Tag Archives: recovery

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

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 http://animoto.com/intro/animoto/31. 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

Serenity on the Sea : A Spiritual Retreat for Lutheran Pastors in Recovery and their Spouses


Sail to the Bahamas!

It’s time to register for the FRLC CRuise, February 9-14, 2015!

2015 Cruise brochure

If you are a pastor or seminarian in 12-Step recovery
you are invited to take a journey of personal enrichment,
fellowship and spiritual renewal.

For the past 20 years our retreats have been highly appreciated and praised by our members. A recent attendee of
our Holden Village retreat said, “That was the most amazing,
refreshing, and ridiculous weeks of my life. I’ve never
laughed so much and I’ve never felt more connected to my fellow clergy that meaningfully. I feel like I have gotten some of my life back.”

This is a continuing education opportunity, but not in the traditional sense. This is about growing in faith, growing in recovery, deepening our under-standing of ourselves and how we best serve the Lord as clergy and as recovering people.

Flexibility and openness are the words for a cruise retreat.
Depending on the ships schedule and planned
excursions participants will meet each day for worship,
12-step meetings and theological workshops built
around the ships schedule.

On our cruise ship retreats there are many opportunities
for table fellowship, enjoying an extensive variety
of excellent food. We will break bread together daily
and enjoy rich and renewing fellowship with laughter,
joy and gratitude.

On a cruise ship you find rest. Pastors are notoriously
busy people. To be good stewards of our lives we
serve faithfully, but as even our creator took rest and our
Lord withdrew for times of renewal we too must take the
time to rest and recharge. A cruise ship seems an unusual
place for a pastor to find rest, but you will find it. Pastors and their spouses from our last two cruises were
gushing with praise for how refreshed and renewed they
felt after this time away together.

Secure your space with a deposit, and make payments as needed, with full payment due by December 1, 2014.

Costs: Inside Cabin: $363 per person double occupancy.
Ocean View Cabin: $403 per person double occupancy.

2015 Cruise brochure


Registration Form


To register:
Call Walt Schaffrick
Extension: 77354

February 2014 Board Minutes

FRLC Board Meeting
Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Six board members attended, although our secretary was unable to stay on the call. In her absence, the chair attempted to take minutes.

Everyone checked in. Winter has been challenging but we are grateful to be sober.

The minutes of the January meeting were approved.

The Treasurer’s report was discussed and approved. The annual comparison to 2012 was helpful. We received $5891.46 in donations in 2013 as compared to $6663.00 in 2012. We are $105 ahead of last year despite increases in the coordinator’s salary and mailing costs. There was a $5,000 donation in 2012 and no single large donation in 2013, so this is really encouraging. There are more and larger donations coming in. More copies of our book have been sold this year than any year so far. Our treasurer is willing to continue serving and we are grateful to have him do so. Report approved

The Coordinator reported that there has been more activity, with steady participation in the conference call meetings and more phone contacts requesting support. He is grateful for those calls. His congregation is launching a capital campaign and will be giving 10% of the funds raised to mission, including the proposed Fellowship for Lutherans in Recovery who are laity. He will be contacted our website designer for training. In the meantime our chair person has been posting the minutes.

Retreat: The next retreat cruise was proposed for February 9-14 to the Bahamas leaving from Jacksonville, FL. The cost would be $279 for an interior room or 329 for an oceanview. It appears to be cheaper to fly to Florida than other ports and this was the best price he found. The coordinator will start working on the publicity once it is approved. It was moved, seconded and passed to approve this proposal for the cruise.

The Coordinator and Newsletter editor are still having difficulty contacting each other by email. The Coodinator will try using a phone.

LCMS relations: John Fale is a contact person and has been referring people to FRLC. We learned about a new program: Mercy Operations (chairperson did not get the name down). More will be revealed.

As the person requesting that social media be put on the agenda was not present, we briefly reviewed our members’ presence on the ELCA Clergy group. Another borad member has tried to get something going on the FRLC and the How it Works: Lutheran Clergy in Recovery group.

Next Meeting March 4, 2014

It Works if You Work it!

One of the pitfalls to being in a “helping profession” is my tendency to neglect my own needs. Someone once told me people in helping professions go into those professions precisely because they need the help themselves. And rather than getting the help they so desperately need, they end up helping others, thinking this will satisfy their needs.  Perhaps ministers go into the ministry because it is they who need to hear the gospel so much.  In any case, as a recovering person and as a minister, I need to remember that unless I meet my own needs I cannot meet anyone else’s. As Jesus said, “Take the log out of your own eye first.”  My recovery has to come first before I can be of any use to anyone else. This means my meetings must be a priority, the steps need to be my daily habit.

People say it is a selfish program and there is much truth to that. By being selfish about my recovery, by addressing my issues first, I am in a better position to serve others. By putting my recovery first, I am putting others first.

Brother Lawrence, a monastic from the 17th century made this observation once: “It was lamentable to see how many people mistook the means for the end, addicting themselves to certain works, which they performed very imperfectly, by reason of their human or selfish regards.”  Brother Lawrence was talking about how in the name of feeding others we begin to imagine we are being fed by our actions – we become so preoccupied with forming committees, serving on boards and dealing with crises we start to see ourselves as principal actors instead of people who need to be acted upon (works, righteousness, idolatry).

My meetings feed me and keep me humble. Working the steps keeps me growing in communion with God.

They have a wonderful saying at the end of my regular meeting. Usually, after the Lord’s prayer you hear, “Keep coming back, it works if you work it.” At my home group they add this line: “Keep coming back, it works if you work it, and it sucks if you don’t.”

Ain’t that the truth!

Ed T., Editor