Parish Council Minutes

February 24, 2009


Attendees: Rev. Dennis Bailey; Chris Parker, Mary Ann Parker, Jeff Law, Barbara Langill (briefly), Chuck Cotting, Linda Ladd, Perry Hayden, Sandi Watson, and Barbara Arsnow. The meeting opened at 7:37 p.m. with a meditation by Rev. Bailey.

Minutes for the prior meeting were approved.

Pastor’s Report: Ernie Becker has been transferred to hospice care. Ernestine MacDonald died last Thursday. There will be a family committal service. There will also be a memorial service at the Church.

Dennis has been working with Rick Lowe and Chuck Cotting regarding the acquisition of a new stove. Rick is in the restaurant business and will look at the possibility of getting us a good used stove. Another person said that they could remove the old stove for free (would save the Church ~ $450). Dennis has been pursuing money from the Memorial Funds to go toward the cost of the stove.

Upcoming events: 3/22 – Confirmation, 3/29 – Baptism of Hazel Louise Pericola.

Dennis, Dwight, Phil, Chris, and Jeff Law will meet in the coming weeks to review the budget for the coming year.

The Bible Study group is going well. There was a recent discussion (including research by one of the attendees) about the use of “trespasses”, “debts”, or “sins” in the Lord’s Prayer. The word chosen depends on interpretation, translations, etc.

Vice Moderator: Jeff Law talked about the list of vacant positions:

Treasurer: Dwight was unable to attend the meeting but he did send an e-mail. Pledges are under-running the Target based on people who had pledged previously but have not pledged this year.

Chris Parker noted that a very preliminary estimate for next year’s budget indicates a need for pledges of approximately $277K. Discussion then ensued. The shared view of Council was that in these difficult current financial conditions, we need to trim next year’s budget now, to a level, which will permit the Stewardship Committee to kick off its 2009-2010 Campaign at the auction on March 21st, with a stated Goal as close to last year’s target as possible. Chris, Phil, Dwight, Dennis, and Jeff Law will meet in the coming weeks to refine the budget estimate, with this goal in mind.

Finance Ministries: Phil Johnson was unable to attend the meeting, but via Chris Parker we understand that T-Mobile is going to the Town for approvals in March. If everything goes as expected with the Town, construction will start soon.

The Shopping Card Program has netted the Church $1890 so far. Sandi Watson and Debbie Cotting will make some announcements in Church on Sunday to increases awareness of the program – reminding people that this is a year-round program and generates money for the Church without any additional out-of-pocket spending by the congregation.

Christian Education and Youth Ministries: Barbara Langill stopped-in. It looks like we made approximately $400 from the pancake dinner tonight. Fourteen high school youth will be attending the Mission Trip.

Stewardship: MaryAnn has drafted a letter to go out next week to announce the kick-off of the Stewardship Campaign. The theme of this year’s campaign is “Join Hands, Continue the Journey”. At the Auction (on March 21) the campaign will officially kick-off and packets will be distributed. There will be cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, dinner, a silent auction, and a live auction. There will be a preview folder of items to be auctioned. The silent auction will close right after dinner, and the live auction will occur during coffee and dessert. The Stewardship Committee will be contacting members of the congregation regarding the donation of items for the auction. Already there are some amazing items !! Dinner will be a free-will offering.

The Supplemental Pledge drive has raised $13,840.

Outreach: Barbara Arsnow reported that the Outreach team is waiting for some additional detail on this year’s budget before making decisions on additional spending. If the available funds are less than expected, the desire would be to continue to support the groups we have traditionally supported, but we may have to cut contributions for each by a bit.

The funds from the September ’08 golf outing will likely be used for Bread & Roses, but we understand that some direct donations recently have been made to Bread & Roses, so we may re-direct some funds elsewhere.

Barbara also spoke about discussions among the Outreach team on environmental issues, including energy use and conservation by our Church itself. Barbara mentioned an conference in Worcester being sponsored by the UCC entitled “Bane and Blessing: Meetinghouse as an Asset”. Barbara will contact Phil Johnson about the meeting and whether someone from the Church can attend.

Membership Ministries: There was no Membership meeting in February. The Wine Tasting was very well attended with lively conversation and great hors d’oeuvres. A Trivia evening is being planned (date TBD) with a light meal and prizes. Jason Cotting will leading the trivia program. There is discussion of an outing to the Stoneham Theater to see Judy Garland, with dinner afterward at Melissa’s Main Street Bistro (as per established tradition).

Education Ministries: Planning for the summer Bible School is underway, as is planning for breakfast on Easter (between the “Almost Sunrise” Service and the 10:00 Service).

Diaconate: Ash Wednesday (tomorrow) will be a Renewal of Baptism Service in the chapel. For Communion Sunday on March 1, the rest of the Confirmands will help with Communion set-up to learn about all of the mysteries of the Communion service. The Diaconate will read the Confirmand’s papers on March 15, Confirmation is on March 22, and the Baptism of Hazel Louise Pericola is on March 29. A Cantata will be held on Palm Sunday (April 5), Maundy Thursday is April 9, and Easter is April 12. A Favorite Hymn service is being planned for later in April.

Linda also noted that – as voted previously - the framed poem from the Fireside Room titled “The Songbirds” was returned to the family of Susan Wilkinson at their request.

Next Meeting: The next meeting of Parish Council is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. on March 25, in the Pastor’s outer office. Meditation by Peggy Batchelder (or Outreach rep).

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