BETHEL COLLEGE MENNONITE CHURCH
Congregational Meeting Minutes
Sunday, January 29, 2023, 12:45 pm
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.
- Welcome and Opening Prayer – Ada Schmidt-Tieszen, moderator, welcomed all in attendance in person and via YouTube. She noted that a quorum of 59 full or wider fellowship members are present. Ada read the BCMC purpose statement aloud and offered a prayer for the meeting.
- Approval of Minutes, Congregational Meetings, April 24, 2022 and September 11, 2022 – The minutes of two previous congregational meetings were included in the packet of information. Ada asked for questions or corrections of the minutes. There were none. Brad Kohlman moved to accept the minutes as presented; Jill Robb seconded. The motion carried unanimously by voice and text* votes
- Finance Reports: Mike Claassen, Finance Manager –
a. Presentation of Audit Committee Report – Mike Claassen presented the report by the Audit Committee whose members were Roger Juhnke (chair), Megan Leary and Al Peters. The committee concluded that appropriate procedures are being followed and that the report presented for 2022 accurately reflects the financial activities of the congregation.
b. Acceptance of 2022 year-end report – Mike Claassen presented highlights from the 2022 budget year, including a surplus of funds which were distributed to benevolences. Following Mike’s presentation of the report, Ada asked for questions. There were no questions. Willis Harder moved to accept the 2022 year-end report; Dave Linscheid seconded. The motion carried unanimously by voice vote.
c. Approval of 2023 Budget – Mike Claassen presented the 2023 budget. A question was raised about planning for the 2024 budget year when staffing expenses will most likely increase. It was noted from the floor that in the 2023 budget as presented, two budget amounts are transposed in the Benevolences portion of the Witness Commission budget proposal. Ada called for a motion to accept the 2024 budget with the correction noted. Brad Kohlman moved to accept the 2023 budget; Al Peters seconded. The motion carried unanimously by voice and text* vote.
Ada thanked the Finance Committee and Mike Claassen for their work in preparing the report and the proposed budget. She also thanked the congregation for its giving in December which allowed the 2022 budget to be met and exceeded by around $14000.
4. Update from the Worship Commission Task Group: Adam Robb – Adam reported for the group whose members are Dorothy Nickel Friesen (chair), Adam Robb (recorder), Dale Schrag and Patty Shelly. The Worship Commission Task Group was created by the board in August, 2022 and asked to gather information from past members of the Worship Commission (and supporting/related Committees) and staff, with the goal of determining what the future of the Worship Commission might look like (it was put on a year-long Sabbatical by the BCMC Church Board in 2022). The group offers 4 recommendations: 1) Reinstate the Worship Commission beginning in the 2023-24 church calendar year; 2) Adopt proposed changes to the handbook for the Worship Commission which clarify tasks and responsibilities and will possibly require future congregational approval; 3) Consider use of a list of key topics built by the task group as a guide for discussion; 4) Encourage Gifts Discernment Committee to look for members who will begin in June.
5. Report from the Faith Formation Commission – Mary Ellen Hodge reported on this year’s format for Sunday School. Her report is also included in the Annual Report packet distributed by email and available in hardcopy at the church. George Leary reported on experiences with the youth programs running on Wednesday evenings. He reported around $2900 was taken in at the soup luncheon held just before the congregational meeting. The proceeds will go to help with the trips coming up which include Snow Camp at Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp in February and MennoCon ’23 in Kansas City this coming July. A congregation member asked about the number of kids in these programs. George said they have had up to 11 but often there are 5-7 on a Wednesday evening. Jon Zerger said there are 8 – 10 junior high kids on a Wednesday evening.
Ada thanked all those who are working with young people in our congregation.
6. Report from the Abuse Prevention and Response Committee – A report from the APRC is also included in the Annual Report packet. Committee members are Judy Friesen, Dwight Krehbiel, Lil Peters, Jill Robb (chair), Wes Schmidt-Tieszen and Bethany Schrag. Jill Robb shared that creating a handbook which specifies term limits for committee members and sets out a structure for the year are among the committees upcoming tasks. She highlighted training that will be taking place in February and asked for continued prayer and support for the committee.
7. Update on Search Committee and Credence Report Task Group – Ada reported for the board that the Search Committee has begun meeting with Western District Conference to start work on the search process. The search committee members are Megan Kohlman, Doug Penner, Lois Preheim, John Waltner and Heather Zerger (chair). Working in parallel with the search committee will be the Credence Report Task Group which is currently being formulated. The purpose of working in parallel is to incorporate findings and recommendations made by Credence Consulting into our search for new leadership. The board welcomes questions and concerns from the congregation.
8. Other business – No other business was introduced.
9. Adjournment – Ada called for a motion to adjourn the meeting. Tim Hodge made the motion; Dale Schrag seconded. The meeting was adjourned at 1:40 pm.
Next congregational meeting: April 23, 2023, Sunday School hour.
* ”text” votes – For this meeting it was publicized ahead of time that members could attend this meeting via YouTube and text their votes to the phone number of one of the board members. The purpose of this is to try to make the meeting accessible to those members who aren’t able attend and to give an opportunity to vote.
Margaret Toews, Board Clerk