Parish Leadership


St. Paul's Church in Brookline

Minutes of the Vestry Meeting

November 17th, 2009

Present: The Rev. Jeffrey W. Mello, Rector; Andrea Brue, Senior Warden; Steve Kelley, Junior Warden; Beverly Estes-Smargiassi, Treasurer; Ben Norton, Clerk; Liz DeSelm, Elizabeth Laurencot, Steve Morrissey, Georgia Smith, Arlene Swan-Mahony, Nancy Sampson, Madeleine Taylor, and Ginny Willcox

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


The October minutes were approved as amended.

Spiritual Reflection

Jeff led a brief discussion focused on stories of faith and the role of Vestry members as spiritual elders of the parish. Each vestry member was encouraged to explain ways that St. Paul’s had transformed their lives.

Warden’s Report

Building/Rental Property Update

Our architect has submitted the final list of modifications/additions to the contractor. Women’s room construction will begin in early December. Jeff, Andrea, Lucy and Dixon met to finalize the details of renting the apartment in the rectory. The purchase and installation of a washer and dryer, for the rental apartment, was approved.

Nominating Committee

Andrea, Arlene, Georgia and Nancy formed a long list of candidates who will be contacted by phone.

Clinton Path Agreement Update

Andrea met with Michelle to sign the final agreement.

Safe Church Training

Attendees of the training seminar discussed the forming of a group to oversee the changes necessary to make St. Paul’s Safe Church compliant. Specific topics include articulating Mandated Reporter guidelines, CORI filing policies, and the inclusion of renters in the Safe Church protocol. The vestry asked that the working group find a Chair and report back.

Treasurer’s Report

Bev presented the year-to-date figures with explanation of MOP, Supply Clergy, and Clergy Education category shifts. Capital Expenses were reviewed, and a spread sheet summarizing the Capital Campaign was distributed.

Budget Committee

Steve K. explained that budget planning meetings are ramping up.

Rector’s Report

Installation Review

The Celebration of New Ministry went very well, and was covered by the Brookline Tab. Special thanks were offered to all who made the event such a success.

Space Use Committee

Space use policies will be revisited to establish guidelines on liability, lock-up responsibility, alcohol use and fees. Andrea and Ben volunteered to co-chair the committee.

Worship Committee

Liz volunteered to act as Vestry liaison to the group that will address liturgy, music, and ways that we can ensure that St. Paul’s a place where all parishioner’s opinions are welcome and respected.

Pastoral Update

A group of St Paul’s parishioners visited Sherrill House to sing for Eleanor Clark.

The possibility of combining the Ministry Fair and the Parish Retreat in 2010 was introduced.

The first training seminar of the Leadership Development Institute is scheduled for early December. The primary focus will be on Youth Ministry at St. Paul’s.

Moveable Feast

There has been very favorable response to the moveable feast. Five host houses and 66 attendees (many of them new parishioners) and have already singed up.

Stewardship Update

Letters with pledge cards have been mailed, announcements have been made at services, back ground information has been posted online. Spare pledge cards will be available on Sunday.

Transition Committee

The Search Committee has been asked to serve as the Transition Committee. The focus will be on the expectation of the near future, and ensuring that intent and actual impact jibe, as the meaning behind what we do is not always received.

New Business

The purchase a First Aid kit was approved. The future purchase of AD was discussed.

Andrea recounted her very positive experience volunteering in the nursery and encouraged all present to sign up.

It was suggested that the Messiah sing be promoted more fervently.

The replacement of the bulletin board was discussed. The discussion led to the possible display of former rectors’ photographs or portraits. Pat Dunbar will be contacted regarding the existence of such a collection.

Furniture for the church school and Great Hall has been ordered.

Voted by Email

A motion was made that St. Paul's Episcopal church accept a gift to St. Paul's from the Rev. Jeff Mello and family of a Sargent Crabapple tree to be planted outside the Aspinwall side of the chapel.  The selection, location and planting of the tree are to be coordinated by Clara Batchelor. Voted and approved by email on 10/25/09.

