Session Meeting for October 2013: The Session held its regular monthly meeting on Monday, October 21. Prior to the meeting there was a church-wide discussion of expansive language, led by Eric Thomas, Samantha Gonzalez-Block, and Pastor Nadine. The Session meeting began at 7:30 p.m. with a prayer. The Session approved the transfer of membership for two members of the congregation. They also approved a research project to be carried out by Bethy Victorin, a doctoral student and member of the congregation. She will be using a survey and small groups to look into the issues faced by church-goers over the age of 70. Also reported was the start of Andrew Leonard and Elizabeth Nestlerode as Children's Choir Directors. The Clerk of Session appointed Diana Lee as chair of the Church-wide Nominating Committee.
The chairs of the committees then made their reports. Adult Education continues with the Wednesday evening series on the book "Practicing Our Faith," and will repeat the series on Sunday mornings, starting on November 3. During Advent the Wednesday evening series will study the texts, the music, and the contexts for the Christmas portion of G.F. Handel's Messiah. The Finance Committee is making a last plea for committee chairs and ministry leaders to submit their budget requests for 2014, in preparation for Budget Saturday, November 16, starting at 8:00 a.m. They also reported that $12,800 was raised at the All-Church Auction and Fundraiser on October 19, and the Committee and organizer Marcia Smith were applauded for all their hard work in making it happen. Mission and Social Justice reports that the local CSA is a temporary tenant in the building, which is good for the church and for the Food Pantry. The Food Pantry is providing groceries for an average of 115 patrons each week, and recently was awarded a $1,000 grant from SweetPea. The Committee will be trying to raise awareness of hunger issues in the world by showing a documentary on that topic at the church. The Committee also wants to raise awareness in the congregation on the mission of the White Rose Ministry (WRM) and why First Presbyterian supports it. Pastoral Intern Samantha also reported that she has expressed interest in working with WRM in preparing for future trips by learning Spanish, working on dialogue with our Cuban friends, and learning more about their culture prior to traveling there. The Committee is also participating in the 50th Anniversary of The Grail retreat site, and the upcoming Presbyterian Welcome fundraising event.
The Buildings and Grounds Committee reports that the Narthex has a fresh coat of paint on the walls and ceiling. The chair lift replacement is still in the works. The sidewalk outside the Manse will have to be replaced because of root damage. The Peace Garden is preparing for the Fall work, and for plantings for the Spring. The Pastoral Care Committee is preparing for the recognition Sunday for long-time members and attenders of the church, to be held on October 27. This is for those who have been a part of the community for 25 years or more. Membership reports that there are 5 prospective new members in the current class, and those who choose to join will do so on November 10, at a called meeting of Session prior to worship. Music and Worship reported that the Bible drive is complete, and successful, with $1,400 collected to purchase new pew Bibles. Those will be ordered soon. The choir had a very productive and fun Reunion weekend and recording session for a new CD, which should be out by Christmas. The denomination has sent a number of samples of the new hymnal for our consideration, and Session members were encouraged to review it and comment. The Communications Committee is working on a new general brochure about the church's many programs.The Stewardship Committee is working on the upcoming Pledge Campaign for the 2014 Fiscal Year. The campaign will begin on November 3 and will conclude on Pledge Sunday, November 24. Right now, some members are just a little behind in paying on their pledges, so everyone is encouraged to catch up and keep up their pledges through the end of the year so we can end the year in a good place, fiscally. The Children Youth and Families Committee met on Sunday, October 20, and had a enthusiastic group. Plans for Breakfast with Santa are well under way, and the Committee would like to tie this event in with activities by the Membership Committee since so many neighborhood families visit the church that day. The Breakfast this year will be on Saturday, December 14. The Children's Christmas Pageant will be on Sunday, December 22. Mission Brooklyn is starting again on November 1, providing an organized opportunity for youth to perform public service projects in the borough. Subsequent Mission Brooklyn events will be on the first Friday evening of each month.
The Interim Pastor noted that in the coming months we will hear Samantha Gonzalez-Block and Eric Thomas preach at worship. There is also a baptism scheduled along with a welcoming ritual for the grandchild of Diana and Chester Lee. Plans are already being made for an All-Church Retreat on MLK weekend (January 2014) and Marcia Smith and Linton Stables will be working with Nadine on the plans. Pastor Nadine closed the meeting with prayer.
The next stated Session meeting will be on Monday, November 18. It will be preceded by an all-church discussion on the topic of "What is the cry of the neighborhood?" when the church will attempt to discern what our Brooklyn community outside of church might be needing from First Presbyterian Church.