By Ann Lin

We had a busy Holy Week with well-attended services throughout the week.   On Easter Sunday, we had an outstanding total of 681 people attending (474 in person and 207 online), which demonstrates growth in participation over last year and recent years.

The Mexico Mission trip attendees arrived home this weekend. The full report has not been received and will be shared in the future. Approximately 200 students and adult volunteers spent one week building 12 homes in Tijuana. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I want to thank all the volunteers who participated and those who worked at home to make this trip happen. It is a monumental effort to enable our local youth to help those in need in Mexico.  

Here is the President’s report for the Board of Trustees meeting held April 8, 2024:

Finance Committee is working with consultant Julie Sept and Toni to re-organize and simplify our financial reporting. The objective is to highlight what it takes to run the church. Julie gave the Trustees a high-level walk through, explaining how monies and expenses will be broken into three categories: (1) General Fund for operating budget; (2) Special Funds for special projects that are not part of recurring expenses and restricted funds that include endowment, capital projects, holiday special giving; and (3) Mission Trips.

Stewardship reports that as of April 8, $981,000 out of our $1,200,000 Stewardship Campaign goal has been met. We knew this was a stretch goal. Although we expect additional commitments to come in, it is unlikely we will meet our goal. Commitments from 115 families have been received with the average commitment increasing 31% to $5,614. We are seeking 100% participation at whatever level can be made as well as seeking increased size of commitments year over year. We have at least 10 new giving families that are part of NextGen and we received one Transitional Gift. Giving this year has gone up despite not requesting transitional gifts and the fact that our Stewardship Campaign closely followed our NextGen Capital Campaign from the fall. Thank you notes and phone calls are underway by committee members.  

Personnel reports that twice, Toni and Jean were given an additional week of vacation time in lieu of raises, bringing both to a total of six weeks of vacation per year compared to 4 weeks per year for the rest of the staff. Toni has never been able to utilize more than 2-3 weeks of vacation annually.  Consequently, the Personnel Committee is recommending Toni’s vacation time be realigned with that of the rest of the staff and to recognize the two surplus weeks of vacation time as a salary increase. Don will finally be taking his sabbatical from May 27 to the first week of July. 

Buildings & Grounds reports the assessment of the condition of the windows in the CE building indicate they can be reglazed rather than be replaced, which will be a significant cost savings. Some windows, however, need to be replaced with tempered glass to bring the building up to code. The lighting designer has begun preliminary work on designs and suggestions for better lighting around the outside of our physical plant. Emerald Paving will begin repaving, sealing and striping the parking lot after the Mexico trucks return. The roof over Guild Hall has been repaired. Sound system upgrades in the Sanctuary began in early April. Related electrical and IT work to integrate the new work into the existing system will be priced when the necessary work is better defined. Exterior painting is anticipated to begin at the end of April. Saturday, May 4 will be a workday to fix multiple areas around the church. A memorial prayer garden honoring Bob Wright is in design stage now. James reported on continuing contract negotiations with the preschool tenants. Beach Preschool has signed for next year; Highlands Preschool has not accepted the upgraded rental agreement. Preschools are in transition with California public schools offering four-year-old children a new pre-K program. Both our tenant preschools run 9-12pm, which is insufficient time coverage for two income households that generally need after-school childcare. Our Boy Scouts tenant proposed placement of a flagpole outside the CE Building in honor of Carl Anderson who was a long-time Piedmont Church member and supporter of the Boy Scouts. BSA will cover all the costs and maintenance for a flagpole to be located outside the CE Building along Highland Way. Motion unanimously approved contingent on Buildings & Grounds (Vicki) being informed of and approving the flagpole’s final location.   

Deacons reports it has been a busy Easter week. One hundred people attended the Maundy Thursday dinner and worship service in Guild Hall. It was the first time we celebrated with an Agape service that incorporated a communal meal as part of the service. Deacons are being trained on new software to facilitate online signups for various activities. Fellowship activities are scheduled and proposed for upcoming months. Two new member classes are scheduled for April and a new grief group led by Alison Fletcher started.

Mission Board is accepting ideas for Mission activities. A new Treasures Sale venue at PIPH is being encouraged. Treasures to be dropped off at PIPH, not Piedmont Church. Monthly service opportunities are scheduled or proposed through September. Destiny Arts want to conduct a fundraising event at Piedmont Church. Mike Bandrowski will put together a plan but needs to check our by-laws and policy on allowing other groups to use our facility as our partners are our priority.

NextGen reported a busy March with engaging events. One hundred eleven participants showed up to our first Glow in the Dark Egg Hunt with 3,000 glowing eggs and glowing décor for our youngest children through Middle Schoolers. Many of our families extended invitations to their friends. Four High School students attended an interactive Virtual Reality event at VR Emeryville. Planning and registration are underway for Summer Camp for kids 4 years old through 5th grade June 3-7. A Middle School Summer Camp is planned at Mount Herman Ponderosa Lodge near Santa Cruz for June 14-20. A High School Summer Camp to be held in Monterey is planned for June 12-14.  

NextGen Attendance for March: Note the 3/10 check-in was impacted by an intermittent issue with WiFi.

Student Ministries – Scott reported Middle and High School parents’ dinners were held in March and are planned for April. As part of team building for the Mexico Mission Trip, several student teams collected items and assembled over 300 hygiene kits to be distributed by CityTeam. The rest of the Mexico teams conducted local community service projects as part of their team building. Approximately 200 student and adult volunteers participated in the Mexico Mission Trip the second week in April.