October 9, 2017 - Congregational Council Meeting - Summary

The Congregational Council of St. Stephen Lutheran Church met on Monday, October 9, 2017, for its regular session.

The meeting opened with prayers and devotions focused upon trusting in God and God’s hopeful persistence in each of our lives and in the work of the parish. Members opened the devotions by singing together “Day by Day,” a hymn written by Carolina Sandell several years after she had witnessed the tragic drowning death of her father. In “When You Don’t Trust God . . .” by Brian Charette, the writer assures us that, even when we are fearful and cannot see hope, God does not abandon us; God remains trustworthy. All need to remember this trait of our Creator whenever we face fearful decisions and situations.

After approval of the minutes of the September meeting and ratifying the payment of September’s bills, the focus moved to financial matters. Council passed three motions from the Finance Committee: (1) authorization to obtain a church credit card to avoid having staff use personal credit cards and then reimbursing them; (2) acceptance of the credit card usage policy; and (3) approval to use funds from the unrestricted Mae Myers memorial fund and the Memorial Contributions Funds (again, unrestricted) to purchase a new digital projector for the church sanctuary.

The next financial matter was a review of the proposed 2018 budget prepared by the Finance Committee. After a review of the Committee’s suggestions and recommendations, Council members, with the support of parish members attending the meeting, determined to reinstate the part-time Youth and Family Ministries Director’s position as a line item in the budget; while doing so presents a great financial challenge for the parish, members felt it essential to include the position as a testament to the importance of such a ministry and Council’s desire to move forward with this ministry.  Council also did not concur with the Committee’s suggestion to purchase a riding mower to tend to the church grounds internally.

Pastor Matthew Best expanded upon several items in his report. An outreach ministry, in collaboration with St. Paul Lutheran in Carlisle, called “Tapology” will begin on Sunday, November 5 at Desperate Times Brewery in Carlisle; these gatherings will provide an opportunity to discuss and express our faith in an open public setting giving others the chance to join in these Spirit-led conversations. He also shared some possible changes to the monthly parish newsletter in both format and frequency.

Next the Council reviewed submitted standing and ad hoc committee reports.

The suggestion to move to a common committee meeting time has received positive replies for most standing committees; the intent is to institute such a change beginning in 2018.

The Council received expressions of thanks from Kevin Stafford for the gift of $500 in Giant Gift Cards as a token of gratitude for graceful and profession way he has dealt with the increased demands upon him during the recent months of transition. Council also received a thank-you note from one of our campers who was grateful for the monetary support he received enabling him to attend camp this year. We also received word that Cumberland County Commissioner Chairman, Vincent DiFilippo that he looks forward to being with us for our 250th Anniversary celebration on October 29.

The meeting closed with prayers of thanks for God’s presence at the session and for the gifts that Council members use in fulfilling God’s intentions in this parish.

The next Congregational Council meeting will occur on Monday, November 13, 2017, at 7:00 P.M.



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