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Vestry minutes - November 2020

Minutes of November 16, 2020 Vestry Meeting

Present: Charlie de Kay, Cynthia Doucet, Kristin Jacobsen, Monique Austin, Penelope Boardman, Susan Cherco, Connie Conley, Steve Steiber, Melissa Warden, Jennie Woodring, Don Churchill (trustee), Tim Patenode (trustee)

Absent: Bob Purse, Dave Turner The meeting was held via WebEx.


Charlie opened the meeting with a prayer.

APPROVED – Vestry approved the October vestry minutes as amended.

A request was made for vestry members to receive financials a few days in advance if possible, in order to review ahead of the meeting.

Spotlight on Service – Penelope

Penelope shared a brief history of The Cradle and her role as adoptive parent and board member. The Cradle was founded in 1923, was instrumental in tracing the cause of an epidemic of infant deaths in 1927 to incorrectly prepared infant formula, and continues to operate with adaptations during the pandemic, placing 44 babies in permanent homes during the last year.

A Celebration of Cultures Gala Recap – Cynthia

The virtual gala earned $12,000 for St. Matthew’s, selling over 80 attendance tickets and 150 raffle tickets. Ninety people contributed financial support through in-kind and cash donations, and auction purchases. No funds from St. Matthew’s budget were used.

Stewardship by the numbers – Steve The stewardship team includes Steve, Penelope, Melissa, and Dave Frederickson. Team members will contact all St. Matthew’s families personally by Zoom (preferred) or phone, with a goal to contact all by Thanksgiving. Pledges can be made through the website; Steve will check the office for pledges that have arrived by mail. Vestry members were reminded to make their own pledges.

Antiracism team - Kristin

Kristin requested topic suggestions for the antiracism team. Suggestions included Bishop Curry’s book, “Love is the Way.”

The team meets tomorrow and will further consider discussing the Traces of the Trade documentary and the diocese’s Pathway to Reconciliation program, among others. Kristin continues to put antiracism tips in the weekly email, and asked for tips from vestry.

For consideration: What is our anti-racism mission? It was suggested St Andrew’s Pentecost be part of the conversation.

2021 Vestry and Trustee positions - Charlie

The nominating committee consists of Charlie, wardens, and outgoing members Monique, Dave, and Susan. Melissa has agreed to be junior warden; Bill Siegfriedt and Penny Whiteside will serve three-year terms. One two-year and one three-year vestry position remain to be filled.

Dustin Vincent will serve as trustee until 2022; Damon Doucet will serve until 2024. Deb Williams has agreed to serve as clerk for a one-year term.

Building use

A letter from Inspire Through Flowers (Christine Costello) was shared, detailing days, times, and space use requested, along with the organization’s commitment to respect the space and COVID restrictions. The all-volunteer organization will likely be unable to contribute financially to St. Matthew’s.

Discussion about whether to allow ITF to use space as requested included a suggestion for a trial period and the possible request of a $250 cleaning deposit due to the messy nature of flower arranging. It was noted that a deposit request might be unrealistic for an all-volunteer group and that it has not been customary for a cleaning deposit to be requested. A cleaning deposit was excluded from the approved motion.

APPROVED – Vestry authorizes St. Matthew’s office staff to extend an updated building agreement to Inspire Through Flowers, beginning with a twelve-week trial period.

Rector's Report – Charlie

A report was emailed to vestry members.

The worship team continues to look for three more members. St. Matthew’s is hosting Thanksgiving for Evanston Episcopal churches. Ministry partners and political leaders will be invited to participate December 6, (2nd advent – lessons and carols). The family Christmas Eve service will be at 4:00 pm, with the late service at 9:00, preceded by music at 8:30. With a 2nd modem installed by Comcast, it is hoped that livestreaming will be ready for the Christmas morning service.

The Diocesan convention will take place online this Friday. All are invited to the Friday night service.

The bishop search electing convention will be December 12. The four candidates are all persons of color. Charlie encouraged vestry members to view the diocesan website to review information about the candidates and to share opinions with our delegates.

A special send-off for Bishop Lee will be December 5. Contributions to a purse are invited.

The diocese of Chicago is creating a legal wall of protection for St Matthew’s and other churches in light of Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy filing amid numerous lawsuits claiming sexual abuse. St. Matthew’s is the charter organization for Troop 912.

Discussion of Healthy Congregations Chapter 4 was tabled due to time constraints.

Parish Business

Trustee Update - Don Churchill, Tim Patenode, Dustin Vincent (absent)

Trust III is earning robustly. Trust II (approximately $195K) interest has been very low; the investment was intended to be short term to allow vestry time to make decisions about its use. Once decided, a portion of the funds could be moved to an account with higher returns and/or moved into Trust III.

The availability of Trust III income available for mission use in 2020 was discussed. Trustees advised waiting a full 12 months from the establishment of the account (April, 2020) before making any commitment to withdraw earned interest for ministries. Consensus of the congregation is required for specific project use. The Trust process functions outside of the operating budget, since the use of Trust III for operating costs is expressly forbidden.

Trustees noted, with regard to the previous month’s motion to authorize a maximum withdrawal of $62K from Trust II during 2021, that withdrawal authorizations are historically time-bounded and amount-specific. With the first vote taken and approved, several specific withdrawal authorizations not exceeding the $62K total could be made throughout the year.

Additionally, vestry members discussed the need for clarity in the portion of Trust II to be named the Fran Tennison Angel Fund, and how to use the rest of her bequest. It was proposed that a motion be introduced at the December meeting, when there is financial information to make a better-informed decision about allocating funds.

There was no executive session, due to the late hour. Cynthia will host an executive session in December.

Charlie closed with a prayer.

Meeting ended 9:46

Submitted by Jennie Woodring

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