Sunday, May 1, 2011

Annotated Agenda

It's the first Sunday of the month and at Freedom Friends Church, that means it is time for business meeting.  For me, because I am presiding clerk of the meeting, it usually means clerking business meeting.  This morning, I have been spending time in prayer and going over the agenda, trying to prepare my heart to listen to God and to listen to the Friends who will gather to do the business of our meeting.

Last month, I was unable to clerk business meeting.  I found myself in need of a sabbath day of rest, so Ministry and Oversight asked Sarah H to fill in as clerk for the day.  I was very grateful that she was willing to do so, and I think it was a good experience for her too.  She wrote a little about it on her blog.

Before the business meeting that Sarah clerked, the members of Ministry and Oversight met to set the agenda.  I wrote out an annotated agenda for Sarah, explaining how I would approach clerking the meeting.  I found myself referring to my notes today and I thought I would post them here, for anyone who is interested. 

Annotated Business Meeting Agenda

Before business meeting
  • Pray for the meeting and ask God if there is anything that needs to be added to the agenda 
  • Print out a copy of the minutes and the treasurer’s report to bring to the meeting 
  • Go over the agenda
The morning of business meeting
  • Arrive early 
  • Write the agenda on the large pad in the children’s room and hang it up front 
  • Set up a table in the front of the room with two chairs (for the clerk and the recording clerk) Put a copy of the minutes on a clipboard with a pen so that people can make edits to them during business meeting 
  • Spend time in prayer for the meeting and for the business of the day

Business Meeting Agenda
April 3, 2011
  • Prayer
Out of worship―usually at about 11:30 (one hour into worship).  I pray as I feel led, for the meeting and the people present.  I usually ask that we will be able to listen to each other and to God, and that we will hear what we mean to say, not just what we say.
  • Introductions/Reading
I try to start by introducing myself and the recording clerk, and letting people know that everyone is welcome to stay for business meeting (or free to leave) and there is food to share.  Make sure the minutes are going around and everyone has a chance to see them.

The reading is usually something from the Faith and Practice.  I have been trying to find something that relates to what is on the agenda for business meeting.  After the reading, I ask Friends to settle back into worship for a few minutes before the first agenda item.

  • Faith and Practice publishing report from M&O – Peggy
Ask Peggy to give the report.  After she is done, ask if there are any questions or comments.  According to Dorsey, it takes people eight seconds to realize that they can respond after someone else speaks, so I often silently count to eight (“one one-thousand, two one-thousand . . .”) after I have asked for questions or comments.  Call on people who have questions or comments―they should be addressed to you as the clerk.  If an action needs to take place, suggest that, and ask Friends to approve.  Thank Peggy for her report.
  • Treasurer’s Report – Judy
Ask Judy to give the report.  Same as above: ask if there are any questions or comments and thank Judy for her report.
  • Pastor’s Report – Peggy
Ask Peggy to give the report.  Same as above: ask if there are any questions or comments and thank Peggy for her report.
  • Approving minutes
Ask if everyone has had a chance to read the minutes.  If they have, ask if Friends approve the minutes with any corrections made to the circulating copy.
  • Announcements 
 Sarah Hoggatt’s traveling minute

Ask someone to read your traveling minute out loud to the meeting.  This does not need to be approved because we already approved giving you one.
Good Friday and Easter – Peggy

Ask Peggy to talk about the plans for Good Friday and Easter.

Ask Friends if there are any other announcements for the good of the order.
  • Joys and concerns
Let Friends know that this is some space for open worship for sharing any joys or concerns that arise, related to the meeting or not.  They may speak out of the silence and do not need to be called on.  Spend 3-5 minutes in open worship, giving space for the business to settle.  At the end, ask whether all hearts are clear and invite Friends to bring the meeting out into the world.

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