Minneapolis Friends Meeting Monthly Meeting for Business Minutes
July 9, 2017
10:00 Semi-programmed Meeting for Worship
11:00 Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business
Attendance: David Woolley—presiding clerk, Stephen Snyder—recording clerk, Patricia Jones—Director of Ministry [some names and content have been edited or removed for publication to the web.]
1. Gathering Worship
2. June 11, 2017 Minutes Approved.
a. Director of Ministry Pat reported that she has been going over the various responsibilities of the Director of Ministry position and is gradually handing over some of these responsibilities to the appropriate committees or persons. She will also be one of two representatives from Northern Yearly Meeting to attend the Annual Session of the Baltimore Yearly Meeting from July 31-August 5th, 2017. This will provide a time for personal retreat and for her to experience being a Quaker apart from Minneapolis Friends.
b. Stewardship – Brief update–Jared Nichols At the end of the first quarter of the fiscal year total donations were $27,412 or 24% of budget. At this time last year contributions were only at 18% of budget so contributions are coming in faster this year. . Expenses for first quarter were $21,558 or about 19% or the amount budgeted. Except for some unexpected repairs expenses were about as expected.
c. Transition Committee proposal–Jeannette Raymond In introducing the discussion on transition, Jeannette laid out a grid explaining decision making in conditions of high versus low certainty. We are trying to get agreement on how to move forward with the transition, but many questions cannot be answered with a high degree of certainty at this point in the process. The Transition Committee believes a direction for transition is emerging, but we need to proceed with an expectation of some uncertainty and try to keep communication open. Today we are trying to see if we can move forward on the following aspects of the transition process—forming and supervising an administrative staff position; preparing Ministry and Counsel to oversee and coordinate pastoral care; creating an interim assistant clerk(s) position; connecting new people to Meeting; and coordinating physical care of the building.
Administrative Position The Transition Committee asked Meeting to consider the following proposal: Approve an interim administrative staff position; authorize the Liaison and Review Committee to work with the administrative assistant and the Stewardship Committee on an interim job description and to finalize expectations for paid hours including the question of paid hours on Sunday; and to give the Liaison and Review Committee the task of supervising the administrative staff position. Discussion: __Is the assistant clerk going to fill the administrative position? No. This is an expanded role for the position held by Carolyn. __Liaison and Review Committee is a good committee to oversee the administrative position, but this committee is currently overseeing Pat’s retirement transition. It may be necessary to add additional members to this committee. __Has Pat reviewed the administrative position to see if we have left out crucial responsibilities? For example who will play the pastoral role for funerals and memorial services? Some responsibilities of the role will evolve over time and Ministry and Counsel will also play a pastoral role. __Who signs the marriage certificate? Usually 6 persons sign. __Who will handle phone messages? The administrative staff person. Following this discussion MEETING APPROVED the interim administrative staff position and empowered Liaison and Review to prepare a job description, work with Carolyn and Stewardship to balance needed hours and funds, assume oversight of the position and decide whether to ask Nominating Committee to nominate additional members for the Liaison and Review Committee.
Pastoral Care The Transition Committee proposed the following minute for consideration: Ministry and Counsel has agreed to take on expanded role of oversight and pastoral care. Now let’s ask them to continue to prepare for this role, define its boundaries, and organize education for itself and Meeting as a whole regarding pastoral care. Discussion: __Can we have a specific person named as a contact for Friends seeking pastoral care? This can be considered by Ministry and Counsel. __It will be important for Ministry and Counsel to have a balance of members who attend the unprogrammed and semi-programmed worship services. __There needs to be funding allowed for educating Ministry and Counsel and Meeting about pastoral care. __Ministry and Counsel will need to look at how Meeting handles the pastoral role for funerals and who will sign marriage certificates. __We may need to reorganize our committee structure in the future as we seek to carry out pastoral care functions. __Are we consulting other Quaker meetings to learn how they handle these functions? It would be a good idea to draw on the experience of other meetings. Following this discussion MEETING APPROVED the minute offered by the Transition Committee.
