“The Star. . .” Newsletter to “StarGift Project News #21

In November 2015, we were pleased to inform you that our project has evolved and  StarGift Project Inc. is now a 501(c )(3) nonprofit organization.

With this newsletter we have a couple of announcements. . .

and what we think is some interesting reading!


#1.  We have a new web site for StarGift Project Inc. www.stargiftproject.org

#2.  The newsletter itself is being moved from our previous web site to a new location.  For this and future newsletters you can access our blog location: www.stargiftproject.org/wordpress

#3.  We are changing the name of the newsletter from “The Star. . . “ to “StarGift Project News

#4.  Hahn, the author of “The Star Who Almost Wasn’t There,” for which the newsletter was originally named, has completed the text of the first sequel to that book!”

Book Jacket for The Star Who Almost Wasn't There.You may remember that The Star Who Almost Wasn’t There tells the story of a little star who could not glow, and how he searches for a child to love, one who will love him too.  It is through an encounter with the new born Christ child that the star received the gift of great light and becomes the Star of Bethlehem!


With the author’s permission, we would like to share the new copy righted story with you.

Click below to read the text of:

Jesus is my Best Friend Forever!

We hope that you will choose to share your thoughts on the new story with us as well as ideas you may have for sharing it with children everywhere.

Send your comments to starcenter1@stargiftproject.org

Hahn is working on illustrations so we expect to have this story published soon!

Please visit our Fundraising overview page online to learn how you can earn funds for your church group or non-profit organization.

“The Star. . .” Newsletter #20, Nov. 30, 2015

Wonderful News!

StarGift Project Inc. is now officially a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation!

This means that should you choose to make donations, they will be tax deductible.  But I digress. Most of 2015 has been spent organizing a small board of directors, and filing the paperwork to achieve this goal!

Members of Board of Directors with a few of their children

The StarGift Project Inc. is organized exclusively for religious, educational and charitable purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code The mission and vision statements are as follows:

  • Our mission is:  To be a source of inspiring faith in youth and their families through the creative arts.
  • Our vision is to provide original inspirational material about the nature of God and Jesus Christ through mediums that are engaging, simple to understand and foundational to a life-long relationship with God. 

We aspire that through the education provided in these materials, some of the audience may choose to seek God, become followers of Jesus and grow to be more open and receptive to others of faith.

Our materials are non-denominational and present basic underpinnings of faith in God and Jesus as Messiah.  We believe it is necessary, as our society becomes increasingly secular, to share with children how they can choose to be in relationship with God through Jesus Christ and what this can mean in their lives.  In time, as they mature into young adults, they will understand that this is an option which they may choose:  To grow the spark of faith within them, to seek understanding of God’s will for us, and to grow with Him.

We seek to engage churches and other nonprofits that serve youth as StarGift Partners to:

  1. Distribute donated copies of StarGift Materials to children who otherwise may not learn of God and Jesus
  2. To create events based on sharing the story in different ways through performance arts or engaging the children in creative activities focused on the stories
  3. To engage donors in purchasing materials  as donations for distribution

Sharing Donations:

We are sharing some donations with Partner Organizations.  Each book donation includes a small donation to the organization that will distribute the book(s) and to StarGift Project Inc.  And in the event that our donations exceed our annual plans, we will give those excess donations to organizations that support adults with developmental disabilities.

You may think of these sharing activities  as planting tiny mustard seeds from which great faith may grow.  Or you may think about this mission as like taking Sunday School out into the community.

The Star Who AlBook Jacket for The Star Who Almost Wasn't There.most Wasn’t There, the book with which you are already familiar and for which this newsletter is named, is just our first creative offering. 

More News!  We have two more stories in development:



  • The first is told in rhyme like “The Star Who Almost Wasn’t There.”  In this story children will learn how the Star and Jesus become Best Friends Forever and how Jesus tells Star He has a special mission. . . but before he can learn what it is, he must study and learn a great deal from our Father in Heaven.  And then Jesus tells Star that he will teach Star what He learns from the Father.  This opens the door to stories of adventures that the child Jesus and Star share.  Within  each adventure will be another  teaching from God to Jesus to Star.
  • The second story will focus on Jesus as a young Jewish child as his family is preparing for their Passover Seder.  The boys will have an adventure on a trip into the marketplace with Joseph to purchase a young male lamb for sacrifice and feast.  Within this story, is another story as Jesus tells Star what he has learned about Passover, why it is celebrated. . .and of course Jesus invites Star to join his family for their feast and celebration.  At the market they encounter a child of special needs.  You can imagine the wonderful message of love Jesus shares with Star!

And More News!  We also have plans with a musician/vocal teacher to put together a small musical and flashmob to tell the story of The Star Who Almost Wasn’t There at various locations throughout the season in 2016!

