Category: Church Council Minutes

Jan 20 2012

January 2012 CC Minutes

Committee Reports and Minutes
January 5, 2012

Archives Committee: There is nothing new, or old, to report!

Caring Connection: I’m glad to report that it has been another quiet month for the CCC. Our only call was a very pleasant one, since we provided meals to help a family who had recently been blessed with a new baby.

February will be Caring Connection month. Members of our Committee will be doing the Sunday announcements, and we will host our annual Valentine’s Day ice-cream social. At our January CCC meeting, scheduled for this Sunday, we will finalize the details of the activities we will participate in during the upcoming month.

Committee on Ministry: met before Christmas. Our purpose is to support the minister and the other ministries of the church. We discussed nursery room care, need for people to come forward for elected church positions, and that Ellen is always available for pastoral calls. We will meet again on January 6th.

Council of Faith in Action Ministries: I have set a date for 2 informational meetings in January for the new Council, Jan 22nd after the evening service and Jan 29th after the morning service. The goal of these meetings will be to spread the word about what we hope to do and to see who in the congregation is interested.

Membership Committee: is in a busy period with our regular greeting
activities, as well as preparing for the annual Fellowship Dinner. We
have plans together for the January 28th dinner and are in the process
of getting invitations out. We would like to thank Cindy for her help
with the invitations. We are making an extra effort to personally
invite each of our newcomers to come and consider where they are on
their path to membership. We are also looking towards late winter and
whether or not we will be holding an Intro to UU course or another
adult RE course.

Nola: We have started to recruit for the April trip. We have reservations for St Bernard Project (for work) and with Annunciation Mission for room and board.
I have continued to attend the meeting of the Greater Lowell Habitat for Humanity Interfaith working group. They are hosting an interfaith build and roundtable on Jan 16th (MLK Day) to talk about how faith groups in Greater Lowell can come together to sponsor a Habitat Build this Spring. I plan to attend and hope that I can get one more person form First Parish to come with me.

Nominating: The membership completed a final roster of candidates before Christmas. The first round of nomination letters will be mailed the first week of January.

REC/REY: At there last meeting as a group worked on the DRE Search Roles and Responsbilities Survey.
Working on the milestones gift planning.

Website: We are working on the Standing Committee website. I will also be presenting at the Jan Church Council meeting to talk to church committees about the website, including creating and updating their pages.
We will be working with the RE Council this month to bring our web photo policies together this month, and will be sending our new proposed policy to the Standing Committee for approval.
In December, we sent our non-profit status papers in to our ISP, Dreamhost, and they have accepted us for their free non-profit hosting program. This will save us about $150 a year in hosting costs.
Publicity: We are also going to be going through the church and taking “inventory” of the bulletin boards in the vestry and downstairs hallway. We have added pictures to the Standing Committee bulletin board, and hop to update the 2 boards on the Rt 110 side of the vestry to add an events calendar. This bulletin board currently has photos on it. We want to add more to these bulletin boards, and make sure that the pictures there are kept up to date.’

Welcoming Committee: The UUA has declared Standing on the Side of Love Month from January 16 (Martin Luther King day) through February 14 (Valentine’s Day). As part of that the WCC is hoping to show the movie For the Bible Tells Me So on February 11. (Plans are still tentative due to the holidays.)

We have the required two marshals (Warren Flewellen and Tim O’Hara) and have already registered to participate in the Boston Pride Parade (June 9).

We have scheduled a movie night for May 18, our annual celebration of Massachusetts Marriage Equality, the anniversary of when same-sex marriage became legal in the state.

We will be hosting coffee hour that weekend, our annual celebration of Harvey Milk’s birthday.

We have updated our Bulletin Board.

Worship Committee: The worship committee in collaboration with Ellen and Russ put on the evening service celebrating the longest night on Dec. 18th. It was very well received and attended by about 32 people.
We are narrowing down our search for a new chalice for our sanctuary.
We continue to try and come up with a solution for the poor acoustics in the chapel.
We have decided to apply for a Faith in Action Grant for Guide Dogs in honor of Suzanne Wilson’s companion, Paza.
The Worship Committee continues to solicit and arrange for readers, and committee members to present the Welcoming & Announcements for the morning services. We also setup the music for the evening services.

-No Calendar updates for Leila
-DRE Search: Committee is made up of Deirdre Heck, Tom Coffey, Anna Wolf, Chris Boucher, Chris Kaffine, Tom Wight. Shared the Roles and Responsibilities Survey. Committees who feel they have input will fill out, most committees were glad for the information, but felt they were not knowledgeable enough to fill it out. REC/REY shared that they are hoping to fill the position for future not just hire someone to maintain what we have now.
Shared with CC that there will be a survey to fill out on the website, we hope as many people as possible fill it out to better inform our search.
Will continue to update CC as the DRE Search goes forward.
-DRE Search survey is now on the website

Faith in Action Grant:
$500 will be donated to Guide Dogs for the Blind on behalf of Friends of Paza. Was voted for unanimously and enthusiastically.

Website Presentation hosted by Website Publicity and Membership:
-Membership asked Website to share more about the website and encourage committee updates because membership has found the majority of newcomers recently have first thoroughly perused our website before coming in our doors. The website is for many the first Point of Contact with our church.
-Many things are already on the website: most of the Shooting Star, RE and Worship have full sections to be udpated.
-Pictures and personalization on the part of committees is desired.
s-The hope is that eventually each committee will “own” their website pages and have maintaining as another committee function.
-For now committees can decide to either utilize the Website committee to update and improve their committee web pages, OR choose to take this on for themselves (or a bit of both, which is a popular option).
-Committees should talk to Joan Coyne to get started, several committees are already actively involved.
+Joan will give out temporary Usernames and Passwords for committees. If a committee requests they can maintain their username/password into the future, otherwise they will be deleted at the end of the church year in the interest of not having too many of them.
-If any committee would like to have and will use a committee email address, they need to contact Dave Kaffine or anyone on the IT committee. This is a great option as it is a contact email that gets passed on and can be put on the website and never need to be changed.

