July 21, 2014 Stated Session Meeting

Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church
Stated Session Meeting, July 21, 2014, Narthex

Attending: Ruling EldersHeather Bogan (via Skype), Monty Brekke, Kristin Lavergne, Stephanie Miller, Jeff Morehouse, Butch Smith,Tina Stark, Bob Warren, Marcia Ladd(Clerk), and Teaching Elder Rev. Mindy Douglas (Moderator)
Absent Elders:  Fred Royal, Jerry Wehmueller (Treasurer)
Guests:  Karen Atkins, Barbara Styers (Duke Divinity School intern)


The meeting was called to order by Mindy Douglas at 7:00 p.m. Tina Stark led the opening devotion, ending with prayer. Concerns and celebrations were shared.

Mindy introduced the leadership developmenttopic of Stewardship and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).  In the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) we invite people to give as God calls them to give – generously and with deep gratitude. Session’s responsibility is to be stewards of the monies that are given based on an overall plan for the vision and mission of the church which includes spending.  Mindy charged the Finance and Administration Committee with developing a policy consistent with our Presbyterian polity on how we receive gifts and what we do with donated gifts and designated giving. The committee chairs were also asked to look at the form in their packets on additional needs and develop a "Wish List" that could be shared with interested donors regarding projects that the session believes follows the mission and vision of the church.

Approval of agenda and consent agenda

It was moved and seconded that the agenda be approved as revised.  The consent agenda was approved, as follows:


a.       Approval of minutes:  Stated session meeting  6/9/14 and called meeting 6/15

b.      Committee minutes -Building and Grounds 5/27,6/17 and 7/1; Children and Youth and Nursery  6/22/14

c.       Correspondence:  Email from John Rogers to Mindy, Montreat Conference, Habitat letter


Pastor’s Report. Mindy reported on the new members we have received.


Finance and Administration.

Heather indicated that spending levels were ahead of projections and introduced the following motion from the committee to allow the committee to examine the reasons for this:

That there be a moratorium on any discretionary spending that is not time sensitive for two months until the Finance Committee can discuss and make a recommendation on how to proceed based on our best guess on year end revenues. (This will also serve as a temporary response to the Outreach committee’s proposal to add a second mission worker.)

The motion was carried unanimously.

Heather reported that the committee plans to develop a quick response code (QRC) for giving and wanted input on where to put the code.  Based on input, Heather moved that the quick response code be placed on quarterly giving statements and on a card to be placed in the pockets in the back of the sanctuary chairs. Stephanie seconded the motion, it was carried unanimously.

Heather shared that the interest rate on the building mortgage was recently adjusted from 4.58% to 4.01% after the Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program (PILP) review, resulting in ~$300 per month savings. The committee recommended that this savings be used to continue to pay down principal since it is already included in FY2014 operating budget. We currently have 212 more monthly mortgage payments: paying the extra $300 per month will cut 15 payments off our total mortgage obligation.

The motion was carried unanimously.

Cindy Massey and Josh Ladd currently serve on an auditing team. They need one additional person to serve with them.  Suggested names were shared with Heather as possible people who would serve.

The Endowment Committee has been formed and Heather asked for session approval of the following motion:

Church by-laws require a 5-person committee. We submit the 5 names below for approval by the session:

a.      Chuck Rickard – Three year term

b.      Stan Campbell- Three year term

c.       Jerry Wehmueller- Two year term

d.      Catherine Trott – Two year term

e.      Catherine Ragland- One year term

It was amended to include terms for the members as listed above, Jeff seconded it; it carried unanimously.

Stewardship  Marcia reported that the committee has met recently.  Lynne Hoerter is the chair, with Heather Bogan, Stan Campbell, Mindy Douglas, Marcia Ladd, Mary Donna Pond, John Walkup and Jerry Wehmueller serving on the committee. The decision was made to focus on children’s and youth education for the upcoming campaign that will start October 12 and culminate with Stewardship Sunday on November 9. She asked for input to the 2012 Time and Talent Sheet for inclusion in the stewardship packet.

2015 Budget Planning Mindy discussed each of the three documents included in the packet – the budget history of the church, the 2015 planning spreadsheet and the "wish list" document. Members were asked to return the 2015 projections to Heather by September 10.The Stewardship Committee was asked to consider digitizing the Time and Talent form for this year’s campaign. There is a tool for doing this on access ACS and the committee was advised to seek Bob Warren’s assistance with this project.

Worship Stephanie described a set of proposed sanctuary banners and presented the following motion from the committee:

The Worship Committee moves that the Liturgical Arts Subcommittee be empowered to commission Wilma Van Der Meyden to paint banners of the Angels Gabriel and Michael similar to those she created for the church in Houston that were on loan to Chapel in the Pines for Easter 2013. Funding for this is being provided by individual donors. The mounting has been approved by the Fire Marshall and communicated to Building and Grounds and will consist of metal frames mounted to the floor behind the choir risers.

Bob asked that this item be moved to new business to give members time to think about it more given the earlier discussion on designated giving.

Children and Youth

Tina provided an update on the playground. Funding has been procured for the playground; Katherine Brekke found a commercial grade playground set that the Building and Grounds Committee feels is safe and sturdy enough for the church’s purposes.  It has a 10 year warranty and the manufacturer will deliver and assemble it. Jerry looked into the insurance and the set will be fine given our coverage. Tina made a motion for the committee to purchase the playground equipment they have selected for approximately $2000. The motion was approved unanimously.

