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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Spiritual Life and Worship

Recorder: Dana Wiggins

ATTENDING – Tex Haeuser, Dana Wiggins, Rick Angell, Debbie Riley, Elaine Brownell, Frank Arsenault, John McCall, Elsa Peters.

OPENING PRAYER – passages shared from Eckhart Tolle's book, A New Earth.

REVIEW OF FEBRUARY MINUTES – approved as read.

MINISTER'S TIME John McCall: Life of church is going well with good attendance. Energy is on an upswing. Some key words throughout Lent will be used such as "Rising" and "Testing".

Elsa: Opened discussion on a new Lenten liturgy; accepted by all.

LENTEN EVENTS – Debbie will ask Kathy Cotter about Lenten Library materials.
(March 9, 7-7:30 a.m., followed by chancel service at 7:30 a.m.) SL&W hosts the Ash Wednesday breakfast – Simple fare of scones, muffins, fruit and beverages offered for 27 participants. Elaine, Dana and Debbie set up night before and Tex, Frank and Dana served in morning. Sexton was emailed to request table and coffee pot set up.

HOLY WEEK – School vacation falls within Holy Week so this may alter attendance patterns.
(April 17, time?) Palm Sunday – Debbie and Elaine organized palms last year, finding them stored in the downstairs fridge and in a box by the office. They placed in tall vases in the morning for the ushers to hand out. Many were collected and saved after the service for table decorations for the Soup Supper on the following Friday.

(April 21, 7:30 p.m. service) Maundy Thursday communion offered by intinction at 7:30, (may need 2 ushers, 2 deacons, 2 chalices and 2 and half loaves).

(April 22, 6pm service and 7:30 p.m. service) Good Friday Soup Supper(6:00-7:15 p.m.) – co-hosted by SL&W and Guild, serving approx. 80 between two services that evening. Tex and Rick offered to work in the kitchen. Elaine will organize 10 soup donations and serving help from the Guild. Bry Wiggins will bake bread. Dana will help serve and list menu items on easel. Some will meet night before to set up and decorate tables (Debbie used palms last year-left from Sunday's service).

(April 22, 23, 24) Easter Vigil - sign ups March 13 through April 17. The vigil begins after the 7:30 p.m. service on Good Friday and ends after Sunrise service on Easter morning.

(April 24, 6:00 a.m.) Sunrise Service led by Elsa – communion offered (may need 2 loaves, 2 chalices and 2 deacons), 100 or more expected.

(April 24, 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.) Easter Sunday - 2 Sanctuary services led by John.

ELDER LUNCHEON – (June 5) Invitations were discussed: Tex brought a sample to show and Debbie offered to hand address. Deadline for nominations is April 8, one week later than last year. Tex has worked out a schedule for acquiring and deciding on nominations - new and from previous year. Beacon ad calling for nominations was found and will be resubmitted this year with new dates. To cover expenses, Rick will ask the Eskimos for $100 and groceries, stamps and invitation costs come out of the administration budget.

OTHER UPCOMING EVENTS(March 12) Elaine and Debbie considered availability to help with Joel Pond's baptism at 10:30 a.m. in chapel; (March 26) Auction for Mission trip; (May 15) Children's Celebration Sunday as the last day of church school with the church picnic afterwards; (May 22?) Annual Church Meeting; (June 5) Founder's Day with celebration of Elders of the Church; (June 12) Confirmation Sunday.

Next Meeting: April 7, 2011
Agenda: Dana Minutes: Debbie Prayer: Elaine

Meeting adjourned at 8:40 p.m.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Administration Team

Meeting Minutes of March 3, 2011
Recorder: Ron Bennett

Present: Ron Bennett, Chris Mills, Deb Sandler and Cyndi Alden (Business Manager).

Call to Order: Deb called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m. Ron agreed to record this meeting and run the next meeting in April.

Minutes of the Admin. Team February 4 Meeting: reviewed and accepted as written.

Financial Statements and Budget: Financial results through February 28 were presented by Cyndi. The year is 16% complete. Revenues are at 14.2% of year’s budget. Decrease in revenues is due to the fact that no revenue from endowments has been requested as of yet. Without the endowment revenue, we were on budget.
Expenses are at 16.9% of year’s budget, which is essentially on budget.
Tenant Update: We reviewed Guy’s report on the tenant at the 509 Sawyer Street house. His report was generally positive. We have replaced the old refrigerator and will be replacing the stove. The electric service will be upgraded to 100 amp service. We will remove the old unused oil tank in the basement. The front porch also needs repairs. In return for this we will insist on a restoration of the monthly rent to $1,000 on July 1st. Cyndi was asked to write a letter to the tenant outlining the upgrades and new rent.
The tenants in the corner house report no problems. All tenants are current on their rent.
Insurance Renewals: To be discussed at the April meeting.
Team Member Replacement: No update.

