Council Update October 2020
The Church Council had its monthly meeting on 15 October via Zoom. The following are some of the key issues addressed.
- Council members and staff are working diligently on plans for the time when government regulations will allow Sunday Gatherings to be held in the Church once again. As you can imagine, there are many aspects that need to be considered to ensure that people attending church will be safe. In consultation with Margaret, Rhys, and Jackson we have agreed that the Online Service will continue when the church is reopened as we have had significant positive feedback and requests for this to continue.
- We have received advice from the Synod that the Conservation Management Plan to be undertaken by Purcell architects will be funded from the surplus funds left over from the sale of the Camberwell Manse and the purchase of the new Manse in Port Melbourne. It is indeed pleasing to note that the cost of this important project will be cost neutral.
- Next week we will be sending out a brief Online Survey to members and friends. Following adoption of our Strategic Directions and Goals (see the recent Intersection), the Council and the Contact & Care and Programs Deaneries are seeking broader input so that together we can turn our “Dreams into Action.” We do hope that everyone will participate!
Council Update September 2020
Council Working on a Hybrid Model for Church Services
As we move toward a time when we can safely re-open the church buildings, the Council, with the support of our minister Dr Margaret Mayman, has agreed in principle to offer both in-person and online Sunday Gatherings. We have received many appreciative messages in response to our online Gatherings from people in Victoria and beyond, and numerous requests that we continue after the COVID 19 restrictions have eased. We also recognise that some members of our congregation may not feel comfortable returning to church for some time whilst the risk of infection remains.
To facilitate and organise these arrangements a Council Working Group has been established to work with our minister Margaret, Music Manager Rhys, and videographer Jackson to determine how an in-person and online model might be developed and organised.
A separate Working Group of the Church Services’ Deanery is exploring protocols for safe re-opening. This is a highly complex process involving assessing how many people will be permitted in the church under the social distancing restrictions, recording names and contact information of attendees, additional cleaning routines, food and beverage handling, communion procedures, analysis of the risk of infection spread by singing and musical instruments, etc. As much as we miss gathering together, we will not re-open our buildings until we are assured that we can do safely.
The Treasurer, Ian Cox, advised that St Michael’s financial situation was still sound despite offerings being lower than normal without the usual collection on Sunday morning and income from hall rental and weddings dropping considerably.
He noted that offerings are continuing and are being sent by mail, electronic banking and via the St Michael’s website. He reported that the overall fall in income has been partially offset by Government support programmes and by reducing costs while maintaining our Synod Mission contribution and community programmes.
Social Justice Community
Council discussed a proposed Inner-City Social Justice network of Uniting Church congregations. The Council encourages St Michael’s members who are passionate about a more just society, who see this as part of living out Christian faith, who want to join with others to advocate creatively for justice and mercy, to join an initial conversation (on Zoom, of course!) that will initially be hosted by Richmond UCA. If you are interested exploring this exciting collaborative opportunity, please contact Lorraine Woolley, Dean of Programs by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Vocational Assessments Online
Dr Lynette Kramer, Director of the Mingary Counselling Service, has recommended to Council the reintroduction of Vocational Assessments. New tools have been purchased to allow the assessments to be carried out online in collaboration with a Mingary Counsellor. We look forward to this additional service being available soon.