March 2021 Session Highlights

  • Approved Baptismal Instruction and Infant Baptism for Sophia Vatter, daughter of Derry members Jeff & Katrina Vatter for May 30, 2021.
  • Renewed the yearly Covenant of Agreement for Pastoral Relationship with Rev. Dr. Marie L. Buffaloe.
  • Reviewed the Treasurer’s report for the year to date. Contributions are generally in line with the budget although lower than 2020. Expenses are also in line with the budget.
  • A review of the initial in-person worship services indicated that the gatherings are going well with worshippers adhering to established protocols. The staff is also pleased with the integration of live and pre-recorded presentations. The Covid Task Force met on March 16 and recommended that the Session approve beginning Phase 1B which would allow small group gatherings, bell choir to play in worship (masked), live family worship services, and in-person funerals. Another recommendation was to increase Sunday worship attendance to 60 people and to begin 8 AM in-person worship on Easter Sunday following the same protocols as the 10:30 service. After discussion, the Session approved these items.
  • Another Task Force recommendation was to allow one unmasked soloist sitting in the choir loft to participate in worship. A lengthy discussion followed resulting in approval to have masked soloists, and eventually duets and trios, participating in worship leadership from the choir loft.
  • Reviewed Pastor Stephen’s sabbatical request to study the theology of reconciliation and stories of reconciliation lived out in the world. Foundational work will begin upon approval of the proposal through a comprehensive reading list and participation in a 6-month Journey of Hope Leadership Program through Reconcilers Together. The time off portion is planned for June, 2022 for approximately four weeks of study in Ireland with special attention to Northern Ireland where the Corrymeela Community is located (dependent upon travel/Covid restrictions).
  • Elders reviewed Pastor Stephen’s comprehensive outline of the proposed sabbatical and approved the request. Also approved was the use of the Brong Scholarship Fund for up to $10,000 of sabbatical expenses in Ireland such as airfare, lodging, car rental & gas, educational tours, etc.  While Pastor Stephen’s family will accompany him to Ireland, no family expenses would be covered by the scholarship funds.
  • Charlie & Marilyn Koch submitted a request to provide a takeaway Easter breakfast to be picked up on Saturday, April 3. Donations received are earmarked for Bridges to Community. The Session unanimously approved the request and thanks Charlie, Marilyn, and their entire team for their continuing efforts to provide Easter breakfast.