Author Archive for uccnorman

Fall Fellowship Groups Begin in August

Dear First Congregational friends and family,

In order to help us reconnect and have opportunities for being around one another in smaller groups, I am launching some, “Fall Fellowship Groups,” for a few months. For August, September, and October, I invite any of you who wish to participate in one or both of these groups. We will meet and possibly rotate meeting at different local restaurants. The “Breakfast Bunch,” will meet on the 2nd Tuesday of each of these months at 7 a.m. and the “Lunch Bunch,” will meet on the 4th Tuesday of each of these months at 12 p.m. I hope if your daily schedule allows, that will come out and join in these opportunities to enjoy one another’s company. I’ll be there and I hope you will as well! In case there is any confusion, the dates below will serve as the meeting dates:

Breakfast Bunch will meet at 7 a.m.: August 10, September 14, and October 12. (stay tuned for locations)
Lunch Bunch will meet at 12 p.m.: August 24, September 28, and October 26. (stay tuned for locations)

Please feel free to e-mail me with questions or to RSVP so I can save you a spot at the table: [email protected]

Sincerely,

Rev. David Wheeler
Pastor

January 5, 2020 Board Meeting Minutes

First Congregational Church of Norman, UCC

Meeting of Board

January 5, 2020

In attendance:  David Wheeler, Steve Davis, Ruth Blake, Louise Whitaker

Ministries Candidates:

Interviews were conducted, individually, with Paul Martin and Jordan Zuck. After discussion the Board will recommend to the Kansas-Oklahoma Committee on Ministry  that both candidates move into the Member in Discernment (MID) process.

Financial Report:

Total Receipts                                                                                              $7,433.00

Less Special Offerings

Staff Gifts                                          $    890.00

Benevolence Offerings                  $    421.00

$1,300.00           $1,311.00

Available for Operations                                                            $6,122.00

(Total receipts less Special Offerings)

Average Monthly Disbursements                                             $5,318.00

Total Receipts over (under) Disbursements                 $    804.00

Balance of Benevolent Fund at the end of month            $    890.00

 

In the past we have reported disbursements using the average monthly disbursements based on the yearly budget. The monthly financial report moving forward, including December’s report, has been adjusted to use the cumulative average monthly disbursements which should better reflect our expected disbursements.

There continue to be requests for the ability to contribute financially on-line. We have a Pay-Pal account, but the administrator is not an active member, so that presents problems. David mentioned that Breeze offers an on-line giving options, including credit and debit cards and from the bank account. This will be beneficial for our members, and the church. Louise will contact Breeze and get more information.

Adult Education:

Going forward we will have two adult education classes. They will begin on February 9, 2020. Delaying the start because of the pot luck and Super Bowl Sunday will allow the classes to begin without interruptions. We will encourage members to sign-up for a class. We also need to stress that members are free to move from class to class if they are interested in certain topics being discussed. The goal is to provide educational offerings that will interest and benefit our members. The class leaders fully endorse this, and will encourage movement between the classes.

Planned Outreach/Sermon Series:

As David mentioned in worship, the mailer has been scheduled, and the new sermon series will begin January 9th. Everyone is encouraged to invite friends, relatives, acquaintances and neighbors. (FRAN)

Holocaust Remembrance Sunday:

David is in contact with the Hillel Foundation for assistance/input on the worship service. Brisket has been paid for and David will prepare it. We will have a potluck on this evening and ask others to provide sides and other food for the evening.

Security in the church/sanctuary:

Unfortunately, this is a topic that is in the news more frequently. David will talk to Memorial Presbyterian to see if they have a security plan in place that we could implement. It was also suggested that all the door be locked when worship starts. While it would keep out anyone wanting to do harm, it would also keep out anyone arriving late. This issue will be require further discussion and research.

Music during worship:

There was discussion regarding:

  • Use of the Presbyterian hymnals vs. our UCC hymnals. Our main problem is that we don’t have enough UCC hymnals for the size of the congregation. Many of the songs in the UCC hymnal are also found in the Presbyterian as well.
  • Number of hymns
  • Choir
  • Soloists
  • Instrumentalists

David is working with Vickie Schaeffer on ways to provide more alternatives in our music program.

