Minneapolis Friends Meeting
Minutes of June 14, 2015 Monthly Meeting for Business
10:00 Semi-Programmed Meeting for Worship
11:00 Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business
David Woolley – presiding clerk, Terry Hokenson – acting recording clerk, Pat Jones – director of ministry
- Gathering Worship
- May Minutes APPROVED
- Director of Ministry–Pat Jones. The wedding of Robert Raymond and Gwen Williams will take place on June 20th at the Meeting House and will be under the care of Meeting.
- Ministry and Counsel (M&C)–Carolyn VandenDolder. One clearness committee for membership is still underway. A new member welcome will be June 21st. Susie Kanemitsu is retiring from her work / ministry in the meeting nursery. There will be a reception of thanks for her and her faithful nursery presence at the rise of business meeting today.
- Northern Yearly Meeting (NYM) —Ranae Hanson. Ranae asked NYM attenders to describe in one sentence their experience. Pat : “I got caught up with NYM’s relationship with El Salvador Yearly Meeting. John K: “I worked with older kids on a climate change theme, and used the models of Lucretia Mott and John Woolman, who went into the world with spirit-led missions.” Ranae explained what NYM is, where it meets, and when. Susie K went for the first time and said she enjoyed the gathering, the music and the place. Betsy S: “I went to a workshop presented by Ranae about her students, who come from many countries, about their experiences with climate change.” Ed S: “My heart was softened by all the activities [missed part of the thought].” Allen G: “There was rich intergenerational diversity.” Terry H: “I enjoyed many lively conversations.” David W: “I attended David Abasz’s workshop on his experience with greenhouses around Duluth and the North Shore. I’m very much inclined to go again.” Ranae read an epistle from Northern Yearly Meeting (see attachments).
- Stewardship: brief update on current year–Roland Barrett. As of June 10 we are 10 weeks into the fiscal year and we have reached only 60% of our budgeted goal for this period of time, which is $22,084. So donations are about $9000 short of our budget right now.
- Property Committee Annual Report—Joseph Flores. Their charge is the upkeep and maintenance of the Meeting House and grounds. (1) Three new furnaces and a hot water heater were installed to replace old ones that were failing. The furnaces were designed and installed by Centraire Heating & Air Conditioning at a final cost of $22,475. We want to recognize the major contributions of Jim H, Terry H and Ed S in overseeing this complex system update. (2) Replaced a small hot water heater in the men’s bathroom. (3) Susan Hoch was hired as custodian in March 2015. Special thanks to Suzie K for her many years of keeping the Meeting House interiors in excellent appearance. (4) “Clean-up Day” was conducted on May 28, 2015. Thanks to Betsy S and Linda F for their planning and organization of the cleaning and to Terry K for his window cleaning. (5) The large annual maintenance projects – sewer cleanouts and carpet/floor cleaning are scheduled for August and September of this year. (6) The Property Committee will begin an annual assessment and prioritization of the many small, but necessary, building maintenance/repair projects that need our attention. We may hire skilled workers for the more important projects.
- Adult Program Committee— Postponed.
- Semi-Programmed Worship Planning Committee Annual Report—Joanne Esser. This committee is a subcommittee of Ministry & Counsel and plans the speakers, musicians, closers and microphone carriers during semi-programmed meeting for worship. They have collaborated with Unprogrammed Worship Planning Committee in developing a common closing procedure to be used in the summer. One area of concern in the summer has been the long time it takes to end meeting once worship has concluded. The plan to restrict introductions to only visitors and to limit sharing of joys and concerns and the reading of announcements has not had the desired time saving effect. The committee is open to suggestions.
- Follow-up Decisions:
- Lifetouch meeting directory–Pat Jones. The question is posed whether meeting should have an online directory. Pat stated that it would be password protected and people could edit their information or even delete it entirely. Updates would be easier and more accessible. Comments: Friend said it is a good idea, but she has a question about access. The clerk stated that the directory would be at a site separate from but linked to the meeting’s web site. Online access could be available immediately. The security of the list was discussed, such as whether features prevent someone using it for other purposes without consent of members. The printed version is expected soon. Friends APPROVED creation of the online directory.
