Mission Council Minutes, Dec. 16, 2023

THE 28th MEETING OF THE MISSION COUNCIL OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH IN CONNECTICUT (FORMERLY: THE 493rd MEETING OF THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL OF THE EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF CONNECTICUT), AND THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE MISSIONARY SOCIETY OF THE DIOCESE OF CONNECTICUT, INC.

December 16, 2023

In Attendance: The Rt. Rev. Jeffrey Mello, The Rt. Rev. Laura Ahrens, Brad Babbitt, Chancellor, Gordon Ross, Treasurer, Tom Rouse, The Rev. Deacon Ron Steed, Judie Blackman-Cochran, Paul Manfredi, The Very Rev. Miguelina Howell, Karolyn Nicolaides, Valerie Stanley, The Rev. Heidi Thorsen, The Rev. Dr. Lisa Hahnemann, The Rev. Heidi Thorson, The Rev. Sandy Stayner, The Rev. Tuesday Rupp, The Rev. Nikolaus Combs, Naomi Fisher, The Rev. Joseph Rose, Steven R. Mullins, Cathy Schrull, Canon Rosanna Rosado, The Rev. Canon Tim Hodapp, The Rev. Canon Ranjit Mathews, Canon Sarah Woodford, The Rev. Canon Harlon Dalton, The Rev. Rebekah Hatch, Maggie Breen, Deb Tickell, and the Rev. Stacey Kohl, Secretary of the Diocese and Convention

Absent: The Rev. Deacon Jessie Akerson, The Rev. Deacon Felix Rivera, The Rev. Cheryl McFadden, The Rev. Tracy Johnson Russell, The Rev. Justin Crisp, Whitney Batson, Marie Dixon, Leitita Naigles

  1. CALL TO ORDER AND OPENING PRAYER

The Meeting was called to order at 1:40 p.m. by Bishop Mello, with prayer.

  1. ITEMS REQUIRING APPROVAL WITHOUT DISCUSSION

The Rev. Lisa Hahneman moved to approve each item on the consent agenda, seconded by Tom Rouse.

The Consent Agenda including the following items:

  1. Minutes of the September 2023 Mission Council Meeting
  2. Minutes of the Finance Committee Meeting
  3. Property Report of the Missionary Society
  4. Report from Human Resources
  5. Sustainable Development Grant
  6. CMPC Technology Grant
  7. Clergy Housing Allowance Resolutions

The motion passes

  1. ITEMS REQUIRING DISCUSSION AND/OR ACTION
  1. Fund Request: Task Force Addressing Racism in the Title IV Process

Canon Harlon Dalton reported on funding request from the Task Force Addressing Racism in the Title IV Process. The Task Force has requested $5,000 to fund the ongoing work of the Task Force, including additional work with the Mission Institute for anti-bias training.

Tom Rouse moved to approve funding request of up to $5,000 to be drawn from 2024 Contingency Fund for the Task Force Addressing Racism in the Title IV Process’s ongoing work, seconded by Gordon Ross. Motion passes.

  1. The Commons: Use of Space

Bishop Jeffrey Mello reported on The Commons and what the next generation of use of space might be. Open space presents many opportunities, but also challenges particularly in a post-COVID world with the increasing number of Zoom meetings held during the day. Conversations are ongoing as to how to maximize the space in the short-term while also asking what needs do we need to address for the future.

  1. Finance & Operations Reports, Statements (Q3)

Canon Rosanna Rosado offered a report on Finance & Operations for Q3 2023. Supporting documents and a written report are included in the supplemental materials of these minutes. Gordon Ross moved to accept the Q3 financial statements, seconded by Tom Rouse. Motion passes.

Bishop Mello updated on the current “Parish Good Standing” criteria. Typically, “Good Standing” is related to a parish’s ability to obtain grants and loans from ECCT. However, some of ECCT’s current “Parish Good Standing” criteria do not actually risk a parish’s status, for example the Annual Parish Survey. Mission Council will be working to clarify “Parish Good Standing” as well as clarify expectations for each item.

Treasurer Gordon Ross presented proposed member of Finance Committee, Marc L. Rinaldi, who was presented by his parish, including offering a letter of recommendation. Canon Rosado and Treasurer Ross interviewed him and were impressed. The Finance Committee voted to recommend him for confirmation, which is a new practice they are doing as part of their intentional work on process, term limits, training, etc. Tom Rouse moved to confirm Marc L. Rinaldi as a member of the Finance Committee, seconded by the Rev. Heidi Thorsen. Motion passes.

Tom Rouse moved to approve the request of a loan in the amount of $50,000 to Holy Trinity, Enfield, from the revolving loan fund for the term of 10 years to be used for structural repairs, gutter replacement, and new electrical panels, seconded by the Rev. Heidi Thorsen. Motion
passes.

Canon Rosado presented those parishes recommended to receive the “Parishes Serving Low Income Communities Grant” (see appendix). Valarie Stanley moved to approve the grants to the parishes as listed, Julia Blackman-Cochran seconded. Motion passes. In addition, Mission Council requested an update on the work being done to re-evaluate the algorithm used to determine which parishes qualify for the “Parishes Serving in Low Income Communities Grant” at the March 2024 meeting.

Canon Rosado presented the “Trinity South Norwalk Grants” (see appendix) as recommended by Trinity South Norwalk committee. The Rev. Heidi Thorsen moved to approve the grants as listed, Paul Manfredi seconded. Motion passes.

Canon Rosado presented a new parish loan program, the “Parish Bridge Loan for Mission and Market Analysis.” This loan would be available to parishes working in partnership with Stewardship to support the parish in completing their Mission and Market Analysis study ($3,000). The Finance Committee requests an initial amount of $45,000 be allocated from unrestricted funds to offer parishes loans of $1,500 or $3,000 to assist them in completing the analysis. Repayment terms will be determined based in part on the parish’s future market opportunities. The Very Rev. Miguelina Howell moved the allocation of funds as noted above, seconded by Paul Manfredi. Motion passes.

  1. Review of Resolutions Passed at Annual Conventions

Secretary Stacey Kohl encouraged everyone to review her written report detailing affirmed resolutions and Mission Council’s role in them. She also reminded all to ensure they are up to date on their anti-racism and Safe Church training.

Regarding 2023: Resolution 6 and Mission Council’s likely more significant role, Bishop Mello noted the first step in moving forward with the directives in this resolution, including creating the Reparations Task Force, is hiring new Canon for Advocacy, Racial Justice & Reconciliation.

  1. UPDATES
  1. Staffing Update

Bishop Mello offered an update on staffing at The Commons.

  1. The new Canon for Communications, Sarah Woodford, has started.
  2. The search for the new Canon for Advocacy, Racial Justice & Reconciliation is nearing its conclusion. The search brought in applicants from across The Episcopal Church. There were four semifinalists, and two were brought in for final interviews. An offer was made, and the candidate accepted. The announcement will be made public after the first of the year.
  3. ECCT has been utilizing a temp agency to help cover administrative positions for the time being.
  1. APPRECIATIONS & REGRETS

Bishop Laura Ahrens led in appreciations, regrets, and “where did God show up.”

  1. ADJOURNMENT, CLOSING PRAYER, & BLESSING

A motion to adjourn was duly made by Cathy Schrull, seconded by Paul Manfredi. Motion passes.

The meeting was adjourned at 3:10 p.m. Bishop Ahrens closed in prayer.

Faithfully Submitted,

The Rev. Stacey Kohl
Secretary of the Diocese & Convention