August 2019 Session Meeting Highlights

The following summarizes the reports, discussions and actions from the August 2019 Stated Meeting of the Session of Calvary Presbyterian Church. (No Session meeting was held in July.) 

Clerk’s Report:  Session acknowledged 1 member death and approved 5 changes from active to inactive membership status. Membership as of end June 2019 = 758. Average July worship attendance:  2019 = 217, 2018 = 232, 2017 = 226.

Session approved the sale of books at a 10/6/19 Adult Ed event. Former Calvary member Keven Bellows will read from her newly published book of poetry and lead a discussion.

The Calvary Foundation presented and Session approved a Pastor Housing Policy that includes terms by which the Foundation will provide capital to assist an eligible pastor with purchasing or renting a home in San Francisco. The goals are to improve housing affordability and attract the best pastor candidates.

The Western Region, Presbytery of San Francisco, has been allocated $1,000,000 to use in grants that support mission projects. An Executive Panel has been elected to vet grants and make recommendations that will be voted upon at Western Region meetings. Session is charged with overseeing grant proposals from Calvary.

The Giving Ministry Team reported that pledge numbers and dollars are trending down this year versus last year. The team will continue to monitor.

Adult Ed and the Giving Team are co-sponsoring a program on 10/20, “The Gift of giving:  Teaching Generosity Across Generations”. It will be led by Maggie Harmon, Ministry Relations officer SW for the Presbyterian Foundation.

The Personnel Mission Team reported that performance evaluations are 90% completed. Compensation decisions have been made and came in under budget.

The Finance Team and CAO reported that there will be a transition this Fall to new financial accounting software due to the age and lack of technical support for the existing software.

Session approved a revised motion that reconfirms our commitment to give 10% of Calvary’s Total Support & Income to serve the outside community each year, and to take steps to meet that 10% goal as part of the 2020 budget.


Education & Spiritual Formation – Adults (Kathy Bear, chair)

  • 6/23 event “Remembering the Southeast Asian Refugee Crisis” was well attended. Speakers included Calvary member Tina Tran, whose family resettled in the U.S. during the Vietnam War, and Justin Woodard, ethic studies professor at SF State and an expert on SE Asian history.
  • The Centering Prayer group, led by Doug Person, continues to meet on Sunday mornings at 9:15.
  • Men of Calvary Bible Study, led by Rev. Chinn, continues their Monday 8 AM studies

Education – Children’s Ministries Mission Team (Erin King, chair)

  • July 2019 average attendance in programs:  Sunday Studio 17 children, 8 caretakers, Playgroup 86 children, 5 caretakers

Education – Youth Ministries Mission Team (Zanne Mrlik, chair)

  • The Summer Mission Trip to Spokane, Washington with the Sierra Service Project was a growing experience for our youth. We continue to build on our ecumenical partnerships with St. John’s Presbyterian and Sherith Israel. 18 youth and 5 adults participated.

Faith in Action (Betsy Dodd, chair)

  • Updates on Poverty Partners and other community outreach:
    • Boys and Girls Club – Emi Alexander and Joni Lachman – SAT tutoring continues; on Mother’s Day Calvary preschoolers stuffed “welcome to summer” bags for Sunnyvale club members; Calvary Seniors filled 50 prize bags for the 7/23 spelling bee at the club; Amy Hockman and others are providing financial literacy for middle and high school youth.
    • New Door Ventures – Jane Bryson – Existing cohort of 13 youth still together. New cohort will be larger (20) and will start 8/21.
    • Raphael House – Mary Kate Wheeler – 6 volunteers attended the 7/6 summer family party, including Danielle Adams who is program staff for SF Achievers and in charge of setting up community service opportunities for the SFA youth. She and Kellen at RH discussed coordinating these opportunities.
    • SF Achievers – Betsy Dodd – 5 Calvary volunteers attended a Mentor Mixer at Folsom Street Club; Family Fun Day 7/13 in Serramonte Center video game arcade – families of all newly accepted scholarship youth were invited and 3 Calvary members attended and 2 met their new college student mentees; SFA is still looking for mentors.
    • Martin De Porres – Reid Carter – 6/29 event went well with sufficient volunteers, some Calvary, some non-Calvary
    • Raphael House Community Chefs – Mary Kate Wheeler – Starting January 2020 Raphael House will change the Community Chefs monthly cooking date so Reid can attend.
    • SF Food Pantry – Paula Jesson and Betsy Dodd – 5 Calvary volunteers participated in the All Faiths Pantry (all 5 sponsoring churches) on 6/15
    • International/Immigration – Stephanie Gee – Adult Mission Trip scheduled for 10/4-6 with CARECEN at the Mexico border; June 6th  “report back” on the Honduras trip to study root causes of migration was very successful and well attended; the Sanctuary Team is forming an accompaniment team for a family seeking help with their immigration status.
  • FIAT discussed the 5 year anniversary of breaking cycles of poverty initiative and decided to refresh the anti-poverty focus of the team’s work.

Fellowship – Adults (Kathy Hanson, chair)

  • 43 Calvary fans attended the 6/15 Giants game
  • Over 45 people attended the Fellowship BBQ/picnic on 8/3 at Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park. There was more than enough food to share, two grills going steadily, and all ages mixing and enjoying the day.
  • Working on the annual Homecoming Sunday all-church potluck and Calvary Talent Showcase to be held on 9/8.
  • Each Sunday coffee hour treats, both savory and sweet, continue to be deliciously prepared and served by Mission teams and by our Cookie Army.

Fellowship – Young Adults (Eddie Higgins, chair)

  • Faith & Formation – In June the CYA Book Club read Evicted:  Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond. The 9 attendees had a lively discussion around the morality of housing affordability and the issues facing the Bay Area that contribute to trapping people in the margins of poverty.
  • Community service
    • continuing to do SAT tutoring at the Boys and Girls Club, moving to a new night of the week – Monday
    • 5th Saturdays – on 6/29 a group went to Martin de Porres to help prepare and serve a meal
    • 5th Sundays – on 6/30 CYA fulfilled our ushering responsibilities, welcoming a full congregation
    • A few CYA members helped out Raphael House by volunteering at their Independence Day party for the families staying there.  
  • Social –
    • Monthly happy hour in August was at NightLife at Cal Academy. We had a great turnout and enjoyed an evening touring the museum, the terrarium and enjoying each other’s company.

Membership – New Members (Dale Barnes-Anderson, chair)

  • Three people were welcomed into Calvary membership after giving their Statements of Faith to Session in June; they were recognized during worship on Sunday, 6/9.

Membership – Nurture & Database (Susan Hempstead, chair)

  • Continued to reach out to members who don’t seem to be involved at Calvary, and made recommendations regarding changes in membership status for Session approval

Respectfully submitted,

Lois Dress, Clerk of Session