July Vestry Meeting Minutes

St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, Arlington, VA
July 18, 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 and Search Committee Chair Mick Sutter.

The meeting opened with prayer and shared concerns and joys.


The draft June 2017 minutes were approved as presented.

Finance Committee

Vestry reviewed and accepted the July Finance reports.

Search Committee Update

Mick Sutter reported that candidates from 15 different states were among the approximately 20 applications received by the posted deadline. The committee will begin discernment in earnest with plans to respond to all applicants by the end of July. Skype interviews will be used to narrow the field and additional follow up will be conducted on the finalists prior to selecting one nominee for presentation to the Vestry.

Karen Ruff will send the Search Committee a signed copy of its charge.

Draft Guidelines for Presentation of the Search Committee Nomination

Vestry reviewed and accepted general guidelines prepared by Dan Plafcan on how it will respond to the Search Committee nomination. It was agreed that Vestry will take time to reflect on the nomination, will hold the information in confidence, and will reconvene to make its decision which will be a consensus of the group. The guidelines will be shared with the Search Committee.

Stewardship Plans

Rosemari described the benefits of having an updated photo directory in preparation for the fall stewardship campaign and as a resource for the new rector. Members of the congregation will be encouraged to submit electronic photos or make themselves available to have their picture taken.

Vestry will reflect on who might be invited to lead this year’s effort and will consult the Diocese of Virginia stewardship website for resources. The campaign will be planned to coincide with Pledge Sunday in early November.

Shrine Mont Parish Weekend: September 15-17, 2017.

Tom Sheldon reported that the Shrine Mont program will address how we welcome neighbors and show compassion to refugees in our community. The focus will be on interfaith dialogue and building trust. The planning committee is in the process of selecting a keynote speaker and organizing activities for children, older youth, and adults. There will be a Friday night welcome dinner, organized activities on Saturday morning, recreational options on Saturday afternoon, and Sunday Eucharist. Registration for children will be subsidized.

Building and Grounds

Junior Warden Mary Cushing addressed the following issues:

  • Stained glass windows. Additional vetting is being done on two companies that submitted bids to repair the stained glass windows and a third bid is expected.
  • Alarm Companies. Mary indicated that St. Michael’s may need to secure a separate land line from Verizon for just the alarm system in order to stabilize the system and prevent false alarms.
  • St. Michaels will sign a one year contract with John Nugent & Sons to provide HVAC service and maintenance.

Senior Warden

Karen Ruff expressed appreciation to Rosemari and the Vestry for their presence and support and encouraged individuals to sign up for Sunday greeting.

Interim Rector Report

Rosemari noted that nearly 100 people attended the July 16th service to hear Rev. Holly Ostlund speak about Food for the Poor and expressed appreciation for the generous support given to the program through the yellow envelope collection. She called attention to the baptisms that had recently been conducted and the new members in the congregation.

She asked Vestry to prayerfully consider areas of growth for the church and staffing needs to support that growth. Vestry may want to get a sense of the congregation’s priorities in this regard to help inform their discussion with the new rector and guide the allocation of resources.

Rosemari announced she would be away from September 24—October 7 and that she is helping to identify a speaker/chaplain for Shrine Mont.

The meeting was concluded with prayer and blessing.

Respectfully submitted, Penelope Jones.

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June Vestry Meeting Minutes

St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, Arlington, VA
Minutes, June 20, 2017

In attendance: Rev. Canon Rosemari Sullivan, Julia Carter, Michele Casciano, Mary Cushing, Dwight Denson, Penelope Jones, Dan Plafcan, Thomas Sheldon, Molly White and Search Committee Chair Mick Sutter.

Unable to attend: Karen Ruff

The meeting opened with prayer and shared concerns and joys.


The draft May 2017 minutes were approved as presented.

Finance Committee

During its review of finances, the Vestry emphasized its desire for funds to be seeded for stained glass repair and roof replacement as reflected in the February 2017 minutes. It was the sense of the Vestry that these projects are in need of attention and that estimates should be obtained so work can proceed.

