February 15, 2021 Stated Session Meeting

Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church

Virtual Stated Meeting February 15, 2021 – 7 PM

Present – : Barbara Amago, Greg Behr, Paul Bolig, Serena Ebhardt, Keith Glidewell, Paul Harrell, Marcia Ladd (Clerk),  Bruce Raymond, Mary Roodkowsky, Andrew Taylor-Troutman (Moderator), Jerry Wehmueller (Treasurer)

Andrew called the meeting to order at 7 PM. Greg opened with a devotion. Andrew offered prayer concerns, and asked others for prayer concerns on their minds. Greg opened the meeting with prayer

Andrew then asked for motions on the agenda. Bruce moved to approve the agenda, it was seconded and approved unanimously. Andrew then called for a motion to approve the consent agenda. Greg moved to approve, it was seconded and passed 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

  1. Approval of Session minutes – Stated Meeting 1/18/21, Email Votes 1/19/21 and 2/2/21
  2. Approval of Committee Minutes – Membership 2/2/21, Personnel Meeting 2/9/21 and Email vote 2/9/21, Christian Education 2/8/21, Fellowship 1/5/21 and 2/2/21, Deacons Meeting 2/1/21, Finance and Administration 2/11/21, Worship 2/14/21
  3. Approval of Staff Minutes 1/3 and 1/17/21
  4. Correspondence – Thank you from Fuel Up, St Bartholomew Church, CORA ­­(2) and Presbyterian Musicians

Pastor’s Report Andrew drew session’s attention to his report. The church is ready to go with being a vaccination site once Chatham County is ready to designate sites. Andrew has worked with Bruce and Building and Grounds to make this happen. They received answers to the Matthew 25 survey, food, shelter, education, prison are all needs the congregation wants to meet. People overwhelmingly want to work at the Farm at Penny Lane. Paul Harrell will offer a motion from Mission and Service about partnering with the Farm to reduce food insecurity in northern Chatham. Finally, Andrew feels it is incumbent upon us to start working on plans for the church’s expansion. He has consulted 3 highly recommended consulting firms and they are ready to connect. He feels the Task Force appointed needs to interview each company and have the group report back to session in March. Jerry suggested that maybe we only have one elder. Andrew asked if anyone had questions

Treasurer’s Report

Jerry reviewed the monthly financials with session. Revenue for the month of January was $72,427. Although less than the revenue received in January 2020 (which was an all-time high), Jerry pointed out that it still exceeded expenses by almost $50,000.  Jerry explained that in regard to Pledges Paid for Next Year, a member had already paid their 2022 pledge. The Surplus Carryover line in the Summary of Restricted Accounts of $80,366.39 is a combination of the 2019 and 2020 surpluses.

Jerry indicated that the $529 online processing fees in January was extraordinarily large. The reason for this was that there was approximately $15,000 in credit card donations in December alone. But because many of the donors paid the 3% processing fee, the actual out-of-pocket cost to CITP was only $223. Paul Bolig pointed out that Vanco is now charging, for the first time, a fee of 0.65% for on-line donations made by transfers from bank accounts.


Committee/Task Force Reports/Actions

A.  Communications

Andrew said the committee is working with the company from whom we bought the video equipment to set it up as a live stream the service.


B.  Finance and Administration

Paul Bolig indicated that his committee had come up with several versions of the 2021 budget. Plan 3 and Plan 4, with 4 being more robust and generated after more pledges came in. With the nursery workers only being paid for a little while longer, there is a saving of ~$7,000. Plan 4 is the 2021 budget.


He then offered the following motion from the committee

          The Finance and Administration Committee recommends to Session that $18,000, from the 2019 surplus, be added to the Capital Campaign Fund for future mortgage payments.

This motion is designed to delay paying the mortgage out of the operating budget. Jerry indicated that the 2019 budget surplus was $40,000 some of which went to Presbytery and several other not for profits. There being very few questions, the motion passed unanimously.


C.  Building and Grounds

Bruce indicated that he and Christian Education had brainstormed to optimize space for the children in the church and had made a decision to “join” the current toddler space and library with a sliding glass door, move the library next to the Pastor’s office and have the babies in the current nursery with the bathroom inside it. He and Bart will do the work and he estimates the cost to be around $1000. He asked session to vote on the following motion

At the request of our staff, in order to most efficiently use our space, we propose opening the wall between the current Godly Play room and the current library, to create an eight-foot opening, with two four-foot accordion doors on a floor track. Labor would primarily be done by Bruce and Bart, though a fire alarm will be professionally moved. Total cost of the project is conservatively $1000, to be funded from 2020 budget surplus.


The intent is to do this late March, early April. Mary asked if we envision using the spaces separately again, would we want to look at the doors that are sturdier. Joelle is very comfortable with the accordion doors that are being proposed. There being very few additional questions, the motion passed unanimously.

D.  Christian Education


Serena indicated that her committee is going to “promote” a Lenten Devotional Series from the Presbyterian Outlook. Andrew will send out an email announcing the series and a Christian Education committee member will send out a reminder each week.


Lynn White will get an estimate to “refresh” the mulch in the playground close to the time when the church will open back up. The toys and structures in the playground will be refreshed close to opening back up. Serena indicated she will come back with more information as plans develop.


