Congregational Meeting Minutes 2022 04 24

Video Record
[Note: Due to technical complications recording begins after #4 on the agenda below]

Congregational Meeting Minutes
Sunday, April 24, 2022, 10:50 am

Our faith in a God of love leads us, by the power of the Spirit, to follow Jesus in
doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God.

1.  Call to order and centering prayer – Elizabeth Schmidt, moderator, welcomed all who were in attendance in Fellowship Hall and on the Zoom call.  Attendees were counted in person and on the Zoom call; slightly more than 80 voting members were in attendance; a quorum was present.  Moderator Schmidt led all in a reading adapted from Voices Together #1008.

2. The January 30, 2022 congregational meeting minutes were accepted as distributed.

3.  Financial Manager’s Report – Michael Claassen, Financial Manager After adjusting for intents received at the end of last year but designated for this year, the amount of income received by the end of March is less than the expenses for the same period by approximately $9000.  There were no questions or comments.

4.  Officer/board member election – Elizabeth noted an error in the slate of candidates printed in the Annual Report.  Brad Kohlman will serve a two-year term as Moderator-Elect, not a 1-year term as stated in the Annual Report.  With this correction, the slate of candidates presented in the Annual Report was approved unanimously in-person and on zoom.

5.  Annual booklet reports – opportunity for questions and comments:  Thanks to Dale Schrag, Frank Stucky, Norma Johnson and Elaine Prouty of the Gifts Discernment Committee. Thanks were expressed to the ReOpening Committee (Nathan Koontz, Monica Lichti, Renee Reimer, Jeanette Stucky, Susie Swartley, Barbara Thiesen, Doris Whillock) for all their work.

6.  Congregational culture – needs and expectations, pastoral transition, & Credence consulting process – Elizabeth addressed the fact that the congregation is in an in-between time.  The congregation needs to focus first on what God is calling us to be.  We may need to let some committees go.  She shared that the first task of our work with the Credence consulting process has been to establish a Reference Group which will work closely with Credence.  The Reference Group will consist of Megan Kohlman, Dave Linscheid, Todd Schlosser and Ada Schmidt-Tieszen.  A video will soon be shared with the congregation outlining the work with Credence. The consulting process will help direct us to name the kind of congregation we want to be and help clarify what expectations are of our church, our pastors, and our congregation.

Pastor Todd shared that BCMC has reached out to Western District and there are currently no candidates to serve as interim pastor after Renee leaves.  The church will be down to 1 ½ time from the usual 2 ½ time pastoral staff.  He framed this as an opportunity to work together as a congregation to fill gaps and to prioritize tasks – which do we keep, which do we take a break from.  An example is the Worship Commission which is taking a 1-year break. He suggested there are those in the congregation, or outside of it, whose gifts can help bridge gaps during this transition. A position of “Worship Coordinator” can help with scheduling participation in Sunday morning services. 

Moderator Elizabeth invited all present into conversation around tables.  Two colors of sticky notes were on each table.  She asked those present to write the “Most Important Things” about BCMC on the blue notes.  After a few minutes of writing, time was given to share around the table about what people wrote.  Next, Elizabeth asked those present to write “New Ways of Doing Things” on the orange notes.  After some minutes of writing and sharing around the table, both colors of notes were collected to be used moving forward in determining priorities.

7.  Screen proposal from Technology Task Group – Elizabeth read the Church Board Recommendation as follows:

“As a reminder to ourselves that this item is not required facility maintenance but rather an elective feature which comes at a high dollar cost, and to acknowledge that there are great needs in the world beyond ourselves, the first $5,000 committed to the funding of this project will be donated to the International Rescue Committee Wichita site to assist in the resettlement of refugees in the Wichita area. The congregation will raise 25% of the $45,000 ($40,000 for the project itself and $5,000 for our contribution to IRC) and the balance of the funding will be made from bequests.”

The church board desires the presence of strong congregational affirmation in order to proceed on this screen project, and to include missional giving at the same time.   Therefore, the church board has established a minimum threshold of 75% for passage of this proposal.   This opportunity for a vote will serve to inform us all of the level of congregational support for this proposal at this time.   [end of board proposal]

Glen Ediger showed slides depicting how the screen might appear in the sanctuary, both retracted and in use.  Questions from those present included:

  • will the box affect sound of the choir? – answer is unknown
  • what about sunset showing through the back of the screen? – the screen has backing that should block the sunlight from behind
  • compatibility with hanging banners – space has been left for hanging banners between the arch and the box containing the retracted screen
  • under the balcony – can people see the screen? – most likely
  • will we need another person on the PA committee? – unknown
  • can add two monitors for the choir – easy to do, though not part of current proposal
  • can add monitor for under the balcony – easy to do, though not part of current proposal

Dorothy Nickel-Friesen spoke for the Screen Study Committee.  She summarized the roughly 10-year history of efforts to place a screen in the sanctuary and of the difficulties presented by the sanctuary architecture.  She also summarized advantages a screen would bring to worship and to other events held in the sanctuary.  Possibilities mentioned include Bethel College classes, funerals and weddings, live-streaming conference presentations and lectures.  The BCMC sanctuary is used for worship 1 hour each week.  The screen can be used for events held at all times during the week.

Dale Schrag of the committee could not be present but sent his observations that most churches have screens.  Ron Preheim, member of the committee, shared of the difficulty moving the current screen into place for use and putting it away again.

Elizabeth called for questions and comments from the floor.  She called for a show of hands for the proposal which passed with 89 votes in favor and 7 opposed (in-person and Zoom participants were counted for both votes)

8.  Other items – Adam Robb thanked the Hospitality Committee and kitchen crew for providing donuts, Cuties, granola bars, coffee and tea.  Elizabeth requested feedback about the change of time and venue for the congregational meeting. 

9.  Closing prayer – Pastor Todd Schlosser

10. Moderator Elizabeth Schmidt adjourned the meeting at 12:20 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Margaret Toews, clerk