Category: Standing Committee Minutes

Jun 26 2012

June 14 2012 SC Minutes

Present: Tom Coffey, Bonnie Rankin, Dave Kaffine, Walter Cole, Laura Nutter, Martha Hicks-Courant, Ami Hughes, Russ Menk, Ellen Spero, Deirdre Heck

Absent: Warren Flewellen

Spiritual exploration

We discussed the question “What does UUism mean to me?”


  • Nursery update – We’ll do a lease for 3 days/week, just so we have something in place. We can move back to 5 days if enrollment increases (which it may).
  • Auditors – Dave has recruited auditors and now has three volunteers: Carla Corey, Bill Drury, Sally Seekings. We voted on & approved these three. Would one of the new SC members also be willing? This is TBD.
  • DRE – Dolores came to visit this week and met w/several people. She’ll be at the service Sunday (6/17); the DRE Search Team will introduce her.
  • Meeting minutes – We haven’t sent Cindy (or even written) minutes for all SC meetings, or even one all-church meeting. We’re working on this.
  • Steeple – This is done!
  • Dedication of the clock tower – Tom will call Paul Cohen to see what the plans are; it is not likely to be scheduled for July Fourth.
  • New closet – Johann wants to put a new closet in the corner of the vestry, diagonal from the existing closet. We felt that this is a good idea; before proceeding, though, we should consult with Jan Domey.
  • Canvass, budget – There’s been more progress on canvass; pledges are now up to $203K, with likely more to come. The congregation approved two possible budgets: plan A, which assumes a canvass level of $200K; and plan B, a contingency plan that assumes a canvass level of $203K to $204K. So we’re in good shape.
  • Treasurer’s report – Reviewed and voted to approve the Treasurer’s report.

Year in review

We did a lot of the things on our list of priorities for this year. The following should remain a focus next year:

  • WOW
  • Proposal for a new RE wing

We also discussed what went well this year and what we could do better going forward. Details were written on large sheets, which are being passed on to next year’s Standing Committee.)


Tom was ready to adjourn at 8 p.m., as promised!

Jun 26 2012

June 7 2012 SC Minutes

Present: Tom Coffey, Bonnie Rankin, Walter Cole, Laura (Monteodorisio) Nutter, Martha Hicks-Courant, Ami Hughes, Warren Flewellen, Ellen Spero, Deirdre Heck

Absent: Dave Kaffine

We held a brief meeting simply to vote on a few time-sensitive questions:

  • The proposed allocation of Cell Tower 2 funds for FY13. This was approved.
  • Two proposed budgets for FY13. The first, Budget A, assumes a canvass level of $200K; in this one, staff merit increases are at 3%, and the Minister’s Professional Fund is at $5K. The second, Budget B (the contingency budget), assumes a canvass level of $202K or $203K; here the merit increase bucket goes up to 4% (at a canvass level of $202K) and the Minister’s Professional Fund goes up to $6K (at a canvass level of $203K). These budgets were approved.
  • To allow the Standing Committee Chair to review and sign off on staff performance evaluations without review by the rest of the Standing Committee. (The entire SC will review Ellen’s evaluation.) This was approved.
  • To hire Dolores Heredia-Wood as our new DRE at a salary of $36,900. This was approved.
Jun 17 2012

May 2012 SC Minutes

Standing Committee Meeting – May 10, 2012

Present: Deirdre Heck, Walter Cole, Laura Nutter, Warren Flewellen, Tom Coffey, Russ Menk, Ellen Spero, Bonnie Rankin, Dave Kaffine, Ami Hughes

March minutes were approved.

Preschool update: Enrollment is down. Jan isn’t sure if she can sign an new lease. She may have to cut her hours from five days to three. It was decided that we would renegotiate the lease as we would rather keep her than find a new tenant. This will result in a 40% decrease in rental income.

The total for the May Breakfast isn’t in yet, but attendance was up 30%.

Dave estimates that we still need around $4k for the Steeple Fund.

The Treasurer’s Report was approved.

