Pastor Marcus opened the meeting with prayer. I introduced the two new members on the Council: George Liebel and Darlene Kostrub. New committee chairmen were also identified. The minutes of the November 2018 meeting were approved. Sharon Saige gave her Business Administrator report.
Pastor Marcus led discussion on several agenda items. The ad hoc committee appointed to investigate the offer of the Montessori school to purchase the West Campus will have its first meeting on January 23. Chuck Reeder is the chairman of that committee.
The United Methodist Church will have a special session of the General Conference February 24-27 in St. Louis, Missouri. The single subject at this meeting will concern human sexuality and the current policy of the United Methodist Church as written in the Book of Discipline. Our church will be sponsoring a study session on the East Campus on February 6, 13, and 20 to discuss this issue using the book, Making Sense of the Bible, by Adam Hamilton. These meetings are open to all who would like to attend.
Joe Mannino, chairman of the Staff Parish Committee, reported that a job description has been created for Arlene Sparks, recently appointed as director of all music ministries on both campuses. Arlene will be in charge of music at all worship services including special events. She will also develop a budget and supervise the individuals in charge of each service as well as the musicians. It was emphasized that any expense in the music program must to be approved by Arlene and paid directly by the church. Personal reimbursement is not allowed. Wyatt Robinson’s 90-day review is due February 1, 2019. The committee is updating the “Organizational Chart”.
Joe Rakestraw, chairman of the Finance Committee gave the finance report. Due to the staff and church members’ efforts there was a significant reduction in last year’s expenses. The 2019 proposed budget is significantly less than last year. Deficit spending is expected to continue to decrease. The number of people pledging has decreased for 2019 but the level of giving has increased with the current pledges. Overall, there is a definite improvement in our finances. A number of action items were approved by the Council. These included a transfer of funds, a request that the Trustees investigate a contract with a valet service to provide parking during large Mizner Park amphitheater events (to raise money), and a proposal to delay our apportionment payments to the Florida Conference until the end of the year. (The apportionment will be paid in full but the money will accumulate in an interest-bearing account). Finally, the 2019 budget was approved unanimously.
Bruce Wetmore, chairman of the Trustees gave his report. A number of projects were completed and several are ongoing. Over the Christmas holidays, the church received a proposal of a car wash being built adjacent to the east side of the West Campus. There was concern expressed about security and noise pollution. The Trustees along with Mike Woolsey will be investigating this issue and making sure that the church is represented at any public hearings. We will also coordinate our efforts with the Montessori school. The Council approved the cost of an attorney if that becomes necessary.
Pastor Rachel gave her report on the progress of the Fresh Expressions Ministry, the “Dinner Church.” A team of volunteers has been established to support this ministry. The first Dinner Church is scheduled for February 24. Overall the preparation of this ministry is moving along smoothly.
Pastor Ryan was not present, but congratulations were extended by the Council on his successful completion of his Elder’s Interview. His ordination will occur on June 8 at the Florida Conference in Lakeland. All are invited.
Wyatt Robinson gave a comprehensive report of his progress since being hired as Director of Family Ministry. The youth ministry program appears to be moving forward well and several of our programs that had been placed on hold have been re-established.
Jill Haire gave her report on the Connections Ministry. Discussion was made about some of the new language in the updated Connect Card. The end-of-the-year membership audit and reports are underway, and she continues to work on the “greeter program” at all of the services.
Our Lay Leader, Suzanne Reeves, and Young Adult Leader, Mallory Albeck, did not have anything to report. The meeting was closed in prayer by Pastor Rachel.
Once again, I offer you the caveat that the above remarks are my interpretation of the events and discussions held at the Leadership Council meeting, and any opinions expressed are strictly my own.