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Session | Elders discuss, act
Mission and service
Swift Church session met on Monday, Jan. 20.
■ We welcomed newly installed elders Tracy Akins, Don Aspray and Greg McNair.
■ The meeting opened with prayer.
■ We discussed an idea for meeting schedule that comes from Eastminster Church and the Rev. Kristin Stroble. After significant discussion we approved to hold stated session meetings every other month (odd-numbered months) with sessional committees meeting on the third Monday nights on even-numbered months. This will begin in February. Deacons, preschool, security team and finance will continue to meet on their regular schedule.
■ This change affects: Christian education, worship, fellowship, buildings and grounds, and missions. For the first gathering Pastor Keith will provide the dinner at 6:30 with all committees meeting in the annex at 7:00. Please contact the elder of your committee for more information.
■ We received the end-of-year financials from finance elder Don Aspray. The general-fund income versus expenses shows that we received $245,398.33 and spent 241,806.58. A summary of 2019 income and expenses is posted on the foyer bulletin board.
■ Elder Mike Barnwell presented the latest information on completing the driveway paving. After discussion Mike is going to get an additional bid for a complete resurfacing. It looks like we will need about another $8,000 to $10,000 to complete the job in full.
■ We approved Lynn Aspray as treasurer for 2020 and Sue Ann Lay as clerk of session for 2020.
■ The meeting closed with prayer.
Swift Church session met on Monday, Dec. 16.
After hearing prayer concerns and beginning the meeting with prayer, we:
■ Approved the 2020 church budget. (Copies are available in the church office or view on bulletin board.)
■ Worked on names to be part of committees/teams for the church.
■ Approved reports.
■ Discussed youth and fellowship events.
■ Thanked Tara Morrow for her three years of service as an active elder.
■ Heard a report on completing improvements on the driveway.
■ Closed with prayer.
✓ Swift Church session met Monday, Oct. 21, at 6:30 p.m. After prayer we received the financial report and heard from the Swift Safety Team.
✓ We approved written reports and minutes.
✓ Heard about the work of the deacons and communion served at Live Oak Assisted Living on Oct. 6.
✓ We discussed interest in repairing and updating the chapel and fellowship hall. We discussed completion of the driveway paving. Both are being looked into.
✓ Reviewed church membership.
✓ Approved Blakely Hastings’ baptism for Nov. 17.
✓ Closed with prayer.
Swift session met on Sept. 16. The time began with prayer. Afterward:
✓ We heard from the finance committee on the financial state of the church and plans for upcoming stewardship focus.
✓ Approved mission statement and policy statement from the safety and security team.
✓ Received reports from committees.
✓ Heard that home communion was served in early September by Pastor Jody Beth, deacons and elders.
✓ Received the report of the nominating committee (see report below) and approved congregational meeting on Sept. 29 at 9:50 to approve church officers and trustees.
✓ Talked about fellowship opportunities; how we can combine mission efforts with fellowship involving the Alabama Sheriffs Boys Ranch in Summerdale.
The meeting closed with prayer.
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Nominating committee report
The nominating committee met and went over the names submitted for consideration of church leadership.
Here are the results of our work:
■ ELDERS: Class of 2022 — Don Aspray, finance; Greg McNair, worship (returning); and Tracy Akins, youth
■ DEACONS: Class of 2020 — Ella Thomas, fellowship Class of 2021 — Mary McNair, congregational care (returning) Class of 2022 — Betty Sizemore, Elinor Gartman and Jane King, all congregational care
■ TRUSTEES: Class of 2021 — Eunice Ray Class of 2022 — Marlene Hastings
The Swift Church session met on Aug. 19 and began with prayer.
✓ We spent a good bit of time talking about safety and security on the Swift Church property. Some things like propping open doors with bottles of chemicals have already been addressed. A subcommittee is looking into other ways to make people’s time at Swift safe.
✓ We received the financial report.
✓ Appointed Tara Morrow and Greg McNair to be on nominating committee.
✓ Received reports. Heard that leftover food from serving lunch to Elberta Elementary staff and Swift Church potluck was gladly received by the Sheriff’s Boys Ranch.
