January 15, 2019 Minutes
The Episcopal Dioceses of Southern Ohio
St. Luke's Church Granville, Ohio
Vestry Meeting Minutes
Date: January 15, 2019
Present: Rev. Doris Westfall, Michelann Scheetz, Shelly Morehead, Athena Koehler, Wayne Piper, Bart Weiler, and Geoff Wilson
Excused: Jared Circle, Karen Dowdy-Fullin, Barb Mighton, Josh Whittington and Katy Zeanah
Rev. Doris Westfall opened the meeting with a reading from Leadership Prayers. The section
that she read focused on budgets.
Quorum Declared - Vestry convened at 7:06 pm and a quorum was declared
Approval of Minutes for the regular meeting.
Two corrections were offered to the minutes from the last regular meeting of the vestry on December 11, 2018. Under Matters Requiring Decision, the last sentence should read “ The amount of $30,000 was approved as a housing allowance deduction for the Rev. Doris Westfall”. Also, under the Historic Preservation report, in the last paragraph, the word “kind” should replace the word “time” The sentence would now read “It was noted that there is still a need for some kind of handrail, especially now that the raised floor space has decreased.”
It was moved by Geoff Wilson and seconded by Shelly Morehead that the minutes of the regular meeting held on December 11, 2018 be accepted as amended. The motion passed unanimously with no abstentions.
Matters Requiring Decision
Voting by vestry to begin process of changing by-laws to decrease number of members of vestry
The vestry again discussed considering reducing the size of the vestry. One suggestion was that nine (9) members might be a good working number. It was noted that with our current average attendance of 125 people, the current vestry size is almost 10% of the average attendance. If the number of vestry members was set at nine, it would be important to explain the rationale for the change to the congregation. With a vestry of nine members, five (5) members present would constitute a quorum, It was also noted that the number of vestry members could also be increased if it were warranted. The members discussed how changing the vestry size might impact our period of transition when we have a new rector. Possibly this is the best time to reset some of our current practices.
The members all felt that the time of commitment when serving on the vestry should remain three (3) years. It was noted that it is important to maintain confidence in the leadership of the group. It may make sense to re-balance the size of the vestry based upon the size of the congregation. One way to start the re-balancing of the vestry size would be to fill all open and unfinished terms except for the one open position which has one year remaining.
Questions arose about whether the size of the vestry must be a fixed number, or can it be a range. It was recommended that this discussion continue at the February meeting and that prior to that meeting all members review their copy of the vestry by-laws.
Steve Mighton – Sound Abatement project in Undercroft
The discussion of the challenging acoustics in the Undercroft began by noting that the panels that have been placed in the meeting room have made a remarkable difference during the Spiritual
Gifts sessions. It was reported that Steve Mighton is making a two-dimensional model of the meeting room which will then have an acoustical analysis. St. Luke's has already received a gift for the special fabric and is pursuing donations for the construction materials. Good progress is being made and each step moves us closer to making the meeting room as functional as possible.
Update on Stewardship Campaign/Budget for 2019
Rev. Doris Westfall distributed the proposed budget for 2019 and reviewed the Operating Income and Operating Expenses categories. The budget sheet included the actual budgets for 2013- 2017, the budget and actual expenses for 2018 and the proposed budget, with two options regarding the recommended clergy salary and benefits for 2019.
She noted, in response to a question, the it is not unusual for pledges to decrease during a time of transition, especially when a beloved rector leaves. This year, based upon the budget figures,
St. Luke's will have a deficit budget – our expenses exceed our income.
In reviewing the line item budget Doris noted that no committee was allocated all that they had requested and discussed those area where there may be an opportunity to find some additional savings. She stressed the importance of having the maximum amount of efficiency in all that we do. She also noted that some areas, such as technology, are a critical component of preparing for a new rector. She added that it is never good to cut programs during a transitional year.
