Category Archives: News

March 2015 Board minutes

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

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

Present: Gary, Tom, Melanie, Bohdan, Ed

Check In & Prayer  All who were on the call checked in and Melanie opened with a prayer.

 Approval of Minutes from Annual Meeting and the January meeting were received.

Treasurer’s report was received. Ed just sent Brian $800 from the December appeal. At the current rate, we will exhaust our funds before the end of the year.

Coordinator’s report Ed sent an e-news and newsletter with a tear off donation form at the bottom last week. We usually receive some donations when we sent one out. Bohdan will combine an article he has written with one Marda wrote about the retreat and send it to Ed for the next issue. We have two new members. Thursday meetings are going well. The schedule for the chairpersons and reminders which Melanie sends out have made a difference.

The new Lutherans Alive Again/Lutheran Recovery Network is going well. Ed met with his mentor/benefactor a week ago. This man brought the associate pastor from his church who is also a pastor in recovery. He is also excited and interested in this ministry. Ed’s frustration is that he is not able to give as much time to it as he’d like. He is grateful for his intern, who has been working on the speaker series though Ed’s church. There were a hundred people at their last event. The next one is scheduled for next week. People have been positive about the 11th step worship/meeting, but it needs to become weekly to really get established.

Ed touched on his concern about the finances again. He requests all of the board members to set up automatic monthly gifts to the Fellowship, using resources like Simply Giving or through your bank.  Ed and Melanie do this. Even a small amount makes a difference.

Ed filed the 2014 taxes. There was a discussion of Gary’s role with the state of Illinois regarding non-profit paperwork. The state will send him the paperwork when it is needed.

Gary shared an email which he received from a LCMS lay woman in recovery who found our website. She was excited about what she saw and wants information about the Fellowship for Lutheran Laity in recovery. Gary will forward the email to Ed.


Old Business:

Ideas for web page: Melanie brought up the idea of making our site more dynamic and interesting so that people would have reasons to return rather than just looking at it once. She thought about linking to a daily recovery devotional, but has not been able to implement that. Another idea was to post a video with some of the material from the preamble to our recovery meetings. Our web developer agreed to work on it but hasn’t gotten to it yet. She and her husband have been dealing with health issues recently.

One of Ed’s thoughts is to find money to put together a dynamic website for the new group with someone who can stay on top of it and keep it up to date. Our site is static and is updated when we get around to it. Melanie will add a new page with material that Ed sent about the 11Th step meeting he has started. She was waiting for him to have experience with the group and format, and since it is going well she will do it sometime soon.


New Business

 E-newsletter and quarterly newsletter article from the cruise were discussed above.

Independent Lutheran Organization: Melanie sent an email to Ed and Bohdan with an article from her Synod’s newsletter. This article from the newly renamed Lutheran Association of Christian Educators explained who they are, who they serve, thanked the Synod for a small donation to their organization and asked readers to consider donating to them also. Perhaps we could send such a letter describing the FRLC to the Synods also. If each of the 65 Synods donated $100 it would be significant. Board members thought this was a good idea.  Melanie will think about it and write a draft letter for the board when she is able to do so, which may not be by the next board meeting.

Following up on a comment at the Annual Meeting, Melanie attempted to look up websites for organizations for clergy in recovery from other denominations. It has been a long time since we have been in touch with them. A Presbyterian clergy group came up on Google but the link didn’t work. The Episcopal clergy fellowship, the  Recovered Alcoholic Clergy Association (RACA) also had a non-working link. She did discover an Episcopal Recovery Ministry site for laity, which she sent to Ed and Bohdan as an idea to work for with our lay fellowship. You may view that website at:

Next retreat: it has been proposed that we hold it in conjunction with the new lay fellowship, possibly in Minnesota. Please think about it. We will discuss it next month.


Next meeting: April 8, 2015 2:00 pm MDT/2 pm CDT/1:00 pm PDT/3:00 pm EDT 12:00 pm





Minutes of 2015 Annual Meeting

FRLC Annual Meeting

February 13, 2015

 Present: Tom M., Ed T., Melanie M.-D., Marda M., Mary S. Dave C. was not present as he was not feeling well.

Melanie led the meeting in the absence of Bohdan. Marda took the minutes.

Opening Prayer: led by Mary.

Review of Minutes from our last meeting, February 7, 2013. They were approved unanimously

Treasurer’s Report:

            -Church Mutual insurance was dropped subsequent to the revision of the ELCA website. The insurance was a requirement to become an officially recognized “Independent Lutheran Organization” by the ELCA, which we did in order to be listed on their website as a way to be a resource to the church. They no longer list any “outside” organizations on their website, including us. After many unsuccessful efforts at resolving this, we have dropped this effort. At that point, the Board determined that the insurance was an unnecessary expense.

