Minneapolis Friends Meeting
Minutes: Monthly Meeting for Business November 8, 2015
- 9:00 Unprogrammed Meeting for 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
- September Minutes were APPROVED with a minor addition. (There was no business meeting in October)
- Director of Ministry Pat Jones The minutes should record the death of Judith Schmidt on October 20, 2015, a long-time Quaker and member of Minneapolis Friends Meeting. A Memorial Service for Judith was held on October 24; and thanks go to the Death and Memorial committee and all the others who made it possible to hold the service on short notice. In addition, a special meal and Service of Remembrance were held on Sunday October 25 to honor and celebrate the lives of loved ones who have passed in the last year or two. Pat and the presiding clerk met with Lifetouch officials regarding the online Meeting directory and problems we have experienced. They affirmed that we should be able to get into the online file and should be able to update our own files, although the administrative log-in is not yet fixed by LifeTouch. Pat and Carolyn V. attended a Northern Yearly Meeting interim session in Madison, Wisconsin. She especially values the cross fertilization that occurs between Quakers at these sessions and felt nourished and enriched. She provided Ministry and Counsel some articles from Friends Journal about membership and the gap for young adult involvement. Discussion: special thanks to Sandy O. for bringing snacks to the meeting of Northern Yearly Meeting that occurred here and to Steve and Mary S. for hosting the meeting.
- Ministry and Counsel (M&C) – Carolyn VandenDolder M&C focused on two items: developing a workshop on eldering that would include both historical and contemporary perspectives on how eldering is practiced by Friends, and the recent transition from summer schedule to our regular schedule of worship. During the transition there has been a heightened sense of loss as we move from a community worshipping together in a combined service in the summer to a more divided body worshipping in two services – unprogrammed and semi-programmed – the rest of the year. How does this reflect our vision of the Meeting as a place of refuge and growth, where we experience belonging and caring for each other? Worshipping together is at the heart of community in the Meeting. What is the role of the schedule in supporting this? Discussion: the workshop on eldering was planned, initially, only for M&C but it would be fruitful for the entire Meeting to take part, so it will be open to everyone. Friend asked for a written copy of the quote from Douglas Steere that Carolyn read. Another Friend raised a broader concern about eldering, since he had been eldered by a well-intentioned Friend but found the entire experience quite painful, making him question his willingness to participate and share in Meeting, especially since he considers himself to be a long-time Friend with a wealth of experience in many aspects of Quakerism. He has found other Meetings more open and tolerant and he raised the concern that eldering can sometimes reflect individual differences, when we should be leaving ourselves at the doorstep. He advocated proceeding gingerly in this matter. [Friends sat in silence before proceeding]. Carolyn – those words underscore why this exploration can be useful, we need to understand how to do this well. Eldering is a tool for Meetings to use, not a club. Judith James asked for people to send comments to her on how to put the retreat together. Another Friend reflected that the issue is more than just about eldering. There is a larger question about what it means to be an elder in Meeting? What is their role? It is much bigger than just eldering. Friend asked if M&C could consider what it means to be in community – in terms of our authenticity. We tend to avoid conflict and differences and this dampens our ability to connect with the Spirit and with each other. She applauds the efforts to put this together. Clerk – this is a deeply important and difficult issue and he praises M&C for reflecting on this.
- Stewardship – 2nd Quarter Financial Report – Roland Barrett Covers period April 1-Sept 30. We show an income of $34,392 (30% of the yearly budget at the half-way point of the year) and this matches the 3 year average we have recently experienced at the end of the 2nd quarter. This is a yearly challenge, and it is not clear why our giving lags so much in the first two quarters, although there has been significant improvement in collections when you add in October and November. There are few issues on the expense side, but one issue has been workers comp which has gone from $600 to $2300. It is not clear what the dynamics are of that increase. Everything else on the expense side is in good shape, and Fall Camp ran under budget by ~$500. While it is customary to have issues with the budget, Friends should be mindful that we are currently short $10,974 in net income for the year. There was no discussion.