✓ We will be forming a visioning group to spend significant time looking at Swift’s future ministry and mission.
✓ Closed with prayer.
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New member — Swift Church session met after worship on Aug. 18 to receive new members. Gail Skinner, who has attended and been extremely active for some time, officially joined the church. We celebrate God leading her to Swift.
Swift Church session met after worship on March 17 to receive new members. Raymond and Karen Langley met with session to transfer their membership to Swift Church. They first attended Swift as part of a class reunion weekend. They attended with classmates, including Debbie Schmidt. They returned for the Christmas program worship and began regular attendance. After prayer and conversation with friends who are already members of Swift, they decided this caring community is right for them.
Swift Church session met on Monday, March 18. There were a number of absences but a quorum was declared. We shared prayer concerns and prayed.
■ We received the financial report and talked about some of the wonderful ways our financial commitments proclaim God’s love to members and beyond. In February, we paid the Vernon Anderson Memorial Missionary support. This year we budgeted $2,000 to financially support PCUSA missionaries in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where our own Rev Dr. Vernon Anderson served the church as missionary for 40 years.
■ We took a second look at the church logo we first considered last month. We approved the basic logo but asked our own Hannah Melton Harrison to tweak the letterhead logo. This logo will be used on publicity, signage, bulletins, and multimedia to help with recognizing Swift Church.
■ We discussed the upcoming fish fry youth fundraiser to be held at Heritage Park in downtown Foley. Three close PCUSA churches will help with ticket sales and assistance. This is April 13 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Plates are $8.
■ We approved South Baldwin Literacy Council use of our facilities for GED and ESL graduation. This will be late April or early May.
■ Received Charlie Hastings’ resignation from session.
■ Received reports.
■ Meeting closed with prayer.
The Swift Church session met on Feb 18. They began with prayer concerns and prayer.
■ Chuck Carneal led a discussion regarding finances.
■ The logo committee presented three options for a Swift Church logo. One overall design was agreed upon and the committee will get with the designer for some modifications.
■ Fellowship — There will be a bratwurst and hot dog lunch after worship on March 3 to celebrate our winter guests.
■ Also, fellowship is working with youth for a fish-fry fundraiser in downtown Foley. The date and location are being worked out.
■ Received informational reports
■ Heard oral reports from buildings and grounds, children’s ministry, missions, youth and worship.
■ Discussed repairs on the south end of church parking lot.
■ Closed with prayer.
We welcomed the newly installed elders to the Jan. 21 meeting.
We received the 2018 end-of-year financial report and approved the 2019 budget.
We talked about a Swift Church logo to put on signage, business cards, publicity. A task force was appointed to bring suggestions to the next meeting. Once that is decided, we will start to refresh signage around church, inside and outside, as well as street signage.
In addition, the session:
✔ approved reports.
✔ heard from each committee as to what they are planning for 2019.
✔ approved Mark Melton to be commissioner to the Feb. 8 and 9 Presbytery meeting in Mobile.
✔ approved Lynn Aspray to be treasurer for 2019.
✔ approved Sue Ann Lay to be clerk of session for 2019.
✔ adjourned with prayer.
Swift Church session met on Monday, Oct. 15.
✔ Pastor Keith shared the findings from the previous day’s sermon on worshiping God with all that we are. The group talked about the results and the implications for worship. The session also looked ahead to the church officer retreat on Saturday, Nov. 17.
✔ Reports, minutes and financials were approved.
✔ We discussed the nominees for church officers.
✔ We reviewed the membership roll.
✔ Closed with prayer.
Swift Church session met on Monday, Sept. 17.
✔ The evening began with a time of sharing prayer concerns and celebrations, followed by prayer.
✔ The business agenda was light so the reports were quickly received and approved.
✔ About an hour was spent talking about the drop in attendance, especially since the beginning of summer. (We’ve dropped an average of 26 per week since June versus January–May.) We talked of what we know and what we think is going on. We shared comments expressed to us by others regarding Swift Church.
✔ This was the beginning conversation of a longer time of:
■ Identifying our strengths and bright spots.
