Parish Council Minutes

November 28, 2007


Attendees: Rev. Dennis Bailey; Chris Parker, Jeff Law, Chris Gehret, Chuck Cotting, Debbie Cotting, Perry Hayden, Phil Johnson, Sue Johnson, Dwight Decker, Linda Ladd, and Sandi Watson.

The meeting opened at 7:12 p.m. Minutes from the previous meeting on October 24 were approved.


Christian Education and Youth Ministries
Perry gave the CE report. She said that Barbara and Jill are attending a Facilitators meeting offered by the Massachusetts Conference of the UCC.

On Sunday, December 2, all children can participate in the annual Advent workshop. The older children will be making Christmas cards which will go to the elderly people who rely on the Ethos agency for meals. The High School Youth will be holding their annual Cookie Swap after the Advent workshop.

The Christmas Pageant will take place on Sunday, December 23, with Linda Ladd organizing and inspiring the children.

Weekly Seeds, the discussion group for high school students, has begun. The group meets in the Pastor’s outer office to talk about the week’s scripture readings and relate the passages to today’s realities.

The Recycling Drive was a great success – 17 youth and five adults worked together to raise about $3,000 for the youth mission trip to New Orleans next summer. Twelve kids have signed up for the trip so far.

Sales of the wooden replicas of Centre Church by Cat’s Meow and the Rada Cutlery sets continue.


Pastor’s Report
Reverend Bailey gave the meditation. He said that the Confirmation class is going well and he thanked Karen Jodoin for ably leading the Confirmation class during his vacation. The Friday morning Bible Study group is also going well and he is considering adding another Bible class, with a different focus. He is also thinking about offering a study group focused on the movie “Amazing Grace.”

Dennis then spoke briefly about his work with the Metropolitan Boston Association Committee on Ministry, which works with and advises people seeking ordination in UCC churches.

Rev. Bailey asked Council to consider having special envelopes available at memorial services held at the church in cases where the family requests donations be made to the church. Council supported this idea.

Recently, the rebroadcast of worship services on local cable has been sporadic. Dennis and Bruce Gist are working with town officials to ensure that these broadcasts become more reliable.


Chris Parker expressed appreciation for the lay-led services held during Dennis’ vacation time. He also recommended a book by Jeffrey Archer and Francis Moloney called “The Gospel According to Judas by Benjamin Iscariot.” The book is also available in audio CD format, read by Bishop Desmond Tutu.


Dwight presented budget and actual numbers for the fiscal year to date (July through the end of October). At this point, pledge income is tracking close to budget and expenses are tracking as expected.


Financial Secretary
Sue reported on the progress of the supplemental contributions drive; to date we’ve received $17,420.00. The annual Holiday Fair, led by Donna Marino, brought in $4,441.00; after expenses, it is expected that the profit will be about $4,000.00.


Vice Moderator
Jeff and Council discussed further his idea to offer a shopping card program. Church members could purchase shopping cards/gift cards to area stores such as LL Bean or Stop and Shop. A percentage of each card’s value would go to the church, to support the cost of ongoing operations. A motion was made and seconded to approve this idea and Council voted in favor of Jeff’s proposal.


Planned Giving Committee
Phil said that the special meeting of the congregation to discuss the Planned Giving team, the process for participating in planned giving, and the 1720 Founders Fund has been postponed until after the holidays.


Outreach Ministries Team
Chris reported that the Youth Group collected 40 frozen turkeys, along with some other food items, for Haven From Hunger in Peabody. Chris also noted the following Christmas-related outreach activities:

The Outreach portion of the Christmas offering will be split between Haven From Hunger and the Fuel Assistance Program of the North Shore Community Action Plan. (This program helps income-eligible people lower the cost of their energy bills.)

Donations from the Christmas cards will benefit City Mission Society in Boston.

Gifts under this year’s Christmas tree will go to residents of the Crombie Street Mission in Salem. They especially need new, cold-weather clothing such as hats, mittens, and sweatshirts.

The Heifer Market will be held on Sunday, December 2


Membership Ministries Team
Chuck reported that the Chowdafest was successful both as a fellowship event and as a fundraiser. Chris Parker made the point that Council supports all fellowship events, even if they lose a bit of money, because each event adds to the life of the church. Chuck highlighted the following events:

The Blue of a Kind concert will be held in the Chapel Saturday, December 8, from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. Tickets cost $10 and will be available at the door.

Twenty three church members will see “Miracle on 34th Street” at the Stoneham Theater on December 15th.

Chuck also talked about the possibility of future fellowship events such as a cruise on the Essex River.


Linda reported that the Diaconate is seeking a new team member. They are also seeking someone to be responsible for flowers during the Christmas and Easter holidays.

Mark Meehl and Carrie Pericola are working on plans for the 2008 ONA (Open and Affirming) Film Festival and related discussions. Mark and Carrie have requested that the church consider adding a rainbow symbol to the sign in front of the church, to underscore our commitment to the ONA ideals.

The Diaconate is planning two Candlelight services on Christmas Eve, at 5:00 and 11:00 p.m. Council then discussed ideas for publicizing the holiday services.


Stewardship Ministries Team
Debbie said that the Stewardship campaign will begin in March. Team members are investigating the idea of a Mystery Dinner as the kickoff event.


Finance and Properties Ministries
Phil reported that letters were sent to all church and Tower Day School employees about the offering of the Section 125 Plan.

The snow plowing service that the church has been using is no longer in business. Phil is seeking quotes from potential replacement services. A motion was made and seconded for Phil to proceed with securing a contract with a new company without returning to Council to discuss details. Council voted in favor of Phil’s proposal.

The Lights Out program is scheduled through early April.

Phil is hoping that the church security system can be installed during Tower Day School’s holiday break in December.


Next Meeting
Chris Parker made a motion that the Council meeting scheduled for December 26 be cancelled; this motion was seconded and quickly approved.

The next meeting of Parish Council is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 23, 2008, in the Pastor’s outer office.

Respectfully submitted,
Sandi Watson, recording clerk