At its monthly meeting May 20, 2015, the Vestry approved revisions to the Financial Policies and Procedures document. Significant changes include documentation of how donors of in-kind goods (for example, food for the food pantry or toys for the nursery) can get receipts for tax purposes if desired, and clarification that when we receive contributions of shares of stocks, they are cashed out upon receipt since we do not have the capacity to manage an active stock portfolio. The number of contributions of appreciated stocks has increased recently as a result of the capital campaign and some donors were unaware that stocks would be sold immediately after they were transferred to St. George’s brokerage account.
In other financial news, the Treasurer ascertained that the bequest from Alice Cox is from a charitable remainder trust (an arrangement where the individual continues to receive income from the trust while living and the principal is distributed to the charities designated upon their death), and St. George’s is the sole beneficiary but the amount of the trust is somewhat smaller than previously indicated. The funds will be available for use in Renovations Project in the near future.
Since the Vestry as a whole is now responsible to be the San Jose Liaison in the respective ministry areas, rather than having one designated liaison to San Jose, we spent some time discussing our relationship with San Jose. One outstanding issue related to fire safety has been resolve through a signed letter of agreement the Spanish speaking AA group which has met for twenty years in the basement of building used by San Jose (the house between the parking lots). The group will move to space within St. George’s main facility. On Pentecost Sunday May 24 we will have our customary joint worship service in English and Spanish outside (weather permitting) followed by a potluck lunch. San Jose is also conducting their own Capital Campaign to support renovations to their chapel worship space included in the overall Renovations project. At a forum reviewing St. George’s program year for children and youth, several parents mentioned the desire to be more involved with youth from San Jose (and possibly Amanuel, the Ethiopian congregation that worships in our space) , especially for our middle and high school aged youth. San Jose youth did participate with our EYC this year in the annual Advent wreath making.
We took time to honor Nathan Harpine, who was attending his last meeting as an elected member of the Vestry, just seven months before the end of his three year term. He will graduated from high school in June, and after a busy summer, including service in the Official Youth Presence at the triennial General Convention of the Episcopal Church (!!!), he will attend Mary Washington College. Nathan indicated that at the pre-convention meeting of the youth presence members, he learned that St. George’s is unusual in allowing youth members at least 16 years old serve on the Vestry. (Though unusual, Nathan is not the first. Betsy Martin was elected to the Vestry at age 16 several decades ago!) All the adults present individually expressed their admiration and appreciation of Nathan’s wisdom and spirituality during his term on the Vestry, as well as his service as acolyte, LEM, Sunday School teacher, Eagle Scout, and more.
The Renovations Committee briefed the Vestry on the current status of fund raising and plans for the renovations, especially the interface with San Jose. The Capital Campaign is up to $1.24 Million (not including the Cox bequest), with the possibility of some growth after further conversations with major contributors. Another opportunity for a congregational check-in will be scheduled May 31, and the final cost estimates from the architect will be presented to the Vestry for consideration at the June meeting.
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is being expanded to the primary grades 1-3. The Vestry approved funding to create an opening between two adjacent classrooms on the second floor to allow for a second Atrium learning space for the older children. The bells practice space and the St. George’s room currently located in those rooms will be moved to other rooms upstairs.
The new Accessibility and Inclusion Ministry area reported that they have held one meeting and many email conversations. Activities under consideration include creating a space for those who may need a break during the service, and organizing a forum on non-visible disabilities. The first major project of the ministry, however, is representing St. George’s through participation in the Capital Pride Festival on June 14.
At our next meeting the Vestry will elect new Diocesan delegates and alternates to when Wayne Lewis rotates off and Jill Nusbaum moves up to Delegate and Toby Walter to Alternate at next year’s Council. We will also elect a new Vestry person to fill the remainder of Nathan’s term.