August 22, 2022 Stated Session Meeting
Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church
Stated Session Meeting August 22, 2022 7 PM
Present: Paul Bolig, Tom Crosby, Karen Fisher (virtual), Marcia Ladd (Clerk), Jeff Olson, Bruce Raymond, Andrew Taylor-Troutman, Sarah Whitney, Tim White, (Treasurer), Serena Zum Brunnen
Excused Absence: Cynthia Hilliard
Andrew opened the meeting at 7 PM, Tim offered a devotional and a prayer. He asked for prayer requests, they were offered and Tim closed with a prayer. Andrew asked the Elders to go around the room and read the Covenants of Presence. He asked for a motion to accept the Agenda and Consent Agenda. Paul Bolig offered approval of the Agendas, it was seconded, and passed unanimously. Bruce offered a motion to approve the Consent Agenda, it was seconded and approved unanimously.
Consent Agenda-Please read these items in advance. They will be voted on as a group without discussion unless someone pulls a particular entry from the Consent Agenda
- Approval of Session minutes – Stated Meeting 7/18/22
- Approval of Committee Minutes – Stewardship 7/13/22 and 7/27/22, Personnel 7/12/22, Farm/CitP MAC 8/3/22, Christian Education 8/8/22, Building and Grounds 8/9/22, More Light 8/3/22, Worship 8/4/22, Personnel 8/16/22, Welcome and Membership 8/16/22, Mission and Service 7/31/22, Finance and Administration 8/18/22
- Staff Meeting Minutes – None held due to illness
Correspondence – Announcement of the commencement of Joelle’s Educator Certification Process, Letter of Appreciation for Lynn White’s work on the playground “renovation, Thank you from Bears Playground Company
Through the advice of experienced colleagues as well as his own prayerful deliberation, Andrew has decided to postpone his intended sabbatical for at least one year. His reasons are primarily twofold: the expected construction delay of the Projects for Outdoor Ministry (POMS) and the anticipated changes in staff. The Lily grant, if approved, can be extended up to two years
In terms of POMS, it is likely that the new facilities will only be available by summer of 2023. Andrew wants to be involved in launching ministries and programs in those spaces, capitalizing on these unique opportunities to generate excitement and energy in the congregation as well as the larger community.
In terms of staff, 2023 will not only bring a new office manager but also mark the distinction between children’s and youth ministries in terms of staff members. He is taking more leadership and direct involvement in youth ministry and summer is anticipated as an important time for both middle and high school trips.
Adult and bell choir directors have focused on reaching out to new members, including during the new member class offered in August. They have also scheduled music in advance for 2022-2023 and worked on the upcoming schedule.
Beginning in the early fall, we anticipate that both adult and bell choirs will be a part of the indoor 11:00 worship in the sanctuary.
Andrew is excited about the revamped process for pastor evaluation this year. In the packet, he indicated the elders will find the evaluation form. He asked each active elder to please consider the questions and give their thoughtful replies. Andrew indicated he has a lot of energy and is dedicated to this church. He wants feedback from the elders on their sense of the best ways that he can use his time, including to support each elder and their committees.
Please return these forms to Jerry Wehmueller by September 30 (firstname.lastname@example.org). Along with Personnel, Andrew will review the responses, then submit a self-evaluation and follow-up report next month to session. Sarah suggested that we might switch to do staff evaluations in the fall to coincide with the budgeting process. There was also talk of pay for performance, maybe with bonuses rather than salary increases
Andrew is passing out copies of the volunteer handbook to the new members’ class on August 28. We have had a tremendous response for this class not only in participation, but engagement from dozens of new folks. He wants to make sure to tap their energy and excitement!
Here is the schedule for September, including the committees that Andrew plans to highlight in the service. Note that this plan is for both services each Sunday.
September 4 – Introduction; theme of joyful service – B&G, W&M
September 11 – Montreat Sunday, service led by youth from this summer’s trip – CE (children, youth, and adults)
September 18 – Service to congregation – Worship, Fellowship
September 25 – Service to larger community – M&S, Communications
In the coming week, Andrew will contact each elder on a committee to discuss specific ideas and ways that the active elder (or someone on their committee) can help on that particular Sunday for both services. Andrew anticipates that each committee presentation will be different. The More Light group will shift to be a Mission Action Community with Mission and Service. There is a general feeling the congregation needs more educational and discussion opportunities before session should move to become a More Light congregation. Beth Vazquez will chair the MAC under M&S.
Marcia indicated that at the budget meeting on the 29th, each active elder will have 5 – 10 minutes to present their budget for 2023. She asked that they share with her ahead of time the substance of their budgets so she can include that in the minutes for that evening.
July represented the 7th month or 58% of our year. Total revenues YTD of $270,982 were 55% of budget. Total expenses of $256,975 YTD were 52% of the budget so our revenues exceeded our expenses year-to-date. Typically expenses are higher than revenue later in the year and Tim expects this year to be the same. While his mid-year estimate of income was lower than budget, committees expense estimates show the budget should be balanced by the year end.
Our cash balance stands at $443,832, $138,684 higher than last July. The increase is primarily the POMS paid pledges to-date. I am recommending to F&A that we move $150,000 into Schwab interest bearing account(s) since construction won’t start for approx. 6 months. Liabilities are mainly our mortgage balance of $532,988.