We need your participation!  StarGift Project Inc. has a board of directors of course.  But we are hoping to expand this board in time with people of faith, who believe in our mission and who bring talents and skills that we will need as we grow.  We would like these people to come from different denominations representing several different area churches Of course we have need of many volunteers to help us get things done.  But at the moment, the thing we need the most is for everyone who would like to help StarGift Project Inc.  grow, to spread the word!  Tell all your friends and family . . .tell everyone you know from church and other nonprofit organizations that serve children.  Share via email and social media.  Help us to get interviews on local and Christian radio. . .on web sites. . .on facebook Web site:  www.stargiftproject.org  [i.e. Star Gift Project . .with no spaces] Email:  starcenter1@stargiftproject.org Facebook:

  • Page hosted by Star for children:  “The Star Who Almost Wasn’t There”
  • Page for StarGift Project Inc. information/donations etc.  “StarGift Project Inc.” will be ready soon.

If you are a member of a local church or a nonprofit that serves children, volunteer to be a StarGift Ambassador and encourage your church or groups within your organization to become a StarGift Partners. If you wish to volunteer in any capacity, or to explore the possibility send a brief email to the address above and we will contact you. And, as always, pray for StarGift Project Inc.

A love bigger than life itself


God doesn’t exist!  Or does He?  What has He ever done for me?  I don’t need Him!  Or do I?

So, you aren’t interested in church or religion.  I get it!  I do.  Been there.  But are you ever curious about why people seek God in their lives?  Do you think people only turn to God when they are suffering?  Are you curious about prayer and whether anyone is listening?  Or do you wonder sometimes why God doesn’t prevent bad things?  And even as you feel uncomfortable about ‘religion,’ do you ever feel a desire to let God in?

I am not a theologian.  I am a sinner.  Not that I ever intended to be such. Nevertheless, I am a sinner who has turned to God and found everything I have ever needed.  With just that meager credential, I think I can recommend a delicious starting place to learn enough to decide if you might want to seek God as well.

“Redeeming Love” is the title of a book by Francine Rivers.  It is an enlightening work of fiction which has its roots in a book of the Old Testament, Hosea.  Both books illustrate the greatness of God’s love for us.  Hosea seems difficult, at first, but “Redeeming Love” is an easy read, a story that flies by, and one which helps us to understand the story of Hosea.

Before I say more, let me tell you how I came to learn of the Rivers book and to read it.  It was another of many seeming magical moments in my life when I feel guided to new understanding.

[note: text in red represent the words that Jesus spoke]

Not long ago, I was reading the Bible.  I was specifically reading the first of the gospels of the New Testament, Matthew. . .as I am inclined to do from time to time, trying to understand exactly what Jesus had to say to us.  I am trying to gain understanding fully in context. . .and in a personal manner.  I seek understanding of both heart and mind.

My reading came to an abrupt halt when I read these words which Jesus spoke:

“But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.”  – Matthew 12:7

I thought to myself. . .I just read this!  Am I reading the same sentence over? So I went back through pages I had read earlier and found this:

“But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’  For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” – Matthew 9:13

As you can imagine I began to think about the significance that Jesus gave this message twice. . .on two different occasions.  So I began to study the context of each.

In the first instance, the Pharisees question His disciples asking “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus overhears their question and responds by telling them:

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick .” – Matthew 9:12

And then He tells them they should learn the meaning of I desire mercy and not sacrifice.

[Who exactly are the Pharisees?  According to dictionary.com  they were “members of a Jewish sect that flourished during the 1st centry b.c. and 1st century a.d. and that differed from the Sadducees chiefly in its strict observance of religious ceremonies and practices, adherence to oral laws and tradition, and belief in an afterlife and the coming of a Messiah.”(1) Jesus called them hypocrites.  They impose punishment on those who break God’s law, as they see it, and hold themselves above these lawbreakers, while in their own way they are in violation of God’s teachings.  Of course, they do not see in themselves, what Jesus sees in them.]

I returned to the second instance of this message.  In this case the Pharisees were once again calling out Jesus because His disciples were doing what was not lawful. . .eating the grain from fields on the Sabbath! Jesus says:

“Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests?  Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless?  Yet I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the temple.  But if you had known what this means, ‘I want mercy and not sacrifice’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.  For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

So I began to ponder the meaning of these words. . .”I want mercy and not sacrifice”. . .and as I studied them I realized that each time this phrase appears in my bible, there is a reference number next to it.  The reference is:

Hosea 6:6

Like a good mystery, that grabbed my attention and perked my interest in understanding the book of Hosea.  It is a book in the Old Testament, written by the Prophet Hosea whom God used in a most surprising way.

I found that the book of Hosea is not an easy read!  It is more poetry than prose and as I struggled to understand it, my head started reeling.

What I gleaned from my first reading what that God asks a man, Hosea, to take a wife of character which you would expect Hosea to disdain. God says to him:

“Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry
And children of harlotry,
For the land has committed great harlotry
By departing from the Lord.”


