In attendance: Lawton Higgs Sr. (Chair), Gina Pond (Member at Large), J.T. Ramelis (Treasurer), Beth Beyer Abbott (Co-Chair and Recording Secretary for this meeting).
Excused: Fred-Allen Self (Secretary)
Reflection by Lawton speaking to the awesome privilege of being called by God in a variety ways, yet connected to one another through PCA. He continued with a reading from Exodus, the story of Moses and the burning bush. “The place where you are standing is Holy ground.” He also reflected on how God meets humankind in so many ways, including nature.
Introduction Lawton spoke of his study of the Constitution and Canons of PCA and our commitment as a LC to upholding those. Copies have been sent by email to all LC members for our review as we consider PCA business.
501c3 JT reported previously submitted incorporation papers are unable to be accessed. Incorporation is necessary to apply for 501c3 status. As a result, we are incorporating in Michigan as Progressive Christian Alliance.
We are incorporating as a directorship with the LC as the Directors, but this does not change our polity. Our members will continue to vote for any changes to the Constitution and Canons. The LC will be the legal representatives of PCA as a corporation. When the LC changes, they will, in turn, become the directors. JT plans to send the incorporation papers in next week and will send the final copy to the LC members by email for review prior to submitting to Michigan. He has graciously offered to cover the cost of the application. There was a question about whether this needs to be voted on by the members. Lawton confirmed that this is not a change in polity, it is simply providing structure for the future of PCA under the current Constitution and Canons. JT is wording answers on this form so it is congruent to the requirements of the 501c3 application to facilitate the next step in this process.
There was much discussion about what applying for 501c3 status means for our members. This incorporation and eventual filing for 501c3 status will make us legally recognizable and credible as a denomination as we move forward, which is a key in getting approval for our chaplains to be recognized as clergy by accrediting bodies. It will not make PCA responsible for financial or other actions taken by local ministries. It will not change polity or require an amendment to the Constitution and Canons.
We thanked JT for his hard work in moving this forward. It is our understanding that once this is approved, we can begin functioning as a 501c3, even before the 501c3 paperwork is submitted. JT will have a final word on this shortly after the paperwork is filed.
Financial Infrastructure and Financial Planning Policies will need to be created. Lawton asked JT to begin putting these together before we gather a finance committee. Those policies will need to be voted on by our members as they will be an addition to the Constitution and Canons.
Monies will need to be raised for the 501c3 submission which will cost approximately $850. We can begin raising funds, even before becoming a tax exempt institution. Gina suggested we consider a Go Fund Me and invite folks on the open page to help us in this process. With small donations, we can likely make this goal.
Wild Goose Festival The response to our letter to the organizers of Wild Goose about LGBTQ inclusion and policies for the event was swift and more than we had hoped for. The Festival organizers shared that Gina’s suggestions from other similar events helped to facilitate their revisions. They have offered us space for a tent and Lawton and Kevin Higgs plan to attend with brochures and to be a face for PCA. Lawton also hopes to have some kind of meet-up with others who are on our Facebook pages. Gina is unable to attend. Beth is going to contact friends to see if anyone is available to travel with her to the event. JT is planning to attend.
RSL Business Gina spoke with Debra Newcomb and she is unable be John Contabile’s replacement for West Coast RSL. Lee Whitaker was suggested. At one time, John asked about having an assistant and it was suggested we contact him to see if that was ever initiated and if so whether that person would be willing to be the West Coast RSL. Beth reviewed and will email the names of those on the West Coast who have been ordained so that Lawton can look into whether any would be a good fit. Gina had other names from previous contact with John Contabile.
We have a person who contacted us from Africa about ordination. We’ve been considering who might be the mentor for him. Beth suggested we ask the RSL’s if there is anyone who wants to be in that relationship with him. Lawton will contact the RSL’s about this. In the meantime, Gina has replied and apologized for our delay as we seek the right person for his needs.
A church in FL recently contacted us about connecting with PCA and there was no follow up from the RSL for the region causing them to withdraw. We are cognizant of the challenges of volunteers and some discussion took place about the demands of the position and how to prevent things like this from happening in the future. The RSL did say that contact would be made, but if that has happened, we are not aware. This does not represent who we want to be as an organization.
Statement of Inclusion Gina would like body size added to our statement of inclusion. Lawton asked her to put together a copy and we will take it to the membership for a vote.
Next Meeting: Friday, June 24 at 6:00 CST
Respectfully submitted, Beth Beyer Abbott
Approved by LC 6.24.16