Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business,

5/11/2014

Ranae Hanson (presiding clerk), Tom Ward (recording clerk), Pat Jones (director of ministry) [some names and information have been redacted for publication on the web]

I      April Minutes were Approved

II    Monthly Reports

  1. Ministry and Counsel –  Judith James There is a need to firm up the summer schedule. The summer schedule starts with semi-programmed meeting for worship on Sunday May 25 at 10AM and continues the following week (Sunday June 1) with unprogrammed meeting for worship – alternating each Sunday thereafter (June 8th semi-programmed, June 15th unprogrammed, etc.) A social hour will follow worship at 11AM, except on the 1st Sunday of the month (monthly potluck at rise of meeting) and the 2nd Sunday of the month (business meeting at 11AM). Members and attenders are asked to sign up to either host or to bring finger foods to one of the social hours. Signup sheet will be kept on the table near the meeting room door throughout the summer. Social Committee and the Welcoming Committee will provide beverages and make available directions for hosting the social hour. Social hour will begin on May 25. On the Sundays when there is a social hour, two members of M&C will be available in the conference room to meet with anyone who wants to share their experiences during worship and desires further connection, sharing or deepening of that experience.

III     Reports

  1. Liaison and Review (annual) –    Gayle McJunkin (printed copy is kept on file in the office)  L&R met regularly with Pat Jones during the past year and conducted the annual performance review on March 22, 2014. They also received input from meeting clerks and from members. L&R recommends Pat and her service to the Meeting without reservation. They feel our Meeting is blessed to have Pat’s leadership and commitment to create new community and sustain our group through deaths, marriages, plans for the future and the disappointments of dreams and plans not fully realized. Pat has highlighted our gifts and strengthened our community and we are grateful for her generosity of spirit and her gifts of ministry.              Discussion: Member expressed concern about the need to distinguish between performance goals and personal goals in the report. A report that was briefer and more focused on performance goals would be appreciated. They recognize that this is a challenge in the environment of the Meeting and that the job of the director of ministry does not have very clear boundaries, especially when health is involved. This has evolved over time and the goals emphasize certain areas while not exploring others, such as support of members dealing with death, grief or marriage.    Response – the committee appreciates the points raised and is sensitive to the need to address performance issues …   Another Friend expressed the growing concern to support professional development and wellness of professionals and that this should be a goal of institutions like the Meeting … Concern was also given about the appropriateness of the report’s inclusion of strategic planning in the 2015 goals.   Meeting Clerk discussed the background of the strategic planning initiative and that it did emerge from discussions in many committees (Nominating, M&C and others) and that these discussions included the role of the director of ministry. The Clerk confirmed that the core preplanning group will be responsible to monthly meeting and will sift through the relevant concerns.
  2. Stewardship Committee (annual) – Roland Barrett   Review of fiscal year that runs April 1, 2013 through March 31, 2014. Recently, we were looking at a shortfall in donations. Currently, we are ok. Donations came in at the end of the 4th Quarter and expenses were just about right on. There was a misclassification of expenses involving Quaker Quest (QQ) of $5210.  That correction lowered general expenses by 4.5%.  We were $8,535 over in designated and regular income  The Meeting recognized Suzanne F for her service as off-going clerk of Stewardship  Discussion: Where are the special designated memorial funds for Nancy Peterson? A) They are in the designated QQ total. Q) What are the contributions we cut from next year’s budget? A) The 2014-15 budget for contributions is $10,300, which is $1,200 less than last year. Peace and Social Concerns is reviewing how best we should decide where and how to make cuts. It is likely that we may end up giving more money to fewer organizations. Our overall budget for contributions has declined because we assign 10% of our budget to contributions and our budget for next year is less than last year’s budget, so our contributions will be proportionately less. Q) Did we use funds assigned to contributions to balance our budget? A) No.   Q) Don’t memorial funds go to the trustee funds and, thus, should not appear in the general budget? A) Yes. That is true, but they are included in the budget report since that has been our practice over the years. They probably should be taken out. The off-going clerk of Stewardship, says memorials will be turned over to the trustees. We still need to make a decision about the memorials made in Nancy Peterson’s name designated for Quaker Quest.   Q) Why is Meeting making donations to organizations rather than encouraging individuals to make their own contributions to those groups? There is a survey that shows many people in the community are supportive of Quaker ideals. We should take this $12,000 to do outreach and bring people to Meeting rather than making donations to other groups. Meeting Clerk: this will be discussed further in the P&SC meeting on Wednesday evening. Clerk of Stewardship: Regarding the misclassification of Quaker Quest funds – we started funding for QQ in the middle of the budget year. QQ donations were outside the budget, yet when expenses were paid they was entered in the budget.   Q) For determining the number of people supporting the Meeting, are individuals giving to the Meeting listed as individual donors or grouped within a household? A) We identify donors by “giving units” [households] and, thus, we appear to have fewer people giving the bulk of the contributions. This is really pretty normal. We have about 80 regular givers to Meeting. If each of us gave a couple dollars more a week, our budget concerns would be largely resolved.
  3. Auditor’s Report (annual) – Harv Busta    Discussion: Friend notes that the combining of custodial and nursery funds in the budget has led to some confusion. Harv will begin an audit of the Trustees report this summer.

