Thursday, September 27, 2018

September 26 Meeting Notes

Aaron led in prayer
Rhonna has worked on, but still it still needs more updates before announcing to congregation.
  • Blog post about holy indifference
  • Why each of us felt called to serve on task force
  • Dawn will work up the structure & history of the process for the blog.
  • Link from MMC website - Richard
  • Mennonotes - Dawn/Richard
  • Announce in church - Dawn
  • Facebook - ?


Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Message from Our Pastors

On Saturday, July 7, a group of leaders from the congregation gathered for a day-long retreat to
examine the question, “Should we explore a new governance model for Manhattan Mennonite Church?” Those who were present for this retreat included the pastors, all four elders (Melissa Atchison, Dale Hershberger, Rene Smalldridge & Dawn Wall), the church officers: moderator (Dean Denner), treasurer (Kirk Hargett) & recorder (Merv Bitikofer), and chairs of several standing committees: faith formation (Rhonna Hargett), peace, service & witness (Dave Redmon) & worship (Karen Franz). The chairs of the social committee (Resa Price) & facilities committee (Stan Bartel) were also invited and had originally planned to attend, but were unable to be present due to scheduling conflicts that came up.
The impetus for this gathering came out of the experience of the pastors on their sabbatical last fall. As we met with pastors and some lay leaders from a number of different congregations, we found that many had remodeled their governance structures in recent years. Having experienced some frustrations with our current model ourselves, we began to wonder about the possibility of embarking on an exploration of new structures for MMC as well. Our goal for such a restructuring is to assure that all the ministries of the church have a home with a clear system of oversight, support, and accountability.
After discussing this matter with the elders for a few months, they agreed to invite congregational leaders to spend several hours together examining our current structure and discerning whether or not to explore a new model. At the end of that time of discernment on July 7, the group overwhelmingly agreed that it is worthwhile to begin this process of exploration. Please note that this does not necessarily mean that there will be changes to our governance structure, merely that we are starting to explore that possibility.
Following the leadership retreat, the Elders appointed a "Governance Working Group" to begin the process of exploration. This group consists of Bob Atchison, Aaron Dyck, Rhonna Hargett, Dawn Wall, and Pastor Richard. We expect that they will spend time listening to members of the congregation and writing drafts of proposals for possible changes in the current structure. We anticipate that sometime next year some changes in structure may be implemented on a trial basis. At this point, we don’t know whether the proposed changes will entail a major overhaul of our structure or if our goals can be accomplished with relatively minor tweaks in our current structure. In the end, any permanent changes in structure would need to be approved by the congregation.
As the congregation embarks on this process of exploration, your prayers for wisdom and discernment are appreciated. If you have questions about what happened at the recent retreat, feel free to speak with any of the people who were present. We as pastors are also happy to talk more about our experience and how we see this process moving forward. May God’s Spirit be with us as we seek to fulfill the mission with which Manhattan Mennonite Church has been entrusted.


July - Leadership retreat
August - First meeting of Governance Working Group
October - Listening sessions with congregation
November - Develop proposal
December - Informal input gathering
January - Present findings and proposal to congregational meeting


Based on MMC Elders discernment with our pastors and their experiences with other congregations during sabbatical, the Elders invited church officers and committee chairs to a day-long retreat to explore the possibility of new operating structures at MMC.
Following further discernment at the July 7, 2018 retreat, MMC leadership overwhelmingly agreed to begin a process of exploring whether new models for governance structure might be appropriate at MMC.
To accomplish the task a Governance Working Group was appointed by the Elders. The group will spend several months exploring the current structure, potential structures, and receiving input from the congregation with the goal of providing a summary of the work that may include draft proposals by our annual business meeting in 2019.
If a proposal is accepted by the congregation, the Governance Working Group will be responsible for implementing it on a trial basis.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Meeting Notes 9-13-18

Dawn led in prayer.

The group approved Bob’s proposal for the charge.

October - Listening sessions
  • Preamble needed showing appreciation for those who created the original constitution and how we go to where we are.
  • 3 sessions
  • Sunday afternoon, Saturday, Weeknight
  • 2 Governance Task Force members at each session
  • Provide online and paper option
Add question - did you go to a listening session?
  • Put listening questions out ahead of time
November - Develop governance proposal
  • Organizational structure
  • Ministry teams?
  • Informal input gathering
  • as much of congregation as possible
  • no voting
  • Aaron shared the idea of a 2 day input session - Saturday morning input, Saturday afternoon task force process input, Sunday afternoon more sharing and input
    • Would be time intensive.
    • Would allow more processing before making proposal for congregational meeting.
January - Congregational meeting
February through August - Develop policy

  • Link from Mennonotes whenever there is an update
  • Content
    • Include Charge & Timeline once approved
    • Minutes
    • Background - Condensed version of retreat
    • Church mission statement
    • Dawn’s vision graphic
    • What do governance and ministry have to do with each other?
  • Links
    • MMC constitution
    • Resources

Group Communication
  • Email for official communication
  • Slack for discussion
  • Trello for gathering of materials
Rainbow Mennonite - Aaron report
  • 3 levels of governance
    • One council
      • elected by congregation
      • 3 moderators - past, present, & future
    • Boards
      • Term limits
      • Appointed by council
    • Volunteer committees
      • Have liaison with council
Upcoming Tasks
  • Present charge & timeline to Elders - Dawn - 9/16/18
  • Send out proposed meeting dates, Wednesdays 7-8:30 - Dawn
  • Next meeting - Plan listening sessions
    • Have some questions ready