September 3, 2017
Present: Marjory Bankson, Peter Bankson (recorder), Cynthia Dahlin, Michele Frome, Judy Lantz, (angel) Sandra Miller (worship), Trish Nemore, Brenda Seat, Keith Seat, Vincent Shepherd, Margreta Silverstone, Deborah Sokolove (moderator), Jacqie Wallen
Absent: Kevin Barwick, Ken Burton, Joan Dodge, David Lloyd
Visitors: Teresa Ramsey, Glen Yakushiji.
Worship was offered by Sandra Miller with a reading of Romans 12.
Housekeeping: Stewards will next meet on Sunday, October 8, 5:30pm at the church.
Moderator: Ken Worship: Margreta
Recorder: Marjory Angels: Sandra & Peter
Report on the Takoma Park Street Festival: Teresa
- OMG is coordinating Seekers Church participation:
- This will be our second year of participation;
- Location of our booth is unknown, but OMG is working to secure the same location as last year;
- Volunteers are needed to support the Seekers’ booth:
- OMG has high hopes for participation by many Seekers;
- OMG is circulating signup list;
- There will be a short training for volunteers after worship on September 17th;
- Booth activities will introduce Seekers to the wider community:
- Seekers’ brochure;
- Small cups of lemonade with Holy Lemonade poem handout;
- Carroll Café posters of past seasons and flyers with this year’s schedule;
- School for Christian Growth flyers;
- Sacred Conversation on Race and Diversity information;
- Seekers coordinating different activities should provide handouts to Teresa.
Children’s Team Report: Judy
- Team currently includes Dave Lloyd, Jacqie Wallen, Judy Lantz, Larry Rawlings, Michele Frome and Sallie Holmes.
- Sunday School classes begin next Sunday, September 10th:
- Two classes plus a separate session for Eli;
- Conference room will be divided to provide two areas, with a small room for Eli;
- Team is recruiting teachers for the Fall:
- Older class teachers – June Gable, Sallie Holmes, Jacqie Wallen (plus Michele Frome and Dave Lloyd until Recommitment Sunday)
- Younger class teacher – Elese Sizemore (through September)
- New curricula have been purchased by the Children’s Team:
- Younger class will use “A Joyful Path” from Progressive Christianity (https://progressivechristianity.org/resource-types/childrens-curriculum/)
- Older class will use “New Way to Live” (?)
- Children’s Team looking for ideas on supporting teachers. Those with ideas should contact Judy Lantz.
School for Christian Growth: Jacqie
- Fall Semester
- Term 1 begins on Tuesday, September 12th, two classes:
- “In the Beginning Was the Word” (Gospel of John) by Marjory Bankson [New Testament]
- “Why Can’t They Just Come Here Legally?” by Trish Nemore [Christian Growth]
- Special Sunday Class, October 15th (schedule permitting) “Semi-Secrets of Seekers” by Marjory Bankson
- Term 2 begins on Tuesday, October 24th, two classes:
- Virtue Ethics” By Marcia Sprague and John Morris [Christian Growth}
- “The Book of Job” by Deborah Sokolove and Dave Lloyd [Hebrew Scripture]
- Term 1 begins on Tuesday, September 12th, two classes:
- Between semesters – Seekers Poetry Night facilitated by John Morris
- Spring Semester
- Term 1, two classes:
- Krista Tippett’s “Becoming Wise” by Brenda Seat [Christian Growth]
- TBD [Christian Growth]
- Between terms – possible Seekers Poetry Night
- Term 2, two classes:
- “Thinking About God” by Jacqie Wallen [Doctrine]
- “Prayer” [Christian Growth]
- Term 1, two classes:
- Dinner preparation changes:
- Learners & Teachers reported that there will be no regular cook for dinner before classes. As the term begins, members of the mission group will bring in a main dish from a local restaurant and provide salad.
- As the term progresses, L&T will invite those attending to volunteer to cook or bring a main dish from home, or continue to cater the main dish.
- As a result, diners will be requested to increase their donation for dinner to $5.00 per week.
Ad Hoc Fundraising: Brenda
Brenda reviewed our policy in Seekers Church to discourage individual Seekers from making requests to the community for donations. Since Seekers Church began, we have worked to encourage all Seekers to give through Seekers in proportion to their income. The position has been that individual contributions beyond giving through Seekers Church is fine, but public solicitation should be limited.
While attention to this tradition has ebbed and flowed over the years, it is still a common understanding for many Seekers. Recently the issue has surfaced again, so the SLT decided to raise it with Stewards, with the following options:
- If we want to change our policy, SLT will put it on the agenda for a future Stewards’ meeting.
- If we are comfortable with the current understanding, then no further action is needed.
The ensuing conversation included these observations:
- We should allow (and support) campaigns by our current children that are part of some outside group where they belong (e.g. school or scouts);
- Ad hoc giving weakens the commitment to tithing (or proportionate giving);
- In an effort to reduce the need for special contributions for athletic and other special school events by our children that require funding by the family, the SLT is taking steps to include funds for those activities in our budget.
- We want to encourage Seekers to participate in volunteer activities, but request funding from Seekers budget if appropriate;
- We want Stewards to decide on whether to make additional requests for special contributions (like disaster relief or the special Christmas offering.)
We reached a general understanding that we would continue our policy to discourage individual Seekers from making requests to the community for donations, and refer special needs to the SLT for further discernment and appropriate action. No further discussion is called for at this time.
Further discussion on social justice advocacy: Trish
After reviewing the different approaches discussed at the August meeting, Trish turned the continuing conversation toward identifying a limited group of issue areas where we might focus our advocacy and support as a congregation. Trish identified four possibilities starting point: women & children, the environment, race & diversity, and immigration. Stewards remained in a single group, sharing ideas to identify possible specific points of focus for Seekers Church as a congregation within these broader areas. During the conversation, several general points were made:
- The initial list of areas where we might focus our advocacy as a congregation is in line with traditional Biblical values, beginning in the Hebrew Scripture.
- We can expect that these areas for advocacy will likely grow and change over time as our individual (and mission group) commitments grow and change.
- There is some ongoing tension between advocating for change we support, and opposing changes we feel are harmful or unjust.
- As we choose to advocate for peace and justice in specific ways, we should work to remain welcoming and inclusive as a congregation.
We began by noting many things we are already supporting in these areas. When we ran out of time for our lively conversation, the list of possible areas of focus on social justice advocacy as a congregation had grown into six possible basic areas:
- Women & Children
- Empowering women and children
- FLOC (Seekers provides financial support)
- Hope and a Home
- Including our children in the life of Seekers
- Interfaith Power and Light (Seekers belongs)
- SOIL (Erica) (Seekers provides financial support)
- Marcia, David, Kolya as resources
- Using green products at Seekers Church (Katie)
- Vegetarianism at School for Christian Growth
- Climate change
- Species loss
- Sanctuary DMV (Seekers belongs)
- Temporary Protected Status
- Homelessness and Social Insurance (Preserving Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security
- Housing – Manna (Seekers provides financial support)
- $ in Domestic Giving
- L’Arche of Greater Washington
- N Street Village
- Sarah’s Circle
- Silver Spring Village
- Center for Wisdom’s Women
- Peace – No War
This conversation will be continued at a future Stewards’ meeting.
- Michelle and Marjory shared their reflections on the past year.
- All Stewards were invited to share in confidence during Soul Talk.
Closing: The meeting closed with prayer at 8:40 PM
Submitted by Peter Bankson
September 4, 2017