Minneapolis Friends Meeting
Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business, 12/8/2013
[Some names and information have been edited or removed for publication on the web]
Attendance: Ranae Hanson (presiding clerk), Tom Ward (recording clerk)
- November Minutes APPROVED
- Monthly Reports
- Ministry and Counsel (M&C) – Joanne Esser Much of the focus this month was on individuals in the Meeting, including following-up with individuals whose attendance at Meeting has dropped off. Action is being taken to better welcome newcomers: greeters are being coordinated by Steve Snyder; Social Committee will provide refreshments after both meetings for worship; still need to set up informational board on current Meeting happenings. M&C wants to work with Adult Program Committee to offer some sessions on “commitment to the Meeting” and “what does membership mean?” Judith James shared information with M&C on Quaker Voluntary Service and their Youth Services Homes program, to which she feels a particular calling. M&C is planning to examine and update the resource materials used for clearness on membership.
- Ad Hoc History (annual) – Linda Coffin (written report) She is still doing additional research and editing on the project and is working with a book designer. Hopefully, this will be completed in a year.
- Library (annual) – Dave Bostrom The committee’s charge: maintain and develop the library collection in support of the spiritual life of the Meeting. Accomplishments: Maintenance: re-shelving materials, updating inventory of collection, weeding out unneeded materials and updating the catalog. Library Development: purchased new materials ($100 per year), evaluated donated materials, and entered catalog information with new pockets and cards on new materials. Usability: rearranged shelves and table displays to promote new material, created a library web page (minneapolisfriends.org/library) with information about the library and catalog. There is a link from the Meeting’s web page. Challenges: limited physical space with limited shelf space and inadequate lighting; the space is multi-functional and often gets re-arranged for other activities; many items have been checked-out for very extended times and may be hard to track down. Upcoming points of attention: continue developing and publicizing new web page; continue inventory and weeding project; contact people with long over-due materials; improve the lighting.
- Quaker Quest (preliminary) – Sandy Olson The focus of the preliminary report is on documentable information from the Public Sessions. David Woolley reported on the impact of Quaker Quest on Meeting website activity. During the 23-week period starting when the banner first went up on the lawn in June until the public sessions ended in November, the website received an average of 165 visits per week. This was a 77% increase over the same June-November period of 2012, and a 100% increase over the 23 weeks immediately preceding the start of our publicity efforts (January to early June 2013). Lin Butler gave the remainder of the report. The final report will be in January. He reviewed the format for each session – three presentations, breakout sessions, three presentations, question and answer, abbreviated worship, social time. The three evening sessions had an average attendance of 20 guests and 27 members/attenders for each program. The three daytime Sunday sessions had, on average, 23 guests and 27 members/attenders. (140 total for evenings and 150 in afternoon) Attendance goals had not been set for the program, but the core group was quite satisfied by the overall numbers. Some guests attended multiple sessions, but most were new at each session. Written comments on the evaluations were very favorable and embraced the format. They noted, with appreciation, the combination of personal information, discussion and worship that was the focus of the series and benefitted from the comprehensive and deep reflection of Quaker life. There were few suggestions for “improvements”, but there was a request for more information about Quakers and the Bible and another wanted more details on basic Quaker ideas and practices. Discussion: We were asked to express “One word to describe our experience with Quaker Quest”: real growth experience … encouraging … I really like us … excited … incredible acceptance and curiosity … welcomed ideas from community … very energizing for the community as a whole … deep gratitude for the successful accomplishments of the core committee and the great leadership of Sandy Olson … reminded one Friend of how he had come to know Quakers and how that experience had been the number one experience of his life at a time when it was greatly needed. Question: are we doing follow-up with the guests? Yes, emails have been sent out if they left contact info that was legible. One Friend expressed desire to be cautious about not being too pushy in our follow-up.
- Follow-up Decisions
- Fall Camp Location Decision – Clifford Goltz Monthly Meeting needs to decide where Fall Camp should go next year – Camp Courage or Villa Maria? There was a review of the pros and cons discussed last month. The cost for Camp Courage would have been more than at Villa Maria, but only about $300 more, which was not thought to be a significant difference given the overall charge at Villa Maria in 2013 was $3,390. Camp committee does not have a recommendation for one site over the other. Discussion: There were mixed feelings about both places in the responses of monthly meeting attenders: Thanks for considering something new. It is good to explore new options … Missed having a pool at Villa Maria and there did not seem to be as much for the kids to do … But Villa Maria has a central location for everyone to gather and this provides better sense of community. Camp Courage has a more scattered feeling with separate cabins and the location of the dining hall at Camp Courage makes for a long trek at meal time – a problematic issue for older attenders … We do not have the dining room to ourselves at Camp Courage and this makes it hard to have a good central gathering point … The food is better at Villa Maria and we can no longer prepare our own food at Camp Courage … The proportion of campers actually using the pool at Camp Courage has been small, and youth activities this year at Villa Maria were impacted by the rain and bad weather. With additional preparation this should not be a problem in the future … Villa Maria has wonderful hiking trails … The proximity to Winona Friends and the Quaker connections we have with Villa Maria seem important … One Friend expressed the feeling of disconnectedness they had had years ago at Camp Courage due to the physical arrangements of the facility … The gathering room at Villa Maria is real nice and, while the drive is longer for many Friends from the cities, the drive is very scenic. Friends APPROVED going to Villa Maria in 2014.
