Winter/Spring 2005 Issue From the Teaching & Sharing Center www.wsharing.org
The Teaching & Sharing Center is now established as a Michigan non-profit corporation. We are in the process of completing the paperwork seeking a 501(c)(3) IRS designation (which will make your contributions tax deductible). When the IRS issues its ruling, deductibility becomes retroactive to the date of incorporation which was January 1, 2005.
I encourage each of you to become a member of the new corporation even though it involves annual membership dues.
$ 15 Individual
I particularly anticipate seeing those of you as members who said not to close the Center, but to do everything possible to keep it going. Incorporation is not a magic bullet. This is a critical moment which will live or die on the response from those who think the Center has been a valuable community asset these past 10 years, and should continue to be so. Encouraging others to become supporting (and voting) members is something which will build a base to secure the future as well.
The Board of Trustees currently consists of:
Trustees hold the legal responsibility of decision making for the corporation. While, according to its by-laws, the T&SC can function with the current seven, there are open positions for up to six more trustees on the board. So, if you feel the Holy Spirit calling you to serve there is plenty of room. You would need to be able to attend board meetings (probably quarterly). It would be best if you have email for between meetings communications. But, if not, and you live close enough to regularly check your mailbox at the Center, a copy of emails could be printed for you.
Many basic decisions will need to be made in the next few months by this initial board. I anticipate a likely three tier relational possibility with the Center. The first will remain "the poetís circle" which will not be considered membership. It will simply be the corporate mailing list, and a basic requirement for library privileges. As the historical connection, being listed in the poetís circle will remain free, but will carry no official status within the corporation. The next will be the basic paid membership. Members elect the board of trustees and vote on other matters pertinent to the Center at an annual meeting. Members will receive the traditional 10% discount at the Trade Center. Ultimately, I suspect there will be a special designation for those doing more than the basic membership. It would likely carry with it some extra benefits, and could very well be a requirement for the Keyholder program.
Would you like to be a part of this decision making process? Let me know if you would like your name submitted to the board as a trustee candidate. Or, do you have another role you see yourself in here? Ask yourself:
Who did God create you to be?
Can that find expression in conjunction with or through the Teaching & Sharing Center?
The purpose stated on the incorporation papers serves as the mission statement for the T&SC during these early stages. It reads as follows:
Within the broad parameters of nature, spirit, and expression, to be a welcoming spiritual resource center that nurtures intimacy in our daily walk with Jesus and invites participation through sharing our spiritual and artistic gifts both locally and globally to the glory of God.
We acknowledge Godís call into relationship with Him, with each other, and with the rest of creation.
We place particular emphasis in contexts serving those traditionally disillusioned with the Christian church, such as Native Americans and environmentalists, seeking as often as possible creative and/or unique ways of expressing the Good News of Godís all encompassing grace.
a touch of william
It is important to repeat that a touch of william is still an individual ministry of mine whose mission statement remains the same:
I try to impact (touch) people's lives through my poetry and photography, and one on one teaching, to help them:
Break out of the boxes the world would keep them pigeonholed in.
Discover and develop their own artistic and spiritual gifts.
Grow in their understanding of their relationship with nature.
Get further in touch with their own spiritual reality.
The discussion, and decisions, between the new board for the T&SC and myself regarding the extent to which a touch of william will function through the T&SC, or independently, has yet to take place. Please feel free to share your thoughts on this and other things mentioned in this Mini7News. They are most welcome. Incorporation, of what used to be a part of a touch of william, adds a significant new dynamic to how things will function.
OK - SOMETHING ELSE
While I was clearing out some newsletters and magazines from the lending library, I ran across this information about the benefits from trees in the National Arbor Day Foundationís July/August 2004 magazine "Arbor Day."
Windbreaks have a twofold effect on the land. By breaking the force of wind, they help keep precious topsoil in place. They also reduce the drying effect of wind and sun, helping to retain soil moisture that provides row crops or forage for grazing animals. Around the home, windbreaks can reduce energy costs in winter and keep snowdrifts off roads and driveways.
