Council Highlights – April

Pam Scheid led us in devotions, then the Learning Tree report was shared by board member Jennifer Jordan. Jennifer shared the exciting news that the Larry L. Hillblom Foundation donated $14,000 toward the cost of the new Learning Tree roof. Board president, Jacque Haar, was instrumental in obtaining this funding. Also of note, there are five kindergarten students signed up for Fall 2017, four additional students will be needed to support a kindergarten class.

Mark Dodd reported that the Property and Grounds committee is continuing to obtain bids for the Learning Tree roof. He also discussed several other areas of our church campus that will require maintenance or capital improvements in the coming years. Property and Grounds is looking ahead in terms of budgeting with these needs in mind.

It was announced that Tithing Love for Lent raised $1,191.36 These funds will be distributed to the ten ministries that were earmarked. We really emptied our pockets and filled those jars!

Joyce Stenberg, president, shared that Pam Campbell was very touched by her going away party, she said that it really meant a lot to her. Bryan Smith communicated that the Personnel Committee is working toward establishing a job description for a new Parish Administrator. It is hoped the position will be filled this summer.

Cindy Wiederhold, treasurer, shared that both income and expenses in March were more than budgeted, but year-to-date we are still ahead. Thank you to all who continue to Extend Hope in Jesus through tithes and offerings.

The Synod Assembly will take place May 4-6, 2017 in Fresno. A request has been made for cookies and other snacks, these can be brought to Hope on May 3rd. Volunteers are also needed during the assembly, please call the church office for more information.

As always, we closed the meeting with the Lord’s Prayer. If you have any questions about theses highlights or anything else where the council can be of service, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Candy Paulsen

Council Highlights – March 2017

The March Council meeting began right on the dot at 7:00 p.m.  After devotions, Phil Benner and Kristina Garabedian kicked off the activities with their Open Mic presentations.  Then it was on to the Learning Tree report.  The Learning Tree has been doing quite well financially.  Enrollment remains steady in spite of the recent tuition increase and there are always parents requesting information and tours.  They must be doing something right!

It seems like we spent the most time discussing recent repairs and need of future repairs.  Our facility is getting older.  Property and Grounds has been very busy of late.  They’ve had to deal with diseased trees and parking lot repairs to make sure that no one trips and gets hurt.  The biggest issue is that we have 23 heating/AC units that are all 20 years old or older.  The older they get, the more they cost to maintain.  Also, the older they get, the more likely they are to die.  Property and Grounds is looking at increasing facilities use fees by 15% to cover the cost of maintenance and equipment usage.  This extra money would be put into the Capital Improvements fund so we aren’t caught off guard when the heating/cooling units start to need attention.  In fact, they’re ranking the units and will start to replace them one by one as funds come available so we can avoid unexpected repair bills. Good thinking, team!

Finances have been doing much better than budgeted so far this year.  For February, that was mostly due to the fabulous Crab Feed.  Instead of netting $8000, as expected, we netted $14,991.  That means that our total income for February was $5300 more than budgeted.  Thanks to all who attended the Crab Feed, and thanks to all who are faithfully keeping up with their pledges.  We couldn’t do this without you!

Well, those are the highlights.  Read the next installment next month.

Janice Kramer

Council Meeting Highlights-February 2017

Devotions were led by Mary Smith, followed by the Learning Tree report as follows. Currently 92 children are attending. LT finished 2016 with $9,529.32 in the black and is currently fully staffed. There is interest in openings in the 2 and 3 year old classes. Star Tree was a success and Safety Issues are being discussed. Jacque Harr was elected as Chairperson and Jennifer Jordan was elected Secretary of the LT Board.

Claudia Showalter has joined the Stewardship Education Team.

RIC survey results were distributed by Pastor Gary.

The 2 Handicapped parking spaces next to the building are being refitted with iron poles replacing the bumpers.

Synod Constitution updates language is being addressed by Ed Nelson.