- Memorial Minute for Rusk Anderson: Connie Archbald is out of town and this will be delayed until she returns.
- New Business
- Peace and Social Concerns (follow-up and new) – Roland Barrett
- Barbara Mohr has agreed to represent Minneapolis Friends Meeting to Right Sharing of World’s Resources. Friends APPROVED having Barbara as representative.
- Friends APPROVED the clerk sending a letter to Duluth / Superior Monthly Meeting in response to their request for our Meeting’s support on an initiative to restrict expansion of taconite mining in northern Wisconsin. At this time we are not able to act to support their Minute since no one has come forward to research their request and to follow-up on this issue. We suggest that Northern Yearly Meeting might be able to take on this question and provide guidance to all monthly meetings in NYM. Betty Firth has offered to provide information and to locate knowledgeable individuals to speak on the issue of mining.
- The current mission of Peace and Social Concerns coordinating committee is to coordinate activities and they will focus on five items: 1) Proposing White Envelope Gift recipients (already done for this year)Serving as clearing house for peace and social concerns requests that come to the Meeting. 2) Allowing for and supporting and offering (if asked) clearness to groups and individuals who take on peace and social concerns action in the Meeting. 3) Proposing the annual contributions budget allocations to the stewardship committee. The amounts have not changed much over the years and should be re-evaluated. 4) Helping the Meeting select one to three peace and social concerns focus topics for each year and to support a Meeting group to create a Meeting-wide event or activity or action for each of the chosen topics. Committee proposes that the three topics for this coming year be (one) climate change, (two) racial justice and (three) economic justice. 5) If the Meeting approves this focus for Peace and Social Concerns this next year they will try to facilitate one event, activity or action for each of the topics.
- Peace and Social Concerns does not have the capacity to maintain a calendar of all the peace and social concerns activities of the Meeting.
- Discussion: Ranae Hanson would like to discontinue her role on Peace and Social Concerns as long as she is presiding clerk of the Meeting. Contact John Kraft or Nominating Committee members if interested in serving on the committee … Excellent report. Peace and Social Concerns will coordinate, not be the “doer” – that is the role of other committees or individuals … Friend requested that “Peace” be a fourth topic for the year.
- Friends APPROVED the overall charge of the committee.
- Monthly Meeting will consider and approve the 3 topic areas at the January meeting. There was a request to post information about the topic areas in the bulletin each week until then.
- Question Regarding Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL): Doug Herron is the Meeting’s representative to FCNL and he wanted to know who in the Meeting receives the weekly email alerts from FCNL. He asked if he could ask for voluntary sharing of email addresses of those who do receive the alerts. He would do this at next month’s Monthly Meeting.
- Peace and Social Concerns (follow-up and new) – Roland Barrett
- Letter from 2 student visitors at Quaker Quest (see attachments)
- From Liz Oppenheimer about White Privilege workshop (she belongs to Laughing Waters Worship Group) Discussion: Is there someone to take this on? Judith: we have some folks who have done this – We have the same info that Liz has, although our group is no longer convening. Clerk asked if Judith would talk informally with group from Winds of Change to see if they could take this under consideration for Friends.
- Friends wanted to acknowledge the efforts of Rae Cornelius and all the volunteers who worked so tirelessly to make the Friends for Non-violent World Craft Sale such a success.
Letter sent to Meeting from two visitors:
Hey Pat/ everyone! This is Rossy and Sarah, the two students who came and researched your meeting for a research paper. We just wanted to say thank you SO much for letting us attend and being so helpful. You guys honestly gave us so much information and were so helpful and kind! We will be finished with our paper near the end of December and will send you over a copy, feel free to share it as you please. As a side note, everyones named and the name of the meeting has been changed. We both learned a lot and we heard some really inspiring and heartfelt stories. This was by far one of the most interesting experiences either of us has had. We’ve never met a kinder group of people. Again, thank you to the moon and back: it is greatly appreciated! Take care! Sarah Wigfield and Rossy Natale