All Saints Lutheran Church Annual Congregational Meeting Minutes
November 1, 2020
Opening Prayer: The meeting opened with prayer by Pastor John at approximately 11:25 a.m.
Quorum Determination – Quorum for the meeting was 16. Voting members present were 27.
Minutes Approval: The minutes of the March 24, 2019, November 4, 2019, and July 19, 2020 Congregational meetings were presented for approval. Motion for approval as presented was made by John Barnes and seconded by Dave Gustafson. Motion passed by unanimous show of hands.
Opening Remarks: Libby thanked everyone for the privilege of serving as President; noting the challenges of leading during a pandemic. Some things the Council tried worked, some didn’t, but progress was made. She then turned the meeting over to Pastor John for his remarks.
Pastor’s Report: Pastor John thanked everyone for the opportunity and privilege of serving as Pastor of ASLC. His report focused on three areas; where we’ve been, where we’re going and what’s most important with a focus on the great commission, “Go therefore out into the world, making them disciples, baptizing in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
The Strategic Plan focused on three areas; 1) facilities and infrastructure, 2) communications, and 3) spiritual growth, with spiritual growth being more of a long, slow strategy requiring more time for development and implementation.
Significant strides were made related to facilities and infrastructure during 2020 which will be included in the report by John Barnes. Communications were impacted very significantly with the hiring of Julia Bessler for the position of Administrative Assistant and Communication Specialist. The website has improved significantly, we have made considerable progress and continue to work on communicating with the congregation through our email process. More details on communication will be presented by Julia later in the meeting. Spiritual growth is not as easy to measure and has been more difficult to implement in the midst of a pandemic; however, in the past few months we have started a Bible study via Zoom and an established Quad has expanded into a Mission Monday Zoom conversation that is open to anybody who wishes to participate which is helping us to think through matters of outreach. We are beginning to see some enthusiasm toward expanding our ways of gathering outside of worship. The Praise Team and now the choir, who has begun meeting again to work toward a Christmas program, are both opportunities for continued spiritual focus and growth.
There was a season of unrest beginning at the end of 2019 and through the beginning of the pandemic that consumed a lot of the energy of myself and the Council. We brought in representatives from NALC to assist us through that period. Pastor John thanked Libby Lindstrom and the Council for their leadership during that time.
The pandemic required a lot of rethinking of how to do worship, how to reach people when you can’t gather in person, what technology needs to be ramped up to be able to reach people via the various social media platforms, how do we connect with people who are staying at home. We have addressed these areas with varying degrees of success and continue to work on these needs.
Where we go from here is a new era in church history. We will probably not go back to the way things used to be. The groups of people who were attending every couple of months have become comfortable with the idea of not being in church at all. The pandemic has accelerated the trend of moving away from organized church membership. We will not see the crowds and numbers we have seen in the past. This will create challenges in how we can be a church and continue to do outreach.
God is still on the throne, the church will not die as long as Jesus is still alive and God’s people are still God’s people. We will continue to feed them and to gather. We need to focus on mission redevelopment and how to use the resources we have been blessed with to reimagine ASLC to reach the community.
What is most important – Jesus. When Jesus is at the center, it will be easy to fulfill the great commission. Next in importance are relationships. Our unity will be our greatest witness to the world. This will build trust, compassion and common purpose.
CLC Report: Karolyn Havener presented the CLC report. Current enrollment is around 70, with openings in the Pre-K group and a waiting list of 11 in the Toddler category.
There are two more infants enrolled and paid for, but they are not quite old enough to begin attending. These two additions will complete the limit of eight in the infant category. The reason for the decrease in enrollment is two-fold, State licensing has decreased the number of students allowed per teacher, and the community has an overall fear of COVID 19. Despite these factors, CLC has continued to have a strong following. This is due to reputation. Three families have enrolled based on reputation alone. They were not able to visit or tour in person. Enrollment was completed online and/or via phone, which in child care is unheard of.
The observation windows that were part of the expansion plan have been installed. They are a much needed addition; however, because of the pandemic, parents aren’t allowed to come in and make use of them. Hopefully, this is only a temporary setback.