A motion was made that St. Paul's Episcopal Church accept a gift to St. Paul's from new parishioner Dick Downes of a stole and chasuble to match the altar frontal. Voted and approved by email on 10/25/09.

The meeting closed with a prayer.


Respectfully submitted by

Benjamin Norton, clerk


St. Paul's Church in Brookline

Minutes of the Vestry Meeting

October 20th, 2009

Steve Morrissey (acting clerk), Georgia Smith, Arlene Swan-Mahony, Nancy Sampson, Madeleine Taylor, and Ginny Willcox

The meeting opened with a prayer.

Approval of Agenda

The agenda was approved.                                                                       


The September minutes were approved as amended.

Spiritual Reflection

Jeff described (with props) the three-legged stool of scripture, reason, and tradition, lit a vestry candle, read from Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, and discussed the concept of unceasing prayer.

Warden’s Report

The furniture order for the parish house, which is ready to be placed, was discussed. It totals approximately $7000, as budgeted. A parallel order for church school furniture (totaling between $1000 and $2000, as budgeted) is also under way.

Steve reported on a successful diocesan meeting of churches with new or interim rectors that he and Jeff attended.

Rector’s Report

Building update: Construction is now concentrating on the rectory and the rental unit, after which final work will be completed in the parish house. We discussed when we will be ready to rent out the new unit and parking spaces.

CREDO report:

Jeff described the program in which he and two dozen other clergy participated earlier this month and his work on a spiritual, financial, vocational, and medical plan.

Sound system:

A recording and amplification system is scheduled to be installed in the sanctuary this week.

Vestry calendar:

Jeff distributed a vestry calendar and described the December 20 Advent Processional, a service of lessons and carols. The Christmas pageant and dress rehearsal, the greening of the church, and the annual meeting were added to the calendar.

Children in community at St. Paul’s:

Jeff underlined the importance of allowing the whole church community to be together. He suggested that in making policy decisions, we look first for a guiding principle and then apply it, determining at the outset what we want to achieve so that we’ll know what to measure our ideas against. He described a brochure he has written with tips for parents and children and asked how we can make children full participants while teaching them that church is a different space. The vestry discussed the new children’s area in the sanctuary and whether those sitting nearby had trouble hearing the service (a problem the new sound system may solve), as well as how child care should be staffed and whether it can be brought back into the church budget. There was a general desire to maintain options for parents and children, letting them choose to be in the sanctuary throughout the service, in child care throughout, or a mix of both. Jeff will set up a nursery steering committee to consider the issue further.

Safe Church Training

A training session will be held at the church on Saturday, October 24, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Celebration of a New Ministry

Jeff will be installed as our new rector on Wednesday, October 28, at 7:00 p.m.

Moveable Feast

The annual moveable feast is scheduled for Saturday, November 21, with dessert at the rectory. Sign up will start on November 1, and Georgia is looking for dinner hosts.

Electronic Pledge Payment

Discussion was tabled, although it was noted that the stewardship committee recommends that electronic payment not be used for pledges.

Stewardship Update

Ingathering Sunday is November 22. Activities during services and at adult education will focus on stewardship on the 8th, the 15th, and the 22nd. On the 8th this will include the blessing of our renovated buildings. The stewardship committee plans to mail a letter to the parish on November 2 and pledge cards on November 16. (The blessing was moved to a later date.)

New Business

Arlene passed out shepherds’ lists. We were asked to think about suggestions for the nominating committee, the development of the 2010 budget, and a possible parish retreat.

The meeting closed with a prayer.


