Heard it at Council: October 2023

By Kate Silfen, Church Historian | October 10, 2023 Council Meeting Report

The October meeting of Council was a sober one due to the recent events in the Middle East. In order to lift everyone’s spirits, the Reverend John Edgerton opened the October Council meeting with a reading of Billy Collin’s quietly powerful poem, “The Country.”

Bill Bulkeley offered a positive update about the Church’s finances. Most departments are spending well below their budgets, and he remains confident that the projected budget deficit will be considerably smaller than he had anticipated at the beginning of the fiscal year. Heat and electricity costs have been lower than expected, and the stock market’s recent recovery has helped our endowment. Given an earlier surplus, the church can sustain deficit spending for some time, but this is not a desirable practice in the long-term. He was also pleased to note that Old South’s pre-school is now thriving.

 Council discussion quickly turned to ministerial staffing in light of Katherine’s Call to the First Parish Church of Manchester-by-the-Sea. John noted that Katherine has been shouldering many responsibilities for a long time. These include First Worship planning, GBIO, planning the small groups, pastoral care, and working with the following committees and Task Forces: Christian Formation, planning the Sunday morning Community Hour, Christian Service & Outreach, Membership, Leadership, the Congregational Care & Support, and the Climate Crisis Task Force. After some discussion of her responsibilities, Council approved a motion to form a task force to assist John Edgerton in determining ministerial staffing plans in light of Katherine’s upcoming departure.

John reported that he has treasured the time he has spent connecting and re-connecting with members of our congregation this past month. Due to the recent horrific events in Palestine and Israel, John has been busy reaching out to colleagues of many faiths—Muslim, Christian, Jewish--in the area.

Ashley Popperson closed our October meeting with a prayer for our nearby neighbors and the people of Israel and Palestine.