Council Minutes Jan 19 2021

Present: Judy Hanson, Craig Collins, Greg Andrews, Rob Blount, Chad Carlson, Pete Elza, Michelle Kovar, Cheryl Martines, John Volkening

Absent:

Staff: Pastor Sarah Rhode, Deacon Heather Feltman, Pastor Paisley Le Roy

Meeting called to order at: 06:32 PM

Meeting closed at: 07:32 PM

 

Follow-up Items:

Agenda Item #1:  Preschool Update

Discussion:  Pong provided an update on the Preschool. DCFS has increased the classroom capacity to 20 students per class. The preschool is not currently accepting new students, but the increase allows some movement between classes and allowing current students to add days.

Feb 1st registration will open. Already 65%-70% full for full-day. One half-day class is at 85%. Giving a lot of tours via in-person and zoom.

In the next few weeks, vaccines will be opened to childcare providers. Teachers will be notified and be allowed to sign-up for the vaccination.

There is another round of grants that the preschool may be eligible for. Pong will email Heather the details and provide updates.

Pong has reached out to other local preschools to discuss potential fundraising options.  Pong is still planning on having a spaghetti dinner in April. The ideal plan will be a drive-thru. Will have a raffle as well which will be online and will be spread out over a couple of months.

Conclusion:

Action Taken:

  • None

  • Tabled

  • Vote

            Motion:   

            Made By:  

            Second:

            Result: Passed

Follow-up Items:

 

Agenda Item #2: Approve Minutes and Financials

Discussion: 

Conclusion:

Action Taken:

  • None

  • Tabled

  • Vote

            Motion:  Approve the Dec & Jan  11 Minutes and Nov. Financials

            Made By:  Rob

            Second: Pete

            Result: Passed

Follow-up Items:

 

Agenda Item #3:  Stewardship and Debt Reduction Campaign update

Discussion: 

No new information since the meeting on the Jan. 11th

Conclusion:

Action Taken:

  • None

  • Tabled

  • Vote

            Motion:

            Made By:  

            Second:

            Result:

Follow-up Items:

 

Agenda Item #4:  Forum Discussion and Feedback

Discussion: 

Received feedback from Michelle, Cheryl, and John. Total speaking time was about 32minutes out of an expected 40 minutes.

Judy received feedback that the forums were well presented and organized.

Good feedback on the shift from a budget forum to a Vision and Values forum.

We had 39 participants at the first forum based on Zoom connections. That would translate to over 50 people if we include multiple people in a single session.

Conclusion:

Action Taken:

  • None

  • Tabled

  • Vote

            Motion:

            Made By:  

            Second:

            Result:

Follow-up Items:

 

Agenda Item #5:  Congregation Meeting Preparation

Discussion: 

Congregation meeting will be held at 9:30AM on Jan. 31st via Zoom.  A registration link for the meeting has been sent. Will be asking people to register in advance. Phone in option is available.

The meeting will be a similar format as the September meeting.

The leaders will develop the content of the meeting, drawing heavily on the material and presentation from the V&V forums.

A video is being filmed to illustrate our three areas of our areas of Visions. This video will highlight disciples living our visions and values. The video will be shown near the beginning of the meeting.

We will be taking a vote on the budget. May need to receive additional questions that were not asked at the forums. Will provide a format to allow debate on the meeting.

Will present a series of resolutions. The Rostered Leaders will provide the resolutions prior to the meeting.

A video is being produced to “re-introduce” the staff to the congregation.

Final December financial finals should be uploaded by the end of the week.

Conclusion:

Action Taken:

  • None

  • Tabled

  • Vote

            Motion:

            Made By:  

            Second:

            Result:

Follow-up Items:

 

Agenda Item #6:  Strategic Goal Review and Planning

Discussion: 

The Strategic Goals are being added to the Rostered Leaders report and will be included in future rostered leader reports. The first step was to identify the RL responsible for each goal.

Goal #1 Streaming Video – Deacon Heather, Pastor Sarah – Hope the proposals will be received by the end of February to be reviewed in March. Goal is to present to the Council by April.

