Parish Council Minutes

January 23, 2008


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

The meeting opened at 7:00 p.m. with a meditation by Chuck Cotting. Minutes from the previous meeting on November 28, 2007 were approved.


Pastor’s Report

Reverend Bailey said that the Confirmation Class continues to go well. He noted, however, that he had recently sent a letter to any confirmands who had missed a class, reminding them that no more than two classes can be missed and offering each the opportunity to make up the missed class(es). Dennis noted that confirmation is about participating in a community of faith. Rev. Bailey then talked about baptism policies. In the discussion that followed, he urged anyone with questions about any aspect of church life to approach him directly; Council agreed that direct communication is important to our church. Rev. Bailey will be working on staff evaluations, starting with finding/developing a tool for completing them.

Dennis expressed appreciation for the house warming gifts the congregation gave to him in December.


Christian Education and Youth Ministries

Barbara said that in December the High School Youth Group served at My Brothers Table. In January, they collected 400 pair of underwear for Cradles to Crayons, to help children in need of new clothing. The OWL (Our Whole Lives) program for 7th-9th graders has started.

Upcoming events include:

Jill and Barbara completed MACUCC (Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ) training as facilitators for Christian educators.



Dwight presented budget and actual numbers for the fiscal year to date (July through the end of December). At this point, pledge income is tracking close to budget and expenses are tracking as expected, with the exception of money spent on snow plowing.


Financial Secretary

Sue also presented numbers for July through December 2007. The Supplemental Pledge Drive total is currently $19,205.00.


Planned Giving

Phil reported that the Planned Giving Committee will be meeting on January 29 to discuss their upcoming mailing and the information session that will follow.


Outreach Ministries

Chris said that the Outreach portion of the Christmas offering was split between Haven From Hunger and the Fuel Assistance Program of the North Shore Community Action Plan. Gifts collected under the tree went to the Crombie Street Mission in Salem. Donations in lieu of Christmas cards were given to the City Mission Society in Boston. Upcoming outreach opportunities include One Great Hour of Sharing, which starts on February 10, and a food drive led by Local Boy Scouts, to benefit Haven From Hunger.

The Outreach Team will be working with outreach people at St. Paul’s Episcopal church to help support families of people serving in the military.

Outreach will no longer be collecting redeemable bottles and cans and will be looking for alternative ways to provide financial support of the Bread and Roses meal program.

If possible, we will be seeking to increase our support for Our Church’s Wider Mission. And Outreach will use its portion of the Easter offering to support local hunger relief efforts.


Membership Ministries

Chuck reported that about 40 people attended the Blue of a Kind concert and about 25 people saw “Miracle on 34th Street.” Church calendars are still available. Cindy Trayers designed new, red nametags for the deacons. Edie Richard has offered to give a talk about Centre Church history. The Membership Ministries team is developing new welcoming literature and working to update photos on the church web site. The team is also hoping to offer an Essex River Cruise and mystery trips to nearby communities.


Education Ministries

Perry said that the Tower Day Committee set tuition rates for the coming year. Dennis added that a parent of a Tower Day School student has offered to install a transmitter at the church with a range of 300 feet that would make it possible to broadcast messages about Tower on a special radio frequency that parents in line for drop-off/pickup would be able to hear on their car radios.

Phil will be reconvening the group that is exploring the question of offering health insurance to church staff. Perry will work with Barbara and Jill to explore the idea of a Tupperware party to support the youth mission trip.

Dennis also discussed the STARS program (School Threat Assessment and Response), which helps schools prepare for emergencies. Once plans are developed for implementing the program at Tower Day School, we will ask local police and fire officials to review the plans.



Linda reported that about 300 people attended the earlier Christmas Eve service, and about 100 folks attended the later service. Two deacons accompanied the Confirmation Class on their visit to the McDonald Funeral Home. On March 30, deacons will lead the confirmands in a class about communion.

The Ash Wednesday service will be held on February 6.

The ONA (Open and Affirming) Film Festival resumes on Monday, February 11, at 7:00 p.m. and will continue monthly after that, with films shown on the first Tuesday of each month. Linda asked Council to establish the new position of ONA Contact Person. The motion was made, seconded, and approved. Linda then asked Council to name Carrie Pericola as Centre Church’s ONA Contact. The motion was made, seconded, and approved to do so. The ONA Contact Person will work with the Diaconate.

Linda also noted that the church could use a Macintosh computer (G4 or better) to create dvds of the Sunday morning services.


Stewardship Ministries

Debbie said that the new Stewardship campaign will kick off on March 29. Discussion followed about how to close out the Supplemental Pledge Drive.



Chris suggested a church festival on Saturday, May 31st, from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. Activities could include a dunking booth, face painting, cookout, and so on. Council enthusiastically supported this idea.

The next meeting of Parish Council is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 27, 2008, in the Pastor’s outer office.


Respectfully submitted,
Sandi Watson, recording clerk