Category: Standing Committee Minutes

Nov 09 2015

2015 July SC Minutes

Minutes from Standing Committee Meeting July 14, 2015

Attendees: Suzanne Wilson, Rebecca Gore, Ellen Spero, Ruth Whalen-Crockett, John Schneider, Rose

Lerer, Sarah Manning

 Joan Keane sent out minutes of the June 9, 2015 Standing Committee meeting but we did not

bring copies for review. These minutes will be reviewed and approved at the August meeting.

 Minutes were taken at the June 28, 2015 Standing Committee meeting with the HR

subcommittee. Those have not been received yet but will be reviewed and approved at a later


Treasurer’s Report: There is no treasurer’s report this month since we don’t normally meet in the

summer. Rebecca is closing the fiscal year. The auditors are ready to conduct their audit when the

books are fully closed and key personnel are available.

Minister: Ellen is on vacation from July 24 to August 15.

Finances: The annual budget was prepared with a low and high range to allow for different spending

based on the results of the canvass. The canvass pledges will provide enough funding for the low range.

That means that we cannot afford to give pay raises to our employees this year. (Employee salaries

account for a large part of the budget.)

 There will be discussion at a later meeting regarding possible ways to raise additional money to

provide employee pay raises.

 Money from the year-end surplus, investments or cell tower cannot be used for to bolster the

annual budget. It is bad fiscal practice because we would be raising salaries that we would have

to raise again next year and, if we don’t have a dependable yearly stream of income each year,

we cannot sustain ourselves.

 We agreed that we (the congregation) need to learn to talk about money.

 Ellen indicated that the individuals who consistently provide large pledges to the church are

senior citizens.

 If we are to sustain ourselves, we need to better communicate our financial needs to middle

aged and younger church members. Our culture has changed over the last 40 years and

people’s loyalties are split between church and other organizations and priorities. We should

discuss estate planning with middle aged and younger church members. Many congregations

(of many denominations) are facing this challenge.

 We also need to discuss long term solutions to reducing our budget.

 We would like to have Jim Curley come to our September meeting to discuss the canvass. Rose

will contact Jim.

Major Building Updates: John spoke about the report from Brian Raiche of Cornerstone

Consulting. Brian spoke to the task force and indicated that the congregation does not have the

capacity to raise the amount of capital required for the proposed building updates.

 John indicated that the formal report would be distributed to the congregation and several

meetings would be held to discuss it.

 The task force will look at other sources of funding and ways to redefine the project so that it is

less expensive.

Policies and Procedures: Rose presented some issues from the subcommittee*. Rose and Dee

have been working on three items.

 Key Policy: They have worked with Leila and Cindy on this policy. There are a few details that

need to be addressed after the staff returns from vacation but it will be ready for approval soon.

 Bylaws: They are preparing a suggested update of the bylaws and welcome any and all

suggestions that the Standing Committee (or other church members) may have.

 Safe Congregation Policy: This is a large policy that encompasses a number of topics related to

church safety. It does not replace the safe child policy but two of the other policies may be

rewritten. The policy is not ready for review but Rose raised an issue for discussion: Do we

want to have a nut-free policy at church?

o There are many food allergies and we cannot eliminate all of those foods from church.

However, peanut allergies can be life-threatening. As such, some churches and many

schools (particularly nursery schools) are nut-free.

o In the spring, one teenager had an allergic reaction to some pesto (which includes pine

nuts) that was in a dish served at a First Parish event.

o The RE program is already very allergy aware. Parents must list allergies on the

registration form, the information is in the class notebook and it is communicated to

classroom guides.

o One member indicated that the coffee hour instructions already recommend nut-free


o A total nut-free policy could extend to Table of Plenty, fudge made for May Baskets,

cookies made for the Holiday Fair, etc. It would be hard to control one-time users of our


o There was general agreement among Standing Committee members present that we do

not want to specifically prohibit nuts because it would be hard to comply 100% and this

would generate significant controversy in the congregation at a time when we should be

focusing on other issues. However, the policy includes a statement about encouraging

voluntary labeling of food brought to potlucks, etc.

o Dee and Rose will also investigate ways (outside of the policy) that we can better

communicate allergy concerns on an ongoing basis.

