Parish Leadership


St. Paul's Church in Brookline

Minutes of the Vestry Meeting

November 25, 2008

Present: Rev. Terry McCall, Andrea Brue, Steve Kelley, Liz DeSelm, Beverly Estes-Smargiassi, Steve Estes-Smargiassi, Elizabeth Laurencot, Jim Margolis, Steve Morrissey, Madeleine Taylor and Ben Norton

Not present:, Nancy Sampson, Georgia Smith, Arlene Swan-Mahony,

The meeting was opened with a prayer.


The October minutes were approved as amended.

Memorial Naming Policy

One reason for revisiting the naming policy was that the Capital Campaign consultant identified memorial naming as a possible way to encourage even more generous contributions. The placement of plaques to recognize exceptional gifts was discussed. The pros and cons of subjectivity in the guidelines were discussed. The following Guidelines for Memorials were voted and passed.

1. All proposals to name a space or item shall be in writing to the Vestry.  

2. All initial proposals should include the name of the person or organization to be honored or memorialized; background information, rationale, and contact information for the applicant. 

3. The Vestry may make recommendations for the design and placement of suitable memorials.  

4. The Vestry has absolute discretion over all decisions regarding naming.

Treasurers Report

A minor adjustment was made in the October budget numbers regarding pledge income. Renewed attention is being focused on '09 property and maintenance cost. Recent software upgrades allow for side-by-side comparison of current and former budgets. This could prove useful in identifying potential areas to cut expenditures. The '09 budget will be presented at the Annual Meeting on January 11, 2009.

Wardens Report

Building Committee

Renovating the Rectory and making improvements to the Parish House are urgently needed however the current estimated cost of $1.6 million is not feasible. Given the significant impact on the endowment due to the current state of the economy, the original budget of $1.45 million must be reduced. A number of options were discussed in detail with particular attention to the wishes of the parish as a whole and the economic vitality of the church. Top priority was given to renovating the rectory, improving church school area, installing a new heating/ventilation system in the Parish House, improving the choir room, middle room, and Great Hall. A revised budget of $1.1 million was voted and passed. More details regarding use of the endowment, and specifics of the modified construction plans will be provided at the Annual Meeting.

Vestry Nominations

A Nominating Committee was established and it will provide names for review at the December vestry meeting. The officers will be elected at the Annual Meeting.

Clergy Report

On December 21, December 28, January 4 and January 11 there will be a combined service at 10:00am. The Vestry approved a $5000 transfer from the Paine Fund to the checking account. The announcement for the Annual Meeting was provided to the clerk for posting.

Bible Study

Jim Margolis read two short passages from "The Enlightened Mind" edited by Stephen Mitchell.

The meeting closed with a prayer.


Respectfully submitted by

Benjamin Norton clerk

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St. Paul's Church in Brookline

Minutes of the Vestry Meeting

October 21, 2008

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

Not present: Elizabeth Laurencot, Madeleine Taylor

The meeting was opened with a prayer.


The September minutes were approved as amended.

Warden's Report

Lead and asbestos inspections were done in the rectory and parish hall. This is an especially timely issue as Clinton Path is slated to use the first floor of the rectory, during construction. Areas of concern were identified and abatement was addressed. Clinton Path directors will be brought into the discussion to ensure that the solution is acceptable to them. The cost of comprehensive de-leading and asbestos abatement was estimated at 30-50k. This cost will be added to the construction budget. The project will be broken down into two phases. The first phase will be completed in time for the Clinton Path move to the rectory in late December. The first phase was voted, and passed unanimously. The first phase includes removal of the Rectory front porch and some wood trim in the ground floor bathroom. The second phase will include lead removal from any windows containing lead as well as extensive lead removal on floors 2 & 3 of the Rectory.

Bathroom Access during Construction

As many areas will be closed off during construction, the issue of bathroom access was discussed. One option is the staging of construction to allow access to the current bathrooms, while the new ones are under construction. This will add to construction costs & schedule but is a barrier free option. A second option is to use the bathroom on the first floor of the rectory during construction. This option is not barrier-free. A third option is the rental of "porta-potties". These range in cost from $150/mo to $2800/mo. The final decision will be left to the Transition and Building Committees.

Coffee Hour during Construction

Since there will be no access to the kitchen during construction the 9:00 coffee hour will be held in the rectory, as that is where the church school classes will be held. The 11:00 coffee hour will be held at the back of the sanctuary.

Space Use during Construction

Space use during, and post construction were discussed. Groups currently using the Great Hall and Lichtenberger Room have been told they will have to find temporary venues (except tap--their move will be permanent). During construction concerts will continue in the sanctuary. The possibility of permitting receptions at the back of the sanctuary was considered.


A significant portion of the budget depends on income generated by the endowment. The current volatility of the financial market has reduced the value of the endowment. The original financial feasibility study was done at the then current valuation, so final construction cost estimates are being reviewed very carefully.

Worship Committee

The number of services, youth education and participation, and Advent planning were commented on. A primary goal of the Vestry is to establish continuity during the search and construction. While the Search Committee reps urged that a decision be reached on the number of services to be held, the consensus was that the final decision should not be made without the input of the new Rector


While the retreat was enjoyed by all who attended, its format may be altered in light of the Search, construction and other activities such as the Yard Sale and Home Coming. The possibility of skipping the retreat in '09 or shifting to a one-day event was discussed.

