Vestry Minutes - June 2021
St. Matthew’s Vestry Meeting
June 21, 2021
The meeting was held via Zoom.
Present: Penelope Boardman, Connie Conley, Charlie de Kay, Damon Doucet, Kristin Jacobsen, Karen LaBranche, Bob Purse, Bill Siegfriedt, Steve Steiber, Melissa Warden, Penny Whiteside, Deborah Williams, Rick Worden, Allison Zidek
Kristin offered a prayer modified from the Book of Common Prayer, as printed in the agenda.
Allison has resigned from the vestry because of her increasing responsibilities in Florida, but she will continue to serve the church as co-treasurer and finance committee member. Damon has agreed to serve as the replacement vestry member until the January 2022 expiration of the 3-year term. Allison was thanked for her service and particularly for having volunteered to serve as a vestry member. Charlie commented on the importance of discerning when change is needed and having the courage make a change.
ACTION: The minutes of the May17, 2021 meeting were approved as amended.
Discussion: Mission passion and dreaming
Melissa described recent work toward discerning how we will live out our mission statement, including a survey and brainstorming/dreaming sessions. The first session was with the leaders of several large ministries, and the second was with parishioners at large. Attendees were asked to rank their top 6 or 7 preferences among the many ideas that were generated; the results are included in the documents distributed for tonight’s meeting. Funds are available from the trust distributable yield to support trial implementation of chosen ideas.
The next step will be an impact and effect exercise that is designed to identify ideas having the potential to produce a high impact with relatively little effort. The identified ideas will be tried, with a goal of learning from conducting the experiment. Melissa described steps in the process: describe the idea; set the goals, timeline, and budget; organize the team; try the experiment; report back. The chosen experiments will be announced to the congregation in September.
The survey and meetings revealed a strong feeling that our building is an underutilized asset. The most highly ranked idea was to open an LGBTeaQ café. Among the points mentioned in the vestry’s discussion were the value of asking potential participants what they want and then partnering with an experienced organization, the importance of a direct connection with people in need, and interest in reviving the prepandemic coffee house events.
Kristin and Melissa described the steps to be undertaken over the summer. Small group meetings will go into the details of making the ideas a success. Many ideas will be taken to the impact-effort stage, where some will drop away and others will build on one another. One significant factor is whether an idea has one or preferably two champions. Vestry members and other parishioners are welcome to contact the wardens with additional ideas.
Mutual ministry review
Rev. Kevin Caruso, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Wheaton, visited the meeting on behalf of the diocese to describe the mutual ministry review process. MMR is a process of reflecting on our shared life in a very structured way. It is a framework for together looking at the leadership of the church. The practice at St. Matthew’s has been to conduct an MMR every year, with the exception of 2020. The rector, wardens, and vestry first reflect separately on their own leadership as well as that of the other two entities. The vestry’s self- and group reflection is facilitated by two vestry members, who then bring the most important matters to a meeting with the rector, wardens, and diocesan facilitator. This final meeting will take place before the end of the year and preferably before Advent.
Bill and Steve volunteered to be the vestry facilitators, and Penelope B. volunteered to be the standby. Kristin will send the MMR documents to all vestry members.
Grand reopening celebration
The reopening of the building for public worship services will be on Sunday, September 12. This date is earlier than St. Matthew’s Day, which is on September 26. September 12 also will be the first date for a livestreamed service. Among the ideas were a party on the lawn and closed street, a large banner to announce the reopening and celebration, a liturgical piece to welcome people back into the church, and joyful music. The brainstorming will continue at a subsequent meeting.
Tools for Mission: Parish Business
Welcoming: Counting and reaching out at the service
Steve noted that attendance at the Zoom morning prayer service has fallen off since the resumption of in-person Eucharist services on the lawn.
The first beach service of the summer will be held June 27 at 9 am, with an online service at 11 am. In the absence of a beach concierge, the set-up for the beach service will be simplified.
Conditions for return to church
The diocese has recommended that we refrain from offering fresh bread and wine from a chalice at the Eucharist. We will continue to use wafers and distribute the wine in compostable minicups. In other respects the conditions for returning to the building are up to the community. The task force has updated the return-to-church document. The primary request is for masks to be worn inside the building, although masks are optional outdoors. Maintaining a 6-foot distance continues to be requested.
Rector’s report highlights
Since the Rector’s report was written, Lectio Divino has been suspended until fall.
Charlie asked for the vestry’s thoughts on installing a sign outside the building to acknowledge Pride Month. A small sticker in the marquee sign has been suggested. There was consensus that this should be done, with discussion of adding a larger outside sign and/or an inclusive marquee message deferred until a later meeting.
The musicians have asked to move the choir practice room to the second-floor room opposite the north stairs. The purpose is to avoid the mold issues in the current basement location. Moving 5 or 6 pianos will be required. The grand piano Penelope B. recently donated will be installed in the church, and the piano presently in that location (donated by Karen McKay) will be moved to the new choir room. The vestry agreed to the request to move the choir practice room and pianos.
Charlie closed the meeting with a litany from The Naked Now by Richard Rohr.
The executive session was deferred. The meeting adjourned at 9:12 pm.
Submitted by Deborah Williams