• St. Matthew's Evanston

Vestry Minutes - February, 2021

MINUTES St. Matthew’s Vestry Meeting February 15, 2021 The meeting was held via Zoom. Present: Penelope Boardman, Connie Conley, Charlie de Kay, Kristin Jacobsen, Karen LaBranche, Chris Motogawa, Bob Purse, Bill Siegfried, Steve Steiber, Melissa Warden, Penny Whiteside, Deborah Williams, Rick Worden, Allison Zidek Absent: None

Prelude Charlie invited each of us to hold in our hearts someone who is in particular need. All prayed together a prayer for the vestry meeting. APPROVED: The minutes of January 18, 2021, meeting were approved as submitted.

Parish Business: Insurance Chris outlined the cost of the parish’s property and casualty insurance. Many parameters of the policy are set by the diocese. The premium increased dramatically during the past 3 years because of losses elsewhere within the insurance group but now has stabilized. Chris proposed that the per-occurrence policy deductible be increased by $9,000 in order to reduce the premium by $3,451 per calendar year. Steve stated that any potential loss resulting from this change could be handled through fundraising by the stewardship team. Kristin and Penelope noted that the Frances Tennison Angel Fund was not restricted by Fran or her family and could be tapped for expenses not covered by the budget. APPROVED: The per-occurrence deductible for the parish property and casualty insurance policy will be increased from $1,000 to $10,000 per calendar year, beginning in 2021.

Mission Discussion Charlie opened a discussion of St. Matthew’s missional identity by referring to the new mission statement as well as Canoeing the Mountains and his belief that the strength of a church is in its mission—ie, what it does to make people’s lives better. His hope for this year is that the vestry and clergy will lead the congregation in developing the meaning of its mission statement and how we can best live it out (Frederick Buechner, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet”). Charlie read an excerpt from Twelve Keys to an Effective Church by Kennon Callahan, which describes mission objectives as specific, concrete, and leading beyond ourselves. Mission provides the energy to be Jesus’ heart and hands in the world. Charlie emphasized we need to narrow our focus.

Points mentioned in the subsequent all-vestry discussion included

  • Our gladness is in helping people

  • Energy coming from the green team, antiracism team, music, and fine arts

  • The Wednesday lunch program

  • The Christmas Child project

  • Antiracism initiatives

  • Programs we can touch and feel, involve our heart and soul, use to form relationships

  • Direct service to people on the economic margins

  • Getting to know people in the community, to be fed as well as to feed

  • Reaching out to the neighborhood

  • Partnering with the YWCA, food bank, Night Ministry for hands-on projects

  • Sponsoring an immigrant family

  • Mentoring precollege students over several years

  • Involving children and families in projects

  • Starting multigenerational programs such as surrogate grandparenthood

  • Making plans that respond to potential recipients’ own needs, such as rebuilding homes

  • Housing and food insecurity are two big needs in Evanston.

Charlie will send the vestry a list of questions to encourage further thought.

Spotlight on Service Will be rescheduled because the featured speaker was not able to attend.

Rector’s Report Highlights The rector’s report was distributed by email before the meeting. Charlie noted that the report was written before the February 13 vestry antiracism workshop, which was a series of first conversations on church leadership through an antiracist lens. St. Matthew’s was applauded during the workshop for its partnership with St. Andrew’s. Vestry members commented that it is important to learn the history of church involvement with racism and to take action toward change.

Parochial Report The annual parochial report was distributed by email before the meeting. The report is a snapshot of the parish at year-end. This year’s questions take into account the impact of the pandemic. It was pointed out that page 8 must be corrected to reflect that the Appalachian Service Project did not take place in 2020. APPROVED: The parochial report was approved for submission as corrected.

Vestry Welcoming

Connie counted Zoom attendance during the first Sunday worship service in February. She identified 48 screens and 67 attendees. Kristin will send instructions to vestry members to use in counting attendees and welcoming new people. Bill has created a checklist of parishioners to help with counting.

Livestreaming Upgrade A proposal to upgrade the existing live streaming system was distributed by email before the meeting. The cost would be $9,992.80 after a trade-in of existing equipment. A parishioner has offered a maximum of $2,500 to defray the cost. Charlie stated that the one-camera system we have now is functional but awkward to adjust to reach different areas of the sanctuary, as is necessary during a worship service. A three-camera system would be more versatile and much easier to use, allowing us to have professional-quality broadcasts. Videos made using a three-camera system can be seen on the Christ Church website. We are committed to providing an online worship experience after the pandemic ends. Kristin stated that Trust III is meant to be used for special projects and that this project would allow us to get out into the community. Trustees told Kristin that the estimated annual yield from Trust III that we could use would be $18,415, but trustees will have a more precise idea of the amount in April. Others commented on the value of live streaming for those who cannot attend a service in person during the pandemic or afterward. It would be necessary to pay attention to the production values of worship services in a new way and to find volunteers to run the system. Mark Crayton has been handling technical aspects of Zoom but would go back to directing the choir when we are in church again. A motion to set up a committee to further investigate was tabled until the March meeting. There is a need to obtain more information and to determine what other churches have done. Chris will attempt to determine how our two expensive Comcast internet services can be consolidated into one. To that end, he has a potential source for obtaining professional equipment at a reduced cost.

The stewardship update was deferred to the March meeting because of time constraints.

Charlie offered a closing prayer.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:05 pm. Submitted by Deborah Williams

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