May 18, 2015 Stated Session Meeting

Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church
Stated Session Meeting, May 18, 2015, Narthex

Attending: Ruling Elders Heather Bogan, Monty Brekke, Kristin Lavergne, Stephanie Miller, Jeff Morehouse, Fred Royal, Archie (Butch) Smith, Tina Stark, Bob Warren, Jerry Wehmueller (Treasurer) Marcia Ladd (Clerk), and Teaching Elder Rev. Mindy Douglas (Moderator)
Guests: Lynne Hoerter, Al Schalk, and Barbara Strange (Ruling Elders-elect), Mary Donna Pond (Deacon-elect) and Nathan Kotecki (guest presenter for Strobilus).


The meeting was called to order by Mindy Douglas at 7:00 p.m. Jerry Wehmueller led the opening devotion, ending with prayer. Mindy introduced our guests and thanked the elders going off session for their service. Concerns and celebrations were shared.

Leadership development: Mindy lead a discussion on how committees should operate and talked about best practices for conducting committee meetings and committee work in general. She lead the session through each document shared in the pre-meeting packet talking about what takes place in committee meetings, how to share information with the congregation, the order of business for meetings, how to have a good discussion, and an organizational checklist for meetings. Mindy indicated she had met with the three incoming elders and determined their leadership roles for the coming year: Al will chair the Communications and Technology Committee, Barbara the Membership Committee, and Lynne the Fellowship Committee.  In addition, Kristin will chair the Adult Education Committee and Mickey dePrater the Children and Youth Ministry Committee (with Barbara as session liaison).

Approval of agenda and consent agenda

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

  1. Approval of minutes:  Stated session meeting 4/20/15; Congregational meeting 4/26/15

  2. Committee minutes – Finance 4/26/15; Building and Grounds 4/14/15, 4/28/15; Children and Youth May 2015

  3. Correspondence:  – James Smith University Presbyterian Church, Bob Warren email

Pastor’s report.  Mindy indicated the new intern, Indhira Udofia, will start this Sunday.  Indhira is working on combined divinity and social work degrees.

Committee reports

Finance and Administration

Jerry went over the April financial reports noting that the year-to-date numbers are positive and there are no unusual, unexpected issues. The balance sheet is healthy.

Heather presented the following motion:

that the designated gift procedure document contained in the May 18, 2015 session packet be adopted as is with item number one being rewritten to state that "Any gift over $500 requires approval by the session."

There was minimal discussion, the motion passed unanimously.

Heather indicated that Stan Campbell, chair of the 2016 capital campaign is already thinking about how to execute that campaign. Heather asked each committee chair to go to their committees and ask what two ways they might use a new fellowship hall and bring her feedback.

Building and Grounds

Fred presented the following motion from Building and Grounds:

to put a small plaque (11"x14") under the cross on the wall of the apse that states, "The cross above was fashioned by John Walkup from a pine tree that stood where this church now stands. December 2011."

Fred indicated that his preference would be that the plaque to be smaller than 11×14 so it would not draw your eye from across the room. Stephanie questioned why Building and Grounds selected the cross (as opposed to other items) as something to be acknowledged with a plaque. There was a suggestion to make this a part of the bulletin with the argument that putting up a plaque opens the door for more plaques. Session had previously made decisions not to designate gifts with plaques.  Jeff indicated that it is part of the church’s history and perhaps it should be included in the history and not with a plaque. Heather suggested that it be a plaque without an individual’s name on it. Fred indicated that the most important message Building and Grounds is striving to get across is that the cross was fashioned from a tree from the land where the church still stands.

Mindy asked for a vote and the motion failed unanimously. Stephanie asked that we not make a new motion this evening as she wants more time to reflect on this. Fred was asked to go to a Building and Grounds meeting and explain the discussion around this motion and the reason for not passing the motion. Fred was asked to bring any new motion back to session in June.

Communication and Technology

Bob asked if anyone had questions about the new digital signal processor. There was minimal discussion.

Children and Youth

Tina reported that the Children and Youth Committee is going to survey parents of children to get input about the programming prior to developing next year’s offerings. The survey requires session approval. Tina offered the following motion from the committee

that a survey modeled after the questions on the May minutes for Children and Youth be sent to members and friends about children’s programming.

The motion passed unanimously.

Mission and Service

Monty proposed the following motion

that the Mission and Service Committee be granted permission to make all special offering designations without explicit session approval.

Stephanie seconded it. She then questioned the wisdom of taking the decision making away from session. Monty amended the motion

that the Mission and Service Committee seek session approval for special offering designations  using email balloting when time is an issue.

Stephanie seconded the amended motion, it passed unanimously.

Monty brought the following motion from the Mission and Service Committee

that the local portion of this year’s Pentecost offering be given to Communities in Schools of Chatham County.

The motion passed unanimously.


Butch indicated that the search committee has been formed for the DCE position. The members are Diane Tietz, John McDowell, Barbara Strange, and Georgana Bond.


Volunteer fair

Mindy indicated that we needed to set a date for the volunteer fair where the committees would have the opportunity to share the specific work of each committee and enlist support and additional help from the congregation. She proposed that we schedule it for August 30. She indicated we may choose to do it as a part of worship connecting worship and service together. There was general agreement for this proposal.

