Parish Council Minutes

March 23, 2004

The moderator began the meeting at 7:10 P.M. Present were Tony Lucia, George Hayden, Bill Newell, Hugh Penney, Barbara Langill, Bruce Gist, Raymond Patch, Susan Lambe, Phil Johnson and Linda Ladd. Bill Newell offered the meditation. The minutes from the last Council meeting were approved.

Senior Pastor’s Report: Raymond is working to establish regular contact with our many parishioners at Brooksby Village. The Caregivers are also involved, the goal is to meet there regularly on a weekday morning. Communion will take place this Sunday in the chapel. The membership commission is preparing a big push for the Spring and Fall.

Christian Ed. Report: Our new rotation, "The Last Supper," has begun. We have 3 new families attending. On Palm Sunday, the youth will participate in the worship service. On Easter Sunday, the youth will participate in the sunrise service and serve breakfast from 7:45- 8:45. Youth Group attendance on Sunday nights continues to be strong. Spring whitewater rafting retreats are being planned. Vacation Bible School is in the planning stages for July. On Easter weekend , CCC will sponsor a community egg hunt on Saturday morning.

Moderator’s Report: Phil reviewed the set-up plan and the agenda for the All-Commission Meeting scheduled for Sunday, March 28th. The meeting will begin after church and a light lunch will be served. Child care will be available. Our agenda will focus on church growth; we are looking for input from all attendees as to how we can begin a cultural change within CCC. The moderator will introduce the topic, and then pose a series of relevant questions to council members . Tony Lucia informed Council of ideas the membership commission has proposed. The ideas included pre-Easter newspaper advertising, new signs for church property, mailing Tower Notes to Tower Day School families, creating a brochure that states our beliefs and adding a 24 hr. follow-up visit by a church greeter to any new church attendees’ home. The advertising and Tower Notes ideas were moved, seconded and approved. The other ideas will continue to be pursued.

Raymond reported on 2 workshops he has attended in the past 2 weeks. The first workshop dealt with the many things that can trigger anxiety within a church. It was suggested that the sources of anxiety be recognized, not buried, and be used to open a dialogue to help keep the church focused. The other workshop was about ministering in the wake of the Massachusetts SJC ruling on gay marriage. Raymond presented an interesting overview on the history of marriage and the church. The workshop raised the questions of who has the authority to perform marriages and whether all members of the church have the same rights. The new state law is scheduled to take effect on 5/17; this, of course, raises many political, ethical and moral issues. Raymond feels we should raise this issue within our church. We should discuss our ‘theology of marriage;’ is it a religious or a cultural issue? Currently, CCC has no existing limitations on any couples’ marriage within our church; all that is required is a MA state license and pastor’s approval. A lengthy discussion about many aspects of marriages ensued. Council decided that we will re-visit this topic again at next month’s meeting.

Stewardship Report: Phil reported that Steven Silver, the UCC Planned Giving Minister, will be giving a workshop at the UCC in Topsfield on 4/3. He and the Stewardship Commission will plan to attend. Linda Ladd and Bill Newell reported on their readings from the book Inspiring Generosity. A meeting with Randy Russell, Chris Parker, Bill Newell, Phil Johnson, Hugh Penney and Raymond Patch is being planned to get our Stewardship effort underway.

Board of Administration Report: The first floor ladies room renovation will be funded with a donation from Tower Exchange. The lower level ladies room will also receive new vanities. It was noted that the original Tower Day Kindergarten room is in need of more lighting.

Board of Christian Service: The Missions breakfast last Sunday was not well attended, the next time announcements will be made the Sunday before. Our food drive last week was the most successful ever.

Worship Team Report: Lay led Communion will be held in the chapel this Sunday. The Palm Sunday Service will be led by the Worship Team and will feature 6 readings and 5 interpretations. The Maundy Thursday Service will take place in Todd Hall on 4/8 at7:00 P.M. Our Easter Service will feature a Cantata by the Senior Choir and readings. Signing within our building will be reviewed, and the outside "No Trespassing" signs will be removed.

Other issues: Tower Exchange is planning a fashion show on 5/23. Other issues discussed included Tower Day concerns about Kindergarten, possible local Catholic church closings and church members who are seeking elected offices in town.

The moderator adjourned the meeting at 10:15 P.M. The next meeting of Parish Council is scheduled for 4/27.

Respectfully submitted,

Susan Lambe, Recording Clerk