What?  Why?  Why would you God, ask your follower to take on a sinner as a spouse.  I’m sure in his faithfulness to you he imagined that you would reward him with a woman of equal faith.  I can’t imagine that Hosea didn’t have questions about this.  Perhaps he wondered at his own sanity.  Had he really heard God speaking to him?  But he was a man of faith. . .of deep and abiding faith. . .and he did what God asked of him.

As I read further, I gleaned that God was quite angry.  There is paragraph after paragraph of God calling out the children of Israel on their betrayal and their sins; their faithlessness. I finally gave up, at least for the moment, trying to understand what in the world this book of Hosea is about.  It seems so contrary to the idea that God wants us to refrain from sin.  It was rather confusing.

But God often puts words in front of me.  . .that I cannot ignore.  It is how He guides me.

And so it was that a couple of days later I came across a facebook posting from my friend Gretchen.  She posted that she is participating in a book study.  I had seen this information before and had thought then, perhaps I should join Gretchen. . .but time passed and I did not take action.  However, this time her post went on:  Gretchen noted that she had purchased the book and opened it the night before. . .and could not put it down.  That alone got my attention because I love a book I can’t put down.  And then she made the point in her post that the book is supposed to be based on the book of Hosea in the bible.

Oh my!  Was this a gentle nudge. . .or a firm rap on the knuckles for giving up too easily?  Hmmmmm.

In any event, it moved me to action.  I went to my local library and found that indeed they do have the book “Redeeming Love” by Francine Rivers. . .so I checked it out.  The cover. . .what can I say about the cover?  It looks like a Harlequin Romance novel;  Definitely not my thing.  And Francine Rivers, as it turns out is indeed a romance novelist.  Am I sure I want to do this? The cover of the book I got from the library is shown. It has a beautiful woman on the front, a highly romanticized painting. But because it is supposed to be connected to Hosea. . .and because I felt a familiar compulsion, I opened it and began reading.

I could not put it down either!

I finished the book the very next day.

It is not a romance story in the classic sense.  No, it is so much better.  It is so much more enlightening.  It is the story of God’s unrelenting love for us, His children as told through the fictional account of characters with whom I could rather easily relate.

I am overwhelmed by this story.

On the surface, it is just a good read.

It is set in the California Gold Rush.  From the back cover we can learn, it is the story of Angel who “expects nothing from men but betrayal. Sold into prostitution as a child, she survives by keeping her hatred alive.  And what she hates most are the men who user her, leaving her empty and dead inside.”

And it is the story of “Michael Hosea who seeks his Father’s heart in everything.  Michael Hosea obeys God’s call to marry Angel and to love her unconditionally.”  I can tell you that as the story unfolds, Michael learns that he has his work cut out for him. . .and he begins to question his own relationship with God, while Angel resists any relationship with God.

And yet, it is God who heals the frozen heart of Angel and woos her with His love.

I know God loves us.  But through this story I grasped the bigness of His love which is infinite. . .like the universe, ever increasing.  I thought, we throw the expression unconditional love around far too easily.  This is so much bigger.

The word unrelenting did not occur to me. . .but as a new member of the study group I received a guide to the book of Hosea in the bible.  I opened the first page and saw: “Hosea: God’s Unrelenting Love.”

I know that is the right word.

Unrelenting.  You can run away. . .but you will be drawn back.  God will give you the freedom to turn away from Him. . .but He will not let you go.

He has given you free will.  He will not force you back.  He will allow you to experience the consequences, whatever they may be, of your decisions. You may find yourself in circumstances that bring unhappiness that you did not expect.  And perhaps you blame Him for not rescuing you. But all along He will woo you in ways you cannot imagine.

He will woo you until it is His voice you hear in your heart and mind. . .not the voices that wish to entice you away from Him with one trick and deceitful lie or another.

Perhaps a final statement on the back cover puts it best: “A powerful retelling of the book of Hosea, Redeeming Love is a life-changing story of God’s unconditional, redemptive, all-consuming love.”

This is a romance that I feel every adult should read, male and female.  It provides context and guidance for every loving relationship with God and between spouses, parents and children, siblings, friends. . .and even strangers.

And now armed with the creative story of Michael Hosea and Sarah/Angel/Amanda. . .I have the framework to grasp the beauty of how God leads His prophet Hosea to emulate Gods own love for his people, the children of Israel, who repeatedly go astray. . .in sin; How He guides their experiences to provide discipline in a way that ultimately will bring them back to Him. . .while He waits with infinite patience, gentle encouragement, and unbounded love.

For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” – Hosea 6:6

Our God is merciful!  His love and affection remain steadfast regardless of the depth of our sin.  And His love is so great that He allows us to suffer the misery our sin brings.  Yes, He allows us to reap the consequences of our choices.  He knows that it is this misery and the desperation it drives that begins our turning back to Him. His love will not be subdued.

