Executive Committee and Appointed Committee Chairpersons Meeting
Minutes of July 26, 2022 Meeting
Present: John Aclin, Pastor Karl Gaston, Karen Weires, Jane Winge, Carolyn Witham, Sue Bathe, Jeanne Gaston, Dave Leverenz, Marcia Poisel, and Randy Poisel
Absent: Steve Barnett, Brian Schwarz, Amanda Hunter, and Eric Needle
Call to Order and Opening Prayer: John called the meeting of executive committee and appointed committee chairpersons of the National Lutheran Secretariat (NLS) to order and Pastor Karl opened the meeting with prayer.
Minutes from the May 31, 2022 meeting were accepted by acclamation.
Appointed Committee Reports
Communications – Amanda: John has been working directly with Amanda on the special 50th Anniversary edition of the Conexiones. It is almost complete. John owes Amanda an introductory piece that he’s titled “Looking Forward by Looking Back”.
Pastoral Support – Jeanne: Jeanne shared a few results from the survey, noting that since NLS did not pay to do the survey, the committee was not able to ask open ended questions.
- Most of the respondents have been in the movement for 10+ years
- Served as SD, 40% served for 6 years or more down to 10% who served 1-2 years
- 90% of those that replied indicated that the greatest needs is pilgrims
Given this, she asked what others thought about Pastor Karl potentially leading a Zoom ‘Intentional Witnessing’ course for up to ten participants at a time program. Ideally, Pastor Karl could train others to lead the program (i.e., train trainers). He’s done this program with all of his congregations. Originally 13 weeks long, he has gotten it down to 6-8 weeks. The program helps participants figure out where they’re at, think of others that could be involved in this ministry, pray about those potential pilgrims then wait for the Holy Spirit to open a time and place to talk to them about and invite them to Via de Cristo. Sue Bathe noted that she heard in two different NLSAG sessions that there is a sense that Via de Cristo needs to get back to ‘Make a friend, be a friend, bring your friend to Christ’ as opposed to just getting pilgrims signed up to attend a weekend. Generally, the NLSEC was in support of hosting the ‘Intentional Witnessing’ program. John noted that addressing issues related to sponsorship doesn’t fall under what the NLSEC would expect to be driven by the Pastoral Support Committee. John asked Pastor Karl to flush out the idea more related to what he would need to host this type of program. What would it take? When would you want to do it? What support do you need?
- 70% of respondents indicated that their secretariat does not use lay spiritual directors
- 30% of respondents replied that getting team members (which includes SDs) is an issue
While it didn’t seem to be an issue per the survey results, informal secretariat feedback indicates that secretariats are struggling with staffing weekends with SDs. Some secretariats are addressing this with lay SDs. Recently, Pastor Sue and John were responding to questions about who can or cannot be a SD. Some secretariats struggle with cross-denominational issues with the various Lutheran identities. A suggestion was made to give secretariats a forum to talk out some of the issues and collect great ideas on how to approach their situations
Archivist – Dave: Dave enjoyed participating in his first NLSAG at TLU. He especially enjoyed serving and hopes to get asked to help in more specific ways in the future. One of his goals for this year is to get the digital archives onto a server that is more secure and more permanent. As of now, since being pulled off Go Daddy, they reside on his own computer. In addition to getting them stored, he wants to get them organized. He also wants to resolve how to effectively archive the Conexiones. Since it is just a Constant Contact message, it doesn’t link back to a pdf file or something like that that could be given to someone without internet access. Amanda is helping Dave look into options.
Database Coordinators – Marcia/Randy: While Randy has secretariat contact lists, so far he’s only put the Lay Director data into Constant Contact. He stated he needs to know what other positions he should enter and keep track of. John confirmed that he wants to have these three levels of lists:
- Lay directors only
- All active secretariat members
- General community members
As new secretariat rosters are received, Carolyn will review and advise Randy and Marcia of those that need to be added or removed from the various lists.
Following up on a question Jeanne raised, Randy confirmed that he is tagging both SDs and clergy (two different categorizations) in Constant Contact so that communications can be readily sent to those audiences in particular.
Randy noted he is also interested in looking into tools beyond Constant Contact.
Non-profit – Sue: Sue shared her goals for the coming year. Specifically, her goals are 1-resume work on reviewing the database information that had been begun with Mark Gerber, 2-work with Steve to make sure that all documents are filed and authorized in time, 3-work with all NLS leaders to create a master calendar that Brian and Sue have been working on.