*The Policy and Procedures Subcommittee is specified in the bylaws. It had been inactive for a while and, last year, Ellen asked that it

be made active again in order to review existing policies and provide policies where none exist. Staff has been asked for answers on

issues that they are not prepared to address; the policies are intended to eliminate grey areas.

August Standing Committee Retreat: Ellen and John will be doing a presentation on Robert’s

Rules of Order.

New SC Members: Ellen will ensure that SC notebooks (with policies, HR handbook, etc.) will be

provided to the new members (Ruth, Carrie, Peggy).

Respectfully submitted,

Rose Lerer


7-14-15 SC Min

Jun 27 2013

May 2013 SC Minutes

Standing Committee Minutes

May 14, 2013

Called to order at 6:35 pm


In attendance:   Ami Hughes, Walter Cole, Dave Kaffine, Dee Halzack, David Blackburn, Joan Keane, Laura Nutter, Rev. Ellen Rowse-Spero,  Deirdre Heck, Warren Flewellen (via Skype) and Dolores Heredia-Wood as an observer. 


Spiritual Exploration- Continuation of the activity led by Joan in April.  Dee will lead in June.


Open Forum:  No items


Balcony Items

            Looking back/looking forward –Reviewed the year and started talking about next year


Dance Floor Items

1.     The Treasurers Report was reviewed and approved. 

2.     A motion was made to give permission to the Chair of Standing Committee (Walter Cole) to sign off on all performance evaluations for staff, other than Ellen’s, for this year. Motion approved.

3.     Canvass update:  As of 5/9 we were at $181k.  There were still 41 families and $47k that are not included in the numbers.  The Fiscal Sub-Committee is meeting on Saturday to review the budget and there will be a budget hearing on Sunday, May 19th.  Standing Committee will be meeting on June 4 at 6:30 to approve the budget for vote at the Annual Meeting.

4.     Photo policy:  A motion was made to approve the photo policy presented by the Web/Publicity Committee pending two changes to amend the wording.  Motion approved.

5.     Time-line review:  There are five weeks left to the church year.  Ellen has two sermons left.  Walter will invite the new SC members to the meeting on June 11. Reviewed the 2013/2014 timeline.  Deirdre will contact Town Hall regarding town common activities that are scheduled that may impact parking.  Standing Committee will be meeting on the second Tuesday of the month at 7:00 for the 2013/2014 year.

6.     TOP ovens:  Walter spoke with Maureen from TOP and told her we would like to make a time commitment.  Maureen asked if TOP could have a table at the 4th of July Breakfast.  Motion was made to approve the request.  Motion approved.

7.     Field Ed Student Intern update:  Ellen spoke with the second FES and he said he can’t commit to it now due to life events.  Beau has accepted our conditional offer.  We will not ask for funding for a second position at the Annual Meeting.  Ellen recommended an Orientation Team for her which would be smaller than the one for Russ.  It will be mostly used to advise her on local logistics.

8.     Staff Reports-no questions or comments

9.     Liaison Updates:  Membership-had a second mini Fellowship Dinner and it was well attended.  Nominating-All positions have been filled and the list was sent to Laura Nutter with the slate of officers. Only positions up for vote will appear on the Warrant.  NC will be looking for new members.  HR-main topic has been performance evaluations.  Church Council-Cindy Gist did a mini class on annual reports.  They awarded three Faith In Action grants.  They would like to advertise more about them during the church year.

10.  Walter is going to start putting up a table at Coffeehour to have info available about the capital campaign.  We have a budgeted item in the Cell 2 budget for a study/consultation on the feasibility of a capital campaign.  Joan will contact the UUA and Ellen will contact her colleagues regarding how much it will cost to get a capital campaign started.  Joan will find out what resources the UUA has and how much they cost.

