The Shallowford Session is the governing board of each individual Presbyterian church. At Shallowford, the Session consists of 25 elders (or leaders) to govern the 12 active committees that make up the church (committees listed below). To become an elder, you commit to serve a three-year term on Shallowford’s Session. Elders come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. Session includes a balance of individuals whose ages range widely from 17 to 78, including a youth elder who serves a one-year term.

Officers of the Church

Meeting Highlights

Session Highlights – June 2022

  • Approved minutes as follows:
    • Stated Session Meeting minutes for May 18, 2022
    • Called Session Meeting to receive new members on June 5, 2022
    • Approve May 2022 membership report totaling 962 active members.
  • Financial Report – The May 2022 financial results reflected operating income of $97,642, which was $29,666 under budget, and operating expense of $142,278, which was $8,547 over budget. Net loss for the month, including Special Offerings, was $42,921, which was $36,498 over budget. Available cash at the end of April was $328,527. Year to date results reflected operating income of $743,378, which was $41,456 under budget, and operating expense of $654,317, which was $75,028 under budget. Year to date net income, including Special Offerings, is $91,625.
  • Ministry Spotlight – Support & Endowment – B.J. McMillan provided an overview of the Support and Endowment Committee responsibilities and the funds that the committee oversees.
    • There are approximately $2.5m in investment funds governed by Shallowford Presbyterian Church Support and Endowment Plan. The objective of the Plan is to “encourage devises, bequests and gifts to Shallowford Presbyterian Church and to provide a mechanism and policy for the use of such gifts to further the mission of the Church and the work of Jesus Christ.”
    • Bequests and gifts are main source of contributions to the endowment funds. In 2021 and 2022, there have been approximately $697k in undesignated gifts to endowment and approximately $103k in designated gifts. Designated meaning the gift was specific to one or more of the individual funds; undesignated indicating it was up to the church’s discretion on distributing the gift across various funds. The church and school often contribute to the Capital Expenditures Fund as budgets allow at the end of the year.
  • Approved Session Action Forms
    • SAF 2022.19 – Proposed Changes to Personnel Policy: FTE and PTE Benefits
      • Proposed motion: That the Session approve two proposed changes to the personnel manual: Page 3: Defines full-time employee as one who works 40 hours/week, increased from 35. Page 7: Makes Major Medical and Dental Insurance available for part-time employees regularly scheduled to work a minimum of 30 hours per week, increased from 20.
    • SAF 2022.20 – Zo American Presbyterian Church Partnership
      • Proposed motion: That the Session bless a partnership with the Zo American Presbyterian Church worshipping community, with the following implications: The Zo congregation may worship in our chapel on Sundays without paying a rental fee (either at 9:30- 11am or Sunday afternoon). Zo children, youth, and adults will be invited and encouraged to participate in the ministries of Shallowford.

