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Council minutes for May 12, 2015

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Approved minutes

Present: Josh Gormley (President of Council), Phil Haslanger (Pastor), Rebecca Malke (Director of Faith Development), Dean Baumgardner (Building and Grounds Committee), Mikos Pitas (member), Jan Klawitter, Jacy Boldebuck, Jeanne Prueher, Betsy Robbins, Sarah Fritz, Damon Smith, Janine Bessemer (via Skype)

Pastor Phil opened the meeting with “A Prayer for our Cities.”

Josh Gormley asked for approval of the minutes from the last council meeting, held April 14, 2015. Jan Klawitter made the motion to approve the minutes, which was seconded by Jacy Boldebuck and passed.

EAGLE SCOUT PROJECT: Mikos Pitas presented his proposed Eagle Scout project to the council: A gathering spot in the woods behind the church, which will involve cutting four trees to ground level, widening the trail, and constructing three permanent, wooden benches. Mikos gave a thorough description of the expected materials, tools, expenses, phases, logistics, and safety precautions for this project. Mikos is making arrangements for an experienced adult to operate the chain saw and for fellow scouts to assist him with the additional labor for this project, which he is planning to complete during the summer, 2015, (over the course of approximately five days). Mikos answered several questions from council members. Dean Baumgardner is recommending that Mikos meet again with the Building and Grounds Committee with more definitive plans (for materials, schedule, etc.) and that this committee will make a final decision about the amount of money that will be allocated to this project. Jan Klawitter made the motion to approve this plan, which was seconded by Damon Smith and passed.

FINANCIAL REPORT: Jacy Boldebuck distributed treasurer reports to each of the committee chairs/ liaisons, as well as the financial summary for April, 2015. Jacy summarized that the budget is in good shape, pointing out that expenses are currently below budget. Jan Klawitter made the motion to accept the financial report, which was seconded by Betsy Robbins and passed.

PASTOR’S REPORT: Pastor Phil reported that the Rev. Franz Rigert, leader of the UCC in Wisconsin, was impressed by the friendliness and vitality of our congregation during his visit with us at the beginning of the month. Pastor Phil reported about his work in the search for candidates for the two conference minister positions and his plan to attend (along with Jan Klawitter) the annual Wisconsin Conference Meeting in June. There are also to be three baptisms in the next month at Memorial.
Pastor Phil updated that in the search for our new music director the two finalist candidates are both so well qualified and admired that further consideration is necessary, including a secret ballot to be distributed to choir members. A recommendation is expected to be announced at the next council meeting.
Pastor Phil also updated that our sanctuary was offered as a place of reflection and prayer this afternoon (between 4-7 p.m.) in the wake of the decision by the Dane County DA not to file charges against the Madison officer who fatally shot Tony Robinson on March 6th. Our space was utilized by seven people for this purpose today. There is expected to be a lot of emotion and energy in reaction to this decision in the coming days in our community. Pastor Phil encouraged sensitivity and empathy for those in our midst who are affected by this.

FAITH FORMATION DIRECTOR’S REPORT: Rebecca Malke reported that she has completed her Lay Academy course for the year and has attended a Christian Educators’ Retreat at the Pilgrim Center. Rebecca and Johanna Draper Carlson conducted a successful Dr. Who Theology event, with fifteen adults and teens in attendance (thirteen from MUCC and two from Prairie UU Society). The GSAFE presentation we hosted on Wednesday, April 29th, was well received by the numerous people in attendance, representing multiple churches and organizations in the community. Rebecca attended a SPIFFY meeting (area faith education directors) on May 6th, at which confirmation was discussed. Rebecca has distributed surveys to parents of Sunday School children at Memorial in anticipation of planning for the summer; the majority of the parents indicated their intention to utilize summer Sunday School if it is available. Rebecca is looking into utilizing the outdoors as much as possible for this.

Faith Development: Sarah Fritz reported that the Faith Development Committee met before church on April 26th and discussed Sunday School class groupings for the coming year (with the decision to encourage the four confirmation students to join the 5th-6th graders for sermon discussion), and curriculum (with the decision to retain “Activate Faith” for 4K-4th grade). During this meeting summer Sunday School was also discussed (see above), as well as tentative plans for an upcoming “Family Night” at the church.

