The virtual meeting was called to order at 7:05 by Anne Malmquist, Moderator.
Cabinet members in attendance: Rev. Beth Stotts, Pastor; Anne Malmquist, Moderator; Dave Sheibley, Treasurer; Larry Brown, Assistant Treasurer; Diane Sheibley, Clerk; Gordon Brailsford & Ed Buckland, Board of Trustees; Lynn Pietras, Board of Deacons; Bill O’Neil, Board of Christian Outreach; Barbara Morey, History & Memorials Committee; Gail Wershing & Mike Bundock, Growth Committee
Also present: Paul Holmes, Minister of Video Evangelism; Deborah Lancaster, Congregational Administrator; Carol Chaffee, Historical Church Building Committee & Food Pantry; Jack Melcher, Food Pantry
Rev. Beth opened the meeting with a devotion.
Diane Sheibley did the roll call and verified that a quorum was present.
March Meeting Minutes
The minutes from the March meeting were reviewed. Gail Wershing motioned to accept the minutes. Dave Sheibley seconded. The minutes were approved.
Pastor’s Report – Rev. Beth Stotts [also see her printed report]
Rev. Beth reported that Easter morning service outdoors at Hanson Farm went very well, and felt good. They were initially concerned about people not following the rules, but it went very smoothly. There was a baptism last Sunday during worship that was supposed to be outside, but the weather didn’t cooperate, so they had it in the sanctuary. She is working with the office to compile a list of children and youth, and will be distributing spring packets. There are 57 active children and youth in our church! There was a sidewalk chalk event outside the church on the Saturday of holy week. She also wanted to give a shoutout to Diane for her help in getting Deborah acclimated in the office, and Lynn Pietras and Jae Stotts for all their altar work.
Treasurer’s Report – David Sheibley [also see his printed report]
Dave reported that pledged income is down about $10,000, but expenses are down about the same from where it is budgeted to be. Unscheduled fundraising projects have helped a great deal: takeout dinners, posting fundraisers on Facebook (which have raised almost $1000), Amazon smile contributions – every little bit helps. Investments are doing OK as the stock market is strong.
Rev. Beth asked if anyone had responded to the Stewardship mailing, and Dave said there were a few inquiries asking if they have to do anything if they want to keep their pledge the same as last year, but that’s about all.
Bill O’Neil reminded folks that, if they are of a certain age, they can direct their RMD (required minimum distribution) to be distributed directly to the church tax-free as a donation. They should ask their financial advisor about it if they’re interested.
Congregational Administrator Report – Deborah Lancaster [also see her printed report]
Deborah reported that she is still feeling her way around, but it’s going well. She has been working with Rev. Beth to compile information for the youth list – asking parents for dates of birth and HS graduation year (as a benchmark for knowing what grade they’re in at any point). She’s been cleaning up emails and cell phone numbers of the parents in the process. It should be done by next week.
Larry Brown complimented Deborah on her revisions to the Monday e-blasts, as they are more readable.
Food Pantry Report – Carol Chaffee
Carol first expressed appreciation for Steve Chandler for filling in for Jack while he was recuperating from surgery, as well as for Connie Chandler’s assistance on Thursdays. They also suggested a few changes to the procedures that have made things more efficient when the pantry is open. They also had one of the volunteers do much of the cleaning and organizing that was needed in the freezer section.
Jack has created a one-page information sheet about the food pantry that has been posted on the town website, and distributed to the veterans organization, the senior center, Bridgewater Cares, and was in the senior center newsletter. They are also looking to make it available to the school system. He also visited the project in the UU church parking lot that distributes food. He spoke to the organizer, and although it’s a very small operation, they may be able to work together in the future.
Of the 100 gift cards that Jack purchased on the behalf of the Pantry, 78 have been distributed to patrons of the Pantry. An additional $2000 was spent on gifts cards for Rev. Beth and Pastor Alicia at the Methodist church to given to those in need. Carol explained that the gift cards given out to Pantry patrons are to supplement what the Pantry does not have (milk, etc). The cards that Rev. Beth and Pastor Alicia give out are a ministry of helping those in need.
