May 14, 2019 Minutes
The Episcopal Dioceses of Southern Ohio
St. Luke's Church Granville, Ohio
Vestry Meeting Minutes
Date: May 14, 2019
Present: Rev. Doris Westfall, Pat Ford, Wendy Flowers, Karen Dowdy-Fullin, Brad Koehler, Barb Mighton, Patty Myers, Wayne Piper, Liz Barringer-Smith, Geoff Wilson and Kim Zaborniak
Excused: Michelann Scheetz and Galen Kendrick
Before offering the opening prayer, Rev. Westfall asked if anyone had special concerns that they would like included in the prayer. Concerns were raised for those who have special health issues and those who are in the hospital.
The meeting opened in prayer.
Vestry convened at 7:02 pm and a quorum was declared
Approval of Minutes
The minutes of the Executive Session of the Vestry that was held on April 28, 2019 were distributed and reviewed. It was moved by Patty Myers and seconded by Barbara Mighton that the minutes be accepted as presented. The motion passed unanimously with no abstentions.
The minutes from the regularly scheduled meeting of the Vestry that was held on April 9, 2019 were sent to the Vestry Members prior to this meeting. After a brief discussion, it was moved by Geoff Wilson and seconded by Liz Barringer-Smith that the minutes be accepted as presented. The motion carried unanimously with no abstentions.
Transitional Priest in Charge Final Report
At the April Vestry Meeting Rev. Westfall had reported that the May Vestry Meeting, her last Vestry meeting as St. Luke's Transitional Priest in Charge, would have a different format. She noted that it was important that at this final meeting she can review her year at St. Luke's and for the Vestry to provide a review of the Transitional Period (June 15, 2018 through May 14, 2019). Doris had six specific questions which she asked each Vestry member to address (all the members had the same six
questions) and these were sent out in advance of the May meeting.
Doris distributed copies of her final report to each of the Vestry members. Before reviewing the
information in the report, she offered her heartfelt thanks for allowing her to serve our parish and noted that she will sincerely miss the people she has met and worked with throughout the past year. She began by reflecting on the parish when she arrived in June 2018. Below is the report in its entirety
Final Vestry Report
The Reverend Doris C. Westfall
Transitional Priest in Charge
St. Luke's Church
May 14, 2019
This has been a very busy transitional time for St. Luke's. The anxiety of the parish when I arrived was high and I would characterize the congregation, while overall healthy, as very stressed. The first several months were spent listening to the congregation and getting to know the lay of the land, so to speak. Seeing with outsider's eyes and from what is known as a "balcony" perspective, I looked at systems, how they operated, where they needed to be tightened up and possibly completely reworked.
While I knew the tenure of Stephen Applegate was happy, productive, and a time of real
growth, and while the leaving of a beloved rector is usually a time for a larger than normal dip in contributions and attendance (a 20 drop in both is not unusual), this was even more pronounced at St. Luke's. St. Luke's is wat is known as a clergy-centric parish. There was no area of congregational, liturgical, administrative, or pastoral life that was not directly impacted by and run by the rector. If you think of parish life as a wheel, the rector would be the hub
and the parishioners the spokes, but nothing runs without the movement first by the rector.
This model is often seen in family and pastoral-sized congregations. This is effective in the early years of rebuilding a congregation but becomes less so as the congregation grows.
As a congregation grows in numbers and programming, additional lay leaders and volunteers
need to be identified and ministry responsibilities delegated to different individuals. The identification of additional skills and gifts needed as a result of the growth and identifying the
direction of the mission of the parish is very valuable in this process and needs to be both a priority as well as resourced so that those skills can be developed. To stay a clergy-centric parish as a congregation grows can easily lead to burn out in both the rector as well as the volunteers.
