9:00– 9:40 am Meeting for Worship
9:45 -11:15 Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business
David Woolley–Presiding Clerk, Stephen Snyder–Recording Clerk [some names and content have been edited or removed for publication to the web]
1. Gathering Worship
2. September Minutes– Approved.
a. Ministry and Counsel Committee Report–Carolyn VandenDolder There was no report but the committee asked Friends for feedback on the summer worship experience. Several people said they very much enjoyed the combined summer meetings for worship. There was good attendance providing an opportunity for Friends who usually do not attend the same worship to worship together and become better acquainted. Having one meeting for worship followed by potluck also allowed more people from the unprogrammed worship to enjoy the fellowship of the shared meal. A couple of people suggested having just one unprogrammed meeting for worship, keeping the hymns at the beginning and the end of worship, on the first Sunday of the month throughout the year followed by an earlier potluck. Another suggested extending the summer schedule to the entire year. Others pointed out that Meeting must remember the needs of the growing number of children and our first day program in any discussion about changing the schedule. There was also a suggestion that the fellowship time in the summer be simplified –perhaps by just serving coffee, tea and one snack (including a gluten free option). There was a strong sense that the summer combined worship experience has been a positive one for the Meeting community. The clerk thanked Friends for the rich sharing.
b. Stewardship and Finance Committee Quarterly Report— Jared Nichols Jared handed out a detailed income and expense report showing that contributions through the second quarter were at 47% of budget which is better than last year. While some expenses were above or below budget, overall, they were about as expected. Friend asked what would become of the unused portion ($15,000) of the Director of Ministry’s salary now that the Pat has retired. Jared indicated that no decision has been made about those funds. It is possible they will be used for expenses related to ministry that Meeting may incur.
c. Welcoming and Outreach Committee Annual Report—Sandy Olson The committee’s mission is to help create an open and welcoming community with a particular focus on visitors, new attenders and new members. It seeks to encourage and empower attenders and members to actively invite people to share in the experience of Meeting community. During the year the committee arranged for greeters to welcomed folks at the door before each worship, contacted visitors, sponsored friendly home meals which were well-received, hosted two coffee and conversation sessions following meeting for worship, sponsored an ice cream social for the neighborhood and organized a welcoming reception for a new member in Winona. It also offered a mid-morning program on the welcoming process and encouraged the formation of a Google Group to facilitate communication among friends. The addition of lighting to the yard sign has also made Meeting more visible during evening hours and the committee is exploring the possibility of an automatic door at the York Street entrance to facilitate handicapped access. Going forward, the committee will continue to explore ways to use social media to raise the profile of Meeting, to make the Google Group more effective, and to incorporate new attenders more fully into Meeting. Friendly Meals will be offered again in the coming year and a welcoming reception for Julie Busta, a new member, will held November 19th during mid-morning program. It was clear from the report that committee members have experienced much hope and joy through their service over the past year. Discussion: One way friends can help welcome newcomers is to sign up as greeters at the door. Friend asked what the committee is doing to follow up with visitors. E-mails are sent on a monthly basis and also a personal note if visitors leave addresses. Friend reported that the Google group has 50 members now—not the whole membership but a significant number– and is being used appropriately. Another friend noted that only a small number of friends seem to be using the group and wondered how its use could extended. The discussion then turned to how we might inform and encourage attenders to consider membership. The topic of membership can be intimidating and the process may be mysterious to some. Some friends felt Meeting could be more proactive in inviting and encouraging new people to explore membership. Others felt that people need time to become part of the community and understand Friend’s ways and should not be “pushed” to become members. Attenders, as well as members, make valuable contributions and must feel accepted and welcome in Meeting. Suggestions for how to approach education about membership included: 1) developing a brochure explaining membership and the process of becoming a member; 2) putting an item in bulletin saying membership is not required but is encouraged, 3) inviting members to write a paragraph for the bulletin or Google Group explaining what drew them to seek membership; 4) opening conversations with attenders about considering membership; and 5) organizing a book discussion around a *Pendle Hill Pamphlet on membership—something Oberlin Friends Meeting found very rewarding for both members and attenders. Finally friends were reminded that it is the experience of a vibrant spiritual community that draws many to Meeting. * Members One of Another: The Dynamics of Membership in Quaker Meeting, by Thomas (Tom) Gates Pendle Hill Pamphlet #371 (2004)
d. Child Welfare Committee Annual Report–Robert Raymond. The committee is charged with developing and implementing a child protection policy for Meeting. It organizes the clearness process and does background checks for friends volunteering to work with children. Current committee members are Robert Raymond, Sigurd Hoppe, Rae Beth Cornelius, Doug Herron and Barbara Mohr. It has been a challenging year. The Child Welfare Committee was dormant for several years and there are not good records so it is difficult to determine which friends have been cleared in the past. Thus the committee has been working to develop processes for clearing and educating friends and improving record keeping. It is important that people interested in working with children understand the process and be cleared in a timely fashion. A big challenge has been arranging and conducting the interviews and background checks with the limited committee resources. In spite of the challenges the committee has been a vibrant and energetic group committed to assisting the growing children’s program. Discussion: Friend asked how many friends have been cleared. Don’t have that information with me today. Know we need to have a list of friends who are cleared to work in the nursery, but don’t have many active members who are both cleared and have a background check. Friend: What happens if someone had a background check in the past or from another institution? We don’t have a record of background checks from previous years, and it is not clear that background checks are transferable from one institution to another. We do have a budget to pay the $15 cost for background checks and are now requiring new checks for everyone working with children. With growing numbers of children attending Meeting, several friends noted the urgency of getting volunteers cleared and offered to assist in the process. Linda C. noted that part of her job is doing background checks at Friends School and offered to be a resource. Friend wondered if the committee could prioritize the areas where volunteers are most needed. Friend thanked Robert and the other committee members for their work and service in this challenging task.