Oct 20 2011

October 2011 CC Minutes

Committee Reports and Minutes
October 6th 2011

In attendance: Archives, Community Table, TOP-Paul Windt, Building Use & Caring Connection-Leila Pelosi, Grounds-Martha Sherbourne, HR, Ushers & Parish Affairs-Tom Wight, Social Action & Publicity- Joan Coyne, RE-Maura Snow, Welcoming-Dee Halzack, Worship- Phyllis King, Russ Menck, Deirdre Heck

The minutes of our discussions are located after the committee reports.
Updates to committee reports and new reports given at the Church Council meeting were added to each committee section.

Archives Committee:“There is nothing new here.”
Since May, the Archives Committee responded to infrequent requests for historical information. We
look forward to continuing the project of organizing and documenting the First Parish archival holdings.

Board of Investment: will meet on the 4th Monday of October.

The Caring Connection Committee conducted its first meeting of the church year on Sunday, October 2, with all but one member present. During this meeting, the following occurred:
1. We reaffirmed that the CCC’s purpose is to provide short-term help in the form of meals and rides to parishioners in need, with other duties being assigned on a case by case basis as needed.
2. We have received positive feedback from a number of members of our congregation who very much appreciated our assistance.
3. In order to continue to serve everyone in our community to the best of our ability, we will be publicizing our committee and its function and recruiting new members, as well as enlisting the help of those in the congregation who wish to be on our helpers list. If someone needs our help, a message will go out to all helpers who have offered to assist in that specific area of need. Of course, no one is required to commit beyond their time and ability.
4. On October 23, we will be doing a table at social hour to introduce ourselves and recruit helpers and committee members.
5. We would like to continue doing the Valentine’s Day ice-cream social.
6. Unfortunately, the schedules and time constraints of our CCC members prevent us from being able to continue to be in charge of Lunch with Ellen. We talked about putting a notice in the Shooting Star inquiring if any other member or committee wants to take on this monthly responsibility.
7. The regular activities of the CCC continue, with several cards going out over the summer. In addition, we were able to help with meals for two members of our congregation.

Community Table: Served 79 people on 9/25. Carole Russell is now heading this up. The next serving date is October 30th for anyone who wants to help. Kitchen work starts at 9a and the meal is served 1-3.

Green Committee: The Green Committee meets the 3rd Wednesday of every month at 7 pm in the Alliance Parlor.
The Church Council meets the 1st Thursday of every month at 7 p.m. Kristy has Recycling Committee meetings at the same time. So we will be taking turns attending the Council meetings.
October – Sue November – Tracy December – Kristy January – Ami
-Tuesday October 4th at 7 p.m. we will meet at Kristy’s house to watch the nourish video that Ami got.
– We are going to sponsor the Earth Fair in 2012 and would like to see if the Church can do so as well. What we would need from the church is a certain type of tax ID number (if they have it) so that we can fundraise through Friendlys and possibly other locations. No money is needed from the church. Most of our committee members have tables at the Earth Fair already, and Kristy runs it, so it seems fitting that we sponsor it.
– We would like to see if we can hang some dish drying racks in the kitchen on the wall where the dishwasher is. This would solve the problem of people not wanting to help dry cups and mugs during coffee hour, thus possibly getting more volunteers for coffee hour (and avoid people buying and using paper or styrofoam cups).
– We would like to have a compost bin replace the trash can near the dish window during coffee hour. The Green Committee will be responsible for taking it home every Sunday, composting it at one of the members’ homes, cleaning it, and bringing it back the following Sunday. This will help spread the word about being “green” and help the Church with its covenant to be good stewards of our Earth. In addition we are talking to Edith and Martha about what to do about the Table of Plenty’s compost. This might include adding a 2nd compost bin to the church grounds.
– We are planning out other events during the Church year, such as a book discussion, a vegetarian potluck and recipe exchange night (our vegetarian talk last year was very well attended), and helping with something at the Holiday Fair.
– We are going to be volunteering in January with the town’s styrofoam recycling day, which Tracy Clifford helped to start.
– We would also like to speak with other churches’ green committees.
 The Town’s Recycling Committee is going to have a composting blog on The Patch we would like to let people know about it.

Grounds: I want to say thank you to our wonderful lawn maintenance team who have done an excellent job maintaining the lawn this summer. We will be continuing into fall. Thank you to Paul Buckley and Joe Buckley for trimming the bushes. Another Thank you to Paul for repairing the slate path way after the portico construction. and making the patio for the donut window for the Fourth of July. I was able to put in the patio bricks for the trash cans. It is now weed free!
Thank you to everyone who worked on getting the shed for the Church. Thank you to Walter Cole for taking on the project when Johan was busy with the Steeple. Thank you to those who thought of the electricity and making sure it got put in. Thank you Walter and Lynne Cole who broke ground and made way for the shed and Paul for spreading the gravel. An Awesome job done! Painting and putting everything in neatly is the next step.
Soil samples have been sent to U MASS. We are waiting for the report.. We are checking to see if we need anything special in fertilizer for lawn and trees. Another thank you to Brenda Rogers who watered and clipped dead Geranium blossoms,Gail Pickering who came once or twice a week during the summer and weeded the gardens, Rebecca El-Gammel for lawn mowing and watering, Carlene Merrill’s Small Group Ministry Group who came by and tackled the crabgrass along the stonewall and the two gardens behind the chapel, Erica Boucher for her gardening and weeding, Tom, Rick and Daniel Wight, Marion Murphy for weeding, repairing lawn and transplanting, Ami Hughes, weeding and to anyone who helped in anyway that I am not aware of.
We placed the trellis down on it’s side for the hurricane. It is now back up and a thank you goes to Francis Killam’s daughters Abigail and Emily who helped to restain it, Tim O’Hara for putting the bench together and staking things down. Patches of Lawn are being reseeded, edging the sidewalks, weeding and planting are ongoing. A second trim of the bushes in front of the sanctuary is underway.

