Author Archives: Pastor Melanie

About Pastor Melanie

Pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Polson, Montana

April 2021 FRLC Board Minutes

FRLC Board Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

2:00 pm MST/3:00 pm CST/1:00 pm PST/4:00 pm EST

            Present: Bohdan, Ed, Otto, Tom, Melanie, Karen

Check In & Prayer: All checked in. Tom led in prayer.

Approval of Minutes from Previous Meeting approved. Otto suggested following up with Jane, suggesting that she look for grants that are related to Lutherans, ones for clergy health, and general alcohol and drug resources. Ed will be meeting with her tomorrow.

            Treasurer’s report As of March 31,our balance is $1,769.17. Ed had not cashed his stipend at this time. Melanie did a FaceBook Birthday fund raiser for the FRLC which brought in $205. She will send the details of donors to Louise.

            Coordinator’s report Ed reported on the success of the Sunday Night meeting on Zoom and suggested that we consider moving the Thursday meeting to Zoom. It has been discussed at the meeting and participants agree it is a good idea. People can still call in by phone or turn off their camera if they don’t want to be seen. MSP (Ed, Melanie)

            Ed is meeting with Jane to discuss grants as mentioned above. The CAF received 238 new email addresses from last webinar. Tim King is helping with marketing. Ed received many calls the week following the webinar from people from other denominations wanting to connect with us. These demonstrate the potential for collaboration/ecumenical partners. Many of the callers indicated feeling like it’s time the church did more with this. The Holy Spirit is moving and we are reaching “critical mass”.

            Ed hired Tim to be the conference manager for the A & F Conference. He has an incredible communication team and is working on a marketing plan and strategic vision. He is one of the keynote speakers for the next conference and wrote the book “Addiction Nation”. Tim is putting together a timeline and task list and Ed will be lining up volunteers when he has the information. The Conference planning meeting will likely be on Zoom. Ed hopes we will all be involved. The hospitality room should be simpler and run by a local person. Coffee, homemade treats and a veggie tray or chips would be sufficient.  

            Ed would also like everyone to be interviewed for the CAF “My Story” podcasts. Bohdan, Melanie and Ed did it. Ed was interviewed by Marshall. One board member prefers not to be interviewed.

            Ed asked if there is interest in a lectionary discussion from the 12 step hermeneutic. Otto shared the story of how Faith Partners started as a 12 step text study.

            Ed  is talking with the Minneapolis Synod DEM about developing an online recovery ministry.

            Melanie suggested working on some of the items on the Work Plan, such as regional representation and defining the role of board members while we wait for a grant.

Next meeting: Wednesday, May 5

2:00 pm MST/3:00 pm CST/1:00 pm PST/4:00 pm EST

FRLC Board Minutes March 3, 2021

Present: Bohdan, Ed, Otto, Dave, Melanie, Karen, Tom and Jane

Grant Preparation: Jane Clark led us through completing the final item on the Action Plan and reviewing the job description. Those documents are attached.

Melanie will locate the minutes with the most recent vision and mission and send the information to Jane.

Our next step is to wait for the right funding opportunity and apply. Jane will look at foundations with an interest in Lutherans and ones interested in clergy.

Bohdan thanked everyone for their faithful attendance at these meetings. This is the best participation we’ve had.

Melanie emailed a list of our current board members including the regions we are located in. We are represented in most regions except the north east part of the country.         

Approval of Minutes from Previous Meeting: MSP (Otto, Dave) to approve the minutes of the last meeting.

            Treasurer’s report was received. The current balance is $1694.17. Our main expense is Ed’s stipend. Not a lot coming in or going out otherwise.

Next meeting: April 7, 2021

2:00 pm MST/3:00 pm CST/1:00 pm PST/4:00 pm EST

FRLC Board Minutes February 24, 2021

Present: Bohdan, Melanie, Ed, Otto, Karen, Tom, Jane

            Jane Clark shared draft 5 of the Action Plan before the meeting. She brought a suggestion that the FRLC seek funding as a sub-contract or pilot project of the CAF rather than submitting our own grant application. It was MSP that we do so.

            Melanie suggested developing an intervention network of intervention specialists knowledgeable on church polity with a goal of having a resource person in each region of the ELCA. Various experiences with intervention were discussed, including old-style confrontative interventions vs. coaching people on how to express concern, what the demand might be, how much could be done remotely and whether a regional presence was necessary, and the difficulties of getting reimbursed if you simply coach people on a phone call. Some bishops will welcome assistance, others will not. Ed was on a call with all the Portico Synodical Representatives. They have limited resources to help with substance abuse issues and seem eager for more, although there are some “coaches” specializing in substance abuse. Ed is seeking more information about the coaches. He mentioned that the church is full of codependents who could benefit by information on how to “Flash Your Brights” (Otto developed materials earlier).

