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Vestry Minutes-May 16, 2022


St. Matthew’s Vestry Meeting

May 16, 2022, 7 p.m.

The meeting was held via Zoom.

Present: Penelope Boardman, Charlie de Kay, Damon Ducet, Molly Purse, Bill Siegfriedt, Steve Steiber, Melissa Warden, Deborah Williams and Curt Nilsson



Charlie read collects from the Book of Common Prayer in response to the hatred revealed at Haven Middle School in Evanston and in Buffalo, NY followed by a Gospel reading from John. He prefaced the reading with a series of questions for contemplation posited by theologian Rudolf Bultmann: “What is this love, which is directed at Jesus? Can the disciples still love him when he has gone? Can the next generation love him, without having had a personal relationship with him?”


The minutes of the April 18, 2022, meeting were approved.


Accessibility Options Update

Damon Doucet and Bill Siegfriedt will meet next Monday with architect Stuart Shayman to go over Phase 1 (improve access to sanctuary and first-floor facilities). Shayman will develop a plan and provide a quote. Team will seek another opinion to provide the same.

Yield from Trust III for St. Matthews

Damon explained for newcomers that Trust III is for the mission of the church. We use a percentage of what it yields between the calendar year April to April toward approved mission grant proposals. . Yield should be similar to last year’s gains, approximately $13,000.

St. Andrews Pentecost had a terrible flood that destroyed their basement hall and kitchen. Steve Steiber asked whether we might offer our church facilities in any way to help out. Vestry discussed whether we could offer the sanctuary to their congregation for services following our Sunday service. A motion was made to offer St. Andrews Pentecost our church, which was seconded and passed. Charlie will discuss the offer in an upcoming conversation with Deacon Gaede.

Mission Experiments: Updates

RefugeeOne and St. Andrew’s Pentecost Partnership: Welcoming a Refugee Family

Penelope Boardman reported that St. Matthews is fourth or fifth in line for a refugee family match to be announced sometime mid-June. As many household items have been gathered as possible in advance of knowing the particular makeup of the matched family. The Moving Day team is ready and waiting and has enlisted the services of a company owned by a former refugee. Core Mentor team members have received training and completed background checks. Communications team is standing by for strategized announcements once we know more about the matched family.

Welcoming Team: Goody Bags and Fellowship Hour

Molly Purse reported that Penny Whiteside facilitated the distribution of carnations on Mother’s Day, which were passed out at the 8:00 and 10:30 services.

Welcoming/Back of the Church

Deborah Williams was pleased to announce that the removal and reversal of pews initially planned for August has already begun, with the south side of the church now displaying a more open feel thanks to the changes. The next step would be to find some appropriate furnishings, initially with “found” items in the church until we can find someone with a background in interior design who can advise us on the purchase of more harmonious furniture. Deborah noted how the vases of Mother’s Day carnations brought the space alive and suggested that we provide plants and cut flowers on a continuing basis.

Steve is in the process of doing user research, having already conducted five 15- to 20-minute interviews with people who haven’t been to our church recently or at all. A common observation was that the church appeared “dark and cluttered.” Steve is still looking for participants.

Ginny Voedisch updated the vestry that she and Deborah had arrived at a possible configuration of the baptistry alcove that would establish a spiritual space for use of the votive altar, baptismal font and kneeler for healing. She will begin researching altar options with appropriate dimensions. Melissa Warden suggested that a flyer outlining the historical use and purpose of the various practices available be included in the newcomer “goody” bag.

Race Against Hate: Participate in the Walk/Run on June 19

Charlie represented the AntiRacism Team’s race planning efforts. He confirmed that our name will appear on T-shirts and the focus now is to get people to pre-register for the race. Mass on the Grass will take place on the west side of Long Field on Sunday morning at 6:45 a.m. before the start of the 10K race at 7:30 a.m.. This year, four Evanston churches have organized Episcopalians against Hate, with 16 members participating so far. We have a goal of $8,000 to raise.


Volunteers-Needed Discussion

Melissa opened up the discussion by noting that some teams need some more help. Recognizing that vestry members are already engaged in various projects, she explained that these needs present opportunities to let the congregation know that there are many ministries that could benefit from their time and energy.

Tech team

Steve noted that Diane Senechal who has led the charge on the livestreaming and continues to monitor the equipment every Sunday deserves a break. He suggested that more frequent participation of volunteers on a shorter rotation might ramp up familiarization of the equipment and processes. He queried whether there might be some ETHS students who could help out.


Steve continues to be a mainstay of this effort and would welcome help.

Fall Fundraiser

Melissa cautioned that fall would soon be upon us and it’s not too early to think about a theme and format. She surveyed the vestry as to whether they thought there was more interest for an indoor or outdoor fundraiser. The consensus was for an outdoor party in late September/early October with a back-up option for inclement weather. Melissa encouraged all to think about ideas.

Finance Team

No one was able to make the evening’s meeting.

July Vestry Meeting at Melissa’s

Melissa proposed having an outdoor in-person vestry meeting at her home in July or August, which was heartily endorsed by the entire vestry.

Rector’s Report

As an addition to the rector’s report, Charlie mentioned that the energy flowing from the newly energized cross-parish partnerships. Previous efforts at group planning was stifled by individual building projects underway at a few of the member churches. Since the pandemic, there is a new commitment to working together and not a trace of competition between the churches. He noted how confirmation classes have multi-church participation and the fact that St. Augustine’s in Wilmette will join in the multi-church service in late June.

St. Andrews Recovery Update

Damon invited Cynthia Doucet to inform the vestry of a last-minute update from Marta Humphreys from St. Andrews. Cynthia reported that two out of three levels of the church were damaged from backed-up sewer water. The entire building is off limits and damage estimates are between $8,000 and $12,000. The diocese is providing assistance. Marta is requesting the name of a competent plumbing company that will understand their funding limitations. Penelope offered the name of a plumber she works with. Bill S. will stop by St. Andrews to consult with Marta and offer his engineering expertise. Melissa informed Cynthia that the vestry had just voted to give St. Andrews access to St. Matthews to conduct weekly church services.

Closing Prayer

Charlie closed the meeting with a Steven Shakespeare Collect.

–Submitted by Ginny Voedisch

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