Minneapolis Friends Meeting

Minutes of May 10, 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

  1. Gathering Worship
  2. April Minutes APPROVED
  3. Reports:
    1. Director of Ministry ­ Pat Jones  Carolyn is working on the meeting directory for LifeTouch, although she will be here only on a limited basis until June. Until then, you should forward questions about the directory to Pat     …    Regarding the use of the meeting house – the trustees review and update the policy on the use of the meeting, so the guidelines are clear.  However, there is an art to following the guidelines and right now there are heavy demands on the use of meeting room space.  One group that has used the building is the Center for Victims of Torture.  They have used the space two times – most recently, in April when 80 people attended a day-long retreat.  Pat believes we are blessed to have them share the space with us – it is a very appropriate use of the building.  Other upcoming uses:  the wedding of Robert Raymond and Gwen Williams on June 20th under the care of Meeting, a memorial service for the father of Jan Search (Tom Wells is liaison), and an evening movie jointly sponsored with Mayim Rabim.  Discussion:  There was considerable discussion on the policy and art of using the building.  The priority of use is: 1st for worship and the craft sale, 2nd is Mayim Rabim services (including memorial services), 3rd is for use by members with the request coming from a member who will be the liaison.  There are two primary exclusions: there are no paid business events and no ongoing regularly scheduled folk dancing events, such as Tapestry.  Occasional dance events are ok.
    2. Ministry and Counsel (M&C) ­ Judith James for Carolyn. On the fifth Sunday of the summer worship schedule, queries will be read as part of worship and M&C will arrange for closers.  The social hour following worship in the summer has been popular and will be continued this summer, but people need to sign up to bring treats and to help with cleanup.  Everyone is asked to please sign up at least once. M&C has selected two sentences from our “State of Society” report to be read at Northern Yearly Meeting’s annual session   ….   A clearness committee has met with Lindy Venustus and she has been recommended for membership in Minneapolis Friends Meeting. Friends APPROVED the membership of Lindy Venustus. She will be welcomed at the next new member welcome program on June 21.  Friend asked if a formal welcoming committee would be chosen to meet with Lindy, and Pat noted that the Meeting decided a while ago to discontinue the practice of having individual welcoming committees in favor of a more inclusive all-Meeting celebration.  As part of that celebration, new members will receive a copy of “Faith and Practice” from M&C.
    3. Nominating: Unprogrammed meeting coordinators – Jeannette  Raymond.   Nominating is proposing a short term solution – appointing Renae Bonde and Tom Hoey as temporary coordinators for unprogrammed meeting for worship until Nominating puts together a formal long-term proposal to be considered by M&C.  In the meantime, there are two clip boards for people to sign up to be closers.  During the summer worship schedule one person from unprogrammed will sit on the facing bench when there is semi-programmed worship.  Friends APPROVED Renae and Tom as temporary unprogrammed meeting coordinators.  
    4. Stewardship: Annual Financial Report for 2014-15  – Roland Barrett   The Annual Report covers our fiscal year April 1, 2014 thru March 30, 2015 and for that period we have a budget shortfall.  For the year we brought in $106,295, which is 94% of the budgeted $112,877.  Our expenses were generally under budget, but not by enough to make up the whole difference.  If we proceed to make payments on all the items we contribute to at the end of the budget year we will be short – $2,277.  Stewardship committee suggests 3 options:  Option#1 – Cut the 2014-15 contributions to Mission, Service and Fellowship by $1,000 and to Sabbatical Savings by $1,277.  Option # 2 – Reduce contributions by the ratio of contributions to donations (9.2%).  Option #3 – Accept the deficit, which would reduce our operating budget.    Stewardship is recommending we adopt Option #1 and notes that those two line items are qualified as savings that are to be made if funds are available in the budget.    Discussion:  What is the status of the Mission, Service, Fellowship fund and Sabbatical fund?  Answer: Mission, Service, Fellowship is about $14,500 and has not been used in years.  It was established to help with major travel outreach such as sending a group to Cuba.   The current Sabbatical Savings fund stands at ~ $25,000, and, while it is concerning to not increase the Sabbatical fund, it is not a crisis to skip a year.  The fund is designed to cover costs and to pay for additional expenses to cover the absence of the director of ministry.  From a trustee point of view, the most pressing need is to bolster the $15,000 trustee building fund, which has been seriously depleted in the last few years and is scheduled to receive $5,000 from the 2014-15 budget.   Friend asked us to be mindful of the growing youth program in the Meeting; and the need to have funds to support their travel may well change in the near future. While it is understandable that we consider a short-term cut to Mission, Service and Fellowship, we should not shortchange their future for our short-term needs.   Friends APPROVED Option #1