House Management:
In the process of installing heat in the interns office and in the hall where the copier resides.
Getting a quote for the electrical hookup for the shed
I had the hood in the kitchen cleaned and I received another request from Bonnie to have the stove and ovens cleaned as well.
I am looking into the best way to refinish the vestry floor. I am in the process of getting suggestions and proposals
The automatic timers for the lights in the portico’s will be replaced at no cost to FPC
I need to repair the loose step on the way into the chapel
The grease tanks will need to be emptied soon so I will get in touch with Action King
The exterior handicap door will be replaced before the winter hits

HR: Members of the HRSC are – Carlene Merrill (Chair), Tom Wight, Debra Grad, Martha Hicks-Courant (Liaison to the SC) Rev Ellen (Ex-Officio member)
Regular meeting times for HRSC will be the 4th Tuesday of the month. The HRSC is a sub-committee of the Standing Committee. The treasurer, SC chair and Intern Minister will attend meetings as needed. We were happy to welcome Russ at our first meeting of the church year on Sept 21st.
The team has completed all staff performance evaluations and is currently working with each staff member to develop goals. The team is also considering a new format for the minister’s performance evaluation form.
Rev Ellen’s Letter of Call (the minister’s employment contract) has been reviewed and signed as is required by our by-laws.
Letters of employment for all other staff have been revised, reflecting new salary and hours. These are renewed on an annual basis. The HR Manual is continually under revision. New revisions being considered are adding a policy regarding who is authorized to provide professional references and rewording a section about paid time off to better reflect our intention.
The team conducted an exit interview with Sadie (DRE) on Oct 4 as required by our HR Manual. This was a time to listen and learn from Sadie’s experience with us.
The HRSC team will be involved going forward in the process to discern how we will proceed in hiring a new professional, or not, to lead the RE program.
If you have an interest in serving on this sub-committee, and have experience in managing, employment or HR experience, or writing of performance reviews please contact Carlene Merrill.

Membership Committee has started the FP year at a busy pace with several different activities. In addition to our normal busy greeting season at the beginning of the FP year, we have had a couple of other activities. Firstly, we organized, publicized, and have been running the UUA “Articulating Your UU Faith” course with strong attendance. In addition, we worked with Rev Ellen on (the first annual) autumn Membership Sunday.

Nola September 2011 We have tentatively put in reservations with St. Bernard’s Project (SBP) for April Vacation 2012. Since it is April vacation we will be inviting the High School youth to come too. SBP has a minimum age of 16, so we will only allow 16 year olds to come with us. We should be starting to meet again in October.

Nominating: Meets on the 4th Monday of the month. Sarah manning and Mary Beth are new to the committee. They reviewed their covenant and how they gather and sort their information. It is a big task to update the database, which they are currently working on.

Parish Affairs:Social hour has been functioning well. Most sign-up slots are filled and my family
and I are usually able to fill in for those that are not. I continue to be committed
to filling this role because I so disliked the method, in place for a brief period, of
assigning people social hour.

I’ve been thinking about a couple of issues. One is what to do when no one signs up
for social hour and my family and I are unable to do it. The other is the question of
whether the washing and drying of mugs and cups may be making the job so big that
many people are hesitant to sign up.

In the past, if no one signed up for coffee hour, we would “go without.” What that
usually meant was that someone would make an urn of regular coffee and put out
paper cups with it. If there was juice around, that might also be put out with paper
cups. Clean up for this sort of bare bones coffee hour was easy, as everything could
be thrown away. Today, if we “go without,” someone has to commit to doing the
dishes for even a minimal coffee hour.

It seems to me that the larger issue is how the church wants to prioritize providing
beverages for social hour with minimizing its waste. I don’t think this is a question I
(as the one active member of Parish Affairs) should ultimately answer.

In the mean time, I asked the Green Committee for a person to help for ½ hour
each coffee hour, drying and putting away cups and mugs. Kristy helped out 9/
25, but the formal response I received was that this was not something the Green
Committee saw as part of its role in the church. Kristy and Tracy also suggested
that we set up a rack that would allow the air drying of mugs and cups and Kristy
volunteered to come on Mondays to put them away. I anticipate hearing more
about this plan from the Green Committee.

My current alternative plan is to purchase hot and cold paper cups to provide for
times when no one signs up and someone makes coffee, as well as for people who
might be willing to sign up if they did not have to do the large amount of washing. I
think they would only be used occasionally and would help us continue to create a
welcoming environment after church.

Another kitchen issue that falls among the Parish Affairs, Green, and Grounds
committees is providing for composting. Kristy, Martha, and I are currently working
on a system that will allow more waste to be composted.

REC (Religious Education Council Grades PreK-6th) and REY (Religious Education Youth Grades 7-12) are now meeting together on the 1st Tuesday of the month at 7:15pm in the Alliance Parlor. Gail Burati is chairing the REC and Maura Snow chairs the REY.
The 2 teams meet to discuss and work on program wide topics in the beginning, then break out into separate teams to work on program specific needs. At the end the 2 teams report back and share decisions. In the absence of a professional who oversees the entire program this approach will foster greater communication, understanding and collaboration across the entire program.
Sadie’s last day was Sunday October 2nd. We are so sad to see her go, but immensely grateful for her vision and hard work that has resulted in a solid program in which we have confidence we can maintain until a new hire is made, likely in September 2012.
Rev Ellen is our acting DRE and will attend REC/REY meetings when necessary. Rev Ellen will provide pastoral and other support for our RE children and families.
Our REAA (RE admin Asst.) Jill Hayes is the go to person for administrative and program questions. Jill’s hours have been increased to 15-20 per week to cope with the increased work load.
Our first rotation for grades 1-6th is called Genesis and focuses on stories from the bible seen with a UU eye.
The 7th and 8th graders are studying “traditions with a wink” learning about the faith traditions that are important in the world and to one’s own understanding of faith and tradition.
COA and OWL will be meeting on Sunday evenings. OWL starts on October 16. Beginning October 23, both OWL and COA will be meeting at nearly the same time every other Sunday. OWL meets slightly more often than COA.
The high school group is working to solidify their UU identity through activities, discussions, and occasional lectures.
We welcome anyone who would like to join our leadership team – contact Gail or Maura if you want to share your gifts.