Misc.

Based on comments provided in the survey of members, David was provided with a very favorable written evaluation. The Board expressed their appreciation for all his hard work, dedication and care of our church family.

December 9, 2019 Special Board Meeting Minutes

Special Board Meeting

First Congregational Church of Norman, UCC

December 9, 2019

In attendance: David Wheeler, Steve Davis, Mary Carter, Louise Whitaker, Ruth Blake

The first item of business is the proposal to retain the services of Montgomery and Montgomery, CPAs to provide accounting services. The monthly fee of $300 fee is in effect until the Agreement is cancelled by either party. This fee includes all supplies. They will provide monthly reports, giving records, and special reports as requested. They may use QuickBooks or PowerChurch, as they choose.

After discussion Steve Davis, Chairman, made a motion to accept the proposal from Montgomery and Montgomery, CPAs to provide accounting services for a monthly fee of $300. Mary Carter, Treasurer, seconded the motion. All in attendance voted yes for approval of the motion.

The Letter of Agreement will be signed and submitted to begin their services.

This change will not require a change in the By-Laws. Because the cost was not included in the 2019-2020 budget, members have volunteered to fund this cost this fiscal year. These costs will be included in the budget beginning fiscal year 2020-2021.

Other items discussed:

  • Job descriptions will be developed for the Music Director and Child Care Attendance
  • David will find samples of evaluation forms
  • Christmas potluck, December 22, 2019

November 10, 2019 Board Meeting Minutes

First Congregational Church of Norman, UCC

Meeting of Board

November 10, 2019

In attendance: David Wheeler, Steve Davis, Mary Carter, Ruth Blake, Louise Whitaker

The Board welcomed Ruth Blake to her first meeting as the newly elected Treasurer.

Meeting dates were set for 2020. These will be posted to the calendars on Breeze and the webpage.

Board Meeting                 January 5             5:15 – 6:45         Church

Board Meeting                 March 3               6:00 – 7:30         Church

Board Meeting                 May 5                  6:00 – 7:30         TBD

Board Meeting                 August 2               5:15 – 6:45         Church

Board Meeting                 September 8      6:00 – 7:30               Church

Annual Meeting               October 25          5:15 – 6:15         Church

The minutes from the Annual Meeting were approved.

Financial Report:

$725.00 was collected and distributed to Shannon Fulton. The Benevolence Fund still has a balance of $780.00. David asked if $500 could be given to a member of the church who needs financial assistance. The Board approved the request.

Holocaust Remembrance Day Worship/Shared Meal:

We had a request to recognize Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 26, 2020. David will contact Hillel Foundation to see if they can provide any assistance on an appropriate way to honor this day of remembrance. We will have a shared meal after worship, with brisket provided.

Holiday Schedule:

Worship on December 1, 8, 15 and 22 will focus on Advent.

Other:

Paul Martin and Jordan Zuck have expressed interest in becoming UCC ministers. The Board will conduct an interview with them as part of the Members in Discernment process. These interviews will take place at the January 2020 Board meeting.

October 7, 2019 Board Meeting Minutes

First Congregational Church of Norman, UCC

Meeting of Board

October 7, 2019

 

In attendance: David Wheeler, Steve Davis, Mary Carter, Louise Whitaker

Finance:

  • The year end budget was reviewed.

Total income      $ 55,000

Total expenses  $ 57,300

Shortfall              $ (2,300)

Total Equity        $ 23,890

  • The proposed budget for 2019-2020 was discussed

Pledges received                             $46,020

Other anticipated income               $11,300

10% anticipated unpledged               $  5,732

Total estimate                                 $63,052

Based on increased income in the past 2 years, it is not unreasonable to expect a 15% increase over last year. ($8,250). This would give a possible income of $71,302, which would allow for a budget consistent with Scenario 1, discussed at Vision 2020 meeting. This budget will be presented at the annual meeting.

