May 2007 Called Meeting

Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church
Called Leadership Team Meeting
May 24, 2007


Attending:  Stan Campbell (chair), Mindy Douglas Adams, Marcia Ladd, Jack Zollinger, Mary Donna Pond, John Walkup, Joan Zollinger, Madge Webster

Mindy called the meeting to order at 7:10 p.m.  The meeting was called so that she could report to the Team a situation that occurred during the preceding 36 hours with the Chatham County School regarding the use of space.

Mindy began by reading a passage from Barbara Brown Taylor’s book, Leaving Church, in which the author makes a clear distinction between buildings and people, noting that the church is the people and not the place where they worship.

Mindy described a series of events on Wednesday, May 23, at the administrative offices of the schools in Pittsboro.  She had gone there to submit our next three-month application and payment for use of the space.  While there, she wanted to begin a conversation about CITP applying for a grant from Presbytery that could benefit North Chatham School by providing environmental improvements.  She was directed to Assistant Superintendent Paul Joyce who, after listening to her proposal, asked how long we had been using the school.  When told we had been there since February, he told her that we were violating school policy which limited use by churches to a “short-term, temporary use” and that it was quite likely we would not be allowed to continue meeting there.  After Mindy returned to her office (naturally quite shaken), she got a call from Sarah at the school administration in Pittsboro saying they would grant our three-month request, through August, but that we would need to find another place to meet after that.  She added further that the group from the Bible Church, using Perry Harrison, would also be told they must leave.

Mindy decided to call an emergency meeting of the Leadership Team.  Meanwhile, she began making calls and inquiries including one to Steve Scroggs, Assistant Superintendent for the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Schools.  She learned much useful information.  Meanwhile, she called Sarah again and pursued the matter, asking for explanation and clarification of the policy.  In a subsequent phone call from Sarah, Mindy learned that the “policy” Mr. Joyce cited was only a proposal and no official adoption of the proposal could be found.  Mid-day, Sarah called again with “good news,” saying that she had spoken with Superintendent Ann Hart who agreed that the current policy – applying every three months but without a specific limit as to how long we can use the school – is the policy they will follow.

Mindy concluded by saying that this flurry of activity points out how fragile our situation is.  We are vital and growing, but much of what we do is out of our hands.  For now, however, we do still have a place to worship each week.

Mindy closed by re-reading the passage from Leaving Church and the meeting adjourned at 7:40 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Mary Donna Pond