Minneapolis Friends Meeting

Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business, 11/10/2013

9:45 AM

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

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

  1. October Minutes – Approved
  2. Monthly Reports
    1. Director of Ministry – Patricia Jones    Minutes should record that on October 18, 2013 the family of George Watson spread his ashes on the grounds of the Meeting House. Pat affirmed that this practice is legal for us to do. Elizabeth Watson, his wife, had her ashes scattered on the property a few years ago.
      1. A called meeting for worship with attention to marriage for Bill Hendricks and Michael Reid took place at the Meeting House on October 26, 2013. Their marriage is under the care of Meeting
      2. With Quaker Quest, the Meeting is learning a great deal about hospitality and is benefitting from exploring how we welcome newcomers to our Meeting.
    2. Ministry and Counsel – Joanne Esser.   At the Nov 7th meeting some members of Quaker Quest planning group were invited to share insights on how the Meeting can make newcomers feel welcome. Some of their findings: Quaker Quest attracted a wide variety of people, for a number different reasons – curiosity, school projects, having some connection to Quakers and wanting to know more about it, spiritual seekers, visiting a variety of churches. Some sought social opportunities or were attracted by our social witness. Some just wanted a place to worship. It is important to be open to change, but the process of welcoming newcomers to the Meeting may challenge our idea of “who we are”. Some ideas for becoming more welcoming: coffee/tea/cookies after meetings to encourage social connections, host a spiritual nurture retreat, mailing personal note and/or emails as follow-ups after a visit, have a designated “explainer” to introduce people to meetings for worship and business and regular greeters for both meetings for worship.
      1. A committee for the care of unprogrammed meeting has formed with Connie Archbald facilitating.
      2. Request for membership: A clearness committee has met with Anne Lawton. Ministry and Counsel recommends the approval of her membership request. Monthly Meeting APPROVED Anne Lawton’s membership. Carolyn VandenDolder agreed to help coordinate a welcome committee with the assistance of the Meeting Clerk.
  3. Reports
    1. Fall Camp (Annual) – Ed Souther (reporting for Wina)   Fall Camp took place at Villa Maria. A total of 57 attended over the two days (7 from Winona) with 44 staying overnight. The cost: $3,400. $800 in contributions was received to defray the costs. Camp Committee proposes the budgeted funds from the Meeting be lowered to more closely match the actual costs. There is a desire to invite the International Friends Church to participate with us next year at Fall Camp.
      1. We need a decision on where to go next year. Continue with the new venue at Villa Maria or return to Camp Courage, where we have years of experience?
      2. Villa Maria: Pros – nice beds, less cleanup, meditation labyrinth, closer to Winona, a beautiful scenic drive. Cons- registration process more strict, noisier heaters and could have been warmer (portable heaters were available but not used), no pool, felt more like a hotel, not as accessible as Camp Courage although there is a ramp at the main building but it is harder to use and people often used cars to get around the grounds.
      3. Camp Courage: Pros – has heated pool, more bathrooms per bed rooms, closer to cities for most attenders, more feeling of being in the woods, very accessible. Cons – has a curfew, we provide our own bedding and towels, food is not as good, Camp Courage has undergone significant changes (they have merged with Camp Friendship), the dorm we used to use is gone, the dining room has to be shared with other groups, they are more expensive (in 2012 Camp Courage cost more than it did in 2013 at Villa Maria)
      4. Camp committee is pleased with Fall Camp 2013. It was a new experience for Meeting this year and we will benefit from this recent experience if we return. It was wonderful welcoming Friends from Winona, and they seem interested in coming again. But the decision must be made soon. Reservations for Villa Maria need to be in by the beginning of 2014.
      5. Two decisions are before Monthly Meeting regarding Fall Camp 2014:  1) We should be more intentional about welcoming International Friends Church to Fall Camp next year. APPROVED      2)  Which location should we choose for 2014 – Villa Maria or Camp Courage? A decision on this will be carried-over to allow additional discussion at next month’s Meeting for Business.
    2. Loaves and Fishes (Annual) – Ann Luce.     The Meeting participates in Loaves and Fishes about 4 times a year, whenever there is a fifth Monday. Friends provide food donations (fruit and cookies) and volunteer to cook, serve and clean-up. Strongest support comes from Minneapolis Friends, Twin Cities Friends and Prospect Park Friends. Usually 10-18 participate at each event. The need is for at least 20. It is a good activity to involve youth and to re-energize meeting members. Minneapolis Friends and Twin Cities Friends split the expenses. Sue Kearns is a co-leader with Ann.   Discussion: What is the value to meeting? It is a way to do outreach. The meal is served at Holy Rosary Church in south Minneapolis and is an opportunity to serve Native Americans and other ethnic groups in the community. It might be helpful to have further discussion to explore the value to our community. There is a $990 budgeted amount for Loaves and Fishes. This could be part of our long term strategic planning, and it would help to have the specific needs better published so we could schedule time to help out. This is a great way to engage junior and senior high students, although we do not have many right now. The best way to appreciate the value is to go and participate one or two times. The meal serves 180 – 350 people each time.
