September/October 2018 Session Meeting Highlights

The following summarizes the reports, discussions and actions from the Stated Meetings of the Session of Calvary Presbyterian Church that were held in September and October.

Clerk’s Report:  Session approved the following:   Minutes of the August 7, 2018 Session meeting, Minutes of the September 11, 2018 Session meeting, 2 baptisms, 11 membership changes. Session also sadly acknowledged the deaths of 4 members as well as the passing of our Pastor Emeritus, the Rev. Dr. James G. Emerson, a member of the San Francisco Presbytery. Membership as of end October 2018 = 864.

Session called a Congregational meeting for election of lay leaders on November 11, 2018.

 Session approved the following motions:

  • Approved by a vote of 11 yes, 1 no, 1 abstention, to confirm the approval of a revised design for new banners for the education building.
  • Approved a motion from the Adult Education & Spiritual Formation team and the Faith in Action team to allow sale of copies of The Faraway Brothers by guest speaker Lauren Markham on October 14.

Mission Study:  Session reviewed the Goals & Objectives draft from the Mission Study Team. Comments were noted, and the Mission Study Team will incorporate Session’s feedback. A special meeting of the Session will be held on October 23 to review and approve the Mission Study Report.

Financial Update:  The focus at the September and October Session meetings was the 2019 budgeting process. David Foster reviewed the status of Calvary’s ongoing financial planning discussions. An exercise was undertaken by Session that resulted in guidance to Team Elders about the amount of potential resource reductions that might be needed for 2019, up to a total of $200,000. David also reviewed the key milestones and meeting dates for the 2019 budgeting process, including the requirement for Team Elders and staff to estimate the amount of hours spent on the major programs and ministries at Calvary.

David also reported that the 2018 revised budget (revised meaning the reduced spending agreed to in May) was being met, with pledging expected to be only slightly below the targeted amount and with expenses being well controlled. In addition, extra restricted funds have been raised for music programs and piano replacements, so Michael Conley, Jennifer Miller, and the Finance Team agreed that an additional $80,000 be allocated for the purpose of replacing 3 pianos at Calvary.

Giving Team Update:  Greg Hausler, who had been serving as co-chair of the Giving Team, has resigned from Session.  Marion Stanton advised that Jack Poindexter will serve as co-chair for the launch of the 2019 Giving Campaign and that Tripp Mickle has joined the team. The focus of the 2019 campaign is Psalm 116:12, “How can I give back to you, God, for all your goodness to me?” Robin Morjikian reported that the number of pledging households is down for 2018, but the average pledge is up. As of 8/31 Calvary had 337 pledge commitments of $1,286,199, and 2018 pledges are still being received.

Calvary Website:  Anne Grawemeyer reported that the website needs to be updated to reflect current ministries and programs along with new photos. Session and staff are currently reviewing all website content with these objectives in mind. While the website is currently focused on those outside of the Calvary community, there is a growing need for members to find documents, sign up for volunteer opportunities, check the church calendar, and so on. Session will need to make some editorial design decisions as to whether a future intranet is needed, taking into consideration time and other resources such technical web work would require.


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

  • Women of Calvary Bible Study resumed 9/13
  • Centering Prayer, a spiritual discipline of silent prayer that prepares us to receive the gift of contemplative prayer, launched 9/16 and will run through 10/28
  • Guest speaker at worship and seminar on 9/23, Interfaith Sunday, was Maha Elgenaidi, founder and Executive Director of Islamic Networks Group
  • Sunday Seminar 10/7 led by Arlene Jech and Fran Johns, “Women’s Lives in Biblical Times”
  • Book discussion on 10/14 led by Lauren Markham, author of The Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life , which was the One Church, One Book Summer Read

Education – Children’s Ministries Mission Team (Laura Co, Chair)

  • 2nd & 3rd grade fall class kick off 9/16 and will run through 10/7
  • Average attendance in programs May – Aug: Playgroup 100, Sunday Studio 24; Sept:  Playgroup 117, Sunday Studio 28, 2nd & 3rd grade series 4
  • City Camp was held at Calvary June 18-22, 60 children and 9 youth participated

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

  • Youth fellowship average attendance September: 4th/5th grades 11, Middle 12, High 9
  • Confirmation classes began 9/16 with a dozen confirmands participating
  • New 4th & 5th grade Sunday school structure has been well received; David Barnes leads their class in their own space in the basement during the worship service
  • Opening First Friday September game night attracted 8 youth