- Fall Camp annual report – reported by Allen Gibas (prepared by Wina Mortenson) Costs: Villa Maria ($3,652), Snacks/Printing/Postage ($136) Donations from Friends ($630) Total attendance over the two days was 51. Four people registered but did not attend. Accomplishments: Fall Camp 2015 was a huge success. The weather was lovely. There was good fellowship and delicious meals while we worked to achieve a balance of having a whole group experience yet giving attenders freedom to make other choices, if they were so moved. Gayle, Pat and Ranae led an engaging workshop regarding the future of Minneapolis Friends Meeting, where a draft of the vision statement was read and then people drew pictures representing their personal vision for the Meeting. Three Friends from Winona Meeting attended, but we had hoped for more. Preparing the campfire in the daytime worked well, as did the public address system. Heating of Woodhaven lodge was not an issue since it was warm outside. It was delightful to have some Friends of advanced years attending, as well as a number of new Friends, first timers and four youth (9 to 14 yrs.). The variety show was a very special time shared together and it almost felt like a gathered meeting. Challenges: Villa Maria has strict deadlines for registration. Camp was a week earlier this year, to avoid MEA weekend, but that was their busiest weekend and there were difficulties fitting everyone in. The committee had to help with room sharing assignments, since the Villa Maria staff did not know who was who. By avoiding MEA weekend this year an additional family was able to attend camp. There are a lot of details that have to be remembered from year to year. One such detail is to communicate details to newcomers and not assume everyone understands what is going on. There is wheelchair access to Marian Hall but the ramp for Woodhaven Lodge was inadequate. And the committee clerk feels that having the clerk live out of state is a challenge at times. Upcoming points of attention: Villa Maria is uncertain about its future, so the Meeting may not be able to continue using it as a venue. Camp Courage is still an option, although the costs are not known. We prefer the more comfortable sleeping arrangements at Villa Maria, there is no need to bring bedding and there are fewer cleanup responsibilities – and we have a special connection with their director. We will continue to communicate with Sarah McClellan, the Villa Maria director, about this issue; but we need to make reservations by February 2016 in order to ensure that we have somewhere to hold Fall Camp in 2016. Discussion: Friend thinks that two families were able to attend because Fall Camp was not held on MEA weekend. Thanks was given to the committee for all the work they did arranging Fall Camp. It was wonderful this year.
- Peace & Social Concerns annual report – Elizabeth Showalter The mission of Peace and Social Concerns Coordinating Committee is to coordinate five activities: 1. Proposing White Envelope Gift recipients; 2. Serving as clearing house for peace and social concerns requests that come to the Meeting; 3. Allowing for and supporting and offering (if asked) clearness to groups and individuals who take on peace and social concerns action in the Meeting; 4. Proposing the annual contributions budget allocations to the stewardship committee; 5.Helping the Meeting select one to three peace and social concerns focus topics for each year and to support a Meeting group to create a Meeting-wide event or activity or action for each of the chosen topics. Accomplishments: Accomplished all actions listed above for this last year. They established a regular meeting time, and they remind Meeting that they are an OPEN committee and invite anyone who is interested to join with them. Challenges: The huge challenges we face as a Quaker community in this world with many troubles and the tension between the committee’s desire to challenge the Meeting to learn and grow while existing to serve the Meeting. And we have limited resources and time. Upcoming points of attention: 1) Determining suggestions for allocation of the Voluntary Carbon Tax; 2) At least 2 more events need to occur as a part of the Climate Change Focus for the year (Need assistance from others in meeting with brainstorming ideas.) A letter was handed out that had been sent to both MN Senators and was signed by a group of individuals in the Meeting. Discussion: When does the committee meet? The 3rd Wednesday of the month. There was some discussion about who is on the Peace and Social Concerns Committee. Friend applauded the work of the committee, noting that it has been a rocky road and the Meeting is learning how to work with the committee again.
- Followup Decisions
- Care of the Future: Vision Statement – Jeannette Raymond [see attachments for full document] There was a brief review of the process leading to today’s discussion and it was pointed out that most of the Meeting has participated at some point in the process and that the statement has been considered at least three times by Meeting. If the Meeting can move forward with this vision statement we can begin planning the actions we need to take. Discussion: There was some confusion with the phrase “vision statement”. Answer: Our vision statement is more to keep us focused on what we want to become – to point in the direction we have agreed upon, not to define our mission. Usually, when doing strategic planning, a vision statement is concise and crisp. That is not what we are doing with this vision statement …. Friend asked if this is the same document that was discussed at Fall Camp. Yes. Changes were made following the last monthly meeting discussion, but the document is the same as was presented at Fall Camp …. Friend wanted to know if we were being asked to approve the document in its entirety, or are we considering each section, separately. Response: The ad hoc committee feels this is about as far as they can take their charge to develop the vision statement. We don’t have to take any action – but the statement is already having an impact. If the vision statement is approved, the committee will take it to the next step; but if it is not approved, the committee feels its work will have been completed and they are done working on it. The vision statement does not commit us to any specific course of action. Any decision making would still go through our normal procedures …. Friend asked what it means to “go forward”. Answer: We will use the statement as a basis for action. It is stating who we hope to become. At the same time we need to recognize that there may be tension when we publicly state what we hope to become and, if we fall short, open ourselves to being judged against it …. Friend expressed how deeply moving the process has been for him, especially at Fall Camp where it was meaningful to create visual imagery to go with the written statements …. The vision statement was read out loud after which Friends APPROVED the statement. The ad hoc committee will convene to plan the next strategy session. A question was asked whether the vision statement could go on the web. It is already on the Meeting’s web page and people are free to access it and to use it.