The most important thing to understand about God is:  No matter how much or how we have sinned, how filthy we feel we have become with sin, He will make us clean. He will do for us that which we cannot do for ourselves.  He will make us holy. He redeems us.  He will love us, period.

It is not a question of how can I redeem myself so that God will accept me.  He loves us as we are.  We need only turn to Him seeking redemption. . .and through His grace we are purified, clean and holy.

Once, I had an experience that gave me a new understanding of what the word ‘peace’ really means.  It was a profound change in my heart and mind and the word now means something much greater than it once did for me.  There are not even words to describe it. The best I can do is share that peace is golden. . .and warm. . .with no worries. . .no concerns.  None.  Buzzing with happiness.  Pure bliss.

Now again I am experiencing  a profound change in my understanding of His love. . .how great it is. . .great beyond my ability to imagine. . .it is indeed unrelenting.

That is the great message of “Redeeming Love.”  But you will learn more too. Perhaps you have not known a healthy God loving relationship in your life.  This story shares something of Gods plans for a loving relationship in a marriage, in family, in fellowship with others. . .and even with strangers.

You will see the best dynamics of each. . .and in some cases the shortcomings we, in our humanity, display as we struggle in our lives. Image of two opposing cliffs bridged by the word "grace" Thank you Francine Rivers for taking the time to understand the book of Hosea. . .and for bringing your gifts to build a bridge to understanding the greatness that is our Father in Heaven.

I hope some of you are intrigued. . .and interested in learning how to seek Him!  I hope that others may become so intrigued by reading “Redeeming Love.”

StarGift Project Minutes – July 15, 2015

StarGift Project
July 15, 2015
6:30 PM


Pam Hieser
Jodi Lancaster
Chad Emmett

Meeting commenced with a prayer for guidance.

  1. Before filing Articles I need to reserve a name.  The form for requesting a name. . .or verifying that the name is not already taken, requires submission of 3 options.  Although we were open to changing the name entirely. . .apparently the ‘StarGift’ element is liked by all.  We agreed to the following options:
    1. StarGift Project
    2. HisStarGift
    3. StarGift

Once I have a name reserved, I will update Articles and Bylaws. . .then I will bring the Articles form around to each incorporator for signature.

  1. Discussed difficulty of communication with technology.  LOL.  Lengthy emails are difficult to read on phones.  Not everyone has home computer to work from and it is not appropriate to use work computers.
    1. Pam is considering taking advantage of back to school sales to provide a computer to each Officer or Director specifically for StarGift communications.
    2. Might consider setting up a server and getting netbooks that can connect to the same server and we can all work on it remotely.
    3. Until a decision is made. . .Pam will send emails after 5:00 PM so they do not interfere with work day.  Try to keep them short as possible.
  2. We began to go through the list of activities [thought starters].  As we did so, we volunteered to follow up on certain ones [short term] and added a few as follows
    1. Chad:
    2. Jodi:
    3. Pam

i.      Call to Anderson Merchandiser

ii.      Call to Don Ammerman to see if he can be engaged in providing help with sound/video etc.

iii.      Create display at campground for their Christmas in July event to market star ornaments, books etc.

B.  Jodi:

                      i.      Take a cut at chunking out some short term activities each month for the next 3 months so we can get names/tasks in a manageable format.

ii.      Take two books to Susan and Andy of local radio station and talk to them about StarGift Project.  [Prepare what is to be communicated.]

iii.      Draft a short ‘teaching aide’ for parents to accompany the book.

C.  Pam:

                       i.      Star costume for events – with Jodi

ii.      Record rap tune for youtube video – with Sarah

iii.      Submit the text of the story to Christian family magazines in context of an article about StarGift Project.  [Contract with publish is non-exclusive]

iv.      Work on coloring book version

v.      Work on second/third stories

  1. Discussed growing the organization.
    1. We need to identify the skills needed on the Board of Directors and identify candidates we’d like to engage.
    2. We need to identify persons of faith with skills which would be of use and try to engage them as volunteers
    3. We came up with some names.  These are documented in an excel spreadsheet and available to the Directors.
    4. A lot of advertising and awareness building is dependent upon our reach through social media.  We have to understand how to get a very large following. . .what social media to utilize. . .how to best manage it.
  2. We agreed that we probably will need to ‘hire’ a person who is knowledgeable about this to focus on building the social network.
    1. Work by project?
    2. Part time?
  3. Agreed that the Board should probably have to meet no more than quarterly. . .but that the Officers will continue to meet every 2 weeks as we work on extending the influence and wait to hear if we are granted nonprofit status. [Let’s shoot to have our current tasks completed by then.]


Meeting closed at 7:30 with a prayer.