Bible Study

Andrea Brue led the discussion which focused on a passage from One Hundred Miracles, and Caravaggio's painting The Incredulity of St. Thomas.

Treasurer's Report

The September report was presented with an explanation of certain line items. The use of an individual donation that had been earmarked for a Music Intern for other music related activities and expenses was discussed, voted, and passed unanimously.

Search Committee

At a deployment retreat attended by Cynthia, 12 potential candidates expressed interest in the opening. Additionally, a list of 40 candidates has been compiled. The candidate's submission deadline has been extended to mid-December. Three questions, which will be sent to the candidates, are in the final draft stage.

Memorial Guidelines

The guidelines are being completed and will be presented at the November Vestry meeting.


Respectfully submitted by

Benjamin Norton clerk



St. Paul's Church in Brookline

Minutes of the Vestry Meeting

September 19, 2008


The June minutes were approved as amended.


Building Committee Update

Landscape work (shrub removal) and masonry work (pointing) has begun. The masonry estimate came in below the funds budgeted so the work may be expanded to include snow guards, railings and repairing the step into the Great Hall. Chris Logan has met with Maria, Georgia, and Laura. The necessity and cost of lead and asbestos abatement (in the Rectory) is being looked into. Clinton Path's usage of the Rectory during construction makes this an especially timely priority. The next Building Committee meeting will be held on Wednesday Sept. 24th

at 7:30.


Stewardship Committee

Co-chair candidates are being sought. The responsibilities of the co-chairs include development of materials that are distributed, recruitment of parishioners to make stewardship speeches, and general administrative duties. Steve Morrissey, Nancy Sampson and George Coggeshall have volunteered, either as co-chairs or support staff. Jim Bales has volunteered to speak about his stewardship experience.


Worship Committee

Art and Sharlene will continue in their current positions on the committee. The Lenten Committee may be expanded to include the Worship Committee. The 9:00 and 11:00 service's similarities and differences were discussed. In order to keep them distinct, kid-friendly music and shorter readings are being considered for the 9:00 service. Hymn selection and enhancement of the familiarity factor may help to draw the younger parish members into the rhythm of the service. The reason for the decline in the number of children attending services and registering for Sunday school was discussed. Georgia volunteered to arrange for a children's liturgical bulletin in an effort to engage children during the service. A drop-off in church attendance of high school age kids is normal, but the drop in younger kids attendance/participation is not. This trend is not a reflection of demographic changes. Kindergarten registration (in the Brookline public schools) is not declining.


Terry noted that this may be a difficult time to adjust the service schedule too dramatically because there are other higher priorities during the Interim Period, and such a change is a tall order in the first year of the new Rector. Georgia (Search Committee liaison to the Vestry) noted that locking into the three services format will reduce the number of applicants for Rector.


A Parents Forum is being formed to solicit feedback and raise money for the Youth Group. Bev volunteered to coordinate the forum. Georgia, Maria, and Andrea volunteered to assist Bev.


Folk music was suggested as a means to stimulate Youth Group attendance and participation.


Clergy Report

In an email vote on August 4, 2008, the Vestry approved the following resolution: Compensation for the Rev. Regina Retamal as supply priest on Aug. 10, 17, and 24 and on Sept. 28 will be paid as housing allowance. This compensation totals $800.


An alternative to the current situation of the Rector writing material for the weekly newsletter/calendar is being explored. Faith stories are being sought for the newsletter.


Guidelines for whom to rent to are being developed. No new "regular renters" will be accepted until the construction is completed.


Bible Study

Vestry members were encouraged to suggest/provide material or music to be discussed during the vestry meeting Bible Study. Andrea volunteered to prepare content for the October vestry meeting.


Treasure's Report

Reconciliation is under way and the finished document will be distributed to Vestry members by email. Pledge income is slightly off-pace, and music rental income has decreased significantly. Advertising was discussed as a means to increase the music rental demand. The Main Yard Sale, Furniture Yard Sale, and ad hoc Yard Sale (held in June) yielded $4500, $2700 and $2200 respectively.


The Finance Committee will meet on September 25th to discuss endowment adjustments, among other topics.


Search Committee

The Parish Profile and Church Deployment Office form have been completed. Pat Dunbar is working on the design of the Profile brochure which will be submitted to Cynthia for approval. The Search Committee is developing a list of candidate questions. Careful analysis of what George, Margie and Pam did is being considered with regard to what we need, want and expect from our new Rector.


Memorial Guidelines

Betsy Munzer and Jim Bales have developed a second draft for consideration by the Vestry.



On October 5th there will be a combined service at 10:00 followed by a pot-luck lunch with presentations by Building Committee, Capital Campaign representative, and the Search Committee.



The theme of this year's auction is cabaret. Due to construction/renovation, an alternate location for the auction is being considered.


Annual Meeting

The Annual Meeting will be held on the last Sunday in January.


Web Site

Steve Kelley will train contributing authors to input content to the web page



Respectfully submitted by

Benjamin Norton clerk

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