Council Highlights – January 2018

January 16, 2018

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 pm by out-going President Joyce Stenberg.  Pastor Gary led us in a devotion.

Bill Jordan presented information on the Community Media Access Collaborative.  He is a member and felt membership by the church would be something that should be considered.  It would provide the ability to have the pastors’ sermons on community access channels, which would reach a larger section of our community.  The Council voted to send the proposal to the Worship and Music committee for consideration.

Debbie Hurado from the Learning Tree Board reported that they currently have 76 children enrolled.  December saw a gain of $294.37 for the month, which included the proceeds of $1,980 from the Star Tree.  Licensing has been approved for a total of 30 infants to be cared for now.

The Personnel team will meet shortly to determine the next steps in replacing our Contemporary Worship leader.

The Property and Grounds committee is working on removal of some troublesome trees and upgrading the lighting in the Community Center.

RIC committee has set some dates for forums to discuss the welcoming statement.

The Executive Board elections results are: Mark Dodd – President, Bob Teague – Vice President, Candy Paulsen – Secretary.  Since no one submitted their name for Treasurer, Cindy Wiederhold will continue to serve as Treasurer (per the By-laws).

Cindy reported that we ended the year with a deficit of $12,912.97, despite spending $11,194.72 less than budgeted.  We had hoped that December offerings would make up more of the difference, but they were not as high as hoped.

The next Council meeting will be on February 20, 2018 at 7:00 pm.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 pm, followed by the recital of the Lord’s Prayer.

Respectfully submitted,

Mary Smith

Council Highlights – December 2017

President Joyce Stenberg called the meeting to order and also led the devotional with an inspiring description of the Food Pantry ministry.

New council members Robert Forbes, Dave Dent and Tashara Hoff were welcomed and farewell thanks were expressed for leaving council members Pam Scheid, Peter Marhenke, Garret Wright and Janice Kramer.

Jennifer Jordan gave the Learning Tree report. She reported that 76 students were currently enrolled. The strobe light has been installed and they are waiting for the Fire Marshall inspection before getting licensing approval for the new infant room. They had a loss of $3,454 for the month of November.

Mary Smith reported for the Property and Grounds ministry that Spectrum was chosen to upgrade the phone system with a lease-to-own package and the monthly cost for the upgraded system is equal to what we pay now for phone service. Several items were repaired in November. They plan to rewire an easily accessible fixture as a test project with the goal of upgrading the florescent lighting in the community center to LED tubes. The cost of LED tubes has dropped significantly and are 55% more efficient than florescent bulbs. Bids will be sought for steam cleaning the kitchen as well.

The council approved the Internship of Joseph Paxton for the year September 2018 to August 2019.

Compensation, if any, will be determined at a later time.

Cindy Wiederhold reviewed November financial results. November income was $2,500 more than budgeted due to increased offerings and expenses were $6,300 less than budgeted mostly due to timing differences that will be caught up in December. Year-to-Date net was within $100 of budgeted.

A council retreat is planned for December 30, 2017.

The new council will be installed on January 7, 2018 at all three services.

The next council meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 at 7:00 pm.

Submitted by: Cindy Wiederhold

Council Highlights – November 2017

November 20, 2017

President Joyce Stenberg called the meeting to order at 6:05 p.m.  Mark Dodd led the devotion with an inspirational video.  No one was present for Open Mic.

Jacque Haar gave the council the Learning Tree Report.  Jacque reported that 75 students were currently enrolled.  Opportunities for advertising are being sought to increase enrollment.  Due to the need to install a strobe light and a horn in the new infant room, occupancy is not expected to occur until at least mid-December.  The Learning Tree Christmas Program will be December 8th at 7:00 pm.

Janice Kramer of Worship and Music committee reported that Hope Band Director Wink Farrand would be leaving in early January.  The Worship and Music committee is starting work with the personnel committee to find a replacement for Wink.

Mark Dodd of the Property and Grounds committee reported that the Columbarium team is moving forward with planning upgrades to the Columbarium grounds.  Possible tree removals will be combined with other tree removals to save cost.  The Property and Grounds committee is planning to work with students from Fresno State on an updated campus landscaping design next semester.

Donna Lippman from the Nominating team updated the Council on possible candidates for various positions to be decided at the December Semi-Annual Church Meeting on December 6th.

Cindy Wiederhold reviewed the current Church Finances with the Council.  We are currently about $9,000 short of our Net Revenue as of the end of October and hoping our November and December revenue exceeds budget forecast.  The council approved three fundraising request for the Learning Tree.

Cindy also presented the 2018 Church Budget as prepared by the Finance Team.  After careful review and discussion, the budget was passed by the council for approval at the December 6th Semi-Annual meeting.  Cindy will hold Budget Forums on Wednesday, November 29th and Sunday, December 3rd.  for anyone wanting more details prior to the Semi-Annual meeting.