Building and Grounds

Junior Warden Mary Cushing addressed the following issues:

  • Alarm Companies. Mary explained that the call list for the elevator and fire alarm systems needs to be updated. She also noted that when electricity goes out in the building, it triggers a call to one of the alarm companies, requiring someone to confirm that it is a false alarm. She will work with Wil Harkins to update the lists and discuss options for addressing false alarms.
  • Photo Policy: Mary called attention to the need to obtain permission when posting someone’s photo on St. Michael’s website or in its publications. She recommended adoption of the Diocesan guidelines on this topic. The Vestry concurred. Mary will follow up.

Harris Teeter Bag Advertisement

Vestry reviewed a proposal from Harris Teeter to advertise St. Michael’s on its prescription bags. In the absence of a plan guiding decisions on how and where to advertise, Vestry decided not to act on this individual proposal. Members noted the need for guidelines that specify how resources should be allocated to achieve a specified result and that take into consideration social and other media.

Search Committee Update

Vestry welcomed Search Committee Chair Mick Sutter and expressed appreciation to Michele Casciano for drafting and overseeing Vestry input on the Search Committee charge. The charge was reviewed and accepted with the following change: In 7a, replace “interview” with “meeting” and in 7b, replace “interview” with “meets.”

Vestry discussed expectations and protocols for discussing selection of a candidate. Dan Plafcan was asked to prepare some general guidelines to guide the Vestry’s deliberations.

It was the sense of the Vestry that, in making its recommendation, the Search Committee should explain how the candidate’s knowledge and skills align with:

  • Results of the Parish Survey
  • Elements of the Community Ministry Portfolio
  • Michael’s Steps Along the Path

Vestry noted that these documents reflect two significant themes–the need for providing pastoral care and thoughtfully growing the church–and that a strong candidate will have skills in these areas.

Vestry also acknowledged that, while it is desirable to have the new rector occupy the rectory, it would be open to other alternatives should the need arise.

Vestry will ask the Search Committee chair to provide regular updates on the committee’s progress and will keep confidential all information about the process. Vestry will receive the name of the Candidate at a joint meeting of the Vestry and the Search Committee during which the candidate’s qualifications are fully explored. Following deliberations, Vestry will decide if the candidate should move to the next stage which will include an informal meeting and salary negotiations.

Ministry Liaison Reports

Shrine Mont Parish Weekend: Tom Sheldon indicated he will form an ad hoc committee to define a theme and develop program ideas for the fall Shrine Mont weekend. The schedule and registration form will be distributed in August. Vestry confirmed that children will be invited to attend free of charge.

Hospitality. Plans are being made to hold an informal coffee this fall with Vestry members and immediate neighbors of the church to introduce neighbors to the church facility and activities, to hear any concerns, and explain who to contact at the church should issues arise.

Nursing Home: In its search for partners to help sustain the ministry, members of the Nursing Home Ministry have reached out to Christ Church’s pastoral care team and the Falls Church’s Stephens Ministry. Discussions are ongoing.

Vacation Bible School: Molly White reported that promotion is underway for this year’s VBS.

XYZ: Penny Jones noted that XYZ typically makes use of the church’s projector and computer for speaker presentations and that there may be a need to replace the current equipment. Vestry suggested this be taken up as part of the Buildings and Grounds Committee review of the church’s Internet and equipment needs.

Care of Creation. Julia Carter mentioned the ongoing discussion of reducing the use of styrofoam cups during coffee hour. Real cups could be placed in a tray to be loaded into the dishwasher following the Sunday services. Also, parishioners could be encouraged to bring their own cup. Other options will be explored.

The meeting was concluded with prayer and blessing.

Respectfully submitted, Penelope Jones.

