October 23, 2017

Commissions & Committees

Town Hall Meeting: UCC General Synod and Parkway Sabbatical

townhall_640_Oct_18Town Hall Meeting: UCC General Synod and Parkway Sabbatical

Sunday, October 18, 2015 | noon – 1:30pm | Fellowship Hall

What transpired at the hundreds of sessions at this summer’s UCC General Synod? Come to our next Town Hall Meeting on Sunday, October 18, and hear Kevin share his experiences and insights from his attendance at General Synod in Cleveland. It will include many ideas for new and enhanced programs and experiences at Parkway.

 

What is a “sabbatical?” Come learn more about this upcoming, exciting renewal opportunity for both Pastor Kevin and the congregation of Parkway UCC. Between now and next June, when the sabbatical begins, we will be planning to create a program for spiritual growth and reflection by both our congregation and our pastor. Come to hear the plans so far, for this program that the congregation approved in January, and discuss how each of us can participate in this journey.

Join us for a light lunch at noon in the Fellowship Hall and be an active part of our enthusiastic spirit at Parkway.

If you worship at 9:30am, please consider staying for the Adult Education session Why God? Which God? in the Heritage Room – beginning at 11:00am. Our presenter will be Rev. Dr. Mark Robinson, a UCC pastoral counselor and a friend of PUCC.

Childcare will be available.

Questions? Contact Donna Fauss (rogerfauss@prodigy.net | 314-275-2332) or any member of the Church Council.  

Summary of September 2015 Council Meeting

At its September meeting, the church council:

  • Reviewed a video of the UCC General Synod and heard Pastor Kevin’s report about some of his experiences at General Synod sessions and workshops.  Because of the interest in the subject and the extent of Kevin’s notes and experiences from General Synod, Council decided to have a fuller report from Kevin part of the program for the fall church Town Hall meeting, which will probably be held in mid or late October.
  • Reviewed a number of recent activities of commissions and committees, including the 11 am Worship leader hiring process, and planning for the November 7 Leadership Retreat.
  • Discussed upcoming events, including the Black and Blueperformance on October 4, which grew out of the sacred conversations on race
  • Discussed the upcoming 2016 sabbatical with Ross Livengood and Dottie Dwyer of the Sabbatical Committee.  The sabbatical, which was approved by the congregation at the January congregational meeting, is being planned and designed as a time for renewal for both the pastor and the congregation. Although there was some hope for a funding grant from Lilly Foundation, that application was not successful.  Council, the committee members, and Kevin discussed a wide range of sabbatical-related topics, including plans for Kevin and the congregation, funding, communications with the congregation as the sabbatical plans proceed, and the sabbatical’s purposes and benefits.  After the discussion, council unanimously voted to “heartily” reaffirm its support for the sabbatical. 

Summary of August 2015 Council Meeting

Summary of August Council meeting

At its August meeting, Council:

Toured the church property, including:

  • The historic sanctuary
  • The St. Louis Childrens’ Choir offices
  • The downstairs rooms including the youth rooms
  • And, best of all, the boiler room and Jennifer Lane

Heard about the success of Vacation Bible School, including the attendance of a number of new people this year, in part because of the outside sign

Discussed the search for a new PUNS interim director

Discussed the progress of meetings between the local religious community and Town & Country police, which have grown out of the sacred conversations on race

Approved Stewardship Commission’s recommendation that it arrange with eGive to provide members with online giving options

Discussed possible revisions to the church bylaws

Ministry Spotlight: Stewardship Commission

Line Against Bar Chart Shows Actual Against Budget
“The Stews” doing the grunt work of building the 2015 budget are Scherrer, Doug Detjen, John Dywer, Jeanette Kelly, and Ellie Svenson.
In other settings, the Stewardship Commission would be called the Finance Committee or the Ways and Means Committee. But in a church setting – where we recognize everything we have is a gift and that God calls us to handle those gifts with compassion and conscience–the Stewardship Commission helps us focus on why we’re giving and why we choose to use the resources the way we do.
The fall and winter are Stewardship’s time in the spotlight. The annual pledge campaign each October feeds into the budget the commission members will prepare during November and December. After a thorough review from Council, the proposed budget will go before the entire congregation in January.

