October Vestry Meeting Notes

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

Attendees: Tad McCall, Karen Ruff, Alice Thomas, Mary Cushing, Julia Carter, Dwight Denson, Cathey Dugan, Dan Plafcan, and Tom Sheldon
Not Present: Not applicable.

Actions Taken:

  1. Vestry approved Minutes from the September 2016 meeting.
  2. Vestry approved Treasurer’s Report with September 2016 financial reports.
  3. Vestry approved going into Executive Session for the last part of the meeting.

The Vestry meeting opened at 7:33 p.m. led with prayer by Cathey Dugan. A quorum was present. Expressions of abundance were expressed by all.

Minutes from September Meeting & Finance Committee Report (7:39 – 7:47 p.m.)

September financial reports were good overall. We took in over $1,000 in donations toward the farewell dinner for Mother Leslie. Final cost for the dinner was $2,800. The August 16, 2016 minutes reflect the Vestry’s decision to draw from the Staff Development Fund (Line 9) to cover part of the cost. We only used $1,075 from that fund to help pay expenses. This was lower than originally anticipated. Our TD Bank Checking Account (Line 1125) has a September 30, 2016 balance of $123,023. The Elevator Savings Fund is up by 3%, and will be adjusted when we establish next year’s budget. On the Profit & Loss Statement, Pledges (Line 4100) for September came in at $15,595. Other Contributions (Line 4101) were at $1,721. Total Pledges were $17,316.

Stewardship Campaign (7:47 – 7:49 p.m.)

Commitment Sunday is November 13, 2016. Those who have volunteered to speak about Stewardship include Mick Sutter (10:00 a.m. service) and Dean Scribner (8:00 a.m. service). Dan Plafcan volunteered to speak, and it was noted that Tad McCall will speak closer toward the end of the Stewardship Campaign. More volunteers may be needed.

MFiF Report (7:49 – 8:00 p.m.)

The Hufcor room dividers have been installed. The carpet in the downstairs classroom and hallway, Nave, Narthex, foyer, stairs, Rector’s office, and administrative office are set to be cleaned on October 25, 2016. The cost totals $380. Volunteers will be requested to help move furniture out of the classrooms and offices the evening of October 24th. Volunteers will also be needed to help move things back. The storage area and Nursery are swapping places; this allows for more kid-friendly space that includes a sink. The Parish Hall floor will be replaced sometime in early November. Regarding the roof, the Senior Warden sent an email earlier in the day to John Hughes, Mick Sutter, John Kelleher, and Wil Harkins. The Junior Warden and the Treasurer were copied. We need two things, the first of which involves short-term repair to stop the leaks around the skylights and the portion of the roof which is flat. Funds from Major Maintenance (Line 3003) will be used to cover the patch work. We used Gutterman Services, Inc. work on our roof previously. We will obtain two estimates, and choose from those. The Vestry, along with guidance from the Finance Committee, will also begin thinking about the long-term roofing needs.

Care of Creation (8:00 – 8:05 p.m.)

Based on the conversations we’ve had with Elenor Hodges of Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment (ACE), St. Michael’s volunteered to help out with ACE’s “Energy Masters” program. Elenor will be in touch with Tom over what is needed, but likely the work will include providing lunch for the other ACE volunteers, and helping out where needed. There is no age requirement. Provided there is no conflict, December 3, 2016 was chosen as the tentative date for St. Michael’s to volunteer.

Visioning, Planning, and Assessment Committee (8:05 – 8:11 p.m.)

The Committee had their second meeting on October 16, 2016. The Committee is almost done assessing the Steps Along the Path document. The next meeting will address current goals to see how everything fits together. Once the Committee has developed a framework, they will reach out to the Vestry and Parish for input. The Committee will also work on developing an overall Mission Statement for St. Michael’s. They will continue their work, in conjunction with the Vestry.

Youth Ministry Update (8:11 – 8:23 p.m.)

It was noted that we are in need of a Sunday School teacher for the upper elementary age kids. Dan is currently teaching the middle schoolers, and Melanie is teaching the lower elementary age kids. Regarding addressing larger issues of Youth Ministry, Dan has been working in conjunction with Melanie Monahan. Dan provided the Vestry with both a Youth Ministry Assessment and Planning document, as well as a proposed Sunday School syllabus for 6th – 12th Graders. The planning document addresses the need for an overarching organizational structure and communication outreach strategies. A proposed Youth Ministry Committee would be comprised of five people, with Melanie as the Chair. One member of the Vestry, as well as the Rector, would provide liaison assistance. We would have to determine where such a Committee would fit into the organizational chart of St. Michael’s. This proposal is a culmination of the past year’s effort by Dan, Melanie, and the Rector. The Vestry agreed these documents should get the attention they deserve; therefore, discussion of Youth Ministry plans will be added to the November 15, 2016 Vestry Meeting Agenda.

Executive Session (8:23 – 9:21 p.m.)

Junior Warden’s Closing Remarks (9:21 – 9:23 p.m.)

The Vestry was thanked for all their hard work.

Senior Warden’s Closing Remarks (9:23 – 9:25 p.m.)

The Vestry was again thanked. Gratitude was expressed for the respect of all opinions. We will interview a second candidate for Interim Rector, and we will attempt to set that date for November 1, 2016.

Adjourn

Dan volunteered to lead prayers at the next Vestry meeting, to be held on Tuesday, November 15, 2016. Cathey led us in a closing prayer. The meeting adjourned at 9:27 p.m.

These minutes respectfully submitted by Cathey Dugan.

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September Vestry Meeting Minutes

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

Attendees: Mother Leslie, Tad McCall, Karen Ruff, Alice Thomas, Mary Cushing, Julia Carter, Dwight Denson, Cathey Dugan, Tom Sheldon, and John Hughes (Audit Committee)

Not Present: Dan Plafcan

Actions Taken:

  1. Vestry approved Minutes from the August 2016 monthly (August 16) and special (August 30) meetings.
  2. Vestry agreed to approve the August Treasurer’s Report at a later date.
  3. Vestry received and accepted the 2015 Audit Report from the Audit Committee.
  4. Vestry approved that Dwight Denson would follow up on the three remaining open items from the 2014 Audit Committee.
  5. Vestry approved and signed the Stewardship Campaign letter.
  6. Vestry approved $2,500 from MFiF Final Phase funds for Sacristy improvements.
  7. Vestry approved listing St. Michael’s address on the People of Faith for Equality in Virginia’s website (POFEV), in conjunction with asking the parish for feedback on a statement, to be listed on POFEV’s website at a later date. The Vestry approved to hold forums at a date to be determined in the future.