Committee responsibility task force

Jeff drew everyone’s attention to the document included in the pre-meeting packet that delineates responsibilities proposed for each committee. He asked each committee chair to review what was included in the draft and make any proposed changes or suggestion in writing to the task force. The current plan is to bring the final version of this document to the next session meeting.

Jeff also discussed the task force’s recommendation that a working group be formed to examine a re-design of the church’s web site. Jeff made a motion

that session form a task force to make recommendations regarding re-designing and updating the web site.

Stephanie seconded it. Jeff, Monty and Bob all indicated interest in serving on this task force. Mindy will appoint members to this task force and report back to the next session meeting. The motion passed unanimously.


Strobilus proposal – Nathan referred session to the proposal in the packet for the Strobilus update and new business. He described the Strobilus committee’s desire to fund a humidification system designed specifically for grand pianos to control the humidity within the body of the piano regardless of the conditions in the room.  The model he recommends is made by the Dampp-Chaser Corporation. It would ideally be installed in late June and early July. The system is noiseless, will not be visible, and will be low maintenance. There were questions concerning monitoring the water basin for the unit, the need to have it constantly running, clarification of Jeremy’s and Leigh’s involvement in the decision making process. A light indicates when the water needs to be added; it does have to run all the time because of humidity fluctuations; and Jeremy and Leigh have been heavily involved in the planning of this. Nathan’s proposal is to pay for the unit and the installation with monies in the Strobilus funds, it is not expected to exceed $800 and there is in excess of $1000 in those funds currently.

Nathan drew everyone’s attention to the tentative fall schedule for Strobilus. They are planning one event a month. He discussed the desire to hold a church festival and social dance, perhaps with barbecue on the lawn and a tie in with children’s church in conjunction with a bluegrass concert. Strobilus will engineer the concert and make it a social dance, and he asked that session consider adding the other components. Nathan was asked to describe for the new session members some of the history of Strobilus and the funding relationship with CITP. Finally Nathan wanted session to know that Strobilus is considering seeking grants, using the CITP 501 (c)(3). Some of the things they might seek in the grants would be to augment the amplification system, attract performers they cannot attract with currently available monies, and conduct more targeted and in-depth publicity. Bob Warren expressed our gratitude for the series and what it has done for the church. Nathan was excused.

Jeff moved that

we use the funds set aside from the Strobilus monies to purchase and install the Dampp-Chaser unit.

Monty seconded the motion which passed unanimously.

Jeff made a motion

to instruct the Fellowship Committee to explore with Nathan, the Strobilus committee and Children and Youth Committee the possibility of holding a fellowship event in combination with the bluegrass event this fall.

Stephanie seconded it. The motion passed unanimously.

Jeff moved

to instruct the Finance Committee to work with Nathan and the Strobilus group coordinating grant opportunities.

Monty seconded the motion. Any grant proposals would be reviewed by session through the Finance Committee before actually being submitted. The motion passed unanimously.

Stephanie asked if there was a committee where Strobilus resides, it was suggested that Fellowship would be the logical choice.

Stephanie moved

that Strobilus become a subcommittee under the Fellowship Committee.

Jeff seconded it and it passed unanimously.

Examination of new officers Mindy asked each of the new officers present – Lynne Hoerter, Mary Donna Pond, Al Schalk and Barbara Strange to talk briefly about their faith journey. She indicated that they will be installed and ordained on May 31st.

Monty moved that

the officers present be approved for ordination and installation.

Kristin seconded the motion, it passed unanimously.

As two deacons-elect were unable to attend this meeting, Stephanie made a motion

that the session have a called meeting at 9:15 on the morning of the 31st to examine Margaret (Peggy) Wilkerson and Carl (Chick) Biddulph (deacons-elect).

Heather seconded the motion. Jeff was appointed acting clerk for that meeting. The motion passed unanimously.

Fall officer retreat  – Mindy proposed that we conduct the fall officer retreat on October 9, Friday evening and October 10, Saturday all day. She indicated we would focus on strategic planning and has reached out to a potential speaker with an expertise in church strategic planning. The event will include both elders and deacons and be held at Chapel in the Pines.

June communion – As the first Sunday in June is when the congregation is participating in "Chatham Serves," we would need to add a communion to the calendar. Stephanie offered the following motion

that session approves that we serve communion on the first and second Sundays  in June.

Kristin seconded it. It passed unanimously.

Mindy handed out notecards that can be returned to Mitzi for each of the graduating high school students with a Bible passage or words of encouragement.

The next stated session meeting will be June 15 at the 7pm. Monty Brekke will lead the devotion. As the business of the meeting was concluded, Mindy led a closing prayer and the meeting was adjourned at 920 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, 

Marcia Ladd, Clerk

Approved session 6/15/15


Called meeting Sunday, May 31, 2015 at 9:15 to examine two deacons

Remember to pray for our church each day at noon.

Ordination and Installation of new officers May 31st during worship

Next Stated session meeting  June 15 at 7 pm    


Approved by Session June 15, 2015