September 4, 2016
Present: Deborah Sokolove (moderator), Jacqie Wallen, Dave Lloyd (worship), Ken Burton, Cynthia Dahlin (angel), Marjory Bankson (angel), Brenda Seat, Keith Seat, Peter Bankson, Trish Nemore, Margreta Silverstone, Judy Lantz, Sandra Miller (recorder)
Absent: Kevin Barwick, Joan Dodge, Vincent Shepherd, Michele Frome
Guests: Roy Barber, Jim Cawley, Leslie Smith-Estrada, Sharon Lloyd, Mary Carol Dragoo, Richard Lawrence, Bill Drehmann, Linda Nunes-Schrag, Liz Gould-Leger
Worship was led by Dave Lloyd who read this week’s Gospel lectionary passage,
Luke 14:25-33, followed by listening to a recording of the hymn Whom Shall I Send
next meeting October 2, 2016
moderator – Ken Burton
worship – Cynthia Dahlin
recorder – Marjory Bankson
angels – Judy Lantz & Margreta Silverstone
Bokamoso report by Roy Barber, Jim Cawley, Leslie Smith, and Sharon Lloyd
Bokamoso programs have continued during the transition from Solly’s leadership. Jim is headed there to help with the hiring of a new executive director.
Twelve youth have been selected for the January/February 2017 trip here, and Sharon Lloyd and Leslie Smith are working on the workplace/mentoring program details. A fuller report is attached.
Mission Support Group report by Richard Lawrence
Current members of the group are Richard, Judy Lantz, Mary Carol Dragoo, Liz Gould-Leger, and Vincent Shepherd
The group has been working with call as individuals, as a mission group, and what how it is perceived in Seekers as a whole. They have experienced a lack of interest in members telling their story of call during Circle Time, and there has been a drop off in requests for Growing Edge Funds and Clearness Committee assistance. Through this work they have made some observations:
- several dozen people have said they were uncomfortable with where they were with their call and the mission group feels it is currently inauthentic to pursue these presentations
- they are questioning who in the community is holding the responsibility for informing people, especially new people, about the concept and importance of call
Feedback from Stewards encouraged MSG to think about preaching about call, asking Stewards to make call presentations to set example, working with Learners and Teachers to hold 3rd Sunday discussion on call or a class led by someone other than Marjory, framing invitation newcomers who attend regularly to tell their story in order to be better known in the community, inviting people who are going through or have recently gone through a major change in their lives, and when inviting people to help them by working with them to understand that call can be small as opposed to large.
Christmas Celebration by Brenda
Stewards were reminded that since Koinonia has laid down its call there is no guarantee of anyone decorating the church on the Saturday after Thanksgiving for the season, or having a Christmas Eve dinner. If no one in the community steps forward these things may not happen this year. Brenda has timeline and tasks as a document she can share with any people who step forward. The invitation to step up needs to be made to the community and Brenda and other Koinonia members feel that it cannot come from them.
Happily, Dave offered to be point person for decorating, and Marjory agreed to be point person for the dinner.
Carroll Café report by Sandra
Carroll Café will continue this year with a first concert on October 14th. The current board as of this report is Denise LeClair, Sandra Miller, and glen Yakushiji. Marcia Sprague, though not a member of the board, is part of the core group. Margreta Silverstone has expressed an interest in exploring joining the board. A fuller report is attached.
Takoma Park Street Festival report by Keith for the Outreach Mission Group
The Folk Festival which the city was unable to pull off this year led Seekers to take a booth for the Street Festival that occurs on Sunday, October 2nd. Everything is on track for our participation. Stewards, and the community at large, is invited to think about visuals for the booth, and the Carroll Cafe core group is expected to provide the album of concert posters which draws a great deal of interest. There will be a children’s table with materials for engagement. The previously announced 3rd Sunday of September training to help people know what to say to visitors to the booth is scheduled. Keith will be out of town for the next 3 Sundays so others from OMG will be the contacts for related activities like time slot signups for personing the booth.
Two Stewards to Share Vincent or Michele were scheduled however were unable to attend the meeting.
