Parish Leadership

St. Paul’s Church in Brookline

Minutes of the Vestry Meeting

December 13, 2011

Present: The Rev. Jeffrey W. Mello, Rector; Georgia Smith, Senior Warden; Roger House, Junior Warden; Beverly Estes-Smargiassi, Treasurer; Benjamin Norton, Clerk; Jeff Brown, Edward Jacobson, Jim Margolis, Jean Moses, Fred Muehter, Linda Sanches, Madeleine Taylor, and Ginny Willcox. Not Present: Lizbeth DeSelm,

Agenda moved and approved as amended.

November and December minutes will be reviewed in the January vestry meeting.

Rector’s Report

Many people are helping to lighten the considerable work load that the season brings. The Building Committee has been very busy. The Messiah sing was a big success. Advent Wreath programming is going well and drawing in new participants. Extra wreaths were made and given to parishioners unable to attend the event. Keri O’Brien is currently participating in Education for Ministry (EfM) and will graduate soon. She will likely start a program at St Paul’s after receiving her certification. Compline is being run as a separate program through the Epiphany season. Parishioner Sam Taylor and a group of BU graduate student of theological music are coordinating the service.

Warden’s Report

There will be a potluck dinner prior to the January 17 vestry meeting. Holiday cards for the staff were prepared and signed.

Sacristy Update

The insurance company adjusters visited St Paul’s to determine the level of coverage for the clean-up and demolition phases of the project. A structural engineer will meet with St Paul’s reps, and our insurance agent to determine the level of coverage for the next phase of reconstruction/renovation to the bell tower and sacristy.

Rental Property Update

New tenants have been found for the rectory apartment.

2012 Budget Development

Steve Kelley has done most of the work. The 2011 budget can be balanced within the targeted draw-down on the endowment. Pledge income is steady and plate collections and arrears are strong. The Concert Coordinator’s time may be pegged to special events vis a vis monthly use. Income derived from the rental property is repaid to the endowment because funds were drawn from the endowment for the construction of the unit.

Lucy’s hours may be increased as she takes on more financial record keeping duties. The targeted increase will be to 28 hours per week.

The Budget and Finance Committee met and is focusing on ways to streamline and improve efficiency.

A Director of Children, Youth and Family Programming is being sought. The person will be responsible for empowering events to happen rather that organizing them completely. The position will start out at 10 hours per week.

2012 Budget Development (cont.)

The national church mandates that all non-clergy staff who work more than 20 hours per week receive health insurance and a pension plan. Lucy and James will be added accordingly. In some cases a person can join their spouse’s health care plan. In such cases some modification or other compensation will be considered. The lay employees’ insurance policy also needs to be reviewed.

Solar Panel Update

The current plan calls for prepaying for 10 years of electricity up front. The panels will provide approximately 37% of our daily electricity needs. Steve and Genea did comprehensive modeling of the investment. The condition of the roof was evaluated by a professional roofer and determined to be sound enough to support the proposed solar panels. St Paul’s is designated as a historical site so the building permit takes a little longer to be approved. The town’s Preservation Committee has signed off on the project. The categorization of the project as a Capital Investment or an Operating Cost was discussed.

Nominating Committee

The following nominations will be voted on in the Annual Meting in January.

Treasurer: Steve Kelley

Assistant Treasurer: Beverly Estes-Smargiassi

Clerk: Peter Dull

Vestry (3-year terms): Jim Zaremba, Maryann Kurkjian, and Chris Dulla

Vestry (1-year term): Ginny Willcox (completing the third year of Jim Margolis’s term)

Deanery rep: Ginny Wllcox

Diocesan Convention reps: Maryann Kurkjian, Jean Moses

ECM reps: Beverly Estes-Smargiassi and Madeleine Taylor

A motion to adjourn was moved and passed.

The meeting closed with a prayer.