It was also suggested that the Annual Conference should be a line item in the budget.

The budget will be retroactive to October 1, 2019. Mary will adjust staff salaries already paid.

Committee Reports:

  • Social Justice:

Supplies were delivered to Dimensions North in two separate trips. They were overwhelmed by the generosity of the congregation.

Conversation Sunday in September (Preventing Gun Violence) went well. Setting up the tables in a horseshoe shape was more conducive to conversation and seeing the presenters.

  • Outreach/Connecting:

One focus of the committee will be making connections with visitors so we retain them. David makes the first contact with all visitors. Steve will schedule a meeting soon to discuss this further.

  • Education:

Chris and Mary Carter will end the Old Testament study at the end of the year.

Louise will work on ideas for a second class to begin in January.

Review of Constitution and By Laws:

  • While it was agreed at the November 28, 2018 Annual Meeting to change the term of officers to three years, the change was not reflected in both sections of the By Laws. This will be corrected.
  • Other proposed changes:
    1. Add Social Justice and Outreach/Connecting committees to Article V – Committees.
    2. Change the wording to indicate that the Board is the Finance Committee
    3. Change Article II, Section 3, to indicate the officers can serve 1 three-year term, then must roll off the board at least one year.
    4. Also, in Article II, Section 7, take out the bonding requirement for the treasurer and also take out the wording about the secretary being an ex officio member of the Finance Committee. (See 2 above)

Proposed change in Sunday School and worship:

Because of staff scheduling issues, this issue has been tabled.

Social Justice Award:

The Board will proceed with beginning an annual social justice award. Louise will price award options, and David will work on a proclamation.

Signage and keys:

David will visit with Tracy Evans about getting more keys, and also discuss having the sign installed in a more permanent manner.

 

 

October 27, 2019 Annual Meeting Minutes

Minutes of Annual Meeting

First Congregational Church of Norman, UCC

October 27, 2019

In attendance: Eddie Rothermel, David Wheeler, Sallie Church, Paul Martin, Wayne Bowers, Kathy Anderson,

Nancy Logan, Dennis Lewis, Virginia Reynolds, Tracy Mamone, Mary Carter, Steve Davis, Louise Whitaker

A quorum being present, Steve Davis, President, convened the meeting at 5:15 pm. An agenda for the meeting was handed out and Steve explained the purpose and goals for the meeting.

Financial Report 2018-2019:

Mary Carter, Treasurer, presented the financial report for fiscal year October 2018 — September 2019.

Total Income                                   $55,000

Total Expenses                                $57,300

Shortfall                                           (   2,300)

Total Assets                                     $24,340               (Checking account $11,080; Savings account $13,260)

Total Liabilities                               (      450)               Consists primarily or payroll taxes

Total Equity                                     $23,890

Proposed budget 2019-2020:

Mary Carter presented the proposed budget for year October 2019 — September 2020. The budget proposals were presented earlier and discussed at the Vision 2020 meeting on September 29, 2019. The church has had significant growth in income for the past three years. Based on projected income, projected growth based on new members and pledges received, the projected income for 2019-2020 is $66,920.

Based on estimates, Mary presented a proposed budget of $68,400. Steve Davis made a motion, seconded by Paul Martin to accept the proposal. Steve rescinded the motion to allow additional discussion. A request was made to add a line item to the budget for $500 for expenditures for choral music. Wayne Bowers made a motion to accept the amended budget of $68,900. Paul Martin seconded the motion. The motion was approved by unanimous vote.

Constitution and By-Laws:

Louise Whitaker, Secretary, presented proposed amendments to the By-Laws. The amendments corrected discrepancies in the terms of officers in two different articles in the By-Laws, and clarified existing committees. Kathy Anderson pointed out a discrepancy that had not been changed. Nancy Logan made a motion to approve the proposed amendments to the By-Laws, with the provision that the correction in wording be made. Kathy Anderson seconded the motion. It was approved unanimously.

