Ellen Potts, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity, was welcomed as a visitor at the May Stated Session Meeting. She informed the Session that as part of celebrating 200 years of a Presbyterian presence in Tuscaloosa in 2020, First Presbyterian is teaming up with Habitat to build a home for a family with three children. The house needs to have four bedrooms due to the youngest child’s autism. Habitat will accommodate this child’s special needs in the design of the project. Habitat is seeking a lot in Northport and hope to start construction this Fall with the goal of having the family in residence by Christmas. Habitat requested a donation of $25,000 from Grace toward the goal of $100,000 needed for the build. Consideration of the request was postponed until the June Stated Session Meeting. At that meeting there was a thorough discussion of the proposal after which the Session approved a donation of $10,000 to the Presbyterian Habitat build.
A motion from the Communications Committee to purchase video monitors for the sanctuary was approved after in-depth discussion.
Cathy reported our summer intern, Madison Vaughn, will start June 1.
This year’s focus for the Presbytery of Sheppards and Lapsley Racial Reconciliation. Grace will be hosting the Presbytery on August 15 and many volunteers will be needed. Cathy also reported on the difficulties facing Living River and the need for prayers related to its future.
It was moved and seconded that Grace endorse “Lights for Liberty” vigil to end human detention camps in which immigrants are held and that we supply candles for the Tuscaloosa event. Date will be Friday, July 12, in the evening. The motion passed unanimously.
Hill, Grace Chair of Finance and Stewardship, distributed a financial statement
for the first quarter of 2019. She reminded the Session that the 2019 Grace budget
had to be balanced by drawing $90,000 out of reserve funds as pledges were
insufficient to meet our anticipated expenses.
The Food Pantry Committee will be discussing an incident report in the event accidents occur during its operations. The Mission, Peace and Justice Committee moved the Session sign up to be a Matthew 25 church and commit to the goal of eradicating systemic poverty. Matthew 25 emphasis is an initiative of the PCUSA Mission Agency. Susan Benke offered a substitute motion which was seconded and approved that MPJ provide more details about how Matthew 25 program will be implemented by the Grace Congregation and then bring their request back to the Session with the details.
Cathy informed the Session she will be on vacation July 19-27. Scott McQueen will preach on July 21. Cathy reported on the Life Is Calling initiative. The focus is that everyone has a call. Through this initiative Grace will have access to a version the Birkman Method personality test for every member at no charge. This will be a way to discern gifts for ministry. The Life Is Calling team will be preparing a proposal about our mission and ministry and how $30,000 in grant funds will be used for ministry by Grace.