Council Minutes - March 22, 2022

Wesley Memorial Church Council

March 22, 2022

PRESENT: Pastor Matt Seaton, David Sandridge, Rosie Snow, Jennette Parker, Matt Zimmerman, Gabe Alencar, Carolyn Ball, Maury Early, Rocky Shoemaker, Monica McCormack, Sue Lewis, Cameron Pampus, Sandy Staggers

OPENING: David opened the meeting with scripture and prayer.

MINUTES: the minutes of the February meeting were approved.

STAFF REPORTS: Monica submitted the written report below. To her report Monica added that the live stream audio issue has been resolved and she is working on microphones for the choir.

Developing a Strategy for Communications Planning

I successfully finished this course. The facilitators continuously used the words ‘Communications Ministry’ and described the first of six traits of a great church communicator as the “ability to see your job as a ministry partner instead of a production house mentality”. This goes hand-in-hand with what we are reading in Slow Church. Two other traits are “Being able to cope well” and “Develop Sustainable Strategies that are good for the church and your own personal, emotional and spiritual wellness.” I must admit that I, and apparently many of us taking the course, have not approached communications as a ministry. I really liked this new perspective. Other topics covered were – Know your Audience, Digital Storytelling, Having Deadlines, Videos (good Audio is key), and Create a Content Calendar.

A lot of the suggested ways for churches to communicate their vision and core values, we are already doing here at Wesley – social media, website, livestream, creating graphics on Canva, weekly newsletters (they suggested adding a video – 3–4-minute message from the pastor - to the top of the newsletter, which we are now doing. This adds a personal touch.)

SEO for Website

The website audit has been received and there are many pages of information with suggestions of what can be done page-by-page to increase the search engine optimization and help robots pick us out and put us on the first page of key searches. The auditor thought that our site looked very good especially our mobile site. I have begun to go through the site with the audit report.


Easter promotion under way - Sending postcard invitations this week. Signs go up next week, and a Facebook advertising campaign begins the week of Easter. Palms are ordered.

Trans Defense

I have been working on developing a relationship with the trans moms who meet each week at the online Trans Defense group. The meal train ends this week and has been a huge success. Rosie and I have been bringing the daily meal to Jasmine after 4pm and she has been blown away by the outpouring of support. Each week, I walk with another trans mom from 3-4pm on Wednesday or Thursday around UVA and we have some good conversations about her life and struggle as a transwoman. She is very grateful for the weekly faith support through the Trans Defense group.

Prayer Group

Our discussion of the Lenten Devotional “The Cup of Salvation” is going very well and we all really like the daily readings and prayers.

First Quarter Giving Statements will go out at the end of the month.


-A garden work day was held on March 19. Beds were planted except those assigned to Maria. Rosie has not found a person to coordinate the garden work while she is on maternity leave and will continue to search for someone.

-The nursery worker who was hired has now resigned and child care Is being handled by volunteers. Child care will be provided only during the worship hour. Discussion followed as to whether to seek to hire a replacement nursery employee. Rosie will not be able to pursue this prior to her maternity leave.

- The Wednesday night Bible study is transitioning to a ‘’dinner church’’ beginning in April.

-Kathryn Laughon will coordinate the sanctuary ministry while Rosie is on maternity leave. Kathryn will contact Maury as outreach chair as needed.


There will be a performance by a string quartet on Easter Sunday. Cameron is working on a Wednesday concert series to be held in June once choir practice stops for summer.


David provided a written report which was reviewed. He notes donations to the Sanctuary fund have declined. Maria received a $3000 grant from Faith in Action. The outdoor city market begins on April 2 and Maria is likely to earn more money after it begins. Maria continues to work toward her catering certification. The church sanctuary support group is planning to meet with sanctuary groups from other churches.

TRUSTEES: Carolyn provided the written report below.

* There have been 2 plumbing issues: leak under middle kitchen sink which was fixed on March 1st by Robertson Plumbing and Electric

A leak which was reported by CSPS in basement next to elevator and in progress with split in specialty pipe found on 3/17. Drywall had to be cut out and we are awaiting return appointment to finish repair by Robertson.

* We are contracting with CertaPro to paint “Chris’s” room, the shed in the playground (special lead precautions to be employed) and nursery wall. We had 2 estimates and this work will be about $4800.

* Asbestos removal was completed in Moosetrap boiler room by WACO inc.

* Pastor Matt, Gabe Alencar and Carolyn Ball did walk through of Moosetrap and discussion is in progress about options. Carolyn has spoken with Andy Miller at Piedmont Housing Alliance about possible partnership and return call to set up walk around to occur in next couple weeks. Tiger Fuel heating oil delivery has been placed on “will call” to let oil empty out for possible heating system change. We are in exploratory phase looking to renovation or partnership with PHA to develop property.

* Pastor Matt is taking lead to make Hively Room more warm and welcoming. Should we have special naming ceremony?

