Minneapolis Friends Meeting

Minutes: Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business

12/14/2014           9:45 AM

Ranae Hanson (presiding clerk), Tom Ward (recording clerk)

I     Gathering Worship

II    November Minutes Approved with corrections

III  Monthly Reports

  1. Director of Ministry – Pat Jones     Addressed the upcoming photo sessions for a new meeting directory. In the past we have contracted with a business to take the photos and create a directory. There is some discomfort with the business model that includes a sales pitch to sell the pictures, but the Welcoming Committee supports this as the best way to facilitate everyone knowing one another in the Meeting – both for new comers and for old timers. Monthly Meeting has already approved the process. There is a need for as many households to participate as possible. Question: Does the number of directories we receive depend on the number of photos taken? Pat believes that is correct, but will check it out. We need to make sure we have additional directories that would be available for distribution in the future.
  2. Ministry and Counsel (M&C) – Carolyn VandenDolder (reporting on December M&C meeting) M&C reviewed two recent adult education programs that addressed participation in worship. They were encouraged by the level of participation. Another session is planned for January. M&C also discussed what would be an appropriate response of MFM to the events in Ferguson, MO. but did not come up with any concrete answers.           *    Concern was expressed about the challenge facing M&C, and all committees of the Meeting, in maintaining sufficient attendance during committee meetings. This led to a general discussion: Declining activity levels of members … The impact on Meeting of everyone being over committed … In the past attenders saw their participation in Meeting activities as being part of a bigger family whereas now there is more separation between “church” and our “friends” – we don’t see them as one and the same … Other churches are having the same experience … Attitudes change as we age … The hardest challenge is scheduling meeting times of committees. Would having consistent dates each month for committee meetings better inform prospective committee members about their commitments to that committee? … There may be a gap in what we expect from people joining the Meeting and what their expectations of the Meeting are. People appreciate the association with Meeting but may not be very committed to it. For many, the Meeting may no longer be a top priority.