Respectfully submitted,

Steve Morrissey

Acting Clerk


St. Paul's Church in Brookline

Minutes of the Vestry Meeting

September 22nd, 2009

Present: The Rev. Jeffrey W. Mello, Rector; Andrea Brue, Senior Warden; Steve Kelley, Junior Warden; Beverly Estes-Smargiassi, Treasurer; Ben Norton, Clerk; Liz DeSelm, Elizabeth Laurencot, Jim Margolis, Steve Morrissey, Georgia Smith, Arlene Swan-Mahony, Nancy Sampson, Madeleine Taylor, and Ginny Willcox

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


The June minutes were approved as amended.

Spiritual Reflection

Jeff led a brief discussion framed on a reading from Mark 6.33-56, the miracle of the loaves and fishes. The question of “What is enough?” was explored. “If we give it our all, there will be enough.”

Warden’s Report

Parish Volunteer List

The list has been revised, edited and distributed.

Building Committee Update

The rough-in construction work has been completed and insulation will begin as soon as the inspector signs off on the first stages of work. The completion date of November 1st stands. The Building Committee is carefully reviewing the remaining funds in the budget. Rebuilding the entry vestibule and window painting at the rectory, and choir room cabinet modification, cosmetic improvements to the women’s room, and an upgrade of the basement dehumidification system, are some of the projects being implemented.

$25k was sought from the endowment as a safety buffer. Some of that $25k will likely be used for furniture in the Great Hall and basement, in addition to the $9k already in the budget for furniture.

The $25k request was voted and passed unanimously. The funds will only be used for projects of utmost time urgency.

The current value of the endowment was discussed. Following the meeting information was emailed to all vestry members by the Treasurer. (see attached document).

Treasurer’s Report

The June to August budget numbers were presented and reviewed.

Audit Update

Ed Pease continues his excellent work on the audit. In the process he has come across some issues in the managing of accounts that are being addressed by CWT. The changes will bring our accounting practices more in line with the guidelines of The Episcopal Church.

Delegation of daily check writing to the Parish Secretary, and a revised invoice approval system are two of the changes. In addition to complying with best financial practices, the improvements will allow our Treasurer more time to focus attention on the broader topics.

Rental Income

CWT has established as a policy for the new rectory rental unit that it not be rented to parishioners to ensure clear boundaries between tenant and landlord.

Rector’s Report

Jeff explained his daily schedule. In addition to meeting with and getting to know all the parishioners, he is reaching out to the neighboring community.

Mutual Ministry Review

Jeff explained the process of Mutual Ministry Review in which the vestry and clergy work together to clarify roles, expectations and goals for our ministry together.  By holding each other mutually accountable, growth edges, areas of concern, future hopes and the allocation of duties are discussed.

Youth Group Meet and Greet

Next Sunday Jeff will meet with the Youth Groups before the 10:00 service. This is part of his desire to get to know each and every member of our parish. Activities were discussed that will help keep all members of our community engaged. The “Greatest Hits of the Bible” musical introduction to the for Children’s Education curriculum and the Blessing of the Animals service are being planned for October 4.

Safe Church Training

The training session’s focus is making the church a safe place for everyone. It is expected by the Diocese, that all parish leaders (clergy and lay) will attend. The training we host will be open to people from all congregations in the Diocese and is to be held on Saturday, Oct. 24 from 8:30-3:30; participants need to register.

Celebration of a New Ministry

On Wednesday October 28th at 7:00p.m., Bishop Bud Cederholm will celebrate at a service to mark the Covenant of Relationship between Jeff and the people of St. Paul’s. Ginny, Lucy, and Madeleine are busy planning and promoting the event. Formal invitations will be mailed to parishioners and extended to members of the Brookline community.

Diocese Leadership Academy

St. Paul’s has been invited to participate in a new Leadership Academy aimed at working with congregations interested in shared ministry.  Topics covered include new models of leadership and various tools and methods to evaluate the vitality and viability of a given parish. To date, fourteen parishes have indicated intent to participate.  The average group size is five members. St Paul’s is considering sending a team and potential candidates will be contacted. A considerable time commitment is required for the workshops.

