May 13, 2018 Called Session Meeting
Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church
Called Session Meeting – Sunday May 13, 2018
Present: Andrew Taylor-Troutman (moderator), Karen Atkins (acting clerk), Al Schalk, Barbara Strange, Stan Campbell, Monty Brekke, Lynne Hoerter, Paul Isom, John McDowell, Terry Rudolph
Guests: Joelle Brummit-Yale (Director of Children’s Ministries), Nana Morelli (Office Manager), new elder class: Pat Chappell, Paul Harrell, Barbara Amago
Andrew opened the meeting at 11:50AM with a prayer. Karen was elected to serve as acting clerk by unanimous consent. A quorum was confirmed.
Formal motion (Building Use Task Force, represented by Andrew Taylor-Troutman):
Should the way be clear with insurance and liability requirements, session approved an exception to the church’s Building Use Policy, which prohibits for-profit organizations from renting space, so that Wild Flower Preschool can use the Fellowship Hall and grounds (EXCLUDING the Remembrance Garden) to finish out their current semester, which ends the first week in June.
Background from the email calling the meeting:
Our members, Matt and Lindsay Powell, have a son, Levi, enrolled in Wild Flower Preschool, which suffered a loss of property due to a fire. Lindsay approached the church in hopes that the preschool could finish this year here on our grounds. The preschool was planning to move to a new location in the fall. Their semester ends the 1st week in June.
The preschool director, Shelley Welch, would like to use our Fellowship Hall, as well as the nature trail on Mondays – Fridays from 8 am until 1 pm. She would pay $540 a week. Note: Use of our facilities would be limited to these areas. With special attention NOT to go in the remembrance garden.
Jim Harllee has been our point person in regards to insurance and liability. Jerry Wehmueller and Bruce Raymond have been working with county officials to ensure that our property meets all requirements. The process of undergoing insurance checks and permit applications has already been instructive and will be helpful for the future.
Rationale thoughts of Andrew’s copied from the email calling the meeting:
- Lindsay Powell reports that several of the families are single mothers who rely on this childcare option.
- CitP has a unique opportunity to test the waters regarding a future preschool, since this is a limited option with a fixed time frame.
- Yes, we would stand to make a little money
- In my discussions with some of the “First Droppers” I would like to point to the many ways that our facility is being used by the community and this would be yet another one
- I’m intrigued by what the rest of the congregation would think. I tend to believe they would like the idea of 14 3 and 4 year olds running safely around.
Andrew presents overview to Session and confirms that the preschool and Shelley have been amenable to all of our requests. These include:
- Increasing the preschool’s property insurance coverage from $100k to $300k
- Adding CITP as a covered party under the preschool’s insurance plan
- Ensuring that their child protection policy is in line with ours (including the stipulation that there should always be two adults supervising children).
- They will follow all of our Building Use policy regulations.
In addition, Bruce Raymond and Jerry Wehmueller have met with county officials to make sure that our building is approved for operating this type of facility. This includes getting approvals of the septic system, and a meeting with the fire marshal.
Discussion and reiteration of the defined limits of the preschool’s use, both in space and time:
- Remembrance Garden out of bounds – Stay in Fellowship Hall, playground, nature trail. Using the refrigerator in the Fellowship Hall, but nothing else.
- Lynne notes that the Fellowship committee is cleaning out that refrigerator, so there should be adequate space. Nana also notes that there is space in the Narthex refrigerator (if church supplies need to move from the Fellowship refrigerator to the Narthex refrigerator to clear space)
- Stan (on behalf of Finance and Administration, not personally) is concerned that the preschool might be fond enough of our building to want to keep using it. Andrew reassures that this arrangement is an emergency stopgap, and would only be until the end of the semester. Shelley has spent a lot of time and money to construct her own facility for next semester.
- The preschool is half-day: Children are dropped off from 8:00-8:15, picked up at 12:30, and the preschool will be out of the building by 12:30.
- Barbara notes that the women’s Bible study is the only group currently scheduled to use the Fellowship Hall during those hours, and that the group (of which she is a member) won’t mind temporarily relocating.
- Nana will be on-site Monday-Thursday while the preschool is using the building. Andrew volunteers to be present on Friday, as one of his children will attend the preschool (tuition free) while it is here.
Lynne asks about the qualifications of the teacher and assistants.
- The preschool is unlicensed, but this is a function of the fact that it is a half-day program, rather than an indicator of lack of quality or care.
- Andrew, Joelle, and Nana individually confirmed that they were all satisfied by the responsibility and responsiveness of Shelley and her staff, and all of her references attested to the same. She has a good reputation in the community and with the Powell’s.
- John notes that Andrew would not entrust his own child to an organization in which he did not have confidence.
Complication – There is an ongoing investigation into arson claims for the fire that destroyed the previous meeting place of the preschool (a barn). There have been no charges filed.
- There has been a protracted dispute between the barn owner and Shelley, spurred (in part) by disagreement over space use, rights, expectations, etc.
- This is one reason why we have been so thorough to make clear our the expectations and requirements of our own relationship. We have done this both verbally and through documentation.
- Documentation like this protects both parties.
- There was some concern that if Shelley had a dispute with someone deranged, our building might become an arson target. (Though this is not a likely scenario)
- Re-iteration that we were added to Wild Flower’s insurance policy, which was upped to cover $300k, we have our own insurance, and Jim Harlee (a church member with professional experience in insurance) was comfortable with our current insurance coverage.
- We don’t even know that arson was involved in the fire at all.
- Monty reminds us not to pre-judge the owner of the previous facility, as this is someone we’ve never met, and a conflict in which we have no background and little knowledge.
- Session suggests adding a termination clause to our agreement with Wild Flower, to guard against either unforeseen dangers or unsavory outcomes of the police investigation.
- Andrew thinks that Wild Flower will very likely be amenable to this.
John asks if the Event Coordinator will feel like we went around her by making this contract with Wild Flower and handling the coordination as a church. Nana assures the Session that this is not the case, and, in fact, the EC would likely be overwhelmed by an expectation that she handle this type of building use.
Nana and Al offer the perspective that this motion essentially opens our building to help victims of a disaster. Al notes that succor in the wake of disasters is consistent with church theology and tradition.
Lynne called the question. The motion passed unanimously.
As the business of the meeting was concluded, Andrew closed it with a prayer at with prayer at 12:45 PM
Karen Atkins, Acting Clerk
Approved session May 21, 2018