Fall 2004 Issue                    From the Teaching & Sharing Center                    www.wsharing.com

 

INCORPORATION ON THE HORIZON

For ten years the Teaching & Sharing Center has operated as a sole-proprietorship under the a touch of william umbrella. That is about to change. 

After the various explorations precipitated by the Centerís finances this past year and a half, I recently asked the Grey Feathers Advisory Council if they thought the Center should continue as is, or incorporate as a Michigan non-profit corporation and seek a 501(C)3 IRS designation. As of this writing, 9 of the 12 have responded. Seven have indicated incorporation to be the new path, 1 said stay a sole-proprietor, and 1 abstained. 

For most of you this change will not affect much. You will need only to decide if you wish to become a member of the new corporation ("Center Circle" member) involving an annual membership fee, but carrying with it the right to be involved in selecting/electing the Board of Trustees (1/3 each year) who will hold the legal responsibility of decision making for the corporation. It is quite possible that Center Circle membership could be required for the Keyholder program. But, your tpc membership will still suffice for borrowing items, whether corporate or mine, from the lending library. 

Membership in the poetís circle will remain free as it will continue to simply be the mailing list for a touch of william and/or the Center. For the time being, a touch of william will stay my individual ministry, and not be a division of the new corporation. Both will continue to work in harmony but it will require an "armís length relationship" since each is a separate legal entity. The "christian life programs" DBA will probably go with the T&SC non-profit corporation. But, Cherokee Billís Trade Center will likely remain with a touch of william for now, until the Center is better off financially. 

All of these things will be part of the decision making process involving myself and those willing to serve on the new Board of Trustees. As current members of the poetís circle you will be kept informed through these newsletters about any changes affecting you. Hopefully they will be minimal, but I am relinquishing sole control here. 

WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE INVOLVED?

As stated, one of the dynamics of incorporation is that this will no longer be one manís vision with sole control. Greater involvement by others will allow for the possibility of expanding what the Teaching & Sharing Center can do, and how it can reach out. 

The two key questions at the core of the new T&SC: 

1. Who did God create you to be?

2. Can that find expression in conjunction with or through the Teaching & Sharing Center?

It is possible that little will change here except that there will now be a Board of Trustees calling the shots rather than me deciding (after consulting the Grey Feathers Advisory Council on big issues). Or, much could change here if some of you partially find expression of who God created you to be through the Center. Even simply refining whatís already in place could create such things as a Director of Library Services, and Membership Director, beyond the basic Board of Trustees positions. And, the mission statement of the Center is broad enough to encompass any number of new ideas you might feel God calling you to. As for me, I am open to whatever direction the Holy Spirit wishes to take. But, I know anything beyond what is already happening will require others to see this as a possible place of participation and expression for their own journey. Give it some thought. 

FROM MY EMAILS

Approaching the election this year many of you sent or forwarded political emails. Since this page is being written on election day I thought I would share with you this email which tickled me because I thought it captured the broad essence of the two parties attitudes in a lighthearted way. It is called: 

Hot Air Balloon

A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost. She lowered her altitude and spotted a man in a boat below. She shouted to him, "Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am." 

The man consulted his portable GPS and replied, "You're in a hot air balloon, approximately 30 feet above a ground elevation of 2346 feet above sea level. You are at 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude. 

She rolled her eyes and said, "You must be a Republican." 

"I am," replied the man. "How did you know?" 

"Well," answered the balloonist, everything you told me is technically correct, but I have no idea what to do with your information, and I'm still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help to me." 

The man smiled and responded, "You must be a Democrat." 

"I am," replied the balloonist. "How did you know?" 

"Well," said the man, "you don't know where you are or where you're going. You've risen to where you are, due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise that you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem. You're in exactly the same position you were in before we met but, somehow, now it's my fault." 

I thought that was pretty cute. And it was a nice little respite in the midst of all the election rhetoric. 