    5. Stewardship: brief update on current year – Roland Barrett   Stewardship acknowledges the shortfall in the budget and intends to keep the Meeting regularly updated throughout the coming year.  We are five weeks into the new fiscal year and are on pace to take in only 12% of our budget in the first quarter – this is a similar collection rate to what we experienced last year during the first quarter.  To meet budget we need to collect $2,208 each week and so far, in five weeks, we have only received just over $4,000.  Friends are asked to be prayerful and mindful when considering our responsibilities.
    6. Trustees & Designated Funds – Jim Haefemeyer   There is no immediate crisis, but we need to think about strengthening our budget reserves and how we will meet the ongoing list of building needs – such as replacing the carpeting. A more complete report will be made in July.
    7. Auditors, General & Trustees Funds – Bruce Busta   He is out of the country, so the auditor’s report is delayed until September.
  4. Follow­up Decisions:
    1. Lifetouch online directory – Pat Jones There is nothing new to discuss right now, and she suggests we delay until next month discussion of two issues: signing to receive the directory and putting the directory on line.
  5. New Business
    1. Peace and Social Concerns (P&SC) – Quaker Earthcare Witness statement – Jeff Naylor  P&SC committee has met several times and has labored with how to talk to Meeting about climate change and with how to get people more involved. The last time P&SC sought approval of a statement, we were asked to return with a different statement.  The statement being presented today was developed by Quaker Earthcare Witness and has been approved by Friends Committee on National Legislation, Quaker United Nations Office, Friends World Committee for Consultation, American Friends Service Committee and meetings from across the US, Europe and Australia.  We want to get the sense of our Meeting on this issue.  The statement was read.  [See attachments for complete statement]       Discussion:  Statement is squishy, too general, not specific, no call to action and no timelines ….  Does not state climate warming is inevitable.  UN report says it is inevitable and we must look to adaptation in our lifetime …  Generally a good statement and I promote signing on with Earthcare Witness, but there is hyperbole (it isn’t unprecedented) and there is no imperative that we should walk it before we talk it – until we stop driving cars we need to be careful telling others what to do – or it should be more clear that this is not the ideal we strive for, but more a concern we have.  And I have low confidence in the UN representing common people – it represents more the view of governments and the businesses that are causing the problem …. A visitor says they are concerned about climate change in college and they are starting an online discussion group where info can be shared, and it is beneficial to have info written down where it can be accessed ….  There is value in faith communities supporting care of the earth – it is a special issue, it is economic and political in addition to being a moral issue.  Now that it has become a moral issue, churches are getting involved.  The Catholic Church issued an encyclical.  Quakers need to be part of this …. Friend would like to remove the word “beautiful” where it refers to “family”. We are not all beautiful since we are creating the problem in the first place ….  Response: we can modify the language and make it our own statement, but if we want to add our name to the large number of groups already supporting this statement, we cannot change the wording ….  This does not address what we are doing to change the standard …. In the past people have not asked what are we “doing” when we state our beliefs, such as concerning racial injustice, this is a statement about what we believe  …. To sign on to this document speaks volumes and I hope we would agree to support the statement as it is ….  It is important to challenge each other so we can grow.   Are we making a difference?  Am I doing enough? This is an important step to make change happen and I support the statement   ….  Can we sign on but with some reservations?  Response:  we could sign on to this and modify it later if we want to use it for our own purposes ….  Another Friend supports the spirit of this.  It is so important and we need to recognize the importance by signing onto it … Friends APPROVED adding our name in support of the Quaker Earthcare Witness Statement – “Jan 2015: Facing the Challenge of Climate Change: A shared statement by Quaker groups”  
    2. Adult Program Committee Jim Lovestar, Elizabeth Showalter  The committee is conducting an experiment to see if there is interest in having adult programs in the summer. It is considering offering programming in June at 9AM, before the 10AM worship service. If this works, it can be extended into July and August.  The plan is to hold discussions outside at the picnic table or at Turtle Bread, if the weather is bad.  Attendees are encouraged to read material online ahead of time – a link will be posted in the bulletin – although this is not necessary. One source of online information being considered is Quaker Speak, which is a weekly YouTube video sponsored by FGC that lasts about 5 minutes. Discussion: Will adult program committee be overseeing this?  Yes, they plan to have two facilitators each time.  Why outside and not in the meeting room or basement?  They are trying to keep the process as simple as possible and to keep the meeting space quiet and serene – for the early arrivers.  Also, this simplifies having to open the building early, etc.  Again, this is starting out as a one month experiment in June. Friends APPROVED the proposal.
  6. Communications: A letter from Veterans for Peace was turned over to Peace and Social Concerns Committee and a copy will be posted.

