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January Vestry Minutes

Vestry Minutes:  January 17, 2017

Members Present:, Lucas Sanders, Jules Bertaut, Andrew Rohm, Tom Tufts, Marian King, Olivia Hamilton, Nancy McArdle, Matthew Abbate, Sylvia Weston, Sarah Forrester, Tom Beecher, Holly Antolini, Mardi Moran

Absent:  Thomas Wohlers

Guest:   Jeff Zinsmeyer


●     Following brief check-in time, Spiritual Practice was led by Mardi, focusing on claiming God’s gifts

Nominating Committee

●     Sylvia reported that the committee is still looking for 1 at-large nominee and 2 people for ECM reps

Redevelopment Update

●     Jules moved that we enter Executive Session.  Mardi seconded. Approved unanimously.

●     Jeff Zinsmeyer presented a redevelopment update.

●     Jules moved that we exit Executive Session.  Andrew seconded. Approved unanimously.

Food Pantry

●     Holly reviewed the Pantry situation.  Had a meeting with Schochet and there are not guarantees that we would have future problems with pipes/leaks. 

●     Current plan is to go to a once a month volunteer led pantry. The Food Bank and Food for Free are amenable to this.  JT Kittredge will be the Food Bank orderer and John Bell lead organizer, so we can keep some continuity in activity before and during the period we employ a Life Together fellow

●     Mardi suggests going to Porter Square Neighborhood Assoc. to see if any of them would like to be involved.  Mardi agrees to make some connections with future Life Together fellow to do some one-on-ones with PSNA folks.


●     Olivia will be ordering the banner this week

●     Jules has contacted MaeBright about facilitating a discussion of the rainbow flag issues.  They seem excited, though we don’t have a budget yet

●     Topics would be how to welcome gender non-conforming people and what the rainbow flag means. Possibly a sermon and discussion after church.


Annual Meeting

●     Possible topics for discussion:  Pantry, Visions Trainers next steps, Budget

●     What to say about shared leadership?  Tom B will put something in Jr. Warden’s report of Annual Report


Parish Retreat

●     Liz McNerney is going to make an announcement about retreat.  We will be having the retreat in partnership with St. Mary’s Dorchester


●     Lucas presented the proposed 2017 budget

●     Based on the assumption that we will start construction May 1, we will have a $60,000 deficit after planned drawdowns from reserves

●     We have 106 pledges for $230,000

●     At the budget meeting on Sunday, the general feeling was to try to maintain programs/mission and work on fundraising, with a possible deficit

●     Jules moved we enter Executive Session.   Lucas seconded.  Approved unanimously.

●     Holly reported that Eric Litman has accepted a position as interim rector at St. Chrysostom’s in Quincy starting May 7.  Easter Sunday will be his last day with us.  We will let the parish know at Annual Meeting.  Discussed timing of beginning search and its implications for the budget.

●     Lucas moved we exit Executive Session.   Olivia seconded.  Approved unanimously.

●     Nancy moved to pass the 2017 budget with the following changes:


1)  $13,000 credited to general fund uses from Oaktree interest payments (approx. 1/3 of annual payments)

2)  $12,000 reduction in Asst. Rector compensation, in anticipation of vacancy during search

3)  $15,000 increase in anticipated pledge income

4)  $10,000 credited to general fund uses from Food Pantry account, a portion of the funds that had been paid from general fund to pay Director’s salary and which should have previously been refunded

5)  $10,000 as deficit, with the anticipation that some of this can be made up by fundraising


Jules seconded.  Approved unanimously.

●     Noted—the Treasurer takes this as a commitment from the Vestry to help obtain the future pledge income



Minutes of December Meeting

●     Sylvia moved that we approve the regular and executive session December minutes.  Mardi seconded. Approved unanimously.

Financial Report

●     Lucas presented the financial report.  Expenses are tracking the budget but pledges are below what was pledged.  Despite parking income being 3 times expected, total revenue still a little short of budget

●     Still looking for another counter

●     Lucas presented revised parochial reports for 2013-2015. 

●     Mardi moves that we approve revised parochial reports for 2013-2015.  Tom B. seconded. Approved unanimously

Warden’s Report

●     Sylvia reported that people associated with the redevelopment will be handling snow removal again

●     We need an evaluation of the organ. Christian Brocato has given us a name of a consultant who can recommend someone.

