December 11, 2018 Minutes
The Episcopal Dioceses of Southern Ohio
St. Luke's Church Granville, Ohio
Vestry Meeting Minutes
Date: December 11, 2018
Present: Rev. Doris Westfall, Michelann Scheetz, Shelly Morehead, Karen Dowdy-Fullin, Athena Koehler, Barb Mighton, Wayne Piper, Bart Weiler, Josh Whittington, Geoff Wilson and Katy Zeanah
Excused: Jared Circle
Rev. Westfall opened the meeting by asking if there were any people or concerns that should be remembered in our opening prayer. She then opened the meeting in prayer.
Quorum Declared - Vestry convened at 7:04 pm and a quorum was declared.
Approval of Minutes for the regular meeting. It was moved by Shelly Morehead and seconded by Michelann Scheetz that the minutes of the regular meeting held on November 13, 2018 be accepted as submitted. The motion passed unanimously with no abstentions. It was noted that one member of the Vestry had not received the November minutes. The clerk will send those to her tomorrow and confirm that she is on the mailing list for the minutes.
Matters requiring decision
Voting by vestry to approve clergy housing allowance for 2019
Doris reminded the Vestry that each year they are asked, for tax purposes, to approve a housing allowance deduction for the Priest. The amount approved is $30,000.00.
It was moved by Wayne Piper and seconded by Michelann Scheetz that the amount of $30,000, be established and approved as the housing allowance deduction for 2019. The motions passed unanimously with no abstentions.
Update on website redesign
Lara Benschoter, Robin Whittington and Rev. Westfall are meeting to work on the website. The goal is to do a completely new launch of the website, not just a refresh of the current site. One of the goals of this process is to streamline the site and make it easier to modify. A meeting will be scheduled to get input from some of the site users. The Vestry was reminded that one of the key factors is to approach the development of the site as it would be experienced by a stranger. It must be easy to use and work quickly.
Doris reported that a photographer will be at the services on Sunday to capture photos of the Christmas pageant. It was noted that the current website does not translate over multiple systems such as computers, tablets and phones. The new web site needs to be ready to implement at the same time as the release of the Parish Profile. As has been frequently noted, potential applicants will likely use the web site as one of the first resources to learn more about our parish.
Update on Stewardship campaign
Rev. Westfall shared information from John Gustafson about the stewardship campaign. The report began by sharing some historical data. In PY (program year) 2016 there were 120-124 pledging units. By PY 2017 that number had dropped to 103 pledging units.
At present, $235,462 has been pledged by 70 families. Among that number, four (4) are new and 4 (four) are from givers who did not pledge in 2018. 65-75% of those pledging for PY 2019 have increased the amount that they have pledged. Currently, we are $100,000 short of what will be needed to operate for PY 2019. We need to both decrease costs and increase revenue streams.
Doris has met with the committee heads to update them and talk about the implications for our budget for 2019. We all need to work together, just like we did when we had to make the move to Swasey Chapel. That was a special time when everyone pitched in to help address the challenge of not being able to use our sanctuary and the need for major repairs. This is a special challenge, too – this time it is financial.
John reported that there is a large group of pledging units in the “wait and see” category. He also noted that the reduced amount pledged to date is not the result of the passing of some of our members. The Vestry members discussed the types of responses they had received when they contacted members who had not yet made a pledge. For some people, that personal contact was the catalyst for submitting their pledge. There have also been conversations with the Diocese office regarding our current financial circumstances.
It was recommended that we send an -mail to all those who have not yet responded to the stewardship campaign. Bart Weiler stressed the importance of making it easy for the e-mail recipients to respond. It was noted that all churches need to adapt to our changing world. By example, some churches now have card readers in the Narthex for those who wish to donate using that system. The question arose about whether we have an “open rate” that would allow us to analyze how many people open their e-mails from St. Luke's. At this time, we don't know if that information is captured in our system.
It was noted that to be successful we will need to do multiple things on multiple levels. By example we need an energy audit for our Church and Parish House. Once this has been completed, we can determine next steps. It is common knowledge that the windows in the Parish House are very energy inefficient. Thanks, were offered to the staff for the many things they do to try to keep the building warm. Another area to look at is paper and copying expenses. Committees head, among others, will be asked to start thinking creatively about how we can use our limited resources as effectively as possible. We have no choice – we must reduce our expenses. We are still awaiting a response from the Diocesan office regarding our application for a loan of $200,000 which would replace the bridge loan which is currently in place.
