Parish Leadership


St. Paul's Church in Brookline

Minutes of the Vestry Meeting

December 15th, 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, Jim Margolis, Steve Morrissey, Nancy Sampson, Georgia Smith, and Ginny Willcox

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


The agenda was voted and approved.


The November minutes were approved as amended.

Spiritual Reflection

Jeff led a brief discussion on the Magnificat, and Mary’s willingness to serve to God to benefit humankind. Her magnificent dedication is reflected (albeit on a much more humble scale) in our (the Vestry members and all parishioners) willingness to accept and embrace the challenges/opportunities to serve our church and the community at large.

Warden’s Report

Building/Rental Property Update

A potential renter has been located and the rental contract is expected to be signed in the near future. The Finder’s Fee will be split with the real estate agency. Carpeting has been added to the stairs of the rental unit to reduce noise transmission.

The sump pump in the rectory basement is in need of servicing or replacement. This will be addressed by the building committee. 

The renovation to the women’s bathroom is nearing completion.

It was suggested that the Building Committee be combined with the Grounds Committee as construction and renovation are in the final stages.

Clara Batchelor will design a yard plan to articulate the distinction of the yards.

The Rotary Club of Brookline contributed funds to the Brookline Emergency Food Pantry for the construction of a fence around the trash & recycle area and the purchase of a storage shed.  Jim Margolis sent them a thank you note.

Nominating Committee

Andrea, Arlene, Georgia and Nancy have contacted most of the nominees.

Treasurer’s Report

Current Income Update and 2010 Draft Budget. 

Bev presented Current Income figures and the 2010 Draft budget for review. Budgeted expenditures and pledge income were discussed. Specific line items were discussed.   Storage for the Yard Sale, Parish Retreat, and Nursery Staff will be added as line items. 

Pledge income is close to the expected goal of $145k. Sixty-one parishioners have turned in their pledge cards. Owing to the generosity of our parishioners and the stewardship of Nancy Madden, Nancy Sampson, Steve Morrissey, and Jim Margolis, the pledge goal is within reach.

Replacement dishes will be purchased from the Memorial Fund.

Rental income will be managed as endowment income, similar to a bond.

It was moved and voted that Bev and Steve Kelley be designated as acceptees of a bequest from the Sam Shaw estate ($50k) which will be received soon. It was moved and voted that 25% go to Capital Maintenance, and 75% to the General Endowment.

The possibility of relocating the Annual Picnic to the church grounds was discussed.

Lucy is taking on more Accounting responsibilities.  New software will be purchased to assist in the delegation of duties.

Beth Chapman delivered the Auction logistical information to Andrea.

Ministry Outside the Parish (MOP)

The MOP’s goal of offering assistance to under-funded organizations with low administrative costs was discussed. Kate Kelley compiled a comprehensive list of recipients who combined have received a total of $17,750 from St Paul’s in 2009. The organizations include a school in Honduras, and Asiana a school in Kabul, Afghanistan. The MOP will establish a monthly speaker series featuring representatives of potential recipient organizations. The presentations will be held after Sunday services. The MOP’s funding history and original authorization is being reviewed and will be reported by Jeff at the January Vestry Meeting.  Pat Dunbar will be contacted for the Vestry minutes from the 1980’s, when the original MOP funding levels were established.

Rector’s Report

Annual Meeting

New Beginnings and Fresh Starts is the theme of the Annual Meeting on January 24.

Sound System Update

The new sound system has been purchased and will be set up within the next two weeks.

Charles River Deanery

The Deanery, clergy and Christian Education directors from twelve Episcopal parishes in our area, meets monthly to discuss future activities, which may include vacation Bible school in June. Past events that St. Paul’s Youth Group has attended include the Walk For Hunger, making apple pies to be given out by the food pantry with the annual gift of turkeys (hosted by All Saints Parish, Brookline), and a trip to the Heifer International’s Learning Center at Overlook Farm in Rutland, MA.

Retreat Update

Proposed plans include a one-day retreat in May at Bethany House of Prayer at the Sisters of St. Ann

in Arlington, and an overnight retreat in the fall. The events will feature both spiritually contemplative, and simply fun activities, to maintain the family-friendly theme of past retreats.

Pastoral Update

Eleanor Clark was very grateful for the musical visit by parishioners.  Karol Bibbs is recovering well.

Children in Church

There seems to be a desire for a Nursery during services. Liz set up a Google Doc to facilitate the coordination of volunteers, and distributed it by email.  However, it was noted that more volunteers are needed.

The hiring of two paid nursery staff, to be assisted by one volunteer, was presented as a possible solution to the scarcity of volunteers.  Jeff said he would get this started- putting out an ad and starting the CORI process.

Methods of notifying parents whose children are having considerable difficulties during the service were addressed.  Possible solutions included the installation of an LED display board, pagers (similar to those used at Panera Bread), and text messages via cell phones.

It was suggested that the ushers tell new visitors with young children about the nursery option. Also a note could be added to the service programs.

It was moved and voted that a committee be formed to oversee and review K-12 activities.

Moveable Feast Review

The movable feast was hosted by gracious hosts at five homes and attended by seventy people, including many new members of our parish. The event included a tour of the newly renovated Rectory and rental unit.

Parish Directory

Preliminary costing of producing a directory similar to the latest version has come up with a figure of $350. The alternative of soliciting photographers from within the parish, and creating the directory with software that we now have, was introduced. The portraits would be less formal, but the savings could be considerable. The logistics and cost of printing/binding will be looked into.


Andrea will work with Pat Dunbar regarding looking into a having a portrait or photo of George Chapman added to our collection of former Rectors.

Newcomer Breakfast invitations will be sent out for an event after the service on January 10th.

Andrea asked how Jeff and his family are finding life in the Rectory. Jeff reported that they are grateful to be settling down, and feel comfortable there.

The meeting closed with a prayer.


Respectfully submitted by

Benjamin Norton, clerk

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