The Vestry meeting opened at 7:35 p.m. led with prayer by Mother Leslie. A quorum was present. Mother Leslie expressed gratitude for a wonderful weekend at Shrine Mont. Forty-five people attended, nine of which were children. She appreciated the gesture of champagne and cake. Vestry members gave thanks for newcomers at the 8:00 a.m. service and for the Altar Guild’s leadership in obtaining a reimbursement from the florist who’d originally overcharged St. Michael’s. Others expressed thanks for various personal reasons.

Audit Committee Report (7:48 – 8:09 p.m.)

Guest John Hughes reported on the Audit Committee’s efforts with the 2015 Audit. This year’s Audit Committee was comprised of John Hughes and Jason Herring. This Committee conducts its work per the Diocese of Virginia’s Manual of Business Methods in Church Affairs. There were no new findings this year; however, three items from the 2014 Audit remain open. These include: 1) Update “Funds Structure” and “Accounts Description,” to reflect new funds which have been added, and to post these updates on St. Michael’s website; 2) To complete and post on St. Michael’s website a current Check Card Procedure; and 3) Change the recipient of bank statements for the Rector’s Discretionary Fund to a person of trust other than the Rector, per Diocesan guidelines. It was noted that four other findings from the 2014 Audit have been completed successfully. A final issue from the 2014 Audit involves insurance, but this matter is currently under the consideration of the Diocese. The Vestry thanked John Hughes and Jason Herring for their hard work.

Minutes from August Meeting & Finance Committee Report (8:09 – 8:18 p.m.)

The Vestry did not have the Financial Reports to review at the September 2016 Vestry Meeting. A verbal update was provided. The Finance Committee reported that, although pledges collected for August were down, we were still on track for 2016 overall. MFiF Phase One from 2014 has collected approximately $318,000 of the $362,000 pledged. MFiF Phase Two has received $18,364 of the $38,130; $7,900 of that came in the form of the grant from the Diocese of Virginia. We received the reimbursement from the florist who’d overcharged us. Elevator maintenance was bumped up by 3%. The TD Bank balance was high because we had some larger bills to pay. Regarding the farewell dinner for Mother Leslie, the caterer came in with a lower quote of $2,100. To date, we’ve collected $1,100 from the congregation. It was noted that we would therefore not need to utilize the entire $2,000 from the Staff Development Fund (Line 9), voted on by the Vestry in August of 2016.

Transition Planning (8:18 – 8:23 p.m.)

The Senior Warden asked the Vestry to start thinking of candidate names for both a future Selection Committee and Vestry. It was noted that we had the resume and portfolio for one Interim Rector candidate. The Senior Warden asked the Vestry to watch for more information via email. The Vestry was asked to meet for a special meeting on September 27th.

Stewardship Campaign (8:23 – 8:28 p.m.)

The Stewardship theme this year is “Living Generously.” October 9th will kick-off this year’s Stewardship Campaign. Rev. Canon Patrick J. Wingo, Canon to the Ordinary will be with St. Michael’s as Celebrant that day. Edward G. Keithly, Deputy Director of Transition Ministry for the Diocese of Virginia, will also be at church October 9th. The Junior Warden is working to line up those who will speak during announcements. Commitment Sunday will be November 13th. The Vestry will host a special coffee hour that day. The Vestry signed the Stewardship Campaign letter, to be be mailed to the parish the first week of October.

MFiF Report (8:28 – 8:40 p.m.)

On August 31, HufCor conducted new measurements, and revised the track requirements for the accordion room dividers. HufCor revised their estimate of when they could complete the room project, putting off the date by one month. Regarding the Sacristy counter-tops, estimates were obtained from Home Depot. Corian countertops would cost $2,342; Formica would cost $1,513. There is also need for a new faucet. Estimates were also obtained from two carpet cleaners. COIT quoted $382 for wet/pressure cleaning. Heaven’s Best estimated $400 to clean with their dry method. Areas to be cleaned include: downstairs classroom and hallway; Nave, Narthex, foyer, and stairs; and the Rector and Admin offices. Nursery and storage areas will be transferred prior to carpet cleaning.

Care of Creation (8:40 – 8: 49 p.m.)

Care of Creation was the theme at Shrine Mont this year. Mother Leslie led everyone through the program. Discussions included the environment, technology, how we treat one another, and how these issues are intertwined. Discussions were lively, and provided opportunities to act. The program was well received. We will continue to work with Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment (ACE). The recycling bins were discussed, along with how to educate the parish on proper use. Mother Leslie agreed to send a memo to Carlos regarding the recycling. Mary will work on drafting information on making coffee hour become a “palm oil-free zone for an upcoming Guardian.

Visioning, Planning and Assessment Committee (8:49 – 8:51 p.m.)

The Committee met on September 11th at 4:30 p.m. under Dan’s leadership. The Committee reviewed and discussed Strategic Plans from other churches, discussing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT analysis). The Committee will meet in early October to review and discuss Steps Along the Path.

Newcomers: Invite, Welcome, Connect (8:51 – 8:52 p.m.)

There are no new developments. The brochure is awaiting new photographs. We may stage new photographs or choose from photographs to be taken at Mother Leslie’s going away dinner by Mother Ann Truitt.

Volunteers (8:52 – 8:53 p.m.)

Julia and Mary have exchanged lists, and will let us know of any ministries that need special help or attention.

Welcoming Congregation Listing (8:53 – 9:07 p.m.)

The Vestry discussed various concerns regarding listing St. Michael’s on the People of Faith for Equality in Virginia (POFEV) website, and potentially listing their organization on St. Michael’s website. Mary will work on carrying the actions of the Vestry and congregational input forward.