After much discussion, it was recommended that we move ahead to propose a budget for PY 2019, and that we monitor the amount of additional pledges and expenses, and at the end of the first quarter make any needed modifications to the budget.
Update on Discernment Team
The Discernment Team is working on writing the Parish Profile. Members of the team are writing different section’s, and these will all be pulled together in a common narrative by Ginny Sharkey. The team will meet next on December 17, 2018.
Rev. Westfall presented her Transitional Priest in Charge report. Written copies of the report were provided to all the Vestry members. The report was as follows:
Transitional Priest in Charge Report
This past month saw the memorial services for Judy Janssens on 11/17 and Myra Malishenko on 11/30, as well as the baptism of Benjamin King on 11/25. We celebrated our confirmands on 12/9. Thanks go out to John Kauffman and Sally McClaskey for their confirmation preparation.
I participated in the Granville Ecumenical Thanksgiving service at First Presbyterian on 11/18 and gave the blessing of the runners for the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day and the diocesan pre-Advent retreat at Proctor Center 11/28-11/30. I have attended the Granville Ministerium meetings every month since arriving at St. Luke’s as well as participating in the Thursday lunches of the Canterbury Club for the Episcopal students at Denison.
Meetings were held with the Canon to the Ordinary, Lynn Carter-Edmands, to update her on the transition period and discernment team progress, as well as with Wayne Piper and Mary Lucas-Miller on planning for the January-May term of Christian formation.
Planning for the special Service of Healing on 12/21 is just about complete with information having gone out to churches in Granville, funeral homes, and hospice organizations. Mary Tuominen and I are working closely on the Spiritual Gifts course and have sent out targeted invitations to new individuals within the last three years.
The Discernment Team is hard at work on the church profile with the hopes of having the profile written and uploaded by the middle of January. The next meeting of the Discernment Team is to be held on Monday, December 17.
Closely related to the writing of the church profile is the new website. Robin Whittington has worked on a new and cleaner site, organizing and rearranging information. Websites are best thought of as the new front door to a church and should be organized for people not currently associated with the congregation to get information quickly and easily. Robin will take over maintenance of the website once it is finished and on-line. She has also arranged for a professional photographer to come and take some pictures of St. Luke’s at worship. The photographer will be here for the pageant this coming Sunday to take additional pictures for the website.
We hope to introduce an on-line calendar and sign-up for ministry positions for each service with having individual’s sign-up for times they are available and the ministry scheduler responsible to fill those slots that are left open. Dagny and I will be working to set this up early in the new year.
Both Bart Weiler and Jared Circle have asked to be relieved of their vestry responsibilities due to conflicting work obligations. Letters of thanks for their service will be sent.
Meetings with the Finance Committee have continued to talk about the 2019 budget. This is going to be a very challenging year from a financial perspective. All pledges are still not in and approximately 35 remain outstanding. I spoke with Jason Leo, Canon of Transition and he has suggested using the average actual income over the last three years as a budget amount. Richard Warren has asked the diocese about a mission share review.
I held a meeting with the committee chairs on 12/9 to ask for their support and creative ways to possibly fund their programming needs. There will be a need for fundraisers for operating income in 2019.
The office will be closed on December 24-26. I will leave for STL very early the morning of 12/25 and return the evening of 1/3. Dagny Gelormo will be out of the office from 12/20-121/27. Patty Hussey will be out of the office from 12/25-1/5.
At the conclusion of her written report, Rev. Westfall opened the floor for any questions or further discussion.
December 21-Service of Healing
December 23-Services at 8:00 and 10:00
December 24-Services at 4:30 and 9:00
December 30-Service at 8 and Lessons and Carols at 10:00
January 1-Office Closed
January 5-Spiritual Gifts Retreat 9:30-12:00
January 7, 14, 21, 28-Spiritual Gifts sessions 7-8:30
January 15-Vestry Meeting (Note Date Change)
January 21-MLK Day-office closed
February 3-Annual Meeting
February 19-26 Doris out of town
March 1-2 Vestry Retreat
Senior Warden's report
Michelann Scheetz reported that much of her recent work has been focused in two areas, the loan request to the Diocese and handling the last remaining tasks regarding the Turkey Trot. The committee will be scheduling a meeting with Chuck Moore, Director of the Licking County Food Pantry. At that meeting, they will present Chuck with a check for the proceeds from the 2018 Turkey Trot. The hope is to have the local newspapers at that meeting so that the good news can be shared throughout the community.
