The virtual meeting was called to order at 7:03 by Anne Malmquist, Moderator.
Cabinet members in attendance: Rev. Beth Stotts, Pastor; Anne Malmquist, Moderator; Denise Molinari, Vice Moderator; Dave Sheibley, Treasurer; Larry Brown, Assistant Treasurer; Diane Sheibley, Clerk; Gordon Brailsford & Ed Buckland, Board of Trustees; Marci Langevin, Board of Christian Education; Bill O’Neil, Board of Christian Outreach; Terry Reynolds, History & Memorials Committee and Women’s Guild & Fellowship; Gail Wershing & Mike Bundock, Growth Committee; Ellen Crawford, Music Committee
Also present: Carol Chaffee, Food Pantry Liaison; Julia Scott Carey, Minister of Music
Rev. Beth opened the meeting with a devotion.
Diane Sheibley did the roll call and verified that a quorum was present.
April Meeting Minutes
The minutes from the April meeting were reviewed. Terry Reynolds motioned to accept the minutes. Mike Bundock seconded. The minutes were approved.
Pastor’s Report – Rev. Beth Stotts
Rev. Beth reported what she has been working on: Reopening for worship discussions; worship planning; several funerals, weddings, and baptisms. She got 9 applications for the bee fellowship project; Pentacost is this Sunday, and Senior Sunday is May 30th. On June 13, we will be having in-person worship in Music Alley, weather permitting.
Treasurer’s Report – David Sheibley
Dave reported that we are doing OK. The extra fundraising is definitely helping… takeout dinners, pie sales, etc. We are running about $7,000 below budgeted revenues, but running about $9,000 below budgeted expenses. There is about $7,000 in the operating account. As long as the stock market keeps doing well, our endowments continue to be strong, and our withdrawals are less of a hit.
Minister of Music Report – Julia Scott Carey
Everyone thanked Julia for all of the music she has provided and arranged for during this last year. It was noted that online viewing is high, and is especially high during the music sections of worship. Regarding going back to in-person worship, there is special concern over the congregation singing, so we’ll continue to watch the science, but may not go back to singing hymns until the Fall. It is looking likely that the choir can come back in the Fall. We might continue with some of the guest soloists as well, although many that have been performing have been doing so because their regular jobs and events have been cancelled. They will be busier once those resume. Julia did note that all of the soloists that have been coming in have loved working in our church, both in feeling welcomed and in the physical space of the sanctuary.
It was noted that Julia and a soloist made a recording in our sanctuary today that will be streamed in the UK, and she extends her thanks to Paul for all his work on it. The link to the performance will be made available.
Ellen Crawford asked if we wanted to continue to have soloists, would it have more of a financial impact once things are “back to normal”. Julia said yes, likely. Rev. Beth thanked Julia for sharing her talents with us and for her ministry. Anne asked if there was anything we could do for Julia to help her, and she said no. [Julia then left the meeting as she was mid-rehearsal for another obligation.]
Congregational Administrator Report – see printed report
Deborah was not able to make the meeting, but Rev. Beth noted that she’s doing a great job, and thanked Diane Sheibley for her help in guiding and training her.
Food Pantry (FP) Report – Carol Chaffee
Carol noted that Jack Melcher is back after recovering from his recent surgery. Patron attendance at the FP is down 30% from last year at the same time, to about 49 family units in April. 2 people visited based on the publicity from the senior center. The flyers are still being distributed and publicized in places like the Buzz Around Bridgewater newsletter and the school system. Jack is in ongoing discussions with Emily Williams at the senior center regarding the new free transportation program in BW.
The FP recently qualified for two new resources by virtue of their affiliation with the Greater Boston Food Bank: (1) Our FP will receive $4000 worth of Stop and Shop gift cards (100 @ $40); (2) we received 30 cases of Girl Scout cookies to distribute to FP patrons. Anne asked if the gift cards that were received can be shared with other churches for those they know are in need. Carol noted that these particular gift cards probably are intended to be distributed strictly through the food pantry to its patrons, but other ones that we buy could be used for the greater BW community’s needs.