Joelle will draft a Youth Group Assistant Job Description to start fall 2021 since Vance is graduating. Monies for 2021 will be used from Nursery Workers budget, 2022 will require a new budgeted amount. Joelle was asked to canvas families of youth about attendance at Massanetta Youth Camp over the summer. The leaders of the camp think they will do it in person the end of July


E.  Mission and Service

Paul Harrell drew session’s attention to the proposal contained in the pre-session packet from Thava about a partnership with Chapel in the Pines to implement a Food Pantry on the Farm to address food insecurity in northern Chatham County. He asked if there were any questions about that. He then offered the following motion

To designate $10,000 of 2020 budget surplus toward a partnership with Penny Lane that creates a food pantry specific to helping reduce food insecurity in Chatham County.

There will be many volunteer opportunities for this joint project. Mary asked about the location of other food pantries, there are no other pantries in northern Chatham. Thava got another grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that he might use to launch a Food Truck and do delivery to peoples’ homes. Thava has buses that bring folks to the Farm, food can be distributed when those folks are at the Farm. Greg said he feels session has a clear mandate to work on food. Keith asked why $10,000; Andrew indicated it is the amount Thava felt he needed. There being no further questions, the motion passed unanimously.

F.  Fellowship

Barbara indicated that each Fellowship team lead would take a “muffin tray” to their team members prioritizing families with children at home, shut-ins, new members and people living alone. Eventually all members will receive a gift. Barbara will ask Nana to ensure that all team leads have current list of team members.


G.  Personnel


Greg indicated that Personnel Committee members had asked each staff member to complete the self-assessment questions contained in the pre-session packet. Each staff members’ responses were in the packet. One question was when people are most comfortable coming back into church. He suggested session members should look at the reviews contained in the pre-session packet. Greg asked if there were any questions about those assessments.


Greg then indicated that Personnel had discussed the importance of brainstorming about and then planning for our church’s growth. It is not something that can be lead internally, but rather requires the leadership of a consultant firm with expertise in this type of planning. Consistent with that thinking he offered the following motion from the committee


The personnel committee supports the creation of an exploratory committee to evaluate resources to develop and implement a visioning process for the church. The first steps will be to interview three prospective consulting firms over Zoom


He asked for questions. Bruce asked for the size of the task force, Greg indicated maybe 5 – 8 members, from a diverse group of people. Several people spoke in favor of this direction, and that the task force should be an uneven number of people. Mary suggested the first step should be to identify goals that you want to think what the consulting firm to do. Mary is offering the following as an amended motion


The personnel committee supports the creation of an exploratory committee to evaluate resources to develop and implement a visioning process for the church. The first steps will be to determine what we hope to achieve with this, the role the consulting firm will take in the process and then to interview three prospective consulting firms over Zoom.


Chair of Personnel tabled the motion from Personnel in lieu of the one Mary is offering and that it is more appropriately placed under New Business. Several people interjected that this was a business practice used periodically among the best run businesses, and a good way to spend our surplus to ensure more surpluses in the future.  Session spent more time massaging the motion, and Mary’s modified motion under New Business is:


To examine where we are as a church, how we got here, and where God is calling us which will result in goals and action plans for the next 3-5 years. To appoint a Task Force to identify what the role of the consulting firm would be in reaching those goals and then interview the firms.


The motion was seconded and passed unanimously. Paul Bolig, Bruce and Marcia volunteered to serve on the Task Force. Andrew asked for any other folks who session thinks would do well on this Task Force. He indicated he had spoken with three highly reputable firms.


Ongoing Business

Andrew asked Keith to report on the February 9 Salem Presbytery meeting. There will be a seminar on pandemic anxiety for families with teenagers and one for leadership training. Salem is doing well financially after the sale of their offices, but they really need people to serve on committees. Finally they asked that each church hold their Stewardship committees year round instead of just during the stewardship season. Keith asked how we might get resources the Presbytery is offering to the congregation, Andrew suggested he send them to Nana to put in the weekly packet newsletter.


Clerk’s Report


Annual Report

Marcia asked for a motion to accept the additions to the Annual Report contained in the pre-session packet Greg moved


Accept the Annual Report as submitted to session in the pre-session packet.


The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.


Committee Descriptions and Matrix

Marcia asked the Elders to send her a one paragraph description of what their committee does, the tasks for which it is responsible. It can also be in bullet format. As committee chairs shift this will be a good document to have. Please send it to her ahead of the next stated meeting. Also, the Committee Matrix is in the pre-session packet, please go over it and make any changes to your committee and send it to her before the next stated meeting.


There being no further business, the session meeting was adjourned.


Board of Trustees

Andrew convened a meeting of the Board of Trustees, specifically to amend the bylaws. Paul Bolig indicated that in going over the bylaws, he had found an inconsistency with the wording and practice and he offered the following motion


Change Article VI Section 2 by removing “and Secretary.”


The bylaws currently read

“No officer, other than the President and Secretary, need be a member of the Board of Trustees.” To remove and secretary allows us to be consistent with how we are currently operating with Marcia as Secretary. The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.


The motion was seconded and passed unanimously. There being no further Trustee business, Andrew ended the meeting with a prayer at 8:25.


Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals

Since the last stated meeting on January 18, 2021, the Lord’s Supper was performed virtually on January 20 and 27 and February 3, 7. There were no new members, baptisms, weddings or funerals.

Respectfully submitted


Marcia Ladd,

Clerk of Session

Approved Session March 15, 2021