The virtual meeting was called to order at 7:02.
Cabinet members in attendance: Rev. Beth Stotts, Pastor; Anne Malmquist, Moderator; Denise Molinari, Vice Moderator; Dave Sheibley, Treasurer; Larry Brown, Asst. Treasurer; Diane Sheibley, Clerk; Ed Buckland, Board of Trustees; Lynn Pietras, Board of Deacons; Marci Langevin, Board of Christian Education; Bill O’Neil, Board of Christian Outreach; Barbara Morey, History & Memorials Committee; Gail Wershing, Growth Committee; Ellen Crawford, Music Committee; Terry Reynolds, Women’s Guild & Fellowship
Also present: Gordon Brailsford (Trustees); Sandy Alley (Women’s Guild); Mike Bundock (Growth); Paul Holmes, Minister of Video Evangelism; Rich Sullivan, Sexton
Rev. Beth opened the meeting with a prayer.
Diane Sheibley did the roll call.
December Meeting Minutes
The minutes from the November meeting were reviewed. Larry Brown motioned to accept the minutes. Gail Wershing seconded. The minutes were approved.
Pastor’s Report – Rev. Beth Stotts
Lent is just a couple of weeks away! Rev. Beth reported that Bridgewater as well as our own CSCC community are showing surges in COVID cases. She has been doing much congregational care. She reported that the “drive-by Communion” she held in January was a beautiful way to connect with our CSCC family. She enjoyed organizing a Zoom Epiphany project with CE, and she’s working on putting together a Lenten packet with information and study materials. Rev. Beth also noted that there will be a Lenten book study.
It was asked what kind of “officers discussions” have there been that she noted on her report. Anne Malmquist responded, letting them know that there have been discussions about how to handle the annual meeting, and nominations of board members and officers. It will be discussed later in this meeting.
Treasurer’s Report – Dave Sheibley
Dave reported that we are still running behind, but we got a few bigger donations at year end, which helped. We’re about $11,600 below budgeted income for this point in the year. Expenses are running a little bit behind budget as well, although not as much as income. We’re doing OK, but it would be great if we could continue to be creative with fundraisers, as well as entice some of the newer, online viewers to make donations. We’ve transferred $24,000 from investments so far this fiscal year. Luckily, the investments continue to do well.
It was asked why there was no money in the Paypal account on the report; Dave noted that money is regularly transferred from that account into the checking account, so it often has no balance. It was also asked if the online/Paypal donations are recorded in our membership system (Servant Keeper), and Dave said yes. Rev. Beth asked for a list of donors that are new to our database so that she can send thank you notes.
It was also asked if calendar year-end statements of giving would be mailed out. Dave said yes, Judy is working on them.
Another question was regarding the new round of “Payroll Protection Program” loans that the federal government approved in the December COVID relief package. Dave reported that we don’t qualify for one this time around (we did get one in the first round), because our revenues were not at least 25% down from the same quarter the prior year.
It was asked if the check requests submitted by the Board of Outreach had been mailed. Dave said yes.
Congregational Administrator’s Report – Ellen Atherton
Ellen was not present at the meeting, but her report was distributed to Cabinet members.
Historical Church Building Committee – Barbara Morey
Barbara reported that the next meeting of the Community Preservation Committee was one week from tonight. The next step they will be pursuing is the deed restriction that they are requiring as part of their grant. They have agreed to pay the cost of the restriction paperwork. Barbara reiterated that no existing church funds are going to be used for the restoration project – we will only authorize work that meets the money we receive from the town grants, plus any other grants or fundraising we might receive. Gale Associates has been informed that we can only spend the amounts we receive. We have applied for a good many other grants, but so far we have not been approved for any of them. We will be reapplying as we are allowed.
• Annual meeting: Anne Malmquist reported that we will be having our annual meeting at the regular time of year, namely February 14 (the second Sunday of February). It will be held via Zoom. As usual, it will be celebratory, and boards and committees are asked to prepare to talk about what they’ve done in the past year. They are also welcome to talk about what they’d like to do in the coming year. This might also be a good opportunity to restructure and reimagine how we do, what we do. The meeting will be on Sunday, Feb. 14, at 11:15am, via Zoom.