FROM DONNA'S DOOR

As I write this, a friendís life is hanging by a thread due to a couple of sudden heart attacks. No one would have expected something like this to happen to John because of his relatively laid back way of handling life. But, one never knows. I thought perhaps it would be a good time to share these bits of wisdom from Donnaís door (she tapes things she cuts out to her work room door where I read them) 

Itís OK to . . .

Invite friends over if the house is a mess (they'll love you for it).

Serve a meal without every single food group represented.

Only haul out and display half of the holiday decorations this year.

Make cakes and cookies using a mix.

Let the answering machine get it.

Sing along with the car radio, no matter how tone deaf you may be.

Leave the beds unmade.

Applaud the achievements of other people's kids without feeling jealous.

Let autumn leaves gather wherever nature blows them.

Bring store-bought goodies to the PTA fund-raiser.

Skip the panty hose on hot days.

Let your kids make their own entertainment.

Color outside the lines.

Have a U-Zap-It night on which everyone reheats her own dinner from leftovers in the fridge.

Tell kids "No" without telling them why.

Let someone else be responsible for a change.

Go to bed early.

Take a vacation without an itinerary.

Put the local pizza place on speed-dial.

Let the dishes pile up once in a while.

Put off until tomorrow what you could have done today.

*************
 

THOSE SERVING

OK Ė back to the Center for a moment. The papers for the new corporation will have been filed by the time you get this. We have requested a starting date of January 1, 2005. As of this writing there are six trustees who have agreed to serve on the board of the incorporated Teaching & Sharing Center. 

Mike George
Sarah Gibbons
Rick McKenzie
Paul Pretzlaff
Ann Sanders
Kim Winchell

There will ultimately be between 7 and 13 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. Or, if you live close enough to regularly check your mailbox at the Center, a copy of emails could be printed for you. 

It is most likely I will be serving as Executive Director of the corporation unless God surprises me by having someone step forward indicating a sense of call and desire to enter into that role. This is the reason you do not see my name listed among those who are on the Board of Trustees. 

PURPOSE STATEMENT

The purpose stated on the incorporation papers will serve 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. 

FINANCIAL STUFF

Filing the papers creating the T&SC non-profit corporation does not yet make your contributions tax deductible. First the corporation must seek and be approved for 501(C)3 designation by the IRS. I have been told that this process can  take

How things stand on the money front as of 11/03/04

Center operating funds in the bank   $   74.00
     

Just the basic expenses in            November

     467.95

December

     430.88

January*

   1542.14
     

* includes property taxes officially due the first part of February

   


some time. Please understand, this whole year has been one of questionable survival for the Center right from the beginning. And, there are still bills to pay through the end of the year as a sole-proprietorship. So far, God has sustained us. Yet, with neither Donna nor I currently having a regular income (Donna lost her job early in October), we are no longer in a position to be the security net for the Center. Plus, incorporation does not magically make money appear. It will take some time to see if this path secures the future of the Center a little better. If you were one of those voicing the desire to see the Center continue, please be as generous as you are able, particularly during this time of transition. 
 

ONLINE DONATIONS CAN BE MADE THROUGH THE BOOKSTORE


ANOTHER ONE FROM MY EMAILS

When I receive an interesting, humorous, or email whose message I think should be shared, I save it in a "possible newsletter item" folder. The following is one of those. I choose to share it at this time because we are heading into one of the busiest times of the year where we find ourselves rushing around. And, at least in this part of the country, we do it in less than perfect weather conditions. 

The Life You Save . . .

Jack took a long look at his speedometer before slowing down: 73 in a 55 zone. Fourth time in as many months. How could a guy get caught so often? When his car had slowed to 10 miles an hour, Jack pulled over, but only partially. Let the cop worry about the potential traffic hazard. Maybe some other car will tweak his backside with a mirror. The cop was stepping out of his car, the big pad in hand. 

"Bob? Bob from Church?" 

Jack sunk farther into his trench coat. This was worse than the coming ticket. A cop catching a guy from his own church. A guy who happened to be a little eager to get home after a long day at the office. A guy he was about to play golf with tomorrow. Jumping out of the car, he approached a man he saw every Sunday, a man he'd never seen in uniform. 