Stewardship Update

A committee has been formed and work has begun on this year’s Stewardship season. It will be led by Nancy Madden, Jim Margolis, Steve Morrissey, and Nancy Sampson.

CREDO Conference

Jeff will attend an eight-day program (10/05-10/12), aimed at putting healthy habits in place. Workshops on personal finance, spiritual, physical and emotional heath are planned. Jeff will secure supply clergy for Sunday, 10/11.  Whether or not the supply clergy will be paid as housing will be voted by email.

New Business

Newcomer Cards and Brunch

The cards will be circulated and returned to Jeff for follow-up. The cards can be found at the entrance of the Sanctuary and in the hymnals. The brunch will be hosted in the renovated rectory sometime later this fall.

Partners in Health

The symposium will be held at the Sanders Theatre on October 3rd.


Shepherds will make a push to recruit volunteers for the childcare rotation duty. The option of hiring baby-sitters was reviewed. A desire to strike a balance between creating a welcoming environment for families with young children and the sacred-ness of the church service was expressed. Guiding principles will be developed regarding youth programming and preschoolers in the service. This topic will be revisited at the next Vestry meeting.

The meeting closed with a prayer at 9:50 p.m.


Respectfully submitted by

Benjamin Norton, clerk


St. Paul's Church in Brookline

Minutes of the Vestry Meeting

June 16th, 2009

Present: Rev. Terry McCall, Andrea Brue, Steve Kelley, Liz DeSelm, Beverly Estes-Smargiassi, Elizabeth Laurencot, Jim Margolis, Steve Morrissey, Georgia Smith, Arlene Swan-Mahony, Nancy Sampson, Madeleine Taylor, Ginny Willcox, and Ben Norton, clerk

The meeting was opened with a prayer.


The May minutes were approved as amended.

Building Committee Update

John Mahony reported that work is proceeding well. Change order items (a barrier free men’s bathroom, Safe-Church compliant glass doors, and a telephone system update) have slowed progress somewhat, but the project remains on budget. No further change orders are anticipated. The renovations in the rectory will begin as soon as Clinton Path. A Certificate of Occupancy will be issued when the kitchen renovation is closer to completion.

The target date for completion of rectory renovations (10/1) is still feasible. It is possible that the rectory renovation will be staged to ensure that Jeff’s residence will be ready on schedule. A recent energy audit determined that the system is stable, but not efficient. The system is currently set up in three zones. One zone covers the whole building, another covers the Parish Hall, and the third covers the kitchen. The Parish Hall will be completely closed for three weeks during construction. Staging of the floor refinishing was discussed. The flooring contractor will be met with on June 18th and staging of the refinishing will be further discussed.

Dick Wallace Memorial Bequest

Following the memorial service for Richard Wallace, which was held at St. Paul’s on May 24, his daughter, Gwen Wallace, forwarded a bequest of $10,000 to be used as the vestry determined to beautify the church. Gwen requested that there be a plaque in the church noting the gift.  The vestry voted to accept the gift. 

Andy Clarkson presented a proposal to use the gift for sound improvement in the sanctuary.  The equipment proposed would cost $9,200 and could be used both to amplify speech and music and can also be used for recording.  The vestry unanimously voted to approve this use of the gift.

Treasurer’s Report

Treasurer Beverly Estes-Smargiassi presented a revised budget for the year ending Dec. 31, 2009.  The vestry voted to approve the revised budget. 

Wardens’ Report

The wardens reported that Lucy Sewall, who has been parish administrator at King’s Chapel in downtown Boston, had been hired for 19 hours per week to begin in early August as parish secretary. 

Gordon Schultz will be supply clergy during Terry’s absence in July and August until Jeff Mello arrives as rector.  The vestry voted and approved that his compensation be for housing allowance.