Specific to the database goal, last fall Brian had asked Sue to research potential solutions after several secretariats indicated an interest in the NLS providing a database for their use. She spent a lot of time researching who could help with a database and what it would cost. Sue detailed out these needs:
- a place to store Conexiones newsletters
- electronic repository (for documents and videos)
- folders where NLS leaders can control their own folders
- email accounts that can send and receive emails
- keeping track of each secretariat
- memorialized page for those who have gone on to the 5th day
- list of SDs and clergy
She proposed setting up a committee that includes: Dave, Conda and Ann Lashley, Bobbi Jo Koski, Eric, Amanda, Brian, Randy and Marcia. John asked Sue to begin by internally codifying what we expect to achieve with the database. After this is confirmed, Randy and Marcia can advise to what degree the current Constant Contact solution is achieving what’s needed.
Executive Committee Member Reports
VP of Administration – Jane: Jane led a review of our perceptions of worked well and what do differently in future NLSAGs. Jerry Gray confirmed the offering received was $2383. That plus the money received from the silent auction will result in $3408 being sent to INKY for their use toward the 2023 NLSAG. The deadline for the next Conexiones is August 15. Light in the Desert is interested in hosting in 2024. Living Stones is interested in hosting in 2025.
Spiritual Director – Karl: Pastor Karl expressed his excitement to be part of the NLSEC. His three priorities for this year are to 1-continue weekly devotions, 2- partner with the SD support committee to encourage clergy to involve themselves in Via de Cristo—remind clergy that we have the same goal to make disciples for Christ, 3-provide good advice and counsel to the NLS and secretariats.
Secretary – Carolyn: Top three priorities will be 1-working with getting the secretariat rosters posted to the website, 2-getting minutes published more timely, 3-working with the Poisels to get database updated to include level 2 distribution list and correct per gathered secretariat rosters.
VP of Outreach – Karen: Top three priorities will be 1-figuring out what her job is with Steve Gielda, 2-build up connections with RCs (Pam is coming back in as RC for region 4; Karen will cover Region 2 until a new RC is identified for that area) and with struggling secretariats, 3-go to the 4th Day meeting with John. Also, it was mentioned at the NLSAG that it would be helpful for Karen to have regular meetings with the Outreach person from affiliated secretariats similar to how John meets regularly with the Lay Directors.
President – John: Overarching goal is to renew and energize secretariats. Overall top three priorities are to 1-improve website: make website more welcoming and get password protected area up, 2-get bylaw revision work behind us, 3-help communities do sponsorship right.
Email addresses: The Zoom issue was exacerbated by the fact that our @viadecristo.org email addresses are not true email accounts. Karen and Amanda talked about looking into other options, one of which is a Google for Non-Profit account. John noted that he started the process to get a Google for Non-Profit account but this got stalled as he had higher priorities to address. This effort needs to be assigned to someone that can take the time needed to complete the work.
Bylaw revision plan: John will send out communication seeking individuals interested in serving on quorum revision, select members, appoint a chair, and get the first meeting scheduled.
2023 NLSAG: Most head positions are in place. INKY 2023 NLSAG host committee will be having an organizational meeting in the next month. The mid-year meeting will be October 6-9, 2022.
A motion to adjourn the meeting was made, seconded, and unanimously passed.
Closing Prayer – Pastor Karl closed the meeting with prayer.
Next Regular Meeting – August 23, 2022 at 7:00pm EDT for NLS Executive Committee members
Summary of Action Items
- Pastor Karl to flush out the idea of hosting ‘Intentional Witnessing’ program and share these thoughts. What would it take? When would you want to do it? What support is needed?
- Amanda and Dave to identify means to archive Conexiones.
- Dave to continue to push for an electronic repository solution.
- Randy to add other secretariat positions into Constant Contact.
- Randy to look into alternative tool to Constant Contact.
- Randy to finish documenting who was at 2022 NLSAG in Constant Contact.
- John to work with Eric to create password secured section within our website.
- Sue to catalog what we expect to achieve with a new national database.
- Pastor Karl to reach out to Pastor Sue about weekly prayers that go Thursday to Thursday.
- John will look for time to onboard Pastor Karl and Steve at the same time.
- Communicate to full secretariats to call for delegates for special meeting (level 2 database list needs to be ready for use).
- John and Jane to meet to discuss start and end times to facilitate travel times.
- Marcia or Brian will find out when the University can do a tour of the facility