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NLS Board Minutes:

July 25, 2009 - Saturday Afternoon Business Meeting

Tracy called the meeting to order at 3:35 p.m.  Ginny Esch opened with prayer.

Secretariats that brought banners were thanked and reminded they needed to take them with them at the end of the business meeting. Handouts not yet in their notebooks were passed out: Proposed Budget, Comparative Statement of Financial Position, Visioning Committee report, NLS Attendees Roster, NLS Delegates Roster, Trademark and Logo policy, Banner/Palanca Committee Report.

Tracy called on the committees and regions to give their reports.

Banner – Ruth Barthel (WI) A committee of eight led by Lois Witham completed three banners as an outreach.  One of these will be taken to Latvia for the Swedish Via de Cristo.  Everyone prayed for the pilgrims who will view these banners that their eyes and ears will be opened and their hearts filled with fire and love.

Hosting – Don Armbrust (FL) met with twenty folks from MN, NC, and CO to discuss the experience of hosting an annual meeting.  The seven secretariats situation in Florida might be similar to the three regions of Minnesota in the challenge of coordinating input across communities.  They discussed the need for representative staffing from all areas and the critically important relationship that exists between the Host Committee and the NLSEB.  This is described clearly in the “Hosting is Honorable Serving” letter. There is a lot to share about the process and the Florida Host Team will be glad to share with the future host teams what they have learned over the past 2 ½ years.

Internet – Larry Conway (IL/IA) gave the report on the Internet.  The selected web design is on the website.  You can sign up for a prayer on line too.

Lay Director – Alice Allison (N.TX) The group of about 32 delegates and visitors from many states participated in the forum that was facilitated by Tracy Schmidlin.  Tracy shared aspects of organization in the book The Starfish and the Spider by Ori Brafman. 

     It was noted that our movement is about grace and the Sunday Rollos are the heart of the weekend.  Suggestions were made to make sure a prospective team member is connected in small groups and ultreyas. Tracy shared information on all the documents that can be found on the National website.

     We need to be proactive in heading off discord by using a tool to evaluate each weekend to make sure nothing creeps in to disrupt the weekend.  Another tool is setting goals for the Secretariat each year.  When secretariats are struggling, examine the training being done, see if the fundamentals are being taught, followed and lived, and always check the attitudes: is there a servant’s heart or a personal agenda?

     Weekend numbers are down for some and up for others for various reasons. The ups and downs are normal and in part due to natural cycles.

The NLS would like to publish new articles in some Lutheran magazines. 

The Distribution Center has many items, brochures, and special needs guides available.

Don’t let communion become an issue.       Communities need to be considerate in serving communion.  Those attending do not have to take communion, and it needs to be clearly stated.

     The use of power point on the weekends is used by some communities.  Make sure that is practical and doesn’t distract from the purpose of the weekend.  Again, it’s attitude. 

Most areas pay the licensing fees for music, and many produce their own songbooks that are reused weekend to weekend, for Ultreyas and other 4th day events.

     Challenge for regions:  Who are the secretariats around you?  Who is not here from your region?  How can you encourage them to come to the next NLSAM?

Newsletter – Judy Laabs-Foss (MN) had an informal discussion with three participants showing them how she creates a newsletter.  She is available to assist Secretariats and welcomes articles to publish in the quarterly Conexiones.

Spiritual Director Dialogue – Pr. Doug Givan (INKY) facilitated the meeting with pastors gathered from at least seven states and discussed ways to get pastors more involved.  Each of the clergy recorded a brief statement in order to create a DVD to share with pastors who have not made a weekend.

Visioning – Dick Link (INKY) met with a group that first had questions about training methods and using the same essentials, how to approach international requests, materials in other languages, candidates’ qualifications to attend, and youth and younger adults involvement.

Dreams 3-5 Years from now:  Expand and involve younger adults, Prayer Palanca teams can include homebound and others, reach individuals with special needs and involve them, use coed weekends and renewal to get people involved again, balance the coed, men’s and women’s weekends, use DVD presentations, formal and informal outreach to other churches, pastors and members, have a “tie” with other groups, and seek National Spiritual Director’s assistance.

Finance and Budget – Bob Northrup went over the three financial handouts.  One page shows the dues paid by the secretariats.  There may need to be a dues increase.  One was the Comparative Statement of Financial Position for the past two years. He went over the proposed budget for June 1, 2009 to May 31, 2010. He explained paying the travel of the Board to the Mid-Year meeting and stated the new policy regarding expenses pay for appointed Board members attending Board meetings.  Bill Thompson moved to approve the budget from June 1, 2009 to May 31, 2010 as presented by the financial Committee. (No second needed)  There was discussion.

