2018 Church Council Minutes

St. John’s UMC
Loving, Serving, Faithful, Authentic, Mindful, Inclusive
Church Council Meeting Minutes
September 17, 2018

Members Present:  Bryan Rickman,(chair), Larry Holman, Sandy Dearborn, Cheri Nixon, Ruth Miller, Guy Eaton, Pastor Sue Frost, Diana Schuman, Bill Davis, Patrick Murphy, Andy Galt, Mary Tremblay, Judy Crouse, Jay Whitehouse (Recorder)

Devotions – Larry Holman – Reading of Lyrics to Dream Small by Josh Wilson

Recording Secretary – Jay Whitehouse

The Minutes from June 18th were reviewed and  Larry moved to accept, seconded by Andy and the motion carried.

Treasurer’s Report – Judy said that we currently have a pretty serious cash flow problem.  The payroll is covered for next week but there are $11,000 in bills due at the end of the month.  Mission Shares are also due.  The net Ordinary Income is $7,049.91 but this is only because we haven’t paid bills yet.

November Bell-Wether deadline October 8.

Round Table

Larry Holman (Associate Lay Leader) – Sept. 8 Safe Sanctuary Training. May have a discussion to see if the policy needs revision.

Cheri Nixon (Lay Leader) –  Sept.6 – A dialogue on race was held.  A video will be offered during a worship service and study groups will be established.  She summarized the progress of goals that were established.

Patrick Murphy (Outreach) – Meetings have resumed.  Eighty people were served at the Friendly Kitchen.  The kitchen is meeting people where they are, some lonely, same want to be left alone.

Andy Galt (Trustees) – We have recently had water problems with a broken water main by the street.  The trustees are currently getting prices to repair the problem.  The boiler room was flooded again and some work that was done in the past was undone.

Bill Davis (Permanent Endowment) – He is a new member and has no report at this time.

Ruth Miller – There are more empty spaces on the Flower Chart than in the past.  If no one signs up then the church uses flower fund money.  She will write an article for the Bellwether and/or the bulletin asking for more participation in this ministry.

Pastor Sue –
Small groups – 18-35 group slow to get going.
UM Army has come and gone.  They did good work and want to come back next year.
Sunday School has started.
She is developing a plan for confirmation.
The Simplified Board Structure passed so she is working on getting things started.
Mike Bennett is leading a Bible Study.
“Great Idea Forms” will be on Sandy’s door and in the Bellwether.
There were two changes that needed to be made:
add: Once this form is given to the Pastor it will be submitted to the Church Council/Strategy Team for approval at their next meeting.
Replace: I need a Response to this proposal  with  I would like a response to this proposal

Bryan Rickman – All Sunday School students will be in church on the first Sunday of the month.
There is a need for more teachers and Nursery volunteers.

Old Business             None

New Business

The Permanent Endowment Committee wishes to withdraw $10,000 from the Marjorie Hartford Fund.  Judy needs $11,000 to cover bills and we owe $11,000 in Mission Shares.  Cheri Nixon  made a motion to amend the motion and increase the amount from $10,000 to $25,000, seconded by Mary Tremblay.  After discussion, Cheri withdrew her motion and Mary withdrew her second.  The original motion carried to withdraw $10,000 from the Marjorie Hartford Fund.

Next Meeting – October 15
Devotions will be given by Patrick Murphy
Closing Prayer will be offered by Cheri Nixon
Closing Prayer for tonight was offered by Bryan Rickman.

Respectfully submitted,
Jay Whitehouse


To be voted on Sunday, September 9th after our 9:30am worship service

 Why form a simplified board structure?
Potential Advantages:
1. Fewer meetings
2. Avoid people having to serve on multiple committees
3. Make decisions in timely manner (more efficiently)
For example, under the old system, hiring a custodian involves the Trustees, Finance Committee, SPRC, and Church Council
4. More time to do ministry and make disciples. The fewer people we have doing administrative work, the more people we can have doing ministry.

