May Vestry Meeting Minutes

Monthly Meeting of the Vestry, St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, Upper Classroom
May 18, 2016

Attendees: Mother Leslie, Julia Carter, Dwight Denson, Cathey Dugan, Dan Plafcan, Tad McCall, Karen Ruff, and Tom Sheldon

Not Present: Alice Thomas, Mary Cushing

Actions Taken

  1. Vestry approved Minutes from the April meeting.

2.  Vestry approved Treasurer’s Report with April financial reports.

  1. Vestry approved to present MFIF Final Phase Campaign to Congregation on 5/22/2016, with recommended Vestry edits.
  2. Vestry approved the proposal to repair February 2016 snow damage and longer term damage done to the North side of the roof; the repairs are fully covered by our insurance, minus the deductible.

The Vestry meeting opened at 7:29 p.m. led with prayer by Dan Plafcan. A quorum was present. Before the meeting began, three people asked for special prayers for people in their lives.

Minutes From April Meeting & Treasurer’s Report (est. 7:29-7:44)

The April 30, 2016 Balance Sheet shows a total of $11,000 in our checking account; however, this total is not updated to account for recent deposits versus the check to Marion Construction. Sheet line 1532, the STAMP Fund, does not reflect the most recent deposit. We actually have between $60,000 and $70,000 in our checking account. Regarding our Profit/Loss performance, in April we received eighty-nine percent of our pledged income. March, however, we received more than expected. The Finance Committee discussed this, and have decided, for now, to keep an eye on this matter. We are technically, still operating in the black. This is due to overages in other lines. For example, Line 4104, “Other Contributions”, we were ahead with $5,400. We are also ahead by about $3,000 in “Miscellaneous Income” due to the rent for space usage we charge. Overall, we have $4,620 in surplus for April of 2016.

Finance Committee Report (est. 7:44-7:56)

The Finance Committee discussed the Final Phase of MFIF. We now have two matching grants for which we must match funds. The first is the Peter James Lee Small Matching Funds Grant, also known as the Small Church Revitalization Grant. The second is the StormwaterWise Grant from Arlington County, which we need to match approximately $1,500. St. Michael’s has already identified funds for that match. One issue that came up has to do with TD Bank. Our current Treasurer, Dean Scribner, is not a signatory on the church’s account. It was discussed and affirmed that the Treasurer should at least have access to view the accounts online because this provides more timely information. Monthly paper statements often do not capture the most recent changes. We are currently researching best practices and will figure out the best and most transparent way to get the Treasurer the necessary information in a timely fashion.

MFIF Construction Report & Financing (est. 7:56-8:20)

The Vestry was presented with a package to be presented to the Congregation, regarding the Final Phase of our MFIF campaign. The funds generated from this Final Phase will be used to match the Peter James Lee Small Church Revitalization Grant from the Diocese. We will present these packets on May 22, 2016 at church. We will not complete a large mail-out. Alice Thomas has prepared materials regarding this final phase, including four floor samples. These will be out for display in the Parish Hall, and parishioners will have the option to vote for which flooring they like best. This won’t be a binding vote, but if there is a majority on one particular sample, we’ll go with that. The four choices presented have already been chosen by Mother Leslie, Alice Thomas, John Hughes, and Wil Harkins based on the durability. We do not have a cost estimate yet. The MFIF Final Phase Pledge Packet was reviewed prior by the Finance Committee. The projects listed are in order of priority. Flooring, estimated at $13,000 for the Parish Hall, was moved to the top of the list. Second listed is the fixed wall with pocket door, at $2,000, which is needed to create a new Nursery nearby the ground floor classrooms. Third on the list of priorities are the accordion partitions from Hufcor, to be used in the third floor classrooms. The cost estimate for these is $11,000. Finally, an additional $2,000 is estimated to cover Contingency costs. MFIF Final Phase pledge packet materials explain that we must match the $7,950 grant from the Diocese; additionally, we must raise $14,100, to reach our original target of $30,000. Parish Hall floors cannot be replaced until September because of Vacation Bible School and other camps that have already reserved the space. We will strive to collect MFIF Final Phase pledges by June 12, 2016. Dan and Karen suggested edits to the pledge card, and the Vestry agreed. A brief discussion on the cost of accordion partitioning took place; we have researched other options, however, and $11,000 is the average cost. These partitions are used by groups that rent space in the church as well, and safety is an issue with the ones used upstairs. Another discussion took place regarding the replacement of the roof. After the snow damage of February 2016, it was estimated that the church roof will need to be replaced in approximately five years. A new roof was not included in the current MFIF campaign because we did not know of the time frame until recent damage was inspected. The Vestry agreed that this must be explained to the congregation, and that we should start thinking now about having a plan in place to address replacing the roof. It was agreed that the parish should be made aware of this issue soon, both to address the future need, but also to explain why a new roof was not included in the MFIF campaign. It was also agreed that we should begin this conversation with the Finance Committee.

