Trinity Lutheran Church Council Minutes

 (Minutes REVISED 6/19/23)

June 13, 2023 

6:00 Pastor Donnita’s house



  • Call to Order/Attendance


Mike Herring called the meeting to order at 6:06pm.

Attending: Pastor Donnita, Mike Herring, Terri Peck, Janel Stephens, Kristy Kruse, Elaine Moes, Jim McCullough

Unable to Attend: Laurie Brandenburg, Kendra Von Muenster, Maggie Von Muenster



  • Devotion


Pastor Donnita shared a devotion where discussion was had around the emerging church, and the shifts that have occurred in how we learn. Today’s learners are more participative, collaborative, engaged, and group based vs. lecture style of the past. Think about how we adapt for the church, and how we help everyone adjust to change. Mike recommended a movie on Amazon Prime called Jesus Revolution.

A summary of books about the Emerging Church

The Agile Church by Dwight Zscheile

Imagining a New Church by Jeffery Kjellberg

Emerging Church and Emerging Worship by Da Kimball


      Another Major Shift

Another major shift in our culture has been in the way that we learn. For many of us, the paradigm under which we learned was very teacher directed. The teacher held the information and we needed to accept it. We sat in desks, in rows and absorbed the information given. We didn’t challenge the teaching or seek out alternatives. Learning was a passive process.

The advancement in technology and the availability of information, has made a fundamental shift in education. No longer is one teacher seen as the center for information. The ability to access information is at our fingertips. The goal of education isn’t on just giving information but on how to think critically, how to discern sources of information and how to collaborate on interpreting information. Learning is an active and participatory process.

How do we respond as the Emerging Church?

First, we need to look at the leadership structure of our churches. Churches have understood that there is one Truth and their goal has been to teach and guard that Truth. So, churches have been Pastor directed. The theologically educated pastor is looked to as the authority and holder of correct theology. Much of our liturgy and teaching has been passive and accepting.

In the Emerging Church, leadership will be a shared venture between the pastor and people to design experiences to encounter God and teach a collaborative approach. Sitting in pews and reciting a set pattern of responses will be replaced with centers with hands on learning, conversations on relevant life topics, music that speaks to their daily lives and justice or service outreach. Church will be a participatory process of a faith journey.

  1. What learning style did you experience in your education? What were its

benefits? It’s limitations?

  1. How would you describe the need for changes in education styles?
  2. Why do those changes, lead us to changes in the church?
  3. What are benefits in the church leadership style that we have had? What are its


  1. What benefits could there be in a shared leadership style in the church? What are

your concerns?



  • Administration
  • Approve Minutes


Mike asked for discussion on last month’s minutes. There was none. Kristy motioned to accept the minutes as submitted, Janel seconded the motion, all approved. Motion passed.



  • Treasurer’s Report


  • Jim reviewed the Treasurer’s report for May, 2023. Discussion held. Motion to accept the Treasurer’s report as written was made by Janel, seconded by Terri, all approved. Report accepted. 
  • Terri shared that the Pay-Pal account is not currently used to accept offerings/donations. Caitlin does use the account for secured online purchases. We’d like to keep the physical Pay-Pal account open for that purpose but see no need to keep it as a separate account in the Treasurer’s reporting. Jim will transfer the funds in the account and close the reporting on it going forward.
  • Pastor Donnita asked for a way for VBS coordinator to have funds upfront for supplies. Budget is $300. Jim explained she can order with Caitlin via church credit card, or if needed, he can issue a check, and then have coordinator turn in receipts and remaining funds.



  • Pastor’s Report 


Pastor shared the following information:


  • Imagine: The Movement 


Synod received a grant to do a program for 6 churches, at no cost to the churches. Involves monthly coaching and thinking on the future, experimenting monthly with different ideas. Applications will be available in fall. Donnita will get application information for us to apply.


  • Possibilities with UMC -Partnering ideas


      • UMC to hold Family Huddle July 30 after worship and have asked Trinity to join. They usually hold this event on the 5th Sunday of the month.
      • Trinity’s fall invite ideas? 
        • TLC to do 8/27 or 9/10 backpack Blessing and potluck and invite UMC. All thought this was a fabulous idea
        • Possible 10/1 St Francis of Assisi, animal blessing and treats
        • Mike to see if Harrison and Thinking will come give a presentation/talk, invite UMC and community.
      • Joint UMC/Trinity Committee to meet after VBS is over to begin brainstorming and executing outreach ideas
    • God’s Work, our Hands Sunday 9/10. To plan another work day V3 for Trinity.


