Minneapolis Friends Meeting
Minutes: Monthly Meeting for Business April 10, 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
- March Minutes were APPROVED
- Monthly Reports
- Director of Ministry Pat Jones She asked if anyone was finding it difficult or uncomfortable to reach behind their chair to pass the microphone when we give introductions at the close of unprogrammed meeting for worship. There was no response. She also inquired if people have been reading and benefitting from the Quaker brochures that are put out on second Sundays. She read an excerpt from one brochure that addressed speaking during meeting for business – encouraging speakers to focus their remarks for the maximum benefit of the discussion and to share a message when it is important – even if they are uncomfortable. Northern Yearly Meeting (NYM) meets in Wisconsin over Memorial Day Weekend. Please register by May 1. There are not a lot of people from Minneapolis Friends Meeting (MFM) signed up, so far. Pat has taken over as our representative to NYM, replacing Carolyn VandenDolder. John Kraft has been quite active with NYM and encourages others to share with him in taking a more active role. The best way to become involved is to attend the annual meeting in May, but there are additional opportunities throughout the year. The week-long Gathering of Friends General Conference (FGC) is coming to St Benedict’s College in St Joseph, Minnesota in July. There is limited financial assistance available through FGC and NYM, including scholarships and work grants. There are some things that you can attend if you have not registered – three evening programs. A number of the week-long workshops will be led by MFM members. Discussion: John Kraft is clerking the local arrangements committee for the Gathering. He is looking for help at the local arrangements table (2 hour shifts) and for people to lead tours of local attractions in the Twin Cities.
- Ministry and Counsel (M&C) – Carolyn VandenDolder M&C is seeking approval of Meeting to adopt the Summer Schedule on an ongoing basis. The last few summers we have experimented with having a single worship service on Sunday morning. There has been a lot of enthusiasm to continue this process, alternating each week between unprogrammed and semi-programmed meetings for worship. Friends APPROVED going to a single worship service during the summer, alternating between semi-programmed and unprogrammed services. Friends were also asked to approve the following schedule for the summer worship services: weeks one and three – unprogrammed meeting for worship, weeks two and four semi-programmed meeting for worship; and there would be a modified program whenever there is a fifth Sunday in the month. Having the first Sunday of the month unprogrammed will make it easier for unprogrammed attenders to join in the Meeting potluck that is held after worship on the first Sunday of the month. Summer worship would start at 10AM and monthly meeting for business would take place on the 2nd Sunday from 11AM – 1215PM, following worship from 10AM – 11AM. The plan is to continue having a social hour following meeting for worship during the summer, except on pot luck Sunday and after monthly meeting for business. Details on refreshment are being worked out between the social committee and the welcoming committee. Friends APPROVED the pattern for the summer schedule. This year the summer schedule begins on May 29, which happens to be a 5th Sunday of the month. M&C will decide what to do on the 29th.
- Nominating Committee Final Report – Jeannette Raymond There are three parts to her report. 1) There were a few additions and subtractions to committee assignments, including clerk of Peace and Social Concerns Committee. Committee clerk noted the difficulty her committee was having getting people to respond to phone calls and to agree to serve on committees. Friends APPROVED the recommendations of the Nominating Committee. 2) Presiding Clerk forwarded the proposed membership of Nominating Committee for Meeting approval (Nominating Committee does not appoint their own members) There are four nominations: Annamary H, Andy S, Doug H and Mary S, with Mary being committee clerk. Friends APPROVED these nominations. Special recognition is given to Roberta O for her extended service on the Nominating Committee. 3) Suggestion for the Meeting to consider investing in a volunteer software program that would not only aid Nominating in their managing committee assignments but would better facilitate the Meeting’s efforts to match short term needs with willing volunteers – a challenge we tried to address with the volunteer coordinator position that has been discontinued.
- Stewardship (brief update) – Roland Barrett We are in week two of the new fiscal year and took in $5,396 last week – a great start. The current checking account balance is $59,397. The preliminary total donations for 2015-2016 is $108,218. (Budget for same period $114,835) That produces a budget deficit of $6,617; although with preliminary expenses running about $5,000 less than budgeted, the potential deficit is more like $1,000 – $3,000. More information next month. Discussion: Friend asked if there was a way to earn interest on the money that sits in the checking account. Clerk indicated the money needs to be available to meet the normal operating expenses that are normally $30-35,000, with much of it being paid out at this time of the year near the end of the fiscal year. Friend asked about proposals to manage the impending deficit. The decision was made at a previous monthly meeting to begin managing any deficit by reducing end-of-year transfers to some Trustee accounts. First, to the Sabbatical Savings Account. Second, to the Mission, Service, Fellowship Fund. If that was insufficient to cover the deficit, then additional reductions would be take out of Contributions, with guidance and input from Peace and Social Concerns Committee.
