Council Meeting Recap: October 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 with a reading from John. The reading launched a discussion on truth, perception and our role as council members. We talked a great deal about what we already do, what we may need to do better and what we may need to begin doing in the areas of communication and clarity.

We approved the minutes from September, which had been reviewed and edited via email prior to the meeting.

We spent some time setting dates for meetings and events over the next few months.

  • Tuesday, November 22 – Council meeting
  • Tuesday, December 20 – Council meeting
  • Friday, December 30 – annual reports due to Heather
  • Sunday, January 8 – pre-congregational meeting between services
  • Sunday, January 15 – pre-congregational meeting between services
  • Tuesday, January 17 – Council meeting
  • Sunday, January 22 – congregational meeting
  • Saturday, February 11 – Leadership Summit

The Council will host the coffee hour after the Celebration for Windows service on  November 13. We will set up before the service, serve during and clean up after coffee hour.  

Angie Cooper gave an HR update. She shared the recommendation of the hiring team for the sexton position. Council voted unanimously to approve. She gave a brief recap of staff reviews completed in October. It was a positive process which has set the stage for future reviews. We will be reviewing salaries, hours and job descriptions as well as drafting covenant letters for all staff members.

We briefly discussed and unanimously approved the personnel policy. The policy had previously been reviewed, edited and discussed in length, and has now been reviewed by legal counsel. The section addressing sick time will be reviewed again and, if necessary, edited before next summer.

Treasurer, Ben Dieterich, was unable to attend the meeting, but we reviewed his previously emailed report. We ended September in the black, but are still down overall.

Pastor Martha discussed some highlights from her previously emailed report. We talked about the annual reports that we would be providing for the congregational meeting in January. We discussed the kinds of things to include and who should be putting together these reports and that some, but not all, may be given orally at the meeting. We also spoke at length about Briana’s departure and the group of people that came together recently to discuss her situation. It has become apparent that this is a very raw, very vulnerable place for our congregation. We talked about healing processes going forward, what we have learned and how we can apply it in the future.

We closed the meeting by giving thanks and praise in our ministry with a prayer by Pastor Martha 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 Introductions: Audrey Downes

20161103_142554Audrey Downes is a lifelong member of Luther Memorial Church. She is currently an Assisting Minister, Healing Minister and Eucharistic Minister, a member of the Hand Bell Choir and WELCA and serves on the Investment Team. Audrey is also involved in the Drama Ministry program and helps with the Front Garden. She previously served many terms on the Church Council and was a Sunday School teacher. Audrey looks forward to serving again, engaging with our members and welcoming a new pastor to LMC.

Note: Audrey was elected as part of a slate of three at the October Congregational Meeting. She will serve on LMC’s Council for a two year term beginning in January. She will spend the next three months shadowing the current Council before her term begins.

Council Introductions: Toietta Dixon

14711616_10154173056778425_3189089082586526525_o-head-1Toietta and her husband, Michael, celebrated their 30th anniversary in August of this year. They have one child, Noah (18), who is a high school senior. Though she grew up in the Missionary Baptist church, Toietta converted to the ELCA when Noah was two, so that the Dixons could worship as a family. At other churches, she has been on the Council, headed the Worship & Music Committee, been a member of the Endowment Committee, taught the High School Sunday School class (along with Michael), and served as a Stephen Minister, as well as a variety of other volunteer services.

The Dixons began worshipping at Luther Memorial full time in September 2014, when they moved from northwest Connecticut to Chicago, and participated in the Great Conversation in the spring of 2015. At LMC, Toietta has facilitated a number of adult small groups, sings in the Chancel Choir, and is a Stephen Minister. She is eager to continue to serve in accordance with God’s calling.

Note: Toietta was elected as part of a slate of three at the October Congregational Meeting. She will serve on LMC’s Council for a two year term beginning in January. She will spend the next three months shadowing the current Council before her term begins.

Council Introductions: Nicole VanderDoes

nicole-vanderdoes-2Nicole VanderDoes grew up in a culturally Jewish, atheist family, and became a Christian in the spring of 1996 through the work of the Holy Spirit as she read the Bible. After having been involved in leadership at two United Methodist Churches in Ohio, Nicole moved to Chicago in March 2012 and began looking for a church where she could worship, build relationships, and serve. Nicole began attending LMC in December 2012, and continued attending because of LMC’s contemporary worship, strong Biblical foundation, diverse congregation, consistent member attendance—and, most importantly, because she saw great potential at LMC.

Since joining LMC, Nicole has facilitated small groups including the ongoing group that meets on Tuesday nights, helped lead the Spiritual Life Team for the Grace Overflowing capital campaign, oversaw the creation of two devotional booklets written by the congregation, performed in Embers, is working to help coordinate adult enrichment activities, and serves as an assisting minister. As a member of Council, Nicole will do her best to seek God’s wisdom and guidance, listen to others with respect and an open mind, and remember that all things must be done in love and for God’s glory. She will fail; she will often think she knows the best way, will struggle with delegation, and will sometimes become frustrated with inefficiency. But she will also engage in regular self-reflection and prayer to curtail the impact of those weaknesses on her ability to serve God and the people of LMC.

Nicole is an attorney who works to improve the American judicial system, is a Cleveland Indians, Ohio State basketball and football, and Blackhawks fan, and thinks everyone should love birthdays.

Note: Nicole was elected as part of a slate of three at the October Congregational Meeting. She will serve on LMC’s Council for a two year term beginning in January. She will spend the next three months shadowing the current Council before her term begins.

Council Meeting Recap: September 2016

_absolutely_free_photos_original_photos_beautiful-colorful-autumn-leaves-3072x2304_30664In an effort to improve our transparency and communication as your Council, we are sharing a recap of last week’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 reading from Luke and shared our reflections on the passage.

