Minutes: Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business

10/12/2014           9:45 AM

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      September Minutes – Approved

II    Monthly Reports

  1. Director of Ministry – Pat Jones began her report asking us to take a few moments to hold in the light those who are grieving from loss of loved ones or are dealing with serious health issues. First Day school is off to a surprisingly strong start with 5 or 6 young children new to the meeting. Allen G. has been serving as lead teacher and he is interested in having assistance – even if just to supply snacks. Rae C. continues to coordinate special activities with the school children and recently lead a bike trip and has scheduled an upcoming volunteer project, Feed My Starving Children. Meeting Fall Camp is next weekend, so there will be two unprogrammed meetings for worship at the Meeting House next week at 9AM and 11:15 AM but no other activities. Northern Yearly Meeting Interim Session is the following weekend in St Paul (October 24-25) – everyone is encouraged to attend. The movie “Whitewashed: Unmasking the World of Whiteness” will be shown Saturday November 8th 1PM at American Friends Service Committee’s office, 1671 Summit Ave in St Paul.
  2. Ministry and Counsel (M&C) – Judith James M&C is planning an Adult Program on spoken ministry that arises out of worship and having people share their experience of discernment and vocal ministry. They are also asking for feedback about the summer worship schedule. There is a conversation happening about extending the summer worship schedule all year, so M&C wants to hear your ideas and comments.   An album about elders in the meeting is being assembled that features members over 80 years of age. The album will be kept in the library. Pat and Carolyn are pursuing a company to do the picture directory for the Meeting. Discussion: Friend requested that, in the interest of transparency, the discussion about extending the summer schedule be brought before Monthly Meeting.

III     Reports

  1. Four Rivers Friends (annual) – Jim Lovestar   This used to be called Metro Friends Coordinating Committee and it was created to bolster relationships among Friends in the region by staging events to help us connect and to share with each other. The new name more accurately describes the extended Friends community that encompasses four regional rivers – Mississippi, Minnesota, ST Croix and Cannon River (Cannon Valley Friends). Some of the quarterly activities include dances, picnics, outside speakers and poetry readings. Meetings are asked to contribute to the budget and there are representatives from most of the Meetings on Four River Friends. A summer event is being planned in Northfield to help Northfield Friends celebrate the new meeting house.
  2.  Child Welfare (annual) – Zach White  The main tasks of the committee are to provide a clearness process for everyone working with children in the Meeting, including a criminal background check, and to review Meeting policies in the area of child welfare. Some of the challenges – the committee is behind on completing background checks and the clerk acknowledges his other commitments have made it hard for him to be effective in his role on the committee. The need to consider a different clerk has been referred to Nominating.   Discussion: Can Monthly Meeting approve a method for background checks in the absence of the committee doing it? Yes, but it is a complicated process and the transition to having another person take over the process has not been completed. Linda Fergusson has expressed a willingness to assist with this.
  3. Loaves and Fishes (annual) – Sue Kearns and Ann Luce  Minneapolis Friends participates in Loaves and Fishes on the months that have a 5th Monday – approximately 3 times a year. We average about 10-12 volunteers at each meal. The last time we served there were about 20 helpers from MFM to serve ~ 300 people. It seems to work out in the end, but it is nerve wracking since not many sign up ahead of time. We need to change the sign up process. Pat thought there had been an agreement to have people commit to serving every time MFM participates in Loaves and Fishes, not to sign each time.       It isn’t clear if we are between systems.
  4.  Nominating Committee Update – John Kraft   Nominating is recommending Bill Hendricks be approved to fill the open position for Religious Education Coordinator. Monthly Meeting APPROVED Bill Hendricks for the position.

      Discussion: Jeannette R spoke about the need to have both a strategic and a tactical approach to Religious Education in the Meeting.  Tactically– Rae C. coordinates one activity a month and Bill H. will arrange for adult teachers each week.  But we need a broader strategic vision looking forward to attract new people, adults and children, and to address the disconnect that seems to occur between a dedicated group of adults who work with the children downstairs and everyone else whose focus is on activities upstairs.  This would contribute to our becoming a more whole Meeting. Question: Is there a structure or curriculum in place?  Yes.  The theme for this year is Bible stories.  Pat reported that there are a number of curriculum resources to draw upon.  The challenge is making it work in one class with a range of ages from 5-11. The highest priority at this time has been getting adults to be teachers, not the curriculum we are following.

IV     Follow-up Decisions

  • Memorial Minute for Nancy Peterson who died August 17, 2013 – Nettie Smith and Judith James  See attachment for complete Minute.
  • The Minute was read and APPROVED

V      New Business

  1. Clerk asked for a period of silence to hold in the Light all the concerns upon which so many of us are focusing our attentions and concerns that were mentioned at last month’s Monthly Meeting. There is so much going on and we are stretched in so many directions while striving to be at peace as we maintain our Quaker witness.
  2. White Envelope Gift – Peace and Social Concerns is charged with determining where to send the White Envelope Gift that is made at Christmas. There is usually one local and one global charity selected each year to be the recipient.  Forward any thoughts and ideas to members of P&SC or put them in their mail box.

