November 15, 2021 Stated Session Meeting
Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church
Stated Session Meeting November 15, 2021 – 7 PM
Present: Paul Bolig, Sara Botelho, Tom Crosby, Keith Glidewell, Marcia Ladd (Clerk), Bruce Raymond, Mary Roodkowsky, Andrew Taylor-Troutman (Moderator), Tim White, (Treasurer), Serena Zum Brunnen
Guest: Nancy Myer
Excused Absence: Greg Behr, Sarah Whitney
Andrew opened the meeting at 7 PM with a prayer. Paul offered a Devotional, Andrew asked for elders to share concerns or celebrations with the group. Paul closed with a prayer.
Andrew asked for approval of the agenda. Sara moved to approve the agenda, it was seconded and passed unanimously. Paul offered a motion to approve the consent agenda, it was seconded and approved unanimously.
- Approval of Session minutes – Stated Meeting 10/18/21, Email vote 11/10/21
- Approval of Committee Minutes – MAC Meeting 11/3/21, Deacons 11/1/21, Building and Grounds 10/19/21, Christian Education 11/8/21, Membership 11/2/21, Personnel 11/9/21, Finance and Administration 11/11/21, Building and Grounds 11/2/21
- Staff Meeting Minutes – 10/21/21, 11/14/21
- Correspondence – Mission Connections Summer Newsletter, Thank yous from Chatham Homeless Shelter and CORA
Andrew indicated he is excited at how the Committees are digging into the items from the Vitality Team’s work with Paul Nixon. He delineated what they are working on:
- Communications: Church Sign and audio visual operator position
- Membership: new member classes with Christian Education, pronouns on name tags
- Building & Grounds: organization of Afghan refugee supplies – “When I was a stranger, you welcomed me” (Matthew 25)
- Task Force of Christian Education: exploring revitalization of playground, covered outdoor seating area, permanent outdoor worship space
- Mission and Service: standing monthly meeting with subcommittee and employees from the Farm at Penny Lane; and support of programs to help people experiencing homelessness (Home link, Love Chatham)
He whole heartedly endorses the position of Assistant Christian Educator for the hours Joelle has recommended.
Jumping off of what Andrew said about email votes, we are temporarily suspending email voting and will reach out for more specific ideas on how to best proceed with email votes in the future.
Marcia indicated that Sarah Whitney often has a work conflict with Monday nights and wondered if we could move the stated meeting to the third Thursday of the month. Mary said there is Thirst Quenchers on Thursday night. So moving it is not going to work.
Marcia called the elders attention to the Afghan refugee description in the packet and thanked everyone who has contributed to this effort.
Marcia reminded the elders that Nana needs their portion of the Annual Report draft by Friday December 17.
Finally, Marcia called the elders’ attention to Pat Chappell’s letter contained in the packet that implores everyone to follow the church’s policy of wearing a mask at all times inside the building. We are the church leadership and need to lead by example. The question was raised if we want to change the church policy about masks. There was some push back about changing the policy. There was conversation about waiting until after the holidays. Andrew asked the elders to speak in their committees about masking and unmasking, write up summaries and send them to the clerk to merge into one document.
Order of the Day – Narrative Budget
Andrew asked Paul and Tim to describe the narrative budget to the elders. Paul indicated he would like to see an elder a month telling a story about what their committee is doing. Paul is willing to coordinate this process. The narrative budget is not a line item budget. It tells the story behind the numbers from 30,000 feet. Andrew asked Paul to share the 2022 line item budget with the elders. Mary thought there are groups in the church that are not reflected in the church’s story, and we need to be intentional about including them. The Power Point is attached to this document.
Tim offered the following report.
October represents the 10th month or 83% of our year. Total Revenues YTD of $378,518 are 83% of budget. Total Expenses YTD of $317,702 are 72% of the expense budget. October revenues vs expenses were about even. Cash balance to fund operations remains at a healthy level.