Election of Treasurer:

Ruth Blake had previously agreed to accept the nomination for Treasurer. Announcements for additional nominations had been made as outlined in Article Ill of the By-Laws. There were no nominations from the floor, and Ruth was elected by acclimation, for a three-year term, with duties beginning January 1, 2020.

There was no additional business from the floor. Steve Davis adjourned the meeting at 6:00 pm.

May 7, 2019 Board Meeting Minutes

First Congregational Church of Norman, UCC

Meeting of Board

May 7, 2019

 

The Board held a telephone conference call at 7:00 p.m.

In attendance: Steve Davis, President; David Wheeler, Pastor; Mary Carter, Treasurer, Anne Masters, Co-Secretary; Louise Whitaker, Co-Secretary

Finance:

  • Paying substitutes:
  • Substitutes for Vicki Schaeffer, David Wheeler and Jenna Mamone are paid through payroll.
  • Guest ministers are paid $100.00.
  • Guest musicians are paid $150. They are paid in lieu of Vicki Schaeffer receiving a salary.
  • $400.00 was budgeted for guest ministers. We need to look at the pay for guest ministers before the next budget is finalized.
  • Childcare is budgeted at $30.00 a week ($10.00 an hour).

Income:

  • Giving for October 2017 through April 2018 was $25,737.00.
  • The $33,935.00 income on the financial report includes $2,200.00 for Outreach which we did not have last year.
  • There is some increase in personal giving.
  • Our benefactor from last year continues to give extra. Is there some way to thank this person, while respecting their anonymity?
  • We need to send an email to the congregation showing the increase in giving.
  • Sending statements every six months might also help people understand their giving patterns. Mary will investigate to see if that is possible with our software.

Outreach:

  • Website: We need to encourage everyone to provide ideas for the website. As Board members we also need to look at the site and make suggestions so it is as inviting, informative and as up-to-date as possible. Nicki Flambures has volunteered to help update the content.
  • Vacation Bible School: We need to concentrate on attracting younger families. VBS might be a way to do this. Ronda Ramos has agreed to lead VBS, and David has some progressive curriculum. This might also be a way to partner with Memorial Presbyterian. David will contact Tracy Evans for a contact person at Memorial Presbyterian.
  • Targeted advertising: We can send postcards to newcomers within 6-8 weeks of moving in, at a cost of 70 cents per postcard. David will investigate to see if we can determine how many people are moving into a specified area, or if there are “progressive” neighborhoods in Norman.
  • Committees: There are areas of crossover between some committees so we need to better define the roles of our committees.
  • June 2 is Anne Master’s last Sunday. A reception will follow the service.

Social Action:

Benevolent Fund: Social Action Committee will oversee the benevolent fund. $101.00 was collected this past Sunday for the fund. It was suggested that gift cards, $20 or $40 each, be purchased from Homeland so gas, food or personal items could be purchased. They could be kept at the church office. Any committee member, Mary Carter or David Wheeler could make arrangements to give out the cards after the approval by the committee. (We probably need to ask for more keys if we decide to do this.)

Education:

  • June 2nd will conclude the current 12-week study by Chris and Mary Carter on the Old Testament. The second 12-week study will run from the second Sunday in September through December. Mary will send David information for the announcements.
  • There is nothing scheduled for July and August. David has curriculum if anyone is interested in presenting.

 

 

April 11, 2019 Board Meeting Minutes

First Congregational Church of Norman, UCC

Meeting of Board

April 11, 2019

 

The Board held a telephone conference call at 7:00 pm.

Members in attendance: Steve Davis, President; David Wheeler, Pastor; Anne Masters, Co-Secretary, Mary Carter, Treasurer; Louise Whitaker, Co-Secretary.

  1. Finance Report

Mary Carter gave the financial report

October 2018 – March 2019

Income                $28,432

Expenses             $27,411

$  1,021

No funds are being drawn from the savings account. In the past, approximately $1,100 was transferred every month. We are currently collecting about $1,000 more than budgeted.

