March 2008 Stewards Minutes

March 2, 2008

Present:   Peter Bankson, Lewise Busch, Pat Conover (shepherd), Kate Cudlipp, Cynthia Dahlin (moderator), Muriel Lipp, Dave Lloyd (angel), Sandra Miller (angel), Trish Nemore (recorder), Margreta Silverstone.


Visiting:  Mary Carol Dragoo, Sharon Lloyd (Koinonia Mission Group); John Morris (SSIHC Board of Directors)


Absent:  Marjory Bankson, Ken Burton, Jane Engle, Sue Johnson, Brenda Seat, Keith Seat, Deborah Sokolove


Worship:  We had no worship leader designated in advance.  Cynthia reminded us of last month’s invitation by Sandra to pray for someone  during Lent and how rich that has been for her.  She invited us into reflective silence.


Housekeeping:  Next meeting will be April 6, starting at 5:30.  Deborah will moderate, Peter will record, Dave will lead worship and Lewise and Trish will serve as dinner angels.


Our involvement in Silver Spring Interfaith Housing Coalition.  John Morris, our current SSIHC board member, indicated his desire to step down from that position and reported to us his view of where the organization is right now.  The board is engaged in a reinvigoration and rejuvenation process and is looking for more active engagement in the governance of the organization.  This includes more activity by various committees.  Right now, the Board is engaged in a search for a new Executive Director, after difficulties with the previous ED.  John assured us that there is no cause for concern about the viability of the organization.  While there were financial shortfalls in the past year, SSIHC has strong reserves on which they have drawn.


Sandra said the revenues come from tenants’ rents and from grants, with only a small amount of income from congregational support.  The Board committees are:  Executive Committee, Finance, Governance, Transition, Outreach, Program and Properties.  24 congregations belong to the Coalition.


We had substantial discussion, including some expression of reservation about the organization appearing to be unclear about its mission; we ultimately agreed that we want to continue to support SSIHC but feel the need  to be more engaged on the  Board.  Questions arose as to what type of person we might want for the board – someone with specific skills to work on a particular committee.  Sandra indicated that passion for the mission is one key attribute; John suggested that previous experience on a non-profit board would be desirable.


Paul Holmes is current Board Chair; we agreed that Peter would contact Paul to see  if he has thoughts as to who from Seekers would be good on the board.  Lewise will speak to Kathy Tobias and Kate Cudlipp will speak to Judy Lantz,  both of whom were suggested as possible members. (As SSIHC is currently constituted, we can have two board members; this might change.)  John will make an oral invitation to the community at Circle Time. SLT will carry this agenda,  so responses from any inquiries should be directed  to them.


The next board training is two weeks from March 4;  it would be helpful  to have new people at that training.

Koinonia Mission Group shared about their call and how they live it out.  Members present  were:  Pat, Margreta, Sharon, Mary Carol.  Brenda  and Debbie were not able t o be there.  In discussing their various ways of engaging in hospitality, the role of our family overnights was raised.  We may need to find different ways to meet  the needs the overnight has met in the past; this might be an agenda item for a future Stewards meeting.




Pat’s Case Study.  Pat had asked if his case study could be put on the website in a section including various documents related to Seekers that are not core Seekers’ documents.  SWIM team noted that we have such a section on the old site that includes Kate’s thesis,  links to Faith at Work, writings of Ron Arms and Kevin Ogle, among others.  We agreed that SWIM team should take this up, with the understanding that such a section would be created and would include Pat’s paper.


SWIM team  report.  A full report of the SWIM  team is attached to these minutes.  The team is meeting regularly and engaging in needed healing from the difficulties related to launching the new site.  The team is still looking  for additional editors,  for additional team members, and especially for a front page editor to relieve Peter of that job.  The team is also encouraging all Seekers to write for the site, including and especially for the front page.

Margreta suggested that Stewards ought to review what we say about ourselves on the website and discuss that at next month’s meeting.


Peace Camp. Trish and Sandra presented the idea of Eyes to See, Ears to Hear to create a one-day peace camp for kids 3-11 this July, relying primarily on the services of Little Friends for Peace, the organization of a local couple  who have been running peace camps for little kids for several decades.  They will also try to engage some of the kids in the media project called Gandhi Brigade in the camp.  Stewards agreed that Seekers can sponsor the camp and that Eyes to See could discuss with FOG how they might find the $600-700 needed for it.


International Giving.  Dave Lloyd shared with us the results of the International Giving group and expressed particular excitement about all the requests they had and about knowing all the places in the world where our money is going.  He expressed particular gratitude to Marjory for her wonderful presentations on the bulletin board near the kitchen of the various places our money goes.