■ Gaining clarity — Who are we? What do we do best? Where is God leading us?
■ Creating a plan — a road map for moving forward
■ Developing adaptive skills and strategies to address challenges facing Swift.
✔ The time was closed with prayer.
The Swift Church session met on Monday night, Aug. 20.
✔ We spent some time talking about Pastor Keith’s 2019 sabbatical. (For those who don’t know, the church offers a three-month time of study, rest and renewal for the pastor every seven years. Next year will be seven years since the last sabbatical.)
✔ Pastor Keith talked about an idea to sit once a week at gathering places around town — coffee shops, hospital, etc. — to be available for anyone who desires prayer.
✔ We received report of communion served at Live Oak on Aug. 5.
✔ Received and approved reports from committees of session as well as minutes of previous meeting.
✔ We discussed the delay in the driveway paving: 1.) companies too busy to bid; 2.) bids coming in too high; 3.) bidders not showing up for scheduled appointments. Charlie continues to head this up, searching for solutions with help from Daryl Pichoff from the finance committee.
✔ The church is getting a new phone system. It should be installed in the next few weeks.
✔ We addressed ways to get the fellowship hall cooler. One thing leads to another. A solution is to install two units — one for the fellowship hall and another for the kitchen/restroom area. Concern is there’s little to no insulation and the windows are drafty. Cost of windows, insulation and HVAC units is in the $15,000 guesstimate.
✔ The meeting closed with prayer.
The Swift Church session met on Monday, July 16
Pastor Keith led a time of sharing concerns and joys among the elders. Prayer followed.
Pastor Keith and the session talked about the 2019 sabbatical and possible study topics related to the needs of the church and his own growth.
✔ We received the home communion and deacons’ report.
✔ Approved standing committee reports and previous minutes.
✔ Celebrated that the youth reached their fundraising goals for 2018 and are looking toward 2019.
✔ Received the financial report.
✔ Heard a report on driveway paving. Looking at options that will give us a result sooner.
✔ Elected Chuck Carneal as commissioner to the August presbytery meeting in Mobile. (A few days later, we added Phil Melton as our second commissioner.)
✔ Heard that UKirk, campus ministry at the University of South Alabama, is seeking additional board members. Submit names of potential board members from Swift.
✔ Closed with prayer.
Swift Church Session met on Monday, June 18, 2018. Pastor Keith Cardwell opened the meeting with prayer concerns followed by prayer. Afterward:
✔ The pastor talked to the session about The Rev. Rachael Knoll’s recent resignation as regional presbyter and that Al Thompson is temporarily filling that position on a part-time schedule.
✔ Received a report on home communion being served on June 3 to the Dombrowskis by Al and Tina Sprouse.
✔ Received and approved previous minutes and reports from worship, missions, preschool, finance and Christian education.
✔ Reviewed the church finances.
✔ An oral and visual report was provided regarding the driveway widening. The drive width will be doubled down to the sanctuary. The crumbled parking at the very southern end will be repaired in a way that will support the garbage truck. The patched potholes will be cut out and refilled. The whole parking lot will be seal-coated and restriped. Two bids have been received. We are waiting on additional bids. Some bidders are 3–4 months out before being able to do the work.
✔ Cathy Rogers and Teresa Thomas are the elder members of nominating committee.
✔ Approved July 1 at 9:50 a.m. for the congregational meeting to elect the four at-large members of the nominating committee.
✔ Will elect a commissioner to the August presbytery meeting at the July meeting.
✔ Approved July 1 to be Montreat Sunday. Youth will lead worship (only one worship service that day). Using the permission allowed by Book of Order, w-3.0414: “Ordinarily ruling elders, deacons, and ministers of the Word and Sacrament serve the bread and cup; the session may authorize other church members to do so.” Session authorized a one-time permission for the Montreat youth to serve communion on July 1.
✔ Heard that the Montreat youth are short on paying for the 2018 trip. Session authorized a special offering on July 1 to make up the shortfall.
✔ With no additional business, the meeting was adjourned with prayer by Clerk of Session Sue Ann Lay.