Benevolence Fund:

The monies in the Benevolence Fund collected for Esther Cletus have been expended.

There are issues to decide for the Benevolence Funds, going forward. In the past members have spent personal funds, which is appreciated, but we want to avoid this as the only alternative to providing emergency assistance.

How to fund:

Collect a special offering each month as Communion is taken

Donations can always be given with the fund

Guidelines:

$40 maximum at a time

90 days between disbursements

Who will make the decision to provide assistance:

Pastor

Committee

Any member

The Social Action Committee, who originally proposed the fund, will be asked to develop guidelines. Louise Whitaker will report to the Board after the committee meeting on April 19.

  1. Committee Reports

Outreach:

Steve Davis gave the report

  • The funds allocated to Outreach, plus an additional $1,000, have been spent: $2,000 for the Easter mailing; $200 Facebook ads.
  • Visitors: There was discussion about establishing a more formal process for contacting visitors, rather than making David solely responsible.
  • Breeze: Invitations and instructions have been sent to all Members and Active Attendees. A reminder will be sent the week of April 15 to encourage everyone to set up their account. We will also make an announcement about providing help with setting up accounts.
  • Norman Pride: Events this year are May 4-5. The Festival is May 4, on Campus Corner. FCC will have a booth at the Festival, on Asp. Dana Cantwell is working on a handout. David has offered his tent to provide shelter during the shelter. The hours are 10am to 10pm, but we will probably leave earlier than that. The Parade in May 5, and follows the same route at the Mardi Gras parade around the Depot. We have t-shirts from last year that we can sell to our members.

Social Action:

Louise Whitaker gave the report

  • The first Conversation Sunday on March 31 was well received. The committee is considering working with Mom’s Against Gun Violence for the June session.
  • We will work with David to provide space on the tear off section of the bulletin for social action topic suggestions from the congregation

Education:

Mary Carter gave the report

  • The Committee is looking for suggestions for programs during the summer. If we have outside presenters, they must understand that there will be no reimbursement for their time. Possible suggestions are movies and potlucks.
  • Eddie Rothermel has been adding the Sunday education sessions on Breeze, and has been taking attendance, for our records.
  • Easter:
  • Easter egg hunt: 3:30
  • Worship service: 4:00
  • Reception: 5:00ish (Mary will have a sign-up sheet Sunday so people can volunteer to bring snacks.
  1. Website

Mary Carter gave the report

Mary has worked with Dreamhost so we only have one web hosting company. https://normanucc.org is our official website.

David will make Caleb an administrator, so they can both work on the website.

We need to get events added to the calendar on the website.

Laura Logan (?) may be another person to help with the website. We need to find jobs for people so they can be more involved.

  1. Signage

Anne Masters gave the report

After unproductive talks with the City, and a large ordinance, Anne spoke with several people from the City, and their advice was just to put the sign up, and see what happens. University Christian Church has such a sign. Steve will develop cost information, and any other pertinent information before David and Steve meet with Memorial Presbyterian pastor. It was suggested that we meet with the pastor and ask for her support, before we take the proposal to their Board

Next meeting:

Monday May 6, 2019, 7:00 pm, via telephone conference call

July 20, 2019 Board Meeting Minutes

First Congregational Church of Norman, UCC

Meeting of Board

July 20, 2019

 

David Wheeler, Steve Davis, Mary Carter, Louise Whitaker, Caleb Fulton

Financials:

Total contributions, including special contributions                               42,929

Expenses                                                                                                          (41,220)

Overage                                                                                                                 1,709

Mary also presented a chart of contributions (by amount only). This information will be helpful if we pursue a financial campaign, as we look at the trends in giving. If we want to increase the budget, a financial campaign soliciting pledges is necessary.

Another factor in increasing giving, is increasing membership. September and January are the most important months to send mailings. Since we are not a 501C3 organization, we have to pay the standard postage rate. 5,000 pieces would cost around $2,200 and 7,500 pieces would cost $3,300. Since there is currently no money in the budget to cover these costs, David would like to ask for special contributions to cover the cost so a targeted mailing could be done in September.