Ministry Liaison Reports (9:07 – 9:14 p.m.)

Children’s Chapel will start October 2nd. The Monday book group has fewer members. The Choir needs more members. Women of Wisdom (WOW) continues to have good attendance. Mother Leslie hosted the last discussion at Monday Mugs with St. Mike’s. A review of this year’s Shrine Mont will be conducted to encourage participation and begin shaping the program for next year. The fact that kids were able to come for free this year made a difference to many families. The Harvest Festival will take place October 29th. Vestry members will serve to welcome visitors at 30-minute intervals. The Vestry will also to continue to serve as Greeters at the 10:00 a.m. Sunday Service. A push will be made for congregants to wear their name tags, so that visiting ministers and newcomers will know and remember names. The Junior Warden will coordinate this effort with the Welcoming Ministry.

Rector’s Report (9:14 – 9:24 p.m.)

Mother Leslie reported that Shrine Mont was a great experience, especially for the families, as kids could attend at no extra charge. She encouraged St. Michael’s to continue this incentive in the future, and to set aside funds to that purpose. Mother Leslie noted that her last Sunday at St. Michael’s would include baptisms at both the 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. services. Mother Leslie also stated there would be additional liturgy for an “official parting of our ministry” together. A litany, to be prayed by all, will also be included. Mother Leslie stated she continues to clean out her office. The Senior and Junior Wardens will do a final walk-through of the Rectory. A request was made by Rev. Williams of St. George’s Episcopal Church, for us to swap our January 8, 2017 Bishop’s morning visitation with their afternoon slot. Because St. Michael’s has had afternoon visitations for the past two years, it was decided to retain our morning slot. Mother Leslie agreed to let St. George’s know.

Senior Warden’s Report (9:24 – 9:24 p.m.)

The Vestry was praised for its work, and encouraged to keep up the good work, primarily by continuing to attend to daily issues.

Junior Warden’s Report (9:24 – 9:29 p.m.)

Father George will be with us for part of October. Mother Jackie will be with us on October 23rd. Rev. Sullivan will be with us November 6th and 13th. It was recommended that we post these dates to St. Michael’s website. The Senior Warden will draft something for the Guardian, and the Junior Warden will draft a list of visiting ministers for the Bulletin.

Adjourn

Cathey volunteered to lead prayers at the next Vestry meeting, to be held on Tuesday, October 18, 2016. Julia led us in compline from the Book of Common Prayer. The meeting adjourned at 9:34 p.m.

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August Vestry Meeting Minutes

Monthly Meeting of the Vestry
St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, Upper Classroom, August 16, 2016

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

Not Present: Not applicable.

Actions Taken:

  1. Vestry approved Minutes from the July 2016 meeting.
  2. Vestry approved July 2016 financial reports.
  3. Vestry approved motion to cater the main course of the September 24th dinner for Mother Leslie.
  4. Vestry approved a motion to draw money from the Staff Development Fund (Line 9), and to cap the amount at $2,000; this amount will be used to cover the catering the main course of the September 24th dinner for Mother Leslie.
  5. The Vestry approved a motion to allow Terri Katon to serve as this year’s Delegate at the Diocese of Virginia Convention.

The Vestry meeting opened at 7:35 p.m. led with prayer by Alice Thomas. A quorum was present. Thanksgiving was expressed for the graciousness of St. Michael’s parish, Dr. Mary Thorpe (Director of Transition Ministry at The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia), Mother Leslie’s fourteen years as Rector of St. Michael’s, and Tad McCall’s leadership. One person asked for special prayers.

Minutes from July Meeting & Finance Committee Report (7:46 – 7:49 p.m.)

The Finance Committee didn’t meet in July, but July reports show Pledges (Line 4100), at $25,635. Together with rental income, we are over our projected budget by a total net income of $22,042. July 2016 Vestry minutes and Finance Committee reports were accepted.

Transition Planning (7:49 – 8:41 p.m.)

The Vestry discussed options for celebrating Mother Leslie’s fourteen years with the parish. A small, coordinated celebration will be planned for Shrine Mont, with Linda Kelleher as the point person. Tom, Mary, and Dan, who will all attend Shrine Mont, will help coordinate as well. The dinner of September 24th was also discussed. The Vestry decided to cater the main course of the dinner, leaving the side dishes and desserts to be provided as a parish potluck. Vestry approved use of funds from the Staff Development Fund (Line 9), to be capped at $2,000, to cover the partial catering, with donated funds to cover any remaining cost. It was agreed that a sign up list should be created for the potluck items, to ensure that a variety of foods and beverages would be included. There will also be a collection for the purse, and if people would like to contribute to the dinner as well, they may. It was mentioned that Linda Denson might coordinate details for the dinner. It was noted that she’ll be out of town from September 14th through the 20th. Once a coordinator has provided a total cost estimate for the dinner, we’ll know how much more we must cover. The Vestry then discussed the parish’s transition; it was requested the Vestry meet with Mary Thorpe and Ed Keithly (Deputy Director of Transition Ministry at the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia) before the next regularly scheduled meeting. This special meeting will last approximately two hours and will consist of two parts, including: the September 24th dinner and discussion with the Diocese regarding next steps. It is the Senior Warden’s responsibility to engage supply priests on behalf of the parish. Tad agreed to propose dates for this additional meeting to the Vestry. Mother Leslie stated that movers are set to arrive at the Rectory on October 1, 2016. She will have a professional cleaning service come, and will arrange to have both Senior and Junior Wardens conduct a final “walk through” the Rectory. Mother Leslie offered to leave behind some essential furniture such as a bed and dresser, for possible use by a visiting supply priest.

MFiF Report (8:41 – 8:49 p.m.)

It will take approximately three months to manufacture the flooring for the Parish Hall in the color we want with the padded backing. This pushes the timeline for replacing the floor toward the end of October or early November. The Vestry discussed the possibility of replacing the Sacristy counter-top using approximately $2,500 of the $8,000 surplus of matching funds originally collected for the Peter James Lee Small Matching Funds Grant. The Vestry decided to table the discussion until a later meeting.

