Parish Leadership


St. Paul's Church in Brookline

Minutes of the Vestry Meeting

December 14, 2010

Present: The Rev. Jeffrey W. Mello, Rector; Steve Kelley, Senior Warden; Georgia Smith, Junior Warden; Beverly Estes-Smargiassi, Treasurer; Benjamin Norton, Clerk; Jeff Brown,Liz DeSelm, Roger House, Elizabeth Laurencot, Jim Margolis, Steve Morrissey, Fred Muehter and Ginny Willcox

Not present: Madeleine Taylor


Agenda was moved and approved.


The September, October, and November minutes were moved and approved as amended.

Rector’s Report

Bishop’s Visitation Review

A letter was received from the Rt. Rev. Bishop Bud Cederholm expressing his pleasure at Saint Paul’s energy and commitment. The recent visitation at Saint Paul’s was the bishop’s first since formally announcing his retirement and there was a nostalgic glow to the service.

In addition to discussing ways in which our community might strive to grow deeper as we grow larger, the question “Are we more clergy-driven or lay-driven?” was addressed. In response two scenarios were offered. One had the St. Paul’s community represented as a wheel with the Rector as the hub and the various missions as the spokes. Another had the Rector in the role of Master Switcher overseeing a number of wheels, at the hubs of which are lay people and perhaps the Rector himself. Also discussed were the concept of “Ministry Deliverer vis a vis Ministry Developer” and the focus our energy/activism.

Vestry members noted that it would be nice to have the bishops visit more frequently. Jeff noted that while the bishops would welcome the opportunity to visit the parishes of the diocese more frequently, it is unlikely due to financial and scheduling limitations.

Priest Advocate

At Saint Paul’s we are fortunate to have a number of supply clergy among our numbers. Dick Downes and Anoma Abeyaratnehave expressed interest in being called upon as celebrants for services such as the mid-week eucharist and women’s retreats. Dick and Anoma will be invited to be non-stipendiary Priest Associates. Priest Associates are affiliated with a parish for licensure reasons. The change would have no direct impact on Jeff’s workload. The topic was tabled until the January vestry meeting.

Spiritual Director

The possibility of finding a Spiritual Director (SD) for our community was introduced. The SD might hold monthly meetings to deepen and strengthen ones relationship with God, host the quiet days in Advent and lent.

Spiritual Director

Christi Humphreya new member of our parish is a graduate of the Spiritual Direction Institute and the Episcopal Divinity School.  An SD could be pictured as of a therapist for your relationship with God.

Annual Meeting

Growing Deeper is the theme of the Annual Meeting to be held on January 23rd. As our parish grows, small groups become even more important, the wheels that Jeff oversees and steers. Seating according to ones ministry affiliation or interest, and a Ministry Booklet (distributed at the annual meeting) were discussed as ways to keep the focus on introducing and drawing new parishioners to our various ministry options. As the Annual Meeting falls in the middle of the program year it is a perfect time to revitalize existing mission ties and create new ones. Lucy is currently gathering Purpose Statements from each of the missions for use in the Ministry Booklet. It was observed that the Annual Meeting is becoming a mission of its own.

Warden’s Report

Clinton Path Agreement Update

The New Agreement with Clinton Path has been approved and it is in place. Eli Laurencot and CWT were instrumental in the development of the final document.

Capital Appeal Committee Recognition Gift

Vendors are being contacted for quotes to repair the light in the vestibule between the central building and the sanctuary. The repair will be dedicated to the tireless work of the Capital Campaign Committee.

Nominating Committee

A short list has been developed and the candidates are being contacted.

Staff Gifts

Gifts of $100 cash for each employee were voted and approved.

Capital Appeal Committee Celebration

The event themed “Let Your Light Shine” is planned for January 8th. Ginny Willcox and Roger House are working on the invitations. The teens will be the wait-staff. All tips will be used to fund teen activities. Childcare will be provided.

Stewardship Drive Update

A good number of pledge cards have been received. More cards will be printed. The Stewardship Committee will continue to encourage all parishioners to participate.

Treasurer’s Report

Various line items adjustments in categories such as plate income, pledge income, and stipends were explained. The music budget has been reorganized to reflect the current conditions. The vestry voted and approved that up to $3000 be drawn from the Robinson Kraft Music Fund for music related expenses.

