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At the stated meetings on September 4, 2018, October 2, 2018, and Special Meeting via Zoom October 10, 2018, the Presbytery Council provided information and took the following actions: (*indicates items for Assembly approval)
Jean Demmler, acting as Moderator pro tem (at the request of Presbytery Moderator, John Anderson) moderated the meetings.
Personnel Work Group Report: Bruce Spear
Report from Interim Presbytery Pastor Search Committee Chair – Louise Westfall
Louise reported on the search committee’s process and discernment in recommending Rev. Dana Hughes as the nominee for the Interim Presbytery Pastor. She thanked the committee for their diligence and thoroughness during the process. She outlined Dana’s characteristics and qualities that led the committee to the recommendation.
Louise excused herself and Bruce Spear, acting as ex-officio to the search committee moved that Council obtain the services of Rev. Dana Hughes as Interim Presbytery Pastor. The motion was amended to change “Interim” to “Transitional” stemming from comments made by Dana and her explanation of the difference in terminology and focus. The motion as amended was Approved.
Bruce brought a motion on behalf of Personnel to approve the terms of service and position description for Rev. Hughes with the change of wording to “Transitional” and an addition to the terms of service of 2 weeks of non-accumulated leave for service to the greater church to accommodate Dana’s prior commitment to the greater church. Approved.
Bruce reported that the Committee on Ministry conducted a goodness of fit interview with Dana and approved her, as fit should she request a transfer of membership to this Presbytery.
On behalf of the Work Group, moved a 3% cost of living adjustment (COLA) in 2019 for Presbytery staff. Approved. The adjustment was based on the Social Security increase for 2019 and other factors including increased pricing.
Treasurer’s Report: John Boettiger
John reported that the 2017 Audit review is nearing completion. For the month ending July 31, 2018, the net cash surplus is $61,361.00, less depreciation resulting in an actual net surplus of $49,475.00 resulting in a budget deficit of $(153,887.00) year to date. John provided the financial statement for the period ending August 31, 2018. The total revenue for August was $77,509.00 and the total expenses were $48,131.00 less depreciation expenses and restricted releases resulting in a net cash surplus of $38.00.
Mission and Ministry Work Group: Sandy Smith
Sandy brought an action for approval, moving on behalf of the Work Group the approval of the Youth Triennium Task Force formation with Sandy Safford, Cindy Moorman, and Bill Davis. Approved. Sandy moved on behalf of the Work Group that Council recommend to Presbytery that annually, as part of the budgeting process, a tithe on the annual grant from the Colorado Trust be administered by the Work Group. Disapproved. Bill Davis moved that $20,000 from reserves be allocated to Mission and Ministry. Disapproved. Council recognizes the Work Group’s concern that there are fewer mission dollars each year from congregations to support Mission Partnerships, Covenant Communities and Task Forces and considered strategies to address the problem. There was consensus that the issue of mission funding should be addressed in the upcoming visioning process.
Presbytery Staff Leadership and Officer Reports
Acting Head of Presbytery Staff: Amy Mendez
Amy offered a written report highlighting her work during August, including preaching and helping Bethel prepare for a 90th anniversary celebration. She will not attend the Mid Council gathering or the Synod of the Rocky Mountains Assembly in October but will attend the Kaleidoscope Stewardship Conference September 23-26, 2018 in St. Louis, MO. After attending the event, Amy recommends that Council encourage congregations to send their finance persons to next year’s gathering and notes that there are scholarships available. She is moderating the Immigration Task Force in Dee Cooper’s departure. Amy attended the Highlands Camp Committee meeting and reports that because of an incident the camp is in jeopardy of losing its license. In addition, the camp is short $150,000.00 for 2018.
Amy reported that the Myanmar fellowship has dissolved its relationship with First Presbyterian Aurora. The fellowship is greatly reduced because of the loss of membership over the PC(USA) stance on homosexuality and members relocating to more affordable locations. Pastor Andrew Thang is seeking a new direction for his ministry. He will start a new ministry with Burmese refugees at First Presbyterian Englewood with the blessing of Rev. Troxler and the Session.
