March 6, 2022
Present: Dave Lloyd, Deborah Sokolove, Elizabeth Gelfeld, Glen Yakushiji, Jacqie Wallen, Joan Dodge (moderator), John Morris, Judy Lantz, Ken Burton, Margreta Silverstone, Marjory Bankson, Peter Bankson (meditation leader), Sandra Miller, Trish Nemore (recorder), Vincent Shepherd, Cynthia Dahlin, Michele Frome.
Absent: Brenda Seat, Keith Seat
Visiting Members: Liz Gould-Leger, Anita Jackson, Erica Lloyd, Will Ramsey, Pat Conover
Meditation: Peter brought the meditation building on our reflection piece for worship this season
Housekeeping: Stewards will next meet on Sunday, April 3rd at 5:30 PM on Zoom. (Daylight Savings Time starts mid-March)
Moderator – Deborah
Meditation leader – Sandra
Recorder – John
Preaching Report from Celebration Circle: Peter offered us a chart of the demographics of our preachers as well as an illustration of themes and subjects for the year. Both are attached to these minutes. Celebration Circle will often invite a specific person to preach whom we haven’t heard from for a while but sometimes CC members have to step in on relatively short notice. We don’t do Taize by zoom because it is impossible to have multiple people chanting from different devices. We are grateful for all CC has done over the covid period to make worship happen.
CreatureKind Revised Statement: Peter reported for the current working group. The revised statement was circulated before the meeting and is attached to these minutes.John made it clear that our commitment statement to partner with CreatureKind does not commit the congregation to any particular action other than studying, learning and conversing about the issues raised vis a vis factory-farmed animals. Concerns raised include how we provide food for poor and low income people, who mostly rely on factory-farmed food and the fact that unsustainable factory farming of fruits and vegetables is also an area for conversation and caring. After discussion, sixteen of the seventeen Stewards agreed to enter a partnership with CreatureKind, with Vincent Shepherd standing aside.
Retreats: On behalf of Living Water, Trish announced the two Silent Retreats for 2022: April 29-May 1, led by Billy Amoss and September 23-25 led by Ron Kraybill. Questions arose about our (former) overnights at Wellspring that were discontinued some years ago due to lack of interest as well as our women’s retreats which haven’t happened in a number of years. Leadership and planning is needed for such events; anyone wanting to pursue an idea should contact SLT.
Servant Leadership Working Group (SWLG) Final Report and Recommendations – This report had been circulated to all Seekers in advance of the meeting. A copy is attached to these minutes. Margreta Silverstone, Elizabeth Gelfeld and Sandra Miller presented the recommendations and we had time for a few clarifying questions. Margreta noted that some in the Working Group are willing to continue on for a while to host listening sessions to get more input from the community and that the group will meet with FOG concerning the financial implications of some of the recommendations.
Q: Are there people in Seekers with leadership energy who feel stifled by our current structures? A: Yes.
Q: Will proposed changes lead to more involvement? A: The leadership right now is outside the acknowledged structures.
Q: This is the beginning of a conversation; are members of the Working Group willing to continue working on this? A:Some may be; the issues need to be brought forward; it’s not clear what the composition of a follow-up group would be.
Q: Will SLT set an agenda on the next steps? A: Yes.
Q: Is there activity in non-mission group sharing groups to deepen members’ time and financial commitment to Seekers? A: We didn’t ask about this; it might emerge from further conversation but we had deep commitment from individuals who are not interested in being Stewards (where issues of financial giving are most prominently discussed).
Q: What are the values and intentions behind existing structures and are there other ways to achieve those goals? I had no idea mission groups encouraged financial giving to Seekers. A: None was given.
Q: Stewards has been the place where we have carried the values of the community; if it is to be done somewhere else, where will that be? A: We are not proposing eliminating Stewards but rather changing the qualifications to become a Steward. Another A: Where I’ve heard about tithing/financial giving is in Marjory’s annual sermon on giving and when I moved toward becoming a Steward. Another A: I’ve heard nothing in my mission groups about tithing. How can we communicate our values?
There will be a community-wide meeting on March 27 to have a fuller discussion of the report and its recommendations; meanwhile, Stewards are invited to prepare themselves and their mission group members for that meeting by discussing the report in advance.
Pastoral Concerns – Not documented
Two Stewards Sharing -Elizabeth Gelfeld and Cynthia Dahlin offered updates on their lives and journeys.