• Nominations: We didn’t have elections last year. We have to think about how to structure moving forward with boards and committees, and the people who serve on them. Start to think about what we do we want to do that we haven’t done before, and what do we want to keep doing?
• Golf Tournament: Anne reported that we got an offer to help set up a website for free for the tournament to help attract more people. There’s interest in having a tournament, even if it’s mostly a social event and less of a fundraiser as in past years. We need volunteers to help. Maybe a date in late June/early July? Ellen in the office will help, but we need a coordinator.
• 200th Anniversary: There’s already $3500 spent on “the anniversary” according to the Treasurer’s Report – Dave reported that that was for the lawyer to help us get the restoration project grant approved from the town. Barbara Morey was the chair for the 175th anniversary. She noted that it was a week-long celebration, Sunday-Sunday. Free ice cream, a square dance, and a big dinner dance in period costumes. Then some of those folks wore their costumes to church the next day, and Bob Spencer, the pastor, came in costume and his sermon was a retelling of the first sermon that was given in our church. The anniversary committee gave the church a gift last time, one of the tables that is in the back of the sanctuary (there’s a plaque on it). To fundraise, they sold Christmas bulbs; Steve Chandler made small replicas of the church out of wood that sold for $10 (Terry showed one during the meeting). The crafters also made different BW historic building replicas to sell. There was also a calendar with old pictures of Bridgewater, sold for $10(?).
- We have to open the time capsule, and think of something to put in it for someone to see in 25 years. (a COVID mask?)
- Anybody interested in being on the anniversary committee let Anne know. Paul Holmes agreed to be on it, as did Rich Sullivan, Barbara Morey, and Terry Reynolds.
• Bill O’Neil wanted to raise up Scott Wright on his recent passing. “He always had a smile on his face.”
• Valentine’s Day Takeout Dinner Fundraiser: Diane Sheibley gave the information. Chicken Parm, catered by Boston Tavern in Middleboro; $35 per dinner-for-two. Pickup is in the Bridgewater Library parking lot 5:15pm-5:45pm on Sunday the 14th. Reservation deadline is Feb. 9. Orders can be placed through the website, through Facebook, or by contacting the office.
• Food Pantry Money: Larry Brown asked about the large balance in the food pantry account (about $40,000). Bill O’Neil confirmed that usage of the food pantry is down, while donations of food and money is up. Any specific questions about money should be directed to Jack Melcher. It was discussed that pantry is specifically for the use of Bridgewater residents, but there must be ways that we can help those who need it with the funds that have accumulated. Larry will contact Jack.
• Women’s Guild & Fellowship: Sandy Alley noted that the WG&F is alive and well. They have set a date of the first weekend in May to have their fundraising yard sale. Their end-of-year banquet is in May, in some form, as well.
• Board of Christian Ed: Marci noted that they are struggling as a Board. Most of the members are parents, and the current environment is tough on people. But we have some wonderful kids here at the church we want to support. Anne suggested CE and Outreach hooking up to think about a youth service project – with her work on mission trips and other youth events, they really gravitate to service projects as their spirituality. Maybe the older youth could do a COVID-appropriate project. Rev. Beth noted that she saw on FB one of the younger church youth participated in a food packaging event with the girl scouts, with lots of COVID protocols in place, for Martin Luther King day.
- It was suggested that we have women’s homes in town and sober houses, maybe we can have the Women’s Guild and the kids work together to make kits for them of essentials.
- It was also suggested that, even though we can’t have the Heifer living gift market this year, maybe the kids can do something Heifer-related at home, to raise money or awareness.
- For adult CE, Denise Molinari also noted that she and the other coordinators of the annual women’s retreat (which normally takes place at this time of year) are working on a women’s walking spirituality event for early February. Weather permitting, but women would meet at a location, share some scripture, and then go for a walk in small groups and discuss it. Would be the kind of connection that people feel at the retreat.
• Sexton: Rich Sullivan reported that he will be leaving Monday for a month in South Carolina. He will be back Feb. 19. There isn’t a lot to be done in his absence since the building isn’t being used that much, but he can provide a list to the office. Mike Bundock and Bill O’Neil offered to fill in.
o He also noted that some of the tiles in the kitchen are curling up and are becoming somewhat of a hazard. Ed Buckland offered some suggestions.
Reverend Beth closed the meeting in prayer at 8:20pm.