January 14, 2019 Stated Session Meeting
Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church
Stated Session Meeting January 14, 2019 7 PM
Present: Barbara Amago, Karen Atkins, Stan Campbell, Pat Chappell, Paul Harrell, Paul Isom, John McDowell, Maggie Reif, Terry Rudolph, Jerry Wehmueller (Treasurer), Andrew Taylor-Troutman (Moderator)
Excused Absence: Marcia Ladd (Clerk)
The session gathered at 6 PM to get acquainted with the three households who wish to join the church: Dorothy and Ed Baird, John and Marsha Howells, and Mary Barnard. Backgrounds were shared.
Andrew called the meeting to order at 7PM.
Stan was elected to serve as clerk for this meeting in the absence of Marcia Ladd. Pat had the devotion ending in a prayer. Session unanimously approved the Agenda and Consent Agenda.
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 12/17/18
- Approval of committee minutes – Buildings and Grounds 1/8/2019, Finance and Administration January Minutes, Christian Education 1/7/19
- Correspondence – Libby Boehne invitation for ordination. Presbytery thanks for special offering
Andrew wanted to make very clear he believes that Chapel in the Pines is a healthy, active church with a strong mission, vision and values that we are living out. He sees the visioning exercise as helping to clarify specific ways we want to carry out the mission, vision and values. He then led session through an exercise of core values. Ten CITP needs were developed in a sharing session. Then ten needs of the world were developed and contrasted to the church’s needs.
He asked each member to have this conversation with their committees and report back to session in the February meeting, using poster boards that were distributed. Marcia will remind the chairs to do this.
Jerry indicated that we concluded another successful financial year for Chapel in the Pines. Without the $7,000 for the parking lot expansion, annual revenues exceeded annual expenses by $7,493. 2018 included almost $25,000 for severance pay for the interim pastor and moving expenses for the new pastor. 2018 was expected to be our most challenging year financially because of those onetime expenses and those challenges were met by our generous and dedicated membership. Without their generosity we would have been faced with having to make cuts in our other expenses to cover those onetime expenses.
We go into 2019 with a cash reserves of over $250,000 of which about $143,000 is reserved for servicing our debt which now stands at $696,890.
We can certainly celebrate our financial success in 2018. We are truly a blessed church!
Jerry reviewed the preliminary 2019 budget and explained how it was developed. As more financial information comes in and final requests from committees are processed, a final 2019 budget will be presented to session in February for approval.
Stan gave the group the most recent pledged amount, $332,330. He turned session’s attention to the wish list and asked each chair to meet with their committees and update their portions of the list and return them in February. Marcia will remind them.
Stan indicated there has been much discussion about the eventual need to expand the church’s foot print because of the growing number of members. To anticipate that expansion, the Finance and Administration Committee offered the following motion:
To appoint a Task Force to determine if additional land is needed north of CitP’s property, how much is recommended, at what cost, and when, including who should approach the owner. The motion includes the recommendation that the task force include a B&G and F&A representative, the treasurer, and Joelle Brummitt-Yale and Paul Harrell (because they know the landowner via Pittsboro Presbyterian), and others if the Session so desires.
The motion passed unanimously with the understanding that Joelle will be asked if she has time for being on the committee and, if not, that she be excused.
Building and Grounds
Karen told the group that a snow plow attachment for the riding mower has been purchased and that B&G will be responsible for plowing the parking lot based on a variety of factors, it will probably not be plowed if the church is closed and the gravel expansion lot will not be plowed because of the possibility of damage. In thinking through the plowing of the parking lot, Building and Grounds would like to offer the following motion, which passed unanimously:
Replace the existing Inclement Weather Policy with the one below
If a decision is made to close the church facility, the decision will be made the day/evening before the facility will be closed. Notifications as noted below will be made for every day the church facility is closed
- If possible, a mass email will be sent announcing worship has been cancelled
- Incoming calls to the office (960-0616) will receive a voice mail message telling them services have been cancelled
- The cancellation will be announced on the radio station WCHL (AM 1360) , TV stations WRAL (channel 5) and WTVD (channel 11)
- Announcement will be made on radio station WCHL (AM 1360), TV stations WRAL (channel 5) and WTVD (channel 11)
Process behind B&G’s motion:
Please understand that safety is our primary concern when we make these decisions, and safety, along with past experience, has shaped our processes.
The Building and Grounds Committee is responsible for assessing relevant weather conditions and making the judgment, in conjunction with the pastor, when to close and reopen the church. The church is either closed or open for all events.
