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.

Board (up to 7 total) Board members are elected to two consecutive 3-year terms.
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

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.

FRLC Board Minutes 4 2 2020

FRLC Board Meeting Minutes
Thursday, April 2, 2020
1:00 pm MST/2:00 pm CST/12:00 pm PST/3:00 pm EST

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

Check In & Prayer: Melanie opened with prayer.

Approval of Minutes from Previous Meeting: Dave moved, Tom seconded, passed that we accept them.

Treasurer’s report: There is about $10,000 in conference account and $600 in the FRLC account. The funds from Melanie’s fundraiser have yet to arrive. Ed’s stipend is now coming out of the conference account. Ed is working on fundraising for both FRLC and Center. He is disappointed that a number of events that could have benefited both ministries had to be cancelled due to the pandemic.

Coordinator’s report:

Rostered Ministers Gathering: Ed sent an e-blast to the FRLC membership about meeting at this Gathering to discuss future directions for the FRLC. In his work on developing the Center on Addiction and Faith he has found that we are the only group doing support targeted for clergy in recovery and that there is a need for what we do. The FRLC could be leadering, teaching others how to do this. We might consider offering ecumenical clergy in recovery retreats. The Center could be a vehicle for us to do that.

The Rostered Leaders Gathering waived display fees for us last time. This time they reached out to us and asked if we could host 12 step meetings and have a display table. The meetings are listed on the event schedule posted on the ELCA website. Two of our members are workshops presenters. Thank you to Dave for blazing the trail for us. The ELCA is still hoping to hold this event although they did offer to refund registration money. Many other events, including the AA World Conference, scheduled for early July, are being cancelled. Ed plans to go if it happens. We need to send out a mailing if we are to have the FRLC Annual Meeting at this event. The proceeds from Melanie’s fund raiser could be used for this.

Center on Addiction & Faith: The paperwork is almost ready to submit for the 501C3 status for the Center. They have a grant writer researching places for us to submit proposals for funding. The board for the Center is meeting monthly to advise him. They are doing “fund raising at home” events. Come for coffee and donuts and listen to a pitch. They are considering a direct appeal to conference attendees and FRLC members to support development of these ministries.

Ed hired a web developer for the Center in January and they decided to part ways last week. This was frustrating because we lost two months of time developing the Center website. The website functions as the brochure for the ministry. He is excited to have found another place to do it and is meeting with them this afternoon. When it is ready, he will be taking it out to potential donors. He had to cancel many appointments with potential donors this month but will keep working at it as the situation allows. He hopes to generate funds to do the things the FRLC never could afford, including maintaining the database, and marketing and updating the FRLC website. We have great potential that has yet to be realized.

Augsburg University: Ed is in conversation with Augsburg regarding potential collaboration with the Center. He knows the campus pastor. The college has a recovery support program for students, including a “recovery dorm” staffed by chemical dependency counselors. They require 6 months minimum clean time for residents. It looks like they would be a great partner and may be a possible headquarters for the Center. If it works out, Ed might be a resource for their campus also. He will be conversing with them next week.

Potential: There appear to be lots of great possibilities for developing these ministries despite the current situation. The Minneapolis newspaper recently ran an article on how people with addiction problems will suffer during this crisis. Roger suggested that if your church has subscribed to Zoom, you might consider providing access to any 12 Step groups that meet at your church. His congregation told the groups “you meet here physically, now you can meet here virtually.”

Dave noted that we are coming up on 30th anniversary of the FRLC and suggested we use this as a theme in our fundraising, at least among our membership.

Tom closed the meeting in prayer.

Next meeting: Thursday, May 7, 2020
1:00 pm MDT/2:00 pm CDT/12:00 pm PDT/3:00 pm EDT

March 5, 2020 Board Minutes

FRLC Board Meeting Minutes
Thursday, March 5, 2019
1:00 pm MST/2:00 pm CST/12:00 pm PST/3:00 pm EST

Present: Tom, Bohdan, Melanie, Ed, Karen

Check In & Prayer and Approval of Minutes from Previous Meeting were skipped do to staggered arrival times.

Treasurer’s report: We have $326.66 in the FRLC membership account, the Center of Addiction & Faith account has $979.70, and the Addiction and Faith Conference has $9,865.45. A gift was given as seed money for the new ministry to the Conference account. Ed has a small office for this work, funded out of that seed money.

