Heard it at Council: November 2023

By Kate Silfen, Church Historian | November 14, 2023 Council Meeting Report

Council gathered for a busy meeting on November 14th. The Reverend Katherine Schofield opened Council’s with an opening prayer from Anne Cohen. After checking-in with one another, we quickly moved into a full agenda. Treasurer Bill Bulkeley offered a monthly update on the Church’s finances. Pledges are falling a bit behind schedule, but members will soon be receiving updates about their pledge balances, and Bill expects that we will quickly catch-up in this area. While building use has been lower than anticipated, oil and gas prices are running under budget. Maintenance and staffing costs are also below budget. Given these numbers, Bill projects that our deficit spending will be quite a bit lower than anticipated for 2023.

After receiving this positive news, Christian Service & Outreach Chair Phil Dearing reported that the committee met two weeks ago to decide on their next grantee. The Christian Service & Outreach Committee (CSOC) has proposed giving a major grant to Justice 4 Housing. Justice 4 Housing’s mission is to help formerly incarcerated people find housing. Phil also reported that the CSOC would like to allocate this year’s distribution from the newly received City Mission Fund to support a pastor who is currently serving at New Roots. The Pastor’s salary had been previously supported by City Mission. Phil Dearing introduced a motion to disperse these funds from the City Mission Fund, and the motion carried.

The Reverend John Edgerton led a conversation on Old South’s response to the war in the Gaza Strip. John has been focusing on having one-on-one conversations with members of different religious communities in the city. Members of Council expressed their support for John’s thoughtful approach to the conflict. John encouraged members of the Old South community to reach out to him with questions or for further discussion.

In a bittersweet moment, Council members took a moment to express appreciation for Katherine Schofield’s ministry with us these past five years and to wish her Godspeed in her new ministry. Conversation then moved to a discussion about filling her very large shoes in the coming months. John proposed that Rachel Barton’s work be expanded to a ¾ position while she completes her clinical pastoral education. Once she completes this, her position will be expanded to full-time through December 2024. This will give the church time to determine future staffing needs. Rachel will continue to serve as our Taylor Fellow as part of her work with us.

John provided details on how Katherine’s responsibilities will be divided among the staff. Rachel will take on primary responsibility for coordinating Jazz Worship. John will engage with GBIO, and Ashley will work with Kate on Christian education.

John closed our November Council meeting with a request for God’s aid as we cope with the heartbreaking challenge we are seeing in our World.