SMALL GROUP MINISTRY Currently there are seven groups that are active with many of them having openings for one or two new members. If you know of anyone–man or woman interested in a day or evening, please contact me or Ellen. We are looking to add people as soon as possible to that they will have the full church year to participate.
Ann Marie Sigdestad, SGM co-ordinator

Social Action Committee (new name TBD) Sept 2011
I am taking over the social action committee from Cornelia. I have met with Ellen to work on this, and
I will be starting this up in early November. It will be a different model from what we have had before
at First Parish. I went to a session at GA and another one on October 1st put on by the district to help
us formulate what this will be. Our hope is that, rather than being a new committee, it will work more
like a council for committees that are already doing social action work, to help support them in their
work. We will not meet monthly, but maybe quarterly. We have a lot of ideas, and I will have a better
description at the November meeting.

TOP: Averages 60-65. The last serving date for First Parish was 10/4 and the next date is 12/6.

Usher: The usher committee is doing well. We’ve recruited a couple of new or returning ushers and now have 20 people, a great number. We will be having a breakfast meeting on 10/2 to give people a chance to chat and bring up issues they would like to talk about. This is the only meeting we have during the year. We appreciate Cornelia Kirkpatrick providing the breakfast. We will be asking for a consensus about the oil candles and may consider going back to wax candles if the feeling for them is strong enough.

Edith is particularly interested in talking to the Worship Committee about purchasing an “interim chalice” to replace our current tilting model and to stand in until Frances Killam is able to deliver a new long-term chalice.

Website/ Publicity
Website: We created a new blog based section for RE this year. We are hoping it will be easier for RE to update themselves when they need to. We are in the process of photographing the Standing Committee and the Staff to add or update the pictures we have now. The SC pictures will also be posted on a bulletin board in the church

We are working on up dating the committee section. We’d like to get input from the committees about
what should go on their page, including pictures. We hope to spotlight different committees every
few weeks with a “10 Questions with (the committee)” From these questions, we will update their
section. If any committees are interested, let me know and I will mail you the questions (they are easy,
I promise.) We are putting them up on a first come first serve basis.
Publicity: There hasn’t been much activity here yet this year. If you have anything you’s like to advertise, please let us know.

Welcoming Congregation Committee We held our first meeting of the year this past Sunday.
Plans include:
Chalice lighting October 9 (for National Coming Out Day)

Book Discussion October 21 (7:30 PM, She Looks Just like You: A Memoir of (Nonbiological Lesbian) Motherhood. Books were purchased and there is a waiting list. It’s a fairly easy (quick) read. The point is understanding what lesbian/gay people have to go through in order to be parents. We chose the book because it might also resonate with all those who have had to follow non-traditional paths to parenthood, including some heterosexual couples.
Support for Lowell vigil for Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 17

Something in support of Day of Silence (anti-bullying) in April

Celebrate Massachusetts Marriage Equality and Harvey Milk’s birthday (weekend closest to 5/17 or 5/22) with Movie Night on the Friday and coffee hour hosting on the Sunday

Boston Pride Parade participation

We are also discussing the possibility of a movie after church on November 13 or 20 for Transgender Awareness week.

We are actively recruiting members. Part of the mandate of a Welcoming Congregation is to honor the dates that are important to the BGLT community. Another is advocating on issues, one of which is the still-unpassed Massachusetts bill to protect Transgender people (our current hate crimes laws and anti-discrimination laws do not). To be truly welcoming, we need to demonstrate to our BGLT fellow parishioners that we care enough to do something about these things. We need more people to share the work.

Worship: They are continuing to arrange for committees to do Welcome and Announcements. They hope the committees will do the same months they did last year.
They have 18 readers signed up, they have had a lot of positive feedback about having congregants do the readings, it is a wonderful experience for people.
They will be working to change the acoustics in the chapel. Matt Scott, or someone else, will look into a microphone or some other way to improve the acoustics.
+The Ushers brought up the hope of having a an interim chalice until Frances Killam’s chalice is ready. The Worship Committee agreed to look into this.

Woman’s Alliance: Will be welcoming renowned artist George Chen to our October meeting. We will meet in the vestry on Monday October 10th at 1:00pm. All meetings are open to members and our church community and friends. George Chen currently has an exhibit of his paintings at the Chelmsford Public Library until Sept 30th. The Alliance will be participating in the WOW interviews during our November Meeting.
+George Chen needed to cancel his talk at the October Meeting due to a family illness. Instead Bonnie Rankin will attend and talk about WOW and explain the interviews will which take place during the November meeting.

+We discussed the elimination of Standing Committee Liaisons to all committees except those required to have liaisons (eg HR), and those supporting staff (RE and Music). It was agreed that getting rid of the redundancy is a good idea.

+We talked about a Church Council format of continuing sending reports ahead of time so that there would be more time to use Church Council meetings as a forum for addressing issues, concerns, needs, etc. that committees might have and allowing the committees to tap into the wisdom and support of other committees.

+Maura spoke about how RE is handling the transition to an RE program without Sadie and addressed questions that came up. Details are in the REC Committee Report.

+I extended an invitation to all committees to utilize the Open Forum portion of the Standing Committee Meetings if there is a need/desire. Simply let me or Tom Coffey know that you are interested in coming, and SC will make the time for you.

+I reminded everyone that District Workshops are available and that committees should feel free to pursue such opportunities. Some workshops are better than others, and we can tap into one another to share which presenters are the “do not miss” opportunities.

+Parish Affairs, Grounds, and Green discussed Coffee Hour Cups
-There is some concern about cups at coffee hour when there is no one to do coffee hour, but Parish Affairs still wants to have at least coffee available. Cups that needs to be washed difficult when no one is signed up to do this.
-This doesn’t happen often, but it does, so let’s plan for it.
-Also, some concern has been raised by some older individuals who find the heavy ceramic cups awkward to hold and walk about.
-Green will look into the possibility of recycled biodegradable coffee cups that can be made available for such as needed times. Green will not be responsible for purchasing them or having them in their budget, just finding the best cups available.