The question of whether there is a fund raising policy was brought up by Dave. A motion was made that all requests for fund raising go through SC. Dave motioned that funds raised by the Faith In Action Committee be kept for their use rather than put in with other funds. Motion was approved.

Canvass-Is falling very short. We are going to blitz the congregation. A suggestion was made to put forms in the pews.

DRE update: Karen Fisk declined our offer due to he husband’s work circumstances. We still have three other candidates that will make $5k less and two won’t need a pension. Discussed the other candidates.

Fiscal Subcommittee will get together to work on the budget (scheduled for 6/3)

Splitting the plate: A motion was made to start splitting the plate once a month with agreed upon charities. It would be a 50/50 split and would start in June with the blessing of the animals service. Motion was approved.

Steeple rededication: The Town Manager wants to do it on July 4 while everyone is on the Common, but Bonnie would like to see it done on a separate day as it’s such a big occasion. Tom will talk with the Town Manager. We will see if the Minute Men can come to the dedication, and Bonnie volunteered to help.

Capital Funding: no action taken

Table of Plenty: Bonnie is stepping down as the liaison. She is going to talk to Leila about being the contact person for the church. She spoke with Paul and gave him a heads up.

LRP: Getting info on new floors, doors, counter tops for kitchen.

Policy for kitchen gifts: Walter and Paul are working on one

Apr 02 2012

February 2012 SC Minutes

Standing Committee Meeting Minutes


Present: Tom Coffey, Ellen Spero, Dave Kaffine, Walter Cole, Laura Monteodorisio (late), Martha Hicks-Courant, Ami Hughes, Deirdre Heck, Russ Menk, Warren Flewellen

Absent: Bonnie Rankin

Balcony discussion

We continued with last month’s discussion about our building, but with a new focus: the history of what we’ve done so far to address various issues to do with the building. We have accomplished a great deal – among other things, we have built an accessible bathroom, removed the underground oil tank, installed new windows, replaced the dishwasher, and piped water to the second floor. We’ve also had many of the same conversations – about size, growth, our current limitations, and what we want our church to be – before. How do we move beyond the technical issues – which are more concrete and often more urgent – and focus on the adaptive issues that truly define us? Discussion to be continued…

Staff reports

· We reviewed and approved the Treasurer’s report.

· When are budgets due? In the past this has been in January, so committees are wondering. Deirdre will send a note to Church Council members asking them to have their budgets for March. The budget hearing is scheduled for April 1.

· We approved Ellen’s vacation request.


We reviewed dates.

DRE search

· The DRE Search Committee is on track. They are close to having the job posting (based on the HRSC’s job description) ready and are starting to work on interview questions and an informational binder about First Parish for candidates.

· Survey results are in. Responses are consistent with what we expected: respondents want the new DRE to focus on pre-K through high school, and to improve the youth groups.

· The Search Committee will hold a meeting after church this Sunday (2/12) to give the congregation a status update on the results of the survey and on the search process.

· Given that we’re looking to hire a full-time (40-hour/week) DRE, we anticipate spending $5K to $10K more on salary than we have in the past. Some of this can be covered with pledges and/or surplus left from this year, but this isn’t a viable long-term strategy; we will need congregational support, in the form of a vote and pledges, to hire a full-time DRE. We feel we have support for this, given survey responses.

· If we still have a surplus from this year’s unused DRE salary after applying it to next year’s DRE salary, the Fiscal Sub-committee recommends putting this money aside.

SC membership for next year

· We talked about membership for next year. There are three slots to fill (Tom Coffey, Bonnie Rankin, and Martha Hicks-Courant are stepping off the committee), and several possible candidates.

· Depending on who joins, the meeting night might change. We are not wedded to Thursdays.

Capital campaign

· We’ll discuss a possible capital campaign next month, starting with a 15-question survey from the book “When Not To Build.”

· Walter will have a game plan for next month.

Parking issues

· We discussed the issues to do with the scarcity of parking in Chelmsford Center and the use of our parking lot by outsiders. There is a tricky balance here, given that we want people to respect our space while also wanting to be a good neighbor.