-The balance is down. We did not send out as many issues of the newsletter in 2014, and donations usually follow a request in the newsletter. We intend to get them out more regularly this year.

-The report was approved.

Review of Board Report for 2013/2014. Melanie presented a written summary of Board actions since the last meeting. Minutes of the Board meetings are posted on the website.

Coordinator’s Report: Ed reviewed his responsibilities on our behalf. The mailing list is at 565, which includes “friends” and judicatory offices. Our membership is stable.

He is involved in a new project to form a fellowship of Lutheran laity in recovery. The FRLC applied to Wheatridge and Thrivent for funding for this project, but were turned down by both organizations. The intern serving with Ed has taken it on. Ed has identified a potential donor to back this project. Ed described some of the work they are doing and their plans to expand to a larger area.


New Business:

 Next Retreat: Discussion was held of possible sites and timing for future retreats, including Spirit in the Desert in Arizona, Holden Village (after the environmental mediation is complete) and another cruise, possibly out of New Orleans. Additional conversation was held about meeting on a cruise in conjunction with the lay Lutheran fellowship, with breakout sessions on our own and our members possibly being available to lead worship for the lay group.

Board Elections: Bohdan V. was elected chair, Melanie as secretary, and Mary S. and Tom M. were elected to the board.

The meeting was adjourned.

January 2015 Board minutes

FRLC Board Meeting Minutes, Wednesday, January 7, 2015

            Check In & Prayer: Five members were present

The Minutes from December were approved as sent.

Treasurer’s report—year end The 2014 year end report was sent by email along with the 2013 for comparison. The income was down,  and compensation up this year. Over $800 in checks came in from the Christmas appeal. When finances were critical a few years ago we sent out a strong appeal and received a big boost. Some large one time gifts came in then. The last stipend may not have included in this report, so we may have a little more. It appears that less issues of the newsletter went out last year, which may be a contributing faction. Options discussed included a Lenten appeal or a newsletter focused on finances. The cruise will have happened by the next issue, so we will have had the annual meeting. There is often new energy & leadership coming out of the retreat.

            Coordinator’s report He commented on the nice Christmas fundraising letter Brian put together. It is producing some gifts. The general trend is fewer gifts in larger amounts. We need to keep putting it out there.

We may have a new benefactor, who is mentoring our Coordinator on how to “build” things, and may give financial support. We reviewed progress on the lay fellowship.  Eight congregations and a treatment center are cosponsoring a once a month lecture series for the next nine months, with break out sessions after lecture on understanding the 12 steps, youth, and the “Conscious Contact”-12 step experience w prayer and meditation. He developed the literature and tested it at one meeting in December, and was pleased at how it sounded and how it was received. The first lecture and breakout sessions happen tomorrow night!

Six couples are confirmed and paid for the cruise. The weekly meetings are still going and are regularly attended. He also attended to emails and phone calls the same as always.


Old Business:

            E-newsletter and quarterly newsletter: suggestion to focus on how the money is used and what we accomplish with it. Our treasurer will think about it and we will discuss it at the next Board meeting.

2015 Cruise plans: It was announced in the brochure that we would work our way through the 12 X 12. Each participant will be assigned two chapters to read and speak on. He will send the assignments out to the participants. The board affirmed this plan. We will discuss how we apply the traditions in this Fellowship. The new chairperson will not be able to attend, so the former chair/current secretary will do a written Board report, bring the two year end Treasurer’s reports, and run the meeting.

New Business:

One of our members asked about inviting participation in the Wittenberg Project through our Fellowship. It seemed that people felt it was ok as a non-FRLC announcement on the Thursday calls for those who wanted to talk about it in the informal time after the meeting closes but there was concern about slippery slope putting it on website and Facebook. It was moved, seconded and tabled on “that we abide by the AA traditions and not be a conduit for advertisement of non FRLC related events”.  Will we function by making a case-by-case decision or following AA tradition? The motion will be discussed at the retreat.

A board member brought up what to do when unknown music and conversation comes on line with Thursday meeting call. Nobody admitted it came from their location although it sounded like a recording of a Lutheran worship service. There were two newcomers to FRLC on the call. It has not happened again. Perhaps the best procedure would be to have everyone hang up and call back in.

We closed us in prayer.