Care of Creation (8:49 – 8:55 p.m.)

Tom reported on the meeting he and Mother Leslie had with Elenor Hodges of Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment (ACE). St. Michael’s committed to ACE’s “Energy Masters” program, which is comprised of volunteers that make “hand-on improvements in affordable housing units that increase energy and water efficiency.” They would need volunteers from St. Michael’s to help provide lunches, waters, and other small tasks to the volunteers that handle the modest repair work. The program runs December through April, and provides us another local outreach opportunity. An additional way for St. Michael’s to get involved is through a collection basket of power strips, lightbulbs, and similar items, known as an “energy efficiency starter kit.” An ACE volunteer can visit St. Michael’s to discuss these opportunities in a forum session. More information to follow. Tad reported that, in connection with our StormwaterWise Grant from Arlington County, Helen Hines and Caroline Haynes will participate in (vice-conduct) a master gardener session. Mary had a suggestion pertaining to a documentary on how the global demand for palm oil hurts forests, and that we might think of declaring our coffee hours as a “palm oil free zone.” Mother Leslie expressed anticipation of St. Michael’s Care of Creation theme at Shrine Mont this year.

Visioning, Planning & Assessment Committee (8:55 – 8:58)

Dan reported that Mick Sutter has agreed to join the committee. The first meeting is scheduled for August 21st during the forum hour. Mother Leslie expressed the importance of this committee, as it will help us in the transition process.

Newcomers: Invite, Welcome, Connect (8:58 – 9:04 p.m.)

Karen provided a first draft of the new St. Michael’s welcome brochure, put together with help from Cindy Matlack. Wil is working to provide additional photographs. Feedback from the Vestry is requested. A question was raised on whether or not we must obtain permission from people to use their images in the brochure. Mother Leslie agreed to check into it, although it was noted that parents sign a permission of use waiver for Vacation Bible School photographs. Karen reported that the new signs for St. Michael’s have been ordered, and are under the original $1,100 by approximately $200-$300. The Vestry discussed continuing to assist with Sunday morning greeting at the 10:00 a.m. service. Karen stated that she’d set up a new schedule on SignUpGenius and send us the link.

Volunteers (9:04 – 9:21 p.m.)

Julia presented a comprehensive spreadsheet, put together with information from the Vestry and from going through the St. Michael’s Directory, to gain an overview of parishioner involvement. After some discussion, general consensus was that the value of such information comes in pinpointing which core ministries need more members and overall support.

Welcoming Congregation Listing (9:21 – 9:24 p.m.)

Because we approved a way ahead at the July 2016 Vestry meeting, Dan suggested we hold a forum some Sunday after October 1st. The Search Committee will not be formed yet, so October might be a good time to hold this special forum.

Ministry Liaison Reports (9:24 – 9:29 p.m.)

John Hughes and Jason Herring are currently conducting the work of the Audit Committee. They are scheduled to meet on August 21st. They should be done quickly. Maria Abbot reported that Bridge and Women of Wisdom (WoW) are continuing to meet, and are bolstered through outside interest. The Altar Guild should soon receive payment from the florist that previously overcharged the church. Dan is working in conjunction with Melanie Monahan on Sunday School for this fall. They are working on age brackets, advertising, and recruiting volunteers. A separate unit covering Advent will be implemented. Currently, our largest age bracket consists of middle school students.

Rector’s Report (9:29 – 9:37 p.m.)

Mother Leslie reported that a Diocesan Delegate and Alternate must be chosen for the Convention. Normally, Delegates rotate off after three years. Terri Katon is willing to serve at the next meeting to provide consistency during this time of transition. The Convention usually lasts two-and-a-half days, but that format will change after the upcoming 222nd Annual Convention, scheduled from January 26-28, 2017 in Reston. The Delegate’s role is to vote on issues on behalf of the parish. The Vestry approved Terri to serve as a Delegate again this year. Sign-up for Shrine Mont remains low, but it was acknowledged that not all those intending to attend have registered. Mother Leslie will send out a reminder email. Dan already sent out an email to families. We have space for 60 people. Mother Leslie will be traveling to Florida on September 1st, and will return September 3rd. She will look for housing while there. She will be back for Sunday, September 4th services.

Senior Warden’s Report (9:37 – 9:38 p.m.)

Tad reported that he will be traveling to Oregon later in the week. He is impressed with the Vestry’s commitment, and is aware of not over-burdening everyone. We are to let him know if we have any issues with upcoming meeting dates.

Junior Warden’s Report (9:38 – 9:42 p.m.)

Karen revised Vestry letter to the parish regarding this time of transition. The Vestry reviewed it one last time, and each Vestry member signed it. Karen also reminded us that the Stewardship Campaign will take place this October and November.

Adjourn

Julia volunteered to lead prayers at the next Vestry meeting, to be held on Tuesday, September 20, 2016. Alice led us in compline from the Book of Common Prayer. The meeting adjourned at 9:42 p.m.

These minutes respectfully submitted by Cathey Dugan.

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Following God’s Call One Step at a Time

As we enter this liminal space in the life of St. Michael’s, sharing this time of memories and parting, there will undoubtedly be anxiety as part of our mix of emotions. Certainly that’s true for me. “What will happen when Mother Leslie leaves?” you might be asking. “How do we find a new rector? Who will lead our worship? Will we be okay?” These questions are good ones to ask, but they both reflect and can exacerbate the anxiety that happens in a parish upon their rector’s leave-taking.

I wrote to you of answering a call to go to a new parish. I have accepted this new call knowing that it also means that God is calling St. Michael’s to new challenges as well, perhaps challenges that you need someone other than me to help you embrace and realize in your ministry. God is always working God’s purpose out, as a grand old hymn says. Call is the Holy Spirit leading us; our response is to follow wherever the Spirit leads.