The next Congregational meeting will be held on Wed. March 29 from 6:30 to 7 pm.

Cindy Wiederhold gave the church treasurers report. January income/expenses were a negative net result with expenses more than receipts by $5,300.00.

Lenten offerings received this year will be divided among 10 different entities and should be directed by givers to “Tithe of Love”.

The Crab Feed was a huge success and the youth earned $6,000.00 +. The meeting was adjourned at 8:20 PM.

Respectfully submitted by Bryan Smith

Council Highlights, October 2016

The meeting was called to order by President Joyce Stenberg at 7:10 PM, and began with opening devotions by council member Jan Forbes about faith and perseverance.

This was the business that was discussed:

  • No one was present for Open Mic this month.
  • Jennifer Jordan presented the Learning Tree Report. Currently there are 92 students enrolled . A golf tournament was held on October 16th, and picture day is scheduled for October 25.
  • The consent agenda and minutes were approved by the council.
  • Miracle Sunday is coming up with a celebratory luncheon following services, where the total amount of money raised will be announced to the congregation. Members of the council will be helping with set up and cleanup.
  • Cottage meetings are continuing, with several coming up in the next two weeks. Stewardship/Pledge Sunday is Sunday November 6. A low key campaign is underway.
  • Nominating Team has been meeting to help find candidates to fill the vacant council seats in 2017. There will be six seats open.
  • Cindy Wiederhold presented the financial reports. The net income for September 2016 was $2077.23. Our income to date was around $7000 better than expected. Part of this is due to some Miracle funds already received. Year to date we are at-$22535.04.
  • Sierra Pacific Synod has sent all member congregations an amended model constitution that must be used in THEIR constitutions. We voted and accepted the amendments, to be incorporated into our constitution. A task force will be put together, to work on updating our constitution. The revised constitution will be presented at the December 7th congregational meeting, and presented at the Spring meeting as well, and voted on at that time.
  • Our next meeting is scheduled for November 15 at 7 PM.
  • The meeting was adjourned at 8 PM, and we all prayed together the Lord’s Prayer.

Council Highlights, September 2016

  • Elaine Schomaker, a member of Trinity Lutheran Church, spoke to the council about Lutheran Lay Renewal. This is a congregational retreat for all members of the church, including children, it is an opportunity for members of the congregation to share their faith over the course of a weekend. Due to the number of items on the agenda that evening, the council decided to discuss the program at a later date.
  • Learning Tree: Debbie Hurado presented the Learning Tree report. There are currently 91 students enrolled. The Director and Assistant Director job descriptions have been updated.
  • Miracle Sunday: Jacque Haar reminded us that we will be collecting Miracle offerings on Sunday, October 2. Our luncheon celebrating the end of the campaign will be on Sunday, October 23.
  • Stewardship/Cottage Meetings: Pastor Gary reported that he and Corrine have hosted seven Cottage meetings to date. They will be doing another eight in the next few weeks. Stewardship is one of the topics discussed at the Cottage meetings. Pledge Sunday will be on November 6th. We will be receiving pledges for 2017.
  • Jazz Mass at Hope Lutheran Church: Linda Rogers introduced Pastor Steve Carlson, he presented a proposal that Hope host the Jazz Mass previously held at Bethel Lutheran, the first Sunday of each month. Hope’s Worship and Music Team is in favor. The council felt this partnership could attract new people to our church and serve a more diverse population. It was decided to begin a trial period starting the first Sunday in November and running through June.
  • Financial Report: Cindy Wiederhold reported that we are within $3200 of our bottom line for the year. We have four fund raising requests. They are 1) Overboard Rummage Sale, 2) the Crab Feed, 3) Youth Window Washing, and 4)Youth Bake Sale.
  • Pay Days: Pay days will be changed so that payroll recognition will be in the month during which it was incurred.
  • Budget Planning: The Finance Team will be meeting in November to work on the 2017 Budget.