IV   Reports

  1. Library (annual) – Dave Bostrom   Reviewed the accomplishments and challenges of the past year.  Among the challenges is the lack of space, insufficient lighting, managing and updating the collection, tracking down long-overdue books, and a budget ($100) that has remained flat for years. Some specific points of attention include: continuing the inventory and weeding project, request a modest increase in budget, locate space away from library for a give-away table for books not needed in the library, finding a suitable floor lamp, and contacting people with long-overdue materials.
  2.  Ad Hoc History (annual) – a written report from Linda Coffin was read. She has been working on this project for over a decade and wants to see it through to completion. She was able to devote two concentrated weeks writing this year and has clarified and organized the footnotes and source citations for about 75% of the manuscript. She has listed the photos and images she wants to include and has researched where to go to obtain permissions. Her plan to use the remaining funds in the history project grant includes: obtaining permissions to reprint copyrighted images, hiring a book designer to complete the pre-print preparations, and printing the final book. She hopes to finish the footnotes and source citations for the remaining parts of the manuscript in the coming months, with the goal of handing over the manuscript and images to the book designer. Once that has happened, the remaining process of printing the book should proceed quickly.
  3.  Nominating Committee (update) – John Kraft   The clerk of Child Welfare Committee has asked to step down.       This is a critical area and the committee will try to fill it early. Nominating Committee is beginning the process to fill committee vacancies for terms beginning in April. Committee clerks will be contacted in the next few weeks and anyone interested in serving on a committee is asked to contact Nominating Committee.
  4.  Liaison and Review (update) – Gayle McJunkin  As part of annual review for director of ministry the committee is developing an 18-20 question survey form to request input from meeting members / attenders about the performance of the director or ministry. The survey will be in two formats – electronic using Survey Monkey and paper. The surveys can be submitted anonymously and should be done by early January. Suggestion was made to provide the link to the survey in the bulletin.
  5.  Peace and Social Concerns (update) – Jeff Naylor  The committee is proposing changes to MFM contributions in next fiscal year’s budget and there have been some additional adjustments since the preliminary report to monthly meeting last month. Two organizations, the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition and Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches, have been added back ($100 each). This necessitated adjusting down, slightly, some of the other numbers to maintain the goal of contributions equaling ~ 10% of the budget. Right now that figure is $10,900 and the amounts given as contributions are nice, rounded numbers. Going forward, it would be good to have one organization that would have a contribution amount that could flex up or down as the formula, based on 10% of the budget, creates fractional amounts in each contribution as the total budget changes from year to year.             *   Additional information on the Carbon Tax – It is called a voluntary carbon tax since there is no mandatory carbon tax currently in place. A category called Voluntary Carbon Tax would be included under Other Contributions as a part of the budget, and the money in this category would go to recipients who have not yet been determined. Recipients would be determined similar to the way we manage the white envelope gift. There is no mechanism for individuals to contribute to this. Friend commented that it would be weird to pay out from the budget to a fund that we would then have to manage. Also, how would we manage this if we fail to meet our budget, since the contribution section is the buffer where we usually make adjustments if we fall short of the budget?  Answer: There are contributions that are fixed and would not be adjusted if we fell short, such as our commitment to Northern Yearly Meeting.  These are mostly stewardship issues and stewardship is still working on them. No action is required now.     *  Regarding Ferguson, Missouri, where an unarmed black man was shot and killed during a confrontation with police on August 9, 2014, leading to local and national protests and much public discourse.       What is the appropriate response of Meeting? There was a broad discussion of the topic: Invite people to speak with us regarding how we could reach out to people in the community – we could sponsor a forum … Friend expressed concern about inviting outsiders to talk to us. It would put them on exhibit. Might be more useful for us to go and visit with them in their churches or community centers       …. Another Friend questioned inviting individuals into our meeting – wondering how we all feel about that and how we might react if we speak honestly … Could we explore this through our relationship with Oakland Church? …       There are many activists who are not black who could speak to the issue … Welcoming Committee has wrestled with the issue and suggests we could host the process or give the space for that to happen rather than doing it ourselves … Another Friend suggested we consider the issue broadly, in context of society and culture. We don’t want to demonize the police. We could facilitate a conversation with them, as well. (There was support for this viewpoint) … Brian Stevenson spoke at a Westminster Forum to 400 black students and emphasized that it is proximity that will change the discussion – we need to be in community – to be in proximity to see that of God in all people and in all communities. Clerk closed the discussion by encouraging us to bring our concerns and comments to Peace and Social Concerns Committee – to have them continue the conversation.

 V    Follow-up Decisions

  1. White Envelope Gift- Roland Barrett  Peace and Social Concerns is recommending three agencies receive this year’s gift:       .   A) The American Refugee Committee – a locally based aid agency that has a presence throughout the world and just recently set up an Ebola treatment program in Liberia.  They would receive 50% of the gift.   B) The Hildegard House Catholic Worker in Duluth works with victims of sex trafficking and needs $300 for a heater.  J. S., from MFM, works there.  C) Open Arms of Minnesota is a program that works to provide nutritious meals to people who are struggling with illness, chemotherapy, etc. They would receive the other half of the White Envelope Gift, minus the $300 for the Hildegard House.

VI    New Business

  1. Welcoming Committee “Potlucks” – Sandy Olson and Keitha Herron   Responding to the need for attenders and members to become better acquainted, the Welcoming Committee is organizing a series of get-acquainted “pot lucks” in people’s homes. They will be organized, initially, as groups of 6 and will rotate among participants’ homes, starting in February.
  2. Request for marriage under the care of Meeting (referred to Marriage Oversight)
  3. Clarification about Friendly Philosophers –  A note was read, followed by discussion that concluded with a statement that a threshing session may be held later, but Friends indicated they did not want to discuss the issue further at this time.

VII   Communications

  • Letter thanking us for a scholarship from the Meeting.
  • Email from C. M., received last year but not read at monthly meeting, regarding a contribution made to Quaker Quest in N. P.’s name.
  • Letter from Cannon Valley Friends Thanking us for our contribution
  • Note from K. C.


11:15        Semi-programmed Worship

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