Ministry Spotlight: Property Commission

Parkway’s Property Commission operates quietly and efficiently to make sure the church building and property functions properly and is well-maintained. The Commission is responsible for safeguarding, maintenance, repair and ongoing care of the church’s land, buildings and equipment.

Volunteer skills and labor from the Property Commission members, as well as the entire congregation during scheduled Church Work Days, minimize the amount of money spent to care for our spaces and places. However, when outside contractors are needed, the

Property Commission secures bids and oversees the projects. For any service or equipment needs exceeding $500, the Commission submits a recommendation to Council for approval.

The Property Commission also reviews the insurance coverage for the facilities and property periodically to recommend any alterations needed to properly protect the physical spaces.

Current members of the Property Commission are Convenor Ben McDougall, Roger Fauss, Mike Mason, Mike Rogers, and Kent Tallyn. Pete Eggebrecht handles the HVAC system for the Property Commission. Please report any property repair need or issue directly to any of the commission members for consideration.

Youth Board

Youth Board
Lauren Yakel

In early 2013, the youth at Parkway got together and said we wanted to feel like we had a solid voice in the church. We decided to form a Youth Board as a way to plan and organize youth events. Representatives were nominated from each grade level in middle school: Drew Schatz and Ross Grundy represent the 6th graders, Colton Bratton and Molly Barclay represent the 7th graders, and BJ Lyons represents the 8th graders. In addition to these representatives, officers were chosen from the high school: Lauren Yakel is the president, Ian Doty is the treasurer, Joy Watkins is the secretary, and Carol Cobb and Barb Kuhlmann are the adult moderators. The Youth Board meets once a month to discuss upcoming youth events. Our next big project is going to be a carnival put on by the youth for the families of Parkway U.C.C. and the community on June 1.

Proposed Communications Commission

6/2/2014 Update: This Commission has been approved by a church-wide vote at the June 1 Annual Meeting

Proposed Communications Commission

The Communications Task Force

 

Com·mu·ni·ca·tion [kuh-myoo-ni-key-shuhn] noun

(from Latin commūnicāre, meaning “to share” [1]) is the activity of conveying information through the exchange of thoughts, messages, or information, as by speech, visuals, signals, written, or behavior. It is the meaningful exchange of information between two or more living creatures.

 

How do people find out about Parkway United Church of Christ? Where can people go to learn about Parkway events, Parkway values, Parkway offerings? How can we best promote to the St. Louis Metro area things like Jazz Nativity, Jesus Has Left the Building or the Community Easter Egg Hunt?

How do you keep up with what’s happening here? Our website? The Sunday bulletin? Facebook? The weekly enews? Sunday morning announcements? Coffee klatching? Smoke signals?

Communication is increasingly complex. With an overwhelming amount of  information to process and a myriad of ways to get it, confusion and frustration can set in. Good communication is vital to the life of the church—one of the highest priorities of any organization or relationship. Effective communication must be clear, deliberate, engaging and have maximum dissemination. It requires passion, skill and resources. Improving communication—with the world around us and within our congregation—is the goal of a proposed constitutional amendment that would create a new Communications Commission. The infrastructure of this commission is already in place as the Communications Task Force.

Since March 2011, the Communications Task Force, working under the Evangelism Commission, has developed effective and engaging strategies to promote our message and recognition to the St. Louis community and beyond. Strengthening connections in our faith community has been a parallel goal. The task force’s objective has been to make sure all PUCC members, visitors and friends have access to important information by broadcasting through a wide variety of avenues: website, online calendar, social media, e-news, print publications (bulletin, newsletter, pamphlets, flyers) signs, the church answering machine, verbal announcements, etc.

