Council Meeting Minutes March 15, 2022
Council members present: Pastor Kevin Heffernan, Sarah Miller, Amy Penza, Pam Ulness, Apryl Brantley, Deb Ruedinger, Wayne Ludkey, Kristen Bjornstad, Jan Olson (via Zoom) and John Macho.
Opening Prayer: Pastor Kevin
Devotion: Apryl. “Thoughts in your head vs what you say and what you do.”
April Devotion: Amy
Approval of February Minutes: Sarah Miller made a motion to approve the February council minutes. Deb Ruedinger seconded. Approved.
–Pastor’s Report: Pastor Kevin. Pastor’s Report
“The timing of this report says a lot about the last month. It has been very busy. Not enough time. Some of that is good news. Our Lenten services are going well. In fact, we had our biggest (hopefully best) Ash Wednesday service ever. Last week’s midweek service was also well attended for a Lenten service.
Some of the busyness has unfortunately had to do with several health situations going on at the church. Just before this email I did a memorial service as well.
Confirmation class continues to go well. I am recording them this year too, as many families are getting away for spring break.
On a personal note, my family is doing well. They are equally busy with school and extracurricular activities. So it has felt a bit crazy as I run from one thing to another.
Overall I am thankful that things are returning to what seems a more “normal” life after the last few years. Thanks for all you do and see you tonight. Pastor Kevin”
Deb asked about new members. Pastor said six families were joining, so there are a good number coming in (will be announced this Sunday).
Wayne asked if a council member should be present at new member meetings. Pastor said it wouldn’t hurt. Betts is usually there, and Ellen helps, but it would be a good idea. These only happen twice a year.
There were a lot of visitors at second service on Sunday.
–Youth Report: Amy. “Hello all! Youth is doing good as always!!! Some sports are winding down, so our attendance is up a bit to an average of 25-30 kids. We are at the tail end of our candy bar sales which is fantastic because I am fundraiser-ed out. We are in the home stretch of school which means the kids will get a little more rambunctious so I am very much looking forward to the nice weather coming our way. I think it will be fun to have some outdoor worship coming up in the next few weeks.
Mission trip is right around the corner so I will be busy at work getting all those ducks in a row including final paperwork, payments and reaching out to host site for details. Lots of organization!!!
In the next coming months, I am planning some off campus activities for the entire group so they all have time to grow together a bit more before the summer comes.
We will also be busy at work filling Easter eggs this week and in the weeks to follow leading up to Easter. The youth are always such a tremendous help with this huge undertaking.
Thank you all for your support and prayers for the youth!
God is good!!!”
Additionally, Amy noted that projects will be on hold during Lent. Confirmation is coming up too. There are also some bonding events coming up.
Deb asked about Easter Brunch. Amy was unaware of youth helping. Council will host and serve. Youth would be runners and assist with clean-up. Amy will discuss this opportunity with the youth. Pastor will talk to Karen Zwicky about getting meat and eggs. Sign up sheets need to get posted for food donations. Amy will type up something for the bulletin to start announcing the event.
Wayne asked Amy about funds for the mission trip. She needs to get an update from Doris. She is concerned about the cost of gas. Amy said that there are still payments from kids coming in. She’ll have a better idea once those come in. She thinks they may not need much in the way of additional funds this year.
–Buildings and Grounds: Jan. “B&G Update: The below info was obtained from Ben Manning, chairperson.
- The change out of our garbage service arranged for tomorrow — process arranged by Lou but he is in Florida right now so Ben is following-up.
- Ben is working thru the process of changing out our internet service from AT&T to the new large bore cable put in by USI. Once completed it will be a $33 per month savings for us. Many in the BDM area are already on it and it is reportedly working well and people are happy with it. As of right now, Ben is checking to be sure we (LOL) have not signed a contract with AT&T and if so, we will need to abide by that re: timing. If there has been no contract, USI will need to wait till the ground frost is out before trenching the new cable in to the church building—start-up in April or May.
- Sign: Daryl is also waiting till frost is out of ground to be able to test if existing conduit is going to be usable for the electronics of the sign. If usable, that will dictate location of the sign. If not usable, we have some options on sign placement but will consider distance and expense to get it to the building.
- Blinds: Brad is fixing 1-2 per month. The one on the southwest window is ‘stuck’ in present position (I believe closed) and Brad has researched what it will take to correct. He will need to send it in — a cost of $80-$100 just for mailing plus the cost of materials to send it and then the cost of fixing. COUNCIL QUESTION: Is it worth doing this for that one blind? Alternative — leave as is and not open or close it. Other blinds — Brad will continue to try to fix but same thing could happen to others. If we are going to ‘limp along’ like this till 2023 due to an unbudgeted expense, I suggest we leave all the rest open all the time and not ask others (primariy ushers) to open and close. We can expect cost of heating/AC in Sanctuary to increase for this year.