            Ed suggested we develop a job description for an FRLC staff person. Jane invited the board to send ideas of what we would like to see in a job description to her in the next day or two. She will compile them into a document and bring it to the next board meeting for us to work on.

            Jane envisions meeting with the FRLC Board two more times. The first would be to hash out the job description and the second to solidify the infrastructure. Dates were set for these meetings: Wednesday March 3 and March 17 at the usual time.

            Melanie will send a note to all board members informing them about the upcoming meetings and asking them to submit their ideas for the job description.

            The meeting was adjourned.

January 2021 FRLC Board Minutes

FRLC Board Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

2:00 pm MST/3:00 pm CST/1:00 pm PST/4:00 pm EST

            Present: Bohdan, Otto, Roger, Melanie, Paul, Karen, Guest Jane Clark

Check In & Prayer: Melanie opened in prayer.

Discussion: Bohdan invited our guest to lead the meeting at this point. Jane shared the documents she had prepared regarding the results of our strategic planning meeting and the outline for an action plan based on those results. She demonstrated how it might would using goal one and will continue to work with us to flesh out the rest of the plan,

Both the Center of Addiction and Faith and the FRLC are non-profit organizations. In addition, there are four registration processes we need to complete to become eligible for federal grants. New funding is anticipated for mental health, substance abuse prevention and recovery efforts. Jane will work with Ed to help both the Center and the Fellowship to become prepared to apply for this funding

Discussion of concern about complexity of applying for and reporting for federal grants, the role her organization plays in helping small organizations such as rural communities and minority groups to apply for and manage federal grants. She assures us they will walk us through the process and it’s requirements. The action plan serves as a guide to keep the organization on track to fulfill required activities. There is typically a quarterly reporting process. They have a data team that will do that data entry while teaching your staff how to do that—capacity building. Ed has been working with Michael Chiapperino in developing the Center. He may be a resource for us as will. Jane will work with both the CAF and FRLC on parallel but separate processes, with the CAF as the umbrella agency and the FRLC the model. We aim to develop it as a model that can be scaled and replicated. She also offered to make suggestions regarding Action Plan items and bring them back to us.

Regarding goal 1.1a developing a brief introductory video that can be used in seminary digital newsletters–Roger has been in touch w Cheryl Peterson re putting a video together and using it at Trinity Seminary as a trial balloon. She connected him with Dr. Brad Binau, who attended the first Conference and is teaching a course at Trinity on ministry and addiction. Roger will be a guest presenter during the course via Zoom. He requests us to each film a short video on our phones and text it to him. Simply say “My name is Pastor (your first name)  and I’m a recovering alcoholic/addict/Alanon/etc. and a member of the FRLC—and text the clips to Roger. Ed would like to use the video on the CAF website and app also.

Following Jane’s departure, the Board affirmed her work and the direction we are going. We agreed to meet with her in two weeks, on January 20.

 Coordinator’s report: Otto has a pastors group that meets monthly and are open to others joining them. We need to set up a contact person to vet new people and share the meeting information with them. TheSunday night Zoom open recovery meeting for mainline Christians has a lot of clergy coming. Attendance is averaging about nine people per week. He restated the RMEC (Episcopal Recovery Ministries) interest in doing a joint FRLC/RMEC Zoom meeting. Bohdan restated his willingness to follow up with this once he receives contact information from Ed. Ed has recorded eight interviews for the new podcast, including a couple of u. He will be sending an invitation to the rest of you with a link to sign up for a time to be interviewed. The next CAF Webinar is coming up on 1/21 at 11”00 am Central Time. Al Sharp will be speaking on the need to and process of changing from a punitive approach to addiction. There is a new Faith Partners training for congregational addiction ministry beginning tomorrow. Otto is involved in this. He reports that there are now ten addiction ministry congregational teams in Lincoln, Nebraska, with seven more launching tomorrow.

Approval of Minutes from Previous Meeting approved

            Treasurer’s report: there was no report this month. I believe Louise sent an email with the balance of the FRLC at the beginning of the month.  

Next meeting: January 20

2:00 pm MST/3:00 pm CST/1:00 pm PST/4:00 pm EST

December 2020 FRLC Board Minutes

FRLC Board Meeting Minutes

Thursday, December 10, 2020

1:00 pm MST/2:00 pm CST/12:00 pm PST/3:00 pm EST

            Present: Otto, Paul, Melanie, Tom, Ed. Karen, Roger, Michelle. Karen opened in prayer.

Minutes from Previous Meeting were approved.

