Highlights From Council
Council Report Nov 19, 2019
Council has held two Council Meetings since my last report. These Council meetings took place on Monday, September 9th, 2018, and Tuesday, October 15th, 2019. Please see Rev. Norm Seli’s report in Jubilation for the Ministers’ Report.
We are excited about having our two new refugees arriving on Wednesday, November 13th. Programs for Youth, Living the Question, Ulterior Worship Bible Study, Not Alone Group, Tuesday Coffee Time, Open Doors, Muffin Church, and Picnic/Dinner Church continue. Sabbath Retreat did not receive enough interest, so we will try again later. Resistance Church was held for the first time, and although it is aimed at non-church goers, it attracted mostly those already attending a United Church.
The Scotiabank Marathon took place on October 20th, 2019. We had 27 registrations, including runners from outside the church. The Ministers were on a team vs. everyone else that is registered. The losing team will make the other team dinner after the event. So far, we have raised $3,500 (ultimately $8,000). Norm sent out an e-mail encouraging all those registered to fundraise.
Rev. Anne Dionisio continues with the children’s programs, has updated Godly Play and moved it to either the Garden Room or outside. Godly Play uses hands-on materials, including painted stones and small pieces of wood with painted images. Anne is running a successful Drop-In Play Group. We will have a Christmas Pageant this year, and it will be run by Haley.
We now have a large screen TV and blue ray player that came in under the budget of $2,200 (taxes included) approved by Council in the September meeting. The TV and blue ray player will be used for youth, announcements, and study groups.
Council approved the financial reports to the end of August 2019 as reported. Revenue is slightly ahead of budget with fluctuations in envelopes and PAR. Expenditures are up to date. If the current trends continue, our forecasted deficit will be $75,000, which is lower than the original forecast of $95,000. St. John’s bank account will be closed, and $17,000 will be moved over to general funds. The $11,000 HST refund we expected, has been received. Council expressed concern that Legacy Gifts be spent as requested, and that we do a better job communicating what costs are best chosen for Legacy Gifts.
Council began budget discussions in the September and October meetings with a goal to have a draft budget before the end of the year. For the budget, Finance Chair John Sharp would like us to look beyond the current year to 5 and 10 years into the future. A debate ensued over whether PAR and envelopes should cover salaries and operating costs. Finance suggested that they should cover these costs, and others suggested that this is rare in churches.
The interest we earn on our investments is currently covering our operating costs. Concern was expressed for our financial future with changing demographics and the resulting number of parishioners. We are also concerned with the level of contributions and our ability to control costs. John received input from the Council members on fundraising and other expected costs to be included in the budget. See the minutes for more information.
Rev. Norm Seli held some Fundraising meetings with Vice-Chair Heather Callbeck and others over the summer. This committee is suggesting a “Home for Christmas Event” for December 2019, which would include a hymn sing, home-baked cookies for sale, and the auction of some desserts. Several hundred dollars could be raised.
The Fundraising group also suggested that we include the following in our upcoming 2020 celebrations:
- Gala dinner with an honoured Guest at $100 a ticket.
- One musical event per month, eight with costs, and four free. These musical events could be tied to the dates of the Community Dinners.
We have $3,500 already raised in past years for the 2020 celebrations; however, we plan to replace these funds with new donations. We will look for sponsors to cover the costs of the larger events. Council supported the ideas of the Fundraising Committee with a show of hands.
Rev. Norm Seli and the Fundraising Committee also suggested a 20th Anniversary Art project. Judy Wells and friends will do the art installation. We are looking for someone to co-ordinate this project. We could include a banner to advertise our anniversary to the community. All ideas from the congregation are welcome.
Resistance Church started in October. The money from TUCC, $10,000, will be received half in the fall and half in December. The Resistance Church Website, www.resistancechurch.ca, will be linked to our site. There will be a collection done at these services. These services will be under Worship and not M&P since Bri-Anne Swann, who is running them, is not employed by us. These services are aimed at people who are not currently churchgoers.
Amanda Mackenzie reported on the two new refugees who arrived on October 13th. One of them speaks English, so this will be a help to us. We will be receiving practical help from Birchcliff Bluffs United Church and two other churches. We have two years of full support from the federal government. $2,863 is available from the Refugee Fund and this should be sufficient. The committee will fundraise as needed.
Barb Secord listed the Property items completed during the summer including:
- Window cleaning
- North washroom repairs and painting
- Exhaust fan fixed since it was extremely noisy
- Replaced the dead tree that was planted in memory of Des McCalmont
Property Items being worked on:
- LED lighting retrofit project
- Carpets and ceramic floors cleaned
- Landscaping plan
Exterior painting of some areas
- New doors
- Sound System Upgrades
See the minutes of these meetings for more detail on the Property items listed above.
Council approved a motion to spend $8,000 to improve the sound system in the Chancel in the September Meeting. In the October meeting, Fran Crabe let us know that the UCW executive voted to cover the cost and related installation for the new monitors, which are a major portion of the new sound system.
Charlie Scott informed us about the Murder Mystery dinner was sold out, having sold 140 tickets. Beer and wine were available. Council expressed concern that a $20 ticket price is low compared to market prices. It was decided that the committee should continue to have the responsibility for choosing the price of the event.
Fran Crabe reported that normally, UCW has a fall gathering, but it will be held at Valentine’s day instead. Membership is declining rather quickly, although a couple of groups are still active. There are some new members from St. John’s.
Valerie Winters reported that 61 applications were received for the Administrator’s position, a shortlist was made, six candidates were interviewed in September. Technical testing was done. The candidates also met with the staff. Dianne Clare was chosen for the position, and she started on October 15th, 2019. She will receive about 2½ weeks of training from Pat before she retires. Dianne has an accounting background and will be able to assist with accounting when needed. Norm commended the Search Committee of Valerie Winters, Jeanne Elgie-Watson, Jeannette May, and Fran Crabe for a fine job
We are looking forward to the Christmas season,