Session Highlights – May 2022

  • Approved minutes as follows:
    • Stated Session Meeting minutes for April 20, 2022
    • Called Session Meeting to receive confirmands on April 24, 2022
  • Approve April 2022 membership report totaling 988 active members.
  • Financial Report – The April 2022 financial results reflected operating income of $153,612, which was $30,226 over budget, and operating expense of $134,404, which was $19,116 under budget. Net gain for the month, including Special Offerings, was $19,207, which was $49,341 over budget. Available cash at the end of April was $371,447. Year to date results reflected operating income of $645,735, which was $11,791 under budget, and operating expense of $512,039, which was $83,575 under budget. Year to date net income, including Special Offerings, is $134,546.
  • Mid-way Report from Forward Together Listening Campaign – Kate summarized the context of the listening program and how it originated. Kate indicated that the goal is to have common themes identified in time for Session retreat and stewardship season. Kate provided the questions that are being posed for the listening sessions that are scheduled for Sunday, June 5th and Sunday, June 12th .
  • Ministry Spotlight – Music Ministries – Emily Floyd summarized some trends that are being seen within the music ministry:
    • Preschoolers are showing high commitment.
    • Children’s ministry is generally seeing fewer children. Wednesday BLAST is a very high commitment, while Sunday worship is showing low commitment.
    • Bells – children’s bells are fine, youth/adults shaky.
    • Joy Chorale has stabilized with about 10 committed members.
    • Chapel Choir has approximately 60 in the choir with 48 going on tour. Younger youth families are somewhat less committed than in years past. Emily is working to determine ways to increase this engagement and commitment.
    • Chancel Choir – dependent on paid singers for consistency, uptick in 20 somethings, still missing ~15 singers who haven’t returned post-covid, Post-Easter covid spread led to less singers in our last weeks of the season.
  • Staff Updates
    • Zo Presbyterian Church has been approved by the Presbytery as new church development and is the church Pastor Khai is leading. The Zo Presbyterian Church is worshipping at Memorial Drive, and would like to come back to relationship with Shallowford. There will be further discussion in the June Session meeting led by Rev. Catherine Foster with more information on this topic.
    • June 5 will be a Discovering Shallowford class. There will be one session and there will be a called Session meeting to welcome new members.
    • VBS will be June 20-24 – volunteers still needed even if you can only be there 1 or 2 days.
  • Committee Updates
    • Facilities – Sarah Wikle highlighted an item from the May Facilities minutes. A scout troop of around 35 kids meets at Shallowford regularly. Two of the leaders are Shallowford members. The troop is looking to expand. All of their materials are stored in the church shed which is already overloaded. The troop has proposed securing a shipping container to place alongside the shed to allow for more storage. Scouts would cover most of the costs of the shipping container; church would cover possible costs of removing dead trees to allow for space for the container. Scouts will handle painting or other repairs on the container that might be required.
  • Approved Session Action Forms
    • SAF 2022.16 – Extend the Election of Clerk of Session
    • SAF 2022.17 – Extend the Election of Treasurer
    • SAF 2022.18 – Collect Offering for Chapel Choir Homecoming Concert

Session Highlights – April 2022

  • Incoming Elder Class of 2025 were examined and approved by current active Elders. The new incoming Elders – Gary Budd, Michael Hoffer, Morgan Hutchinson, Billy Kendall, Meg Rosselot, Dianne Smith, Joe Smith-Purcell, Trent Vigar and Emerson Tuggey (youth – Class of 2023) – will be installed during worship on May 1 and May 8, 2022.
  • Approved minutes as follows:
    • Stated Session Meeting minutes for March 16, 2022
    • Called Session Meeting to receive new members on March 20, 2022
    • Called Congregational Meeting to elect incoming officers on April 3, 2022
  • Approve March 2022 membership report totaling 981 active members.
  • Financial Report – The March 2022 financial results reflected operating income of $163,726, which was $40,720 under budget, and operating expense of $139,099, which was $2,433 over budget. Net gain for the month, including Special Offerings, was $25,227, which was $42,553 under budget. Available cash at the end of February was $352,240. Year to date results reflected operating income of $492,124, which was $42,016 under budget, and operating expense of $377,635, which was $64,459 under budget. Year to date net income, including Special Offerings, is $115,339.
  • Ministry Spotlight – Adult CE Ministry – Rev. Catherine Foster provided an overview of the Adult Christian Education Ministries at Shallowford. Catherine shared scripture of the Great Commission and passages from Philippians 4:9 and Deuteronomy 6:5-7. For Adult Christian Education, there are 3 main areas of focus:
    • Sunday School, Small Groups and Seasonal & Special Opportunities. Catherine shared the timeline of zoom to hybrid to whatever works for the various Sunday School classes demonstrating the ways Sunday School has responded to the dynamic nature of the pandemic and adjusted with COVID protocols and the comfort levels of the members of the classes for in person meetings.
  • Committee Updates
    • Thurston Cooke indicated that the Stewardship Committee met last night to kickoff planning for the next Stewardship season; Michael Hoffer will be joining the committee.
    • Kate Moore indicated that Listening Campaigns will be continuing. Session members will be hearing from someone about their own listening sessions if they haven’t heard already.
    • Bruce Morris indicated that Care Ministry training will be on May 4 in the evening.

