Minutes: Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business

7/13/2014           11:00 AM

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

I      June Minutes – Approved

II     Monthly Reports

  1. Director of Ministry – No report. Pat is scheduled to return on Tuesday.
  2. Ministry and Counsel – Judith James      A question arose about the format for summer worship. Reaffirmed that the summer schedule format has been proposed by Ministry and Counsel and agreed upon by business meeting – therefore will continue. People with concerns are invited to discuss it with members of M&C. So far, there has been an overwhelming positive response to the summer schedule.

*     Pot lucks during summer occur equally on unprogrammed and semi-programmed meetings for worship.

*     M&C appreciates the discipline shown by those closing worship regarding announcements and introductions, focusing on introductions of new attenders while minimizing unscheduled messages.

*     M&C discussed the need to support those who share vocal ministry during meeting for worship.M&C will season the idea and re-consider it next month. Discussion: Not sure what “support” means. People feel vulnerable when speaking in silence – question is how to support them in their vulnerability. M&C does support scheduling regular programs (annual) on the quality of vocal ministry. This could be done in collaboration with or by Adult Program Committee.

*    Clarity has been sought about the function and mission of the Outreach and Welcoming committee (O&W). Their mission statement indicates their focus is not just on new members but it also focuses heavily on people who have not connected to a small group or to an inner community within the Meeting. O&W wants to nurture and support these people, discover their interests and desires for connection, and help plug them into a group. M&C supports this mission.

 

III     Reports

  1.  Religious Education (annual) – Rae Cornelius   In 2013-14 the acting clerk position has been informal and there is no clerk for 2014-15. People helping with religious education include parents, meeting members, and teachers: Allen G, Kassie M, Jane F and Susie K. The theme for 2013-14 was developed through a meeting with parents, teachers and Minneapolis Meeting staff and was based on Luke 4:18-19 and used a three-pronged approach: 1. seeking a spiritual foundation via knowledge of the prophets and Jesus’s words and actions, 2. exploring the works of Quakers relating to our testimonies, 3. visits with Quakers who are bringing “good news” to the world.
    • Accomplishments include the fact that there were four consistent attenders. Students seemed to enjoy our approach. Parents were very involved and supported the community projects. Students got to know people in the Meeting. Students experienced the Quaker value of service to others.
    • Challenges mainly concern the low attendance – Jr High youth rarely attended their special class facilitated by John K. There were two four year olds and a kindergartner in the nursery but there is no formal religious instruction for them, although Susie reads to them and does activities.
    • What do we do, if anything, with junior and senior high students? Encouragement to attend Northern Yearly Meeting retreats is not working. We anticipate only 3 regular attenders in 2014-15 – one junior high, one 4th grader and one 3rd grader.
    • Child Welfare, Nursery and Religious Education Committees all have distinct yet very similar interests. Could there be some discussion on reconfiguring these committees?
    • There is no structure in place for next year and the committee has not met due to many extenuating factors – and there is no clerk.Discussion: If people are here for first day school, people come; if no one is here, no one comes   … Nominating Committee has been waiting for guidance from the group that was being organized to address questions about religious education but that has not happened yet; and Pat, who had been asked to help convene the group, has been absent a lot on family leave … There has been a reliance on parents to set the tone and scope of religious education but no one has wanted to be clerk … We are running out of time and are at the point where we need to move beyond planning and to focus our discussions more on tasks … Absence of a clerk greatly impacts planning and the on-going function of the committee … Question: Why are kids not attending? Sports is a big part of it! Many sport teams are active on Sundays and that directly impacts one of our families … Rae will help the committee next year as she is able, but she anticipates she will be out East a lot with her family … Friend suggested we look at our culture differently – consider having students sit in meeting for worship before going off for first day school. Also, one Friend raised the question if we are asking too much to have new families trust us right away to provide a safe environment for their kids.
    • Special recognition goes to Allen G who has been with the students every week.
  2. Property Committee (annual)Joseph Flores –    Susie is leaving as custodian so we are looking for someone to take her place. Marilyn J. will be substituting for the next few weeks, but a permanent replacement is needed. Question? Could the custodian duties be shared? Yes.
    • A major concern for this coming year is the furnaces. Three furnaces on the east side will probably have to be replaced. One has a burned out motor and they all are aging and expected to have issues. This is leading to a reassessment of the entire heating and ventilation system. The prudent thing to do would be to replace all three furnaces in the east furnace room. Terry Hokenson was contracted by the Meeting to take the lead securing design services from mechanical engineers and bids from contractors for the installation. One bid for developing design and construction documents was $13,000. Additional cost would be incurred for project management and administration. Additional bids are being sought for design, as well as getting estimates from vendors on the cost of replacing the furnaces.
    • A water pipe froze leading to the first floor bathroom sink this winter. Options are being considered to reconfigure the plumbing to prevent this from happening again.
    • Signage has still been a concern of the Property Committee and will be addressed in the future, but with the expected costs of new furnaces, this task is placed at a lower priority.
    • Special thanks to the contributions of time and energy from Jim H., Terry H and Ed S.
  3. Semi-programmed Worship Planning (annual)David Woolley
    • The worship planning committee attends to the organizational needs and general well-being of semi-programmed meeting for worship. We handle the practical matters of inviting and scheduling speakers, musicians, closers, and microphone carriers.
    • Challenges for the committee come from the wide range of expectations brought to Meeting by worshipers and from the tension created by trying to balance the need for planning with the need to leave room for the unplanned.
    • A particular challenge comes in the period following the closing handshake, when there is a tendency for people to share a lot and to make unscheduled announcements. The emphasis needs to be on welcoming visitors, but we don’t want to be too rigid about restricting people sharing their concerns or announcements. Friends are encouraged to post their announcements in the bulletin or, if presented at close of Meeting, announcements should be brief and the closer should be alerted in advance.
    • Planning for the summer schedule of blended unprogrammed and semi-programmed meetings has been challenging and has pointed out the need for regular communication between Semi-Programmed Worship Committee and the Unprogrammed Meeting Care Committee.        Discussion: Concern was expressed that the unprogrammed care committee has not been meeting very much and the Meeting would benefit from their input … Question raised about the formal structure of the unprogrammed meeting care committee and how they would report back to M&C and/or to Monthly meeting. Presiding Clerk and clerk of M&C will meet to determine the process for the committee to report back … Friend acknowledged improvement in how we welcome visitors but felt we could do a better job announcing the need for everyone to use the microphone when speaking. They felt a printed announcement at the top of the bulletin would be helpful.
  4. Trustees (annual) Jim Haefemeyer –  The Trustees manage a set of funds separate from the Annual Budget which addresses ordinary operating expenses. We recently reviewed the status of the funds to clarify their standing and function. Trustee’s funds come from allocations from the Annual Budget, from donations and memorials, and from Mayim Rabim’s rent payments.

