Parish Council Minutes

November 19, 2008


Attendees: Rev. Dennis Bailey; Chris Parker, Mary Ann Parker, Jeff Law, Barbara Langill, Chuck Cotting, Dwight Decker, Linda Ladd, Perry Hayden, and Phil Johnson. The meeting opened at 7:03 p.m. with a meditation by Chris Parker – a poem titled “Two Surprises”.

Minutes for the prior meeting were approved.

Pastor’s Report: Rev. Bailey reported on the past month’s services: Communion and baptisms on 11/2, Mark Strickland’s induction as Pastor Emeritus on 11/9, and induction of new members on 11/16. It was reported that the luncheon for Mark on 11/9 “broke-even” financially. Several of the new members made note of how “personal” and meaningful the induction service was.

Jack Orrall’s memorial service will be Saturday 11/22 at 10:30am. Volunteers from the church (Deacon’s etc.) are needed to be present during the service to assist the attendees with whatever might be needed.

An Interfaith Thanksgiving Service will be held at Saint Maria Goretti Catholic Church on Sunday 11/23 at 7:00pm.

Reverend Bailey has also been visiting people who are new to, or returning to, Centre Church. Also, the Lynnfield Clergy Association continues to meet on a regular basis.

Dennis is looking for someone to do publicity for the Church, such as getting pictures from Mark’s service (with a small article) into the local papers.

The first confirmation session has been held. There are five confirmands in this class.

It was agreed that we will put ads in the local paper(s) for our Christmas services.

Also, we put an ad from the church into the program for “Thoroughly Modern Millie”.

Vice Moderator: Jeff Law talked about the list of vacant positions: Outreach Ministries Chair – Peggy Batchelder agreed to serve as Outreach Chair if she can get some help – especially covering evening meetings such as Parish Council. Jeff will call a meeting of the Outreach Ministries team where we will gather the team and discuss how we can work forward together. Assistant Treasurer and Recording Clerk positions remain open.

Treasurer: Dwight reviewed the 2008/2009 income and expense numbers through the end of October. There were no substantial changes from last month. Income continues to run below where we would like it to be. We are slightly ahead of last year in total dollars, but slightly behind where we were last year in percentage terms. Tower Day numbers look a bit better than last year.

Financial Secretary: Jim Marshall was unable to attend, but reported through Chris that $1800 (revised to $2100) has been collected through the Supplemental Pledge drive.

Planned Giving: Phil recently attended a seminar about Planned Giving. Phil spoke with the National UCC director for Planned Giving about where Centre Church is in its Planned Giving process. It appears that Centre Church is further along than many churches in that we now have a formal program to promote Planned Giving.

Christian Education and Youth Ministries: Barbara reported on many Sunday School and Youth Group activities:

Membership Ministries: The Shopping Card Program has netted the church $1078 so far. Great stuff !!! A letter was sent to the Tower Day parents to inform them about the Shopping Card Program so that they can purchase gift cards too – if so inclined.

A Motion was made, and passed unanimously: to recognize our appreciation and gratitude for Sandi and Debbie’s considerable efforts in launching the Shopping Card Program. Parish Council will publish an article in Tower Notes to express the church’s gratitude to Sandi and Debbie, and to exhort church members to continue to support this important initiative.

Chuck reported on the luncheon for Mark Strickland on 11/16. The luncheon officially “broke even”. There were many comments from the participants about how wonderful the luncheon was, how delicious the lobster rolls and clam chowder were (Jeff Law wants to commission a tray of baklava for his personal consumption), and what a special and joyous occasion this was for the congregation and for members past and present.

Eight (8) seats remain available for “It’s a Wonderful Life” on December 6 (3:00pm) at the Stoneham Theater. There is a group who will be having dinner after the show at the bistro next door. Others are welcome to join.

Plans are in the works for (potentially): a Trivia Night, a Cake and Pie tasting event, and a wine tasting.

There was also discussion of the cost to replace the stove in the kitchen. The desire is to have a stove with electronic ignition (to avoid the current problem of the pilots going out). The top-level commercial grade model comes with electronic ignition. We are trying to see if the manufacturer can put the electronic ignition in the next model down (the “mid-level” model).

Education Ministries: There was discussion about the need to update the Policy Book for Employees – especially with health insurance now being offered to Tower Day employees. This is something that should be re-drafted annually by Parish Council. Phil Johnson agreed to propose a plan to develop a manual at the January Council meeting.

Tower Day has 116 students – which is up somewhat from last year (the historical peak was 148). The sign out in front of the church yielded several inquiries for next year (for the coming 3-year-old class).

There was also discussion about whether improvements should be made to the playground: removing the asphalt, addressing the window coverings, moving the shed. This could make the school more attractive for parents of prospective students. Grass may not grow in the playground area because of the shade. We should get input from the Tower Day Board about what options would be preferable.

Diaconate: The Diaconate is planning for holiday services. There was a note in the bulletin last week asking for volunteers to light the Advent candles and read Scripture. The response so far has been very good. Pinky Warnock, Marcia Stevens, and Linda will put up wreaths and candles with Tony’s help. Laurel Caputo and crew are arranging Christmas flowers. There was also discussion about the state of the advent wreath. Linda will look at it.

Mark Strickland’s name has been added to the bulletin and to Tower Notes, but it needs to be added to the website version of Tower Notes.

Stewardship: The first fundraiser breakfast is coming up: November 23, 8am-9:45am in the Fireside Room. The price will be $5 for continental breakfast (juice, coffee, bagels, muffins). After church there will be coffee only.

The next fundraiser after that is a luncheon on December 7. There was discussion about having lobster rolls at this event – because they were so well received at Mark Strickland’s luncheon.

There will probably be another fundraising breakfast in January – hosted by Mike Nickerson and Chris Gehret. The date has not been set.

The letter for the Supplemental Pledge drive has been sent to the congregation. MaryAnn will say something about the need for Supplemental Pledges in church this coming Sunday as well.

Stewardship will meet once more during the week of December 7 to look at the status of pledge units and supplemental pledges. That will help to guide the team as they put in place plans for a dinner/dance and an auction early next year.

Finance Ministries: National Grid came to look at the gas-fired furnaces. There are 7 gas-fired units in the new section of the church and 2 oil boilers and a furnace in old part of building. There are two paired furnaces which heat the sanctuary area…and one of those units is beyond repair. The cost would be $7200 to replace the pair. To replace all 7 gas furnaces (installed ~1980, rusting, old technology) would be approximately $25,000. National Grid also looked at the two oil furnaces which date back 30 plus years. We have asked for a proposal to replace those with gas fired units. Finance Ministries will continue to investigate our options and bring a recommendation to Parish Council for consideration.

T-Mobile is very interested in putting a transmitter in the steeple. A motion was made and accepted authorizing Phil Johnson to pursue the matter with T-Mobile and to negotiate any potential agreement. Chris Parker would sign any resulting agreement as Moderator.

Next Meeting: The next meeting of Parish Council is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 28, 2009, in the Pastor’s outer office. Mediation by MaryAnn Parker.

Respectfully submitted,
Jeffrey Law, Vice Moderator (for Sandi Watson, Recording Clerk)