            Treasurer’s report: As of December 1,the FRLC Account is $1545.75, up from the previous balance of $1481.88. The Addiction & Faith Conference account is $48,483.81. The previous balance was $49,551.60. The main expense was a $1000 deposit for the DoubleTree Inn. The Center of Addiction & Faith balance is $10,758. The letter was received from the IRS stating that the application for 501c3 status for the Center was approved. The funds for the Center and the Conference will be separated from the FRLC account, although there will be the ability to transfer between them. Ed’s stipend for the FRLC is being paid from the Conference account, which will no longer be associated with the FRLC.  MSP (Tom, Otto) that Ed’s stipend of $300/month be paid from the FRLC account. We will need to raise funds to continue to do so. It was also approved to separate the Center and Conference accounts from the FRLC.

            Coordinator’s report Ed’s last Sunday at Transfiguration Lutheran Church was November 29. His office is in his home now, with phone, internet, etc. set up for the Center of Addiction and Faith.   The Center sent a year-end fund-raising appeal went to 1000 people, and an additional 1500 letters will go out by email. They are paying for a marketing firm to roll out the Center to 44,000 clergy of various denominations. Al Dungan is coordinating daily devotions for the CAF website.  He needs writers. Send your devotions sharing your experience, strength and hope to him.

            Ed is working with Tim King, a CAF board member and a keynote speaker for the next Conference on social media marketing. The website for the Center is up and running.

            Ed has a meeting scheduled with 3 seminary professors & one CPE instructor (one of whom is a member of the FRLC) to work on defining core competencies in addiction ministry. They plan to develop training based on these core competencies and make it available to seminaries.

            The referral list on the CAF app for Montana is quite limited and doesn’t have the largest, most frequently used treatment centers on it. This list will be addressed at a later date. Ed would like to include a list of “recovery friendly” churches on the website and app. He would get a list of those churches by contacting the Synods. Otto reported that Faith Partners in Nebraska is working on developing standards for recovery friendly churches that might be helpful in setting this up. The Center is planning another Faith Partners training and have funding to cover up to 50% of the cost for congregations to participate. Minneapolis Synod churches have priority for that funding, but if they do not use it all it would be available to churches in other areas.

            There is a new 12 step all recovery meeting for anyone from mainline churches. Former FRLC Board member Joel Richter is hosting it. Nine people came to the first meeting, which was last Sunday. Ed has gotten positive feedback on it and put meeting ID and announcement for church bulletins in the chat page. It is:

Sunday night weekly All 12-Step meeting 7 p.m. Central

A 12-Step Zoom meeting for mainline Christians. This meeting is open to anyone in 12-Step recovery of any kind and for those interested in learning more about 12-Step recovery. Hosted by the Fellowship of Recovering Lutheran Clergy and by the Center of Addiction and Faith, this meeting is offered every Sunday night at 6 pm Mountain Time (8 p.m. Eastern ). All are welcome.

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81470899913?pwd=UUd1T1lDTnd1ckFDSS84MXJQeXY5QT09

            The RMEC, the Episcopal group, would like to have a recovery meeting for clergy. A format needs to be developed and a process for screening worked out to confirm that potential participants are actually clergy. Bohdan offered to work with Steve Lane to develop it.

            Ed has recorded 6 or 7 interviews for the podcast and would like to interview you! They will air every other week beginning in January.

            A webinar scheduled for January on decriminalizing drugs. Al Sharp will be the presenter. The last one was in October.

            Remember to use Ed’s new email: pastored@addictionandfaith.com.

Old/New Business:

Our guest, Jane Clark, was unable to be with us. Otto and Ed met with her in November. She intended to be with us today to continue working on our mission statements etc. Jane is a grant writer who works to help non-profits get started. She has a good success rate and is willing to work with us and prepare a grant application for us. Her management team approved this, which means they perceive us as capable enough and the idea strong enough to invest their time in. The organization helps launch non-profits for no cost, making their money providing training, evaluations, etc. which are required by and funded by the grants. Otto met her through a workshop she led for the national association of drug and alcohol counselors.

Jane asked us to discuss the following questions:

  1. If you could wave a magic wand and in 5 years, what would the FRLC be and do. What you think it’s ideal purpose is? What does that look like?  (Organizationally; members, staffing; volunteers; funding; purpose; services; etc.) 
  1. Now describe where FRLC is now (organizationally, members, staffing, volunteers, funding, purpose, services. Etc.).

Otto led this discussion.

Mission Statement: we adopted the following draft Mission Statement at the last meeting, “to be used to guide our work and be presented at the next annual meeting for adoption: Guided by the Spirit, FRLC brings together Lutheran clergy to strengthen and advocate for recovery through mutual support.” We are free to modify it as needed.