* Starnes Property lease will end April 30 2023. Pastor Matt has expressed interest in living at that property and having it available as option for pastors in the future. His housing allowance far exceeds the rent we are now charging for Starnes. The Willeys have been there for several years and are hopeful that they could purchase property so we would want to give them ample time to make other plans should we not renew their lease next year. Opening this up for council discussion.

-After discussion council approved a motion to notify the current tenants at the Starnes property that we will not renew their lease and they will need to vacate at the end of the current lease in April 2023. The current tenants will be given a year’s notice that the lease will not be renewed.

SPR: Sue provided the written report below.

The SPRC met on Monday, March 14 at 7:00pm via Zoom. Present were Matt Seaton, Pastor; Sue Lewis, Chair; Jenette Parker and John Olsson, newest member.

We reviewed several staff evaluation models provided by Jenette and chose one self-evaluation to be sent to all staff. After receiving and reviewing the form, we will meet with the staff member individually, using a template that we will choose. It was agreed that these are performance evaluations, which will be kept in personnel files to be maintained by the pastor, and accessible to the employee as requested. Merit raises on July 1 may be discussed based on church finances and Council approval.

The self-evaluation document will be sent to all staff, and meetings scheduled during the next month. The first one will be with Rosie prior to her maternity leave in April.

The committee was notified that the Nursery Attendant, Logan, did not show up on 3/6, and has been terminated.

The committee will meet again on March 21, 2022.

-Discussion of SPR report followed. It was noted that the nursery attendant, Logan, resigned and was not terminated. The nursery attendant reported to Rosie and gave her the resignation

-Discussion of the possibility of merit raises for staff after the completion of evaluations. Merit raises are not in the current budget for 2022 and there was no decision about merit raises for this year. It was suggested that SPR ask for funds for merit raises in the budget request for 2023.

WORSHIP: Rocky provided the written report below.

The Worship team is currently reassessing our responsibilities as we transition away from pandemic pandemonium. Over the years with various pastoral and music ministries, we've filled a wide range of roles, from simply arranging alter flowers and Communion designing comprehensive worship themes, music, visuals and activities with the worship leaders. Since Covid, more and more of those roles have had to be streamlined and assumed by the worship staff, and with great results.

For this Lenten season the worship committee will focus on weekly Communion elements, palms for Palm Sunday, and Easter lilies and brighter flowers for Easter.

But once Wesley has established its new normal, we would like to meet with Matt and Cameron to discuss how we can best support and compliment worship planning for the seasons ahead.

2. Senior Moments

(on behalf of Srs, no reference to forgetting!)

I have spoken with several Sr. members who are eager to resume in-person activities at Wesley. But they each agree that hearing and following the speaker is noticeably easier when worship is virtual. How can we improve the live worship experience for these folks? I suggest that we invite them to a meeting to discuss this. Perhaps they need particular adjustments to the audio settings,

or more speakers, or a class on adapting hearing-aids to technology. Perhaps these members need encouragement to set aside an auditory enhanced section of pews (up front?). I don't have a solution, but whatever is decided should accommodate their needs and incorporate their suggestions.

3. There was one Sunday when a father attended with two upper elementary sons. This is in no way a criticism of the rich and vibrant program begun for younger kids. But while we have access to Lectionary based activity pages, games, children's sermons, etc., we did not have anything at hand to specifically welcome these older children. Perhaps we could simply equip the Aldersgate room with age-appropriate games or activities. But would it also be feasible to incorporate older children more specifically into our worship experience as needed? Perhaps a brief explanation for our young guests by the pastor about the coming sermon scripture, before offering the matching handout (Monica has a UMC lectionary-based activity book ready to be copied) or an invitation to use equipped activity bags (already in vestibule) to draw an image that strikes them from the sermon, to be shared with Matt after worship or have someone ready to deliver a preplanned children's sermon as needed. I can think of at least two upper elementary families who may return once we are fully back to open worship.

-Discussion re: hearing issues. It was pointed out that there are hearing /ear loops available. Perhaps persons need instruction on their use.

-For older children, Rocky will look into the sermon handouts that are age appropriate. It is thought that older elementary age children should remain in the worship service for the whole time.

WITNESS: Juliana

Juliana reports there is a young adult fellowship dinner this week.


-Maury reports that fellowship will begin again outside the church on the breezeway.

-Outdoor city market begins on April 2. We will again need assistance to transport Maria and her goods to and from the market.

-Impact meeting is March 29.

-We have $1775 collected for Afghan families. Discussion followed as to how to distribute these funds. Maury will gather a few people to consider how the funds will be spent.


-Pastor Matt requested funds to purchase a new office computer. Council approved this motion. It will be approximately $1500.

-Discussion of the book Slow Church continued.

CLOSING: Pastor Matt closed the meeting with prayer.

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