Strategy Team Minutes

April 15, 2019

Members Present:  Pastor Sue, Bryan Rickman (chair), Judy Strate, Larry Holman, Elizabeth Small, Diana Schuman, Jim Avrett, Deanna Gallant, Cheri Nixon, Jay Whitehouse (Recorder).

The Opening Prayer was led by Betty.

Spiritual Development- Judy Strate

          Judy introduced us to a book that she reads frequently, “Flunking  Sainthood …every day”  and read today’s passage from the book.

Leadership Development- Larry Holman

          Larry suggested that we should be leading through listening and mindfulness.  We should listen and hear what others have to say.  He distributed and read from the lyrics to the Beatles song “We Can Work It Out” as they illustrate his point very well.

Vital Signs           

          This months Vital Signs handout was reviewed.  It was noted that Wanda’s “God In Yoga” group and Jana’s Meditation Group both have participants that are not members of our church.

Pressing Issues

          Stewardship Campaign – A proposal for the Fall campaign was in our packets.  Workers are needed and individuals were suggested to be asked.

          Water and Temperature Sensor Kit for the Church Boiler – Trustees approved this expenditure in 2018 but installation was never completed.  Judy moved and Deanna seconded to install the free sensors and get information on the other sensors.  The motion  carried and Pastor Sue will follow up on the process.

          Safe Sanctuaries Policy revision – The following changes were made:

General Guidelines 3. – Begin with “When possible”. Add at the end of the section “If only one child/youth is present for a group event, it will be cancelled”

Add 4. “Whenever possible, a room with an uncovered, windowed door should be used.” Re-number 4. and 5. to be 5. and 6.

Transportation 3. after the first sentence of the section add “A single child/youth may be transported by an adult if a parent/guardian gives written permission in advance.”

          The amended Safe Sanctuaries Policy was adopted by the Strategy Team.  Bryan will send a document with the amendments to the Strategy Team members and Pastor Sue will send the update to the District Superintendant and change the website.  The policy will be published in the Bellwether and copies will be sent to leaders.         

Packet Review

          Minutes-  It was moved by Diana, seconded by Judy to approve the Minutes of the March meeting with noted spelling corrections.  The motion was approved.

          Financial Reports –  The P&L, Balance Sheet, and Cash Flow documents were reviewed.  The P&L line 401 General Income includes a one time pledge so it is over budget.  Line 607 Conference Mission Shares shows that they were paid.

Pastor Sue will ask TDBank what the minimum balance is for our checking account to avoid fees.  Several other questions will be asked about existing accounts.

          Leadership Development Articles – The list of articles was distributed for future reference.

          CCIS update – Bryan will look into the church “Windows” program and other software and report on the computer.


          The June Bellwether deadline is May 13.

Next Meeting – May 20

          Spiritual Development – Bryan Rickman

          Leadership Development – Cheri Nixon

          Prayers – Judy Strate

Speak to the pastor if you need help or resources.

Betty closed our meeting with a prayer.

Respectfully submitted,

Jay Whitehouse

March 18, 2019

Members Present:  Pastor Sue, Bryan Rickman (chair), Judy Strate, Larry Holman, Diana Schuman, Jim Avrett, Deanna Gallant, Cheri Nixon, Jay Whitehouse (Recorder).

The Opening Prayer was led by Cheri.

Spiritual Development & Leadership Development – Dr. David Abbott, Conference Director of Stewardship

          The Generosity Autobiography was included in our meeting packets.  Dr. Abbott gave us Generosity/Stewardship Calendar 2019, Year’round Planning Calendar for Growing Stewards in your Congregation, and Stewardship Resources.  He suggested that we should not be afraid to talk about money and generosity.  We should not be afraid to ask for help and celebrate what we do.  Stewardship should be year ’round.  It is everything that we do.

          It was decided that team members should complete the Generosity Autobiography before next month’s meeting and a discussion will be part of Spiritual Development.   

Vital Signs           

          This month’s Vital Signs handout was reviewed.  Deanna asked for a follow-up in the CCIS software.  Pastor Sue will continue with follow-up with emphasis on what version we have, how recent.  Bryan will help.

Pressing Issues

          Withdraw from Marjorie Hartford Fund – Deanna moved to withdraw $10,000 with a second by Diana.  The motion carried.

          Guiding Principles updated draft 2 – After discussion, Judy moved to approve the document as presented, seconded by Deanna.  The motion carried.

