Church Council Meeting Minutes; March 25, 2018

Called to order 11:35 a.m. by Chairman Jon Carter

Roll Call

Chairman Jon Carter, Alan Kelly from the Trustees, Financial Secretary Sara Rhoades, Vice Chairwoman Mary Jane Rowan, Member-at-Large Laurie Smith, Treasurer Rick Leonard, Sarah Brewer from the Religious Education Committee, Amy Richards from the Deacons, Pastor Brian Gruhn, Clerk Beth LaMontagne Hall

Guest Jeff Pride from the Investment Committee


Brian asked the group to name things missing from our lives - is there a virtue that you see missing from your life or the world. Listening, trust, compassion, collaboration, humility, tolerance, were some named. Pastor Brian asked members to look for ways to allow these virtues to show through them in their work.

Treasurer’s Report

Rick said we are at 20% of the income for the year, which is generally on track, and operating expenses are a bit below average. Rick suggested creating an account for the Youth Minister position separate from the Outreach Fund, so that the church can use funds for outreach, while the Outreach fund could still be used for the youth minister if needed. Women’s Fellowship has contributed $4,500 to the youth minister position.

Motion to accept the Treasurer’s Report was made by Sara and seconded by Jeff. The motion passed unanimously.

Investment Report

Jeff said the fund lost money in February and will likely do so again in March. He also mentioned the Retire the Mortgage fund should have 2 years of mortgage payments in cash, and we are slightly short. Jon mentioned Jeff will step off the committee soon; Jeff said he would prepare the March/Q1 report for committee.

Mary Jane made a motion to accept the Investment Report; Alan seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

Financial Secretary Report

Income year-to-date should be around 17% of pledges are we at 22%. Loose offering is down to 10% and gets less and less each year. Sara said the Trustees should take this decline into account next year when crafting the budget.

Motion to accept was made by Amy; Sarah seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

Pastor’s Report

Pastor Brian shared a quick reading from the Gospel of John and offered his help to the church to help it realize its vision. He shared some handouts with tips on becoming more effective leaders. Pastor Brian also noted he’s seen the Church is lacking some basic infrastructure, like communication, how the building is being used, etc. Some changes are coming to help address this, he said, such as reexamining the Office Administrator position and hiring a Director of Youth and Family Ministries.

The members talked more about communication between committees and individuals. Pastor Brian mentioned the Council member’s role in reporting to committees and Jon said there would be a chance in the Council meetings for committees to report to the group. Jon also mentioned making the Mooring more substantial to include some of this Church business news and creating an events committee that would coordinate the events in church, and to ensure events are inclusive to parishioners.

Mary-Jane raised the idea of an informational meeting to bring the congregation up to date on projects, such as the Church entrance. The members agreed to host it after church, with the Trustees presenting the front entrance project as well as the other connected preservation projects, on April 8.

Sarah, reporting on the Religious Education Committee, said Bob Sheppard and Gail Leonard are working on teen discussion group on April 8 at 8:45 am. The first subject will be race in the frame of religion.

On the Director of Youth and Family Ministries, the Religious Education Committee will have posters in the Parish House during the pancake breakfast on Easter asking for people’s feedback on what the role should be. Sarah said the Committee wants to advertise by May and will run a description by the Trustees and Council before advertising.

The Women’s Fellowship Blueberry Festival and craft fair will be held on Aug 11. Breakfast and lunch will be served. Planning is now underway.

Beth went over the new Communications Committee effort to record all ways the church communicates and come up with a list of people who can help spread the news through various channels. Mary Jane mentioned the roles could be incorporated into the event committee.

Mary Jane volunteered to take minutes in Beth’s absence after her baby is born in late May.

Jon asked if the minutes could be uploaded to the website. Beth said she would ask Geneve how to do this and create directions for committees.

Sara mentioned that sign outside that advertises Soup’s On was damaged in a recent storm and needed new plexiglass. She said she will get estimates.

Meeting adjourned at 1:15 p.m.

Trustees Meeting Minutes; March 19, 2018

Called to order at 6:30 p.m. by Pastor Brian Gruhn, serving as chairperson until a new one is elected.

