May Vestry Minutes


St. David’s Episcopal Church Vestry Meeting May 26, 2020 6:30 pm (Click Here To Read More) Attendees (Vestry): CaroleAnn Padgett, Jim Wilson, Donna Nolfa, Tom Erdmanczyk, Leonard Ferrand, Anna MacHarg, Ben Bailey, Nell Fernandez, Ken Harris, Garner Crowder, and Kristen Acker Attendees (non-voting): Rev. Michelle Ortiz, Rev. Dean Taylor, Scott Lawrence, Gary Dunsmore, David Kloess, Arturo Rodriguez Opening Prayer: Rev. Dean Taylor Check Ins & prayer requests: All Meditation: Kristen Acker Motion to accept April 2020 Minutes: Jim remarked that the bank’s name is Renasant. Jim moved to accept. Nell seconded. All in favor. Motion to add the ministry for the memorial garden: Jim moved. CaroleAnn Seconded. All vote in favor Treasurer’s Report: David Kloess, Gary Dunsmore • David shared that April was down a bit but first quarter was ahead so still in good shape relative to this year’s budget as well as compared to last year. • Have a cash surplus of nearly $71k compared to a budget of $20k and last year’s $45k. • Some of this may be timing, David suspects. • Gary shared May’s totals to date. We’re still ahead of budget through April, but there was a decline in May. • We’re almost $45k below where we were in 2019 and $40k below budget for the month of April. Most of this, Gary surmised, was due to people not bringing their offerings to the church. Instead of mailing the appeal out this year, it was done online, which Gary believes may have had an impact. • From the 2020 outlook, Gary pointed out two additional points. o We had a successful application of the Small Business Loan of $196.4k o $20k is being used for preschool. o $176.4 is allocated to the church to cover other costs over eight weeks o With regard to debt service, Renasant Bank offered a three-month deferral on the principal and interest of the note, which provides a $67k savings for the current budget. The finance committee has looked this over and recommends it. • Looking at 2020 overall, they’ve talked to the bishop about deferring or reducing our commitment to the diocese. • Dean mentioned that in talking to the bishop, he gathered that we need to go back to the whiteboard to look for creative ways to make it work, without cutting our obligations to the greater church. • Gary mentioned that we’ll be making the loan deferment application in June because there is an eight-week wait period after the SBC loan. So the deferment would be for July, August and September. Asked that a motion be made for this to happen. • Donna asked if there are any penalties or other considerations in the terms of the deferment. • Jim asked if the interest will continue. Gary confirmed that it would and be appended to the end of the loan term. • Leonard mentioned that the regulators are enabling banks to offer this special deferment as a means for the economy to continue to move forward during this Covid19 period of stagnation. • Motion to accept the 90-day deferment. Ben moved. Gardner seconded. All voted in favor. Rector search update: Ben Bailey. • Everything is still on hold. There’s little anyone can do at this time. Junior Warden Update: Kristen Acker • Nell has volunteered to provide some Irises. • The Warden’s call focused on caring for the older church members, which Kristen believes that the church is doing as well as could be expected. The biggest struggle seems to be that some of the elderly have difficulty joining Zoom calls, which is made more difficult because no one can physically go to their homes to explain it or set it up. • The Protocol Committee has an extensive list of questions. Following all guidelines and there are several nurses on the call to ensure we’re doing all we can to safely reopen. • Kristen mentioned there was a questionnaire, which Dean could comment more on. Interim Rector Update: Rev. Dean Taylor • Dean explained that the latest weekly call with the bishop enabled him to report that we don’t have an open date, but that it will definitely be in stages. • Jan Georges has worked quite a lot on this, for distancing seats six feet from one another. o Jeffords Hall can hold 166 people o The sanctuary can hold 74 o Grace Hall can hold 40 o We may have to have people register (although we shouldn’t call them “reservations”). o There are still many questions about how getting back will work. o Communication is crucial, so people will fully understand what to expect when these issues are worked out. o We will definitely continue to have online service. o Dean suggested that everyone go to Yelp to rate St. David’s Roswell, which will help our online presence. o Michelle will be out of town on two Sundays in June so if someone would like to do the coffee hour in June, please let Rebecca know. o Dean’s doing the Spanish service, in video on Wednesday night. Old/New/Other Business • Ken commented on how great the youth service was, completely run by the youth, with the exception of the communion. • Gary reminded everyone that he’d suggested in the previous vestry meeting that we might create an in-reach type of program, and while nothing is likely to become formal at this time, anyone could contact Dean or Michelle should they know of someone who would seem to be a candidate for it. • Ben mentioned that some of the finance committee joined a call put on by the Center for Healthy Churches. They spoke of creative ways to help in financially difficult times. One part of the call referenced churches that are asset rich and cash poor. One church, as an example, rented out its kitchen. It’s an example of creating recurring revenue through an asset. He suggested that before the year is