The Board’s January 10th meeting was hosted by Plymouth Congregational Church. Rev. Dr. Paula Northwood, Minister for education at Plymouth, welcomed the Board and led a time of prayer.
Sandy Lindahl from Ackley Consulting presented a draft of the case for support that will be used to conduct a campaign feasibility study. The case outlines two priorities: the Leadership Initiative and Pilgrim Point Camp. The Leadership Initiative, with a goal of $3,307,500, would expand our current programs in order to equip lay people and ministers to serve in these changing times. The goal for Pilgrim Point Camp is $5,218,500, which would ensure the long term sustainability of the camp’s physical site and life-changing ministry.
The feasibility study will take place in late February and will include about 45 in-depth interviews that will test the level of support across the Conference for the proposed campaign objectives and funding levels. Data gathered from the feasibility study will guide the Board in determining whether or not to conduct a campaign. The Board will receive an initial verbal report from the study in March and the formal written report in May.
Conference Minister Rev. Shari Prestemon reported that she has hired a new administrative assistant who will begin on February 2. She spoke about the need for the Conference to adopt a more holistic approach to financial development and to develop better resources to interpret OCWM. She shared with the Board that the Church on the Move event in November brought together 45 people and 10 congregations to learn and reflect on issues of congregational vitality.
Associate Conference Minister Rev. Rick Wagner reflected on his work with search and call, explaining that around 50 percent of his time is spent in this area. Associate Conference Minister Wade Zick provided a summary of Ashley Mission and Service Micro-grants.
The Attorney General has approved the unrestricting of two small funds. The Board needs to decide about how to use the funds in the future. The Conference will soon begin developing its Budget for 2016. At this time, staff and committees are giving their input. We exceeded our goal for Give to the Max Day and connected with four new donors.
In Oby Ballinger’s absence, Conference Minister Shari Prestemon provided the Board with an update from a task force working on the implementation of the Anti-Racism resolution passed at last June’s annual meeting. The Task Force has identified a speaker for Annual Meeting and the Minnesota Council of Churches as a potential resource for small group conversations during the meeting. The task force is also developing a list of recommended resources for board and staff anti-racism training.
A purchase agreement has been executed for Pilgrims UCC/Maple Grove property with another faith community needing more space.
The Board considered whether or not to take action on a resolution submitted to General Synod from the Central Atlantic Conference: “Dismantling the New Jim Crow.” The board voted not to bring this resolution formally to the Annual Meeting but to ensure that a workshop happens on this topic at the meeting.