IV      Follow-up Decisions

  1. State of Society Report – Joanne Esser (See Attachment 1 for report)   Discussion: Sandy O, Carolyn V, Joanne E, Pat J and Ranae H were sources. A question was raised about the accuracy of the date in the report indicating when Nancy Peterson’s died. State of Society report was APPROVED to be sent to Northern Yearly Meeting. [The memorial service programs list Nancy Peterson’s death to be on August 17, 2013 and Rusk Anderson’s on September 2, 2013. Corrections were made for both dates to the State of Society Report by the recording clerk]  The report was read.
  2. Peace and Social Concerns – Friends were asked last month to delay consideration of the minute regarding taconite mining in Wisconsin until this month, to give more time to review the topic – “Minneapolis Friends Meeting stands with Duluth Superior Meeting and others in opposition to the Gogobic Taconite Mine in Wisconsin.” After confirming the wording of the minute, Friends APPROVED the minute.
  3. About 55 people attended the showing of “Years of Living Dangerously” at the meeting house on 4/13/2014. Plans are in the works for more public showings of additional episodes of the series on the cable network Showtime in June.
  4. Liaison between MFM and American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) – So far, no one has come forward to volunteer to be a liaison with AFSC. Friend asked for further clarification of this role. AFSC is setting up a series of liaisons around the country who will be their special point of contact regarding the four or five topics AFSC selects to promote and to support locally around the country. The liaisons could function as teams in regions that have more than one Meeting. This is being referred back to Peace and Social Concerns for further exploration. Presently, Roland B and Nancy H are the contacts for P&SC. 

V      Communications

  1. Request from Northfield Friends asking for funds to continue their construction of a new meeting house.
  2. Requests for hospitality – There are a couple requests for hospitality from sojourning friends from out of the area looking for a place to stay for a week or two. If you are interested in participating and can offer hospitality to traveling friends let Carolyn know.
  3. With time available at the end of business meeting, the clerk asked for consideration of how the Meeting can best transition from meeting for worship into business meeting. Do we shake hands? It really is a continuation of the meeting for worship but there is an awkward process as we transition. Shaking hands and doing quick introductions seems fine. How do we attend to the concerns of new attenders? Many of them scoot out fast. If we formally end worship with a handshake, then we have to restart the worship again to ground ourselves before conducting business. The process should be disciplined.    Discussion: One Friend says that in other Meetings he has attended they stop worship and start up again for meeting for business. Another remarked on the larger issue of how to close worship in the summer, since unprogrammed and semi-programmed do it differently. The worship sharing that is encouraged at the end of unprogrammed meeting is unwieldy between worship and business meeting and should be dropped when transitioning to the business meeting. Another Friend thought that this was not a problem and that not too much time is devoted to worship sharing. Suggestions were made that silence is good to center ourselves when entering worship with attention to business and that announcements could come at the end of business meeting, rather than at the conclusion of unprogrammed worship.

Adjourn 

11:15 Meeting for Worship

Attachment 1:

Minneapolis Friends Meeting

State of Meeting Report, 2013-2014

A defining activity of this year for us was our experience with Quaker Quest.

After months of spiritually-deepening preparation, we offered six Quaker Quest workshops during October and November of 2013. Attendance varied but was about 50 each session with just slightly fewer guests attending, overall, than members.

Comments we received from visitors included these answers to a question about what they most liked: “I liked the silent meeting the best. I felt the spiritual respect of the Quaker beliefs at that time”; “The sharing of the 3 speakers; the worship experience; the gracious hospitality & the warm leadership of the facilitator; “Panel of presenters vs. word from on high; sample meeting; warm reception”; “I liked hearing personal stories from members. I related to each one differently.”

The Quaker Quest process seemed to bring out the best in us—warm hospitality, thoughtful and profound presentations, carefully-designed and appealing brochures, delicious snacks, engaged participation by both newcomers and old-timers and deep, inspiring worship at the conclusion of each session. Meeting members commented: “I got to know members at a different level”; “I was reminded that I really like who we are as a community”; and, echoing George Fox, “Through Quaker Quest we were all reminded that we truly are ‘written in one another’s hearts.’”

Additional blessing came from deepening ties with other Quakers and Friends organizations that supported us. Northern Yearly Meeting provided a $300 grant and Friends General Conference gentle oversight for our Quaker Quest process. We also participated in a pilot project sponsored by Friends General Conference and Friends Council on Education called “Exploring Together,” a project is similar to Quaker Quest, but with an explicit goal of deepening relationships between Friends schools and local Friends meetings. Members of our meeting worked closely with members of Twin Cities Friends Meeting and staff from Friends School of Minnesota to plan and host a March workshop about Quakerism for Friends School families and staff. Future meetings are being planned.

We have found that working on a project together deepens our bonds and increases our effectiveness. With facilitation by our newly reconfigured Peace and Social Concerns committee we have chosen three activity topics for the current year: Climate Justice, Racial Justice, and Economic Justice.

During summer of 2013 we held a single meeting for worship each Sunday instead of two separate meeting. We alternated between unprogrammed and semi-programmed styles of worship and enjoyed a fellowship time with refreshments and conversation after the meeting each week. Overall, people felt that the single meetings, which were well attended, helped us get to know each other better and grow closer as a community. Valuing the experiment, we return to that schedule for this summer.

Currently we have 65 active adult members, no active associate members, 35 regular adult attenders, and six regular attenders who are children. We have accepted two new members this year and released six members, three by death and three by transfer. Beloved members who have died include Nancy Peterson on August 17, 2013, Rusk Anderson on September 2, 2013, and John Campbell on February 5, 2014. Two members transferred to Eau Claire Monthly Meeting and one to Duluth-Superior Monthly Meeting. One marriage was taken under the care of the meeting.

“Let us mind that which is eternal, that which gathers our hearts together for we are written in one another’s hearts.” George Fox

 

 

 

 

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