Counting: No report. All appears to be going well.
House: See above comments under Tenant Update.
Planned Giving: Ron indicated that he will write a fifth article to appear for the Beacon in a few months.

Energy Efficiency Presentation - Discussed and agreed to send information to Dick & Barbara Merrill as well as Tom. We believe improvements undertaken during the past 3 years have made our properties energy efficient.
Emergency Guidelines - We reviewed email from Nancy MacLean, Moderator, concerning usher guidelines for handling emergencies, the absence of evacuation maps in rooms, and the battery backup for fire alarm systems and the elevator. Many of these issues have already been addressed by Stan Jordan, Rick Angell and Tom. The House Committee will review all of the issues carefully at their next meeting and get back to the Council.
Financial statement review by Smith & Associates - Review work completed. We are awaiting a draft of the financial statements.
• Nancy MacLean also inquired into our team’s role overseeing the personnel committee for non-clergy. Deb agreed to contact Nancy to provide some history about this oversight role being removed from the A Team by the Council in 2008.
Web site issues were discussed with no action taken.
• We reviewed an email from the Maine Conference UCC announcing a seminar on April 2 for those responsible for church financial matters. Cyndi will not be available that day. We discussed the correspondence and believe we are compliant with appropriate policies and procedures.

Date of Next Meeting: Thursday April 7 at 7 p.m.

Meeting adjourned 8:08 p.m.

Church Council

Meeting Minutes of March 17, 2011
Recorder: Robin Reinhold

Present: Sally Hinckley, Phil Whitney, Roger Addor, Robin Reinhold, Carrie Skeffington, Elsa Peters, Carl Murphy, Bob Morse, Andy Ellis, John McCall, Peggy Murray, Nancy MacLean. Absent: Matt Early, John Shoos

Opening: Nancy MacLean opened the meeting at 6:30 p.m. Robin offered a reflection about how the proverb “It Takes a Village to Raise a Child” applies to our church.

Meeting Minutes: from the February meeting were reviewed and approved.

John - reported that there will be a fundraiser on Saturday evening, April 2nd in the sanctuary. It will be a musical program by 3 groups to raise money for the medical team that is going to Konbit Sante in Haiti. Tickets are $15. John said that it was heartwarming that we can and want to make our space available for the wider community.

Elsa - reported that there are now 17 people going on the Maine Seacoast Mission trip this July. She reported that the group is planning a Spaghetti Supper fundraiser on Saturday evening, March 26th at 5:30. The ticket costs are $7 for adults, $3 for children, and $20 for a family. There will also be an auction at the supper. Tickets will be on sale in Wright Pavilion on Sunday.

Elsa also reported that she is working on arranging for camperships for the people that will be attending Pilgrim Lodge this summer. She sent a letter last week to parents of kids she knows are interested. The Church Council is responsible to hand out money for these camperships from the interest earned from 3 endowment funds (these are listed in the segregated funds in budget). In addition, the Hilltop Guild and the Holly Daze Bazaar each donated money for camperships. Elsa requested authorization from the Council to distribute the funds, and all members were in agreement of this.

Elsa also began a discussion about how we can create a larger sum of money for camperships in the future. Suggestions included:
1. Ask the parents of the children who are planning to attend Pilgrim Lodge to organize some fundraisers. Elsa said that other churches in the area do this.
2. Host an “Adopt a Camper” program where sponsors are found who would be willing to donate money to send a child to camp. This would be a tax-deductible contribution.
3. Host a “Winter Picnic” in Guptill Hall where box lunches are sold.
Questions were raised about how to get the word out about opportunities (perhaps an announcement from the pulpit?). Perhaps Elsa should form a committee (like the Scholarship Committee under CF&G). Or should CF&G oversee this committee? Council decided to look at this again next year.

Emergency Guidelines - Nancy reported that these guidelines are complete and are in circulation. The Administrative Team is working on signage, elevator access, and phone access. The User Guidelines for Emergencies document was modified and a line was added in the middle of the guidelines specifying that, in case of an emergency, all Sunday School children would be evacuated by their teachers to the Church parking lot. Other issues (from last month’s minutes) concerning fire drills, the fire alarms, the phone system, and the elevator were presented by Stan Jordan to the Administrative Team and are currently being looked into.

