Minneapolis Friends Meeting

Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business, 3/9/2014

9:45 AM

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

Attendance: David Woolley (filling in for presiding clerk), Tom Ward (recording clerk), Pat Jones (director of ministry)

  1. February Minutes were APPROVED
  2. Monthly Reports
    1.  Director of Ministry – Pat Jones    Minutes should record the death of John Campbell on February 6, 2014.  John had been a member of Minneapolis Meeting for many years.  His memorial service was held here, at the Meeting House, on February 16th. A request was made for someone to write a memorial minute for John with Pat’s assistance. No one came forward.
      1. 20-30 visitors from First Universalist church are scheduled to worship with us this morning at 11:15.
      2. Tom Ward gave a presentation on Quakers to an interfaith intercultural group in the northern suburbs at Champlin United Methodist Church.
      3. Susie Kanemitsu recently visited Tokyo Friends Meeting and spoke to one of the classes at the Friends School there.
      4. Sigurd Hoppe presented at the Exploring Together program – a pilot project of Friends General Conference and Friends Council on Education aiming to connect local Friends from Minneapolis Meeting and Twin Cities Meeting with the families who attend Friends School of Minnesota. Joanne Esser and Ed Souther helped to facilitate, and others from MFM attended – Connie A, Barbara M, Anna Mary H, Terry K and Mary S. It was an excellent Quaker Quest-like time together.
      5. A group of youth and adults from MFM took part in Feed My Starving Children last Saturday.
      6. In a conscious attempt to reduce our carbon footprint, Carolyn V took the train to Philadelphia to participate in an American Friends Service Committee meeting this weekend.
      7. White Privilege conference is taking place in Madison, WI later this month and at least 6 are attending from our Meeting.
      8. A new directory update is out. Friends are encouraged to take one. It supersedes all previous updates.
    2. Ministry and Counsel – Joanne Esser   Judith James is coordinating an on-line care calendar for Sydney C – contact Judith or Joanne for the link.
      1. Recently, health issues have prevented L L from coming to Meeting. Steve Snyder has coordinated small worship groups at her home, and she could use assistance with transportation to appointments.
      2. M&C thanks all those who regularly reach out in various ministries to members and attenders in need.
      3. Connie Archbald has assembled a volunteer committee to address the needs of unprogrammed meeting for worship. The members of the committee, along with Connie, include Gayle M, Tom W, Tom H, Keitha H and Pat Jones
      4. A clearness committee for membership has met with Jared Nichols. The committee and M&C enthusiastically recommend his membership in Minneapolis Friends Meeting. Meeting APPROVED membership for Jared Nichols. Volunteers to welcome him have come forward and will work with the Outreach and Welcoming Committee to give him a warm welcome.
      5. M&C is inviting attenders and members to an on-going reading group studying the Pendle Hill Pamphlet, “Four Doors to Meeting for Worship” by Bill Taber. It meets the second Wednesday of the month at the meeting house.
      6. Friends are encouraged to sign up to be greeters for both meetings for worship.
      7. Friends expressed appreciation to Joanne Esser who, today, gives her final presentation as clerk of Ministry and Counsel.
  3. Reports
    1. Nominating Committee, Annual Report – John Kraft   The Structure of Service and Ministry for 2014-15 was presented to Meeting for final approval. There were some changes from last month and the committee still has some work to finish up, but overall, the report is complete. Religious Education still has no coordinator for the fall, although Rae Cornelius is willing to continue in the position through this school year. There is a planning group working on this.  Clerk was asked if there are enough committee members on Nominating and he said yes. Friends APPROVED the Structure of Service and Ministry Report.
    2. Stewardship Committee, Annual Report – Suzanne Ferguson  Friends are being asked to approve the Budget for 2014-15. Liaison and Review Committee proposed a 2% director of ministry salary increase to $56,220 with the increase spread between salary, medical insurance and housing. The new budget proposes a 2% increase for office worker. Peace and Social Concerns Committee is proposing we increase by 2% our contribution to Northern Yearly Meeting. The goal of our contributions is 10% of our budgeted general fund. To accomplish the proposed increase to NYM we would need to reduce our other contributions by 12.5% and eliminate the donation to Quaker House.  Discussion:   Could we take a different number to reduce the percentage of contributions?  P&SC is considering all this and may have new recommendations next year, especially since the contribution to NYM is considered by NYM to be an assessment. One consideration is to review the overall impact of our contributions and whether it would be better to focus our giving on a fewer number of groups but giving more money to each of them  …   We are considerably short in meeting the current 2013-14 budget (by $36,000) with only the rest of this month before the fiscal year ends on March 31. There is approximately $3,300 that can be cut back on, but that still leaves us short $36K. At the end of February there was $61K in the checking book  …  Committee Clerk spoke about the challenge of pinning down the budgeted and actual expenses for the year. There is an absence of hard information since many of the contributions and expenses are paid at the end of the budget year.  We are short, but it is not clear how short and we still have the remainder of the month to take in more donations. Bottom line is we need to take in a lot more money by the end of the month   …   Friend appreciated the letter that is sent out to the Meeting indicating the number of donations and the level of spending by contributors. The pie charts make it easier to see where and how the money comes in and goes out. The number of high level contributors is dwindling  …  Next month we may have to revisit some 2013-14 budget issues when the fiscal year has ended. It would be helpful to have a balance sheet showing assets and liabilities but we operate on a cash basis, which is different  …  Pat reiterated that this is a very fluid situation and we still have a few weeks until March 31 to balance the budget; but we will have to dig especially deep this year  …  Friend said that for the past 10 years it has seemed like we are always on the edge about making our budget, and we generally do. But this year feels different. Our commitment to strategic planning is well timed as we take up issues of youth programming and long term budgeting; but it is still hard to know what to do differently, since we are losing many of those in the Meeting who have been able to give so generously  …  Does our income vary much from month to month? The end of the year is usually bigger and giving is down over the summer. Not many people give via automatic deposits.   The proposed Meeting Budget for 2014-15 was APPROVED.    Friend expressed concern about the budget and is unhappy about the contribution area and would like to meet with others who are similarly inclined. He suggests that anytime we give less than $100 we should not have a line item. Clerk mentioned that this has been turned over to P&SC Committee. 
      1. Roland Barrett is taking over as clerk of Stewardship Committee next month
  4. Follow-up Decisions
    1. Memorial Minute for Nancy Peterson – Nettie Smith and Judith James are working on it.
    2. Friends Committee on National Legislation – Doug Herron reported on the results of two sessions he led to solicit ideas from MFM to help prioritize the list of FCNL policies to be pursued next year. Nine people responded. The suggestions are needed by April 15. Our Meeting’s proposed policies for FCNL:
      1. Press for a fair resolution of the Israeli – Palestine conflict
      2. Path to US citizenship for immigrants; promote fair and demilitarized immigration policies
      3. Help Congress repeal Supreme Court decision on “Citizens United”
      4. Promote peaceful resolution to conflict, cut military spending while supporting veteran’s programs
      5. Safeguard the natural world – support development and use of safe and sustainable energy. Assist threatened populations at home and abroad.  Friends APPROVED the policy list for FCNL
    3. Northern Yearly Meeting relationship with MFM next steps – Carolyn VandenDolder (Judith James and white board display) The complex links between programs was emphasized, and the white board displayed those links connecting NYM programs with the interests of our meeting and regional Quakers. Carolyn presented a program at 10:15 a while ago to explore our relationship with NYM and to generate a list of interests, challenges and ideas to guide us moving forward.  [See Attachments for the entire list.]  Discussion: Steve Snyder has been clerk of NYM and he and his wife have a lot of history with the yearly meeting. His wife helped start a spiritual nurture program and was instrumental in outreach to El Salvador. NYM is developing their own Faith and Practice – working on it 14 yrs. so far. It is online and he highly recommends us reviewing it.  Many Friends from our Meeting have made strong friendships over the years with folks in NYM. It is very important to have our representative, Carolyn VandenDolder, involved.   Another Friend’s granddaughter attended a couple of retreats and they seemed important to her.   Gatherings and retreats are the most important link we have with NYM
  5. New Business:
    1. State of Society Report: assignment of writing responsibility and initial ideas – brainstorming. Usually done by May or so and includes activities in our Meeting since last April (covers period April 1 to March 31).     Suggested Ideas:    Quaker Quest … “Exploring Together” a pilot program for FGC … we report on deaths in the Meeting and on new members … acknowledge our decline in first day school attendance … marriages … could the report include pictures?? ( Roberta has some) … the richness of small groups such as the Watson book reading group, climate change, philosophy … Dick M mentioned that there used to be 55 kids in first day school and what meant to vigor of meeting – what about births? …  The sharing of 4 young adults who grew up in the meeting and have presented about what they are doing … poetry and jazz for metro friends … story telling … our financial challenges – maybe point out that we operate on a cash basis and don’t have a mortgage … development of web site (much appreciated by many in and out of Meeting) … inclusion of our members in larger Quaker organizations … climate change study group … Mention White privilege conference which is in March … the decision to choose a new location for fall camp and mention that the experience of choosing was real positive. –  Clerk asked if anyone would like to volunteer to take on first draft. Nobody came forward.
  6. Communications: there were no communications