Session Highlights – March 2022

  • Approved minutes as follows:
    • Stated Session Meeting minutes for February 16, 2022
    • Called Congregational Meeting on February 20, 2022
  • Approve February 2022 membership report totaling 986 active members.
  • Financial Report – The February 2022 financial results reflected operating income of $128,702, which was $6,394 over budget, and operating expense of $135,830, which was $17,882 under budget. Net loss for the month, including Special Offerings, was $6,879, which was $24,525 under budget. Available cash
    at the end of February was $327,013. Year to date results reflected operating income of $328,397, which was $1,297 over budget, and operating expense of $238,536 , which was $66,892 under budget. Year to date net income, including Special Offerings, is $90,112.
  • Ministry Spotlight – Youth Ministries – Rev. Bradley Kibler provided an overview of the Youth Ministries at Shallowford. The theme of the presentation was from Zoom to Masks to In Person showcasing how the Youth Ministry program had thrived during Covid with innovation and creativity. This summer’s
    mission trip will be to the Navajo Reservation in Arizona. Bradley also reported on several trends that she is witnessing in the Youth Ministry.
  • Update on “Thriving Congregations” Cohort and Next Steps – Kate Moore provided an update on the participation and next steps of the Thriving Congregations program. Kate reported that Shallowford has decided to separate itself from the Montreat initiated program and to rebrand our program as the
    “Forward Together Listening Campaign.” They have recruited ten volunteers to conduct listening sessions and online surveys with members to gather information and opinions on the past, present and future of SPC’s ministries. The committee will then present their data to the Session in September.
  • Personnel Committee
    • Overview of Rev. Anna George Traynham’s Maternity Leave Coverage – Rev. Anna George Traynham and Mark Shaffer provided an overview of the plan for coverage of Senior Pastor responsibilities during the upcoming maternity leave for Anna. Catherine Foster and Bradley Kibler will divide and share Sr. Pastor Anna’s duties as co-heads of staff during her maternity leave. The key responsibilities for each pastor were reviewed.
    • Update Parish Associate for Pastoral Care Search – Barbara Reeves provided an update on the search for a new Parish Associate for Pastoral Care.
      Barbara indicated that they are interviewing a candidate. If that person is not hired, the search will be postponed until Sr. Pastor Anna’s return from maternity leave.
    • Update on Organist Search – Emily Floyd provided an update on the search for a new Organist/Accompanist. Emily reported that three candidates had been considered but were not selected. The church is having a difficult time attracting a viable candidate for the part-time position so it was decided that it should become a full-time position by combining the current two part-time positions to help attract more suitable candidates.
  • The following Session Action Forms were presented. All motions were passed by the Session.
    • SAF 2022.10 – Approve Love Offering for Dartmouth Concert
    • SAF 2022.11 – Elect Anne-Sophie Hankla as Rising Moderator of RNC
    • SAF 2022.12 – Approve Donations for Ukraine Relief Concert
    • SAF 2022.13 – Approve Love Offering for GA Festival Chorus Concert
    • SAF 2022.14 – Khai Samte INnquiry Session Evaluation and Recommendation for Ordination – postponed until November 17, 2022
    • SAF 2022.15 – Worship as One 2022 – one 11:00am Sunday worship service May 29-July 31, 2022