Recovery Community Organization. (RCO): Michelle asked if we are an RCO. Illinois has funds for such organizations. She forwarded this definition of them and will send information on the funding that might be available through this route.

A recovery community organization (RCO) is an independent, non-profit organization led and governed by representatives of local communities of recovery. RCOs organize recovery-focused policy advocacy activities, carry out recovery-focused community education and outreach programs, and/or provide peer-based recovery support services.

The broadly defined recovery community–people in long-term recovery, their families, friends and allies, including recovery-focused addiction and recovery professionals–includes organizations whose members reflect religious, spiritual and secular pathways of recovery. The sole mission of an RCO is to mobilize resources within and outside of the recovery community to increase the prevalence and quality of long-term recovery from substance use disorders. Public education, policy advocacy and peer-based recovery support services are the strategies through which this mission is achieved.”

What would we like to have happen in five years?

  • All seminary students and faculty would know who we are and what we do. We would be introduced to all seminary students, even briefly, perhaps through a 2-3 minute video that could be included in digital newsletters.
  •  Every Pastor in ELCA would know that we are a resource if they need help with a personal/family addiction issue. Conversation continued regarding whether this includes family members of addicted or alcoholic clergy and congregations.
  • The guests we invited to the visioning retreat at Mt. Olivet (outside of Minneapolis) to help us initiate the first Addiction & Faith Conference were astounded that we existed and said we have so much unrealized potential. They encouraged us to realize that before reaching out to others, saying we should focus on clergy in recovery before branching out.
  • The work has a bigger purpose: to share what we have with other organizations. There is an enormous need across denominations for clergy support. We want to keep the Lutheran piece and believe there is a place for each denomination to have their own group within a larger framework of recovering clergy.
  • Visibility in other seminaries, not just Lutheran ones.
  • A robust website with information for clergy and lively, interactive Facebook and Instagram pages. An array of online meetings, specific to various addictions such as ACOA, sexual addiction, etc.
  • Funds to allow us to advertise. A consistent marketing strategy. This could include: Rewriting, updating and relaunching our book and stories.  Synod-specific brochure with resources available to them. Printed material available at every synod assembly. Regular contact with all clergy.
  • A resource list of trained clergy sponsors.  Also vetted counselors and intervention specialists. A professionally hosted online therapy group. 
  • Regional representation on the board bringing the information back to their area.
  • The Impaired Professionals program for clergy would be implemented and connected with Portico and treatment centers that serve clergy.
  • A larger, updated data base. 
  • Ongoing training opportunities on addiction and recovery and guidelines for core competencies for clergy regarding addiction. Seminary classes are on addiction and wellbeing in ministry. 
  • Full time staff with admin support. 
  • Multiple events like the retreats where “the magic happens” in different parts of the country. Our strength is the power of one recovering pastor talking to another.
  • An effective flexible structure.

Where we are now:

  • We depend on Ed for most of the work.
  • The database is out-of-date.
  • We have tried things in the past, including outreach to and presentations at the seminaries and contact with the Bishops. When we have accomplished them, we consider it done, rather than recognizing these need to be continuous activities.
  • The 12 Step meetings we have for clergy have been a lifeline for participants. We have people committed to lead the meetings and a schedule.
  • We have mailed and emailed newsletters to the membership and Synods.
  • Retreats for recovering Lutheran clergy have been an essential activity.
  • The meetings, retreats and board each serve a handful of people who have become like a club, with close relationships but a small reach. 
  • The FRLC launched the Addiction & Faith Conference, which in turn gave birth to the Center of Addiction and Faith. These are big achievements but took all our time and energy for several years. However, these two events have now infused us with new energy to be relevant and significant.

How do we move forward? Otto and Ed will meet with Jane Clark in January.

Our next meeting: Wednesday January 6 at the regular time: 2:00 pm MST/3:00 pm CST/1:00 pm PST/4:00 pm EST

Paul closed in prayer.

November 2020 FRLC Board Minutes

FRLC Board Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, November 3, 2020

2:00 pm MST/3:00 pm CST/1:00 pm PST/4:00 pm EST

Tom led the meeting in Bohdan’s absence.

            Present: Otto, Paul, Tom, Karen, Melanie, Ed. Bohdan and Michelle communicated that they were unable to attend.

Check In & Prayer: Paul opened in prayer.

Approval of Minutes from Previous Meeting MSP (Otto, Karen) to accept the minutes.