Junior Warden's report
Shelly Morehead began her report by reminding all that the due date for committee reports is fast approaching. All the reports should be to the office no later than January 15, 2019. The Annual Meeting is scheduled for February 3, 2019. On that day, there will be only two services – 8:00 and 10:00 am. The commissioning of the Vestry members will take place on February 10, 2019.
A question arose, based upon an idea which was raised in the past, whether we could offer a tentative copy of the Annual Report in advance of the Annual Meeting. The answer is that it depends upon several factors. One primary factor is ensuring that the committee reports are submitted by the due date. Another factor is that January is a very busy time regarding church finances. At this time, it is impossible to say if we can do a draft report prior to the meeting.
Adult Christian Education
Wayne Piper reported that the Coffee Grounds sessions for 2018 have been completed and that the average attendance was 23 people per Sunday. The January sessions are scheduled. They include: A Church Next presentation on Epiphany; Deacon Meribah Mansfield discussing the new initiative of the Diocese: “Becoming Beloved Community”; Alan Minton bringing us up to date on the “Feed the Dream” initiative; and an update from the Discernment Team.
Wayne added that the “Discovering God’s Vision for Your Life: You and Your Spiritual Gifts” workshops will begin in 2019 currently has six participants enrolled. The next book club meeting on January 16 will discuss C.S. Lewis' book The Screwtape Letters. He noted that Rev. Jack Bowers continues to lead “Conversations on Religion and Culture” as well as the joint Bible study with United Church of Granville.
Athena Koehler that there has been great participation as we prepare for the upcoming Christmas Pageant. The next rehearsal will be Saturday at 9:30 am. She added that the pageant will include many new faces this year, including some of the Vestry members.
It was suggested that one aspect of promoting fellowship is to find ways to connect people across services. Barb Mighton reported that the Membership Committee is considering things such as again doing a Saturday night Pot-Luck. Another idea being considered is providing pancakes for Denison students during exam week. It was noted to do this, or other activities, it will be important to increase membership on the committee.
Another suggestion being considered is having just one service on Sunday each month. This would hopefully bring together the members from our three services and might be followed by a gathering in the Undercroft. Another benefit would be that the choir members could participate in the gathering after the service.
Josh Whittington sent out copies of the financial reports to the Vestry members and hard copies were available at the meeting. Included were the Executive Summary (Nov.), the Income and Expense Statement (November 2018) and the Balance Sheet (November 2018). He began his report by noting, based upon the Executive Summary for November we are under budget of expenses but also have lower than projected income. He also noted that there are no anomalies in any of the budget categories and that we will likely finish the year under budget in terms of expenses.
In response to an issue that arose in a previous Vestry meeting, Josh reported that Patty Hussey is doing a review of our investment portfolio. Once that has been completed she will provide the Finance Committee with a detailed analysis of her findings. Josh noted that there is a Diocesan investment trust that we could explore. A question also arose about whether we have any restrictions on our investments. Currently, is does not appear that we have any restrictions. Josh concluded his report by noting, as has been said previously, that each person's support is important to the success of our parish.
It was moved by Wayne Piper and seconded by Karen Dowdy-Fullin that the Financial Reports or November 2018 be accepted as presented.
Karen Dowdy-Fullin began by noting that several thank you notes have been sent to Jon Bridges to thank him for his portrayal of Dr. William Richards on St. Luke's Day. She also noted that the large sign that normally is on the front porch of the church and highlights some of the history and architecture of the church was damaged in a wind storm. It will need to be refurbished or replaced and Marsha Haines may be able to help locate some of the information about when the sign was originally purchased.
The Historic Preservation Committee has been discussing the possibility of creating note cards with a picture of the church on the cover. It was suggested that the designated donation form also include a designation for gifts given in honor or celebration of an individual or event. Karen shared that the Buxton Inn recently received an award of merit from the Ohio History Connection, like the one which was awarded to St. Luke's Church. The committee plans to ask permission to place copies of a brochure about our church in their lobby. Robin Whittington has graciously offered to help design a new brochure about our church.
Karen again offered thanks to Bill Wilken for the renovation of the flooring at the front of the church. It was noted that there is still a need for some time of handrail, especially now that the raised floor space has decreased. In concluding her report Karen also noted that the committee has submitted their budget request for 2019 with the goal of continuing to restore some of the things which document the history of St. Luke's Church.