Respectfully Submitted,

Ben Norton, Clerk

St. Paul’s Church in Brookline

Minutes of the Vestry Meeting

November 15, 2011

Present: The Rev. Jeffrey W. Mello, Rector; Georgia Smith, Senior Warden; Roger House, Junior Warden; Beverly Estes-Smargiassi, Treasurer; Benjamin Norton, Clerk; Jeff Brown, Lizbeth DeSelm, Edward Jacobson, Jim Margolis, Jean Moses, Linda Sanches, and Ginny Willcox. Not Present: Fred Muehter, Madeleine Taylor

Agenda moved and approved as amended.

Minutes moved and approved.

Rector’s Report

Parishioner Sam Taylor - who served as a Chaplain’s Guard in Iraq - would like to start a Compline Service on Sunday evenings assisted by other BU post-grad students of theological music.

A Tab liaison is being sought to replace the retiring Eli Laurencot

A flower mission coordinator is being sought to replace the retiring Karol Bibbs.

The next vestry meeting, which is scheduled for December 20th, may be rescheduled to the 13th. This will be decided by email.

Diocesan Convention

Maryann Kurkjian and Lizbeth De Selm represented St Paul’s at the convention which took place on November 4th and 5th. Fiduciary changes to clarify and broaden usage of funds, and the needs of the elderly were discussed. Raising awareness of the elderly population’s needs and the development of ministry to address them on a parish by parish basis was proposed. Specific concerns are transportation, nutrition, abuse, fellowship, and recreation. Bud’s retirement was also a topic of discussion

Warden’s Report

Madeleine’s coordination of the retreat was noted as a key factor in the events success.

Spreadsheets will be developed to coordinate the Servers and Church school sign-ups.

The Youth Group will host the next meeting of BETA. The group also plans to make and sell chili to raise funds for the Be An Angel campaign. Genae is looking for a co-producer for the Winter Pageant.

Mission Sunday was a big success. A tip of the hat to Linda Sanches and Keri O’Brien for their effort.

A rep from the insurance company will visit on Nov 29 to evaluate the sacristy clean-up and reconstruction project.

The Building and Grounds Committee is compiling a list of essential projects.

The Nominating Committee is working to find the best replacements for those who are stepping aside.


Solar Panel Update

Jack Elder has been working with Repower to develop a suitable agreement. He is also assisting in the state and federal application procedure. A roofer has been contacted to evaluate the panel placement. A shade reading will be conducted to provide more detailed cost-performance information. Massachusetts Interfaith Power and Light (MIPL) has been very helpful in the solar panel discussion and plans to do an energy audit to find ways the we can reduce our carbon foot print. Moved and passed to become a charter member of MIPL. The membership will be evaluated annually.


Paine Fund

Vestry approval was sought for moving $1000 from the Paine Fund to the Paine checking account. The amount of $1000 was moved and approved.

Young People’s Fellowship Group

A checking account for the YPF was closed and the funds will be transferred to the general fund to be used for Youth and Children’s Ministries.

Funding for Growth

Developing a wish list with specific items such as hiring a Youth Coordinator or more hours for Lucy will hopefully enhance contributions.

Staff Bonuses

Bonuses for hourly employees were discussed, moved, and approved.

Budget Report

Line adjustments regarding facilities use were explained. Pledge amounts are on target. New software implementation is progressing. When bills are paid or checks are cut a line item will be attached to the payment.

Motion to adjourn moved and passed.

The meeting closed with a prayer.

Respectfully submitted,

Benjamin Norton





St. Paul’s Church in Brookline

Minutes of the Vestry Meeting

October 18, 2011

Present: The Rev. Jeffrey W. Mello, Rector; Georgia Smith, Senior Warden; Roger House, Junior Warden; Beverly Estes-Smargiassi, Treasurer; Jeff Brown, Lizbeth DeSelm, Edward Jacobson, Jim Margolis, Jean Moses, Fred Muehter, Linda Sanches, and Ginny Willcox

Not Present: Benjamin Norton, Clerk (Jean Moses performed the duties of clerk), Madeleine Taylor

The meeting began at 7:30

Roger read an opening prayer.