Doris offered several recommendations as we move forward. These included:
that multi-year plans be developed
the process should begin earlier in the year
that we be more intentional and have more individuals involved in the budgeting process
that the budgeting process have greater involvement with the committees and to identify their specific goals and needs
that the amount of the current mission share be discussed with the Diocese
It was noted that this year the budget presents some additional challenges in that it must include all the expenses for the recruitment of a new rector. This includes costs such as bringing potential candidates to St. Luke's and moving expenses.
There are several factors which will impact the final budget such as the appropriate salary for the new rector and the final cost of the benefits package. The Vestry discussed options regarding the proposed salary and benefits. An additional financial challenge is that St. Luke's is still carrying over a $24,000 deficit from the 2018 budget.
After considerable debate, it was moved by Geoff Wilson and seconded by Michelann Scheetz that the proposed budget that was based upon a compensation package of $144,864 be approved as the budget for 2019. The motion carried unanimously with no abstentions.
Discussion of feedback regarding one service per month and social after service
The vestry discussed the feedback received regarding the idea of having one Sunday each month when there is just one service for all followed by a social gathering in the Undercroft. It was reported that there are some strong feelings from parish members who do not want this to happen and that more people seem to favor trying this than not trying it. The vestry discussed using the single service Sunday as potentially a time when we would focus on growth by inviting friends to also attend.
Several concerns have been raised about this potential change. It was noted that it would be critical to communicate effectively with all our members when we were having a one-service Sunday. It was also noted that some members feel the specific service they choose to attend is a special service to them. Also, many of us find comfort in a schedule that does not change and sometimes it is hard to remember when a schedule has changed.
At the same time, it was noted that the discussions during the Coffee and Conversations and the CAT survey indicated that our members want more time together as one family in Christ. Unfortunately, our current approach to Meet-in-the-Middle has not been successful and doesn't meet the purpose which it was intended to serve.
After much discussion, it was recommended that we consider having one service on the fifth Sunday in those months which have five (5) Sundays. In 2019 this would occur just four times – March 31st, June 30th, September 29th and December 29th. It was recommended that the service be scheduled for10:00 am.
Update on Discernment Team
The Discernment Team is meeting weekly and working hard to create all that is needed for the posting for our new rector. The Parish profile is almost done, and work is continuing the Priest Profile. The videotaping is scheduled for this coming Saturday (unfortunately, an unanticipated snow storm forced the rescheduling of the videotaping). The taping will include interviews with members of varying ages. An additional next step is to have our Parish Portfolio listed on the national website. We are on schedule for that to happen on February 1, 2019.
Rev. Westfall cautioned that there are many factors beyond our control. Applicants will submit their applications to the Diocese office and not to St. Luke's. The Diocese will do an initial screening to ensure that there are not factors which would disqualify a candidate before any names are given to our church and any candidate can be pulled at any time. The goal is still to extend a call in the spring with the hope that a new rector would be in place for the start of the new program year.
Rev. Westfall noted the importance of being proactive in preparing for our new rector. Toward that end, she is recommending that four (4) task forces be established, and she will be sharing this plan with the parish at the annual meeting in February. The areas for focus of the task forces are ones which will have a significant impact on the future of St. Luke's church. The four task forces would focus on: 1) buildings, 2) fund raising, 3) marketing and 4) stewardship. She noted that it would be helpful to have the chairpersons of these committees in place prior to the meeting and asked the Vestry to send to her any recommendations.
A listing of those determined to be eligible voters was distributed to the Vestry members. This list contains the names of those who are in good standing and are eligible to vote at the annual meeting next month.
It was moved by Shelly Morehead and seconded by Wayne Piper that the listing of eligible voters be approved as presented. The motion passed unanimously with no abstentions.
Transitional Priest in Charge Report
Rev. Doris Westfall distributed copies of her report to the Vestry as well as discussed the information in her written report. The report reads as follows:
Transitional Priest in Charge Report
January 15, 2019
December, as always, was a very busy month. On December 16th the Christmas pageant, Jesus and the Friendly Beasts was held at the 9:15 service. There were 80 in attendance.
