September’s Leadership Board proceedings


First UMC Leadership Board – Proceedings

Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017

In attendance:  Dave Bayless, Kathy Gilmore, Jenny Klein, Tom Marx, Kim Mather, Robert McDowell, Deb Murray, Brenda Noftz, Brandon Saunders, Steve Sloan, Mike Sweeney

Called to Order:  6:35 pm

Kim Mather opened with prayer and we shared Thin Place Moments.

The May 25 minutes were approved by consensus.

Summer Business:

  • The Board gave consensus approval for the following weapons free policy for our church premises, taken from the official language of the State of Ohio: “Unless otherwise authorized by law, pursuant to Ohio Revised Code 2923.122, no person shall knowingly possess, have under the person’s control, convey, or attempt to convey a deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance onto these premises.”  Signage indicating that this policy is in effect will be posted throughout the building.
  • First UMC received a $5,000 gift from the estate of Virginia Belsho, a member who has been living in Florida for the last several years. Pastor Robert officiated at her funeral and expressed to her family our church’s gratitude for her generosity.

Growing Tree Preschool Expansion Proposal:

A proposal to change Growing Tree Preschool’s operation to include an academic-year afternoon session and a Summer half session was discussed.  With Preschool Advisory Board input, the consensus of the Leadership Board was not to move forward with the proposed plan at this time.

Disaster Response Plan for Growing Tree Preschool:

Brandon has submitted inquiries to Cathy Bigger, Director of Growing Tree.  He suggested that methane and CO2 detectors be installed in the kitchen and in the boiler room.  Brandon recommended approval of the document as presented with revision later as needed. The Board gave consensus approval.  Glidden Hall was recommended for consideration as a gathering spot following a forced evacuation.

Disaster Response Plan for Athens FUMC:

A draft plan was discussed, and development will continue.

Finance Update (General Budget and Capital Campaign):

  • The general trend in giving is increasing and continues to increase. It may be possible to increase our budgetary expenditures if this trend continues. The goal for the November meeting will be to pass a budget for next year. The internal loan we made to cover expenses for the renovations will be paid off before October.
  • Jenny mentioned that first-time worship attendees may not understand the gift options on the connect cards. Pastor Robert shared that 5-7 new attendees per week are engaging and indicating interest in aspects of the church.

Pastors Report:

  • Small groups are back in full swing and new members are indicating interest.
  • Pastor Robert’s goal is to start a pilot group of new small group facilitators, and it is evolving.
  • Hospitality in the church is well underway with greeters at every door. Brandon mentioned that choral events might be a good target for “hospitality” action. Pastor Robert will follow up on choral events.
  • The Core Course series is running at the same time as Worship U. There is a division (break) point that worked, but it was clumsy. Pastor Robert mentioned that a “one and done” new membership class might be revived.
  • Worship U is still not at critical mass for college students. It is a full service, but it has not yet caught on with the students.  Steve mentioned college students are coming to first service, and there has been an uptick in second service attendance by college students.
  • Fall Charge Conference (members of the Leadership Board) is scheduled for Sunday, October 22 at 6:30pm in the chapel. The Nominations Report and Pastor’s Compensation Report will be presented to the District Superintendent. Deb Murray will be preparing the Pastor’s Compensation Report.
  • Membership roll will not be addressed this year because we do not have accurate data on attendance and giving. Apportionments are based on budgets more than membership, and we are doing very well, and Pastor Robert worked with the budget to exclude the mission portions, so there is no urgency.
  • We were given monies for a hospitality and new initiative program. Pastor Robert wants to launch a “Great Date Night” for March 24, 2018 at 6:00 pm to be held at The Plains UMC.  There would be a meal and Christian entertainment by Mark Cable.

Trustees Report:

  • First floor hallway painting bid:

A bid from Norberto Rosas was presented (as directed by Todd Bradford). Pastor Robert recommended that the Trustees handle this matter.

  • Safe Sanctuary Policy review and adoption:

The only change was in regard to abuse, which should be reported directly to Athens County Children’s Services and then to the Senior Pastor. The revised policy was approved by consensus.

  • Parsonage driveway and drainage pipe bid:

Some damage to the parsonage’s drain pipe occurred when a truck removing a dumpster at a neighbor’s house ran over it.  Ben Stoltzfus submitted a proposal to redirect drainage from the damaged pipe to drain the water to the wooded side.

  • Disaster Strategy Proposal:

The church does not have a disaster strategy.  Steve Noftz has volunteered to help develop the framework, and Brandon also volunteered.

  • Energy Stewardship:

Chris Knisely proposed that the church take action to reduce its energy footprint.  We are investigating possibilities.

Pastor Parish Report:

Growing Tree Preschool Director Transition:

A seven-member team (Vicki Butcher, Tom Marx, Kim Mather, Robert McDowell, Deb Murray, Brenda Noftz, and Brittany Peterson) is working on finding a replacement for the Growing Tree Preschool Directors position.  March 1, 2018 is the target for hiring the new director to work with Cathy Bigger on enrollment for the next year.

College Scholarship Funds Update:

The scholarship application was revamped and applications were submitted and reviewed.  Awards of $500 from the Brown account and $200 from the Roach account  were made to a single recipient, Jordann Rain Schach from Kappa Phi.  We have been  unable to contact either family (Roach or Brown), but we are working on it.

Leadership Board Members/Classes:

We have four vacancies to fill (one for this year, three for next).  Deb Murray volunteered to stay on the Scholarship Team to help Jenny Klein.

New Business:

  • Pastor Robert would like to do some recognition for the Capital Campaign.
  • Rick Seiter will be taking additional responsibilities outside FUMC. Do we need to consider an additional pastor for youth?  We need to plan for the future of the youth ministry to be the ministry we want.  We will also need to consider our college ministry and figure out how this fits together with our overall plan.
  • We have increased college student attendance, and that needs to be addressed with respect to funding from the district.

We closed in prayer at 8:15 pm.

The next regular meeting will be on November 16, 2017 at 6:30 pm.