At several called meetings over the summer, it was the joy of the Session to welcome the following new members from the 2019-20 Confirmation Class: Mina Achorn, Kathryn Kyper, Riley Mehaffie, Kate Patton, John Potter, Mayangela Speicher, and Piper Stagg.
The August session meeting opened with prayer and the introduction of Derry’s new staff members, Rev. Pamela Meilands and Grant Wareham. The Elders were happy to welcome both and look forward to working with them and the entire staff as we move through these challenging times.
Much of the meeting was devoted to discussions related to Derry’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Elders reviewed results of the survey distributed to members in which 381 responses were tabulated. After discussion, a motion was passed to accept the COVID Task Force’s recommendation to continue our current protocols through the end of September. Continued deliberation on our response to the pandemic will be discussed at upcoming Session meetings.
The Elders reviewed and debated the proposal for a staged re-opening of Derry Discovery Days based upon the “COVID-19 Plan and Procedures” prepared by the DDD Board. A motion was made, seconded and approved permitting DDD, if the way be clear, to move forward with opening the 4-year old classroom on September 21 and the 3-year old classroom the first week of October. This plan will be reviewed at the Session’s September 16 stated meeting in the event that changing conditions indicate a need to change the plan.
Elder David Hann will be preparing a video to speak to the congregation on the Session’s COVID-19 deliberations and decisions and a congregational letter will be sent to members.
Approved membership roll updates based upon member requests.
Approved the baptism of Tyler Brandt, son of members Emily & Gregory Brandt, for Saturday, September 12 at the outside font.
Accepted, with regret, the resignation of Kelly Mehaffie as Director of Derry Discovery Days.
Approved a request from Cub Scout Pack 200 to use the church parking lot on Saturday, September 26 for a drive-through pick-up of pre-ordered chicken BBQ.
Heard the Treasurer’s report that contributions are lagging compared to this time last year. However, cash flow remains positive and church committees are generally spending less than in 2019. With a rise in the stock market, Derry’s investments are recovering previous losses.
The Building & Grounds committee recommended limited use of the church van due to ongoing repairs and safety concerns. The Session agreed and approved a motion to discontinue use of the van and dispose of it through sale, donation, trade-in or other means of removal.
In 1983, Russell and Joann Brong created a scholarship program at Derry (the “Brong Scholarship”) with an initial gift of $50,000. Through the years, this scholarship has been used to provide financial aid to students working toward full-time service in Christian ministry, members of Derry’s staff for continued education, and for others preparing to serve in social and humanitarian service. Mrs. Brong (pictured at right: she joined us for outdoor worship on Sept 1) has generously gifted an additional $100,000 to continue and expand the Brong Scholarship. New uses for the fund include: up to a $3,000 gift each year to Derry’s Youth Leadership Scholarship, expansion of the fields included in the social and humanitarian sectors, support for staff sabbatical expenses, and support to any member of a Presbyterian USA church in the Carlisle Presbytery who is attending a graduate school program in a field related to Christian ministry. The Session is responsible for making grants to eligible applicants. The Stewardship & Finance committee will have financial oversight of the fund with the Christian Education committee reviewing applications and recommending distributions. After review, the Session gratefully accepted Mrs. Brong’s contribution and approved the amendments to the fund.
A Called Congregational meeting has been scheduled for Sunday, October 11, 2020 for the purpose of electing new church officers. Details of the meeting together with information on the incoming officers will be distributed over the next several weeks.
As requested by the Building & Grounds committee, the Elders approved granting Met-Ed a temporary right-of-way for access to the church parking lot along the western boundary for the purpose of replacing a power pole. The access is granted subject to Met-Ed agreeing to satisfactorily re-landscape the area around the pole and inform the Hershey Country Club of the work due to possible impact on golfing operations.
The meeting closed with prayer and the introduction of one of Derry’s newest children, Gilbert Charles Whitaker. Congratulations Pastor Stephen, Courtney, and Verity!