e. Loaves and Fishes Annual Report–Ann Luce Loaves and Fishes is a program to provide nutritious meals to the hungry in Minnesota. Minneapolis and Twin Cities Friends cooperate to provide the meal at the Holy Rosary Catholic Church on the 5th Monday of the month. Ann and Sue K. recruit people to help with donations, food preparation and serving. Because Meeting will be serving 5 times this year the program may go over budget. Once a year, Ann and Sue meet with friends from Twin Cities Meeting. They have had discussions about whether this service is what Friends continue to be called to do. They may bring this question to meeting for business later in the year. The Loaves and Fishes work has been enjoyable and a way to get acquainted with friends from other meetings and a Muslim group which works with the program a few times a year. Friends will be serving again on Oct. 30th and volunteers from Meeting will be needed. To provide more nutritious meals, friends are asked to donate fruit. Cookies are no longer served. The committee thanked Terry K. and Jim H. who have been regular volunteers.
f. Liaison and Review Committee—Jeannette Raymond As directed by Monthly Meeting, Liaison and Review has worked with Carolyn VandenDolder to create a job description for an Interim Meeting Coordinator position. In this position, Carolyn will work from 21-25 hours per week. In general, she will have communication, coordination and administrative responsibilities. Some specific tasks will be to write and distribute the weekly bulletin, open and close the meetinghouse on Sunday mornings, pay non-payroll bills and provide reimbursement as needed, maintain membership records and serve as a liaison between the Meeting and Mayim Rabim. There are also back up plans for some of the weekly functions should Carolyn be away from Minneapolis. “Meeting house care taker” responsibilities beyond the existing tasks that she has done were not included. Liaison and Review will provide support and supervision during this interim period. In addition, Carolyn will be meeting on a regular basis with the Clerk and Assistant Clerk to discuss how the needs of the Meeting and its committees are being met. It would be easy to think of Carolyn as the “go-to person” for every question and request for assistance so the committee built parameters into her job description so that she can be clear about her specific responsibilities and can stay within the 25 hours allowed each week. Members of the Meeting and its committees are asked to be understanding if she is unable to take on some tasks. Carolyn accepted this 6-month interim position (October 1, 2017 through March 31st, 2018) knowing this may be extended if monthly meeting has not made a long-term decision about the future leadership structure of the Meeting. Friends are very fortunate to have Carolyn in this position, with her experience, Quaker background, values and skills, and her demonstrated commitment to Minneapolis Friends. This will be a learning time for the Meeting as we work together to keep our spiritual community strong and vibrant. Thanks to Carolyn for her willingness to serve the meeting at this time.
4. Other Business
a. Doug Herron Request Doug would like Meeting to support his travel to the Friends Committee for National Legislation (FCNL) annual meeting by paying half of his registration fee. The request will be sent to the Trustees who manage the travel fund.
b. Quaker Voluntary Service (QVS)—Tom Wells The QVS annual board meeting will be held in the Twin Cities on October 20-21st. There will be a welcome and potluck meal at the meetinghouse on Friday, October 20th at 6:30 pm followed by a getting-to-know-you fun-raiser (live music, food trucks and speakers) on Saturday from 4-7 pm at Twin Cities Meeting. Tom appealed to friends to attend at least one of these events to show support for the new undertaking by Meeting and to become better acquainted with the program. The QVS House will open here in the fall of 2018 with six to eight fellows living, working, and worshiping in the Twin Cities area. Come, meet the people involved in this organization and enjoy two evenings of fellowship and entertainment.
c. Correspondence: Meeting has received complimentary issue of the newsletter “What Canst Thou Say” which deals with conflict and reconciliation. Many of the essays and articles look quite good. It is posted along with newsletters on the long bulletin board located across from the name tags.
5. Transition to semi-programmed meeting for worship at 11:15 am.