September 2019 Session Meeting Highlights

The following summarizes the reports, discussions and actions from the September 2019 Stated Meeting of the Session of Calvary Presbyterian Church.

Clerk’s Report:  Membership as of end August 2019 = 752. Average August worship attendance:  2019 = 236, 2018 = 250, 2017 = 250.

Session called a meeting of the Congregation to be held on September 22 during the announcements segment of the worship service for the purpose of electing a Joint Budget Committee At-Large representative.

The Strategic Issues Task Force reported on their work in considering issues identified by Session. Session approved the Task Force recommendations as presented. These include. (1) Creating an Integrated Communications Team comprised of 2 staff members and 2 lay leaders to develop a 2020 strategic communication plan that integrates priorities from the Session, Staff and Calvary Foundation, and (2) Mission Teams to generate ideas for increasing engagement in Calvary worship and activities over the next 12 months.

Session accepted the CPA Review of the Annual Financial Statements for the year ended December 31, 2018 as presented.

David Foster remarked on the Financial results as of July 2019. He noted that pledge contributions and pledge numbers are under what we would like to see, and he lowered the year-end forecast by $50k. He believes staff expenses will come in under budget for the year, partly because of the timing in staff reductions. He estimates that we will come in slightly better than the deficit spending we budgeted for the year.

Amy Hockman, Finance Team Chair, reviewed the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) process. The JBC is charged with putting together the annual budget, based on Mission Team input, and then bringing the proposed budget back to Session for approval. David Foster reviewed the JBC timeline that specifies when each Mission Team will need to present their proposed budgets.

The Giving Team gave an update on the 2020 Annual Giving Campaign. Elders are being asked to submit their 2020 pledges at the October Session meeting.

Session gave permission for a bagpiper to sell CD’s on Homecoming Sunday, 9/8/19.

Session approved inviting the congregation to donate money towards the purchase of items needed at Tijuana shelters housing immigrant adults and children. Adult Mission Trip volunteers will use the money to buy items such as toiletries, food, and clothing.


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

  • A special art exhibit will be displayed in the Library Lounge starting 9/29, Interfaith Sunday; the paintings will feature portraits of Jewish, Muslim, and Christian families and are part of a larger project created by artist Heidi Hardin, whose work will also be displayed at Sherith Israel, SF Islamic Society, and Think Round Fine Arts.
  • 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 8-9 am studies

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

  • August 2019 average attendance in programs:  Sunday Studio 19 children, 8 caretakers, Playgroup 85 children, 6 caretakers

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

  • The team met on 8/25 with reflective discussion on planning the 2019/2020 church year. We will continue the Sunday school format from last year with the Director of Youth teaching the 4th and 5th graders in the lower level following the children’s message. Middle and high schoolers will sit through the sermon and subsequently meet in their designated spaces. On Communion Sunday, all will gather in the balcony.
  • Confirmation classes start 9/15; 16 confirmands have signed up. 
  • Rather than the First Friday of the month, we are looking at a monthly Sunday to offer a youth fellowship and service get together. We will send a poll out asking families to look at possible times. 

Faith in Action (Betsy Dodd, chair)

  • Updates on Poverty Partners and other community outreach:
    • Boys and Girls Club – Emi Alexander and Joni Lachman – SAT prep sessions, which have been very successful with consistent volunteers, took a break for summer; will resume in the fall. In early August, Nani F. , B&G Club Youth of the Year, gave a moving talk during the worship service about her challenges and achievements (including attending University of Hawaii this fall) and her close and long connection with B&G Clubs.
    • New Door Ventures – Jane Bryson and Sally Durgan – good response to “urgently needed” volunteer request—plenty of volunteers for 8/21; Sally Durgan is the new co-liaison with Jane for NDV.
    • Raphael House – Mary Kate Wheeler – RH is currently deciding on dates for Adopt-a-Family gift drop-offs and pick-ups and will inform Calvary as soon as shift options are determined
    • SF Food Pantry – Paula Jesson and Betsy Dodd – 7/20 pantry over-subscribed for volunteers and had to turn some folks away; served the usual 300 families with groceries for the week; found a new place to take leftover food—the Sanctuary Shelter on 8th Street
  • International Immigration – Stephanie Gee – “Compassion Has No Walls” vigil planned by Calvary and St. John’s Presbyterian (with help from Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity) for 10/11 outside ICE building in SF, 11:30 – 12:30; need volunteers to join the sidewalk vigil. Movie on DACA recipients will be shown 11/ 6 at Calvary. Calvary folks accompanied a Honduras asylum seeker to a hearing on 8/1; the team has set up an online Meal Train schedule for Calvary volunteers to prepare dinners on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the family (drop off at Calvary by 3 pm); more volunteers needed. Accompaniment training being offered by IM4HI on 10/6—all invited.; 8 participants are signed up for the Adult Mission Trip 10/4-6 with CARECEN at the Mexico border
  • Planning is underway for 9/22 Faith in Action Day.

Fellowship – Adults (Kathy Hanson, chair)

  • Planning is underway for 9/8 Homecoming Potluck Lunch and Calvary Talent Show

Worship and Music  (Jennifer Miller, chair)

  • 165th Anniversary on 7/21 was special, meaningful, and successful; theme was “Life Together” to honor the past, present, and future of this congregation.
  • Approximately 100 people attended the Hymns To Swear By service on 8/25, which featured the Bernal Hillbillies, and Michael Conley and John Walko playing a duet on the new Steingraeber piano. Rev. Floyd offered a prayer of dedication for the new instrument. The ice cream social after the service was a hit.
  • “Well Chosen Words” – a paragraph indicating that words matter has been included in the recent Sunday morning bulletins. The statement shares our perspective that inclusive and expansive language when referencing God or the people of God and the world is important. The PC(USA) issued a similar statement some time ago, which can be found on the PC(USA) website.
  • Volunteers needed in four areas: (1) Greeters and Ushers, (2) Concerts, (3) The Worship & Music Team, and (4) Scripture Readers. Contact Jennifer Miller at or Jon Brunner at with any questions.

Presbytery Meeting (Ellen Champlin, Elder Commissioner)

  • A meeting of the Presbytery of San Francisco was held on 8/27atFirst Presbyterian Church, Castro Valley. It is a new church year with new leadership:  Elder Rochelle R. Shaw is StatedClerk, Elder Mary Jane Gordon and Rev. Talitha Aho are Co-Moderators.
  • Rev. Cal Chinn was elected to serve a 3-year term as one of 2 ministers representing the San Francisco Presbytery as a Commissioner to the Synod of the Pacific.

Respectfully submitted,

Lois Dress, Clerk of Session