Adjourned at 11:15

11:15 Meeting for Worship

Attachment:

Summary of adult program discussion about Northern Yearly Meeting  on Feb, 2014

Most important programs or opportunities for the Meeting:

  • Programming for children – at annual gathering and retreats throughout the year.
  • Most attractive program or opportunities for individuals in the Meeting:
  • El Salvador connection – NYM still is going there but we have not been a part of that recently
  • Spiritual nurture program
  • Individual connections

Barriers to participation:

  • Our collective nature is rather inward-focused (belly-gazing is how it was put)
  • We struggle with simplicity in our commitments, suffering from a (not necessarily uniquely) urban lifestyle that has us over-busy, lacking time and energy
  • Distance to annual sessions and other inter-NYM events
  • Financial constraints – expense of annual sessions and/or travel to opportunities
  • Lack of individual connections across meetings
  • Education about opportunities – beyond a written description and invitation in the bulletin
  • MFM’s general lack of children; many speak of past involvement spurred by children who were involved
  • There is an NYM culture that can lead to feelings of belonging or of being an outsider

Ideas:

  • NYM liaison can try to anticipate / personally encourage a connection between NYM programs and those who might be interested in participating
  • NYM liaison can work with NYM nominating committee matching MFM individuals’ interests with NYM programming needs
  • NYM liaison and others can solicit workshop presenters from MFM more actively; publicize workshop offerings early to entice people’s attendance at annual sessions *NYM can bring a popular keynote speaker to annual sessions to pique interest in attending
  • Work on creative communication about NYM programs and opportunities
  • NYM can approach / reflect on unconscious barriers that keep people new to NYM from feeling welcome
  • Facilitate person to person connections by having sojourning groups – small groups of seven (or however many can fit in a single vehicle,) who will travel to visit other meetings in the NYM area; maybe one a quarter; could hospitality be offered by host meeting? Would that be too much to ask?

If anyone has any other thoughts or feedback about programs of particular interest, if any of the ideas for action seem particularly exciting or if you have additional thoughts about how we might get NYM more integrated into the life of MFM, please let Carolyn know. And stayed tuned.

Comments are closed.