out, we might create a subcommittee or group that might undertake other creative ways to help financially. o Gary referenced a food truck that enabled the church to have outreach into the community. o Dean mentioned that it’s more than creating revenue streams; it’s real outreach for the church to speak to more people, rather than just its own congregants. o Jim referenced that we hosted a synagogue for some time several years ago, which is another example of using assets for the betterment of the church. • Scott asked if we might use some sort of benchmarking, either for how St. David’s is doing financially compared to other churches, or for beginning to reopen. One example might be to look more closely at churches that have already opened. The Catholic church and others are going back sooner than we are, so there might be something to learn about what’s working and what’s not. o Dean mentioned that many parishes are actually calling St. David’s to find out how we’re doing all we’re doing (e.g. Facebook as well as YouTube videos). o CaroleAnn also mentioned that World Harvest, a very large church, appears to be reopening in a phased way. • Jim mentioned that Rebecca had sent a five-question survey to the vestry, which referred to reopening. He asked Dean if the protocol committee would establish the rules for what reopening would look like. • Dean confirmed that this was correct. • Kristen said we didn’t want to offer up a date prematurely, in the event that there was a spike of outbreaks afterward, but that the committee is very interested in ensuring we had a plan that could be enacted as soon as a date could be safely predicted. • Donna expressed concern that there’s a risk of sucking the joy out of coming back by making the process of returning too daunting. Also, if we want to continue to attract the younger demographics, we should consider incorporating the Basement Band into the service. • Tom asked about the protocol committee’s questionnaire and whether it would come back to the vestry prior to sending it out to everyone. And how will the survey be distributed? Some people don’t have online access. Also, will the data be used as a “vote” or is it just to gather opinions? Or how might that come across if we publish the results of what people want, but then the church takes actions contrary to how people “voted”? • Leonard and Kristen volunteered to gather any and all feedback. • Dean said that some of the questionnaires would be mailed and others emailed to ensure as many people could participate. He said that the purpose of the questionnaire is to garner whether people will actually feel safe. What’s going to make people the most comfortable? • CaroleAnn suggested that even if people aren’t voting, they may *feel* like they voted, which could put the church in a precarious situation. • Ken said because of the way the questionnaire is worded, it could actually seem like the larger concern was for the virus, rather than for the parishioners. There could be an impact that we aren’t anticipating. • Dean said that there are many churches doing this now and he wondered if there’s something that they’re doing that we haven’t considered. He said he’s presenting to this to the vestry for them to offer this type of feedback. • Gary said that David Bacon has been doing these types of surveys too, so running it by him, or considering his methodologies might be useful. • Tom cautioned that sharing everything could also pose something of a danger. We might seriously consider keeping everything confidential until there is a consensus or a ruling for how the protocol committees’ proposals are made more formal. • Donna asked why this questionnaire would be sent to the entire parish when it would appear to be part of the vestry’s role in working with the clergy and staff. • Anna raised the point that, within change management systems, enabling people to feel like they have a voice can have a soothing effect for a difficult time. • Ben suggested perhaps a town hall would make sense as a medium to hear and address concerns and opinions. • Ken suggested an iterative process, where perhaps we offer a town hall at the point of phase one. • Dean suggested saying something more like, “This is what phase one looks like… what do you think? • Ken suggested we give them the draft of phase one and ask for feedback at that point. • Garner suggested that we don’t ask their opinion unless we can actually offer that option to them. There may be two lists: one list may be the steps that we must do, and the other consists of the optional steps that we’d like input on. • Tom said there really should be a feedback loop, as a courtesy for reporting the feedback back to them. • Gary suggested that ensuring there is a feedback loop might also mean admitting that a majority of people who want something that can’t be offered. • Dean asked that everyone write some of these ideas down and email him. At this point, nothing will go out, but he’d like Jan and the committee to hear a recording of the conversation. • Ben suggested that the various rooms that we’re considering using at the church to bring people back could actually be a positive experience if there are certain people who feel strongly about the protocols of coming back, because perhaps different protocols could be in place for different rooms. • Dean reminded everyone that the church had planned to have a new schedule this summer, so perhaps a parallel service could also come out of this. • CaroleAnn asked whether childcare would be available when reopening, and it should be made clear to people if not. Closing Prayer: Rev. Michelle Ortiz