William Thapelo Mashaba, Drama Director has left the centre leaving a hole in the music and drama area
Mmule Mary Tsoai, Staff Social Worker, has also left the centre, unfortunately under a cloud of misconduct with an attendant law suit which is expected to be dealt with positively for the Centre
Malven Masunqwini is the Acting as the Centre’s Executive Director while the search goes on for a replacement for Solly
Sake Mahlangu, Solly’s widow, is now Chairperson of the Board. She is intent on professionalizing the organization, working on a set of procedures to reinforce structures already in place, bringing order to human resources, and expanding possibilities for growth and fundraising
There is a new pro bono law team advising the centre and acting on their behalf in the law suit with Mmule. They too are working on procedural issues for the future of the centre (making sure that the Foundation conforms to South African nonprofit law), especially around human resources and how the centre contracts with providers to minimize the kinds of problems that arose from Solly’s practice of hand shake agreements and the ensuing problems after his death.
In general there is a sense that all the disruptive forces are gone and the current staff is committed to rebuilding the organization.
Jim Cawley will be leading the search for a new executive director, and the team is looking at questions
how will candiates be vetted
what qualities are needed to ensure that the chosen candidate has the fire, strength and belief of purpose to hold the center as Solly did, but with a more formal structure (no current Bokamoso staff member has the already identified skills and ability)
what will the ED’s role be
what will the roles of other key staff members be
The expectation is that the process will be concluded by/in December 2016. Both Othandweni and Bokamoso are in a time of change. Being taken into account is that the current manager of Othandweni would like to take over management of both programs.
It should be noted that the staff has been very good at keeping the program going. Six youth competed in regional and state Indigenous Games competitions, and are headed to the nationals.
Last year was the best in many years for responsible and useful financial reporting and reconciliation. The goal is to not be 100% dependent on the Foundation for financial support, so it is crucial to make sure the program is worthy of government or private grants.
During Roy’s and Leslie Jacobson’s recent visit, GW group did an art therapy project with the staff to help them identify and work on morale issues and get clear about their work and commitment. GW is 100% engaged in continuing the work they have been doing over the history of their involvement, and they are even looking at more ways to be involved.
Twelve youth have been chosen for the January 7 – February 8, 2017 visit of which 7 are returnees and 5 are new. The week at Seekers, including worship and the mentor program, is scheduled for the week of January 22nd, and Leslie will work with Katie to make sure the building is available at the needed times.
Sharon will again work on work placements this year though she will probably be away the week that the program runs. The roster includes 2 interested in clothing design, 2 in travel & tourism, 2 in performance arts and production, 1 in chicken farming, 1 in office administration, 1 in homeopathy (Leslie S-E already has arranged for this placement), 1 as a firefighter/paramedic, and 2 unidentified. Sharon will also be arranging for drivers to and from the placement locations.
Leslie S-E will start recruiting mentors shortly.
Jim will work with the new youth to get their passports and will coordinate with Brenda who will write the Seekers’ Visa support letter.
At present, Sandra is planning on providing the meals as appropriate.
The good news is that Carroll Café will be continuing as a ministry of Seekers Church, and to truly embrace the values of servant and shared leadership so important to all of us.
The board now consists of Glen Yakushiji, Denise LeClair, and me, with important assist by Marcia Sprague. Doug Dodge is committed to our venue but has not yet officially joined the board.
There is a great excitement in our group about how we will be proceeding forward. We will be vetting performers as a group process from a variety of sources that include artists that approach us, returning artists, artists recommended by several people of our acquaintance, artists who are part of the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance, and an outreach through Maybelle to performers at Howard University and othersof her acquaintance. We will be reaching out to enlarge the range of people to whom our concerts appeal through the same means.
Katie Fisher will be handling graphics for us, picking up one of Deborah’s previous tasks. Because our list of volunteers has shrunk due to moves, etc., we have also decided to judiciously use what was Jesse’s stipend to hire people to work at the concerts. As we build up this cadre of helpers, Marcia and Denise have graciously agreed to help as necessary at the gate, in the kitchen, etc.
Those of you on the Carroll Café list serve will receive the first notice in a couple of days for the October 14th concert with Joe Uehlein and the U-Liners. Joe was gracious about working out the challenges that arose out of Jesse’s leaving and will be bringing a great CD Release Concert to us. We do have some concerns that we will not have sufficient help for this concert and may appeal to a few Seekers to step in, hopefully as a one off occurrence.
We have a commitment from Rhonda and Sparky Rucker to return to the venue for our February 2017 concert, and the board is meeting to vet performers for the first time this coming Friday.
Glen, Marcia, Denise, and I would appreciate your continuing prayers as we navigate our way in new waters, and please include Deborah and Jesse along with us in your continuing prayers for healing hurts and relationships. I’m happy to try and answer questions as I am able.