Stones Rising 2011
Board Members Present: Roger Grandstaff, Carrie Krystek, Mike McConnell, Kailin Miller, Eric Fierke, Rena Damskey, Diana (Em) Morris, Orren Whiddon, Sophia Shultz, Jon Noll, Mark Hargreaves, Kate Splain, Tony West.
1. Roger opened with a benediction.
2. Orren provided several finance-related updates:
a. The mortgage principal has been reduced to under $30,000 each. This is due in great measure to Orren’s current work with BioScan.
b. Building projects are moving slowly because every available dollar is going toward paying off the mortgages. The winery addition will be finished soon, including a commercial kitchen.
c. The winery is doing well, with a 60% increase in sales over 2010. It is now generating $1,000/month in profit. There is an opportunity to become the exclusive supplier of Ethiopian mead for the East Coast community.
d. The machine shop has acquired a toolmaker’s lathe for a bargain price of $6,500. This enables the shop to take advantage of increased opportunities for specialty orders.
e. Patricia Althouse will be returning to the Community of Service in mid-winter, focusing on the creation of private-label specialty foods to be marketed to Pittman’s Farm Market.
4. Sophia informed us that the membership has contributed $2,300 for stairs for Hemlock Hole. The stairs will be designed over the winter, and in place next summer.
5. Carrie provided an update on the Labyrinth. There are now 3 rings of curbstones, thanks to the contributions of cash and time by members. Five rings still need to be completed. Silver Circle of Penn State invited other student organizations to join the project. Interested individuals or groups may sponsor a curbstone for the Labyrinth for $20.
6. Diana (Em) asked members who have rented storage units to contact her with the unit number affixed to the door.
7. Kailin reminded members that the supplies in the storage shed are available for use in ceremony, and asked that everyone be aware of basic housekeeping, especially keeping candles and dry fabric securely contained. Wet fabric should never be put into totes and covered. It’s up to all of us to keep things in good, usable condition.
8. Roger clarified terminology from the previous Members Meeting (Beltaine 2011); the Board is researching options for the creation of a Trust Fund for the long-term care of Church Wards, rather than an endowment.
9. Roger informed the membership that New Moon services have been canceled for January, February, and March 2012. The Board voted to take this step due to historically low attendance at these services and lack of volunteer support to lead them. If volunteer leaders sign up for these services and the ones leading up to them, the services will be reinstated.
Q & A Session:
Q1. Sam mentioned that several members’ campsites have been searched or ransacked over the summer; he suggested the use of a locking footlocker. Sam asked the Board if there is a way to protect belongings.
a. Orren explained that this has been an intermittent problem since 1996, and local teenagers are suspected. All recent incidents have been in the lower camp, and have occurred between events. Little has been taken other than a couple of power inverters. He suggested the removal of items attractive to the suspected age group. The Board will contact the State Police and file a report.
Q2. Aase asked who is currently coordinating volunteers for Church Services (Mark Hargreaves), and volunteered to take on
the task when Mark’s year in this position ends.
a. Several people spoke in support of visiting the camp during the winter.
Q3. DragonWolf mentioned problems with our Discussion Portal and offered to help with technical issues.
a. Orren has had no time to address web site issues due to the demands of his job. We are working with a Joomla tech to update the site and correct problems. He asked for a show of hands to indicate interest in the Portal; much support was shown.
Q4. Orren asked how members would prefer to reduce the cost of the Wheel of the Year calendar, by not mailing in bulk to shops, printing the files themselves, or some other method. He mentioned that 75% of the “pagan” shops that were on our mailing list in 1997 are no longer in business, and have not been replaced by other similar businesses, but the administrative burden of supplying calendars to shops is still significant.
a. Aase suggested reducing the cost by reducing the content/number of pages. However, the largest single cost is supplying to stores; we would prefer to retain the substantive content and supply only to interested parties.
b. Evelyn said she would prefer the money be spent on developing the web site than supporting stores, including providing pdfs for members to refer to electronically or print themselves.
Q5. The question of “how is Four Quarters making itself known to the larger pagan community” was asked.
a. Orren explained that Four Quarters is currently the largest landed organization in the United States. Paganism is no longer a social trend and has been replaced in that sense by burn events and other fads. Four Quarters stopped using the word “pagan” because its meaning has been diluted by extremists (both in favor and against); this is the reason for certain policy changes. We have seen an increase in new visitors who are interested in “Nature Spirituality.” Good use of social media such as our Portal and Facebook will attract more people than printed materials, but this puts the burden on members to create that on-line content.
b. Several people expressed the usefulness of social media and online content as informational tools. Most agreed that the best advertising is personal conversations.
c. Chris Carter, Kate SanFilipo, and Karynna offered to aid with updating social media.
Q6. Deb Chapman advised all members who see a need that needs to be addressed to speak up, and to support their ideas with personal resources of time or funding.
Q7. Heather MacDuff stated that 2011 is the last year she will lead the Warrior Pathway, and others should be prepared to step up. She reminded everyone that this is not based on service rank!
Q8. Nora Tempkin asked that all children participating in baking the Loaves of the Corn Mother be accompanied by an adult for the duration of the vigil, for safety reasons.
Q9. Jon Noll moved for adjournment, seconded by Mark Hargreaves. Motion passed unanimously.