Parish Committee Meeting: June 2020

June 17, 2020


Members in attendance: Nick Covino (Chair), Chris Andrysiak, Priscilla Damon, Dwight Gertz, Carrie Marotta, Tim Moynihan, R.L. Smith, Jeani Welsh, Peter Hussey, Jane O’Rourke, Jessica Packineau


Ex officio: John Krzywicki (Treasurer), Jenny Rankin (Interim Minister), Sylvia Perry (Clerk)


Staff and Guests: Ralph Smith (Chair, Personnel Committee), Gina Halstead (Co-Chair, Transition Team), Chris Andrysiak, Mary Helen Lorenz (Chair Adult Programs Committee and Anti-Racism Task Force), Ken Hurd (Anti-Racism Task Force)


The PC met through ZOOM to discuss several important issues:


  1.  Carrie Marotta shared an Opening Poem:  “A Litany for Survival”, by Audre Lorde.
  2. Nick Covino introduced new Parish Committee Members and thanked retiring colleagues. Priscilla Damon, Ray Shepherd, RL Smith are cycling off of the Parish Committee.  Peter Watkinson is stepping down from the role of Clerk.   Nick expressed deep gratitude for these individuals for their service on the PC and expressed thanks for all of the work they have been involved with this year and throughout their time on the PC.  Nick welcomed newcomers to the Parish Committee, Peter Hussey, Jessica Packineau and Jane O’Rourke.  Collectively they bring experience and wisdom to the PC, and have been involved in the life of FPL in other capacities including YPC, finance, welcoming and hospitality committees, safe congregation committee, and personnel. Sylvia Perry is starting as the new Clerk.
  3. Motion made to approve Minutes from May PC Meeting, submitted by Peter Watkinson. Minutes approved.
  4. Interim Minister Jenny Rankin reported on Current Events at FPL.  She reports that we are in good shape as we head in to the summer and have held together remarkably as a community through this challenging time.  She expressed thanks for church staff and the safe congregation committee for all of their work this year, especially in managing the transition from live to online church.  She is grateful to all involved in the “staying connected” efforts including phone tree, Friday afternoon tea, and other programs.  FPL said goodbye to Meredith and Gert, and celebrated and honored the long tenure and contributions Gert made to the day-to-day operations of FPL. Summer services  will be led by Sarah, Margit and the Deacons. The Anti-Racism task force is very energized and will be active through the summer. Church Buildings will stay closed through Sept 1. Jenny said she will be working with the Deacons and Transition Team to gather feedback on virtual FPL, online services and programs, and try to evaluate what is working and what might be desired.
  5. Jeani Welsh provided an update from the Safe Congregation committee. A discussion was had around summer camp programming if the church is closed. We acknowledged that this is an opportunity to offer programming and a social community for kids when so much has been canceled.  The committee agreed they would need to hear a proposal with specific operating procedures in the next 2 weeks at which point Jenny is on summer recess. 
  6. John Krzywicki provided a Treasurer’s Report.  He reported we are running a bigger surplus than expected surplus because we are shut down.  We have 90% of pledges in at this point.  We are expecting a 96-98% rate of completions on the pledge drive by end June and this is consistent with past years.  We are aware of potential for market volatility given the current public health and economic crisis.  At the next PC meeting, John will provide a wrap up of the past 12 months. He also offered to provide a tutorial on the FPL budget for any PC members, old and new.
  7. Ken Hurd and Mary Helen Lorenz provided an update on the Anti-Racism Task Force and made a motion to display Black Lives Matter Banner on the front of the church.  At this year’s Annual Meeting and at the forum hosted by the Anti-Racist Task Force, we posed the question of what could The First Parish of Lincoln do to raise awareness and become part of the solution to purge the cancer of systemic racism that has metastasized throughout our society. We asked two questions: When folks look back 20 years from now, how do we want the First Parish to be remembered for what we did in 2020? What actions might we take to make a difference in our community and in our nation? The Anti-Racist Task Force would like to propose that, as a faith community, we seize the moment and fulfill our Call to Ministry by announcing to Lincoln that we stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
