February Vestry Meeting Minutes

St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, Arlington, VA
Minutes, February 21, 2017

In attendance: Rev. Canon Rosemari Sullivan, Julia Carter, Michele Casciano, Mary Cushing, Dwight Denson, Penelope Jones, Dan Plafcan, Karen Ruff, Thomas Sheldon, Molly White.

The meeting opened with prayer and introductions.

After review of the Vestry declaration form, which all members signed and submitted, election of officers was conducted with the following results:

  • Senior Warden: Karen Ruff
  • Junior Warden: Mary Cushing
  • Register: Penelope Jones
  • Delegate and Alternate Selection to the Diocesan Convention: Terri Katon (delegate) and Barbara Adams (alternate). Barbara will move to the delegate position in 2018.

Action Items

Finance Committee

The following Finance Committee recommendations were reviewed and approved:

  • The Finance Committee recommends reducing the operating account to an amount that is the equivalent of 3 months operating expenses, $71,000.
  • The Finance Committee recommends distribution of the $62,000 surplus as follows: 1) Payback $30,000 borrowed for the capital campaign, 2) seed $16,000 for stained glass repair, and 3) seed $16,000 for roof replacement.

Children and Youth Ministry

The Vestry accepted a report from the Children & Youth Ministry Committee which noted the February 18th forum, draft youth ministry plan, Sunday School gaps, overall organization of Sunday School, and communication for children and youth activities.

Steps Along the Path Vision and Planning Committee

The Vestry was updated on activities of the Vision and Planning Committee which included a draft update to the action items of the 2004 Steps Along the Path document. The Committee plans to solicit feedback from the Parish during a March forum prior to submitting a final report to the Vestry. Their efforts will be coordinated with the Profile Writing and Search Committees.

Housing Allowance

The Vestry approved a housing allowance resolution needed for tax purposes for Rev. Sullivan.

Check Request Approval

The process for obtaining Vestry approval of check requests was explained.

Search Process

The Vestry discussed elements of the search process and agreed to proceed with the following schedule, understanding that the target dates will be adjusted if needed as the process unfolds.

Timeline: The profile writing and search committees will be given approximately 3 months each to complete their work with the goal of having candidate(s) submitted to the Vestry in September/October and having a new rector in place by the end of the year.

Profile Writing Committee:

Timeframe: March—May.

Number of members: 3. To include a representative from the Vision and Planning Committee.

Purpose: This group will prepare a document that describes St. Michaels and outlines qualifications for a successful candidate for rector. The profile will be approved by the Vestry and used in preparing an advertisement for the job. This group will work with the Webmaster to see that the website is accurate and up to date as it will be a resource for individuals interested in the position.

Search Committee:

Timeframe: June—August.

Number of members: 5-6. To include a representative from the Profile Writing group.

Purpose: This group will solicit and review applications, evaluate candidates, and submit recommendations to the Vestry according to the charge given them.


As part of its spring retreat, the Vestry will consider inviting a consultant to work with it and members of the search process to review best practices and clarify the process for conducting the new rector search.

The Vestry entered into Executive Session to discuss individuals to staff the committees. The senior and junior wardens will contact the various individuals to invite their participation.

Interim Rector Remarks

Rev. Sullivan announced plans to introduce new hymns and coordinate them with the readings during Lent and Easter. She indicated she will be away at the beginning of Easter week but back in time for Easter weekend. The past schedule for Easter week services will be retained except for those on Saturday noon and Sunday 6am.

New Business

Rectory Use

Until arrival of the new minister, the rectory is unoccupied. The Vestry briefly discussed options for use of the space during that time. Mary Cushing will gather information on insurance and legal considerations to inform further discussion by the Vestry at its next meeting.

Challenges to Faith and Conscience in Today’s Political Climate

Some parishioners have asked if St. Michael’s can provide guidance on how to process and respond, in ways consistent with our faith and conscience, to issues raised in today’s political climate. The Vestry agreed to ask the Mission and Outreach Committee to consider options for addressing these concerns. Julia Carter will follow up with the committee and invite them to offer recommendations for Vestry’s review this spring.

Care of Creation

As part of Earth Day recognition in April, St. Michael’s will host a screening of Before the Flood, with Academy Award winners Leonardo DiCario and Fisher Stevens. Mary Cushing will follow up.

Stop Hunger Now

St. Michael’s will continue to participate in this effort. Michele Casciano will follow up.

Respectfully submitted, Penelope Jones.

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