August 12, 2016

Minneapolis Friends Monthly Meeting for Business Minutes

[Some names and information have been edited or removed for publication on the web—recording clerk]

10:00 Semi-programmed Meeting for Worship

11:10 Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business

David Woolley – presiding clerk, Stephen Snyder – recording clerk, Pat Jones—Director of Ministry,

I.   Gathering Worship

II.   July Minutes were APPROVED

III.  Reports     

A.  Director of Ministry– ­ Pat Jones

Let us remember and celebrate the life of Grace Gibas, a beloved member of our Meeting, who was born 100 years ago today.  The new “hitching post” for bicycles, approved at the July Meeting for Business, has been installed in rapid time for a Quaker activity.  Thank you Jeff Naylor and members of the Peace and Social Concerns and Property Committees for seasoning and implementing this project.  Our $80 cost came from a line item in the Peace and Social Concerns budget.  We appreciate Friends who are able to give rides to Friends needing assistance—especially those who live in the distant western suburbs.   The Southwest Journal recently had an article about poetry and hymns written by Quaker poet, John Greenleaf Whittier.  It noted that Quakers today do not sing hymns.  Sandy Olson has written to editor explaining that Quakers at Minneapolis Meeting do sing hymns and mentioned some of our favorites.  Thank you, Sandy.   There are many new initiatives bubbling up in Meeting including planning for two First Day School classes this fall, next steps in our planning process for Meeting, interest in a Quaker catechism, Experiment with Light groups coming out of experiences at the FGC gathering,  home study on AFSC’s booklet on Quaker testimonies, the Quaker Volunteer Service project, films on Quaker service and an online course on 17th Century Quakers by British Friend Ben Pink Dandelion.  Discussion:  Diane B. met Ben Pink Dandelion when she was at Woodbrooke and Swarthmoor Hall and recommends his online course.   A question arose about the Experiment with Light program.  Terry H. explained that Experiment with Light is a Quaker practice devised by British Friend Rex Ambler based on his study of early Friends’ writings, and has resulted in numerous Light groups being established among Friends in Britain and North America.

B.  Ministry and Counsel  Committee– Carolyn VandenDolder

There is a lot of ferment around ideas for spiritual deepening including the Experiment with Light.  These ideas have been a subject of ongoing discussion in Ministry and Counsel.

C.  Stewardship Committee report—Jared Nichols

Meeting is now 19 weeks into the fiscal year.  Contributions to date are $30,936 or $1,628 per week.  Budgeted contributions for this time period are $43,242 or $2,276 per week.  To meet the annual budget, Friends need to contribute an additional $648 per week.  Jared noted that our experience to date is similar to past years and shortfalls are typically made up before the end of the fiscal year.  The current balance in the checking account is $36,312.  Discussion:  One Friend suggested that we set up automatic monthly withdrawals from our checking accounts so Meeting has a more stable flow of income during the year.  Roland B. offered to help Friends who wish to do this.

D.  Nursery Committee Annual Report—  Betsy Souther

We are thirty two weeks into 2016 and in twenty of those weeks we have had children using the nursery.  The good news is we are being visited by children.  However, the nursery is staffed by volunteers rather than paid staff and help is always needed.  During the First Day School year, with a crew of teachers next door through the glass walls, there isn’t a need for a second volunteer.  However, during summer months we do need a second volunteer to be available each Sunday so that we have at least two adults present.  The nursery is grateful for the help provided by many Friends over the year.  We are excited to welcome Stephanie S. to serve on the Nursery Committee along with Annette S. and Barb M.  Barb is on the Child Welfare committee and we are hoping to work with her to increase their list of cleared people.  Friends who are interested in coming to play with us are encouraged to contact the Child Welfare Committee.   Susan H. is no longer on the committee, but she contributes wonderful books.  Mary L. contributed both her book and a beautiful hooked rug for the nursery wall.  We are very fortunate to get to know the beautiful children that come here and their families. The nursery is grateful for all these varied gifts that are given us.  Discussion:  Several heartfelt expressions of thanks were given for the work of the Nursery Committee, Betsy’s leadership and the many volunteers in the program.

E.  First Day School Committee Report–Bill Hendricks

The committee is planning to offer both teen and preteen classes beginning in the fall.  We will need 4 instructors each First Day for 36 weeks.  Anyone who could help out but is not cleared to work with children can contact Child Welfare about volunteering.  The Committee will do more planning in September with both parents and teachers.  September 18th will be the kick-off for the First Day program.

