Underwood Ministry Council
Members: (Moderator), Beth P. (Treasurer/Stewardship), John S. (Financial Secretary), Mary Ann (Outreach/Missions), Sarah T. (Pastoral Relations), Mark S. (Property), Patti F. (Staff Relations), Stephen H. (Worship), Pastor Jason (minutes).
The Ministry Council approved a budget for 2023 to be voted on by the congregation. Two Chefs will purchase and install more refrigeration and freezer equipment. Their rent will be increased $25/month to cover the increased utility cost.
The Ministry Council discussed the current pledges and ways to encourage folks to make their pledges. MC set the dates for a Pledge Sunday (Jan. 15) and a congregational meeting to approve the budget (Jan. 29).
Ministry Council approved purchasing two area mics to be installed in the sanctuary to better pick up ensembles such as the Bell Choir. MC approved a new contract with Two Chefs to have exclusive use of the kitchen (other than church activities) from Monday to Thursday for $250 per month, to be re-negotiated in six months. The expenditure side of the budget was discussed and approved. Mike K. announced that he will be stepping down as moderator at the end of the year.
The Ministry Council did not meet in October.
The primary issue before the Ministry Council at this meeting was the financial situation of the church. To help ensure we can pay our bills, John brought two motions to the board, both passed:
Motion to borrow $6000 out of the Christenson fund with the intention of paying back by the end of the year. Passed.
Motion to remove $30,000 from the Endowment fund held at the American Baptist Foundation. Passed.
The MC Began the process of creating a workflow for future building rentals. We discussed options for filling the office admin position. Worship will be held as usual on Christmas and New Years' mornings. Mask policies will be kept in place.
July (MC did not meet in June)
Pastor Jason requested, and the Ministry Council agreed to cover the cost of the Oikos Team traveling to San Antonio for a conference. We will take a special offering in July to help offset the cost. Pastor Jason and Stephen met with a representative from Tosa East about possible partnerships. Several ideas were discussed. We will wait to hear back from the representative before pursuing. Due to the CDC now rating Milwaukee county as orange, down from red, for covid activity, the Ministry Council decided to go back to having masks be optional in worship.
We discussed the recent uptick in Covid activity, and though we don't feel that we need to make any changes, we agreed that if Milwaukee County goes back to being "high risk, " we will go back to masking for worship. We discussed the possibility of doing some kind of outreach effort to folks who use the soccer fields across the street from the church. We will reach out to the school to see what is possible. We will plan something to mark Pastor Jason's 2nd anniversary. Mowing the lawn this summer will be done by volunteers.
The evangelical church is still interested in purchasing Underwood; we are not interested at this time. Patti will work on getting our building and property value evaluated. Pastor Jason will coordinate a ride along with Immanuel Baptist street life ministry. We will need to create a committee to rewrite the bylaws on the endowments so that the church can use the principle. John will make this happen. Rummage sale planned for Memorial day weekend. Sarah Hand has volunteered to remodel the nursery, and funds will come from the "Betty Blue" fund.
At long last, the Ministry council felt comfortable relaxing Covid protocols in worship. Video work in the sanctuary is completed, and some audio work needs to be done. A youth group from Madison that the Mack family is familiar with would like to use Underwood as a "home base" for their weeklong mission trip in the Milwaukee area. MC approved; Jason will work out the details. We plan to host an Easter breakfast, our first post-covid meal together!
Pastor Jason shared long-term historical data on both church finances and church attendance. Both showed significant decreases over the past few decades. Jason shared hope that we have enough financial resources to be ok for several years and that attendance would stabilize in the coming years. However, he does not expect the trends to reverse significantly.
Mary Ann shared that Two Chefs will continue to use the kitchen throughout the week and will start contributing $100 per month to the church. This amount will be re-negotiated every six months. We discussed the possibility of renting the Fellowship Hall for events. There are some concerns with insurance that pastor Jason will look into.
Pastor Jason gave an update on the Oikos group's progress. He shared that the group's goal is to find a way to utilize the building that will both support the church financially and be a blessing to the broader community. This could be as small as renting out space, as big as a complete redevelopment of the property, or anything in between. Pastor Jason gave an update on planning for the "Authentic Diversity" event scheduled for Mar. 5, to be held online.
John Sorenson reported that the memorial fund that we have been drawing from to cover expenses is running out, and we will need to find another solution. We will need to draw from the endowment funds moving forward, but those principles might be "locked." John will investigate.
*These highlights are created by Pastor Jason and do not constitute official meeting minutes. To request copies of meeting minutes, reach out to the current moderator.