July 19, 2021 Stated Session Meeting
Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church
Stated Meeting July 19, 2021 – 7 PM
Present: Paul Bolig, Sara Botelho, Tom Crosby, Keith Glidewell, Marcia Ladd (Clerk), Mary Roodkowsky, Andrew Taylor-Troutman (Moderator), Tim White, (Treasurer), Serena Zum Brunnen
Excused Absence: Greg Behr, Sarah McCormack, Bruce Raymond
Marcia opened the meeting with a devotion. Andrew offered prayer concerns, and asked others for prayer concerns on their minds. Marcia ended the devotion with a prayer.
Andrew then asked for motions on the agenda. Paul Bolig moved to approve the agenda, it was seconded and approved unanimously. Andrew then called for a motion to approve the consent agenda. Mary moved to approve the consent agenda, it was seconded and approved unanimously. The Consent Agenda contains the following items:
- Approval of Session minutes – Stated Meeting 6/21/21
- Approval of Committee Minutes – Mission and Service 6/27/21, Strike Force 6/28/21, Membership 7/6/21, Personnel 7/13/21, Stewardship 7/13/21, Christian Education 7/15/21, Finance and Administration 7/15/21, Worship Committee 7/14/21, Brothers on Tap Report 6/28/21 and CYDC Visit 7/16/21
- Approval of Staff Minutes – 6/27/21
- Correspondence – Thank you from Peace and Global Witness
Pastor’s report: Andrew indicated that next month, we begin our budget process for 2022. As in previous years, there will be an additional session meeting following the regular stated meeting for the purpose of each committee presenting the initial proposal for their committee’s budget.
This year we will meet on August 23 at 7 PM. The deacons will be invited to this meeting. Andrew asked elders to discuss their committee’s budget in committee in August, then submit the budget proposal for their committee to both Jerry Wehmueller and Tim White, who will then create a spreadsheet for the meeting. This will show the numbers. On August 23, each committee will have a chance to talk about the specifics of their request.
Andrew then addressed The Vitality Team timeline. They have met with Paul Nixon, consultant, over Zoom on July 8. He then laid out the working timeline:
– July 28: Vitality Team meeting to discuss onsite consultation workshops
– August 1 (Sunday): Commissioning prayer for Vitality Team in 11 a.m. worship
– August 2: Meeting with Paul Nixon about onsite consultation workshops
– August 21: Congregational survey begins online
– September 10-12: Onsite consultation, including workshops and worship
– October 18: Vitality Team presentation of recommendations for strategic plan to session
*The goal of this timing is so that recommendations to session can be approved and factor into our final budget plans following the stewardship campaign. Finally, he gave each one present a copy of his new book, Hope Matters.
Revenues: June revenue was $37,947 or 91% ahead of June of last year ($19,870). This MTD increase is mainly due to two large pledge payments totaling $13,000 paying for their pledges six months or longer. This makes our year-to-date revenue 12% greater compared to 6 months of last year. Year-to-date pledged revenue is 18% ahead of last year while non-pledge revenues is less than last year’s by approx. $5,500. This continues to be most likely visitors from last year who did not pledge who are now members and who pledged in 2021. Expenses: Monthly operating expenses are higher than expected at $35,768 vs approx. $32,000. The biggest budget items are staff salaries & benefits which are at 47% of budget through June versus 50% expected (1/2 of the year). Pension & Benefits payments were posted for May & June in June causing the June MTD to be higher but the YTD to be in line. The areas that are lower than 50% are Pensions (37%) and Pastor’s Reimbursement due to lower spending YTD. The Pensions amounts are correct and up-to-date though lower than originally budgeted. Our 2nd half of 2020 sales tax refund of $750 has not been received although requested from the state in January. On-line processing fees are at 115% ($1,832) YTD but half of those fees are offset by contributors in Realm (who wish to have the fee entered by a contribution). Our Habitat for Humanity annual contribution of $2,500 was paid in full in June. Committees continue to spend less as the church is gradually reopening. We have used $18,671 from the Pastors Discretionary Fund YTD to assist 47 individuals and families in Chatham County with their serious financial issues. Members and friends have given Chapel in the Pines $16,995 YTD to this fund with the June fund YTD balance at $9,924 compared to May YTD balance of $11,130. MTD assistance was $2,342 with MTD donations of $1,135. Summary: Total Revenues YTD of $260,664 are 57% of budget. Revenues continue to be very positive. Total Expenses YTD of $177,970 are 40% of the expense budget. June operating revenues were higher than the monthly operating expenses by over $2,000. Revenues have been higher than expenses for 5 of the 6 months this year (April was the exception). Our cash flow stands at $365,838 about $4,500 less than last month but $43,500 higher than last June. This a very healthy amount of cash on hand to fund operations and other projects.
