Video record: https://youtu.be/wPxc_A70QR8
BETHEL COLLEGE MENNONITE CHURCH
Congregational Meeting MINUTES
Sunday, May 2, 2021, 1 pm, via ZOOM
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.
- Call to order and Centering Prayer — Elizabeth Schmidt, moderator
Elizabeth welcomed all who were in attendance virtually to what may become our last totally virtual congregational meeting. Elizabeth thanked Pastor Renee for hosting today’s meeting, and Pat and Chuck Friesen for counting attendees to establish that a quorum was present. More than 60 were in attendance; a quorum was present. Moderator Elizabeth Schmidt led all in an opening prayer.
2. The January 31, 2021 congregational meeting minutes were accepted as distributed.
3. Financial Manager’s Report — Michael Claassen, Financial Manager
Mike reported giving trends to date for 2021 comparing it to the average for 2016-2020. As of today, giving has dipped (as traditionally happens) and members are invited to support congregational programs through online donations or personal checks.
4. Officer/Board Member Election
Moderator Elizabeth reviewed the list of officers to be affirmed as printed in the Annual Report. The Annual Report booklet was distributed weeks earlier via email. Pastor Renee Reimer was hosting the Zoom today and posting the question, as well as voting results online. Action: Vote via Zoom poll function, Yes to Affirm, No to Disaffirm There was a unanimous affirmation of the slate of candidates.
Moderator Elizabeth extended a Thank You to all who have served and are completing terms of service for the congregation (p. 10 Annual Booklet). Faith Formation invites two members to join their commission.
5. Annual Booklet Reports — Moderator Elizabeth allowed time for questions and comments. None were voiced.
6. Abuse Prevention & Response Committee Report — Jill Robb, Chair
Jill reported on the history and intent of creating a Policy for Preventing and Responding to Sexual Misconduct. She reviewed national statistics projecting 25% of the adults in a congregation have experienced sexual abuse or misconduct. Jill reported on the training and education that the committee has provided to date for the congregation, highlighting Circles of Grace within the Faith Formation curriculum for children and youth.
This committee was formed in Fall 2020 with the purpose of creating a new policy that is easy to understand and would allow others to quickly find information to provide victim assistance when necessary. The policy is victim-centered, challenging our church family and community to place value on victim support and care. Now that the policy is drafted the committee’s work will shift to education for the church through Sunday School classes.
A copy of the proposed Policy will be sent electronically to members tomorrow, May 3, for study and feedback. Those who receive church communications by US mail will receive it by the end of the week. Hard copies will also be available in the gathering space in the church. Feedback can be provided through the Response section of the online survey. The committee will review feedback responses in June and July. Responses should be addressed to the committee, not any individual committee members. Other committee members are Bethany Schrag, Jim Robb, Yolanda Kaufman, Dale Schrag with Jill Robb as chairperson, and the pastoral team.
Jill publicly voiced support for victims and apologies for any past missteps. Moderator Elizabeth hopes we all move forward into this difficult work with grace and wise hearts.
7. Living Stones II – Renovation Report — Annette Lamp
Annette thanked everyone for their patience in this extended process. The first tour of our new space was conducted this week. A new basement family restroom plus renovations of the basement hallway and Fellowship Hall are almost completed.
Elizabeth thanked Annette for her service as liaison with the contractor for this extensive construction project. “Thank you for your persistence and tenacity to keep the project moving along during this pandemic year.”
8. Reopening Church Task Group Update — Dawn Yoder Harms, Pastor
Early this March 2021 marked one year of stopping our in-person worship because of the pandemic. At that time a survey was emailed to the congregation, asking them to share what have been losses or appreciations during that time. Pastor Dawn shared some comments from the survey about what we miss as well as what we look forward to after a year of remote worship due to COVID-19 pandemic precautions.
Jill Robb thanked pastoral staff leadership and the Task Group for putting Safety First, an indication of their caring hearts. Moderator Elizabeth publicly thanked the Reopening Task Group: Doris Whillock, Barbara Thiessen, Jim Robb, Susie Swartley, Jeannette Stucky, Monica Lichti, and pastors Dawn, Renee, and Nathan. (Elizabeth Schmidt was also a member of the Reopening Task Group.)
9. Technology Task Group conversation – Bill Swartley and Dale Schrag
Last fall the church board appointed a Technology Task Group to address technology needs in the sanctuary. Technology Task Group members are: Bill Swartley, Dale Schrag, Ken Lamp, Doug Harms, and Dorothy Nickel Friesen.
Dale and Bill presented the possible installation of a projection screen at the front of the sanctuary. Opportunities the screen would provide, as well as changes to the visual appearance of the front of the sanctuary that would occur during use, were discussed.
Moderator Elizabeth invited questions online. In conclusion, Elizabeth encouraged the congregation to consider this decision and share our ideas and feelings with the committee: Bill Swartley, Dale Schrag, Ron Preheim, Dorothy Nickel Friesen and Ken Lamp.
10. Other items. None voiced.
11. Closing Prayer — Pastor Dawn Yoder Harms read from Voice Together #1068
Moderator Elizabeth adjourned the meeting at 2:09 pm.
Pat Friesen, clerk