Strategic Planning – “Steps Along the Path” (est. 8:20-8:47)

It was suggested to change the meeting’s agenda order, and the need for a new strategic plan was discussed next. Overall, the Vestry found “Steps Along the Path” comprehensive. It was a useful document that helped us meet certain goals at the time. Most notably, it helped the parish hire a Sexton and a Director of Christian Education for Children and Youth. It also helped us to meet the goal of installing an elevator. It was recognized that the document is meant to be a “living document,” in that it should change over time in accordance with the church’s changing needs priorities, and goals. It was agreed that developing a new strategic plan is a mammoth task, one that will take time and concerted effort. It was suggested, and agreed upon, that a separate “Strategic Planning Committee” be created, to both develop and revisit on a scheduling, recurring basis the goals of the parish. To facilitate this effort, it was recommended that two Vestry members be part of the committee, to help facilitate the process. It was recommended that a committee of six-to-eight persons be chosen, from different “constituencies,” to represent the parish. This committee would be given a deadline for coming up with a new strategic plan, and would utilize surveys and/or forums to gather feedback from the parish. Those who helped craft “Steps Along the Path” would be consulted for guidance, as needed. Mother Leslie thought a new strategic plan would assist the Vestry both in planning at the annual retreat, and in tying everything together each January in preparation for the Annual Meeting. Dan and Julia volunteered to draft “Terms of Reference” before the June Vestry meeting. Anyone may provide input, but Dan and Julia are the point people in this initial, planning stage.

Care of Creation (est. 8:47-8:57)

Tad noted there are two aspects to Care of Creation. The first is what we’re doing on Building and Grounds, and the second is as a forming philosophy for the church, and how we can use this framework to reach out into the community. Mother Leslie announced that she will be providing sessions on the theology behind Care of Creation. These Wednesday night programs, lasting from 7:30-8:45 pm are currently scheduled for: June 8, June 15, June 22, June 28, and July 6. These programs are based on a report from the House of Bishops on Stewardship and Care of Creation. This report contains topic guides, and Mother Leslie will structure the programs around that guidance. The Wednesday night sessions may contain a multi-media aspect as well.

Newcomers (est. 8:57-9:07)

Karen reported that she, Mother Leslie, Tad, and Cathey, met with five Greeters on May 1, 2016. It was agreed that Vestry members should provide assistance as “Co-Greeters” each Sunday at the 10:00 am service. The group also spoke about developing a brochure, and Cindy Matlack agreed to help format it. Karen will consult Barb Adams and Fran Olsen regarding ideas for the text of the brochure. Mother Leslie noted that the brochure doesn’t have to be “set in stone,” and that we can change it at any time as needed. Dan volunteered to help greet people on Sunday, May 22, 2016. Mother Leslie confirmed that we will use Sign-Up Genius to develop a schedule, and either she or Karen will provide the Vestry with a link for that. Karen suggested we only schedule out through the summer. All agreed. Vestry members are to arrive approximately fifteen minutes before the 10:00 am service.

Volunteers (est. 9:07-9:10)

Julia and Mary worked on compiling a list of names, documenting the volunteerism of each parishioner. It was discovered that many people are involved in many of the groups. This exercise provided a “good snapshot” of who was involved in which ministries.