October revenues were $27,103 or 24% lower than October of last year [$35,456]. However, our year-to-date revenue is 11% greater compared to 10 months last year. Year-to-date pledged revenue is 17% ahead of last year. Non-pledge revenue is 69% of budget YTD and is less than last year by $10,540.
Monthly expenses are lower at $27,622 vs. $32,000 “monthly average”. The biggest budget items are Program & Administration staff salaries & benefits which are in line at 81% while “Other Personnel Expenses” are lower at 41% due to reduced activity. In Admin, Security Services monthly bill increased recently to $111 from $81 recently due to the upgrade of ADT panels and adding two cameras. Processing fees continue higher than budget with about 50% covered by those giving covering their transaction costs. Committees continue to spend less as the church is working through COVID. Anticipated year-end expenses, in addition to usual monthly expenses, total $28,300 and include Mission & Service allocations of approx. $21,500 including Local, Global & Presbytery 4th Qtr allocations, Capital Replacement 4th Qtr allocation to restricted of $3,300, CPA bill $1,300 (AUP) and misc. of $2,200.
We have used $29,602 from the Pastors Discretionary Fund (PDF) YTD to assist 59 individuals and families in Chatham County with their serious financial issues. Members and friends have given Chapel in the Pines $30,184 YTD to this fund. October fund balance is $12,181. October donations were $6,272 with $6,800 to recipients. Outreach restricted funds of $5,335 were disbursed (excluding PDF). Peace Offering gifts totaled $1,716 [2020 $725]. Surplus carry-over started the year at $80,316; as of October the balance remains at $13,209.
Our cash balance stands at $298,086, $6,941 less than last month [$305,027] and $2,045 lower than last October. Long-term debt is $568,394, $85,872 lower than last October. The October debt is the same as September since automatic withdrawals by PILP are not always consistent according to Janet.
Then Tim drew the elders attention to the Draft Record Retention Policy contained in packet and asked each elder to read the policy and recommend any changes directly to him so he can incorporate them into the Policy and bring a final draft to the December meeting. The elders should focus on the relevant policies and their long term implications.
Committee/Task Force Reports/Actions
Andrew asked Keith to present a summary of the new member introduction process, assigning them a Deacon, to a Fellowship Team and most importantly a New Member Friend to help them navigate the church and encourage them to get involved in activities and join a committee. The Committee has put a lot of things on line to use in the new member process. We also have a new member process in written form to give to the new members.
Keith then offered the following motion
Welcome Amy and Madelyn Trunnell into the life of Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church
After minimal discussion, the motion passed unanimously. They will join the church November 28 during worship. Keith then indicated that his committee had been approached by several people about looking into whether Chapel in the Pines should become a More Light and/or Covenant Network Church. Both organizations are similar, affirming LGBTQIA+ folks, welcoming them into the life of the church and taking activist support of issues affecting LGBTQIA+. To that end he offered the following motion from Membership
The session of Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church would like to explore the possibility of becoming a More Light and/or Covenant Network Church and appoint a Task Force to do the exploration. The Task Force can include Amanda Briggs, Keith Glidewell, Marcia Ladd, Grace McCormack, Ruth Rick (WRPC), Lee Strange and Sarah Whitney
Paul asked why the motion said “can” include. Keith indicated that there are several people still on the fence about joining the Task Force. There was little push back and the motion passed unanimously.
Finally, Keith offered the following motion
At her request remove Gail Wilkins from the roles of Chapel in the Pines
After minimal discussion, the motion passed unanimously.
Tom gave a brief update on the status of the church sign that will go at the top of the driveway facing Great Ridge Parkway. There is no electricity where the sign will be, but they will use some solar powered lights. They are looking at a faux stone sign with a foam simulated wood insert with the name of the church, logo of our church and PCUSA, worship times and Welcome, Worship and Witness. The sign would be perpendicular to Great Ridge. Tom will share the slides he showed at the meeting with all the elders. The sign dimension totals are ~5-6 feet high and 10 – 11 feet wide.