Discovery Center Legal Status - Andy reported that he reviewed the documents for the Discovery Center and they appear to be in order. He explained the history of how the Discovery Center Corporation was established and that the Church Council is responsible for electing the members of the Board of Directors of the Discovery Center.

UCC Conversation (Part 2), The Association - Elsa shared information about the history of the United Church of Christ. She explained the difference between contracts and covenants and helped to clarify how Biblical covenants are instituted by God whereas historical covenants are instituted by people. Elsa then shared a diagram of the origins of the UCC and explained how the two entities (the Congregational Christian churches and the Evangelical and Reformed church) came together to form the UCC.

Elsa explained that there are currently 37 churches in the Cumberland Association, of which we are a part, and that each church contributes to the energy that goes into the association. A portion of our per capita dues goes to the association through the conference. Churches are assessed per member, and the association uses this money mostly for administrative costs.

Financial Futuring Tasks - Nancy and John met to discuss the role of a Working Group and what its mission would be.

John proposed the question: “Do we want the Working Group to generate next steps or just come back to the Council with information and have the Council decide what to do? In other words, do we want only information or do we want recommendations, too? This was discussed, and it was suggested that the Working Group should gather information, report to the Council, and then based on discussions and feedback, come back with recommendations. This should be done in steps, with conversations happening throughout the process.

A timeline for the process was discussed, and it was decided that, if we identify the task and ask people to be in the group, realistically they probably would only get to meet once before the summer and then would pick up the work again in the fall. The hope is to engage the congregation with some questions to help the group determine what direction they will be going in. It is anticipated that the recommendations will not be ready for the 2012 budget process.

The next step is to decide who is to be in this group. Several names were suggested, and Council members were asked to forward any recommendations to Nancy.

Filling Vacancies:
Four members of the Council are finishing up their term (Andy, Sally, Phil, and Nancy). New members need to be found for the Council and for the Stewardship Committee. Council members were asked to come up with 5 people they would like to recommend for these vacancies and forward the names to Nancy by next Wednesday, March 23rd.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:30 p.m.

Next Meeting: April 28th; Carl Murphy will be the opener and recorder.

Education Growth and Fellowship

Meeting Minutes of March 3, 2011

Committee Attendance: Jennifer Fetting, Tom Hamerski, Elsa Peters.
Subcommittee Guests: Margaret Thibodeau and Elinor Redmond

This month the EFG committee invited representatives of the subcommittees to attend our March meeting. The representatives of the Inquirer’s group (Margaret) and the Growth group (Elinor) accepted and visited.

1) Margaret is taking care of Inquirer’s Meeting this month (with Tom).
2) Church picnic (which is not Inquirer’s but also discussed at this time).
a. Margaret offered to take charge of the picnic.
b. The church picnic will be May 15, 2011.
c. Seating was an issue (may be again if it is nice out, fingers crossed). It’ll be important to line up lots of volunteers to bring different sides; Eskimos usually handle the grilling.

1) Elinor put together a handout on the history of the Growth Group, and the approaches they’ve taken in the past.
2) Current projects include bookmarks, handouts, etc. Things seem to be going well with the group; like all groups, including ours, they could use more volunteers.

Important Upcoming Dates:
• Church Picnic – May 15.
• Confirmation Sunday - June 12.
• Capture the flag game – 2:00 p.m. 5/22/11. It’ll be held in a park in either South Portland or Cape Elizabeth.

Bible discovery will be led by Beth Hess & Deb Theriault (many thanks to them both!). Dates unknown at this time.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mission and Outreach

Meeting Minutes of February 3, 2011
Recorder: Suzanne Lindner

Attendees: Sandy Dyer – Co-Chair, Sarah Randall, Jan Bosse, Richard Parker, Mike Kasputes, and Suzanne Lindner.

Opening Prayer: Richard Parker offered opening prayer.

January Minutes: Minutes from the January 6, 2011 were approved with one revision noted: $200 is to be given as an honorarium to our guest speaker on Mission Sunday.

Treasurer’s Report: Presented by Mike Kasputes who noted that both the Elder Program and Social Witness ministries budgets have been lowered from last year.

Minister’s Moment:
• Elsa noted that the educational process is already planned.
• Noted that she had spoken to the guest speaker for Mission Sunday and that he will be at both services. Also noted that he has stated that he does not need us to worry about his accommodations; he will be able to make his own plans.
• News of Budget: the budget was passed this Sunday with no discussion. Two things that pertain to us:
- We were note given the increase that we asked for
- Council is undertaking a project. They will be looking at staffing, giving, etc,and how we are using our assets. This should start soon and they will be looking to us for information. They know that we are looking into our groups that we give money to.
• Elsa brought a mock up of the Mission Sunday bulletin.


