Vestry minutes – 4/18/2017

Vestry Members:  Clare Andreasson, Karl Bastian, James Deaton, Maria DiStefano-Post, Eddie Grim, Kathryn Holl, Sue Kelly, Michael Mittelstaedt, Bill Smith, Jeff Tibbits, Marian Vermeulen, Jeff Wescott (Absentees in Italics)

Guests Present: None
Staff Present:  Ann Hackett  
Clergy Present: The Rev. Carlton Kelley

Prayer and Check-in:
Carlton opened with a prayer and we checked in with one another.

Scripture & Study:
There was no study for this evening.

Approve/Amend the Agenda:
The agenda for the 4/18/17 meeting was approved by acclamation.
The minutes from the 3/21/2017 meeting were approved by acclamation.

Rector Report: 
Carlton reported that we have some good news:

  • The Wednesday evening study group re: Sexual Abuse wants to continue to meet around the topic of forgiveness.
  • Steve Wade has organized a presentation on civilly talking about politics and religion, using a book by Senator John Danforth.
  • Carlton will contact Central United Methodist Church to see if we might arrange van pickup for our seniors who need transportation to church. Seniors would potentially ride from the parking garage used by Central to Grace.  Grace would offer to share this expense.
  • There is a spiritual gifts assessment tool on the diocesan website – (60 questions) that purports to help you discern what your spiritual gifts are.
  • Jubilee House will be the recipient of the funds and donations raised by a national meeting of barbershop quartets performing at a convention in Traverse City.
  • Grace has received an unrestricted gift of about $110,000 from the estate of Julie Christensen. Carlton recommends that the vestry tithe a portion of this gift and save the remainder for future special projects or needs.

Treasurer’s Report:
In the absence of Mark Stackable, Ann Hackett presented the financial report.
The finances are looking healthy.

Ann said that the Finance Committee recommends that we set up an auto-payment on the loan, which would make the payments more even and the interest more regular.

Parish Administrator Report:
2016 Audit: An audit of Grace Church financials is necessary before the arrival of a new rector.  Two quotes were secured:

  • Dennis, Gartland & Niergarth (DGN) $10,600
  • Vanderwal, Spratto & Richards (VSR) $8,000

Motion by Marian Vermeulen and seconded by Jeff Wescott to accept the quote of $8,000 from VSR to perform an audit of the 2016 financial records of Grace Church.  Motion approved.

Brown House Vacancy: The lower apartment will be vacated at the end of May, becoming available for rent, June 1, 2017.  The rent is currently $1200/mo.  The management company suggested a rent increase to $1300/mo.


Motion by Eddie Grim and seconded by Jeff Tibbitts to increase the rent from $1200/mo for the lower apartment to $1300/mo.  Motion approved.

Safeguarding God’s Children/Adults Certification: Grace Church has been participating and complying with the Diocesan Best Practices for Safeguarding children and adults since the Diocesan Convention laid out expectations in 2007. The Diocese requires certification but does not spell out expiration for the certification at this time.  The vestry/rector can determine their own requirements for renewal.  Discussion ensued.  Carlton pointed out that this is ultimately the decision of the rector. Eddie suggested that given we are in transition and anticipating a new rector, it may be wise not to take any action at this point. The topic was tabled pending the arrival of future rector.

Review Building Use Policy:
Policy was established in 2009 and now needs review.  Carlton pointed out that canonically the rector establishes the parameters for building use.  The topic was tabled pending the arrival of future rector.

Other Topics:
We are nearing the initiation of the work of the renovation of the Jubilee House emergency basement exit.

Carlton hosted a breakfast for newcomers on Saturday, April 8, 2017. Thank you to Sue Kelly and Ellen Schrader for their hospitality and attendance.

It became necessary to rekey the exterior doors of the church, parish hall, and Jubilee House on April 13, 2017.  An individual who volunteered at Jubilee House but who still retained his keys to church facilities, exhibited unpredictable behavior and entered the premises before business hours.

As a leader of the church, attendance is required at the Anti-Racism Training on Saturday, April 29, 2017 from 9:30am – 2:30pm at Grace Church.  Register on the Diocesan website.

The first quarterly Vestry update for the parish is scheduled for Sunday, April 23, 2017 at 11:30am.
June 4 (St Paul’s at Grace) and June 11 (Grace at St. Paul’s) is the Great Church Swap with St. Paul’s in Elk Rapids

There will be a special coffee hour on Sunday, April 23, 2017 for Donna Olendorf and Jeanette Kania who have been received into the Episcopal church by laying of hands by the Bishop in Grand Rapids.

Senior Warden Report:
At the executive committee meeting, September was discussed as a potential month for the 150th anniversary celebration of Grace Church.  The first planning meeting is set for May 4, 2017 at 6:30 pm. Sue, James, Marian, Karl, Ann, and Clare are all willing to be a part of this committee.

Clare offered a reminder to complete Safeguarding training if needed.

There has been some conversation about finding ways to participate in more outreach to refugees. Jeff Wescott suggested that he could act as a liaison.  The vestry agreed to the idea by acclamation.

The vestry may need to look at the budget to ponder if there is the ability to increase the hours of some staff, with some consideration of discrepancies and equity. Jeff Wescott suggested we discuss this during the May meeting.

We will need a vestry member to take the role of the alternate clerk in the event that Michael Mittelstaedt cannot attend a vestry meeting.

Clare thanked the vestry for their faithful, prayerful and thoughtful conversation with Bishop Hougland and Canon Spaid last month.

Junior Warden Report: None

Old Business: 
Karl reported that he is still gathering information regarding the costs and the logistics of advertising in the bulletins.

New Business: None

Forum for Congregational Concerns: None

Core Ministry Reports:
Eddie Grim recommended that the vestry establish a Jubilee House subcommittee which is charged with the development of a long-term plan for the continued management and operation of the Jubilee House Ministries.

Motion by Jeff Wescott and seconded by Marian Vermeulen that the proposed Jubilee House subcommittee be formed with the following members: Jubilee House Director Glenda Andrews, Grace Church Rector, vestry representatives Bill Smith, Eddie Grim, and Junior Warden, James Deaton, and volunteer representatives Jake Morse and Ed Emenheiser. Motion approved.

Rector Search Committee:
Marian reported that the Rector Search Committee will meet Thursday, April 20, 2017 with Canon Spaid who will present the list of candidates to the committee.

Follow-up & Follow-through:

  • Carlton will follow up with Central Methodist Church on the possibility of using their van for our parishioners who are experiencing difficulty due to our limited parking.
  • Sue Kelly will write thank you notes to Julie Christensen’s family for their generous donation from her estate.
  • Clare will find out what the vestry might be able to do in memory of Mary Lee Pakieser’s brother who recently passed away.

Compline followed by dismissal at 9:00pm

Respectfully submitted,
Michael Mittelstaedt
Vestry Clerk





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