Flexible Housing Meeting Notes July 29, 2009

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Meeting Summary of the July 29 2009 Flexible Housing Task Force

The Flexible Housing Task Force held its second meeting on Wednesday, July 29 2009 at the Northlawn UMC. Twelve of the fourteen members were in attendance.

The Task Force continues its intentional identification of critical issues and related supportive materials to assist it in its process.  It reviewed and discussed a number of printed copies of responses sent to the Task Force by individuals who accepted the invitation posted in the Weekly News to write to the Task Force.  The responses were related to a variety of situations and perspectives.  It noted there may be other additional experiences persons have had. The Task Force has chosen to address the reports they received.

The Task Force continues to do research related to the multiple dimensions of the motion the Annual Conference approved.  In particular it is reviewing fourteen different Judicial Council Rulings which may have implications and/or insight applicable to this topic.  Those rulings are: 101, 432, 501, 510, 547, 562, 588, 634, 701, 970, 1035, 1060, 1068, & 1085.  If you are aware of other actions that would be pertinent to the work of the Task Force please direct that information to it.

It has also arranged a time to meet with individuals who have requested to speak directly with the Task Force.  These persons have already provided written comments to the Task Force.  A face to face gathering will allow an opportunity to obtain an even greater clarity and insight to possible solutions.

Bishop Keaton has also responded to the invitation from the Task Force to provide it with a written response and he is scheduled to meet with the Task Force for a time of dialogue.

Lynn Grimes provided the Task Force with a summary of the progress the joint Board of Ordained Ministry/Order of Elders/Order of Deacons/John Wesley Association and Cabinet representatives have made as they carry out the expectations of the motion approved at the 2009 Annual Conference Clergy Session.

The Task Force will meet again in early September.  You can be of assistance to it in the following ways:  Lift members of the Task Force up in prayer. Offer words of support or suggestions for the improvement of their work. Send the Task Force your specific insights or experiences you desire to have help inform this process.

Please send those comments by August 21, 2009 to Benton@wmcumc.org or Rev. Benton R, Heisler 11 Fuller SE, PO Box 6247, Grand Rapids, MI 49516-6247 Please summarize them in two pages of 12 point font.

The Task Force is considering a number of perspectives such as, but not limited to, young clergy, second career clergy, clergy couples, young dual career clergy households with young children, single parent clergy, local church trustees and congregations, congregations which have sold, repurchased, provided a housing allowance, etc.

It is also encountering issues related to parsonages, both with positive and negative experiences noted from the perspective of churches and clergy.  Though this is not its primary task as set forth in the Annual Conference motion, it will include the insights it gains related to this area as it compiles its work.

The Task Force would remind clergy and congregations that the most current edition of the Parsonage Guidelines and Flexible Housing Policy were adopted in 2008.  If you are using as a reference an edition/copy of guidelines or policy dated earlier than this, please discard it.   The 2008 policies are your primary reference source.  A link to those resources is provided here.  2008 Flexible Housing Policy (Coming Soon).

The Task Force appreciates your involvement and encouragement.