May 2023 Session Update

Financial Report From Treasurer

○ A new church employee, Fran Owens, has begun as the part time Financial Administrator of First Presbyterian Church. Fran shared time on-boarding with previous employee, Jim Davis. Jim’s last action for the church was his production of the financial reports for the May Session meeting. Jim will continue to serve on the Board of the Preschool as Treasurer. The First Presbyterian Church Financial Administrator will conduct no business on behalf of the Preschool.
○ The financial trend at First Presbyterian Church over the last 5 years reveals reduced pledges and an impact on operating funds. Lots of
Americans are Losing Their Religion. Are You? This linked article has several embedded links that show some evidence of those trends in the mainline church. Over the last three years, the reduction of pledges at First Presbyterian, by death or loss of membership, has been obscured by the presence of PPP funds and the departure of the Senior pastor and Director of Christian Education in 2022. These staff departures left the church without significant staffing expenses for five months which greatly reduced personnel expenditures.
○ The Budget and Finance Ministry Team made a motion that was accepted that each ministry team review its budget and identify essential expenditures and those expenditures that could be reduced or eliminated from the budget. Each Ministry Team will bring back a revised proposed budget to the June Session meeting.
● Financial Review of Church Finances In Progress
○ The accounting firm hired to perform the review of First Presbyterian Church will include a review of preschool finances, specifically to identify the direct financial support received from the church (in-kind expenses) and a review of the corporate relationship between the preschool’s 501(c)3 and the church. The goal of this portion of the financial review process is to achieve a better understanding of the technical relationship and potential impact of the preschool on the church regarding financial liability and legal responsibilities.

Interim Report – Reviewed the status of three goals for the interim season
○ Healing
■ The Session was trained and provided feedback for how to move the process of Compassionate Witnessing into the church. The PNC who called Pastor Margaret Fox will be the first group invited to participate in the Compassionate Witnessing process.
○ Administration
■ The formation of a Budget and Finance Ministry Team has been completed and is resourcing the Session to understand the Financial health of the congregation.
■ A Thriving Congregations grant was applied for and the church will receive notification of the grant in June. This grant will allow for an audit of church communications and assistance with a staffing vision for communications.
■ A reduction in the size of the Session is being studied as are the impact upon the current Session’s organization.
■ The CAT Teams will be the locus for Church communication, relationship building, and compassion.
● Elders were asked to reach out to CAT team members to secure demographic data as the church rolls will be cleaned over the process of the Summer by the Care and Outreach Ministry Team.
● Elders were asked to invite their CAT to read the book, Necessary Risks by Teri Ott, over the course of the Summer. There will also be an in person, and on-line, version of this book study by Tip Tomberlin and Anne Apple over the Summer.
● CAT teams will be invited into a process called Appreciative Inquiry which will be the seed work for the Mission Study for the formation of a PNC for calling a new pastor.
○ Worship and Programming
■ A four week sermon series that combines themes from the book, Necessary Risks, and the concept of Belonging to the Body of Christ, will be June 25, July 2, 9, & 16th.

Personnel Team Motion – By a prior electronic vote, the Session moved and approved a request to the Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry to make Greta Reed a Parish Associate for a 12 month period with Pastor Apple. Moved to make a request to the Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry that Interim Pastor Apple’s contract be extended by 6 months to June 2, 2024, making her period of service 18 months. The Moderator excused herself during discussion, appointed elder Jane Atkinson as Moderator, and the motion was approved without objection.
Music and Worship Team – In concert with the Personnel Team, it was announced that the designation of “Interim” will be removed from Choir Director Ethan Murphy’s title. A commissioning of his ministry will be celebrated on Pentecost Sunday, May 28th. He will now serve as Choir Director.