Soul Talk





Seekers Web Information Management Team
Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Seekers SWIM Team met twice during February.  We established functional roles within the team, consolidated the items on our work plan, reviewed the current status of web site maintenance, established a policy for formats for web site documents, and coordinated work by the members of the team.


Currently the SWIM Team includes Aeren Martinez, Deborah Sokolove, Jeannine Caracciolo, Jeffrey Silverstone, Kate Cudlipp, Ken Burton, Pat Conover and Peter Bankson


   During the first meeting of the team we acknowledged that several Seekers are still feeling pain resulting from the release of the renovated web site.  We acknowledged that additional work is needed, beyond the work of the team during meetings, to help encourage healing.  Thanks to the commitment and caring of all members of the team our meetings have been cordial and constructive.


 We established the following roles within the team:
     Convener – Pat
        Chairs meetings of the SWIM Team
     Web Weavers – Aeren and Jeannine (a more inclusive term than webmaster)
        Maintain technical functions of the web site; train editors
     Lead Editor – Deborah
        Maintains consistency of format and style for material posted on the site
     Outreach Coordinator – (unassigned at present)
          Nurtures connections with other organizations and individuals with Internet presence whose vision and values are consistent with the call and ministry of Seekers Church
      Coordinator – Peter
           Maintains the SWIM Work Plan, Editorial Responsibility Matrix and draft SWIM Team agenda, and acts as recorder for SWIM Team meetings


    We identified areas where active participation by other Seekers will be helpful.  We agreed to consult within the SWIM Team on how best to invite this participation so as to optimize consistency and timely addition of web site content.  Potential areas include: participation in the SWIM Team, content editors for different sections of the web site, contributors of content and outreach within Seekers to increase use of the web site.
    Currently the SWIM Team has a lot in the work plan.  The team has prioritized its efforts to focus on a manageable subset of the suggestions we have received.  A copy of the work plan is available from Peter.  Please share any concerns or suggestions you have with a member of the SWIM Team so we can get them into the queue.  At this time we have 77 items in the work plan, organized into four general categories:
    Team Structure (4 items)
    Web Site Policy (10 items)
    Web Site Content (43 items)
    Communications (10 items)
  I  nfrastructure Maintenance (10 items)

    We affirmed our commitment to maintain efficient links to and from content in the “legacy web site,” that is content that was on the public portion of the site before the renovation, and thanked Jeffrey for his work to create links to and from this content. 
    We acknowledged the need to find an appropriate and secure way to restore access to content that was in the Members’ Area of the legacy site.  Peter will work with Jeffrey to determine what this material includes so that at a future SWIM Team meeting we can discuss the specific need for each type of content, e.g. Stewards’ meeting minutes, Soundings,  old versions of the Seekers directory and archives of our search for and our move to our home on Carroll Street.
    We agreed that in the public areas of the web site core documents will be maintained in both HTML and PDF formats to facilitate both printing for off-line use and on-line links to internal sections of those documents.


    As mentioned above, Deborah has taken on the role of Lead Editor.  The team has identified lead editors for the major sections of the web site:
    Home Page – Peter & Jeannine
    Visitors – Koinonia (Pat)
    Worship – Celebration Circle (Sandra)
    Life Together – Deborah
    Creations – Jeannine
    Share Our Space – T&S (John Morris)
    Members’ Area – Kate C & Aeren
Some functions within each major area are maintained by other individuals.  We still have some areas that are not being actively managed.  We are looking for other Seekers who feel called to maintain these areas:
     Artists Mission Group (Life Together/Mission Groups)
         News from the Artists Mission Group
     Ministry Teams (Life Together) –
         Information on Eyes2See – Ears2 Hear, Martha’s Mob, Crones, etc.


    Ken is reviewing all of the links to other web sites that were maintained on the legacy site.  He will bring over all links to the current site and insure that all links have accurate descriptions of the linked sits.
    Jeffrey is maintaining the legacy site so that links maintained by other people to the Seekers web site remain live.
    Aeren is working with information on our external giving to encourage the Seekers contacts to write articles describing the missions and ministries of the organizations we support.  These will be featured on the front page and maintained in the Outreach section.
    Peter and Jeannine are working to add artist’s statements to the Creations section.  As artists release new work or open exhibits, they will be featured in a short article on the front page which will be linked to the artist’s statements and galleries in the Creations section.
    The SWIM Team is ready to implement the decision of Stewards concerning posting or linking to Pat’s Case Study of Seekers Church and other writing by individual Seekers.


    Currently 15 Seekers are actively working on the web site.  While this may seem like a challenge to coordinate, it is a good opportunity for Seekers to work together and in the working to learn to care for, trust and support each other.  And the result is a statement to the world that reflects the energetic, complex and sometimes painful nature of our life together.

For the SWIM Team

Peter Bankson


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April 2008 Stewards Minutes
Feb 2008 Stewards Minutes