  • Recognition:


      • Thank you to Kunde family – Hold recognition to Kunder/Cook/Thomas families for the new ac/furnace for the church. Recognition in church, and potluck after. Janel to organize. Will reach out to see what Sunday may work for them.
      • Thank you to Jim McCullough- Retiring as Treasurer 7/1. Janel to coordinate, and see when Jim may be available in July and arrange refreshments during fellowship.


  • Directory review and distribution


    • Send any additional changes to Caitlin and Kendra. 
    • All agreed we should go ahead and publish directory. 
    • Kendra to send final copy to Caitlin.
    • Discussion on directory listings vs active church members listing. Will publish directory. List of active members to be generated in the future for internal use only, not for distribution. This will let us know how many members are needed for a quorum, etc.
    • Shaun Copp
    • Dana and Charlie Martin
    • Change in Directory:
  • Gertrude Moeller

Remove cell 563-554-8004, 

Add Home phone of 563-886-3271

  • Aubri Hein. 

Remove under Hein,Dave and Sandy, and add as separate entry.

Jones, Aubri and Chad

519 Cedar St, Apt 2, Tipton, IA 52772 Cell 563-886-4549

    • Andrea  -Mayo in June. Andrea will be returning to the Mayo Clinic at the end of June. We’d like to provide book bags of activities, etc for the kids, and gift/gas cards etc.
    • Brenda Montgomery? No new updates


  • ELCA Social statement prison reform 


Would we be interested in holding a few 15-30 minute sessions prior to church this fall on ELCA’s social statement regarding prison reform led by Pastor Donnita? Council thought this was a great idea.

  • Council notebooks– could we add
    • Constitution – 1st tab. (Donnita needs copy). 
      • Mike to check with Synod on most updated copy available (revised 202), and send current version to council. 
      • Let Caitlin know if you need a printed copy once received.
    • Tab for Website, church email & phone number and Facebook addresses 
    • Pastor and members contact information -Mike will update and distribute current list


  • Worship 


New music and hymnals have been ordered to introduce some beginning praise songs. Council agreed cost ($300-400) should be taken from regular budget- non-budgeted expenses, not worship budget


  • Evangelism 


Outreach to college students 


  • VBS 


Need volunteers:  teachers, leaders to help move kids to groups, decorating 

Adult VBS- I’d like to put something on Facebook with same theme as kids’ lessons 


  • Education 


Tentative date Confirmation on Reformation Sunday October 27th


  • Since last meeting 


Sermon prep

Worship slides and bulletin prep each week 

Worship committee meeting

Meeting with Pastor Melody 


Phone calls, emails 

2 evenings zoom Synod Assembly 

Altar guild meeting 


  • Council Reports/Committee
  • Worship & Tech


New music & hymnals have been ordered to introduce some beginning praise songs



  • Stewardship 


Will be meeting to write the job description for the Stewardship Committee.


  1. Education  

Tentative date Confirmation on Reformation Sunday October 27th


  1. HR No updates


  1. Property  
  • Mike shared that Les is staying on Property Committee this year to transition duties to Mike August as property chair.
  • Thermostat adjustments – who will be responsible for adjusting thermostat settings, overrides going forward? Ensure settings are updated for the warmer weather
  • Mike Thomas is monitoring AC performance and maintenance while we are waiting on the new furnace/AC units to come in and be installed.


  1. Hospitality No updates


  1. Evangelism 
  • Will be meeting to write the job description for the Evangelism Committee.
  • Will be doing outreach to college students 
  • Will be meeting with Pastor Donnita, Lynn, Mike, Kendra and the UMC group after VBS to plan outreach ideas together


  1. Finance No updates



Discussion on if these need to continue on the agenda. Council agreed not needed going forward, but can be discussed as needed.


  • Capital Improvement No updates
  • Memorial No updates
  • Backpack Buddies No updates
  • GRACE No updates
  • Previous Business (compilation of issues from the past six months):
  • Responsibility of who sets up for funerals


Property Committee will take back duties of setting up/breaking down tables and chairs for funeral, and assisting funeral director with needs for visitations and funerals at the church. Custodian will continue to clean prior to visitation/funerals.



  • New Business: 
  • Call Committee update


Mike updated us that we have received 1 informal inquiry on our part time pastor call. We referred the person to the Synod, and advised Synod we had been contacted for the proper channels to be followed.



