Tag Archives: Fellowship of Recovering Lutheran Clergy

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 2018 FRLC Board Minutes

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Seven members were present. Check-in and opening prayer were held.

 Minutes: The minutes from July and August were received.


Treasurer’s Report: We had the ordinary expenses and income. The current balance is $235.83, which is less than the $300 monthly stipend. There are a number of changes happening.  The account at Wells Fargo has been closed and the funds moved to the Star Credit Union. Brian would like to transition out of his role as treasurer. He has served in that capacity for ten years. He is willing to remain on the board. He is willing to be flexible so there can be a smooth transition. Bohdan expressed appreciation for his service and the board expressed thanks for his faithful work, including writing the annual appeal letters. The Board needs to discuss maintaining our general account and ways to manage it. There has been discussion of taking an offering for the FRLC general fund at the closing of the Conference. Brian will participate in the FRLC Annual Meeting in person or by phone. The meeting is scheduled for 1:00 pm Sunday, September 30, following the Conference. There will be opportunity to elect new treasurer at that point and have a smooth handoff.


Coordinator’s Report: The FRLC is doing what it normally does. We have more members attending the conference than we’ve had at a retreat in a long time. About twenty FRLC members are registered. Ed noted that we have been low on funds before and that people have responded when we share the need. We haven’t asked for funds for the Fellowship in a while as the focus has been on undergirding the Conference. The Conference is raising our profile in the church relative to where we’ve been before.


The Conference is snow-balling. It’s a lot of work and we have a lot of great people stepping up to it. Others are taking care of the details Ed would never have thought of. God is watching over us! Our registrations are nearly full–we have capacity for 200. There are only 5 or 6 spots left. The rooms reserved for the Conference are all taken. We have over 135 room nights booked and have more than fulfilled our hotel contract, which obligated us to pay for unsold rooms if we did not meet the minimum. The speakers have all been contacted and are all confirmed. It looks like we will break even and maybe even come out a little bit ahead financially. The FRLC retreat will begin Thursday, tentative plans for dinner at 5:30 pm. Roger and Melanie have developed a draft schedule for the retreat which will be sent out be email once it is finalized. They had some questions, which Ed will respond to soon.


There will be a work party at Transfiguration all day Thursday before the Conference preparing materials for the participants.  All are welcome—Ed offered to provide rides (or arrange for them) from the airport as needed. There is an online app called “Sched” for conference information, which can be downloaded now. An email went out to people who are registered for the Conference but it is easy to miss in the inbox. Ed is still working on it and will send it out a few more times before the Conference. It would be helpful for us to try it out and give Ed feedback.


He is developing a list of people who will be there to volunteer at the Conference. He will assign tasks to people who are attending, and then answer questions when we arrive. People can trade tasks at that time if necessary.


Prayers are requested for Ed in these final weeks of preparing for the Conference.


If anyone wants to go off the board, it would be helpful to know between now and the Conference so we could be prepared for elections at the Annual Meeting.


Tom closed the meeting with prayer.


We will discuss our next meeting date at the Annual Meeting. It will likely be in November.



December Board Minutes

FRLC Board Meeting Agenda

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

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


            Check In & Prayer Ed, Gary, Bohdan, Melanie. Gary dropped off the call before checking in. Melanie opened with a prayer.


The Minutes from November 16th Meeting were approved.


Treasurer’s report: The treasurer’s report was received by email. The balance in our checking account is $2761.79. Other than recent newsletter expenses, no other note-worthy income/expenses this past month.


            Coordinator’s report: Worked on initiating February 2017 retreat, setting dates, reserving facility and developing a tentative agenda. The treasurer wrote a year-end appeal letter and the Coordinator got it sent out. Other than that, the usual routine.


Old Business:


New Business:

            FRLC retreat February 2017: Date: February 13-16, Mt. Olivet Retreat Center, Farmington, MN. Ed will contact the board when we need to register. The date may have to be changed to the week earlier to accommodate the schedules of some of the Minneapolis area participants. He met with a local pastor, Gretchen E., regarding the retreat. She is excited and is checking with the congregation she serves regarding their support. The retreat center may be willing to handle registrations for us, although that is not the usual procedure. We will charge only the amount required to pay for the rooms and meals; no additional fees. He offered to cover the expenses for Gretchen if needed as she will be assisting with leadership. Spoke with Tammy Devine from Portico to explore partnership possibilities with them and hopes to have someone from Thrivent, from the Minneapolis Area Synod, and from Hazelden to be at the table. We are excited about these potential connections! It appears that people are more supportive of recovery and that is making these partnerships possible.

