The SotS Board serves as stewards of the School of the Spirit Ministry, a ministry of prayer and teaching devoted to the “school of the spirit”, as understood by early Friends. Its role is to uphold the Core Characteristics, essential features of the ministry which are made manifest in its programming.
The Board is a community of prayer, its members having discerned a call to the Ministry. It serves in the role of elders to the ministers, the staff who carry the responsibility of administering and teaching the programs offered by the Ministry.
The Board is responsible for the management and oversight of the Ministry’s finances. It secures funding (beyond program fees) for the Ministry through such means as annual appeals and grants.
For the first 25 years, The School of the Spirit Ministry was under the care of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting’s Worship and Care Standing Committee, the nature of the relationship articulated in the Memorandum of Understanding between Worship and Care Standing Committee and the School of the Spirit Ministry. In 2015 SotS and PYM amicably agreed to separate given PYM’s restructuring and focus within the yearly meeting. In 2016 SotS adopted its bylaws, incorporated in the state of Michigan, and received its determination from the IRS as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization
Meetings of the Board are undergirded in prayer, and business is conducted in the spirit of worship. Discernment of programming and curricula, and the names of teachers and board members arise from worship. Also out of worship, past teachers and Board members may be invited to serve as elders to the Board. Ministers attend and participate fully in the prayer and work of Board meetings, with the possible exception of times when the Board can consider more forthrightly, in their absence, matters of business pertaining directly to them.
The Board meets five to six times a year, times determined by Board members and ministers, dependent upon Ministry need. A weekend-long retreat is scheduled in the autumn.
Committees of the Board include:
Development – oversees the long-term sustainability of the Ministry
Finance – prepare budgets and periodic financial statements for review and approval by the Board
Teacher Enrichment – receives proposals from teachers to enrich their spiritual lives and their capacity to teach
Other ad hoc committees, such as Admissions, Spiritual Renewal Retreat, and Scholarships, are appointed as needed.
Officers of the Board include:
Clerk – prepare agenda and preside at Board meetings; liaison with staff; facilitate Board and Committee communication between meeting times;
Recording Clerk – take minutes at Board meetings; distribute minutes to Board members; maintain Ministry minute book
Treasurer – working closely with Ministry staff responsible for administrative aspects; submit Ministry budget; assure compliance with State and Federal requirements.
The Board carries the responsibility of putting out the call for new ministers, for affirming and supporting the ministers in their work, and for discerning the need for release from the Ministry (Memorandum of Understanding – SOTS Board and Core Staff).
The Board, through prayerful listening and discernment with the ministers, carries the responsibility for the ongoing discernment of God’s call to the Ministry. This responsibility includes the discernment of the body under whose care the Ministry may remain most faithful to that call. It includes, also, the responsibility for discerning when it may be time to lay the Ministry down.
The day-to-day running of SotS and the implementation of its vision and goals are overseen by its Administrator, who also serves ex officio on the SotS Board. The Administrator works closely with the Board, its committees, and guides the engagement of those who volunteer their time with the Ministry.