    3. Northern Yearly Meeting (NYM) – Carolyn VandenDolder, our recently appointed representative to NYM. Northern Yearly Meeting is the fellowship of Quakers in the upper Midwest, including Madison, Milwaukee, St Paul, Minneapolis and part of Iowa. NYM is an important home for smaller meetings and a rich resource for regional Friends. Eau Claire did Quaker Quest a year ago. We can learn from each other. NYM has a relationship with Quakers in El Salvador. Carolyn was well received at NYM and she notes that Twin Cities Friends Meeting is not as active as they once were in NYM.
      1. Highlights of the interim session last week: NYM supports middle and high school student programs for Friends and uses a camp outside Madison; the drawdown of cash reserves is leading NYM to ask participating Meetings to contribute $55 per active member – this would exceed our current budget amount for NYM of $2,800 for the entire Meeting. NYM has been reassessing this request and they are now asking for an overall 5% increase from all Meetings.  Discussion: Can this be taken up in January when we evaluate our long term planning? Is it a question for Stewardship Committee? Clerk suggested referring this issue to Stewardship, Adult Program, and Peace and Social Concerns and using their feedback in our long term planning. There was no objection to this.
    4. Child Welfare (Annual) – Zach White.   The committee has met twice this year and has purchased a file to organize their records. The main duty of the committee is to screen all individuals working with children in the Meeting. Their clearness process includes a background check on all candidates. The committee has been challenged by a backlog of background checks that need to be properly processed. The committee work entails meaningful deliberations, as they sometimes have to sit with difficult topics.
    5. Stewardship (Quarterly) – Suzanne Ferguson (Second Quarter report was handed out) The biggest concern facing Stewardship is the current rate of contributions, which are considerably down from our quarterly goals. First Quarter income was 14% of the yearly budget and Second Quarter was 15%. By now the goal was to have reached 40% of the yearly budget. A letter is going out to our membership highlighting the current status.  Discussion: There have been additional costs incurred by the Meeting that do not appear in the report – namely, carpet cleaning
  4. Follow-up Decisions
    1. Draft Response to Kickapoo Meeting – Kate Coon   Kate read her response to the Kickapoo Meeting’s Minute. Friends APPROVED Kate’s letter but asked for the removal of a sentence that refers to marrying for 10 years.  Discussion: Kate’s letter covers our struggle with the issue and the time and effort we have given to this. It is important to bring closure. Clerk will send a copy of the letter and a copy will be included in the Meeting Minutes. [see ATTACHMENT below]
    2. Memorial Minute for Nancy Peterson – Nobody has come forward at this time to write a Memorial Minute. Suggestions included Mary Jean  and Judith J – neither is present. Sandy O will speak to both of them.
    3. Memorial Minute for Rusk Anderson – Suggestions include Linda C and Dick M.   Arnie A has a draft document that could be used. Connie A will follow-up on this.
  5. New Business
    1. White Envelope Gift proposal – Peace & Social Concerns       Ranae Hanson presented.  Peace and Social Concerns Committee was asked to make suggestions for the White Envelope Gift. Their recommendations:  Give $120 to ONE to send one goat to Africa via the Heifer International.  $200 for teaching supplies for the Light of Hope School in Kenya that will be hand delivered by Joanne Esser who is traveling there. Of the remaining amount, ¼ would go to Project Sweetie Pie – a gardening and free food program on the north side of Minneapolis.  ¼ to RECLAIM – a program where Zack volunteers that works with young people of color who are gay.  ¼ to a program providing for clean water wells in Vietnam. There was a presentation at Fall Camp about the project which is a Quaker witness in Vietnam and focuses on areas like Mi Lai. The remaining ¼ would go to a scholarship fund for Quaker refugee fellowship for a girls school in Kenya.  Discussion: There is a desire to get more information on these projects. Another Friend asked if we can we wait to decide until December? No one had objection to any of the suggestions and there was interest in affirming the work of Peace and Social Concerns. There was a suggestion that information on these projects could be displayed in the vestibule. Friends APPROVED the work of the committee.
      1.  Two other issues had been referred to Peace and Social Committee for their consideration and are now coming before Monthly Meeting.  1) To join Duluth/Superior Monthly Meeting in opposing new taconite mine development in Wisconsin.  2) To answer a request to have Minneapolis Meeting appoint a representative to Right Sharing of World Resources.  Friends APPROVED asking individuals within the Meeting if they wanted to explore either of these requests. The requests will be posted in the bulletin for one month. If there is no response, then we will respond to the original agency with a statement that at this time we do not have someone to take this on.  Peace and Social Concerns is asked to keep an ongoing list of projects that are not filled.
  6. Communications
    1. The letter that was approved last month for transfer of membership for Betty Firth to Duluth Superior Meeting was read.
    2. Letter from Angelica and John Schaeffer of Northern Pines worship group ask that we transfer their membership to Eau Claire Meeting.   REQUEST APPROVED.
  7. Adjourn  

