The meeting was called to order at 7:00 by Anne Malmquist, Moderator.
Cabinet members in attendance: Rev. Beth Stotts, Pastor; Anne Malmquist, Moderator; Denise Molinari, Vice Moderator; David Sheibley, Treasurer; Diane Sheibley, Clerk; Gordon Brailsford and Ed Buckland, Board of Trustees; Bill O’Neil, Board of Christian Outreach; Terry Reynolds, Board of Christian Education and History & Memorials Committee; Jane O’Connell, Women’s Guild & Fellowship; Ellen Crawford, Music Committee.
Additional attendees: Lynn Pietras, Connie Chandler
Rev. Beth opened the meeting with a prayer.
Diane Sheibley took attendance and verified that a quorum was present.
The meeting minutes from the October meeting were presented and reviewed. David Sheibley motioned to accept them; Denise Molinari seconded. The minutes were approved as presented.
Pastor’s Report – Rev. Beth Stotts (also see printed report)
Rev. Beth called attention to the think tanks she hosted for the recent and upcoming special worship times: All Saints, Thanksgiving Sunday, and Advent. She reminded us that the “Hanging of the Greens” to decorate the sanctuary for Christmas will be on 11/26 at noon. The all-church book study, and theme of the sermons and kids church, is “The Heart that Grew Three Sizes, Finding Faith in the Story of the Grinch”. The office has several copies for sale if anyone is interested. On 12/2 at 6pm there will be a “Grinch and Pizza” party. Rev. Beth will read the story of How the Grinch Stole Christmas and show the original animated movie, all while everyone is enjoying pizza and popcorn. People are encouraged to wear their pajamas. There is also a book study discussion on Saturday, 12/10 at 9:30am.
Advent will still keep with the traditional themes of hope, peace, joy, and love, while incorporating the themes of “The Heart that Grew…” book. The church crafters generously donated an advent wreath that will be used in worship. There will also be other special events and performances during Advent services.
Rev. Beth noted that the amount of pastoral care has been very high, especially among the elderly… loneliness, grief, etc. She then directed everyone’s attention to the copies of the newsletter from the Bridgewater senior center that she made available. They have so much going on, everyone should consider going or recommending it to family and friends, and utilizing all the resources they have available. For most events, all ages are welcome.
Christmas eve services will be at 5pm and 10pm. The grief care circle is going well, and meets on Tuesdays at 10am. Rev. Beth talked to the Trustees about the lack of outside electricity (it stopped working several years ago). The big lighting of the lights on and around the common is on 11/27 at 5pm.
Treasurer’s Report – Dave Sheibley (also see printed report)
Last month was a good month for giving, second best all year, over $15,000. There haven’t been any unusual expenses, and we didn’t take any money out of endowments last month. Investments had been going down, but were back up in the last few days. Dave also reported that the Minister’s Emergency Fund is getting very low.
Food Pantry – Bill O’Neil (also see printed report)
There was a lot of food donated recently by the food drives of the school district as well as private businesses. The school brought about 8 pickup trucks full. The sorting of all the food is happening this Saturday, 11/19 at 9am. All volunteers welcome. The pantry broke records the last two weeks for number of families served. Over 90 Thanksgiving baskets are planned to be distributed next week. A local Bridgewater family donated another freezer for downstairs.
Governance Committee – Anne Malmquist
Anne reported that the committee is having weekly meetings at this point, after church in the Fireplace Room. Their goal is to have a draft of a new constitution and bylaws by the February annual meeting. This week’s topic: going from boards and committees to teams. She reported that they are making good headway.
Fair Committee – Diane Sheibley
Diane reported that the fair, so far, has made over $8200 for the church. Its budgeted amount is $7500. There will also be more monies to come in after the crafters and jewelry table sell their items at Christmas on the Common (12/4). Part of the reason for such a good profit was that the very generous angel once again stepped in to pay the Boston Market bill for the turkey dinner takeout, so the church was able to keep the entire $40 per meal. Diane and Denise thanked all of the many people that make the event such a success.
Thrift Shop – Connie Chandler and Lynn Pietras
The closet where the thrift shop will reside has been totally cleaned out and prepped for painting. They are hoping to have an informational meeting to get folks to volunteer to help with the shop, in shifts. The tentative plan is to be open two days a week, perhaps Wednesdays and Saturdays. They might use the small door next to the sexton closet during shop hours as their entrance to the church.
All of the groups that meet in the fellowship hall have been asked to go through their storage areas and have cleaned them out. The shop coordinators might ask Jenne to make a few signs for them to use in the shop, labelling items and their pricing. They might use lawn signs or the swing sign on open days showing people the entrance. They have a permit from the town to have the shop. Lynn remarked how everybody has been so helpful and enthusiastic about having the shop.