Next Meeting:  July 29th – 6:30 – Location to be determined.  [Chad’s birthday. . .may have to have a little cake and ice cream!]


StarGift Project Minutes – June 25, 2015

StarGift Project
June 25, 2015
6:30 PM


Pam Hieser
Jodi Lancaster
Chad Emmett

Meeting commenced with a prayer for guidance.

  1. Outstanding questions on the bylaws:
    1. Agreed to keep reference to 501(c)(3) in Article II and to add it to our Articles of Incorporation.
    2. Agreed to the text re:   donating net profits to organizations that serve adults with developmental disabilities in Article II.
    3. Agreed that Incorporating Directors would serve for life or until they choose to resign or are removed for cause. Also agreed to use the term Incorporating Directors in making the distinction.
    4. We agreed to remove the text that states that the Chairperson is subject to committees in Article VI Section 1.  The Chairperson is subject to the Board of Directors.
    5. Agreed to the wording for audit schedule in Article IX Section 4.


  1. We agreed to minor changes in wording re: Qualifications of Directors in Article IV, Section 4.  I will seek out guidance from Eric Swanson before nailing this section.


  1. We began a discussion on next steps and how to proceed




  1. Both long range planning and short range planning is needed.  For 2015, Christmas is right around the corner.  We need to do some short range planning re:  How to get attention on the current book this year.

i.    The more people see the book. . .the better

ii.    Chad agreed to call Anderson Merchandisers to request that it be included in books that will be carried by Wal-Mart for the season.

iii.    Can we get Christian Organizations on campus to market the book as a fundraiser?

iv.    Who can we get to help reach out to Christian Schools and church groups to consider marketing it to donors?

  1. Other Marketing thoughts

i.    We need to find a Marketing Specialist [Who?]

ii.    Can we get students at ISU, IWU to participate in real life marketing projects?

iii.    We need to find someone who is expert in social media marketing

iv.    Pam has been working on a new page for the StarGift web site with information for ‘Partners’. . .at the moment we are calling churches and other nfp organizations that promote the StarGift Project, partners.

  1. Jodi noted that there are marked differences in the way various generations communicate!  Younger generations do not like wordy content.  If they aren’t captured in a couple of sentences, they move on.  So what can we do to engage younger people.  Key point, we need multiple communication models!

i.    Design something easy to digest.. .perhaps cartoon?

ii.    Talked about getting early education and music directors from churches to create mini-pagents and musical events based on the story.  The more we can get it out there the better!

iii.    Can we create a script for such a play-pagent and take it out to some public venues?  [I have a plan documented to create a youthful ‘flash mob’ to take out.  The problem is 1.) getting permission at public venues and 2.) Having equipment that would enable us to conduct a flash mob and video same.  Can students/classes at ISU/IWU etc. help?  Pam spoke to manager of Eastland in 2010, who liked the idea but had to run it up the chain.  He never got back.  Perhaps we can try this again.

  1. For long term planning, Pam brought up the idea of fundraisers.  We’d like to host fundraisers that are unique for our area.  Point:  Think big, start small.
    1. One such idea is to work with several churches to host a Christian Music Festival!  Perhaps we can engage all 4 churches in Le Roy in this event!
    2. In time, that could grow to be more than music. . .and evolve into a Christian Creative Arts Festival. . .to include new stories/plays/songs that teach about Jesus. . .dance. . .art activities etc.  [This could be a way of bringing creative people to the table to share their gifts by creating materials appropriate for children and families as part of the StarGift materials.


  1. We cut off this discussion until D.J. and Eric might be able to participate.  It’s fun to talk about ideas. . .and we need to do that.  But then, we need to prioritize and evaluate what we can realistically get done.  We hope to pick up this discussion at the next meeting.


The meeting was adjourned after a short prayer.

StarGift Project Minutes – June 17, 2015.

StarGift Project
June 17, 2015
6:30 PM


Pam Hieser
Jodi Lancaster
Chad Emmett
D.J. Anderson

Meeting commenced with a prayer for guidance.

  1. Per the agenda we agreed to add the words that D.J. supplied to Article V, Section B. of the Articles of Incorporation as follows:

The Corporation, being organized for charitable purposes will make these materials available to a widespread audience through the generosity of people of faith who wish to share their love of God.  Donated materials will be distributed by a network of participating not-for-profit organizations through their mission networks.  Our goal is to provide these materials at no cost to the final recipient. 

2.   We agreed to add the words provided by Pam Hieser to Article V. Section A, as follows:

 StarGift Project, Inc. will engage people of faith and other not-for-profit organizations as willing participants in providing these materials and events as represented in the following list which may be expanded as need arises.

    •  Creating new media
    • Translating materials into other languages
    • Publishing and producing
    • Distributing materials through mission networks
    • Funding activities listed above

3.  We agreed to add content pointing out our interest in supporting organizations that enable independence among adults with developmental disabilities to Article V.  Pam will draft such statement and put it before this group at the next meeting.