  • Open Financial Secretary position


Elaine shared she has had a congregation member show interest in the financial secretary position and should have a decision in the near future. Jim reminded us that Elaine can not serve in both positions at the same time, and a replacement would need to be named prior to Elaine taking over the treasurer position.

Ideas for a back-up for the financial secretary were discussed.



  • Review officer position descriptions: President, VP, Secretary, Treasurer, Financial Secretary


  • Mike handed out new descriptions of Officer positions for President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and Financial Secretary
  • Please review for edits/changes and bring to August council meeting.
  • Descriptions will be added to the council binders once completed.



  • Begin/continue reviewing committee descriptions


  • Mike handed out new descriptions for the following committees:

Worship & Technology, Education, Property, Hospitality and Finance.

  • Please review with edit suggestions for the August Council meeting.
  • Descriptions will be added to the council binders once completed.
  • The following committee descriptions should be submitted prior to the August council meeting: Stewardship, HR, Evangelism



  • TLC (Trinity Lutheran Church) asset check out protocol


  • In an effort to streamline the process and have more people available to assist, Mike is making a core list of people with Church keys willing to lock/unlock the building and be there while someone loads/unloads chairs/tables they are borrowing, and record what was borrowed on the custodian closet door. 
  • Going forward these helpers will not be responsible for loading/moving/unloading tables and chairs. 
  • Anyone wishing to check out tables/chairs should call or email the church office to request items, and when needed.
  • New: Caitlin will then send text/email to the group of possible key holders with the request, asking for responses of who is available to assist with pick up and/or drop off. Once volunteers are listed, Caitlin will contact the borrower via phone/email (whichever way they contacted her) and give them contact names and phone numbers for pick up and drop off.
  • The borrower would then contact the volunteers to set final dates/times of pick up and drop off.
  • Additional assets that are borrowed from the kitchen, such as punch bowls, roasters, etc., should be listed on the sign out sheet on the kitchen door.



  • Remember to keep Andrea/Brenda in your prayers




  • Ask Memorial Committee to purchase 5 new light weight tables for loaning out


Mike recommended we ask the Memorial Committee for funds to purchase 5 new light weight 8-foot tables to be used for funerals, etc, and available to be loaned out. Council agreed. Mike will contact Deb Cook with the Memorial Committee.

It was suggested we donate the old heavy 8-foot tables to Habitat for Humanity. Mike to arrange.



  • Hire lawn mowing service


Mike recommended we have a mowing service on stand-by or contract going forward for the busier summer months to care for the mowing and trimming, with Volunteers handling in spring/fall. Discussion was held, and all felt it is a good idea to hire someone for the lawn, and to no longer use volunteers for this service going forward. Mike to check with local companies on availability and pricing, etc.



  • LSI/Kelly Thomas building use agreement


Mike shared that Community Insurance/Mike Pelzer reached out to ensure we have a current building use agreement with both Kelly Thomas and LSI for using Trinity’s basement space, and copies of their proof of insurance on file. Mike will need a copy of both for our insurance coverage. Mike Herring to check with both Kelly and LSI. Discussion around if LSI has returned since Covid. 


  • Caitlin notified council the church will be receiving a $500.00 refund from the USPS due to the post office not being able to provide the savings they initially indicated


Great Job Caitlin!



  • New Treasurer – Banking Authorization


Terri mentioned that we will need to update banking authorized parties with Fidelity upon changes to who will be holding the Treasurer and Financial Secretary positions. 


At this time, effective today June 13, 2023 Church Council wishes to add Elaine Moes to all Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church accounts held at Fidelity Bank in Tipton, IA as an authorized party, including online/mobile access. Elaine should be authorized on all accounts that James (Jim) McCullough is currently authorized on. Jim will remain an authorized party as well through this transition until we submit a separate request to remove him as authorized. 


In addition, Sally Kruse will be the new Financial Secretary, and should be added as an authorized party on the accounts that Elaine Moes currently has access to for that role.


Mike will issue a resolution to Fidelity with the above information on banking authorizations for Trinity.



  • Other 


  • Contacting the Church.
    • Reminder that when contacting the church- people should use either the church phone number of 563-886-2991 or email the church office at We should not be giving out Caitlin’s personal cell phone number as a contact.



  •  Closing Prayer 



VII. Adjournment


  • Motion to adjourn made by Kristy, seconded by Janel. All in favor. Meeting adjourned



Next council meeting—July 11, 2023 6pm Pastor Donnita’s home