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Vestry Minutes for Sept. 19, 2022


St. Matthew’s Vestry Meeting

September 19, 2022, 7 p.m., Via Zoom

Present: Charlie de Kay, Damon Ducet, Penelope Boardman, Karen LaBranche, Molly Purse, Bill Siegfriedt, Steve Steiber, Melissa Warden, Bill Widmer, and Curt Nilsson.



Charlie opened the meeting with a prayer set for vespers for the early evening.


The August 15 minutes were approved with one correction


Melissa asked vestry members to consider the following questions in assessing the following mission projects. What gives you joy? What gives others joy? Are these experiments fulfilling the church’s mission? Are we stretching ourselves? What are we learning?

Assessing Experiments

Refugee One

-This is a small way to tackle a big problem, helping a family of six

-This is what being a Christian is all about

-It brought people in and out of congregation together, reconnecting with the church community

-A new person joined the church after being involved with the project. -Mentors have a tough job and need some support.

Back-of-Church Welcoming Space

-I’m struck by how welcoming the church looks, like a living room.

-Looks tidy.

-Would like to see how we can congregate more there, bring back coffee?

Making the Church Accessible

Damon updated saying that the architect had to withdraw from giving us a proposal. We need an alternative plan.

-We are still too close to the beginning of this project to say much more, glad we’re committed to it.

-We’re ready and willing to help.

- It’s critical if we want to live into mission to really welcome all.

Welcoming Team

-Melissa remarked that when she’s done with her term as warden she wants to continue on this team.

-We should be welcoming on every Sunday; we need help to fulfill this mission.

-People love the goody bags.

-Goody bags currently contain: candle with psalm, mission statement, Forward Day by Day booklet and bookmark. They can handed out to anyone new. There’s also one for kids.

-Put them on coffee tables with a “help yourself” sign

Race Against Hate

-It’s a signature event, a great opportunity for visibility

-Did we gain anything from June’s participation?

New Experiments

Anti-Racism Team

Jennie Woodring and Kristin Johnson on behalf of the Anti-Racism team requested a $1,000 grant (from Trust 3) to become a sponsor of the Mitchell Museum. Jennie explained that the request is tied to the church’s recent land acknowledgment and the need to back up this acknowledgement with action. She explained that the idea of truth telling is essential to be a loving community, and we can’t do that until we learn and raise consciousness. She expressed the importance of strengthening our ties with the museum to educate ourselves and establish relationships.

Karen La Branche asked whether the $1,000 was intended as a one-year commitment and expressed hope that this might become an annual commitment. If so, she asked whether the money could come every year from Trust 3.

Jennie confirmed that the museum is a 501-c3, and Damon mentioned that continuing support could be provided by the interest earned by Trust 3 as a distributable yield.

A vote to provide funding for one year passed.

Pet Blessing Postcard

Ginny Voedisch shared with vestry that several postal routes in Skokie were mailed postcards to the Pet Blessing as an experiment to draw new audiences to St. Matthews.


Financial Update

Co-treasurer Alison Zidek checked in at the 8-month point of the year. She mentioned that a final report will be available for the next vestry meeting. She also mentioned that the finance team is looking for committee members. Charlie commented that a good member need not have accounting or bookkeeping skills but be detail oriented.

Alison shared the following snapshots:

  • Readily available cash was down $54,000.

  • Pledges are down $47,000; PPE funds have been used to supplement lack of pledges but will run out mid 2023.

  • Investments are down $100,000.

  • Accounts payable: $8,000 due for regular bills, $1,000 to credit card

  • Expenses seem to be right on target

Trustee Update

Damon noted a $14,500 downturn in Trust 2 in June, which was already been offset by a gain of $10,000. Trust 3 saw a similar pattern. We are overall doing well currently with $185,000 in Trust 2 and $515,000 in Trust 3.

Oct. 22 Fundraiser Update

Native American catering company Ketapanen Kitchen will provide dinner. Anne Branning and Jennie Woodring have joined Ginny on the planning committee. Charlotte Bishop, Kristin, Melissa, and Terri are coordinating the buy-in party and silent auction components.

Stewardship Update

Steve Steiber reported that thank you notes have been mailed and a new pledge drive will begin in October. Melissa offered that predesigned stewardship campaign material might be a low-cost approach to consider.

Keeping Parishioners Safe Update

Karen and Bill Siegfriedt reported the following based on their research:

  • Fire extinguishers have all been found and all out of date having been last checked in 2019.

  • First aid kit was found in the paper supply room; none in the ushers’ area. Karen is working on updating supplies, including Benadryl and aseptic containers of juice.

  • Getting bids on ADF to be placed in the sacristy with illustrated instructions

  • Exit signs are well situated but burned out bulbs were found in the sanctuary

  • Research and plans are still undergoing for 911 contact and ushers’ roles

  • Determined that fire drills are not needed

  • Will arrange for EPD community affairs officer to come advise

  • Karen noted that cleaning supplies should be placed higher up in storage areas.

Rector’s Report

Charlie reported that the Covid task force is reviewing new protocols. He noted that the Stephen Ministry got a call from a community member seeking assistance, demonstrating that the church is reaching into the community.

We continue to be celebrating community in new ways:

  • Indigenous Peoples Day on Oct. 16

  • Dolly Parton Music on Oct. 23

  • Green Team is working on a quarterly outdoor program of spirituality and creation in an outdoor along with St. Lukes and St. Augustines. Next one is Oct. 30

Charlie asked for prayers for Milly Thompson and Nancy Trimble.

He noted that there has been an uptick of funerals, including a few outside the St. Matthew’s community.

He concluded with news that there is a strong candidate for the open communications position.

Closing Prayer

Charlie closed the meeting with a compline service.

–Submitted by Ginny Voedisch

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