The next meeting will be the  annual meeting on the Cruise. The next board meeting will be Wednesday, March 4, 2015 2:00 pm MDT/2 pm CDT/1:00 pm PDT/3:00 pm EDT 12:00 pm

December 2014 Board minutes

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Check In: Five Members present.

Prayer: led by GG

Approval of Minutes: approved

Treasurer’s report: Approved. nothing out of the ordinary. He will try to have the year end appeal letter to the coordinator by the end of the week.

            Coordinator’s report: He has been working a lot with the new ministry to laity and has an intern to help develop it. Several names for the group are under consideration: Lutherans Alive Again(LAA) and Fellowship of Recovering (FRL). It would be similar to FRLC only for Lutheran laity in recovery: newsletter, website, Lutheran resources for recovery, retreats, possible weekly meeting. At 200 members, the FRLC is about the size we would expect, based on recovery statistics that 10% of any group need recovery and 10% get it. The lay group has a much greater base. The coordinator met with a former member who came to the present church who wants to help finance it!

John McDougall, former Hazelden spiritual director (discussion of change in Hazelden philosophy), will be doing a 9 month lecture series at Transfiguration Lutheran  church on new book on “Be Sober, Be Happy”. Conference churches are on board as co-sponsors. Each church is being invited into process of being the first members of LAA/FRL and participate in shaping the worship service they are developing. Most recovery worship seems to be a Christian worship service that talks about recovery. The working title is “Conscious Contact”. It would be a spiritual experience for recovering people that could be replicated at any church w/o professional leadership (pastor or musician)—a 12 step meeting w time for meditation and prayer. It will have its own preamble/reading at the beginning with a disclaimer on Lutheranism about “you don’t have to believe like we do”. He would like some kind of  music which is generic enough to be accessible. They are looking at Native American drum circle for those who want to drum and prayer and meditation for those who don’t. There would be open sharing on a topic and would end with the Lord’s Prayer. More of a 11th step meeting than traditional worship. ET is more interested in getting church people into recovery than getting recovering people into church. It would respect variety of spiritualities. He is looking for input. People seen to either like or dislike drum circles, and participants affirmed ET’s experience of recovery worship. He will keep us posted.


Old Business:

            E-newsletter and quarterly newsletter: BV will try to get content to the coordinator soon, and we trust he to figure out how to work it with the treasurer’s letter or separate from it.

Noon recovery meeting: GG shared about the interruption to the meeting a couple weeks ago. MMD called in on Thanksgiving Day and was the only one on the call. Other than that, it is going well.

            LCMS relations GG updated us on his thoughts. He has seen recovery materials produced by the church publishing house and articles in church periodicals that are positive about 12 step programs. Since it is a program of attraction, perhaps we can put an occasional article in church publications and encourage people who are active in the Fellowship to be in touch with their District people.

            2015 Cruise plans: Nothing new to report.


New Business: none.



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

October & November Board notes

October: Our secretary was not present and the chairperson was on the call but feeling ill. The coordinator may have some notes about the meeting. We approved the minutes, treasurer’s report and coordinators report.  Discussed the cost effectiveness of letters to judicatory leaders and decided it isn’t worth the effort or money. Personal contact with the ones we know is more effective. I agreed to follow up with board members who have not been attending meetings, we discussed a possible new meeting day and I followed up on that, and discovered that two of the four of us who were on the call are unfamiliar with Skype. It was suggested that the board may not be ready to meet by web conference at this time. We also discussed inviting people on the Thursday phone meeting and on the cruise to join the board.

November: Two people were on the call. The Coordinator  had difficulty getting on the call. We received the treasurer’s report. We have a total of $   1851.41, with no unusual expenses. He is working on a year end appeal letter.

Dorothy has resigned as secretary. The current chair is willing to be secretary, and BV is willing to chair. We officially accepted each other’s offers. He will not be at the annual meeting but the former chair has agreed to lead that along with the Coordinator. The new chairperson will do the agenda and lead the next meeting.

B. will work on a newsletter and get the content to the coordinator, who formats it. What’s happening? Cruise preparations, Thursday meeting, board changes and year end appeal letter. We trust that the coordinator will figure out how best to handle the material when he receives it.

The next meeting will: December 3, 2:00 pm MDT/2 pm CDT/1:00 pm PDT/3:00 pm EDT 12:00 pm


If anyone is interested in serving on the board, please let us know!

September board meeting

We decided to skip meeting in August. The September meeting was scheduled for the day after Labor Day and only two board members called in. We had a nice chat and did no official business. The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, October 7 at the usual time.

July Board minutes

Check In & Prayer 3 members  were present. 2 contacted chair by email. No word from 2.

Approval of Minutes: they were approved.