MFM Trustee Account Status as of 7/2014 (round numbers, including recent transfer of funds paid out from the 2013-2014 Annual Budget).

  • Community Service (Mission, Service and Fellowship): $14,000
  • Conference Travel: $5,400
  • History Project: $9,500 Linda C. is not taking anything from the History Project right now. We are waiting to use funds to help in publishing the project.
  • Seed Fund: $4,000
  • Sabbatical Fund: $25,000 Sabbatical Fund is still growing and may be needed again in the next couple years.
  • Building Fund: $37,000 Building Fund is the largest fund (undesignated funds go into the building fund). The costs associated with replacing our furnaces will take at least half of the $37,000 fund. Signage on the building is a big issue and is complicated by the need to follow city regulations.
  • Quaker Quest (QQ): There is a small amount that was unspent and remains in the fund. In addition, there has been $3,000 designated in memorials to Nancy Peterson that have gone into the Quaker Quest Fund.     Discussion: Would travel funds cover travel for the White Privilege Conference? Not sure … The Meeting might consider moving funds from Quaker Quest into the Seed Fund … Two people supported moving $1,000 from QQ into the Seed Fund and another thought it would be appropriate to use QQ funds to pay for signage. Friend remarked that Quaker Quest is not done yet and we should be careful shifting money away from it, prematurely, to another purpose. Presiding Clerk replied that it really doesn’t make much difference what fund it is in since we decide how the funds are expended … Question: Is the Shepherd Scholarship Fund controlled by the Trustees? No. Shepherd Scholarship fund is administered by a separate committee and is not overseen by the Trustees.

IV     Follow-up Decisions

  1. Decision to contribute to Cannon Valley Friends building fund:    Stewardship Committee reports the surplus being carried over from last year is $577 (not the estimated$1300 which had previously been reported). Thus the amount in consideration should be $577. And new information has been received that Cannon Valley Friends Meeting has accepted a 0% interest loan from Northern Yearly Meeting to complete their building project.      Discussion: Is it customary for Meetings to help one another this way? Yes … Friend wanted to know if we had responded in any way to the request, so far. Yes … It was suggested that we communicate our commitment to help financially, even if we can’t decide on an amount right now …   Another Friend expressed concern about our ability to give any money based on our current limited financial situation …   Presiding Clerk: we are already giving financial support to Northern Yearly Meeting to support their operations and that would include the loan they gave to Cannon Valley … Suggestion was made that since we have approximately $30,000 in our operating checking account, which is not part of the Trustee Fund, we could show our commitment to Cannon Valley by contributing more than $500 and that $2000 might be more appropriate … Clerk: anything greater than $577 would have to go through Stewardship Committee … Friend supports giving money to support Cannon Valley and their student community and keep their ministry vital   … Another expressed appreciation for the generosity of spirit being expressed and they are leaning toward giving a contribution, and one said they thought $500 is adequate and that they were willing to make their own designated gift to Cannon Valley … Clerk: reminded Friends that one reason there is a surplus of $577 is because a plea had gone out for additional contributions to Meeting since we were running short of our budget, and Friends may well have dipped into their future giving potential by helping cover the year-end shortfall. Also, Friends can give directly to Cannon Valley Friends on their own, but it would be difficult to set up a “designated fund” to do so … Friend again spoke against the proposal, saying that this was a planned expense taken on by a Meeting to construct a meeting house and then the request for help was made once the project had begun … There was a question if the surplus was “actual” and not “probable”? Yes, Stewardship has confirmed that this is a year-end surplus that would be carried over … Suggestion was made that we designate part of the “White Gift” at Christmas to Cannon Valley. There was interest in pursuing this as well as concern whether this could or should be done. Clerk proposed Minneapolis Friends Meeting send $250 in friendship to Cannon Valley Friends Meeting to support them in their new building. Proposal was APPROVED.
  2. Memorial Minute for Nancy Peterson is not finished at this time

 

V      Communications 

  • Joint Religious Legislative Coalition – Thank you – $100 donation
  • Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches – Thank you – $240 donation
  • Quaker Earthcare Witness – Thank you – $100 donation
  • Friends School of Minnesota – Thank you – $440 donation
  • Friends General Conference – Thank you – $490 donation
  • Friends World Committee for Consultation – Thank you – $340 donation
  • American Friends Service Committee – Thank you – $980 donation
  • Friends Committee on National Legislation – Thank you – $980 donation
  • Earlham School of Religion – Thank you – $140 donation
  • Right Sharing of World Resources – Thank you – $690 donation

VI     Announcements and Adjourn (12:15PM)

 

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