4.  We stepped through the BylawsComparison which presented bylaws from two sources showing the equivalent bylaws side-by-side.  For each we made decisions on:

  •  Whether the bylaw is needed at all
  • If so, whether we should use the wording of one sample over the other
  • If we should combine the two examples.

Pam will now that that information and consolidate the results of our decisions into a document with Bylaws for the StarGift Project.  That document will be made available to Skip Hahn and Pastor Eric Swanson for further input.

[At this writing, that document has been created with pointers back to the original sample documents making it easy to go back to the original references.]

5.  Meeting was adjourned

StarGift Project Minutes – May 13, 2015 Decisions

StarGift Project
May 13, 2015
6:30 PM


Pam Hieser
Jodi Lancaster
Chad Emmett
D. J. Anderson
Pastor Eric Swanson

This was the first face-to-face meeting of members of the group forming the StarGift Project.  The agenda for the meeting is published at the bottom of these minutes.

These minutes cover the discussion leading to an agreement on the content of the Articles of Incorporation that will be filed with the State of Illinois.  We focused on Articles 4 and 5 specifically.

The Mission of StarGift Project is: to be a source of inspiring faith in youth and their families through the creative arts.

  1. We agreed to the following text for Article 4:

StarGift Project Inc. is organized exclusively for religious, educational and charitable purposes with the following mission:  To be a source of inspiring faith in youth and their families through the creative arts.  Our vision is to provide original, inspirational material about the nature of God and Jesus Christ through mediums that are engaging, simple to understand and foundational to a lifelong relationship with God.  It is our aspiration that through the accomplishment of our mission and vision, some of the audience may choose to seek God, become followers of Jesus or grow to be open and receptive to others of faith.


Working from this draft Articles of Incorporation Review,  we agreed to the following changes for Article 4:  {Bold text is inserted;  Eliminated text is crossed out; }

StarGift Project Inc. is organized exclusively for religious, educational and charitable purposes with the following mission:  To be a source of inspiring faith in youth and their families through the creative arts.  We Our vision is to provide original, inspirational material about the nature of God and Jesus Christ through mediums that are non-threatening engaging, simple to understand and foundational to a lifelong relationship with God.  These materials are made available at no cost to the recipients.  We hope/aspire that through the education provired in these materials,  It is our aspiration that through the accomplishment of our mission and vision, some of the audience may choose to seek God, become followers of Jesus and/or grow to be open and receptive to others of faith.  Our Board of Directors provide leadership and counsel to ensure we are achieving our mission.

 List of changes:

  •  We agreed by unanimous vote to the wording of our vision statement:  To provide original, inspirational material about the nature of God and Jesus Christ through mediums that are engaging, simple to understand and foundational to a lifelong relationship with God.
  •  We agreed to eliminate or replace a statement in the original draft: “These materials are made available at no cost to the recipient.”   DJ Anderson  agreed to provide new wording that more accurately describes our intent.  If approved, the new statement will be included either in Article 4 or Article 5.  This decision will be finalized at our next meeting.
  •  We agreed by unanimous vote replace the word “non-threatening” with “engaging.”
  •  We agreed to remove the last statement.
  •  We agreed to a number of moderate wording changes as reflected in the marked-up text.

2.  We agreed by unanimous vote to retain the content of the draft for Article 5 as follows:

Article 5.

Other Provisions:

  1.   StarGift Project, Inc. provides education through production and distribution of creative media and events. All materials and productions will be shaped to provide a consistent message of God’s love for us, the gifts He provides us, and how we can honor Him by sharing our gifts with our brothers and sisters.  These materials will focus attention on how to seek and create a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
  2.  The Corporation, being organized for charitable purposes will make these materials available to a widespread audience through the generosity of people of faith who wish to share their love of God.  Donated materials will be distributed by a network of participating not-for-profit organizations through their mission networks.
  3.  StarGift Project, Inc. will engage people of faith and other not-for-profit organizations as willing participants in providing these materials/events as follows:
  •  Creating new media
  • Translating materials into other languages
  • Publishing and producing
  • Distributing materials through mission networks
  • Funding activities listed above

3.  Pam, Jodi, Chad and DJ agreed to meet weekly for a period of time to complete the Articles of Incorporation and initial draft of by-laws.  The latter will then be tendered for input from Pastor Eric and ‘Skip’ Hahn.

The next meeting is Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at the home of Jodi Lancaster.

Agenda for 5/13/2015:  StarGift Project face-to-face Agenda

To view these minutes in a word document:  StarGift Project Minutes – May 13, 2015




StarGift Project Minutes – May 27, 2015

StarGift Project
May 27, 2015
6:30 PM


Pam Hieser
Jodi Lancaster
Chad Emmett

Meeting commenced with a prayer for guidance.

