One of the jewels of the Twin Cities Pagan scene is the organization, Harmony Tribe. Their annual meeting, open to the public, was held on Saturday, October 13, 2012 from 1-4pm at Black Bear Crossings in Como Park.
Meeting highlights included a recap of the past year, including approval of minutes, listing the Treasurer’s Annual Financial Report, certifying current memberships and renewing memberships for 2013, nominating and electing officers, committee sign-ups and finding a theme for the Sacred Harvest Festival in 2013. New business included a vigorous and often humorous discussion of a variety of potential themes for Sacred Harvest Festival 2013, confirmation of the date and location for the November Meet-and-Greet and a formal announcement of the agenda for the next council meeting. The meeting began at 1pm with a spiritual opening and ended at 3:42pm.
Some suggestions which did not make the list for Sacred Harvest 2013 include the following: New or Next Generation, [Member Tasha Rose commented “When I see this I think of a Star Trek convention.”], Discover Wealth by Sharing Wealth, which was panned as sounding like a financial seminar, and Bedknobs and Broomsticks. During the discussion, Nels Linde noted that there is a dark moon during the festival next year. This might be a factor in consideration of a theme. Several themes had substantial discussion, however a proposal at the annual meeting to defer a final decision until the October council meeting passed unanimously.
A brief discussion ensued regarding the location and adequate space for the November Meet-and-Greet. The Harmony Tribe Meet-and-Greet has a large attendance. It is when all members come and convince their friends to come and become members. It was agreed that a private home was not appropriate for a Meet-and-Greet since Harmony Tribe is a non-profit organization. Suggested options ranged from local stores to a park with fire pits and kitchen space to a local church. A decision was made for members present to look for locations which would fit both the space and financial needs of Harmony Tribe for the November Meet-and-Greet. The final dates are posted on their website Sat Nov 17th at Magus Books.
One possible innovation for future Harmony Tribe meetings will be the use of Skype or Google Plus to facilitate members who are unable to attend but who can be present via technology. This will be discussed during upcoming council meetings.
After the meeting adjourned at 3:42pm, two Harmony Tribe members, Steward Judy Olson-Linde and Council Member-at-Large Nels Linde spoke candidly about the recent changes in Harmony Tribe and their most successful accomplishment to date: successful submission of a 501(c)3 application to the Internal Revenue Service. As a charitable organization, this is a necessary component.
How did it come about that Harmony Tribe chose now to file?
Nels Linde: “The main pressure for Harmony Tribe was the 27 month deadline after a charitable organization acquires incorporation in the State of Minnesota to submit the paperwork. Harmony Tribe filed their incorporation paperwork in the twenty-seventh month (September, 2012). Final approval should arrive in January or February, 2013. For us, it is a victory, because in previous years the leadership and the membership were not going in the same direction. In addition, there was a there was a substantial amount of work done with MAP for Non Profits, a St. Paul-based organization which works specifically with local nonprofit organization.”
How many meetings did it take before Harmony Tribe was ready to file the incorporation papers?
Nels Linde: “There were four actual meetings. The first was to amend Harmony Tribe’s Articles of Incorporation. There were two rounds of document submission to a local attorney, followed by a final meeting and review with the attorney. During the course of the past 27 months, we [Harmony Tribe] reviewed the by-laws and policies.”
Judy Olson-Linde: “Everyone was behind them. The process is held up when the group is not unanimous in vision, laws, policies and values.”
What other important changes happened during this 27 month period?
Nels Linde explained: “Our election process changed. We removed the politics out of Harmony Tribe. We now have a fairly unanimous council and membership. Our change began by asking: who is good at keeping notes? Who is good at keeping track of money? Who is good at running a meeting? Now we have three administrative roles: Steward, Scribe and Bursar. Today we had nominations of 3-4 people for each office. Many did not accept the nominations. We happened to have ended up with the same individuals who did the job in the previous year.”
Who are the new holders of the Administrative Roles for Harmony Tribe?
Steward: Judy Olson-Linde
Scribe: Shandelle Duffy
Bursar: Rachel Goodman
How is this different? Has anything changed for the better?
Nels Linde: “Before we had Directors. Now we have Council Members at Large and three administrative roles. We’ve never had an annual meeting in less than three hours. This is a good positive step.”
Judy Olson-Linde added, “We start our meetings with a spiritual opening. Today we started the meeting, holding hands, stating one word, something you want to manifest over the next year for Harmony Tribe. In the past things were different. Now the policy is that every meeting has to start with a spiritual opening. This is one of our values. It demonstrates both how easy and how hard it is to do as a group. We had to make it a part of our policy. It makes it more human. It is easier to be more tolerant and patient with each other when we share a sacred moment before starting work.”
Did you notice any rough spots during this process?
Judy Olson Linde: “The overall process was depoliticized from last year. Both the state and the Feds impose bureaucratic structure on any nonprofit. We don’t operate as a corporation. The idea in a corporation is that if it doesn’t work out, chuck them. By taking on the names (e.g. Bursar, Scribe and Steward), we may have to take on structures dictated by the government, but we don’t have to take on [the rest].”
Nels Linde: “Today we added six council members and reinstated council members at large.”
How can new members become more involved with Harmony Tribe’s operational process?
Nels Linde: “New members can become Council Members-at-Large by going to two meetings and working on committees. We let members demonstrate that they want to participate on committees, then they become council members. This takes out the separation of leadership from the hands. If you do the work, you make the decisions. This is not [a version of] if you’re popular, then you make the decisions.”
Are there any additional accomplishments which Harmony Tribe wishes to announce?
Nels Linde: “Harmony Tribe almost doubled net earnings by an income increase of 25% and decrease in expenses by 25%.”
Judy Olson-Linde: “Yes, we had a great treasury report. We are stingy about spending money and generous about donating. “
Are there any upcoming events?
Harmony Tribe has a Meet-and-Greet on Saturday, November 17, 2012 at 3p.m at Magus Books and Herbs in Dinkytown. As always, the event is open to the public. Harmony Tribe welcomes new members.