Parish Leadership


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

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