Rector’s Report


  • Apart from the desperate sound-system failure at the Pageant, Christmas services were well-attended and delightful. Thank you, Lucas, for rescuing the sound system in time for the Late Service! Pageant continues to be the growth service; we had approximately 150 people. The Late Service is more like 60 and the Christmas Morning services, perhaps 35.
  • As reported earlier in the meeting, the Food Pantry will move to once Saturday a month, Feb. 11, Mar. 11, April 8, May 13, and June 10. JT Kittredge getting certified to do the ordering with Greater Boston Food Bank; John Bell recruiting volunteers and acting as Lead Organizer; we're still a work-in-progress, but the Food Ministries Volunteers have signed on to try this out for at least three and possibly five months before they reconsider its viability. Premised on Schochet Management's willingness to continue to allow us to use their two storage closets, the lockable fridge and lockable freezer.
  • Pending approval of the budget, we'll be applying for a 30-hour-a-week Life Together intern, August 2017 to June 2018, under Holly's supervision, undertaking a community organizing project developing an effective and efficient approach involving a congregation-&-community partnership to address food insecurity in North Cambridge.
  • Annual Meeting & Vestry retreat planning continues: the dates are January 29th for Annual Meeting and February 10th (6-9 PM) & 11th (9 AM – 4 PM) at Our Saviour Arlington. We are wondering about fresh facilitation for Vestry Retreat, but so far have not found someone skilled and available for this role. For Annual Meeting, items to address are piling up: a) allow Lucas more time to talk about the redesigned budget; b) invite the VISIONS trainees to talk about their hopes for the usefulness of VISIONS training; c) ask the Food Ministries Volunteers to talk about the Food Pantry; ask Eric to talk about Church School.
  • The Currency of Money Team & the Nominating Committee continue valiantly. Nom Comm is just shy of its goal of a full slate of Vestry, diocesan and deanery reps and ECM reps. Currency of Money Team needs "job descriptions" for next year's task.
  • Kathryn is putting Parochial Report info together, assembling the Annual Report, and preparing the data base both for the Newcomer Welcome Letter & a new 2017 Directory published for the Annual Meeting. No Newcomer Dinner is planned this January; we're looking for someone to host our 35+ newcomers in Easter season.
  • Anti-Oppression Team members and others attended the ECM-sponsored Sanctuary Immigrant Rights training workshop and met the next evening to consolidate intentions to ask the Vestry in February to approve a plan for St. James's to join other congregations in providing "Level Two" support for "Level One" congregations like St. Mary's Dorchester, who are preparing to be available to house undocumented immigrants preparing a defense against deportation. The A-O Team is already partnering with Our Saviour Arlington and intends to raise the issue with the rest of our Deanery and with the Cambridge clergy group that meets monthly in Mayor Denise Simmons' office.
  • Our parish leaders will complete VISIONS training-trainers training on Saturday Feb. 18th. We will need to do some reconsideration of the relationship between the A-O Team and this new coterie of trained leaders at our February 10/11 Vestry Retreat.
  • Second Sunday Elders continue; 20's & 30's are planning a Theology Off Tap at St. James's on Feb. 20th. Prospective Lenten formation projects: Holly's five-week Episcopalians 101 class; a class exploring the Stations of the Cross in prep for designing our own "live" Stations for Good Friday evening; Olivia Hamilton and Seth Woody are planning to offer a Contemplative Action Circle Lenten class. No one yet stepping forward to oversee "Dollar A Day for Lent." (Last year, we benefited Tatua Kenya. Holly will not oversee it a second year.)
  • 8 AM parishioner eagerly considering making kick-off gift for the new Organ Fund. We also have a kick-off gift of $430 from the sale of the Men’s Choir CD at the St. Nicholas Festival. Pat working on getting a formal estimate of the work needed, and also working with Holly on co-chairs for the Organ Fund.
  • Living Epistles ahead: Jan. 22, Allen Perez on the spirituality of being an immigrant; May 21, Anne Ibsen Goldman on spirituality and her call to environmental stewardship.
  • Worship Commission members Sylvia Weston and Betsy Zeldin meet with Holly, Eric and Pat to plan Lent on Feb. 7th; Lauren Zook, Olivia Hamilton and Arne Nystrom meet with Holly, Eric & Pat on Saturday Feb. 11th to plan Holy Week & Easter.



  • Active with the Mission Institute Advisory Committee, particularly on the issue of congregational racial reconciliation work.
  • St. James's will have a group participating with Holly in The Women’s March in Boston, January 21st.
  • Continuing as a ROC (Recently Ordained Clergy) Mentor through May.



  • I continue my practice of monthly meetings with my Women Clergy Colleague Group, monthly spiritual direction, and participating in the Recently Ordained Clergy Mentoring Group quarterly. Keeps me grounded!
  • Swimming and drawing continue. I am also renovating my kitchen and bath and (eventually) finishing the attic of my condo in Arlington.
  • Following first cortisone shot December 4th, I continue to experience back trouble. I have been managing back issues since age 24, but the stress inherent in my role contributes also, especially this time of year.




Assistant Rector’s Report

•    The Christmas pageant, minus a few liturgical and technical glitches went very well.  A shepherd, with an errant swing of their staff accidently broke the flagon of wine in the back of the Church before the service and then the sound system decided to shut down on us, so we did the service minus a pa system.  The children still did great as did the two teen narrators.   We had a pretty big turn-out, nearly 40 children participated including 14 angels!  The angel dance had a full ensemble. 

•    The Church school classes continue to run nicely.   Our teachers continue to do a wonderful job.   

•    Epiphany youth Liturgy is scheduled for 2/26!

•    The Pine Village pre-school has asked to use the Church building an afternoon in February to host their yearly multi-cultural pot-luck.  They are outgrowing their space for meetings.  I was glad this opportunity presented itself so that we would have an opportunity to show Pine Village some generosity in return for the many years they have let use their space on Sunday mornings, entirely rent free!!  Nearly unheard of.  

•    We are working on training some new teachers for the pre-school Godly Play class, we have had a good response to this and are planning to do a ‘story teller’ training the last Sunday of January.   

•    There is a growing team coalescing around the outdoor church sandwich ministry.  I think we have a pretty good team that is committed to this work. 

•    The Scouts are doing well.  Scout service to the parish has gone very well this year under the guidance of Michelle Holmes. 

•    I preached on Christmas Day which was fun and intimate service. 

•    The youth are planning the Shrove Tuesday pancake dinner, we have a Kids-4-Peace event scheduled at St. James’s on 3/12, we are working on a Lenten retreat with Christ Church Cambridge for early April, and there is a fellowship event in the works for some time in March.       

•    Kids-4-Peace convention on April 2nd.

•    We are trying to get our 8th graders and 9th graders interested in the pre-confirmation retreat up at the BHC put on the by the diocese youth leadership academy.

•    St. J families leading the Maundy Thursday pot-luck dinner.       


Submitted by Nancy McArdle