Coordinator’s report Not much progress has been made on the website yet. The 501C3 application is underway, and the board for the Center is nearly completed. One of the board members is Tim King, author of “Addiction Nation: What the Opioid Crisis Reveals about Us”.
He will also be the keynote speaker for next Addiction & Faith Conference. He is also involved with Richard Rohr’s Center for Action and Contemplation and is encouraging them to collaborate with us. He has dates for next Conference and is working with the hotels. Hilton has offered us a better price, particularly on the food. They have a better menu also. It would be a nice venue and the space would work well. Ed is waiting to hear back from Doubletree as he has an established relationship with them but it doesn’t look like they can meet the food price. Food was 25% of the total bill at previous events.

The speakers for the A & F Conference are lined up. Tim King will speak the first night on “Addiction Nation, Everyone’s Problem.” The second day there will be one speaker and one break out session in morning with two breakout sessions in the afternoon. The morning speaker is Native American and will talk about addiction and race. The evening speaker will be Sonja Waters, an Episcopal priest, who wrote a book on Addiction and Pastoral Care, which will be the topic of her talk. She is in recovery and does some great theological moves in her reflection. The speaker on the final morning will be Kal Rissman, author of “Knowledge to Power: Understanding & Overcoming Addiction”. Yolanda, the woman who gave her testimony about the impact of our first conference will preach at the closing worship. Ed is pleased about the line up of speakers and feels like he has a great start on the event for February of 2021.

Last year there was a person from TLC who applied for many grants for the conference but didn’t get any of them funded. Ed has gotten her connected with a grants person from Interest Curve Global. He will coaching her on the smaller, easier grant applications and will work on the larger ones himself.

Drew Brooks, of Faith Partners invited Ed in on a project with Human and Health Services for the state of Louisiana. The Faith Partners model is struggling there in the African-American churches, with issues about clergy vulnerability and laity taking leadership in the church. This ties into the conversation about opening FRLC to clergy in recovery beyond the Lutheran church. Ed spoke with an FRLC member who thought that expanding would be great but there may be a need for affinity groups within the larger umbrella. Ed is thinking about the pros and cons of starting new stuff vs. changing what we already have. He is open to the Spirit and advice.

Tom had a question about how to access the format and materials for Conscious Contact. It is on the FRLC website. They are located under “The Lutheran Recovery Network” instead of “resources”. The Lutheran Recovery Network is an old name when we were working on developing a fellowship for laity in recovery. Melanie will try to move them over to “resources”. Karen noted that there aren’t references to codependence on the website, it was also noted that it focuses on alcohol not addiction. Ed would like to hire someone to redo FRLC website when he has the resources. In the meantime, we volunteers do what we can. A problem with the FRLC is that we haven’t done systemic sustained marketing. In the meantime, Melanie will ask Bea to update the “Save the Date” banner unless she can figure out how to do it herself, changing the dates to February 11-13, 2021. Ed will let Melanie know if the dates change.

The FRLC needs to make some decisions about the future. We plan to discuss this at our meeting in conjunction with the Rostered Ministers Gathering. Ed will develop a communication piece regarding the gathering, inviting FRLC members to come and help us envision the future. Melanie did a Facebook fundraiser to pay for a mailing, intending that it fund this mailing. She sent invitations to people who have had some connection with the A& F Conference and thinks it was helpful to have a specific purpose for the funds. Others may have Thrivent dollars to designate.

Board Minutes February 2, 2020

Present: Beth, Bohdan, Karen, Ed, Tom & Melanie

Check In & Prayer: Karen opened in prayer

Approval of Minutes from Previous Meeting MSP to approve.


Treasurer’s report Beth discussed the questions donations last month to the Conference vs. the FRLC with Louise. The balances will be reported later. Beth is resigning from her position as treasurer and from the board due to being overcommitted. We thanked her for her service.


            Coordinator’s report: His activities on behalf of the FRLC were about the same this month. A lot of his attention has been on developing the new ministry. His congregation approved his moving to half-time as of February 1.

The Center of Addiction and Faith has begun the 501C3 application process, including developing their constitution and bylaws and putting together a board. They have enlisted a website development company to put together a robust website which would house groups like FRLC and RMEC, and offer resources such as videos from conference and podcasts. Their goals include hosting an Annual Conference and possibly regional conferences. They are working on grants and fund raising with an organization that works with new non-profits–Interest Curve Global.

Ed shared that John Johnson the ELCA lobbyist who presented at the 2019 A & F Conference, wanted a copy of the video of Sam Simons presentation. Ed got a waiver from Sam and forwarded it to John. Right after he received it, he was called by Bishop Eaton who asked what the church can do about opioids. His response to her included the work we are doing and we will be mentioned in the materials that Churchwide is developing.

