February 20, 2023 Stated Session Meeting
Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church
Session Minutes Stated Meeting 2.20.23 7 PM
Present: Paul Bolig, Tom Crosby, Karen Fisher, Marcia Ladd (Clerk), Jeff Olson, Bruce Raymond, Barbara Strange, Andrew Taylor-Troutman, Tim White (Treasurer), Sarah Whitney
Excused Absence: Jerry Wehmueller, Serena ZumBrunnen
Andrew called the meeting to order at 7PM and opened with a prayer. He asked for prayer concerns, they were shared. Andrew asked the participants to go around the room and read The Covenant of Presence. Andrew pulled an item from the consent agenda, the Personnel Minutes. He brought up the Organization Chart (which will change after this spring), and that Personnel had developed it, and that points the staff in the direction of Performance Reviews and the supervisor’s role of responsibility in overseeing the review process in conjunction with the appropriate session member. The staff Annual Review is conducted by the staff member’s immediate supervisor and a representative from session. Paul said he was pleased with the process that is ongoing now. Andrew asked for a motion to approve the agenda. Sarah suggested when we re-draw the Organization Chart and add the roll of the reviewers, this may happen when the chart is re-drawn after this performance review period. Paul moved to approve the agenda, it was seconded by Bruce and passed unanimously. Andrew asked for a motion to approve the consent agenda. Jeff offered a motion. It was seconded by Bruce 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
- Approval of Session minutes – Stated Meeting 1.30.23, Email Vote 2/1/23
- Approval of Committee Minutes – Membership 2/2/23, Personnel 2/7/23, Worship 2/8/23, Christian Education 2/13/23; Mission and Service 1/29 and 2/1; Finance and Administration 2/16/23
- Staff Meeting – February
- Correspondence – Thank yous from Benevolence Farm, Y of the Triangle, UNC, World Central Kitchen and Fuel Up
Barbara said she has heard push back increasing about the mask requirement when Covid levels are medium. She said many of us believe we will be living with Covid for a long time, and most venues are functioning like they did pre-Covid. Hence, her committee would like to offer the following motion
The committee recommends that Session change the policy to having masks optional when the Chatham County risk level is low or medium.
The discussion on Worship was that this is the first step. After some back and forth, the motion passed unanimously.
Sarah mentioned as a follow up to Worship motion, her committee would like to offer the following motion.
Implement a mask optional policy for the Second Sunday lunch to allow pot luck lunches in the Fellowship Hall regardless of the Chatham County risk level.
The motion was amended to read:
All Fellowship events (including pot luck lunches) will be mask optional.
After minimal discussion, the motion passed unanimously.
In Jerry’s stead, Paul indicated that Personnel and Finance and Administration had felt like our pay scale for contract employees, mostly substitutes, needed to be increased, so consistent with that he offered the following motion from the two committees
The Personnel Committee joins the Finance and Administration Committee in recommending to Session the approval of the Pay Scale for Contract Employees for 2023 Services
After several questions, the motion passed unanimously.
Welcome and Membership
Karen wanted session to know that the committee is coming to the end of reviewing the rolls and will have a final motion to session probably next month about names of members to be removed from the rolls. Karen wanted to celebrate the new members we have welcomed, and the ones we will be offering next month. Karen had been in the Narthex last Sunday before the early service and experienced an unsettling visitor, he left without incident, but she felt compelled to mention it. Bruce will send out a message to ushers and Mark Herboth, in charge of the 9AM ushers, that two people need to be in the Narthex at all times before unlocking the outside doors. Tom suggested there might be an Incident Report developed to keep on record incidents like this. Bruce will bring up this issue in the Security Committee. Andrew usually unlocks the doors when he arrives as early as 8, and will freely give the responsibility for unlocking the doors to the ushers and greeters who won’t unlock the doors until there are 2 people in the Narthex. Bruce will report back to session on his Committee’s recommendation(s).
Bruce indicated that the shed and Pack trailer were broken into recently; nothing was stolen. This was reported to the Sheriff who came out and they filed a report.
Mission and Service
Jeff indicated that his Committee is spearheading an effort to collect financial support for the tragedies that have been created by the earthquake in the Middle East.
Finance and Administration
Paul indicated that a Task Force of Finance and Administration has been working with the Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program (PILP) to work through the mechanics of establishing an Endowment Fund for the church. To proceed with their work, they need session to approve the following motion
The Finance and Administration Committee requests approval from Session to establish a relationship with the Presbyterian Foundation to manage a CITP endowment fund, to provide at no charge assistance with meetings at church about our endowment fund and estate planning opportunities, and to provide draft materials that we can customize for congregational use.
