September 12, 2011 Stated Session Meeting
Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church
Stated Session Meeting, September 12, 2011 – Douglas Home, Briar Chapel
Attending: Elders Forrest Johnson, Cindy Massey, Michelle Morehouse, Vicky Raymond, Rachel Stevens, John Walkup, Jerry Wehmueller, Mary Donna Pond (Clerk), Jack Zollinger (Treasurer), The Rev. Mitzi Lesher-Thomas, and the Rev. Mindy Douglas Adams (Moderator). Excused: Lynne Hoerter, Marcia Ladd
Guest: Karen Fisher
The meeting was called to order by Mindy Douglas Adams at 6:30 p.m. Forrest Johnson led the opening devotion, ending with prayer. Mindy welcomed Karen Fisher who was attending as the Deacon Representative. Several items were added to the agenda which was approved by common consent. Pastoral concerns were shared and joys were celebrated.
Leadership Development. "Faith and Leadership," an article by Jason Byassee, was discussed.
Approval of Minutes. The minutes of the September 8, 2011, Stated Session meeting were approved with one addition.
Correspondence. Letters of thanks from CORA, Family Violence and Rape Crisis Services, and United Way of Chatham County were distributed in the Session packet.
Pastor’s Report. Mindy gave special recognition and thanks to Mitzi Lesher-Thomas for her leadership over the summer and her continued service and work. Mindy said she has been a little overwhelmed since her return from sabbatical leave but she is getting a handle on things gradually and expressed appreciation for everyone’s patience. She reported that she would leave the following day to attend a meeting of the PC(USA)’s Committee on Theological Education at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.
Treasurer’s Report. The Balance Sheet and reports of Revenues and Expenses and of Restricted Funds were distributed prior to the meeting. Everything is on target and if there are no surprises, the year may end without requiring the use of all budged reserve funds. Jack reported that he had consulted with the auditor about the procedure for checks written by the spouse of the person requisitioning the funds. The auditor’s opinion was that a third party should either write or sign the check.
2011 Peacemaking Offering. Acting as the Outreach Committee, the Session discussed options for using the 25% of the Peacemaking Offering that is available for local use. Jerry moved that it be given to CORA for use in one of their programs that helps children and youth. Rachel seconded the motion which passed unopposed.
Capital Campaign Tithe. Jerry and Jack confirmed that a separate account has been set up for the funds designated for Outreach by donors to the Capital Campaign. There was general discussion about whether those funds were available to be used temporarily in the event of cash-flow needs. General consensus was that restricted funds should not be "borrowed" to address short-term cash flow needs but should be held in restricted funds until decisions are made about the use of those funds.
Rachel reported that Sunday School classes are available now for all ages. The youth and their parents had a successful planning session and the leaders will be working with the ideas shared in planning future events, retreats, mission trips, etc.
Personnel. Two recommendations from Personnel were in the Session packet. In Marcia’s absence, Mindy explained changes in the annual staff review procedures. There was some discussion about what defines a "volunteer" and which volunteers should have background checks. Michelle moved that the recommended revision to "Working Hours and Employee Status" section G be amended to add the word "directly" ("Any volunteer working directly with the Youth of the Church will be required to undergo a criminal background/sex offender check") and that both recommended changes be approved with that addition. The motion was seconded by Rachel and passed without dissent.
Finance/Administration/Budget. Specifications for a copier to be leased for use in the new building were included in the Session packet. Jerry moved that the lease be approved, seconded by John. After brief discussion of costs and options, the motion was approved.
2012 Budget. Jerry said that committees need to submit 2012 budget requests soon so that the asking/narrative budget can be prepared for the fall Stewardship drive. Several people reported that they had not received Jerry’s email request. He will resend the request to committees.
Stewardship. Dale Chodorow and Jerry will serve as co-chairs for the 2012 budget stewardship drive. Stan Campbell will assist. John asked if an every-member canvas is planned. Jerry said the plan is to prepared pledge materials to be picked up on Sundays and to mail those not picked up.
Approval of baptisms of Mimi and Jasiek Walkup. Mindy and John explained that John’s son and daughter-in-law have been unable to find a church in New York and have thus requested to have their children baptized at Chapel in the Pines. Although this is an unusual occurrence, CITP has made such an exception in the past. Several people spoke to this matter, all positively. Rachel moved approval of the baptisms, Jerry seconded, and the Session approved. John explained that the maternal grandparents, coming from Poland, will need a translator.