Goal #2 – High School Youth – Pastor Paisley – Scheduling a meeting to meet with existing mentors and potential new or returning mentors. Hope to have a fellowship event in February.

Goal #3 – Adult Ed – Pastor Sarah – Laid out a plan for the next few months.  In Feb, the Rostered Leaders will hold two coffee talks to layout the roles of our rostered leaders. Starting in March, will start holding small groups. In April, guest preacher.

Goal # 4 – Increase Congregation Involvement – Deacon Heather – One additional offering for Lazarus House and two opportunities for St. Andrews. Received over 30 gift cards to be given to St. Andrews as a result of the “re-gifting”. Heather will be working with Pastor Josh @ St. Andrews to film a video update on the weekly food distribution.

Goal #5 – Missional Partnerships – Pastor Paisley, Deacon Heather – Will be looking at additional missional opportunities including a missional partnership around our care of our environment.

Conclusion:

Action Taken:

  • None

  • Tabled

  • Vote

            Motion:

            Made By:  

            Second:

            Result:

Follow-up Items:

 

Agenda Item #7: Rostered Leader Report

Discussion: 

For Ash Wednesday will be mailing small bags of ashes.

For Lent, Lenten prayer services will be held on Wednesdays and be based on Holding Evening Prayer.

Conclusion:

Action Taken:

  • None

  • Tabled

  • Vote

            Motion: 

            Made By:  

            Second:

            Result:

Follow-up Items:

 

Agenda Item #8: Adjourn

Discussion: 

Conclusion:

Action Taken:

  • None

  • Tabled

  • Vote

            Motion:  Adjourn

            Made By:  Rob

            Second: Pete

            Result: Passed

Council Minutes Jan 11 2021

Present: Judy Hanson, Craig Collins, Greg Andrews, Rob Blount, Chad Carlson, Pete Elza, Michelle Kovar, Cheryl Martines, John Volkening

Absent:

Staff: Pastor Sarah Rhode, Deacon Heather Feltman, Pastor Paisley Le Roy

Meeting called to order at: 07:01 PM

Meeting closed at: 8:54 PM

Council Reporter:

Open Forum:

Discussion: 

Follow-up Items:

 

Agenda Item #1:  Vision and Values Letter Review

Discussion:  None

Conclusion:

Pastor Sarah shared the letters that will be going out to congregation. There will be three parts to the document.

The first part will lay out what we are grateful for in the community.

The second part will introduce the congregation to the visions and values that we have established. In addition, PS has added information around the theology of why we are called on this journey.

The following the letter lays out the Goals that we have established for the congregation.  As part of upcoming communication, including sermons, Pastor Sarah will be sharing with the congregation what our vision of the church will be moving forward, especially how we start planning to come back together.

PS, PP, and DH are meeting every Wednesday to put the mechanics together for the goals. Expectation is that by later January, we will have actionable plans.

Suggestions were made to add some information to the letter, including some more detail around the process that was followed to build these goals and to include more verbiage on goal #5 is to explain what missional partnerships.

Discussion was held how to communicate to the congregation how our goals align and are supported by budgets.

Action Taken:

  • None
  • Tabled
  • Vote

Follow-up Items:

 

Agenda Item #2: Budget Review

Discussion: 

Heather presented the proposed final budget.

Heather reviewed some of the questions that were raised before the meeting.

First question was related to the reduction of giving numbers between 2020 and 2021. Based on project year end totals, we will end about 98% of budgeted revenue.

A question was presented about the number of giving units between 2019 and 2020. There were 82 less giving units this year. That was expected based on the current circumstances.

In addition, between pastoral discretionary funds and the giving to food insecurity programs, we were able to give nearly $35K.

There was a noticeable drop off in giving in November and December compared to the budget expectations and compared to the past few years. One possibility is that we did not have the usual number of “touchpoints” during December.

Preliminary numbers are that we will finish the year about $134K net positive. In addition, the Preschool had a net positive $68K.

DH is recommending we move the excess revenue to the building fund to fund replacing the roof.