The Council met in Executive Session.  After receiving an update and recommendation from the Executive Team, the council approved the recommendations.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:33 p.m. with the recital of the Lord’s Prayer.

Our next Congregational Meeting will be on Wednesday December 6th at 6:00 PM.

Our next Council Meeting will be December 19th at 7:00 p.m.

Submitted by:  Mark Dodd


Council Highlights – October 2017

Council Meeting Highlights- October 17, 2017

Council President Joyce Stenberg called the meeting to order at 7:10 PM. Devotions were presented by Donna Lippman. No one was present for Open Mic.

Debbie Hurado gave the Learning Tree report. Currently there are 72 students enrolled, down from 93, as more schools are now offering after school programs.

A new infant room is waiting approval from the Fire Marshall, after a fire alarm and strobe light are installed.  Income is down, and this is a concern. The Board is looking at various fundraisers, along with increased income from new infants enrolled when the room is approved to cover the shortfall.  The Board was scheduled to meet on 10/23.

Committee Reports:

Stewardship – Candy Paulsen reported that the Cottage Meetings that met were quite fruitful, and created excitement among the attendees.  We will consider holding additional meetings in the future.

Reconciling in Christ – The team is working on a Welcoming Statement for Hope, and would like to encourage any interested members that would like to have input on this, to contact Pastor Gary, to be a part of this team.

VISION 2025 – This is a NEW group, that is looking forward with excitement to the future ahead for our congregation. There are currently 12 members, and they have met 3 times. They are looking at new ministries and partnerships for Hope Lutheran. Planning for the future (2025) is the objective, and we encourage anyone interested in being a part of this team to contact Pastor Gary. We are looking for input from adult members of all ages of the congregation. The next meeting will be on November 6th.

Financial Report:

There were two requests for fundraisers, the Rummage Sale to benefit the Overboard Mexico trip, and The February 16th Crab Feed. The Crab Feed proceeds will go to the youth as they plan their 2018 trip to the National Youth Gathering in Houston. Both requests were approved by the council. Cindy Wiederhold reported that September income was down about $2400 from budget projections.  Our year to date income is now $7800 less than budgeted.  Fortunately, our expenses have also been down slightly. Year to date net is fairly close to actual budget. The Finance team will meet the week of October 23 to start work on the 2018 budget.

Our next Congregational Meeting will be on Wednesday December 6th at 6:00 PM.

Council will meet on Monday, November 20th at 6:00 p.m. The meeting was adjourned at 8:55 p.m. with the Lord’s Prayer.

Submitted by:  Pam Scheid

Council Highlights – August 2017

The Hope Lutheran Church Council met on Tuesday, August 15, 2017

  • The evening started with devotions.
  • No one was present for “open Mic” that evening.
  • The Omega Board gave a report explaining the purpose and goals of the Board. Information will follow quarterly in the Grapevine. September 24th there will be a representative from Thrivent Financial presenting a seminar on legacy giving between the services. The Omega Board’s investments allowed them to make a generous contribution towards a new sound board for the sanctuary, and to offset part of the cost of our youth attending the national youth gathering in Houston. While the Omega Board operates separately from church council, it does need, and did receive the approval of the council.
  • The Learning Tree presented a report. With 93 enrolled students, the income is modestly exceeding expenses. A new assistant-director has been hired and will be introduced to the congregation in the future.
  • A new Facility usage document has been created by the Property and Grounds committee and approved by the council.
  • God’s Work, Our Hands is right around the corner, as is the Fall 2017 Stewardship Drive called “Every Day a Miracle.” Cottage meetings, hosted by council members, will allow people to get to know one another, and to allow for questions and comments in a more informal setting.
  • AMMPARO: “Accompanying Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities” workshops will be held in late August, and in September and October.
  • This year’s Crop Walk is Sunday October 15th. The purpose is to raise money to fight hunger in the area.
  • The Financial Report revealed a dip in income for the month, but for the year we are only slightly behind budgeted projections and anticipate better results as summer ends and we head into the Fall.
  • We look forward to a Congregational Meeting Wednesday, December 6th at 6:00 p.m.
  • There is a group from our congregation exploring an opportunity to purchase one of the office buildings to the North of our campus. The council approved the exploration of this opportunity.
  • The AED’s available on campus are routinely inspected and maintained.
  • Council will meet next on Tuesday, September 19th at 7:00 p.m.

The council closed with the Lord’s prayer.

Council Highlights – July 2017

Council Meeting Highlights from July 18, 2017

Council President, Joyce Stenberg called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m., followed by a devotion presented by Teddy Henley.

Jacque Haar gave the Learning Tree report. Expenses exceeded income for the month June which is not unusual during the summer months.  There are 94 students enrolled with 25 of those students attending Hope’s VBS.  The roof replacement will begin in July, and the shade coverings for the playground is very expensive so the children are using the community center to play and keep cool.  The Director and the Board are seeking to fill the Assistant Director Position and have a few candidates to interview.

