Present: Peter Bankson (angel), Marjory Bankson (angel), Kevin Barwick, Ken Burton, Pat Conover, Cynthia Dahlin, Judy Lantz, Dave Lloyd (recorder), Trish Nemore, Brenda Seat, Keith Seat (moderator), Vincent Shepherd, Margreta Silverstone
Absent: Sandra Miller, Deborah Sokolove, Jacqie Wallen
Visitors: Larry Rawlings (Koinonia)
Worship: Vince led worship with a prayer, a period of silence, and a gospel hymn and we concluded with a joint reading of the Stewards’ Commitment Statement.
Housekeeping: next meeting will be March 1st at 5:00 pm at Seekers.
Moderator: Deborah Worship: Margreta
Recorder: Peter Angels: Judy & Dave
Financial Giving Standard: Stewards have been discussing whether to revise the Stewards’ discipline of financial giving (“Giving proportionately of income to Seekers Church, beginning at ten percent’) periodically since 2012. Various revisions had been proposed but none had been adopted. For this meeting the Servant Leadership Team (SLT) had proposed that we suspend the “beginning at ten percent” language for six months, during which time Stewards would be encouraged to report to their spiritual directors how they work with money in their lives, the impact the suspension of the language is having on their giving and the way they think and feel about financial giving in general. The SLT provided Stewards with the scripture passage of Luke 16:19-31, in which Jesus presented the story of Lazarus and the rich man, and six questions for our reflection as prompts for our spiritual reports during this period. The SLT also proposed that we use time in April and June to meet in small groups to work with the reflection questions, and at the August meeting we would reassess the situation, including our learnings during this period, and make a decision regarding the discipline.
Brenda moderated the discussion, which included a review of the source of the discipline (Church of the Saviour, based on the tithe in the Hebrew Scriptures), the views of our co-founders Fred and Sonya, recognition of the variance in income and wealth among Stewards and members, the importance of money and wealth in our culture and its inappropriate use as a measure of individuals, the status of disciplines as practices, guidelines, or rules, Stewards’ precedent for making exceptions for those with financial hardship, and the value of a specific baseline for all the disciplines. It became clear from the discussion that most Stewards did not want to spend more time discussing the language of “beginning at ten percent” and Stewards voted not to adopt the SLT proposal. Stewards expressed thanks to the SLT for their leadership during this period, their proposal and the questions for reflection. Stewards expressed interest in future discussions on the meaning of the Stewards’ commitment to “foster justice and be in solidarity with the poor.” Stewards also would like a discussion on how to address the occasional need of some Stewards for financial support without violating DC law that generally prohibits a nonprofit corporation from making a financial gift to its governing board.
State of Seekers: On behalf of the SLT, Trish led a review of our congregational health after our dinner. SLT perceives that the congregation is still in the process of healing from the difficulties of last year and that the SLT is still in a reactive mode. On the positive side, both Peter’s journey in leaving the SLT while remaining in the congregation and the recent ritual in worship to honor that journey have been important models for us. Moreover, our path of welcoming new people into belonging is clear and works well, especially through the mission groups, and we have been faithful to our original vision of being inclusive with our children and adolescents. Conversations have been rich and gifts continue to be evoked. SLT is remaining faithful to its vision of primarily encouraging others to perform vital tasks, only performing them when this has been unsuccessful.
Margreta identified changes in the density and demographics of Takoma and Takoma Park from new residential construction (rentals and condominiums). The increase in demand is raising business rents, resulting in a loss of some small businesses. These changes may also affect the diversity of population and provide new opportunities for Seekers’ outreach. Stewards agreed to discuss a plan to welcome and invite new residents at the March meeting.
Stewards expressed a desire for periodic reports on the State of Seekers, perhaps quarterly.
Cynthia and Brenda shared recent events of their lives and the impact these have had on their spiritual growth.
The meeting closed with SOUL TALK.
Submitted by David Lloyd
February 8, 1015