Project for Outdoor Ministry Spaces (POMS) Report @ 8/17/2022:
Pledged/Donated: $245,264 (88)
Paid to-date: $212,034 (86%) [82 of 88 donors have paid in full or partial]
Spent to-date: $44,863 (through 8/3/22)
Obligated Costs: $0 (signed contracts)
Mission Pledges: $3,445 (8)
Paid to-date: $1,925 (56%) [6 have paid in full]
Spent to-date: $1,125
Tim plans on putting the POMs money in a Schwab account until it needs to be expended.
Budget 2023: 2022 YE Estimates will be presented to Session 8/22. 2023 Budget draft to Session 8/29.
Total budget for 2022 was originally $489,000+, Finance and Administration in conjunction with the Treasurer and various committee chairs has been able to bring it down to $465,000+ which they all believe is realistic, and represents a $23,000+ drop from the budgeted amount, the target that Tim and Finance and Administration articulated wanting to reach at the July Stated Meeting. This will represent $3,457 expenses over 2022 revenues. Tim reported that next Monday night, they will present a draft of a proposed budget for 2023. He reminded the elders that this will include an increase of $9,000 per year to pay the mortgage, an expenses that escalates annually until it reaches the actual annual mortgage payment of $68,700
Finance and Administration
Paul Bolig thanked Tim for his presentation and all the other elders who worked so hard to “re-work” the 2022 budget. He offered the following motion after much discussion and deliberation
The Finance and Administration Committee supports a request from the Buildings & Grounds Committee to replace the Fire Alarm System utilizing Pye-Barker’s quote of approximately $18,000. This will be funded from the Surplus Carryover restricted account (810531).
The rationale behind this request really is for the ability to safely secure the church’s property. The current Fire Alarm system as “worn out” sooner than expected. Bruce explained that the sensors keep wearing out, and there is a limited supply that the manufacturer has available. Pye-Barker was chosen because their new system can use the existing wiring, which Bruce assured the elders is installed well. The new system should be installed in November. Once it is paid for the church’s surplus will be $1,000. The motion passed unanimously.
Jerry asked the elders to turn their attention to the Pastor Evaluation Form contained in the pre-session packet. He asked each active elder to complete the form and return it to him as acting chair of Personnel by September 30. He indicated their individual answers will be shared with Andrew who wants to fully understand he elder’s perspective on how his performance is impacting them, the church and the wider community.
Paul made the motion
That members of session will meet in Executive Session on September 19 to discuss the Pastor Evaluation Forms. The forms will then be returned by individual elders to session by October 5, but no earlier than 9/20.
The motion was seconded. After explanatory discussion, Paul made the amended motion
That members of session will meet in Executive Session on September 19 to discuss the Pastor Evaluation Forms. The forms will then be returned by individual elders to session by September 30 to Personnel and Andrew.
Andrew articulated support for the amended motion. It passed with 6 in favor and one opposed
Jerry also indicated that Personnel had talked about celebrating Juneteenth now that it has been declared a national holiday. He offered the following motion from the committee
Moves to make Juneteenth a holiday for Chapel in the Pines
After minimal discussion, the motion passed unanimously.
Serena indicated that Joelle Brummitt-Yale has submitted an application, officially beginning the process for educator certification as a Certified Christian Educator.
The certification process is supervised by the Educator Certification Committee, a body elected by the PC(USA) General Assembly. This process involves filling requirements in four areas: 1) ministry experience, 2) education, 3) examination and 4) employment/volunteer verification. As Joelle moves toward the completion of these remaining requirements, it is the Session of the local church that can provide the encouragement and support that they need. The exams for this will be in October 2022Serena asked if there were any questions.
She then called their attention to the Christian Education plan that Joelle drafted for the upcoming year. It covers plans for infants and toddlers through adults and shows event planned for between the worship services on Sundays, during worship, Sunday afternoons/evenings, the potential Earth Care Retreat, and other special events. She indicated there will probably be one “event” celebrating the contruction of 3 of the POMs venues. She asked if anyone had questions. This is all to be supported by a budget of $10,550 contained in the draft of the 2023 budget shared in the session packet.
Building and Grounds
Bruce indicated that his committee met last week to begin discussions of foundational issues for security. They will pull in additional “experts” as needed and start with the pre-Covid draft of security measures.
Andrew indicated the Salem Presbytery Meeting in September will be virtual on the 10th, a Saturday starting at 9 AM. He asked for a volunteer to attend and represent Chapel in the Pines. Jeff Olson volunteered. Serena made a motion
To elect Jeff Olson as the Chapel in the Pines representative to the September 10 Virtual meeting of Salem Presbytery
The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.
There was a question about when we would start back with indoor congregational gatherings to share a meal. Sarah indicated her committee is opposed to this right now and will convene in late September to discuss the viability of such gatherings at that time. There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 9PM with a prayer by Andrew.
New Members, Baptisms, Memorial Services and Weddings
Since the last session meeting on July 18, 2022. Leslee Bennett Steel joined the church on August 14, 2022. A memorial service was held for Donna Lloyd on July 30, 2022. There were no weddings. Communion was served on July 25, 2022.
Clerk of Session