The temptation is that we all want to see the map. We ask God, “Are we there yet? How much longer?” Abraham and Moses wandered without knowing exactly where they were going. They were called to trust God by putting one foot in front of the other. It takes faith to take those steps, and it is the only way we’ll make it to the place where God is calling us to be. God may not reveal the next step until we’ve taken the one preceding it. I have absolute faith that God is leading St. Michael’s to live into your call to be a vibrant parish where the Gospel is lived and loved. What that will look like with only be revealed as you explore the call together, one step at a time.

In this journey, St. Michael’s is blessed by an outstanding Vestry led by dedicated wardens. The Diocese of Virginia will provide guidance and support in your interim period. Most importantly, you have each other as companions on the journey. Remember that the church is shaped by much more than the rector whose name is on the sign. It is shaped in the baptismal reality that “there is one hope in God’s call to us.” (BCP p. 299)

My presence with you in the next month is to help us all to say goodbye well that we may all take the next steps in pursuing God’s call. That journey is only just beginning and requires faith. Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” May God grant you grace, patience, and faith throughout your journey to be the St. Michael’s God is calling you to be.

With much love in Christ,
Leslie+

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September Outreach Offering

ChildFundThe September outreach offering will support the five children St. Michael’s sponsors through ChildFund International. We have engaged in five sponsorships for many years, and some of our previously sponsored children have graduated from the program. Our currently sponsored children are Gabriel in Brazil (7), Nicholas in Ecuador (8), Dery in Honduras (11), Mailyn in the Philippines (15), and Wihelmina in Indonesia (17). Our support helps to ensure that essential necessities (nutrition, health care, education, clean water, etc.) are provided to the sponsored children, their families, and the villages they live in.
This last spring, members of our youth choir wrote letters to Gabriel, Dery, and Nicolas, who are all about the same age as the choristers who wrote to them. The letters to Dery and Nicolas were written in Spanish, their native language, by Zoe Korejwo and Annabelle Monahan. Suzanna Monahan wrote to Gabriel in English. Letters were also sent to our two older sponsored children, Mailyn and Wihelmina. Letters are sent and received through ChildFund interpreters in the various countries so it takes some additional time for our letters to them and their letters to us to be delivered, but we have just received a reply to Suzanna’s letter to Gabriel, which will be posted on the outreach bulletin board downstairs.

Your contributions to this important outreach effort are much appreciated. For more information about ChildFund International, please visit their website or contact our Mission & Outreach Committee via Caroline Haynes.

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July Vestry Meeting Minutes

Monthly Meeting of the Vestry
St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, Upper Classroom, July 19, 2016

Attendees:  Mother Leslie, Julia Carter, Mary Cushing, Dwight Densen, Tad McCall, Dan Plafcan, Karen Ruff, Tom Sheldon, Alice Thomas Absent: Cathey Dugan

 Actions Taken

  1. Vestry approved Minutes from our June meeting.
  2. Vestry approved Treasurer’s Report with the June financial reports.
  3. Vestry approved the contract for the installation of two full HufCore dividers for upstairs and downstairs classrooms for $11,515.
  4. Vestry approved that it move forward to put together a plan to engage the parish on our Welcoming Initiative to LGBT people in a forum in mid-October.

The meeting was called to order at 7:30 pm by Mother Leslie, and Karen led us in prayer.

The prior month’s Vestry Minutes were approved with no further discussion.

Treasurer’s and Finance Committee Report (7:31-7:46 pm)

The 6/30/16 Finance Committee report provided by Tad who noted that pledge income was 98% of the expected (budgeted) amount YTD.  STAMP funds have been transferred to the checking account to cover expenses for MFIF Phase 2 renovations. The Audit Committee will begin its work soon. Updated figures for MFIF: $362,000 (67 pledges) has been pledged with $312,000 received as of July 14, 2016. MFIF2: $38,130 pledged (30 pledges including diocesan grant,) $9,122 received as of July 14, 2016 (does not include grant money.)

MFIF Construction Report & Financing (7:46-7:59 pm)

Alice provided a chart with proposed expenses for the second phase of renovations. Work has begun on the fixed wall with pocket door in new nursery space. The cost will be $2,216. The Vestry approved the contract for the installation of two full HufCore dividers for upstairs and downstairs classrooms for $11,515. Flooring for the Parish Hall has been selected. The color matches the one that received the most votes from parishioners. New flooring has padding and texture to prevent slippage. Contract for $14,416 was approved by Vestry via email earlier this week. Installation in August is possible because camps are ending early.

Care of Creation (8:75-8:02 pm)

Tad McCall made the following report: Religion is as relevant to caring and acting to protect the earth and all creatures as is science, social science and law.  In fact, caring for God’s creations is the foundation.

In our Care of Creation sessions, we learned the relevance of faith to caring for all life and living so as to protect and sustain it.  We learned of the traditional tools Christianity brings, prayers, fasting and reflection, and collective action for good.  And in our final session, the bishops called us to act to stand with nature as co-dependent members of this earth.  They mentioned the need to take steps to combat climate change, and in general be active in protection of the environment.

When we relate this to St. Michaels, it teaches us that when we bring our parish into the larger community as a model of caring for nature, caring for human kind, and protecting all in our society, we bring a wonderful joining message. We bring new avenues of thought and caring to our neighbors, and we show the relevance of St M. to our community.

Tickets for viewing the documentary “Time to Choose” on July 27 are available to St. Michael’s parishioners.

Visioning, Planning and Assessment Committee (8:03-8:05)

Three volunteers (Nancy Tate, Roberta Thibodaux, and Diane Rickey) have come forward to be on the committee. An invitation has been extended to a possible fourth member of the committee.

Newcomers – Invite. Welcome. Connect. (8:05-8:10 pm)

Karen is working with several parishioners to create a brochure. A draft will be available at the August meeting for Vestry review. Vestry members expressed very positive experiences when serving as greeters before the 10:00 service. There are several slots available in August.

Volunteers (8:10-8:15)

Julia provided an update on the “inventory” of volunteers and ministries. Vestry liaisons will be asked to obtain further information from their ministries to identify needs. A need was identified for more LEMS and Lectors to serve at the 8am service.