One of my main goals for St. Luke's was to begin the process of leading St. Luke's from a clergy- centric model toward a lay ministry model. In this model, ministry begins with lay contact and involvement. Clergy are kept informed and act as lay ministry facilitators but do more to empower laity to claim their gifts for ministry and work with the laity as to how best to develop and exercise that ministry. This is also a more collaborative model of ministry and decision
It is also messier, and it takes longer to get things done, but in my opinion, it is also healthier for the parish and the clergy of the parish.
As soon as I arrived, I was told that the Organist and the Chorister Director had resigned to take positions out of state. I was also told that ministry coordinators in the areas of Fellowship, Stewardship, Lector scheduling, Market Street Pantry, Youth, Pastoral Care, and Property, Buildings and Grounds had all stepped down.
Staffing, Committees and Programs:
As we are first and foremost a worshipping community, my first task was to hire for the Organist and Choir Director positions. The position of Organist was advertised, a search was done, and interviews set up for the organist position. Several other candidates wound up
having to withdraw from the process. Our interim summer organist was very talented and the congregation liked him and so the position was offered to Tim Utterback who has, in my opinion, done very well in the position. He works well with the Director of Music and choirs as well as the clergy and staff.
The chorister position was combined with the adult choir position and the position was renamed the Director of Music and Choirs and was offered to Stephen Trumbull. Stephen is a very talented musician, teacher, and choral director. St. Luke's is very lucky to have a musician of his caliber and experience.
There are still major issues with the scheduling of worship participants. As scheduling for the volunteers of Market Street did very well with the use of a sign-up genius, it was decided to use that model. At first it worked well but has had diminishing returns since. This is still a work in progress. It is continuing to be a struggle to get individuals to serve at the 11:00 service. Additional chalicists, lectors, and servers are always needed.
In response to an articulated need to worship together, a program of Fifth Sunday: Faith, Food, Fellowship was inaugurated. The first one was March 30, the next is June 30, and the
remainder being in September 29 and December 29.
In the area of Fellowship, Janet Marcum and Dagny Gelormo had done a great job for a long- time. They needed a break, as do all volunteers. After many contacts trying to solicit new coordinators, and suggesting a different model which would reduce workload and commitment (the coordinators would be responsible not for every event but for finding two people to coordinate an event and the main coordinators would help with getting necessary supplies, resources etc.) no one has stepped up. This is an important area of ministry, but it may need to be on hiatus or sabbatical until such time as the congregation decides that it is something they miss, need, or want. It is now the responsibility of each group that has an event to advertise, get announcements into the office, set up, break down and clean up.
Bill Dargusch stepped away from being the Stewardship Chair and John Gustafson stepped into
the role. John wants to work towards stewardship being a yearlong focus as well as a core value and spiritual discipline for St. Luke's.
In September, Vickie Reed stepped down from coordinating services at the Market Street Pantry. The main volunteers took it upon themselves to organize and figure out a process to continue services of this vital ministry. Mary Lucas-Miller is scheduling volunteers and things seem to be going well.
Mike Fisher and Sally McClaskey stepped away from running the Youth program. They had done it very well for many years but were also tired and thinking new focus and people were needed. After several inquiries and requests to individuals to consider taking on this ministry and having no one step into this program, it was decided to have it take a break and see what a
new year and a new rector could bring to it.
Deacon Mary retired from her responsibilities in the area of Pastoral Care and I took that on as part of my position. Mary still coordinates the Eucharistic Visitors.
After many years of dedicated work, Wayne Piper is stepping down as Adult Education
Coordinator at the end of May. What was a one-year commitment turned into a six year position. Since last fall I have approached six individuals about the position of coordinator. For very good and valid reasons, all were unable to fulfill such a position currently. I have suggested that the format possibly be changed to one person doing a three week-cycle/month on a topic of interest, bible study or book study. A different person would take one three-week cycle. The hope was that by filling September-December, the new rector could have some timeto decide how they might like to structure that program. To date, Mary Raysa has said she would do a cycle for September and John Kauffman has said he would commit to October. I am still waiting to hear from Jack Bowers and David Woodyard.
