Council Update 2019.08


The council discussed a number of issues at our August meeting, so here is a recap.

As is done at every council meeting, the most recent financial information was reviewed and presented by the treasurer, Jason Halvorson. Summer months are always a concern because of the normal decrease in attendance over the summer, but the finances for this summer look good. Total income in the General Fund for July was only $153 behind expenses for the month which was $58,676. Total cash on hand in the General Fund at the end of August was $131,913. If you add in the Building Fund cash on hand of $45,546, Zion had a total of $177,459 cash on hand operating money. The Special Accounts funds contains $130,522 which are designated for special projects.

Next, the council received an update from Kia Prell, the chairperson of the Call Committee. The Call Committee has been conducting first and second round interviews this summer with five candidates provided by the Minneapolis Area Synod. The Call Committee has asked the Synod for a list of more candidates to interview. Kia also mentioned that the Call Committee continues to be committed to spending the time and energy needed to find the right candidate for Zion.

Next the council received and reviewed the Youth Task Force recommendations. Ed Cox, chairperson for this task force led the discussion. The task force provided four over-arching recommendations which are:

  • Hire a Youth and Informal Ministry Leader.
  • Prioritize Pastor Suzi’s time to focus on improvements for the confirmation program.
  • Work with Zion visioning process to create a “one-story” experience.
  • Create an open and inviting environment for youth at Zion.

The report then provided more detailed and actionable items under each of the recommendations which are too numerous to mention in this recap. The full report can be reviewed with the August council minutes in the church office.

The council held a long discussion about the recommendations and decided to accept all of them except the first recommendation of hiring a youth director. The council will form a task force to look into the details and ramifications of hiring a youth director to work under Pastor Suzi. The primary concerns are the financial considerations, particularly with Zion also calling a third pastor.

The council next held a discuss on the resolutions approved at the recently held ELCA assembly in Milwaukee. The discussion centered around the resolution declaring the ELCA a “Sanctuary Denomination” and what that means for Zion. The council reviewed the talking points provided by the ELCA and decided to use this information to answer any questions individuals may have but no further actions were recommended.

What is Sanctuary

Pastor Ted then informed the council that three staff members have recently decided to resign. Council members express concerned and council decided to conduct exit interviews with the three. Dirk and Lori Tenny from the Personnel Committee completed these interviews on September 10. There was no one particular reason why the three individuals resigned, the reasons varied from having to deal with disrespectful kids on Wednesday night to frustration with staff turnover. One individual stated she had not been looking for a new job, but her former employer had approached her and asked her to return.

Pastor Ted informed the council of a disturbing letter received from Greg Ulrich. The Buffalo Police Department was called and informed Pastor Ted that Mr. Ulrich is well known to them and recommended that a no trespassing order be issued so that if he ever did appear at Zion the police could take action. The order was issued the following day and the staff have been given a picture of Mr. Ulrich and informed to call 911 if he does appear on any of Zion’s properties.

Lastly, the council approved spending up to $8,000 from the Special Project funds to install two digital locks on outside doors, one on the north side door near the nursery and another on the south door near the church office. All other outside doors will be rekeyed.