February 18, 2019, Stated Session Meeting

Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church
Stated Session meeting February 18, 2019

Attending: Ruling Elders: Barbara Amago, Karen Atkins (Acting Clerk), Stan Campbell, Pat Chappell, Paul Harrell, Paul Isom, John McDowell, Maggie Reif, Terry Rudolph

Teaching Elder Rev. Andrew Taylor-Troutman (Moderator)


The stated meeting was called to order by Andrew at 7 PM. John delivered the devotion, ending in a prayer. Pastoral concerns and celebrations were shared.

Karen was elected acting clerk on a motion from Stan and second from Pat.

Approval of agenda and consent agenda

Terry moved to approve the agenda, seconded by Maggie. The agenda was approved unanimously.

The consent agenda includes the following:

  1. Approval of session minutes – Stated meeting 1/ 14/19; Email Minutes 1/21/19, 2/5/19, 2/12/19
  2. Approval of committee minutes – Mission and Service 11/25/28, Conversations on Race 1/22/19, Membership 1/30/19, Buildings and Grounds 1/8/2019, Finance and Administration February Minutes, Personnel 2/11/19, Christian Education February 2019, Finance and Administration 2/14/19, Solar Project Summary
  3. Correspondence – Property Notice, Thanks you from Chatham Literacy and CEDEPCA

John moved to approve the consent agenda, Barbara second. The consent agenda was approved unanimously.

Pastor’s report

  1. Nana has been working on drafting the annual report, which was sent to Session for review and feedback via email on 2/13/19. Stan made the motion to approve the annual report and submit it to the congregation with Paul H. second. Motion passed unanimously.
  2. Vote to hold Congregational Meeting on March 10 after Worship: Pass budget, approve new deacons and elders. Paul I. moved, Pat second
  3. Spring retreat times were reviewed. The retreat will be on Saturday, May 4 from 9:00-1:00.
  4. Visioning: Not all committees have had a chance to complete the Visioning exercise from January, so we will return to it later.
  5. Andrew shared staff updates via email on 2/19/19. Staff morale is high. Joelle’s title has changed to Director of Children’s and Youth Ministry and Rob’s to Assistant Director of Music Ministry. We are looking to provide Nana with more help in the office; the Personnel committee is exploring the idea of having office interns.

Treasurer’s report (sent via email by Jerry Wehmueller to Stan Campbell on 2/17/19, and forwarded to the Session on 2/18/19):

As expected January revenues were higher than budget as they usually are. Last month they were $56K which was not quite as high as last January. This was probably due to two factors. Last year several members paid their annual pledge for 2018 in late 2017 to beat the initiation of the new tax law. Also December of 2018 was a bad month for stocks so some members who normally use stock to pay their annual pledge in January may have delayed to wait for a better stock market. Still January revenues were pretty good.

January expenses are usually lower than budget since most committees do not spend any or much money in January. We did have several large expenses. We did pay for the conversion of our fire alarm system to a cellular communicator in January which also included the annual monitoring fee. The total cost for this item was $1,600. This cost will be mostly offset by being able to drop the two dedicated land lines we were using for fire alarm communicating during 2019. There was another cost of $570 in B & G but I think that was for the purchase of a snow plow. If true, it should have been funded from the remainder of the designated funds for the additional parking lot instead of an operating expense. There also was a large charge ($500+) for instrumental music which was probably the annual purchase of music for the hand bell choir.

Electricity for January cost $1,003. We are using enough electricity that we exceeded the limit for the small commercial electrical rate and have been bumped up to the medium size commercial electrical rate which is somewhat higher. Hopefully the installation of the solar array will significantly reduce this type cost.

The bottom line is that we ran a surplus in January of a little over $31K.

February will probably be another good revenue month if early results continue.

Cash flow was obviously good. We currently have a little over $270k in various funds.