Note to Chad:  I will print off and send you the docs embedded in these minutes.

These minutes continue the discussion of by-laws and decisions reached via vote.

We are leveraging these example by-laws.  Bylaws of the National RSD Assistance Center

On Duties of Officers we agreed:

  • Jodi will create a draft of the duties of Chairperson from the sample bylaws for the next meeting
  • Pam will create a draft of the duties of the Vice-Chairperson from the sample bylaws for the next meeting.
  • Pam will create a draft splitting out the duties of Secretary and Treasurer from the sample bylaws for the next meeting.
  1.   Under Article VI, Board of Directors, we agreed by three votes of Aye, to:
  •  Retain the wording of Section 1. General Powers. Except to change the name of the organization to StarGift Project.
  • Retain the first three sentences of SECTION 2.  Number, Tenure and Qualitifcations.  We have pended decisions about requirements for membership on the Board until we research this document and others.
  • Retain the wording of SECTION 3.  Meetings.
  • Take SECTION 4 under advisement.  We are perplexed by the reference to any “five (5)” and about alternatives.  Pam will prepare a suggested alternative for next meeting.
  • We agreed in concept with SECTION 5. Notice but would like to include personal contact as an option for delivering notice of special meetings.  Pam will draft modification for next meeting.
  • Retain the wording of SECTION 6, Quorum except to remove the words “in good standing”
  • Retain the wording of SECTION 7, Manner of Acting.
  • Retain the wording of SECTION 8, Resignation and Removal of Directors
  • Retain the wording of SECTION 9, Informal Action by Directors
  • Retain the wording of SECTION 10, Presumption of Assent
  • Retain the wording of SECTION 11, Vacancies except to consider removing the following words:  “and a director so elected shall serve until a successor is elected and installed.”  [Revisit this]
  • Agreed in concept to SECTION 12, Compensation, although we would consider adding a few words to clarify that members of the Board of Directors shall serve without compensation for this specific service.  [Implies they may be compensated for other activities that advance our goals through day to day operations.]  Also will change “North Carolina” to “Illinois.”

This working copy includes my drafts and notes relative to the agreements above.


  1. We had some discussion about the topic of Finance and looked up definition of bonds in context.
  2. Meeting was closed with a prayer
  3. Our next meeting is Wednesday, June 10th at the Lancaster home.  Enjoy tomorrow!

Note to all:  Two steps forward and one step back.  I found an example of bylaws that were as ‘simple’ as I can imagine, and sent out a link.  I would like to create an alternative draft based on the simpler bylaws. . .and consider adding in any details we may feel are critical at this time.  Bylaws are not a legal document.  But you share them with the state to show transparency.  So if we keep them as bare bones as possible, we can amend them when we confront issues we need to resolve.

Let me know if you have concerns with this.  Otherwise, I will send out such a draft with the next agenda.




StarGift Project Minutes – May 20th, 2015 Discussion/Decisions re: By-laws [part 1]

Pam Hieser
Jodi Lancaster
Chad Emmett
D. J. Anderson

These minutes cover the first discussion of by-laws and decisions reached via vote.

We are leveraging these example by-laws Bylaws of the National RSD Assistance Center and referencing information on by-laws contained in the following two books:

  • How to Form a Nonprofit Corporation by Attorney Anthony Mancuso
  • Starting and Runing a Nonprofit Organization by Joan M. Hummel
  1.  We agreed to bypass Article I and Article II at this time.  We will address name and location of organization as a final step.  We believe the objectives have already been defined in the Articles of Incorporation and only need to be cut and pasted here.
  2. Article III, Membership:  We discussed the pros and cons of having participating nonprofit organizations as members vs. non-member status.  As a small organization it is simpler to establish and operate a non-member organization.   At this time we have agreed by unanimous vote [four ayes] that the organization structure will have no members.  The Board of Directors will be the guiding agency.
  3. Article IV, Officers:

Section 1.  Election and term.  There was a great deal of discussion around this topic as we veered into the scope of responsibilities of each officer.

  • We agreed to the following four officers as a starting point:  Chairman, Vice-Chair, Secretary and Treasurer.  It is possible that one person may fulfill responsibilities of Vice-Chair and Secretary.  We agreed by unanimous vote to use the terms Chair and Vice-Chair as opposed to President and Vice-President.
  • We recognize that the Board may in the future determine a need for additional officers.
  • We agreed the officers would be elected by the Board of Directors at the last meeting of each fiscal year.
  • We agreed that each officer will serve a term of one year.
  • We agreed that it is a good practice to retain the Past President as a board member and will work on wording that makes this clear.

Section 2.  Successive Terms.  We agreed that an officer may be elected to successive terms of office.

Section 3.  Vacancies.  We agreed by unanimous vote that the Board of Directors could fill a vacancy of office by vote.  We agreed by unanimous vote the Board of Directors could remove an officer from office “for cause” by a 2/3 vote of it’s members.