            Treasurer’s report As of the end of October, the  FRLC Membership account balance was $1481.88, the  Conference account balance was $49,551.60and the Center of A&F account balance was $16,250.99.  The FRLC non-profit Annual Report was filed in Illinois, with the requisite $15 payment. Conference expenses included Ed’s stipend, expenses for home office renovations, and a payment to the hotel. MSP (Melanie, Otto) to accept this report.  

Mission Statement subcommittee: Otto, Karen and Melanie. Two meetings were held,the subcommittee discussed approaches to Mission Statements and two ideas were proposed and emailed to board members. After discussion, MSP (Melanie, Otto) seconded to adopt the following draft Mission Statement to be used to guide our work and be presented at the next annual meeting for adoption: “Guided by the Spirit, FRLC brings together Lutheran clergy to strengthen and advocate for recovery through mutual support.”

Meeting with Grant Writer: Ed and Otto will be meeting with Jane Clark to explore possibilities for funding our work. The company she works for does the grant writing for no charge, offering paid services as the organization develops. Ed & Otto will meet with her on November 18. MSP (Paul, Tom) to engage in this conversation. The board authorized sharing information from the mission statement draft if it would be helpful, with the understanding that these are preliminary documents.

The possibility of meeting before the next Board meeting was discussed, however, since the meeting with the grant writer is so close to Thanksgiving, we will continue the conversation at the December board meeting.

Otto closed the meeting in prayer.

Next meeting: Wednesday, December 2, 2020

2:00 pm MDT/3:00 pm CDT/1:00 pm PDT/4:00 pm EDT

October 7, 2020 FRLC Board Minutes

Present: Bohdan, Ed, Tom, Karen, Michelle, Otto, Melanie

Check In & Prayer: All checked in, Michelle opened in prayer.

Minutes: MSP (otto, tom) to approve the minutes of the previous meeting.

            Treasurer’s report Tom conveyed the report from Louise. The FRLC membership account balance is $1442.88. The Conference account balance is $52,925.60. The CAF balance is $15,189.72, thanks to a $10k grant from the Minneapolis Synod.

            Coordinator’s report:

Referral:  Ed was asked to be a resource for a pastor, sent information to the  synod and is waiting to hear back.

            Addiction & Faith Conference: The CAF Board moved Conference dates to Oct. 7-9, 2021. The hotel was cooperative and offered a reasonable price. There was a discussion of whether to have a retreat for the FRLC before or after it or as a separate event. An advantage of doing them together is reducing the cost of travel for participants. Before the Conference it tends to get lost in Conference planning and afterwards people are tired and want to go home.

            The A & F Conference website is about ready to be rolled out. They are still working on the page to handle funds. The Center plans to tie it into an aggressive year end campaign which will be much like a capital campaign.

            A & F WEBINARS: Three webinars have been offered and were successful. The first two had over 100 registrants each and the most recent had about 250 registrants. The speaker who was invited to address addiction and race from a Native American perspective is not getting back to him. Melanie will check it out her resources. Need to speak to whole systemic issue in a way that is informative. The webinars are educational, topical and thematic, addressing racial justice and addiction ministry and how to do ministry in this time.

            PODCAST: Ed has recorded two interviews for the Podcast. The podcasts are interviews on the theme “Stories of Addiction & Grace”. He is recording one each week, a couple weeks out from the dates they are aired. Ed will be sending out invitations for interviews or you can contact him to volunteer. He hopes to set up an online poll to schedule interviews.

            RECOVERY MEETINGS: Ed would like to find a way to publicize the Thursday recovery meeting through the CAF activities other than publicly giving out the number and password. He is looking for a volunteer contact person to receive email inquiries about the meeting, verify that the inquirer is clergy and give them the number and password. Ed reported that the Episcopal Zoom open recovery meeting has 15-20 people participating from across the country eight weeks after launching.  Participants are church goers who are people in recovery.  Ed shared our format and helped them start it. He suggested the FRLC might start something like that, in the evening, on Zoom, open to more than clergy, possibly on a Sunday night. We would need volunteers who would be willing to chair the meeting until we can recruit leaders from the group who are participating and can identify someone from the group to do the schedule. Some affirmed that it is a good idea; however the question was raised whether it is our mission. If the FRLC doesn’t do it, the CAF would. Bohdan, Michelle, Melanie and possibly others are willing to lead this meeting to get it started regardless of which group puts it on. We will wait on this decision until next month.

MISSION OF THE FRLC: This led into conversation about updating our mission statement and past attempts to do so. Otto, Karen, and Melanie volunteered to draft an updated mission statement and send it out to everyone to discuss at the board next meeting. All are welcome to submit their ideas.

