At the April 11 Meeting for Worship with attention to Business, Anne Supplee and I (TCFM Clerk) were directed to acknowledge John Martinson’s letter relinquishing his ministry to TCFM’s physical home.
We sent the Martinsons the following letter:
April 17, 2008Dear John,
& Jonetta and Angela,
& Kate and Gillian
How important all of you are to the life of this meeting! Your family has opened itself to include TCFM. You have chosen and invested in us, maturing into who you currently are, in our context, and you have extended your family devotion to many members of the Meeting community.This is foremost a letter to John, thanking him for his ministry to the physical home of TCFM. However, what John has offered has come out of the Martinson family as a whole, and any proper recognition of what he has accomplished must begin with the importance of his entire family for John’s life and work. For instance, we must recognize that after John spends hours at the meetinghouse, he goes home to Fran. The John we see in decades-long service to the meeting is really John-and-Fran. We see an example of Fran’s offerings, in her own right, in the design and implementation of the kitchen, but we know that she also has made a huge contribution to the Meeting through sustaining John’s work, intellectually, emotionally and financially.
And what a work John has wrought! It is easiest to point to the carpentry. The beautiful wood surfaces in the meeting room and the fellowship room shine with the skill, care and patience that are characteristic of John’s work. Less easy to see are John’s skill and care in working with the trades-people who have serviced the meeting, and with the various offices of city government that concern themselves with our public building.
And then there are John’s contributions to the original creation of the new building. He combined his carpenter’s eye with an understanding of the kinds of space in which Quakers can feel comfortable. He spent many hours with the building’s architect, with Ralphs Hilgendorf and Jacobson, and many others, to deeply consider the meeting’s needs and to skillfully combine them with the Saint Paul building codes and the existing structure at 1725 Grand Avenue to produce a serviceable, beautiful building. The huge folding doors that open the meeting room to the library for overflow seating are just one example of the care and ingenuity that the Building Construction, Maintenance and Repair Committee has brought to the ongoing life of the Meeting.
John, we thank you for the ministry to our home, which you now lay down, during this personally-challenging time. We recognize that the power of your ministry to our physical space comes partly out of the larger life you have lived. You have served our community in many other ways, as Clerk of Meeting and as a member of Ministry and Counsel. Your service on innumerable clearness and support committees has allowed many of us to benefit personally from your careful listening and remarkable compassion and caring. You have served many years in other Quaker institutions, from the national Friends General Conference Long Range Planning Committee to the local Friends For a Non-Violent World. And, in and out of these institutions, you have served causes Quakers love, like your decades-long work with draft and military counseling.
In your ministry to provide and sustain a physical home to our community you have been a teacher and source of empowerment to all who were interested. From helping interested community members take a part in laying the hardwood floor in the meeting room to including the shattered pipe from the sprinkler system in your report to Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business, you have shared your knowledge and your love of your work with us.
Thank you, John E. Martinson, for your ministry to this community,
Richard Fuller & Anne Supplee
Clerks of Twin Cities Friends Meeting,
writing at the behest of the April 11, 2008
Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business