Minutes · March 22, 2022

Meeting March 2022

Executive Committee and Appointed Committee Chairpersons Meeting
Minutes of March 22, 2022 Meeting

Present:  John Aclin, Pastor Sue Beall, Jim Ryan, Karen Weires, Jane Winge, Carolyn Witham, Sue Bathe, Amanda Hunter, Dave Leverenz, Eric Needle, Marcia Poisel, Randy Poisel

Absent:  Brian Schwarz, Jeanne Gaston

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 Sue opened the meeting with prayer.

Old Business

Minutes from the February 22, 2022 meeting were accepted by acclamation.

Appointed Committee Reports

Communications – AmandaAmanda completed compilation of the spring Conexiones (NLS newsletter) and distributed it via Constant Contact earlier this month. She thanked everyone for their contributions and encouraged sending submissions for the summer newsletter early. It will go out in June. She has been processing Constant Contact communications about the NLS Annual Gathering (NLSAG) and Lenten practices. She is posting links to these general communications and also posted a link to the spring Conexiones on the NLS Facebook site. She forwards devotions and prayers from Pastor Sue to Eric so these can be posted on the website. Thanks to Amanda and Eric’s encouragement, the use of video communications has increased dramatically. Similar to what was done with Lenten practices, Amanda welcomed all to send brief God moment videos to her so that they can be shared. The intent is to share how God is at work in Via de Cristo and encourage one another through our sharing. In addition to online sharing through Facebook or the website, the newsletter will include a Faith Corner section for written faith stories.

Technology – EricThe form to submit weekend dates has been refined and is working well. He is now beginning to work on content for the Distribution Center. In the meanwhile, he has proposed making content available for affiliated secretariats to download and create their own materials. The publishing of daily prayers and weekly devotions is streamlined and simplified so that it takes just 10 minutes a week. In addition to the prayers and devotions, Eric posted Lenten discipline videos and articles on the NLS website (https://viadecristo.org/). He created a NLS AG site (https://annualgathering.viadecristo.org/) that is related to the NLS website and posted a good deal of content there already. All content is designed to work well on cellphones. In addition to statistics for several specific special content videos or articles, Eric shared the following general statistics:

  • 2,487 unique users were reached by our posts in the last 30 days
  • Our Facebook page gets over 1,000 views every day
  • Daily prayers have received between 71 and 726 views

Distribution – TomWith weekends happening, Tom is now receiving requests for materials. Karen has taken the lead on improving Distribution Center processes. An online order form will be made available soon

Archivist – DaveDave has been very busy going through the 1000s of files in the cloud one by one. So far, approximately 500 have been identified as candidates for being kept in the NLS archive. These will be reviewed more closely after the initial pass through all of the files has been completed.

Database Coordinators – Marcia/RandyMarcia and Randy make database updates each week as requests are received. They are also receiving and sharing registration information with the Host Committee on a weekly basis. They are approximately 30 individuals fully registered for the NLSAG now and 7 that are partially registered. Randy is following up with those that are partially registered.

Non-profit – SueSue located a copy of the Red Book and shared it with John and Jane. She is working with Jim to gather documents and dates to add them to a calendar for secretariats. She is working to make sure all documents are in order.

Executive Committee Member Reports

VP of Administration – Jane:  Jane reported that registration for the NLSAG was opened to all Fourth Day community members on February 15th. In the last month, she submitted multiple NLSAG articles and has been coordinating the confirmation of speakers and requests for brief videos from each. There will be a new NLSAG video approximately every other week. Jane has been contacting Region 5 Lay Directors. She also created a Lenten practices video which was posted earlier this month. Jane shared prayer concerns for 2022 Host Committee speakers and team members.

Spiritual Director – Sue:  The Spiritual Director Support committee finished revising the brochure intended for sharing with pastors not familiar with Via de Cristo. The committee also has a survey ready in Survey Monkey to be sent out to current Spiritual Directors. There was some discussion about survey platforms. Pastor Sue will reach out to Amanda and Eric for input. The committee provided positive feedback on the Lenten sharing done by the Executive Committee and encouraged this to be done for other seasons as well. The committee has a goal to start a quarterly Zoom meeting for clergy, but this has not started yet.

Treasurer – Jim:  Jim has received and deposited $1,800 in dues/voluntary contributions from six secretariats. He worked on a NLSAG video with John and Jane. Jim has been working to contact the Region 1 Lay Directors. One lay director requested a digital version of job descriptions for Secretariat positions that can be molded to suit the secretariat’s needs. He verified and answered questions about the NLS policy on reimbursement of travel and registration for appointed committee chairpersons and regional coordinators.