VI    Communications

  1. Northern Yearly Meeting (NYM) Budget Update – Carolyn VandenDolder    Carolyn summarized a letter from Northern Yearly Meeting that describes the financial commitments they are asking of all member meetings. Currently, MFM has been giving less then NYM has requested and the suggestion is we increase our budgeted contributions to be more in line with their expectations. NYM has been spending down a cash reserve to cover their expenses. This reserve will be depleted in four years. Last year the recommendation was made that we contribute $3500 – which is still less then what NYM was asking. [We budgeted $2800] Next month Peace and Social Concerns will make recommendations for our contributions.       Discussion: Do we know the breakdown of NYM’s budget between operating expenses and programming expenses? Not specifically, but there is no paid administrator and no staff costs.  They do pay youth workers to help with retreats and reimburse some travel expenses, etc. Friend expressed concern that our Meeting is not as well represented at NYM activities as many other Monthly Meetings, and she made a plug that our involvement should be more than just financial.  Another Friend praised NYM’s outreach to youth in its programming. There was discussion about the appropriateness of asking individuals to make up for financial shortfalls if a Meeting is not making their requested donation.

2.  Annual fall conference for Peace Maker of the Year –“Lessons from Freedom Summer” on November 2 at Hamline University

VII    Announcements:

  • Doug Herron is our representative to Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL). He is seeking input from others in the Meeting to bring to a national meeting. It is expensive to attend the meeting and FCNL makes a commitment to reach out to young adults “under age thirty” by subsidizing the meeting expenses of some. Get thoughts and ideas to Doug.
  • An advertisement for Fall Camp, which is next weekend, concluded business meeting.

 11:15        Semi-programmed Worship


 Nancy Peterson’s Memorial Minute

 May the work that we share speak for  us

And if we fall short of our goal,

Someone come and take a hold.

May the work that we share speak for us

May the love that we share speak for us

And if we fall short of our goal

Someone come and take a hold.

                                                                             An anonymous poem Nancy held dear to her

Nancy Louise Peterson lived a life where her work spoke for her, her writing spoke for her, her family spoke for her, her Friends Meeting spoke for her and in doing so waded in the silent powerful stream of love that defined her.  The indwelling Spirit in her guided her life and her work.

Nancy was born February 23, 1947 in Minneapolis Minnesota.  She grew up in a Polish/Swedish working class family that was Roman Catholic. She attended St. Phillip’s Catholic elementary school, and St. Anthony of Padua High School.

A turning point for Nancy spiritually came when she went to the University of Minnesota and became active in the Newman Center. She sang in a folk band and marched for Civil Rights with Father Groppe in Milwaukee. These experiences lead Nancy to question her Catholic upbringing and influenced her spiritual journey, and eventually, with her husband Chester led her to Minneapolis Friends Meeting.

Nancy graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in sociology and a Masters of Education. In 1975 she met Chester McCoy while working for the Parent Child Center in Minneapolis. They were married in 1977 and have two daughters. They also have three grandchildren.

Nancy taught special education preschool in the Minneapolis Public Schools for 30 years. Nancy had an amazing gift and calling to be a presence, a love, and an accomplished teacher to the special needs children who counted on her to be there for them. Children including Nancy’s grandchildren were drawn to her quiet, enveloping, all inclusive love, and acceptance.

Nancy was committed to building connections between people of various racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds. In the early to mid-eighties she and Chester were involved as participants in and panelists for interracial family workshops. Along with others, she was a co-founder of the group Winds of Change whose mission included promoting conversations about white privilege and encouraging conversations about white privilege and supporting diversity and equality in groups and organizations. Nancy also co-authored a book White Women Getting Real About Race, an anthology of educators discussing the impact of race, racism, and teaching in diverse classrooms.

Nancy enjoyed writing poetry and journaling. She was published in the anthologies Looking For Home:  Women Writing about Exile and The Cancer Poetry Project: Poems by Cancer Patients and Those Who Love Them. She also published her own book of poetry, Spring at Last. Nancy loved the written word, especially poetry, and left us a legacy of poems that link us back to her presence with us.

Nancy saw the dying process as part of her living life to the fullest; at the end of her life she wrote that “the soil could be something receptive or a place of resistance.” Nancy cultivated her life in rich soil with new shoots. This was possible because of Nancy’s faith and belief in Quaker principles. These principles led her to be open to the work of the Divine in her and in the end she found harmony with the eternal, loving Presence. She changed the life of Minneapolis Friends Meeting and on any given Sunday her song, poetry and love are present in the silence of Worship.

She gave her time, love and prayers to Northern Yearly Meeting, Friends General Conference, the Fellowship of Quakers of African Descent, and the American Friends Service Committee.


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