Congregational Meeting Minutes, October 13, 2019

The meeting was called to order at 11:00 am.

The Board of Finance seeks the membership’s approval to transfer an additional $6,000 from the endowment to the operating budget.

C. Grenier made the motion that the membership of the Waterbury Congregational Church approve the transfer of an additional $6,000 from the endowment to the operating budget. This was seconded.

P. Plagge and D. Leavitt explained why this became necessary. In the past, the budget was usually padded with a guesstimate of how much more money would be contributed beyond pledges, to the tune of $20,000 to $30,000. But for the past few years, that much extra money hasn’t materialized, which then puts the budget into negative funds. It was suggested that this practice should stop, offering a more realistic picture of available funds.
D. King explained that our funds have done well recently, with nearly $20,000 in dividends generated. Therefore, transferring these funds would not be a draw on the principle. He also suggested this not be termed a loan, to be repaid, but simply consider it spending funds we have available. T. Leavitt feels we are being conservative in the handling our finances.
We are behind in pledges which has made cash flow difficult. The completion of our own pledges to OCWM and the Vermont Conference have been postponed. It was suggested that we take a look at the membership role for the current number of actual members which we could then present to these organizations to decide how much our church should be contributing.

P. Plagge stressed that this meeting was really called for transparency, to help everyone understand why the transfer was necessary, not to beat ourselves up over it. He says we have 54 pledging members which is very good for a church our size. J. Buck warned that even with the current good dividends, we should be keeping a close eye on our finances as the U.S. and world economies could change at any time. He suggested meetings like this were a good idea.

The motion was called for a vote and passed unanimously.

There was a question about the stained glass windows and whether their repair was being considered. P. Plagge shared that the company with the lowest bid to do the work actually noted that the windows weren’t really in such bad shape and repair could be postponed.
The meeting ended at 11:20 am.

Minutes of the January 27, 2019 Annual Meeting

The meeting was called to order at 11:14 AM.

I. Presentation, discussion, and action on the minutes of the January 28, 2018 Annual Meeting and the June 3, 2018 Special Meeting.
The minutes of the January 28, 2018 Annual Meeting as well as the June 3, 2018 Special Meeting were accepted as written.

II. Presentation, discussion, and action on the reports of the officers, boards, and organizations for 2018 (excepting the 2019 budget).
It was moved, seconded, and noted to accept the reports.

III. Presentation, discussion, and action on the FY 2019 budget proposal.
It was moved, seconded and approved to accept the 2019 budget as proposed. C. Grenier rose to say that the board of finance supported this budget, even carrying the $8,000 + deficit as said deficit was caused by counting on gifts that didn’t materialize. The board saw no reason for that deficit to interfere with proposed expenditures, including a 2% raise for salaries. He did note that fund raising efforts will have to remain strong. But he gave big kudos to all the members for how they support the church, in funding and in active service.

IV. To decide whether the church will approve an expenditure from the Firm Foundation Fund of up to $9,000 for building upgrades.
It was moved and seconded to approve expenditure from the Firm Foundation of up to $9,000 for building upgrades and church improvements. Discussion focused on specifics involved such as work on the remaining spires and equipping the church with a defibrillator. J. Loewer wondered if there might be grants available to purchase such equipment. C. Lawrence noted that the price will include a “church” discount. J. Loewer volunteered to go looking for such a grant. The deacons are planning a CPR class in February which could include training for a defibrillator. There was concern that our insurance might not currently cover incidents if the equipment were used incorrectly by a church member, but it was felt that we would be protected by the “Good Samaritan” law.
J. Loewer made a motion to amend the original motion to read that it is approved to spend up to $9,000 from the Firm Foundation for building upgrades and church improvements, but to first investigate possible grants for the defibrillator portion. The motion was passed as amended.

V. Presentation, discussion, and action on the Nominating Committee’s report and slate of officers and board members for the year 2019.
It was moved, seconded, and unanimously approved to accept the Nominating Committee’s report and slate of officers for 2019. It should be noted, however, that Ned Davis stepped down as Nominator, leaving the Nominating Committee with no members.

V. Presentation, discussion, and action on the Trustees recommendation to distribute any investment gain in 2018.
D. King moved that the gains (losses), realized and unrealized, earned on the Trustees Funds be allocated in proportion to the respective fund balances. The motion was seconded and passed.

V. Other Business.
1) The deacons have been discussing safety issues in the church, such as the presence of an active shooter. There is particular concern about the young women and children in the downstairs nursery while church is in session. The side door should be locked during this time and all access to the church should be through the front door. If someone is in need of elevator service, this would be taken care of by a deacon at the front door.

They would also like to provide ALICE training to the church, which includes procedures that should be taken during an active shooter confrontation. The council is strongly encourages such a training.

2) P. Plagge thanked P. Sabin for all she does to really run the office and N. Davis for all he does for the church. He also wanted to add his thanks to C. Grenier’s for the congregation’s unfailing support.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:36 AM.
Respectfully submitted,
Jill Chase, Clerk

Warning for Annual Meeting and Table of Contents

The annual meeting of the Waterbury Congregational Church, United Church of Christ of Waterbury, Vermont has been called for Sunday, January 26, 2020 following worship, in the sanctuary, to consider action on the following:

Article I. Presentation, discussion and action on the minutes of the January 27, 2019 Annual Meeting and the October 13, 2019 Congregational Meeting

Article II. Presentation, discussion and action on the reports of the officers, boards, departments and organizations for the year 2019 (excepting the FY 2020 budget).

