May 13 2017

Church Council May Minutes

Church Council Agenda

May 2, 2017


In attendance: Dee Halzack, Dave Kaffine, Caroline McMullin, Tim O’Hara, Martha Sherburne, Leslie Yauckoes


  1. Chalice lighting (5 min)

Leslie light the chalice.

Leslie wanted it noted her appreciation to the Young Adult group for hosting a friendly and social Canvass Success Luncheon. Added to this was that our visitor was impressed with our event and it helped bring people to the budget hearing with full stomachs.

Rebecca Gore is encouraging committees to review their spending up to now and review what they have left keeping in mind that there are only 2 more months of the church/fiscal year. Additionally, she wants everyone to review their budget requests for next year and make sure that they truly need the amount of money requested. If they need more, now is the time to figure this out. June is too late to make an addition.


  1. Mini-lesson by Ministry of the Interior regarding relocation of committee items prior to construction (15-20 min)

Debra Grad did not come to the meeting. However, Dee was able to speak to this matter. The most full closet is in the Chapel to the left if you are looking at the altar. There is mainly fundraiser and pageant stuff stored there. Some of this will have to go somewhere else. Caroline speaking as the chair of May Breakfast and July 4th Breakfast expressed concern in the possibility that some of the fundraiser items may have to be stored off site. Dee did not have an answer as to whether this would have to happen. The closet that has the heater in it going up to stairs cannot be used as a closet after construction due to the heater. It was never supposed to be used as a storage area according to the architect. Finally, the closet in the Sanctuary should be reviewed as it tends to collect random items left in the Sanctuary. HR wants to remind the greater church to not underestimate how much stuff will need to be cleaned. They ask that this not be left solely up to the staff. Another question that was considered was how to handle donations and items that are stored at church unnecessarily. There was no clear answer to this question; it was mainly food for thought. This discussion lead to a question about what shelves in the back room of the kitchen are for the church to use and what are for Table of Plenty and Community Table. It was suggested that the fundraiser chair(s) speak to a representative from these groups to hash this out. There is an additional shelf unit in the boiler room that may work in the back room.


  1. Faith in Action Grants   (have received one so far) (10 min)

Reverend Ellen Rowse Spero brought forth a Faith in Action grant to purchase gift cards as part of the Guns for Gift Cards program. A civic class from Lowell High School sent a letter to local religious communities asking their support. Gift Cards for Guns run by Generation Citizen is an interfaith, community program that is a gun buyback program, which also includes turning in ammunition. When a gun is turned in no questions will be asked and the person will receive a gift card to a local business. Reverend Ellen asked for $300. Dave moved to pass the motion and Dee seconded. It passed unanimously. We have approximately $2,000 left for Faith in Action grants.

  1. Debriefing from Committee Fair for April 9th 5-10 min)

The group agreed that is was more fun, friendly, and relaxed this year. It was good timing for the new members. The timing allowed RE to socialize with new families and then have the Committee Fair where they could sign-up to volunteer in RE or in another capacity. For the new people, it was generally thought to be less overwhelming as they had time to get to know us before which was not possible when we held the event in October. One issue that was mentioned was that people may forget what they signed up for over the summer. The group thought that while that may be true April was a better time for committees overall. The group did not officially decide if we would hold another fair. Another benefit to having it in April is not having to make that decision now.


  1. Future role of Church Council Discussion continued (15 min)

Leslie took the document describing Church Council from 2010 and tweaked it based on previous discussion at Church Council. It was noted to add a benefit it to help eliminate calendar conflicts. The line pertaining to length of term for Standing Committee member was discussed. The group felt that it was important to have a Standing Committee member as part of the leadership of Church Council, however it should be listed as a 1-year term and the line should list member(s), as having two members it not definite year to year. The treasurer position was eliminated as there is no need for this position. The group felt that the layout and the rest of the document was well written.

Leslie spoke that now that the document has been updated, what should we do with it. It will be posted on the website. How should it be communicated to next year’s group, including the new chair? Posting an announcement early was one key that needed to happen both to communicate that Church Council exists and what it is. June is the best time to make this announcement, so that we start to know how it is for next year. Part of the leadership training that is needed and Church Council can explore is leadership transition. What does it mean to change leadership within a committee? What makes that process work well? Understanding delegation is an important part of this transition. Some committee representatives at the meeting offered to speak to how their committees achieve this. What makes a strong committee? Committees need to understand that Church Council is here to help. Church Council should make the weekly announcement at the beginning of the Sunday service. It was suggested that Church Council could do this during September when it is Standing Committee’s month as Church Council is a direct extension of the SC; it might make this more apparent to the church. Another thought is to take a month of the committees/groups that may only need/want one Sunday and be part of that. Finally, it was suggested that Church Council could make the announcement during a month with 5 Sundays.


  1. Calendar items (5 min )

May 6th – May Breakfast

May 19th – Welcoming Congregation movie night

May 20th – Steve’s concert

May 21st – Budget Hearing/Harvey Milk Social Hour

May 14th – Mother’s Day Walk for Peace

June 10th – Boston Pride

June 11th – Music Appreciation Sunday/Justine’s Ordination in Littleton/Annual Meeting

September 30th – Off-site Retreat


Dee motioned to be adjourned. Leslie moved to adjourn.

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.