Mission Sunday Service: Noted that all pieces should be e-mailed to Elsa and the following was confirmed:
• Call to Worship – JanBosse
• Unison Prayer – Laurie Carey
• Children’s Time – Mike Kaputes
• Prayer of Illumination & Scripture – Kristen Silvia
• Prayers of the People – Elsa Peters
• Tithes & Offerings – Jan Bosse
• Benediction – Suzanne Lindner & Sarah Randall
• Hymns – Elsa suggested switching Be Thou My Vision to be the first
song. Committee agreed. Order of hymns was agreed to be:
1) Be Thou My Vision
2) What Gift Can We Bring
3) I The Lord of Sea & Sky (Here I Am Lord)

Elsa asked what we wanted on our Bulletin cover. Committee decided we would
use a picture of Acadia.

Request was made to Elsa to mention at this week’s service that there will be envelopes in the pews this Sunday. Committee then discussed and decided that we will wait until week of the service to put envelopes in the pews as the information on the Mission Sunday service is already in the Bulletin and Sandy will mention the envelopes in “Life of the Church.”

Elsa reminded us to say at the beginning of the service that any offerings not in the envelopes will go to the church.

Preparation for Discussion of Donation Guidelines with John McCall in March: John’s e-mail to the Committee asking us to focus on those charities that are not receiving money from other sources was read. Also his request for us to examine the charities that we do give money to was discussed.
• Noted that we need to come up with a filter/criteria when considering
charities. Noted also that once we have the criteria, we will then need to consider how we prioritize. Lastly, we will then need to balance the needs in some way: food, shelter, etc. Many needs to balance.
• Elsa suggested that it comes down to: Who are we? Who do we support to express that?
• Homework: Each committee member should think about what criteria they think are important. Elsa suggested that we look at scripture, too, to gain insight into the work that we do. Richard also suggested that we should look at things that are supported in other areas of the church as that might help us to know what to focus on, too.

Thank You Notes:
Received by Good Shepherd Food Bank, Long Creek Youth Development Center (for the presents), Preble Street.

With regards to the Mission Mall, thank you’s were received from Cancer Community Center, Animal Refuge League, Hospice of Maine and Preble Street.


One Great Hour of Sharing Material: Noted that this will happen on April 3rd.
• Discussed Bulletin inserts and envelopes.
• Noted that it is predetermined where the money will go.
• Noted that we will ask Laurie how we do this.
• Decided that we can hang posters to remind people that it is coming and that
we will wait until March to do this.
• Discussed that we will want to place notices in two Beacons: February 28th
and March 14th.

How to Divide Distributions This Year Based on the 2011 Budget:
Decided we will determine this after next month’s discussion and be more fluid in how many organizations we give to and how much money we give based on prioritization, special needs, etc.

Jan noted an increased need for housing security deposits because the stimulus money is all gone now. Jan noted that she would speak to Crisis Ministries.


Committee discussed the membership of our team: Who will be here, who will not, what we need.
• It was decided that we will need to discuss again in one of our next meetings.
• Discussed the limit for membership in the Committee is two 3-year terms.
• Discussed how many members we are allowed. It was noted that the by laws state at least six members but that we currently have nine members.
• Realized that we will potentially need 3 new members.
• Noted that we need to turn in information in May for new members in June.

Closing Prayer:
Richard Parker offered closing prayer.

Next Meeting:
Thursday, March 3, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. in the Laity Room
• Co-Chair: Sarah Randall
• Devotions: Jan Bosse
• Recorder: Laurie Carey

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Church Council

Meeting Minutes of February 17, 2011
Recorder: Bob Morse

Present: Roger Addor, Matt Early, Andy Ellis, Sally Hinckley, Nancy MacLean, John McCall, Bob Morse, Carl Murphy, Peggy Murray, Robin Reinhold, John Shoos, Carrie Skeffington, & Phil Whitney.
Absent: Elsa Peters
Guests: Rick Angell & Stan Jordan

Nancy MacLean, Moderator, opened the meeting at 6:35 p.m. Bob Morse read a reflection questioning whether meaning and enjoyment in life can be found solely by keeping score.

January Minutes: Reviewed and Accepted.

Usher Emergency Guidelines:
Reviewed a draft created by Rick Angell and Stan Jordan.