Welcoming Congregation Listing (8:15-8:53)

This discussion was postponed from the June meeting. In May, it was proposed that St. Michael’s be listed as a congregation that welcomes LGBT on the People of Faith for Equality in Virginia (POFEV) web site. History of the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion was discussed. It was agreed that St. Michael’s has been a welcoming parish for years and that the listing on the POFEV web site is not changing who we are, it is letting people know who we are. The LGBT community has been marginalized from churches of all denominations for years. The listing on the POFEV web site lets folks who may be looking for a church know that they are welcome at St. Michael’s. The statement on the POFEV web site can be our mission statement or another. The desire to obtain input from the congregation for the statement was expressed. It was unanimously approved that the Vestry move forward to put together a plan to engage the parish on our Welcoming Initiative to LGBT people in a forum in mid-October.

Ministry Liaison Reports  (8:53-9:04 pm)

  • Dan Plafcan: VBS was a success, big thanks to Melanie Monahan and the many volunteers for the great week.
  • Mary Cushing: Summer choir is going well, next opportunity is August 21.
  • Tad McCall: There will be two acolytes scheduled for services again in the fall.
  • Dwight Denson: Altar Guild has saved money by using flowers from the church yard and home gardens this summer.
  • Tom Sheldon: Shrine Mont planning is in full swing. A draft brochure was distributed for comment.
  • Julia Carter: Children’s Chapel leaders will meet soon to set schedule for upcoming year.

Rector’s Report (9:04)

Mtr. Leslie will be on vacation 7/21-28. Mtr. Adrianna Shaw will be our Celebrant on July 24. Kevin Laskowski will preach that Sunday. Mtr. Leslie will also be on vacation 8/7-8/13. Kevin will preach again on 8/14.

Senior Warden’s Report (9:08)

Tad made the following remarks: Every vestry member should be fulfilled with a role that fits their special gifts.  I am pleased to see how well this vestry has sought and found roles that let them share their special gifts within the vestry and for the good of all the parish.  For we lead by example and by serving our parish, and our individual capabilities can then strengthen the faith within the church, the caring within the congregation, and strengthen our bonds with our Arlington community.

We are on a meaningful path forward and I ask that we all pray to care for one another and for our mission to serve our parish and enrich our community

Junior Warden’s Report (9:12)

Karen reported that new signs for Washington Blvd will be ordered this week.

No new business was put forward.  Alice agreed to lead prayers at the August meeting.  The Vestry meeting adjourned at 9:15 and Karen led us in Compline.

Respectfully submitted,
Karen Ruff

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Mission & Outreach August Collections

Outreach Envelope: ERD

“Episcopal Relief and Development is the compassionate response of The Episcopal Church to human suffering in the world.” This is the first line of the mission statement of Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) and encompasses the wide range of work that ERD does both in the United States and in over 40 countries around the world. Our contributions to ERD provide a collective response to disaster relief, advocacy, economic assistance, hunger alleviation and anti-poverty programs. Most recently, ERD provided disaster relief for flooding victims in West Virginia, ongoing support of Syrian refugees, and emergency humanitarian aid for refugees from the civil unrest in South Sudan. The outreach envelope collection for August is designated for ERD and we hope you will join in this collective mission.

Basket Collection: APAH Back to School Drive

The Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) is collecting new backpacks and school supplies for 400+ school-age children who live at their affordable housing properties. You can help a student, whose family might not otherwise be able to afford it, arrive at the first day of school with the supplies they need and feel ready to learn. You can bring a new backpack or supplies (particularly glue sticks and binders) to St. Michael’s during the first three weeks of August. Or, you can donate online.

For more information, contact Linda Kelleher or APAH.

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June Vestry Meeting Minutes

Monthly Meeting of the Vestry
St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, Upper Classroom
June 28, 2016

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

Not Present: Not applicable.

Actions Taken:

  1. Vestry approved Minutes from the May 2016 meeting, with one small correction.
  2. Vestry approved Treasurer’s Report with May 2016 financial reports.
  3. Vestry approved spending $1,100 from the Memorial Fund to replace four exterior St. Michael’s signs located on either side of Washington Boulevard.
  4. Vestry accepted the Peter James Lee Small Matching Funds Grant by signature from Rev. Mother Leslie and Sr. Warden, Tad McCall.
  5. Vestry approved a motion that would ensure kids can attend Shrine Mont for free.

The Vestry meeting opened at 7:31 p.m. led with prayer by Tad McCall. A quorum was present. Thanksgiving was expressed for the response to MFiF, as well as the turnout to the Wednesday evening Care of Creation series. Expressions of thanksgiving were also voiced for the recent service attendance of Anne Jacoby and Gen. Jack Babcock. Before the meeting began, two people asked for special prayers for people in their lives.

Minutes from May Meeting & Treasurer’s Report (7:50 – 7:59 p.m.)

2015 closed with a net income/surplus of $22,756. We were $37,495 over what we originally budgeted, which put us 154% over the estimated budget total. The May 2016 Balance Sheet shows St. Michael’s General Fund (Line 1531) at $7,775 and the STAMP Fund (Line 1532) at $228. As money comes in from the Capital Campaign, these funds will go back into St. Michael’s General Fund. Since 2015 has closed out, we need to start the audit this August. This is discussed under the Finance Committee Report below. Cathey was asked to make a last-minute edit to the May minutes. The Profit/Loss Budget showed that May was a good month for Pledges (Line 4100) coming in. We took in $24,165 are back at 97% of what we’ve budgeted for Pledges. Other Contributions (Line 4101) has taken in $6,699 Year-to-Date. These funds come from people who give but have not officially pledged. Miscellaneous Income (Line 4520) is currently at $9,419 Year-to-Date. We budgeted that at $5,000, so we are 452% over what we originally budgeted. Overall, we currently have a net income/surplus of $12,152.

Finance Committee Report (7:59 – 8:15 p.m.)