Budget Committee Update

The budget is being restructured for increased transparency and accurate representation on a foundation that is program-based. Ways to balance the budget without increasing the endowment draw were discussed. The budget will be voted on in the January vestry meeting and presented at the Annual Meeting.

Bell Tower Update

The cleaning and repair of the bell tower in the bidding phase. The work may be covered by insurance.

The meeting closed with a prayer at 9:30

The next vestry meeting will be on Tuesday, January 18, at 7:30 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,

Ben Norton, Clerk


St. Paul's Church in Brookline

Minutes of the Vestry Meeting

November 16, 2010


Present: The Rev. Jeffrey W. Mello, Rector; Steve Kelley, Senior Warden; Georgia Smith, Junior Warden; Beverly Estes-Smargiassi, Treasurer; Benjamin Norton, Clerk; Jeff Brown,Roger House, Elizabeth Laurencot, Fred Muehter, Madeleine Taylor, and Ginny Willcox


Not present: Liz DeSelm, Jim Margolis, Steve Morrissey




Agenda was moved and passed as amended.




The September, and October minutes’ review and approval were tabled until the December vestry meeting.


Scripture Study/Reflection


Jeff  led a discussion on the topic of “How do we imagine God might want us to lead at St. Paul’s”. 


Rector’s Report


Calendar Update


The Calendar has been set through Ash Wednesday.


Bishop’s Visitation Update


At 9:00 the bishop will attend Adult Education and lead a discussion on “Episcopal 101”. After the 10:00 service, the bishop will meet with parishioners at coffee hour. The vestry will host a luncheon for the bishop in the Rectory.


Feast of the Epiphany


A parishioner from the Mission Church is working with Jeff to design an ecumenical Epiphany Taizee service.  Parishioner Julie House has played at the Taizee service at the Mission Church and is coordinating this effort with Jeff.


Huntington Theatre Outing


A group of adults is planning to attend the play ‘Vengeance Is the Lord’s’. The exact dates are TBD.


Diocesan Convention Update


Jeff Mello and Molly Lanzarotta attended the event at St. Stephen's Memorial Episcopal Church in Lynn, MA. The event usually lasts two days, but this year it was condensed into one day. Legislation was passed that restructures the process for clergy discipline to more of a professional licensure model rather than the military code-of-justice model used previously.  These changes were prompted by the National Church’s new canons passed at the last General Convention.


Warden’s Report


Clinton Path Update


The Letter of Agreement between Clinton Path and St. Paul’s is being finalized.


Capital Appeal Update


The Capital Campaign is nearing fruition and a completion ceremony is being planned for January 8, 2011.


Nominating Committee


A list of potential candidates is being compiled and announcements are being made during services to ensure that anyone interested in serving on the vestry is considered.


LAN Update


The St. Paul’s Local Area Network has been enhanced to allow guest access to our wireless network. The network is tiered accordingly.


Church School Furniture


More folding chairs are needed to accommodate the increase of church school members. The cost of $800 for 20 chairs was discussed. There may be available funds in the current church school budget.


Treasurer’s Report


Adjustments to line items regarding Capital Expenses and the Buildings and Grounds line items were explained.


The final cost of the retreat will be available in mid-December.


Budget Update


The budget is being revamped with respect to how the accounting is presented. A bottom-up review of the budget is underway with input from all of the programs.


Parking Update


Three parking spaces behind the rectory are available for use. One of the spaces is currently being used. Hopefully the remaining spaces will be used by neighborhood residents.  A donation of $150/month is requested for the use of these spaces.


Vestry Shepherd Discussion


Using Google docs was discussed as a potential tool for helping to keep the list of parishioners up to date. The target is to update the list monthly. The Building and Grounds Committee found the Google doc application rather useful.


Parish Retreat Review


With the theme “Community of Faith” and over 65 attendees, this year’s retreat was a very successful event. The location of next year’s retreat was discussed. Although we have a diocesan connection to the Harris Center,


the Incarnation Center was financially competitive and offered multiple advantages, particularly for the children.


Walter Mucha Appreciation Update


Jeff Brown and Clara Batchelor met to discuss the bench options. Additionally a small personal gift is being looked into.