A sewer backup in February lead to the installation of new flooring and new paint – a real blessing to come out of such a disaster. We now don’t look like a 30-year old building. Again, parents haven’t been able to fully appreciate the improvements.
Currently there are twenty staff members, six of them are new, with one of them being a retired public school teacher and one a certified public school teacher. Mara continues to fill in the gap. COVID continues to make it difficult to get quality people to interview.
CLC had to close from March thru May; however, the staff continued to receive pay through the grace of the ASLC Council. When the program reopened, safety protocols were put in place to protect the health of both the students and the teachers. Three seasoned teachers were lost due to their own health concerns or concerns over people they either lived with or cared for. Due to certain regulatory changes related to COVID 19, programs had to stop for the time being and other limitations were placed on what could happen in the classrooms. Constant cleaning is happening.
CLC continues to strive to meet the need of the children of Arlington to hear about our Jesus and come to know Him as their savior and Lord.
Chair, Board of Trustees Report: The following Trustee Board reports were presented:
Property: John Barnes reported that the following projects were completed during 2020; sewer backup cleanup, rekeying of doors, roof repair where ongoing leaks were occurring and where an air conditioner malfunction caused a leak in the prayer room, upgrade of the alarm system to 5G to decrease the incidences of false alarms and increase functionality, and replacement of panels on the skylight which is still under warranty. Ongoing projects include the remodel of the CLC playground to make it more functional and also to remediate an ongoing problem where water enters the building due to poor drainage on the Kelly Elliott side of the building. Several bids have been received for the roof replacement and a decision should be made soon on which one to accept. This is more of a preventive maintenance project as the roof is old and we want to correct any remaining leak issues as well as avoid future leak issues. The NALC has requested space in our new storage shed to store disaster supplies. They will help financially with this project. Certain areas of the parking lot need repair. Bids are being sought for this project. Digital signs are on hold due to the extreme cost which continues to go up. We are currently looking at the possibility of refreshing our existing signs and have identified a couple of companies to help us with that. Another area to be addressed is the Sr. High room that needs a section of flooring updated.
Ongoing gopher projects include changing light bulbs and upgrading fixtures to LED bulbs. The change to LED bulbs will significantly reduce the amount of electricity used as well as reduce the frequency of bulb changing. Also addressed were dripping faucets, stopped up drains, running toilets, sticking doors and rotted shelf under the sink in the kitchen. The Pastor’s office has been painted and the paneling under the screen in the Sanctuary is being refreshed. Trees and shrubs have been trimmed and a lot of old growth removed. John thanked Donald Scheeler and Mary Rosas for their ongoing efforts in these projects. He also invited others to join in on Monday nights at 7:00 p.m. to continue these projects.
Communications: Julia Bessler was invited to present a report on communications. Julia introduced herself and gave a little background about the family’s involvement with the church for the past 20 years. Her daughter Kaitlyn is now on staff at the CLC.
With the help of skilled volunteers, ASLC has been able to build a new website, upload a significant amount of information to the site and on Facebook through live streaming and recorded messages. All previous recordings can be accessed on the site. Weekly announcements are on the site and also on Facebook. Information about council is also available on the site as well as letters from the Pastor and weekly scripture selections. There is a Youth and Family page where you can keep up with recordings of children’s messages and youth events, as well as a link to the CLC page. We have a great Facebook page that can be shared with others. We also have an Instagram and Twitter page.
We invested in equipment to begin live streaming our worship services as well as the Thursday night Praise Team tune up time. Joe Alan has been featured in music videos on Facebook. Another area still being worked on is our brochure which needs updating to be relevant.
Fellowship Report: Celia Hirschenhofer spoke briefly about Fellowship events during 2020. Due to the pandemic, it was difficult to hold any fellowship events. A blood drive was held to assist Carter Blood in their efforts to keep up with blood demands in Arlington. Celia requested that people get with her if they have any good ideas for fellowship events that can work under the current pandemic conditions.
Youth and Family Ministries Report: Mara McGee provided her report for youth and family events at ASLC. The annual spaghetti dinner fundraiser netted around $2,000. Calendar sales amounted to around $200. Calendars will be available again this year. Profits thus far on the pumpkin patch have been around $1,700.
