March Vestry Meeting Minutes

Monthly Meeting of the Vestry
St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, Upper Classroom
March 15, 2016

Attendees: Mother Leslie, Julia Carter, Mary Cushing, Dwight Denson, Cathey Dugan, Dan Plafcan, Karen Ruff, Tom Sheldon, Alice Thomas; Absent: Tad McCall

 Actions Taken

  1. Vestry approved Minutes from the February meeting.
  2. Vestry approved Treasurer’s Report with the February financial reports.

The Vestry meeting opened at 7:35 led with prayer by Tom Sheldon. A quorum was present.

 Minutes & Treasurer’s Report (7:45 – 7:50)

The 2/29/2016 Treasurer’s report addressed by Mtr. Leslie noted that JAN-FEB income from pledges continued low at 68% of the budgeted amount. No reason was apparent for February to have continued January’s pattern resulting from one cancelled service and the principal service the afternoon of the Bishop’s visit. The low pledge income was offset slightly by high “Miscellaneous Income” from Creative Difference Camps for additional building use. The St. Michael’s Fund increased by $10,000, part of the gift of from Anne Truitt in memory of her parents. The Treasurer’s report and February Vestry Minutes were approved at 7:50.

Finance Committee Report (7:50 – 8:00)

Altar Guild (Linda Denson) determined the amount of overbilling for flowers in 2015; suppliers are reimbursing. She will add her review to that performed monthly by the Finance Committee. The Vestry agreed more frequent public reminders to dedicate flowers with the amount suggested ($45) are needed to inspire use of that designation in the yellow pew envelopes. Other suggestions for balancing this budget line is use of long-stem flowers grown by parishioners (as feasible) and purchase of silk flowers for multiple uses.

Altar Guild also is researching the cost of new green vestments for priest and altar since current ones are degrading. Purchase up to $5,000 will be funded by a portion of the memorial gift by Anne Truitt; whatever is not spent for the vestments will remain for Altar Guild use.

MFIF Construction Report & Financing (8:00 – 8:10)

Alice reported that construction on Phase III would conclude on Thursday 3/18, three weeks ahead of the six-week contract schedule. She will present to the General Contractor a list of contract items intentionally not implemented, and request reduction the final billing. She reminded Vestry of plumbing expenditures approved under “Major Maintenance” funds during the construction (bathroom shut-off valves, drainage improvement). Parishioners have volunteered to continue cosmetic improvements to the bathroom near the Ivanhoe lobby. Alice suggested professional cleaning of the carpet there. Remaining parishioner tasks involve “repopulating” the upstairs classroom equipment. For additional funds, the Diocese acknowledged receipt of our Small Church Revitalization Grant application; any award will be announced in April.

Vestry Retreat 2016 (8:10 – 8:20)

Following the Kick-off supper at the Rectory on Friday April 1, the Retreat on Saturday the 2nd will be facilitated by Tom Linthicum (as it was in 2015). The location is still undetermined. “Ministry” likely will continue as a focus, including “theology of creation” (including indoor recycling and outdoor planting), parishioner performance on additional MFIF construction, and how to increase participation in existing ministries. Mtr. Leslie emailed each Vestry member a presentation Volunteers: Assessing, Planning and Recruiting from the “Forma Conference 2016” to be read before the Retreat.

Vestry Liaison to Ministries (8:20 – 8:35)

Alice noted how graciously flexible were all who found places to meet during construction. ◦ BCBs read & discussed a “Lenten” book. ◦ Wholly Knit were meeting regularly on a project. ◦ Children’s Chapel has received several positive reviews from the children. ◦ Music/Choir has only ten full members and rarely are all voices present – need new ones! ◦ WOW meets monthly with good energy. ◦ Bridge Group has one full table and ability to rotate in new participants. ◦ Altar Guild will get refund or credit from 2015 overcharges. ◦ Greeters also need new members. ◦ Shrine Mont is scheduled for the weekend of 16-18 SEP; notice will be sent out early (and on the website) with emphasis that the time encompasses children, families, singles. A planning group will be convened. ◦ Vacation Bible School on 11-15 JUL will used Egypt as its theme. ◦ Building & Grounds Committee is planning to replace the growth around the stones on the hill along Ivanhoe with native plants; they are organizing for parishioners to plant the new growth on Rogation Day (May 1st ) to mark the tradition of walking the boundaries of a parish.

