Sunday May 29, 2016 immediately following the worship service. Rev. Mark Harvey opened the charge conference saying that this meeting was called so that the congregation could vote on the selling of the church parsonage. Brad Hershey, one of three trustees, including Alice Mohr and Ann Wymore, said the trustees have spent nearly a year leading a study on whether the church should sell the parsonage. Two all-church meetings have been held and information has been provided on-line and through mailings. The trustees first recommended to the Administrative Team that the parsonage be sold, and in early May the Administrative Team passed that recommendation on to the Leadership Council. The Leadership Council voted to present the following motion to the entire congregation. The all-church charge conference allows all professing members of the congregation to vote. A member must be present to vote so there is no absentee voting. Brad moved that University United Methodist Church sell the UUMC parsonage (7928 Teasdale Ave. St. Louis, MO) and establish a housing allowance for the pastor. Proceeds from the sale of the parsonage would be invested in a designated United Methodist Foundation Fund that meets all guidelines in the United Methodist Book of Discipline and Missouri Annual Conference Journal. Gary Hollingsworth seconded the motion. The floor was opened for questions and answers:
Q: Is there a firm figure for the housing allowance?
A: There is not a firm figure yet, but it will be around $18,000 a year. Rev. Harvey clarified that today’s vote was only on selling. There will be another conference on the housing allowance which is part of the pastor’s overall compensation package.
Q: Will the house be sold “as is”?
A: The trustees are doing some essential maintenance and some cosmetic improvements, but there is no plan to do any major projects prior to selling the parsonage.
Q: Are there restrictions on proceeds?
A: Yes. They will go to into a United Methodist Foundation Fund Trust account. Earnings from this account will help fund the housing allowance. The intent is to leave a portion of each years earnings in the account to provide at least a partial shield against inflation.
Q: Is there a sense of how the housing market is now? Of what the house is worth?
A: The market is very brisk right now. The initial goal is to clear $400,000 after all expenses have been paid.
Q: Is it possible that trustees have a fiduciary duty to get an appraisal and do not have a choice in this? Subsequent comments indicated that the trustees did in fact have a fiduciary responsibility to get an appraisal.
A: All three trustees agreed in the presence of the Charge Conference to get an appraisal prior to entering into any contract on the parsonage.
Q: Can an amendment be made to the motion to require an appraisal?
A: Rev. Harvey says an amendment cannot be made to the motion. He also added thatit appeared the trustees had agreed to get an appraisal.
Q: There was a comment about home ownership being good for couples and a question about what our pastor’s preference was?
A: Rev. Diane said that she would be ecstatic to have a housing allowance.
Rev. Harvey said that the vote would be a hand vote, unless anyone was opposed. There was no opposition. The motion was read again. The vote was taken. All who voted were in favor of the motion. No one voted against it. A few members chose to abstain. The attendance list of forty-eight (48) of professing members is on file in the church's records.
Rev. Harvey thanked the congregation and Rev. Diane closed the meeting with a prayer.
Phyllis Hershey, recorder
Minutes approved by electronic ballot by Leadership Council on July 18, 2016.