October 19, 2020 Stated Session Meeting
Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church
Virtual Stated Meeting October 19, 2020 – 7 PM
Present – Barbara Amago, Greg Behr, Paul Bolig, Pat Chappell, Keith Glidewell, Paul Harrell, Marcia Ladd (Clerk), Jenifer Larson, Bruce Raymond, Mary Roodkowsky, Andrew Taylor-Troutman (Moderator), Jerry Wehmueller (Treasurer)
Andrew called the meeting to order at 7 PM. Barbara opened with a devotion.
Andrew offered prayer concerns.
Barbara offered a prayer. Andrew asked for the Pennies for Hunger request to be taken out of the Consent Agenda and placed under Ongoing Business. There being no objections, it was moved forward on the agenda. Andrew then asked for motions on the agenda. Pat moved to approve the agenda, it was seconded and approved unanimously. Andrew then called for a motion to approve the revised consent agenda. Barbara moved to approve, it was seconded and passed unanimously.
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
- Approval of Session minutes – Stated meeting 9/21 and Email Vote 9/25/2020
- Approval of Committee Minutes – Christian Education 9/14/2020 and 10/15/2020, Stewardship 9/23/2020 and 10/7/2020, Mission and Service 9/27/2020, Deacons 10/5/2020, Building and Grounds 10/13/2020, Finance and Administration 10/14/2020
- Correspondence – CEDEPCA thank you
Pastor’s Report Andrew told the elders that he doubts the YMCA and Chatham Schools will be able to make the logistics of hotspots work for the Fellowship Hall, and they are back in the schools. Jessica, from the YMCA, was greatly appreciative of working with us and hoping to work with us in the future. Turning to a Stewardship update, he indicated the stewardship goal is $390,000. (4.8% increase over monies pledged last year). The dates for the campaign are: Kick-off Sunday 10/18; Dedication Sunday 11/8 (total of four weeks). He thanked Cynthia Hilliard and her team for their hard work in pulling this together and continuing as they go through the campaign. He was very complementary of Cynthia’s efforts.
September income was higher than the normal $19,000+ we receive from donors who make monthly donations at $24,328. This was the result of receive several pledge payments from non-monthly givers of around $5,000.
Non-pledged revenue continues to be somewhat above the budget with a year to date total at the end of September of $38,538. With three months to go we should exceed the non-pledge budget at year end by around five to six thousand dollars.
Going into the final quarter of the year we will need to receive $122,313 in pledge payments to make our pledge budget for the year. We currently have 20 members who year-to-date still need to pay 70% of their pledge or more. This represents about $56,000 in revenue which if added to the regular monthly gifts would make our total pledge revenue for the year around $112,000. This would result in being about $10,000 below our 2020 pledge revenue.
Monthly expenses came in at $27,888 which was $3,500 over our monthly income. In addition to our personnel expenses of $21,433 the only other major expenses were the mortgage payment, an insurance premium payment, and our monthly payment to the Presbytery.
Year-to-date our expenses are at 62% of our budget. At the end of nine months we should be at 75% of budget however the Mission & Service expenses will pick up from now to the end of the year and there are a $13,200 reserve we will need to expense in December.
I haven’t had a chance to analyze where our expenses will wind up at year end but will do so before the October meetings. I had predicted we would be about $20,000 below both our revenues and expenses at midyear which is still close to where I think we will end the year.
We continue to have a good cash flow situation with $295,000 in the bank and PILP. This is $10,000 more than we had at the end of September of last year. Depending on how revenue comes in the last three months of the year we should be able to avoid drawing from our PILP account to pay operating expenses until early next year.
As of the end of September we still show a surplus of just under $49,000 which sounds good. It is a little misleading because of the higher level of expenses at year end such as Mission & Service expenses and setting up the $13,200 as a reserve for asset replacement and maintenance. There still is a good probability we will be under both our revenue and expense budgets by about the same amount resulting in a breakeven situation which would be a good financial performance based on being closed since March.
A. Finance and Administration –
- Financial Projection based on Previous Experience There has been some concerns about whether we would get the normal additional spending and income in the final quarter. Jerry put together some graphs, included in the pre-session packet, of the annual financial patterns for 2018 and 2019 to illustrate the normal patterns. There was some unusual spending and revenue events in the final quarter of last year which might be confusing, 2018 was a more normal accounting year. In October of 2019 we received the $26,250 solar rebate from Duke Energy and Janet recorded it as non-operating income so the October revenue number was inflated by that amount. In November, she reversed that entry and put the $26,250 into a restricted account to pay for the solar panels. The actual revenue for October should have been about $26,000 and the November revenue should have been around $36,000. In closing the 2019 books, at our direction there was the $40,000+ surplus taken as an expense and put into restricted accounts for expanding the parking lot, 10% went to outreach, etc. The 2018 financial pattern is more typical of what we should expect this year.
- The budget for 2021, contained in the pre-session packet, shows an anticipated 4.23% revenue increase and an 8.14% increase in expenses. It adds a part time video producer staff member = $5,200 per year and reduces the administrative cost of professional financial review from $5,000 to $1,500. There was minimal discussion.
B. Worship Mary indicated her committee had wrestled with how to conduct outside worship as it gets dark earlier and earlier. They decided the most effective way to do this was to move the service to morning and offered the following motion. For now the adult service will start at 11.
Effective Sunday November 1, 2020, there will be two Sunday morning services, one a child-and-family oriented service, and the other a service oriented mainly to adults. The Sunday evening vesper service will be discontinued.