Then Tim asked the elders to look at the document entitled reserves and asked if they had any questions about the reserves and where they have been allocated. The church started the year with ~$80,000 and will end the year with a balance of $12,517 surplus. The Coaching Contract was approved in a vote on May 22, 2021; it has not been recorded, an email vote will be forth coming so it can be recorded.
Worship Mary indicated that Worship has two motions for session and she offered them together since they are based on the same rationale
That indoor congregational singing can start after children are able to get immunized against COVID-19. The start date should be roughly seven weeks after the immunizations are initially available, to give time for people to arrange vaccination, three to four weeks between shots, plus two weeks for effectiveness. This is contingent on the public health situation at that time.
The second motion is
That the requirement to wear masks in the sanctuary can be ended at the same time, and masks will then be optional. This is contingent on the public health situation at that time.
Mary indicated that the rationale behind both motions is that they are consistent with Session’s decision to link the start of in-sanctuary worship to adult immunization. It also shows our community concern for this significant part of our congregation who cannot yet get vaccinated, rather than creating a situation which de facto excludes them. One of the most dangerous things you can do to expose people to Covid is singing inside.
Mary went on the explain that since we offer two services, one outside, with congregational singing, and one inside without singing, people for whom hymn singing is an essential part of worship should take advantage of the outside service. The only differences between that and the indoor service is that 1) it is outdoors and 2) it has singing!
There was a question about the definition of children; that has been left vague because it depends on what group of children becomes eligible for vaccination. There was also a question about when this would be over; it is unknown at this point because we don’t know what children will be vaccinated when. Mary indicated we need to keep discussing this frequently.
Mary offered a friendly amendment.
Session is committed to reviewing at each stated meeting the issue of restarting congregational singing. As it stands now, indoor congregational singing can start after children are able to get immunized against COVID-19. The start date should be roughly seven weeks after the immunizations are initially available, to give time for people to arrange vaccinations, three to four weeks between shots, plus two weeks for effectiveness. This is contingent on the public health situation at that time.
Mary amended it again to read
Session is committed to reviewing at each stated meeting the issue of restarting congregational singing. As it stands now, indoor congregational singing can start after children are able to get immunized against COVID-19. The start date for singing indoors will be determined based on CDC recommendations after the immunizations are initially available, and will give time for people to arrange vaccinations, three to four weeks between shots, plus two weeks for effectiveness. This is contingent on the public health situation at that time.
The amended motion passed unanimously. The second motion also passed unanimously.
Mission and Service
Sara asked for session’s preference on a committee sign up in the Fellowship Hall in the fall. Several elders expressed interest, others will take it back to their committees
Sara Botelho indicated that Mission and Service has allocated the $174 from the Pentecost offering, along with the $1,000 already budgeted, to Communities in Schools; and $2,000 from Local Missions to the Heat & Eat Program. She also indicated Habitat for Humanity has started local projects and she and Bart are looking for volunteers.