11.  Parking issues:  The signs had to be reordered.  A suggestion was made to SC to request that the staff not park in the parking lot.  It’s been discussed at staff meetings and the staff feels it’s unfair to ask them to park off-site as they spend long days at the church and have to go back and forth to their cars.  SC agreed.  The elevator ushers will help with directing parking.  Warren needs to update the map to add a few parking locations..



Action Items:

Dave K. to talk to payroll company about Jill’s rates.

Walter will invite the incoming new members to the SC meeting on June 11.

Joan will contact the UUA regarding capital campaign resources and fees.

Ellen will contact colleagues regarding their capital campaigns.

Warren to update the map for parking.

Deirdre to contact Town Hall regarding town common activities



Respectfully submitted by:

Ami Hughes


May 15 2013

April 2013 SC Minutes

Standing Committee Minutes

April 9, 2013

Called to order at 6:35 pm


In attendance:  Ami Hughes, Walter Cole, Dave Kaffine, Dee Halzack, David Blackburn, Joan Keane, Laura Nutter, Rev. Ellen Rowse-Spero and Dolores Heredia-Wood as an observer.


Absent:  Deirdre Heck & Warren Flewellen


Spiritual Exploration- Led by Joan.  As not everyone had a chance to share and members were missing we will continue in May.


Open Forum:  No items


Balcony Items

Beau Rivers came to meet and speak with the SC about a possible two year internship starting in the 2013/2014 church year.  She was in a class with Rev. Ellen when she was on sabbatical.  Beau talked about herself and SC was given an opportunity to ask questions.  A motion was made to go into Executive Session after to discuss Beau as a potential intern candidate.  A motion was made to close the Executive Session and motions were made to:  Recommend to the congregation that we offer Beau a two year internship dependent on her acceptance as a candidate into UU ministry.  (Motion passed) A second motion was made to recommend asking the congregation to consider funding a second Field Ed Student for next year, 8 hours a week, who would focus on a specific project within the church.  It would most likely be with the Faith in Action Ministry Council.  (Motion passed)


Dance Floor Items

February and March minutes were reviewed and approved.

The Treasurers Report was reviewed and approved.

A motion was made to approve the CORI policy submitted by the RE Council. Approved.

Credit card policy:  Approved resolution that Dave Kaffine can apply for and obtain a credit card for the church with Bank of America.

Motion was made to approve the Lion’s Club request to use our parking lot during the 4th of July Fair.  Approved.

Timeline:  Walter added new items to the timeline and but forgot to send out a copy prior to the meeting.  Will have it for the next one.

TOP/ovens:  Table of Plenty would like to replace our ovens with convection ovens.  They will be our property. Ellen suggested we have a conversation with them regarding making a time commitment to ToP. Further discussion needs to be had with folks that are directly involved with the use of the kitchen.  Walter will talk to Maureen at TOP to discuss further.

Staff reports:  Reviewed and discussed reports

Liaison updates:  Membership-going to have a follow up to the Fellowship Dinner.  Peggy Stephens-North is looking at dates.  Five people signed the book after the dinner.  The Intentional UU class is going well.  There are 8 mentees.  HR-Getting ready for staff evaluations.  They are checking salaries against UUA guidelines.  Canvass-Had the kickoff and letters have gone out.  There will be a closing luncheon in May.  Church Council-continued the conversation about the parking lot.  The ushers and greeters have some ideas and are watching the ebb and flow of the parking patterns.

Ellen, Dave K and Joan Coyne would like to be delegates to GA.  Will continue the conversation at the next meeting.



Action Items:

Dave K. to talk to payroll company about Jill’s rates.

Walter will talk to Warren about creating a map for parking purposes.  In process.

Ami to talk to her husband about helping install signs.  He will do it-we just need some direction.

Walter to speak with Maureen at TOP about the ovens.