This year’s budget shows a negative result of $5425.25.  There was discussion concerning the shortfall.  Diane Purcell, Financial Adviser, helped to answer questions. It was approved last year that undesignated funds can be used if necessary.

Gerry Olsen moved to amend the motion. He moved that if the undesignated funds used for the endowment fundraising are needed to fund a deficit budget next year, they may be used.  Also all undesignated funds will be returned at the conclusion of the endowment fund raising campaign.  Woody Barthel seconded. Discussion followed. The vote was 51 to 24 opposed to the amendment to the motion.  Motion failed.  Delegates then voted on the original motion to approve the budget from June 1, 2009 to May 31, 2010 as presented by the financial committee.  Motion passed. 

Tracy asked delegates to use the 3x5 cards in front of them to list possible speakers for next year, to request changing regions or anything else to be brought before the Board.   

National Coordinator Campaign - Ed Broestl made a report after meeting two days with about 20 people.  He made three comments: Don’t start yet; there are more questions to ask and answer; and more education is needed. We need to be ready to launch our campaign when the economy begins to turn around to have a reasonable chance of success.  More questions need to be answered by our “capital campaign adviser.”  On top of the list is the need for a point of contact within each secretariat for the endowment campaign. Each secretariat needs to appoint a person to work with the campaign.  He will e-mail information on the position and the campaign to the Lay Directors/Presidents soon.

Carolyn Hawkins (W.NC) moved that the board address the fees amount that the secretariats pay.  Pr. Larry Bowman seconded. Motion passed.


Carolyn Karl (TN) moved to support the National Coordinator Campaign by allowing them to release the attendees’ names and information to the National Campaign Committee for their purposes.  Steve Barnett (PA) seconded.  There was much discussion for and against that idea.  Pr. Dave Shockey moved to amend the motion to read that the ones that wanted their name included could give their names; otherwise the names would not be used. Mark Carson (MD) seconded.  Discussion concerning the security of the information followed.  Ed assured the delegates that as a past security cop for the Air Force, the personal information would be secure.  Gerry Olsen (FL) moved to table the motion.  Linda Erdman (INKY) seconded. A voice vote was not clear.  The written vote counted by Larry Witham and Steve Gielda was 43 to table the motion and 41 against tabling it.  Motion to table the motion passed.  Dick Link (INKY) moved that the ballots be destroyed.  Mark Carson (MD) seconded.  Motion passed.

Ed Broestl prayed for all of us because we all want to do the right thing for the right reasons, and we give praise and glory to God.  He will get more information to secretariats and a job description of the person that would be needed to fill the position of National Coordinator.

Pr. Dave Shockey spoke about bringing Via de Cristo to Germany and wants our prayers.

The other Region reports were made.

#1  Barbara Marthens (S.CA) indicated she would be willing to coordinate and head Region 1  efforts. This is a large region with AZ, CA, CO, MT, NV, OR, UT, and WA.  Communication is a challenge and some solutions are internet phone conferences, and telecommunication.  They had a dialogue on sponsorship, terminology, training, coed/mixed weekends, secretariat oversight and Fourth Day.

            Their vocabulary is similar though different but share the same concept.  They will share their information describing weekends and job descriptions of the teams.  They plan a Mid-Year meeting, Jan. 29-31 in Las Vegas for further coordination.  Larry is setting up a regional folder on the NLS website to allow a central contact and review of information. Kay Brown will coordinate their on-line information.  They plan to take their original dialogue and discuss them via e-mail every two months to keep the communication going.

#2  Nancy Peterson (MN) Three secretariats from WI and MN covered a recap of the Regional meeting held in April.  They brainstormed about training issues and challenges, team selection processes, co-ed weekend structures and 4th Day responsibilities with sponsoring, and pastoral support.  They discussed making songbooks.

     They discussed organizing Western WI and MN and need to see what to do next.  They discussed having a regional meeting during the year and possibly utilizing a conference call format for more frequent contact. 

     They plan to talk with Iowa, Nebraska and S. Dakota regarding their involvement in the region and with NLS. 

     MN is hosting 2010 NLS in July next year and other secretariats have expressed interest in collaboration and they are thankful for that.

#4  Linda Erdman (INKY) Eight people from three Secretariats from IL and INKY agreed they were willing to travel and pray to help each other.  They plan to communicate by e-mail or website usage.  They will review the DVD on sponsorship and share it. INKY produced two trifolds – one for clergy and one for laity containing weekend dates, information about the weekends and who to contact.  They plan to contact secretariats in their region that were not at the NLS meeting.  A goal would be to develop a common mission that would energize their region that they could share.