+Parish Affairs, Grounds, TOP and Green discussed Composting
-There are two recycling bins, some better system needs to be put in place to be sure composting is easy for everyone: Coffee Hour individuals, TOP volunteers, etc. and doesn’t result in inappropriate things in the compost so that Grounds can actually use it. This is rare, but does happen.
-Outside groups such as TOP are willing to compost for us, but need more guidance as to how we want it done, and what we want to have composted and in which locations. We need speicific instructions so it is clear for everyone.
-2 bucket system, 1 for coffee and 1 for other kitchen matter. And instructions not to put anything in the leaf/grass pile.
-Grounds will meet separately with Green to further discuss this.

+Leila will contact Tom Wight or Joan Coyne whenever there is a Friday Night conflict with Games Night.

+HR Found that based on Sadie’s exit interview: the phone system needs to be looked into and improved. Can IT look into this? Are they currently doing so?

+Nominating requests every committee fill out a Committee Member form so they can have that information. Joan Keane will be sending an email to the Church Council Mailing list with the form attach, please fill these out and return them.
-Joan will also send this information to Cindy Gist who requested it for reference.

+The Green committee has a request to whomever knows how to address it: What we would need from the church is a certain type of tax ID number (if they have it) so that we can fundraise through Friendly’s

Jun 20 2011

June 2011 CC Minutes

Monthly Committee Reports for June 2, 2011

Archives Committee
During the month of May, the Archives Committee responded to requests for historical information, met with genealogy researchers, and inventoried some of the Society’s archival holdings.

Community Table
No First Parish Community Table events were scheduled during May. We look forward to a new schedule in the fall. Carole Russell will take the lead in the fall.
Linda Newhard has been awesome during her tenure as lead for Community Table. She has broken out of the box. We have served bag lunches during winter when the Y did not have space. She has gotten the Y to open just for our serving on Easter Sunday. Those who have had the pleasure of working with her appreciate her support, leadership and all around great attitude. Thank-You Linda, and your family, for all that you have done.

Green Committee
The Green Committee provided and manned a basket raffle table for the Chelmsford Earth Fair. The proceeds are going toward the fair for 2012. We’re starting to talk about plans for next year and working on our annual report. Kristy Medina will be taking over as Chair and I (Ami) will hopefully be the liaison for Standing Committee. Not much else to report as most of the committee was not able to make it for the May meeting.

We are deep into the performance evaluations for our staff. Thank you to everyone that returned feedback forms.
The team is writing the evaluations based on feedback. Then Tom Coffey, SC Chair will approve them and meetings will be set up with each staff member to review the evaluations. Goals for next church year are developed as a result of this process.
The minister’s evaluation process is slightly different in that the whole SC reviews the evaluation and then the SC chair and a member of the HRSC meets with Ellen to go over it.

We continue to update and improve the HR Manual.

Should the budget come in on target and a decision is made to move forward on a search for a Co-DRE at 20 hours per week it will commence over the summer. HRSC members will be involved.

We have begun the process of backing the Church owned computer to two different servers outside of the building. We are using a software know a “CrashPlan” that is creating an encrypted data file on two different computers. We will be looking into the paid version as we get more experience with it. The paid version allows the data to be storage on “Crash Plan’s” site as well as real time back up.
We have submitted the IT policy to the Standing committee and expect to have it approved by September 2011.

We have tentatively put in reservations with St. Bernard’s Project for April Vacation 2012

Nominating Committee
The NC has completed its charge for the year, submitting the Slate of Officers to the Clerk 4/29. Our next gathering will be after Annual Meeting to welcome incoming members and discuss plans for next year.

We have made large banner for the Welcoming Congregation Committee to use for the Pride Parade in June.
We are going to try to get something in the paper for the 8th RE class’s book drive

The final 3 Sundays are dedicated to our students evaluating their Sunday morning experiences on June 5, followed by our annual field day on June 12 and concluded with an intergenerational Bridging Service for our graduating seniors on June 19.

The REC is hosting a Volunteer Appreciation Dinner on Friday June 3rd. This is an opportunity for volunteers to come together socially and be thanked for all their time and talent in support of the RE program.

On June 14 the team will meet for an extended time to review what worked well, what didn’t and what was missed in the RE program over the last church year. We meet again on August 6 for a retreat at which we will set the schedule and calendar for next year. Should a new Co-DRE be on board we will work to orient the new staff member. If not, we will work with Sadie and the REY committee to make sure the whole program is supported.

Please contact Sadie or Debra if you have an interest in serving on the REC. We welcome new ideas and energy.

Small Group Ministry:
There are seven SGM groups that will remain active through the summer and continue in the Fall. Summer plans differ for each group and many include a social activity rather than a regular meeting. We still have openings in the Monday and Wednesday evening Men’s Groups, so if you know of anyone who might have an interest, have them contact Walter Cole or David Blackburn, facilitators for the Men’s groups or Ann Marie Sigdestad, SGM coordinator.

We created a Steeple section for the website to support our bid to get the CPC money from Town Meeting. We are planning on keeping this section up to date during the rebuilding process so that people can see where the project stands.
We met with Sadie to discuss the RE website. She has a lot of ideas, but this is a busy time of year for RE so we will get started with this again in August.

The Welcoming Congregation Committee held its annual Movie Night on May 20. We showed Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, an Australian film that won kudos for its introduction of transgender issues to the larger community.

A hearing on the Transgender Equal Rights Bill is scheduled on June 8 on Beacon Hill. We’re looking for people who’d like to attend to ensure that those who oppose discrimination are well represented.

Our next event is the Boston Pride Parade, Saturday June 11. Please let your committee members know that it’s not too late to join us. We’d like to know as soon as possible so we can keep you in the loop. Some of us are carpooling at church and driving into Boston, to Alewife or Sullivan. Some of us are taking the commuter rail in. We’ll all meet at the staging area in Boston. An important part of being a Welcoming Congregation is honoring those dates and events that are important to the BGLT community and Pride is one of them. It means a lot that heterosexual members of the congregation care enough to celebrate along with bisexual, gay, lesbian and transgender members.

