Parish Leadership


St. Paul's Church in Brookline

Minutes of the Vestry Meeting

April 21th, 2009

Present: Rev. Terry McCall, Andrea Brue, Steve Kelley, Liz DeSelm, Elizabeth Laurencot, Nancy Sampson, Georgia Smith, Madeleine Taylor, Ginny Willcox, and Ben Norton, clerk

Not present: Beverly Estes-Smargiassi, Jim Margolis, Steve Morrissey, Arlene Swan-Mahony,

The meeting was opened with a prayer.


The March minutes were approved as amended.

Warden’s Report

Search committee Update

      The current phase of the search for our new rector is moving along well. The Search Committee is holding final interviews, and hosting social gathering for the vestry to meet the finalists. A special meeting of the vestry is scheduled for the Search Committees recommendation. A Transition Team will be formed (with some members of the Search Committee) at the May vestry meeting. Terry will be available until January 2010, but her exact end date will be determined when the search is completed. Due to the renovation schedule, it is possible that the family will temporarily live outside of Brookline. Enrolling the new rector’s children in Brookline schools may be difficult. Residency at the time of enrollment is required for Brookline schools. Registration options will be looked into by our clerk. 

Auction Update

      The vestry is preparing a basket for the Auction taking place on May 9th at 6:30 in the Rectory.

Building Committee Update

      The first pre-construction meeting was held with Lambrian Construction. They provided a schedule. Work on the Parish Hall will finish  in mid-June, and the Rectory October 1st. Construction is being scheduled to permit a smooth move back to the original space for Clinton Path Nursery School. The Building Committee will be asked to give Clinton Path as much advanced notice as possible regarding the construction completion/move date. Construction is beginning with abatement in the Parish Hall. Construction crews will need more parking spaces during the staging phase of construction.

Clinton Path

      An email notice regarding a 5% space use increase, abatement, space use fees in arrears, and pest control was sent to Clinton Path.

Bible Study

     Georgia presented two short passages from The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas. Georgia suggested that we hold a parish wide reading event in the fall (along the lines of the programs in local communities:  Brookline Reads, Cambridge Reads) in which the parish would read the book The First Paul:  Reclaiming the Radical Visionary Behind the Church's Conservative Icon by Marcus Borg and John Crossan.

Clergy Report

      The Parish Hall will be closed during construction.

Adult Education Series

      Every Sunday morning  (except May 24th), there will be presentations at 9:00 during the church school classes. The topics will include “Church Architecture” by Brett Donham and “Meditation” by Angela Margolis.

Parish Picnic

      The parish picnic will be held at Larz Anderson Park on June 14th.

Treasurer’s Report

The set-up of on-line banking for our account at Brookline Bank was voted and approved by the vestry. The figures on the trust accounts and flower donations are being updated. As an above average percentage of our operating budget comes from the endowment, review of our financial statement is prudent.

Pledge Update

Pledging is close to 100%, following normal peaks and valleys. The Capital Campaign and Honduras fundraising have not had an adverse impact on pledging.

Easter Review

Attendance was up at all the services, despite the stormy weather. The coffee hour between services was a return to previous tradition.

Book of Remembrance

Marion Blanchard’s list is being entered electronically. When the updating is completed, the list will be posted on the Saint Paul’s website.


Respectfully submitted by

Benjamin Norton, clerk



St. Paul's Church in Brookline

Minutes of the Vestry Meeting

March 19th, 2009

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

Not present: Liz DeSelm, Nancy Sampson

The meeting was opened with a prayer.


The February minutes were approved as amended.

Warden’s Report

Vestry committee leaders update

Safe Church Training

A Safe Church Training course has been scheduled October 24, 2009 from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM at St. Paul’s Church, Brookline. Safe church training certification is required by the Diocese of Massachusetts for all clergy and diocesan employees. The diocese also strongly recommends that parishes require Safe Church certification for all employees, elected parish officers, and most parish volunteers. Additional information about the program is available at


The Auction will be held May 9th, from 6:30 – 9:30. Donations are dancing in, and the call is out for more.


Ed Pease has been chosen and approved by the diocese to do the ’07 audit. Bev Estes-Smargiassi and Ed have met to go over the preliminary steps of the ’07 audit.  Genae Johnson and Jean Moses are wrapping up the ’06 audit, and will provide the figures to Ed by late March.  Work on the ’08 audit (due Sept.’09) will begin immediately following the completion of the ’07 audit.

On-line Pledges & Donations

The cost of implementing on-line pledges and donations was researched and presented to the Vestry. The on-line system would reduce the amount of accounting paperwork currently necessary.  However the fees charged by the service provider were considered prohibitive. The topic was tabled.

