Parish Council Minutes

January 2, 2007

Attendees: Rev. Dennis Bailey, Phil Johnson, Sue Johnson, Chris Gehret, Tony Lucia, Debbie Cotting, George Hayden, Perry Hayden, Barbara Langill, Dwight Decker, Sandi Watson

Debbie Cotting opened the meeting just after 7:00 p.m. with a meditation. Minutes from the previous meeting (November 28) were approved.

Money Matters: Dwight Decker highlighted the income and expense totals in the current budget. Utility costs are running below expectations at this point. Other expenses are on budget. The Church Windows software company has asked about the possibility of holding a weeklong seminar at Centre Church. After hearing that the benefits to the church would be negligible, Council decided to say no to this request.

Sue Johnson noted that while general offerings are ahead of expectations for the first half of the fiscal year, we are behind on our pledges by about $10,000 for the first six months.

Phil Johnson noted that he is forming a small group to investigate whether the new Massachusetts Health Care Reform Act applies to Centre Church and, if so, how the church needs to respond.

Pastor’s Report: Staff meetings continue to go well. Confirmation classes begin on Sunday, January 7. Each confirmation class will be offered in two sessions: one at 11:30 on Sunday mornings and the second at 6:00 p.m. on Monday evenings. Each session will consist of a light lunch/snack, followed by a class lasting about 90 minutes. This year there are 14 confirmands and 13 mentors.

Dennis indicated that he will start to meet with the Pastoral Relations team sometime over the next two months. He also noted that there are two baptisms coming up and that he hopes to welcome new members in February.

Rev. Bailey is interested in offering a special Ash Wednesday service of baptismal renewal.

Rev. Bailey and the three Centre Church delegates will be attending the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Conference of the UCC on June 21 and 22, in Hartford, Connecticut. Dennis hopes that the delegates will stay on to join him for the General Synod of the national UCC, also in Hartford. The Synod runs from the afternoon of June 22 through the following Tuesday, and will include activities celebrating the UCC’s 50th Anniversary.

In closing his report, Rev. Bailey said that he, personally, enjoyed all the Christmas experiences at the church.

Ministry Team reports:

Christian Education: Barbara Langill started by expressing appreciation for Linda Ladd’s work in leading the Christmas Pageant. Over the Christmas school vacation week, 14 High School Youth Group members and three adults prepared and served a meal at My Brother’s Table in Lynn.

Upcoming events: Epiphany Sunday will be on January 7th, when the children will search the church for baby Jesus. The next Rotation Sensation topic, "Boy Jesus in the Temple," will begin January 21st. The Youth Group snow tubing adventure at Nashoba Valley is scheduled for January 28th.

Diaconate: Phil reported that Michelle Hagerty decided to step down as Chair of the Diaconate, given her work commitments. Council then approved Phil’s nomination of George Hayden as interim Chair of the Diaconate (through June). George said that Diaconate meetings will be held on the second Wednesday of each month.

Outreach Ministry: Chris Gehret reported that Give-a-Palooza, the alternative giving fair held in early December, raised about $7,000 for the four charities featured. (Details of amounts to come.) Chris expressed appreciation for this generosity and for the ongoing contributions of cell phones, bottles, cans, and knitted afghan squares.

Membership Ministry. Tony Lucia began by suggesting that we consider expanding our advertising of Centre Church events beyond the Lynnfield newspapers. That idea led to discussion about the possible value of submitting newspaper articles on church activities – especially youth group and outreach events – to newspapers in nearby towns, to let folks know what we’re up to.

Events under discussion include: another family movie night; a ping-pong tournament; and a gathering to talk about the spiritual differences (and similarities) between Catholics and Protestants. This discussion group will be open to anyone interested in attending.

Education Ministry: Perry Hayden reported that the Tower Day School has set tuition rates for next year.

Stewardship Ministry: Debbie Cotting and Phil Johnson had a conference call with the stewardship consultant, Bill VanderWyden. In addition to the annual stewardship campaign this year we will also develop a planned giving program and a committee will be formed to support that. On January 23, Debbie, Phil, and the newly recruited Stewardship Ministry Team members and the Planned Giving Committee will be meeting with the consultant to discuss planned giving possibilities and to review and continue developing plans for the spring stewardship drive. On May 20, the stewardship drive will kick off and the pony express-style passing of stewardship information and pledge commitments will continue over the two weeks following.

Closing notes: Centre Church still seeks a Chair of the Finance Ministry Team and a person willing to serve as Assistant Moderator. If you are interested in serving in either position, or think you know someone who would be a good fit for either slot, please contact Phil Johnson.

The NO Fair will be held in the narthex after worship service on Sunday, January 7th. This New Opportunities Fair is designed to help both members and non-members learn more about the Centre Church ministry teams. Folks will be invited to sign up for chances to serve on a team, or to participate in worship services by ushering or reading scripture.

Next Meeting. The next meeting of Parish Council is scheduled for Wednesday, January 31 at 7:00 p.m. in the Pastor’s office.

Respectfully submitted,
Sandi Watson, recording clerk