Committee/Task Force Reports/Actions

  1. Finance (Stan)
    1. Preliminary January numbers – See Treasurer’s report above.
      1. Concerns about electricity billing, explained by Stan and Paul H. We’re billed by Duke on time of use charge (which is an addition to the base charge for kilowatt hours). For example: If all three thermostats are all adjusted at once, the power request notches us up to the higher rate for the entire month. Discussion about restricting thermostat adjustments; Paul I. raised the issue of complaints about the church being too cold. Jerry W is currently in charge of setting the thermostats; he and F&A will keep working on keeping down the electric bill.
    2. Motion: Adopt the Preliminary 2019 Operating Budget developed by Finance and Administration. This budget is the same as all previous iterations, except it includes a new request from Personnel to add $1000 for continuing education for Joelle (explained by John). Motion passes unanimously.
    3. Motion: Accept the recommendation of the Solar Panel Task Force to select the company of 8MSolar out of Cary as our solar contractor.
      1. Motion elaborated by Paul H., who is on the Solar Panel Task Force. Solar Project – motion from the Solar Panel Task Force. Southern Energy Management and 8M Solar were the bidding companies. In response to a query from Paul I. about why 8M: The task force was more impressed by the credentials and expertise of the 8M employees, and preferred the 8M panels (which were made of more durable materials in North America).
      2. For informational purposes: The provisional plan is for an installation that will produce 48,000 kWh per year, which would essentially make the church carbon neutral. This initial plan is provisional and based in part on approval by Duke Energy (which is dependent on factors like their infrastructure). This plan consists of 110 solar modules on the roof of the church, primarily on the Fellowship and Education wings.
  • The plan is for no money to come out of the operating budget for this. The up-front cost ($68,200 for the provisional plan as quoted) would be covered jointly by a Duke Energy rebate (75 cents/watt, $22,500 for provisional plan) paid directly to 8MSolar and a loan from the PILP (Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program), 10 years at 2.75% interest. The line item in the budget currently set aside for energy payments should cover the loan payments. The Solar Task Force estimates 10-15 years to break even.
    1. Pat raised the caution that net metering (how NC currently processes private solar production: our account is credited the excess kWh when we’re producing, for use when we are not) may be subject to change in the future.
  1. Andrew clarified that the motion is simply to select 8MSolar as contractor and the vote on the actual proposal comes later.
  2. John (as board president) will sign a permit to allow 8MSolar to pursue the credit from Duke Energy.
  3. The motion passed unanimously.
  1. Building and Grounds (Karen)
    1. Great Ridge Parkway is currently a private road owned by Briar Chapel, though the long-term plan is for it to be taken over by the DOT. As it is a private road, Briar Chapel wants to focus on preparing it for the DOT takeover, and thus does not want to add a “church entrance sign.” B&G will follow up with this later, after the DOT takeover.
    2. B&G did put up a stop sign at the end of the church driveway, to remind church members to stop and be careful when pulling into the road.
    3. Since drivers do tend to be reckless on Great Ridge Pkwy (and it’s questionable whether another sign would really motivate them to obey the speed limit or not pass on a solid double-yellow line), there was discussion about asking local law enforcement to increase traffic monitoring on the road. Stan will investigate.
  2. Building Use Application (Karen, as Acting Clerk)
    1. The Building Use Subcommittee (NB: under Fellowship) received a building use request from member Sarah McCormack and David Hilliard to host a fundraising/awareness breakfast to benefit the Chatham Education Foundation. Since the Building Use Policy does not permit fundraising unless specifically allowed by Session, the subcommittee forwarded it for input.
    2. Paul I asked for the reason behind the fundraising ban. Barbara suggested that it’s simply a question of making sure that fundraising requests come to Session. She also noted that the requested date is free. Terry asked if we were charging for the building, and Karen noted that since the event was sponsored by members, we would not.
    3. There were worries about precedent, especially, as noted by Stan, in possible future context for political fundraising. Pat noted that, if we approve this request, we should make sure to have a specific reason. John pointed out that this group is a 503c nonprofit.
    4. Karen asked if the Chatham Education Foundation was a community organization that we specifically financially support; Maggie confirmed that it was not. However, the organization is a local, Chatham County organization which promotes Chatham County schools, and it does align with our mission as a church in our community.
    5. Motion passes unanimously.
  3. Membership (Paul H)
    1. Motion: Remove Libby Boehne Metcalf Sapp from the active rolls of Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church.
      1. Since Libby is now ordained, she cannot be a member on our rolls.
    2. Welcome into membership Elizabeth Melton, Eli and Roseanne Jones Tiller along with their daughter Annette, Jennifer Larson, Sara Botelho, Tim and Lynn White, Gail Feathers Wilkins
      1. Eli and Roseanne Jones Tiller will join by affirmation of faith and their daughter, Annette, by baptism on Sunday, February 24.
      2. Everyone else will join by transfer letter on March 10.
    3. Both motions passed unanimously.
  4. Mission and Service (Maggie)
    1. Earth Care application was turned in. We should find out in March whether or not it was accepted.
    2. Mission and Service received an invitation from Paul Mitchell at the Community Church of Chapel Hill: They are converting their manse into a Sanctuary (for someone at risk of being deported or an asylum-seeker from the border), and they are reaching out to us to see if our members would be interested in volunteering. The church has been consulting with lawyers to ensure that they are staying within the law. They need a lot of volunteers, since someone will need to be on-site at all times. Background checks and training provided.
      1. John pointed out that we had already approved a similar volunteer opportunity with the Church of Reconciliation.
      2. Andrew expressed appreciation of Maggie for bringing this to Session to be direct and above-board with it
  • Terry pointed out that Church of Reconciliation is Presbyterian; Stan asked about denominational difference. Community Church is Unitarian Universalist, which theology is generally unobjectionable to Presbyterians (except to John Calvin).
  1. Motion: The Session blesses the request of Mission and Service as consistent with our theological mission to promote to the congregation a volunteer opportunity with the Community Church of Chapel Hill to provide Sanctuary for an individual or family at risk of being deported, or to sponsor someone awaiting a ruling on asylum at the border.

