September 20, 2021 Stated Session Meeting
Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church
Virtual Stated Session Meeting September 20, 2021 7 PM
Present: Greg Behr, Paul Bolig, Sara Botelho, Tom Crosby, Keith Glidewell, Marcia Ladd (Clerk), Sarah McCormack, Bruce Raymond, Mary Roodkowsky, Andrew Taylor-Troutman (Moderator), Tim White, (Treasurer), Serena Zum Brunnen
Mary opened the session meeting with a devotion. Andrew offered prayer concerns and celebrations. Mary closed with a prayer.
- Approval of Session minutes – Stated Meeting 8/16/21; Email votes 8/17/21 and 8/18/21; Called Meetings 8/23/21 and 9/1/21
- Approval of Committee Minutes – Building and Grounds 8/17/21 and 9/7/21, Mission and Service 8/29/21, Membership 9/7/21, Stewardship 9/8/21, Finance and Administration 9/16/21
- Staff Meeting Minutes – September 19, 2021
Andrew asked for a motion to approve the agenda, Bruce made the motion and it was seconded and passed unanimously. Andrew then asked for a motion to approve the consent agenda, Greg moved to approve it, the motion was seconded and passed unanimously.
Andrew then drew session’s attention to his Moderator’s Report where he highlights things that he is working on, including partnerships in community outreach, member supported ministries, new members and the Vitality Team. A homeless person will be housed right away at the Farm. He had “office hours” at Fearrington earlier today, which will be an ongoing thing on Mondays.
Vitality Team Update
Andrew asked Sarah to help him give a synopsis of the Vitality Team’s “findings” to this point. He cautioned the elders that this information is laying the groundwork and providing context for the future recommendations in October. This report will not offer “solutions” per se. The recommendations will come after more work of the Vitality Team and with Paul Nixon. The Readiness 360 survey measures four areas:
- Spiritual Intensity
- Dynamic Relationships
- Missional Alignment
- Cultural Openness
In each category there are 4 different ratings
- In Crisis
- Not Ready
- Ready in Many Respects
- More than Ready
Chapel in the Pines came in halfway between not ready and ready in many respects. Dr. Nixon felt there is fire in the hearts of many congregants, but the church has work to do to strengthen the connection between our people and God’s mission for us. He felt like there were some deep connections and friendships, but there is work to be done to deepen the relationship between the majority and those who are different from the majority. Many people have a good sense of where God is calling us, but not everyone is in alignment. There is never time or financial resources to head in a number of directions, now is the time to set priorities. There is some desire to reach diverse people, but there is also trepidation about what type of changes that would make to the church. Paul was very excited about how beautiful our grounds are and that we should not leave that out of our thinking. Paul also found that there is a lot of money being spent on things for children as opposed to social justice concerns and that perhaps too much is being spent on the family side and not enough on the outreach side. Paul framed these issues as challenges, Andrew prefers to see them as opportunities. Greg asked what Paul thought about the outside, he just feels we are not utilizing all the spaces in the outside that have a lot of promise. The Vitality Team will bring recommendations to session and session will make the decisions on how we move forward. Andrew sees a lot of support and interest for this visioning among congregants.
As pastor, Andrew wants to frame these “tensions” as “opportunities” when communicating with the congregation. He doesn’t believe that any of these claims are actually in competition with each other, but that a healthy church encompasses both/and of either side of these “tensions.” In the effort to use language familiar to many in our congregation, he has also framed these opportunities in light of our mission statement.
- Welcome Opportunity: We have the opportunity to manage our growth in ways that invite more people to share in our ministry and core values. This is part of our calling in a growing area and with a thriving ministry.
- Worship Opportunity: We have the opportunity to further develop our beautiful outdoor space for worship and fellowship. This is part of our calling to be good stewards of our entire property and represents ways to expand our ministry in quality and depth of experience.
- Witness Opportunity: We have the opportunity to build a thriving ministry for all ages in which we teach people to connect their faith on Sunday to their life in the larger community. Making disciples of future generations and meeting the current needs of the vulnerable in our community are both vital aspects of our faith and our church’s calling.
The Readiness survey offered 5 tips
- Invite the Holy Spirit to move beyond our fears
- Rid the church of lone ranger ministry mentality
- Empower people to simplify decision-making and get rid of any gatekeeping activities
- Get new and younger people on critical teams
- Cultivate an environment where ideas can be celebrated and developed
Marcia drew the elders’ attention to the revised Committee Matrix and asked if there were any questions, additions or deletions. She then told the elders that every year we have at least one joint meeting of the Elders and Deacons. Historically we have used the December meeting for this and had a party. This year it may be a virtual joint meeting, but a joint meeting nonetheless, and everyone can bring their own champagne.
August represents the 8th month or 67% of our year. Total Revenues YTD of $324,699 are 71% of budget. Total expenses are 60% inclusive of year-end one-time postings. August revenues increased and were higher than monthly expenses by over $11,000. Cash on hand to fund operations remains at a healthy level.