Ed will be hosting a table for FRLC and the Center for Addiction & Faith at the ELCA Rostered Leaders gathering along with offering 12 step meetings. He will be sending information to FRLC members inviting them to stop by.

The next Addiction & Faith Conference will be the end of the 1st or 2nd week of February 2021. It will be midweek, from Thursday evening to Saturday morning. Both clergy and vendors will be better served by this schedule. Many vendors take Saturday’s off, so the Friday-Sunday schedule asked them to give up their personal time.

The idea of a cruise in the fall of 2020 is on hold. We need to focus on the vision for the FRLC at this time. Ed has some ideas regarding how we might grow and be a resource to the larger church. In working with others in the field, he has learned that there is a need for support for clergy in recovery in other denominations.

Each person on the call offered their thoughts about opening up the FRLC to clergy from other denominations. We would need to remove “Lutheran” from our name and meeting materials. The feeling was generally positive. Some would mourn the loss of what we have been, but we need a more sustainable model. There was a concern that we have more of a mainline focus. We can indicate this subtly through the language we use. We need to get together as a fellowship to think about this and process it. What ramifications do we need to consider? Options were discussed and we are leaning toward doing it in conjunction with the Rostered Leaders Gathering. Several board members plan to come. Ed will send out an email regarding meeting at that Gathering there to discuss the future direction of the fellowship. This may be an opportunity to leverage our new ministry and reach out to other clergy.

We will also take a group conscious with the participants in the Thursday meetings about turning into the FRLC into an ecumenical group.

We are out of money for the stipend, so Ed is volunteering his time at present. Appreciation was expressed for the recent e-blast he sent out.


New Business:

Tom Martin was nominated for treasurer. He agreed to serve.


Setting up Zoom Meetings: Melanie will look into doing it. Bohdan will help as needed.



Ed closed the meeting in prayer.




FRLC Board Meeting January 9, 2020

FRLC Board Meeting Minutes

Thursday, January 9, 2020

1:00 pm MDT/2:00 pm CDT/12:00 pm PDT/3:00 pm EDT


            Present: Beth, Tom, Bohdan, Ed, Karen and Melanie. Kirk had a death in the family.


Check In & Prayer: Tom prayed.

Approval of Minutes from Previous Meeting MSP to accept them.


Treasurer’s report was received by email. The full payment to Transfiguration LC for Ed’s time for the 2019 Conference was paid. There was a discussion of which account certain deposits should be credited to. Beth will review these with Louise.


            Coordinator’s report His focus has been on developing the Addiction & Faith Advisory Team. They have had two meetings that were three hours long with energetic, enthusiastic discussions. They worked on the decision regarding Addiction & Faith becoming its own 501C3, the name, “Center for Addiction and Faith”, and their purpose will be a ministry to educate, inspire and equip congregations to do addiction ministry. Their centerpiece will be the annual Addiction and Faith conference. They envision the Center being a think tank where addiction and theology meet with blogs, podcasts, tools and resources. There are websites that do some of this resource work but not with faith perspective or ecumenically. They feel like there is a need for this. They are aiming to develop an annual budget of $150,000.


He is in conversation with consulting firm whose mission is to help non-profits change the world. He found them looking for a grant writer. They are preparing a bid on how they could help develop the Center, including options for grant writing, applying for 501C3 status, fundraising strategies, helping refine the proposal, identifying prospective grants, and prospect development.


Ed drafted some material for the A & F Advisory meetings, which he will send it to us after updating it. It includes a rough draft for a website for the Center for Addiction and Faith, which would be distinct from the Conference website and could serve as the umbrella for all the resources. There is a lot of writing to do for the website. He met with graphic designer for an initial discussion.


As he looked at existing resources on addiction, he found the Center On Addiction. This existing organization is incredibly well-funded and endorsed, with tens of millions of dollars. They are a think tank that does studies and research but there is not a mention of faith anywhere in their materials. Ed reached out to them, anticipating that he would learn more about this program and their resources and to build relationships with them.


The A & F Advisory team also discussed the question of whether or not to do a conference this year. It would be feasible if we could get the resources and hire people to put it on and difficult if Ed has to do it all himself. This ministry has totally been based on stepping out in faith, so he’s going to pick dates and move ahead with it. The people who attend are the foundation and platform for the ministry. The plan would be for it to be under the auspices of the Center for Addiction and Faith, although if they don’t have the 501C3 yet, the FRLC may do it again.


He will be sending out information to the FRLC membership about the Rostered Leaders Gathering. There will be no formal FRLC retreat but Ed asked been asked to lead a workshop about the Fellowship and there will be informal gatherings for our group.