On the 18th the annual Turkey Trot breakfast was held and a check for $79,000 was given to Chuck Moore of the Licking County Food Pantry. Another successful year of Turkey Trot and St. Luke’s should be very proud of the effort put forth by all the St. Luke’s organizers and volunteers. Their time, effort, and dedication make a huge difference for our neighbors who live with food insecurity in Licking County. Thanks go especially to Michelann Scheetz, Michelle Layman, and Mary Lucas-Miller for all their work.
Another successful Winter Solstice Service of Healing was held on December 21 with 30 in attendance. Thanks goes to Jimi James for organizing this.
Christmas services were very well attended. It was the highest attendance for Christmas Eve in five years. There were 250 at the 4:30 service and 97 at the 9:00 for a total of 347.
The Spiritual Gifts seminar began on January 5th with a retreat and is meeting every Monday evening through February 11th and will end on Saturday, February 16th. We have 15 participants and another ten that would like to attend a second offering later in the spring. It is going very well, and the participants are very engaged.
A new Rota scheduling procedure is in place and in the first week seems to be working well with good response.
Pat Ford has been asked and accepted filling the two-year unexpired vestry term of Jared Circle.
The looming issue is the budget deficit. There are many unknowns, such as cost of health insurance, moving, etc. for the new rector. We are gathering the information needed to ask for a Mission Share Review from the diocese. I have reduced the communications position to 30 hours a month from 75 hours a month. I have also removed the substitute organist line item from the budget.
I will be looking into forming several task forces to address different areas where savings may be found, and new revenue streams explored. What is not suggested is that any program areas be cut at this time. To do so would be to send the wrong message to the congregation and candidates interviewing for the position. What is suggested is that we show in the next year how the issues are going to be addressed and challenges worked through. I have no doubt that St. Luke’s can weather this difficult time with prayerful planning, intentional action, and a forward focus.
January 21-MLK Day-office closed
February 3-Annual Meeting
February 19-26 Doris out of town
March 1-2 Vestry Retreat
March 5 Shrove Tuesday
March 6 Ash Wednesday Services @noon and 7:30 pm
March 10 Daylight Savings Time begins
April 14 Palm Sunday
April 17 Stations of the Cross 7:30
April 18 Maundy Thursday-Eucharist and Foot washing 7:30
April 19 Good Friday 12:30 Proper Liturgy, 2:00 Kendal Service, 7:30 Requiem
April 20 Easter Vigil 7:30
April 21 Easter 8 and 10 am services
In concluding her report, Rev. Westfall reported that the Christmas offering had been exceptionally generous this year and reminded the Vestry that her last Sunday at St. Luke's will be May 26, 2019. She then opened the floor for any questions or discussion.
Senior Warden's report
Michelann Scheetz reported that she is continuing to work on several projects. Pat Ford has agreed to be considered for the remaining two years of the open Vestry position. It was moved by Wayne Piper and seconded by Athena Koehler that Pat Ford be appointed to fill the remaining two years of the open Vestry position. The motion was approved unanimously with no abstentions.
Junior Warden's report
Shelly Morehead reported that a contract has been signed by the Senior Warden to have Beckholt Painting Co. paint the exterior of the church. Weather permitting, they hope to begin working on April 1, 2019.
Shelly also reported that the meals program with New Beginnings has started and that it has been a very positive experience.
Because of the amount of time that was required to fully discuss the matters requiring decision and the current business, it was requested that committee reports be brief
Adult Christian Education
Wayne Piper reported that Coffee Grounds for Discussion is scheduled through the end of the program year in May. Sessions include travelogues from Deacon Mary and Sally McClaskey; sessions during Lent on planning for end of life; reports on “Feed the Dream” and from the Licking County Food Pantry among others. He also noted that some adjustments will need to be made to accommodate the single services that are now going to take place when there is a fifth Sundays in a month.
