Meeting for Business Minutes, August 12, 2016  [Some names and information have been edited or removed for publication on the web—recording clerk]

10:00 am:Semi-programmed Meeting for Worship  

11:10 am:Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business    David Woolley—presiding clerk, Stephen Snyder—recording clerk, Pat Jones—Director of Ministry 

  1.  Gathering for Worship 

2.   August Minutes were APPROVED.

3.  Reports  a.  Director of Ministry  Friends were asked to hold several members of the meeting in the Light as they deal with various health issues and to consider visiting Friends who are unable to attend meeting for worship.  In a conversation with a member of the Mayim Rabim congregation Pat learned that a rabbi who teaches at Macalester College has received a grant that includes offering clearness committees for college seniors. What a nice Quakerly service.  The Director of Ministry then made the following announcement:   “I am announcing that I would like to discontinue my ¾ time responsibilities Director of Ministry and suggest the end of September 2017 as the ending date.  Over the last year or so I have explored my possible retirement with the Liaison and Review Committee and have met with both present and past members to help me toward clearness as I stayed open to this leading. Fairly recently I began to get some sense of my preferred timing and a clear opening to be released from this comprehensive ministry.  The clerk of the Liaison and Review Committee will report next month at meeting for business and share some of that committee’s preliminary thinking related to the transition.  My report today and hers next month will be just two very early steps in a process over the next year and more providing time for much more discussion and consideration by Meeting.  I am committed to my part in this transition and will be flexible to the needs of the Meeting.”   Discussion:   Friends offered deeply heartfelt thanks. The Meeting then entered a period of silence to hold this news and Pat’s many years of service.  

c.  Ministry of Counsel Committee Monthly and Annual Reports:  Monthly  Report:  As Meeting nears the end of the summer schedule, Ministry and Counsel is again considering the structure of our worship and potlucks, being open to how to best maintain a spirit of one gathered worshiping community.  Many Friends sense that having one meeting for worship throughout the year would allow more Friends to participate in the monthly potlucks and draw us closer together as a Meeting.  There may be others, from whom we have not heard, who would prefer to continue the structure of having both unprogrammed and semi-programmed worship consistently every Sunday during the school year. Ministry and Counsel invites Friends to give prayerful consideration to how we structure and schedule our time of worship together and share this with the Committee.  

Ministry and Counsel Annual Report:  The Ministry and Counsel’s annual report was guided by questions offered by the Care of the Future Committee, identifying what work the committee has undertaken that correlates with the vision statements. The report consists of three sections—1) Committee activities in support of the vision statements, 2) additional activities or needs of the Meeting that the Committee might take on, and 3) challenges or barriers in pursuing these activities. The Committee regularly prays for or holds in the Light, the Meeting, worship and individuals and attempts to discern what activities may be needed to deepen our worship together and provide pastoral care to strengthen our beloved community.  Of particular concern this past year was how to best offer spiritual nurture and spiritual discipline, and what might be brought to meeting to deepen the worship.

Activities this past year included:

  • Two adult programs – one on business practice and one on sharing parts of our spiritual journeys through sharing favorite quotes.
  • Regular consideration of vocal ministries or silences that we found particularly illuminating, deep or problematic.
  • Insuring some pastoral care response was made to requests or known needs.
  • Bringing queries and quotes to the Meeting, including on the fifth Sundays of the summer months, to encourage us to think about how we can intentionally build a beloved community.
  • Wrestling with and educating ourselves around the question of spiritual nurture and discipline.
  • Coordinating or offering two support committees and three clearness committees for membership.
  • Facilitating unprogrammed worship with a group of non-Quakers at PRIDE. 

Activities envisioned for the future include:

  • Continuing to explore with the entire MFM community the topics of spiritual nurture and discipline, and the question of whether we have spiritual elders in Meeting and what their role could be.
  • Conveying how much we value the life ministries of those in the MFM community, and being attentive to and intentional in creating opportunities to support and nurture individuals and their ministries.
  • Furthering discussion of scheduling and the structure of our time together and the implications for our feeling of community.
  • Offering more consistent pastoral care – timing, location, how well an individual is known and particular needs can make the pastoral care we offer uneven. 

Challenges for the Committee include a lack of intimacy and connectedness with others in Meeting that would allow us to know one another more deeply and be more open to how God is working through individual Friends.  The lack of time, people power, connectedness and intimacy can also make it difficult to offer pastoral care or even know what pastoral care is needed or helpful.  

c.  Semi-programmed Worship Planning Committee Annual Report  The Semi-Programmed Worship Planning Committee is a subcommittee of Ministry and Counsel. It plans for the speakers, musicians, microphone carriers, and closers at semi-programmed meeting, exercising discernment as to the Meeting’s spiritual and worship needs and as to gifts of members.  It also provides speakers and closers with information and guidelines for their service.  This past year the Committee has improved its collaboration with the Un-Programmed Worship Planning Committee, revised the summer guidelines for the care of worship, and tried to include First Day School teachers in the planning process for semi-programmed worship.  These efforts will be ongoing in the coming year.  The Committee is grateful for the many years in which one of our former pianists shared her musical talents with Meeting and is exploring alternatives for providing leadership of the music program.

Looking forward, the Committee would like to help nurture worship by asking speakers to use selections from Quaker writings and our Faith and Practice as they prepare messages for meeting for worship.  It would also like to improve our support for the spiritual development of children by including children in worship, encouraging children to report on First Day School activities, and expanding the meeting’s participation in inter-generational events.    

d.  Stewardship Committee Report  Contributions to date are $38,678 or about $1,682 per week compared to weekly contributions of $2,276 needed to meet the annual budgeted contributions.  Although doing better than last month, there is still a shortfall of $594 per week in meeting the budget.  The balance in the checking account is $36,178.

e.  Shepherd Scholarship Committee Annual Report A fund was created a number of years ago by the Shepherd family with the goal of using earnings from the fund for scholarships.  In managing the fund, the Committee set a goal of maintaining the principal amount at $187,000 or more.  However, fluctuations in the financial markets in recent years caused the fund balance to fall below this level and rates of return have been too low to make significant scholarships available.  The Committee has moved the funds to a different investment firm and changed the mix of assets to produce portfolio growth and more income.  These changes have resulted in considerable short term growth in the fund which has a current balance of over $208,000.  The Committee tries to invest in socially responsible investments consistent with Friends values. It has been a good learning experience for our broker to realize we would not invest in the oil industry. In 2016 one scholarship in the amount of $500 was awarded to the sole applicant. Over its lifetime, the fund has awarded a total of $204,414.25 to scholarship recipients.  Scholarships are available to Friends or family members of Friends who have been members of the Meeting for 5 years or more and are pursuing higher education including graduate level programs.

f.  Four Rivers Friends Committee Annual Report  Four Rivers Friends used to be called the Metro Friends Coordinating Committee.  It is made up of Twin Cities, Prospect Hill, Minneapolis and Cannon Valley Friends Meetings. Its mission is to arrange social events such as picnics and musical and poetry gatherings.  The only event this past year was the recent annual picnic at Minnehaha Park which was well attended and enjoyed by all. Future plans include a dancing event with the Quaker band and a poetry and jazz event. 

g. Adult Program Committee Report The Committee is asking Meeting to approve changing the name of the 10:15 am Adult Forum to the 10:15 am Meeting for Learning.  The current name is not inclusive of children and families and we would like to be welcoming of all members and attenders.  Discussion revolved around how to balance the need for both adult and intergenerational educational programs during the 10:15 hour.  The matter was held over until a future meeting for business.

4.Meeting adjourned at12:10 pm.

 

 

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