There is a Lobby Day in support of the Transgender Equal Rights Bill scheduled for June 23. This calls for people to sign up to visit their representative and join with all lobbyists for a mass rally.
Our book discussion was postponed due to budget considerations. We’ll be offering a book on same-sex parenting for reading over the summer and discussion in the fall.

May 20 2011

May 2011 CC Minutes

Church Council Minutes
May 5, 2011

Attendees: Carla Corey, Debra Grad, Dee Halzack, Ami Hughes, Cornelia Kirkpatrick, Johan MackKenzie, Leila Pelosi, Sally Seekings, Paul Windt, Wendla Windt,

The Archives Committee has been busy researching answers to many questions raised by the CPC grant request for funds to help repair the steeple.

Caring Connection Committee
CCC is working on finding new co-chairs for next church year. Also, the committee needs a couple of new members.

Community Table report
On Easter Sunday, April 24, 2011, the Community Table volunteers fed over 100 people at the Lowell YMCA. Although the YMCA was scheduled to be closed, Linda Newhard convinced them to be open for just a few hours for the Community Table serving. We planned for 50, cooked for about 60, and, somehow, the servers fed over 100. It was a positive way for Linda to end her long term as leader of the Community Table volunteers for First Parish. We look forward to Carole Russell taking the leadership role
No First Parish Community Table events are scheduled for the spring and summer.

We are in Full swing. W3 need your help! Please see the Shooting Star, Sunday announcements and e-mail announcements. We have spoken with Joan Coyne and she is setting up the Grounds Committee with a web page.
Grounds is in the process of reclaiming the gardens after a long hard winter and construction.. The trellis is on hold. We will be asking to see if the grounds members to see if they can house the snow blower until we have a shed.

House Management
The Nursery School had an inspection which has finally been passed.
I had contracted Nardone electric and Keane Fire Protection to fix the fire departments concerns. As of this report the original items have been fixed but upon his final inspection he added two small items. First he would like a Class K extinguisher in the kitchen and second he found another loose heat detector in the men room.
I have looked into a Reeds Ferry shed for the lawn equipment and will be discussing this with the LRP committee and Historic Commission.
I am still working on the replacement of the handicap door and the RE door, the back door is cracked, looking into fixing it.
The porticos should be completed as of this report. Paint was not included in his original proposal however he did say he would do the work. I am not sure I want him to now that he has a full time job. I most likely will paint it myself.
Table of Plenty would like the ovens looked at. They feel the heat distribution needs to be fixed.

We are gearing up for our busiest time of year when we facilitate the staff reviews. Many parishioners have received written requests for feedback on the performance of our wonderful staff. We are fortunate that our staff welcome feedback in their ongoing effort to continue to meet our needs and grow in their ministries and jobs. If you receive a feedback form I urge you to fill it out and return it as directed. We are employers and it is our responsibility to be good ones.
We are also working with Sadie, the SC, REC and REY to develop a job description for the newly proposed 20 hour position of CO-DRE to lead the youth programming. Sadie is reducing her hours to 20 per week and will run the pre-k – 6th grade RE program. Once the description has been finalized and a budget approved we will begin the process of advertizing for and screening candidates. A search committee is being formed. If we find the right person we hope they will begin in the fall.

We have a rough draft of IT policy that we will be submitting to the standing committee before their June meeting.

Gearing up for May being Membership Month and the timing of the town
meeting (where the steeple repair was supposed to have been discussed)
has delayed our discussions on the Mentoring project. We will pick up
this conversation in May but do not expect to start any new programs
until the autumn.
For Membership Month, we are again issuing an intentional invitation
to newcomers thinking about becoming members by direct email, Shooting
Star announement, Sunday Announcement, W&A, and individual
conversations. To kick-off Membership Month, we are supporting the
May 1st service through greeting, W&A, chalice lighting, and social
hour. We will also have a Newcomer Coffee on May 22nd, given the
surprising number of returning newcomers we have seen this spring.
Finally to cap off Membership Month, our hospitality experts will plan
our annual Newcomer Reception in June.
As a reminder, the next Membership Sunday is on October 2nd, 2011.

We have completed the roster for all open elected positions. The official Slate of Officers FY ’11-12 was sent April 29th to Clerk, Laura Monteodorisio, for vote at June annual meeting.

RE Council
The pre k – 5th grade program has concluded its teaching rotation schedule and the remaining 7 Sundays have special themes.
May 8th is RE Sunday and the theme is “A Lamp in Every Corner”
May 15 is movie day
May 22 is COA Sunday
5/29 is memorial Care Package Day.
A Volunteer Appreciation catered dinner is planned for all parishioners who have helped in the RE program this year, on Friday June 3rd. Please RSVP when you receive your Evite soon.
The RE Youth committee, along with Sadie, the REC and other stakeholders are working to determine the plans for youth programming next year.

We have two busy months coming up. The week of May 15 begins with a chalice lighting in honor of Marriage Equality, the anniversary of which is May 17.

On May 20, we’ll be holding our annual movie night. The movie is “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,” an Australian comedy-drama about the journey of three drag queens who travel across the Australian Outback from Sydney to Alice Springs in a tour bus that they have named “Priscilla”, along the way encountering various different groups and individuals. The film stars Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce and Terence Stamp as the three drag queens, one of whom is a heterosexual transwoman and the other two who are homosexuals. The film was noted for helping to bring Australian cinema to world attention, and for its sympathetic portrayal of LGBT individuals, helping to introduce LGBT themes to a mainstream audience.
On May 22, we’ll be hosting coffee hour in honor of Harvey Milk’s birthday.
We’ll kick off Pride week with a chalice lighting on June 5, followed by our participation in the Pride Parade, and ending with a worship service organized by us on June 12.
Plans continue for participation in this year’s Pride Parade in Boston (Saturday June 11). We are registered, we have our two marshals, their training sessions are scheduled, and a number of people have already signed up to join us (over 20 people total so far). We are in the process of designing a lighter-weight banner more suitable for parades (lighter weight and in a shape that lends itself to sharing the burden. We are looking into availability of alternat iv es for those who would like to participate but can’t walk the whole route, which may include hopping a bus, dropping out and catching the T to an agreed-on meeting place, or just meeting us at Government Center at the end of the parade. Options for getting to the parade include carpooling from church, meeting at the Alewife or Sullivan stations on the T, or meeting at the parade start.