Committee Meeting Reports:

  • Pastor Gary shared continued dialog on the RIC process and addressed questions from the council. There will be more forums for the congregation to attend for those of you who missed a RIC forum discussion.
  • Mark Dodd and Mary Smith from the Property and Grounds committee presented a “Facilities Use Pricing” document that will be extremely helpful to the office staff. This is a combination of a Facilities Application, User Guidelines and schedule of fees.  The P&G also have been working hard and staying on budget.  They meet once a month and prioritize the most needed repair, such as the malfunctioning A/C in the sanctuary.  This is now repaired.
  • Joyce Stenberg brought updates to the Constitution, By-Laws, & Continuing Resolutions in preparation for the December Congregational meeting.

Financial Report:

Cindy Wiederhold reported net income for the month of June was a favorable compared to budget and we are also favorable year to date by $12,516.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:50 p.m. with the Lord’s Prayer.

Submitted by:  Teddy Henley

Council Highlights – June 2017


from Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Council President Joyce Stenberg called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m., followed by a video devotion presented by Garrett Wright.

Debbie Hurado gave the Learning Tree report.  She stated that income exceeded expenses for the month of May by over $5,000.  Also, eighteen students are enrolled in the Summer Camp program, including VBS.  The Learning Tree Board is currently searching for someone to fill the Assistant Director position.  Estimates for shade coverings continue to come in, and due to an increased demand, estimates to convert the Panda Room to an infant room are being gathered.

Committee Meeting Reports:

  • Mark Dodd from The Property and Grounds committee reported that the Learning Tree roof project is moving forward, and the project to repair sprinklers was to be done by Hope volunteers.
  • Candy Paulsen from the Stewardship Committee reported that “God’s Work, Our Hands” is progressing under the leadership of Kenia Clemente, with much appreciated guidance and counseling from Candy Paulsen and Kristina Garabedian.
  • Mary Smith from The Personnel Committee reported that Myra Squeo, Hope’s new office manager, will begin work on June 26. Please stop by the church office to welcome Myra to her new position!
  • Reconciling In Christ representatives Janice Kramer and Bryan Smith continued the RIC process by ascertaining questions council members either had or knew that other Hope members have about the process.

Financial Report:

Cindy Wiederhold reported that May had been a good month financially.  Year to date through May 31 we are $4,000 better than budgeted! Although expenses and income can differ from monthly projections, Cindy says we are on track to be within budgeted amounts by the end of the year.

Worship and Music:

The council accepted the recommendation of the Music and Worship Team that the Jazz Mass is going well and we will continue this service on an ongoing basis.

After considering the input from several members at cottage meetings, Pastor Gary explained the reasoning behind the addition of a 10:00 service.  The council approved the recommendation, and the first 10:00 service will begin September 17th.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:10 p.m. with the Lord’s Prayer.

Submitted by: Bob Teague

Council Highlights – May 2017


Meeting of May 16, 2017

President Joyce Stenberg called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.  Bob Teague led us in devotions.

Sharon Peterson and Jan Forbes were present for Open Mic.  They spoke about the RIC process and the importance of having the Council attending the forums and demonstrating their support as leaders of the congregation.

Steve Fortner gave the Learning Tree report.  Enrollment is good and the finances have been in the black.  At this point the fall Kindergarten class will have to be cancelled if we don’t enroll the 9 students needed.  The Art Hop raised ~$2900 toward a shade for the LT playground.  However, with new codes in effect, the cost to shade the playground is far above that.  Due to increased demand, a new infant room will be added.  The roofing project is moving forward.

Ed Nelson was present to explain the changes to Hope’s constitution to get it in line with the ELCA Constitutional model.  He and Adam put in many hours of work to get everything updated.  The changes will be sent out to the congregation 30 days prior to a vote.

 Committee meeting reports:

  • Mary Smith reported that the Personnel Team met just prior to the Council Meeting. They will be interviewing 4 candidates for the position of Office Manager this week.
  • Mark Dodd reported that the Learning Tree roofing project is moving forward.
  • The Stewardship/Stewardship Education Teams have suggested that we honor different vocations each week through the end of the church year. Pastor Gary is working on this, tying different vocations to bible verses.

Pastor Adam presented his recommendations for the distribution of the scholarship funds in the budget.  The Council passed his motion.

Joyce Stenberg gave us a quick rundown of the happenings at the Synod Assembly on May 4-6th.

Cindy Wiederhold reported that while April income was only 80% of budgeted, YTD we are within $100 of the budgeted income.  April expenses were 17.5% above budget which contributed to an YTD total of $8319 expenses above budget.

Other news:

The Hope softball team is up and running.

As a response to his request for funds and prayer, a prayer request for Pastor Al Schoonover will be included in the Prayer of the Day one week prior to his departure for Malawi to teach and present at a conference

The meeting was adjourned at 8:55.  We ended the session with the Lord’s Prayer.

Mary Smith

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