Stated Clerk Report: Olivia Hudson Smith
As of September 1, 2018, the Presbytery’s insurance coverage switched from GuideOne to Brotherhood Mutual which will result in a cost saving. Of the 24 congregations under the umbrella, 23 will go with Brotherhood Mutual, and will now carry individual insurance with separate umbrella coverage. There will be a review with clerks of sessions on September 22, 2018. Proposed amendments to the Book of Order were received. Voting by the Presbytery must take place on or before by June 23, 2019, but preferably by May 10, 2019 for printing purposes. The amendment document will go out with the October Assembly documents. Voting on the proposed amendments will occur at the January and March Assemblies. There will be a ballot vote at the October Assembly. Volunteers from the Committee on Ministry will distribute ballots during registration. On behalf of the Leadership Work Group, Rev. Jimmy Hawkins as the keynote speaker, has been secured for the fall 2019 event at Highlands.
Communications and Administrative Manager Report: Beth Carlisle
Beth reported that the Presbytery is holding a Treasure Sale at the Grant Street location of items that did not move to the new location. The sale is open to congregations and will be held on Sunday, September 23rd from 1:00-6:00 p.m. and Monday September 24th from 9:00 a.m. until done. Subsequently she reported that the Grant street building is empty and is now in the hands of the new owners. She thanked Wesley Jones for the work in helping to make the move possible.
The staff has planned an Advent Luncheon and Minister’s Communion for December 12, 2018, at Wellshire Presbyterian Church. The Transitional Presbytery Pastor will preach.
Presbytery Vice-Moderator Report: Wanda Beauman
Wanda offered her thanks for everyone who helped make the August Assembly a success. She thanked Bruce Spear, the Elizabeth congregation for their hospitality and welcoming of the Presbytery, the guitarist and choir for their participation in worship. Wanda thanked John Yu for bringing a strong message.
Presbytery Moderator Report/Assemblies Work Group: John Anderson
Jean entertained a motion on behalf of Council that council allocate $400.00 to Trinity to cover the costs of pulpit supply for two weeks while John Anderson, Presbytery Moderator traveled to Zimbabwe, representing the Presbytery as part of the delegation this year. Approved
John discussed the possibility of adopting a statement about the use of sacred funds from the death of one congregation to bring life to another congregation. After discussion, Council agrees that the use of such funds should be a part of the larger visioning conversation.
Finance and Property Work Group: Keith Moore
*Keith Moore moved on behalf of the Work Group that Council recommend to the Presbytery that the Presbytery portion of per capita be fixed at $19.55 for 2019 and 2020. Approved. This two year fixed increase represents a slight increase of .20¢ over the 2018 Presbytery per capita amount.
Keith moved on behalf of the committee that it approve reimbursement of the cost of plumbing repair at the Lakewood property of $513.82, paid by the Lighthouse property user for an emergency repair. Approved.
The Work Group provided a draft of the 2019 Presbytery budget for Council review. There are still some adjustments to make before a vote can be taken to recommend the Presbytery Assembly approve the budget. The largest issue is that because of the estimated income of the Colorado Trust, a deficit budget will likely need to be proposed. Keith Moore will attempt to obtain a firm figure from the Colorado Trust as the Work Group continues to finalize the budget for a vote by Council to recommend to the Assembly. An adjusted draft will be sent to Council members on October 8, 2018. The Council will hold a meeting by Zoom at 4:30 p.m. on October 10, 2018, to discuss the revised draft and subsequently an email vote may be taken should the Council agree the draft is ready to place on the October 23, 2018, Assembly agenda.
