The Parish Committee met on February 26,2020 with all members present, save the recuperating RL Smith. In addition, Treasurer Krzywicki, Secretary Watkinson, Rev Rankin, Ms. McDermott, Ms. Griffith and Mr. DeNormandie and Mr. Johnson from the Governance Task Force joined.
The PC approved several important items:
1. A temporary allocation of ten hours of additional staff time to support the administrative work of the parish until the fiscal year end;
2. A model and process to select the Settled Minister Search Committee;
3. $11, 000 from invested accounts, at the request of the Outreach Committee to be dispersed;
4. $16,000 from invested accounts to cover additional expenses for the Parish House Roof Repair and to fund the Design Phase for the Playground;
5. Approval of the updated Personnel Manual, Personnel Committee Charge and the creation of a new Minister’s Consultation Committee.
The decisions above were informed by the work of several committees.
The Personnel Committee spent several months in review of the job description of the Parish Administrator. This complex position has many requirements and functions with products that must be in place as the church recruits a new minister. The Personnel Committee recommended that ten hours of additional administrative time be added to support the work of the Administrator as well as to offer some assistance to the pastor and other staff as available. This addition is financially possible this year, due to the prudent budget management of Gert, John and others and it will be reviewed along with other items as the FY21 Budget is prepared.
For some time, the church has felt that it would benefit the minister to have three or four close advisors to speak openly and feely with about his/her work. This group of consiglieri would play no evaluative role nor would they represent constituencies, but their commitment would be to become a confidential sounding board for the pastor. The charges for this committee are attached below. The Personnel Committee has completed, more created, a Personnel Policy and Procedures Manual to guide our work. In addition, they have been very actively involved in creating, consulting to and conducting reviews on the Pastor and staff. This is the first time that such a process has been conducted at FPL in many years.
The Treasurer indicated that 80% of this year’s pledges have been paid (versus 60% last year). Expenses have been less in this year, due to budget management, the mild winter (snow removal) and both increased revenue and decreased expenses for the Touch of Christmas Fair. John is forecasting a surplus in operations of $20,000. Predictions on the return on our invested funds were sober, given the activities of the week.
Membership in the Parish was discussed with particular attention to the upcoming Settled Minister Search. Voting at First Parish is reserved for members. The size of the congregation influences formula such as the minister’s salary that require a more accurate ‘count’ than currently exists. The church has a process for reviewing ‘potentially lapsed’ members which is being conducted by the PC to prepare for the upcoming votes. In particular, PC members volunteered to make calls to inactive members who have
already been asked twice in writing to indicate their preference regarding membership, but who have not been heard from.
Settled Minister Search has been the object of a good deal of discussion has resulted in a plan to select a 7 member Search Committee for the new Settled Minister. The outline of that process is attached to this report. In short, unlike the last search, the PC will ask the Parish to nominate 4 members of the committee who will stand for election at the Annual Meeting and it will appoint 3 members to balance the slate of candidates. This will be discussed more at the PC/Parish meeting this Sunday after services.
Governance Task Force has been working diligently and it presented a 40-minute preliminary report on its work to the PC. This work will be reviewed with PC feedback during the upcoming weeks and another round of discussions on changes and models for Governance. This work of this Task Force will be instrumental in the successful transition to the new minister.
Summer Spirit is a novel idea by our RE Director and the YPC. It came before the committee for permission and funding, yet it needed neither. The program is covered by FPL’s insurance, can be managed within the current budget guidelines and it has the support of staff and the YPC. It would be optimal to have some Outreach support for scholarships for Lincoln area children which will be pursued by Margit and the Outreach Committee. This creative option is being pursued by the staff.