Roll Call

Trustees Tom Brown, Tracy Dorgan, Leslie Culbert, Bob Sheppard, Alan Kelly

Also, Pastor Brian Gruhn, Rick Leonard, Church Treasurer, Beth LaMontagne Hall, Clerk

The group read the Church’s mission and Pastor Brian asked if there were any thoughts on how this related to the work the group would be doing that night. Members mentioned caring for the church as a place, and the mission’s ability to connect them to the larger purpose of their responsibilities. Pastor Brian then lead the group in prayer.


In reviewing the minutes, Rick asked to amend them to show a cost of $183 per year for the cost of enrollment in the vision program. Bob moved to approve the minutes with the amendment; Tracy seconded. Motion passed unanimously.

Treasurer’s Report

Rick pointed out in the Treasurer’s Report that $250 was paid to Second Christian Church for the Blue Christmas service from the Miscellaneous line item, via the Pastor’s Discretionary Fund. Rick said this will flag the expense it next budget season in the event the Trustees want to include funding for the event. Rick also asked about an estimate for repairs to the Church building chimney and if the Trustees wanted to hold off in case the system is upgraded. Bob said the age of the heating system calls for getting an estimate and suggested asking for an estimate to solve the water vapor on the windows and basement flooding problems. The members agreed to hold on the chimney repairs for now.

Alan moved to approve the Treasurer’s Report; Bob seconded. Motion passed unanimously.

Committee Business

Pastor Brian told the members he is here to advise, find ways to equip and empower the Trustees with ways to get their work done.

Trustees discussed appointing members to serve as Chairperson, serve on the Stewardship Committee, serve on Pastoral Relations Committee, someone to help be a point person with staffing and human resources. As head of staff, the Pastor has added responsibilities with staff and Pastor Brian asked if a member could provide checks on contracts, evaluations and other staffing issues. He also mentioned the need to find an Assistant Clerk to help in Beth’s absence.

Bob volunteered to serve as the Trustee who assists with staffing and human resources.

In regards to Chairperson and other roles, the group agreed there needs to be additional people added to the Trustees. The members agreed to begin talking to church members about serving.

New Business

Pastor Brian shared his thoughts on staff evaluations and recommended eliminating the office administrator position and rewriting the job description to better serve the church’s needs. Brian recommended excusing the current administrator and hire someone to better fit that new role. Pastor Brian mentioned a church member has volunteered to help with administrative duties and he and Bob agreed that by the next Trustees meeting on April 10 they could come up with an action plan.

Pastor Brian raised the issue of communications, and a miscommunication that occurred between the Trustees and a longtime member regarding carpentry work on the church’s front door. Pastor Brian wanted to make the Trustees aware and the group discussed how to improve the communications process. Tracy said he would talk to the member mentioned. Leslie said she would join the conversation.

Pastor Brian said the Church Council was looking for a way to improve communications as well and have asked the Trustees to give a presentation at an upcoming pot luck dinner. He suggested an overview of the front entrance renovations would be a good subject.

Pastor Brian mentioned the Parsonage has a leaky pipe caused by flushing second floor toilet/running the shower. The Trustees agreed to call a plumber.

Other business

PJ Day, who will do the work on the Church front entrance, has a concern about bluestone as it may act as a trap for leaves and water and be a maintenance problem. Tracy offered to meet with PJ Day at 6:30 pm Tuesday and asked if other Trustees could come.

Leslie said she will call Gagnon Heating about getting an estimate on the Church building heating upgrades discussed.

Leslie mentioned that the bell is supposed to be oiled occasionally and that Bill Cutts has done it in the past. She will call him to see if it can be done again.

Bob said there is a portable generator that was donated and lives in Bill Cutts’ garage. He suggested bringing it back to use if power goes out and is needed to run church sump pumps.

Tracy asked about the fee to rent the parking lot to a business. Pastor Brian said it gets rented out for weddings nearby for a suggested donation of $100. Bob said if it is for a business, the cost, schedule and liabilities should be evaluated. Tom recommended talking to the business about its needs.

Tom said he would look into following up on an offer for an estimate for paving the driveway.

Meeting adjourned 8:30 pm