Mike Bundock asked if there is a list of people that Jack could call if he found he needed more help in a given week. It was noted that he probably does not have a list, but people could certainly reach out to Jack. Carol did want to extend the FP’s appreciation to Connie and Steve Chandler for all their help while Jack was out.
Building Reopening Task Force – Ed Buckland
The task force is in agreement that in-person worship can begin in the Sanctuary on Sunday, July 11. (Rev. Beth noted that the local vaccination rate is at about 83%.) They also submitted a written list of questions and answers that should address many of the questions that come up with this decision. They noted that since the Sanctuary is opening, they feel their work is done, and requested to be authorized to disband.
Anne noted that in caring for each other, health and safety protocols will be left to the individuals, and should be respected by all. Distancing and masks will be encouraged, as we strike a balance between being a safe place to be and a welcoming place to be.
Suggestions for continued ability to do contract tracing were discussed. The Deacons are concerned about having ushers/greeters that are COVID protocol trained. A call for ushers interested in being trained will be promoted in Steeple Sounds.
Discussion ensued as to whether the rest of the building is also reopening for its usual activities as they were conducted pre-COVID, including meetings and the food pantry, after July 11, noting that perhaps the clean-up-after-yourself protocols that were instituted for COVID, as well as mask-wearing, might be carried forward as prudent policies.
Per agreement by the Cabinet, the Board of Trustees will determine opening procedures, protocols, guidelines, and practices for the rest of the building, and will present them at the June Cabinet meeting.
2021-22 Budget Proposal – David Sheibley
Dave reviewed the proposed budget. He noted that it is very much the same as last year’s budget with a few notable exceptions: (1) there is a 3% increase in Rev. Beth’s package; (2) a “miscellaneous fundraisers” line item for $5,000 was added, based on what we have been able to do this past year; (3) the golf tournament is still included, and we should be serious about making sure we hold it as it is a big line item in the revenue section. Dave noted that there are various people willing to do specific tasks associated with the tournament, but without a coordinator, it won’t happen, and it needs to. Even if it’s later this summer into the next fiscal year, like August or September.
The bottom line in the budget is similar to last year, and still calls for up to $42,000 withdrawal from the endowments as well as $17,500 from the Johnson Fund to absorb our music expenses. If the stock market continues to do well, it will help with not depleting our endowments when we need to make withdrawals.
Dave made a motion to have Cabinet accept the proposed budget, and Mike Bundock seconded. There were no objections, two abstentions, and the balance of votes being in favor of the motion.
Annual Budget Meeting – June 13, 11am
The meeting will be held, weather permitting, in Music Alley. The weather assessment will be made on Thursday the 10th. Members will be notified by email, website post, and Facebook whether the weather will permit an outdoor meeting. If it can’t be held outside, it will be streamed via YouTube and Facebook like that day’s worship service. Questions will be encouraged to be sent ahead of time, and will be available to be asked via email that day. Voting will be available as an option online no matter how the meeting is held.
• Anne asked people to ponder a few questions for the next Cabinet meeting: what are some of the things we want to continue after COVID? How will our “churching” change? Anne noted that we now have people in our church community that are located around the country – how can we continue to weave them into our church family and the work of the church? Rev. Beth suggested that we also have an opportunity to have compassion for people who are not in the same emotional place that we are in following the pandemic, and to not be judgmental.
• The Growth Committee encouraged everyone to be a part of the liturgy group, and volunteer to do readings for the upcoming virtual services.
• They also announced that they have procured an anniversary banner for the front of the church, and that sponsors are welcome to contribute to its cost. Total cost was $108.
• Carol asked if June will be our usual calendar planning meeting. After discussion, it was determined that yes, it will be, even if we don’t quite know exactly what events will be able to be held as soon as the Fall.
Rev. Beth closed the meeting in prayer at 8:40pm.