Board members are asked to reach out to people they know and encourage them to attend once the materials are ready to go. The secretary is committed to doing so!

A question was asked about transportation from the airport or train station since the retreat center is out of town. This will be discussed later. Uber would be an option.

Melanie will touch base the potential speaker she contacted earlier and let her know this is happening, invite her to the meeting and see if still open to speaking.

Future FRLC retreat fall 2017 in Minneapolis in conjunction with the new lay fellowship. No dates or information yet. This will be developed in conjunction with the February meeting.

Discussion of meeting time and date: the January meeting will be at the regularly scheduled time.


Next meeting: January 4, 2017 2:00 pm MDT/2 pm CDT/1:00 pm PDT/3:00 pm EDT 12:00 pm





November Board Meeting

FRLC Board Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

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


            Check In & Prayer Bohdan, Gary, Melanie, Ed and Brian were present. All checked in.

Gary opened in prayer.


Minutes from the October 5th Meeting were approved.


Treasurer’s report an updated report was sent by email. The current balance is $  2605.98.


            Coordinator’s report Nothing unusual. The Thursday meeting continues, attendance varies. Conscious Contact meeting continues with a couple new people. He plans to contact someone at Hazelden re cosponsoring a kick off retreat for the lay fellowship. He suggested that we work with Brian and send out a Christmas appeal.


Old Business:

Updating FRLC database/contact information: We will send out a self-addressed envelope or postcard for updating information with the Christmas appeal. Brian, Ed and Bodahn will work on getting it out.


New Business:

            Further discussion of whether it would be helpful to have the next FRLC retreat in Minneapolis in conjunction local leaders in support of development of the new lay fellowship. Ed will explore the possibility and get back to us at our next meeting.


Next meeting: December 7, 2016 2:00 pm MDT/2 pm CDT/1:00 pm PDT/3:00 pm EDT 12:00 pm

October Board Meeting

FRLC Board Meeting Agenda

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

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


            Check In & Prayer Bohdan, Ed, Melanie

Approval of Minutes from September Meeting approved

Treasurer’s report received by email. Accepted.

            Coordinator’s report a little activity, discussion of getting a newsletter out. Revisited including self-addressed stamped envelope and decided to go with it. Bohdan sent some material and will follow up. Chair requested that the Coordinator resend the database as his computer crashed.


New Business: The remainder of the meeting was a discussion of where we are as a Fellowship and where we are going, including retreat possibilities and support of development of the lay fellowship. At the end of our meeting, the idea surfaced of having our next retreat in the Minneapolis area in conjunction with people there who have connected with Ed regarding the development of the lay group. It could serve as our retreat and be a way to undergird that project. Ed will work on that and have information at our next meeting. Bohdan will work on scheduling the next meeting as Ed is unavailable on that date and the conversation needs to include him.


The meeting was closed in prayer.


May Board meeting

FRLC Board Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, May 17, 2016

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


            Present: Ed, Bohdan, Melanie


Check In & Prayer Bohdan led us in prayer.


Minutes from April Meeting Approved


Treasurer’s report  Tabled.


            Coordinator’s report: He’s had the standard communications. We haven’t done an e-news or newsletter recently and contributions are dropping off. It would be helpful to do one but he leaves on sabbatical tomorrow. They hired a man to develop a website for lay group, which they are now calling Conscious Contact. The weekly meeting has had a strong beginning, with eight regular participants. It has been a mix of recovery, spirituality, and Christian dialogue. The drum circle, which is relatively brief (20 minutes maximum) is catching people’s imagination. He is feeling good that it will continue in his absence. Half the people who are attending are in recovery and half are people looking for spirituality. As a result they are reconsidering the amount of recovery language in their readings. Some introduce themselves “My name is _____ and I just want to be here.” They purchased a domain name for the website: consciouscontact.support. It is not online yet. They are thinking carefully about the language to use so it is on hold until Ed gets back.

The Thursday meetings are going well.


Old Business: none



New Business:

Denver Retreat Report: Three people attended although eight or nine expressed interested and were unable to come. The motel was on the lower end of the quality scale though convenient and affordable. We omitted the business meeting as we were all present or former board members. Appreciation was expressed for the discussion starters. We worked our way through most of the steps and attended one local meeting. The meeting space at St. Peters Lutheran Church was very helpful. Participants agreed that the strategy of meeting someplace warm in the winter is a good formula for planning future retreat.