Wayne noted that Book Club continues through May as well with more four more sessions between now and the end of the program year.
We will not renew “Church Next” the video/lecture series we've subscribed to for the past three years. The cost does not justify the usage that the program has seen. Parishioners though informed of its availability have not – with one exception – availed themselves of its use.
Jack Bowers will continue his Bible Study group as well as “Conversations on Religion and Culture for the balance of the program year.
Finding Your Spiritual Gifts is off to a good start with 15 participants. There are six more sessions before the program concludes.
Athena Koehler had nothing additional to report regarding Christian Education
Bart Weiler had nothing additional to share regarding Fellowship.
On January 9, 2019 Josh Whittington sent the financial reports to the Vestry along with the following information:
The preliminary December financial are attached for your review ahead of the Vestry meeting. We are at the end of the fiscal year 2018 with a budget of $357,890. Total operating income is 84% of budget ($299,192). Total operating expenses is 91% of budget ($323,562). This leaves us with a fiscal year shortfall of ($24,371)
Josh also included in his message some information from Patty Hussey:
1. The parish house received new blinds this summer that ran through the operating account (as did the gift that paid for them). At the end of the year, I had to journal entry them out of the operating account to get them in to the asset account so that they could be depreciated. This may make it look like Mission Share is slightly overstated, but the mission share should be accurate as it is.
2. We attempted to transfer the 4% investment income from PNC Endowment as budgeted in mid-December, but there wasn't enough cash in our PNC account to manage the whole amount. $5655 was budgeted. $2170 was transferred in December. The remaining $3485 should hit in January, but since it was not actually a deposit in transit at 12/31, I did not believe I could accurately reflect it as such. That will end up helping our ($24,371) loss for the year by $3485 in January.
The reports that were attached to the email included The Executive Summary for December 2018, the Income and Expense Statement for December 2018,the Balance Sheet for December 2018 and the Consolidated Income and Expense Statement for December 2018.
The restored oil painting of Dr. William Samuel Richards has been hung in the back of the church to the left of the painting of Bishop Chase and the oil painting of Rev. Ezra Kellogg has been rehung from the space to the left of the elevator door to the right of the painting of Bishop Chase
Barbara Mighton sent her report via Shelly Morehead. In her report she noted that the next meeting of the Membership Committee will be in February. She also noted that the Pot Luck Dinner has been rescheduled for Saturday, March 2, 2019.
There was nothing additional to report regarding Outreach.
Shelly Morehead noted that plans are underway to expand the Friendly Visitor Program – our program for those who are unable to attend Sunday services. The spring spiritual walk, led by Dr. Jimi James, has been scheduled for April 28, 2019.
The prayer shawl group is continuing to meet on the first and third Thursdays. Rev. Westfall provided updated information about a member who recently had surgery and added that she would be taking them a prayer shawl on her upcoming visit.
Property, Buildings and Grounds
In addition to the recently hung oil paintings, Geoff Wilson reported that the light fixture in one of the bathrooms will need the ballast replaced in order to have it operate properly.
It was noted, with concern, that while the attendance at the Christmas Eve services was very good, overall, the attendance at the three Sunday services is down
There was no old business to be discussed.
Before the Vestry meeting concluded, Rev. Westfall opened the floor for any other issues that need to be discussed. It was noted that that biographical information about the new candidates for the Vestry should be shared with the entire parish.
The meeting closed in prayer and with thanks for those who have served so well and are now completing their term as members of St. Luke's Vestry.
The meeting adjourned at 8:45 pm
January 21 and 28, 2019 – remaining Spiritual Gifts classes
January 21, 2019 – Feed the Dream, MLK Day
February 3, 2019 - St. Luke's annual meeting
February 3, 2019 – services at 8:00 am and 10:00 am (annual meeting after 10:00 am service)
February 19 – 26, 2019 – Doris out of town
March 1 - 2, 2019-Annual Vestry retreat
March 12, 2019 – next Vestry meeting
Clerk of the Vestry