Council: I see use of building/narthex is on the agenda. I will attach the policy/SOP written on this. It was last updated in 2014 and I believe we should use it as a base for whatever the issue is and update the policy accordingly. Why re-invent the wheel? Though I believe the process was tweaked to comply with Covid and perhaps those can be changed back. I was not appraised on what if any actual changes were made to the policy or the form. I will also attach the form that users are to sign. Unsure if this is still used — someone please check with Ellen or Gail.
Hopefully see you all on Zoom.”
Wayne said that he is very thankful for a donation to replace the blinds. Jan will work on additional quotes for blinds when she gets back. Deb added that it may be easier to get quotes since the project is more immediate now. Jan will tell Brad/B&G that blinds will get replaced in the next few months due to anonymous donation from congregation (and not to worry about temporary fixes). In a follow-up email from Deb Ruedinger on March 16, it can be confirmed that Debbie and Phil Ruedinger gifted shares of stock to Lord of the Lakes to be used to pay for the binds. Any remaining balance is to be transferred to the Lord of the Lakes Church Operations Account for 2022 expenses.
Pastor Kevin discussed the new router that was installed. Gail knows the details on the existing contracts, but Pastor Kevin feels that we’ve been with them so long that we will be able to terminate without issue.
–Treasurer’s Report: Apryl
“Lord of the Lakes Council Meeting Financial Notes (report submitted via email by Doris C. Kreuziger, Financial Clerk)
The Operating Budget Total Net Deficit YTD as of February 2022 ($9,302)
The Operating Budget Total Net Deficit for Month of February 2022 ($5,567)
Total Cash in Operating Checking Account as of February 2022 is $88,624.34
Total Cash in Designated Fund Checking Account as of February 2022 is $85,831.69
(this includes the $29,500.00 in Holding)
Total in Fortifi Investment Account as of December 2021 is $25,525.78
Operating Budget Explanation:
Our YTD income for Church Operations is lower than budgeted by ($8,095). Our Regular Envelope/Vanco/Credit Card giving is lower than budgeted by ($8,099) our Loose Offering is higher than budget by $70.
We received Scrip proceeds as of February 2022 $1,000 of our Fiscal Year.
We did budget for a ($5,310) Deficit YTD and our Actual Deficit YTD is ($9,302)”
Apryl noted that the YTD income is lower than the budgeted amount by about $8100.00. She is concerned about being down the first couple months of the year. Wayne added that attendance is going up, but finances/giving appear to be down.
Council agreed that offering plate should begin being passed around again. Many forget that it’s there and new members/visitors don’t know where it is (so they may not be giving). Wayne stated that attendance is back to pre-covid levels. Wayne will write up a new offering message for the bulletin. We will begin passing the offering plates this Sunday. Ellen and Jody will need to know about this for the bulletin and to plan for music. Volunteers came forward to help with facilitating passing the offering plates.
Apryl said that if people can sign up for available weeks instead of committing to an entire month at a time, we may be able to get more volunteers to usher. For example, her husband and son will usher, but just can’t commit for month long chunks of time. They could sign up for available weeks. Deb is working on volunteers/time & talents. She will see what we can do to improve scheduling for volunteers..
Amy asked if the copier purchase is included as part of the deficit. Apryl said that it was budgeted, so it was not.
–Stewardship/Sign Update: Wayne. “The fundraiser for the new sign exceeded our $22,700 goal by $4,000! Thirty very generous members of the congregation donated $26,995.
A check for half the sign balance has been sent to Creative Sign Company along with the contract. We are now on schedule for a May installation.
We are so blessed.”
Wayne shared that we beat or goal for donations by over $4000. He passed out an example of a thank you sign/poster for those who gave donations.
Jan inquired about a motion made at the December council meeting which indicated that anything received, over and above the cost of the sign, was to go to debt reduction. Wayne said that he feels that those who donated for the sign should have their donation go directly toward funding the sign.
Apryl made a motion that all donations received for the new sign go toward the sign. Therefore, the amount the church needs to pay will be reduced. Sarah Miller seconded. Approved.
Wayne said that the Synod decided if people donate to Ukrainian refugees, they will match 50%. Ellen asked him if she should put in bulletin/newsletter. Council decided that this can be added. Wayne will get this done. He also added that if we had the website done, we could have a donation page.
–Communication: Sarah. “Kim has taken over and is doing a good job. 400 people are “following” on Facebook. A few people are still watching YouTube videos of the sermon (20-30 people on average). Wayne & Sarah will get together regarding the web page.
Wayne asked if the videos should be mentioned in the newsletter as a reminder that they are still being posted on YouTube.
Sarah reminded council that an email update for member still needs to get done (to receive weekly emails etc.). Deb will check returned time and talents sheets against what the office has on file for members.
Wayne added that in regards to the Time &Talents sheets, we need to stress that even if you’re not volunteering for anything, please fill them out to update your information. Pastor Kevin feels that we should wait to announce the Time & Talents sheets again (wait a few weeks since the next 2 weeks are spring break).
Wayne asked where info from the Time &Talets sheets gets recorded. Deb said that the office puts the info in ICON. Deb is also creating her own spreadsheets. Sarah asked how individual teams will get info if they request it. Deb said that she will get the info to each team, so they will know who has signed up.