Children’s church involves a craft every week. Typically there is a Sr. High lock-in every December; however, it may not be possible to do under the current pandemic conditions. An all-church mission trip (anyone over the age of 14) is usually planned during the summer months. The 2020 trip had to be canceled due to COVID 19; however, planning continues for a 2021 trip, possibly to the St Charles, Louisiana area. Trunk R Treat is an annual event which we were able to do this year. It was an outside only event for only one hour, but we had the biggest turnout ever. The Live Nativity is being planned with the CLC taking a shift again this year. VBS was an online event this year and confirmation was pushed to September. Reservations are being made for the 2021 Eggstravaganza in hopes that it can be held in 2021. We hope to plan more fellowship events for the youth in 2021. The pumpkin patch will be brought back again in 2021. We gained a lot of word of mouth interest this year that should make us a more popular location in 2021.
The confirmation program is changing to involve the youth in more services and increase the amount of parent involvement in their child’s spiritual growth. The hope is to be able to show students what an adult Christian looks like. The expectation is that more of the students will be around on Sundays involved in helping out.
NALC Convocation: Pastor John reported on the 2020 NALC convocation. It was held online as a day and a half of Zoom meetings. One significant development that came out of the convocation was the desire to move the convocation to an every-other-year event. The need for an every year event has diminished as the NALC has become more firmly established, and the expense of an every year event is significant. This move requires a constitutional amendment to both the requirement for an annual meeting as well as to the terms of officers as they relate to convocation voting rules. While Pastor John was not familiar with all the details related to how everything would be worked out, he recommended in favor of the amendments to enable NALC to make the necessary changes.
Another item on the ballot is the reapportionment of laity allowed to attend the Convocation. The NALC would like to make it possible for congregations to send more laity if they wish. Pastor John recommended in favor of this also. Our vote in favor would ratify this change.
Motion to Accept Reports: Motion was made by Patty Scott and seconded by Dave Gustafson to accept all reports as presented. Motion passed by a unanimous show of hands.
2021 Council: Libby Lindstrom read off the list of Council seats up for election for 2021. Mary Rosas has volunteered to fill the Trustee Boards Chair slot but it was too late to place her name on the ballot. Her name will be submitted to the Nominating Committee for appointment by the Council in 2021. The Secretary-Elect position is vacant. The vote to approve the 2021 Council nominees was taken by written ballot. All votes collected were in favor of the nominees named.
Nominating Committee: Currently, the Nominating Committee is made up of two individuals, Steve Talley and Kay Becker. We need a third. Libby asked for a volunteer. No one volunteered. Libby made a motion that the congregation allow Council to appoint an individual to the Nominating Committee for 2021. Frances Stark seconded the motion. Motion passed by a unanimous show of hands.
NALC Convocation Delegate: Libby made a motion to allow Council to appoint an individual to attend the Convocation in August. Celia Hirschenhofer seconded the motion. Motion passed by a unanimous of hands.
Ratification of NALC Constitutional Amendments: Libby called for any additional discussion regarding the NALC constitutional amendments. Lacking any further discussion, the congregation was asked to mark their ballots. All ballots collected were affirmative.
2021 Budget: Beverly Byers and Patty Scott presented comparative financial information to date. Current benevolence recipients were reviewed. Beverly Byers requested that additional recipients be submitted for consideration. The 2021 capital and operating budgets were presented with comments by Beverly. Motion to accept the budget as presented was made by Celia Hirschenhofer and seconded by John Barnes. Motion passed by unanimous show of hands.
Amendment of the ASLC Constitution: A copy of the marked-up constitution was handed out at the beginning of the meeting. According to the current constitution, the congregation has 60 days to review the proposed changes. Libby asked everyone to review the proposed amendments and be ready to discuss and vote on the amendments at a future called congregational meeting.
Audit Committee: Libby asked for volunteers for an audit committee to conduct an audit in 2021. John Barnes, Celia Hirschenhofer and Frances Stark volunteered.
Closing Prayer: Pastor John closed the meeting in prayer.
Adjournment: Libby motioned to adjourn the meeting at 12:55 p.m. Dave Gustafson seconded the motion. Motion passed.
2020 Council Secretary