Register/Vestry Minutes (est. 9:10-9:15)

It was suggested that an outside person be selected to take the minutes of future Vestry meetings. The reasoning behind this is that it was thought it might be difficult to participate while taking notes. A brief discussion was held, after which Cathey prayerfully volunteered to take the minutes on a trial basis. The Vestry agreed and it was decided to see how it goes. Changes may be needed in future, but for now, Cathey will record each Vestry meeting.

Ministry Liaison Reports (est. 9:15-9:30)

Dan reported that he has drafted a St. Michael’s Youth Ministry formation planning document. He met with two of the youth advent pilot to get thoughts on a way forward for Middle and High School Sunday School. He will work on a theme for Pentecost and Advent in keeping with the lectionary. Feedback was interesting; there is a disparate interest in youth “going off on their own” but also having a sense of structure. Plans are currently in the development stage. Core plans for the year must be developed, along with ideas for more youth activities. May 29 of this year will be our last day of Sunday School before the summer break, and the last day of Chapel will be June 19th. As the plan develops, Dan would like to select persons to help with this overall effort. Caroline Haynes volunteered to help with drafting blurbs from the Building and Grounds Committee to insert into the Guardian. Wholly Knit and Wine had shawls blessed. The Fall Festival was discussed; that Committee meets on a regular basis. They are a large group. The Harvest Festival is on the Calendar for October 29, 2016. The Altar Guild is still trying to figure out how much money Garden City Florist owes us from overcharging us in 2015; that information should be coming to us by June. It was suggested that Linda Denson provide a blurb for the Announcement Bulletin to raise awareness of the Altar Guild. Caroline Haynes and Linda Kelleher are helping to organize Shrine Mont this year, which is scheduled from September 16 through the 18 of 2016. Care of Creation will be our theme, and ways to entice families to participate are being discussed. It was noted that Shrine Mont can be expensive, and because of this, we are exploring ways to help families out so that more kids can attend. It was suggested that childcare for babies and very small children should be provided. It was also suggested that we try to reserve Crenshaw because that building has larger bedrooms and is laid out better overall for families with children. Mother Leslie is working on making this happen. It was noted that we must begin announcing Shrine Mont well in advance if we expect attendance to be larger this year. A notice will be put in the next Guardian. The last liaison report was on Care of Creation. Elenor Hodges, Director of ACE, is interested in partnering with St. Michael’s “for mutual benefit.” Part of ACE’s focus is to reach out to faith-based communities. Tom and Mother Leslie will meet with her after Memorial Day weekend to see what opportunities for partnership there might be.

Rector’s Report (est. 9:30-9:34)

Mother Leslie anticipates the Vestry will continue to meet over the summer. We may revisit this in June, but for now, it seems as though we will have enough work to continue throughout July and August. Mother Leslie will be going out of town June 21, 2016; therefore, we will move our next Vestry meeting to Tuesday, June 28, 2016. Her vacation is currently a “moving target.” Currently, we are set to meet on July 19 and August 16, 2016. For now, Mother Leslie does not think those dates will change.

Senior Warden’s Report (est. 9:34-9:36)

Tad commented how active participation by all members of the Vestry is important, and will continue to be so in the coming months.

Junior Warden’s Report (est. 9:36-9:46)

We are getting the storm damage from the snow of February 2016 repaired, as well as longer term damage on the North side. Specifically, insurance is paying the full $14,185 for repairs to damage done to the South side, including the snow birds, gutters, roof tile slates, grates by the Parish Hall window, and longer term damage on the North side of the church. Insurance is covering all repairs, minus the deductible. There was a motion to accept the gutter repair proposal, which was approved. Also, Washington Gas replaced our meter and gas line. They moved the meter from the outside to inside, and gave us a new meter. Meridian, the home school group who meets at St. Michael’s, has expressed scheduling flexibility during the work done on the meter and gas line. There is no news on the permit situation. Finally, the wooden play structure at the back of the church must come down soon, as it is no longer a safe structure. Because it was a Memorial Gift, we are trying to find out who donated it, so that we can let them know.


Tad volunteered to lead prayers at the next Vestry meeting, to be held on Tuesday, June 28, 2016. Dan led us in compline from the Book of Common Prayer. The meeting adjourned at 9:46 p.m.

These minutes respectfully submitted in Alice’s absence by Cathey Dugan.

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