Home / Council Minutes / Council minutes for Sept. 13, 2016

Council minutes for Sept. 13, 2016

Posted on


Draft minutes

Present: Jacy Boldebuck, Damon Smith, Josh Gormley, Rebecca Malke, Jan Klawitter, Ryan Estrella, Pastor Phil Haslanger, Janine Bessemer, Sarah Fritz, and John Van Overbeke
Absent: Orion Jetzer

Pastor Phil opened the meeting with a prayer.

The Minutes for the August, 2016, meeting were moved for approval by Josh, which was seconded by Ryan and passed (after Ryan was added to those in attendance). At this time the council members also voted to formally approve the use of $3,000 of Memorial Funds to be used for the improvements to the youth education rooms (motion made by Jan and seconded by Josh).

The Financial Report was presented by John, who updated that pledged income for the month of August was unfavorable to budget by $3,340 (with a year-to-date shortcoming of pledged income of $6,459), which is likely attributable to lower summer attendance. John summarized that our expenses remain in good shape, however, and the year-to-date bottom line remains favorable. John also reported favorably about the money available in the various funds, including the designated funds. The trustees will be meeting 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. The trustees have also recently approved $500 from the Endowment Fund to be allocated for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and $200 from the Memorial Fund to purchase two new round tables for the fellowship hall. Jan moved to approve the financial report, which was seconded by Janine and passed.

The Pastor’s Report was presented by Pastor Phil:

  • The next confirmation class will be starting in 2017. Seven 7th and 8th graders will be participating in a monthly class and will likely be attending the UCC General Synod in Baltimore June 30th – July 4th. Pastor Phil will be starting with these confirmation students, the new pastor will be finishing with them, and Rebecca will be working with them during the entirety of the confirmation process.
  • Pastor Phil was given council feedback that the Muslim-Christian-Jewish “Longest Night Service” would be a good thing to do again this year.
  • Pastor Phil reported that Jamie Schwoerer, our new church secretary, is doing a great job, including helping out with digital file creation, the repair of the carillon bell system, and the upcoming auction.
  • Pastor Phil brought to the attention of the council that numerous individuals have been visiting Memorial in recent months, many of whom will likely become members.

The Faith Development Report was presented by Rebecca:

  • The tour of the Hindu temple (September 7th) went well, though only four adults and two children participated.
  • The Family Fun Night (September 10th) was a hit. Twenty-eight adults and children enjoyed a potluck, activity stations and a bonfire. This was Rebecca’s second annual kick-off celebration for the new Sunday school year.
  • Attendance at Sunday school (September 11th) was good. There were 28 students present (4-K through 8th grade), and there is a total of 45 students enrolled. The spruced up classrooms were well received, and Rebecca would like to allocate some money from this committee’s budget to purchase classroom bibles.
  • The teachers have been encouraged to promote giving (of offering) by the students, and Rebecca will be sending out an email to parents about this topic.

The Committee Reports were given:

Faith Development: No report.

Special Events: Janine reported that October 2nd is set for the annual Grill Out, and November 20th will be the date of the Silent Auction. The auction will be led again by Celia Kiela, and helping Celia will be Jan Klawitter, Janine Bessemer, John Van Overbeke, and Jamie Schwoerer (and Al Krug will be providing food).

Membership: Ryan reported that this committee has requested two new tall tables to be purchased for use in the fellowship hall, to encourage people to stop in who might not want to sit at one of the tables. This committee has also been discussing alternatives to relying on a fellowship sign-up sheet for providing food for fellowship.

Outreach: Jan reported that $100 of Giving Locally money has been directed to the local Red Cross for their work on the Fitchburg home explosion, and $150 has been used to help Chavez Elementary with the purchase of chips for their recent picnic for families.

Worship: Phil reported that there were new banners hanging in the sanctuary September 11th.

Building and Grounds: Damon reported that this committee will be meeting September 27th to discuss improvements to the front sign, as well as care and maintenance of the front flower garden in the future. Pastor Phil updated that electricity is now available at the sign (for LED lighting).

Old Business:

Jacy reported that the Pastoral Search Committee is energized, enthusiastic, and organized, and that she will be joining Rev. Joanne Thomson for the October 10th committee meeting.

Pastor Phil reported that June 4th will be the date of our centennial service, at which Wis Conf minister Rev. Franz Rigert will be preaching, and there will likely be a potluck after the service. June 10th is a possible date for an ecumenical service for the wider community. Leading up to the centennial anniversary there will be preparations of music, art projects, historical displays, and a professional DVD.

A centennial outreach fund, totaling $10,000, will consist of donations from the congregation and church funds to be determined by the trustees. The centennial committee will make a decision about how to use this money (for outreach), with consideration of input from the congregation. We discussed how centennial fundraising might affect Giving Locally efforts, and we discussed Jacy’s idea to use the $10,000 to create a fund for those in need of help in the Fitchburg area. Jacy made reference to a fund she’s used at the VA that has a pay-it-forward element to it (people donating money to the fund after they get back on their feet).

Pastor Phil summarized a proposal from the stewardship committee: The trustees would set a goal for 2017 pledges, and 10% of the pledged money received above that goal would be given to a non-profit organization chosen by the congregation from among three non-profits suggested by the outreach committee. The council decided that in lieu of this proposal it would be preferable to have a more traditional stewardship campaign this year (with emphasis on testimonials from members and friends about why they chose Memorial UCC and why they give), due to the coinciding centennial outreach fundraising.

New Business:

On the topic of social media and boundaries Pastor Phil described our current policy as minimalist by contrast to that which other UCC churches have in place. Examples of such boundaries are posting photos of youth on the church website or Facebook page and youth-adult social media interactions within the church. Pastor Phil suggested that a small committee (consisting of Rebecca, Josh and himself) update our current policy for social media boundaries to include some of the suggestions from a MESA Ministry Team document on this topic.

Pastor Phil reported that an emphasis at this year’s WI Conference of the UCC annual meeting was the plan to hold a vote at next year’s (June, 2017) annual meeting to formally adopt a resolution to declare itself to be an Immigrant Welcoming Conference and its congregations to covenant as Immigrant Welcoming Congregations. Preceding this vote there will be a year of study by the congregations in this conference, for which an on-line discussion guide and the Immigration Working Group can be used as resources.

Pastor Phil reported that UNIDOS has requested to use our church space for their 10th Annual Community Conference on October 22nd from 8:00 am- 3:00 pm. This organization serves the Latino community and focuses on breaking the cycle of domestic violence and ending sexual assault. Jan moved to allow UNIDOS to use our space for their annual conference, which was seconded by Janine and passed.

Pastor Phil reported that Christmas falls on a Sunday this year. Council members agreed that we should have two services on Christmas Eve (at 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm) and only one service on Christmas morning (at 10:00 am). We also discussed the tradition at Memorial of not collecting offering during the Christmas service and whether or not this should continue.

Damon moved to adjourn.

Minutes submitted by Sarah Fritz