Rectory & Rhinelander Bldg

Vestry Meeting

December 12, 2011

Present: Hal Barth, Virginia Borland, Clerk James Daubs, Warden Jean Geater, Treasurer John Ewing, Carol Haley, David Jacobs, Suzanne Julig, Warden Steve Knight, Marlin Mattson, Alden Prouty, Susan Valdes-Dapena.

Absent:  Rob Ingraham

  • Michael Phillips opened the meeting with a prayer.
  • Jean Geater provided a Spiritual Reflection.
  • After discussion, the November Vestry Minutes were approved UNANIMOUSLY (with revisions).

Peace and Restorative Justice Community Proposal (Steve Knight):

In brief:  the proposal recommended housing 5-12 Occupy Wall Street protestors one evening a week in the Choir Room, with supervision by parish members. (See handout.)

Steve handed out copies of Chris Knight’s original proposal, which he said had been reviewed and amended by others. A letter in support of the proposal from Victoria Rollins was read aloud by Hal Barth. 

Much discussion ensued.  Among the points made for and against the proposal:

  • It is consistent with our Baptismal Covenant to support the protestors.
  • In re: “the big picture,” do we want to support OWS?  What have they in common with us?
  • The problem of selection and screening:  the men currently sleeping in our Shelter are screened before coming to CHT each night.
  • Supporting the protestors is consonant with our principles and with the Christian tradition of sheltering the Stranger.
  • Worries remain about possible vandalism of church and of Rhinelander House.
  • Insurance issues:  we are covered for liability per Michael;  still, an insurance claim could financially devastate the church.

Steve Knight introduced a motion that the Vestry approve the proposal; Hal Barth seconded. There were 3 “yes” votes, 6 “no” votes, and 2 abstentions.  The motion did not pass. 

Treasurer’s Report (John Ewing):

(See handout.)  Highlights:

  • CHT is currently spending some 40% of the parish budget on music.
  • We cannot continue to draw at current rate from the General Fund—see table re: eventual depletion.
  • Per John, real estate is the church’s greatest asset:  more intelligent use needs to be made of it.
  • CHT may be a “1-priest church.”
  • Should the Budget Committee issue a report with other recommendations for increasing revenues and decreasing spending?  The Committee will have a separate Saturday morning meeting. 
  • Pledge Campaign Update: Phone calls to pledgers are proceeding.  According to Jean Geater, we have 92 pledgers and a total of $283K as of today.  Those who pledged last year but not yet this year will also be called by the Pledge Committee.  Thank-You notes:  after discussion, it was decided that Vestry will write notes to the same people we called. Michael will e-mail Vestry about what kind of stationery should be used.  This should occur before the Annual Meeting.

2012 Draft Budget (Michael Phillips):

Michael will be talking to an interim musician on Thursday; this person works full=time at Metropolitan Opera. There are budget implications:  he has his own apartment, his own job-related benefits.  Michael will offer him a per diem contract, and this person will be disqualified from applying for the permanent Music Director position.

Conversations for Moving Forward (Susan Valdes-Dapena):

Susan distributed Jim Synk’s “Proposal for CHT to Create a Culture of Thank You”(see handout)  and discussion ensued about how to improve expressions of gratitude—and other outreach—to parishioners.  Marlin Mattson pointed out the leaders other than the Vestry should also provide guidance in this area. 

Lay Eucharistic Ministry (Marlin Mattson):

Marlin wonders about the status of this program, which is concerned with taking Eucharist to ill parishioners.  He says that certain parishioners would like to minister, but that there seems to be no apparatus for it at present.

Assistive Listening Devices (Marlin Mattson):

Only one of our devices is operational, and many parishioners are in need.  Alden Prouty volunteered that there is money budgeted for replacing the old devices with new digital devices. 

Committee Reports:

Neighborhood Ministries:  Michael Phillips reports that HTNC has received a $500 grant from the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce.  He further reports that the 2nd and 3rd Avenue street fairs report the lowest receipts in 18 years.

Communications:  David Jacobs reports many improvements to the website and promises more to come.

Carpenter’s Kids:  Susan Valdes-Dapena reports that payment is due in early April; the rate has risen $5 per child.  The campaign will occur during Lent.

Children/Youth:  With Mary Ausman’s departure, Dinushka, Greg, and R.C. will oversee the program in the Spring.

Fundraisers:  Cabaret performance by Bill Minafie will take place Saturday January 28!

Rector’s Report:

  • Stephen Fraser has accepted a full-time Music Director position in Toronto; his start date is January 1.
  • The Search Committee for a new Music Director position has not yet been named.
  • Altar Guild:  Inez Lambert is stepping down as chair.  The Guild will henceforward be divided into 4 areas of responsibility with 4 chairs.
  • Director of Religious Education proposal:  Michael notes that CHT will have 3 vacant apartments (the Rieger Room, the Laird/Merrills’ apartment, the Ascension Apartment) and wonders if the provision of these could be used as partial funding for the RE Director’s compensation.
  • Michael raised the possibility of hiring a newly-ordained priest to help with sacerdotal duties in the parish.
  • CHT staff will pledge to return phone calls and e-mails within 2 business days of their being received.
  • Complaints about the quality of the Senior Luncheon are being taken seriously and addressed. 

Wardens’ Report:

  • There is 1 confirmed nominee for 4 open Vestry positions at this moment. 
  • Steve Knight circulated a proposal for a Study Group on Parish Growth (see handout). Michael Phillips pointed out that CHT can apply for a grant of up to $7K for such a program.  The Vestry gave its general approval to the proposal and noted that volunteers will be needed for grand-writing.  This will be discussed at the February Vestry Retreat.
  • Yorkville Arts Academy:  With Mary Ausman’s departure, the students will be attending St. Stephen’s of Hungary after-school program.


Michael closed the meeting with a prayer.  The next Vestry meeting will be Monday, January 16.

Respectfully submitted,

James Daubs, Clerk