When evaluating whether to close the church, we consider several factors, especially the conditions of the surrounding roads. Mann’s Chapel Road is a public road, under control of the highway department, and has not historically been high on the list of plowing priorities. Great Ridge Parkway is still currently a private road belonging to Briar Chapel (although it will eventually be turned over to the highway department).
The parking lot may not be plowed while the church is closed, but the condition of the parking lot is not the determining factor of church closure.
Due to risk of damage, the gravel overflow parking lot will not be plowed.
There was a lot of discussion on this, but it eventually passed unanimously. Karen then offered the following motion:
Augment the $1200 recent wish list gift with approximately $800 from monies in the memorial gifts restricted fund to purchase the waterproof bench for the Remembrance Garden.
Karen clarified that the additional monies were coming from memorial gifts made to the church, not the garden fund. After minimal discussion, the motion passed unanimously
Paul indicated that the committee held a pot luck dinner for the members who have joined within the past year. It was well attended and we spend time trying to tease out how the new members responded to ways we had incorporated to bring them into the life of the church and asked for suggestions about other things we could do. Andrew has also developed an anonymous questionnaire for new members whether they attended the dinner or not asking for more input. The questionnaire is included in the packet.
The Presbytery is asking the church to indicate some information about Congregational Friends in the statistical report so Membership offered the following motion:
Define Congregational Friend as someone who attends worship regularly (minimally 6 times a year), has provided financial support within the past two years or serves on a committee.
After much discussion questioning what the Presbytery’s purpose is for this category and how to define it for CITP, Andrew agreed to ask Marcia and Nana for more clarification to share with the session. Thus, the motion was postponed until further notice.
Paul then asked session to receive into membership the folks we met with in the pre-session meeting by affirming the following motion which passed unanimously
Welcome new members Dorothy and Ed Baird, John and Marsha Howells, and Mary Barnard.
Paul announced that Joelle will be the sole person who gives the children’s sermon, for continuity reasons. Should she be absent, volunteers who have assisted in the past will be asked to substitute.
Andrew has given each staff member questions similar to the ones Personnel shared with session that Andrew addressed in his self-assessment. It is Andrew’s expectation that he will sit with each one and the meetings will be more of a visioning exercise than a look at past performance.
The next Presbytery meeting is in Guilford County on February 12, a Tuesday, we need a volunteer to attend and a motion to approve the representative.
None of the session members can attend. The suggestion was made that elders who are not on the session be asked if they might accompany Andrew. Andrew will determine how to handle this item.
Andrew exited the meeting and asked that John end the meeting with prayer after the Personnel items were reviewed.
John indicated that in fine tuning the budget this year Personnel in conjunction with Jerry and Andrew came up with two motions to adjust Andrew’s terms of call.
The first motion is
To compensate Andrew for his vision insurance in 2019
Just got the note below about Andrew deciding on taking vision insurance this year. My response to Janet was not to take the vision premium deduction out of Andrew check at least in January until Personnel can consider whether to have the church pay for it or not. My feeling is that we should probably go ahead and have the church pay for it but I think that is a Personnel decision. My reasoning is that 1) He has done an excellent job this year of bringing in new members which has resulted in being in an excellent financial situation in 2019 even considering paying for his vision insurance. 2) When we changed his terms of call to pay for his dental insurance ($1632) we reduced his educational allowance to $1,300 by about $68 more than it would have been if we had kept the total of the two at exactly $3,000. The vision premium is $92 so we could use the $68 to cover almost all of the vision cost.
After little discussion, the motion passed unanimously.
The second was to
To adjust Andrew’s compensation from a 3% increase to a 3.2% increase for 2019
Also, when we met yesterday, I mentioned I had put in increases for the staff at 3.2% instead of the 3% to match what was the 2018 national salary increase average. It basically was just a matter of rounding up the amounts of the monthly increases to the nearest $5 for everyone. I think we should also increase Andrew effective salary up to 3.2% instead of what was approved as a 3% increase. My logic there is if the staff is getting a 3.2% increase then we should also give Andrew a 3.2% increase since he is giving the raises and it might seem like his is the lower or actually to lowest percentage increase of all the staff. The total of all the increases including Andrew is a little more than $200 which is almost insignificant in a $340k budget. In his case, it would amount to a $10+ increase per month rather than rounding up his effective salary. I don’t know if that is enough to warrant having to have the session approve it, again, but I will let the two of you decide if you think we should go with the 3.2% increase.
After no discussion, the motion passed unanimously.
There being no further business, John closed the meeting in prayer at 8:40 PM
Lord’s Supper, Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals
Since the last stated meeting the Lord’s Supper was performed once on January 6. Poppy Behr was baptized on the 13th of January. There were no new members, weddings, or funerals.
Acting Clerk of session
Approved session February 18,2019