Andrew had to leave at 8:03 due to family concerns. John was appointed new moderator.

Motion for Mission and Service passed unanimously.

  1. Christian Education (Paul I)
    1. Parents Morning Out – The PMO program will be hiring Joan Reardon (who has been a substitute in the CITP nursery during service) to take over next academic year. For new students, the church will advertise internally first, and then advertise more broadly. There will be an increase theological component next year.
      1. Karen asked about Joelle’s opinion of the modified program. John and Paul I. explain that Joelle feels good about the change
      2. John clarified the structure of PMO: CITP provides the facilities; the program itself is a co-op. (The parents pay to have their children involved, and the funds are used to hire the staff.)
  • The Session generally expressed favor for increasing diversity in program participation, and hoped that we can keep that as a goal for the future.
  1. Karen asked about theological control, since the program will be teaching theology in our church building. Paul clarified that Joan will report to CE committee (where Andrew and Joelle sit), so CITP will have theological oversight.
  2. Karen clarified with John that the PMO co-op will be used to hire Joan (not CITP and not using church funds).
  3. Pat expressed approval at how the program has evolved.
  1. Duke Intern – Andrew submitted an application for a field education intern, which program seeks to place students in rural churches involved with communities. It is a summer internship
  2. Lenten Study – We will be studying Waking up White: Finding yourself in the story of race, which has a lesson plan already created by former moderators of the PCUSA. Andrew will tie into worship.
    1. Maggie asked how it’s connected to Lent specifically, and the Session collectively wasn’t really sure. Terry offered that it might be related to the Lenten practice of self-reflection and self-improvement. Paul will ask Andrew for an answer
    2. One provisional selection, Being Mortal by Atul Gawande was rejected for being too focused on death. The Session collectively expressed the belief that Lent was theologically about death.

Ongoing Business: Nominating Committee – presented by John (Session Liaison)

  • Motion: Approve the following Slate of Officers to be installed for 3 year terms starting June 2019:
    • Elders: Keith Glidewell, Mary Roodkowsky, Bruce Raymond
    • Deacons: Vicky Raymond, Mary Donna Pond, Emily Williams, Susie Park
    • Nominating Committee: Anne Henkels, Lou Brock
  1. There were more nominations this time than slots, which is historically unusual for our church. Pat pointed out that all the deacon nominees are female. John acknowledged this, and the Nominating Committee did discuss it at the time. Stan made the point that we, as a church, should talk about the gender disparity publicly, and encourage men to be caretakers. Slate passes unanimously.

The business of the meeting being over, Pat made the motion to adjourn, seconded by Stan. Pat closed the meeting respectfully at 8:22 with prayer.


  1. Next stated session meeting March 18, Maggie Reif has the devotion
  2. Pray for our church each day at noon.

Respectfully submitted,

Karen Atkins, Acting Clerk

Approved by session 3/18/19