Social Justice:

There was discussion of not having worship service on the fifth Sunday, and only having Conversation Sunday. After discussion it was decided to have a worship service, and extend the ending time for the Conversation Sunday to 6:45. The next Conversation Sunday will be September 29. The committee is working with possible presenters on the topic of preventing gun violence.

Outreach:

Outreach Committee has not met recently. Steve will schedule a meeting in August.

Education Committee:

In addition to the video series on the Old Testament, led by Chris and Mary Carter, a second class will begin, perhaps September 15, led by Jordan Zuck and Ronda Brannum.

Vacation Bible School:

Most of the children attending are from Memorial Presbyterian, but we have several volunteers from FCC. This just highlights the need to attract families with young children so we can be more multi-generational.

Another idea for attracting younger attendees, is to have paid singers (possibly 3 or 4). This would enhance the experience of choral music during the service; might encourage others to join the choir; and might attract younger people if the saw other young people active in the service. One of the paid singers could also serve as the song leader to lead the congregational singing. We might have members who would help financially to support this effort. The pay would be $50 per singer each week.

The Board of Trustees will investigate the process of applying for 501C3 status. The Conference has an attorney on retainer who could probably help with the process. David will contact Edith Guffey to investigate the process. Mary has all the necessary documentation.

David is planning a “Faithfully Resisting” special series in conjunction with I Love My Church Sunday. Steve will set up a meeting with the Outreach/Connecting Ministries to discuss how to implement. We will ask the congregation for names of people to invite, and have a “rally” to send emails and call.

Ted Uhling will be the guest minister on July 28. He has not cashed his check from the last time he filled the pulpit.

October 1 is the beginning of our fiscal year. As the budget is prepared, we need to consider funding that might need to be increased:

  • Facebook, Direct Mailing
  • Music/paid singers
  • Webpage
  • Salary changes for Minister, Music Director/Childcare provider
  • Compensation for guest ministers

We also need a slate of officers to present at the Annual Meeting. We will need a new Treasurer. The By-Laws stipulate that officers can serve 3 years, and then need to roll off the Board for at least 1 year.

Vision Sunday will be September 8. This would be a catered event (Church to provide the meal and put out a basket for cash contributions to help offset the cost). We need to do a really great job getting all members/constituents to attend, send out invitations, talk it up etc. At this meeting the Board with David’s help would outline our Vision for the coming year(s) and outline our budget for 2020. Hand our pie chart or other visuals to help people understand what it takes to operate our church. We would use this time to challenge people to make a “Vision” statement in the form of signing something that shows their intent for contributions for the coming year as we outline what it will take to take our church to the next level.

We will need to be organized, and have “Vision” cards ready for folks to take home and ask them to return on Sunday Sept 15th or 22nd . We will also need to figure out what kind of mailing we could do to those that don’t attend. We will work on this plan at the next Board Meeting (Aug. 18th) and will likely need at least one additional meeting to iron out details. We intend for the Outreach/Connecting ministries to handle the meal/logistics part of the meeting. We deed a good solid theme.

Fun Summertime Classes at FCC/UCC

July 14

Liven up your cooking. Learn more about the 4 essentials to flavor, and also how to have fresh yeast bread in only 5 minutes a day.

Louise Whitaker

 

July 21

Movement for longevity. Sitting is the new smoking. Learn tips on how to move to be healthier.

Sally Church

 

July 28

Learn how to knit. Join Caleb Fulton for knitting basics.

 

August 4

Be an abstract artist. Create your own abstract masterpiece using crayons and hair dryers. Great fun for artists of any age.

Susan Sparks

 

August 11

The good, the bad and the unknown. Learn tips and techniques to begin your search of your family history.

Louise Whitaker

 

August 18

TBD

 

August 25

Be a Master Griller. Grilling can be challenging. Get tips from a pro and become your own backyard chef.

David Wheeler