Additional discussion was held regarding the downward trend in giving we saw during November and December, especially compared to the giving trends through the previous months. There is some concern that this downward trend may continue into 2021. DH shared that we will have options during the year to control costs if giving does not match our budget expectations.

Conclusion:

Action Taken:

  • None
  • Tabled
  • Vote

Motion:  “Move to approve the recommend 2021 budget and present to the Congregation”

Made By:  Rob

Second:  Pete

Result: Approved.

Action Taken:

  • None
  • Tabled
  • Vote

Motion:  “To move the excess funds (approximately $230K) currently held in the checking account to the money account as a result of the net positive cash flow from 2020.”

Made By:  Craig

Second:  Cheryl

Result: Approved.

Follow-up Items:

 

Agenda Item #3: 

Discussion: 

Conclusion:

Action Taken:

  • None
  • Tabled
  • Vote

Motion:  To Adjourn

Made By:  John

Second: Greg

Result:Approved.

Follow-up Items:

Council Highlights Dec 2020

The Bethlehem Church Council met on Monday, December 7, and Tuesday, December 15, 2020.  Here are the highlights of these meetings:

 

Strategic Planning for 2021

  • The Council is engaged in a strategic planning process to identify congregational goals for 2021. Council members have met in small groups over the past several weeks to draft goals that will center on these ministry priorities:
  1. Love God (worship)
  2. Love and Care for One Another
  3. Love and Care for Our Neighbors
  • The purpose of the meeting on December 7 was to review the work of each of the small groups, offer feedback on the goals that were shared, and determine if revisions are necessary. Our rostered staff will now make final edits to each of the goals and present these to the Council in early January along with some preliminary ideas as to how each of these goals can be implemented. These goals will be presented at the annual congregational meeting on Sunday, January 31, 2021.

 

2021 Budget Development

  • The Council meeting on December 15, 2020, was devoted to a review and discussion of a proposed 2021 budget. The budget will continue to be “fine-tuned” over the next several weeks as pledges for 2021 continue to come in.

  • There are several noteworthy assumptions that have been made regarding the 2021 budget:
  1. Adjustments to the budget have been made to reflect the goals that the Council is considering at the present time.
  2. In-person programmatic ministries and in-person worship will not resume until the summer of 2021.
  3. We are projecting a slight decrease in giving in 2021.
  4. Benevolence will be maintained at 8% of weekly giving.
  5. Funds have been allocated for several worship support positions: streaming technology and music.
  • The Council will hold a special Council meeting on Monday, January 7, to make final adjustments to the 2021 budget and discuss how the budget will be presented to the congregation.

  • The Council will sponsor virtual meetings on Sunday, January 17 and Sunday, January 24, to review the proposed budget and answer questions from Bethlehem disciples. The exact time of these meetings will be announced in January.

  • The annual congregation meeting on Sunday, January 31, will highlight the congregational goals adopted by the Council and a vote by those in attendance to adopt the 2021 budget. The annual meeting will again be a virtual meeting.

 

Council Minutes Dec 15 2020

Present: Judy Hanson, Craig Collins, Greg Andrews, Rob Blount, Chad Carlson, Pete Elza, Michelle Kovar, Cheryl Martines, John Volkening

Absent:

Staff: Pastor Sarah Rhode, Deacon Heather Feltman, Pastor Paisley Le Roy

Meeting called to order at: 06:34 PM

Meeting closed at: 8:40 PM

Council Reporter:

Open Forum:

Discussion: 

Follow-up Items:

 

Agenda Item #1:  Approve Minutes and Financial

Discussion:  None

Conclusion:

Action Taken:

  • None
  • Tabled
  • Vote

Motion:  Approve November Minutes and October Final Financials

Made By:  Rob

Second: Greg

Result: Passed

Follow-up Items:

 

Agenda Item #2: Roster Leaders Report

Discussion:  No Discussion. Judy reminded the Council to review the report.

Conclusion:

Action Taken:

  • None
  • Tabled
  • Vote

Follow-up Items:

 

Agenda Item #3:  Budget Review

Discussion: 

Heather:

Council submitted questions to Heather prior to the meeting. Heather will address these questions during the meeting.

