February 17, 2014 Stated Session Meeting
Mindy Douglas called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. She welcomed Libby, our Seminary Intern, to the meeting. Pastoral concerns and celebrations were shared. Bob Warren gave the opening devotion using "The Entrance of Sin," a poem by Scott Cairns, closing with prayer.
Leadership Development. Rachel gave a brief overview of Robert’s Rules of Order. A copy of Webster’s New World edition of the Rules has been purchased for the church.
Approval of Agenda and Consent Agenda: A report from Communications was added to the agenda as well as a motion to approve a congregational meeting for March 9. Stephanie moved that the agenda be approved as revised; Rachel seconded the motion and the agenda was approved. The Consent Agenda was approved, as follows:
a. Approval of Minutes: Stated Session Meeting January 20, 2014; Called Session meeting January 26, 2014;
b. Committee Minutes – information only: Building and Grounds (2), Outreach
Pastor’s Report. Mindy reported that her work has been mostly pastoral during recent weeks. She will be attending the meeting of the Committee on Theological Education in Puerto Rico.
FAB Committee. Jerry reviewed the revenue and expense report for January which has no surprises. Following Consecration Sunday, a budget will be developed and brought to the Session for approval. He also reported that the loan for purchase of the land has been paid in full. A rebate of interest paid has also been received from PILP. The church tax return has been completed for 2013. An Estate Planning Committee has been formed and a representative of the Presbyterian Foundation has met with them. We are again exploring online giving options. Jerry asked for a motion to establish an Endowment Committee to develop by-laws and gift policies. Monty made the motion, which was seconded and passed without dissent. Mary Donna reported on the work of the Consecration Sunday committee and asked for RSVPs for the leadership dinner to be held at Dockside February 23.
Building and Grounds. Fred reviewed the details and costs for constructing a playground as described in the minutes of the Building and Grounds Committee meeting minutes of January 14. There was much positive discussion. Concern was expressed over the possibility of losing any parking spaces, that the playground be in close proximity to the building, and whether the hiring of a staff member for children and youth should be a higher priority. Jerry reported that funds appear to be available to construct the playground. Rachel urged consulting others to make sure the equipment is appropriate for a broad age spectrum. Tina moved that the Building and Grounds Committee be instructed to work with the Finance/Administration/Budget Committee and to develop a plan to build the playground. Monty seconded the motion which passed without dissent.
Fred then informed the Session that the committee is deliberating an appropriate way to acknowledge the work of John Walkup. It has been suggested a plaque be created. There was some discussion about the location of such a plaque. There was also concern over setting a precedent for honoring one individual when so many have done so much. Mindy recalled that the Session had approved the creation of a donor book that would document and acknowledge such donations and work. She and Mary Donna will look into that.
A request has been received for a Transfer of Membership for Monica Goudy to Highland Presbyterian Church in Louisville, KY. Jeff moved approval of the transfer, the motion was seconded by Tina, and the transfer was approved.
In John Walkup’s absence, Fred moved that a Standing Committee for Strategic Planning be created and that the Membership/Fellowship/Evangelism (M/F/E) committee be charged with devising a plan and timetable for the work of the committee. Rachel seconded the motion. Discussion followed with general agreement that such planning is vital, but that perhaps it would be better done by a task force. Monty offered an amendment to the motion, as follows: approval of a Task Force for Strategic Planning, appointed by the M/F/E committee and reporting to the Session. The M/F/E committee will also devise a plan and timetable for the Task Force. Rachel seconded the amendment which passed unopposed. Mindy then called the vote on the amended motion, which also passed unopposed.
Worship. Stephanie brought the following motion from the committee: to move communion from March 2 to March 9. She explained this change is being requested because of the special sanctuary setup required for Consecration Sunday will affect communion service. The motion passed unopposed.
Personnel. Rachel brought a personnel matter and therefore asked that Mindy and Libby leave the meeting for an Executive Session. Rachel reported that the committee had conducted Mindy’s annual review and was recommending a change in her Terms of Call of an increase of 2% in salary and housing. She added that the feedback solicited about Mindy’s performance was quite positive with only minor recommendations for change. There was some conversation about timing, logistics, and budget. In the end, the motion passed unanimously. Mindy and Libby were asked to return. Rachel then offered a second motion from the committee, that a Congregational Meeting be called for March 9 to approve the change in Terms of Call. The motion passed without objection.
Rachel then explained a report on volunteer vs. staff positions that the committee is working on. The report addresses the pros and cons of using volunteers, criteria for decision if a paid position is needed, etc. The Session thanked the committee for the report.
Outreach. Monty brought a request from the committee to transfer $275 from reserves, the equivalent of un-used funds from 2013 for social justice and peacemaking. Following discussion, the request was approved.
The committee also requested approval to support a Mission Co-worker in Guatemala as well as continue supporting Karla Koll following her move to Costa Rica. The committee felt strongly that we continue the work we are doing in Guatemala but did not want to pull out our support for Karla. The amount of the support for each co-worker is yet to be determined. After brief discussion, the request was approved.
Communications. Bob noted that the Session has taken several important actions in recent months that have not been clearly communicated to the Session. He offered to be the manager of publicizing these actions and decisions and requested the assistance of others on the Session. Those in attendance agreed with the need for such communication and thanked Bob for his willingness to lead in this effort.
Meeting of Salem Presbytery on February 4. Monty reported on the action taken by the Presbytery to be a concurring Presbytery on Overture 24 to the General Assembly, which would grant pastors freedom of conscience to perform same-sex unions and marriages in those states which allow those marriages and unions. He and Mindy explained the next steps to getting this Overture to the General Assembly and adopted. Mindy noted that this is not a change to the Book of Order but rather an interpretation of the Order of Worship.
2013 Annual Statistical Report. It was noted that the church experience a 10% growth in membership during the previous year. A motion to approve the report was made, seconded, and approved.
2013 Annual Report. Mindy noted that in Nana’s absence, the report was not yet finalized. She asked each Session member to review the report and make requests for changes as soon as possible. When finished, the report will be posted on the website. A few printed copies will be available during the Annual Congregational Meeting on February 23. Rachel moved approval of the report, Fred seconded, and the motion passed.
Congregational Meeting March 9. It was moved that a Congregational Meeting be held on March 9 following worship for the purposes of receiving the report of the Nominating Committee and approving the recommended change in the Pastor’s Terms of Cal. The motion was seconded and approved without dissent.
With no further business, the meeting was adjourned following prayer at 9:10 p.m.
Remember to pray for our church each day at noon.
Next Stated Session Meeting – March 17, 2014
Called Session Meeting – February 23, 2014, 9:15 a.m.
Annual Congregational Meeting – February 23, 2014 following worship
Consecration Sunday Leadership Dinner – Sunday, February 23, 6:00 PM at Capt. John’s Dockside
March 2, 2014 – Consecration Sunday – Luncheon following worship
Presbytery meeting – February 4 (Tuesday), Westminster, Greensboro
Mary Donna Pond, Clerk of Session
Approved by Session April 21, 2014