He asked for questions. There has been a Task Force working on this since the fall, chaired by Stan Campbell. The motion passed unanimously.
2023 starts with a positive Operating Budget result due to several pledges fully paid for the year in January. Expenses are less than budgeted since committees spending has been light. Virtually, the POMs is totally funded.
Total Revenues are $101,744 or 21% of budget and $29,126 more than last January. Pledge receipts are 23% of budget whereas January is 8% of the year. Non-pledge offering is 3% and Open Plate Offering is 9%.
Total Expenses are $30,268, 6% of budget. Personnel is 7% with some positions to be filled. Bill payment in January tends to be light with some bills available and paid in December or to be paid in February. Janet will make some tweaks to the budget format later this week with no bottom-line financial effect.
The Pastor’s Discretionary Fund balance is $11,755 with $400 contributed and no outflows. Surplus Carryover is $29,930. The balance is nil once reserved amounts are considered.
Our cash balance stands at $658,165. This is $94,976 higher than last month. Income from pledges and debt reduction contributions were key.
Tim offered the following update on the Debt Reduction loan progress:
Session gave the go ahead to pursue a new loan with a substantially lower principal to replace the current mortgage. $222,000 in contributions have been committed with $65,711 paid as of 1/31/23. Debt Reduction gift requests will occur January and February with pay-in date by March 1. The PILP loan application is in process, but Tim was told this afternoon that the loan has been tentatively approved, but he doesn’t know any of the details. The old loan and the new loan will be approximately the same length of time ~10 years.
Andrew asked if there was anyone in the room that disagrees with this conceptual approach. There was not. There was a Motion to move the Stated March Meeting to March 16th from the 20th.
Move the Stated Meeting in March to the 16th from the 20th
It was seconded and passed unanimously.
The congregation will vote on the new loan prior to its finalization.
Marcia indicated she did not have a report for this month.
Andrew indicated he changed the agenda order for this meeting. His goal is to periodically rotate the agenda so that everyone has the chance to speak at the top of the meeting.
In addition, he has asked the Worship, Communications, and CE elders to include the weekly attendance figures for both services, nursery and Sacred Art, and online in the minutes for Worship and CE respectively. These statistics could be accessed by anyone through the office, but his intention is to have the data in front of all of us on a regular basis. This will help to inform a range of decisions.
A reminder that, per session rules established last year, each committee needs to annually check the length of time that every individual has served on their committee. If any individual has served two consecutive terms (six years in a row), the elder needs to talk with Andrew and that individual about an exemption to the rule that would allow the individual to serve another year. Please notify him before the April session meeting of any requests.
The nominating committee is hard at work for the new class of elders as well as deacons. He wanted to thank Jackie Walters and the deacons for creating a detailed list of the deacons’ responsibilities to give to prospective candidates.
Finally, an update on the new employee situation. As you know, our offer to the music leader for the 9:15 service was declined. Currently, he is planning to fill that gap with volunteers from the congregation and the occasional musician from the larger community.
The Personnel Committee has asked the Office Manager Task Force to work on a job description for a second position. This work will include the probationary evaluation with Teresa, our current office manager, to get a detailed account of the hours she is currently working and her opinion about the time she needs.
Then, the Task Force will create a second job description aimed to address these three principal needs approved by Personnel:
- Incorporating new members into the life of church and leadership/volunteer positions
- Facilitating meaningful engagement between two services as well as between generations
- Encouraging deeper partnership with our current mission and service commitments
There are no plans to hire a new staff position until the debt restructuring and new budget is completed, so the Task Force has several months. In the meantime, Andrew remains committed to updating our elders as well as receiving any feedback from the elders to pass along to the Task Force.
Karen indicated that Mary Donna’s tasks for the church are abundant, and we will miss her. Mary Donna is making a list of what she does and we will have to parse out how we divide up her tasks among the staff and staff to be hired.
Bruce indicated that the playground for the POMs project in complete. The rest of the project is in the architecture phase. Bruce is meeting with the architecture group the next day.
There being no further business the meeting was adjourned with a prayer at 8:45PM.
New Members, Baptisms, Memorial Services and Weddings
Since the last session meeting on January 30, 2023. There have been several new members, Phyllis and Dave Harwood, Sue Ulrich, Jack Donovan, Jerry and Kris Swensen all joining on February 12. We had new Stephen Ministers installed – Beth Vazquez, Becky Summers-Peterson, Susan Mantz on February 12; and one baptism on that same day Jacob French. There were no memorial services or weddings.
- Clerk of Session