Vestry minutes – 5/17/2016

Vestry Members:  Clare Andreasson, Maria DiStefano-Post, Nancy Flowers, Eddie Grim, Helen Hankins, Sue Kelly, Michael Mittelstaedt, Anne Montgomery, Donna Olendorf, Jeff Tibbits, Marian Vermeulen, Chuck Wolterink (Absentees in Italics)

Guests Present:  Keith Bonner, Barbara Klugh, Mark Stackable, Rick Taylor
Staff Present:  Ann Hackett  
Clergy Present: none

Scripture & Study:  Barbara opened with a prayer.  Donna added a prayer for Nancy Flowers and her family in the death of her sister.  We checked in with what was blooming in our gardens both literally and figuratively. Barbara led us in a discussion of the Trinity in anticipation of Trinity Sunday.  

Approve/Amend the Agenda:
The agenda for May 17 was approved by acclamation with amendments.  Add under Old Business-record decision not to move the smoking area at the Jubilee House (JH).  Add under New Business-report on the Rector Search Committee from Marian.  Add under Forum for Congregational Concerns-letter from a parishioner and parishioner phone call.  Add under Serve-Master Planning Committee minutes and additional JH Swing Shift fundraising information.

Motion by Anne, seconded by Jeff, to approve the minutes from the April 19, 2016 meeting.  Motion approved.



Rector Report:  
In transition, no rector


Treasurer’s Report:
Mark reported the April financials look good.  Kerry Nelson is considering accepting the GEC Treasurer position.  The vestry is encouraged to consider writing checks directly from the Organ Fund as needed to capture all of the funds available for the current year.  Mark suggests those bills be paid monthly, and will follow up with a recommendation at the June meeting.

The Finance Committee continues to look for ways to cut costs.

  • Compare checking account costs at Traverse City State Bank and Huntington.
  • Continue with FIM to manage the Morgan Stanley Restricted Funds or make a change.

The Finance Committee recommends a vestry person be on the investment committee for oversight.  Anne has volunteered to be the liaison.  The concern about the shabby condition of the Peace Pole should be directed to the Buildings and Grounds Committee.

Guest:  Rick Taylor spoke about the Jubilee House Swingshift and the Stars fundraiser.  He explained the details of how the fundraiser works.  Once you have participated, you cannot participate again.  There is the possibility of raising $60,000 in net donations for JH.  Helen is the vestry liaison to JH and will represent the vestry on this fundraiser committee.  There is a special account already set up for the money raised.  There will be no expenses to GEC.

Guest:  Keith Bonner read a prepared statement about his concern, along with his wife, Susan’s concern, regarding the vestry’s decision to hire an openly gay minister to be the interim at GEC.


Parish Administrator Report:
Ann reviewed the directives of the Hughes endowment funds.

Motion by Anne, seconded by Eddie, to withdraw $21,237 from the Hughes investment account for maintenance and upkeep of the Grace Church buildings.  The funds should be deposited into the General Account.  Motion approved.

Motion by Clare, seconded by Eddie, to withdraw $7, 067 from the Hughes investment account for the upkeep of the organ and essential needs of the choir.  The funds should be deposited into the General Account.  Motion approved.

There is a need for cleaning of the Jubilee House on Wednesdays.  The incurred cost to GEC would be $378 for the remainder of the year.
Motion by Donna, seconded by Jeff, to increase the sexton budget by $378 for cleaning of the JH as outlined.  Discussion ensued.  Motion approved.

With the hiring of The Rev. Carlton Kelley, the list of account signers needs to be updated.
Motion by Anne, seconded by Sue, to approve the addition of The Rev. Carlton Kelley as a signer on the accounts listed.  Motion approved.

The Boardman Rental is in need of repairs.  The hot water heater needs to be replaced and upgraded from 40 to 75 gallons.  Inside painting and plumbing repairs are needed as well.  The total cost would be $3,855.
Motion by Eddie, seconded by Michael, to approve expenditures for necessary maintenance and repair to the Boardman Rental up to $4,000 to be taken from the designated savings account.  Motion approved.

The Seekers Youth Group mission trip to the Dominican Republic is short $541 after fundraising efforts.  They request the money be taken from the High School Youth Group budget, line 7320, which currently has $1,900.
Motion by Donna, seconded by Marian, to allocate up to $600 from line 7320 in the budget to the Seeker’s mission trip.  Motion approved.

Funds for an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) at GEC have been raised with the exception of $100.  Bill Pierce of the Men’s Group respectfully requests the vestry cover the remaining money needed.
Motion by Jeff, seconded by Maria, to approve and complete the purchase of an AED by using up to $125 from Furniture/Equipment budget line 7605.  Motion approved.

The Jubilee House fundraiser, Swingshift and the Stars, document was reviewed.  Donna, as Senior Warden, needs to sign the agreement and the vestry requests a copy of the agreement.


Senior Warden Report:

The Rev. Carlton Kelley will begin his call as the Grace interim rector on May 21 and will preside at all three services.

The Rector Search Committee has been installed and Marian has set up the first meeting for discernment of officers (see Marian’s report under New Business).

The Parish Profile has been posted on the website with hard copies for the vestry and RSC members.

A thank you brunch for Children and Youth Formation members/volunteers was held on May 14.  Youth oriented services are being planned for the summer along with a Cherry Festival Parking Fundraiser.

Sandy Seppala has proposed a new “Explorers Group” to learn about the world around us.
Motion by Donna, seconded by Eddie, to approve Sandy Seppala’s request for a monthly Explorer’s Group as outlined in her proposal.  Motion approved.


Junior Warden Report:
Jeff reported the one page draft of procedures for reporting sexual misconduct at GEC is in the hands of the Bishop for approval.  It was emphasized this is a procedure and not a policy. Thank you to Clare and Helen for their hard work on this document.


Old Business:

The vestry accepts the recommendation of the Buildings and Grounds Committee to keep GEC a smoke-free campus.  The Jubilee House smoking area will remain in its current area.


New Business:

Marian updated the vestry on the Rector Search Committee.  The first meeting is May 22 with a Get-To-Know-You gathering along with discerning officers.  It was suggested to have fellowship meetings with the vestry and RSC.


Forum for Congregational Concerns:

The wardens received a letter from Joel Wegman expressing concerns about hiring an openly gay priest as our interim.  His questions and wonderings will be addressed in a letter, recalling our baptismal covenant in which we vow to “respect the dignity of every human being,” written by Donna and Jeff with input from the vestry.

Chuck received a phone call from a parishioner with a concern about whether or not there is a dress code for the office workers.  Ann reports there is no official dress code.


Follow-up & Follow-through:

  • Mark will bring a motion to the next vestry meeting regarding how to draw the money form the Organ Fund.
  • Mark will compare Traverse City State Bank and Huntington Bank for cost savings and recommend a proposal.
  • Donna needs to sign the Swingshift and the Stars agreement and obtain a copy for the vestry.
  • Chuck will follow up with the parishioner’s specific concerns about a dress code in the office.
  • Donna and Jeff will respond with a written letter to Joel Wegman.
  • The vestry will ask Fr. Carlton for his ideas on how to hold all Grace parishioners, with varying points of view on gay clergy, in relationship with each other and with God.
  • Ann will follow up with Buildings and Grounds on condition of the Peace Pole.

The Lord’s Prayer followed by dismissal at 10:15.

Respectfully submitted,

Sue Kelly
Vestry Clerk





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