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May 25 Special Vestry Meeting Minutes

St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, Arlington, VA
Minutes, May 25, 2017

In attendance:   Julia Carter, Dan Plafcan, Karen Ruff, Thomas Sheldon, Mary Cushing & Michele Casciano

The meeting opened with a prayer.


‘Steps Along the Path’ will be ready for posting by the end of the week, incorporating data from the survey and edits from the Vestry retreat.

Stewardship Workshop: June 24, 2017

$30/per person @ Epiphany Episcopal Church in Herndon

Karen is interested in attending & encouraged anyone else who might like to join her in learning more on this topic.

Summer Schedule:

  • The idea of changing the service times was announced at both services last Sunday.
  • 8am service remains the same; there was not enough support to change the 10am service.
  • Another alternative change to consider is holding Sunday school before v after the 10:00 service
  • Recommend to table this conversation for further conversation with the new Rector.
  • Rosemari is lining up supply organists through June as David continues to recover.

The main point of this meeting was to review additional changes to the Community Ministry Profile (CMP) so that it could be available for publication in the June 2017 clergy communication.

Minor changes were made to Section IV: Narrative, Questions 11 & 12 only.

Vote to approve the CMP document as amended.

HUGE THANKS to the profile committee!

 At Sunday’s retreat, it was suggested that to manage expectations for the search process a “Charge of the Vestry to the Search Committee” be created. (A sample doc from Grace Episcopal Church was distributed.) Michele agreed to use the sample as a guide & draft a document that might aid both the Vestry & the Search Committee as we work through this process.

Next Vestry meeting = 7:30pm Tues., June 6th

Provided all necessary parties are available. This will be a joint meeting with Vestry & Search Cmt to discuss the “Charge of the Vestry to the Search Cmt.”

Regular Vestry meeting – 7:30pm Tues., June 20th

The meeting was concluded with prayer.

Meeting was adjourned at 8:45pm

Respectfully submitted, Michele Casciano

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May 16 Vestry Meeting Notes

St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, Arlington, VA
Minutes, May 16, 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 shared concerns and joys.


The draft April 2017 minutes were approved as presented.

Finance Committee

There was no report as the Finance Committee had not yet met this month.

Building and Grounds

Junior Warden Mary Cushing provided the following update:

  • Three volunteers joined the Junior Warden for an initial meeting of the Buildings & Grounds Committee on May 11.
  • HVAC vendors are being identified for getting estimates on maintenance. Nor repairs are needed.
  • Tree trimming companies are being identified so estimates can be obtained for tree care.
  • An initial estimate has been received for repair of the church’s stained glass windows and a second estimate is being sought.

Mission and Outreach.

There was no report as the committee has not yet met.

Summer Worship Schedule

Vestry considered a proposal to change the summer worship times to allow greater flexibility for members of the congregation, including families with young children, to balance church attendance and summer recreational activities. Input will be sought from the congregation and ministries affected by any changes. A tentative proposal is to make no change to the 8am service but move the 10am service to 9:15am. The change would occur from the end of June through Labor Day.

Executive Session

Vestry entered into executive session to discuss staffing positions and job descriptions in preparation for the arrival of a new rector.

New Business

Vestry voted in favor of endorsing a variance request submitted by one of the rectory’s neighbors.

The meeting was concluded with prayer and blessing.

Respectfully submitted, Penelope Jones.

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April Vestry Meeting Minutes

St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, Arlington, VA
Minutes, April 18, 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 shared concerns and joys.


The draft March 2017 minutes were approved as presented.

Finance Committee

The Vestry reviewed and accepted the March 2017 financial report.

Update on Rector Search and Profile Committees

Senior Warden Karen Ruff shared the following information from the Profile Committee:

  • As of 4/18/17, 54 responses had been received from the congregation to the committee’s survey. When the survey closes on 4/23/17, results will be compiled and shared with the congregation.
  • The committee has begun preparing the Community Ministry Portfolio and plans to submit it to the Vestry for approval in May so it can be posted to the diocesan website in June.