Recognition of Terry McCall’s service to St. Paul’s

Since this was the last vestry meeting before Terry’s departure at the end of July, the vestry offered great thanks to Terry for her year and one half of service as interim priest


Respectfully submitted by

Benjamin Norton, clerk


St. Paul's Church in Brookline

Minutes of the Vestry Meeting

May 19th, 2009

Present: Rev. Terry McCall, Andrea Brue, Steve Kelley, Liz DeSelm, Beverly Estes-Smargiassi, Elizabeth Laurencot, Jim Margolis, Steve Morrissey, Georgia Smith, Arlene Swan-Mahony, Madeleine Taylor, Ginny Willcox, and Ben Norton, clerk

Not present: Nancy Sampson,

The meeting was opened with a prayer.


The April minutes were approved as amended.

Treasurer’s Report

Budget Update

      Endowment drawdown will be adjusted. Based on new clergy and staff changes, CWT will consider a budget revision. Various categories will be review and adjusted, including Transitional Expenses.

      Pledge income is on-target.


      Ed Pease will prepare the ’07 audit as an Interim Audit, because some of the same points were still being addressed in ’08. The ongoing questions will be fielded in the ’08 audit, to ensure a timely submission of the ’07 audit. Ed was assigned (by the diocese) as Business Consultant to Saint Paul’s in order to review our financial health. This is one of the requirements step in the Rector hiring process.  Ed is giving suggestions on topics such as keeping the assessment up-to-date, health insurance, and pension insurance. Ed’s report will be reviewed by CWT and presented at the June Vestry meeting.

Warden’s Report

Search Committee Update

      The letters announcing Reverend Jeff Mello’s new position at Saint Paul’s were mailed. Jeff’s first Sunday will be August 16th. Bishop Bud Cederholm will preside over the Installation Ceremony which will be held on October 27th.

      A Welcoming Committee will be formed to help the Jeff’s family settle into the rectory, get to know the neighborhood, and organize a reception for his first Sunday. Ginny, Arlene and Madeleine volunteered to form the committee.

Building Committee Update

      John Mahony has worked very hard researching and meeting with Brett’s assistant Chris Logan, to determine the most cost-efficient, and timely, insulation options. More details are available on the Saint Paul’s website.

     Rectory renovations are progressing. Jeff’s input will be sought regarding paint schemes for the rectory.

      The Brookline Emergency Food Pantry has generously committed to contribute $10,000 toward the renovation of the “middle room”.  The funds will be used to replace all the cabinets in the middle room. Without the donation, replacement of all the cabinets, may not have been feasible.

      The environmental impact of the construction is being carefully considered. For example, the installation of linoleum flooring in the kitchen and choir room is “greener” than other flooring options.

Clinton Path Update

      Michele Mendoza of Clinton Path replied to CWT’s email regarding rent payment status, billing of pest control, and partial reimbursement for the hurricane fence. The latest construction schedules have been provided to Clinton Path.

Bible Study

Madeleine Taylor presented John 4.1-6 for consideration and discussion.

Clergy Report

      The Parochial Report has been filed with the national church and the diocese. Space Use Policies and rates/fees are being compiled from local and national churches. Our updated Space Use Policy will be refined and presented to the Vestry at the June Meeting. Space reservations for ’10 are already coming in to the Parish Office.

Choir Appreciation Coffee Hour

      The choir will sing for the last time before summer break, on Sunday June 7th. Andy is planning to have the choir photo taken on that Sunday. A special Appreciation Coffee Hour has been planned to honor the hard work of Andy and the entire choir.

Youth Group

      A special coffee hour is being planned to offer best wishes and a rousing send-off for the Youth Group members who will attend schools out of the Brookline area starting next autumn.

Pentecost Reading

      Volunteers for the Pentecost readings in various languages are flowing in. The reading will be Acts II.1-11

Vestry Shepherds

      The updated shepherd lists were distributed to the vestry members. Pledge thank you notes will be sent out soon.


Respectfully submitted by

Benjamin Norton, clerk

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