Secretary – Carolyn:  Carolyn compiled and distributed the minutes of the February meeting for everyone’s review. The approved January meeting minutes have been posted to the website. Carolyn has continued to receive and respond to annual activity report messages. Five more responses have been received since sending out the list to the Executive Committee in early March. She has also received and shared affiliated secretariat roster changes with Randy and Marcia to get the updates made in the database. Carolyn has been contacting Region 6 Lay Directors. She also created a Lenten practices article which was posted earlier this month.

VP of Outreach – KarenKaren has been actively receiving and responding to inquiries submitted to the website. She has been in contact with all of the Regional Coordinators (RCs) who are doing their jobs tremendously. She is working to fill all open RC positions. Until a Region 1 RC is appointed, she is handling the RC role for Region 1. Karen will facilitate a RC meeting in April. She hopes to fill remaining open RC positions at the NLSAG.

President – John:  The Nominating Committee has two candidates for Treasurer so far. John, Jane and Brian made a recording about the NLSAG that will be posted soon. Plans for an Essentials webinar that will be led by Paul Schmidlin on April 23 were finalized. The Webinar was communicated in the spring Conexiones and will also be advertised on Facebook and the NLS website. The By-law amendments with explanations document was broadcast to the community along with information about the May 7th Town Hall. Guidestar.com information was updated by John and Dave Lambert, former NLS database coordinator. Disconnects associated with the distribution/ordering process came to light and are being actively addressed. John has been contacting Region 2 Lay Directors. He created a Lenten practices video which was posted earlier this month.

New Business

Presence of children at NLSAG

A lay director asked about bringing her 12 and 15 year old children to the NLSAG. The Host Committee considered it and is willing to allow their attendance. All members of the NLS Executive Committee shared their thoughts about the request. The NLSEC support the Host Committee’s decision on this subject. Carolyn noted that children have been attendance at several NLSAGs. John asked that the NLSAG participants be asked to provide their input/thoughts about this as part of the NLSAG evaluation.

Welcome Statement

A request was received through the website asking if there is a welcome statement that specifically includes words related to Via de Cristo creating a safe space for persons of color. At a national level, we do not have a statement like this. Texas and Nevada have written statements indicating that all are welcome. Each Executive Committee member shared their opinion on whether a new statement should be created by the NLS. After each member shared his or her thoughts, a straw poll indicated the committee was split with regard to whether the NLS Executive Committee should draft a new statement. John will respond to the request advising that there is no statement of this kind at this time. He remains open to the Executive Committee considering possible statements brought to it by members of the community. If a statement is brought forward that everyone supports and that does not create the possibility for a distraction, it will be considered for adoption at that time.

Old Business

Lay Director calls

One secretariat asked for job descriptions for the various secretariat positions. Recommendations and job descriptions are included in the Essentials Manual. Another secretariat asked for guidance on how to handle continued attrition of Spiritual Directors.

2023 Host Committee status

No secretariat has made a commitment to serve as the host for 2023. Several communities are considering it. John and Jane will work to get closure with these communities.

Nominating Committee update

There are one or more candidates for each of the positions that need to be filled at the NLSAG.

Prayer Vigil Options

Karen is still working to summarize options to make information about alternative solution onto the NLS website. prayervigil.net is used but not run by Kairos and is an option in addition to SignUp or Sign Up Genius. Communities that are in need of help filling their prayer banner may contact Karen.

A motion to adjourn the meeting was made, seconded, and unanimously passed. 

Closing Prayer – Pastor Sue closed the meeting with prayer.

April Meeting – April 26, 2022 at 8:00pm EDT for NLS Executive Committee members

Summary of Action Items

  1. John to connect with Carolyn and Pastor Sue about the Spiritual Director brochure that has just been revised by the Spiritual Director Support Committee.
  2. Pastor Sue or Jeanne to email Eric and Amanda for input or suggestions on a survey platform to use for the survey of Spiritual Directors.

Respectfully submitted,
Carolyn Witham

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Eric is our current Webmaster and works on the NLS Communications Team. Raised in Judaism, he found Christ and the New Testament at age 16 in a Southern Baptist Church. He searched many denominations for the real church, only to find the Holy Spirit is present in all of them. He's worked for One for Israel, a group of native Israeli believers who are sharing the gospel in the holy land in Hebrew and is part of the only Hebrew speaking seminary in Israel.