Session Highlights – February 2022

  • Approved minutes as follows:
    • Stated Session Meeting minutes for January 19, 2022
  • Approved January 2022 Membership Report, totaling 988 active members.
  • Financial Report – The January 2022 financials reflected operating income of $199,696, which was $7,690 under budget, and operating expenses of $102,706 which was $49,011 under budget. Net gain for the month, including Special Offerings, was $96,990, which was $41,320 over budget. Available cash at the end of January was $333,892.
  • Inquirer for Ordination – Asia Lerner – Session Evaluation – Rev. Anna George Traynham indicated that Asia has discerned a calling for ministry. Anne-Sophie Hankla has agreed to be Asia’s sponsor. Anna invited Asia to share with the group more about her calling for ministry. The Session posed several questions to Asia which were thoughtfully and prayerfully answered. Anna explained to the Session some of the future steps of the process in the Presbytery which will later lead to Asia returning to us to be examined as an ordination candidate. She indicated that we can all support Asia by praying for her and keeping in touch as she finds employment while going through the ordination process with the Presbytery. Asia would like to continue working in the youth ministry realm.
  • Ministry Spotlight – Mission – Mission budget from 2020-2022 has grown by $14,100 or 19.05% which shows Session’s commitment to strengthening the financial sponsorship of the Mission ministry. The Mission budget for 2022 is $88,100.
    • Overview of Mission at SPC – Mission Committee, Emergency Assistance, Special Funds & Offerings.
    • Mission Partners Center Around 4 Key Areas – Hunger, Shelter, Education and Young People, Spiritual and Physical Wholeness.
  • Personnel Committee – Open Staff positions include Parish Associate for Pastoral Care, Organist, Facilities Assistant, Communications Coordinator.
  • COVID Task Force Update – Mike Cannon provided an update on the recent trending metrics that the task force monitors closely for both Georgia and DeKalb County Mike reviewed the guidance from the CDC for when masks are recommended for indoor gatherings. DeKalb currently at 188.99 cases per 100,000 people. According to CDC guidance, DeKalb would need to be under 50 cases per 100,000. Trends are moving in the right direction. If the trend continues as it has been it might be within one month or so that masks could become optional again for indoor gatherings.
  • The following Session Action Forms were presented. All motions were passed by the Session.
    • SAF 2022.03 – Review and Implementation of New Accounting Policies
    • SAF 2022.07 – Review Annual Statistics Report submitted to Presbytery
    • SAF 2022.08 – Asia Lerner Inquiry Session Evaluation and Recommendation
      • That the Session endorse Asia Lerner as an inquirer in the ordination process of the
        Presbyterian Church (USA).
    • SAF 2022.09 – In person worship/gathering capacity
      • That the Session lift the capacity limit for in-person worship and gatherings beginning February 20, 2022, with these guidelines in place:
        •  Social distancing encouraged. The Worship Committee and staff will navigate the next steps, offering social distancing in the balcony when/if it is not possible on the main floor.
        • RSVPs no longer needed.
        • Capacity limits no longer required.
  • Approved minutes as follows:
    • Called Session Meeting minutes to receive new members, December 12, 2021
    • Stated Session Meeting minutes for December 15, 2021
    • Called Session Meeting minutes to discuss COVID Mitigations on January 1, 2022
    • Called Session Meeting minutes to discuss COVID Mitigations for return to in-person worship on January 6, 2022
    • Approved December 2021 Membership Report, totaling 989 active members.
  • Financial Report – The preliminary December 2021 financial results reflected operating income of $189,481, which was $13,957 over budget, and operating expense of $214,835, which was $50,437 over budget ($30,000 of which was approved transfer to Capital Expenditures Fund). Net loss for the month, including Special Offerings, was $35,588, which was $46,714 over budget. Available cash at the end of December was $265,117. Year to date results reflected operating income of $1,676,988, which was $26,012 under budget, and operating expense of $1,722,418, which was $85,582 under budget. Year to date net income, including Special Offerings, is $67,762.
  • Stewardship Committee Update – The campaign achieved its targets which enabled support of the budget approved in December. Approximately $1,650,000 in pledges have been made to date; there may be an additional $5k-$10k that will be made. This represents a 1% increase over pledges in 2020. Nearly 50% of households increased pledges from 2021 to 2022; the average pledge increased about 12.5%.
  • Ministry Spotlight – Communications – The Communications Committee has a number of items worth celebrating: Live Stream, Welcome Center, Sacred Space Video Edition, Branding Guide, 2022 Committee Goals, and Ways to Engage.
    • Live Stream – Shallowford has moved from pre-recorded virtual worship Services to Live Stream in the past year. Analytics indicate that there were 420 views of the December 24th service in Vimeo and 327 views via the church website for the highest viewed service since tracking began in 2021; this service also had the highest in-person attendance of 420.
    • Welcome Center – The goal of the Welcome Center is to increase engagement with visitors, optimize space in atrium and display information for attendees. Maggie summarized the vision for the Welcome Center: inviting space with upgraded furnishings and useful technology, members stationed to welcome visitors and answer questions, televisions to display important information and broadcast messages.
    • Sacred Space Video Edition – The goal of the video edition of Sacred Space is to deliver content featuring churchwide groups and events to members and greater community in exciting new way. Videos will highlight interviews of members, leaders and staff and will offer ministry spotlights and testimonials.
  • Personnel Committee – Mark Shaffer provided an overview of the terms of call of the installed pastors for Shallowford which will be voted on during the Congregational Meeting planned for February 20, 2022.
  • The following Session Action Forms were presented. All motions were passed by the Session.
    • SAF 2022.02 – 2022 Communion Schedule
    • SAF 2022.04 – Rev. Landon Dillard Renewal of Contract for 2022
    • SAF 2022.05 – Call Annual Congregational Meeting for April 18
    • SAF 2022.06 – Additional 2021 surplus cash disbursements
      • That the Session approve moving these additional year-end cash disbursements, from the 2021 surplus: $25,000 to Capital Expenditures Fund and an extra mortgage payment of $5,685.52 to be made toward the principal balance of the loan.