Carol reported that in the first quarter of 2021, the beginning balance of the Food Pantry was $39,989; the donations totalled $4,325; the expenses totalled $7,906; so the ending balance on 3/31 was $36,408. Dave also noted that he lists the monthly income amount and expense amount (as well as total balance) each month on his Treasurer’s Report.
Rev. Beth applauded everyone involved who has stepped up to help the food pantry, as well as expanding its reach in Bridgewater.
There was a discussion of the policy of only serving those that live in Bridgewater. Jack noted that if someone who isn’t from BW comes for food, they are provided food to take with them on a one-time basis, and he also helps them find the food pantry in the town where they live, through an app on his phone. Deborah noted that she has had experience with other food pantries and the sad truth is that some people “food pantry shop” from town to town, and some people take advantage of food pantries. There is general concern that our food pantry could be overwhelmed if we opened it up to anyone from any town.
Regarding further spreading the word on the food pantry as a resource, Carol noted that the library’s weekly email featured the pantry; and Deborah is posting it on Facebook on both the church page and on the BW town pages, among other avenues.
Jack thanked Cabinet for approving the appointment of Carol as liaison, and for her hard work and dedication.
Deed Restriction – Barbara Morey
Barbara sent a copy of the deed restriction draft to the town’s CPC, who meets a week from tonight. Rev. Beth reported that Rob Pellegrini, an attorney, said he would review it for us for his nonprofit rate of $375/hour, and didn’t think it would take much more than an hour.
Although the full draft of the deed restriction was distributed to Cabinet, Diane Sheibley noted that it was her opinion that going through the complete text was not a Cabinet-level task. She noted that the Trustees should be the ones handling it until it’s in final form, and once it’s acceptable to them, they should present Cabinet with a summary of the restriction and conditions contained in it for review and approval. Gordon suggested that perhaps the Congregation as a whole should vote on it. Barbara and Ed both noted that we should wait until we have the comments from the town before finalizing the draft and before we have our attorney review it.
It was suggested that if any of the Cabinet members wanted to be part of the review process, they could be part of the meeting where the Trustees are working on it. In summary: (1) we need to get the input from the town; (2) we should have our attorney look it over; (3) the Trustees should meet together with other interested church leaders; (4) a one-page summary should be prepared for Cabinet from the final draft.
• Rev. Beth had a meeting with Nic Cannizzo, who is starting work on his eagle scout project. He proposed that to do the work inside of the Church Street entrance to the church as has been discussed, making it more attractive and more functional for how the space is utilized (food pantry, and warmth in cold places collection, for example). She suggested he write up a few paragraphs on how he viewed the project, and it was suggested that he contact the key players and have a brainstorming meeting. Ed Buckland volunteered, as did Rev. Beth. It was suggested that someone from the food pantry and Rich Sullivan (Sexton) also be involved.
• Diane announced that there will be a Pie Sale Fundraiser on Saturday, May 8, 10-12. Additional pie makers are needed, as are customers.
• Diane also announced that the next Takeout Dinner Fundraiser will be held on Sunday, May 23, and will be Chicken Piccata, once again catered by Boston Tavern Middleboro.
• Anne asked Paul if he would put together statistics for next month’s Cabinet meeting on how many folks we have watching on which platforms, for our Sunday worship services. Paul agreed. On a related note, Rev. Beth encouraged everyone to post comments when they’re watching, although it was noted that for YouTube, (1) you have to be signed in, and some folks who watch maybe aren’t; and (2) if you watch YouTube on your TV you don’t have the ability to comment.
• Mike Bundock suggested that we invite Julia to the next Cabinet meeting so that we can find out what she has planned for music, and to give her our positive feedback on all the great music she’s been providing.
Next meeting is MAY 19. Rev. Beth closed the meeting in prayer at 8:15pm.