11:15 Semi­programmed Worship

[Some names and information have been redacted or edited for publication on the web]

Attachments:

Jan 2015: Facing the Challenge of Climate Change: A shared statement by Quaker groups

“It would go a long way to caution and direct people in their use of the world, that they were better studied and knowing in the Creation of it. For how could [they] find the confidence to abuse it, while they should see the great Creator stare them in the face, in all and every part of it?”   William Penn, 1693

As Quakers, we are called to work for the peaceable Kingdom of God on the whole Earth, in right sharing with all peoples.[1] We recognize a moral duty to cherish Creation for future generations.

We call on our leaders to make the radical decisions needed to create a fair, sufficient and effective international climate change agreement.

As Quakers, we understand anthropogenic climate change (climate change due to human activities) to be a symptom of a greater challenge: how to live sustainably and justly on this Earth.

We recognize that the current rise of greenhouse gas emissions is leading to an unprecedented rate of increase in global average surface temperature of extreme detriment to the Earth’s ecosystems and species, including human beings.

We recognize that catastrophic global climate change is not inevitable if we choose to act urgently.

We recognize a personal and collective responsibility to ensure that the poorest and most vulnerable peoples now, and all our future generations, do not suffer as a consequence of our actions.  We see this as a call to conscience.

We recognize the connections between climate change and global economic injustice as well as unprecedented levels of consumption, and question assumptions of unlimited material growth on a planet with limited natural resources.

We recognize that most greenhouse gas emissions are created by fossil fuel combustion.  We recognize that our increasing population continues to pursue fossil fuel-dependent economic growth.  We recognize that the Earth holds more fossil fuel reserves than are safe to burn, and that the vast majority of fossil fuel reserves must remain in the ground if we are to prevent the catastrophic consequences of climate change.  We therefore question profoundly the continued investment in, and subsidizing of, fossil fuel extraction.

We seek to nurture a global human society that prioritizes the well-being of people over profit, and lives in right relationship with our Earth; a peaceful world with fulfilling employment, clean air and water, renewable energy, and healthy thriving communities and ecosystems.

As members of this beautiful human family, we seek meaningful commitments from our leaders and ourselves, to address climate change for our shared future, the Earth and all species, and the generations to come.  We see this Earth as a stunning gift that supports life.  It is our only home. Let us care for it together.

Quaker Earthcare Witness (QEW); Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO); Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL); Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC); Westtown Monthly Meeting, Pennsylvania, USA; Quaker Council for European Affairs (QCEA); American Friends Service Committee (AFSC); Princeton Friends Meeting, New Jersey, USA; Canadian Friends Service Committee (CFSC); Northampton Friends Meeting, MA, USA; Sacramento Friends Meeting, CA, USA; Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre, UK; Cookeville Monthly Meeting, USA; FWCC- Asia West Pacific Section; Quakers in Aotearoa New Zealand; Croton Valley Meeting, NY, USA; Newtown Monthly Meeting, USA; New York Yearly Meeting, USA; Memphis Friends Meeting, USA; Miami Friends Meeting, USA; Netherlands Yearly Meeting; Quakers in Australia; EcoQuakers Ireland; Living Witness, UK; Quakers in Britain

Please contact Lindsey Cook at lfcook(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)quno.ch if you need more information, or wish to add your Quaker group

 

 

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