Vestry minutes – 12/20/2016

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Vestry Members:  Clare Andreasson, Maria DiStefano-Post, Nancy Flowers, Eddie Grim, Helen Hankins, Sue Kelly, Michael Mittelstaedt, Anne Montgomery, Jeff Tibbits, Marian Vermeulen, Chuck Wolterink (Absentees in Italics)

Guests Present:  Mark Stackable
Staff Present:  Ann Hackett
Clergy Present: The Rev. Carlton Kelley

Prayer and Check-in:  Carlton opened with prayer asking the Holy Spirit to give us wise minds and loving hearts.  We checked in with each other.
Scripture & Study:  Humble beginnings as in the stable, if we forget this, we forget who we are.  Jesus was closer to the poor than to anyone else.  This gives us perspective.  Be vulnerable to life’s circumstances.

Approve/Amend the Agenda:
The December 20, 2016 agenda was approved by acclamation.
The minutes from the November 15, 2016 meeting were approved by acclamation.
The minutes from the December 10, 2016 budget meeting were approved by acclamation.

Reports:

Rector Report: 
There have been varying views expressed regarding the hiring of a manger at the Jubilee House.  The Board of JH has decided to appoint Peggy Byland to be the manager until March at which time the position will be reevaluated.

Discussion continues about engaging the National Church with Grace’s past situation of sexual misconduct and the issues that arose between the Diocese of Western Michigan and the Diocese of Michigan.  A letter will go out to the congregation to give more details.

Treasurer’s Report:
The vestry reviewed the finance committee’s recommended budget cuts for the 2017 budget and compared them to cuts brainstormed by the vestry at their budget meeting.  Mark reiterated the finance committee is strictly in an advisory role.  The vestry must make the final decision.  Pledges, as of December 20, are $320, 067.  Discussion ensued as to ways to cut spending as well as ways to increase revenue.  A letter will go out, the week of January 9, to update the congregation on the current status of the budget.

Parish Administrator Report:
A family has generously given $5,000 to Grace designated for the building fund.  The donor has not stipulated whether it be used for loan payments (principal and interest) or principal only.
Motion by Sue, seconded by Jeff, that the vestry use a $5,000 donation towards principal on the building loan.  Motion passed.

It is necessary for the vestry to declare the salary and housing allowance for clergy prior to January 1 or as soon as possible after hiring.
Motion by Eddie, seconded by Michael, that $40,000 be designated for The Rev. Carlton Kelley as a housing allowance and shall apply to calendar year 2017 and all future years unless otherwise provided.  Motion passed.

Rehmann completed the review of our financials for 2015.  The vestry received and reviewed a copy.  It was also reviewed by Mark Stackable (treasurer), Kerry Nelson (finance committee member and also a Rehmann associate), Melissa Cartwright (bookkeeper), and Ann Hackett.  The vestry needs to accept or reject the document.
Motion by Anne, seconded by Helen, for the vestry to accept the 2015 financial statement as presented by Rehmann.  Motion passed.

The roof work around the clerestory windows is now complete at a cost of $10,400.  It is hoped this will take care of the leaking roof.  It will be monitored especially when the spring rainy weather arrives.  Repair work for the parish hall beams will be done in the spring.

Jubilee House basement exit construction is postponed until spring.

The EPS Surveillance System captured a person stealing a gym bag from the coat room on December 7 in the early afternoon.  A police report was filed and the image of the thief was shown to staff.  He was noticed at the JH.  Police were summoned, the bag was eventually returned minus the contents, and he was banned from Grace’s campus.  It is important for the congregation to not leave purses or other valuables unattended in the church.

The next vestry meeting will be January 10 with primary attention given to the budget.

Co-Senior Warden Report:
Clare informed the vestry via email that the Community Portfolio completed by the Rector Search Committee was simplified in language.  That language needed vestry approval.  The following online motion was made and then affirmed at the vestry meeting.
Motion by Maria, seconded by Anne, to change the description of gifts and skills to identify leadership in the Rector Search Committee’s Community Portfolio to the suggested four simplified words.  Motion approved with an online vote.
Motion by Eddie, seconded by Anne, to affirm the online motion.  Motion passed.

It is the responsibility of the vestry to decide if and when to post the Community Portfolio on our Grace website.
Motion by Anne, seconded by Chuck, to approve that the Community Portfolio be posted on the Grace website as soon as possible.  Motion passed.

In the light of recent events at Grace, where personal belongings have been stolen from the building during open hours, it has been suggested that we begin a review to update the building use policy which dates from 2009.

Helen and Clare are reading a slender book called Grounded in God.  They would like to offer it to the vestry to give insight into the discernment process in preparation for the February vestry retreat.  The vestry agreed.

Junior Warden Report:
Jeff reports there are concerns regarding the Grace sound system and the lack of a designated, trained sound system person who would be knowledgeable and available to fix problems as they occur.  Discussion ensued.

Old Business:
None

New Business:
At the 149th Annual Meeting a motion was made and approved to meet in the parish hall instead of the sanctuary for the 150th Annual Meeting.  The vestry has decided to hold the 150th Annual Meeting in the sanctuary to allow the Community Lunch Program to continue its regular serving of lunch in the parish hall.

Forum for Congregational Concerns:
None

Core Ministry Reports:

Rector Search Committee: 
No report

Follow-up & Follow-through:

  • Clare will compose a letter with vestry feedback to update the congregation on the budget.
  • Carlton and Clare will compose a letter to update the congregation on where we stand with our desire to involve the National Church with regard to the past sexual misconduct at Grace.
  • Clare will inform MaryLee Pakieser that the Community Portfolio can be posted on our website.
  • Clare and Helen will obtain copies of Grounded in God for the vestry to read in preparation for the February retreat.

Compline followed by dismissal at 8:40.

Respectfully submitted,
Sue Kelly
Vestry Clerk

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