March 18, 2020
in attendance: Nick Covino (Chair), Chris Andrysiak, Priscilla Damon, Dwight
Gertz, Carrie Marotta, Tim Moynihan, R.L. Smith, Ray Shepherd, Jeani Welsh
Ex officio: John Krzywicki (Treasurer), Jenny
Rankin (Interim Minister), Peter Watkinson (Clerk)
and Guests: Gert McDermott (Administrator), Sarah Klockowski, Margit Griffith,
The agenda of the
evening covered two important areas:
- How are we helping and how do we help the parish and the greater Lincoln
community to manage this health care crisis?
- What are the business/organizational issues that require the attention
of the governing body?
Less pressing issues
were tabled to concentrate on the above. With other groups available to
meet the pastoral and community engagement issues of FPL, the PC focused first
on the business/organizational issues that are its primary responsibility in
this dual healthcare and financial crisis.
Staff were first
invited into the meeting to let the Parish Committee know how they are doing.
Rev. Jenny expressed
her gratitude for the staff who have been working around the clock to figure
out how to work in a whole new world. Gert is work is working well from home
and is managing the business affairs as well as can be expected. Margit said RE
without a classroom is challenging, but she can engage children and families to
connect and to learn from home. Sarah feels blessed to be working with this
congregation and has been busy with providing communication and tech support
for the Sunday service and other responsibilities.
John K (Treasurer)
provided a 30-minute outline of our current financial position, the forecast
for FYE20 and a brief look forward to the budget planning process. The key
elements of his presentation were:
- FPL will most likely end the fiscal year with a slight surplus. Magic Garden is closed and there may not be
revenue from them, in the near future. Revenue from Sunday Collections will be
down due to the move to the online church service, although people are free to
contribute electronically. Nonetheless, the church operating budget looks like
it will finish positively.
- The investment accounts of the church, as with the rest of the country,
are significantly depleted. This argues strongly that the PC acts to preserve
the invested funds.
The PC moved to
take every appropriate action to preserve the parish’s financial capital until
further notice. Action on this motion means that:
The Facilities Committee will
refrain from projects that are not urgent or that do not have a signed,
binding, contract. The rationale for this is both to preserve the value of
FPL’s invested funds and to undertake construction when prices will likely be
more favorable. The Roof Project is both necessary and under contract, but the
Playground and some of the smaller projects will continue to be planned so that
we can move to construction when prudent. Mr. Sugar (Facilities Chair) has been
consulted and will work accordingly.
Priscilla Damon who is the PC Liaison will
be joined by Jeani Welsh to meet with the Outreach Committee to review
its plans for distributing financial awards this spring. The aim of this review
is to balance any acute need for support with the opportunity to defer awards
until the stock market makes a correction.
Even with the need to
preserve capital, the PC moved to continue payment to its RE instructors and
several Independent Contractors through this crisis. While several of our
instructional programs are suspended (e.g., OWL) it was felt to be respectful
and right to continue to honor these smaller contracts to dedicated
professionals. A small token payment was authorized to thank the Sunday
child-care workers, if necessary. The fact that the current year has been
managed well and that it is forecast to have a positive balance at year-end
allows for this generosity.
The PC moved to
create a Document Collection Initiative to gather all relevant FPL governance,
organization and business materials into one place. RL Smith has been charged to lead a
small team to collect documents and to create a central filing system. PLEASE
send what you have on your computer along to him; this is a most important
element in preparing for both a new Settled Minister and, especially, a new
While not formal votes,
the PC agreed to delay the survey to identify the Settled Minister
Search Committee for a month to acknowledge the attention needed for
Ralph Smith and the
Personnel Committee have been proceeding with a plan to hire a temporary
administrative person to assist with the May transition of Ms. McDermott. Ralph and his group are considering whether
this person could both become a ‘temp to hire’ and, potentially, begin to work
this summer. Gert has offered, if needed, to be available in a contract
position to help with some of the bookkeeping functions.
There was a good deal
of discussion about whether to lock the doors to the church. Understandable
positions on both sides included a desire to keep the church safe from theft
and potential infection versus allowing access to someone who may feel a
significant need for sanctuary. The PC voted to leave the doors of the
church unlocked, even while maintaining the status of the church as “Closed.”
The PC voted to
create a Community Engagement Task Force that will coordinate the efforts of the various
groups of First Parish (e.g., Outreach, Deacons, Membership, PC, Staff) to
identify and respond to the needs of the people of greater Lincoln, during this
time. A significant amount of time was devoted to considering some options for
this Task Force’s work. Rev. Jenny and Sarah K will coordinate this effort.
The PC was
unanimously grateful to the staff of FPL for their creative response to the
parish’s needs at this critical time.
adjourned at 8:25
For the Parish Committee