Encouraged by New England Annual Conference:

Healthy, vital churches engage in exciting ministry and mission outside the walls of the church into the community, and offer radical hospitality, passionate worship, intentional discipling process, and extravagant generosity.  Such churches have typically moved to a leaner, simpler, and more accountable governance structure:  Cressey Road UMC and Hope-Gateway UMC.

Discussion began at St. John’s in October 2013.

Currently, we struggle to fill “slots” on committees, and some positions require attending multiple meetings each month.  On May 21, 2018, our Church Council unanimously approved the proposal to form a simplified committee structure at St. John’s.  On July 17, 2018, we held a Town Hall Meeting.  Church Council met 6/18/2018 and made the highlighted revisions to the proposal, based on input from our Town Hall Meeting, and voted on it; the proposal passed unanimously.  Pastor Sue sent the proposal to the District Superintendent on 6/20/2018, and he approved it the same day and authorized Pastor Sue to preside at a Special Church Conference on 9/9/2018.

Next steps: 

  1. Members of St. John’s and the retired UMC clergy affiliated with St. John’s will gather on 9/9/2018 after our 9:30am worship service to vote yes or no on the proposal.
  2. If the proposal passes, then, before January 1st:
    1. Pastor Sue will ask our current committees to write down how they have done their projects and important dates to remember (i.e. purchasing an electricity plan and signing a snow removal contract), so that the Strategy Team and Committee on Nominations and Leadership Development will have these resources and can share them with the ministry teams.
    2. Pastor Sue will ask each of our current committees if they would like to form ministry teams, identifying which projects they will do (using the “Great Idea” form).
    3. Our current Nominations committee, to provide continuity between our current structure and the new one, will ask the people currently serving on Trustees, Finance, SPRC, the Church Council Chair, Lay Leader, Associate Lay Leader, and Recording Secretary if they are willing to complete their current terms by joining the Strategy Team in January 2019.

Proposed by Rev. Sue Frost (pastor), Cheri Nixon (Lay Leader), Larry Holman (Associate Lay Leader), and Bryan Rickman (Church Council Chair)

We move that St. John’s United Methodist Church in Dover, NH form a simplified board committee structure, as outlined below, beginning January 1, 2019, and review how it’s working in January 2022.

Simplified Board Structure:

  1. Church Conference (meets annually)
  2. Strategy Team (meets monthly)
  3. Committee on Nominations and Leadership Development (Fall and as needed)
  4. Mission and Ministry Core Team (January “calendar” meeting and as needed)
  5. Occasional “town hall” meetings or “listening” sessions to obtain insight and input from the congregation

Church Conference

People:  all members of the congregation, retired UMC clergy affiliated with the congregation, elected honorary members (if any)
Chair:  District Superintendent or assigned clergy (with elder status)
Topics:  mission, state of the church, measurable goals, how we’ll use our resources (money, facilities, and people), election of Church Council leaders and members of the Committee on Nominations and Leadership Development

Strategy Team (minimum of 9 people):
Class of 2019 (“graduates” on December 31, 2019)
“John” = Trustee/Finance/SPRC and Chair (also SPRC chair and Trustee chair)
“Sally” = Trustee/Finance/SPRC
“Josie” = Trustee/Finance/SPRC

Class of 2020 (“graduates” on December 31, 2020)
“Carol” = Trustee/Finance/SPRC and Lay Leader
“Ben” = Trustee/Finance/SPRC and Associate Lay Leader
“David” = Trustee/Finance/SPRC and Recording Secretary

Class of 2021 (“graduates” on December 31, 2021)
“Matilda” = Trustee/Finance/SPRC
“Tony” = Trustee/Finance/SPRC
“Hattie” = Trustee/Finance/SPRC and Lay Member to Annual Conference

Pastor (does not vote)