The teaching for the night was to talk about the Vestry – who we are and what we need in new members. In January, the parish will elect:

  • A new clerk
  • 3 3-year term members (replacing Lizbeth, Ginny & Madeleine)
  • 1, 1-year term member (replacing Jim Margolis)

The outgoing Vestry members and Jeff form the nominating committee. (see below)

Generally, we will be seeking people who are excited to ‘envision’ growth at St Paul’s and what might be needed for that growth. We are looking for people who will participate and represent the diversity of the parish, with particular focus on the changes that have come about in the last two or three years. We also need a variety of skills. The skills that the most people consider of importance relate to education, finance and facilities management. Other skills and interests, like fellowship, mission, stewardship and pastoral care are also important. All Vestry members are encouraged to talk to parishioners about the Vestry, the nomination process and people’s skills and interests.

The possibility of hiring someone to work part time on an education program for St. Paul’s has been mentioned. If such a person is hired, they may be expected to attend Vestry meetings, at least on occasion.

Jeff suggested that, for our “homework”, we think about how we would describe being on the Vestry. (time commitment, tasks, atmosphere at meetings, etc.)


Last month’s minutes were approved without change.

Rector’s Report

Jeff asked that vestry members who stay in town be alert to the needs of the parish next week because most of us will be on retreat. Dick Downes has agreed to be in charge of the service.

Liz Deselm and Maryann Kurkjian will be the St. Pauls reps to the diocesan convention on November 4th & 5th.   The focus will be on Bud Cederholm’s retirement and on the Comprehensive Campaign to raise $24 million for renovating the Cathedral and for diocesan programs.

Last week’s Newcomers brunch went very well and was well attended. Newcomer Committee co-chairs Kate Kelley and Maryann Kurkjian are doing a great job, including putting together a Greeters program.

Stewardship plans are under way with a theme of Growing in Joy, Responding in Gratitude.

Jeff’s suggestion of a Thanksgiving Eve service (Wednesday @ 7:00) was met with a generally positive response.

St Pauls received a $4,000 grant from the diocese for signs.

Wardens’ Report

Roger said that a walk-through of the facilities is planned in order to develop a maintenance punch-list by the end of October.

Georgia said that 14 of our young people attended a youth group gathering at All Saints Church. St Pauls will host a similar youth gathering on November 18th. Volunteers are needed to help with food at 5:30. Ginny & Ed said they’d help with food.

The Movable Feast will be held in the winter instead of November, which is very busy.

The first Mission Sunday was successful with lots of bulbs planted around St. Pauls. Another Mission Sunday is planned for November 13. The all parish activity will be the creation of “care packages” for college and military people related to the parish. Sam is getting a list of items that are appropriate to include for soldiers. Georgia asked Vestry members to consider taking responsibility for a Mission Sunday in the future.

The nursery school is packed.   Parents are encouraged to walk their children to class and make sure they’re signed in appropriately. Parents are stepping up to help with Sunday school and someone is setting up a spreadsheet to coordinate that help.   The growth is great, but a challenge. E.g. snacks for 50.

Nominating Committee

Ginny and Liz agreed to chair the Nominating Committee. Madeleine and Jim will be members.   The process starts with the members of the Committee making a list of possible candidates and then paring it down to top choices, who will be approached to determine their interest.   The final slate is usually one candidate for each position.

Solar Panel Working Group

Genae Johnson, Steve Kelly and Fred Muehter joined the meeting as members of this working group (started in May), along with Jeff Brown, Roger House and Jim Margolis. (Members of the working group not present at the Vestry meeting areJim Batchelor, Tom Daniel, Jack Elder and John Mahoney.) St Paul’s is interested in solar panels for their environmental impact and cost savings. It will also mean that we will continue to be a leader and model for clean energy in Brookline.

