Present: Rev. Samuel Smith, Rector; Matt Fillio, Senior Warden; Jorja Marsden, Junior Warden; John Davies, Treasurer; Sebastian Bonner, Clerk; Diane Dillon, Diana French, Chris Johnson, Tom Skakel
The meeting, held in the church, began with a prayer led by Father Sam, followed by a brief general discussion of stewardship. Diane Dillon agreed to be the timekeeper.
Jorja Marsden moved to accept the minutes of the September 25th vestry meeting and Chris Johnson seconded. Motion carried.
Rector’s Report delivered by Father Sam
- Godly Play is up and running. Anne Skakel has refreshed the look of the space in the parish house. Anne will continue her leadership role. Inspiration for this year comes from The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein: stories about caring, loving, family. Also the children will learn about other religions. She asked that families with children be directed to the material in the play boxes at the back of the church.
- The food pantry offerings are increasing because of the new announcement at each service about the particular item wanted each week.
- November 4th will be our celebration of All Saint’s Day and this year there will be two services. The following Sunday, November 11th will be our stewardship ingathering. We will have a single 10:00 am service that day.
- November 22nd is Thanksgiving. Sam has started discussions with Brent Damrow about a Community Thanksgiving service and dinner at the Congregational Church.
- Christmas Eve – there will be an early service for kids and families. The sermon will be by Sam’s brother Andy, a Methodist preacher, in the role of an innkeeper. Musicians for the 10:30 have been lined up.
- Sam is generating a list of people to recruit and train as new Eucharistic ministers.
- Rick Gore says the security system work will be done in October. We’re assuming the system will be in place next week or the following.
- Sam’s work with the Diocese is extensive: continuing the Revival; chairing the Commission on Ministry that’s mostly focused on the ordination process: continuing on the Standing Committee, an advisory council to the bishop; and preparing for the convention next week right after the Revival. Sam will be leading two workshops. Diana French and Ginny Willcox are our delegates. Jane Tillman will be attending the convention as well.
- The stewardship theme this year is “Our Abiding Legacy.” it highlights what those who have gone before us have done, and our work to honor the history of our church and keep it going. Pledge cards, letters and brochures will be mailed on October 19. A number of speakers are being lined up – Martha Bodine on October 28th, who will include a few words about the need to consider increasing a pledge to keep up with inflation; Jorja Marsden on November 4th (All Saints Sunday) at the 8:00 service and Mary Taylor at the 10:00 service. November 11th is the ingathering. There will be one 10:00 am joint service with speakers focusing on the history of the church, followed by hot dogs in the nave. On November 12th a follow up letter will be mailed to 2018 pledgers who have not yet done so for 2019; thank you letters to those who have made a commitment will follow shortly. After Thanksgiving, the vestry will make some follow up calls to any who have not yet responded. This year’s stewardship work was coordinated by Sam, Natalie Boyce, and Sebastian Bonner. Sam will recruit someone to chair the 2020 stewardship effort early on so there will be plenty of time to think about it.
- Sam distributed the draft Guidelines and Requirements for Marriage at St. Paul’s for us to read and vote on at the next meeting. He asked the vestry to particularly note the policy on photography and confirm the costs. There are different fees for members and non-members. Non-members fees would go to the clergy and members would go to the discretionary fund. Generally, the people who get married in St. Paul’s are out-of-towners, people who have some connection with Stockbridge, including second marriages of people who are planning to retire here.
Property and Warden’s Report delivered by Matt Fillio and Chris Johnson
- Jorja and Matt met with Alan of Chester Granite. The cost of granite steps would be app. $13,100. Additional cost for installation. We’d need to find someone to do the installation, possibly the Albert Brothers from Dalton who did the wall. This work is best done in the spring.
- Tom Sermini will try to get the back steps and the steps to the parish house done before winter if the weather cooperates. We will send him a deposit to get the work started.
- The mics are working again—no need for replacement.
