• Jennie Webb Woodring

Vestry minutes - September 2020

Minutes of September 21, 2020 Vestry Meeting

Present: Charlie de Kay, Cynthia Doucet, Kristin Jacobsen, Monique Austin, Penelope Boardman, Susan Cherco, Connie Conley, Bob Purse, Steve Steiber, Dave Turner, Melissa Warden, Allison Zidek, Jennie Woodring

Absent: The meeting was held via WebEx.


Charlie opened the meeting by sharing a new recording of the St. Matthew’s choir, accompanied by a video montage.

APPROVED – Vestry approved the July Vestry minutes.


St Matthew’s Mission Statement parish vote – Melissa

A letter highlighting the four finalist mission statements has mailed been to parish members. Charlie will announce the mission statement process next Sunday. There will be two Q&A sessions for the parish, Monday, Sept 28 and Saturday, Oct 3 as an opportunity for anyone in the congregation to ask questions about the mission statement and the committee’s processes. On October 11, there will be a voting box outside St. Matthew’s during the lawn service and in the afternoon on that day. Parishioners will also be encouraged to contact any vestry member with their vote. The vote tally will be brought to the October vestry meeting and will be used as advisory information as the vestry chooses a single mission statement.

Stewardship update – Steve The stewardship campaign will begin in October, led by Steve and Melissa, with Penelope’s help. St. Matthew’s still engages in outreach to support the larger community, and thus expenses have not been reduced during this time of COVID-19. People will be asked to consider what they are called to do. The campaign would like to involve all parishioners, regardless of means – asking for contributions of talents and gifts as well as financial commitments. The campaign will reach out via Zoom, email, or other means. The committee has the objective of listening, in order to help parishioners in need as well as helping St. Matthew’s. The campaign will also elevate planned giving.

A Celebration of Cultures gala– Cynthia

The Gala will be on Zoom, October 30, 7:00-9:00 pm, led by Cynthia and Susan Turner with help from Ann Searles and Charlie. Ticket cost is $25, with additional options to purchase food directly especially for the gala. There will be auction items and buy-ins.

Plans include: Surveys (e.g., heritage), asking people to learn the word “blessings” in their heritage language, music, dance, St Andrew’s Pentecost recipe presentation, live auction, silent auction, raffle, outright donations. Chicago Detours will provide a buy-in virtual tour of Evanston in February.

Cynthia asked for assistance for stewards for a number of jobs, including food steward, buy-ins, auction/raffle, event software, finance, agenda item stewards (e.g., music, dance), sponsorships (e.g., event software, food, subsidy, wine for wine pull).

Rector's report – Charlie

COVID – there has been little interest for indoor gathering, but the service on the lawn has been successful.

Charlie invited interested vestry members to discuss being creative with how we worship – how to make liturgy more relevant/accessible for our congregation.

St. Matthew's Day celebration (September 27) will include discussion about the mission to which we are called. After a mission statement is chosen, we will take discernment one step further, to choose a community to serve. Charlie invited vestry members to facilitate breakout rooms for discussion this coming Sunday following the 10:30 service.

Livestreaming effort has run into a snag, as it is not possible to run a cable from the office to the sanctuary. Installation of a separate modem will be required, which will include $200+ monthly billing. We have created an audience for livestreaming, even when we are back in church. St. Matthew’s hasn’t looked at alternative services to Xfinity for some time. It was suggested St. Matthew’s shop around for internet service.

St. Andrew’s Pentecost will not join us for St. Matthew’s Day this year, but we hope to join with them between now and November 22.

"Spotlight on Service" idea – Cynthia

Vestry members were asked to consider names of parishioners who are doing good things, to highlight at Vestry meetings and in wider parish communications on a regular basis. Vestry would Invite people on occasion to a vestry meeting, as a way of holding people up as models of work that people can do in the community as well as recognizing service of congregation members. Penelope will highlight her work at The Cradle to launch this in November.

Parish Business

Music leader appreciation/compensation/honorarium – Charlie

Mark and James are paid for 9 months of work over 12 months, but this year they have worked throughout the summer, including attending weekly staff meetings. Charlie asked vestry if they would be willing to recognize the additional time they have worked with added compensation. Charlie offered that they should take time off as they are able.

Discussion with finance committee was proposed, with a suggestion to give them 1/3 more than regular pay, to account for their 12 months’ work. Allison (treasurer) said we would need fundraising or cuts elsewhere to acquire the funds to pay them more.

Other suggestions included having someone fill in for them for some Sundays, though it was acknowledged that they would likely rather be compensated than have the time off. Creative means may need to be employed in order to pay them extra money.

Finance update – Allison

We are in a tight financial situation. We have $68,000 on hand, with $61,000 having come from the PPP loan. We budgeted for $20,000 for the gala before COVID-19 necessitated holding the gala online. Pledges historically go up in December, but this is a difficult year to predict.

There was discussion about using the Trust to make up the deficit in this extraordinary year. We need to be self-sustaining and not use Trust funding on a regular basis. If the gala doesn’t bring in historical amounts, would that justify dipping into the trust? Charlie reminded the vestry that St. Matthew’s has a history of tapping the trust consistently over time - since at least the 60’s -and that it has been living beyond its means for a long time. More recently, 2012 was a year of austerity and we lived within our means. We subsequently intentionally over-extended by hiring an associate rector, with the goal of being self-sustaining by 2020. As vestry and trustees can decide how to structure Tennison bequest, Penelope’s Trust committee will update their thoughts how to use the trust for emergencies as well as honoring Fran Tennison.

Pledges are doing well, but there has been no open plate. We are currently about $11,000 behind projections for August. It was noted that we need to encourage people pay their pledges and give to the gala.

No executive session.

The meeting ended at 9:21

Submitted by Jennie Woodring

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