Respectfully submitted by:

Ami Hughes


Apr 15 2013

March 2013 SC Minutes

Standing Committee Minutes

March 12, 2013

Called to order at 6:30 pm


In attendance:  Ami Hughes, Deirdre Heck, Warren Flewellen (via Skype), Walter Cole, Dave Kaffine, Dee Halzack, David Blackburn, Joan Keane, Rev. Ellen Rowse-Spero and Dolores Heredia-Wood observing.


Absent:  Laura Nutter


Spiritual Exploration- Led by Ami.  Joan will lead in April.


Open Forum:  No items


Balcony Items

Tom Coffey spoke to SC about the upcoming Annual Pledge Drive and what has needed by him from the SC.  There are 6-7 people that have signed on to help.  We reviewed the letter that will be sent out and discussed amendments to it and reviewed the time-line for upcoming events related to it.  They are planning on having cottage meetings in April.  The kick-off will be on April 7 and will close on 5/5 with a luncheon.


Dance Floor Items

The Treasurers Report was reviewed and approved.

Field Ed Student Funding-Ellen received two inquiries from students.  One would be a Field Ed Student and is from Harvard Divinity.  The stipend would be $k.  The other person is someone Ellen knows and she plans to meet with her soon.  She wants to do two years part-time.  She is a student at Andover-Newton.  There are a couple different ways this could play out.  One would be that she is a F.E.S. for one year and interns somewhere else.  Number Two would be that they are combined-this would be about $10k per year.  Or she could be a F.E.S. for one year and intern one year.  Ellen met with one other person but didn’t feel it was a good fit.  The F.E.S. would focus on basics and would need committee oversight.  Ellen feels it’s a responsibility for her and would like to do it.  Walter and Dave. K. will discuss putting it in as a line item in the Cell 2 budget.

Staff reports-no questions.  Discussed Cindy Bliss’s need for a new laptop.  Cindy will buy the laptop but First Parish will buy the software she needs.

NOLA trip funding-NOLA needs around $7k as broken down:  $3500 for cars, 2 airfares, a donation to St. Bernard’s Parish, a donation to Annunciation.  They have $2500 left over.  The plans for fundraising fell through as the weather wouldn’t cooperate.  They need about $4.7k altogether.  A motion was made to move $3,531.40 from the Service Trip Fund and allocate it to the NOLA Fund.  Approved by all.

Liaison update-Membership is doing well.  There are five new members.  The Fellowship dinner was a success but they are considering having another event as some new folks couldn’t make it.  The official members count is up to 214. Nominating-all SC slots have been filled.  There is one 3 year slot that needs to be filled in Nominating.  HR-need to start researching planning for the next ten years of Ellen serving as our minister.  Ellen is going to talk to some colleagues to find out what churches do after ten years.  Discussions have started related to expanding Jill’s position to be a youth advisor.  Dave K. needs to speak with the payroll service about setting her up with two different pay rates as she would be paid a different rate when she is in advisor mode.  Church Council brought up Green Committee’s request and parking issues.

Walter will add Tom’s dates to the time-line along with the Mother’s Day Walk For Peace.

Welcoming Faith-no update

Green Committee/Web use/FP name-The Green Committee would like to use First Parish on a Facebook page.  There was much discussion surrounding this as the GC isn’t sure if they are going to remain a committee due to lack of time and energy.  If they are not a committee can they still use Committee in the FB name and if they aren’t meeting?  Ellen is going to come to the next meeting and speak with the committee and see where they see themselves next church year.  If they do have a FB page there should be a couple of moderators and the Web Committee should have access too.

Parking Lot issues-we need to agree that we are never going to resolve the issue of not having enough parking near the building.  We can’t fix it, but we can manage it.  Should we put up signs for families with young children, those with mobility issues and new people?  If so, someone needs to own this-putting out and taking down the signs.  It needs to be a congregational commitment-not just one person.   Discussed having a map that could go on our website and a printed copy that can be dispersed.  Ami will ask her husband about putting signs in.  Walter will discuss with Warren

TOP keyboard donation-Bonnie took care of it.  We are accepting it.



