Mission Council Minutes, Sept. 28, 2023

THE 27th MEETING OF THE MISSION COUNCIL OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH IN CONNECTICUT (FORMERLY: THE 492nd 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.

September 28, 2023

In Attendance: The Rt. Rev. Jeffrey Mello, The Rt. Rev. Laura Ahrens, Brad Babbitt, Chancellor, Gordon Ross, Treasurer, The Rev. Deacon Jessie Akerson, Tom Rouse, The Rev. Deacon Ron Steed, Judie Blackman-Cochran, The Rev. Deacon Felix Rivera, Paul Manfredi, The Very Rev. Miguelina Howell, Karolyn Nicolaides, Valerie Stanley, The Rev. Heidi Thorsen, The Rev. Dr. Lisa Hahnemann, The Rev. Cheryl McFadden, The Rev. Tracy Johnson Russell, The Rev. Justin Crisp, The Rev. Heidi Thorson, The Rev. Sandy Stayner, Whitney Batson, The Rev. Tuesday Rupp, Canon Rosanna Rosado, The Rev. Canon Tim Hodapp, The Rev. Canon Ranjit Mathews, Maggie Breen, Deb Tickell, The Rev. Rachel Thomas and the Rev. Stacey Kohl, Secretary of the Diocese and Convention

Absent: Marie Dixon, Leitita Naigles

  1. CALL TO ORDER AND OPENING PRAYER

The Meeting was called to order at 5:33 p.m. by Bishop Jeffrey Mello, who then led in 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:    

  • Minutes of the June 2023 Mission Council Meeting       
  • Minutes of the Finance Committee Meeting
  • 2021 Annual Audit
  • Property Report of the Missionary Society
  • Report from Camp Washington
  • Report from Human Resources

The motion passes.

  1. ITEMS REQUIRING DISCUSSION AND/OR ACTION
  1. Camp Washington Funding Request
    Bishop Jeffrey Mello
    reported on funding request which included renovations to create 4 non-gendered bathrooms in Kenyon Hall and renovate Transfiguration Lodge to be more marketable as an off-season retreat center. The total cost estimates for both projects will not exceed $305,000.

    The Rev. Lisa Hahneman moved to approve funding up to $305,000 for Camp Washington projects as detailed in the funding request, seconded by the Rev. Tuesday Rupp. Motion passes.
  2. Discussion of meeting expectations of fair hiring as detailed in 2018: Resolution #3 (Affirming Racial Healing, Justice, and Reconciliation) 
    Bishop Jeffrey Mello requested the advice and counsel of Mission Counsel as it relates to ECCT’s current hiring processes. In 2018, ECCT’s Annual Convention passed Resolution #3: Affirming Racial Healing, Justice, and Reconciliation, which included in its final resolve, “that all searches for ECCT staff positions include at least two people of color, or one, if there are fewer than four people in total, among the final candidates interviewed.” Bishop Jeffrey Mello affirmed the importance of this resolution and its work to push ECCT to broaden its networks which has resulted in a much more diversity in the hiring process and in the ECCT staff.

    An issue has arisen in the search for the Canon for Communications & Media as none of the currently identified finalist are people of color. This has raised several questions regarding the implementation of 2018: Resolution 3 in situations where ECCT has done its due diligence to recruit qualified POC candidates and none of have applied or met the qualifications as well as questions of fair hiring standards and practices which preclude employers from asking a candidate to disclosure their racial identity in the application or interview process.

    The Very Rev. Miguelina Howell moved to proceed with the hiring process for the Canon for Communications & Media from the current pool of finalists, seconded by the Rev. Cheryl McFadden. Motion passes.
  1. Intentional Episcopal Community: Haven
    Canon Tim Hodapp
    presented on Haven and their process toward becoming an Intentional Episcopal Community, the next steps of which are for Mission Council for set their Common Mission Support so that they may go before Standing Committee and then before Annual Convention in October. The recommendation of the bishops, in consultation with the community, is $1,000 for the first year.

    The Rev. Tracy Johnson Russell moved to establish Haven’s Common Mission Support as an Intentional Episcopal Community at $1,000 for 2024 pending the consent of Standing Committee and recognition of Haven as an IEC at Annual Convention, seconded by the Very Rev. Miguelina Howell. Motion passes.
  1. Finance & Operations Reports, Statements (Q2)
    Canon Rosanna Rosado
    offered a report on Finance & Operations for Q2 2023. Supporting documents and a written report are included in the supplemental materials of these minutes.

    Gordon Ross moved to accept the Q2 financial statements, seconded by the Rev. Heidi Thorsen. Motion passes.

    Christ Church, New Haven, has requested an adjustment to their Common Mission Support (CMS) as of July 1. The adjustment will result in a reduction of $1,117.38 per month. Gordon Ross moved to adjust Christ Church, New Haven’s CMS as requested, second by the Rev. Tuesday Rupp. Motion passes.
  1. 2024 Budget of Convention Presentation
    Canon Rosanna Rosado
    presented a balanced budget, included in the supplemental materials of these minutes, which has been streamlined for efficiency and enhanced transparency. It reflects newly augmented ministries and resources, as well as coming staff realignments. The budget includes a 5.35% endowment draw, a 3.05% COLA, and 7.25% GLMD increase. Canon Rosanna Rosado noted the following:
  1. Revenue approximately 6% greater than last year, with CMS accounting for 58% of the revenue stream.
  2. Expenses are 6% greater than last year, including changes which reflect realignments in ministries, programs, staffing needs, and related expenses. 95 cents of every dollar continues to go directly back to programs, ministries, and collaborations.
  3. ECCT utilizes the Boston/New York Composite 12-month average Consumer Price Index to calculate COLA for ECCT clergy and staff, this year set at 3.05%.
  4. GLMD premiums reflected an average increase, as expected.
  5. Many expense categories have been re-aligned and combined for ease and clarity.

    Gordon Ross moved to approve the 2024 Budget of Convention as presented and present it to the 239th Annual Convention of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut, seconded by the Rev. Lisa Hahneman. Motion passed.
  1. UPDATES
  1. Mergers/Closing Churches Update
    Bishop Laura Ahrens
    offered an update on merging/closing churches including the merger of St. Mary’s, Manchester and St. John’s, Vernon, which will come before Annual Convention in October. There are currently four parishes exploring merger including St. Mark’s, New Britain and St. Mark’s, Farmington, which will likely come before Annual Convention in 2024. Two parishes are exploring a multi-site possibility and two are curious about closure.
  • APPRECIATIONS & REGRETS

Canon Ranjit K. Mathews led us in appreciations, regrets, and “where did God show up.”

  • ADJOURNMENT, CLOSING PRAYER, & BLESSING

A motion to adjourn was duly made by Gordon Ross, seconded by Valerie Stanley.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:31 p.m. Bishop Laura Ahrens closed in prayer.

Faithfully submitted,

The Rev. Stacey Kohl

Secretary of the Diocese and Convention