· Can we ask local businesses to direct their customers to park in town parking? Can we put up more signs?

· There are several issues involved: Where do others (not church members) park during the week? Where do we park on Sundays? How do people who are using our building (e.g., pre-school parents, people here for meetings) use the space? (People are apparently not limiting themselves to the marked spaces.)

The name “Standing Committee”

We discussed again the idea of changing our name but decided it’s unclear what problem we’re trying to fix. In addition, changing the name would involve a bylaw change. We’re removing from our agenda.


Dennis Gray has been talking to Walter and is starting to ramp up the committee (four people). We need to think about our specific goals for this year’s canvass (DRE, steeple, what else?).

Liaison policy for SC

· This year we eliminated liaisons to other church committees. It seems now that, although Church Council is a great way of sharing info, there are a few key committees –such as Nominating & Membership – that still warrant liaisons.

· Dave & Walter will work on this some more.

Next meeting

Thursday, March 8, 6:30 p.m.

Jan 09 2012

November 2011 SC Minutes

Standing Committee Meeting Minutes


Present: Tom Coffey, Ellen Spero, Bonnie Rankin, Ami Hughes, Dave Kaffine, Walter Cole, Laura Monteodorisio, Martha Hicks-Courant

Absent: Deirdre Heck, Russ Menk, Warren Flewellen

Open forum

· Joan Coyne came to talk to us about a proposed new Faith In Action council. The purpose of this group would be to bring together and support all the social action efforts in the church, and to help figure out and guide the congregation in a 5-year vision of what we want to do. The idea is not to start a new initiative, but rather to take inventory of what we have now, and be a central location for new people coming in and looking for social action projects to work on. The council could help all social action efforts in the church by, for example, bringing in speakers to talk about something useful like how to do grassroots organization, and coordinating fund-raising efforts so multiple groups aren’t trying to raise money at the same time. The council could also keep an eye on what the UUSC and other congregations are doing, so we might piggyback on their efforts, join with them.

Treasurer’s report

· Compared with previous years, we are still behind in pledge collections. Tom will draft a message to send out reminding people to send in their pledged amounts.

· How much are we aiming to raise through the Holiday Fair? Dave will find out and pass this information to Bonnie.

· We reviewed and approved the Treasurer’s report.

· We reviewed and approved the policy for the Minister’s Discretionary Fund.


· RE is currently very focused on the pageant, and all seems to be going well.

· Bonnie has been checking in with Jill every week and helping with For All Ages.

· In our search for a new DRE, we will look for someone whose focus is on K through 12. However, we also want to have a comprehensive vision of how we want to do faith formation throughout adulthood. There will be a “cottage meeting” on December 11 for people to provide input specific to RE. The plan is to form a search committee in December, collect questionnaires from the congregation through January, and be ready to post the position in mid-February.

Staff reports

· The HR Sub-committee has come up with a structure for staff reports that is based on progress against documented goals.


· Work on the steeple has been somewhat delayed, both because of the weather and because rot was found in some inside beams. The final painting will wait until spring.

· Although the cost of the steeple work is still below the “not to exceed” amounts approved last spring, changes to the plan since work started have meant an increase of $5200 in the final cost. We voted to approve a proposal to cover the increase through:

· Long-Range Planning (Cell Tower 1): $2000

· Cell Tower 2: $1000

· Congregation: $2200

Bonnie will continue to work on fund-raising ideas.

Long-range planning

· Following up on the architectural plans we had drawn up last year, we want to start talking in January about initiating a capital campaign. Russ Menk has fund-raising experience; Tom will talk to him.

· As an outgrowth of last year’s Widening Our Worship (WOW) discussions, Bonnie has been doing interviews with members of the Women’s Alliance. This has been a very powerful experience.


· We approved the October minutes.

· Johan Mackenzie is having our kitchen equipment cleaned professionally; the cost for this will be shared by First Parish and Table of Plenty. After this professional cleaning, our regular cleaner Jessica Costa will do it on a maintenance basis; the cost for this will be covered in full by Table of Plenty.

Next meeting

Thursday, December 8, 6:30 p.m.

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.