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New Song Council Meeting Minutes – April 28, 2020

New Song Council Meeting

April 28, 2020

The meeting was called to order at 6:09pm by Holli Spangler.  Due to our stay-at-home order the meeting was held via ZOOM.  Present were Pastor Paul, Art Clayton, Larry Edsall, Doug Gab, Neal Husak, Holli Spangler, Lauren Thomas, Stephanie Wasano, and Melissa Williams.  Absent were Brenden Fjelsted and Kathleen Goulding.

Pastor Paul opened with a prayer.

Pastor Paul’s Report:

Deaths:  Ron Lawson 4/19/2020, Gene Gormley 4/28/2020

New members:  None

Birth:  Leo Robert Harting 4/26/2020

Baptism:  None

Wedding:  None

On April 28, we received a letter from Bishop Deborah Hutterer strongly recommending that no in-person gatherings be held by congregations or ministries in our synod through at least the end of May. Towards the end of next month, the synod will assess the situation and update this recommendation.

We built a team, including Jackie, Gershon, Doug, Matthew, Josh, Shani, and Steve and others to build out our capacity to provide online worship.  My emphasis has been to make the services as intimate as possible.  The team did an amazing job to rapidly improve the quality of our production.

With Holy Week approaching, the challenge was how to tell the story of the Passion of Christ given our limitations.  Our Palm Sunday service included preaching by Pastor David Miller and we had a video montage of Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord.  On Holy Thursday, we had a zoom event that was very interactive and included us washing our own hands while imagining Christ washing them.  Our Good Friday Drive-thru, which was covered by AP and Reuters, had dramatic reading of the Passion according to Mark while people saw little images of each stage of the story.  We estimate about 60 cars drove through.  Friday evening, we launched the Seven Last Words, featuring great preaching and music, edited by Matthew.

Online Bible study restarted on Tuesdays at 11:00am, exploring Ezra, about the Israelites return to Jerusalem, fitting for our anticipated return to 1291 Cornet.

Anticipating the challenges of the pandemic, Shani was asked to organize the Financial Management Team to be prepared for the financial impact of Covid-19.  In addition, I created a Stay Connected team to address ways to keep us knit together.  The Stephen ministers made calls to the whole church body.

Liz Baldizan organized an Environmental Ministry program which launched online.

Pastor Paul participates in a meeting every two weeks with all clergy in Las Vegas to discuss how to continue to meet the needs of their congregations during the stay-at-home order.  Holli has participated in meetings with other council presidents on what they can do to stay connected.  She reported that we are ahead of the curve on how we are using multiple media solutions to stay connected with our New Song congregation.

Financial Report:

Shani distributed the end-of month financial report for March 2020.  Our average attendance was down when compared to last year due to the suspension on in-person worship.  Our monthly revenue from offerings was down 13% from last year, while our year-to-date revenue is down 2% from last year and up 5% from our 2020 budget.

Neal presented a report of giving since we have not been allowed to worship in-person.  We are down 3% to our 2020 budget, 6% down overall, $20,000 down in offerings and $23,000 down in tuitions from the academy.  We continue to need our congregation to support us by giving on-line or by sending checks to the church.

A small team has been exploring refinancing our mortgage to take advantage of lower rates.  The effort started before the pandemic hit our area.  Based on the reduction of our revenue it was decided that there was not a benefit to refinance at this time.  We will readdress the mortgage rate as the business climate improves, with the goal to obtain a fixed-rate mortgage.

Neal reported on the progress on the Playground campaign.  We raised a total of $36,613 for the playground and an additional $2,829 for the freezer replacement fund.  This allowed us to pay off the playground loan (we paid off $21,000 and the lender made a $1,000 contribution) and make the last interest payment.  The remaining balance is in the checking account.  Shani suggested that sometime in the future we hold a small event to celebrate the playground pay-off.  The campaign was active through the Lent season and is now complete.

New Song received an $87,000 loan from the federal PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) program.  If we can show that we have spent 75% on payroll then it becomes a grant and will not have to be repaid.  This allows us to pay for two and a half months of payroll for the pre-school so we would not have to lay off the staff and close down the academy.  The council approved a motion to affirm the loan.

Old Business:

  1. The council deferred discussion on the Security Plan until we understand the requirements for reopening the church.

New Business:

  1. The council discussed the recommendation of Bishop Hutterer to continue the suspension of in-person gatherings until the end of May. We made the assumption that the governor would extend our stay-at-home order to the middle of May.  Because of liability concerns and the need to continue to develop a plan on how to reopen the council passed a motion to follow the Bishop’s recommendation.
  2. The council discussed reinstating the drive-in service. Since the weather has warmed up the only time to have this option would be Sunday morning at 8am.  At this time it was decided that we would not pursue the drive-in service option.
  3. The Personnel committee, led by Pastor Paul and Doug Gab, have been addressing the vacancy of the Academy Director position. The job has been posted on Indeed and eight individuals have applied.  We also have one applicant that was referred by a current teacher.  Holli and Pastor Paul will review the applications and narrow the choices to the top 3-4 candidates.  The next step will be for the Personnel committee to conduct interviews.
  4. It was suggested that the Executive Council begin to have a communication article in the Half Note. One topic will be impact stories on how our offerings are used to benefit our church and our missions.  Holli, Neal and Doug will contribute articles.

Liaison Reports:

  1. Music/AV:

The team has located three HD cameras that can be purchased for $575 each.  This will allow us to improve our social media and in-house presentations during worship.  Additional equipment such as cables and a switcher are also needed.  It was communicated that there are donors that would be willing to fund this expense.  The council approved the purchase of the needed equipment with donated fund only, as currently we are only funding essential expenses.

  1. Facilities:

There was a discussion on the purchase of supplies that would be needed when the church can reopen.  The purchase of masks (250 at $145), portable touchless sanitizing stations (4 at $150 each) and sanitizer refills (a case of 12 for $179).  A motion was approved for this purchase as there is a concern on the availability of the supplies as we get closer to reopening.

It was suggested that we look into making cloth masks that have the New Song logo or the three crosses on them.  Pastor Paul will get with the ladies in the church that were sewing masks.

A couple from the church has volunteered to repaint the parking lot.  They have purchased the paint but need a blower to clean the parking lot before the paint is applied.  It was suggested that we reach out to the congregation to see if anyone has a blower that can be used as the cost of purchasing the blower would be $350.  Doug Gab will provide the information on the blower.  At this time the council will not approve purchasing a blower.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:57pm, followed by reciting the Lord’s Prayer.

Our next meeting will be Tuesday, May 26th, at 6pm.

Respectfully submitted,   Melissa Williams – Recording Secretary

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