Parish Committee: September 2019 Notes

The Parish Committee met on September 18, 2019. Dwight Gertz and Karin Levy were unable to be present and Rev. Rosemary Lloyd filled in for Dwight to present an update on the Governance Task Force. Rev Rankin, Gert McDermott and Sarah Klockowski were in attendance.

As mentioned earlier, the PC is making an effort to connect more regularly and easily with the parish and its committees.  The list of PC Liaisons is below. Should you have business related to one of these functions, please be in contact with one of these members who will bring relevant concerns to the PC or to the relevant party. 

Committee Liaisons

Finance                 Chris Andrysiak
Personnel                                                                          Carrie Marotta
Youth ProgramsJean Welsh
FacilitiesTim Moynihan
Deacons, Music, AdministrationNick Covino
Generous Giving, Transition TeamRL Smith
OutreachPriscilla Damon
Membership and Community EngagementKarin Levy
Governance Task ForceDwight Gertz

The PC met after church on Sunday September 22 to hold an Open Meeting with the Parish

Summary of Business

The PC voted to returnthe title of the current “Membership Committee” to its original “Welcoming Committee” to reflect its current function.

The PC Voted to receive $60,000 of excess funds from FY19 Operations (i.e., last year’s budget) and transferred this total to the FY20 Operating account.

Treasurer

Mr. John Krzywicki (Treasurer) reports that the first two months of the fiscal year have been right on track.  With Generous Giving pledges last spring finishing short of what is required to cover the budget; a new position in Community Engagement likely to require additional funds to be successful (note; it did not exist last year when the FY20 budget was prepared); and the usual uncertainty regarding pledge collections, John has proposed some guidelines to manage a tight budget. Small (<$500) requests/requirements for funds to cover expenses not included in the budget (exclusive of Capital Expenses) can be presented for review to the Treasurer or the Parish Administrator. Those that seem to be ‘one time’ and that do not establish a ‘precedent’ for future funding will be seen in a favorable light. Larger items will be examined in light of available funds, rebalanced from other lines where possible and against the need to finish the year with a positive balance. The PC has authority to exceed the budget by $25,000, but it aims to keep expenses in line with the Parish Approved Budget.

John’s analysis of unused funds from prior years finds, not surprisingly, that the majority of the excess funds were from unspent salaries from unfilled positions. These positions are currently filled (e.g., Student Minister, RE, Community Engagement/Adult Programming) which means that the Treasurer, Parish Administrator and PC must manage this year’s budget very closely. It also means that next year’s budget is highly likely to be larger than FY20.  

Community Engagement/Adult Programming Coordinator

Sarah Klockowski joined the PC meeting to introduce herself and to speak a bit about her programs. Sarah has both an MA in Biblical Languages and an M.Div. degree with a specialty in Social Ethics. A former Youth Pastor and High School Educator, Sarah is already working to fulfill the Shared Ministry Review’s charge to create more ‘outward facing programs.’ Moving to her new home in Medford, she is excited to begin her work with First Parish.

Rev. Jenny will be Sarah’s supervisor and a small advisory group of Carrie Marotta and Chris Andrysiak will provide a sounding board as this position evolves.

Facilities

The Facilities Committee has been very active.  Unfortunately, there are three significant projects that require repairs that are likely to exceed $200,000.  These are the Parish House Roof, the Play yard, and the parking lot. In addition, Tim Moynihan reports that the committee identifies another 6-8 smaller projects (e.g., doors).  There are limited Capital Expense funds (near that $200,000 level) to cover these repairs.

Next month, Facilities Chairman Peter Sugar will report on the scope of the necessary work and present the plans and costs acquired from the relevant construction companies for this work.

Governance Task Force

Rev. Rosemary Lloyd presented an update of the work of this committee. The group has been meeting through the summer, reading Hotchkiss’ Governance and Ministry. They echoed the SMR findings that there is need to clarify roles, responsibilities and authority as well as to codify committee charges, volunteer roles, staff responsibilities and church policies. These members will make their report and recommendations to the Parish Committee next month. These ideas will be sourced through the parish in a thoughtful manner before coming to the PC for any required ratification.

Transition Team

Throughout this year the Transition Team will be exploring with the congregation questions like: Who & What is The First Parish right now?; Who are our neighbors? and What is our mission and the core values that will guide us into the future?

These will be the foundation for the document that the parish prepares to introduce itself to potential Settled Ministers.

The SEARCH COMMITTEE will be selected by the end of this year and it is the likely author of this document. At this point, the PC intends to ask for recommendations from the parish of members for a Search Committee and it will appoint three additional members to ‘round out’ a team of 7.  More on this to come.

Personnel Committee

This committee has been hard at work preparing job descriptions; recruiting, interviewing and hiring new staff; creating processes for a review of the Minister and FPL Staff. Several of these reviews have been completed by Rev Jenny with input from relevant others.  The question raised in the Annual Report regarding the scope and responsibilities of the Parish Administrator will be examined by this committee with assistance from several parishioners, Rev. Rankin and the Parish Committee. The parish is in debt to Ralph Smith, Carrie Marotta, Gus Browne and Jane O’Rourke.

Concluding Thoughts

  1. The FPL Green committee did a significant service for the Parish.  They built a proposal in keeping with the most popular priority from the survey of the parish of two years ago: Addressing Climate Change and the Environment. Their proposal for Solar Panels was impressively written and researched (with demonstrated cost-savings for the action) was presented clearly at two PC meetings. This team coordinated closely with the Generous Giving committee, including holding an evening meeting to discuss how to partner. FPL Green volunteered to fundraise for the project in a manner that did not compete with the Annual Pledge Drive. They raised funds from non-church colleagues, made personal gifts and, thus far, has raised about 60% of the cost of the panels.  This effort was not required. These members have been stewards of an important value of the parish and responsible partners with the church in conducting business and developing an asset that will save money and the environment.  The congregation says: “Amen.”
  • Volunteers are needed. The Religious Education program still has too few teachers. if you have the ability to share your values with our young people, please contact Elizabeth Kelly (Youth Programs Committee) or Margit Griffith, (Director Religious Education) as soon as possible.  The Touch of Christmas Fair has ONE LEADER who needs a partner and committee members for this important event.  Mentoring is available and the commitment to lead this effort can be limited to This Year only.  Please let Karin Levy know if you are able to help. Focused Task Forces always need help to gather information and deliver short products.  A Review of the “Safe Congregation Policy” that might include a talk by the Lincoln PD on Active Shooter Actions and a variety of updates to parish documents needs helpers.  Let me know if you are interested and have time to write, talk, and help.
  • The PC will hold a Leadership Retreat in October to draw committee chairs and other parish leaders together to discuss goals and strategies for the year.  This will be planned in the next two weeks.

The next official meeting of the Parish Committee is October 16 at 6:00.  The PC will hold a planning phone call on October 3 at 2:15.

  • Nick Covino, Chair, for the Parish Committee