- New Business
- White Gift – Presiding Clerk explained the White Gift process and that the gift is generally split between two agencies – one local and one national or international – and it is distributed once a year. Friend suggested we might consider changing the name of the gift, dropping the “white” from its name. While this is considered a special Christmas gift, clerk of stewardship said contributions could be made any time throughout the year by making a gift out to the Minneapolis Friends Meeting and designating it as a “white gift”. The committee is deciding on the recipients of the gift this week so get proposals to them soon, either in person or in their folder in the blue box.
- Northern Yearly Meeting request for MFM directory – John Kraft. Explained the request and noted that all of us are members of NYM, already. Members APPROVED releasing the new directory to NYM.
- Marolyn McDiarmid has requested a transfer of her membership to Spring Friends, North Carolina. She joined MFM in 1982, but since 1987 has been living in North Carolina.
- Carole Mitchell is laying down her MFM membership and is changing her affiliation to Universalist Church in Underwood, Wisconsin. Friends APPROVED the transfers.
- 11:10 Meeting adjourned
[Some names and information have been edited or removed for publication on the web]
Minneapolis Friends Meeting
Care of the Future – Vision Statement
Approved November 8, 2015
Into the future, these words will describe us. Many of them already do describe us.
We envision a Minneapolis Friends Meeting that is:
1) ROOTED SECURELY IN QUAKER FAITH AND PRACTICE We are a Quaker community who together deepen our Quaker understanding and nurture spiritual depth. We rely on God’s leading in making decisions in Meeting for Business. Our divinely-led collective worship makes room for a range of beliefs and worship practices.
2) SHARING AND DEVELOPING LEADERSHIP AND MINISTRY Our community has a secure future supported by genuine connections among generations. We intentionally share knowledge, skills, and energy intergenerationally, nurturing the leadership of young adults. We offer grounding and support for the spiritual development of children.
3) A WELCOMING PLACE FOR SANCTUARY AND RENEWAL Our meeting is a place of refuge, renewal, prayer and growth for people of all ages and for families of all configurations. We strive to let those who come feel they can share their hearts and experience belonging. The meeting is infused with joy and hope. We demonstrate care for one another and, together, have a vitality that counters difficulties and brokenness. We welcome newcomers, visitors, and strangers. New attenders are attracted by what the meeting offers: being active in the world, seeking to understand answers to the big questions, providing quiet community in a loud world, and offering both temporary and long-term sanctuary.
4) INTEGRATING FAITH AND ACTION Meeting worship and spiritual life deepen our outward engagement and are, in turn, deepened by that engagement. We engage with one another on issues of privilege and race. We act, love, and serve in the world, individually and corporately, in response to callings of the Spirit. We support one another in leading lives in which action is consistent with word.
5) MAKING AN ACTIVE WITNESS BEYOND THE MEETINGHOUSE WALLS With a strong commitment to diversity and not bound by space and location, Friends are a visible presence in the community, actively engaged and reaching out, partnering with other communities of faith. Members contribute to Quaker organizations and to the wider Quaker community.
6) HONORING THE HOLINESS OF THE EARTH Our meeting is committed to the well-being of the earth and, therefore, strives to benefit instead of harm the natural environment. We are meeting the challenge of new global conditions and finding ways to foster sustainability.
7) A LONG-TERM PRESENCE We are good stewards of our physical, financial, and human resources. People in the meeting contribute time, talents, and money to the meeting according to their ability. We are flexible and courageously adapt Quaker practice in the context of a changing world.