Rector’s Report (8:30 – 8:55)

  • Leslie reported on the Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia. Held in Herndon on February 27th because the originally scheduled gathering was cancelled by snow, it lasted only 5-6 hours. Three Resolutions resulted (and are on-line in full at ):
  • (1) A task force was formed to look at best practices in other dioceses to address equalizing the role of and payment to female clergy. Neither roles nor salaries in our Diocese are as high for female clergy as for male clergy, and the Diocese supports equity.
  • (2) Our Diocese supports the actions of, and will appoint a representative to the Episcopal Migration Ministries to discern how to grow our ministries to respond to the refugee crises.
  • (3) The Diocese has urged all parishes to be a “gun free zone” and to strengthen measures to reduce violence.

The annual Diocesan budget was passed; it was observed that doing this a month later than usual permitted the amount of contributions from the prior year to be closer to the actual amount than to a projected amount. The Episcopal Church of the USA is decreasing the amount they ask from the church’s dioceses to 18% to fund the 2016 budget, 16.5% for the 2017 budget and 15% for 2018.  Finally, our Diocese agreed to conform with all other Dioceses and term our annual meeting a “convention” rather than a “council”. The “council” term was a legacy from Civil War segregation within our Diocese.

  • Michael’s worship services from Palm Sunday through 1st Easter were listed and participation encouraged.
  • Leslie will be out of the office 7-11 APR and 12-14 MAY.
  • She is developing two programs for Adult Education series: (1) responding to gun violence, (2) Care of Creation.

Senior Warden’s Report – Foreseeing his absence, Tad had sent an email report.

Junior Warden’s Report (8:55 – 9:20) – Karen addressed four issues.

(1) The parish fire alarm and reporting has passed all inspections but incurred unexpected costs. Karen recommends keeping the full cost in the accounting system line 5260 “Fire/Security” despite making it over-budget. Future costs can be budgeted more accurately using that data.

(2) Damage to gutters and the roof slates has been assessed by a contractor recommended by Marion Construction. John Hughes will continue to work with the contractor to revise the estimate before presenting it to Church Insurance. He was told that whatever was caused by the storm would be covered up to $20,000 less our $1,000 deductible. The contractor stated that the entire slate roof might endure 5-10 more years before requiring excessive maintenance. There may be attractive materials available cheaper than 100% slate and more attractive than normal asphalt shingles.

(3) Reacting to a neighbor’s complaint to Arlington County of excessive traffic at the church during weekdays, Karen spent time at the Zoning Office and provided a written report. Clearly, the school-day activity by Creative Differences LLC camp does require a permit which may entail having a public hearing. It is less clear the degree to which uses by the various other groups (MONA, the Homeschool group, yoga groups) need a permit. It was agreed to ask JJ Steen, head of the camp, to help apply for the permit. Mtr. Leslie will poll her Clericus Group with the hope of finding someone from another parish already experienced with the permitting process to help us. The church had a permit many years ago, and once a new permit is secured, it stays active providing appropriate fees are paid.

(4) Building access: The double red doors to Ivanhoe do not always lock, and the Administrative doorway facing 11th Road does not always unlock. Wil is researching programmable cypher lock for the latter. Alice requested a lever rather than knob be installed on the front door.


No new business was presented. Mary agreed to lead prayers at the meeting on April 19. Tonight’s meeting adjourned at 9:20 with Compline led by Tom.

Respectfully submitted,
Alice Thomas, Register

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