The Finance Committee approved to present the Final Phase of MFIF to the parish. The committee recommended the use of money from the Memorial Fund to cover the replacement of the exterior St. Michael’s signs on either side of Washington Boulevard. There is a company that replaces many of the signs for Episcopal churches in the area. Two of the double-sided signs cost $400 each; two additional signs on the church-side of Washington Boulevard cost $150. Replacing all four signs totals $1,100, which does not include shipping or other costs. The existing pillars would be kept; new, rust-free hardware would be used. Arlington County has confirmed that the sign at the church side of Ivanhoe and Washington Boulevard may stay where it is. The Memorial Fund gets its income by gift donations, designated or otherwise, over which the Vestry has authority. Currently, the Memorial Fund is at $23,314. $2,500 of that (originally as part of a total $15,000 gift from Mother Ann Truitt) will pay for new green vestments. The Memorial Fund also pays for things like the upkeep of Memorial Garden or a new altar book. The Finance Committee also noted that fire security expenses increased. This was due to an Arlington County fire safety inspection that required equipment replacement. This expense should decrease next year. The Finance Committee reported that insurance will pay all but the $1,000 deductible of the contracted $14,185 to cover damages sustained during the February 2016 snow storm. James R. Walls Contracting Co. will soon begin repairs to the gutters. Regarding our StormwaterWise Grant, Caroline Haynes is checking with Arlington County to ensure we are compliant in our plans to use those funds. These plans must be submitted by July 29, 2016. The need for adjusting the Endowment Fund was also raised. It was discovered that the Diocese continued to send us $10,500, although this amount should be lower. The Finance Committee is working with the Diocese to correct this matter. The next quarterly payment from the Diocese will therefore reflect a lesser amount. The Finance Committee also asked the Vestry to accept the Peter James Lee Small Matching Funds Grant as we have raised funds over the required match amount. The Finance Committee suggested using the overage match amount to start a Roof Fund. The annual audit is approaching this August. John Hughes and Terry Dinan were on the Audit Committee in August of 2015, but Terry will rotate off for 2016.

MFIF Construction Report & Financing (8:15 – 8:33 p.m.)

We just signed the Peter James Lee Small Matching Funds Grant, and will receive the $7,950 check from the Diocese. With this grant, we have exceeded our $30,000 total project goal. As soon as Lance receives the contract and down-payment from us, he’ll begin work on the Nursery wall. Space must be made for work to take place in the upstairs room. Therefore, that room must be cleared out prior to work being done. It will also require a childproof doorknob on the outside of the door that is code compliant. The wooden playground needs to come down; we may be able to get volunteers for that. It was suggested that a large “do not use” sign be placed on the structure before VBS. Mother Leslie will check with Sandra Phaup to find out who donated the Memorial Gift that paid for the wooden play structure so that we can inform them about the structure coming down. We received 55 votes on the four Armstrong Tile choices for new Parish Hall flooring. The two lighter choices received two-thirds of the vote. Another manufacturer (FloorFolio), has vinyl plank flooring with rubber backing. It is flexible and designed so that sound vibrations are not transmitted. With the rubber backing, it will be better for yoga and heels. The lightest one is different from the light hue the parish voted on earlier. It is more gray in hue, but does not come “ready-made.” Alice will research colors similar to the selected Armstrong ones, checking on textures to prevent slippage, yet not so grooved as to retain dirt. The cost for the contract using FloorFolio is $14,416. Using Armstrong Flooring, the contract is $13,586. Both have a ten year warranty. Both choices caution against the floor becoming too wet, as puddling will cause the laminate to separate from the backing and pucker. Both prices are good through September. We need to order the flooring four-to-six weeks before the replacement start date. It will then take approximately two days to replace the floor.

Care of Creation (8:33 – 8:40 p.m.)

Our StormwaterWise Grant from Arlington County has been discussed during the Wednesday night Care of Creation sessions. Attendees at this session on the theology behind Care of Creation has fluctuated, but has been well received. Music is part of each program. There are other options, and Mother Leslie will check into these. Care of Creation will be our theme at Shrine Mont this year (September 16-18), and Mother Leslie is working on securing the Crenshaw building for St. Michael’s. Mother Leslie invited Dean Markham to present at Shrine Mont this year, but he is currently on sabbatical. The cost of Shrine Mont was discussed. Cost should not be a deterrent, especially for families with children. The Vestry approved the motion to ensure kids can go free, as this is a cost we can cover. Mary noted that we now have a separate Web-page on our site dedicated to Care of Creation. It contains links to various resources.

Visioning, Planning, and Assessment Committee Proposal (8:40 – 9:17 p.m.)

The Vestry reviewed and discussed documents from Dan and Julia, including: outlined noted on the possible duties, membership, work plan, schedule, and parish outreach; a proposed Vestry resolution for Dan and Julia to continue work on establishing such a committee; a “kick-off” description of the proposed committee’s duties and responsibilities; and Dan and Julia’s questions before the Vestry on this proposed committee. The Vestry discussed these items at length, mainly: how would we recruit committee members; how many parishioners should make up the committee; what should their meeting schedule be; what should their terms of reference and length of service look like; and what, if any, deadline and follow through should be given to them? Mother Leslie suggested that we recruit a cross-section of potential members while concurrently requesting volunteers within the parish. It was also proposed by Dan and Mary that the committee might include a young adult. Mother Leslie also suggested that the Visioning, Planning, and Assessment Committee be done with a new strategic plan draft by March 2017, and that they should meet “at least monthly” in the months leading up to next March. After that time, the Vestry will review the document at our next Vestry Retreat, and decide on the next steps to take. The Vestry may need an executing partner to help implement the goals of the Visioning, Planning, and Assessment Committee. Their plan should include Care of Creation. The committee should examine “Steps Along the Path” and update it to fit our current needs. The committee will be comprised of six persons, two of which will be Vestry members. Dan and Julia volunteered for this work. Julia will write up something to go out to the Parish regarding this initiative.

Newcomers: Invite, Welcome, Connect (9:17 – 9:20 p.m.)

Vestry members are reminded to use SignUpGenius to help greet at the 10:00 a.m. services. Karen Ruff has been in touch with Barb and Fran about working together on a brochure this summer. Karen hopes to have one in print this fall. Mary took a photograph of the visitor’s welcome table at Falls Church Episcopal. The table included a wide array of information: brochures, forms, and flyers. This might be something we’d want to do in future, although on a smaller scale. Mother Leslie mentioned that we are still getting visitors to the church, so Welcoming Ministry is important.