Updating the Book of Remembrance

For approximately the past 30 years, records of donations have been kept in a file, but not entered into the Book of Remembrance. Prior to that, donations were entered into the Book by a calligrapher. Nancy Madden has spent considerable time organizing the interim file. Madeleine Taylor and Steve Morrissey volunteered to help Nancy. After the information in the file has been organized and double-checked, it will be entered electronically. The final step of the update will be the hiring of a calligrapher to post the entries into the Book.

Vestry Shepherds

The master list will be cross-checked against the recently updated directory information, and the Vestry “flock lists” will be modified accordingly.

Honduras Mission

In lieu of sending a full crew of volunteers (as we have done for the past 5 years), a very small group will visit Honduras on a fact-finding mission. The original commitment was for 3 years. The previous project was completed in ’08, and the mission members want to ensure that the Chaguite community has an active role in determining the next project. Bishop Lloyd Allen, Diocese of Honduras will also be consulted with regard to future projects in Chaguite or another town.  Some fundraising will be done to offset the cost of the trip.

Clinton Path

The Clinton Path agreement has not been updated since 1978. As a step in the agreement review process, Andrea Brue and Steve Kelley attended a recent Clinton Path board meeting.  At the meeting they and the board reviewed a version of the document developed by Elizabeth Laurencot that identified areas that need to be updated or changed.  Jim Bales, who is one of the Clinton Path Move and Renovation Coordinators, led the discussion.  Jim then communicated the agreed upon changes to Elizabeth, who will be updating the agreement. 

The lead abatement was originally done according to standards set for pre-schools.  Clinton Path is officially a nursery school. As a nursery school accepts younger children than a pre-school, the abatement is more comprehensive (expensive).  The temporary fence (between the main church buildings and the rectory) was installed to meet the nursery school standard of abatement.

Clinton Path will submit a statement for outstanding payments and pest control costs to the Vestry.

Building Committee

Bid requests were sent to six contractors, and walk-throughs were scheduled for early March.

The building plans are posted on our website. Bids are due by Thursday, March 25. A vote was taken by email and a quarum of Vestry voted unanimously in support of the bid from Lambrian Construction Company. 

Tree Removal

Two large trees around the rectory are creating problems. The canopy of leaves is overshadowing the apple tree (donated by the Dewart family) and the root structures of the large trees are damaging the foundation of the rectory. The Dewart family has offered to pay for the removal of the large trees. The proposal was voted on and approved.

Incoming Vestry

Copies of the Vestry Guidelines and By-Laws were distributed to the incoming Vestry members. 

Clergy Report

Vestry’s Role in the Search Process

Georgia Smith presented a detailed timeline that is followed in the search process.  This clarified some confusion created by the visit of Bishop Bud Cederholm in early March.  Specifically it was made clear that rector candidate visits with the vestry are to be social gatherings rather than an opportunity to conduct interviews.  The salary of the new rector will be set according to the 2009 Compensation and Benefits Guidelines provided by the diocese.  The wardens will negotiate other aspects of the rector’s letter of agreement.

Worship Committee

The combining of the 9:00 and 11:00 services was discussed. Terry McCall has scheduled three Sunday opportunities for parishioners to discuss their desires and concerns about the change. Emphasis will be placed on making the transition a positive experience.

PA and Recording Equipment in the Sanctuary

Berred Ouellette will design a system that can be used to both amplify and record audio. There is a possibility that a bequest will provide funding for the system.

Treasurer’s Report

Reconciled figures for the year-to-date were presented.  Pledge Income, facilities use, and transition expenses were reviewed.  Pledge income is generally higher in Q1, and that trend is holding. The transition expenses will be easier to estimate after the new rector has been chosen.


Respectfully submitted by

Benjamin Norton, clerk



St. Paul's Church in Brookline

Minutes of the Vestry Meeting

February 17th, 2009

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

Not present: Steve Morrissey


The meeting was opened with a prayer.



The January minutes were approved as amended.


Warden's Report

Leadership Expectations and By-laws

In our time of transition and renovation it is hoped that everyone will pitch in to share the many responsibilities. This willingness to volunteer will be modeled by the Vestry members. A list of specific responsibilities was circulated among the vestry and everyone signed on to help or coordinate various duties (see below). The St. Paul's by-laws were distributed to the new vestry members.


Vestry Shepherds

The current flock lists will be updated and redistributed among new vestry members.


Safe Church

St. Paul's has applied to host a one-day seminar in the program (in fall '09) addressing the issue of youth safety and ways to prevent abuse. The topic was originally introduced to us by our insurance provider.


Audit Committee

The Audit Committee has been working very hard to complete the '06 audit and highly recommends that the '07 audit be outsourced. The '07 audit must be completed as part of the new rector hiring process.   It was suggested that Ed Pease, a retired priest, who has done many audits might be eligible and willing to do the '07 audit.