Other Business:

            CONVOCATION AT WARTBURG SEMINARY: Michelle is advocating for a Convocation at Wartburg Seminary to discuss FRLC and the CAF in the spring of 2021, and is counting on Ed to participate. The incoming class at Wartburg is around 100, her class has 50 students. While last year’s graduating class was small, there are over 200 students now. Options and availability of scholarships have helped.  

            FRLC Annual meeting: These were originally held at retreats and the last two were on Sunday following the Conference. Holding the retreat at the Mount Olivet retreat center may create better boundaries between events. Discussion returned to when and where to have the retreat. It could be pre or post Conference fun & renewal with a little bit of business. We initially put them together to get people to attend the conference. We will discuss the proposed new mission statement whenever and wherever we hold the Annual Meeting.

Tom closed the meeting with prayer.

FRLC Annual Meeting Minutes

FRLC Annual Meeting (on Zoom)
Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Present: Bohdan V., Otto S., Tom M., Roger G., David C., Ed T., Melanie M.-D., Paul D.

Check-in & Opening Prayer: Roger opened with prayer.

Minutes from 2019 Annual Meeting—Melanie read the minutes, MSP (moved, seconded, passed) to receive them (Tom, Dave)

Treasurer’s Report—Tom reported that the FRLC membership has $1272.93, the Addiction & Faith Conference account has $55,685.88, and the Center of Addiction & Faith account has $6,826.40. All funds are actually in the same account and are separated in the bookkeeping. The Conference account is separate in order to track expenses and income for it. The 501c3 application for the Center has been approved, so we can separate FRLC membership account from the others. Donations and fundraising were sufficient to pay FRLC obligation to the Transfiguration Lutheran Church through the Conference account. We didn’t make money on the Conference this year but broke even.

Ed received a $60,000 PPP loan for Center of A & F. Center will be paying for the Conference from now on. $10,000 was donated to support the next Conference, which is in the Center of A & F account. Noting the difference between a loan and income, $72,000 has come in for the Center to date and about $9000 has been spent. MSP (Otto, Roger).

Bohdan will send a thank you to Louise for her work on the finances.

Coordinator’s Report—Ed is working on preparations for the February 2021 Conference, hoping it will happen. If not, we will deal with cancellation or move it to an online event. The contract with the hotel has a clause allowing for cancellation due to Coronavirus if that becomes necessary. Ed is working half time for the Center.

He continues to serve on the RMEC (Recovery Ministries of the Episcopal Church) board. They have a different approach to this work, including laityy & clergy, have a larger membership, and don’t do clergy specific support. They are considering how to do that. They recently began a Wednesday night Zoom recovery meeting which is growing each week, with 20 or more people now participating. Ed shared our format with them and wrote topics for the first ten meetings. Ed will send the log in information to this meeting to those present here. He would like to see the FRLC consider adding a Zoom meeting in addition to the phone meeting.

He has been working on the website for the Center of Addiction & Faith. He’s done a lot of writing for it and a lot of revision. He is very pleased with the company he is working with. Through screen sharing, those present viewed a rough draft of the site. Ed also put together a personal website, pastoredtreat.com, to support the work he is doing in addiction ministry.

The Center has begun offering monthly Zoom webinars. The first was on how to do addiction ministry in a pandemic. This Thursday’s webinar is on “How to start an addiction ministry” with Drew Brooks of Faith Partners. There will be a follow up training event for congregational leaders which will be fee based. The next offering will be a five part webinar dealing with race and addiction, including the impact of War on Drugs and how it played into oppression of BIPOC. He realized we need more than one webinar to adequately address the topic. 110 people signed up for the first webinar and 62 stayed for the whole session. There are over 80 people registered for the next one.

He is getting ready to begin a podcast on “stories of addiction and grace” with the encouragement and support of a professional. Podcasts are becoming popular, and personal stories are most successful at this moment. There three parts to each episode, based on what was it like, what happened, what it’s like now with ten minute segments on each topic. Ed is lining up guests and his resource person is doing the rest. Ed will be calling on this group to be on the show. Guests will have the option of being anonymous, identified by first name, last initial. Otto noted that anonymity is about shame and encouraged people to identify themselves, although we will respect the wishes of those who choose to be anonymous.

The Center applied for a $10,000 synod grant from the Minneapolis Synod for the podcast and webinars. Center funds have paid for the web designer, a graphic designer and a grant writer. He has been meeting monthly meeting with the Center board, and has additional meetings with a separate advisory group. Please let Ed know if you would be interested in serving on this board. As noted in the financial report, he received a letter stating that the 501c3 application for the Center was approved, although the final paperwork will be arriving later.

