Council Meeting Recap: July 2016

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In an effort to improve our transparency and communication as your Council, we are sharing a recap of last month’s Council meeting. The full minutes will be available after they are approved, but here are some highlights in the meantime.

We opened the meeting in God’s name with a prayer by Vice President Jay Kapp, and approved minutes from the May and June meetings.

The Director of Choirs, Eron Dupree, presented his proposal to move the music room to the chapel. Discussion followed. Eron will meet with the Capital Build Team to see if the change is in line with previously proposed changes for both rooms. Eron also shared a detailed document outlining his mid- and long-term goals for LMC’s choirs.

Angie Cooper spoke briefly about the proposed Personnel Policy. The council will read the document and share comments and questions as soon as possible. We will then determine if the document requires attorney review.

Ben Dieterich gave the Treasurer’s report. Giving is down significantly over last year. If this trend continues, we will come in well short of LMC’s projected income for 2016. We do have funds in savings to cover any such shortfall. Ben will provide the second quarter report to the congregation in August.

Jeff Conway shared an update on the Communication Team. The team’s 2016 budget should cover both the rebranding and the website redesign. Jeff gave some information on two quotes for the work and will be sharing more details as they become available. The rebranding and initial website work should be complete by the end of the year.

Jay gave a brief update on the building. The Capital Build Team is meeting to develop the overall plan for the $535,000 in pledges. The project budget and priorities will be ready for the fall congregational meeting in September or October.

Jay also let us know that the Stewardship Team has sent out letters for the year-to-date update. Members will be receiving them shortly.

Pastor Martha shared her report prior to the meeting via email. She included in her report that she and the staff have been working to plan program details for the coming year. She has also met with some members to begin planning a November celebration of 50 years of our stained glass windows. Pastor Martha will meet with the organizers of The Great Conversation in August. There are several families and individuals interested in joining LMC this fall.

Justin Shimko shared the feedback he received on the Ministry Site Profile. The MSP will be submitted as soon as discussed changes have been made.

Pastor Martha shared the closing prayer and we went out in God’s name.

Hopefully this gives you a little glimpse into our process and keeps you informed as to what we are talking about right now. As always, let us know if you have any questions or concerns. We are here to work for you!

Council Meeting Recap: May 2016

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In an effort to improve our transparency and communication as your Council, we are sharing a recap of last month’s Council meeting. The full minutes will be available after they are approved, but here are some highlights in the meantime.

 

We opened the meeting in God’s name with a prayer by Christian Kern.

For our first order of business, we reviewed a request for a Lutheran college scholarship from a member. A discussion followed regarding making a formal policy and scholarship fund available to all eligible Lutheran college students in the congregation. We voted to approve $500, as that is the amount that has been provided in previous similar circumstances. The policy and funding for future Lutheran college scholarships will be explored further by a new team, members to be determined shortly. Until clear funding and a transparent process are put into place, scholarship requests will be on hold.

Next, we heard a kitchen update by Property Team liaison, Misti Peppler. The team is waiting for final drawings from the architect and will be meeting on Friday to review. As soon as the drawings are finalized, the team will be seeking three bids and applying for permits. The cabinetry and appliances have already been selected.

Misti and Jay Kapp then gave a Capital Build Team update.  Wiring work on the stairway lights begins tomorrow. The fixtures are in stock and are about to be picked up. The Mission Investment Fund loan pre-approval is expired and we will need to reapply. We decided to hold off on the application until we’re getting ready to do bigger projects. We anticipate having $200,000 in capital funds by the end of this year and should be able to do first tier projects with the money that we already have collected.

We reviewed the charge for the Capital Build Team which was written to clarify specific roles and responsibilities. We discussed, revised and voted to approve the charge. We heard a proposal to repair or replace wiring in band/choir area which was not previously grounded to sound system and band specifications. The baseboard behind the band will also be reinstalled properly and the light over the band will be repaired or replaced.The cost will be $2000 labor plus materials for an electrician and a carpenter who will need to do the work together. We voted to approve up to $3000.

We reviewed and discussed the proposed Child Safety Policy. After making some final revisions, we voted to approve the policy and made plans for initial implementation.

The two Council members and two Call Team members who will be filling out the Ministry Site Profile will be meeting before the end of the month to begin that process. We will also hold a meeting between services on June 12 to give an update on the process and discuss key questions from the Profile. There will be a survey available to all congregation members both online and in paper form. The results of this survey will be used to inform answers on the Profile.

We discussed the formation of a nominating team to fill open council positions for next year. Misti Peppler & Dave Byerly will be on the team as they complete their final terms. We will post in the News & Notes as well as bulletins seeking interested members of the congregation.

We then heard the Treasurer’s report, by Ben Dieterich. Although we’re falling short for the year, we have enough reserves to cover the increased risk of this year’s budget which makes the shortfall less concerning. The Stewardship Team is evaluating and looking for ways to increase giving, including reaching out to newer members. Expenses are going up due to new staff. There is also an insurance payment coming up in June. The new insurance will be lower than last year.

