Approved Standing Committee Meeting Minutes
April 8, 2008

Members Present: Carla Corey, Ron Deschenes, Debra Grad, Cornelia Kirkpatrick, Doug Long, Johan MacKenzie, Peggy Stephens-North, Tom Wight

Others Present: Joanna Paulsen and Brenda Rogers.

Call to Order and Centering: Peggy read two poems meant to be listened to back-to-back. The first “Fix” by Alicia Suskin Ostriker, from No Heaven, was about searching for meaning. The second, “Shoulders” byNaomi Shihab Nye urged us to care for each other in the way a loving father cares for his son.

Open Forum: Brenda Rogers attended Open Forum and informed us that she is going to General Assembly this year. There was discussion about different ways to pay for registration and the implications of each. We discussed whether or not in future years the church could pay partial or full registration fees for friends and members of First Parish to attend General Assembly. Brenda suggested that we might want to consider using cell tower funds for this type of activity while we have it. There was also discussion about whether or not the church could accept the donation of an item, like a car, allowing the congregant to get a tax break and then use the car as the church sees fit.

Review and Approve Meeting Minutes: Peggy reported that the February Minutes have been posted and emailed by Cindy Gist.

A motion was made and approved to approve the March 11, 2008 Standing Committee Meeting Minutes.

A motion was made and approved to approve the March 29th, 2008 Special Meeting Standing Committee Minutes.

Review and Approve Treasurer’s Report:

A motion was made and approved to accept the Treasurer’s Report.

Staff and Committee Updates and Reports:
• Minister’s Report: Ellen sent a brief report by email and mentioned that there were 19 new people of mixed demographics who attended her class for new members. At this point, no one from the Standing Committee was interested in working with the group crafting the covenant.
• DRE Report: We received Sadie’s report.
• Church Council: Cornelia reported that there was an interesting discussion at CC. Leila attended the meeting. There is a higher need for meeting space for church work than there is space. Leila emphasized how important it is for people to fill out a church use form and get on the calendar. There was a Faith in Action Grant application from the High School class and an $800 grant has been awarded to them for the WISH Project. The WISH Project was founded by Donna Hunnewell, who has been connected with First Parish in the past. The WISH Project is a “free” store in the Merrimack Valley and clients come only via referral. It has been very successful. There is one more CC meeting.
• Standing Committee Chair: Deb spoke with Rosemary about running the July 4th fundraiser this year. She agreed to speak with Caroline about it when she comes home from college. Deb wrote a lovely letter to the congregation about the postponement of the auction. She has not received any comments, positive or negative. Deb sent an email to the Lion’s Club approving use of the First Parish parking lot. That email is attached to these minutes.
• Task Force on Growth and Space: Chris wrote an email to Debra asking for a response to their report and relaying that the group identified two different aspects to growth, the physical space and the spiritual needs. The attendees of the recent Fiscal Summit agreed that getting an architect to look at our space was an important priority. There was discussion as to whether we should have a joint meeting with TFGS. Carla recommended that we all commit to thoroughly read their report so that we can comment. Carla suggested that the Standing Committee take the time to discuss among ourselves how we feel about growth. Cornelia felt that a conversation about going to two services might be the catalyst to allow the congregation to truly consider the implications to growth. Ellen has provided some people with a how-to-manual about adding worship services and Carla will be in charge of getting copies to all SC members. The recommendations that we could address this year financially are additional chairs for the sanctuary, an architectural review, and sandwich boards reminding people to park in places other than our parking lot. There was agreement to schedule an additional meeting to discuss and respond to the report of the Task Force. Possible dates include Friday, May 16th.
• Clerk: Ellen and Carla have written a letter to people who have not attended for a while telling them that they are missed and encouraging them to come back and join us. The SC expresses appreciation to Ellen for carrying most of the responsibilities for organizing and running the New UU Session.
• Secretary: The minutes from the February Standing Committee have been posted and disseminated. Carla will ask Cindy about dividing up the bulletin board.
• Human Resources Sub-Committee: Cindy Gist has been given a $1.50/raise and job title change to appropriately reflect the scope of her responsibilities. There is an increase in Cindy’s hours to 25 so that she can cover publicity duties. The total increase proposed by HR for staff will not be $20,000 as previously stated, but probably closer to $10,000.
• Music Committee: Peggy relayed that the Music Committee had some conversation about the addition of a third octave of bells and will consider it again in the fall. Some of the Senior Choir members were interested in looking into the purchase of risers to enable better sight lines when they sing in the front of the sanctuary. Risers would allow them to have a better view of Cyndi while singing and allow congregants to see all the choir members as well. Music Committee members did agree at their meeting to research risers as it was felt there was significant benefit to the church in general.
• Policies and Procedure Sub-Committee:

