June 10, 2013 Stated Session Meeting

Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church
Stated Session Meeting: June 10, 2013 – Adult Classroom

Attending: Ruling Elders Monty Brekke, Cindy Massey, Stephanie Miller, Jeff Morehouse, Fred Royal, Tina Stark, John Walkup (via remote), Bob Warren, Mary Donna Pond (Clerk), and Teaching Elder Rev. Mindy Douglas (Moderator). Excused absence: Rachel Stevens, Jerry Wehmueller


Mindy Douglas called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. and welcomed three newly-installed Ruling Elders:  Monty Brekke, Stephanie Miller, and Fred Royal.  Cindy Massey led the devotion which focused on doing God’s will for the "least of these," then led an opening prayer.  Pastoral concerns and celebrations were shared.

Leadership Development.  Mindy explained to the new Elders that the Session had been studying Stanley Ott’s book, Twelve Dynamic Shifts for Transforming Your Church."  She encouraged each of them to borrow a copy and read it.  John noted that Ott’s admonition to welcome and attend to first-time visitors is vital and should be a priority for every member of the church.

Approval of Agenda and Consent Agenda:  The agenda was approved with one addition.  Items approved on the consent agenda were:

a.       Approval of Minutes:  Stated Session Meeting 05-13-13

b.      Election of Clerk of Session  – Mary Donna Pond through May 2014

c.       Approve Bill dePrater to preach on June 23

d.      Opening Devotion Schedule

e.      Committee assignments

f.        Correspondence  (thank you letters from Circles Chatham, Chatham Literacy Council)

ANNUAL MEETING OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES.  Jeff Morehouse, President, called the meeting of the Board of Trustees to order.  The sole item of business was the annual election of officers.  Stephanie moved that the following slate be elected:  President, Jeff Morehouse; Vice President, Bob Warren; Secretary, Mary Donna Pond; Treasurer, Jerry Wehmueller.  Monty seconded the motion which passed without dissent.  The meeting of the Trustees was adjourned and the Stated Session meeting continued.

Pastor’s Report.  Mindy shared with the Session her observations and experiences attending Moral Monday at the NC Legislature.  She said she would be away the next week, attending the Worship and Music Conference in Montreat.  She also reported that she has accepted the invitation to enroll in the Doctor of Ministry degree program at Duke Divinity School.


FAB Committee.  Jerry has been monitoring the bank deposits and reported that our cash flow is adequate for current expenses.  Bob asked for an update on the capital campaign, but as the bookkeeper had been out for a week to care for her sister who has cancer, there was nothing to report.  Mary Donna noted that the Capital Campaign Committee would be meeting on Wednesday.  Stephanie suggested that someone regularly make the congregation aware of our financial situation and encourage giving throughout the summer.

Building and Grounds.  Fred gave a brief update on the state of the bio-retention pond.  He has assumed oversight of the pond which is functioning at about 50% of needed operation. Additional work will likely be required.  Cindy asked Fred to inform FAB should additional funds be needed, as it could affect cash flow.  Stephanie asked about the status of the window repairs; Fred said Bruce is managing that project.  She also asked if anyone knew the results of the recent vote to change signage regulations in Chatham County.  Fred will request that B&G determine if we can now relocate our sign to Manns Chapel Road.

Outreach.  Monty brought a request from the Outreach Committee for Session approval to hold a fund raiser to assist Eridson Ramirez, a student from the Dominican Republic who has been supported by the Rudolph family through his childhood and high school education.  Eridson has been admitted to a program at Wake Tech and the Rudolphs have requested financial help in paying his tuition.  Stephanie voiced concern over how this appeal might impact the Capital Campaign.  Mary Donna explained how any funds raised for Eridson could not be counted as "contributions" since they are being raised for a specified individual.  Bob asked if the Outreach Committee had considered using its budget funds for this purpose.  Monty explained that the committee was uncomfortable designating such a large amount ($5,000) to a single individual.  The request was approved without dissent.


Email voting rules/procedures.  A written proposal of rules and guidelines was distributed in the Session packet.  After brief discussion, the Session voted to approve the guidelines.


Request from Church of Reconciliation regarding Same-Sex Marriage.  A letter from the More Light Committee of Church of Reconciliation was circulated in the Session packet.  Monty moved that the Session approve the following statement: 

"As the session of a congregation in the PCUSA, we affirm that our policy regarding who may marry in our church does not discriminate against same gender couples.  We affirm Christian marriage for all, regardless of sexual orientation, and regardless of legal restrictions on same gender marriage in most jurisdictions.  We affirm the choice of our clergy to marry same gender couples as a part of their pastoral ministries, in obedience to their ordination vow ‘to show the love and justice of Jesus Christ.’  Respecting the conscience of fellow Presbyterians, we accept the consequences of this declaration, including the provisions of discipline in our Book of Order."

Jeff seconded the motion.  John spoke against the motion noting that it puts us at odds with our denomination.  Jeff also spoke against the motion indicating this was not the time to take this action.  Mindy noted that if the Session felt strongly about the matter, it could approve an "overture" to Presbytery that the matter be addressed at the Presbytery and General Assembly levels.  Cindy remarked that she would not feel comfortable taking a step that would put us in opposition to PC(USA) and would prefer to work within the structure available to us to work for change.  Mindy called for a vote and the motion was defeated with one abstention and no "yes" votes.  A committee to work on investigating an overture will meet, consisting of Monty, Stephanie, Cindy, and Mindy.

Ken Evers-Hood D.Min. project.  A proposal from a D.Min. candidate, Ken Evers-Hood, to participate in a Research Study, Playing Games in Church: Trust, Church Growth, and the Public Goods Game, was discussed.  Pending a determination on how much time would be needed, the Session approved participating in the study at the August Stated Session Meeting.

Change of date for August Stated Session Meeting.  Due to a conflict with Mindy’s D.Min. studies, she requested a change of date for the meeting to August 5.  The request was unanimously approved.

Congregational Meeting.  The change in the allocation for the Pastor’s continuing education funds approved at the last meeting requires Congregational approval as it is a temporary change in her Terms of Call.  Monty moved that the meeting be held July 21, Jeff seconded, and the motion was approved.

Election of Commissioner to August 6 Presbytery Meeting.  Fred was elected to serve as Commissioner; Jeff was elected as back-up in the event Fred is not able to attend.

Annual Officer Retreat.  Dates for the retreat were discussed.  The Clerk was asked to poll the Session and Board of Deacons for the date on which most would be able to attend.  John moved that 50% of the retreat time be set aside for session business and long-range planning.  Mindy recommended that the retreat not attempt to try to do too much but rather focus only on spiritual growth and development, as that had not been done at other recent retreats.  She noted that it would be more beneficial to have two separate retreats rather than try to do too much in one.  The motion failed 5-4.  Bob moved that a second Session-only retreat be held for the purpose of long-range planning.  John seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.


  • Remember to pray for our church each day at noon.
  • Next Stated Session Meeting – July 8, 2013
  • Presbytery meeting – Tuesday, August 6, at First Presbyterian Burlington.

With no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:45 p.m.  Mindy closed the meeting with prayer.


Respectfully submitted,

Mary Donna Pond, Clerk of Session


Approved by Session August 5, 2013