actions that give freedoms, rights, privileges or power to one group while excluding other groups. We recognize that marriage laws, as currently enacted, privilege legally-married couples above unmarried individuals, 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 consensual 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 (for example, to 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 different-sex couples; however, we also honor gay and lesbian and straight and other individuals equally with our coupled brothers and sisters.

 

 Following are 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.

 

Comments are closed.