Jack Bowers is rethinking the formatting and offerings of Conversations on Culture and Religion.
Regarding Property, Building and Grounds, Mark Moller stepped into the position and has been very helpful with attending to issues that have arisen as have Shelly Morehead, Geoff Wilson, Bill Wilken, Steve Mighton and now Wayne Piper. Several large projects have been in the works
since last July. Acoustical panels and their placement in the Undercroft to make the Undercroft more user friendly and functional has been undertaken and should be completed by the end of the summer. The painting of the front of the church is also going to be underway very shortly.
Bill Wilken generously paid to fix some boards coming up in the sanctuary and the step-up to the altar. The pillars in the sanctuary, which had been painted several times and still showed flaking and peeling, were again repainted. After the pipes froze and burst in the sacristy this past February, a new water-on demand heater was installed. Replacing the very cracked drywall in the sacristy is also planned.
Contracts have been signed for the repair of the guttering on the parish house and for repairing the cornice work at the southeast corner of the church. A fire-inspection at the beginning of
this month showed several deficiencies and work to correct them by June 1 has begun. Part of the plan is to move the cabinets and items stored in the hallway by the Historic Preservation Committee possibly off-site to follow the fire code regulations.
Part of the music library was in the stairwell of the church. The spare office in the Parish House was reconfigured with bookshelves and the music will be moved out of the stairwell into the office which is a more climate appropriate area. Also, the spare closet in the Undercroft is now a dedicated music closet for rehearsal materials.
Changes in the way committees meet were also made. The Finance Committee used to meet one month a year to vote on the next year's budget. The budget was developed by the rector and the financial administrator. That function needs to reside with the Finance Committee with
input from the rector, necessary and helpful information given by the financial administrator, and staff. I have set bi-monthly meetings for the Finance Committee for the rest of the year. It was only when preparing for the stewardship drive that it was discovered that after Rev.Applegate left pledges dropped by $70,000. It is hoped that with more frequent meetings and a closer eye on financial trends, that corrective actions can be taken sooner rather than later.
Also, I requested that a review of our loan rate from PNC be undertaken and information was found that allowed our loan to be paid-off l:iy the diocese and for the church to borrow $200,000 from the diocese at much better interest rate and term of the loan. I also requested a Mission Share Review from the diocese. That resulted in our mission share being reduced from approximately $44,000 to $18,000 for one year.
Other committees are now set to meet quarterly so that programming, resources, and needs can be identified and more promptly addressed.
At the Annual Meeting it was suggested that several task forces be formed. This has gotten off
to a much slower start than anticipated or desired. The Marketing Task Force is active and gathering information. The Long-Term Financial Planning Task Force will start meeting this week, and Stewardship will begin sometime in the summer. The Fundraising Task Force is planning an event for St. Luke's Day in October at Denison. These are priority and it is
important to have them operational as their work most directly affects giving and revenue. The work of the task force on Facilities is already being addressed by the Property, Building and Grounds committee. It would however be a good idea, after all the other projects that are in process are completed to look at developing a long-term maintenance schedule with projected costs. The task force on Membership is not meeting quite yet but will most likely find the information generated by the Marketing Task Force to be useful in planning their work.
There have been additional changes in the office as well. When I got here in June, I asked to
see the Personnel and Policy Manual. There was none. There were policies in effect, but no one knew where they were and in some cases what they were. I asked Marsha Hanes to come in and look for any policies and procedures on the computer. She was able to pull together in one spot all the policies that St. Luke's has. The office is in the process of collating, reformatting, and creating a new policy manual where all the policies can be found. There will be a copy for the rector, vestry and one in the main office. Several new policies needed to be developed, specifically surrounding the Sunday School drop off and pick-up, donation policy and communications policy. These were developed brought to the vestry and approved. This project should be completed by the time the new rector starts in August.