Just a reminder that these discussions should be confidential until the budget.

Weekly envelopes are being held at approximately $30,000 less than 2020. Giving pledges are still coming in. Based on existing giving estimates she believes this number is accurate.

Synod Benevolence is being held at 8% of our weekly envelope number. This has been at 8% for approximately four years.

IT System Support has increased as we expect to have to replace the server this year along with our Shelby system fees have increased slightly. We can decide later whether the expense is necessary.

Mortgage payments have been eliminated from the operational budget as the small existing mortgage was refinanced into the primary building mortgage and is being accounted for in the Building budget.

$40K has been allocated for the Tech manager (30hrs per week) for a full year. Dir. of Youth Ministry is set at $0 since Pastor Paisley will take the lead.

Dir of Music has been allocated for ½ year based.

Budget for Faith Formation has been increased to support Pastor Sarah’s and Pastor Paisley’s commitment to engage our congregation.

Youth Ministry has about $12K in a wash account. This does not appear in the budget but can be used to support youth programming during 2021.

Building fund – Disbursements have been broken down by Interest, Principal, and extra Principal. By breaking down the payments, we can continue to have discussions with the congregation about the value of continuing to pay additional principal each year to retire our debt.

The wash accounts are on the financial report. This is a holding account so that money is not lost year over year. There is approximately $13K generated from various fund raising activities and registration fees.

A question was asked about the planning for 2022 considering that some of the expenses are only for a partial year versus a full year for the following year. Heather shared that some expenses have shifted (for example the Call Committee expenses have been eliminated). In addition, there is expectation that, as the church life re-opens, that giving may start to rebound.

A question was asked about eliminating the funding of the Dir. of Youth Ministries. Judy spoke and reminded the council that, when Pastor Paisley was hired, that the associate pastor  would be the  primary responsible party for leading the Youth Ministry.

In addition, with the other position currently budgeted (Tech manager & Music), it would not be possible to fund all three positions.

A question was about the investment in Lay Leadership development. Funds have been allocated for this development.

A question was asked about receipts for the holiday (Christmas, Lent, Easter). The numbers seem a little high compared to previous year. Lent/Holy week is actually reduced compared to 2019. Also, this is an opportunity to discuss that we give back 50% of the Christmas Eve funds received to Benevolence.

A question was asked about any salary changes that were included. Exec Team had reviewed comparable data from other churches. Appropriate changes were recommended and included in the budget.

A question was asked about the additional Pre-School Custodial coverage.

Heather shared a template that breaks down our Budget along our three areas of ministry (Love God, Love for One Another, Love for Our Neighbor). The question was posed on how we breakdown our Salary and Building Operation into those three areas of ministry.

Discussion was held about ensuring that we present the various budgets items and ensure the Congregation understands the budget and narrative.

Heather is thinking about how to share a draft of the budget. We may present it on our webpage or via a Google Doc. In addition hard copies will be available at the church for those who need it.

Preschool Budget

Revenue is expected to rise in 2021 is based on 17 per classroom until June and assumes full capacity in the Fall.

Allocated Expenses is expenses paid back to the Bethlehem Operational Budget to cover shared costs that is paid out of the Church budget.

Heather reviewed the November cash report.

Heather discussed how we can fund the roof replacement. The expectation is that the roof will cost around $300K. Recommendation is that we allocate any unused funds from 2020, plus use building investment funds. That would leave about $288K contingency funds.

Heather is meeting in January with the Architect and builder to get estimates and samples. A letter will go out to the Congregation before the end of the year with information about the need to replace the roof.

Other potential large expenses are the Mechanical and the equipment for Live Streaming. It is planned that we can stretch the mechanical for another year, but we need to be aware that, if the mechanical needs to be replaced in 2021, we will be  using a significant amount of our contingency funds.

Conclusion:

Action Taken:

  • None
  • Tabled
  • Vote

Follow-up Items:

 

Agenda Item #5: Adjourn Council Meeting

Discussion: 

Next Steps:

Final budget meeting on Jan. 11th @ 7:00PM to finalize the receipts and adopt the budget recommendation.