We were pleased to welcome back Rev. John Rhemus , who was acting Minister during
Ellen’s sabbatical, as a guest speaker in Rev. Ellen’s absence on 3/27/11. During Ellen’s
NOLA trip, we welcomed Patience Stoddard as the guest speaker on 4/10/11. The
congregation’s response to the request for readers has been such that we already
have readers for all of this year’s services. The Committee continues to coordinate the
Welcome and Announcements, the chalice lightings, and readers for Sundays, along
with music providers for the Sunday evening worship services. We are actively searching
for two additional members to join the Worship Committee next year.

Faith in Action Grants:

We have $4,275.90 left and on June 30th we will receive $6,000 from Cell Tower funds.
2) Johan Mackenzie: Habitat for Humanity in South Africa
-Goal is to do a Habitat project outside the US. The Global Village Build.
-There is a group of 11 people from across the US.
Prebuild—with Anair Foundation: learning the culture, visiting orphanages, etc.
Build—Habitat for Humanity
-Johan has been fundraising through her workplace and other sources, has raised $2,200 already
Costs: Flight $2,000, the prebuild, a lot of money for the Anair Foundation process/experience.
-Payment due 5/13
-Johan will Blog her trip, a way for the First Parish Community to share the experience. Also, possibility of presentations when Johan returns.
-Motion made, seconded, voted unanimously to support this FIA grant for $3,000.
Dee Halzack and Cornelia Kirkpatrick: Merrimack Valley People for Peace for the Iraqui Refugees in Lowell.
2) -The donation will support addressing a bedbug infestation in homes.
3) -The requested $400 would cover two families to receive mattress covers (which traps and suffocates bedbugs) and non toxic chemicals starter kit to treat the bed bug problem.
4) -Are targeting new families because they don’t know about the bedbug problem, this way they can help these families address the bedbugs before the problem is a full infestation.
5) -Motion made, seconded, voted unanimously to support this FIA grant for $500 with the request that requests for additional help be brought to Church Council as needed.

The Steeple CPC Grant passed at Chelmsford Town Meeting with a preservation restriction.
-Building will start in August, we’ll be meeting with the CPC and the Historic Committee.
-Should take about 1.5 months, the cell tower functioning will need to be “paused” during this time.
-The Architect is drawing up plans to put out a bid, 5 places have been chosen.

Question: do we need a database of projects back through time, as well as to capture going forward through time?
The Steeple process required a lot of digging for data, would be helpful if there is a search-able database to find such data for future projects.
Where exactly would we go to find past data?
Archive Committee will check archives
Is the IT Team the group to approach for making a Database?
Volunteers to enter data, a couple Church Council members offered their services with data entry.

The Archives Comittee noticed some prints, photos, posters, some framed some not and a mirror in the attic. It was requested to move these items to the back of the closet in the chapel where the chairs are currently stored.
Should be fine, need a barrier to separate these items from the other items in the closet so that they are protected.
Should inventory the items and let the congregation know about them in case anything is of import/value to anyone.

Feb 20 2011

February 2011 CC Minutes

Church Council Minutes
February 3, 2011

Attendees: Walter Cole, Joan Coyne, Kathy Deschenes, John Fisher, Debra Grad, Deirdre Heck, Dave Kaffine, Fred Kaffine, Leila Pelosi, Sally Seekings, Sue West, Tom Wight, Paul Windt

The Archives Committee was asked to research the history of the current meetinghouse steeple for the grant request to the Chelmsford CPC Committee. A one page summary of the building’s history, focused on the steeple, was sent to the people who presented the request to the CPC Committee on January 19, 2011.

Caring Connection
We have people assigned to do announcement (2/6 Judy, 2/13 Sandy, 2/20 Leila, 2/27 Sandy);
Chalice (2/6 Linda S), flowers (2/6 Akiko) Valentine social/social hour (2/13, CCC with RE)

Community Table served on Sunday, January 23, 2011. Due to a major fund raising event held at the ‘Y’, there was no room available for the Community Table event. Unwilling to accept a cancellation of the event, we changed from our usual hot meal menu to a brown bag lunch to be provided from cars in the ‘Y’ parking lot. The entire crew, a large group of Scouts from Troop 74, and quite a few other First Parish folks, turned out to bake cookies, prepare vegetables, fruit, and sandwiches. The servers braved extreme cold to see that the Community Table clients received the lunches. Over 50 lunches were distributed.

Cancelled the Begetarian event due to snow. It is rescheduled for March.

Most of us on the Grounds Committee are busy shoveling, snow blowing and plowing the snow. As we shake off the snowflakes, planning the budget for 2011/12 is on the list and lining up our projects for spring, summer and fall. I hope to get a few of us together this coming month and get our Irises ready for a plant sale. The rest of the preparations will begin as soon as the snow melts and the earth warms up. In the meantime we think and dream in color.

Rev Ellen’s letter of call (like an employment contract) has been reviewed by HRSC, recommendations for updates and changes were sent to the SC which voted and approved the letter. The letter must be reviewed at least every 3 years. We are continuing to gather data from a number of other similar sized UU churches about their staffing levels to help us understand how to properly staff our church. We are working with other committees; including WOW to project what the staffing needs will be should we go to 2 morning services. We are working with the Intern Committee and SC to develop a letter of employment for our new intern. We continue to work on an unpaid leave policy, benefits and pension contribution recommendations and other HR Manual amendments. Another piece of important work is proposing a preliminary recommendation for staff compensation for the next fiscal year.

We are working on the policy for IT going forward Web based, cloud based, or remote access.
We are developing a master plan for safe guarding the church data (backing up the church computers). Along with creating an inventory of software that is on the church computers.
We are also working on the specifications for a new photocopier since the lease is up at the end of this church year.