Respectfully submitted,

Candy Paulsen, council member

Council Highlights, July 2016



  • Steve Fortner, representing the Learning Tree, shared out of 100 students 88 are full time. They have hired two new teachers.  During the hiring process they discovered the Learning Tree wages are not competitive with the industry.  They are increasing salaries of seven employees that are tenured to $11.00 an hour.  The Learning Tree Golf Tournament is scheduled for Sunday October 16th at 12:30 pm at the Fig Garden Golf Course.
  • Jacque Haar reported “Save the Date” cards have been mailed to members for Miracle Sunday “Mustard, Mulberries, & Miracles” scheduled for October 2, 2016. Letters and Temple talks are being prepared.
  • Pastor Gary presented the idea of a thrift or fair trade store. Council recommended a task force be formed to study the feasibility of this type of venture.  It is to be comprised of about 5 people.  The idea is to generate a regular flow of income to subsidize ministries in the church.
  • Recently during the renovation of the courtyard a planter that had been set aside as a memorial for a deceased member was unknowingly removed and paved over, causing distress amongst family members. To avoid this type of situation in the future, Joyce Stenberg proposed adding a resolution to the by-laws stating church members may not make memorials of church property or its grounds.  Members may purchase a memorial brick to be placed into the patio of the Memorial Grove, to provide a place of remembrance for all the saints who have passed on.  The wording of a resolution is being worked on to be approved by council at our next meeting & presented to the congregation at the next Semi-Annual Congregational meeting for final approval.
  • Two members of the Stewardship Education Team have reached the end of their terms. Pastor Gary & President Joyce will work on finding replacements.  It was also suggested to the Stewardship Education Team they look into a program that teaches and encourages stewardship in our children
  • God’s Work Our Hands project is proceeding well and should be in place by September.
  • No one was present for Open Mic at this meeting; however, anyone is welcome to come before the Council with thoughts and/or concerns. All members of the congregation are welcome to attend and listen to a Council Meeting Session.  Meetings are held regularly on the third Tuesday of each month beginning at 7:00 pm

Respectfully Submitted,

Joyce Stenberg, Congregational President

Council Highlights, June 2016

There were two presentations at Open Mic (both receiving council approval):

1.  Kristina Garabedian presented a proposal to start a project of collecting specific items each month to be donated to different groups as a continuation of Gods Work Our Hands.

2.   Three Girl Scouts from Troop 989 (Ainsley Berryhill, Addison Rotan and Delaney Wright) requested approval for their project “MAGS Baskets”, designed to benefit foster children who have aged out of the system.

The Learning Tree, represented by Tom Wright, reported there were 99 children enrolled and 88 of those were full time, there were 26 students enrolled for summer camp, and since there were 9 enrollees for the 2016-17 Kindergarten class, it will proceed in the fall. Tom also reported there will be a Learning Tree Golf Tournament fundraiser on Sunday, October 16th at Fig Garden Golf Course.

The financial report for May showed May income up about $3,500 from budgeted for May, however expenses were also up due to building repairs and we are still at a net loss for the year so far.

Our solar panels have generated more electricity than we have used through mid June. Our first solar-power year will end in mid-August with our net usage due to PG & E at that time. It is hoped that we will owe less than the budgeted $2,000.

It was announced that the Women of Hope would be hosting a farewell party on July 16th for Sara Martin as she will be heading to the Midwest to go to Seminary on August 8th.

The next council meeting will be Tuesday, July 19th at 7pm.

