November 19, 2018, Stated Session Meeting
Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church
Stated Session Meeting November 17, 2018
Attending: Ruling Elders: Barbara Amago, Karen Atkins, Stan Campbell, Pat Chappell, Paul Harrell, Paul Isom, John McDowell, Maggie Reif, Terry Rudolph, Marcia Ladd (Clerk), Jerry Wehmueller (Treasurer) Teaching Elder Rev. Andrew Taylor-Troutman (Moderator)
The stated meeting was called to order by Andrew at 7PM. Jerry delivered the devotion, ending in a prayer. Pastoral concerns and celebrations were shared.
Approval of agenda and consent agenda
Andrew wants to move the Personnel items to the end of the agenda. Stan made a motion to approve the agenda as modified. The motion was seconded by Paul Harrell and was approved unanimously. Terry moved to approve the consent agenda, the motion was seconded by Karen and approved unanimously. The consent agenda includes the following:
Consent Agenda-Please read these items in advance. They will be voted on as a group without discussion unless someone pulls a particular entry from the Consent Agenda
A. Approval of session minutes – Stated meeting 10/15/18
B. Approval of committee minutes – Mission and Service January through September and 2019 Goals, Personnel email vote 10/28/18, Fellowship 10/25/18, Membership Minutes 11/6/18, Conversations on Race 10/23/18, Technology and Communication Goals, Worship 10/28/18, Finance and Administration 11/15/18, Building and Grounds Minutes 11/13/18
C. Deacons Minutes 11/1/18
D. Correspondence – Award by Presbytery to Take and Eat, Mt Zion invitations and Thank you from Coastal Women’s Shelter
Andrew referred session to the Goals document that will serve as a guide for him and session in 2019. He appreciated session’s thoughts around the inclusion of children and youth. Andrew thought M & S should have a booth in January along with CE. People would staff these booths during the fellowship time each Sunday of the month. F & A would like to have February to talk about the final numbers for 2018, and the budget going forward for 2019. Andrew thought March would be good for Fellowship. There was a discussion that perhaps B&G would not want to have a booth because it requires more work than needed to staff the booth, and their committee is full, the only help they need is on workdays. Maybe Membership and T & C should do April to try to enlist people to become new member friends and teaching folks how to use Realm, respectively. August could be CE to kick off the fall education plan and Stewardship should be in September. Andrew indicated that he wanted to have a joint December meeting of Elders and Deacons. It will be at the Stranges house. Everyone coming should bring an appetizer to share and their own beverage. The party will start at 6 on December 17. There will be a short business meeting that will not start until 7PM. The January meeting is scheduled to be held on MLK day, Andrew asked if that poses a conflict for anyone. It was decided to move it to the 14th. Finally he wanted to make sure all chairs had followed up with anyone who indicated an interest in their committee on the Time and Talent form.
The October results were pretty much a reflection of the past several months. Monthly income was $21K+ while expenses continued at around $28K resulting in a loss at a little over $7,000 for the month. As we enter the final two months, we still have a surplus of revenues over expenses of $7,780 when considering that $7,000 was taken from our prior year’s operating surplus. We continue to slowly glide down from the large surplus we had earlier in the year to year end when it is hoped we will breakeven. Our expense pattern also continues to follow that of previous months. The DCE increased hours, the need for increased nursery staff, postage, and increased bulletin paper and printing as the result of increased Sunday attendance continue to be higher than plan each month. In addition, we are also running higher than budget in our forecasted cost of online processing fees. We have received $22,164 via online giving thru the end of October. That is a 46% increase over what was given via online giving last year thru October or about 8% of our total operating budget giving. Another higher than budget expense was for doing personal backgrounds checks for the additional volunteers needed to assist in the nursery and other children activities. Although the cost of the nursery staff seems particularly high this month it is the result of paying both September and October nursery staff compensation this month. We expect to wind up at just about breakeven for 2018.
Marcia passed around the elder in the narthex sheet for November and the signup sheets for 2019 and asked everyone to sign up. She also mentioned that the Clerk’s Annual Report to Presbytery, that Nana actually does, is contained in the packet and elders may be interested in some of the statistics contained therein.
Finance and Administration
Stan indicated Stewardship Sunday was last week and pledges to date are $285,600, the goal being $300,000 in pledges. Seventy four giving units have pledged so far, the Stewardship Committee will follow up with the households that have not given. We are ahead of where we were this time last year. There should be a Minute for Stewardship the second Sunday after Thanksgiving. Andrew will ask Heather if she can do that Minute.
