May 3, 2021 Called Session Meeting
Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church
Called Session Meeting May 3, 2021 7 PM
Present: Barbara Amago, Greg Behr, Paul Bolig, Sara Botelho, Tom Crosby, Keith Glidewell, Paul Harrell, Marcia Ladd (Clerk), Bruce Raymond, Mary Roodkowsky, Serena zumBrunnen
Absent: Sara McCormack
Andrew called the meeting to order with a devotion and ending in a prayer. There are two reasons to open the Sanctuary, the first is spiritual as it is a potential thin place. Worship is more than the words and the people who offer those words. Many people view our Sanctuary as a thin place. The second reason is pastoral. While everyone has lost things during this time, meeting in the Sanctuary gave people a time to reflect and prepare for the days ahead. He closed the devotion with a prayer.
He asked for a motion to accept the agenda, Mary moved to accept and the motion was seconded and passed anonymously. Andrew asked if there were additional announcements, Keith said they were starting back up to make plans for restarting work with the prison. Mary asked for prayers for the people of India in their dire situation.
He asked Bruce to offer his motion from Building and Grounds.
Bruce explained after exhaustive research the committee offered the following motion:
B&G recommends the procurement of one portable HEPA filter (Oransi EJ120, which has an AHAM CADR rating of over 300, true HEPA MERV17 filter, and coverage of 1250 sq. ft. at $900) to test in the Sanctuary. If it is a good fit for the Sanctuary, we will order three more units to provide coverage of the Sanctuary space. Future plans for other portions of our church campus would be addressed later, as we learn more and make additional plans for further utilization of our facility.
Bruce indicated the committee had considered:
- HEPA Filters in HVAC
- Portable free standing HEPA units
The second option can be implemented slowly. He was also very clear that the messaging should not say the church will be safe, but as safe as possible. The motion passed unanimously. Sara asked if there are contingencies for adding the filters in other places that will be open, e.g. restrooms, Bruce replied there would be. Mary wondered what B & G is looking for in trying these units out. Bruce indicated that HEPA filters have been around and been tested for a long time. One of his main concerns is the sound that may be emitted, and he feels trying it out is the way to go. He wants to reach a balance between filtering the air and not disrupting the service. Paul Bolig asked if when we finally make the decision about the number of units purchased would it be a relatively subjective decision. Bruce said the units are rated for a certain space and our decision about number of units was based on the ratings. Paul Harrell asked about the speed the units would have to be run. Bruce indicated they had looked at it and it’s another thing he wants to look at with the first unit. Tom wanted to know if we would have to have these units permanently. The only thing we know is there may or may not be an ability to predict future use. The motion passed unanimously.
Andrew turned the meeting over to Worship. Mary offered the following motion from the Worship Committee:
To reopen the sanctuary for worship at 11 a.m. on June 6, 2021
She indicated there are a lot of details to be worked out. She cited CDC Guidelines, low infection rates in Chatham County, strong support from staff and the congregation for opening in the Sanctuary. The Worship Committee wants to offer ever congregant the type of worship they want and need, e.g. holding outdoor worship (9:30 AM), indoor worship (11AM) and virtual (recording of the indoor service). Andrew asked if there were questions. Keith said it sounds like staff will be doing a lot of work; Andrew indicated that since they are not filming in advance, the times will be roughly equivalent. Paul Bolig asked if we were talking about the first motion. Bruce indicated there are a lot of details that need to be worked out ahead of the opening and perhaps a Task Force should be created to work on the details. Bruce offered an amended motion:
To have a goal to reopen the sanctuary for worship at 11 a.m. on June 6, 2021 based on session’s determination
The amended motion passed unanimously.
Mary offered the following motion from her, not from the committee. However it is based on what the staff, congregants and Worship Committee wants
Session to sign on behalf of Chapel in the Pines a Covenant on the steps the Church is taking to protect our congregation. To distribute this widely to the congregation along with the covenant we ask them to sign.
She envisions this to be a two sided covenant that congregants and session will sign. There was discussion that this should be mandatory. She wants to encourage people in the covenant to get vaccinated, but it is not a requirement. She wants the covenant to assure people the church is doing everything it can, but not send the message that it is totally safe. Barbara Amago seconded the motion.
Andrew opened the floor for discussion. Paul Bolig was concerned that we might be saying that “unless my doctor told me I cannot take the vaccine or if a child is not vaccinated” what will we do about that? We are not inclined to require vaccination, but to encourage it. One of the issues we need to think through is getting people to move in and out of the building in an orderly and safe way. We need to be clear about seating requirements that are hammered out before we meet. Sara wanted to make sure the wording in Mary’s document was not locked in stone. Mary said it is not. Greg is a little concerned about the wording over vaccines. Serena asked if we can announce that we have ways to help people get to vaccines? The consensus was we can. Sara cautioned that we can wordsmith the language to not offend people, while trying to keep them and the community safe. Andrew asked the session to vote on the use of a covenant, not the details of it. He asked for a vote on the motion as it is. Paul asked when the details would come back to session, Andrew wants them to come back on the May 17 meeting. The motion passed unanimously.
Andrew suggested there are several ways to get the details taken care of by creating a Task Force to focus on the details of the steps that need to be taken. To go forward, Mary thought we needed representative from Building and Grounds, Worship, Fellowship, Membership, Christian Education and Staff. Bruce asked to clarify the task in front of us. There is a need to put together this Strike Force to plan out among other things:
- Suggested spacing of chairs
- Flow in and out of Sanctuary
- Role of Ushers, locations (how many per service), training
- Engaging in fellowship
- Communion protocols
- Bulletin distribution
- Covenant for reopening between congregation and session
- Cleaning protocols
- Do we limit attendees
Mary wanted to make sure there is a feedback loop. Sara moved
Form a Strike Force with a committee member selected by the elder representative from Building and Grounds, Worship, Membership, Staff, Christian Education and Fellowship to report the details of a plan for reopening to session at the Stated Meeting on May 17, 2021
It was seconded. Bruce asked for a commitment from each elder to make a decision as quickly as possible. Andrew will convene the first meeting of this group this week. The motion passed unanimously.
Andrew turned the session’s attention to the May 17 stated meeting. He would like to propose that we meet in the Fellowship Hall. He asked that each elder present send to Marcia their willingness of meet in person in May and their preference to Marcia.
There being no further business, Andrew closed the meeting with a prayer at 8:35.
Clerk of Session
Approved session May 17, 2021