Strategies for updating our database: It was suggested that we could work on it while Ed is gone, especially if there is no newsletter or e-blast going out. There was a discussion of how the mailing service and post office update addresses but when members list their church address those corrections don’t help. The coordinator sent the database to the board president and secretary. Both the ELCA and LCMS websites have a “find a person” capacity. It was suggested that we call the listed phone number and look the members up on the website if they are no longer at that church. Personal calls are meaningful although it can be frustrating when people don’t call back. One time when we tried this we had a “spiel” that we were all to use on the calls.

There are 217 people listed as being in recovery on the database. We tried having board members do this a few years ago and most didn’t make their assigned calls. We could ask. Ed suggested considering paying one of us to do this. We decided to try this summer and if it doesn’t work regroup. Bohdan will send an email asking other board members if they’d be willing to do this. They can always say no.


Plans for while Coordinator is gone: The board chair agreed to be the phone and email contact person while the coordinator is gone. The secretary will change the contact information on the website to him. Much of what he receives is written correspondence and checks. His colleague will review them and forward checks to the treasurer and the rest to the chair. The coordinator’s “out of the office” email response will include the correct contact information while he is gone. The coordinator will return August 21.


Board meetings over the summer: We decided to skip June since we are so late this month. Our next meeting will be on the first Wednesday in July.


Next meeting: July 6, 2016 2:00 pm MDT/2 pm CDT/1:00 pm PDT/3:00 pm EDT 12:00 pm





April 2016 Board meeting

FRLC Board Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

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


 Check In & Prayer: Present: Ed, Tom, Melanie, Brian, Bohdan


Approval of Minutes from March Meeting MSP to accept them.


Treasurer’s report: We have had some nice contributions recently and no extraordinary expenses. The balance is $3,246.37. We affirmed the decision last month to continue to pay the Coordinator during his sabbatical. There is still a little income is still coming in from the Schwans campaign and we received a check from Thrivent. A question was asked whether we had received anything from the Amazon Smiles program. A couple board members signed up and when they make purchases receive a notice that they have made a contribution to the FRLC. The treasurer is not aware that we have received anything, but will look into it.


 Coordinator’s report: The Coordinator continues to handle inquiries and send contributions to Brian. This week they began offering what is intended to be a weekly “Conscious Contact meeting” using the format they developed during the workshops last year (which is posted on the FRLC website). Work is beginning on developing a website for new fellowship. The Board will be asked to look at the website for the new Fellowship and give input on it before it is launched. The Coordinator is meeting with a musician from the Twin Cities in preparation for developing a liturgy for recovery worship, intending it to be a resource for the new fellowship, available on the to-be-developed website. This would be funded with some of the grant money which Transfiguration LC received. Following his sabbatical, the Coordinator and his associate will start working on planning first national gathering. It was suggested that they contact the group in Fargo that runs the ad re Recovery Worship in the classified section of The Lutheran magazine (now “Living Lutheran”). We think this is “Lost & Found” recovery ministry. Another suggestion was made to look at the liturgy the Episcopal church developed for alcohol awareness Sunday.


Old Business:


Retreat: While there was interested expressed by a half dozen people there were not enough participants to meet the retreat center minimum. The planning team reached out by phone and email to members in the Colorado area and to prior retreat participants before making this decision. Travel costs and schedule conflicts seemed to be the main issues. The retreat center contract was cancelled and motel reservations made for a facility which is near a church where we intend to meet. The motel has free conference rooms in case we need them and serves breakfast as part of the package. We intend to go through the 12 steps in our sessions and attend a local meeting. Melanie has some material that she will put together which can be used in the discussions also. The Coordinator asked Melanie to write up an article on revised plan to go out in the e-news.

Bohdan found many of the contacts to be out of date. While we request address corrections in our mailing, some go to churches but the pastor it was intended for has moved on—the address is valid but it is not reaching the member.

Given the difficulty people have had attending this retreat we may want to go back to some place like Las Vegas that has cheaper airfare and is easy to get to. We might also want to stick with the time frame between annual meetings and Ash Wednesday. The Coordinator reminded all that the best success has been had in going someplace warm in the winter.



New Business:


Free Conference Call video service: The secretary has become aware that the same call service we use now for Board meetings and Recovery meetings has developed a video call service. It is free, can handle up to 25 callers, and you have the option to call in on the phone like we do now if you prefer to do it that way or don’t have access to a computer/camera/internet. The host has to be on the call for the video to work but the audio portion of the call worked without the host. The other ministry is going to try this service. She will report on how it works after they’ve used it a couple times. Information on the service is an email along with these minutes. The home page for this service is FreeConferenceCall.com.


The chair noted that progress is being made and encouraged the Coordinator to let us know if there is anyway the rest of us can assist on development of new fellowship.


At the next meeting we will discuss the possibility of having board members to make phone calls to help update the database.