- Care of the Future of the Meeting—Jeannette Raymond. The first session on care of the future of Minneapolis Friends Meeting was held in April during the Adult Forum period. Several lists of considerations were made covering topics such as Challenges, Opportunities, and Risks. Jeannette facilitated attenders’ reading and reflection on these topics, looking for places of tensions, strengths and challenges. A Friend broke down the many listed concerns and affirmations into three broad areas: environmental and climate challenges, social/societal matters, and religious practice. The question whether we are a faith community or an activist community was raised as an example of a tension. Another point of tension comes from wanting to grow, to expand and to change while wanting to retain our sense of identity. Friends offered the conclusions that (1) there is more here than we can easily deal with; (2) we have relied heavily to date on the Director of Ministry; (3) we are committed to caring for the future as Quakers. A Friend remarked, “This is a work in progress—there is a limit to the amount of precision we can achieve. We must forgive ourselves for what we are.” Attenders were advised that information about the process, including the lists that have been created, is available on the meeting’s web site (see the sidebar on the right side of the web site’s front page). Jeannette stated that in July an online survey of meeting members would be conducted.
- Meeting was closed after a period of silent worship.
[Some names and information have been edited or removed for publication on the web]
Epistle from Northern Yearly Meeting, for 2015
Greetings to Friends everywhere from the 2015 annual sessions of Northern Yearly Meeting at Lions Camp, Rosholt, Wisconsin, USA, where 312 Friends gathered in late May.
This is the 40th year for Northern Yearly Meeting (NYM). Thirty monthly meetings and worship groups were represented. We enjoyed the sun, as well as the rain, in our land which had been too dry to permit campfires. Shared laughter, dancing, music, games and prayer fed our spirits and helped us to face the theme of our sessions: “Climate Change: Turning Awareness Into Action.”
For many years we have worried about the impact of global warming on our Earth. This year we organized our annual session to focus on this grave reality. In our meetings for business, and in our plenary session, workshops, interest groups, children’s programs and informal conversations we learned more, met in our shared pain, and continued to plan and to act.
Our plenary speaker, Howard Vogel, held up two different ways of understanding our relationship with the Earth. One, inherited from the European tradition, assumes that land is owned by humans, and is “other.” In contrast, the Native American Dakota tradition assumes that the Earth is part of our family, and in fact the word for Earth and mother are the same. As we considered the implications of each way of connecting with Earth, we were encouraged to wait on Spirit and then let our lives speak, as patterns and examples.
The urgency of climate disruption made it a struggle to balance the importance of waiting for spirit with our eagerness to respond to pressing needs. We know that climate change is not just “coming”; it is here. And we know it will worsen, even if we are able to make profound change now. Quakers prefer slow deliberative processes, but with this present crisis we chose to at times “take steps, even if they are not perfect.”
Some of the small and larger actions we took included:
- seeking ways to carpool, recycle, compost and save energy where possible,
- attending workshops, six of seven of which specifically addressed climate disruption,
- deciding to move NYM savings into investments that don’t support fossil-fuel extraction,
- endorsing the shared statement by Quaker groups, “Facing the Challenge of Climate Change.”Last year we were nearing completion of our first book of Faith and Practice. This year we are preparing to publish. An accomplishment that happened at our beloved “Quaker speed” was the approval of the final chapter on the testimony of Equality. More than one hundred people participated in writing this chapter over seven years. The chapter calls upon each of us to recognize that of the Divine in all people, and in all creation. It affirms our knowledge of continuing revelation and the appropriate urgency we feel to do what we can to preserve the divine Earth we are part of. We must bring our whole hearts and minds and spirits to this work, feeling the grief and agony that facing this calls up in us. Experientially, we find that sharing our grief brings us into communion and gives us strength to continue. In worship we found ourselves called as a community to “Stand up, shine out, invite in” as our world continues its relationship with us.
- In the midst of these actions we honored community members who have died during the last year. We celebrated the 89 children and teens as they exuberantly reported on their climate-change-related activities this weekend. We were inspired by the work of our national Quaker organizations in the wider world. We are gearing up to host the annual gathering of Friends General Conference in 2016 in Minnesota.
Submitted by Larry Spears, Nancy Newman, Ranae Hanson, Richard Fuller and Ted Klyce