- Auditor report – Harv Busta This year he audited the Trustee accounts. He has three objectives when performing the audit. 1) Confirm donations are used as authorized 2) Provide protection for those who handle funds 3) Provide assurance that funds are not misappropriated or used fraudulently. In the audit he verified the accounts, verified disbursements to checking and savings accounts, and verified all signers on the Trustee bank accounts. He made some process improvements: direct deposit of Mayim Rabim payments, trustee email alerts when there are withdrawals from trustee accounts, better procedure for moving money between accounts. In summary – the Trustee accounts are properly managed.
- Peace and Social Concerns (P&SC) – Ranae Hanson Peace and Social Concerns was asked to make recommendations for dispersing the $1,200 the Meeting has proposed for a voluntary carbon tax for fiscal year 2015-16. They received a broad range of ideas from members and attenders, many of which were set aside for now, and are recommending the following recipients for the voluntary carbon tax: Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light $225, Quaker Earthcare Witness $225, Terry H $150 to help with his workshop on climate change at Friends General Conference, $400 for yard and building improvements to the meeting house to include rain gardens and rain barrels, $100 for Northside Gardening – a sustainable food project on the north side that involves young people (originally called Sweetie Pie), and $100 for Honor the Earth. Discussion: Concern was expressed that all three of the gardeners should be on board with the proposal and that the $400 would not cover the necessary drainage changes that would be required. There was additional discussion about the impact of our Meeting’s budget deficits on the carbon tax – both for the just concluded fiscal year and for the upcoming year. It has already been decided that P&SC would deliberate on recipients and dollar amounts for the voluntary carbon tax and they would revisit the current allocations if cuts become necessary. Friends APPROVED Peace and Social Concerns Committee proposal to allocate the Voluntary Carbon Tax.
- Membership and Attendance Report 4/2015-3/2016 – Carolyn VandenDolder There are 72 active adult members of Minneapolis Monthly Meeting. There are 46 regular adult attenders and 12 regular attenders who are children. The majority of people who are considered active come to meeting an average of once or twice a month. There are 5 new members, one couple married under the care of Meeting and 4 members were released (2 by death: Judy Schmidt on 10/20/2015 and Adolph Burckhardt on 1/15/2016). 73 households contributed financially to the meeting last year. Discussion: There was brief discussion about any changes in attendance trends in the last 5 years and a request for clarification of the state of residence of one of the released Friends.
- 2016 State of Society Report for Northern Yearly Meeting (see attachments) The report was read out loud. Carolyn VandenDolder was the primary author. It was discussed and modified by Ministry and Counsel. Two minor changes were made following suggestions by monthly meeting. Friends APPROVED the State of Society Report.
- New Business
- Adolph Burckhardt Memorial Minute – Clerk asked for volunteer(s) to take the initiative to write the memorial for Adolph. There is no firm deadline, but it would be fitting to have it completed by July so it can be presented at the Annual Meeting of Northern Yearly Meeting. Sandy O agreed to start the process. Question – Are we exploring solar energy at meeting house? Elizabeth S said P&SC is thinking about this but have not talked to property committee yet. We are waiting to see if there is an opportunity for non-profits to get involved with community solar energy.
Meeting Adjourned 11:05 AM
Minneapolis Friends Meeting State of Society Report
April 1, 2015-March 30, 2016
Approved with revisions 4/10/2016
We feel blessed, grateful, and encouraged that worship remains a place of refreshment and renewal, an oasis, in our troubled society, on our suffering planet.
We find common purpose and joy in continuing to plan and dream about the future of the Meeting, coming away from our sessions together reassured and re-connected as a community of Friends. We feel increasingly called to the work of racial justice and climate health, both within and without the Meeting.
The work of the Meeting is being ably accomplished with grace and presence, even if without the numbers of people we would wish. Our hearts and semi-programmed worship are fed by the ministry of music. As we bid a heart-felt good bye to one gifted musician, we need turn our attention to bringing the ministry of music to semi-programmed worship more effortlessly. We are frequently challenged in meeting our budget. Meanwhile, many in the Meeting are excited, enthused, and interested in participating in welcoming and outreach initiatives.
Our first day school continues to swell, and we delight in the families, new members, and new attenders who participate in the life of the Meeting, bringing assorted gifts of ministry, good humor, fresh insights, powerful witness in community social justice activism, energy, and grounded lives. We thank God for them and for each other – good company all, in finding our way to God through worship on Sundays and in finding our way through life, by the grace of God, on all the other days.
We yearn to be loved, supported, nurtured, and known and to love, support, nurture, and know in return. Adult programs and opportunities outside of worship facilitate and undergird that intimacy. Potluck mixers, held in people’s homes, were again a wonderful tool for connecting individuals who habit different worship times and for bringing together individuals previously little known to each other. Still, living lives with many demands, passions, and opportunities, as well as having geographical distance separate us, we sometimes feel apart from the kind of community we desire.
The death of dear F(f)riend Adolph Burckhardt, so recently an active, loving, service-oriented, engaged member and a ready source of knowledge about everything to do with the building, has brought a keen sense of the aging of Meeting long-timers. We cherish the elders who offer their wisdom and love to us still. We are emboldened to make the most of the finite years we have – with each other and in service to God.