Building and Grounds

Junior Warden Mary Cushing provided the following update:

  • Mary expressed thanks to those who helped add new plantings and mulch to the grounds.
  • Plans for placement of containers are being considered to improve recycling at St. Michaels.
  • Mary noted that when planning events at St. Michaels, we need to comply with the Building and Fire Marshall code which sets the capacity of the sanctuary at 160.
  • A meeting of the Building and Grounds Committee is being planned for some time in May. 

Ministry Liaisons Reports

Mission and Outreach. Vestry applauded the wide range of activities supported by Mission and Outreach and discussed ways to keep the congregation informed about their progress. The Committee is asked to help articulate St. Michael’s positions and priorities in this ministry and explain how its activities support those positions. Julia Carter will convey this to the committee.

  • What does St. Michaels stand for? What are our priorities?
  • How can we be present in a meaningful way at this time in our country?
  • How can St. Michaels best address the needs of our community?
  • What is our role locally, nationally, and internationally?

Rev. Sullivan asked Vestry to help her in announcing the yellow envelope collections each Sunday. Vestry noted that it is inspirational to hear from sponsors of supported activities and suggested these sponsors be regularly scheduled to speak at Sunday services.

Vision and Planning. Dan Plafcan said this group will have a draft report for Vestry review in May.

Nursing Home Ministry. Michele Casciano said one new member will participate in LEM training in May.

Hospitality. Tom Sheldon noted that additional opportunities for hospitality are under consideration.

St. Michael’s Fund. Dwight Denson explained that money in this fund is managed by the Diocese and is very conservatively invested. He said the committee has expressed concern at the limited return. Vestry suggested the committee review options for handling future contributions to the fund.

Interim Rector’s Report

Rev. Sullivan observed that she is seeing new people in the pews and that St. Michael’s appears to be thriving. She reminded us to be gentle with one another during this time of change.

She asked Vestry to pray about how to make St. Michael’s Sunday service schedule a little more accommodating for families this summer and suggested that maybe 7:45am and 9:00am services be considered.

Executive Session

Vestry entered into executive session to discuss compensation options that can be included in the Community Ministry Portfolio being prepared for the new rector search.

New Business

Vestry Retreat: Vestry agreed to hold an extended session on Sunday, May 21 at a location to be determined. Rosemari will investigate venue options.

The meeting was concluded with prayer and blessing.

Respectfully submitted, Penelope Jones.

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March Vestry Meeting Minutes

St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, Arlington, VA
Minutes, March 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 shared concerns and joys.


The draft February 2017 minutes were accepted as presented.

Finance Committee

The Vestry reviewed and accepted the February 2017 financial reports.

 Parochial Report

Rev. Sullivan reviewed the annual Parochial report noting that the number of active baptized members in 2016 (230) grew slightly compared to 2015 (227). The report was accepted as presented.

Update on Search and Profile Committees

Senior Warden Karen Ruff reported that the committees were fully staffed and that forums would be held after each service on April 2 to obtain feedback from the congregation as part of the self-study leading to preparation of the community ministry portfolio.

Profile Committee: Nancy Tate, Leslie Stubbendieck, and Cindy Matlack.

Search Committee: Mick Sutter, Chair, Beth Addington, Helen Hines, Rick Hightower, and Cindy Matlack.

Ministry Liaisons Reports

Vestry liaison assignments and duties were reviewed. The chart will be updated to reflect several changes made during the meeting.

Sunday School and Youth Group. Dan Plafcan announced that the Director of Christian Education and faculty were reviewing curriculum programs for future adoption and implementation.

Mission and Outreach. Julia Carter noted that this committee meets quarterly. She shared information from the February Vestry meeting with the chair for consideration at their next meeting.

Vision and Planning. Dan Plafcan noted that the committee’s online survey was open March 12-26 and had been distributed to parishioners by email. Paper copies were made available during Sunday services. He said a Facebook group had been formed to gather and exchange ideas. Results of the survey will be shared with the Profile and Search Committees. Vestry members expressed hope that action could be taken where appropriate on some of the dominant themes that may emerge from the survey including how to reach out to our neighbors both local and global.