Andrew described the first service would be “camp-like,” the second service would be contemplative. The motion was modified to read
Effective Sunday November 1, 2020, there will be two Sunday morning services, one a more informal service, and the other more contemplative. The Sunday evening vesper service will be discontinued.
The revised motion passed unanimously.
C. Christian Education Jennifer welcomed any questions about the Christian Education recommendations. She explained that her committee had put together a survey to glean what the parents of kids both under and over 4 wanted for their children during worship. Essentially, they developed recommendations for childcare for children under 4 on playground with children wearing masks, social distancing, and no more than 6 children on the playground at one time.Secondly, worship activities for children over 4 with activities that engage the entire family in worship. (Plastic bags with worship materials will be provided.). Finally, time for Young Disciples during worship service (if time permitting). She offered the following motion
Adopt the recommendations of the Christian Education Committee on 10/15/2020 for children’s involvement in outdoor worship as contained in the pre-session packet.
The service will last 30 minutes or less. If there are already 6 children in the playground, the 7th who arrives will have to stay in their circle with their family. Jennifer has a number of issues with this motion, she is concerned about safety. Cleaning is a big issue for her and how to train the staff on the protocols for that. She is also concerned about the 6 children per week and how we decide who is participating. Greg felt that the kids should stay with their parents. Pat asked where the number 6 came from? Andrew said it was based on square footage. Marcia indicated that it seems highly unusual for a motion to come to session when the chair of the committee is not in favor of it. She indicated she realizes there is a reason for moving ahead but it can go back to the committee and we can do an email vote. Greg expressed that he was not in favor of the idea, and perhaps it needs to be re-thought. Bruce indicated with that level of activity on the playground you increase the risk of transmission. He also questioned how we would test for Covid.
Greg indicated that doing this is taking a risk, and we need to take a long, hard look at what level of risk we are willing to take. Andrew’s general feeling that since there was a lot of support from the rest of Christian Education, he wondered what that meant for the disposition of this issue. Mary said the committee needed to hash this out further with Jennifer’s involvement. Pat wondered if kids might be better off staying with their families, which would also decrease the risk of transmission. Barbara thought we should start with just having the kids in their circles with their families. Jennifer expressed concern we should look at an issue like this as if all involved are very vulnerable. Andrew asked Jennifer if she wanted us to vote on the motion or table it. She suggested that maybe we should take childcare out of it altogether, but she thinks it fine to have a vote on the motion. The motion was unanimously declined.
- Presbytery Meeting. Andrew indicated the next meeting of Salem Presbytery would be November 10 at 9 AM and be virtual. He asked for a volunteer to represent the church. Mary offered to serve. Paul Bolig offered the following motion
To elect Mary Roodkowsky to serve as Chapel in the Pines representative to the November 10 virtual Presbytery Meeting
Barbara seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
B. Deacon Gatherings. Andrew explained that the Deacons had decided to do in person gatherings as allowed and agreed all Neighborhoods should follow published Session guidelines for Vespers services regarding spacing and face masks. The playground is not officially open. Session approval would only be needed for on-site gatherings. Food and drink would be strictly bring-your-own.
C. Reflections on the Retreat Andrew asked for reflections on the retreat. Mary thought it was fabulous. In other groups where she had done the Meyers Briggs there was a wider spread of types amongst the participants. Bruce found the discussion on how we use it going forward as helpful.
D. Pennies for Hunger Request Andrew asked session to prayerfully consider the request from Salem Presbytery for more monies for Pennies for Hunger as the need has exploded. Pat said she thought it would be alright to have buckets into which people can put their money as long as people to bring money for it. If we have a bucket on each table Jerry thought we could offer $2500 more for this program. Greg moved
To have two Pennies for Hunger offering buckets that remain on the two tables at the two entrances to the parking lot at the in person services. This will be announced to the congregation ahead of time so people know to bring money for Pennies for Hunger.
The motion was seconded and passed unanimously. Andrew also asked Mission and Service to take a look at this request and consider taking money from their allocation for this. Bruce said Building and Grounds would make sure the buckets are there and labelled.
Andrew turned session’s attention to Becoming a Matthew 25 Church. This is a basic pledge taken by churches across our denomination to do the following:
- To actively engage in the world around us, so our faith comes alive and we wake up to new possibilities.
- To act boldly and compassionately to serve people who are hungry, oppressed, imprisoned or poor.
- To unite all Presbyterians for the common and holy purpose of our shared identity to do mission work.
These goals, while admirable, are also general. It is up to individual churches to formulate specific plans. Specifically, a Matthew 25 congregation pledges to work on one of the following points of emphasis: building congregational vitality, dismantling structural racism, eradicating systemic poverty.
On the surface, the second focus would seem to imply anti-racism work. However, there is overlap between all three categories. Rather than pick one, Andrew indicated his goal is to generate excitement and commitment as to what our church can do right here in the local community.
Andrew would like to put together a planning team and asked if there are any session members who would be on that team. Mary would like to after the election. The planning team will collect data. Session will analyze the data. He then will have an implementation team once the data is gathered and analyzed by session.
An action plan might look like this:
- Share the information from the website through an e-mail
- Study Matthew 25 and incorporate into a series of worship services
- Encourage specific ideas toward any (or all) of the three points of emphasis
- Collect these ideas and present them to the entire congregation for input and feedback
- Session formulates a new proposal that makes clear objectives and measurable outcomes
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned by Andrew with a prayer at 8:55 PM.
Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals
Since the last stated meeting on 9/21/2020, the Lord’s Supper was performed virtually on September 23 and 30, October 7 and 14. There were no new members, weddings, baptisms or funerals.
Clerk of Session
Approved by session 11/16/2020
7 and 1