He also said that it was time to hire a part time employee to work the audio visual equipment. This will be an internship with a stipend, $250/month. They have talked to a professor at UNC and Central Carolina Community College to help recruit for the position.
Serena turned the elders’ attention to the Children’s Ministry Assistant position that was approved on an email vote to start in late November. She wants to do an interim version until the end of this year, the total cost would be $750, and it is budget neutral and can easily come out of 2021 monies. It will be for the 9:30 AM and 11AM services. She sees this as a soft launch. She entertained questions.
Finance and Administration
Paul drew session’s attention to the motion in the packet about Memorial Gifts and Donations. Tim explained the proposed policy.
Gifts and donations that are given in remembrance of someone who has died, with no specific direction of use, are placed in the restricted Memorial Gifts fund. A request to use monies from Memorial Gifts should be presented by the Treasurer, approved by the Finance & Administration committee and recommended to Session for their approval.
If a gift or donation is designated for a specific use it is placed into the appropriate committee’s restricted account for the committee to decide how best to use based on the giver’s instructions. The Treasurer will advise the committee’s chair of receipt of funds.
He indicated this just formalizes what is already happening. After minimal discussion, the motion passed unanimously.
Paul turned the elders’ attention to the motion for the Outside Public Audit.
The Finance & Administration committee requests Session to accept the Agreed upon Procedures (AUP) report from Ward & Foust, CPAs, P.A. The committee recommends that an AUP be performed every 5 years.
Paul indicated that Policies & Procedures/Committees/Finance Committee/Financial Review Committee section, as amended in 2020, states the Session will determine whether an outside audit will occur every 3 or 5 years after receiving a report. Based on the favorable results of this report, F&A recommends the period to be 5 years. Internal reviews will be performed in the intervening years.
There are various forms of outside audits. An AUP focuses on proper procedures and whether policies are followed. Other audit formats focus on creating financial reports to present an entity’s financials in an acceptable accounting format (GAAP). Two audit firms suggested the AUP as a more useful report for churches.
The CPA performing the AUP had two recommendations:
- Recommendation #1: F&A review financial policies and procedures annually.
- Recommendation #2: Review Restricted Funds spending policies to assure that spending is in line with donors’ wishes.
These recommendations are consistent with existing practices. Paul amended the motion to read
The Finance & Administration committee requests Session to accept the Agreed upon Procedures (AUP) report from Ward & Foust, CPAs, P.A. The committee recommends that an AUP be performed every 5 years unless the results of the internal financial review recommends a more frequent external audit.
The people on the internal financial review are varied every year, and they write a formal report. The Treasurer is not allowed to be part of that committee. After minimal discussion the motion passed unanimously.
There is a contest entitled the Cool Congregations Challenge which is being sponsored by the Interfaith Power and Light. The Cool Congregations Challenge is an annual national contest to recognize “Cool Congregations” that are becoming energy efficient and sustainable role models within their communities and a $1,000 prize will be awarded to the winner of the contest. Because of our purchase and utilization of solar panels, CITP is eligible to enter the contest, Jerry Wehmueller will enter this contest on behalf of CITP.
Finally, as of 11/11, 60 pledges had been received for $259,656 for an average of over $4,300. The 60 pledges represent 62% of the pledges received last year.
David Jester is following up with a letter to everyone who pledged last year who has not yet pledged in 2021 and thank you notes are going out to those who have already pledged.
Terry Rudolph will be heading up the Stewardship Campaign for 2023 and Jan has been added as a new member of the committee.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 9:30 with a prayer by Andrew
Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals
Since the last session meeting on October 18, 2021, on November 2, the Trunnell’s – Amy and Madelyn – met with the Membership Committee, their membership was affirmed in the November 15 Stated Meeting, they will be presented to the congregation November 28. There were no memorial services, baptisms or weddings. Communion was served virtually once on November 3, 2021 and in person at the Contemplative Service on October 20, 2021.
Clerk of Session
Approved session 12/20/21