May Vestry Meeting Notes

Monthly Meeting of the Vestry
St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, Upper Classroom, May 19, 2015

Attendees: Mother Leslie, Dwight Denson, Cathey Dugan, Molly French, Tad McCall, Sandra Phaup, Karen Ruff, Tom Sheldon, Alice Thomas; Absent: Dan Botticello

Actions Taken

  1. Vestry approved Minutes from our brief April meeting during our Annual Retreat.
  2. Vestry approved Treasurer’s Report provided after their meeting yesterday.
  3. Vestry approved a motion requesting the Finance Committee to recommend optimal process for ensuring adequate cash flow of MFIF projects in advance of full payment of capital campaign pledges.

The meeting was called to order at 7:30 pm by Mtr. Leslie, and Sandra led us in prayers.

Finance Committee Report

Molly & Leslie noted the financial summary as of 30 APR has a large surplus primarily because of receiving one entire large annual pledge; bookkeeping will re-allocate these funds over the months remaining in 2015 as is customary so that future months’ results will not appear so skewed. Reduced payroll (unpaid Parish Administration) was another factor in the surplus. After much investigation and written confirmation from the vendor, $7,200 of the money paid by the members of the 2014 Pilgrimage trip to Scotland was unspent. The nine individual travelers will advise St. Michael’s on how to allocate (or return) their payment.

Molly then reflected on the Financial Forums held Sunday May 17th, and we agreed to provide a recap for next week’s Guardian. The “time and talent” needs observed then require a new Treasurer to be named this September with term of service beginning January 2016; and a member of the Finance Committee to replace Matt Hand.

Two financial aspects of the MFIF Capital Projects were addressed: (1) The Insurer of the Rectory property will re-appraise it in light of the removed dilapidated “garage”, new windows, roof, remediated basement, etc. (2) How to ensure “cash flow” for the projects will not delay construction. After much discussion, the Vestry approved a motion requesting the Finance Committee at their June meeting to recommend to the Vestry an optimal path to financing the pledged-but-not-received Capital funds (approximately $130,000 at this writing). Considerations for an in-house loan are •how much from what funds (e.g. STAMP); •preserving adequate cash for ongoing operations; •documentation for audit; •tracking the use and pay-back of borrowed funds as capital pledges are paid. Mtr. Leslie will alert the head of the St. Michael’s Fund Board (Barb Adams) that this fund may be asked to support this in-house loan.

MFIF Construction Report & Financing

Alice agreed to provide to the Guardian the graphic thermometer posted in the Parish Hall for the Financial Forum showing funds pledged & spent. Updates since Sunday are: arrival of the windows at the subcontractor (as predicted), scheduled site visit by electrical subcontractor for exterior lighting placement, expected contract with Marion Construction covering the exterior lighting and concrete steps/path from Ivanhoe. These four projects then will be scheduled, hopefully mid-June. A work-day at the Rectory focused primarily on maintaining the deck will likely be set for later in the summer. Broader participation in decisions was discussed (like “why wasn’t the Rectory garage rebuilt?”) Many contributors to the Capital Campaign strongly suggested what they’d like their funds to support. Recognizing that every choice cannot be voted on – or consensus developed – without much stress and time, we agreed that “important but not urgent” projects must not be forgotten or dismissed. Stabilizing the stained glass windows is one such project that was not completely funded; since this work will be done independent of the oversight of Marion Construction, we agreed that funding beyond the (approximately 50%) seeding by MFIF can be one “vote with your wallet” project.

Follow-up on 2015 Vestry Retreat

Tom and Molly will keep momentum going as we engage the parish in stewarding our ministries (e.g. Acolytes) and parishioners. Two dates are established: 31 MAY for providing each parishioner a postcard to reflect prayerfully on their passions and skills to “use at or through St. Michael’s”; 27 SEP (St. Michael’s Sunday) by which time these postcards will have been mailed back to each parishioner to support their consideration of how to participate in current or new ministries at the church. In the meantime, Chairs of current ministries will be contacted; they and others will meet as a working group to consider the SMART goals drafted by the Vestry; this group will strategize how to enliven St. Michael’s “time and talent” pool (with the annual Ministry Fair as one focus). For example with the “senior youth” group, to ask participants, prospects, non-participants why they might or did choose to participate; and to inquire of other parishes about partnering.

Mtr. Leslie suggested one new ministry with the mission to “soak St. Michael’s in prayer”. Members might commit to “pray over the Directory” daily for people listed thereon.

Stewardship Campaign 2015-16

Thank you to Karen Ruff for volunteering to lead this. Kick-off Sunday will be 04 OCT, and Pledge Ingathering on 08 NOV. The Diocese of Virginia traditionally provides supporting material in August; Mtr. Leslie presented one thematic/process idea from The Episcopal Network for Stewardship (TENS), but other themes will be considered. We agreed that the asking-letter will be signed by the entire Vestry. Karen and the Rector will attend a seminar “Congregational Growth & Development in a Digital World” provided by VTS.

Ministry Liaison Reports

Shrine Mont has reserved space for St. Michael’s parishioners on September 19-21. The kick-off meeting for the “Harvest Festival” led to the reminder that St. Michael’s needs to consider staffing a table at the Westover Farmers’ Market at least that Sunday if not routinely to increase the neighborhood’s awareness of St. Michael’s.

Rector’s Report

Mtr. Leslie presented her current and evolving schedule of vacation and off-site work. She celebrated Wil Harkins’ formalized position as Parish Administrator, and specifically his recent participation in Arlington County’s emergency/disaster preparedness workshop.

Senior & Junior Wardens’ Report

Molly’s information had been provided throughout the Vestry’s meeting.

Tad celebrated his growing awareness as “the people’s warden” that “things that need to be done do get done” – contracts and processes are in place or emerging through the planned MFIF projects. He too celebrated Wil’s activities such as arranging to trim the shrubbery which was blocking the Jefferson Street sidewalk.

Tom agreed to lead our prayers at the June meeting. The Vestry meeting adjourned at 9:30 and Sandra led us in Compline.

Respectfully submitted,
Alice Thomas, Register

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