Minneapolis Friends Meeting
Minutes of April 12, 2015 Monthly Meeting for Business
9:00 Unprogrammed Worship
9:45 Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business
Attendance: David Woolley (presiding clerk), Tom Ward (recording clerk), Pat Jones (director of ministry),
- Gathering Worship
- APPROVED March Minutes
- Director of Ministry Pat Jones Discussed the wonderful opportunity to meet with Chuck Fager and appreciated the gift he brought to Meeting through his discussion of his experience in Selma, Alabama during the early days of the civil rights movement. It was a chance to intersect with some goals expressed during Quaker Quest – racial injustice and connecting us more with the community. This was an ideal occasion to invite the public to meet with us, and special recognition goes to Ralph H. for his role in publicizing the event, including a couple mentions in the StarTribune religious section. The meeting house was full and there were good questions and thoughtful discussions.
- Ministry and Counsel (M&C) Carolyn VandenDolder Special recognition to those ending their term on Ministry and Counsel – Barb M. and Connie A. A clearness committee for membership has met with Roland Barrett and has given his request a strong endorsement. M&C recommends that his request for membership be approved. Friends APPROVED Roland Barrett for membership in Minneapolis Friends Meeting. Regarding the summer schedule, M&C is recommending we follow a consistent pattern during the summer. First and third Sundays will be unprogrammed. Second and fourth Sundays are semi-programmed. When there is a fifth Sunday some queries will be read during the service, but there will be no assigned speaker and no music. Potluck would still occur on the first Sunday of the month following unprogrammed meeting for worship, and monthly meeting for business would be on the second Sunday following semi-programmed meeting for worship. There is interest in continuing to have a social hour, except when there is potluck or monthly meeting. With the summer schedule there is a need to have two or three people to be contacts for unprogrammed worship to arrange closers, to manage the mikes, to handle questions. M&C recognizes there has not been unity about formalizing this, but they believe there is a need for a more formal arrangement to address the needs of the summer unprogrammed worship service. Discussion on coordination of unprogrammed meeting for worship? Connie A. said she will contact members of the old ad hoc unprogrammed committee to see if any of them want to be involved going forward. The thinking is that nominating will recommend two or three individuals for this role. There was formal acknowledgement of Connie for all she has done over the years to organize volunteers for the unprogrammed worship service. Also, adult program committee is soliciting ideas for possible summer programs. Summer Schedule begins on May 24 (Memorial Day Weekend) and will run through Sunday, September 13. The regular schedule commences on the 3rd Sunday in September – the 20th.
- Nominating: Final update for 2015-16 John Kraft The committee recommends Clifford G. for clerk of Semi-Programmed Worship and thanks Jim H. for agreeing to be the primary contact for the Trustees. Recommendations for appointment to the Nominating Committee are: Roberta O., Sigurd H., Tom H., Ed S. and Jeannette R. as committee clerk. Meeting APPROVED the committee recommendations.
- Liaison & Review (L&R) annual report – Gayle McJunkin (outgoing co-clerk) Liaison and Review Committee supports the director of ministry in her role and provides feedback and communication between her and the Meeting. They, also, conduct her annual performance review. The committee met with Pat on April 9, 2015 for this review, during which there was opportunity for her to reflect on her ministry during the past year, to review previous goals, to explore an in-depth survey completed by members of the Meeting on the director of ministry, and to craft goals for 2015-16. Gayle reviewed Pat’s 2014/15 goals, went over a summary of the survey, and presented the goals for this coming year. The 2015/16 goals were developed and informed by the survey, especially where soft spots or needs were identified. Discussion: There was considerable discussion on the survey results and the goals, particularly about the report’s recommendation that Pat speak a certain number of times a year during semi-programmed worship. This matter was referred back to L&R for their consideration. Friends were reminded that, normally, the Meeting does not need to take action to approve the performance review or to approve the goals established between the committee and the director of ministry. The full report is kept on file in the meeting office.
- Membership & attendance annual report – Carolyn VandenDolder A number of those who are active in the Meeting attend once or twice a month. There are 70 active members and 57 regular attenders. We have added four new members this past year – three by transfer and one by convincement. Northern Yearly Meeting defines one’s being activity in a meeting as measured by one’s financial contributions and by participation on committees. Minneapolis Friends Meeting rejects this definition. We do record that 92 people in 70 households contributed money to the Meeting last year.
- Northern Yearly Meeting (NYM) Interim Sessions Report – Carolyn VandenDolder NYM holds an annual session on Memorial Day Weekend and conducts interim sessions in the fall and spring. Carolyn is our Meeting’s representative to NYM and she recently attended their March interim session. There is still $2,300 in scholarship money available to attend the Friends General Conference (FGC) Gathering in North Carolina this summer. If you are interested have our Meeting write a letter to NYM. Starting this year, memorial minutes will be posted in a display during the annual session but not read aloud. Only the names will be read. State of Society Reports will be posted on the web and not read aloud. Northern Yearly Meeting Annual session is Memorial Day Weekend May 22-25 at the Lions Camp near Rosholt, WI. This year’s theme is on the environment, “Earth in the age of Climate Change”. More info is in the bulletin and posted on the table. Discussion: Is there active movement to encourage people to attend FGC this year? There is the scholarship money through NYM and our Meeting has a modest travel fund ($1000) – 4 people at $250 or 5 people at $200. It isn’t that much, but it helps since attending FGC is a large time and expense commitment. Next year there will be a big push to attend the FGC Gathering since it will be here in Minnesota. John K. is a big booster of both NYM and FGC and has been active in both for years, and they have been a great way to develop relationships with other Quakers from around the country and the world. Historically, NYM has had one of the largest delegations at the Gathering and is very involved with FGC activities throughout the year. Ride sharing is available to attend the Gathering.