Confirmand Event Update


The vestry is planning to host an event for the confirmands. This is seen as an opportunity to acknowledge their effort, and introduce the work of the vestry. Tim Smith will be invited to consult on the planning of the event.


The meeting closed with a prayer at 9:30


The next vestry meeting will be on Tuesday, December 14, at 7:30 p.m.


Respectfully Submitted,


Ben Norton, Clerk


St. Paul's Church in Brookline

Minutes of the Vestry Meeting

October 19, 2010

Present: The Rev. Jeffrey Mello, Rector, Steve Kelley, Senior Warden, Georgia Smith, Junior Warden, Bev Estes-Smargiassi, Treasurer, Steve Morrissey, Acting Clerk, Jeff Brown, Roger House, Elizabeth Laurencot, Jim Margolis, Fred Muehter, and Ginny Willcox.

Not present:  Madeleine Taylor, Liz DeSelm

The meeting opened at 7:30 p.m. with a prayer.


The agenda was approved.

Scriptural Study/Reflection

With three questions (How do you see God in the community of St. Paul’s? How do you imagine the community of St. Paul’s might see God in you? How does God want you to be a leader in this community right now?), we reflected on growing deeper in our community.

Rector’s Report

Jeff listed the memorable events and activities of the past month: the moveable feast, apple picking, altar guild training, blessing of the animals. Confirmation class, Hugh Jones funeral, weddings, seekers group, newcomers brunch, 3rd Sunday potlucks, and adult education series on margin.

The diocesan convention will be on November 6 at St. Stephen’s Lynn. Leah Rugen and Molly Lanzarotta will be our delegates. The parish retreat will be October 22 through 24; 26 families consisting of 80 people are expected to participate.

There is a new photocopier in the church office. The landscaping of the church and rectory grounds was completed today. We are obtaining quotes on disinfecting and repairing the bell tower and looking into a possible insurance claim.

Jeff asked that as the congregation grows, vestry members become familiar with their shepherd lists, paying attention to who’s in church and what’s happening in people’s lives. (Eli Laurencot will provide updated shepherd lists.)

Warden’s Report

The Buildings and Grounds committee will meet on October 25th to prioritize needs. The Budget committee will meet on October 28th to begin to develop a programmatic budget. 

Treasurer’s Report

Bev is working on the 3rd quarter report and the delegation of some tasks.

Stewardship Report

The 2010 stewardship season will begin on October 31st with a stewardship sermon, will continue on November 7th and 14th, and will culminate in Ingathering Sunday on November 21st. There will be testimonials each week, and on November 14th the committee will be available at coffee hour to answer questions. As last year, two letters will be sent to parishioners over the next four weeks, highlighting the theme “with God all things are possible.”

Bishop’s Visit

Bishop Cederholm will visit St. Paul’s on December 5th, meeting with newcomers at 9:00, participating in the service at 10:00, and joining a festive coffee hour at 11:00 and a vestry lunch at noon (a potluck that Ginny Willcox will coordinate).

Capital Appeal Celebration

We hope in early January to celebrate the successful conclusion of the capital appeal, probably with an evening event involving everyone who participated in the campaign, including the consultant, George and Margie Chapman, and Pam Werntz and Joy Howard. We expect the memorial book to be up to date and memorials to be installed by that time. Steve Kelley will assemble before and after photos, and Ginny Willcox will organize the evening event.

Nominating Committee

The nominating committee was commissioned: Steve Kelley (chair), Eli Laurencot, Jim Margolis, and Steve Morrissey.

The meeting closed at 9:15 with a prayer.

The next vestry meeting will be on Tuesday, November 16, at 7:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Steve Morrissey

Acting Clerk



St. Paul's Church in Brookline

Minutes of the Vestry Meeting

September 21, 2010

Present: The Rev. Jeffrey W. Mello, Rector; Steve Kelley, Senior Warden; Georgia Smith, Junior Warden; Beverly Estes-Smargiassi, Treasurer; Benjamin Norton, Clerk; Jeff Brown, Roger House, Elizabeth Laurencot, Jim Margolis, Steve Morrissey, and Madeleine Taylor

Not present: Liz Deselm, Fred Muehter, and Ginny Willcox


A motion to approve the agenda was voted and passed.