Based on a thorough technical and financial assessment, the group recommends RePower as the supplier. With the approval of the diocese, we will put 9 rows of panels on the flat roof. In the future we may add panels to the parish house and the sanctuary. Consideration was given to removing the old panels and putting the new ones in the same place, but that idea was rejected for its uncertainty and cost. After paying for our energy costs upfront, at a cost of $12 – 18,000, RePower will own and maintain the panels (qualifying for a tax credit) and lease them back to the church for 10 years at a cost roughly equivalent to what we pay currently for the electricity that the panels generate. At the end of the lease, St Paul’s will own the solar panels and will begin to reap 100% of the benefits of having about one third of our power come from that source. The panels are expected to last for about 25 years. Payback on our investment is estimated to be achieved in 6 or 7 years because of the difference in the lease cost and the forecasted cost of the electricity generated.

The Vestry members asked questions about the plan: the competitors’ bids, the financial analysis, snow removal, the diocesan involvement, references gotten for the competitors companies, etc.   We clarified that the initial financial commitment is prepaying for our electricity, not a capital outlay. After much discussion, it was moved that the Vestry authorize the working group to negotiate a contract with RePower for a total cost of up to $18,000 and that they present their proposal to the diocese. That authorization was approved unanimously.

Jeff then requested that Vestry members send him suggestions for next month’s “Teaching/Learning” segment of the Vestry meeting.

With a closing prayer, the meeting was adjourned at about 9:40.


St. Paul’s Church in Brookline

Minutes of the Vestry Meeting

September 27, 2011


Present: The Rev. Jeffrey W. Mello, Rector; Georgia Smith, Senior Warden; Roger House, Junior Warden; Beverly Estes-Smargiassi, Treasurer; Benjamin Norton, Clerk; Jeff Brown,Lizbeth DeSelm, Edward Jacobson, Jim Margolis, Jean Moses, Fred Muehter, Linda Sanches, and Ginny Willcox

Not Present: Madeleine Taylor


The meeting opened with a prayer.



Agenda was moved and approved.



The June minutes were voted and approved.


Rector’s Report

Parochial Report Discussion

The report summarizes the activity and financial status of each church, is useful to the local diocese and the national church. The report is used to evaluate a parish’s vitality and use of funds for non-mission expenses.

The percentage of operating costs covered by pledges vis a vis endowment or other outside sources. Ideally, rental income would cover the basic operating expenses and parish expenses would be cover by pledges and the plate, enabling the endowment to be used for mission and ministry. Jean noted that we are close to this model.


Parish Retreat

The theme of the retreat is “Growing Deeper in Joy”. Madeleine and Linda are busy sorting out the details and gathering registration forms.


Rental Unit Update

The apartment in the rectory will be put on the market for a Jan 1 move-in.


Calendar Distributed

The calendar was distributed and discussed. Vestry members were encouraged to attend the events.


Diocese Capital Campaign

The diocese is currently working on a capital campaign. The focus of the effort is the restoration and renovation of the cathedral on Tremont St. One component of the campaign is the creation of hubs within the diocese. Proposed regions are Lawrence, Hyannis and New Bedford.


Staffing Update

Letters of Agreement are being written up for Andy and Lucy to formalize personnel status.


Honduras Report

The trip to El Hogar went very well. The El Hogar facility includes an orphanage, a technical skills school and an agricultural skills school. The tech and ag schools were originally for boys only, but the schools are trying to expand to include the girls who are aging out of the orphanage. The Honduras team will meet in October to discuss next year’s plan.


Youth Group

The Youth group is considering a mission trip to New Orleans.


Warden’s Report

Sacristy Tower Update

The restoration and clean up of the tower is underway. The abatement work has uncovered structural damage that needs attention. The extent and expense of the work is being reviewed.


