Church Council


June 6, 2017


In attendance: Aggie Brennan, Joan Coyne, Jackie Diamond, Dee Halzack, Dolores Heredia-Wood (guest) Dave Kaffine, Caroline McMullin, Edith Murphy, Tom Wight, and Leslie Yauckoes


  1. Chalice lighting (5 min)

Leslie light the chalice.

Miscellaneous Announcements:

The Accessibility Building Project will start next spring. The all church retreat will be held on September 30th, location to be decided. Leslie read a thank you letter from the Lowell High School history class thanking us for our donation to the Gift Cards for Guns program.

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

There were 3 Faith in Action grants presented. The first presented was from Reverend Ellen in remembrance of the Bethel AME 9. This will go to the church where the memorial was held for these victims. Reverend Ellen recommended $300. Aggie made a motion for approval and Dee seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

The second FIA grant request was from Reverend Ellen as well for the UU church is Charleston, WV. This grant was to support repairs to the church including repairs to their entry ramp. They have helped support their community in many other ways in the past and now they need help. Reverend Ellen requested $200. Upon reading the information presented, the money has to be donated through, which is a UU crowd funding service. Joan investigated the online donation process and presented that each donation is subject to a 2.9% plus $0.30 fee. Due to these fees, Joan motioned that we increase the amount to $310, which would counter the fees. Aggie seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

The third FIA grant request was from the Welcoming Congregation. They presented a grant for $1,000 which would allow the church to be an exclusive sponsor at the Lowell Pride. The Lowell Pride parade is in its 2nd year and is a family friendly event as well. There are only 4 pride events taking place in Massachusetts including Lowell.

The $1,000 level would give us exclusive rights to have our logo on all staff T-shirts. There are approximately 20 to 30 staff members that will be at the event. Another benefit to this level would be a prime table location and our logo on a prime spot at the entrance. The Welcoming Congregation had a table last year and will again this year. Jackie will be MCing the event this year and will make sure to mention our church.

Finally, we will be give exclusivity on the website. The Great Lowell Health Alliance LGBTQ sub-committee organizes the event. The Great Lowell Health Alliance relies on grants, which due to the political climate are in jeopardy. This group is involved in many different Lowell events as well. For instance, they partner with LGH, who runs the House for Hope and the Alternative House. Dee is on the subcommittee and Jackie works with the organization. At the $500 sponsorship level the benefits change. We are not guaranteed a prime table location, a spot at the entrance, and no exclusivity online.

This is a local event right in our backyard; it could even be said this is out front yard. Diversity is an important message to send and it is important to know that the church supports diversity. Sponsorship of this event is an important message and it is an important organization to support. It was mentioned that Church Council has approved $1,000 grants before. Dave moved to approve the motion and Joan seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

  1. Transitioning to the next church year for committee chairs and members (15min)

Leslie asked for feedback about how to transition to the next church year with potential new leaders as well as how to get more participation from more committees. The members present wrote down which committees they represent and if they knew who would be the chair next year. It was suggested that a retreat similar to the retreat the Standing Committee holds before the start of church would be a helpful. It was suggested that instead of an official retreat we could turn part of the first meeting of Church Council into a mini-retreat. Another suggestion was to publicize the charter, which would help to highlight the existence of Church Council as well as what its role is. Leslie said that the charter would be publicized in the announcements as well as posted online. Another suggestion would be to send the charter to the new chairs. Another suggestion would be to hold a splashy Gala for our first meeting, which could take the form of a potluck. Finally, it was suggested that to be able to have an accurate list of chairs, Cindy could send an all church email stating only respond if you are a chair.

  1. Review of C.C.’s past year (10 min)

Leslie wrote an Annual Report for Church Council. The group noted appreciation for this as well as appreciation for the effectiveness of Church Council this year and in the last few years.

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

Church Council has discussed their charter over many past meetings. Leslie wanted to reevaluate one piece of information listed – how many times Church Council meets during the church year. Leslie felt that if we did not meet every month this would help to deter burnout, as many of the people that attend Church Council are leaders within the church and represent many different committees. Leslie recommended that Church Council meet only 5 times, sticking to the first Tuesday of the month. Additionally, if there is a Faith in Action grant request that has a deadline and needs to be approved before the next meeting, we can vote on it over email. It was suggested that October, November, February, April, and June would work as the best months to meet, however these are not cast in stone. At the October meeting these other 4 meetings will be determined. While it was not necessary to officially vote on this change, Leslie wanted a vote to make it official. The vote was to change Church Council from meeting every month to meeting 5 times and to change the charter to reflect this. Edith moved to approve this motion and Aggie seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

  1. Calendar items (5 min)

June 10th is the 10th anniversary of the church become a Welcoming Congregation and it is Boston Pride. The July 4th will be help on Tuesday, July 4th this year. The Worcester Pride Parade this year will be held on September 2nd, which is before the start of regular church services. September 9th, REC has tentatively planned a start of church kickoff potluck. They hope to team with Membership, as they did last year.