A motion was made and approved to approve the Disposition Policy. (Attached)

Ron will send a copy to Cindy Gist to add to the Policies and Procedures folder. Ron was asked as liaison from the Standing Committee to Building Use to review building use contracts with Leila, the Sexton. It was suggested that they look for groups who might be able to share the cost of using renewable energy.
• Welcoming Congregation Ministry: Carla had nothing to report.

Old Business:
• All Congregation Conversation on Commitments and Covenant: Everyone was asked to consider representing the Standing Committee in the group crafting the covenant. The event was well attended and included singing, dancing and excellent conversation. Thanks to Peggy for taking and posting pictures from the event.
• Third Fiscal Summit, March 29: It was a good meeting. The attendees reviewed the issue of the surplus and how to spend it. Some of the items prioritized to be covered by the surplus, such as the front door and shutter repair, were now covered by line items in the budget. There was agreement to continue to fund sabbatical, and using $4,000 to fund a social action project. The recommendation from those present at the Fiscal Summit was that the remaining money from the surplus should be used to fund an architectural review, purchase chairs and revamp the choir loft. This group also reviewed the fiscal calendar and listened to Chris Sweetnam’s summary of the report produced by the Task Force on Growth and Space.
• Review and Approve ‘HR Manual: Revision date was changed to April, 2008 (although the footer is inaccurate) and Cindy Gist’s job title was changed to Congregational Administrator. Some additional items were added to the manual today as it is a work in progress, they include: a line item to the DRE section stating that in the absence of a Youth Program coordinator the DRE will assume those tasks.

A motion was made and approved to approve the revised Human Resources Manual

• Nursery School Lease: Carla and Debra had a meeting with Jan Domey last Tuesday. She has been an excellent tenant. She appreciated the changes put in place particularly the ability to store her toys under the stairs next to the kitchen and the addition of the divider on the stage. There was discussion about the lease and the OPTION TO RENEW clause. It was suggested that this clause needed to be removed to give the church options on use of the space. There was discussion about an additional 25% raise in rent to $9,375/year. Debra pointed out that a raise in her rent makes her more indispensable to the church. Jan said that she would like to get a sense of where we were ultimately headed with regard to rent. She plans on staying and is fully enrolled. Jan pointed out that without the OPTION TO RENEW clause it makes her business less valuable to potential buyers should she wish to sell. Debra emphasized to Jan that we recognize what a valuable relationship we have with the Nursery School.

A motion was made and approved to remove the OPTION TO RENEW clause in the contract with “The Open Door Nursery.”

A motion was made and approved to increase the rent of the Open Door Nursery by 25% to $9,375/year.

• Historic District Commission letter on temporary signage: Debra has not received a letter requesting information on our temporary signage. Ellen said that we are responsible for sending them a letter.
• New Cell Tower: Nothing new to report on the cell tower.
• Insurance Review Team: Marisha Rowse put Debra in contact with a member of the Littleton UU Church who is willing to look at our contracts pro bono.

New Business:
• Budget: The finance sub-committee has met to review the budget. The Green Ministry would like us to use 100% renewable energy. The two budget hearings will be held on May 4th and May 18th after the service. Johan will ask Cindy to advertise.
• Canvass: No discussion
• Child Care Policy: This discussion was deferred to when SC could have a larger discussion about Policies and Procedures.
• Diswasher – May Breakfast: The dishwasher is broken and the repair person came today but has not given us a report. If it is not fixed by May breakfast we will have to use paper products.
• Annual Reports Due Date: The Standing Committee suggest June 15, 2008 as the deadline for committee reports to be turned into Cindy Gist.
• Thank you to Doug Long: The Standing Committee would like to formally thank Doug Long for his service to the church and the Standing Committee during the past year.

Adjourn: The meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,

Peggy Stephens-North and Carla Corey
Secretary and Clerk