The Bethlehem Church Council met on Tuesday, September 15, 2020. Here are the highlights of this meeting:
Associate Pastor Call Process Update
Council members were briefed on a number of activities related to calling Paisley Le Roy as the new Associate Pastor at Bethlehem:
- The Church Council Executive Committee has consulted with the ELCA Chicago Metropolitan Synod. The Synod has informed Bethlehem that an online congregation meeting is an acceptable and appropriate alternative to an in-person meeting during the current COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the congregation meeting on September 27 will be conducted using Zoom. Members will also be able to participate in this meeting by phone.
- A letter was mailed to the congregation on Monday, September 14, with information about the congregation meeting. Included in the mailing was a ballot that can be used following the meeting (those who attend the meeting will also have an option to submit an electronic ballot) and a copy of the PowerPoint presentation that will be used during the meeting. Members will be encouraged not use the ballot until after the meeting on September 27.
- In order to vote on the recommendation of the Call Team and the Church Council to call Minister Le Roy, a member must be present online or by phone at the congregation meeting on September 27. Voting by proxy or by absentee ballot is not permitted by our Church Constitution.
- Members will be given three voting options following the congregation meeting:
- Those who have pre-registered for the meeting will receive an email with a link to an electronic ballot. Each person within the household must submit a separate ballot. The deadline for submitting this e-ballot is 5:00 pm on Tuesday, September 29.
- Those who wish to vote by mail can use the paper ballot that was included in the mailing sent out on September 14. The ballot will allow for up to three eligible members to vote in each household. Ballots must be postmarked no earlier than Sunday, September 27 (no early voting), but no later than Tuesday, September 29, in order to be counted.
- A member wishing to drop off a paper ballot at church may do so between 12:00 and 3:00 pm on Sunday, September 27, 9:00 and 11:00 am on Monday, September 28, and 3:00 and 5:00 pm on Tuesday, September 29. There will be someone at church to receive the ballot. The deadline for dropping off a ballot is 5:00 pm on Tuesday, September 29.
- At 9:45 am on Sunday, September 20, a practice meeting will be held to help familiarize members with the Zoom platform and learn more about what will take place at the congregation meeting on Sunday, September 27. This meeting is optional (not required) for Bethlehem members and is designed for those who are unfamiliar with the Zoom platform and/or want additional information about the September 27 meeting.
Bethlehem Preschool Update
- Deacon Heather reported that a student in one of the half-day preschool classes has tested positive for the coronavirus. Following protocols established by the Illinois Department of Public Health, this particular class will be closed for 14 days and the infected student along with others in this class are now being quarantined. The teachers in the class have been tested for COVID-19, but the results have not come back. Parents have been notified of this COVID-19 positive case.
2021 Budget Orientation
- Deacon Heather provided Council members with an orientation to the revenue (receipts) side of the church budget, as preparations for the 2021 budget are underway.
- Deacon Heather also shared some expansive and inspiring thoughts about stewardship, living a life of generosity, and some tangible ways that Bethlehem might faithfully respond to the blessings that God has so richly bestowed on each of us.
Technology Expenses During the Pandemic
- The Council authorized by consensus the purchase of several more laptop computers for staff to use during the pandemic. Several staff members have been using their own personal laptops when not in the office.
- The Council also authorized by consensus that the Director of the Bethlehem preschool be reimbursed for cell phone usage in conformity with the procedures already in place to reimburse rostered staff. Cell phone use has increased significantly for the preschool Director during the pandemic.