Communications Task Force Projects have included:

  • Website. A complete redesign of the website made it more attractive, more search-engine friendly and more dynamic. Phase I was to have an attractive, engaging site to let the community know who we are. Phase II was to make the site our central hub of communication to all: the Parkway faith community, the St Louis metro area, and the world. (It is a best practice to have one channel that communicates everything  people need to know. Websites are ideal main channels. All other channels should receive their information from this channel to maintain consistency.) Phase III—to be implemented this summer—will create a secure, password protected member section with a church directory and Parkway documents. Throughout all phases, the website is constantly evaluated and updated to stay current and functional. Check it out at www.parkwayucc.org
  • Social Media. The creation and maintenance of a Facebook page. Facebook users know that the page has current events, communication among church members, photos and video. If you are on Facebook, search for Parkway United Church of Christ. Non-Facebook users may access the page at www.facebook.com/pages/Parkway-United-Church-of-Christ/172576379461273. The page is lively and engaging. In order to broaden our influence and increase connectivity, a social media strategy is an ongoing discussion among task force members.
  • Development of a Crisis Communication plan. Much thought, research and effort has been put into a plan that will help us interact with the media and to keep members informed and connected in the event of a crisis.
  • Email. Implementation of an industry standard bulk email service. The weekly emails, the Lenten devotionals, the prayer list and e-vites are all sent this way now. Church-sent emails are more attractive and engaging than ever before.
  • Support for many church-wide activities and efforts. The Communications Task force has collaborated with the following groups: the 175th Anniversary Committee (logo design, outdoor sign, promo cards, press releases), the Stewardship Commission (logo and e-blasts for the fall campaign), Membership Care (graphics and promo materials for various events), Worship Commission (pew packets) and Evangelism (press releases and input on area community calendars for Community Game Night and Community Easter Egg Hunt). We also facilitated the survey initiated by Church Council in 2013 by clarifying and expanding the survey questions and putting it online. This informative survey had wide participation.

Other tasks we’ve worked on include making a style guide, hashing out the purpose of each of our publications, creating media contact lists, shaping the focus and content of our monthly newsletter, Intersections, signage, brochures and our business card.

So why create a Communications Commission? Here’s now this commission will benefit Parkway:

  • Permanent Priority. Effective communication is—and will remain—a priority for the congregation and the leadership at PUCC. Consistent standards and strategies will be implemented and maintained as people come and go.
  • Communications Support. Constructing a central go-to source for communications addresses the challenge of clear communication in a busy church with many events and programming. The new commission will keep messages clear, timely and widely publicized in appropriate venues. This support extends to all individuals, commissions and teams at PUCC and will free them to concentrate on all the other details of the task at hand. This commission will collaborate and connect with all parts of our church. Additionally, the Communications Commission will be proactive in our support by contacting and offering help with publicity, and work together to develop long-range communication plans.
  • Brand Identity. Successful organizations know who they are, what their mission is, and what values and unique brand position identify them. The Communications Commission will make sure this is clearly and obviously expressed. We will use best practices to ensure consistency and professionalism of our PUCC message across all media, both internally and externally.
  • Crisis Communication. Should the need arise, the Communications Commission will be actively and professionally prepared for the many aspects of crisis communications.

Current task force members are passionate about communication and have professional communications experience with multi-media/writing/editing. We work hard and laugh a lot. Terms will be staggered when a new commission is approved. All members have agreed to continue to serve:

An additional member is needed upon approval of this amendment. Pastor Kevin Cameron and Office Administrator Mona Smith Herberg have been active participants in the task force and will continue in those roles.

More Information. The May 18 Adult Education session will provide a forum to discuss this proposal to transform the Communications Task Force into the C0mmunications Commission and to think about how PUCC shares our ministry’s message. Full text of the proposed amendment will be provided when Council announces the agenda for the June 1 congregational meeting. In the meantime, if you have questions, you are invited to contact task force members. How you choose to ask those questions (letter, email, text, Facebook, tweet, Instagram, blog, phone, fax, or old-fashioned face-to-face) is up to you (no smoke signals, please).