Inclusion Committee – Covenant Network. The Inclusion Committee met the day before the Session meeting and brought a recommendation for approval that Chapel in the Pines join the Covenant Network and make financial contributions to that organization, although the amount of support was not specified. A handout describing the Covenant Network Partner covenant was distributed. Mindy and Cindy shared a bit of background and history of the organization and stressed that the focus of the network is to help promote unity in the church and to share compassion "to all who are wounded or excluded by recent legislative actions of our church." A flyer describing the upcoming national conference of the Network, to be held in Durham November 3-5, 2011, was distributed. The focus of the conference is "Reconciliation." Forrest expressed several concerns that, despite the shared values and goals between the Network and Chapel in the Pines, now may not be the best time to take this step. Following further discussion, John moved that the request be tabled, that further thought and study be done by Session members, and that the topic be on the agenda for October. Jerry seconded the motion to table and it passed.
Flooring. Jerry intended to bring a proposal regarding flooring for the Sanctuary to the Session, but just prior to the meeting, some figures changed, so he withdrew the item from the agenda.
Keyboard Fund Raiser. Vicky presented a plan by Joan Zollinger to hold a special fund raiser for the purchase of a piano. She proposed a drive for "Key Supporters," to purchase one of the 88 keys for $250. This plan, if successful, would raise $22,000 for the purchase of a grand piano for the sanctuary. John seconded Vicky’s motion and stressed that this could be expanded to include friends and family and would not necessarily add another financial request for our members. The motion passed.
Art Committee. Mindy reported that the Furnishings Committee had requested that a separate and independent Art Committee be formed to make decisions about art work – purchased or donated – for public spaces in the new buildings. Michelle asked if this could be a subcommittee of furnishings, since the two committees would need to work together. Mindy stressed the need to have people of diverse artistic tastes on the committee. Rachel moved that an independent committee be approved, John seconded and the motion passed.
Jerry reported that 5 loan draws have been made for a total of $232,390. He has learned that only one draw may be made each month, so a large draw will be made soon to cover some large expenses. Everything is going smoothly with the loan. Mindy reported that PILP plans to feature Chapel in the Pines in some of their upcoming publicity.
Officer Retreat. Mindy reminded everyone of the officer retreat November 11-12.
Building Use Guidelines. This matter was tabled until the October meeting.
Transition Team. Mindy expressed concern that this team had no clear leader and had not met over the summer as had been hoped. The committee needs strong leadership as there is much planning and work to do to move us from our current setting to our new space.
Community Garden Proposal. Karen Fisher gave a brief presentation about a proposed community garden. A report was distributed in the Session packet. Karen described the proposed location and scope of the garden, explained that it could be used to build community, to feed the hungry, to teach life skills, and would have many other good and positive outcomes. She explained that expenses might include deer fencing, a sign/bulletin board, picnic tables, and some raised beds. Water access will be available through a connection at the back of the building and storage for equipment is available in the crawl space below the building. Karen asked for approval to form a committee to work on the details, budget, logistics, design, etc. Some concern was expressed over security in this remote location. Karen said that if the committee is approved, it would look into security, location, and all of the other concerns being raised. Rachel moved approval to form a committee, Forrest seconded the motion, and it was passed.
Karen then shared that she has been nursing a "baby" magnolia tree, an offshoot of the large, old tree in the front of University Presbyterian Church. She asked who should be consulted about the possibility of transplanting the baby tree to the church property. It was agreed she should speak to Lynne Hoerter first about this as a landscaping committee is not currently in place.
Remembrance Garden. The committee formerly known as the Memorial Garden Committee has been renamed the Remembrance Garden Committee. A written update was distributed in Session packets.
Presbyterian Campus Ministry Representative. Stephanie Miller has asked to rotate off as one of our two representatives to UNC’s PCM. Mindy asked those present to think about a good replacement.
Deacon/Elder Representatives. Mitzi said that she and Karen Meredith were devising a plan to facilitate communication between the Session and Deacons and will present that plan for consideration at the October meeting.
The next Stated Session meeting will be October 10, 2011 at the Douglas home in Briar Chapel.
Before adjournment, Jack expressed frustration and concern over the "No Trespassing" sign on Great Ridge Parkway and his hope that this problem might soon be remedied with clarification signage.
As no further business remained, Mindy asked for a time of silence. She led a closing prayer and the meeting was adjourned at 9:20 p.m.
Mary Donna Pond, Clerk
Approved by Session November 14, 2011