November 2014 Board of Directors Report

The most recent Board of Directors meeting was hosted by the Congregational Church UCC in Rochester on November 1, 2014. Our meeting began with a welcome from this church’s pastor, the Rev. Dr. Teresa Roberts.

Conference Minister, Rev. Shari Prestemon presented a review of the Ackley Consulting report on a potential campaign for the Minnesota Conference UCC ministries, including Pilgrim Point Camp. Ackley interviewed approximately 50 persons from across the Conference in four focus groups and at the Fall Leadership Retreat.

One of the areas for investment that attracted interest and support during this process was developing more leaders in our Conference. As a result, the Board formed a task group led by Board members Janet Bartz, Dave Kettering and Chelle Lyons Hanson, to imagine, define, and elaborate on how leadership could be developed in, by and for Minnesota Conference churches, clergy, and laity, especially young adults.

This initiative of investing in multigenerational leadership was affirmed by the Board and seen as an investment in people and ministries. The ministry of the Minnesota Conference is all of its members and not limited to buildings or “a place.” We are focused on developing an Academy for Leadership and Service, both through online and in-person resources. More work will be needed by Board and staff before we are ready to present these concepts in a case for support to be tested for feasibility.

The Pilgrim Point Camp Committee presented its priorities for investing in camp facilities. The decision was made to present the Pilgrim Point Camp Committee’s full capital budget needs (approximately $5.2 million) in a feasibility study to prospective campaign donors, as opposed to a phased approach.

Rev. Steve Boorsma has joined our staff as Associate Conference Minister (ACM). Rev. Rick Wagner (ACM) has been active in recruiting clergy and laity to many opportunities to serve local churches and Conference ministries. Shari Prestemon has joined the Search Committee to select the next General Minister and President of the national UCC.

United Church Funds launched a new fossil fuel-free investment fund on November 1. In compliance with a resolution passed at the Minnesota Conference Annual Meeting in 2013, the Conference has begun to move our investments into this fossil fuel-free fund.

The Conference finished its fiscal year on September 30 with a small operating loss. Our Church’s Wider Mission (OCWM) contributions declined again this past year but positive investment performance from our endowment funds helped limit the fiscal loss.

A revised process for submitting resolutions to the Annual Meeting or a Special Conference Meeting was approved. The resolution process was drafted and reviewed by staff and Board Members and will be forwarded to the Annual Meeting Planning Work Group.

The Pilgrims UCC church property in Maple Grove has been listed for sale. A subgroup of the Board of Directors, along with others, will be inventorying all its contents that will later be made available for purchase via the COMMAntary by our Minnesota Conference churches.

Recognizing that people seeking internships as they move toward a career in ministry now come to the Minnesota Conference UCC from more than the ranks of seminary students, the Board enlarged the definition of those who are eligible to apply for grants from the Conference’s designated fund for supporting ministry fieldwork.

The Board approved $52,000 in unused Ashley funds from Fiscal Years 2013 and 2014 to support the ministries of Pilgrim Point Camp and faith formation in the Conference and to support the broader work of faith formation in the wider United Church of Christ.

…from Rev. Frank Bennett, Board Member At-Large