Minneapolis Friends Meeting
Minutes: Monthly Meeting for Business February 14, 2016
[Some names and information have been edited or removed for publication on the web – recording clerk]
9:00 Unprogrammed Meeting for Worship
9:45 Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business
David Woolley – presiding clerk, Tom Ward – recording clerk, Pat Jones – director of ministry
- Gathering Worship
- January Minutes were APPROVED
- Monthly Reports
- Director of Ministry Pat Jones Minutes should record the death of long time member, Adolph Burckhardt, on January 15, 2016 in Texas. He first joined the Meeting in 1980 and continued to be involved in Meeting activities until his move to Texas last year. There will be a memorial service here on Sunday May 15 at 2PM. Friends willing to help out are invited to contact members of Death and Memorial Committee. There will be much to do. We will adjust the schedule for the church picnic which normally would occur on May 15. Pat wants to acknowledge the wonderful contribution to Meeting by Kathy Webster, who has blessed us with her piano music during worship for many years. She is taking a paid position as a church pianist. Pat will be on vacation for a week beginning this Thursday and will be gone the last two weeks in March. Let her know of any special needs or concerns you may have. She is mindful of the challenges many Meeting members and attenders are facing right now – as many as twenty-five people are struggling with loss, illness, hospitalizations, and family / marriage issues. Please hold them in the Light. In a month Northern Yearly Meeting interim session will be held, here, at our meeting house. This will entail a lot of hospitality on our part. Also, the American Friends Service Committee and the People’s Institute for Survival are sponsoring a 3-day workshop on “Undoing Racism” on March 3-5. More information is in the bulletin.
- Ministry and Counsel (M&C) – Carolyn VandenDolder She reviewed membership roster for the committee. M&C, in supporting the notion of the beloved community, is offering a program during adult program this month. They are also very aware of and ministering to the cares and burdens that so many people are bearing right now.
- Reports Nominating (preliminary) – Jeannette Raymond The committee has met twice and has been in contact with committee clerks. Today they are making the preliminary report. Next month will be the final report that will need Meeting approval. They have encountered some of the personal issues and concerns that have already been mentioned today and they have referred some of these concerns on to Pat. Highlights of the committee nominating process: They are finding it easier to recruit for the newer, more exciting committees than for the older more established ones. Discussion: What does the auditor do? They audit the accounts on a rotating basis – one year it is the Meeting accounts, the following year it is the Trustee accounts. What is the responsibility of the Northern Yearly Representative? They mainly attend the interim and yearly meetings, help with nominations to NYM committees, and pass on any pertinent information to their respective Meetings. Friend made an appeal for people to serve with her on a particular committee. Jeannette pointed out that Nominating takes into consideration any and all suggestions and tries to discern the mix of interests and personalities, matching an individual’s interests to the tasks of each committee. The committee does want to know of your interests, but they want us to understand that just because an individual is interested in a specific committee, they may not be recommended for it. She reminds us that when Nominating calls, please return the call promptly.
- Stewardship (preliminary budget) – Roland Barrett Through 2/7/2016 (week 45 of the current budget year) our donations have been $87, 608 (88% of the budget to date). This is better than our average at this point in the budget cycle, but it is still short by $11,771. To make our full budget by 3/31/2016, we will need to raise an additional $27,230 over the remaining 7 weeks (or $3,890 week – twice our average weekly donation rate). Last year we did not make it and had to cut some discretionary spending. Discussion: Who will receive the voluntary carbon tax? Answer – It was $1200 last year and will be $1450 this year. The voluntary carbon tax was meant to go to external or internal projects that have a positive environmental impact. P&SC will be deciding the recipient(s) this year. None of the current budget year’s voluntary carbon tax allotment has been spent. Ranae: everyone is part of P&SC, and P&SC is actively asking everyone to think about what project(s) the carbon tax should go to. Friend suggested we consider a share of the voluntary carbon tax could go to a solar farm … Question: How can the budget for utilities be less this year? Recently, we have been overestimating our utility expenses (an over-compensation for a period when we had under-budgeted for utilities.) …. Friend wanted to know if we could develop two budgets to reflect where we would stand if we don’t meet this year’s budget. Stewardship will consider the need to revise the numbers, especially on discretionary items, but most changes will require input from Meeting … Friend asked about the best way to influence the process – they think the Friends School should be a priority. Answer: There have been announcements on the process – come to P&SC when the numbers are being crunched or get your ideas to Stewardship. Stewardship and P&SC are where the budget numbers get hashed out. The membership on both committees was reviewed … What has been the trend in contributions over the last few years? They have been going up, but Roland does not have the specifics. Expenses have been going up as well … Friend commented that the budget is one of the ways we carry out the work of Friends. He encourages us to look at the amount each of us gives and to strive to give more. Roland responded that our budget is really quite tight. We are not indiscriminate in our spending – it is more about how we plan our needs and how we want to fund them. Friend encourages Stewardship to look at these numbers and to use their discernment to revise the numbers – that Stewardship is in a good position to discern the balancing of the needs of the meeting … Other comments: Friend would like to see a higher cost of living increase factored in. (That is part of long term planning) … Think of the “director of ministry” as a position or a job function – not a specific person. Roland replied that the director of ministry salary recommendations come from Liaison and Review and they consider the things just mentioned. The increase in cost of living was 2.5% last year and is 2.5% for this year … Friend asked how many individuals contribute? There has not been much change in the numbers of people contributing, but some of the high-giving older generation of members / attenders have passed on. As a rule, about 80% of the contributions come from 30% of the members … Next month we approve the budget. There are a few more weeks to provide feedback. 2016-17 Budget: The budget is a compilation of submissions by clerks, trustees, Pat, Carolyn and Roland and has not been heavily scrutinized at this point. The proposed budget, $118,267, is a 3% increase from last year’s budget. The most significant increase has been under the Director of Ministry, with an increase in the total compensation package. There have also been increases in grounds upkeep and insurance. Overall, the trend has been upward over the last few years. Roland suggests three points to help direct our thinking on this: (1) What kinds of contribution can we expect from members and attenders? What can people give? What are they able to give? (2) What should our expense structure be? The Director of Ministry (DOM) is the primary expense at roughly 50% of the budget. DOM compensation has been increasing 2.5% / year. Plant operations, utilities, office operations and programs take about 37%. Our contributions to other affiliates and organizations runs around 10%. While our donations have been going up, they have not been keeping up with inflation. (3) We need to address where we want the Meeting to go and what we want to fund to get there. It is not right to fail to meet our contributions, if we are running short at the end of our budget year. An example of the balancing the Stewardship Committee tried to do this year is with the 10% that goes to contributions – an area where Peace and Social Concerns (P&SC) provided guidance on tweaking the numbers. Last year $1400 went to Friends for a Nonviolent World – this year it has been reduced to $500. The rationale was that we provide a lot of support via the FNVW Holiday Fair and by redirecting some of that money to Northern Yearly Meeting we could better meet our proposed $4500 contribution to Northern Yearly Meeting as well as contribute $100 to Quaker organizations other than Friends for a NonViolent World (FNVW).
- Care of the Future session February 27 – Jeannette Raymond Meeting has approved a set of vision statements for Meeting. There are three next steps. 1) On February 27 there will be an all-day session to develop strategies and to decide the actions to take to meet those visions. 2) Develop a series of questions for committees to consider regarding how their work aligns with the vision statement. 3) To present those same questions to the large pool of people who do not serve on committees or are not real active in meeting activities – to get their ideas on how they can help Meeting move forward. Some next steps include: reviewing the job description of the director of ministry, exploring the implications for our committee structure, and reconfiguring ourselves to move into the new vision we have for ourselves. We hope everyone comes to the meeting on the 27th.
- New Business
- Northern Yearly Meeting (NYM) Interim Sessions – Carolyn VandenDolder NYM is holding their interim session here, at our meeting house, on Friday 3/11 through Saturday 3/12. Since we are the hosts, we need to provide housing and food for the visitors. So far, four households have volunteered to help. More volunteers are needed. This is a great opportunity for our Meeting. See Carolyn if you are able to help. We are asked to be mindful of and to give thanks to all those who helped with the cooking and chaperoning last night – both children and adults. The money raised today through the cookie sale will go to “Feed Our Starving Children”.
- On March 6, 2016 during adult program hour, Doug H will lead a discussion establishing the priorities we would like Friends Committee on National Legislation to follow over the next two years.
- Heidi F encourages us to consider attending a conference on April 6-9 at Open Book that will focus on recovering from toxic theology.
- Meeting adjourned