Vestry minutes - April 2020
Minutes of April 20, 2020 Vestry Meeting
Present: Charlie de Kay, Cynthia Doucet, Kristin Jacobsen Monique Austin, Penelope Boardman, Susan Cherco, Connie Conley, Bob Purse, Steve Steiber, Melissa Warden, Allison Zidek, Jennie Woodring (clerk)
Absent: Dave Turner
The meeting was held via WebEx.
Charlie opened the meeting at 7:36 by inviting each person to reflect on how they are doing during this time of the COVID-19 stay at home order, and with a prayer.
APPROVED - The minutes from the January and March meetings were APPROVED as corrected.
Canoeing the Mountains (CtM) Now: update (Melissa)
A summary handout was presented.
Connie, Steve, Cynthia, Kristin, Charlie, Damon Doucet, Corky Siegfriedt, and Ann Searles have met four times, with plans to meet six more times, to discern where St. Matthew’s energy and passion lie. The team will dive deeper into cottage meeting notes, and are doing a few more interviews of some newcomers and veterans who didn’t attend a cottage meeting, to get more voices into the mix. The team will check in with vestry monthly to get feedback. The team aims to come up with one or two mission statements to propose to the congregation.
It was noted that CtM challenges congregations to experiment with changes. The current COVID-19 situation has necessitated adaptation and change – perhaps a blessing.
Resource: Local assistance options (Susan)
It was determined that the best way to help the rector respond to people who approach him for assistance is to provide a list of existing resources/public agencies. If there a desperate need, people should call 311, where they can be directed to the appropriate assistance.
Charlie noted there is an online resource in development by others, to which people could be directed. It was decided that a list of agencies and contact information should be compiled to provide to people who come looking for assistance – on paper and/or on our website. It was also suggested that St. Matthew’s might take on a project with a specific organization to help people.
Rector's report and reflections (Charlie)
Charlie requested two-minute videos about life right now in the time of COVID-19. He also asked for input via email regarding any desire for worship beyond Sunday morning, or for the creation of additional groups (e.g., book group).
Charlie offered thanks to everyone who has been participating in online worship, which is adjusting week-by-week, most recently including a virtual coffee hour/chat time after the service. Online service has allowed people, including friends and family, to attend from far away. He anticipates using live streaming into the future, beyond COVID-19 adjustments.
We have been making COVID-19 adaptations: Easter Sunday chalk messages outside the church building, flower art for Easter Sunday, online evening prayer, the phone tree, rector’s daily meditations.
Bishop Lee was originally scheduled to preach at St. Matthew’s on May 3. With vestry agreement, Charlie will ask the bishop if he will still preach online, and if he would meet virtually (perhaps during coffee hour) with the vestry.
Clergy are currently restricted by the diocese from being in church to conduct online services. There is to be no eucharist, and no funerals, except short graveside services with limited attendees. A wedding scheduled for July 18 will take place if allowed by that time.
Wednesday lunch has been suspended for April. On April 1, lunches and $25 gift cards were distributed, with hopes that lunches will resume as usual on May 6.
The planned giving team has been postponed but will reboot.
Kristin and Charlie meet every two weeks to plan for Vacation Bible Camp in early August, though it may not take place in person. Whether or not VBC will take place at all is dependent upon COVID-19 developments. St. Luke’s may be interested is participating.
The diocese and deanery are holding regular meetings. St. Matthew’s has been able to include Mark and James weekly at staff meetings, which wasn’t possible for in-person meetings during normal times.
Asked about whether the diocese is engaging in long term planning (e.g., how to accommodate distancing once in-person church resumes), Charlie responded that the current guidance from the diocese is for the immediate term. The diocese is also doing careful discernment for longer-term planning, and we will communicate to the congregation as diocesan recommendations become available.
Phone tree progress and thanks (Kristin)
Kristin offered thanks to the 34 phone tree callers, who are contacting 164 households, including paid choir members and families who attended Vacation Bible Camp last summer.
While weekly calls may be excessive for some callers or recipients, many people have welcomed and benefited from the calls. It was decided to continue the calling tree. Kristin will give the go-ahead to people to keep calling or to hand names back in if they can’t keep calling.
Buildings & Grounds: Congratulations and welcome to Jorge (George) Lopez on his acceptance of the Handyman position! He started work April 20, and completed some small projects.
Finance update: (Allison)
Allison shared the financial sheets online.
Income (particularly pledge payments) are down 20K from last year. Jeff Haden is collecting checks from church every other week. More people are making contributions online.
Expenses are down 27K, particularly due to the absence of an assistant rector, though the parish administrator’s hours have increased since last year.
The endowment is down considerably for 1st Q. While cash on hand (66K) is down from 98K last year, the amount is sufficient.
Allison presented information about the Payroll Protection Plan small business loans offered by the US Government as support during the COVID-19 crisis. While the first-round loans have been expended, another round is expected soon. The vestry discussed the possibility of applying for a loan, which would provide several weeks of payroll, and would be converted to a grant if all requirements for spending are met. The Diocese is encouraging congregations to apply. Many of the vestry indicated their approval, but no vote was taken. If an application is submitted, Allison will prepare the paperwork and get vestry approval before final submission.
A reminder will be sent to the congregation encouraging them to make timely pledges.
Executive session – a brief executive session was held.
The meeting concluded at 9:19
APPROVED - During the week following the meeting (due to the time-sensitive nature of approval), a vote was taken by email, and the vestry APPROVED submitting an application for a Payroll Protection Program small business loan.
Submitted by Jennie Woodring