Wheelchair Lift Update

In compliance with state law, the lift will be converted to a key-less system.


Sunday School Update

Classes are filling up and the need for at least one parent helper is becoming more urgent. The additional helper would ensure that we are Safe Church compliant, in addition to easing the work of the current Sunday School staff. A curriculum development is being implemented in which the classes alternate weekly between music and lessons. (see Music Committee Update below)


Youth Group Update

Renewed attention is being directed at ways to keep our parish youth active in parish life after confirmation. It is recognized as a time when some young adults fade out of active church life. Encouraging their input directly to the Vestry (when addressing agenda topics that might concern them) and various mission work could help ensure that their opinions and efforts are respected and appreciated.


Brookline Episcopal Parish Association Update

The group will meet at All Saints for a spaghetti dinner and movie.


Mission Sunday

Mission Sunday will fall on the Columbus Day long-weekend. Planned activities include the planting of bulbs on the church grounds and possible at Cheryl House. Input will be sought from the Youth Group in the planning of future activities such as care packages to St Paul’s parishioners who are away at college, or those serving in the armed forces.


Music Committee Update

The Sometimes Singers have changed their name to Joyful Noise. Jana Goggeshall (did she change her name?) is restarting the Bell Choir. She plans to begin with the high school age students. Hymn Sings (held on Wednesday evenings) haven’t generated as much interest as hoped. They may be tried at a different time.


Stewardship Committee Update

There is a meeting of the Stewardship Committee on October 30th.


Solar Committee Update

The group is considering various options such as the placement of the system, and the purchasing options. As the project gains scope more members of our parish are being brought into the discussion. The internal-rate-of-return and state/federal incentive programs area key topics. Diocesan advice will be sought as there is a possibility of receiving diocesan funds. The availability of those funds may hinge on which option is chosen.


Solar Committee Update (continued)

The Vestry passed a motion endorsing the committee’s vetting of vendors. The committee will report back to the Vestry.


Staffing For Growth

Sunday School is bustling with activity. It is a challenge to balance the growing numbers and the depth of programming. In order to maintain the current structure, capacity must be addressed. A lay associate is being sought for the new position of Children and Youth Ministries Director. Increasing Lucy’s hours to accommodate her increased responsibly was discussed.


Treasurer’s Report

Q1 and Q2 figures were presented. Various line items were explained and discussed. The Budget Committee is being reformed and a Director is being sought.


The meeting closed with a prayer.


Respectfully Submitted,

Ben Norton, clerk


St. Paul’s Church in Brookline

Minutes of the Vestry Meeting

June 21, 2011


Present: The Rev. Jeffrey W. Mello, Rector; Georgia Smith, Senior Warden; Roger House, Junior Warden; Beverly Estes-Smargiassi, Treasurer; Benjamin Norton, Clerk; Jeff Brown,Lizbeth DeSelm, Edward Jacobson, Jim Margolis, Jean Moses, Fred Muehter, and Linda Sanches

Not present: Madeleine Taylor and Ginny Willcox

The meeting opened with a prayer by Jean Moses.



Agenda was moved and approved.



The May minutes were voted and approved as edited by CWT.


Rector’s Report

The post Easter period has seen a flurry of parish activity from the Parish Picnic to the Silent Auction. The

Silent Auction was a big success in the inception and execution. The fundraising goal was achieved. Pentecost was also rather busy, highlighted by five baptisms.


Honduras Update

There will be five planning meetings held over the summer. Each Honduras Mission attendee is expected to generate fundraising income to be used for expenses. The target of $25k will be pursued through parties, bake sales, direct mail, etc.


Parish Cook-In Review

Due to the weather, the parish cook-out became a cook-in. Those who attended enjoyed the good company and the fruit of Ginny and Doug Willcox’s labor.


Pastoral Care Team Update

The Pastoral Care team met to give structure to our delivery of pastoral care. One goal is to make public what we already do.