Membership Committee is focused on the Fellowship Dinner (end of February) and Intro to UU course (every Sunday in March). We will pick-up working on WOW and Mentoring, towards the end of February.
As a reminder, the Alliance Parlor continues to be available for a quieter and calmer social hour option. Membership would like the canvas chair to attend the newcomer Fellowship Dinner to talk to newcomers about UU and the canvas. They are also redoing the Welcoming Guide, and request edits on it from the Church Council. They especially need more data for music. (Publicitiy has some information on Music that was created for the website that they will send on).

We have set a date and a place for our Fundraiser, It will be Feb 19th at the Chelmsford Elks. It will be an oldies Rock and Roll show with Pete’s Trio. Cost is $20.00. Refreshments are included, and there will be a cash bar.
We have 17 confirmed people going, 6 from the Groton church and 11 from Chelmsford.

Nominating Committee
Our report is brief – To date, seven candidates have accepted nomination for the nine open positions on the FY 11-12 Slate of Officers. Hopefully we will know by this weekend if we need to proceed with Tier II letters.

In December, we concentrated on publicizing the Holiday Fair. We also had a (paid) ad in the Lowell Sun’s Worship Guide for Christmas. The Worship Guide is a listing of all the holiday services in the area. We listed the Longest night service as well as the 2 Christmas Eve services. We only paid for one day’s listing. There were 2 we could have chosen, but it was expensive.
In February, we will be working on the upcoming Feb 19th NOLA Concert at the Elks.
We wrote up a communications guide for First Parish (attached) which outlines the different ways people can keep in touch with the Church. We plan to post this outside of Cindy’s office, and on the web.

We welcomed Sadie back from maternity leave. Our current rotation is UU Justice Seekers. the next rotation begins on Feb 6 – UU Ceremonies. The REC held a debriefing meeting with workshop leaders and other participants in our Winter Play to gather feedback on this new RE rotation. We will use the feedback to inform our decision about next year’s play. We are seeking a new Council member to join us now with the goal of taking on a portfolio in the fall. Those interested should contact Sadie or Debra Grad. REC signed up to host Social Hour on March 13th. We are planning to add a Body Fluid Kit to the RE supplies to comply with UUA guidelines.

Small Group Ministry
A seventh group has begun facilitated by Wendla Windt. It’s a women’s group and meets on Monday nights. Since it has just begun, if people know of anyone interested, have them contact Ann Marie Sigdestad as soon as possible

We have been working on the website, and our goal is to get the new design up by March 1st. This will require taking the site down for a few hours, so I plan to do that on Monday March 1st. I am assuming that Mondays are probably the day with the least traffic (It’s also my day off).
We are planning on scheduling a day in the spring to as people to stay after church so we can take some pictures for the site. We would like some “candid” but staged pictures of parishioners in the Sanctuary and outside (assuming of course that the snow melts). Staging the pictures will allow us not only to get the shots we want, but to make sure that everyone in the pictures is okay with being on the website. We haven’t set a date for this yet.

Welcoming Committee
The Welcoming Congregation Committee hosted a presentation by Matt Brunner of MassEquality this past Sunday. Matt assured us that marriage equality is safe for now in Massachusetts but that every election requires massive work to ensure that those who favor equality remain in the majority. He spoke of the main priority this year being passage of the Massachusetts Transgender Rights Bill, to be accomplished by lobbying Speaker of the House DeLeo to override the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, who has been letting the bill languish in committee, and by contacting our state reps and senators, by phone, hand-written letter, and in person, in particular. The Committee hopes to organize letter-writing parties (we have some letter templates that MassEquality shared with us) and delegations to visit legislators. A steady stream of letters is required, but there will be also be a big push the week of April 3-10. On February 13, WCC will be lighting the chalice in honor of UUA’s Standing on the Side of Love Day by reading a petition for full equality, which we will have available for people to sign on to at our table during social hour. We will also have available postcards in support of the Transgender Rights bill. Later this year we hope to have a book discussion around the book She Looks Just Like You, which addresses same-sex parenting. Registration for Pride Parade will take place shortly.

Worship Comm. Report

Franklin Wolf resigned from the committee. The new chairman is Sally Seekings. Arrangements for ministerial worship support (i.e. readers, evening worship setup, and music) have been arranged thru February. Arrangements have been made for Fayre Stephenson of Ferry Beach to come preach on February 20th. A Faith-In-Action Grant for to support Ferry Beach will be submitted for approval.

Faith-In-Action Grant #1
The High School Youth Group is requesting $400 to donate to the Swensrund Depression Prevention organization affiliated with Children’s Hospital. A mother and daughter came to the High School Youth Group to talk about the daughters struggle with depression and attempted suicide. The organization also goes to schools and host trainging seminars around the topics of depression, suicide, and bullying. The High Schoolers were so impressed with the talk, the mother and daughter, and with the work they learned the Swensrund organization does that they voted to ask for a FIA grant.
Church Council discussed this request and unanimously decided to both approve the grant and raise the amount to $500.

Faith-In-Action Grant #2
The Worship Committee is bringing in a guest speaker Reverend Fayre Stephenson from Ferry Beach. No fee is being charged. The Worship Committee is requesting a FIA grant to donate money to the work of Ferry Beach instead.
Church Council discussed this request and unanimously decided to approve it in the amount of $250.

Faith-In-Action Grant #3
It came to the Standing Committee’s attention that the Sunday night AA group was having difficulties paying their room rental fee. The Standing Committee decided to forgive the debt and reduce the rental fee. They thought a Faith-In-Action grant would make sense to cover the cost of forgiving the debt.
Church Council discussed this request, and while it was agreed that forgiving the debt was a good thing to do and could be done, it was not appropriate for a Faith-In-Action grant.
It was also mentioned that AA is a self sustaining organization and this matter should be discussed with them, as one of their tenents is that they pay their own way.
It was also brought up that it seems that the Sunday AA group has been slowly paying their debt.
This FIA grant was tabled.

A District Workshop “Who is in Charge Here” was discussed as a possible growth/learning opportunity for the Church Council leadership.
No one attended, thought there was interest.

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.