Rectory & Rhinelander Bldg

Vestry Meeting

November 21, 2011

Present:  Rector, the Rev. Michael Phillips, Warden Steven Knight, Warden Jean Geater, Treasurer John Ewing, Hal Barth, Virginia Borland, Carol Haley, Rob Ingraham, David Jacobs, Suzanne Julig, Marlin Mattson, Alden Prouty,  Susan Valdes-Dapena.

Absent:  James Daubs

Guests:  Jim Synk, Rev. RC Laird

Opening Prayer

Spiritual Reflection: Susan Valdes-Dapena – call to Vestry to consider how we can help find why people leave and what might be done to encourage people to stay

Review of Agenda – Next Vestry meeting will be on December 12th.

Approval of October minutes- minutes were approved as read

Rhinelander Program - RC reported that one of the Rhinelander volunteers has left the program after considerable reflection; the remaining volunteers have developed as their Advent project a program to support people on death row; RC attended a Program Directors meeting.  Note: because 4 volunteers remain, the program at COHT will still break even financially

Treasurer’s Report – John Ewing 

(See John’s report for full details – much of the following is taken from that report) The Church has three investment funds  – the “General Fund”, the “Property Preservation Trust”, and the “Prepare, Preserve, Provide”(PPP). The General Fund is used for general operations; the Property Preservation Trust for specific improvements to the physical plant; and the PPP is presently used for the organ restoration project.

In July 2011, the Vestry approved accounting for the General Fund and Property Preservation Trust (PPT) using the Total Return Concept.  In this approach, at the start of each calendar year, one calculates 5% of the principal in the fund, and this amount is designated as “spendable income”.  This is the amount that the endowment can be “spent down”.  Normally, we try not to spend more than is available in spendable income.  The trust document for the PPT prohibits spending in excess of the available spendable income. 

In 2009 and 2010, we spent $30,000-40,000 over the spendable income from the General Fund, and for 2011, as of November 21 we have a deficit of approximately $60,000 in spendable income from the General Fund.  The Vestry has recommended that this overspend eventually be paid back to the fund.

While the PPT fund is well-funded, this money can be used only for certain prescribed expenses. It may not be used for routine maintenance or repairs.

There was discussion about how long the GF could last, given the rate of spending it down. John was asked to provide some projections into the next decade at the next meeting, using reasonable amounts of return on the fund. 

There was also discussion of the 2012 budget.  One significant potential increase for 2012 will be fuel oil. We are projecting a possible 50% increase because no suppliers are willing to lock in a price.

The skylight repairs and the stained glass window cost $58,000 and $11,620 to repair. This was covered by insurance.  The $42,300 for the roofing and masonry repair is covered by a loan from the diocese. 

In 2011, we received $337,490 in pledges during the year to date, but so far only $233,000 has been paid.



Rob Ingraham and Carol Haley reported that they have discussed the need for a 5-yr plan and will contact Franny Eberhart for input.

Betsy Forster provided a report to the committee on the Rieger. The organ restorers are very nearly done and are due to leave on the 26th.  As part of the restoration work, a substantial amount of electrical work has also been done.  Betsy said that Doug Hunt, the our organ curator, has been invaluable in assisting them, and has high praise for the work they have done, and that in spite of discovering all sorts of deteriorating parts that had to be fixed. Doug will confirm that Rieger has fulfilled the contract and that he is satisfied with the work. He is being paid for his work.  The supports for the steel beam that supports the floor under the organ have sunk down into the damp soil underneath the organ.  Plans are to put in concrete footings. 

The Rieger Organ Restoration Fund of 2007-2010 will cover about 75% of the cost and the rest will be funded by a contribution from a parishioner. The total cost is not yet known.

From Betsy: “The CHT now has a valuable and extraordinary treasure in the Rieger Organ, and it needs to be treated with respect and utilized to its great potential for enhancing the worship and music life of the church and neighborhood.”

Membership Development:

Jim Synk reported the number of newcomer cards has increased and 12 newcomers attended the Newcomers Luncheon, indicating an increase in interest in membership.

Neighborhood Ministries:

OctoberFest had good attendance and brought in $2400. Food was donated by Fairway.

We have submitted a grant to do health screenings at the Saturday supper.

Pledge Campaign:

Jean , Steve, and Rob reported we have received 75 pledges for 2012 totaling $241,248.  Jean and Steve will send each Vestry member a list of members who have pledged so we can call them and thank them for their pledge.

Adult Christian Education:

Michael reported sessions are planned through spring. Although most will be singles, there will be a series called Science and Faith during Lent. Vestry discussed whether to continue to maintain the ACE blog. 


David reported on the updating of websites and stationery. We may begin recording sermons.

Carpenter’s Kids:

This spring Susan will work with her replacement to introduce the program.  A slide program will be provided.


Dinushka DeSilva is now working with the children.


Hal and Alden reported that things are going well and the kitchen is now clean.

Fund raisers:

Virginia and Alden reported the wine and cheese party brought in $550 and the art tour, $220.  There is a plan for a cabaret in early 2012.  On December 17, Chamber singers will present a concert at COHT and will split the gate with us

Rector’s report:

Advent and Christmas Schedule: 11/27 – Advent I; 12/18 – Lessons and Carols; 12/24 services at 5 and 10:30 pm 

Haiti Response: Discussed how to approach opportunity to support the rebuilding of the Anglican cathedral in Haiti.  We can tell people where to send checks to support this.  The Rector is also asking for help from parishioners to help support a program that will send medical equipment for Arold’s brother to distribute to medical facilities in Port-au-Prince.

Omission of pledge campaign speakers – speakers who were accidentally missed during services will be asked to speak at a later service 

Music Director Search Committee:

A search committee is being formed. Will keep congregation updated


COHT will be site of a sculpture installation, “Temporary Shelter”, which was based on stories of NYC homeless people living in shelters, including 3 guests who were in CoHT’s shelter last year.

Garden hours:

We have received complaints about closing the garden when the Merricat children are outside.  Vestry agreed that it is best to have the garden closed when children are outside, but perhaps we could put up a sign saying that the garden will re-open at 3:30 pm.

Thrift Shop:

Virginia will check on status of gym. Will pay Diane $1500

Occupy Wall Street:

Have offered to discuss providing shelter to Occupy Wall Street leadership, but we have received no requests to date.  Vestry discussed what we might provide and decided not to pursue this further unless asked.

2009 Assessment Arrears relief:

Discussions with diocese continue. Need to decide how to handle the money if we get a refund, because some members have provided money specifically for this purpose.

Nominating Committee:

The committee is seeking out nominees to fill Vestry positions being vacated. Considered competitive election approach.

Ogletree resignation letter:

Andrew Ogletree resigned from the Vestry.  The Vestry discussed concerns expressed in his resignation letter and agreed there should be further discussion of how to address them.  This approach is consistent with the suggestions made by Susan during the reflection.

Respectfully submitted,

Carol Haley (filling in for James Daubs)