Article III. Presentation, discussion and action on the FY 2020 budget proposal.

Article IV. Presentation, discussion and action on the proposed slate of board members and officers for the year 2020.

Article V. Presentation, discussion and action on the Trustees recommendation to distribute any investment gain in 2019.

Article VI. Other business.

Ava To Sweden!

Ava Thurston has been named to the U.S. national cross-country skiing team that will compete in the Under-18 Scandinavian Championships and Junior World Championships later this month in Falun, Sweden. Way to go Ava! Congratulations!

Check out the Waterbury Record article about her and the US Ski and Snowboard’s website.

In Memoriam Pauline Martin

Pauline Martin (August 18, 1939 – December 29, 2019)

Polly was a beautiful human being. There was something about her that exuded quiet strength; she was a bright light — but easy to overlook because she let it shine on others. She did not toot her own horn and she was an utter delight to visit even toward the end, when, as I now know, she was far more riddled with cancer than she ever led me to see or understand.

My enduring memories of her are of her sitting quietly, often with a lovely smile, in the midst of her people — at home, in a pew toward the back on the pulpit side, during Circle II gatherings in the basement, and in our Wednesday morning Bible Study. These are enduring memories because they are so real. She may have been quiet, but she was always present, intensely present. You had the sense that while you were talking or together, you were her guest.

We’ll celebrate her life on Sunday, in a service held in our sanctuary, of course, at 1 PM. We’ll be reading from Isaiah:

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
For as the rain and the snow come
down from heaven,
and do not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and
bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

For you shall go out in joy,
and be led back in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall be to the Lord for a memorial,
for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

Perhaps Polly’s favorite place to be quiet was the garden. There she also recharged her spirit and reconnected with God’s spirit of beauty and wonder. There she found her joy.

And we can be sure, those of us who had the pleasure of knowing her, that she spread that joy, just as surely as her eyes twinkled when you spoke with her or as surely as her heart swelled with pride when you talked with her about her beloved family or her dear church.

We will miss you dear Polly. Rest in peace.

Christmas Bird Count

Instructions for PARTICIPANTS

The count will be held on December 26, 2019, plus or minus a day.

For information and to register: Go to the North Branch Nature Center website
The right hand side of the page will have information for the Plainfield Christmas Bird Count (CBC) and for the Hunger Mountain CBC. We are part of the Hunger Mountain Count (Lower section of the menu).

To register, click on the “Sign up Form” link. It will take you to a Google form that will ask for information such as your name, address, etc. We are planning to be feeder watchers, but you could choose to be a field team member who will count birds in a specific sector.

In order to find instructions for the day of the count, click on
“Info packet and data forms.” There you will find:
● general information about the count
● protocol for feeder watchers
● effort sheet (information about weather, time, etc.)
● species list (tally form)

Send your completed form to: Hunger Mountain CBC c/o Zac Cota 175 Depot Street Hyde Park, VT 05655

Thank you!

Christmas Worship Schedule

Christmas returns, as it always does, with its assurance that life is good.

Howard Thurman


December 15 — Third Sunday in Advent.
December 22 — The Church School is presenting the gospel message this morning in a play / pageant about . . . a little robin.

Christmas Eve

4:00 pm family service. We’ll tell the wonderful story of that night so long ago in Bethlehem when Jesus was born through ancient scripture and modern story. At this point, we’re hoping that the music will be provided in part by the bell choir and we are hoping to have amateur hour before the service begins. If you’d like to play something or sing something, please let me know, or sign up on the clipboard sometime in the next few Sundays. The service will end with a cande-light rendition of Silent Night.

7:00 P. M. Ceremony of Lessons and Carols. This year our service takes its direction from a contemporary Christmas Cantata written by Bob Chilcott called Christmas Night. Chilcott’s music is beautifully Christmas and yet something refreshingly different. We hope your can come to one or both of these services.

Advent Workshop this Week

Hopper Feeder

You are invited to stay for a while after worship this week (December 8) so that you can take part in our annual Advent Workshop! This year the projects are bird feeders. We’ll have materials on hand to make 4 different kinds of feeders, from the fairly simple pine cone filled with suet and rolled in bird seed to a wooden hopper feeder that mounts on a deck railing or against the side of your house.

Christmas gifts for the Kirby House

The Christmas Tree in the sanctuary is now fully decorated, thanks to Ned’s work this week. Amongst the red bows and the pine cones, you’ll find paper ornaments with items listed on each that we are trying to provide as Christmas gifts for the residents of the Kirby House.

Take an ornament or two, purchase what is listed and return it to the church by December 22 so that the Board of Outreach can prepare them for drop-off at the Kirby House in time for their Christmas party!

The Kirby House, here in downtown Waterbury is an assisted care living facility for some 30 residents, many of whom have been here since the Vermont State Hospital began shuttering operations in 1995.

Thanks for your gift of Christmas cheer!