Action Items:

Dave K. to talk to payroll company about Jill’s rates.

Walter will talk to Warren about creating a map for parking purposes.

Ami to talk to her husband about helping install signs

Approve February minutes


Respectfully submitted by:

Ami Hughes


Mar 15 2013

February 2013 SC Minutes

Standing Committee Minutes

February 12, 2013

Called to order at 6:30 pm


In attendance:  Ami Hughes, Deirdre Heck, Laura Nutter, Warren Flewellen, Walter Cole, Dave Kaffine, Dee Halzack, David Blackburn, Joan Keane and Dolores Heredia-Wood observing.


Absent:  Rev. Ellen Rowse-Spero


Spiritual Exploration- Led by Dave K. Ami will lead in March.


Open Forum:


John Schneider spoke to the SC about our CORI policy.  UU churches are starting to CORI not just staff but also volunteers.  The REC has a CORI policy that they have drafted.  The REC will be meeting on  2/14/13 to go over the third draft.  Once it has been approved by the REC, John will send to the SC to review and approve.  Ellen will be the administrator and will receive the results.  REC would like to get the policy adopted by the end of the church year so they can implement it in the 2013/2014 church year.


Joan Coyne spoke to the SC about changes made to the website policy.  Joan wasn’t sure if the picture policy was ever approved last year by the SC.  The Website Committee has a goal of making sure it’s policy matches the RE policy.



Balcony Items

Stewardship-Tom Coffey didn’t make it to the meeting so Walter did an update.  Walter, Dave Kaffine and Tom went to a workshop on Stewardship and Walter shared what they took from it.  Tom had a meeting with a few people that are interested in helping out.  His goal is to provide a personal contact for the people that make up 25% of the pledges.


Dance Floor Items

The Treasurers Report was reviewed and approved.  A reminder needs to be sent out as we are behind on pledges.

Field Ed Student Funding-Ellen would like to have a Field Ed student.  They are two steps below an intern and the UUA recommends paying $3-5k.  The money could come out of Cell 2.  It would be for 2013/2014.  A motion was made for Field Ed Student for fiscal year end 6/30/14, not to exceed $6k from Cell 2 funds.  Motion approved.

Staff reports-no questions.  Discussed Cindy Bliss’s need for a new laptop.  Dave Kaffine will get more info from Cindy.

Liaison update-Membership is doing well, getting ready for new member dinner.  The Newcomer tea was successful.  Nominating is on target.  HR-we need to find someone to take over house maintenance.  Walter will do the rest of the year.  Church Council-Deb Grad spoke to the CC about HR topics.  There were three Faith In Action grants approved.  This was the second year Table of Plenty was given a grant.  Should we put this as a line item in the budget?  We will discuss again.

Welcoming Faith-Tim O’Hara has consented to being the First Parish liaison.  We will discuss more at next meeting.

All church retreat in Fall of 2013-We will continue with the Dinner and Dreams discussion.  The retreat could be related to it whether or not we decide to build.


Respectfully submitted by:

Ami Hughes


Standing Committee

The Standing Committee is the Church's governing board. The Standing Committee works to ensure the vitality of our community of faith. There are 10 members of the Standing Committee – nine voting members elected by the congregation and the minister, who is a non-voting member of the Committee. Standing Committee members serve a 3 year term.

The Standing Committee meets on the second Tuesday of the month at 7:00pm. Time is set aside at the beginning of every SC meeting as an open forum for members to bring forward any issues they would like to discuss.

The Standing Committee is responsible for the health and well being of First Parish. This includes maintaining communication among members and committees, managing Church property, and planning for the Church's short and long-term future. And of course members of the Standing Committee develop and manage the budget approved by the Congregation at the annual meeting.
The Human Resources Committee is a sub-committee of the Standing Committee.