PMC Congregational Meeting
24 Oct 2021 via Zoom
Joanna opened the meeting with prayer
1. Indigenous Justice Group (Joni Fornelli and Katerina Friesen):
Katerina is from the Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery Coalition.
Indigenous Justice Group meets twice a month, and everyone is welcome to join. Focus is on relational healing, mostly locally with Konza Nation. Interested in having PMC be a Repair Congregation. (More info at https://dofdmenno.org/join-our-repair-congregations-and-communities-network/)
Katerina explained the work of the Repair Network and what congregational participation looks like, based on a biblical understanding of restitution and repair. She cited the work of Carol Rose of Shalom MF in Tucson. There are seven steps involved. Resources are available, and congregations are encouraged to work together and learn from each other’s experiences. Some financial contribution is encouraged, to fund the repair work. They also encourage congregations to respond to calls for advocacy and support on behalf of Indigenous siblings.
Joni: Indigenous Justice Group is already engaged in some of the steps of a Repair Congregation. They are seeking consensus:
Acknowledging the harms done Indigenous People based on the Doctrine of Discovery in the name of Christ, we choose to become a member of the Repair Congregation Network of the Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery Coalition, committing our participation in education, solidarity and reparative action alongside Indigenous Peoples.
In question/discussion time, Carol Grieb asked how congregations determine restitution amounts (for example, contributing to an Indigenous group in symbolic restitution for stolen land). Katerina reported that different congregations are approaching in different ways, according to their means and ability and according to local context, but that congregations should engage in study and relationship building as they commit funds. Sometimes the offer of restitution funds opens the way toward building relationships.
Consensus was obtained with no objections.
2. Treasurer’s report (submitted by Roberta Renz):
$80k in contributions received as of the end of September, $66k in expenses, which leaves us ahead in receipts. Mortgage balance is just under $60k.
3. Nominating Committee affirmation:
Dave Mathis, Joe Casad, Sara Bonner, Judy Johnson (plus Joanna). Affirmation statement:
We affirm Dave Mathis, Joe Casad, Sara Bonner & Judy Johnson to be our Nominating Committee for gathering people into committees, graciously sharing their time and talents to do the work of the church for 2022.
Affirmation was received with no objections.
4. Staffing proposal (Sonja and Joanna):
Two proposed positions for administrative staff, descriptions sent out last week. The proposal is to change from administrative assistant (currently held by LaVonne Marks) and building manager to, instead, administrative assistant and bookkeeper (to be filled by LaVonne). The proposal was developed in consultation with LaVonne. Consensus statement:
We agree that the positions of Bookkeeper and Administrative Assistant will more fully meet church staffing needs. We give the Coordinating Committee permission to move forward with advertising and hiring. It is understood that LaVonne will be offered the new Bookkeeper position once a second employee is hired to fill the new Administrative Assistant position.
Dave asked about budgetary implications; Roberta responded that there is room in this year’s budget to pay both positions. Next year’s budget will need to include a higher amount for payroll since the overall number of hours will increase based on expectations of how the new configuration will help our church run more smoothly and increase our online visibility. Sonja added that some of the duties are now being done by Joanna, which are not necessarily duties the pastor should be responsible for. She also clarified that the total number of hours for both positions should have a similar cost to what we approved for the administrative assistant and building manager positions.
Consensus was obtained without objection.
5. Church services update (Joanna and Katie Hobson):
As colder weather comes, committee has discussed combining in-person (indoors) and online worship. Joanna reports that the current two-service model is working well for her and does not entail much extra work since the services have the same content. Attendance has been roughly similar, with more on Zoom during the past few weeks. Combining to hybrid service would involve technical work to run cameras and a computer; the committee is thinking of trying it with Holden Evening Prayer and possibly the Christmas services. The online mode offers some innovative ways to worship, which some would like to keep.
Roberta wonders what the benchmark is for “colder,” to determine when worship moves indoors. Now, when worship is moved indoors, Joanna has posted on Facebook and the church website. Welcomes feedback on what “too cold” would mean, for ongoing criteria in decision making.
6. Online contribution option (Sonja):
Upon the recommendation of the worship committee, coordinating committee has researched options for online contributions and determined that Paypal is the best structure to use. Because online contribution involves a small processing fee, in-person and local regular attendees are encouraged to continue to donate by cash or check. Congregation will be notified when the system is in operation.
7. Building and Grounds (Mike):
3 ongoing projects:
- Parking lot: Have done a property survey, engineer is working on several options to consider. Will present those when they have been obtained.
- Library floor: After floor had to be cut to repair pipe leak, Roger Gibson and Rob Claassen have been working on restoring the concrete floor.
- Fence: Fence is now about two-thirds done. About five hours more work will be needed to complete; November 6 at 9 a.m. is the work day, and lunch will be provided.
8. Library (Ken Lohrenz; report submitted here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xWRrN0OrpBLnCYTO70n-X1HYdUjDf0om/edit?usp=sharing&ouid=118101904293751546916&rtpof=true&sd=true):
Senner funds have been used to add new books, mostly children’s. In adding children’s book titles, looked for a number of themes: self-awareness, environmental awareness, social awareness. Many have beautiful illustrations. All of the newly acquired books are on display in the sanctuary.
Ken has been cataloging our collection in LibraryThing (online database), with TinyCat to enhance searchability. Will be interested in knowing whether the small expense entailed in TinyCat is worthwhile, based on the extent to which we use it.
9. Peace and Social Justice (Susan):
Karen Brown, Roger Gibson, Ken Ratzlaff, Barbara Yoder, Susan Rieger
Thanks to all who help with Little Free Pantry, L.I.N.K., and other activities that require time and attention. Regarding Little Free Pantry, it’s OK for hosting person to fill it once a week only. Joanna continues to coordinate volunteers for the time being.
Commitment to Woodlawn School was mostly on hiatus over the summer. During Juneteenth celebration last summer, Susan learned that North Lawrence used to be home to many more Black residents, including a Black segregated school. The committee will consider sponsorship of Juneteenth next year.
Justice Matters will be having community problems assembly on Thursday, October 28, at 6:30 p.m. People can attend at the PMC building; church groups around town will connect via Zoom.
L.I.N.K. will continue to be the responsibility of this committee.
10. Adjourned at 1:15 p.m.
Andrea Zuercher, recorder and moderator-elect