Minneapolis Friends Meeting Monthly Meeting for Business
June 11, 2017
10:00 Unprogrammed Meeting for Worship
11:00 Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business
Attendees: David Woolley- presiding clerk, Tom Ward – recording clerk, Pat Jones—Director of Ministry
2. May Minutes APPROVED
a. Director of Ministry Report Pat is out of town. She requested that we announce that she is in the process of transferring her responsibilities and tasks to the appropriate committees or the office administrator. Once she has done the transfer, she plans to no longer have primary responsibility for those activities, unless her help is specifically requested. Presiding clerk read some thank you cards sent following the memorial service for Arne Anderson.
b. Ministry and Counsel (M&C) Report–John Kraft Minutes should reflect the passing of Arne Anderson on May 8, 2017, with his memorial service taking place on May 21, 2017 at Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church due to the need for a larger venue. His memorial minute will be addressed later in today’s agenda. John indicated M&C is focused on supporting the Meeting during the transition resulting from the director of ministry’s retirement. This support will be more of emotional and spiritual in nature than about process. They are exploring ways to strengthen intergenerational relationships within Meeting, and they are focusing on pastoral care during the transition, as well as, going into the future. They plan to offer support and enrichment opportunities to M&C members and to others in Meeting, to be better prepared to understand the possibilities for and the limitations of providing pastoral care.
c. Proposal for Pat Jones’ Retirement celebration – Rae Cornelius and Judith James: The celebration will be on Sunday September 10, 2017 with catered lunch and program. They are considering ways to announce the event with refrigerator magnets and to send out both electronic and hard copy invitations. They are planning for 200 people, which will pose some challenges. They are looking for help putting this on. T.K. has agreed to shoot a video of the event that will include short (under 30 seconds) testimonials. A sign-up list is being distributed. Also, Friends are encouraged to sign up for two open dates for social hour following meeting for worship this summer. Discussion: Is the Meeting accepting designated contributions for the retirement celebration? Yes, but the Meeting needs to establish the fund, first. Presiding Clerk asked for approval of a designated fund for Pat’s retirement celebration and Friends APPROVED. Friend asked about the size of the budget for the celebration. They anticipate needing at least $2,000 – $3,000. Clerk added that anyone wanting to contribute to the celebration can write a check with “for Pat’s retirement celebration” in the memo line and the check will go to the designated fund.
d. Transition Committee Report – Jeannette Raymond: Last month we presented the initial report on the transition period that would go into effect at the end of September. The committee has received a number of comments and feels that additional time may be needed at next month’s business meeting to decide how to proceed. Jeannette highlighted some of the key points of the transition. Carolyn’s role – giving her more hours and expanding her duties to include more coordination of meeting operations. Monthly meeting would need to approve this expansion of duties and Liaison and Review Committee would go over the details. Offices supervision – Liaison and Review would oversee the office. Pastoral Care – this would fall to Ministry and Counsel (M&C) during the interim; and to prepare for this M&C would need to better define their boundaries – what they can and cannot do – as well as training and educating themselves and the meeting, at large, to take on additional responsibilities. Assistant Clerk(s) – role would be to support committee clerks and to oversee the functioning of committees. This could be one or two people. The assistant clerk would be there to support the committees and not to address the role and operations of the committees, which is a larger objective for the Meeting, as a whole, to address. Connecting to new people – this will fall to two committees: Welcoming and Outreach, and Nominating. Managing contracts for building services – property committee and Trustees are involved with this and it includes oversight of both paid property service staff and property management. Pat is maintaining a comprehensive list of committee assignments and duties. Discussion: How long would the interim plan go, and is the issue regarding one or two assistant clerks a money issue? The initial interim structure would extend to December. That would give some time to test the plan and to come up with a long term plan to consider in December. It may take more than 3 months, but this can be evaluated in December. We do not want to get locked in right now. One suggestion is to have committee clerks get together regularly during this interim period. And the issue of the assistant clerks is not about money. The transition committee believes the presiding clerk and the assistant clerk(s) could work piece meal until we hire a long time person ___ Friend advocated that the assistant clerk be someone with a strong institutional memory of Minneapolis Friends Meeting. Jeannette remarked that the assistant clerk would attend committee meetings only as needed and would keep in touch with the committees and clerks throughout the year ___ Friend asked how Pat’s leaving would impact Allen’s involvement in the meeting. The committee has not specifically addressed that issue ___ Friend asked if we can manage this decision during monthly meeting for business, or do we need a threshing session. Jeannette says their desire is to proceed without a threshing session, but there may need to be a called meeting to handle specific actions. She had hoped to make some decisions today and not leave them all for a later time ___ Friend advised we proceed quickly and consider calling another meeting in June. Presiding Clerk suggested it is still early in the process and we can postpone action until either next monthly meeting or a special called meeting. Friends are encouraged to follow the progress of the transition committee via the committee box on the table in the hall, via Google Docs and by participation in monthly meeting for business. Please contact members of the transition committee, directly, with ideas or comments. ___Question was raised if Liaison and Review committee should start working with Carolyn on the new role. Not yet. There is a lot of detail to still work out ___ Friend asked how the process for the interim leadership structure reflects the work we did last year envisioning the future of the Meeting. Jeannette: the interim leadership structure plan is grounded in that work, but the committee has not looked critically at how it relates to what they are proposing right now ___Another Friend expressed concern that we should approve this hybrid administrative role, now, to better facilitate coordinating all these elements. A Friend indicated that some of Pat’s tasks have already been formally handed off to individuals within the Meeting, so the process if going forward even as we consider the next steps. Presiding Clerk supported the process we are following and re-iterated that we still have time to manage this deliberatively. He will try to post on Google Docs website the two transition documents we reviewed today.
