Church Board Six-Month Report
by Andy Cowell, Church Board President
I am providing a quick half-year update on the activities and progress of the MVUMC Church Governing Board. Our Board only got to meet in person a single time before COVID hit. While we, like many, are eager to get back to in-person activities at Church, we have decided for the summer to continue meeting on Zoom. This is to allow more congregational guests to continue to attend the meetings, without having to drive in to church, and it also allows those on the board with kids or summer travel plans to more easily attend as well. We are taking the month of June off entirely however, as we are only required to meet 10 times a year, and many committees at the Church have traditionally take some time off in the summer. Thus this seems like a good time to report to you on our first-half-of-the-year activities and progress.
Pastor Stephanie and I are currently reviewing the founding documents related to the Board, as well as literature about its principles, and putting together an evaluation exercise, which the Board will do in July. We will also ask for congregational input, but this is primarily a report from the Board back to the congregation, evaluating our first year operating in this manner. We will share with you all afterwards. Unlike the present work-related report here, the full-year one will be a high-level evaluation of our processes, and decision-making and visioning abilities or obstacles.
An update on some important activities and decisions. First, our valued building supervisor, James Clements, decided to return to North Carolina after a year at MVUMC. A subcommittee of the Board and Staff have now hired Kyle Perez to replace him. Salary and benefits are as for James.
Second, as many of you are aware, Staff made some recommendations in late winter for renovations to the sanctuary. While these came as recommendations, the Board felt it was better to take a step back and review all of the issues (concrete walkway by the NW exit from the sanctuary, ADA ramp, altar-area refinishing, replacing the carpet in the main area) ourselves, given the complexity and costs involved. We provided two opportunities for congregational input in April and May (by Zoom meeting and email comments), worked further with Staff and the Building Care Team (which could use more volunteers, by the way!) to further investigate costs and options and get additional bids. Then in May we appointed a sub-committee of the Board plus Building Care Team to review all options, costs, and bids. They were charged with obtaining at least three bids if possible on all areas of work, and then making updated recommendations to the full board. At this point, we have accepted the subcommittee’s recommendations, and in fact the walkway project is completed. The ramp work is scheduled for late June, and altar refinishing for early August, with floor to follow. The shortage of building materials and post-COVID building boom have delayed the work somewhat. Money had been reserved already in the Building Fund to cover these costs, with much of it coming from congregational donations, so we do not expect this to affect our budget (which, as most of you know, finished in the black last year, despite COVID!).
Another subcommittee of the Board was in charge of working with Laura to secure a COVID-based loan last year as part of Federal Government relief efforts. We have now submitted our reports on that loan and how it was used, and it has been entirely forgiven, so that is a major financial benefit to the Church!
Yet another subcommittee of the Board has worked with Pastor Stephanie to review her work over the past year as well as ways we have supported her or could support her better. The report has gone to the District Superintendent. We are pleased with Pastor Stephanie’s work over the past year, and grateful for her leadership during the unprecedented challenges we have faced as a society recently.
We are also working on reviewing all the accounts at the church, with regards to what the money in each of them can be used for, in order to better educate the Ministry Council and all church members about funds that are available for the work of the church, and to challenge ourselves to make the best use of all of them.
We are also now trying to get our meeting agenda posted on the church website at least 5 days in advance, and get the minutes from those meetings out within 10 days afterwards.
Finally, we have been talking about vision and ministry of course. One idea we want to pursue soon is creating video “witnessing” or “evangelism” statements from members of the congregation that can go on our church website, and perhaps also serve as a model for others in the congregation with regards to how to witness to the value of your faith and this church, and hopefully attract others to join our sacred community.
Best regards to everyone, and feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andy Cowell, President, Church Leadership Board on behalf of the Board