When we meet: Church Council meets on the third Tuesday evening of each month, at 6:30 PM, barring special circumstances.
Council’s Responsibilities: First Plymouth’s bylaws define Council as the general policy-making body of the Church, equivalent to a Board of Trustees. Council members are accountable to the members of First Plymouth for the “mindful and faithful execution” of five responsibilities:
- Executive and organizational performance with respect to advancing the Church’s mission and vision;
- The fiscal stability of the Church, its budget, and the effective management of Church resources.
- The integrity of Church operations and compliance with applicable laws and regulations;
- The long-term viability and strategic direction of the Church; and
- Deliberate and regular communication with Church membership and staff.
How we work: In July of 2009, Council began to use a governing model called Policy Governance. Under Policy Governance, the governing body (in this case, Church Council) shifts away from hands-on, day-to-day management decisions and focuses its attention on articulating vision, making policy, and church oversight. The Senior Minister, staff and volunteers, in turn, are empowered to make day-to-day decisions related to both the administrative and program sides of the church, as long as they respect the boundaries set forth in council policy. The separation of management from governance allows each body to concentrate their best efforts and energy on their assigned task: for Council it is the long term sustainability and health of the church; for the Senior Minister, staff and volunteers it is everything that goes into being and doing church—from shoveling snow to preaching on Sunday.
Church Council has a full set of governance policies which are now in use at First Plymouth. There are four different types of policy: those that articulate mission and vision, those that set the boundaries described in the paragraph above, those that define the accountability of the executive and how he or she will be monitored and evaluated, and those that define how Church Council conducts its business. The policies are a living document. Each new council will refine them in the course of their use, as they see fit, and they have been amended over time.
Current Council Officers (term ending): Phil Thompson, Moderator (2019-20). Liz Mascitelli, Vice Moderator (2020-2021). Carole Westphal, Treasurer (2020-2021). Pat Olson, Church Clerk (2020-21). Kim Wooldridge, Immediate Past Moderator (non-voting). Members-at-Large (term ending): Sandy Clough (2020-21), Alison Pasternak (2020-21), Laura Eley (2021-22), David Stevenson (2021-22), Deborah Arca (2022-2023) Robert Henderson (2022-2023).
If you are interested in serving on Church Council, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The next term begins July 1, 2021, and candidates will be voted on during the June 2021 Congregational Meeting.
Congregational Meetings: Church Bylaws require that the Annual Meeting of the members of the Church be held in September. Another Congregational meeting is usually held in June as well in order to review and approve a proposed church budget for the following fiscal year. Fiscal years for the church are July 1 through June 30. The final budget is approved in the September meeting.