Trustees: Jacy Boldebuck reported that the Healing House Project, which involves the renovation of the house next door to the First Congregational Church (near campus) for the purpose of accommodating homeless individuals for rehabilitation after their discharge from the hospital, is in need of funds. The Outreach Committee has recommended that $1,000 from the endowment fund, as well as an upcoming loose plate collection, be allocated to this project. Jacy Boldebuck made the motion to approve this recommendation, which was seconded by Damon Smith and passed.
Jacy next reported that Richard Bruxvoort Colligan, a musician and liturgical theologian who specializes in the Psalms, will be visiting Memorial during the last weekend of July to lead workshops and two worship services: A Saturday service that will be open to the community, as well as our Sunday morning service. The cost of this opportunity is expected to be $1,500 (his $1,200 fee, plus expenses), which Pastor Phil suggested we take out of the Endowment Fund or the New Initiatives Fund, if needed. This money would be a backstop for whatever funds come from participants and other congregations. Jacy Boldebuck made the motion to approve this amount and source of payment for Richard Bruxvoort Colligan, which was seconded by Jan Klawitter and passed.

Adult Programming: Janine Bessemer reported that this committee is still in need of a chairperson, and she welcomes suggestions. Al Krug is expected to coordinate the Grill-Out.

Membership: Jeanne Prueher and Pastor Phil reported that the “Over-Eighty Brunch” is scheduled for May 31st, and a new member party will be held at the VanOverbeke home (date TBA). The membership committee last met on April 15th.

Outreach: Jan Klawitter reported that this committee met on May 3rd and decided to donate $200 to GSAFE (in appreciation of the presentation on April 29th), from the Giving Locally funds. Jan reported that $400 was collected for One Great Hour of Sharing and $1,117 (with an additional matching $500) was collected for the East High School/ Kenya trip. $300 will be allocated for MOSES dues.

Worship: Betsy Robbins reported that this committee is enjoying a “calmer time,” in anticipation of Pentecost. Recognition and celebration of Merry Spangler (whose last Sunday conducting the choir will be May 17th) was discussed.

Building and Grounds: Damon Smith reported that this committee met with Mikos Pitas on April 26th for the purpose of collaborating with Mikos in the planning of his Eagle Scout project. Damon emphasized the committee’s support of Mikos’ proposal. The Church Clean-Up (May 9th) was reported to be very efficient and productive.

OLD BUSINESS: Josh Gormley spoke about his receipt of two Campital Campaign draft documents (from Winton at Orchard Ridge UCC) detailing the projections for participation, revenue, and costs over the next five years at the Pilgrim Center and Moon Beach sites, as well as a ministry plan for the next seven years. The Trustees at Memorial UCC, guided by the results of the survey distributed to the congregation (in which 50% of respondents voted for less than or equal to $15,000 to be raised for the camps over three years) have recommended the following: That Memorial UCC establishes a goal of $5,000/ year over the next three years (including a matching $2,500/ year from the endowment fund) to be raised by the congregation, without a formal campaign or pledging (merely reminders and encouragement to contribute). Jan Klawitter moved to accept this recommendation from the Trustees, which was seconded by Jacy Boldebuck and passed.
Pastor Phil added his recommendation that a congregational meeting be called so that (a quorum of) members can be informed of and vote on the Trustees’ recommendation. The council suggested a date of May 31st for this meeting to take place. Josh asked for a motion to approve this recommendation. Betsy Robbins made this motion, which was seconded by Jacy Boldebuck and passed.

NEW BUSINESS: Pastor Phil encouraged thoughts about the Silent Auction for this fall. All present were in agreement that Celia Kiela did a phenomenal job last fall. Janine Bessemer agreed to talk to Celia about how and by whom this year’s auction will be run.

Josh Gormley asked for a motion to adjourn the meeting. Jan Klawitter made the motion to adjourn.

Minutes submitted by Sarah Fritz