"Hi, Bob. Fancy meeting you like this." 

"Hello, Jack." No smile. 

"Guess you caught me red-handed in a rush to see my wife and kids." 

"Yeah, I guess." Bob seemed uncertain. Good. 

"I've seen some long days at the office lately. I'm afraid I bent the rules a bit - just this once." Jack toed at a pebble on the pavement. "Diane said something about roast beef and potatoes tonight. Know what I mean?" 

"I know what you mean. I also know that you have a reputation in our precinct." 

Ouch. This was not going in the right direction. Time to change tactics. "What did you clock me at?" 

"Seventy. Would you sit back in your car please?" 

"Now wait a minute here, Bob. I checked as soon as I saw you. I was barely nudging 65." The lie seemed to come easier with every ticket. 

"Please, Jack, in the car." 

Flustered, Jack hunched himself through the still-open door. Slamming it shut, he stared at the dashboard. He was in no rush to open the window. The minutes ticked by. Bob scribbled away on the pad. Why hadn't he asked for a driver's license? Whatever the reason, it would be a month of Sundays before Jack ever sat near this cop again. A tap on the door jerked his head to the left. There was Bob, a folded paper in hand Jack rolled down the window a mere two inches, just enough room for Bob to pass him the slip. 

"Thanks." Jack could not quite keep the sneer out of his voice. 

Bob returned to his police car without a word. Jack watched his retreat in the mirror. Jack unfolded the sheet of paper. How much was this one going to cost? Wait a minute. What was this? Some kind of joke? Certainly not a ticket. Jack began to read: 

"Dear Jack, Once upon a time I had a daughter. She was six when killed by a car. You guessed it - a speeding driver. A fine and three months in jail, and the man was free. Free to hug his daughters. All three of them. I only had one, and I'm going to have to wait until Heaven before I can ever hug her again. A thousand times I've tried to forgive that man. A thousand times I thought I had. Maybe I did, but I need to do it again. Even now. Pray for me. And be careful, Jack, my son is all I have left." 

"Bob" 

Jack turned around in time to see Bob's car pull away and head down the road. Jack watched until it disappeared. A full 15 minutes later, he too, pulled away and drove slowly home, praying for forgiveness and hugging a surprised wife and kids when he arrived. 

Life is precious.
 Handle with care.
Drive safely and carefully.
Remember, cars are not the only things recalled by their maker.


Closing ~ ABOUT THE ELECTION ~ Thoughts

One of the times I am most proud to be an American is on Election Day. The experience of peacefully waiting in line to express my opinion through voting never ceases to be awe inspiring. This year was no exception as we amicably chatted with others also waiting to express their choices. 

Not a big fan of the media, I would be remiss if I did not praise them for what I think was an exceptional job of reporting the 2004 election. I watched mostly CBS, but also NBC, ABC and very briefly PBS. I donít usually spend much time watching election results, but the circumstances this year were very dramatic and exciting both in the sense of what was specifically happening and for the overall dynamic of the election process in America. I ended up watching until 6:00 a.m. I think the networks all did a great job of keeping caution in their judgment calls, and explaining why they were saying what they were saying. I liked Kerryís decision to ďlet the votes be countedĒ before jumping to a concession. And I liked the way President Bush balanced his response in handling that situation. Whether you were pleased by the outcome or not, all in all, I think it was a grand day to be an American. 

Godís peace,                             



Mini7News is sent quarterly to members of "the poet's circle." Viewpoints expressed here are those of the poet, william, who is solely responsible for it's content. Permission is granted for reproduction of williamís original articles and graphics only. You have received this by email or regular mail because you are on the poetís circle mailing list by your request or because you have shown a strong interest in the works of william and the Teaching & Sharing Center. If this has been done in error and you wish your name removed from this list, simply email william@wsharing.net or phone 627-7366 (toll free 877-wsharing) and request that your name be removed. A confirmation will be sent. 

 

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