Council Highlights, May 2016

Council met on Tuesday evening, May 17th, 2016.  The meeting, which began promptly at 7:03 and ended at 8:55. Council concluded the following business:

  • Opening Devotions were done by council member Peter Marhenke
  • Two guests attended the “open mic” portion. Council endorsed a “Food to Share” program coordinated with Metro Ministries that provides excess and “second harvest” fruits and vegetables for people in need.  Council also was alerted that our Conference dues were not in our budget for 2016 and resolved to correct this oversight.
  • The Learning Tree has updated a policy and procedures manual, and continues to see strong enrollment in all classes. The learning tree grounds were fixed up with the removal of two dead trees and the addition of wood chips under the play equipment. Graduations for the Learning Tree Kindergarten is June 9th; and the 4 year olds graduate on June 10th.
  • Council approved the recommendation of the personnel committee to hire Robert Forbes as our new Audio/Visual Technician. (Robert’s councilmember mother abstained from discussion and voting)
  • Pastor Knudson asked for council approval to award Hope’s Scholarship money to two congregation students attending Christian colleges. The money for these scholarships was generously donated by members of the congregation. Congratulations to Christa Slater and Hannah Little. Council approved.
  • Pastor Gary will work with the Worship and Music Team regarding details for this year’s “God Work Our Hands”. He also will be meeting the next day with the team considering Hope becoming a Reconciling in Christ congregation.
  • Council also agreed that money collected through free-will offerings and donations be put in the general fund after expenses have been paid.
  • A Stewardship Team has been formed to keep Hope on track financially. When we are strong financially our ministries are strong as well.

Submitted by Peter Marhenke

Council Highlights, April 2016

After president Stenberg called the meeting to order and devotions were given, no one was present for Open Mic so the meeting proceeded with The Learning Tree report given by Jennifer Jordan. In order for the Kindergarten to proceed in September, 2 more students are needed to enroll. A golf tournament fundraiser is planned for the fall. On May 6 there was a staff appreciation luncheon for both the Learning Tree and Church staff.

Pam Scheid reported on the “Festival of the Spirit” activities planned for Pentecost Sunday on May 15th. There will be only 1 worship service at 10 am before the activities commence at 11 am for the youth and ministries fair in the community center including a hot dog and hamburger BBQ/potluck lunch.

Cindy Wiederhold presented the revised budget for 2016 and it was adopted by the council.

It was announced that there will be a VBS fundraiser at Blaze Pizza from 4 to 11 pm on June 24. A special coupon, which will soon be available, when presented will produce a 20% benefit for 2016 Camp Hope.

Council Highlights, March 2016

The March Council Meeting was full of lively discussions on various topics.  Beside the usual reports, we were made aware of several items that needed immediate attention.  Barbara Cowart requested that the council okay the purchase of a storage container that was previously bought jointly by Hope and the Seventh Day Adventists.  We would buy out the Seventh Day Adventist’s share of the container cost.  Funds will be donated by the Friendship Club and the Wednesday night dinners to cover the purchase.  There’s no such thing as too much storage.

Our Audio/Visual Technician, JP Sander, is leaving Hope and taking another job at a church in Livermore.  He will be leaving after Easter.  After much discussion on how to cope with his absence, it was finally decided to allow the Personnel Committee to decide how best to proceed in replacing JP.

Probably the most urgent item that came to our attention was the state of our finances.  Our January end of month balance was around $8000 in the black, but that number is about $15,500 below our budgeted receipts.  We are approximately $15,500 in the red for February.  For the year 2016, we are already $27,000 below where we should be.  And, we are only two months into the year! Things need to turn around, and soon!

Due to issues with drug use and theft, the Shower Ministry has been temporarily suspended.  The church office and other campus buildings are now kept locked.  The possibility of purchasing a buzzer entry is being investigated.  Then office staff won’t have to stop what they are doing every few minutes to let people into the building.  It’s sad that this had to happen, but we need to be sure that our staff is safe and our property protected as much as possible.

There are trees on our property that have grown so large that they are causing serious damage.  Five trees will be removed to prevent any further harm from taking place.

Other topics were discussed and are recorded in the minutes, but these items, and especially the finances, were things requiring immediate attention by the council.  We are passing that information on to you so that you are aware of what is going on in our church.  Please feel free to contact any council member to share comments or concerns.

Janice Kramer