          Safe Sanctuary Policy and Process – Changes will be made to the document that were suggested by Bill Simons and will be approved at the next meeting.

Packet Review

          Minutes- It was noted that under Packet Review, Financial Report, the date of outstanding bills should be changed to read 2/01/19, not 2/01/18.   Diana moved to accept the minutes as amended, seconded by Jim. The motion carried.

          Financial Reports –  It was suggested that the reports in the future should include a narrative from Judy Crouse to include how much money came in and how much is available to pay bills.

          Fundraisers – Pastor Sue will ask Carolyn Billington if she wants to chair the Linen & Clothing Sale this year.


          The May Bellwether deadline is April 8.

          The April 6 Stewardship event has been cancelled.

          April 7 – Town Hall Meeting – One worship service at 9:30

          May 11 Developing Leadership and a Leadership Pipeline

Next Meeting – April 15

          Spiritual Development – Judy Strate

          Leadership Development – Larry Holman

          Prayers – Betty Small

Speak to the pastor if you need help or resources.

Cheri closed our meeting with a prayer.

Respectfully submitted,

Jay Whitehouse

February 18, 2019

Members Present:  Pastor Sue, Bryan Rickman (chair), Judy Strate, Larry Holman, Betty Small, Diana Schuman, Jim Avrett, Deanna Gallant, Jay Whitehouse (Scribe).

The Opening Prayer was led by Deanna.

Spiritual Development – Betty

          We are Gospel hardened.  We hear the same stories over and over again but they don’t mean anything.  To give more meaning we should put ourselves in the place of the characters in the scripture to make it real and make the people real to us.  A reading list of Biblical Historical Novels was given to help with our identification with the characters.

Leadership Development – Jim

          A handout was given which outlined the topics that Jim presented.  He gave guidelines for how the Strategy Team process should work.

Vital Signs           

          Review of People

          This months Vital Signs handout was reviewed.

          Pastor Sue told three stories of how St. John’s affected the lives of our new members when they were guests.

          Discussion of the CCIS software led to the realization that it may not be utilized properly.  It was suggested that we should get help from CCIS.  Pastor Sue will follow up on this.

          Review of Goals

          A handout entitled “A Vision for St. John’s 2019” was given to the team. It suggested a new goal to address the shortage of financial contributions and the withdrawal of funds from the Permanent Endowment funds to make up the difference.

Pressing Issues

           Safe Sanctuary Policy and Process – It was noted that sometimes at Youth Group meetings, two related adults are the only ones there if Jim can’t be there.  A blanket permission slip for Youth Group is needed.  The Pastor will contact Bill S to get his thoughts about this and bring her findings back in March.

          Welcoming Guests during Lent – Pastor Sue is looking for ideas.  Current practice is to send a note if the guests address is on the attendance form.

          Trustee’s List-  Several items were listed to address at the parsonage.

  1. Mice infestation.  Betty moved to authorize the Pastor to make a determination about mouse control using the handymen group and/or Colonial Pest Control and expend up to $1250.00 to be taken from the Parsonage Maintenance account.  Jim seconded and the motion was approved.
    1. Water Hammer – Sue will ask Guy E to look at/fix it. A plumber would be the next call.
      1. Exhaust fans – Deanna will ask Kenny to replace them.
      1. Downstairs bathroom floor – It was decided to research pricing.
      1. Worn carpeting in 2 downstairs bedrooms – Betty may have some laminate flooring and thresholds that she will donate.  She will check how much she has.  Mission trip attendees could install it.
      1. Attic floor ?
      1. Exterior faucets –  Sue  will ask Guy to look at them.
      1. Exterior sump pump drain pvc pipe needs glue – address in warmer weather. Bryan or Jim or Jay will do the work.

          AV project contract signed and work is scheduled to start April 29.

          Strategy Team Retreat is confirmed for June 1 at the Eliot UMC.                 

Packet Review

          Minutes- Cheri moved to accept the minutes as printed, second by Betty. The minutes were accepted.

          Financial Report –  The table of outstanding bills should be dated 2/01/19, not 12/01/18.

          The Balance Sheet dated January 31, 2019 does not include the 2018 4th Quarter amounts that we received from our investments; Judy C will update


          The April Bellwether deadline is March 11.

          Pastor Sue will share information regarding the 2019 Special Session of the General Conference.