Action item: The Vestry expressed interest in meeting with families that live adjacent to the parish to see if they have issues and get input on how St. Michaels can continue to be a good neighbor.

Worship Committee. Additional copies of the BCP will be ordered, including large-print editions.

St. Michael’s Fund. Vestry would like help from the committee to update the register of gifts and the guidelines related to memorial gifts. Dwight Denson will follow up with the committee.

Building and Grounds

Junior Warden Mary Cushing provided the following update:

  • Mary will inquire about parishioner interest in supporting a spring cleanup of church grounds.
  • Contracts for grounds services at the parish and rectory will be submitted to Sean’s Yard Service.
  • Estimates will be obtained for conducting annual routine maintenance of the HVAC systems.
  • The UGI EnergyLink contract which supplies St. Michael’s natural gas will be renewed.
  • A volunteer is needed to update the existing ministries list.
  • Volunteers are being sought to serve on the Building & Grounds Committee.
  • The snow removal plan needs to be updated for next year.
  • Information on the condition of the stained glass windows and estimates for repairs will be collected this year to help inform future action.
  • Plans are being developed for getting the rectory ready for a new occupant.
  • Mary noted that she is still collecting information on insurance and local regulations that would need to be considered in making the rectory available for other use.

Interim Rector’s Report

Rev. Sullivan made the following announcements:

  • Rosemari is investigating options for obtaining a summer seminarian to serve at St. Michaels.
  • Michael’s is supporting the Candidacy for Holy Orders for Kevin Laskowski.   A letter of discernment and formation for ministry was signed by the Vestry and sent to the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia on Kevin’s behalf.
  • A sound system has been installed to amplify sermons from the pulpit.
  • A question and answer session will be held between services on Sunday, March 26 with visitors from Uganda.
  • During Holy Week Rosemari will celebrate her 32nd year of being ordained.
  • During Rosemari ‘s absence March 31—April 9, Rev. Jacquie Thompson will conduct Sunday services.
  • Rosemari will continue to hold forums between services on Sundays and will bring in guests to speak during the Pentecost season.
  • As a founder of Bridges to Independence 33 years ago, Rosemari continues to advise this Board and still advocates for affordable housing.

New Business

There was no new business.

The meeting was concluded with prayer and blessing.

Respectfully submitted, Penelope Jones.

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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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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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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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December Vestry Meeting Minutes

Monthly Meeting of the Vestry
St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, Upper Classroom, December 20, 2016

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

Actions Taken

  • Vestry approved Minutes from its November meeting.
  • Vestry approved Treasurer’s Report from 12/13/16 with the November 30th
  • Vestry approved three recommendations to the Finance committee involving the 2017 Mission Spending Plan:
    1. Add special funds to account for Stained Glass Maintenance and Slate Roof Replacement;
    2. Change the name of #14 Scholarship Fund to include funding children at VBS and the parish weekend at Shrine Mont;
    3. Increase and rename #5251 Lawn Service, Rectory to $2,700 and include servicing the Parish grounds.
  • Vestry approved Terri Katon again as the primary delegate to the 2017 Annual Diocesan Convention with Barb Adams as the alternate in January 2017 and primary in 2018.

The Vestry meeting opened at 7:35 led with prayer by Alice. All members were present.

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

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

Financial Information (7:40 – 9:00)

Treasurer’s Report and Finance Committee Report

The 11/30/2016 Treasurer’s report showed receipt of 98% of the budgeted amount of pledged income, and above-budget “Other Contributions” from outside groups using the building. Because the church paid no Rector since October, we are not expending at the rate budgeted, so likely will take a surplus into 2017. The Vestry approved this report from the Treasurer at 7:50.