- State of Society Report for Northern Yearly Meeting (see Attachment) The report was authored by Carolyn V. with help from David W., Pat J. and Sandy O. Ministry and Counsel and Monthly Meeting for Business in March contributed to the ideas and content for the report. The State of Society report was read and APPROVED. Northern Yearly Meeting is asking us to choose two sentences from the report to share with them. The suggestion was made to have Ministry and Counsel choose the sentences, and if you have ideas about this, contact someone on the committee.
- Follow-up Decisions
- Lifetouch online directory – Pat Jones Pat read some statements from LifeTouch addressing some of our concerns regarding personal information being placed in an online directory that would be administered by LifeTouch: In the LifeTouch online directory an individual’s profile and photo can be hidden … We would have a person designated as an administrator who could remove (hide) the online information on someone’s request. No one, but the administrator would be have access to the info … LifeTouch sets up access but we would be able to take access away from an individual – such as if someone were to drop their affiliation with the Meeting … LifeTouch has bank level and stronger data security and they manage information on 83 million children … There is a service to provide the office with updates and edits that individuals have made to their own information (i.e. address change, new phone number) so the office would be monitoring any changes made to the directory and would have the most current info … We can edit our own information and add additional information, such as hobbies, etc. … When we pick up our printed copy of the directory there would be a statement that we would sign stating we would not use this information beyond normal Meeting purposes. Presiding Clerk said there is an online site to see a demonstration of the directory in action. We can decide whether to show our pictures and display our data, or not to. Discussion: There was concern that it is not the way of Quakers to sign pledges to not do something. Pat responded that she thought there should be a way to acknowledge receipt of the directory without us having to violate our principles … Is the default in the web site to hide the information? Clerk thought the default is to post the information but we would have the option to delete it afterwards … A number of Friends have no interest in their information being online and some do not want an online directory at all … Friend appreciates the concern about having some type of binding agreement to not misuse the information since the desire would be to make the directory available to seekers and recent attenders as well as regular attenders / members … Question raised about us needing a password to view the online directory. Yes, the directory is password protected – each person will receive their own password – and access can be maintained by the office administrator … Other Friends spoke in support of the online directory and are puzzled by the reluctance to embrace it. The online version adds so much value with minimal risk. Much of our personal information is readily available online, already; and if the Meeting is trying to appeal to a newer generation of seekers and attenders, this is one way to do that since they are accustomed to doing everything online. Pat spoke to the practicality and ease of keeping an online digital directory up to date versus the printed directory, which is out of date almost from the day it is printed. Right now it takes a very long time to gather and to communicate changes to our directory information, as well as to make sure we have the most current information. Also, for some of our members, it is a significant challenge, not just an inconvenience, to keep directory information updated. With a digital version, the office could hide information for individuals and it would make it much easier for new attenders to find information about us. Once the directory is published, we could establish a period of time – three or four weeks – to allow everyone to review their directory listing and make any changes on their own. Clerk announced that we lack clarity on this, right now, and we have run out of time. We will visit this again next month.
- New Business (postponed)
- Peace and Social Concerns – Quaker Earthcare Witness statement
- Future of the Meeting – Adult Program session April 19
- Communications (postponed)
11:15 Semiprogrammed Worship
2015 State of the Society – Minneapolis Monthly Meeting
This year has been one of grace and challenge, courage and joy.
The current of God’s grace is evident in our corporate life, despite the mounting struggles and tensions in the world. Vocal ministry has been strong and we continue to find refreshment and encouragement in our times of worship together. Our community is enriched, our worship deepened and our hearts enlivened by a host of new faces – some new to Quakerism, some others, Quakers who have moved to the area – and have seen our first day school blossom with children, eliciting fresh vitality from teachers and the Meeting as a whole. While we strain to live within our means – financially and in the work we yearn to take on – we, by the grace of God, seem to manage to honor our financial obligations and tend to each other and the Meeting’s needs with tender care.
We have stretched and grown under the guidance of the Quaker Quest ad hoc committee-turned Welcoming Committee. We are learning new habits that remove previously unrecognized barriers for those new to Meeting. We are thankful so many newcomers have gotten to know and be known by the Meeting. They have quickly become “newcomers” no longer! We rejoice in them and in the opportunities for fellowship outside of Sunday morning – Fall Camp; the potluck mixer; the Thanksgiving potluck. We are grateful, too, to have gotten to know each other through and in the context of art this year – in the adult program’s artist’s series; worship in James Turrell’s Sky Pesher at the Walker and the Twin Cities Friends Meeting art fair.
We continue to find that the combined summer worship experience feeds our sense of being one community of seekers and believers. We delight in the opportunity to worship as one body and forge stronger bonds, across worship groups, in that which is eternal.
We feel burdened by the many, many challenges in contemporary society – the seemingly insurmountable obstacles between where we are and the realization of God’s kingdom – right sharing of resources, racial, economic and social justice, climate stability, environmental preservation, peace. Individuals and the Meeting as a whole find their care extending beyond our community. We are increasingly responding to the call to climate protection and racial justice. With the latter, we are blessed with the powerful work and example of the American Friends Service Committee’s St. Paul office. In the face of violence – done to each other, to other species, to the Earth – we are moving, by the grace of God, from a place of fear and discouragement to a place of determination, courage and faith.
We also know that change will be coming in our meeting community as we acknowledge the finite tenure of our beloved Director of Ministry. We are leaning on the grounded wisdom of a few Friends who are guiding us through a care of the future planning process.
While we grieve all that is lost with change – in our community and in our world – we feel comfort and a quiet joy that we have the assistance of God and each other as we step into the future.
[Some names and information have been redacted or edited for publication on the web]