Discussion turned to the future of the FRLC. Support for clergy is identified as a need, both by the A & F Advisory group and last year’s conference participants. Do we want to expand to include lay people like RMEC? Ed looked into options for an FRLC cruise retreat—prices are good in October but it would be difficult to do a fall cruise if we do the A & F Conference. Do we want to extend an invitation to lay people to make it more viable? It would be more of a fellowship event like our past retreats. Melanie recalls the original purpose of the FRLC was to support clergy in recovery, to convey a message that the Lutheran church supports recovery and to be a resource to spouses and congregations dealing with alcoholic clergy. (Following the meeting, she looked at the current website and saw that it was updated to:

  • Support clergy recovering from addiction.
  • Clearly convey how the Lutheran Church supports clergy in recovery, especially those who are new to recovery.
  • Provide ways for recovering clergy to contact and connect with other clergy in recovery.

It was suggested we discuss our current view of the purpose of the Fellowship at next month’s meeting.


Another question is whether there is a possibility of funding for the FRLC from the Addiction & Faith Conference (if it happens) this year.


Melanie thanks those who sent updated information for the Board list. Please review it and send her corrections and complete information where needed.


Karen closed the meeting in prayer.




Next meeting: Thursday, February 6, 2019

1:00 pm MDT/2:00 pm CDT/12:00 pm PDT/3:00 pm EDT

Call in number: 712-832-8330 Access code: 5901674#


October 3, 2019 Board Minutes

FRLC Board Meeting Minutes

Thursday October 3, 2019

1:00 pm MDT/2:00 pm CDT/12:00 pm PDT/3:00 pm EDT


Present: Ed & Melanie at the beginning. Bohdan & Tom joined later.


The minutes and treasurer’s report were postponed to the next meeting.


Possible Next Event: One idea would be to explore having a joint cruise retreat with the RMEC. If we get a larger group we would be able to have better meeting rooms. Perhaps we could have a track for clergy in recovery and a track for laity/others. We could all worship together, hear a speaker and break into separate groups for discussion. Afternoons could be free and we could offer an additional opportunity for worship, a speaker and recovery meetings in the evening. Ed could be the event coordinator. He has gotten some preliminary information about possible cruises. Days “at sea” are more successful for meetings than days in port. Ed will send Melanie information about possible cruise schedules and she will come up with potential agendas based on them. Ed will bring the idea to the RMEC board.


FRLC Funds: Ed will write an appeal letter and get it out right away, including some of the great quotes from the Conference.


Addiction & Faith Conference: Many were inspired. A couple people expressed interest in being on the Addiction & Faith Ministry Board. Ed will be working on pulling the Board together. At the debrief we heard unmet needs from both groups. Perhaps the proposed cruise would address some of them. We want the new ministry to be sustainable and not depend on one or two people. Ed has great ideas on what to do but could use your wisdom and advice on how to get it done. This ministry is needed—it’s the right thing for the right reason.


The ELCA Professional Leaders Gathering in Phoenix next summer is an opportunity for some kind of FRLC event. We have been asked to have a table there, possibly lead a workshop and to lead 12 step meetings. FRLC members could help with all of those and we could find a time and place to meet. It is an opportunity to reach more people who need the Fellowship, although we need think carefully how to protect the anonymity of those who are attending. Melanie is willing to come and Tom might attend.


Timing: The RMEC retreats have typically in the fall. Do we want to shoot for something as soon as fall of 2020? It will depend on whether we have an Addiction & Faith Conference that year.


Chicago conference: one of the treatment centers who participated in the Conference wants to offer an Addiction & Faith Conference in Chicago. Ed might consult with them for a fee. They are proposing having it at Mundelein. While that was the site of the first two FRLC retreats, it is neither a neutral place nor near the airport which are two things we have tried to do. Ed doesn’t have the contacts or volunteers in the Chicago area he has in Minneapolis; however the treatment center says they have all the contacts that would be needed. If there is support for doing multiple conferences around the country maybe licensing the model would be the way to go. It would be interesting to see if the price difference would make a difference in attendance if we could put on a less expensive event.


Feedback on Zoom: Those on the call thought it was a positive experience. It is a little complicated to use the first time as it takes some time to set it up on your computer. It should be quicker and easier after that. We will continue to use it for the next meeting.

Melanie closed the meeting in prayer.

September 22, 2019 Annual Meeting

FRLC Annual Meeting

Sunday September 22, 2019

The meeting opened at 3:11 PM, following the Addiction & Faith Conference and the conference debriefing session. The meeting opened with prayer.

