Minutes: Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business

2/8/2015    9:45 AM

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

I       Gathering Worship – 

II     January MinutesAPPROVED             There followed a discussion on the distribution of the minutes: Copies of recent minutes need to be more immediately available by placing them on the long table. The preliminary draft minutes should not be on the table but will continue to be distributed to those in attendance via email.  Other ways of distributing the minutes were discussed.  Recording secretary will post the minutes in a timelier manner to the meeting web page once the minutes have been approved.    Clarification was made that the minutes should reflect what actually occurred during the business meeting. Our process of approving the minutes is to make sure the written record is accurate and is not a time to review the decisions that were made in the previous business meeting.  Friends repeated that Quaker business is conducted within the spirit of worship, guided by God.  Clerk stated that this discussion has been a chance to educate ourselves about the manner in which Meeting conducts business; and one consequence of conducting business between scheduled worship services on Sunday is we save time by distributing them in advance online and not by reading them out loud prior to approving them.  Clerk stated we will continue to follow the current practice but with renewed commitment to make available the minutes from the last few months on the table, and we will post major decisions in the bulletin.

III      Monthly Reports

  1. Director of Ministry – Pat Jones  Special acknowledgement to Ranae Hanson, who has been presiding clerk for three years and will clerk her final business meeting today.           Discussion: Is anyone checking to see if people do not want their names in the directory? Other Friends expressed concern about security of personal information in the databank maintained by Lifetouch and want some assurance about its safety. Some would like to opt out of having their information appear in an online directory and others want more assurance before going online. The directory would be on our website and would be password protected. Response – if people had their pictures taken and have checked their names and addresses in the listing, we assume they are willing to be in the directory. We know that if there is an online version we would each be able to update our own information.   Friends are asked to check their individual listing in the new directory and to make any needed corrections. The Meeting is seeking some technical assistance regarding the new photo directory. Bill H will assist. John K will back him up …. Five Friends met with Hannah G, an intern with Friends Committee on National Legislation, regarding programing for young adults. Check fcnl.org or futureadvocate.org for additional info and lobby activities …. FCNL is trying to influence congressional representatives who have not spoken out on climate change. …. Friends General Conference Gathering is in North Carolina this summer – next summer it will be in St Joseph, Minnesota. See Pat if you would like to help out. John K is heading up the local arrangements committee …. Special welcome to Finley H. – Jim and Susan’s grandson.
  2. Ministry and Counsel (M&C) – Judith James  Two clearness committees for membership have been set up …. During adult program next Sunday we will explore Interfaith Power and Light’s “Preach-In”, sponsored by Peace and Social Concerns Committee and M&C …. Pat and Judith attended a Twin Cities Friends Meeting discussion regarding the Quaker Voluntary Service program …. Some potlucks are being held in homes. We continue to be blessed by the presence of new attenders / members in the Meeting and we welcome their energy.  Discussion: Friend inquired why names of people seeking clearness for membership are not reported. A number of people answered – The larger size of our meeting creates confidentiality issues that we try to respect. Recently, a request for membership was withdrawn and the individual had appreciated the meeting’s discretion handling their request. When one applies for membership it initiates a discernment process to provide clarity about the decision, such as “is this the right time?” or “do they understand the meaning of membership in Quaker Meeting?” Only when this process has taken place is the request made public. Presiding Clerk affirmed that our meeting relies heavily on committees to address most issues before they are brought to monthly meeting for final discussion and approval.

IV       Reports

  1. Stewardship (quarterly report and preliminary budget) – Roland Barrett    3rd quarter financials: through December 31, 2014 we have collected 74% of the yearly budget of $112,875. That is good news, meaning we are just about on track to meet total income for the year. On the report, in the right column showing “% Remaining”, anything showing above 25% means we are in good shape. Our cash balance as of yesterday is $59,000. Question: When does the $5,000 get moved into the Trustee’s Building Fund? Answer: at the end of the fiscal year.  White Envelope Gift was $1970 this year. It was distributed: $300 to Hildegard House, $985 to American Rescue Committee, $685 to Open Arms of Minnesota.   Proposed 2015-16 budget.  In the proposal for next year’s budget there has been a slight decrease in the projected general fund total from $112,875 (this year) to $112,204 (next year). Some specifics: Director of Ministry is down 1.8% because medical insurance has decreased; nursery costs are lower mainly because we are planning on 3 months of volunteer workers for the nursery (budgeting for 9 months); increase in furnace maintenance; increase in fall camp expenses. Overall, next year’s budget would be 0.6% lower than this year’s.      The proposed budget will be approve at next month’s business meeting.    Discussion: Where is the $1,000 voluntary carbon tax being spent? Peace and Social Concerns is tasked with selecting where the carbon tax will go. Get ideas to them … Question was raised about the director of ministry’s compensation and how the total compensation was being calculated compared with how it used to be done. Clerk of Liaison and Review will meet with Stewardship to discuss this …. Clerk of Welcoming Committee explained that their request is up considerably because they plan a lot of outreach activities and need more materials.
  2. Nominating (preliminary report) – John Kraft  He reviewed the process of filling committees assignments and asked us to review the preliminary report and notify him if changes need to be made. They still seek more people for adult program committee. By next month, all the clerks should be identified. Religious education now appears on the first page and is under the direction of one person (no longer a coordinator position) and we are still looking for someone interested in that position. Bold face type indicates the individual is new to a committee, filling–in an open slot, or re-upping to serve additional time on that committee.      Meeting is asked to approve the early appointment of David Woolley to the position of Presiding Clerk, so he could step in and clerk next month’s business meeting. Meeting APPROVED his early appointment as Presiding Clerk.       Question: Are you looking for people to serve on Nominating? No. The Presiding Clerk names the individuals to be approved to serve on Nominating Committee …. Friend asked if consideration has been given to reducing the length of time committee members serve, since three years is a significant commitment and it may deter folks from participating – especially if they are new to the Meeting. Answer: this has been considered, but there is no move to reduce term lengths, since it takes a while for people to learn the duties and responsibilities of committee assignments. Both committees and the Meeting need to be sensitive to the ability of individuals to meet the commitments of committee appointments and to release them early from their term if needed. Friends are reminded to please notify Nominating if they leave a committee mid-year. A Friend asked if we could better link adult program and religious education as a way to interest younger adults to get involved.

V         New Business

  1. The Meeting is looking for someone to work part time ~ 4hrs / week to clean the meeting house. Duties include cleaning the bathrooms, some vacuuming, occasional cleaning of the meeting room floor, not much in the kitchen and no windows. Pay is $13.20/hr. Property Committee is responsible for the hiring; and we prefer to do this ourselves, rather than pay an outside agency, because we want the person cleaning to receive all the salary. It does not have to be someone from the Meeting, but we do want someone we trust.

VI        Communications

  1. Thank you notes
    • Hildegard House – for white envelop gift ($300)
    • Personal letter from Judy S thanking the Meeting for supporting her and her work with Hildegard House.
    • From Northern Yearly Meeting acknowledging our $2,780 contribution to them. They encourage us to take advantage of NYM scholarships available to attend Friends General Conference in North Carolina this summer.
    • A request from Northern Yearly Meeting’s Faith and Practice committee for feedback (by 3/30/15) regarding the draft on the chapter “Testimony of Equality”. They also seek a recorder and presenter for the adult program reviewing the chapter that will take place at Minneapolis Friends Meeting on 2/22/15.

11:15         Semi-programmed Worship



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