  • Each Strategy Team member is a church member and a spiritual leader for the congregation, who attends our worship services regularly
  • The Strategy Team members reflect our congregation’s diversity in age and gender (anyone designated as Trustee/Finance/SPRC must be 18+)
  • Only 1 person from immediate family residing in the same household serves on the Strategy Team
  • Staggered 3-year terms (must rotate off and take 1 year off, before returning), with the exception of the Lay Leaders and the Lay Member to Annual Conference
  • Meetings are open to others, except during confidential SPRC discussions
  • Staff, and family of staff, cannot serve on the Strategy Team
  • The Financial Secretary and the Treasurer can serve on the Strategy Team, but a best practice is for them not to.

Purpose is to govern (not manage):

  • Accountable to the Mission: making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world
  • Establish the Vision, in concert with the pastor: how we will fulfill the mission
  • Establish Boundaries: policies for ministry, finance policies and budget, standards of practice and behavior
  • Delegate Authority to others


  • What is the desired outcome?
  • Which person will be responsible?

Delegate Authority:

  • What strategies, finances, facilities will the person/team need?


  • What results do we expect?
  • How will we know if we have faithfully fulfilled our mission?
  • How do we protect the body from mistaken or malicious leadership?
  • What are the boundaries, values, standards, and limits required?

Meets Monthly (but not in July, August, or December, unless needed) for 1½ – 2 hours

  • Strategy Team members will receive a packet a week before the meeting (agenda, covenant, statistics and financials, ministries bearing fruit, minutes, update on goals)
  • A quorum is at least 5 people. A simple majority of those attending rules.
  • Occasionally, a subset of Strategy Team members will meet separately to work on a specific task (preliminary budget, policy manual, stewardship campaign) which they will bring to the full Strategy Team to approve.


Committee on Nominations and Leadership Development:

People:  Pastor (chair), Lay Leader, and 3-9 others (3-year terms, in 3 classes)


  • Works throughout the year to identify, call, and equip people to serve on the Strategy Team.
  • Recommends a slate of people to the Church Conference and makes nominations to Strategy Team to fill any ad-interim vacancies that occur between Church Conferences.
  • Provides training and support to Ministry Team Leaders, including creating and updating an interest list (a list of people and the things they enjoy doing).


Ministry Teams:

Teams (of any size) for each ministry
Possible ministries may be (the following are neither required nor should our ministry be limited to this list of examples):

  • a regular, ongoing program
    • Worship Design and Music
    • Cornerstone Dance Team
    • Sunday School
    • Youth Fellowship (CIA)
    • United Methodist Men
    • Dover Friendly Kitchen/SOS/Haven Hill/SOCC
    • Facilities maintenance (including sexton)
    • Small Groups
    • Permanent Endowment
    • Communication and Media
    • New Member Receptions
  • an annual event
    • teacher recognition brunch
    • new members reception
    • scholarships
    • confirmation class
    • Angel Tree
    • Mission Team’s trip
  • a major event
    • mission trip
    • John’s UMC Bicentennial in 2023

One leader for each ministry team

  • Gathers the team and keeps them organized and focused on goals and outcomes
  • Supervised by the pastor (who holds leader and team accountable to the missional goals established by the Strategy Team)

The team decides how they will reach their goals (within the church’s policies)

 Mission and Ministry Core Team
            Leaders:  Pastor and Lay Leader
Ministry Team Leaders
United Methodist Men representative
Youth Group leader
Director of Music
Other church group leaders

Purpose:  Meet regularly to coordinate ministry programs, so that they are mutually supportive and well-aligned with the mission of the congregation


The Pastor leads:

  • Discerns and articulates the mission and vision of the congregation in all settings
  • Accepts responsibility and exercises authority in keeping the congregation focused on fruitfulness in the goals established by the Strategy Team
  • Provides alignment to the mission and vision, by equipping (inspiring) and deploying the Strategy Team and team leaders and staff. The pastor establishes adequate processes, so that:
  • Each team understands and embraces their part in the overall mission of the congregation
  • Teams are not competing with, or limiting, each other
  • Gaps in ministry are addressed
  • Mutual support and synergy are built among all the ministries in the congregation
  • Assures that the ministries of the church are carried out according to the boundaries and values established by the Strategy Team


Church Council Minutes
June 18, 2018

 Members Present: Bryan Rickman (Chair), Andy Galt, Larry Holman, Mary Tremblay, Diana Schuman, Pastor Sue Frost, Judy Crouse, Jay Whitehouse (Recorder)

 Devotions – Pastor Sue read two scripture readings in which those who were bound became unbound.  Her prayer was that St. John’s would become unbound and move forward with the Simplified Board Structure.

 The Minutes from the May meeting were presented to the board.  Andy seconded the motion and it carried.

 The Treasurer’s Report showed the June Mission Shares to be current along with other parts of the budget.

 August Bell-Wether deadline July 8

 Round Table

Mary Tremblay (Associate Lay Member to Annual Conference) reported on the recent Annual Conference that she and others from St. John’s attended.  The Pastor’s Respite Fund was approved with $23,400 already pledged, an amount to be matched by the Conference.  If someone wants to watch the Special Conference in February there will be a $250 per person charge.  This was referred to the Judicial Council for review.

Larry Holman (Associate Lay Leader) reported that the Bonfire Meditation program is continuing one time per month.

Andy Galt (Trustees) reported that they are busy with many projects.  The carpet in the Parsonage is being replaced.  A new stove and refrigerator have been purchased for the parsonage.  The water fountain in Hartford Hall will be replaced soon.

Pastor Sue reported that St. John’s had good attendance at the Annual Conference.  It was voted to send a letter to the US Attorney General, Jeff Sessions,  challenging his use of scripture to justify separating the immigrant parents and their children.  Gerry Smith passed away and his funeral is on June 23 at 11:00.  The UM ARMY representatives have done their site visits at 22 sites.  Jen Patria has agreed to be the Sunday School head teacher and Lily Stanton will be the Nursery Coordinator.

Diana Schuman (SPRC) reported that the Transition Team has completed their work. The pastor has been reappointed for another year.

 Old Business

  • Simplified Board Proposal – Pastor Sue The Town Hall meeting went well and comments and suggestions follow.
    Page 1 underline review how it’s working in January 2022.

Page 1 Simplified Board Structure number 2. name agreed upon was Strategy Team.
Page 3 underline Purpose is to govern (not manage):
Page 3 Meets Monthly (but not in July, August, or December unless needed) for underlined      1 1/2-2 hours
Page 3 Committee on Nominations & Leadership Development: Task: underline creating and updating an interest list (a list of people and the things they enjoy doing).
Page 3 Ministry Teams: change to Teams (of any size) for each ministry. Possible ministries may be:
Page 4 add Angel Tree to annual events
Page 4 delete single from major event.  Major events would be Mission Trip and Bicentennial in 2023.
 Ask the Nominations Committee to look at current committees and ask members if they are willing to continue under the new structure.
Ask committees to write down important dates and things that need to be done i.e. sign snow removal contract, negotiate electric contract.
Put final document in Bellwether in August and September.
The All Church Conference in September is an up or down vote.

The Pastor will be contacting the DS this week and ask for a quick response.
The All Church Conference will be held on Sunday, September 9 with one church service at 9:30.  The vote will follow the service.

 New Business

Pastor Sue showed us a new form that would be used in the new structure.  It is for presenting new ideas for consideration by the Strategy Team.  It requires 5 people to be named that have agreed to be involved to improve the chances for success.

 Next Meeting – September 17
Devotions: Larry
Closing Prayer: Bryan
Closing Prayer – Andy Galt

 Respectfully submitted,
Jay Whitehouse