Special guest, Heather Vanderberg, and Council member Jeff Conway shared the Communications Team’s proposals for rebranding and website design. After reviewing three bids, the team proposed engaging DesignScout LTD to create three to four brand looks to be used in real-life applications (business cards, letterhead, emails, etc.) The team will choose one of those to implement. The firm will also develop a style guide including images, color palette, font, etc. for use in other applications as needed.

The Communications Team website proposal is to use Church 360 Unite, a customizable, template-based service which integrates with Shepherd’s Staff, LMC’s current database software. The service is easy to use and can be customized based on the rebranding style guide provided by DesignScout LTD. The team has discussed content, photos and implementation and will be able to handle most, if not all, of the necessary website management. The total for the two proposals falls within the Communications Team’s 2016 budget. The Communications Team’s branding and website proposals were unanimously approved by Council. Both the rebranding and updated website are expected to roll out by early 2017.

The August meeting minutes were unanimously approved as modified via email.

Angie Cooper gave an update from the Sexton Hiring Team. LMC has received more than fifty resumes to date. The hiring team of Pastor Martha Halls, Angie and Heather met to review resumes and begin the screening process. In accordance with LMC’s revised Personnel Policy, Angie sent Employment Applications and Background Check Forms to thirteen applicants and will continue to do so with any additional promising candidates. Phone and/or in-person interviews will be scheduled soon. Congregation member Scott Lorraine has joined the hiring team, which will meet again next week.

Misti Peppler reported that the kitchen project estimates are over budget. The Property Team has been exploring solutions that are appropriate for our building’s and congregation’s needs. Capital Build project manager Dan Ruzic has agreed to look at current estimates and help the team assess the final scope of the project with the goal of staying within budget parameters.

We began working to set the agenda for the congregational meeting on October 16. The agenda currently includes presentation of the Capital Build budget, the election of new Council members, and an announcement from the Stewardship Team with respect to upcoming events. An extra Council meeting is set for October 15 to finalize the congregational meeting agenda and to address progress with respect to the kitchen budget.

Ben Dieterich presented the Treasurer’s Report. The deficit for August was less than in recent months. The Stewardship Team is planning efforts in December to try to close some of the remaining gap. Ben requested approval of payment to Perkins Coie pursuant to the law firm’s engagement letter. The request was approved. All budget requests are due October 7th after which the Budget Team, Ben, Angie and Jay Kapp, will meet to begin compilation of the 2017 budget.

Pastor Martha reviewed highlights of her previously emailed Pastor’s Report as well as reports from the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries and the Director of Child and Family Ministries. There was a question regarding Vacation Bible School funds, which Pastor Martha will clarify with Deaconess Claire. We discussed the delay of the fall new member class due to scheduling issues. There are still several individuals and families interested in joining LMC and the Great Conversation will resume in the spring. Pastor Martha presented the updated Windows Celebration budget proposal which was unanimously approved.

In other business, Dave Byerly gave a brief update on the Welcoming Team. The team is in the process of discussing possible updates to Coffee Hour. Dave also discussed having a Boy Scouts popcorn sale between services by members of LMC. We determined that this would be the same as the Girl Scouts selling cookies and that nothing special needed to be requested or approved ahead of time.

We offered thanks and praise in our ministry with a prayer led by Dave. 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: August 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.

President Misti Peppler read a passage from Luke. We opened the meeting by sharing reflections on what this passage means to us as a Council.

We voted to approve Secretary Justin Shimko’s minutes from the July meeting.

Misti shared a letter to the Council from the Stephen Ministry leaders which identified concerns from this group. We discussed ways of addressing those concerns and agreed to invite interested Stephen Ministers to an upcoming meeting for further discussion.

We talked at length about the importance of building trust and keeping open lines of communication with the people of LMC. We want to make sure we are encouraging members to share their questions, concerns and complaints, as well as their joys, hopes and dreams. We brainstormed some ways that people could share with Council and each other and will be working on implementing and encouraging a few different platforms for communication. Each member of LMC has unique gifts and we want to encourage everyone to use their gifts with the vision and mission of our church in mind. Working together in this way will help ease us through this transitional period as well as set us up for a stronger future.

Pastor Martha and Angie Cooper gave an update on the resignation of LMC’s long time Sexton, presented short and long term cleaning and staffing solutions, and reviewed an updated draft of the job description.

We reviewed and discussed the latest draft of the Personnel Policy and agreed that we should delay adoption of the policy subject to attorney review.

Christian Kern gave an update from the Technology Team regarding the website issue and discussed short term solutions to getting things back up and running as well as long term solutions to the issues of maintenance and availability.

Misti gave Property and Capital Build Team updates. We are waiting to hear from the city regarding kitchen permits. In the meantime, the Property Team is interviewing contractors and obtaining bids. The Capital Build Team is interviewing architects and working on a comprehensive budget to share with the congregation in an October congregational meeting.

Pastor Martha highlighted a few items from her previously emailed Pastor’s Report. She will be teaching confirmation on Wednesday nights instead of the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries as previously planned. This seems to work out best with everyone’s schedules. The team working on the Windows celebration is requesting funding for planning and implementing the celebration. Council has requested a budget. Pastor Martha shared the new Youth and Family program book that will be used by current and prospective members with children.

Treasurer Ben Dieterich gave his report. There were no unusual expenses for July. We continue to see lower offering, resulting in a negative year-to-date balance. Ben will give his quarterly report to the congregation after Rally Day.

Christian led a closing prayer and we adjourned the meeting and 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: 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!