e. Stewardship – Brief Update – Jared Nichols: We are 10 weeks into the fiscal year. Total contributions to date are $22,921, for an average of $2292 a week. Last year at this time, we were averaging $1396 a week. To meet our budget for this year and make up for the shortfall last year, we need to average $2304 a week. The current checking account balance is $53,061. Our budget last year was short by $13,000 and Friends believed we could make up the shortage this year. This seems to be happening, but it is too soon to know if this is a short term adjustment or a long term trend.
f. Peace and Social Concerns (P&SC): Proposed focus for the year – Roland Barrett: Meeting requests P&SC to provide one to three suggestions each year for the Meeting to follow for the year. Last year there were a number of activities focused on discernment and following member’s leanings. This year they are proposing one overriding goal – embracing diversity. This is broadly defined – covering the sanctuary movement and Black Lives Matter to earth friendly activities, like eco diversity, car pooling and bicycling, and right sharing of resources. Discussion: Friend is very supportive of taking a broad view of diversity. Another asked if there has been any coordination with religious education – no planned activities yet. Friends APPROVED the focus for this year suggested by Peace and Social Concerns – embracing diversity.
Nancy Helfrich, following her request to P&SC to display a rainbow colored lawn sign saying “all are welcome here”, brought her request to monthly meeting for approval. This led to a broad discussion on process of displaying banners, importance of language /message – saying “all” vs. “you”- (we already have a banner that says “you are welcome here”), and displaying multiple signs on the lawn with different popular messages – there is currently a “black lives matter” sign posted in front of the meeting house. There was wide range in the opinions and ideas discussed. Mention was made of the small sign on each entrance door that uses very inclusive language welcoming people to the meeting house. Presiding clerk, taking leading from the discussion, proposed that we remount the banner saying “you are welcome here”. Friends APPROVED remounting the banner “you are welcome here”.
g. Northern Yearly Meeting (NYM) report – Bill Hendricks: Bill read a detailed report that focused on the theme of Northern Yearly Meeting this year – “Moving Forward: Having Difficult Discussions about Diversity”. Approximately 220 attended the gathering from all across NYM’s region – Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, North and South Dakota and a portion of Michigan. A large number of children and teens participated in pre-planned and unplanned activities. Activities for all attendees ranged from worship sharing, interest groups, singing, folk dancing, and many other indoor and outdoor pursuits. One of the main tasks every morning was to conduct NYM’s yearly meeting with attention to business. Agenda items included financial status (which is solid), the status of the committee charged with writing the new Faith and Practice that was just published, the future relationship with El Salvador Yearly Meeting, and financial support for Quaker Voluntary Service in the Twin Cities ($1,200 was approved). Over a dozen people from MFM attended and Bill read some observations and comments given to him about their experiences at NYM.
h. Semi-programmed Worship Planning Committee annual report – no report today
i. Trustees and Designated Funds Report — Jim Haefemeyer, committee clerk, covered highpoints of the report and added that the Trustees will be reviewing the cemetery lots that MFM owns at Lakewood Cemetery, since this is one of the occasional tasks that the Trustees have to attend to. He observed that the Community Service Fund has not been used much, lately, and we need to decide what to do with the sabbatical fund now that the director of ministry is retiring. Jim is concerned about the long term costs of maintaining the meeting house – especially the elevator lift. There is a long punch list of projects that need work to keep the building in working condition, and the Trustees may be asking the Meeting to increase the annual contribution to the Building Fund. They plan to meet with representatives of Friends Fiduciary Fund to explore a better way to invest the Trustee Funds, but Jim feels this may not be as beneficial for us relative to the larger east coast Meetings that the Friends Fiduciary Fund assists. We are a comparatively small Meeting. Discussion: Friend asked about the status of the various funds – are they designated or can the Meeting use them as it chooses? The Trustees try to honor the original intentions of the donors, but, for the most part, since Meeting has created the different funds it can legally change them. There are some exceptions with specific funds. Friend inquired if funds set aside for Quaker Quest could be redirected, since Friends General Conference no longer sponsors Quaker Quest. That does seem possible, and there have been requests to use those funds to improve accessibility to the building by upgrading or replacing the exterior doors which have proved problematic for individuals with disabilities.
j. Property Committee annual report – Linda Ferguson: Property committee is charged with the upkeep and maintenance of the meeting house and grounds. Accomplishments and tasks for this past year include: a new outside motion detector light, city safety inspections that identified some improvements that needed to be made – and have been completed, replacement of the water heater in the women’s bathroom downstairs, and postponement of the annual cleanup day to June 25. Upcoming tasks include painting the downstairs fellowship room followed by carpet cleaning, addressing the deterioration of the cement on the path and entryway to the north building entrance, installing an automated door opener in the main entrance, and addressing a landscaping problem requiring reconstruction on the east side of the building.
k. Annual Membership Report: April 2016 to March 2017 there were 65 active adult members with an additional 56 regular adult attenders. There are 15 regular attenders who are children. New members: 1, New associate members: 0, Released members: 0
4. New Business
a. Memorial Minute for Arne Anderson Contact the presiding clerk if inspired to help write the memorial minute. Bill Hendricks agreed to help with process.
5. Friends agreed to stay late to finish business. Business Meeting Adjourned around 12:35 PM