The Swift Presbyterian Church Session met on Monday, May 21. After a quorum was declared, time was spent hearing prayer concerns and joys. Pastor Keith led the group in prayer.
✔ We received written reports from Pastor Keith, worship, preschool, finance, missions, and children’s Christian education.
✔ We approved minutes from previous meetings — April stated meeting and the April 29 called meeting to approve the confirmation class for membership.
✔ We reviewed the financial report.
✔ We’re ready to proceed with widening and paving the driveway. There has been a delay in an asphalt company coming to provide a quote.
✔ We heard about our current mowing company increasing its rate by 50%. Approved hiring a new service company based on Elder Charlie Hastings’ conversations with member Devery Thomas.
✔ The session addressed the request to rename the Andy Lay room to recognize the contributions of Norman Ard as teacher of the adult Sunday school class. The decision was made to unname the room and revert to the room number as originally named. In working with the adult Sunday school class, a framed recognition of former class members and leaders with be hung in the room. It will be possible to add names down the road.
✔ The donated Smith Lake property deed has been recorded in the Winston County Courthouse. A realtor from that area is working with us on pricing to sell.
✔ Addressed issues with the church phone system. Looking into replacing the whole system.
✔ Talked broadly about Pastor Keith’s sabbatical scheduled for 2019.
Pastor Jody Beth closed with prayer.
Swift Church session met on Monday, April 16.
✔ The meeting was called to order. Prayer concerns were offered and we prayed.
✔ We talked about developing “super-liturgists” — people trained and prepared to lead the whole worship service except for the sermon and benediction. Several offered to come to a meeting to learn more about it.
✔ We received reports from Pastors Keith and Jody Beth, missions, worship, finance, children’s Christian education and minutes from the previous meeting.
✔ We looked at the solid financial situation of the church.
✔ We heard from Elder Charlie Hastings about progress on the driveway. People from 811 (“Call before you dig”) people were to come in a few days to mark water lines, electrical, phone and any other buried utilities. When that is complete, we can then lay out the widening of the driveway.
✔ We discussed the need for an updated phone system for the church. Ours is beginning to fail. Prices and options are being looked at.
✔ We discussed transportation to the Montreat Youth Conference. We will need to rent a vehicle. Devery Thomas found an older but good-quality 15-passenger van for consideration to purchase for the trip and use beyond. We’re checking options.
✔ Membership of Diane King was transferred to Gulf Shores Baptist Church.
✔ We celebrated that nine youth are concluding confirmation class. The church session will meet with them for approval into membership after worship on April 29. Confirmation Sunday is May 20.
✔ It was noted that Pastor Jody Beth will be on vacation May 11–19. Pastor Keith will be on vacation May 7–14. The Rev. Lauren Peters is preaching on Mother’s Day, May 13.
✔ Elder Chuck Carneal closed our meeting with prayer.
The Swift Church session met on March 19 in the Andy Lay room.
After a quorum was established, Pastor Keith led the group in a time of prayer concerns and prayer. Next:
✔ Reports from committees were received.
✔ Previous minutes were approved.
✔ Financial report was presented. The 2018 budget was approved after questions from
a previous meeting were addressed.
✔ Slow progress on the driveway. The church’s easement is not recorded. All land owners are
in agreement as to its legitimacy. Official markings will begin soon.
✔ The church received as a gift a piece of property on Smith Lake in northern Alabama. The
session voted to sell the property and to have the trustees handle the business end of that.
✔ Upcoming events were discussed.
✔ The meeting was adjourned with prayer by Elder Chuck Carneal.
The Swift Church session met on Monday, Feb. 19. After Pastor Keith Cardwell called the meeting to order:
✔ Pastor Jody Beth Melton led the group in Scripture reading and prayer, lifting concerns
and celebrations of the church and the session members.
✔ We received the financial report.
✔ We approved written reports and minutes.
✔ We discussed the driveway repairs.
✔ A report on the recent presbytery meeting was heard.
✔ We removed Nancy Labrato and June Curzon from the active role.
✔ The meeting closed with prayer.