Treasurer’s report nothing out of the ordinary. Suggestion made that we have a financial report in the next newsletter, and a fundraising appeal in the fall.

            Coordinator’s report Coordinator and treasurer  are working on application for Amazon Smile, which would allow us to receive funds from sales on their website. There is money pending already. Coordinator will promote it when it is complete.

Cruise: Coordinator contacted our travel agent Walt Shaffrick after the last meeting. Four couples are currently registered. He received emails from four other couples who are also interested, which would give us eight couples/sixteen people. The cruise is definitely on. Our membership is usually slow to sign up for events, so there may be more.

Coordinator worked with BR, volunteer web designed on how to use WordPress and updated the website.

He completed the Annual Report for the state of Illinois and sent it in along a $10 fee to keep our non-profit status.

He took some phone calls and emails, and met with a pastor who is new in recovery while he was in New York. It was wonderful to see how meaningful it was to this pastor and was a renewing experience for both. The new member sent the Coordinator  a thank you note. He is interested in cruise but money is an issue.

Coordinator reported on the development of recovery worship at his church. The church funded an intern, and they found one who is also in recovery, who will work with him on launching this service. It will probably begin at the first of the year. He has been doing some writing of literature for the group and has more yet to do. BR, who helps with the website said she’d love to come. Her husband is in the program, so I said if we do a cruise for laity they would certainly be welcome. Coordinator had suggested doing a joint cruise to “kick off” the new group but some of the pastors were reticent to do a joint cruise. It might be possible for this group to offer their own cruise and invite any FRLC members who are interested to join them, while still keeping our own events for our own membership.


Old Business:

            E-newsletter and quarterly newsletter: The Editor reported that he is working on the next newsletter and will have it to the Coordinator shortly. It was suggested that we could include the financial report. Perhaps the coordinator could write up the story of his visit with a new member in New York for the next issue.

           Noon recovery meeting: Attendance has been down the last few weeks. This has happened in past summers also. Coordinator will send out the email reminders of the meeting.  

            LCMS relations possible mailing to DP’S (and bishops): LCMS board member had suggested that we consider doing another mailing to them as there has been a lot of turn over since the last one. The sense of those on the call today is that such mailings are a lot of work and money for minimal results. This idea was tabled.

            2015 Cruise plans: There is an agenda in the brochure, focusing on the 12 traditions. It looks good.

New Business:

            Exploring web conferencing for board meetings: Coordinator brought the idea up to the Board chair  after using the Webex service for training on the website. She contacted the Montana Synod “tech guru”, Colter McCarty, who suggested that if we have ten or less participants and are not sharing a lot of documents either Skype or Google Hangout should work for us. He said “Skype allows for up to 10 people to be on a video/audio call at once. Its a free service, but you can screen share if you want everyone to see the same thing at once. The only problem is that it is free, so you may not have the clearest video quality and the client can crash or stutter occasionally if someone’s connection is interrupted. Google Hangouts are the same, in that you can host 10 people, but it is all done within your browser, no need to download a separate client.”

We decided to try it for three board meetings and consider whether it would work for our recovery meetings. Coordinator and Chair will experiment with it before the next board meeting and send out the invitation to join.

Ideas for web page: Chair attended a Faith Formation workshop on using webpages for Christian Education and came home with several ideas for our Fellowship, which she discussed with BR. They are:

-use a screen shot with the back of heads and the quote “what I cannot do alone, we can do together”

-make a free Animoto video with the sound track introducing our Fellowship. We could use material from our preamble (the languages we share) and quotes from our book to have more a “live” feel about our group without violating anonymity. (note: Ed went to the website and played with it and had a video half done by the end of the meeting). If we don’t want the animated one, perhaps we could do a YouTube video with us talking about FRLC with our faces shadowed.  You can learn more about it playing the video on If I can put together more samples to look at, I will send them later.

-we could do a link with a daily recovery devotion so people would have a reason to come back to the site. WordPress may not have the capacity to put it directly on our page, but we could at least link to one.

-we could link our Facebook group to our webpage. Since it is a closed group, they would get a link to request to join the group. BR needs access to administrator information to do this. Chair sent Editor a message. He like the idea, so she sent them each other’s contact information to work on it.



            THE SEPTEMBER MEETING WILL BE SEPTEMBER 2 (the day after Labor Day) at the usual time. PLEASE PUT IT ON YOUR CALENDAR NOW!!!!          


Don’t drink, go to meetings, and may the Lord be with you!


Next meeting: September 2, 2:00 pm MDT/3 pm CDT/1:00 pm PDT/4:00 pm EDT