Barbara Mighton had shared some information about the Membership Committee earlier in the meeting. She added that one of the additional things being considered is a pot-luck on February 23, 2019. Barb also offered thanks to Robin and Josh Whittington who have volunteered to provide all the refreshments after the Christmas pageant. Since both Josh and Robin will be involved in the pageant, it would be helpful to have several people volunteer to help with the set up. Barb concluded her report by nothing that there are no vestry calls to be assigned this month.
It was noted that all the tags have been removed from the Giving Christmas tree. This means that some wonderful children will have a brighter Christmas this year thanks to those individuals and families who have volunteered to provide special gifts.
Shelly Morehead reported that Deacon Mary Raysa has three feeding ministries continuing at St. Vincent's Haven and two new ministries at The Center for New Beginnings (The Center for New Beginnings is a program offering free, confidential emergency shelter and services to community members who are victims of a domestic violence situation and need help with a New Beginning).
Shelly also noted that a Solstice Healing Service will be held on December 21, 2018. The last item in Shelly's report was that Wayne Piper has volunteered to provide the future leadership for the Friendly Visitor's program.
Property, Buildings and Grounds
Geoff Wilson and Rev. Westfall noted that there is a lot going on in the area of Property, Buildings and Grounds. To start with, Steve Mighton is working on a mockup of the sound deadening panels which will be installed in the meeting room in the Undercroft. St. Luke's received an anonymous gift to cover the cost of the special fabric which will be used. It was noted that we are all very grateful to Steve for all the work he has done and continues to do to improve the acoustics in the Undercroft.
It was again noted that an energy audit is needed so that we can contain our heating and cooling costs. Also, two hand outs were distributed regarding 1) the use of the sound system and 2) locking up the church and the parish house. It was asked that we all, in addition to the ushers and Vestry Counters, help ensure that everything has been turned off and the buildings are secured at the end of the Sunday services. It was recommended that we add to the list that those closing the building also close the doors leading to the Narthex and the door leading to the stairway to the Undercroft. The committee is aware that we need to act to reduce the amount of outside air that comes in from the exterior door that is at the top of the Undercroft stairs. Being a multi-building campus presents some challenges that may require additional attention.
It was noted that it would be helpful to develop a system to best address the four thermostats that are in the church, two of which are in the Vesting room. It is important to have a system that everyone understands and can be easily adjusted.
In concluding the report, it was shared that consideration is being given to setting up some specifically focused and limited time task forces to address specific areas. By example a task force might focus on energy use or marketing St. Luke's or increasing membership. These are but a few examples of how members might share their knowledge and skills regarding a specific aspect of our parish.
The report and discussion on stewardship took place earlier in the meeting.
Katy Zeanah noted that everyone has been working hard on the Christmas pageant and it will undoubtedly be well worth experiencing. On December 23, 2018 there will be two services, an 8:00 am and a 10:00 am service. The Christmas Lesson and Carols service will be on December 30, 2018. On January 6, 2019 we will return to our three traditional services. It was noted that sometimes our Prayer for Discernment does not seem to flow smoothly as part of the Prayers of the People. It was suggested that we include wording such as “please join me as we say together our Prayer of Discernment”.
The Vestry discussed whether to designate the Christmas offerings for a specific program. Several different options were discussed and there was a general feeling that if a designation were to be made that the funds should be used to support a program in our area,
It was moved by Wayne Piper and seconded by Shelly Morehead that half of the funds from the Christmas offerings be designated for operating expenses and that half of the funds be designated for The Center for New Beginnings in Newark. The motion passed unanimously with no abstentions.
Other (including pending items from last meetings)
Before the meeting of the Vestry adjourned, Doris thanked the Vestry members for the time and effort that each person has put in the operation of our church. She noted that she greatly appreciates each person’s contribution.
The meeting adjourned at 8:32 pm
December 16, 2018-St. Luke's Christmas Pageant during 9:15am service
December 21, 2018, 7:00pm-Winter Solstice Community Healing service
December 24, 2018-Christmas Eve services at 4:30pm and 9:00pm
December 25-January 2, 2019-Doris to STL
December 30, 2018-Christmas Lessons and Carols-Fr. John Kauffman presiding
January 2019-committee reports due for February annual meeting
February 3, 2019-St. Luke's annual meeting
March 2, 2019-Annual Vestry retreat
Clerk of the Vestry