The Swift Church Session met Jan. 15. Pastor Jody Beth Melton moderated in the absence of Pastor Keith Cardwell.
After prayer concerns and prayer, the church council:
✔ Received a report about home communion and Live Oak communion.
✔ Approved reports.
✔ Received end-of-year financials.
✔ Tabled final approval of the 2018 budget until next month
✔ Gave the go-ahead on a survey of the driveway property line before beginning
✔ Approved the annual financial report.
✔ Approved request from the mission committee to send $1,000 to the UKirk Campus
Ministry at the University of South Alabama.
✔ Approved clerk of session and treasurer for 2018.
✔ Approved baptism of Bolton Thomas and McKenzie Cardwell.
✔ Approved communion for worship in 2018.
✔ Tabled a request from the youth elder until next month.
✔ Closed with prayer.
Session did not meet in December. Ordination and installation of new officers will be Sunday, Jan. 14, at both the 8:00 and 10:00 services. Our next meeting is Jan. 15.
The Swift Church Session met on Monday, Nov. 20.
The time began with a video on “What Is the Church?” After that came prayer concerns and prayer.
● Received the financial report and draft of 2018 church budget.
● Approved written committee reports.
● Removed Nancy Labrato from the membership roll due to her death.
● Approved use of church for Hannah Melton’s wedding next Oct. 6.
● Decided there will be no stated meeting of session in December. A meeting will be called if needed.
● Closed with prayer.
Swift Church Session met on Monday, Oct. 16.
● After a time of prayer concerns and celebrations, Pastor Keith led the group in prayer.
● We received the deacons report
● Also learned the Lord’s Supper was served at worship at Live Oak to 14 people on Oct. 1.
● Received the financial report.
● Approved committee reports.
● Heard final report on the nominating committee’s work.
● Approved use of the church for the Melton-Guidroz wedding in July with the Rev. Bert Tuggle and Pastor Jody Beth Melton presiding.
● Closed with prayer.
Swift Church Session met after worship on Sunday, Sept. 17, for the purpose of receiving new members. The church received and welcomed Pat and Bill Rickert on transfer of membership from Gulf Shores Presbyterian Church.
Swift Church Session met on Monday, Sept. 18, for the stated meeting. We:
● Talked of how worship has been hospitality to us — God’s hospitality to us as we worship.
● Received prayer concerns and prayed.
● Received the financial report.
● Approved minutes and committee reports.
● Heard of the work of the nominating committee.
● Approved Oct. 8 at 9:50 a.m. for congregational meeting in the sanctuary to elect church officers.
● Got updates on buildings and grounds matters and the driveway fund.
● Shared upcoming ministry of church through various committees.
● Closed with prayer.
The Swift Church Session met on Monday, Aug. 21, at 6:30 p.m. The time started with a review of an article addressing the presence of God and ways to make ourselves available to be aware of God’s presence. That time was followed with prayer concerns and prayer.
Financial reports were received on the general fund and the Swift Church Preschool. Our expenses for July were $1,563 more than our income for the month. One reason was there were three pay periods in July.
Communion was served at Swift Church and Live Oak on July 2 and home communion was served to two families.
In other matters, the session:
● Received reports from deacons, pastor, lay pastor, all committees and approved minutes from previous meetings.
● Heard a report from the nominating committee that it is up and functioning and will continue work until three elders, four deacons and a trustee are selected for the congregation’s vote.
● Conducted the annual review of membership.
● Adjourned with prayer at 7:30.
The regular monthly meeting of Swift Church session was canceled because of vacation Bible school. The session did meet on two occasions July 16 to receive new members. Daryl Pichoff came forward after the 8:00 service and Tessie Helton-Carrel came forward after the 10:00 service. Both were gladly received.
✓ The Swift Church Session met on June 19. The meeting opened with prayer concerns, and an opening prayer.
✓ We approved written committee reports.
✓ We received the May financial reports and heard a report on a capital campaign for the widening of the driveway and repaving and sealing of the entire parking lot.
✓ We nominated Lee Mansell and Philip Melton to serve as elders on the nominating committee.