The FRLC has maintained the status quo this year. He’s doing the same things he usually does. His stipend is now being paid from the Center account, so FRLC expenses are minimal. The Website and database still need updating. People are aware of the work we are doing developing the Conference and Center and it has had a positive impact. We now have 94 good email addresses for members as opposed to 70 a year ago. Ed thinks we have more people paying attention to our work but they have not become formal members. He has not been as intentional in following up with new people on what membership is.

Next steps for the FRLC include clarifying who we are, and what we have to offer, then updating the website, database, and developing a communication plan and stewardship plan.

Ed would like to see FRLC nested in Center of AF page, focusing on clergy support. He suggested we consider dropping the Lutheran denominational focus, keeping the phone meeting for anonymity needs, and adding a Zoom meeting. He would like to seek funding for the FRLC to have a paid staff member, as well as for development of a broader clergy support ministry and a ministry with Lutheran laity.

New Business:
1) Open Conversation on The Future of the “FRLC”, Vision, Direction forward, Next steps
Extensive conversation followed.

It was MSP (Dave, Otto) that we affirm Ed in finding resources for a paid staff member to develop the FRLC and to partner with other ministries. It passed unanimously.

A second motion was MSP (Melanie, Dave) clarifying that partnership with other ministries includes development of an organization for Lutheran laity in recovery and an organization for ecumenical clergy in recovery.

-FRLC website: Redevelopment of the FRLC Website, Migration of FRLC website over to “Weebly”: Brief discussion was held of moving the FRLC website to Weebly, including hiring somebody to help do that and someone to develop a new logo.

It was MSP (Roger, Dave) that we approve up to $250 annually for hosting and website design.

The board will be mindful that there may be additional set up costs. If there is more money that is needed for the migration we need to support that.

Elections:
Board (up to 7 total) Board members are elected to two consecutive 3-year terms.
Chair
Current board status:
Chair: Bohdan
Secretary: Melanie
Treasurer: Tom
Newsletter editor vacant.
Board members: Karen, Dave, Roger

What is involved in Board membership? Attending monthly meeting by zoom and a financial commitment to support the Fellowship. Bohdan asked Paul Demant and Otto Schulze if they would be willing to serve. Both agreed. Ed would like to invite Michelle Knight. She was approved as a board member also.

Bohdan and Melanie have both been in their offices a long time. We can revisit this at the board meeting.

The Board meeting was changed to the 1st Wednesday of every month, at noon pacific, 1 pm mountain, 2 pm central, 3 pm eastern time.

Dave would like to bring some options for membership and support to the board, exploring funding models beyond our current reference to 7th tradition.

The consensus is that we would like to go on a cruise when it becomes possible!

The meeting was adjourned. Tom closed with prayer.

FRLC Board minutes June 4, 2020

Present: Bohdan, Ed, Melanie, Tom

Check In & Prayer: Melanie opened with prayer.

Minutes from Previous Meeting were accepted.

Treasurer’s report Louise emailed her report for April and May to Tom, Ed & Bohdan. The current balance in the FRLC account is $1238.93, the A & Conference balance is $3272.80, and the Center for Addiction & Faith Business account balance is $2,414.22. Louise has a question regarding whether to continue to report to us on the Conference account and Center for A & F account. Ed’s stipend is coming out of the Conference account so the FRLC expenses are pretty minimal.

Coordinator’s report Ed spoke with Bea, and they updated some of the information. Our annual fee was due, Bea paid it, and we reimbursed her. After Center website is up and running he intends to migrate the FRLC site to the Weebly platform, which is where the Conference website is. All three websites (the Center for A &F, the A & F Conference and the FRLC) will then be on one account. They will be integrated and Ed will be able to keep them updated.

Center for Addiction and Faith: The website is about halfway done. The board viewed the draft site via screen sharing. There will be a testimonial quote from last year’s Conference at bottom of home page. The tabs on the home page include “addiction”, “faith”, “praxis”, “ resources” and “about us”. It will be about education, imagination, and resources. “Faith” will include reflections on theology that relate to healing from addiction with interfaith contributions and stories about clergy, clergy vulnerability and resources. He hopes to set up access to the FRLC recovery meeting there. Tthe FRLC meeting may become an ecumenical 12 step meeting or we may create a new meeting for this purpose. Ed has been attending the RMEC meeting on Zoom (7 pm Central) and it is going well, with about a dozen people participating. The “praxis” tab will include tools and resources congregations can use. . Ed will upload sermons on addiction, address scriptures passages pertinent to recovery and place where we can add to it. There will be pages on addiction and race/injustice, trends and types of treatment, and a referral page. We will sell links on the referral page to treatment centers for an annual fee. The site will include quotes and resources from thought leader, including academics, practitioners, writers and theologians. The board thinks it looks good so far.