During Pastor Martha’s report we learned that the staff will be meeting next week to plan out the next year. New staff members Eron and Donald are acclimating nicely and pleased to be here. There is a meeting to discuss the confirmation program coming up as well. The sanctuary windows will be 50 years old in November and the building itself is in its 90th year. Pastor Martha discussed this as an opportunity for celebration.

Finally, we reviewed and approved the minutes from the April meeting.

We ended the meeting going out in God’s name with a prayer by Misti Peppler.

Hopefully this gives you a little glimpse into our process and keeps you informed as to what we are talking about right now. As always, let us know if you have any questions or concerns. We are here to work for you!

 

Council Meeting Recap: April 2016

spring-white-bloom-nature-apple-tree-leaves-naturIn an effort to improve our transparency and communication as your Council, we are sharing a recap of last month’s Council meeting. The full minutes will be available after they are approved, but here are some highlights in the meantime.

We opened the meeting in God’s name with Justin Shimko leading us in prayer.

We welcomed Stewardship Team Chair, Melissa Busch, who proposed implementing an aspirational budget each fall to assist in collecting pledges before the end of the year. This budget would better illustrate what we could accomplish at levels of giving above and beyond our day-to-day budgetary requirements. The Council agreed that this is something that we should aspire to in the near future. Melissa also expressed interest in working directly with the Communications and Technology teams when it comes to data collection and storage. The Council agreed.

The minutes from March 2016 meeting were unanimously approved with proposed revisions.

Next, we reviewed the Building Use Policy with revisions sent by legal counsel. Additional revisions were requested and discussed and we unanimously approved to adopt the updated version of the policy.

Upon review of the revised Child Safety Policy, we discussed additional questions and agreed that there are a few sections that will need to be revisited and reworked before it is ready for adoption. We will review and discuss additional revisions as they become available.

Pastor Martha requested camp scholarship information for this summer’s youth events. Our Treasurer, Ben Dieterich, reviewed the total amount budgeted for this purpose.

We reviewed average attendance for the last six months and found that the 9:00 service attendance has stayed about the same while the 11:00 service attendance has dropped by about ten people. The numbers aren’t troubling at this point as we are in the normal range for a transition period, but we will continue to monitor this data. We discussed continued interest in new membership as well as plans for outreach to members and friends who have not recently been in attendance.

We began discussing scheduling for a joint Council/Staff retreat to be held this summer.

Ben gave his Treasurer’s Report and we discussed the trends we are seeing so far this year. While giving is lower than we would like to see in the first quarter, we are still in the black. We discussed a necessary increase in giving if we are to remain in the positive, especially going into the summer months. We recognized that summer usually sees lower giving based on lower attendance and reviewed ways to minimize that decrease. We feel that it is important to communicate regularly with the congregation regarding our finances and actively promote the use of Simply Giving. We set May 22 as Simply Giving Sunday to raise awareness and help interested people sign up for this giving method between services.

Misti Peppler led us in a closing prayer and we went out in God’s name sharing the peace.

Hopefully this gives you a little glimpse into our process and keeps you informed as to what we are talking about right now. As always, let us know if you have any questions or concerns. We are here to work for you!

 

Council Meeting Recap: March 2016

crocus-778496_1920In an effort to improve our transparency and communication as your Council, we are sharing a recap of last month’s Council meeting. The full minutes will be available after they are approved, but here are some highlights in the meantime.

We opened the meeting in God’s name and approved the minutes from the January and February meetings. Secretary Justin Shimko will post approved minutes on the council bulletin board in the basement.

President Misti Peppler read a request from a member/college student for scholarship money to be matched by her university. We have done the same for this student in the past and unanimously approved the requested amount.

We heard an update regarding the Capital Build Team, to be led by Tim Klein going forward. The team will be assessing priorities and developing a plan for both capital improvements and ongoing building repairs.

We heard, discussed and approved a bid to complete electrical work and replace light fixtures in the stairway to the second and third floors.

Justin shared a proposal from Nicole VanderDoes regarding the coordination of a standing Adult Education Team that will partner with other LMC ministries. Nicole will populate the team and coordinate with Pastor Martha to develop a plan of action for the next year.

Next, we completed the process of selecting individuals to serve on the call team. Those selected came from a list of members who were nominated by other members of the congregation or came forward themselves as interested. We did our best to ensure that the diversity of our congregation is well-represented. The call team is as follows:

  • Bill Phelps
  • Dave Goss
  • Carol Mergl
  • Emily Haite
  • Sara Byerly
  • Emily Moen
  • Diane Betten
  • Mindi Schoof

The next step in the process is for the call team and council to meet jointly with a member of the Synod staff who will be guiding the call process.

Finally, we discussed appointing delegates to the Metro Chicago Synod assembly. Pastor Martha will post a request for interested parties/nominations after Easter.

We gave thanks and went out in God’s name, sharing the peace.

Hopefully this gives you a little glimpse into our process and keeps you informed as to what we are talking about right now. As always, let us know if you have any questions or concerns. We are here to work for you!

Council Meeting Recap: February 2016

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In an effort to improve our transparency and communication as your Council, we are sharing a recap of last week’s Council meeting. The minutes will be available after they are approved, but here are some highlights in the meantime.