Brian closed with prayer.


Next meeting: May 4, 2016 2:00 pm MDT/2 pm CDT/1:00 pm PDT/3:00 pm EDT 12:00 pm

FRLC Board Minutes March 2, 2016

Check In & Prayer Mary, Bohdan & Melanie. Mary prayed. Ed arrived mid-stream.

Minutes from February Meeting were approved.

Treasurer’s report: We received the report by email. We noted the Schwann’s income and discussed how the program works. They are likely to encourage us to do a new program with them with this one concludes. We give thanks for a significant gift from a Synod.

            Coordinator’s report: We are starting to move on the Lutheran Recovery Network for laity. It looks like we will go with that name. He is working on setting up a meeting of local pastors in recovery to form a steering committee, including some from some of the larger churches. On Monday, April 4 they will kick off an ongoing Monday Noon “Conscious Contact” meeting at his church. They need to report on the grant money received from their Synod. A retired professional videographer is working with them on developing a promotional video for their Synod Assembly—it will be both a report and a PR piece for all who attend the Assembly. They are also working on a rudimentary website to put out to the Twin Cities churches.

In addition to the gifts noted earlier, our coordinator was given a $100 gift for the FRLC in honor of his 30th anniversary of sobriety.


Old Business:

            Retreat: One person backed out after signing up. Only three people have registered for the retreat. Two others have expressed interest but have not committed. Bohdan contacted the Rocky Mountain Synod and found out that their Assembly is at the end of the week of our retreat. Most of the phone numbers and addresses for Colorado members from our database were wrong. Bohdan looked up some of the phone numbers but did not have a lot of success when he contacted people. The contract with the retreat center can be cancelled up to the end of March. Those who have registered have made travel arrangements that may or may not be refundable. We will send an email to the people who have committed or indicated interest and let them know what the situation is. We need to make a decision on whether to hold it or not within a couple weeks.

New Business:

Contacting Synods: Given the on-going challenges of maintaining the database, a suggestion was made to sending our e-news to all the synods and ask them to send it out to their membership. Bohdan thinks we’d have to call the people who are responsible for the e-news in each Synod and let them know we’d like something included in their news, rather than sending an email which might not be read. Some Synods have rules about what they will and will not forward.  In the past we’ve asked board members to take on a project. If each person took on calling ten synods it would be doable. Mary offered to test it in her synod. Bohdan will send her the email he prepared for Rocky Mountain and see how it goes. We will discuss this next month.


Day and time for the board meeting: Would there be a time and day of the week that would work better for more people? We will put on the agenda for next month.


Next meeting: April 6, 2016 2:00 pm MDT/2 pm CDT/1:00 pm PDT/3:00 pm EDT 12:00 pm

February 2016 Board meeting

FRLC Board Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

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

Present: Ed, Bohdan, Melanie. All checked in. Melanie opened with prayer. Congratulations to Karen and Arthur on their ordinations!



            Lay Fellowship: Melanie asked if people thought she should update Nadia on our plans. We have a little less than $5,000 for this purpose at present. It is still in process. The consensus was to wait until there was more information.

FRLC Retreat: Bohdan will be making phone calls to the Colorado membership; we would like contact information for members in neighboring states. Ed will send that information to the planners.

–Four people have indicated they will be coming, for a total of six including the planners. Our contract requires us to pay for a minimum of ten people. Four more are needed.

–Bohdan will follow up with the facility to clarify that the banquet on Wednesday is in addition to the other two suppers (Monday & Tuesday). He volunteered to cover the difference in cost.

–Discussion of inviting seminary students. Melanie will ask Bea to produce a flyer and Ed will get the flyer and brochures to Luther Seminary. In the e-blast he will invite those who can not attend to make a donation for scholarships for students. Bohdan also offered to assist students who need financial support to attend. Melanie asked Bea to add that information to the flyer.

Coordinator’s Report: He received notice of a payment due for our domain name for the website, which he will forward to the treasurer. He will be figuring out how to cover this work during his sabbatical, and asked how we would like to handle his stipend during that time. Those who were on the call thought that in light of his many years of faithful service, we could continue to pay it. We received a couple of nice donations recently, including one from the Bishop of the St. Paul Synod and one from the Lower Susquehanna Synod. There was a request for membership from a long time church worker who was attending seminary when confronted with his addiction. We approved his membership and discussed encouraging him to explain that if he called in to the Thursday meetings.

Treasurer’s Report was sent by email following the meeting.

All previous Minutes were approved.

Next meeting: March 2, 2016 2:00 pm MDT/2 pm CDT/1:00 pm PDT/3:00 pm EDT 12:00 pm