Vestry Minutes

March 8, 2016



Clergy:  Fr. Rob Gieselmann, Fr. Brett Backus, Fr. Christopher Hogin, Deacon Sarai Wender


v:  Tom Ladd, Sr. Warden; Andy Oakes, Jr. Warden; Tom Hale; Julie Hembree; Cole Lewis; Ben McClanahan; Matt Odom; Venice Peek; Jane Phillips; Mary Rayson; Kristy Starks-Winn


Ex officio:  Janice Kell, Clerk; Mark Medley, Treasurer; Linda Hawley, Parish Administrator; Tracy Edmundson, Past Sr. Warden; Rick Turner, Building and Grounds Commission


Business Review


  • Minutes

The minutes of the February 2016 vestry meeting were presented and with some corrections were unanimously approved.


  • Reports
  • Priest in Charge (copy of report attached): Rob welcomed both Christopher Hogin and Sarai Wender to the staff at Ascension and reported that both have already served on Sunday.


Rob asked that the vestry remind the members of the groups they work with to pare down the emails that are being sent – especially “reply all” emails.


Rob asked the vestry for a stipend of $3000 for Deacon Sarai Wender to help defray her expenses.  The request was referred to the Finance Committee.


James Hill has asked to hold twice-weekly AA (12-step) meetings at Ascension.  There was no opposition to the request.


On Maundy Thursday, the meal will be held in the sanctuary and the vestry is asked to help clean up the church after the service.  Also, the vestry will not be asked to do the last words of Christ on Good Friday.


As reported last month, a discernment committee for Maribeth Manoff has been formed.  In addition to those named in February, the other two persons on the committee are Rara Schlitt and Heather Stagg.


Rob reported that Bishop Young has approved gay marriage for the diocese, but the rector and vestry of each individual church in the diocese will make the final decision whether such marriages will take place.  Rob said that a couple has asked for such a service at Ascension but Rob told them that Ascension has not yet considered the issue.  He feels that the process of discernment needs to be considered “in general,” not related to a particular request.


  • Warden: Tom Ladd reminded the vestry that a yearly “Mutual Ministry Review” is required for our Priest-In-Charge.  Pat Grace from the Bishop’s staff will help the wardens lead the vestry review that will be scheduled sometime this spring.  The review will then be expanded to other groups in the parish to “share the conversation.”  The questions to be considered are whether we are comfortable with where we are and do we want to call Rob as rector of Ascension.


Tom observed that during the last month he has noted that some parishioners seem angry.  He requested that the vestry be careful to not contribute to it and to pray for peace.


  • Junior Warden: Andy Oakes asked the vestry to be committed to handling the finances comprehensively.


  • Administration (copy of report attached): Linda Hawley reported that as of April 1, Andrew Morehead would become the full-time Communications Director.  JoAnn Newcomb’s position will become part-time.  JoAnn has decided to resign and look for a full-time position.  A new part-time office assistant will be hired.


The kitchen cleanup went well.


  • Finance Committee (copy of financial report attached): Mark Medley reported that there are no issues concerning the finances.


It has been determined that the large bequest ($500,000+) received last fall and placed in the line of credit is to go into the endowment fund.  The vestry unanimously approved moving the funds from the line of credit to the endowment fund.


Ministry Review


Building and Grounds Commission (copy of report attached):  Rick Turner and Ben McClanahan reported on the recommendations of the Building and Grounds Commission.  The items are prioritized based on need:


  1. The exterior of the church needs to be caulked and painted to avoid future damage. In 2014 we received $34,000 and $40,000 bids to paint and caulk the church. The Finance Committee recommended that the vestry approve up to $45,000 for the project. The money would come from the building fund.  The recommendation of the Finance Committee was unanimously approved.


  1. The nursery needs to be updated. This is a ministry need rather than a maintenance need.  It is expected that it will cost about $50,000.  The Finance Committee recommends that the Endowment Committee be approached for funding.  The vestry unanimously approved the recommendation.


  1. The heating and air conditioning (HVAC) unit for the education wing needs to be replaced. Rick has obtained a “hard” estimate of &157,800 from Applied Engineering to replace it (cost analysis attached). With other expenses the project would cost $197,100.  The Finance Committee requests an additional 30 days to look for funding for this project.  Ben McClanahan is looking for grants from TVA and DOE to help defray the cost of this project.  The vestry unanimously affirmed its intention to replace the HVAC system.


  1. The hill in front of the church needs to be landscaped to avoid mowing it.


New Business


  • Rob reported that a discernment committee for Greg Rainy to become a Vocational Deacon has been formed. Julie Hembree, vestry liaison to Greg’s committee, reported that the committee is recommending that Greg be approved for further advancement in the discernment process.  A motion to accept the committee’s recommendation was unanimously approved.  The approval form was signed and it will be sent to the Bishop.


  • Rob reported that Katie McHargue requested $850 to help pay for food at the Summit held following the death of Zavion Dobson. The money came from the discretionary fund, but should be replaced from another fund.  The vestry unanimously approved repaying the $850 from the Endowment Fund.



There being no further old or new business, the vestry meeting was concluded with the Lord’s Prayer, and the March meeting of the vestry was adjourned.



Respectfully Submitted,


Janice Kell