IV.  Follow-up Business 

A.  Quaker Voluntary Service (QVS) Project Proposal –Tom Wells

The following minute was proposed by the ad hoc QVS committee that was formed in May. Members are Tom W., Judith J., Carolyn V., Barbara Z., Ed S., Sigurd H.

Minneapolis Friends Meeting commits to participate with other local meetings and worship groups in the establishment of a Quaker Voluntary Service (QVS) program in the Twin Cities area, to begin operation in the fall of 2017 or fall 2018, if the board chooses the Twin Cities for its next program location.  We recognize and affirm the following responsibilities as a Meeting participating in the QVS program: 

  • Select members to be part of the ongoing Twin Cities area Local Support Committee (LSC) which will be the primary group supporting the QVS leadership and the locally- hired part-time staff person through the process of establishing the local QVS program. 
  • Welcome QVS Fellows into active involvement in our Meeting (recognizing that some Fellows may choose involvement in other Twin Cities area meetings or worship groups). 
  • Provide spiritual nurture to QVS Fellows, either through individual support committees or through each Fellow being paired with a spiritually seasoned member of the Meeting.  
  • Contribute our fair share of financial support by contributing as a Meeting and assisting with fund-raising (the expectation is that the local host community will contribute approximately $10,000 per year). 

Tom explained that QVS currently has 4 programs in the United States in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Boston and Portland and is hoping to expand to an additional location in 2017.    Twin Cities and Prospect Hill Friends Meetings have already minuted support (and a pledge of $4,000 from Prospect Hill Friends) for starting a QVS program in the Twin Cities area and have invited Minneapolis Friends to participate as well.  The project would involve 6-10 QVS fellows ages 21-30, living in community and participating in one of the local meetings. TCFM has found a house for the fellows in the Powderhorn Park area.  The program and financial commitment will be ongoing for several years.  The QVS office in Atlanta is very excited about receiving a proposal to set up a QVS program in the Twin Cities citing our track record of working together as meetings.  They will make a decision in September about where to open a new QVS program so timely action is needed if we are to participate.  Discussion: It was pointed out that each fellow will be working with a non-profit organization in the Twin Cities area and the organizations will each have to contribute $16,000 to support the fellow.  These organizations will learn about Quakers through the program so it can be a good form of outreach.  Other Friends noted that Lutherans, Mennonites and Brethren have volunteer programs that give them visibility and service opportunities for youth.  Several Friends noted the importance of Quaker volunteer opportunities in their lives and expressed delight at the prospect of supporting such activities for youth today.  The following points were made in response to questions about the program and concerns about raising money to support it:

  • QVS recruits fellows in Quaker schools but they won’t necessarily be Quakers. Fellows are expected to be involved in one of the local Friends meetings during the project so will have opportunities to learn about Friends.
  • If our project is approved by QVS, a local coordinator will be recruited in January 2017 with fellows hopefully in place by September 2017.
  • The Local Support Committee will have ongoing responsibility for managing this project including fundraising.
  • QVS will provide some supports such as counseling on student loan debt and fellows will receive a $500 stipend at the end of their year to help them move on with their life.
  • There is not likely to be any funds available from the Trustee’s Funds.
  • The QVS project might generate more financial giving as it is focused on a specific program.  In the past, it was not difficult to raise money for specific programs like the trip to Cuba.
  • It is not clear what our “fair share” of costs might be but TCFM and Prospect Hill have committed to sharing the costs.  Details on cost sharing will need to be worked out by the Local Support Committee and brought to Meeting at a later time.
  • If finances are a problem, perhaps we could revisit our contributions to other Friends organizations with the goal of rebalancing these contributions.
  • This proposal is so much in line with our new vision statement and with our Quaker values —it is what we have been praying for– that we can approve it with confidence we will manage the finances later.
  • Let’s consider this proposal as something our Meeting can give to others, rather than focusing on what we might get from the project. Friends APPROVED the proposed minute.

V.  Announcements:  Elizabeth S. announced that home groups are being formed to discuss AFSC queries on the Quaker testimonies.  Contact Elizabeth to sign up or get more information.  Arnie A. is currently at the Walker health center and can be reached there.

VI.  Meeting Adjourned At 12:25pm 


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