Jan 15 2010

December 2009 SC Minutes

First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church, Chelmsford
Standing Committee Meeting
Thursday, December 10th 2009

In Attendance:Tom Coffey, Walter Cole, Carla Corey, Ron Deschenes, Bonnie Rankin, Carole Russell, Ellen Spero, Tom Wight, Marcia Allison, Marybeth Bush
Guests:Johan MacKenzie, and Chris Sweetnam
Call to order and centering- Ellen
In support of the NOLA fundraiser at Applebees Dec 10th we ordered take out dinners which we enjoyed at our meeting.
Open Forum:
No one was in attendance
Architect Hiring:
After seeing presentation from three architectural firms earlier this fall; Carl Oldenburg, Menders, Torrey and Spencer and DSA. We selected weighted criteria for choosing which firm would be selected to prepare our master plan. Johan MacKenzie and Chris Sweetnam were present to give us there input and opinions on each firm since they had been part of the Growth Task Force and had been working with the firms on their original proposals.

Our Process:
We chose 7 criteria to help us select which firm we would choose.
* 3 Criteria were weight higher than the rest. We gave each firm High,Med, and Low score for each question.

1.* Experience- Similar projects, number of years in business, Knowledge of building codes, ability to work with historic and zoning office in town.
2. Cost- how the fees are structured.
3. Language of contract, do we have this in writing, in the letters they have submitted?
4. Presentation and Rapport.
5. The right architect will be the one who can provide the judgment, technical expertise, and creative skills, to help you realize a project that fits your practical needs.
6.* Looking for a firm that puts our goals and ideas first, and will alter their thoughts to conform to what we are looking for.
7.* A good architect should be a good listener, we are looking for someone who can understand our ideas and turn them into functional designs.

The highest score went to Menders, Torrey and Spencer. Johan and Chris agreed that they were they were the most qualified historically and the most connected spiritually.

There was a motion made, seconded and we voted in favor of hiring Menders, Torrey and Spenser to prepare our Master Plan.

Action Item: Chris Sweetnam suggested that we send a thank you to the other architects. He said he would be happy to draft a letter, and Ron Deschenes said he would sign it.

It was also suggested that a Thank you be sent to Johan and Chris.
Action Item: Ron Deschenes will a draft a letter to thank Johan MacKenzie and Chris Sweetnam for their hard work.

Distribution of materials – Agenda; reports from Treasurer, DRE, etc.
Review and approve meeting minutes from November- A motion was made, seconded and a vote made to approve the November Standing Committee meeting minutes with a correction to the spelling of Jeanne Thompson’s name.
Review and approve the Treasurer’s report
Presented by Carol Russell
Profit and Loss report – we are down $2,000 and the pledges are down 5%
We will begin to draw from Cell Tower 2 monies to cover operating costs. We have not began to draw from our Wells Fargo Funds formerly AG Edwards.
* an aside- Share holders were asked by the Board of Directors to vote to not invest in funds that have companies involved with or who support genocide.
(Carole Russell placed a proxy vote to not invest in these funds.)
Dave Kaffine reported that the letter that was sent out only received 4 responses and that there was not significant increase. A motion was made and seconded and the treasurer’s report was approved.
Visioning Team-
Presented by Tom Wight
Tom met with Ellen. It was agreed that we have the energy and money to build programs within the congregation
Tom would like to open the Visioning conversation to a larger audience.
It was pointed out that the architect will ask how are we going to move forward with our programing need adding a sense of urgency to our Visioning plan.
The energy we had from the retreat last year has fizzled.
Ellen mentioned that the Visioning Team is discernment committee, setting the tone for “who are we called to be and do in the world and who are our neighbors.
Sometimes we have to lead the congregation.
The question is how do we make that happen…the foundation is there, … it is the how?
There is a sense of urgency, our congregation is growing we are too big, Sundays are chaos.
We need to schedule Visioning Team meeting after Christmas drawing in some new folks. The team consists of Ellen Spero, Tom Coffey, Tom Wight, and Cornelia Kirkpatrick at this time.
We also need to look to the larger community to determine how we are perceived.
Action Item: Ron asked Tom W. to gather some people together and meet before our January meeting.
2009/10 Standing Committee timeline- January 9th there will be a Fiscal summit and on January 24 there will be a Congregation Meeting.
Ministerial intern update- it was discussed if this is the right time to do this monetarily. The intern search committee has already met 2 times. They would like to present at the congregational meeting. The plan is to use Cell Tower 2 money to fund the intern’s position since it is temporary (1 year). There is a strict schedule that you must following when hiring an intern. January we will have to select a person, February they accept, April they sign a contract.
There is a sense of urgency if we move forward with this. It was said that their is risk that comes with everything…sometimes we have to reach out if we have the funds.
Full time (1 year) vs Part time (2 years) was mentioned, Ellen mentioned that full time was better for all parties; minister, intern and congregation.
We will move forward and let the congregation decide in January.
It was also mentioned that the REAA position would become a position that would have to be funded out of the operating budget.
Fire drill/ evacuation plan- Sally Seekings and Ron will be meeting to plan a fire drill. It was mentioned the importance of an evacuation plan for the handicapped members.
NOLA Fundraising- gold parties will be held in private homes. They are looking for creative fundraisers.
A question was also raised on how the NOLA fundraising is to be used? NOLA trips cost $1000 per person.
Room and Board, they have to pay a fee to volunteer, air fair, rental cars and provide their own materials.
They have sent out a sheet to those who are planning on going asking them what they could afford. Scholarships will be given out to people first, then to rental cars, then money will be used for supplies and equipment. Money is due now for room and board and air fair.