 

This month we welcomed a guest, Bishop Wayne Miller, who led us in prayer as we assembled in God’s name.

Bishop Miller led us in a discussion regarding our former Music Director and the healing process going forward. He supported and encouraged us in the steps taken so far and reinforced the importance of continued transparency. We talked about revisiting our current policies regarding personnel, building use, child safety and exploring more effective methods of communication and reinforcement of those policies. He also gave us ideas for appropriate ways of caring for and supporting our congregation as needed.

Next, Bishop Miller shared his tips for forming a Call Team and discussed the first steps for the Call Team and Council once that has taken place. We began discussion about how to select a team from those who have expressed interest or have been nominated, by looking at criteria such as age, length of time at LMC, family status, etc.

We then elected the 2016 Executive Leadership Team. Misti Peppler will continue her role as President, Jay Kapp was elected Vice President and Justin Shimko will serve as secretary.

We also worked out the team liaison assignments for 2016. The new lineup is as follows:

Angie gave an update from the Director of Choirs interview team and made a recommendation for the position. We briefly discussed the candidate and process and voted to approve the recommendation. Angie will contact the candidate to extend an offer.

Then, we discussed our next position to be filled, the Jr./Sr. High Youth Director. After some edits to the job description we will be ready to advertise the position and form an interview team. We talked about who should be on the team, who has already agreed to serve and who else should be asked.

We divided into small teams to begin working on updating and reinforcing the Building Use Policy, Child Safety Policy and Personnel Policy going forward.

Pastor Martha Hall gave a brief report on how her first weeks at LMC are going and what she has been working on in the last month.

We concluded with a discussion regarding the progress and next steps of the Capital Build and Property Teams.

We closed in prayer and adjourned the meeting.

 

Hopefully this gives you a little glimpse into our process and keeps you informed as to what we are talking about right now. As always, let us know if you have any questions or concerns. We are here to work for you!

 

Congregational Meeting Recap: February 2016

Schneeflocken_in_Deutschland_lowresOn Sunday, February 7, LMC held its annual congregational meeting between services in the fellowship hall.

The meeting was called to order by Council president, Misti Peppler. Justin Shimko opened the meeting in prayer. We acknowledged a quorum of over 80 members present and approved the meeting’s agenda. We then corrected and approved the minutes from last year’s meeting.

During her President’s Report, Misti reviewed 2015’s highs and lows and read the Council’s statement regarding the completed investigation into our former choir director and the legal investigation that took place regarding her employment at LMC. Misti then reviewed the change in Council member elections that will be adopted going forward. Elections will be taking place during the late summer/early fall congregational meeting to give new council members a period of acclimation before their term officially begins in January. During this period, members elect will not have voting or executive privileges. Misti spoke of our commitment to continued growth and took a look forward to what is next for LMC, namely staffing, the call process and building improvements.

Pastor Martha Hall gave a big thank you to this year’s Council and spoke of her excitement at being with LMC during this season of transition.

Jay Kapp gave an update on the capital campaign and stated that our current pledges for the next three years are up to $530,490.

Investment team member Alphonse Gray gave a brief update from his team and recognized outgoing member Stuart Kirk, who was not in attendance. New team members, Kevin Massey & Dan Kopczynski were then elected.

Ben Dieterich gave his Treasurer’s Report and budget presentation. The 2016 budget was then approved with no discussion.

Outgoing Council member, Linda Khoury, was recognized by current member Diane Betten and presented with a gift from the Council.

Jeff Conway was elected as the newest Council member and Ben Dieterich was re-elected as Treasurer.

Under old business, a meeting for February 28, between services was announced detailing the updated plans and timeline for the kitchen renovation.

Congregation member Christine Shaw closed in prayer and the meeting was adjourned.

Council Introductions: Jeff Conway

I was raised FullSizeRender-2Catholic. As a child I attended mass every Sunday and went to CCD — the Catholic version of Sunday School — on Saturday mornings. I even served a three year stint as an alter boy.

When I went away to college, I stopped attending church on a regular basis. And, over time, became more distant and disillusioned with Catholicism. For the next 25 years or so, organized religion wasn’t a part of my life. That’s not to say that I lost my faith, I just didn’t see the need for attending church.

Fast forward to 2009, when my wife Tracy was pregnant with our daughter. We felt very lucky and prepared for her arrival. It was an exciting time! We lived in Lincoln Square, a relatively safe neighborhood with a good school across the street and a lot of parks nearby. It seemed like a perfect place to raise a child.

Yet there was one thing missing … we were both raised in a spiritual community, and we wanted the same for our daughter. For years, we lived just a few doors down the street from Luther Memorial Church. One Sunday, we decided to take a leap of faith of sorts, and stopped in to check out the 9:00am service. We were immediately impressed with Pastor Tim and the welcoming and inclusive nature of the community of parishioners. It felt like home. Thus we began our journey with LMC. We started attending regularly and eventually became members. Our daughter baptized on Holy Saturday in 2011.

Over the years as members of LMC, Tracy and I volunteered in the nursery and currently host Happier Hour. Most recently, I’ve been involved with the capital campaign and serve as a member of the communications committee.