Present: Ten members were present for the meeting.

Minutes from the 2018 Annual Meeting were approved.

Treasurer Report through August 30 was presented. The balance at that time was $816.83, although the August payment to the coordinator has not cleared. The cost of the mailing in August was $411. We received $500 in donations to the FRLC following the mailing, which will be transferred into the FRLC account following the conference. We hope to be able to transfer $3100 to our treasury from the conference proceeds but that is dependent on the ending financial balance of the conference.

Conference Finances: There was an appeal at the final session of the conference for $11,000 to cover expenses of the conference.  These are the preliminary numbers, we won’t have final ones until after all the bills are in and paid.  Ed will follow up with the RMEC regarding their financial participation in the event.

It was agreed that the FRLC needs to see the conference financial reports. The treasurer will obtain a copy of them.

Coordinator’s report: We have 216 members in the database, which still needs updating. There are about 70 on the email list. The Thursday morning recovery conference calls are strong. They are one of the best things we are doing. He would like to improve communication with the membership. The website needs updating. He intended to do it last year when we had a graphic designer but it has not been accomplished. He stated that the FRLC needs some TLC. Once and awhile, we hear anecdotes about the difference we are making. He would like to review the recommendations regarding the potential development of the FRLC made by the consultants at the retreat at Mt Olivet before the first Addiction & Faith Conference. Both the FRLC and Conference have potential for further development. The representative from Rosecranse, a large treatment organization, reported that they are quite interested in being a part of the Conference as treatment centers have been unsuccessful at reaching the clergy and churches and we have those people on board. Another comment was made by a person related to an ELCA organization encouraging us to explore working with non-church partners.

Conference Next steps: A poll was taken of those present and most are in support of doing it next year. Suggestions were made to hold the Conference every other year, to consider having it at a different time of year (there are a lot of recovery related events in this community at this time) and to explore other venues, including other hotels or a non-hotel setting. There are many churches in the Minneapolis area; however Sunday morning sessions make it difficult to hold the conference in a church. It was also noted that it is difficult to put on an event this size on an annual basis without paid staff.

Does the Addiction & Faith Conference need its own board and 501C3 status? If so, it will take time to develop it.

It was moved and seconded that the Addiction and Faith Conference be held in winter of 2021. After further discussion, the motion was withdrawn. It was felt that if we a separate board is established, they should be making those decisions.

Dan suggested that we consider naming the new organization “ the Addiction and Faith Ministry” to be broader than just the conference.

It was moved and seconded that the FRLC authorize Ed to pursue formation of an Addiction and Faith Ministry Board. It passed unanimously. The timing and location of the next conference will be determined by that board.

It was noted that the Addiction and Faith Ministry needs to operate under the FRLC financial umbrella until it forms its own 501C3. It was moved and seconded (Beth, Arthur) that we allow the Addiction & Faith Ministry to operate under auspices of FRLC until they form their own 501c3 organization, encouraging them to do so at earliest possible date. The motion passed.

FRLC next steps: The consensus was that continuity is valuable during this transition. A suggestion was made to do a search process for the coordinator should Ed decides to step down at some point. We all need to think and pray about what we want and expect the FRLC to be.

Should consider Zoom meetings for the board? It was moved and seconded (Beth, Tom) that board meetings will be held over Zoom. The motion passed. Beth offered to set up the meeting and took steps to do so.

Should have an FRLC Retreat if there is no Addiction and Faith Conference next year? A motion was made and withdrawn.

Ed has been asked to have a FRLC table at the ELCA Rostered Leaders Gathering in Phoenix next summer. He has also applied to lead a workshop. There was discussion about building a retreat around that Gathering, but there was limited enthusiasm for that.

Further conversation was held regarding the possibility of alternating between FRLC retreats and the Addiction & Faith Conference.

Board Election: The bylaws state that we can have up to 7 people on the board, serving 3 year terms. We have not often followed the principal of rotation on the board. Joel and Rob are going off the board. Roger would like to continue. Bohdan will ask Roger if he’d be willing to be the newsletter editor. We will strive to complete an annual budget this year. Karen T. was nominated and agreed to be on the board. Melanie nominated David C., who offered to serve on the board although he is not at this meeting. Karen and David were elected. The officers remain the same.

For the newsletter: Everyone is asked to write a brief reflection on conference, even just a paragraph or two.

It was moved, seconded and passed that the meeting be adjourned. Bohdan closed the meeting with the sharing of “highs and lows” around the room and prayer.