A motion to approve the minutes was voted and passed.

Rector’s Report

Newcomer’s Brunch

Jeff Brown and Jim Margolis have agreed to organize the Newcomer’s Brunch to be held at the Rectory on October 17th. This will be hosted by the vestry and all parishioners who have started attending St. Paul’s during the past year will be invited.

Bishop’s Visit

The bishop’s visit has been rescheduled to December 5. The bishop is especially interested in the topic of the reception and role of newcomers in our parish. After the service there will be a short Q & A opportunity at coffee hour. The Vestry will then host a luncheon for the bishop.

Professor Mello

Rev. Jeff Mello has been hired as Adjunct Professor of Liturgics at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, MA. He will teach a course in Liturgics that focuses on the history and construction of pastoral rites in the church.

Seminarian Update

Meghan Vesel, our seminarian for this year, introduced herself to the Vestry. She will be helping with many facets of our community. She will assist in the further development and implementation of church school programs. She also works as a CPA.

Thursday Morning Seekers

This discussion group is being well-received by all who attend and is expected to continue to grow as the word gets out.

Adult Bible Study

A group of interested parishioners met with Leah Rugen to decide on a time to meet. The group will meet on the 4th Tuesday of every month.

Third Sunday Family Potluck Supper

The monthly event was enthusiastically attended by more than 30 people.

Treasurer’s Report

The draft forms of the budget vs. actuals through July were discussed. Some categories will be changed. The format of the new budget will match that of Steve Kelley’s annual meeting figures.

Walter Mucha Appreciation

Jeff Brown introduced a discussion about the significant contributions that Walter Mucha makes to the Saint Paul’s community. Walter was especially helpful in the period between sextons. The feeling of gratitude was echoed by a number of other vestry members. The vestry moved and passed a motion to recognize his effort appropriately.Up to $1500 was authorized to spend on memorializing our appreciation.

Food Pantry Working Group

Vestry permission was sought to develop an advisory council to help with financing, fundraising, and program development.

Warden’s Report

Building and Grounds Update

The landscaping of privacy hedges and paths has begun.

Church School Confirmation Update

Fifty children are currently enrolled in the church school program. There are two confirmation groups. One group is on the fast-track (one year program).  The other group will follow a newly adopted three year preparation process which is now offered to 6th, 7th and 8th graders.

Movable Feast

The next Movable Feast is scheduled for October 2nd.

Apple Picking Event

Continuing the focus on developing and promoting events for inter-generational fellowship in the parish, this activity is slated for September 26th.

Directory Update

The directories are in and are being distributed free to those who had their photos taken or who submitted photos for the directory.  A contribution of $5 is being asked from those who do not have photos in the directory as the church had to purchase these extra copies from the publisher.

Tax Update

A PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) plan is being developed to address the payment of taxes on income from the rental unit in the rectory.

 Budget Committee

The committee of Steve Kelly, Jeff Mello, Steve Morrissey, Lisa Zarikarian, Georgia Smith and Megan Vesel will address policies, procedures, and personnel issues to complete the budget. The committee is meeting regularly. The discussion focused on how we can grow deeper as we grow in size, and ensuring that our budget reflects the goals and aspirations of our community.  Steve Kelly explained that we are undergoing a bottom-up review which will give representatives of each ministry an opportunity to identify their specific goals and needs.

Mutual Ministry Review

The increased parish size at the 10 o’clock service (as a result of combining the services and increased attendance) has made the coffee hour a bigger expenditure of funds for those who volunteer to host. Discussion touched on the adding a Coffee Hour Fund to the budget. It was noted that avoiding “shop talk” at the coffee hour will also make conversations more casual and welcoming.

Communication improvement is another target area. Within our parish there could be a greater effort to increase awareness and encourage participation in the many ministries we host.  Weekly Tab articles, ongoing website tweeking and updating, and Facebook were all noted as effective tools.

Welcome notes and the establishment of Foyer Group or Newcomer Mentor Program were suggested as good ways to reach out to the newcomers. The Quarterly Calendar has been well-received and will serve as a model for other communication reform.

The Vestry will make renewed efforts to acknowledge the contributions of the Youth Group and support its adult staff. Perhaps a social event (lunch or bowling) will be scheduled with the Vestry and Youth Group.