Air pollution can be fought with trees by reducing dust particles in the air, absorbing carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and other harmful chemicals, and by providing fresh oxygen. The U. S. Department of Agriculture reports that one acre of forest land can absorb six tons of carbon dioxide and put out four tons of oxygen each year. In the city, if America's 60 to 200 million empty planting spaces along its streets were planted, trees could absorb another 33 million tons of carbon dioxide each year.
Cooling is the beneficial effect for which trees are best known, and rightfully so. Again, if streets were planted to full capacity, the USDA reports that $4 billion in energy costs could be saved. Studies have shown that well-placed trees can reduce home cooling costs 8 to 50 percent. In the country, reduced temperatures and higher humidity provided by trees help prevent the drying of crops or woodland fuels that contribute to wildfires.
Phytoremediation is a big word for the service trees provide by absorbing dangerous chemicals from the soil. Trees either safely store the chemicals or metabolize them into less volatile compounds. Conservation trees can buffer streams from excess farm chemicals, reduce the effects of animal waste products, clean up roadside chemical spills, and filter wastewater.
I have also read articles quoting studies which indicate the presence of trees (green spaces in general) in cities has a significant crime reducing effect. Natureís greenery lowers stress in even urban areas. We are sometimes quick to shrug "what are a few trees here and there." When, actually, they can have quite a big impact in many ways.
FROM MY EMAILS
This was sent to me with the title "No excuses!"
The next time you feel like God can't use you, just remember . . .
NOAH was a drunk.
The Disciples fell asleep while praying.
MARTHA worried about everything.
- and -
LAZARUS WAS DEAD!
. . . no more excuses now. God is waiting to use your full potential.
This prayer was shared with me a few years ago by its writer who now sits on our board of trustees. She has given her permission to share it with you. Written from a modern "Christian environmentalist" perspective, it has, for me, a very traditional Native American feel to it as well . . .
Most Holy and gracious Creator,
I see this as a prayer worthy of each of our pledges. It embodies the spirit of the Teaching & Sharing Center and a touch of william. As we proceed into the future under a corporate umbrella, let us always remember it is still about individuals connecting as unique human beings within and to the circle of life.
Normally this page has a box with an updated financial situation report in it. Iíve opted not to bother. I can tell you in a nutshell thereís no money right now. The usual winter utilities, plus filing fees for the corporation, and an increase in insurance have drained all the resources. Everything got paid in January. But, as I write, there are $350 worth of utility bills due (gas, electric, telephone) with a single $100 contribution sitting on my desk. We still need to purchase a corporate liability policy ($325), and the filing fee (the reduced one) for the IRS 501c3 paperwork is $150. Usually in this circumstance Iíd use some of our personal tithe money to at least cover the utilities, but as many of you know, Donna has been unemployed since October, so those resources are pretty committed already as well. I, of course, have no outside (or inside) income to speak of ó I think you should be getting the picture.
Iíve kept things pretty trim these past several months, forgoing basic supply purchases like printer cartridges, expecting that things were going to get even tighter during this transition period. Iím not complaining, Iím just telling it like it is. When I started 10 years ago, I figured Iíd give it a year. Then, at the end of the year, I though OK maybe I can go for five years (the end of my State Farm buyout income). So, ten years is pretty miraculous.
Our eleventh year, like every year, is up to God. However, I suspect it will have a great deal to do with your response as well. Becoming a paid member of the corporation is the basic response. Direct contributions beyond the membership is another. Becoming someone who searches (the Internet primarily) for possible grants for the Center is also a way. Becoming involved, introducing others to the T&SC, and encouraging them to become members will broaden our base. Everybody knows the process. There is nothing magical about it. Itís just a choice. The Little Red Hen story has been around for a long time. I listened when people said do not close the Center, itís a really positive presence. Iíve surrendered my time and resources for 10 years, and will continue with whatever God gives me to work with. How about you?
A little of this, a little of that, plus a healthy dose of reality ó while itís not all the news thatís fit to print, I think itís plenty for right now. Iím going to put this, my wsharing newsletter, and the T&SC brochure/application all into one mailing to consolidate the costs a little.
As always -- Godís peace,
Note to Mini7News online readers. The brochure/application mentioned is not online. For an online version of the membership application please click here.