Heard it at Council: May 2023

By Kate Silfen, Church Historian | May 9, 2023 Council Meeting Report

Rick opened the May Council meeting with a reading of the beautiful poem “Small Things'' by Anna Kamienska. After Council members briefly shared where they are seeing signs of rebirth during this spring season, treasurer Bill Bulkeley had good news to share about Old South’s finances. April concerts and a well-attended Marathon Sunday brought in better than expected revenue. Consequently, the projected deficit for the coming year will likely be about $100,000 less than the Finance Committee was anticipating. Bill believes that we will be able to keep our current level of programming and staffing through next year because there is money in reserve to cover the remaining deficit. Phil noted that the candidates for the senior minister position are aware of Old South’s financial challenges, and each have the experience needed to address potential budget issues.

In other news, Christian Service & Outreach chair Phil Dearing introduced two motions for grant proposals. He moved that Council approve grants of $20,000 to Alternatives for Community and Environment and $1,490 for the Boston Immigration Justice Accompaniment Network. Council unanimously approved these grants. Phil also announced that this coming fall, the Christian Service & Outreach Committee (CSOC) will be selecting one new Boston area non-profit to receive a grant of $60,000 over the next three years. Old South members and friends are invited to let the CSOC know of any non-profits that would be good candidates for this grant. 

Rick shared a proposal from the Human Resources Working Group. The working group (consisting of Rick, Bill Bulkeley, Lisa Loveland, Ralph Watson, and Bill Matson) have proposed the formation of an ad hoc HR Committee to oversee the staff’s work on human resources and administrative issues. Phil asked council members to review the report so that we can discuss and approve this proposal at our June meeting. 

Phil provided council members with an update on the hard work of the Senior Minister Search Committee. The Committee has completed a series of two-day interviews for three very qualified candidates. They will now move into a period of discernment. This will be challenging because each candidate brings a wealth of gifts.

There was additional good news to share. Ashley said that alums of the (G)RACE Speaks anti-racism curriculum gathered last Sunday to discern next steps for the church’s racial justice efforts. There was a lot of momentum and good ideas. Ashley was also pleased to report that she has received several applications for both the seminarian and Nancy S. Taylor Leadership Fellow positions for the coming year. As the meeting drew to a close, Rick encouraged all members to attend church in-person for a series of very special services over the coming weeks.