ATTACHMENT:

Response of Minneapolis Friends Meeting to Kickapoo Valley Meeting’s Minute

Minneapolis Friends Meeting

4401 York Avenue South

Minneapolis, MN 55410

10/11/2013

 

Kickapoo Valley Meeting

Gays Mills Public Library

16381 State Hwy 131

Gays Mills, WI 54631

Dear Friends at Kickapoo Valley Meeting,

Minneapolis Meeting received with joy your letter earlier this year containing the statement of support for MN voters affirming same-sex marriage.  We struggled, however, with sending to local media our concurrence with your letter as you requested.  On several occasions we had lengthy discussions of the exact wording for Minneapolis Meeting’s version.  We were looking for a way to express support for same-sex marriage while acknowledging that some freedoms, rights, privileges or power conferred upon married couples are denied to families that are structured differently.  By taking too long, we have missed the optimum timing for such a letter.

In the weeks leading up to the MN vote, Minneapolis Meeting made other forms of public witness to same-sex marriage, including a banner outside the meetinghouse, T-shirts saying “Quakers for Marriage Equality,” and participation in a state-wide program to engage in thoughtful conversations with families, friends, neighbors, and others.  Many are convinced that the widespread sharing about hopes and wishes for treasured gays and lesbians in our lives is what changed hearts and won the vote.

Minneapolis Meeting provides support and care for any relationship or individual who asks for it, married or not.  We are currently engaging in Quaker Quest, which provides another forum in which we can witness publicly to equality of all kinds, including marriage equality and the legitimacy of all families.

We appreciate Kickapoo Meeting’s decisive action supporting marriage equality and the discussion it has spurred in our own meeting. Thank you for your faithfulness and public witness.

Faithfully,

Minneapolis Friends Meeting

Ranae Hanson, presiding clerk

 

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