Next Meeting – March 18

          Spiritual Development – Dr. David Abbott

          Leadership Development – Dr. David Abbott

          Prayers – Cheri Nixon

Speak to the pastor if you need help or resources.

Deanna closed our meeting with a prayer.

Respectfully submitted,

Jay Whitehouse

Jan. 21, 2019

Members Present:  Pastor Sue, Bryan Rickman (chair), Judy Strate, Larry Holman, Betty Small, Diana Schuman, Jim Avrett, Deanna Gallant, Jay Whitehouse (Scribe).

Guests: Wanda and Joe

The Opening Prayer was read by Bryan.  The prayer was written by Martin Luther King, appropriate as today is Civil Rights Day in honor of his birth.

Leadership Development

          Pastor Sue reminded us that serving on this committee is a high honor.  We are to look at the whole picture, not the nitty gritty.

          We reviewed the Team Covenant (expectations & code of conduct).  Consensus was to adopt it as written with a change to:  10. We are role models for the congregation.  Therefore, each of us will model mature discipleship (change by to such as) followed by items a. thru g. as written.

          Expectations of leadership and practices of the Strategy Team – Members will take turns leading Leadership Development or Spiritual Development each month.

Spiritual Development

          Larry led with the topic “Where did I see God today?”

                    -flock of birds

                    -Individual called to start a needle exchange program

                    -Sunlight reflecting in the morning off of a clock face

                    -The smile of a baby when in a foreign country

                    -A GM plant in the news dealing with racial harassment

Do we see God in everything during the day?

          Thoughts on a team retreat: 

                    It would be good to get out of our familiar setting.

                    Suggestions: all day, cook together or brown bag it

Saturday, June 1 was agreed upon from 9:00am to 4:00pm at the Eliot UMC.

The meeting schedule was reviewed and meetings on July 22,  August 19 and December 9 will be held if needed.

Review of People

          Vital Signs handout was reviewed noting that the numbers are not perfect.

          Guests handout led to stories of people touched by us

                    Last weekend snow, good job by Cheri Nixon and others getting the word out regarding the cancellation of services.

                    Joe housing – several people stepped up to help and Joe now has a place to live that is within his budget.

Review of Goals

          A handout in our book summarizes the 6 goals that have been established and where we stand at the end of 2018.  We will monitor the progress in meeting these goals.

Pressing Issues

          God in Yoga – Wanda gave us copies of the “I’ve Got a Great Idea for Our Church” sheet that she completed. There is no charge for the sessions but a “free will” donation will be taken to benefit Lydia’s House of Hope.  The yoga will be combined with meditation, Holistic health and healing in the future.

          Election of  Trustee chairperson – It is suggested that the chair of trustees should be the same as the Stategy Team chair.  It was moved by Judy that Bryan Rickman be nominated for chairperson of the trustees, seconded by Diana Schuman.  The motion carried.

          2018 Audit Plans – St. John’s conducts a full audit every 3 years and a review in other years.  This is the year for a review. The audit should be done by someone outside of the church, the review is ok to be done in house.

Motion by Betty Small: To create a policy for review of finances every third year in the form of a formal audit conducted by someone outside of St. John’s UMC beginning in 2020, other years to be an internal review.

The motion was seconded by Diana Schuman.  After discussion, the motion carried.

Judy Strate, Jim Miller, George Regan, and Bruce McAdam will be asked by Betty about their willingness to do the review.

Packet Review

Minutes- Pastor Sue moved to accept the minutes as printed, second by Diana.

The minutes were accepted with Betty and Bryan abstaining from the vote.

Financial Report – Balance Sheet – Page 2 Line 203 should be crossed out

          Page 1 Lines 121 &122 the 4th quarter has not been entered

Endowment Fund Activity Sheet – Pastor Sue will ask Guy Eaton for clarification.

          In the future discussion needs to occur to make better financial information happen.


          The Bellwether has a 1 ½ month lead time

          Town Hall meetings could be used for better communication with the congregation.

          Social Media has a better lead time but has a different audience.

          March Bellwether deadline is February 11.  The Team has established policy for financial review.  Jay (and Pastor Sue) will write an article for the March Bellwether.

Next Meeting – February 18

          Spiritual Development will be led by Betty

          Leadership Development will be led by Jim

          Prayer will be led by Deanna

Speak to the pastor if you need help or resources.

Bryan closed our meeting with a prayer.

Respectfully submitted,

Jay Whitehouse