Three deficiencies reported in September 2016 from the in-house Audit Report of 2015 financial procedures and practices have been corrected: 1) Bookkeeping accounts and procedures were (re)named and numbered to correctly manage and describe funds and expenses; (2) A Check Card Procedure was written, reviewed, revised, accepted, and recorded. (3) The Procedure for the “Rector’s Discretionary Account” was revised so that the bank statement for that account (which is separate from the church’s operating account) will be received and reviewed by the Treasurer rather than by the Rector. The new account will be opened at the TD Bank (Mtr. Leslie’s at United Virginia has been closed out.). These actions correct the reported deficiencies (all of which actually were first reported in the Audit of 2014’s procedures).

Stewardship for 2017

This time last year, pledges permitted a 2016 budget for pledged income at $260,000. To date, pledges for 2017 suggest budgeting pledged income at $235,000. While five new families made a financial pledge for 2017, six pledgers in 2016 did not make a 2017 commitment.

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

Alice provided a written report updating the tasks accomplished under the Small Church Revitalization Grant. She noted that, while construction is complete, a written report on how the Grant was used is required to the Diocese by mid-May 2017 (six months after construction concluded). Financially, she is optimistic that when the pledge period ends on 30 JUN 2017, amounts paid by the parish will equal all expenses. While some pledges likely will not be filled, others are being increased “silently”.

“Mission Spending Plan” aka Operating Budget for 2017 (8:15-9pm)

The Vestry reviewed a preliminary Operating Budget for 2017 provided by the Finance Committee. We agreed with their “budget for growth” keeping the same amount for Rector’s compensation and most other accounts.

We returned the budget to the Finance Committee, recommending doubling the estimated expense for “#5261 Lawn Service – Rectory” (from $1,350 to $2,700) so that the Parish Administrator and Sexton would not be required routinely to perform this task at the church. Clarifying tasking and hours for these two staff members was discussed and proposed as a topic for the Vestry’s Annual Retreat.

Separate from this “operating budget”, the Vestry agreed to recommend establishing two new “special funds”: stained glass window preservation ($8,000 from the original MFIF and $2,000 from the MFIF-FP has been allocated to seed this work), and re-roofing the slate roof on the original church (any excess from MFIF will go to seed this account). The Vestry also recommended that special fund #14 “Scholarship” be renamed to include VBS and children at the parish weekend at Shrine Mont (money moved from the #9 Staff Development if necessary).

This Vestry had been unaware of a Diocesan capital campaign for Shrine Mont camps (ShoutItFromTheMontain.org) conducted for three years beginning January 2014: Shrine Mont is independent financially and receives no subsidies from the Diocese of Virginia. Funds raised in this campaign will help Shrine Mont upgrade the camp facilities and have an endowment to maintain them in the future.” A brochure and pledge form was provided. The August issue of Virginia Episcopalian indicated that the “over the top” goal of $2,500,000 was now in sight since $2,305,007 had been pledged. This campaign had been directed to individual households (rather than parishes) with an on-line pledge form also. The Vestry in its January meeting will consider how to support it; sending $3,000 from any 2016 operating overage was discussed.

Endowment Fund: The Vestry approved the Finance Committee’s recommendation that Mick Sutter be asked to serve the five year term beginning 2017. As nominee, he must be named officially by the Rector. Continuing terms are held by Barb Adams, Vicki Barnett, Greg Hume, Dean Scribner.

Other Business: The Vestry approved the nomination of Barb Adams as alternate delegate from St. Michael’s to the 222nd Diocesan Convention in January in Reston. The Diocese appoints lay delegates (later) for its 223rd Episcopal General Convention in July in Austin TX.

The Vestry went into Executive Session at 9 pm.

Adjourn:     The Vestry emerged from Executive Session at 10:10. Alice provided a closing prayer and we adjourned at 10:15. Date of the January meeting is the 17th, and Tom Shelton (via later email) agreed to be prayer leader.

Respectfully submitted,
Alice Thomas, Register

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