August revenue was $41,560 or 38% ahead of August of last year. This makes our year-to-date revenue 15% greater compared to 8 months last year. Year-to-date pledged revenue is 23% ahead of last year. Non-pledge revenue is less than last year’s by approx. $8,500. If this trend continues, YE non-pledge could be about $41,000 vs $50,000 budget.
Total Expenses YTD of $249,044 are 56.6% of the expense budget. There are two expense lines our accountant posts at the end of the year totaling $15,400 or 3.5% of total budget, increasing the YTD “equivalent” expense to just over 60%. Monthly expenses are lower at $30,294 vs. $32,000 “monthly average”. The biggest budget items are staff salaries & benefits which are in line at 65% while “Other Personnel Expenses” are lower at 27% due to reduced activity (e.g., no nursery staff). On-line processing fees are at 136% ($2,180) YTD ($178 MTD) with 54% ($1,175) offset by contributors in Realm posted as revenue. The processing fee for checking (ACH) was reduced to 1% while credit/debit cards remain at 3%. This better reflects fees charged to us. Committees continue to spend less as the church is working through COVID.
We have used $21,556 from the Pastors Discretionary Fund YTD to assist 51 individuals and families in Chatham County with their serious financial issues. Members and friends have given Chapel in the Pines $22,087 YTD to this fund. August fund YTD balance is $12,130 compared to July YTD of $11,005. August MTD inflow was $1,125 with no outflows. The Audio Equipment account was merged into the Live Streaming account since both are used for the same purpose with an $1,132 balance. Surplus carry-over started the year at $80,316, as of August $42,424, with a projected year-end balance of $12,000 based on session-approved expenses.
Cash flow stands at $316,756, $11,000 more than last month and $13,000 higher than last August. Long-term debt is $576,122, $86,000 lower than last August.
Giving Overview: In a review provided to Mission & Service our overall giving is best viewed by including the M&S operating budget as well as other avenues which we give as a congregation. The estimated 2021 year-end giving is over $100,000 inclusive of M&S’s $44,600 budget with YTD total over $59,000. 2020 YE actual was $59,781.
Committee/Task Force Reports/Actions
Finance and Administration
Andrew asked Tom to share the work of the Stewardship Committee. Tom talked about the goal of $418,310 or a 4.5% increase over what we achieved this year. Finance and Administration will come back to Stewardship with an upwardly revised goal. He drew session’s attention to the revised Time and Talent Form that was included in the pre-session packet. He pointed out the new logo, Called to Connect, to empathize our collective desire to connect. He asked if there were any questions about it
Andrew asked Serena to share her thoughts about the Christian Education plan for the upcoming year. Nursery care and programming for children under 14 will not return until we can safely provide it. The CE committee is having on-going discussions about how and when to open these programs. We will not do Godly Play, but will bring the art table back when it is safe
Youth Groups expected to return to full schedule in August 2021. The retreats are being envisioned as follows:
- Visioning Retreat (September 2021)
- Lent Retreat (March 2022)
- Earth Care Festival (June or July 2022
Serena asked if there were any questions. There being done, Andrew moved on to Worship.
Mary wanted folks to know we may have a monthly Contemplative Service, and Andrew has a safe way to serve communion, this will be outside. This will be in addition to the Wednesday communion. Andrew hopes this is a step in the direction of offering outside communion regularly. She offered the following motion from her committee
To perform Holy Communion at the Contemplative Service on September 27, 2021, and going forward.
There was very little discussion and the motion passed unanimously
Keith offered the following motion
To welcome the Kabrick’s into the life of the church
They will be joining the church on October 10. Session will meet with the Kabricks between the two services that day. There was minimal discussion and the motion passed unanimously
Mission and Service
Sara Botelho reminded all the elders that there will be a Committee Fair after each service on October 17th and encouraged everyone to participate. Sara would really like to have every committee represented and have a signup sheet. She would also like brochures and pictures if possible to make it more personal. She’s like to have everything by October 11th.
Bruce drew the elders’ attention to the Building (Parking Lot) Use Request contained in the pre-session packet, essentially a request to use the parking for Pack meetings every other Wednesday 5:30 – 6:30, starting this coming Wednesday. He offered the following motion.
To allow Cub Scout Pack 951 with 2 – 9 members and their leaders the use of the church’s parking lot for meetings starting September 22 and be held every other Wednesday
Bruce amended the motion
To allow Cub Scout Pack 951 with 2 – 9 members and their leaders the use of the church’s parking lot for meetings starting September 22 and be held every Wednesday
They want to meet at various locations in the outside. Tim said we should ask for insurance evidence, Andrew promised to get that information. Chapel in the Pines is not taking on this charter. The motion passed unanimously.
The next meeting is the 18th of October and it will be mostly devoted to the Vitality Team report. There being no further business, Andrew closed the meeting with prayer at 8:10 PM.
Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals
Since the last session meeting on August 16, 2021, the Jordans joined on September 12. There were no baptisms, memorial services or weddings. Virtual Communion was served once on September 1.
Clerk of Session
Approved Session October 18, 2021