Regular Council meeting on Jan. 19th.

Town Hall on the 17th & 24th. Congregation Budget Meeting 31st.

Conclusion:

Action Taken:

  • None
  • Tabled
  • Vote

            Motion:  “Motion to adjourn”

            Made By:  John

            Second: Pete

            Result: Passed

Follow-up Items:

Council Highlights Nov 2020

Council Highlights
November 2020

The Bethlehem Church Council met on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020.  Here are the highlights of this meeting:

Strategic Planning for 2021

  • The Council is engaged in a strategic planning process to identify congregational goals for 2021. Council members are meeting in small groups over the next several weeks to draft goals that will center on these ministry priorities:
  1. Love God (worship)
  2. Love and Care for One Another
  3. Love and Care for Our Neighbors

The Council expects to complete the planning process in December and present the goals at the annual congregational meeting on Sunday, January 31, 2021.

 

2020 Financial Update/2021 Budget Development

  • Deacon Heather provided Council with the following information with respect to this year’s budget:
  1. Weekly giving has trended ahead of budget projections through October. We have received $14,568 more than what we anticipated at this point in the year.  Praise God!
  2. Our expenses are running $164,693 less than we budgeted. This is due primarily to several unfilled staff positions and less programmatic spending across the board due to the pandemic.
  1. Preschool revenue is exceeding expenses by nearly $29,000 as of the end of October. Revenue this year has been enhanced significantly due to a federal PPP loan and a state grant.  Tuition alone has not been adequate to keep us in the black.
  • The Council will hold meetings on December 7 and 15 to examine a preliminary 2021 budget. Council expects to finalize the 2021 budget on January 11, 2021, hold several open forums later in January about the 2021 budget, and present the budget for adoption at the congregation meeting on Sunday, January 31.

 

Debt Reduction Campaign/Stewardship Commitments

  • Our debt reduction campaign is on target for the current year. Thus far we have received more than $226,000.  Our goal is to raise $267,000 by the end of the year plus an additional principal amount of $82,730.
  • Our long-term goal to pay off the 25-year mortgage in ten years is not on target. We have some work to do here.
  • A letter providing the congregation with an update about our debt reduction effort will be sent out to the congregation at the beginning of December.
  • Our annual stewardship effort is underway. God calls us to be re-gifters!  Financial commitments are now coming in.  Estimate of giving forms can be completed online by visiting the church website or by clicking on the link in the Friday e-blast.  Forms are also available at Melody’s office window at church (Melody is our new church administrative assistant/receptionist).  You can also alert Deacon Heather to your estimate of giving for next year by sending her an email at heather@bethlehemluth.org, you can call her at 630-584-2199, ext. 222, or you can text your gift intent to her cell at 630-339-7164.

 

Roof/Mechanical Project

  • Last month the Council authorized Deacon Heather to retain the services of an architectural firm to explore roof repair options following storm damage in August.
  • The Council approved a contract with JNKA Architects to provide architectural services related to reroofing the existing sloped roofs and replacing the 1990’s mechanical system. JNKA was involved in the church remodeling project completed last year.  The existing sloped roofs and mechanical system are in need of replacement.

 

Staff Bonuses

  • For the past several years a line item has been included in the budget to provide a one-time, monetary bonus for staff members who, in the judgement of our rostered staff, have provided exceptional service to our congregation. Our staff has risen to the challenge of the pandemic.  As a sign of our gratitude and commendation for their efforts, the following staff members are being provided a bonus:  Pong Sayasane, Jesus Alanis, Pastor Jean Duran, Amy Martin, Leslie Blount, Chris Johnson and Nelly Trejo.

 

Bethlehem Preschool Update

  • Due to rising COVID-19 infection rates it has become increasingly difficult to maintain adequate staffing levels at the preschool. This may necessitate making adjustments to the half-day preschool program.
  • Preschool staff are now exploring a number of programmatic options related to the half-day program which will be shared soon with parents.