Request to replace/repair damaged hymnals and pew racks- Also it was brought up that their are some nails sticking out. They will be repaired.
New business
Request for LRP to become a chartered committee- LRP ( Long Range Planning) needs to hold a meeting to redesign its purpose and vision. It would have to be a congregation vote if it were decided that its members hold an elected position. We will take it under advisement and it was suggested it follow the financial sub committee model.
Action item Walter and Ellen will meet to further discuss.
Community lunches/dinner-
Our church is being looked at to be part of a new Open Table in Chelmsford. This organization organized by Maureen McKeon is looking for a space to serve weekly evening meals. We would provide the kitchen and the space. She also asked if we could do a monthly rotation it would be late afternoon 3-7 they would need our Kitchen and Vestry. Dinners would be held ~5-5:30 and other churches would serve on the weeks we are not. They are expecting about 50 people per week. This could be a great opportunity for us to do some local outreach.
2nd Fiscal Summit scheduled for Saturday, January 9, 2010
2nd Church Service-
Evening service are very lowly attended ~10, but seem to be going very well. Ellen suggested the need to have a second morning service to relieve the congestion and chaos. Even if we are trying to be welcoming when crowded this is sometimes lost.
2nd Cell tower money-
Christmas Eve offertory – SHIFT collation
Request from Nominating for names- we will think of possibilities and get back to the nominating committee.
Staff, subcommittee, and liaison reports:
Minister- Invites everyone to the Elks club on December 17, Ellen will be Speaking at the Military Covenant Community program in Chelmsford. She is also going to co-author a curriculum Intergenerational Christian Scripture with Jennifer Hamlin Navias.
Healing conversation class- is going well and a great example of what church can be.
DRE- Sadie will continue with her credentialing. She also gave a detailed report of REAA activities as well as an attendance report.

Minister of Music-Cindy Bliss sent a report but it was not received by all before the meeting.

Church Council- Walter Cole reported ~ 10 in attendance, 20 committees were represented.
They have completed a Charter worksheet to help committees rewrite their Charter and have sent them out for all committees to complete and return by the end of February. There were no Faith in Action Grants.

HR- They met and discussed Tiered Vacation Policies. They are revising the assessment form for staff review. The Goals have been completed. They are just beginning budgeting process.
Policy-Marcia talked about reviewing policy and procedure. Nothing has changed.
I.T.- Walter Cole reported a new computer has been installed in Sadie’s Office. Sarah Manning, Dave Kaffine and Caroline Sano now make up this committee. They plan on purchasing 3 new computers this year.They have asked if they can escrow their unused budget in the future.
Action Item Walter Cole will talk to Carole Russell about this.
Music Committee- Carla Corey reported that they were very happy with their musical guests. Will Reiter has started a community outreach choir called the Voices of light.
Action item list update- will be held in till next SC meeting in January.
Adjourn-a motion was made and seconded and we voted to adjourn the meeting.
Next meeting January 14, 2010


Chris Sweetnam suggested that we send a thank you to the other architects. He said he would be happy to draft a letter, and Ron Deschenes said he would sign it.

Ron Deschenes will a draft a letter to thank you Johan MacKenzie and Chris Sweetnam for their hard work.

Ron asked Tom W. to gather some people together for the Visioning Team and meet before our January meeting.

Walter and Ellen will meet to further discuss the request for LRP to become a chartered committee.

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.