Priest Associates Update

Anoma Abeyaratne, Dick Downes , and Gordon Shultz were officially introduced to the parish. Jeff gave a brief explanation of the role of Priest Associate. Each person will focus on a specific area of church life.


Pastoral Care Update

Jeff has been busy visiting parish members who are unable to attend services.


Summer Schedule Preview

Anoma and Gordon will cover for Jeff when he is out of town for vacation or mission (as Staff chaplain at the Barbara Harris Center in NH for a week, and the trip to Honduras)


Program Calendar Review

The program calendars for the church school and service music are being revised. (see Warden’s Report)


Warden’s Report

Sacristy Repair Update

Photographs and additional information have been provided to the insurance company. The quote for haz-mat removal is still valid.


Solar Panel Change-over Update

Jeff Brown, Fred Muehter, and Jim Batchelor will meet soon and report back to vestry. The functionality of the current system and the best location for new panels are primary topics.


French School Update

The final details of the contract are being worked out. The school will use the Clinton Path Space two afternoons per week.


B-SAFE Update

St. Paul’s has committed to making lunches for 80 to support the B-SAFE program at St. Stephen’s in the South End. Georgia, Ginny and Jim will coordinate the project which will hopefully draw in some members of the parish Youth Group


Church School Program Overhaul

In an effort to bring more music to the church school students, and create a teaching environment/curriculum that will be more attractive to volunteers. Julie Starr will need an Assistant to handle the increase in group size.


Mission Sundays Update

Events are planned to infuse the youth of the parish with the idea of public service. Activities could include sending care packages to youth parishioners who are off at college and planting bulbs on Veteran’s Sunday.


Parish Picture Day

The parish picture is scheduled for September 25th.


Thanksgiving Service

A Wednesday evening Thanksgiving Service was proposed as many parishioners travel out of town for the holiday.


Morning Service on Ash Wednesday

The possibility of holding both a morning and evening service on Ash Wednesday was discussed.


Silent Auction and Facebook Update

The auction was a success. Liz noted that Ed was very helpful in getting food donations. New methods were implemented to increase attendance. One of those was the placing of ads on Facebook. While measuring the exact impact of the ads is difficult, they seemed to be successful based on the number of people who clicked on our ad for more information. The number of St Paul’s Facebook fans increased during the period. Over the first 12 days of the ad run the spot had 2 million impressions and 200 hits. Liz will work on updating the Facebook site. This is a good opportunity to engage the Youth Group. It was also noted that newspaper print ads can get good results. It was also noted that word-of-mouth and our presence are two of our strongest drawing cards.


Weekly Calendar - Update Friendly

The weekly calendar will be converted to a “Constant Contact” format.



Memorial Bench for Eric Anderson

The Vestry discussed the receiving of a bench to be given in memory of Eric Anderson. Jeff Brown will be consulted regarding best locations. He will also be asked to work with Clara Batchelor to draw up a rough draft of landscaping wish list that might suit related projects in the future. The list might include new plantings, tree work, and/or sculpture.


Parochial Report

The annual report of church data, demographics, and financials is sent to diocese and the national church where it is used to evaluate each parish’s place in the diocese. It will be emailed around for questions and approval.

The vestry may revisit the data in the autumn to get more accurate view of year on year trends.


Treasurer’s Report

Bev and Liz have been working on the final details of the Sam Shaw Bequest. The original bequest of $30k has increased to $37k in a Vanguard account. As the Vanguard account is being rather well managed the funds will be left there for the near future. The signatories will be the treasurer and both wardens.




Memorial Bench

The vestry voted and passed the acceptance of the memorial bench proposal.

Parochial Report

The vestry voted to certify the Parochial Report pending amendment and review.


Sam Shaw Bequest

The vestry voted to accept the bequest.


The meeting closed with a prayer at 8:30

Respectfully Submitted,

Ben Norton, Clerk


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