Volunteers (9:20 – 9:22 p.m.)

Mary has worked on matching the list of parish members with “who does what.” Her findings are that everyone seems to be engaged with some group or ministry. There doesn’t seem to be much surplus availability. Mother Leslie mentioned that a new parish directory is forthcoming. Julia mentioned that all groups express a need or wish for more members. The Altar Guild was mentioned, and the fact that Linda Denson has recently been using both her own flowers, as well as those from our garden, as flowers for St. Michael’s Altar.

Welcoming Congregation (9:22 – 9:26 p.m.)

Mary will draft a paragraph for Vestry review on what it means to be a welcoming congregation. We will plan a forum around this initiative to introduce it to the parish. The Vestry will readdress this issue at the July 2016 meeting. We will also discuss what Web-sites to list on our church site.

Ministry Liaison Reports (9:26 – 9:35 p.m.)

VBS is July 11-15th. Children’s Chapel held its last service on June 26th, and will pick back up in September. A program for Youth Ministry is still being planned. Women of Wisdom (WOW) is doing well. Bridge is slowly growing, thanks to “PR” help from Linda Denson and Maria Abbott. Care of Creation is doing well, with the Wednesday night programs led by Mother Leslie. Tom and Mother Leslie will meet with Elenor Hodges of Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment (ACE) after VBS. Vicky Barnett is working on a program during Epiphany season on the Holocaust and Christian theology. Wholly Knit and Whine continues to do well. We are low on Acolytes this summer; Mary has volunteered to fill this gap. Rebecca Guild continues to do well. Nursing Home Ministry was discussed. It was decided that a copy of our Sunday Bulletin and a print-out of The Guardian should be placed in the bag that goes out on Nursing Home Ministry visits. Wil Harkins and Linda Denson will help in this effort.

Rector’s Report (9:35 – 9:37 p.m.)

Regarding our Diocesan Delegate and Alternate, we are late with submitting this list. Mother Leslie will be gone the weekend of July 24th and the second week of August. She is unsure if she will miss a Sunday in August. If so, coverage must be found. The parish office will be closed on Fridays during the summer, but Wil is continuing to provide coverage for any group that meets regularly on Fridays. This temporary change has not posed any issues.

Senior Warden’s Report (9:37 – 9:37 p.m.)

The Senior Warden deferred his report to the Junior Warden.

Junior Warden’s Report (9:37 – 9:47 p.m.)

The arts-based camp Creative Differences needs to have an Arlington County “use permit” to utilize church space. The onus is on them to fill out the application; however, we will have to work with them on it. St. Michael’s neighbors will have to agree as well. Not everyone has to sign off on it, but the application will require a letter of support from the Bluemont Civic Association. Parking may be an issue. Also, the wooden playground area wouldn’t meet county code standards, but if any requirements are issued by the county, we will work with J. Jaye Steen to ensure that Creative Differences meets any costs associated with any findings. Karen and Mother Leslie will meet with J. Jaye Steen to discuss all this. It will take the summer to work on the application, and it will take Arlington County 68 days to process the application. Once we have a plan in place, we will approach the church’s neighbor that made a complaint in the past. The damaged gutters will be repaired end of June/early July.

Adjourn

Karen volunteered to lead prayers at the next Vestry meeting, to be held on Tuesday, July 19, 2016. Tad led us in compline from the Book of Common Prayer. The meeting adjourned at 9:47 p.m.

These minutes respectfully submitted by Cathey Dugan.

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Care of Creation: ‘Life of Grace’

It has been gratifying to see the high level of interest in the parish for our incipient care of creation ministry. The recent adult education series, “A Life of Grace for the Whole World,” attracted about a dozen people for each of its five sessions. The new native plantings on the parish grounds are flourishing. The question now is, “what next?” As we reflect on that as a parish, there are some resources that can both guide our discernment and offer practical help in daily living.

  • The new care of creation page on the parish website includes links to over a dozen other sites, most of which approach environmental issues from a faith perspective.
  • Parishioners have recommended several books that address the impact of climate change and the challenge of developing sustainable practices. These include, “Gaining Ground: A Story Of Farmers’ Markets, Local Food, And Saving The Family Farm,” by Forrest Pritchard; “Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now,” by Walter Brueggemann; “Living Green: The Missing Manual,” by Nancy Conner; and “Nature’s Trust: Environmental Law for a New Ecological Age,” by Mary Christina Wood. All are available on Amazon.com and as e-books.
  • Most of us already recycle at home, and we will step up efforts to recycle at St. Michael’s as well. For questions about whether particular items are recyclable or not, consult the county’s on-line index. Those interested in composting virtually all their trash can consider signing up with a for-profit service which a parishioner highly recommends.

Any other recommendations and input are most welcome!

Mary Cushing

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Care of Creation: Viewing of Time to Choose

Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment (ACE) are sponsoring a viewing of a new documentary about climate change. It is sure to be thought-provoking.

When: Wednesday, July 27, at 7:30PM
Where: Courthouse Plaza 8 movie theater in Courthouse (2150 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington, VA)
Tickets: We have a block of 10 tickets at $14, more tickets may be available if needed
RSVP: Mother Leslie at rector@stmichaelsarlington.org

Please do not purchase tickets online. Reserve them through Mother Leslie.

Carpool: If you’d like to carpool please let Mother Leslie know. We’ll gather at St. Michael’s at 6:20PM for a 6:30PM departure to Courthouse.

From the producers of the film:

7a536bb66dd40f70377d2cfceb7dd38752724436_358x535“Academy Award®-Winning documentary filmmaker Charles Ferguson turns his lens to address worldwide climate change challenges and solutions in his new film TIME TO CHOOSE…[The film] leaves audiences understanding not only what is wrong, but what can to be done to fix this global threat. Ferguson explores the comprehensive scope of the climate change crisis and examines the power of solutions already available. Through interviews with world-renowned entrepreneurs, innovators, thought leaders and brave individuals living on the front lines of climate change, Ferguson takes an In-depth look at the remarkable people working to save our planet.”

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