Parish Retreat

The annual parish retreat is planned for October 22-24. The planning and preparation are well under way for the retreat. Trip information and a brochure and being prepared and will be emailed soon. There will be regular services at St. Paul’s on that day, but Sunday School and Adult Education will be not be offered.

Nominating Committee

The Nominating Committee has begun considering candidates. An announcement will be placed in the Quarterly Calendar.

Respectfully Submitted,

Ben Norton, Clerk



St. Paul's Church in Brookline

Minutes of the Vestry Meeting

May 18, 2010

 Present: The Rev. Jeffrey Mello – Rector, Steve Kelley – Senior Warden, Georgia Smith – Junior Warden, Bev Estes-Smargiasi – Treasurer, Roger House – Ac ting Clerk, Jeff Brown, Liz Diselm, Elizabeth Laurencot, Jim Margolis, Fred Muehter, and Ginny Wilcox

The meeting opened at 7:30 with a prayer.


The agenda was reviewed and approved.


There was discussion on a quarterly versus monthly review of the budget.  There was discussion regarding the use of full names within the meeting minutes since they are maintained as a record and they could be confusing for someone who was unfamiliar with the meeting participants.  The amended April meeting minutes were approved. 

Presentation on Mutual Ministry Review

The Rector, Jeff Mello  provided a presentation on the Mutual Ministry Review.  It is a checkpoint aimed at maintaining open communication between the rector and the vestry, not a performance review.  This annual MMR should leave everyone excited and energized about moving forward.  A major Mutual Ministry Review using an outside facilitator should occur every 4-5 years.

The plan for the next Vestry meeting is for the first 30 minutes to be spent with a business meeting and the balance to be spent in Mutual Ministry Review.  Goals will be developed and set for the coming year.  Jeff was requested to provide the Vestry with the major buckets of how his time is spent.  The materials for the Mutual Ministry Review need to be sent to the Vestry members who were not present.

Warden’s Report

The tree near the Clinton Path play area was removed.  The timing was appropriate as the majority of the tree had rotted.  

Walter’s time as substitute Sexton was discussed.  We are in the process of identifying an appropriate gift since he has refused to accept payment. 

New computers are a priority for Systems Administration.

Quarterly Treasurer’s Report

There was general discussion on various budget line items.  There was significant discussion regarding the endowment income.  We discussed approaching the town to make them aware of rental income.  The sexton line of the financials will be very high because of  David Murray’s  severance package which was a lump sum payment. 

Rector’s Report

James Santagati has begun his duties as the new Sexton and was introduced to members of the Vestry.

Jeff spent three days at the clergy conference.  There was a debriefing on Bishop Gail Harris’ return.  Social media and the ministry were discussed. 

Thirty members of the congregation joined the Walk for Hunger. 

There were several items regarding Clinton Path which were discussed.  A monthly check-in between Jeff Mello and Laura Bradford, the Clinton Path Director, will be held going forward.  We failed to inform Clinton Path of the Parish work day and some of their items were discarded.  The new sandbox was also discussed.

The Letter Carriers Food Drive was very successful with good volunteer support. 

Rogation Sunday had great synergy given what was happening with the trees – thanks to Ginny Wilcox for the idea. 

The Evensong program was outstanding, though it was not as well attended as hoped.

Jeff has attended his final Fresh Start session. 

The Silent Auction net expenses should meet its goal.  Andrea Brue’s efforts were recognized.  Given that there was no co-chair this year, it was impressive that the goal was met.

Usher training was held on May 16th. 

Reviews are pending for Andy and Lucy. 

The Ministry Fair will be held on May 23rd which is also Pentecost Sunday – wear red. 

Clean Harbors is being engaged for the tower cleanup. 

Pastorally, this month has been very busy with several visits.

Parish Retreat Update

There was no update this month.

Upcoming Events

Pentecost Sunday (May 23)

Ministry Fair (May 23)

Youth Sunday (June 6)

Church Picnic (June 13)

The meeting closed with a prayer at 9:20PM.

The next meeting will be on Tuesday, June 15th at 7:30PM.  The Mutual Ministry review will be conducted. 

Respectfully submitted,

Roger House

Acting Clerk

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