Budget Discussion: Keith Moore and John Boettiger addressed questions raised by members; including discrepancies in wages for the staff compared to what is reported in the 2018 revised budget; amount budgeted for vital congregations, COM and CPM secretarial compensation, Lakewood property expenses and insurance, and CPM expenses. John will make revisions and corrections and issue a revised draft on October 11, 2018. Bruce Spear, Personnel Moderator will make corrections to staff wage calculations with a notation on incorrect 2018 figures. *At which time Keith will move on behalf of the Finance and Property Work Group that Council recommends the proposed 2019 Budget to Presbytery for approval. Once the revised, proposed budget is disseminated, Council approved that voting members present for discussions will have 24 hours within which to cast their votes.
Long Term Initiatives Work Group: Chris Wineman
Chris thanked Beth and Wesley for their efforts during the move. Chris highlighted that two grants have been awarded. A seed grant of $7,500.00 for Dan Dolquist’s Wild Village new worshiping community and a Growth Grant of $25,000.00 for Joel and Juli Adams’ ministry. The New Worshiping Community (NWC) Guidelines will be discussed with the leaders of the various NWC for recommendations. If Council has any questions or suggestions, LTI would like to hear those. Chris stated that if the Presbytery wants to participate in the 2019 Vital Congregation initiative, it would have to make a serious effort immediately to have 10 congregations sign on for the three-year commitment, as the deadline is November 1, 2018. Chris reports that the New Worshipping Community Guidelines are being discussed with new worshipping communities and will be presented to Council at a subsequent meeting. The Work Group will review the Vietnamese Fellowship application for the next phase of funding from 1001 New Worshipping Communities.
Vital Congregations Revitalization Initiative: Bill Davis
Bill reported on his meeting with Kathryn Threadgill and Simone regarding hosting the West Coast Vital Congregation conference in May 2019, which is distinguished from congregational participation in the initiative that Chris discussed in the LTI report. Two possible locations for the conference identified are Montview and Trinity; the decision will be up to Kathryn. The timeframe for the event is May 6 – 8, 2019. Based on their visit, Kathryn Threadgill and her team have decided on Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church as the host church for the Vital Congregation conference.
Racial and Ethnic Diversity Work Group: John Yu
John highlighted the Fearless Dialogue event on September 14, 2018, primarily focused on congregations in the Northwest quadrant of the metro area. Council is invited to participate. Amy reports on behalf of the Work Group. The Work Group proposes to hold the next Fearless Dialogue event on November 2, 2018. The location of the event has not been determined but the event will be held in the central region of the Presbytery.
Nominating Committee Task Group: Wanda Beauman
On behalf of the Task Group, Wanda moved that Council recommend to Presbytery that Lemuel Velasco be elected to serve on the Nominating Committee of Presbytery. Approved
Leadership Work Group: Ki Park
On behalf of the Work Group, Ki moved that $1000 coming from the Synod of the Rocky Mountains to the Presbytery be allocated to the Work Group for leadership scholarship for the fall 2018 event. Approved. Nancy, Leadership moderator, appeared via Zoom and reports that final planning is underway for the November event. They are attempting to secure a piano player. Scholarships are available and the Work Group does not require involvement if someone contacts the staff and requests a scholarship to register. She noted that no one on Council has registered to attend.
Relations and Communications Work Group: Jean Demmler
Adrian Miller from the Colorado Council of Churches was present at the September meeting and reviewed several of the initiatives that have made it onto the ballot for November. Olivia reported that she voted in the affirmative to support a ballot initiative for mental health care to raise $45 million dollars by a tax increase. This ballot measure is restricted to the City and County of Denver. Jean reports that The Colorado Council of Churches has issued a voter’s guide on referendum and ballot issues that it is supporting. She announced these guides will be available at the October Presbytery Assembly. Jean also offered copies of the PC(USA) policy on election reform, Lift Every Voice, adopted in 2008. Two ballot questions, Amendments to the Colorado Constitution Y and Z, address the problem of gerrymandering voting districts by establishing non-partisan commissions to map districts after the 2020 census. These amendments are congruent with recommendations in the PC(USA) policy.
Olivia L. Hudson Smith