Minutes: March 7, 2017

March 7, 2017

In Attendance: Aggie Brennan, Lisa Calvo, Tom Coffey (guest), Dolores Heredia-Wood (guest), Dave Kaffine, Caroline McMullin, Edith Murphy, Martha Sherburne and Leslie Yauckoes


  1. Leslie light the chalice.
  2. Tom Coffey came to speak on the Building Accessibility Project. There are 3 teams that are working on this project. See paper included with the minutes. This document was created by Ruth Whalen, Tom and John Schneider and then approved by the Standing Committee. This was created to decrease confusion about the different parts of the project.

He wanted to know the specific information that Church Council needs from him. Leslie wanted to know how the committee chairs can help and Martha wanted to know the impact the construction would have on grounds.

Doug Snow and Dave Kaffine are preparing the financial portion of the project. Doug, Dave, and Tom will be hosting three cottage meetings to discuss the final aspects of the project. There will be three meetings Sunday, March 12, Sunday, March 19, and Tuesday, March 21. They will give an update of the overall project as well as solicit feedback about what financial options should be used. While the fundraising has met its goal, all of the money will not be in hand for the beginning of construction. The congregation has to approve how to fill that gap. Additionally, there are administrative costs and interest that need to be covered not matter what we choose. Where this money can come from will be discussed. The feedback received from these meetings will help to shape the language of the warrants for the April and May all congregational special meetings. Contingency plans are necessary. This may include looking at the endowment to see where the rest of the money will come from.

Tom will discuss what small things can be added. For instance, the current project does not include a sprinkler system or an acoustics system in the Chapel. There are small changes that potentially can be made to decrease the cost and potentially help to pay for these additions. He will have a survey to rank what items are the most important and what items could change. For instance, we have to have bathrooms on the second floor, but do we need 3? Tom emphasized that these need to be tweaks, not major changes. The placement of the largest items are not changing. He also wants to discuss having an all congregation vote for the project in its entirety. Options discussed at the cottage meetings are tweaks, not changes to the plans to save money. While we need bathrooms on the second floor per code, we may be able to remove 1. A sprinkler is not needed per the Fire Department. For instance, the entrance was shifted towards the parking lot. There needs to be no more dramatic changes as this will put the schedule in jeopardy.

Tom is looking for bids for contractors now. He is hoping to have the specific details at the end of this month. We are looking to hire the contractor at the end of June. The start date has been pushed back to the end of August/beginning of September. Tom is hoping that he can push that to the end of July/beginning of August. He is hoping that the total project will take 6 months to complete.

Of the 3 teams, the Design team is responsible for the final drawings. They have created a phased plan for construction. Currently, the plan has two phases. First, the new elevator and new bathrooms will be installed on the first floor. The elevator portion will affect the second floor as the whole thing has to go in at once. Then the old elevator and the old bathrooms will be removed. Then they will finish construction of the new parts of the first floor. Finally, the rest of new portions of the second floor will be done along the way. This way the building will be fully functioning at all points of the construction. Once construction starts, the Design team will figure out impact scheduling and how to move stuff around with as little impact as possible. They will be starting this coordination soon (possibly next month) and will look for feedback.

He will be meeting with Dolores to go over the drawings with her and make sure that nothing needs to be tweaked. Tom has met with the Nursery school and Table of Plenty. Each of their concerns have been considered. The phasing plan will ensure that the Nursery school can still legally operate. Table of Plenty wants to ensure that no parking spaces will be affected. Martha and Tom will work on figuring out where the staging materials can be put on the grounds. They will also make sure that the labyrinth will not be affected.

Church Council as stakeholders can help by making sure all information is correct.

  1. Revisit the Lowell transport to church. This matter has not been decided yet, but Leslie wants Committees to be aware that more conversations are needed. It was not discussed by Membership and Worship (two committees that are thought that should be directly involved). This may have to wait until next church year. The money/budget portion was mentioned again. It is thought that a Faith in Action grant could cover the initial steps, then it would have to find a home somewhere. There was talk that splitting it between committees should be discussed. It was decided to table this discussion at the current time.
  2. Leslie said that all the committees did a great job submitting budgets on time. As she was looking over the various committees listed within the Operating budget, there seems to be many committees that do not attend or submit reports. Joan Keene, co-chair of Canvass, sent an email with information to pass along to our committees. She wanted to highlight that Canvass starts on March 19th and it ends on April 30th. Canvass would like as many pledges in as early as possible. Leslie wanted to know if we wanted to ask Joan to be the presenter for out April mini-lesson. We decided to leave it up to her.
  3. Heating of meeting rooms. Carryover from February’s meeting. Please make sure if you change the temperature in the room you are using, please make sure to change it back. Use the up and down arrows only to adjust to the temperature you want. When you leave hit the CANCEL button.
  4. No Faith in Action grants at this meeting. Aggie mentioned that there is one that she needs to talk to Joan about. The organization is Caribbean Diaspora for Science, Technology and Innovation New England.   It provides internships for STEM studies among other projects. CFAM may choose to do it as a Split the Plate; if they do not then Aggie will bring it as a Faith in Action grant. Aggie also mentioned Stop Hunger Now. They fill bags with protein packs and other dried foods. She said that they are not religious. Edith mentioned that if the church is serious about being ready to be a Sanctuary church, then we will need a shower. We discussed potentially creating a Faith in Action grant for that. Dave said that it might be better to consider the Cell Tower money, which is where the Faith in Action money originally comes from. This is still open to discussion.
  5. Committee Fair is on April 9th. We will discuss the nuts and bolts of this at the next meeting. Church Council should do the coffee part as the individual committees should bring food. Edith suggested that as this is being held at a different time of year, an announcement should be made that it is happening.
  6. Leslie wants the committees to think about what the future role of Church Council should/needs to be. Some other committees have discussed this, but Church Council has not yet. There has been previous conversation about having Church Council only 4 times a year. What does the Standing Committee want from us & where are we most needed? One main function we serve is a place to discuss the calendar so we are not tripping over each other. Now that the minutes and submitted committee reports are online, we are now a transparent body, which is great and new. This makes us a great way for the congregation to get information. What needs are we filling?
  7. Lisa came to represent Nominating committee. There are currently 2 open positions on the slate; they are talking to people to fill those positions. Once the positons are filled, Ellen will approve them and then the list will be published (most likely by the end of the month). Part of Nominating’s job along with filing the elected positions is to help boost committees. They want to help where it is needed.