Faith in Action (Scott Nagelson and Betsy Dodd, co- chairs)

  • Updates on Poverty Partners and other FIA teams:
    • New Door Ventures – Jane Bryson – NDV staff met with Calvary staff on 8/6 to discuss our participation and NDV plans for the coming year; Calvary has participated in 15 workshops Y-T-D; next cohort starts in September; NDV has recently opened an operation in Oakland which could provide additional volunteer opportunities for East Bay Calvary members; need volunteers for setup and cleanup at annual Thanksgiving dinner the Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving
    • Boys and Girls Club – Emi Alexander/Joni Lachman – head of B&G was a speaker at Calvary Seniors in August; a few young adults continue to do bi-weekly volunteering at Tenderloin Clubhouse; Calvary Young Adults are starting to volunteer with teens around SAT prep; Calvary Seniors made Spelling Bee gift bags and decorations and also made bags for teens to use in community service; the community service bags will be filled with toiletries and dog food and distributed to homeless in Civic Center; Alison Faison and Calvary children and youth created snack bags and distributed them to Boys and Girls youth at the Tenderloin Clubhouse in September
    • SF Achievers – Betsy Dodd/Stephanie Gee – Anniversary Gala dinner is on 10/10; Calvary member Amy Ovalle has joined the Board of SFA; Betsy is conducting a survey of Calvary mentors to gauge effectiveness of experiences with SFA boys; SFA changing its model for mentors to make it optional for boys, many of whom report they have sufficient mentors through other programs; boys are now required to do community service and have asked Calvary to help identify opportunities
    • Raphael House – Melissa Koerner – Calvary sent 8 volunteers to help with a 4th of July party; Harvest party is coming up 10/31– need 20 volunteers for the party, Calvary Pre-School donated Halloween costumes
    • International Mission and Sanctuary Refugee Assistance – Stephanie Gee – Journey to Justice press conference held at Calvary on 8/22; 9/22 pilgrimage to Angel Island; Adult Mission trip scheduled for 11/8-13

Fellowship – Adults Mission Team (Kathie Cheatham, Chair)

  • BBQ at Crissy Field 8/18 was a hit, with 45 people attending
  • Homecoming Potluck Lunch on 9/9 drew a crowd estimated at 150
  • Talent Show on 9/9 included a variety of acts by people of all ages
  • Calvary Seniors began new program year on 9/11
  • Coffee Hour 2019 – Mission Teams will be assuming responsibility for providing treats and serving

Fellowship – Young Adults (Eddie Higgins, chair)

  • CYA assumed ushering responsibility for 5th Sunday worship services beginning in July
  • Held a game night 8/10
  • Continuing monthly happy hours
  • CYA group has had a great time with Habitat Interfaith building/gardening days, having recently participated in a garden repair day at Abundance Community Garden in the Bayview. More people are encouraged to help in this effort to boost the supply of much-needed quality affordable SF housing–a good workout and opportunity to meet other San Francisco congregations

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

  • Next New Members class will be held 11/2 – 11/3

Membership – Nurture & Database (Ellen Champlin, chair)

  • Recommended 11 members to be moved from Active Member to Inactive Member
  • Reported the deaths of 4 members

Worship & Music (Jennifer Miller, chair)

  • “Hymns to Swear By” service and ice cream social in August very successful, with 95 people attending; outstanding bluegrass music by the Bernal Hillbillies
  • Interfaith Sunday morning service on 9/25 was uplifting and inspiring. Rev. Jim Emerson was acknowledged as one of the founders of the San Francisco Interfaith Council. The congregation appreciated hearing about his efforts and contributions from some of his interfaith colleagues.
  • Michael Conley is starting a new ensemble, “The Chapel Choir”, which will perform during some Sunday services
  • Working to find new ways to encourage a broader base of volunteers to usher and greet on Sunday mornings
  • Upcoming events:
    • 10/9 Harvest Evensong
    • 10/27 Photography Exhibit for the benefit of the Chancel Choir’s 2019 tour
    • 10/28 NorCal Mass Choir Gospel Concert
  • 11/11 Calvary’s Veteran’s Day Concert, which commemorates the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI; concert will be “free” for veterans


Respectfully submitted,

Lois Dress, Clerk of Session