Sara reported that Benevolence Farm has started a legal fund to address the legal problems and inequities encountered by formerly-incarcerated women as they attempt to reintegrate themselves in society. She would like us to consider a donation to this fund at a future meeting.
Finally, her committee is considering a once-a-month focus on a project that would include communication virtually and in-person, with the possibility of an information table after worship once a month.
Membership Keith explained that Membership will be collecting information on visitors and new members that we used to collect. Membership will be greeting in the future. The committee will make cards to hand out to new people and ask them to return the cards to the offering basket. We will also put cards in the seat backs, in addition to giving the cards to people coming in.
Christian Education Serena presented to Session the 2021-2022 Christian Education Plan. They are planning on re-focusing their energies on Youth Groups. They will offer nursery, but not Godly Play before the service.
Serena asked if there were any questions about Christian Education’s decision about the children’s re-opening? Then, Serena brought the following motion. CE Committee Recommends Session
Approve the Children’s Re-Opening Decision
Christian Education wants to make Covid safe bags for children to play with in the sanctuary. Once the Nursery is opened, there will be registration and testing before entering the nursery. We can also return to Sacred Art Table if we can separate the children appropriately. The motion passed unanimously.
Serena drew session’s attention to the Nursery Workers job description and asked if there were any questions. She then brought the following motion. CE Committee Recommends Session
Approve the Nursery Workers Job Description
This will include cleaning time and safe child care. The salary remains the same, the hours different because of cleaning. Serena will add in the Performance Evaluation and Accountability. Serena will take that back to CE. The motion passed unanimously.
Finally, Serena asked if there were any questions about the job description for the Director of Children’s and Youth Ministry. She asked for session to vote on the following motion. CE Committee Recommends Session
Approve the Director of Children’s and Youth Ministries Job Description
The motion was tabled for Christian Education to have a conversation with Joelle. The wording will probably be changed from 20 hours to part time salaried employee.
Finance and Administration Paul brought the following motion from Finance and Administration
The Finance and Administration Committee recommends to Session that the outstanding solar panels loan ($37,182) be paid off by depleting the remaining reserve in the solar panels reserve ($14,676) and the remaining funds coming from the 2020 surplus ($22506).
Paul indicated this will save a lot of interest for the church, over $4000 over 8 years. This is also an Earth Care Church, and doing this is consistent with the covenant for being that type of church. The motion passed unanimously.
The Finance and Administration Committee recommends to Session that $3,596 be transferred from the 2020 surplus funds to the Pastor’s Discretionary Fund.
The Committee’s rationale is the funds will equal the cost of the air filters purchased for the sanctuary. It is reflective of an equal commitment on the part of CITP to both the safety of its members and to the safety of those in the community who are in need of shelter, food, and medical care, as the latter is how the Pastor’s Discretionary fund is spent. After minimal discussion, the motion passed unanimously.
Ongoing Business Andrew indicated the Strike Force had completed their work and wanted session to officially disband the group. He asked for a motion thanking them and officially disbanding them. Sara offered the following motion
Session wishes to thank the Strike Force for their service, completing an important job in the life of the church that is officially disbanded with the opening of the church buildings.
Tom Crosby seconded the motion. After minimal discussion, the motion passed unanimously.
The final matter is to elect an elder to attend the Presbytery meeting August 14, 2021
Keith moved that he serve as the elder representative for the August 14, 2021 Presbytery meeting.
The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.
Tim will get spreadsheets to each elder to work on developing their budgets.
There being no further business, Andrew closed the meeting with prayer at 8:50 PM.
Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals
Deb Rogers officially joined the church on 6/20/21 which was before the previous stated meeting, but her membership was not announced in the minutes for that meeting. There was one Memorial Service for Ron Greene who passed away in the early stages of the pandemic. There was one wedding for William Long, Beverly Long Chapin’s grandson, on 7/17/21. There were no baptisms.
Clerk of Session
Approved Session 8/16/21