July Vestry Meeting Minutes

Monthly Meeting of the Vestry
St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, Upper Classroom
July 21, 2015

Attendees: Mother Leslie, Dan Botticello, Dwight Denson, Cathey Dugan, Molly French, Tad McCall, Sandra Phaup, Tom Sheldon, Alice Thomas
Audit Committee for 2014 Church Financials: Terry Dinan and John Hughes
Absent: Karen Ruff

Actions Taken

  1. Vestry approved Minutes from our June meeting.
  2. Vestry approved Treasurer’s Report with the June financial reports.
  3. Vestry approved the in-house Audit of 2014 Financial Reporting. They presented their signed letter stating full compliance to be sent to the Diocese in August – on time for the third year in a row.

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

Mother Leslie welcomed the Audit Committee. They provided a proposed letter to the Diocese indicated full compliance with audit guidelines provided by ECUSA. They provided a list of eight suggestions that will be reviewed by the Finance Committee. They summarized their process (begun in May) as time consuming but straightforward given the instructions of prior audits (on the website) and the procedures written and followed by all involved. The Vestry applauded their work and agreed to accept the Audit as of August 1 for timely submission to the Diocese. The Audit Committee left the meeting at 7:55 pm.

The prior month’s Vestry Minutes were approved with no further discussion.

Treasurer’s and Finance Committee Report

The Finance Committee had not met, but the financial reports as of 6/30/2015 were provided on time and with no special issues. However, since the receipt of pledges has been consistently lower than budgeted, the Senior Warden will inquire of the Finance Committee if they discern any reason for concern. The Financial Reports were approved at 8:15 pm.

MFIF Construction Report & Financing (8:15-8:40pm)

  • Thanks to Wil Harkins opening the church each morning and answering contractors’ questions, the HVAC and windows were installed and tested over six long days. (The VBS troops were ultra patient and decorated wonderfully despite the chaos in the Parish Hall.)
  • The Vestry agreed on two follow-on issues to be resolved later as appropriate: (1) annual maintenance contract for the HVAC in the budget for 2016; (2) parish project to mitigate the effect of rain runoff around the exterior AC units.
  • At the June meeting, the Vestry learned of the just-received draft proposal from Marion Construction for the concrete steps between Ivanhoe and the front of the church, and electrical upgrades. Feedback from Vestry and all involved agreed to proceed with the full scope suggested but work with the chosen electrical sub to re-cost the sanctuary in accordance with the in-house design by John Kelleher that used lower cost fixtures than proposed. Concern was noted also to ensure appropriate “color” of light emitted by all LED fixtures.
  • The GC Marion will bring subcontractors through to propose cost for efforts needed for painting, plumbing, flooring. This third contract essentially zeroes-out the capital pledged.
  • Alice asked advice from a commercial kitchen supplier in Alexandria on appropriate ranges (60” wide, six burners, two ovens, 24” griddle) and disposal.

Task Forces on Ministry (8:40-9:15pm)

  • Participants at the kick-off meeting July 17th organized by Tom and Molly joined in a lively discussion about the need for and purpose of the two proposed task forces: one focused on ministries and another focused on the people serving in those ministries (currently referred to as “volunteers” or “lay participants”). Although they technically are two efforts, everyone agreed that ministries and volunteers are two sides of the same coin.
  • Linda Denson and Katherine Spinney volunteered to co-chair the “ministries task force”. It focuses on educating parishioners about the abundance of current ministries and on helping those ministries engage new participants. The co-chairs generated ideas for the September 27th Ministry Fair the fair as a tool for education and recruitment. To start, they will obtain from each current ministry a description of tasking and time-commitment to guide potential participants.
  • Tom and Molly discussed the challenge of finding a person to chair the Volunteers/Lay Participation Task Force; that task force focuses on strengthening ministries’ recruitment, preparation, retention, and celebration of volunteers, and on exploring new ministries to respond to unmet needs and parishioners’ gifts of the Spirit. Several parishioners want to serve as task force members. Discussing ways to keep this volunteer momentum alive and fruitful, the Vestry agreed with Mtr. Leslie’s idea: she and Karen Ruff will review with the task force members some of the publications and ideas they learned at a June workshop on membership and come up with a plan.
  • (Older) Youth Ministry: Molly reached out to parishioners with middle and high school students about the need to renew this ministry. In a meeting with Karen and Molly, Dan Plafcan proposed collecting background information to suggest an alternative ministry model such as one that includes active involvement of youth in “non-youth” ministries (LEM for example). After input from youth and their families, the vestry will be asked to consider adopting a strategy statement for our youth ministry. Any immediate new plans or schedules are deferred until the new strategy is in place.