  1. The discussion about ‘Officers’ led us to discussion about the Directors in General:
  2. We pended further discussion of the example by-laws for the next meeting.

Article 6, Board of Directors.  Section 8.  We discussed the difference between removing a Director who is not an officer and removing an Officer as discussed above.  Section 8 of the example states:  “A Director may be removed with or without cause by a 2/3 vote of the Board of Directors.  The discussion helped us to understand the difference between removing a member of the board and removing an officer of the board.  We will revisit this section as we proceed through the example text.

6.  We pended further discussion of the example by-laws for the next meeting

7.  Other discussion and questions which arose during the meeting.

We spent some time discussing the roles of Chair, Vice-Chair, Treasurer and Secretary.   We felt we needed some clarification on the role of Directors of the Board versus people we may need to hire to perform activities on behalf of the organization.  We felt we might need some legal advice on the topic.  However I have been doing some research in the two books and I think reviewing some of the points can be helpful.  Please see the section of text below these minutes, titled RESEARCH.

8.  Our next meeting is Wednesday, May 27th at the Lancaster home.  We will work on Article V, Duties of Officers.  Please review the content I scan and email on this topic before the meeting.




The following quotes come from:  How to Form a Nonprofit.

  • “Directors meet collectively as the board of directors, and are responsible—legally, financially, and morally—for the management and operation of your non-profit corp.”
  • “Nonprofit directors usually serve without compensation.”
  • “Compensation of Officers”

“Officers can receive reasonable compensation for services they perform for a non-profit corporation.  It is appropriate to pay officers who have day-to-day operational authority, and not to pay the officers who limit themselves to presiding over the board of directors or making overall nonprofit policy decisions.  In smaller nonprofits, it is more common for officers and directors to also assume staff positions and be paid for performing these operational tasks.”

  •  “Employee Compensation”

“Salaries paid to officers or regular employees should be reasonable and given in return for services actually performed.  A reasonable salary is one roughly equal to that received by employees rendering similar services elsewhere.”

Does this seem to be conflicting info?  I believe the distinction is that if you are an officer/board member and actually performing a service within the day-to-day operations, you are compensated for that service. . .but not for your role as a board member or officer.  I believe,  your compensation for service is a cost of doing business and not paid out of profits.

The following quotes come from:  Starting and Running a Nonprofit Organization

  • “. . .the board is charged with a ‘governing’ role.  Boards are fiduciaries of nonprofit corporations. . .Fiduciaries stand is a special relation of legal trust to others.  Thus the board of a nonprofit is answerable to the agencies members, if any, and to government agencies that regulate and monitor nonprofit corporations on behalf of the community for at least two duties:

o   Duty of Care:  Being diligent and acting prudently as a director overseeing the affairs of the nonprofit.  This doesn’t mean a director is expected to forsee every potential problem or prevent any wrongdoing that could occur, although in some states, the duty is that of a trustee, a very high standard requiring a duty of utmost care.  In other states, the duty is that which a person of ordinary prudence would reasonably by expected to act under similar circumstances.

o   Duty of loyalty:  Acting in good faith and not allowing personal interests to override responsibility as a director.”

  • “The board generally assumes specific responsibilities in the areas described below.
o   Budget and Finance
o   Strategic and Annual Plans
o   Fund Raising
o   Policy
o   Human Resources
o   Community Relationships
o   Program Evaluation
o   Board Development
o   Advising Staff”

Since our discussion centered around the role of the board versus people we may need to hire, here is additional clarification:

“Human Resources”

“The board hires the executive director (or chief staff person, whatever the title), evaluates his or her effectiveness, and removes him or her when performance is unsatisfactory.  The board may determine the salary scales and benefits for the staff, especially if they have professional expertise that the staff does not, and may approve staff-developed personnel policies.  (However, staff members who report to the executive director should be hired, fired, and evaluated by the executive director, who should also determine their individual compensation within the overall compensation policy approved by the board.)”

I will scan and send each of you content from the pages of both books that discuss Officers, Board Members, Employees and Compensation.



StarGift Project Minutes – Feb. 2015 Discussions – Published March 13, 2015

StarGift Project


Mar. 15, 2015

These minutes cover the discussion leading to an agreement on the phrasing of the mission statement in preparation for filing for NFP Corporation.

The mission statement to which we have agreed is:

The Mission of StarGift Project is: to be a source of inspiring faith in youth and their families through the creative arts.

In reaching this decision, Jodi Lancaster, Chad Emmett, Harold A. [Skip] Hahn and Pamela Hieser voted on a subset of three of the suggestions for most effective mission statement.  The emails below include the request for vote and responses

This email superceeds the previous email about the mission statement.

Discussion that led to this vote is contained in the email communications below:

What Next:  We will now take up the more complicated discussion of a vision statement!