Space Committee

The Space Committee will edit and update the current rental policy.


Parking Spot Rental Update

When the topic was first discussed in '07, concerns regarding resulting tax exposure pushed the project to the back burner. Recently revisited as a potential income source, letters from neighbors and other documents are being gathered. A site plan has been drawn, and the permitting process has begun.  The building committee will be consulted to determine if parking spaces will be available during construction.


Clinton Path

We continue to negotiate a new lease agreement with Clinton Path.  As with the old agreement, we want the new agreement to reflect St. Paul's desire to have the preschool as a service to the community.



Letters were sent to most parishioners noting the pledge short fall which currently stands at $8.4k.


Building Committee

The first phase of the lead abatement has been completed on schedule. The second phase of the project will begin in late February.


Clergy Report

Music Budget

Due to budget cuts, the music in the services has been scaled back. The desire to have music filled services has pushed the number-of-services-question to the forefront. Concerns about the child-friendliness and specific service content had previously driven the discussion. The decision not to have the choir sing at the 9:00, in order to allocate resources, has turned the balance of opinion in favor of a single 10:00 (with choir).


10:00 Service

The vestry voted to merge the 9:00 and the 11:00 services to one 10:00 as a one year experiment to begin on April 19, the Sunday after Easter, and to continue through the academic year of 2009-10.

On March 15 and 22, there will be opportunities to discuss ways to implement the change positively. Combining the services will hopefully enrich what's desirable (content, music, community) and reduce what's not (expenses).


PA/Sound Equipment

This investment would help in two important ways. Soft-spoken readers could be heard by all, over the vitality (pitter-patter of little feet) in the combined service. The purchase and installation of mics and a PA system would increase demand for concert and recording space rental.


Children's Programs

Terry, Maria, Julie Starr, Andrea and Georgia met to discuss the impact of combining the services on the Children's Programs.  The idea of implementing the Rotation System, which is being used in many other parishes, was discussed. The group decided that we would give the system a trial run in the '09-'10 school year.  The System will be presented to the parish later in the spring. 


Mission to Honduras

The feasibility of continuing the Mission to Honduras (MTH) is being reviewed. The group wants to continue service without a break. Concern was voiced that should the mission stop this year, it might

be very hard to get the ball rolling again. This year the trip will be scaled down to one week. The MTH representative asked the Vestry for support of its fundraising efforts.


Search Committee

Bishop's Visit

Bishop Cederholm has requested to meet with the Search Committee and Vestry on Tuesday, March 3rd at 7pm.  He has called this meeting to pray and talk together about discernment, the role of the Vestry and the Bishop's office in the final stages of the process, and to answer any questions or concerns that we may have.


Choir Appreciation Sunday

The reinstitution of this tradition was discussed favorably, and will be revisited.


Respectfully submitted by

Benjamin Norton clerk



*Vestry committee leaders/liasons:


Vestry Shepherds: Arlene Swan-Mahony

Building Committee: Andrea Brue, Steve Kelley

Finance Committee: Bev Estes-Smargiassi

Childcare: Liz DeSelm

Safe Church Policies: Ginny Willcox

Parking: Madeleine Taylor

Space Users Policies: Steve Kelley, Andrea Brue

Clinton Path: Elizabeth Laurencot

Stewardship: Nancy Sampson

Church School: Georgia Smith

Adult Education: Andrea Brue, TBD

Rector Search Committee: Georgia Smith

Worship Committee:  TBD

Fundraising (Auction): Andrea Brue, Liz DeSelm

Fundraising (Yard Sale): Ginny Willcox

Memorials: Steve Morrissey, Madeleine Taylor (both to be confirmed)

Admin. Support: Terry McCall

Audit Oversight: Jim Margolis

Website: Steve Kelley, Ben Norton

Mission: Arlene Swan-Mahony

M.O.P.: Liz DeSelm



St. Paul's Church in Brookline

Minutes of the Vestry Meeting

January 20th, 2009

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


Not present: Liz DeSelm, Beverly Estes-Smargiassi, and Madeleine Taylor


The meeting was opened with a prayer.



The December minutes were approved as amended.


Clergy Report

Volunteers are needed to help cover office administration tasks taken on by Terry in the wake of recent staff changes. Answering the phones, managing the calendar, quoting rental rates are areas in which Terry could use some support/assistance.


Warden's Report

On-Line Pledging

Steve Kelly explained that some Episcopal churches in the area have started using an online pledge system. With such a system, weekly pledges could be make online, instead of by check or cash.  Furthermore, we would be able to accept credit cards at the yard sale, auction and other fundraisers. The potential benefits for Saint Paul's were discussed. Steve will look into the fees charged for the service and report back to the Vestry.


