January Vestry Meeting Minutes

Monthly Meeting of the Vestry
St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, The Rectory
January 17, 2017

Attendees: Mary Cushing, Dwight Denson, Tad McCall, Dan Plafcan, Karen Ruff, Tom Sheldon, Alice Thomas

Absent: Julia Carter

Actions Taken

  • Vestry approved Minutes from its December meeting.
  • Vestry approved Treasurer’s Report as relayed by Junior Warden and the 12/31/16 financial statements.
  • Vestry approved the Finance committee’s revised Mission Spending Plan for 2017 with changes noted below.
  • Vestry approved spending $2,344 of Mtr. Truitt’s gift to obtain replacement vestments for the “green season”.
  • Vestry approved sending $100 in thanks to St. George’s Episcopal for that church’s support with pastoral care and education of confirmands.

The Vestry meeting opened at 7:30 led with prayer by Tom. A quorum of members was present.

Prior Vestry Meeting Minutes (7:35 – 7:40)

Since meeting in December, the Vestry had reviewed two versions of its Minutes from that meeting. Those Minutes were approved with no further changes.

Financial Information (7:40 – 8:15)

Until going into Executive Session at 8:15pm, the Vestry discussed priority areas of the church’s finances. When re-opening the meeting at 8:30, several other financial matters were discussed. In the interests of clarity, all financial discussions are summarized below.

Treasurer’s Report and Finance Committee Report

The 12/31/2016 financial statement showed receipt of 102% of the budgeted amount of pledged income – a great testament to members’ fondness for and faith in the future of St. Michael’s. “Other Contributions” from outside groups totaled 183% of budget. Total income for 2016 was 140% of budgeted amount. Because the church paid no Rector since October, expenditures were 89% of budgeted amount. The 2016 financial statement will not be closed until around mid-February when the bookkeeper has received any delayed information and assigned all expenses/receipts correctly. Nevertheless, a surplus clearly exists in 2016 and must be allocated since the church does not record profits. The Vestry approved this report from the Treasurer.

At the end of the meeting, the vestry moved to recommend to the finance committee that the surplus go into three areas: 1) fully fund the non-operating fund that will be used to refurbish and protect the stained glass windows; (2) send $1,000 to the Diocese’s capital campaign Shout It from the Mountain to repair/modernize Shrine Mont; (3) apply the remainder to a new non-operating fund to repair the slate roof.

“Mission Spending Plan” aka Operating Budget for 2017

Karen presented the Operating Budget for 2017 revised at the January meeting of the Finance Committee. The Vestry agreed to the stated final income amount, based on pledges of $232,500. The Vestry approved the 2017 Mission Spending Plan including the changes to the operating expense accounts listed below:

  • #5160 Rector’s car allowance decrease from $4,000 to $1,000 (the Rev. Sullivan concurs);
  • #5251 Lawn Service: change name to encompass church as well as rectory and double from $1,350 to $2,700;
  • #53xx Search Committee: decrease from $20,000 to $7,500
  • #5331 Rectory telephone: zero out
  • #5510 Hospitality: increase to $4,000 from $2,000 to accommodate new initiative to reach out to the immediate neighbors & neighborhood;
  • #5520 Music & Choir: increase to $1,500 from $500 to accommodate new subscriptions and plans;
  • #5530 Communications: increase to $1,500 from $400 to assist in updating website and outreach to neighborhood;
  • #5540 Senior Youth Group: increase to $500 from $200 to accommodate new initiatives.

These changes produce a final budget of $262,500 income and $258,557 expenses.


In revising the Procedure for the “Rector’s Discretionary Account” to comply with the Audit Committee’s recommendation, it was found that the existing bank account at United Virginia Bank holds funds that only Mtr. Leslie can access. Staff are working with her to zero that balance and close the account.

Other Business: After the Executive Session at 8:15-8:30 pm, the Vestry covered several other topics:

Preparation for the Interim Rector:

The Senior Warden made notes to communicate with Mtr. Rosemari the following items suggested by the Vestry: send a copy of the Parish Directory, provide login information to the website’s financial and vestry pages, have physical keys for her access to the building and its spaces, provide the format for the Annual Meeting, compile with her a list and then help arrange “office calls” for her to meet key individuals.

Preparation for Annual Meeting:

The Parish Administrator has alerted all committees needing to write reports about their 2016 activities. Via the Parish Administrator, the Senior Warden will convey to these individuals that Mtr. Rosemari requests that any verbal reports at the meeting be brief and not duplicative of the written report. We agreed that the Junior and Senior Warden will write text for the “Rector’s Report” section of the Annual Report document; that text will focus on the process of finding Interim Rector and then the search for a permanent rector. We as a Vestry will host the coffee hour following the Annual Meeting including a cake that Julia will order.

Altar Guild:

The decision was made last summer to contract for green vestments worn by the Celebrant to replace the extremely frayed ones. A tailor in Philadelphia, experienced at design & construction of religious vestments, has priced the creation of the new vestments in fabric matching the existing altar cloth at $2,344. The Vestry moved to approve this expense using part of the financial gift provided by Mtr. Anne Truitt as she suggested.

Committee Reports via Vestry Liaison:

  • Care of Creation: A video provided by Interfaith Power and Light will be screened on/around Earth Day (official date is Saturday April 22, 2017). Since parishioner use of existing recycling bins is spotty, the cost of wastebaskets with lid-openings tailored and labeled (“trash”, “plastic”, etc.) will be investigated.
  • Vision, Planning & Assessment: This group met in December, and their draft plan will emerge in February on/before a parish-wide forum engaging discussion on strategic planning for St. Michael’s.
  • Children & Youth Ministry: Invitations have been issued to form the Children & Youth Ministry Committee that the Vestry approved at its November meeting. An announcement will also be distributed in the bulletin and the Guardian. A forum will be held on Sunday, February 12th.
  • Newcomers (“Invite, Welcome, Connect”): With the new brochure printed and available, the Vestry will continue self-schedule to join the “official greeters” to welcome people arriving for Sunday worship.
  • Parish Weekend at Shrine Mont: The weekend beginning September 15 (Friday) has been reserved for St. Michael’s. As established in 2016, the cost for kids will be paid out of the operating budget. The Wardens will work with the Interim Rector to develop a theme and enlist and empower Program Chairs well before the weekend itself.
  • Lent: The Region 3 will again participate in the Stop Hunger Now For St. Michael’s participation in that activity, a new parish liaison is needed. Mary will draft an article on this for the Guardian.
  • Choir: Requests replacement of the water cooler by the Music Room.

New or Other Business:

After much discussion, the vestry moved to send $100 to the Flower Guild at St. George’s Episcopal from the Staff Development fund. This offering is witness to our gratitude for St. George’s rectors’ assistance in both pastoral care and preparation of the five confirmands and adult being received in the Episcopal Church during the visit by Bishop Goff.

Tending to the yard at the Rectory or the Parish cannot be left solely to the design discretion of the contracted lawn service. What to prune, what chemicals to use or not, needs to be monitored.

Wardens’ Reports: Both Karen and Tad’s official information is provided throughout these Minutes. They both expressed confidence and delight with their colleagues continuing on the 2017 vestry, profound faith in the 2017 vestry-activities with Mtr. Rosemari, overwhelming gratitude to God for the successful work of the Vestry in recent months, and delight in working with the vestry members and the parish: “that by caring about each other as a parish, we are the church.”

Adjourn:     Tom provided a closing prayer, and led the Vestry in Compline. The meeting adjourned at 9:30. Date of the February meeting is the 21st, and Mary agreed to be prayer leader.

Respectfully submitted,
Alice Thomas, Register

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