Tina introduced the Workshop Rotation Model that her committee is proposing for the 2015-2016 Sunday School for pre-school and elementary students. It will consist of 3 or 4 leaders called shepherds who will be present throughout the year. The youth will be enlisted to help. The model is an "open source" model that has been used and vetted by a number of congregations; the topics/curricula are prepared.  This approach will be introduced to the congregation in August; on August 10 the committee will hold a meeting for interested participants. Tina asked for session members to consider signing up for the slots in September. Tina introduced a motion from the committee to implement the workshop rotation model. The motion was carried unanimously.

Tina introduced Karen Atkins, a member of the Children’s and Youth Committee, to speak on behalf of the letter, contained in the session packet, which she had written to session. Karen indicated that the new Sunday school model has been outlined and will be implemented by committee members who are basically doing the work of staff. She indicated that is not sustainable over the long term to use "volunteers." She indicated the church needs staff to maintain and implement programs, manage the interns, coordinate volunteers, schedule teachers, etc. There was much appreciation offered by the session for Karen’s input and sentiment. Karen suggested that the church needs at least 20 hours of staff time. There was a question raised about partnering with another church, but because of the desirability of having staff available on Sunday morning that might not be the preferred way to go. There was general agreement among session members that having dedicated staff for Christian education was an important goal. Tina and her committee were asked to look at comparable positions in the area and then develop a job description and funding requirements for both a full and part time staff. 

Adult Education Jeff told the session that Will Sibert will be teaching a class entitled "Healing the Wounds of Trauma." The initial session would be on a Sunday afternoon in late summer or early fall. Will has been trained in this class and has been invited to teach it in the Philippines.

Personnel Butch announced that Bob Hoerter has resigned from the committee, Chuck Rickard will remain and Forest Johnson will be coming on the committee.

Other Reports

Committee evaluation team report – There is an update in the packet and the team is moving forward. A report and recommendations will be forth coming.

Strategic planning task force – no report


Mindy asked session for input on the document Nathan submitted about the Strobilus series

1.      A question was posed about whether the church’s current insurance coverage (property, liability) is sufficient also to cover the operations of the music series. Rather than make any assumptions, this question is passed along to the Session.Heather will ask the question of the insurance agent and report back.

2.      Similarly, a question was posed about whether the church’s current music license (executed for the performance of music from the hymnal and other sources) is sufficient also to cover the performance of music in the series. It should be noted that a good portion of the music anticipated in the series will be in the public domain, but a portion of the music will not, and as such, it would be proper to have a license with ASCAP and/or BMI that secures the rights to perform that music. Rather than make any assumptions, this question is passed along to the Session.We do not have the expertise to answer this question and will suggest to Nathan that he check with other larger churches to see how this is handled there.

3.      The use of the hearing loop technology would increase the accessibility of the Strobilus performances, but there are challenges to implementation. Since the performances will be primarily acoustic, ambient or distant microphones would be required to capture a performance for it to sound balanced when heard through the hearing loop. Chapel in the Pines does not own that type of microphone at present. This information is passed along to the session not with the expectation that the challenge is addressed immediately, but to give the Session the opportunity to consider the opportunity in any future discussion of the church’s sound system.

4.      Childcare was briefly discussed at the first presentation to the Session about the music series, but the matter was not resolved at that time. Currently, the intention is to provide childcare for at least the first few concerts until it can be determined whether the audience will take advantage of that amenity. This item is simply to notify the Session of this intention. Nathan needs to be aware that our policy is that two adults are with the children at all times, background checks are required of child care workers, and there is not budgeted money to cover this, hence it will have to come out of receipts.

5.   With the first slate of performances lined up, it is clear that the chancel furniture will be relocated for the majority of Strobilus events. Clearly this must be done in a highly careful and respectful manner. The Session is asked to provide guidance about any preferred methodology for moving the chancel furniture, and the preferred location of its storage in the building. It is fine to move the chairs and furniture to another part of the building; we have typically moved them either to the sides of the Sanctuary or the Narthex. The critical thing to remember is to not slide the chairs and take great care in moving them. 


Butch announced that there was a change in Mitzi’s job description. Kristin asked if anything specific was being dropped or added from the job description. Mindy indicated that specifically Stephen Ministry is being dropped because of the changing needs of the congregation, and this is allowing for a little more flexibility. Monty made a motion that we approve the information changing Mitzi’s job description, Bob seconded it. It passed unanimously.

Submission of Salem Domestic Hunger Grant. Kristin asked why we were submitting the grant. Mindy explained that it was a Presbyterian grant and that we partner with several other churches in operating the food pantry. Monies received would go directly to the Pantry. Monty made a motion to approve hunger grant, Tina seconded it. It was carried unanimously.

The question of the banners was re-visited. There was discussion about the history of this project. The question was asked if the donors would have an expectation that the banners remain hanging all the time. Mindy was assured by the Liturgical Arts Committee that this was not the expectation of the donors or the subcommittee, they expected to rotate the art in the front of the sanctuary, and that no one piece would be permanent. There was detailed discussion about the importance of the designated giving guidelines for situations like this going forward. The session voted 5 to 2 to approve the banners.

Stephanie moved that Tina and Heather be approved to attend the Presbytery meeting on August 5, Jeff seconded. This was approved unanimously.

The next Stated Session meeting will be August 18th in the narthex at 7pm. Bob Warren will give the devotion. 

Mindy led a closing prayer and the meeting was adjourned at 9:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, 

Marcia Ladd, Clerk

Approved by Session August 18, 2014


                 Remember to pray for our church each day at noon.

                            Next Stated session meeting August 18, 2014

                            Presbytery meeting  August 5 Grace Presbyterian Church