✓ We voted to hold a congregational meeting on July 9 at 9:50 a.m. for the purpose of nominating four members at large to serve on the nominating committee.
✓ We commissioned Chuck Carneal to be the elder commissioner at a called meeting of the presbytery to take place June 26.
✓ We called Philip Melton as elder commission for the next stated presbytery meeting, Aug. 15, in Bay Minette.
✓ The meeting closed with prayer.
✓ The Swift Church session met on May 15. The time began with looking at changes to the Book of Order regarding the Lord’s Supper. With implementation of constitutional changes in July, the Lord’s Supper will be open to all people, regardless of baptismal status.
✓ We received the April financial report.
✓ Approved written reports.
✓ A presentation was given on the state of the preschool. There will be a summer session this year for the first time in a couple of years. Finances are stable.
✓ There is significant turnover in staff for summer/fall. New hires have begun during a transitional period. Additional educational tools/games have been purchased using some of the Norman Ard memorial money.
✓ Buildings and grounds reports that to widen the driveway and coat the existing parking lot, we are looking in the $18,000-to-$20,000 range. The finance committee has been tasked with making plans for a capital funds campaign.
✓ The meeting closed with prayer.
✓ On May 21, the session met after the 10:00 worship service to receive Sally deSarro into membership. She comes to us on transfer from Orange Beach Presbyterian Church. Sally is Ellafair Cotter’s daughter.
✓ Swift Church session met on Monday, April 17.
✓ There was a time of prayer concerns and prayer.
✓ The session received the financial report for March.
✓ The session received reports from ministry teams.
✓ The focus ministry team of the month was missions. They talked about the successes of using visual aids for special offerings. Also in conversation: upcoming offerings and the interest of University of South Alabama Campus Ministry (UKirk South) talking with the church about that ministry.
✓ There was discussion on bids for getting the driveway widened and the existing drive and parking resealed. Also, there was approval of having the rot on the fellowship hall siding repaired.
✓ The meeting adjourned with prayer at 7:30.
Swift Church session met on Monday, March 20. We began with hearing of Lectio Divina and the “how to” of that spiritual discipline. This was followed by prayer concerns and prayer.
We received the financial report, which showed February income to be $39,742 with expenses of $34,389.
We approved committee reports, which included dates for VBS and fundraisers for youth.
A significant time was spent on conversations regarding buildings and grounds. The rot in the exterior walls of the fellowship hall and the deteriorating driveway were two main topics. Charlie Hastings is getting prices on these two concerns. We also talked about the value of a community garden plot on the northwest section of the property.
Our focus ministry at next month’s meeting will be missions.
See newsletter reports from church committees for more detail.
The Swift Church session met following worship on Sunday, Feb. 19, to receive into membership Aaron and Lyndsey Ward. The Wards with their two young sons, Brody and Jaxton, have attended for some time and are already active in many Swift activities. Please welcome them.
The session met Monday, Feb. 20. Time together began with prayer concerns and prayer. Pastor Jody Beth offered an overview of her continuing education training from last week. We received reports, either verbal or written, from all committees and pastoral staff. We addressed the early 2017 finances. We approved the baptisms of Brody and Jaxton Ward with the date to be determined.
The session then discussed tweaks to leadership role in serving communion.
Swift Church session met on Monday, Jan. 16. The meeting began with a welcome to new session members Greg McNair, Tara Morrow, Charlie Hastings and Chuck Carneal.
● We shared prayer concerns/celebrations and prayed.
● Approved written committee reports, previous minutes and pastors’ reports
● Heard of end-of-2016 financials and approved report
● Agreed to offer the use of the north field of the church yard to Doc McDuffie Road community as a place to play soccer on weekends
● Heard that the mission committee has applied for a grant for South Baldwin Literacy Council to staff English classes at Swift Church for Doc McDuffie Road community
● Received an update on varmints in the chapel/fellowship hall attics and approved a quote from Beebe’s Pest Control for eradication
● Approved the annual report that goes to the General Assembly office
● Elected Greg McNair as commissioner to next presbytery meeting