Annual Meeting Minutes

Annual Meeting of the Parish
St. Michael’s Episcopal Church
February 5, 2017 (11:05 am to 12:05 pm)

Actions Taken

  1. Gratitude was expressed to retiring Vestry members Tad McCall and Alice Thomas. Karen Ruff was thanked as she also completes three years of service although continuing her service for one year.
  2. Karen Ruff was elected to the Vestry filling a vacated seat in the 2015-17 term.
  3. Three new members were voted onto the Vestry by vocal acclamation since their nomination was uncontested: Michele Casciano, Penny Jones, Molly White.

The meeting and these Minutes follow the Agenda distributed before the meeting to all present. These Minutes omit details amply conveyed in the 2017 Annual Report available on www.stmichaelsarlington.org .

Call to Order: Mother Rosemari Sullivan called the Annual Meeting together in the Nave at 11:07 o’clock using the prayer For a Church Convention or Meeting on page 818 in the Book of Common Prayer and song Spirit of the Living God handed out. She had just led the congregation in morning worship in her first service as St. Michael’s Interim Rector. The written agenda with the adopted 2017 Mission Spending Plan was distributed.

Appointment of Secretary and Teller: Mother Sullivan appointed Alice Thomas as Secretary. She appointed the outgoing Vestry members as Teller if needed to count election ballots for incoming Vestry.

Recognition of Retiring Vestry Members: Mother Sullivan introduced the three members who began serving in 2014 and completed three-year terms on the Vestry as of January 2017 (Tad McCall, Karen Ruff, and Alice Thomas). Thanks and applause for these servants were given. Karen, continuing on the Vestry to fill out a vacant one year term, presented gifts to Tad and Alice.

Vestry Nominations, Introductions, and Balloting: Three members were introduced as candidates to serve a three year term 2017-20: Michele Casciano, Penny Jones, Molly White. Written introduction for each had been posted as well as published in the Guardian. Nominations from the floor were requested and none were made. These three names were approved for the ballot. Karen Ruff was proposed to occupy the remaining year of a seat for 2015-17. As there were no contests to the nominees, voting was by verbal acclamation, offered with vigor at 11:15 am.

Reports (11:16 to 11:47 am):

  • Treasurer: Dean Scribner summarized 2016 financial operations. This information appears in the 2017 Annual Report and on the website. Operating expenses were approximately $30,000 lower than budgeted because compensation was not needed for a full time rector since October. Revenue was approximately $30,000 greater than budgeted. The Vestry had recommended distribution of the provisional $62,147 surplus from 2016 operations into non-operating funds such as for preservation of the stained glass windows.

Dean also noted that the Endowment Fund increased by $24,380 to $312,472, and that the in-house audit conducted of the 2015 finances had reported no new deficiencies.

  • Stewardship: Karen Ruff noted that the pledges for 2017 operations were lower at $232,500 compared with $260,000 in 2016 – fairly normal when clergy changes. She also noted that the total number of pledging units decreased from 70 in 2016 to 63 in 2017.
  • Presentation of the 2017 Budget: Karen Ruff referred to the handout Profit & Loss Budget Performance that shows annual operating budgets 2013-2017. She noted that the proposed 2017 salary expense total at $120,997 is much less than in prior years because the Episcopal Church requires lower salary for “retired” clergy – like Rosemari – on staff. As a result, the budget proposes a surplus of $6,943. Those expense lines that are greater in 2017 than in prior years fall into three broad categories: (1) plans to emphasize communication and local outreach to draw visitors, (2) standard best-estimates that can be migrated to other expense lines when actual expenses exceed predictions, and (3) search committee travel and other costs. It was emphasized that budgeting when a new rector arrives will have to return to prior levels to support an appropriate salary. Karen agreed that the Vestry and Finance Committee could address any “savings account” for this future operating expense from any actual surplus in 2017.
  • Director of Christian Education: Melanie Monahan’s report emphasized the formation of the Children and Youth Ministry. This group has been designed to step forward from the recent focus of children’s education at St. Michael’s. She urged attention to the article in the January 24th issue of the Guardian, attendance at the coffee hour forum she will co-host with Dan Plafcan on Sunday February 12th, and ideas for this group and the middle/high schoolers it intends to involve.
  • Mission and Outreach: Linda Kelleher summarized this in the absence of Caroline Haynes. She noted that the Committee’s quarterly meetings direct the parish’s generous financial outreach (budgeted and via collected yellow envelopes). At each meeting, a member speaks on behalf of a designated agency, and the committee as a whole allocates its gift. The group’s input to the 2017 Annual Report made graphic not only the financial support but time spent by individuals throughout the parish. Target organizations address local, national, and international needs. She noted that St. Michael’s is known within Arlington as “small but mighty” because of its generous and varied support.
  • Moving Forward in Faith: Alice Thomas pointed out some highlights of work done with the $400,000 pledged by the parish. She acknowledged that actual expenses did exceed that pledged amount, and that the Vestry approved the overage in light of the excellent flow of pledge-payments and the cushion provided by the Endowment Fund. She noted that one area desired for improvement – a sound system for the nave – was not done but was not forgotten nor would it be inexpensive. Operating cost savings from the energy-efficient HVAC, lights, windows is in the 2017 Annual Report. She thanked the parish energy that made these possible.
  • Senior Warden: At 11:40, Tad McCall emphasized his experience as Senior Warden since Mtr. Leslie left in October. He said that he realized that the real “parish” is its members; that he learned a new level of trust in God as supply priests came forward, the Bishop’s visit was organized, St. George’s Episcopal supported the confirmation class, as all liturgical seasons were celebrated robustly. He noted the difficulty in finding an Interim Rector and the amazingly-timed offer of Mtr. Sullivan. He cheered the effort to establish a Youth Ministry. Tad explained that the Diocese recommends that the Search Committee not be called until the Interim Rector was installed, so that would be the next Vestry’s top priority. He said he leaves his service with firm confidence in the healthy future of St. Michael’s.
  • Rector: At about 11:48, Mtr. Sullivan began her address by explaining her part-time status resulting from her commitment to her one-year-old grandson. Her office hours schedule will be posted each week, and she has a few commitments for extended absence. Her cellphone number is available whenever pastoral care is required, but she needs to be informed of the need: “Tell me that you’re in the hospital. I do not read minds.” She requested her contract contain periodic mutual-ministry reviews to ensure her part-time status is working out. She encouraged the church to seize this time to look at all it does, evaluate what has outlived its passion and what new areas might produce new vigor, and especially to present itself to the residents in the immediate vicinity. She extolled the current staff and volunteers. Rosemari explained that the profile of St. Michael’s that will be used by the Search Committee must be an honest one, and will be developed with parish input. When it is released, the Search Committee will receive many dozens of applications and work to discern the best candidate.

At 12:05, Mother Sullivan asked if there was a motion to adjourn the 2017 Annual Meeting. That being obtained, the meeting concluded and she led us in prayer with the General Thanksgiving on page 836 of the Book of Common Prayer.

Respectfully submitted,
Alice Thomas
Appointed Secretary

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