Board of Stewardship – Anne, for Kathleen Mosher
Kathleen was not able to make the meeting, but provided this information:
40 for 40k will continue on for the time being- it will just be moved to a less prominent place. We always have new people coming to church so the 40 for 40k is a good starting point for them to think about an amount to tithe regularly. Stewardship will be moving forward with new ideas come January 2023.
The Pronoun Project - Marci Langevin will be setting a date for a Sunday after church to lead a discussion group on why we are including pronouns on our name tags. Marci works with transgender people and will be able to give valuable insights and science-based information. As an Open and Affirming church, pronouns on name tags is a very important and meaningful step for us to take as a community. We need to be mindful when someone shares their pronouns, they are exposing themselves in a most vulnerable way. They are saying, “This is who I am. Please don’t turn away from me.” When we, as an Open and Affirming community, add our pronouns to our name tags we are saying, “We see and respect you. We join you in sharing our pronouns so you are not alone.” If anyone has any questions about this project I would be happy to talk with you.
Feminist Women of Faith Group - The first meeting of this group will be on Sunday, January 8th, at 11:30. I have had a lot of interest expressed for this group and am excited to meet with everyone. We will be opening the group up to all women of faith in the Bridgewater area. We will be discussing our gendered experiences in the church, problem solving, and deciding on what types of social justice causes we want to promote or start. Bring your drink, snack, and ideas!
Board of Trustees – Gordon Brailsford
Gordon reported that he met with Jack Melcher, and that the food pantry will be contributing $100 per month for electricity, elevator use, etc. He also reported that Rich Sullivan is going to try and explore why the electric outside isn’t working, such as on the church sign. Rich has already asked Jenne in the office to call Digsafe to clear it with them.
Board of Christian Education – Terry Reynolds
Terry reported that the first quarter of the CE year is finished, now they are moving on to the next quarter’s curriculum and teachers. Advent begins on 11/27, and the theme for the whole church is “The Heart that Grew 3 sizes”, and so kids church will use that theme as well. There is a curriculum developed for it. On 12/18, there will be a “multigenerational celebration of advent joy” that will be presented by the kids.
The Coins for Kids Church project began in November. On the first Sunday of each month, 1-2 kids will be in the back of the sanctuary at the end of worship to collect everyone’s loose change to support the kids church program. In November, $44 was taken in.
Women’s Guild and Fellowship – Jane O’Connell
Jane asked if Savannah would like to play for the Women’s Guild Christmas service on Dec. 7? They are also in need of a piano player. It was suggested for them to get in touch with Mindi Shave to see if she was available or if she might recommend someone, as she is a music teacher. Their monthly meeting and Christmas service is on Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 6:30pm.
Poinsettias – Terry Reynolds
Terry announced that the History & Memorials Committee will once again be selling poinsettias. They will be available for ordering on the first three Sundays of December, as well as online. They will be set up for the Christmas eve services, and then those that purchased them can take them home after whichever service they attend. The day after Christmas, the H&M Committee will come in and deliver any that are left to shut-ins. They will be $10 each.
Board of Christian Outreach – Bill O’Neil
Bill reported that the Board spent $800 at Ocean State Job Lot purchasing items for the Warmth in Cold Places drive. Nic Cannizzo also had some extra money from his eagle scout fundraising, and used it to buy items for the food pantry as well as items for the Warmth in Cold Places project. If there is any clothing leftover after the distribution in Taunton, it will be allocated to the food pantry patrons and Rob Basler for the Brockton homeless.
It was asked how we might reach other families in need of warm clothing. It was suggested to contact the adjustment counselors at the schools, as they would know what families are currently in need. Perhaps the fire department might know? Also try contacting the women’s and men’s shelters here in town, and the sober houses. (It was noted that some of these folks come to the food pantry, and so could get items when they come.) Perhaps connect with someone at the college? Perhaps through their food pantry? Rev. Beth noted that the person to contact there is Eileen Estudante; she is the Student in Crisis coordinator.
• Connie asked if the fair committee still wants the 1-2 big signs in the closet near the office. They will figure that out and let her know.
• Connie asked about the office expense budget. It always seems to be over budget. Do we need to consider increasing the line item next year? And do we know why? Dave said he will look into it, but it was also noted that everything that is purchased has gone up in price, so that could be at least one reason why.
• Diane asked where the mailboxes have gone. It was explained that the mailboxes are being exchanged for vertical files to hang on the wall, so that they don’t overlap with the breaker box on the wall.
• Anne announced that there will be NO December cabinet meeting, as the usual date falls very close to Christmas.
Next meeting is January 18 at 7pm.