Ed set up his personal website himself after the person he hired didn’t work out. View it at pastoredtreat.com. He welcomes feedback on both sites.

He will be doing a webinar on “Addiction Ministry in Time of Pandemic” with the keynote speakers from next year’s Conference, Tim McMahon King & Sonia Waters. This will bring attention to the both the Center and the Conference. Tim will talk about how the pandemic is impacting people who had addiction problems before the pandemic and Sonia will talk about what congregations can do.

He is looking for new grant writers as the ones he hired dropped the ball.

The Center applied for a PPE loan and was granted $62,000. This was not a “forgivable” one but the interest rate is low, payments are spread out over 30 years and the first payment isn’t due for a year. This gives them some funds to work with.

Old Business:

FRLC Annual Meeting: The meeting will be Tuesday, July 21 from 1:00 PM-3:00 PM Pacific Daylight Time by Zoom. Bohdan will set up and host the meeting. Ed will email an invitation to the meeting to the whole fellowship. Melanie will write content for the e-blast.
Ed will make phone calls to get people to commit to participating and asks each board member to think of a few people to call and ask also. Ed will let us know who he is calling once he makes a list.

Tom closed the meeting with prayer.

FRLC Board Minutes 5 7 2020

Present: Ed, Bohdan, Tom, Melanie

Discussion:
FRLC Annual Meeting: We will not be able to meet at the Rostered Ministers Gathering as it has been cancelled. We will meet by Zoom instead, during the time scheduled for original Gathering. The meeting will be on Tuesday, July 21 from 1:00 PM-3:00 PM Pacific Daylight Time. Bohdan will set up and host the zoom. Ed will email an invitation to the meeting to the whole fellowship. Melanie & Ed will put together an agenda. We discussed how to get all the board members to participate.

Zoom recovery meeting: A member asked about the possibility of doing the recovery meeting on Zoom. This came up in one of the Thursday meetings earlier this year and we intended to discuss it at the annual meeting. The RMEC (Episcopal group) has a Zoom recovery meeting for both laity and clergy, which had their first meeting last night. Some of our members value the anonymity of the phone meeting. We will explore inviting the FRLC members to the RMEC Zoom while maintaining the current phone meeting. Several people thanked Ed for reminding them of the Thursday meeting. He is considering sending a recurring email to the group for that purpose.

Coordinator’s report The 501c3 application for the Center on Addiction & Faith has been submitted and is in process. He continues to meet with the Advisory group and the future Board of Center. They are two separate groups with some overlap. The Advisory group will meet on a less frequent basis for visioning and reflection on the “big picture”, while the Board oversees the operation.
There is $5,558 currently in the Center’s account, although there will be refunds coming for canceled travel. The bulk of the funds are going to web developer, which is essential for this web-based program. Ed has been doing a lot of writing for the website and developing literature for the organization. He was advised to develop a personal professional website also and will send a link to our board members for our review and input.
They are working on an organizational structure in which the Center would be a non-profit organization and Ed would form a LLC (Limited Liability Corporation) through which he would provide work to the Center on a contractual basis. This allows them to receive both the benefits of being a non-profit and of being private.

The next Addiction & Faith Conference will be February 11-13, 2021.

Ed realized that one of the challenges of working with the church has been that they just don’t have a “box” for addiction ministries, so they never know where to put us. A motion was prepared and was approved by Ed’s conference that the Minneapolis Synod establish a Task Force on Addiction. Reference & Counsel gave it a positive review and ruled that that the Synod Council has the authority to approve it. It will be presented at the next Synod Council meeting, with Ed participating by Zoom. We hope it will create a model for other synods to follow.

He has experienced some frustration with fundraising, as he needs to do the initial meeting with funders face-to-face. He is using this time to build the infrastructure for the Center.

He was exploring locating the Center at Augsburg University as they have the largest collegiate recovery program in the country. This would allow access to student help with marketing, business items and the website and Ed may be able to provide some services to the college. He would also be able to stay on the clergy roster if this happens. Unfortunately, his contact’s position was eliminated before their meeting. Fortunately, Bishop Lull is on their board. She recommended patience as the college is preoccupied with moving online and adjusting to the current context.

There was no treasurer’s report this month, although Louise contacted Melanie regarding the delay in receiving the funds from FaceBook/Network for Good.

Kirk sent an email to Melanie and Ed, expressing his love for the Fellowship and difficulty with making meetings at the current time. Upon review, he is open to either remaining on the board in name only or resigning. One other board member has difficulty with this schedule. We did not resolve this matter as we ran out of time on the call.

Bohdan will schedule and host the next meeting on Zoom.