Deb did get a few new volunteers and ideas for things they’re interested in. She is going to keep working on this project.
–Volunteerism: Debbie. “We started the Time and Talents campaign this past Sunday and 67 surveys were handed in that day, the bulk coming from the 10 AM service. We had three follow up phone calls Monday morning and that is encouraging. We do have a few new names which is also promising.
We continue to have the biggest challenge with getting Ushers. When the schedule was developed for this time period, it may have been done without individual consultation and without reference to their preferred service time. Out of 67 responses, 15 committed to “Ushering”. For a four month cycle, we need 32 warm bodies! Most of the volunteers were from the 10 AM service slot. Most people I have talked to about this particular service do not want to commit to 4 weeks/1 month at a time. This team will require the most effort.
Presently, I have a few folks who have faithfully stepped in and served as Readers as well as Communion Assistants and have offered to do more if needed. Greeters should be okay – we just need to work on getting them there earlier, prior to the start of the service and in some cases we need to work on those smiles!
Just from a short time working with these committees, I can see that sending out schedules 4 months in advance will require follow up phone calls as reminders when their time is near. I am optimistic that this will all work out and eventually run smoothly again as it did at times in the past.”
–Worship Team: Pam. The team is only meeting quarterly, so there is no new update.
Pastor Kevin noted that the mid-week service was fantastic. Ash Wednesday was very well attended.
Pam asked about the reason for pew pads because she had people asking her about them. Pastor Kevin said that people put their prayer requests in there and it also lets us know who is attending. Many people do check items and we do follow up on them.
– Annual Meeting: recap and suggestions
Should we have next year’s event between services to boost attendance?
Wayne felt that it was a successful meeting, but not very well attended. It’s just a 30 minute meeting with no lunch. He suggested holding it between services? Pastor Kevin said that the recap meeting (with final End of Year info) can be, but the budget meeting in November needs to be separate/after second service because it can be longer, and there is voting at that one.
John Macho made a motion to have the Annual Meeting between services to improve attendance. Pam Ulness seconded.
Kristen added that those with commitments between services may have to try to make other arrangements in order to be there (example: teaching Sunday school or working with Youth).
– Offering plate & other service protocols
Anything Covid protocols we should roll back now that that we are mostly post Covid?
Amy said “passing/sharing the peace.” She misses that part of service.
Kristen & Apryl said that they are not big fans of it regardless, so were in no hurry to see that one return. Pastor Kevin added that for some people, this may be the only physical contact they get with people during the week. He would like to hold off during cold/flu season, and when sickness is going around. He also does not feel that just turning to your neighbor to SAY “Peace be with you,” is enough.
Sarah noted that some people are still not going up for communion, so they may not yet feel comfortable with passing the peace. Apryl said that we wouldn’t want to have people avoid coming to church because they’re not comfortable with what we’re doing.
Jan added that Prince of Peace in Appleton JUST opened their church back up.
Wayne noted that communion is going fine. More people seem to be going up now. He asked if we should switch the order that communion is done. Pastor Kevin said that this may be difficult to change right now.
– Narthex use policy
For worship days and other days
Wayne had a question about craft sales and other “for profit” things going on. He wonders if those things are appropriate on worship days. Pastor Kevin said it’s usually best to approach with a “yes, but” response in order to limit time/amount of things going on. Wayne suggested that those who sell on worship days donate a percentage of the profit, so that it comes back to the church (example: additional funds for Youth).
Jan added that when craft fairs were done at the church in the past, they stopped coming when a sliding scale for building use was put in place.
Amy noted that the vendors who came for the fall fest, did give a portion to the youth as it was a fundraiser.
If others ask about setting up a table/sales during worship, the council will need to revisit this conversation.
-Good Neighbor Teams
John updated council that the good neighbor teams were given a list of things they will need to supply for each family (for their house). There is an April/May time frame for families to come. Most items can be from thrift stores (these are the big things, and these items are being donated). Some things need to be purchased (cleaning/household supplies). Can we put up something like we do at Christmas (like ornament tree for donations needed). Pastor Kevin and Wayne agreed that, at this time, money to purchase these items can come out of the Good Sam fund.
Pastor Kevin noted that if this is ongoing, then we can do Christmas in July/Christmas shopping and add necessary items to that.
– Office space. Wayne said that Amy brought it to his attention that her office gets crowded a few days every week. She is looking for space that is more her own. Amy meets with kids and does some study with kids (and sometimes their parents) in her office. It feels a little less professional to meet on benches in the youth room. She suggested converting the nursery into an office.
Wayne feels that the nursery is a little too removed from the office complex.
Jan suggested moving the nursery out to the gathering area, so that maybe those using it would still feel a part of the service.
Sarah reminded that the current nursery has speakers for parents to still listen to the service.
Wayne asked the council to try to think of other options, so that Amy can get a dedicated office.
Closing prayer: Pastor Kevin
Next Meeting: April 19, 2022 at 6:30 p.m.