- Nature’s Nourishment will do a fall cleanup of leaves at the Children’s Center for $100 or $200 by the end of November. Jean Rousseau will clean up the garden.
- Dion has installed the wainscoting behind the piano. The fee is about $300.
- We’ll install combination locks and take other measures to improve security in the church.
- Matt will call Ed Bailey to see if he’ll continue to do the plowing, and maybe some other de-icing process so the concrete doesn’t deteriorate again. Once the cement is cured it should be sealed and that will help.
- The door latch on the tower room door needs to be repaired and the sign keeps falling off.
- On Friday December 14th, Oakes & Smith will perform a Christmas concert for the church. This is the duo who sang at the 2018 Thomas Bray dinner; Natalie is donating their fee for the Christmas concert. The following Sunday they will perform during our 10:00 service. We need to advertise this and note it in the announcements.
- Some dust is appearing in the rear of the church that may be caused by a water leak in the roof.
- Chris Johnson talked about the dying beech tree that was cut down. We have spoken about reusing the wood. It could be milled for between $800 and $1,200, then stored for 1½ year, then kiln dried. Beech is a very difficult wood to work with. Even with all that processing, there is no guarantee that it won’t warp as time goes on. We’ve talked about making it into an altar, or a prayer space in the rear, or a candle stand, or benches. To prepare for the winter, we need to get all the logs off the ground. Peter Thorne of the Berkshire Woodworkers Guild didn’t think much could be done with the remaining trunk, especially because of the cement at its core.
Treasurer’s Report delivered by John Davies (for details please see the September 2018 Financials)
- We’re about $9,000 over where we expected to be, good news.
- Linda Day’s bequest of $50K was received and deposited in the checking account. But it’s being accounted for as a separate account in our books. If after use we have some left over, we’ll move it to the endowment.
- There was only a 1.5% return on the endowment fund for the first 9 months. S&P and Dow Jones have done better, but have now fallen on hard times. The upturn in the market was not a sign of strength, but due to the $700 billion in stock buybacks as a result of the tax law changes. When buybacks ended, the stock market dropped precipitously. Our fund has gone down a bit but not as much.
- The Children Center’s budget is close to break even. One family withdrew so we’re projecting a loss of $3,400. As to cash flow, the Children’s Center account was nearly overdrawn on Tuesday when payroll was due, so we had to transfer $3,000 from the Children’s Center savings account. Parents haven’t yet started paying as of the first of the month. So at this point, today 10/17, $5,375 hasn’t been paid that was due 10/1. That’s 12 families out of 30. Currently we don’t bill families in advance; rather, we send them a statement saying what they’ve paid. We will start billing them with a due date and a self addressed envelope. We’ll kick that into place for the December bill. We’ll also consider emailing the bill, with some vehicle for direct payment. In a note to accompany the new bills we should say that we run very close to expenses, and stress that we’ve kept the tuition down.
- The Organ Committee now consists of John, Sam, Nancy King & Sebastian. Nancy and John had dinner with John Cheney, at Kimball Farm, who used Andover, the company we’re dealing with now. They raised money for their repair through a benefit concert, by going around and soliciting from local businesses. John will put together a plan of how we can raise the money. We’d need to raise at least $150K on top of the $100K we have ($50K in the organ fund and assuming $50k withdrawn from the endowment). Jorja mentioned we should have a contingency amount of maybe 10%. We’ll ask Nancy to be at our next vestry meeting to demonstrate the current state of the organ. Vaunie’s daughter writes historical grants so she may be able to help. The Episcopal Church Foundation might have good resources for fund raising and referrals to individuals who could help us. Lisa Kane is close to James Taylor because his kids went to the Children’s Center, so maybe he could help us.
- We paid for cutting down the beech tree in the church yard out of maintenance account, so that’s why the figure for maintenance is high – $5,100.
Next meeting will be Monday November 12th at 5:30.
Diane Dillon moved to adjourn the meeting and Chris seconded. Motion carried. We concluded with a prayer led by Father Sam.
Sebastian Bonner, Clerk