Membership Care Commission

Membership Care Commission
Peggy Mohl

June 2014

The Membership Care Commission (MCC) is entrusted with serving the individual, emotional and social needs of our church’s members.

This commission sponsors a variety of annual intergenerational events to foster social connections among Parkway members. Examples include the church picnic, Be Mine Party, hayrides, skating parties, Progressive Dinners, and Friendship Dinners. A variety of options are promoted in the hopes that everyone can find something that appeals to their personal interests. The MCC also coordinates the picture-taking for the church directory as needed.
The MCC sponsors the annual Christmas Caroling and Spring Sing to bring some sunshine and smiles to members living in nursing or rehabilitation centers. When a church member is sick or grieving or adjusting to a new baby, this commission organizes meals to be brought to lighten the load during difficult or adjustment periods. Many church members beyond the commission help with these events. Visiting Care Teams maintain connections with those who are not able to get to church regularly. Collegians are sent Halloween treats in the fall and Girl Scout cookies in the spring.

The Fifth Sunday activities are also planned by the MCC. On fifth Sundays, a “One Family” worship service is held at 10:00 AM, usually followed by a light lunch and church-wide fellowship time. This is a great time for people who regularly attend either the traditional or informal worship service to enjoy time together.
The MCC oversees the scheduling of the Fellowship Time pastries and fruits that are available after both services each Sunday. The fellowship time immediately after each service provides an informal way to greet visitors and reconnect with friends.

The popular annual apple-butter making is also a MCC-sponsored event. The delicious apple butter is given to new members to welcome them. The apple butter is also sold as a fundraiser. This past year, the proceeds from the apple butter were used to purchase new wooden high chairs for babies and toddlers.

The Membership Care Commission is an important part of our church’s mission to let every member know that their church is there for them in good times and bad. The commission works closely with Pastor Kevin who keeps us informed of individual or family needs for special care. Any Parkway member or visitor who would like to participate in MCC activities is most welcome to join us! Just contact any member of the commission.

2014 Annual Report

annual report collageRead the 2014 Annual Report here…

OUR CHURCH AT WORK: Ministry Planning & Review Committee

OUR CHURCH AT WORK: Ministry Planning & Review Committee

Brad Lyons

The Ministry Planning and Review (MPR) Committee helps develop the faithful and effective shared ministry and common life of the congregation and the pastor. This panel is charged to

  • Create a climate of trust, openness, and honesty among everybody involved at Parkway UCC,
  • Help align and clarify congregational, staff, and leadership goals,
  • Provide counseling and consulting opportunities for the congregation and staff related to behavior, decisions, relationships, spiritual and emotional well-being, and
  • Advocate for professional growth of pastoral staff.
  • Confidentiality is the commission’s priority. To be able to provide honest, open useful feedback, discussions in MPR are off the record; no minutes are taken.

“Part of MPR’s job is to provide a focus group where Kevin can test ideas about potential approaches to ministry, identifying what’s working well in programs or how other programs can be improved,” says Ross Livengood, MPR’s current convener. “MPR also acts as a confidant to pastors, to give them a place to talk about the challenges of the job, the profession of ministry, and how that impacts their regular life.”
MPR and Council collaborated to plan January’s Town Hall meeting and are planning similar meetings later this year.
Each member of the committee serves a four-year term, with one member rotating off and replaced each year. Current members are Ross Livengood, Meera Williams, Leslie Tupper, and Brad Lyons. The Council President is MPR’s Council liaison but does not attend the meetings.

When Parkway UCC has two pastors on staff, separate MPR Commissions provide each pastor a confidential team for reflection and support. When multiple committees exist, they meet annually as a check-up on the shared staff ministry.