June 15, 2020 Stated Session Meeting
Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church
Stated Session Meeting 6/15/2020, 2020 7 PM via Zoom
Present: Barbara Amago, Greg Behr, Paul Bolig, Pat Chappell, Keith Glidewell, Paul Harrell, Paul Isom, Marcia Ladd (Clerk), Jenifer Larson, Bruce Raymond, Mary Roodkowsky, Andrew Taylor-Troutman (Moderator), Jerry Wehmueller (Treasurer)
Andrew called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM, with a word of welcome. Marcia Ladd opened with a devotion and prayer. Concerns and celebrations were shared.
Andrew asked for motions on the agenda. Paul Harrell moved to approve the agenda, it was seconded and approved unanimously. Pat moved to approve the consent agenda, it was seconded and unanimously approved.
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 5/18/2020, Email Vote 5/20/2020, Session retreat 6/6/2020
- Approval of Committee Minutes – Deacon’s Meeting 6/1/2020; Finance and Administration June Meeting; Personnel 6/12/2020; Mission and Service 5/31/2020; Stewardship 5/7/2020, 5/28/2020, 6/4/2020
Andrew convened a meeting of the Board of Trustees. He asked for a motion to approve the 2018 Board of Trustees meeting. Paul Bolig moved
To approve the 2019 Board of Trustee minutes
It was seconded and passed unanimously. Andrew then told the elders that they needed to elect new officers of the corporation. He asked Paul Harrell if he would be willing to assume the role of President, Paul agreed. He asked Jerry and Marcia if they were willing to retain their roles, they both agreed. He asked for a volunteer for Vice President, Keith volunteered. He then called for a vote on the following slate
President – Paul Harrell
Vice President – Keith Glidewell
Secretary – Marcia Ladd
Treasurer – Jerry Wehmueller
Paul Bolig made a motion to approve the slate, it was seconded and approved unanimously. He then turned to Paul Bolig. Paul indicated that when he and Stan reviewed the relevant sections of the by laws and policies, they found a section of the bylaws not to be gender neutral. This has to be voted on by the Trustees and not the session because of our underlying polity. He offered the following motion to
to replace Article X of the bylaws with the language provided in the session packet
It was seconded and passed unanimously. Andrew adjourned the meeting of the Trustees and re-convened the session meeting.
Pastor’s Report Andrew indicated that opening the church will not be a one and done occurrence, but rather a soft re-opening in phases. Looking much like the soft re-opening of the country. He called the elders attention to his report, encouraging the elders to participate in:
1) The 21-Day challenge with Rev. LaShauna Austria
2) The weekly conference call prayer with Mt. Zion.
He continued that it is his prayer that, through the 21-Day Challenge and the weekly prayer meetings, participants in those groups will begin to sense a call to action in specific, measurable steps. I hope the work of the session, in addition to the usual responsibilities, will be to help craft those action steps. It is his long term hope that out of community activity church will no longer primarily be a building and worship will no longer be something we just do on Sunday morning.
He also asked for input about a weekly communion offering to bring structure to peoples’ lives and a renewed sense of community. Andrew asked if there were questions about his submitted report. He said he is working with churches in northern Chatham and trying to build up that alliance.
The May operating revenue was $20,187 which was almost exactly the amount given last year in May but still $5,166 less than this month’s expenses. On a year-to-date basis our revenues are a little more than 10% of last year. Obviously our focus needs to be on whether our revenues will be able to match our actual expenses this year. There are many metrics that can be used to try and answer that question even though we are still have almost a $70,000 surplus ytd. Some of the answer will come from our attendance if and when we can return to on-site services. There are revenue budget items that will clearly not be achieved. Open plate revenues will miss that budget by around $6,500 while revenue from building use will undoubtedly miss that budget by almost $3,000. I do think our operating expenses will be at least $9,500 below budget for this year but will do a more complete analysis next month at the half way point of the year.
Stan had asked me to keep a record of Sunday online giving to see if how an offering item in on our online service is doing. I will attach a table of that giving at the end of this report. The data suggests that it probably doesn’t make up for having an offering during in house services.
Of the $31,520 in revenue recorded in May only 55% went to our operating budget.
Monthly personnel expenses were $21,114 of the total monthly expenses of $25,353 so the total operating revenues did not quite cover our personnel expenses. The fixed administrative expenses primarily to pay the utilities, copy machine rental, and property insurance were $1,350 with an additional $2,058 being spent to partially pay the monthly mortgage of $5,732. The only other expense from the committee was the $1,166.67 that was budgeted to send to Salem Presbytery monthly. The $13,200 that is budgeted this year as a reserve for asset maintenance is not expensed monthly but will be expensed at the end of the year.
The interest rate on our mortgage that is adjusted every 3 years was reviewed this month and will stay the same until reviewed again in May 2023.
Our cash flow in May actually went up a little (+$38.24) in spite of our operating loss. Bank deposits were $29,997 while checks cashed were only $24,227 for the month while the mortgage payment of $5,732 is automatically taken from our investment account at PILP.
