Heard it at Council: February 2019
February snow, complete with lashing winds and pelting ice, threatened a cancellation of Council’s monthly session on February 12, 2019. But technology stepped in and Council met electronically by conference call with nearly complete attendance, sparing a slippery evening commute to Old South.
Deb Washington thanked everyone for their participation. She read from the poem My Creed by Howard Arnold Walter as a devotion:
Historian Evan Shu, who had provided colorful graphics to describe the “exhibition” design mockups for our 350th Anniversary, enthusiastically described these plans to celebrate and tell Old South’s story. With a timeline of milestones wrapped along the alcove and quotations from George Gordon, among others, the historical theme will continue into the back of the sanctuary where it will receive more modern treatment. A display for the narthex upper walls is still under consideration. The schedule provides for exhibits to be on display by Palm Sunday which is also Patriots Day this year, expected to be a huge day for attendance. He also stated that the Encyclopedia is progressing impressively with around 270 subjects already assigned, with almost two-thirds of these already submitted for review.
Treasurer Bill Bulkeley provided his usual detailed written report and expressed that the year has started in “great shape,” owing a great deal to the “tight rein” maintained by the ministers and staff. A Treasurer’s Review Meeting was recently held and attended by Senior Minister Nancy Taylor, Church Administrator Helen McCrady, accountant and HR manager Linda Van Praet, and Bill. He highlighted the Budget Stabilization Fund (“rainy day fund”), providing support for his recommendation that we draw down the fund which, thankfully, has grown considerably over the years. Perhaps some of the investments could be more aggressive but Bill pointed out the “ingrained fiscal conservatism” that prevails.
Finance Committee Chair Niels Peetz-Larson introduced the 2019 Budget proposal by referring to the detailed analysis he had submitted beforehand. He noted that since, due to market conditions at year-end, the Trustees were not able to make a distribution from the Capital Campaign funds for the dedicated endowments (Micah Mission, Open Door Productions and Teaching Church) the 2019 budget includes $23,500 drawn from the Budget Stabilization Fund to partially fund these initiatives. The Committee was duly praised and the 2019 Budget was adopted unanimously.
Mary Ann Lape, Leadership Chair, brought a Motion to approve the 2019 Leadership Slate as listed in her written materials. It Passed unanimously.
Most of the Board and Committee Reports were submitted electronically beforehand, as encouraged. Chris Bocchiaro, the tireless Operations Committee Chair, marked his final Council meeting by thanking the group who, in turn, warmly expressed a deep affection for his devotion to our sacred physical spaces. Lisa Loveland will take over the chair of the Operations Committee.
Kathy Wade, Stewardship Committee Chair, gave encouraging news regarding the pledge numbers, slightly ahead of last year at this time. Bill Bulkeley lauded the Committee for its “excellent” work, and the praised was repeated by others.
Senior Minister Nancy Taylor used the remaining time to reflect on the recent hospice admission of Eleanor Jensen, our oldest member, whom she praised in a brief retrospective of her time and work in the church over decades. Deb praised those members who had completed their time on Council and were attending for the last time: Karen Hand, Music Committee Chair; Allison Cooley, Membership Committee Chair; Chris Bocchiaro (Operations Chair) and Steve Chong (At Large). Their “thoughtfulness, loyalty and attention to detail” are cherished.
John concluded the session with a prayer of gratitude for the humility and generosity of the assembled and beseeched God to comfort Eleanor in her final days.
Rob Gabler, Clerk