    Ken shared an artistic rendering of the banner and reviewed feedback received from congregants on this proposal. Overwhelmingly people (~57 people) were in favor but some (5) people were concerned about politicization of this  issue. It has been endorsed by a number of committees including Community Engagement Task Force, Deacons, Outreach, Welcoming, and YPC.
    Ken shared a November 1963 Resolution on Racial Injustice. On November 13, 1963 a Special Meeting of the Congregation voted for this resolution to the By-Laws of The First Parish in Lincoln:
    “Recognizing racial injustice as a major social problem, we the people of the First Parish in Lincoln reaffirm our faith in the ultimate dignity of all mankind, men and women of every race, welcoming them into the membership of our church; and, as part of the Service of All for which our covenant unites us, we resolve to devote our minds and efforts to the Christian task of correcting racial injustice and helping those whose lives have been burdened and limited for generations by discriminatory treatment.”  
    A Motion made to agree to purchase and display a Black Lives Matter Banner temporality until such time as church regroups in person.  Motion was approved.
  8. Gina Halstead provided an update from the Transition Team.  For the past two years, the Transition team has focused on welcoming and establishing the Interim minister, gathering feedback from the congregation, managing through changes brought by the coronavirus pandemic, and current events around racial justice.  Looking ahead to the next 2 years, the Transition Team plans to solidify and declare our values, hold more conversations around who as a congregation we want to serve and help, and establish a mission and vision statement to help guide FPL prepare for search for new Settled Minister. Goal is for Search Committee to be announced by April 2021 and to have a budget in place for the new minister salary by June 2021.
  9. Chris Andrysiak highlighted some financial modeling work and strategic decisions around growth to get to sustainable fiscal model. He proposed a financial and strategic planning exercise in conjunction with the work of Transition Team.
  10. Ralph Smith provided an update on the new Parish Administrator.  Her offer letter will be mailed this week and we have put together a draft onboarding plan.  She will plan to be in the office 5 days per week and will be able to work with Gert 8 hours per week, split in 2 increments. Members of this committee will be asked to be part of her orientation.
    Ralph also provided an update on Sarah Klockowski.  Jenny reports that she has  decided to enter the ordination track to become a UUA minister.  We propose that FPL adjust her contract to include ministerial duties in addition to her current communications and tech role. This would be a Full-time, year-round position and Jenny endorses this proposal and financial commitment.
    Motion was made to make this change to Sarah’s position to fulfill duties both as a ministerial intern and continue in her other FPL roles in communications and technology. Motion passed.
  11. Tim provide a quick update from the Facilities Committee.  The Roof, Driveway, and other grounds projects are all being worked on and in good shape.
  12. John Krzywicki provided update on 3 recent Outreach Committee requests for distributions:
    1. South Sudanese Enrichment for Families is a small Lincoln-based nonprofit with close FPL ties and a regular recipient of annual Outreach grants and the sole organization that serves the needs of one of the most under-resourced and vulnerable immigrant groups in eastern Massachusetts: the South Sudanese community of some 100-150 individuals.  Its programs and finances have been upended by the COVID crisis. The Outreach Committee therefore requests PC approval of a grant to SSEF of a maximum of $2000.
    2. $24,000 Preston Transformative Innovation grant to Massachusetts Rivers Alliance
    3. $5000 Preston Emergency grant to the Lincoln Council on Aging.
      Motion to approve $31,000 as requested for these 3 recommendations. Motion approved
  13. Nick proposed the PC reviews and revises FPL’s process for Outreach Requests and Charitable Distributions.  He also requests the current committee members consider church committees for which they will serve as liaisons, and that we examine the process for how we populate committees in general.


Meeting adjourned at 7:30 and the PC went in to executive session.


Minutes submitted by Sylvia Perry, Clerk


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