St. Matthew’s Vestry Meeting
September 20, 2021
The meeting was held via Zoom.
Present: Connie Conley, Charlie de Kay, Damon Doucet, Kristin Jacobsen, Karen LaBranche, Bob Purse, Bill Siegfriedt, Steve Steiber, Melissa Warden, Penny Whiteside, Deborah Williams
Absent: Penelope Boardman, Rick Worden
Charlie opened the meeting by reading Matthew 9:9–13, which is the Gospel for St. Matthew’s Day, and inviting the vestry’s responses.
ACTION: The minutes of the August 16, 2021 meeting were approved as submitted.
Mission passion grant application
Melissa outlined the process for applying for funding from the Trust III distributable yield. Applicants will complete the proposal form, and the vestry will act as the funder. It should be feasible for the vestry to review one or two proposals at each meeting. Melissa pointed out that proposals should include a means of gauging success and be multigenerational in nature. Interpretations of the mission statement may vary among the proposals.
Mission passion proposal: Refugees
Cynthia Doucet and Roberta Buchanan spoke on behalf of the St. Matthew’s–St. Andrew’s Pentecost Partnership Team. The team proposes to work with Refugee One, a national refugee organization, to cosponsor a family newly arrived in the United States, probably from Afghanistan. Refugee One will sponsor the family upon arrival, shepherd them through government requirements, and find an apartment for them. The responsibility of St. Matthew’s and St. Andrew’s Pentecost will be to furnish and stock the apartment and help the family create a home. The commitment is envisioned as lasting 6 months, until the family is self-sufficient. Approximately 8 to 10 volunteers will be needed from the two parishes; they must first complete the Refugee One training program. In addition, Cynthia’s Afghan neighbors will be able to help. Refugee One will hold information sessions September 28–29. The family might arrive within a few weeks, depending on processing time. Funding from Trust III will allow the team to focus on helping the refugee family rather than raising funds.
Because of time limitations, the proposal was held until the October vestry meeting.
Land acknowledgement statement
Jennie Woodring spoke on behalf of the Antiracism Team. The team has drafted a statement acknowledging and describing the Native American history of the land presently occupied by St. Matthew’s. The use of the acknowledgement would evolve, but it would begin with inclusion in written communications from the church. The team plans to go beyond words to education and engagement on issues affecting Native Americans.
ACTION: A motion to adopt the land acknowledgement statement and approve its use was made, seconded, and unanimously carried.
Discussion of building tours
Kristin asked for comments from those who participated in one of the informal tours of the building:
· The building is in surprisingly good shape, thanks to the work of past parishioners and building maintenance staff.
· We need to look at the building as if for the first time. The bathrooms need to be classy.
· There is so much space available on the second floor. We need to discuss its use.
· An ad hoc group cleaned out the back of the church before the return-to-church celebration and rearranged furniture to create a welcoming entrance area. Ideas for creating a hospitable space for coffee hour are being considered.
Kristin suggested the creation of a committee to prioritize ideas. The Frances Tenison Angel Fund might be used to cover some costs.
Tools for Mission: Parish Business
Rethinking the Gala
The original plan was to hold an in-person Gala this fall. Charlie asked Charlotte Bishop to chair the committee. The expected support for this effort has failed to materialize, and the emergence of the Delta variant has made it unwise to proceed. A profitable Gala is built into the budget and therefore cannot easily be abandoned. Charlie and Charlotte are attempting to put together a reimagined event that would be both enjoyable and profitable, primarily through purchases of buy-in events. Charlie will send an email to the entire parish asking for volunteers and would like vestry members to be part of the team.
Mutual Ministry Review
Three responses have been received so far to the MMR survey sent to all vestry members. Deadlines need to be set, and the entire MMR process needs to be completed before Advent. Steve and Bill will represent the vestry at an online MMR meeting with the rector, the wardens, and an outside facilitator. All vestry members will have the opportunity to weigh in before the final meeting.
Steve reported that the stewardship campaign will be launched in October with an overall thanks to everyone who participated in last year’s campaign and particular thanks to those who stepped forward to close the budget gap. The campaign kickoff will highlight points of identification with the church. Vestry members will be encouraged to make phone calls to other parishioners.
Finance team update
Cotreasurer Allison Zideck reported on the status of the 2021 budget. Because parishioners have increased their support and we have benefitted from PPE loans, we have a good cash position. Investments also are doing well. The first Paycheck Protection Program loan has been forgiven, and the second loan will be submitted for forgiveness in October. Facility expenditures have been lower than budgeted. As a result the projected 2021 deficit will be reduced to approximately $12,000 from the anticipated $50,000.
The budget for 2022 is very conservative. It includes a 2% cost-of-living adjustment for staff and only half of the usual income related to building use and fundraising. The pledge goal is a minimum of $330,000, with $350,000 actually needed.
Rector’s report highlights
We have received two proposals for replacing the speaker system from the company that installed the livestreaming equipment. Our current system is antiquated and poorly functioning. Under the lower cost proposal new state-of-the-art speakers would be installed. The higher cost proposal includes tuning the speakers to the space to produce clear, crisp sound. The tuning would be useful to people with hearing difficulty. The new system would be suitable for funding from the Frances Tenison Trust.
ACTION: A motion to approve the higher cost proposal, to be paid for with funds from the Frances Tenison Trust, was made, seconded, and unanimously carried.
Return-to-church celebration highlights
Kristin thanked Melissa and vestry volunteers for putting together the lively coffee hour on September 12 with its Taste of Central Street theme.
Masking in church
Melissa reviewed our expectation as well as the requirement of the State of Illinois that everyone will be masked during the 10:30 Sunday service. Readers should remain masked. Ushers should remind people as necessary when they enter the church and offer a mask. Kristin will ask Julie to print a sign for the front door announcing the policy on masks.
Charlie closed the meeting with the collect for St. Matthew’s Day.
The meeting was adjourned at approximately 8:50 pm.
Submitted by Deborah Williams