September 10, 2012 Stated Session Meeting

Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church
Stated Session Meeting: September 10, 2012 – Adult Classroom

Attending: Ruling Elders Lynne Hoerter, Forrest Johnson, Cindy Massey, Rachel Stevens, John Walkup, Jeff Morehouse, Tina Stark, Bob Warren, Jerry Wehmueller, Mary Donna Pond (Clerk), and Teaching Elder Rev. Mindy Douglas (Moderator).

The meeting was called to order by Mindy Douglas at 7:00 p.m. Cindy led the opening devotion asking each person to share briefly what was happening in his/her life.  Rachel prayed an opening prayer.

Special Order.  David Snyder from Chatham Habitat for Humanity presented the church with a framed certificate of appreciation for the most recently completed home.  He expressed the organization’s appreciation for our financial support and the work we do to construct homes for people.  After a few questions and answers, the Session thanked David and he left the meeting.

Pastoral concerns were shared.

Leadership Development.  Mindy led a discussion of chapter 1 of Twelve Dynamic Shifts for Transforming Your Church.   John asked if CITP sees itself as a "missional church."  It was agreed that we try to balance our focus on the "inside" (worship, education) and the "outside" (outreach and mission). This is reflected in our Mission Statement and plays out in our actions.  Rachel returned to the concept of a "generative" board by outlining some characteristics of such a board.  Forrest noted that the Nominating Committee needs to be mindful of the need for a diverse board in terms of personality, characteristics, and talents.

Approval of Agenda and Consent Agenda:  Items approved on the consent agenda were:

  • Minutes of the Stated Session Meeting August 13, 2012
  • Reports from the Communications, Building and Grounds, and FABS Committees
  • Correspondence
  • The meeting agenda, as modified

Pastors Report.  Mindy remarked that the committees’ descriptions for the Budget Narrative for 2013 were excellent, the best she had ever seen and that they should energize the congregation and involve them in the exciting work being done.  She celebrated the recent hymn-sing service and noted that the ideas and planning for that service came out of time that the worship leaders spent together in Montreat this summer.  She thanked the church for giving them that wonderful gift.  She talked about her current sermon series, based on Christine Pohl’s book Living into Community.

Finance/Administration/Budget/Stewardship (FABS) Committee.  Jerry reviewed the various reports that were distributed prior to the meeting, including the Revenue and Expense report through August.  Revenues continue to outpace expenses but Jerry remains cautious in his optimism that all of the budgeted reserves for 2012 will not be needed.  He asked all committees to defer discretionary spending until late in the year.  As pledges have declined for the past two years, the goal for 2013 is to return the pledge level to that of 2009/2010.  Cindy noted that cash flow is sometimes a problem and asked that she and Jerry be advised whenever any expenses need to be paid to assure there is enough cash on hand to pay the bill.

A discussion of the continuing problems with the bioretention ponds followed.  Much of the current expense has resulted from the work done by volunteers in seeding the grounds which eroded into the ponds.  Lynne explained that the sediment in the ponds will be removed and spread over the grounds, improving the terrible soil.  She once again noted the savings resulting from Fred Royal’s engineering expertise.  The current plan is to remove the sediment from the ponds, have the grounds professionally reseeded, and put proper plants in the pond area.  The work will be done in the fall.

A discussion of the upcoming UPC Endowment Grant and possible projects to present for funding.  The projects suggested were:  audio (and perhaps video) equipment to extend sound/video beyond the sanctuary; playground equipment; funds for landscaping.  The subsequent discussion resulted in a motion that we apply for audio equipment to extend sound to the narthex.  The motion, by Cindy, was seconded by Forrest.  Several spoke for and against the motion which was defeated.  Jerry then moved that a request for landscaping funding be made to the Endowment; Rachel seconded the motion which passed unopposed.  Bob then moved that speakers for the narthex also be requested; Rachel seconded the motion which was defeated after further discussion.  Tina then moved that a request be made for playground equipment, noting that we really need to be focusing on the children and youth of our congregation.  Bob seconded Tina’s motion which was defeated due to a lack of specificity in both planning and costs.  Mindy urged those on the Session who want to see a playground built begin working on planning for it as the Building and Grounds committee is currently very busy attending to other equally important and urgent matters.

Building & Grounds Committee.  Lynne asked that all committees work with and through Building and Grounds on any planning or projects that involve the facilities in any way.   The committee is meeting every two weeks, so they will act on requests in a timely manner.  She asked that everyone respect the need for some controls in this area.

Worship Committee.  John reported that the committee had been talking about priorities.  Although the committee listed a playground as the second priority, the first was a defibrillator.  However, before a plan and costing could be developed, the committee became aware of a lottery program from the National Council of Churches in NC and Blue Cross and Blue Shield whereby 500 defibrillators will be given to churches along with training.  Thanks to John’s work, CITP has been certified as having met all of the criteria to enter the lottery and John believes we have a good chance of winning one.  The results should be known in October.  Further, he stated that the Deacons will likely take ownership of the device on behalf of the church.


Operations Manual Task Force.  Due to the late hour, the motions and discussion were tabled until the next meeting.  The Clerk was asked to put them early on the agenda.


Revised Mission StatementJohn moved a revision of the statement, as follows: 

CitP Mission Statement:

  • We welcome all people into our community of faith.
  • We worship God with gratitude for the grace given to all people through, Jesus Christ.
  • We witness the love of Christ through our gifts of time, talents, and resources as we grow together in faith.

Jerry seconded the motion which passed unopposed.


Chapel Hill Bus Advertising Controversy.  Bob Warren led an interesting conversation about the recent activity surrounding an ad, placed by Church of Reconciliation, on Chapel Hill busses calling for an end to U.S. military aid to Israel.  The issue has many layers and levels and not everyone agreed on all of the issues.  There was some discussion of recent PC(USA) General Assembly plenary action involving divestment in companies that are involved in war and violence.  However, in the end, there was consensus that churches and other organizations should have the freedom to express their opinions, even though they may be controversial.  Mindy reported on her conversation with Mark Davidson, pastor of Church of Reconciliation, and his hope that people in our congregation would attend forums and be involved in this community conversation.

Election of Commissioner to October Presbytery Meeting.  John offered to attend the October 20 meeting at Korean First Pres. in Greensboro.  Cindy moved and Jerry seconded Johns election which passed unopposted.  Jeff said he would also like to attend.

Reminders.  Mindy noted several reminders at the end of the agenda: 

  • Remember to pray for our church each day at noon.
  • Read chapter 2 of Stanley Ott’s book, Twelve Dynamic Shifts for Transforming Your Church,  for October Session meeting
  • Next Stated Session Meeting – October 8, 2012
  • Officer Retreat – November 16-17, 2012 at Chapel in the Pines

Mindy closed the meeting with prayer at 9:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Mary Donna Pond, Clerk of Session

Approved by Session October 8, 2012 on Consent Agenda