Barbara indicated that Nathan has tendered his resignation as chair of Strobilus and asked for session input on how to move forward with Strobilus. She asked session to think about how we handle it going forward. John made a motion
That we issue a certificate of appreciation from session for his work on Strobilus
The motion was seconded and passed unanimously. Karen questioned whether we want to continue the series.
Barbara indicated that the Fellowship Committee would work on best practices for Fellowship Teams
Bill Lawrence has offered a donation of a cross from Bill’s home church that has been deconsecrated. Andrew’s idea is to put it in the Fellowship Hall on the wall where the piano currently resides. B & G wants to know how it will go up, will it be mounted or suspended? Karen would like specifications on the cross, including weight. Stan reminded session there is a Gift Policy that we should follow before accepting the cross. Session has referred this request to Finance and Administration. Andrew will let Bill know.
Paul Harrell reported on his Presbytery trip, indicating that a modified Black Lives Matter motion had passed and the “Dream Team” report about re-structuring the Presbytery management was announced. The Presbytery has been running at a $215,000 annual deficit for the last two years. There was a 41% decrease in income from 2007 to 2017 and a 33% decrease in members over that time frame. The proposal is that Salem would go from 5 General Presbyters to 3 and there will be no Stated Clerk, that job will be taken over by one of the 3 General Presbyters. They are going to sell the offices and all work will be done from home, any face to face meetings will be held in churches. The goal is also to flatten out the Presbytery, dispersing more authority to the individual churches. The money for campus ministry is going to go away. There will be 6 listening sessions, 2 in each neighborhood between now and the January Presbytery meeting. If the plan is approved in the January meeting, they will appoint a team to implement the changes.
The Peace and Justice Report was a proposal for the Presbytery to endorse the Black Lives Matter movement and a counter proposal was offered to affirm the principles of Black Lives Matter which did pass.
Andrew asked Jerry to give session an update on the solar panels for the church. Jerry is working with the Southern Energy Management and they have submitted a proposal. A task force has been formed at the church comprised of Jerry, Paul Harrell, Pat Chappell and Bart Holtz. It will end up not costing the church anything after we factor in the savings from the panels. There will be some loan required up front that will be paid off in 10 years. They are also going to get a second bid because church by laws require any expenditure over $10,000 to have at least two bids.
Andrew indicated that he has written a book that has been accepted by a local publisher and he wants to spend $1560 of his 2018 Christian Education budget to pay the editor. He perceived that payment as a payment for “coaching,” and wants session to weigh in on the appropriateness of the use of CE funds. Karen suggested that we should support Andrew in using this CE funds as he sees fit. John said he appreciated Andrew’s openness. No motion was necessary since the funds are already budgeted.
John indicated that Personnel and Finance and Administration wanted session to address the following motion
To give $125 Amazon gift cards in appreciation to all staff at the holidays, except Katherine Brekke would receive a $300 gift card. The nursery workers will receive a $50 gift card each.
Jerry indicated his preference would be to also give the staff gift cards to get away from a monetary gift of a payroll check. $100 probably doesn’t mean much to any of the staff monetarily and if we move to the cards we can increase the gift to $125 for the same cost when we eliminate the payroll part of it. A gift of money seems so mindless.
After minimal questions the motion passed unanimously.
Personnel also asked session to vote on the following motion to change Andrew’s terms of call
to revise Andrew’s terms of call to include paid family dental insurance = $1,632 + $1,300 continuing education allowance = $2,932.
Andrew has only spent $100 of his CE money this year to date, and has said he thinks he may want to take an online course in 2019 that will be a little over $1000. Jerry proposed that we pay, $1632, the dental insurance for the family in the coming year, and reduce the CE money to $1300, which financially puts the church and the Taylor-Troutman family a little to the good. Andrew asked if we could pay for this year’s insurance, Jerry is only comfortable doing that if we come out a little to the good at the end of the year which we will only be able to determine then.
There was some objection to removing funds from his Continuing Education budget, and an intention of asking this question again after the bulk of the pledges are returned.
The motion passed unanimously.
The business of the meeting being over, John closed the meeting with a prayer at 9:10 PM.
Lord’s Supper, Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals
Since the previous stated meeting on October 15, the Lord’s Supper was celebrated once on November 4. Elijah, Tessa and Nora Grimes were baptized on November 4. On the same day there was a Blessing of the Animals and the Grimes family was welcomed into membership. Om November 18 Cheryl and Bob Richardson and Katherine Higgins and John Brantly were welcomed into membership. There were no weddings or funerals.
Marcia Ladd, Clerk
Approved session 12/17/18
- Next stated session meeting December 19, 2018. Paul Isom has the devotion
- Pray for our church each day at noon.