Assistant Clerk Position The Transition Committee proposed that Meeting consider creating an interim assistant clerk position(s) to perform Pat’s role as liaison with the committees in meeting. Tasks might include regular check-in with committee clerks, attending individual committee meetings to provide support as needed and to help develop the monthly meeting agenda with the Clerk. A more detailed job description was circulated for consideration. Discussion: ___What does interim mean? Meeting would try the new position(s) for 6 months and then evaluate how to proceed. __Having just one assistant clerk would make it clear who had responsibility for the tasks involved. __Would this be a paid position. No. __Will the role of Meeting Clerk change? The Clerk’s role will remain the same but the Clerk may have to take on additional responsibilities such as responding to emergencies or unanticipated events or situations. __The responsibilities of this position seem extensive and would require a person(s) with considerable experience in Meeting. Do we have persons in mind to take on these responsibilities? __The role of the assistant clerk would primarily be one of facilitating communication among the committees and the Clerk. It would not require a person to be an expert in the work of every committee. __Nominating Committee may not have the resources to take on the expanded role envisioned by these new positions. May need additional members to assist in this task. Suggest that Nominating Committee and the Clerk work out whether additional members are needed on the Committee. __The Nominating Committee uses the Strawberry Creek Meeting approach to finding persons to fill positions in Meeting. It identifies the tasks of the role, lets names float up from the silence and then tries to discern who might best fill these positions. __Is the transition a period of 3 or 6 months? Six months will be needed to allow time to gain experience regarding our needs and how the interim structures are working. __Friend expressed appreciation for the behind the scenes work that Pat has done over the years but feels somewhat uneasy about putting all these responsibilities on an assistant clerk. This would be an unpaid position and could be rather burdensome. Perhaps the responsibility of communication could be more widely dispersed among the committees during the interim to see how this works. Several other Friends expressed similar concerns about the position being too big and heavy. We need to let communication evolve during the interim to see what our needs might be. __Friend expressed appreciation for the proposed assistant clerk position as it gives one a sense of some order as we move forward. __Friend said we need someone to call when problems on our committee arise. This would be part of the coordination role of the assistant clerk. __Friend had a sense that Meeting is trying to discern how to be in community and work together as it explores moving forward after Pat’s retirement. Meeting may be transitioning from a pastoral to a non-pastoral meeting where members and paid staff share the responsibilities of the paid pastor.__Friend agreed that members will have a lot more responsibilities and we may not have the energy to do all these tasks. __Friend said a paid position might be helpful. __This proposal is for the interim period. Experience during the interim will help us determine the answers to many of these concerns. At this point, the Clerk indicated that he did not sense unity around the proposal for the assistant clerk position(s) and encouraged Friends to continue to reflect on this proposal and make suggestions to the Transition Committee on how to go forward. The Google Group might be a good forum for continuing this discussion.
Connecting new people to the Meeting The Transition Committee proposed giving responsibility for connecting new people to Meeting to three committees– Welcoming and Outreach, Ministry and Counsel and Nominating Committee. __Pat suggested adding the Religious Education Committee to this list. Meeting approved this proposal with the addition of the Religious Education Committee and asks these four committees to work together to cover this responsibility.
Physical Care of Building The Transition Committee talked with the Property Committee about how Meeting manages contracts and coordinates supervision of contractors. The Trustees have traditionally been responsible for making and supervising contracts. Should this be a function of the Property Committee, a paid staff person or some combination of the two? __Friend who had served on the Property Committee pleaded that Meeting consider a paid position of building manager to attend to building needs and maintenance and deal with contractors. __Friend noted that the meetinghouse was remodeled 20 years ago so there will be more needs coming in the future. __Friend noted that the Google group is place we could have ongoing conversation around these topics. __The Transition Committee will consider these points as it moves forward.
d. Liaison and Review report– Ranae Hanson The Liaison and Review Committee will be bringing a proposal that Meeting use some of the sabbatical funds on hand for mini-sabbatical activities for Pat during the transition. It may also recommend that some of the sabbatical funds be used to cover other transitional expenses that Meeting may incur.
4. Adjournment: Meeting adjourned at 12:45 pm