Broad areas: Fire Emergencies, Medical Emergencies and Security Emergencies.

Guidelines to be simple and streamlined so usher can readily see them.
• A laminated copy will be located at the back of the church for ushers.
• Not necessary to post on wall anywhere

Concern: There is nothing about the Sunday School in these Guidelines.
• Evacuation drawings no longer located in each room. Important to replace them - refer to Admin Team.
• Teachers are given "fire drill" guidelines - they lead children to parking lots.
• Parents need to be informed that they are not to go to classrooms.
- If a parent removes a child, the child’s teacher or emergency personnel may have no idea where that child is.
• Concern that rotating parents in the nursery have never been given instruction on what to do in case of fire. They need to be informed.
• Question: Do Fire drill guidelines go to parents? Just to teachers?

Editorial suggestion for Usher Guidelines:
• Decision: Reference to separate Sunday School Guidelines needs to be added to Usher Emergency Guidelines near the bottom. " See separate guidelines for the Church School".
• Add a set to Actions by Ushers: Notify Worship Leader that a problem exists if they are not in a position to see it.

Suggestion to identify ENTs and doctors in advance who might be in church when a medical emergency with a parishioner occurs.
• Reflection about possibility of training some members in CPR.

If the church loses electrical power:
• Does the fire alarm system have a battery back-up? Yes. Who checks it? How often?
• If a cell phone were used to dial 911, would it be possible to know where the person calling is located? Yes. South Portland has a GPS system for just that reason.
• If people were in the church elevator, could they get out? Need to mark where key is located.

With power, would someone be able to successfully operate the church telephone?
• Suggestion that instructions need to be placed on each phone on how to use them for emergencies. Refer to Admin Team for signage.

Thanks and appreciation given to both Rick Angell and Stan Jordan for their excellent work with these Emergency Guidelines. Stan will prepare another draft incorporating suggestions.

Web Page: John McCall reported that work for the past three weeks has been intensive with a goal of working out every bug. It is very intuitive, adaptable, and flows well. It should be ‘live’ on Monday, February 21. Possibility of demonstration at some time in Davidson Lounge to show how it works.

Scholarship Committee: They have done excellent work. Council unanimously agreed that special approval is not needed for Committee to request donations to the Scholarship Funds.

Budget Adjustment: Nancy Foran will be taking a Sabbatical from mid-June to mid-October, and will not be paid for her Sabbatical. However, one month of the four months is her vacation, for which she will be paid ($474.25). There was a mix-up in the budget. It will not be changed to reflect the additional vacation payment: we will simply be aware of this over-ride at the end of the year.

UCC Conversation, Part I: At the Council’s request, John McCall shared a diagram of “The Covenant Partners in the United Church of Christ” - individual, local, state, national. Emphasis was placed on the importance of covenant, since lack of hierarchy might suggest we can do whatever we want, thus losing track of meaningful relationships within the larger UCC. “Our glue is covenant.” We make mutual promises to each other, and hold each other “gently accountable.” John talked about the UCC as the merging of 4 historical denominations, but emphasized this does not change the reality that each church remains autonomous.

Financial Futuring:
• How do we manage to live with a limited amount of money and do everything that we want to do?
• How do we fund what we want to be as a church?
• How do we apportion our resources? How do we decide to do that?

Realities and Questions:
• Membership trends are down in progressive protestant churches.
• Who will be in the pew in 2015, and how will they be supporting the church?
• We need to be thinking of the long-term. What is a realistic change in our income in the next five years?

Defining Role of a Working Group to be set up to consider facts and trends:
• Financial forecasting through fact gathering from similar churches
- Percentage of staff compensation.
- Percentage of budget for mission outreach.
- Personnel Committees and what they deal with.
• May find reluctance to share, protectiveness, and a level of resistance.
• Will quite certainly be a need to look outside Maine for comparisons and trends.
• What about alternative worship services? How do we attract new members to the church?
• How to we think about and look into the possibility of renting out more space?
• Possible exploration: Tolerance for a congregation to spend money from endowment
• What time line are we thinking about for this to take place? December 2011 for the 2012 Budget year; AND 2015 long term.

Need for sharp focus on what we are asking the Working Group to do -- a Mission Statement.
• John McCall and Nancy MacLean will meet to prepare a draft for the next meeting.

Gratitude and Appreciation: Nancy passed around a thank-you card from three Harle siblings for financial support which enabled them to attend camp at Pilgrim Lodge.

Meeting Adjourned: 8:30 p.m.

Next Meeting: March 17; Robin Reinhold - Opener/Recorder