The $80,000 that had been put in our Schwab account in February to obtain some interest was transferred to our PILP investment account. The interest paid at Schwab went from 0.8% to 0.13% over the past three months which made the PILP investment a better investment. The move will increase the earnings on the $80,000 combined with the current PILP balance by about $1,000 annually.
Marcia noted that the Wish List had been included in the packet. Any committee may update what they want on the Wish List. Finance and Administration is the keeper of the Wish List, so updates would go through Paul Bolig. He will bring the Wish List up quarterly. He was asked what came off the Wish List. He indicated that the camera video streaming monthly fee came off.
Finance and Administration
Paul Bolig indicated that the $1000 limit on checks requiring only 1 signature was too restrictive and offered the following motion
To amend the Cash Management component of the Finance Policy and Procedures
c.) to require two signatures for checks of $1500 or more.
So the policy will read
- c) Any check of $1,500 or more must be signed by two members who are approved by the Session. (Adopted 6/15/2020)
Paul indicated that Jerry had told Finance and Administration many times bills fall in between $1000 and $1500 and it is particularly difficult with Covid 19. Jerry indicated Finance and Administration may want to increase the number of signatories. The motion passed unanimously.
Greg indicated that Zach Terry has worked very hard on our virtual worship services and there is a desire to offer him some level of compensation. He offered the following motion
To compensate Zach Terry $65 for each Sunday he works on the worship videos starting May 24 and going forward for the foreseeable future. The funds for now can come from the funds budgeted for nursery workers, this will be re-visited during the upcoming budget development.
Greg asked if Zach was a one man band; he is. Greg expressed that we may want to add another person to perform these duties to achieve some redundancy. Andrew indicated there was some spoken issue with paying church members. The rationale behind paying Zach is similar to the rationale for paying Katherine – major impact on Sunday morning worship and having a particular skill set. There was concern that the amount seems paltry. Andrew thought that we could consider this motion as a stop gap, temporary payment and will be addressed more deeply in the budget development process. Zach is fully committed to doing this through the summer. There was concern that we should start looking for someone who could apprentice to Zach. That is already in process. It is a question, Personnel needs to address. There is also marketing utility to our Sunday worship services. The motion passed unanimously.
Mary indicated that she and her committee had discussed with Andrew the importance of having weekly communion and offered the following motion
Approve serving virtual communion on a weekly basis as long as it is unsafe for the church to share the sacrament person to person.
There was some discussion about how we would do this effectively. Virtual communion will be done. The Worship Committee will look at how this will be done. The motion passed unanimously. Mary indicated that the Task Force on re-opening asked Worship to bring to session the following resolution, asking session to adopt it as follows:
Session recognizes that as of this date, the time has not arrived to recommence in-person services, even outdoors. Holding such services will be important for community well-being, and for providing pastoral care to our congregation. Yet the decision to begin holding these services must be made prudently, and must spell out recognized safety precautions to reduce the risk of spreading infection among participants.
Session agrees with the Task Force’s recommendation on the following minimum criteria for starting up outdoor services
- Declaration of Phase 3 reopening by the State of North Carolina, AND
- A decrease or sustained leveling of new hospitalizations and of new cases
- Following the most stringent recommendations of recognized epidemiologists including from the NIAID (Dr. Fauci), CDC, WHO and others
When these criteria are met, services can begin to take place outside, in the morning, evening, or both.
They decided that Stage 3 was not enough and added a decrease in hospitalizations, and they are very serious about not exposing people to danger, and we must not rush it. She asked for session’s vote. Andrew wants this resolution to go separately to the congregation, making it clear that session is out in front of this and the precision of the guidelines and the safety factor. Mary was asked if people reacted that we would not be back in church anytime real soon. Mary confirmed that was the case. Mary said the hospitalization decrease would be statewide.
Mission and Service
Paul Harrell had several items he want to bring to session’s attention. Mission and Service has donated money and food to CORA. They have also applied for a grant from our insurance company, Church Mutual. The funds were dried up, but Church Mutual may be offering another round. CORA will be the beneficiary of the grant. The church, through Mission and Service, sponsored 4 kids at Perry Harrison for the summer through FuelUp program. Jerry asked about the Chatham Solidarity Fund; Paul does not know the final total, but he and Andrew will try to find out, but they thought it was not as much as expected.
Andrew indicated that our policies require us to elect a clerk every year. Marcia has agreed to serve another year. He asked for a motion and a second. Mary Moved
to elect Marcia Ladd Clerk of Session for the period of June 15, 2020 through the middle of June 2021.
It was seconded and passed unanimously.
Andrew asked if there were any questions about the Vespers. He wanted people to know that we continue to get ready for the outside worship, wanted to offer an update on where the Vesper’s Task Force is headed. The congregation needs to know that we are actively planning the outside worship, but nothing is going to be done precipitously and there is an emphasis.
Our next meeting will be July 20 and it will in all probability be virtual. As many meetings that can be done virtually should be. Mary moved to adjourn and it was seconded and passed unanimously.
Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals
Since the last meeting on May 18, the Lord’s Supper was performed virtually at the session retreat on June 6 and in worship on June 7. There were no new members, baptisms, weddings or funerals.
Marcia Ladd, Clerk
Approved Session 7/20/2020