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Vestry Minutes-June 20, 2022


St. Matthew’s Vestry Meeting

June 20, 2022, 7 p.m.

The meeting was held via Zoom.

Present: Charlie de Kay, Damon Doucet, Karen LaBranche, Molly Purse, Bill Siegfriedt, Steve Steiber, Melissa Warden, Bill Widmer, Penny Whiteside, Deborah Williams and Curt Nilsson



Charlie read a selection from Prayers from A Planetary Pilgrim. He then engaged vestry members in a round robin, in which each person made a specific prayer.


The minutes of the May 16, 2022, meeting were approved.


Evanston Interfaith Clergy Leader’s Proposal to Donate to Evanston Reparations Community Fund

As a member of the Evanston Interfaith Action, Kristin Jacobsen made the group aware of the organization's effort to challenge area congregations to contribute to the Evanston Reparations Community Fund. She explained that their two-part proposal basically asks us to “put our money where our mouth is” by supporting the reparations project and to raise consciousness about the issue. Kristin asked that the vestry draw upon mission-directed funds to contribute between $1,000 and 5,000 to the reparations fund.

A keenly interested vestry engaged in a lively discussion that included questions about the committee stakeholders, how the reparations committee differed from the city’s cannabis sales tax-supported reparations fund, what was the oversight on fund-supported projects and whether our money might be spent closer to home in support of St. Andrews current flooding expenses.

Karin and others explained that the reparations committee stakeholders are made of African Americans from the community. The fund created by the Evanston Community Foundation (ECF) to augment the city’s efforts is supported by non-profits, religious and community groups and individuals. The community reparations fund would begin distributing money to educational opportunities, events and other efforts beyond the city’s funding scope of real estate after the fund had reached $1 million. Many attested to the high caliber of the members serving on the ECF board and reparations committee.

While support of the ask, the validity of the effort and the importance of demonstrating support was unanimous, several raised concerns about tracking where and how the fund money would be spent. Others felt given our own financial challenges that a smaller donation would be more prudent. A motion to donate $1,000 was voted on and rejected in split vote overridden by Charlie. A second motion to donate $3,000 was passed with 7 yea and 2 nay votes.

The issue of support for St. Andrews was tabled for another discussion.

Race Against Hate Reflection

Deb Williams noted it was a wonderful, harmonious, congenial morning. Melissa Warden added that it was nice to be among so many people showing support for the community.

Partnership with Refugee One Reflection

Karen La Branche noted that the set-up of Maua’s and her daughters’ apartment engaged people from other congregations and was accomplished in a couple of hours. Damon Doucet added that the family's computer and TV had been set up thanks to Francis Lynch and the hotspots provided by St. Andrews. Sister Bonnie donated Swahili/English books that were a big hit with the family. And Fr. Emeke, Terri Morrison and Roberta Buchanan had taken the family on its first shopping trip.

Commenting on the airport reception, Charlie mused that it was unusual to think of an airport terminal being such holy space. Ginny added that it was so special the way the family turned from greeting family members already living in Chicago to welcoming the reception group as much as we welcomed them.

Add-On to Agenda

Damon put the spotlight on Karen, asking the vestry to commend her in suggesting the church buy AED (heart defibrillator) for emergencies. He will come back to the vestry with a proposal.

Welcoming Research

Tabled for next meeting


Finance Team Update

Allison Zidek went over the balance sheet. She noted that we are using some cash, most of which was planned. There is currently $60,000 in cash accounts, compared to $138,000 last year. A good portion of the discrepancy is attributable to the deficit from last year and the fact that we’ve paid for things that should have come out of trust. For example, the $2,500 that went to the Race against Hate that wasn’t budgeted could be transferred from trust when appropriate.

Other highlights of the report:

-Payables are down and pre-paid pledges are down from last year.

-Long-term payable PPE loans forgiven.

-Open-plate contributions are back on the spreadsheet.

-Building use is up

-Expenses are on target, except for liturgical expenses that are $8,000 over budget

In a nutshell, income is right on, and, although expenses are a little over, we’re pretty close to where we projected.

Rector’s Report

Charlie noted that regarding Terri’s letter of agreement the bishop added a line item of $300 for continuing education. Karen motioned to up that amount to $500, which passed unanimously.

With regard to Julie’s position, Charlie suggested that it be reimagined as two positions: a director of parish communications and a parish administrator. The communications function would focus on the bulletin as well as beefing up communications through the website, social media, signage, banners and newsletter. The office administrator would engage in purchasing and database management. Looking for part-time positions 12-15 hours for office assistant and 15-20 for communications person. All agreed that the positions should pay more, around $20 to 22 and hour.

July Vestry Meeting Reminder

Melissa reminded the members that the next meeting would be in person at her home. Directions and information to follow.

Closing Prayer

Charlie closed the meeting with a Steven Shakespeare Collect.

–Submitted by Ginny Voedisch

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