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Council minutes for Oct. 11, 2016

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Present: Jacy Boldebuck, Ryan Estrella, Sarah Fritz, Josh Gormley, Pastor Phil Haslanger, Orion Jetzer, Jan Klawitter and John Van Overbeke

Absent: Janine Bessemer, Rebecca Malke and Damon Smith   

Pastor Phil opened the meeting with a prayer.

The Minutes for the September, 2016, meeting were moved for approval by Jan, which was seconded by Josh and passed.

The Financial Report was presented by John, who updated that although year-to-date pledged income remains unfavorable to budget by $6,318 the year-to-date bottom line remains favorable because of other sources of income (non-pledged, special programs) and various under-budget expenses. John also reported favorably about the money available in the various funds, including the designated funds.

The trustees met to discuss the future of campership gifts (through the Ahrnsbrak Fund), as the number of campership requests this year put a strain on this fund, and they are proposing to the council that starting next year money from other funds will be used to supplement the Ahrnsbrak fund for campership gifts. Jan moved to approve this proposal, which was seconded by Sarah and passed.

The trustees will also be distributing budget worksheets for each committee and will likely choose to err on the side of caution when budgeting for the positions of the new pastor and the parish nurse. Josh moved to approve the financial report, which was seconded by Jan and passed.

The Pastor’s Report was presented by Pastor Phil:

  • Pastor Phil’s colleague and partner, Pastor Heidi Hackman (from the Belleville UCC) recently collapsed and is in the ICU. Heidi was to present with Phil at an upcoming boundary training for UCC clergy in Wausau. Phil will also soon be giving this year’s Mission House lecture at Lakeland College.
  • Pastor Phil and DAIS will be receiving the Quilt Award at a Family Service of Madison event on 10/13 for their work toward the prevention of domestic violence.
  • The Chavez Elementary notebook program (with volunteers from Memorial) continues to go well. Chavez has also recently started an after-school program, to which our Outreach Committee donated.
  • Zion City will soon be sending a group to DC to tour the African American History Museum, and Pastor Phil would like to invite one or two of these folks to our 11/13 service to talk about this experience and hear our choir sing “I Dream a World,” based on a poem by Langston Hughes.
  • In preparation for both stewardship and centennial planning there are multiple long-standing members of Memorial who will be talking during worship services about what Memorial has meant to them during upcoming church services.
  • The confirmation service last Sunday went very well. The next group of confirmands will be starting classes in February.

The Faith Development Report was presented by Pastor Phil (Rebecca was at the Great Lakes UCC Christian Educators’ Training):

  • The Sikh talk at Memorial yesterday evening went well. There were 18 people in attendance, and Rebecca will likely be organizing a group from Memorial to visit the Sikh Gudwara in Middleton.
  • The “Brew and Stew” Fall Fun Event at Memorial is planned for 10/29 (5-8pm), and there is a sign-up sheet in the niche.

The Committee Reports were given:

Faith Development: No additional report.

Special Events: Pastor Phil reported that the Grill Out was a great success, and Al Krug has offered to help out with this event again next year. Al is working on getting people organized to provide food before the Easter service in the spring (in his absence). The preparations for the Silent Auction are underway, with group baskets filling up and people signing up to donate various items and services as individuals. Jackie Neidhart will even be bringing back a surprise item for the auction from her upcoming trip to Malawi.

Membership: Ryan reported that this committee has purchased a couple more tall tables for fellowship. Pastor Phil updated that visitor cards have replaced pew pads (and will be distributed to visitors by the ushers). Pastor Phil asked for a motion to approve his removal from the membership roster a couple members lost to contact (Michael Haeft and Martha Schwer). The motion was made by Orion, seconded by Ryan and passed. There are six new members who will be joining Memorial in the near future.

Outreach:  Jan reported that this committee will be meeting next on 11/13 to discuss final disbursements for 2016. Recent disbursements have included dues for Annual Church Women United, an ad for the MOSES annual report, and Badger Prairie Needs Baskets. Jan said she and Lisa Schoenwetter will be stepping down as co-chairs of this committee at the end of this year.

Worship: Phil reported that the sanctuary will be prepared for Advent as we get to the end of November.

Building and Grounds: Damon emailed a detailed report summarizing this committee’s 9/27 meeting on the topics of: The upgrades to our front sign, the monitoring of the sprinkler system, the CE room improvements, the sound system ad-hoc committee being on hold, attention to the water heater and tower light, a new snow plowing contractor being sought, the need for a small gardening group to help Georgine Hinz, and the suggestion to the council to consider alternatives to trees for memorial gifts to the church (as the space for trees is almost at capacity, and trees require maintenance).  Pastor Phil added to this that the sound system still needs attention, and the carillon bells are now working properly. Pastor Phil will include the need for gardening help for Georgine in the next newsletter.

Search: Jacy reported that she and Rev. Joanne Thomson met with the pastoral search committee 10/10, and they are off to a great start. This group is organized, has great leadership, is feeling called to serve in this capacity, and is planning to keep the congregation well informed.

Old Business:

Pastor Phil reported the proposal of the centennial outreach fund task force (consisting of Gary Johnson, Ryan Estrella, Jan Klawitter and himself): To make a significant financial gift for the welfare of our local community Memorial would seek to raise $10,000 in the first five months of 2017. This money would be given to one or two local organizations to reach out in new ways to people in our community who need assistance, and we would ask the organization(s) to have a plan to replenish the fund in the years ahead. The congregation will be asked in November to suggest non-profit organizations to be considered for this grant. These suggested organizations will then be asked to submit a grant proposal (due 1/13), and the task force will select finalists to be presented to the congregation at the Annual Meeting for a vote by electronic and paper ballot. The grant proposal from each organization will include information about how this money will allow them to help people in need in some way that has previously not been possible, as well as ideas about replenishing the fund for the future. Sarah moved to approve this proposal, which was seconded by Josh and passed.


A small committee, consisting of Rebecca, Josh, and Pastor Phil, recently met to update Memorial’s policy for social media boundaries, using the same principles that guide our Safe Sanctuary policy for the purpose of ensuring the safety of our youth. Safe sanctuary guidelines that are applicable to social media boundaries include always having at least two adults in any situation involving youth, and treating seriously any concern about the potential mistreatment of youth. In addition, adults should not submit “friend requests” to youth, and youth will not be identified by name in any photos posted online.

New Business:

Pastor Phil reported that the hiring process to fill the office manager position has resumed, after Jamie Schwoerer announced she will have to vacate this position for the pursuit of full-time employment (though she would like to stay, if at all possible). There is a 10/31 application deadline, and so far 21 applications have been submitted.

Mary Ircink, our parish nurse, is planning for her last day to be 11/30, and we’ll be sending her off with cake after the church service 12/4. Although it is unlikely we’ll be able to replace her with another parish nurse there are various options when considering how to fill this position, including a coordinator of care ministry, an associate pastor with a focus on pastoral care, or a caring team comprised of volunteers from the congregation. The council determined that this isn’t a decision that needs to be made right away, and it’s a good topic to discuss in listening sessions to gather input from the congregation.

Jan moved to adjourn.

Minutes submitted by Sarah Fritz