May 1, 2016
Stewards: Marjory Bankson, Peter Bankson (notes), Kevin Barwick (angel), Ken Burton (moderator), Cynthia Dahlin, Joan Dodge (angel), Michele Frome, Judy Lantz, David Lloyd, Sandra Miller (worship), Trish Nemore, Brenda Seat, Keith Seat, Vincent Shepherd, Margreta Silverstone, Deborah Sokolove and Jacqie Wallen.
Housekeeping: Stewards will next meet on Sunday, June 5, at 5:30 pm at the church
Moderator: Deborah Worship: Trish
Note taker: Ken Angels: Cynthia & Judy
Worship was offered by Sandra, excerpts from a preface introduction from 2001 to an interview between author bell hooks and Thich Nhat Hahn. (http://www.lionsroar.com/bell-hooks-and-thich-nhat-hanh-on-building-a-community-of-love/).
Takoma Park Folk Festival: Joan reported that the Outreach Ministry Group (OMG) supports participation by Seekers in the Takoma Park Folk Festival (TPFF) from 10:00 AM through 5:00 PM on September 11th. They see it as an important part of our outreach to the community. Larry Rawlings has been providing coordination in the past and members of OMG want to generate broader support within Seekers for supporting our presence at the festival. Stewards had a lively conversation about our participation. Highlights included:
- We will need at least two greeters at the booth throughout the festival, serving shifts of about two hours.
- Greeters need to be prepared to mix with visitors and introduce Seekers Church
- Greeters need to be clear and confident about their “heart statement (elevator speech)” introducing Seekers Church to visitors to the booth.
- We need to have an orientation for all greeters at least a week before the festival.
- Our new brochure already available.
- In previous years we’ve offered lemonade to help welcome visitors.
- Big draws in the past have been the children’s activity table and Carroll Café
Stewards affirmed the efforts of OMG to continue planning for participation in TPFF 2016, and having a single booth for Seekers Church and Carroll Café.
September Meeting Date for Stewards: The September Stewards’ meeting had been tentatively scheduled for September 11th to avoid meeting on Labor Day. Given the need for very active community participation in the Takoma Park Folk Festival, it was proposed to shift the meeting back to September 4th. After checking with all Stewards and determining that only two are certain n ow that they are likely to be away on Labor Day, the meeting date was shifted back to September 4th at 5:30 PM.
Servant Leadership Team Review for Brenda: This year Brenda is scheduled for her periodic review as a member of the SLT. The SLT review team normally includes two or three Stewards and at least two other Members. This year Cynthia, Judy and Kevin volunteered to serve as the Stewards on the review team. They will invite other members and coordinate Brenda’s review.
Emergency Contact Information: Dave presented an initiative from the Servant Leadership Team that is beginning to maintain a consolidated listing of emergency contact information for Members (including Stewards) and others who attend worship regularly, so that in case of an emergency we would be able to help make contacts. Cynthia reported that Living Water Mission Group has been working on helping Seekers complete the “5 Wishes” document specifying end-of-life desires, and this new initiative will add encouragement to their efforts. Keith observed that this was very similar to the emergency contact information that silent retreat participants provide the retreat assistant. There was an additional suggestion that Members add information on who has keys to allow entry to a Member’s residence.
After a lively conversation the Stewards decided to:
- Develop and maintain an electronic file of emergency contact information, available to the SLT, and a card to facilitate collecting that information.
- Encourage all Seekers to file with Seekers a copy of their “5 Wishes” or other similar documentation of end-of-life desires. These will be scanned into an electronic file available to the SLT.
Dave will develop the data entry card and move this forward. Cynthia confirmed that Living Water Mission Group is ready to teach a class in the School of Christian Living, and will offer to provide 1-on-1 support for people who may need assistance.
Celebration Circle Mission Group Report: The mission group provided an update on several dimensions of our worship life:
- Peter provided a summary of the worship themes and variety of preachers in 2015 (attached). Twenty-four individual Seekers and three groups, (Guatemala pilgrims, the Eyes to See Ears to Hear Peace Prayer Mission Group and Celebration Circle) offered 42 sermons during the year.
- Brenda asked CC members to share their reflections on the brightest and darkest moments for the mission group in 2015. (Members of CC tabled that for a later meeting.
- Dave suggested that it would help to work with our children to help them understanding the deeper symbolism of Communion.
- Marjory noted a shift away from letting the preacher choose music (hymns, prelude and offertory) to augment the Word. (See below.)
- Ken thanked Stewards and all Seekers for offering the Word.
- Deborah provided an update on the current work to coordinate Word and music in worship. The current arrangement, with five musicians sharing responsibility for choosing music in collaboration with the person bringing the Word, has been in effect for about 18 months. The guidelines are available on the Seekers Church website under “Core Documents.” (https://www.seekerschurch.org/life-together/core-documents/19-life-together/core-documents/181-word-and-music-in-worship)
- There is an active conversation between Celebration Circle and the informal group of musicians to harmonize some differing perspectives. As this conversation continues, it may be helpful to include frequent preachers in the conversation.
- Brenda suggested a community survey on music in worship.
- Another option would be a “Third Sunday” conversation after worship. (NOTE: SLT has reserved the main level for these community conversations every month beginning in May.)
- Keith observed that although it takes extra effort, the energy in this conversation about worship is a good thing.
- Michele provided an update on the recent shift by Celebration Circle to provide the seasonal list of lectionary readings in several places. Currently our selections of weekly readings (based on the Revised Common Lectionary) is available to all Seekers in four ways:
- A listing inside the back cover of the bulletin cover for the season (not to be taken home);
- A separate handout of the readings available in hard copy, available in the literature rack outside the sanctuary for people to take home for their personal use;
- A listing of the season’s readings on the Seekers Church website at “Worship/Lectionary” (https://www.seekerschurch.org/worship/lectionary); and;
- A listing and full text on the Vanderbilt Divinity School Library website through a link on the Seekers Church website. (http://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/).
- Deborah provided Stewards with an orientation on the role of individual Stewards as worship leaders during Communion. (In our tradition, we understand that Stewards are ordained to leadership by the community, and one element of that is presiding at Communion.) Deborah referred to the current Communion liturgy, which we had used in worship earlier in the day, to review the roles of both leaders. Deborah explained that Celebration Circle is ready to work with any Steward who is scheduled to preach on a Communion Sunday. During the conversation that followed several points were raised:
- Kevin suggested that we consider offering communion in the style of the Iona Community.
- Kevin also suggested that before offering Communion it would be helpful to provide an opportunity, or at least an inviting reminder, for worshippers to confess and reconcile any differences they are holding toward others in the community.
- And, Kevin suggested that, in the interest of being welcoming of new people, as we celebrate Communion we use simple language, avoiding terms like “blood of Christ.”
- Jacqie observed that if our outreach doesn’t match our practice as a community we’re in trouble.
Community Rewiew: Brenda reviewed information from Koinonia Mission Group on new people (7), with whom Koinonia has been maintaining active, welcoming relationships, and long term Members who are not in mission groups (15). Stewards are collectively responsible for maintaining inclusive relationships with this group, many of whom have been part of Seekers Church for a long time.
Since Koinonia is setting down the call of the mission group, we need to discern a new approach to maintaining these relationships. This conversation is scheduled for the June Stewards meeting.
Two Stewards to Share: Margreta and Kevin shared from their personal life journeys.
Submitted May 2, 2016
by Peter Bankson
2015 Worship Summary