Pledge Status

Although the budgeted amount for 2009 is $130k, current pledges have only reached $114k. Phone calls and messages were sent to encourage 100% participation. A plea for parishioners to increase individual pledge amounts was considered, but scotched. The possibility of making up the 16k short-fall by generating new sources of income was suggested. The next phase of the endeavor will include mailings and announcements at Sunday services.


Vestry Shepherds

Georgia explained that the transfer of "flocks" is going smoothly with Steve Estes-Smargiassi handing off to Ginny Willcox. When calling to remind parishioners about the Annual Meeting, shepherds will also confirm contact information, to ensure that our master mailing list is up-to-date.

This will be valuable when the new directory is produced. The next edition is slated for shortly after our new rector arrives.


Search Committee

In the Annual Meeting, motion to authorize the Vestry to hire the new rector was accepted. The summer Vestry schedule was discussed with regard to the acceptance of the Search Committee's

Selection. It was agreed that a Vestry meeting would be convened immediately, when the Search Committee's final selection was made.


Vestry Retreat

The Vestry retreat will be postponed until September, in order to include the new rector. The all-parish retreat plans are also on hold. The combining of the retreats was discussed, but as the all-parish retreat is a social event and the Vestry retreat is more focused on administrative issues, they are best kept separate.


Clinton Path

Steve Kelley explained that Clinton Path's lease is currently under review, regarding liabilities and both party's interests. Andrea Brue, Elizabeth Laurencot and Michele Mendoza will review the document.


Space Use Policy

The development of a Space Use Rental Agreement was discussed. While our policy is straight forward, it needs to be articulated. A list of renters and rental rates/fees will be distributed to the Vestry for feedback and policy suggestions. It is imperative that all renters treat the space with respect. It was suggested that we might encourage some of our renters to attend services, but privacy issues could make such an invitation inappropriate. In an effort to further or faith-based mission to the broader community, we redouble our efforts to draw people in. Reduced rental fees for qualifying groups will be considered by the Warden's on a case-to-case basis.


Building Committee

The lead-abatement contract is being finalized.


Search Committee

The list of highly qualified and enthusiastic candidates is being reviewed carefully. The candidate pool is deep and the list reflects that diversity. The committee looks forward to the next stage of interviews and visits.



Respectfully submitted by

Benjamin Norton clerk


St. Paul's Church in Brookline

Minutes of the Vestry Meeting

December 16, 2008


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

The meeting was opened with a prayer.


The November minutes were approved as amended.

Clergy Report Part 1

Emmanuel Church in Boston has decided to share the estate of Eleanor Konecy (former Saint Paul's parishioner) with us. The division of the trust is being tended to by Nancy Madden and Frederick C. Weber III Senior Warden of Emmanuel, with council from attorney Oliver Ames. The Vestry approved $8-10K for legal fees associated with the matter. The funds will be used for flowers in three services per year among other good uses.

Treasure's Report

Facing reduced income from the endowment, aggressive constraint of expenses is being undertaken. e-Calendar postings, Sunday service announcements, and steward to flock calls were all mentioned as ways to buoy lagging pledge income postings. Music use (rental income) was also off in November. $20k will be drawn for the endowment for Transitional Expenses associated with the search, relocation and collateral. Administrative costs are up slightly reflecting the audit, a requirement of the search process. Maintenance costs reflect an increase in maintenance calls. For the past several years, the 10% MOP budget calculation has included the endowment principal that should have been excluded. For 2009, therefore, that excess spending has been subtracted from the MOP budget. Our long-term plan is to continue to fund MOP at 10% of our revenue. All of the adjustments have reduced the endowment draw-down to 8%.

Bible Study

A reading from "Watch for Light"

Warden's Report

Preserving our mission as a faith community helping those in need is proving to be a big challenge. Staffing changes, MOP changes, and music changes are among the many ways that costs will be reined in. Specific hours and positions were discussed. Changes in staffing will necessitate an increase in the robust volunteer spirit that thrives at St. Paul's. The current endowment draw down of 8% is a good step on the path to the goal of 4% within a few years.

The number of Sunday services and it's effect on the Search Committee was observed. Support of the three-service format was expressed.

Building Committee

Revisions are being finalized that will preserve all of the essentials (rectory renovations, heat & vent work, basement refinishing, electrical and alarm projects) under a $1.1m budget. Special attention is being focused on work that will enhance safety and have the greatest (quality-of-life and visual) impact.

Clergy Report

Lay Preaching

People are encouraged to take part in the Lay Preaching program. One Sunday a month, any type of meditation is welcome including readings plays, or a homily. Share your thoughts or readings that have caught your spiritual eye or impacted your life.

The Nominating Committee is progressing well.


Respectfully submitted by

Benjamin Norton, Clerk

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