     They discussed alternating NLS with regional Ultreya, using former rectors for training, post weekend surveys, use of resources, management of calling a team, swapping clergy, travel pay for swapping people, educating communities about NLS, passing information to other groups and developing a companion secretariat.

#5  Donna Gough (OH) The region was attended by members of five secretariats from MD, MI, OH, VA, and PA and facilitated by Steve Gielda.  The consensus was that a shared vision was a primary necessity to be more effective.  They discussed steps that had been taken in the past to fulfill the goals of creating small groups and transforming the environment. They have used team building exercises for the team members and a 30-60-90 day contract where table leaders contact candidates/pilgrims at those intervals to help them get connected to the movement.

      Last year’s plan was to help Journey in Faith get started.  The secretariat still needs assistance so immediate plans are to facilitate the growth and grounding of this new group. They need team members and possibly funding to aid travelers to go to the area. Journey in Faith has a Facebook account to provide information.  Other plans were made to assist them.

#7  Peggy Mccoy (FL)  Betts Huntley facilitated the first session with 35 attending from all over FL.  The group unanimously said they would be willing to travel around the region to strengthen, train and pray for secretariats, but then they realized that travel time, distance and other commitments made traveling to help secretariats difficult.  Some possible solutions they came up with were to offer combined training sessions for nearby secretariats, to communicate within the region the times and locations of training sessions, to better utilize e-mail to communicate events, to make conference calls between role alike positions, and to utilize Facebook.  They voted to try several different methodologies to see what might work best.

     To be more effective they could seek a common site in Florida to save on expenses for weekends but a concern was that some secretariats have sites booked 2 years ahead. They could send candidates to another secretariat if numbers are too small to host but there was concern about a difference in experience when returning to the home community. They would like continued prayer from NLS and other regions.

     The past two years and especially this year were spent working hard to prepare to host Nationals which was fun and rewarding and a joy watching the secretariats draw together to serve.  FL also held a Grand Ultreya for all the FL secretariats and plan to do so again.

     They plan for growth but need to examine their practices to see why there might be a loss of enthusiasm for sponsoring.  They might need to communicate better with their respective communities, to utilize e-mail and prayer chains, to try fasting during team formation or when choosing a rector/a, to seek the Lord as they serve, to emphasize the responsibility of sponsorship and train for it, and to involve more pastors as Spiritual Directors and have the Spiritual Director of the Secretariat assist with the selection of the Spiritual Directors for the weekends.

     Each secretariat was charged with getting a written history to NLS.

     Tim McCoy facilitated the second session.  They discussed problems that two secretariats were having. Plans are being made to assist Emerald Coast in getting started.  The other one needs to get back to the essentials and has a divided community. It was suggested that they send sponsored candidates to other secretariats for a weekend to start building a nucleus again.  They are requesting prayers for Heart of Florida from all NLS secretariats.

     Pr. Gerry Olsen volunteered to be coordinator for Region 7 this year, and Gold Coast VdC volunteered to host the Grand Ultreya in late February or early March.


Tracy ended the reports by telling the group that each Lay Director present was given a sponsorship DVD from the Board.  If your secretariat did not have a Lay director attending, a delegate should request one from John Bradford to take back with them.

The Board presented a wooden cross, hand carved by Bill Sistar, to Dave Erdman in recognition of his service on the Board.

Tracy went over reasons for the Vendor policy and requested delegates and visitors to complete evaluation forms while Minnesota prepared their presentation.

Our next Annual meeting will be at Northwestern College on July 22-25, 2010. Their theme will be Matthew 5:16 about letting our light shine.  Merle Waldron and the Host Team presented a warm invitation using some of the expressions that Minnesotans use like “Ya, shu-er, ya betcha.” Merle indicated that some of the Dead Sea Scrolls would be in the area next year and there are many places of interest to visit.  A slide show of the College showed the facility we will use and the beautiful surrounding area.  We received small snowmen that had melted in the Florida heat and bags of information from the Minnesota Delegates.

Everyone was reminded to turn in their dorm key in the brown envelope.  Wayne Baker (FL) moved we adjourn the 32nd Annual meeting.  Mark Carson (A/OK) seconded.  Motion passed. 

Pr. Melinda Harlow closed the last NLSAM business meeting of 2009 with prayer.  The meeting was adjourned at 5:55 p.m.


Respectfully Submitted,

Katie Sistar




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