The website was redeveloped and put onto an easier platform which translates the format from
phone to tablet to computer so that there is consistency. This was developed and is now maintained by a parishioner, Robin Whittington.
Unfortunately, the hours for the Communications position were cut as a result of budget
deficits. As Communications are an increase g necessity for churches, I would recommend that thought be given to returning those hours as soon as possible. This has directly affected how we are going to be creating Sunday bulletins. The staff will be developing a seasonal bulletin to be left in the pews every Sunday. The weekly readings, announcements, and any music will be added as inserts. This will greatly cut down on printing and paper costs, staff time for bulletin generation, and recyclable waste. It is hoped that the new seasonal bulletin will debut on Pentecost Sunday, June 9.
Given the ever-changing nature of IT, an IT Technician position was created and is staffed by Brian Wilson who has a degree in Information Systems and who works in that capacity for First Presbyterian Church of Granville. Brian currently works three hours a week on our IT needs and is very responsive when there is an issue or problem. He is giving St. Luke's a very favorable rate of $40/hr. and is a pleasure to work with.
To help with scheduling, a master staff and event calendar was added for office and website use. This is still being tweaked and the issue is more getting people to use what hasn't previously been available.
A new membership directory, both electronic and print is also being developed.
A Discernment Team of six members was formed in October and trained in November. Aretreat was offered that covered topics of contract and covenant, communications skills, group dynamics and Diocese of Southern Ohio Search Criteria and Policy. The Team wrote the profile for St. Luke's in November December and were able to finish and post it in January. The team worked well together and were very dedicated in their task to call the next rector of St. Luke's Church. In addition to training them, I also acted as consultant when questions come up or issues needed to be thought through.
After reviewing her report Doris opened the floor for questions and discussion.
Vestry Evaluation of Transitional Priest
In advance of this meeting, Doris sent out six questions and asked that each Vestry member address all six questions. The questions were as follows:
Is the parish in a better place now than it was a year ago? Why or why not?
What were your expectations of the Transitional Priest in Charge? Did she meet them?
Why or why not?
When the Transitional Priest in Charge was at her best, what was she doing and how
was she doing it?
Was there anything that was not addressed in the transitional period that needed to be
What would you like the next church the Transitional Priest will lead to know about her?
What suggestions do you have for the Transitional Priest in Charge that you feel will
help to make her a more effective priest and pastor?
The Vestry decided that the most effective way to share this information with Doris was to give her each member's written responses to the above questions. The discussion then focused on St. Luke's past, our time with Rev. Westfall and where we may see our future. Doris noted that churches that grow have three common qualities. They are: 1) a clear vision, 2) a commitment to Christ and 3) strong outreach.
As St. Luke's looks to the arrival of Rev. Michael Ralph, Doris noted that it is important to plan the welcoming process. By example, it will be important to formally inform the community through things such as an announcement in the newspapers. Several Vestry members offered suggestions regarding how we might make Rev. Michael and his family feel welcome and offered to help plan for their arrival. It was suggested that part of the welcoming might focus on both helping the family become acquainted with the community and their specific areas of interest. It was recommended that a transitional sub-committee be established to help plan and coordinate welcoming and the transition process.
As was noted earlier in these minutes, the focus of this final meeting with Rev. Westfall followed a format that was different from previous Vestry meetings. There was not urgent old business to come before the Vestry.
Before the conclusion of the meeting, a toast was offered to both Doris Westfall, our departing Transitional Priest in Charge and to Michael Ralph, our new Priest who will be arriving in mid-August. With that, the meeting was concluded.
The meeting adjourned at 8:40 pm ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
May 19 May 26
June 18 June 30
Kendal Service @ 2:00 PM
Rev. Doris' Last Sunday
Memorial Day Weekend
Summer Service Schedule Begins – 8:00 and 10:00 Program year Ends – No classes
Granville High School Graduation Vestry meeting (changed from June 11) Bishop Breidenthal Visitation
Dave Proctor, Clerk of the Vestry