Stewardship Campaign (2016 church financial year)

Karen Ruff (Chair of the campaign) and Mtr. Leslie met on July 19th. They will present to the Vestry at our meeting August 18th a draft letter to parishioners. When final, the letter will be signed by all nine Vestry (unlike prior years). This letter and the annual pledge card will be mailed so each parishioner receives it before Sunday October 4th. The Ministry Fair a week beforehand will include the theme of “time and talent” that appears on the pledge card and letter. The Sunday by which pledges will be requested is November 8th. Semantics were discussed: “commitment” in lieu of “in-gathering”; “mission spending plan” in lieu of “budget”.

Ministry Liaison Reports – WOW will continue to meet on Monday evenings; Acolytes: Tad reported Wil is soliciting a written “what it means to me” to provide for the Ministries Task Force; Guardian: Cathye reported that one of the August issues will not be created.

Rector’s Report (9:30-9:45) – Mtr. Leslie reviewed her immediate schedule.

  • She noted that the Diocese suggests minimum stipend for supply clergy at $265 for two services, plus mileage. She observed that our annual budget for supply priests ($500) is insufficient for more than one Sunday with paid Supply Clergy. This account will be over-budget in 2015 and will therefore be reevaluated as the 2016 budget is formulated.
  • Mary Cushing observed that St. Michael’s was established 70 years ago. Festivities are being planned for celebrating this during the Ministry Fair.
  • Of several candidates, a contract is underway with one new user of the St. Michael’s building: a group of homeschoolers to meet during the day on Wednesday beginning after Labor Day. This is the fifth such paid regular user (Yoga, MoNA, Al Anon, and Creative Difference Children’s Camp).
  • Adult Ed: Prayer will be the topic on three Wednesday evenings in August. One desired outcome is a group to “pray over our names” on a routine basis.
  • The schedule for the parish weekend (18-20 SEP) at Shrine Mont will be released soon.
  • With the Rev. Bruce Stewart (Chaplain at Goodwin House Alexandria) and St. George’s, Katherine Spinney is establishing a “One is a Whole Number” ministry.
  • The yard of the Rectory needs professional help. Alice will investigate.

Senior Warden’s Report – Molly’s information is included above

Junior Warden’s Report (9:45-9:50)

  • The prior week, Tad and Wil had clarified with Kone costs/tasks for elevator maintenance. Tad had provided several strategies for this via email to the Vestry. Each strategy balanced mechanical risk, personal safety, and financial cost. In the interests of time and since this applies to the 2016 budget, we deferred discussion until the August meeting.
  • Status of our “Episcopal Church Welcomes You” street sign on Washington Street: an Arlington County zoning person said that the sign was ok from his perspective, but that the street is maintained by Virginia. Wil therefore is in the process of determining state requirements for such signage. This process addresses a formal complaint that the sign was a vehicular hazard.
  • Tad reported resolution of the drip from the handle of the toilet in the Parish Hall bathroom.
  • Tad observed the success of the professional clean-up of vegetation from church hill crowding onto the sidewalk of Jefferson Street. However, this had revealed the precarious state of the retaining wall. Discussion of solution was deferred.

No new business was put forward. Alice agreed to lead prayers at the August meeting (18th). The Vestry meeting adjourned at 9:55 and Molly led us in Compline.

Respectfully submitted,
Alice Thomas, Register

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