Friends General Conference

Together we nurture the spiritual vitality of Friends
A Monthly Meeting that is part of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)

2014 Fourth Month

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Minutes Details: 

Present: Hayden Groy, Bob Kaeiser, Tina Mercier, Jim Crawford, Carol Crawford, Mary Klos - Clerk

Approval of Minutes: Minutes from FVFM Meetings for Business on February 9, 2014 and March 16, 2014 were read and approved.


We will not have gathered letter-writing on the third Sunday of April (April 20) because it is Easter. However, Bob handed out information from FCNL on the letter they would like us to write this month. Everyone is encouraged to write a letter on their own and they can get the details from Bob.

Friends General Conference will be held June 29 to July 5 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. You can get more information from Carol Crawford, or the FGC Website,

Northern Yearly Meeting will be held on May 23-26 at Lion's Camp in Rosholt,Wisconsin. Registration is due May 3. Scholarships are available. For more information, contact Carol Crawford.

Treasurer's Report: Jim Crawford, FVFM treasurer, reported we have $2,378.88 in our bank account. The treasurer's report was approved.

Ministry and Nurture Committee Report: Mary Klos presented the following results from the interviews that were conducted with members/attenders over the last few months.

Drinking, reading, writing and note taking during Meeting for Worship: While these activities are not our general practice, most realize that at times individuals might need these things to help them focus on worship. If these activities become a problem for anyone else, distracting them from their ability to worship, the problem should be brought to the attention of the Ministry and Nurture Committee. The Committee will work to resolve the issue based on the circumstances.

Start of Meeting for Worship; Greeting Time; Silence; Use of Space: There was general agreement on all of these issues. Silence should start at 11. Before 11 is the time for greeting each other. Greeting each other is important. Greeting can be done in the same room as Meeting for Worship. Having worship in the big room is preferred; some prefer being near the windows, some commented that they dislike having the "rug of violence" at the center of our meeting. All agreed that some signal should be used to start the silence at 11. The greatest diversity of thought is related to how to start meeting. There were many suggestions: an automatic signal like the clock chiming, raising your right arm, a hand on the shoulder, an announcement like "Friends, let's sit down for Meeting for Worship", or a Buddhist bell.

State of Society Report: Carol Crawford presented our 2014 State of Society report. It is based on a group discussion held on April 6. The report was approved as presented, and is attached to these minutes. Thanks to Carol for gathering and writing our report.

New Process for Addressing the Work of Meeting: Mary Klos presented a new process we will be trying out for handling the work of meeting. The new process will reduce the need for all decisions to be made through the whole body at Meeting for Business. We will start following the new process immediately and make changes to the process as we learn more about how it works.

Our previous thinking was that our Meeting is too small to have a committee-based structure. Instead, we saved all issues for the meeting of the whole. However, we have found that saving everything for consideration in MfB has created some problems. It has created business meetings that are very long, or agendas that grow and grow. The backlog has sometimes caused long delays in getting answers to simple questions. MfB is not a good format for in-depth discussion, and some issues need to be seasoned through back-and-forth discussion.

When we received our visit from NYM representatives last summer, they suggested that we go back to traditional Quaker processes for handling business. This involves the use of committees. However, the word "committee" makes us think of a small group of people, and that doesn't seem feasible since our whole meeting is so small. Instead, we will try using a new word instead of "committee" for what we do. The new word will be "coordinators" for now, since we will probably have only one or two persons doing the traditional work of a committee. (Other suggestions for what to call these positions are very welcome).

Here is the proposed new process: Members/attenders who feel called will act as Coordinators for the work projects that FVFM undertakes. Coordinators will be responsible for organizing or performing work, seasoning issues, and/or making spending decisions within their budgeted dollar limit. When necessary, they will use conversations, phone calls, and/or e-mail communications to coordinate activities and/or seek ideas and opinions from other members/attenders. They will report back on their activities to the body of the whole at Meeting for Business. When important issues arise, they will bring seasoned recommendations to the general body for discussion and approval.

FVFM Work Projects and Coordinators:

First Day School: Carol C, Mary K, Tina M

Ministry and Nurture: Reed H, Mary K

Care of Meeting for Worship: Carol C

Adult Education (1st and 4th Sundays): Carol C

WISDOM (Ruth/Joshua): Bob K

Friends Committee on National Legislation (letter-writing): Bob K

Mauthe Center Liaison: Reed H

Potlucks: Mary K

Meals for Homeless: Carol C

Budget (includes Scholarships and Donations): Jim C

Quaker Cloud and E-mail List: Mary K

FVFM Contact List: Carol C

Library: ??

Outreach: ??

Minute on Mining: ??

Drones: Reed H

Upon review of this list, Hayden Groy offered to be a Coordinator for the Library and for Outreach.

This list of work projects and coordinators will be brought forward at each Meeting for Business for updates and reports on recent activities.

Budget for 2014 Work of Meeting: Jim Crawford presented the 2014 budget (attached). It was approved.

Respectfully submitted,

Mary Klos, Clerk