Parish Council Minutes

February 27, 2007

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

Chris Gehret opened the meeting at 7:09 p.m. with a meditation. Minutes from the previous meeting on January 31 were approved.

Pastorís Report:

Reverend Bailey told Council that the new phone system will require some wiring work.

The Pastoral Relations Committee met with Reverend Bailey for their first meeting on February 6. Confirmation classes are going well, now on week 8.

Rev. Bailey asked the Council to consider follow-up questions on the request from the Young Opera Company to use the sanctuary for a concert on Saturday, May 5. Council talked through questions of pricing for space use and custodial services at this event. Tangential discussion followed about the procedures by which keys are distributed and collected for events.

Ministry Team reports:

Christian Education Ministries: Barbara reported that the first round of Lenten muffins for Heifer, baked by the church school students, sold well.

On March 18th, Barbara, Jill, and members of the Christian Education Ministry team will present Bibles to the church schoolís 4th grade students, Kindergarten students, and pre-Kindergarten students.

A vacation Bible School will be offered this summer, with July 9-13 as the tentative dates.

The youth groups will set up for the Easter Fun Day on Saturday, April 7. The activities are open to the community. The combined youth groups saw the movie "Amazing Grace" on March 4. Members of the high school youth group ages 16 and over will have the opportunity to participate in a Habitat for Humanity project in Reading on March 3 (note Ė the date for Centre Church youth to participate was subsequently changed to Saturday, April 7).

On Thursday, March 8, psychologist Joani Geltman will be here to speak on adolescent psychology.

The overnight at Laser Quest will be held on Friday, March 16th.

During April school vacation week, April 15 to 20, members of the high school youth group will participate in the Massachusetts UCC mission trip. The tripís theme will be forgiveness and it will begin with a visit to Amish country in Lancaster, PA. The kids will also volunteer at the SERRV warehouse in Maryland and stop in Washington D.C to visit the Holocaust Museum, the National Cathedral, and the Vietnam Memorial.

Finances: Phil did the money report for this meeting.

The overall budget for the first 7 months of the fiscal year is looking good. Now that the fiscal year ends June 30th, Phil proposed that we change the date for presenting the churchís annual budget to the congregation. Council agreed that presenting the budget at a brief, special congregation-wide meeting in June makes more sense than waiting until the annual meeting, slated for September.

Phil wants to investigate alternatives to the current church mortgage. The fixed rate on this 20 year mortgage becomes a floating rate in August. Right now this would mean an increase in the rate of interest.

In response to a question from Phil about the possibility of a church-wide fundraiser this spring or expanding on the annual autumn flea market, Council engaged in a spirited discussion about ideas for combining fellowship with fundraising.

Outreach Ministry: Chris reported that the Outreach Ministry team will be meeting on Wednesday, March 7, at 7:00 p.m.

Education Ministry: Perry told Council that the Education Ministry team will be purchasing pew Bibles for younger people to use during services. These Bibles will be the same ones used by the Kindergarten and pre-Kindergarten students.

Stewardship Ministry. Debbie said that the Stewardship Ministry task forces have begun their work. Stewardship consultant, Bill VanderWyden, is returning to our church on March 27 for another set of meetings. The Planned Giving team also continues its work on developing possible endowment policies and is in the planning stages to present a planned giving program to the congregation in the fall 2007.

Membership Ministry: Tony noted the upcoming Wine Tasting that the Membership Ministry will sponsor on Saturday, March 10, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Diaconate: George told Council that the church will offer a Tenebrae service on Maundy Thursday, April 5, at 7:00 p.m.

Diaconate team members have heard that many folks are wishing that the Sunday morning worship services would start promptly at 10:00 a.m. Council briefly talked about ways to encourage people to be seated on time.


Moderatorís report: Phil (now wearing his Moderator cap) reported that the broadcast day and time for our worship services on Peabody cable have changed, to Sunday morning at 8:00 a.m. The day and time for Lynnfield cable remain the same Ė Thursday evening at 7:00 p.m.

Investigations are continuing into the question of church-provided health insurance for staff members.

Rev. Bailey has been talking with Phil about the idea of Centre Church sponsoring a student from Andover Newton Theological School. The church would be expected to support this student in many ways, including providing a new ministry team to serve as his or her liaison with the congregation and committing to $3,000 for the studentís expenses. Council fully supported this idea and approved the proposal. If a student is available, he or she will serve at Centre Church from September 2007 through sometime in May of 2008.

Phil closed by calling upon Council members to come up with possible names for both current and looming ministry team vacancies and for the Moderator and Vice Moderator positions.

The meeting adjourned around 9:00 p.m.

Next Meeting: The next meeting of Parish Council is scheduled for Wednesday, March 28, at 7:00 p.m. in the Pastorís office.

Respectfully submitted,
Sandi Watson, recording clerk