Semi-Annual Meeting Minutes, August 30, 2020

These yet-to-be-approved Minutes are being posted on the church website to be available for review of congregation members, particularly as they pertain to the subject of a possible building addition. Diagrams of the building designs discussed at the meeting accompany these Minutes. These and the other attachments will become part of the official record post-approval of the Minutes.   


 For action at next church meeting

Union Church of Biddeford Pool

Semi-Annual Meeting (via Zoom) – August 30, 2020


Attendance: Paula Norbert, Pastor; Paul Schlaver, Moderator; Debbie Lamb, Treasurer; Anita Coupe, Clerk; Cynthia Archibald, Nancy  Batchelor, Jen Comeau, John Comeau, Brad Coupe, Tom Craven, Michelle Currie, Erv Davis, Heather Davis, Sheri Poftak,  Doug Firebaugh, Caryn Firebaugh, Eileen Foley, Barbara Fortier, Stephen Fox, Rob Harriman, Katie Koles, Amy LaBelle, Cindy McCarthy, Eve McPheeters, Peter McPheeters, Patricia Mulholland, Anne Murray, Ken Murray, John Odle, Marti Odle, Sandra Ragan, Elaine Robinson, Lamar Robinson, Bob Sherman,  Carol Sherman, Bonnie Tallagnon, Dennis Tallagnon, and Carole Troy.

Jen Comeau as Zoom Master announced that the meeting was being recorded.

At 10:55 a.m. Paul called the meeting to order and Rev. Paula opened with a prayer.

Action on Minutes. Upon motion made and seconded (Ken/Sandy), the Minutes of the Semi-Annual Meeting of January 26, 2020 were approved.

Election of Officers. Paul identified the officer positions and candidates up for election. Upon motion made and seconded (Jen Comeau/T. Craven), Debbie Lamb and Anita Coupe were elected as Treasurer and Clerk respectively.

Paul identified the Deacon and Trustee openings and candidates for election.

Upon motion made and seconded (Eileen/Michelle), Sharon Gaudin, Nancy Batchelor and Bob Sherman were elected as Deacons, and Bob Sherman was re-elected as a Trustee.

Pastor’s Report. Rev. Paula referenced her written report and expressed admiration for the leadership and outreach that had been demonstrated by many congregation members during the physical separation imposed by the pandemic. Steve Fox added that his Deacons Report summarized the changes and progress made in conducting Sunday service.

Mission and Program Reports. Ken Murray referenced his written reports and provided an update on funds raised by the Summer Speaker Series. Over $8,000 was donated by the 73 series attendees and supporters. Revenues net of expenses was approximately $6,000, with a few invoices outstanding, all of which would go to Mission, separate and apart from the $4,000 budgeted for Mission. Paul added that, of the four speaker events, the second and third had been recorded and were posted on the website.

Trustees Report.  John Comeau referenced his written report and summarized one situation requiring attention within the next month, specifically, the failure of the furnace flue exhaust fan. He said the furnace was off, the repair cost would be covered by the Capital Fund, and the options were two: (1) to replace the exhaust fan housing, for an estimated $1,600 with a lifetime expectancy of seven to eight years; or  (2) to refurbish the existing chimney (est. $5,000) and connect it to the existing furnace, having a longer term life expectancy. Separately, Tom Craven agreed at Paul’s request to ask the Biddeford Pool Fire Department about removing a pile of brush that is visible from the Remembrance Garden.

(11:05 Anita and Brad Coupe reconnected to Zoom meeting)

Financial Report. Debbie Lamb referenced her Treasurer’s Notes and highlighted the following. Pledges had exceeded YTD projections by over $4800 due to the generosity of congregation members who accelerated and/or increased pledge payments. The $12,500 loan, received under the federal Payroll Protection Program and 100 percent forgivable, had helped offset payroll expenses. Net operations YTD were $18,700 in the black, with some budgeted as well as unbudgeted expenses still outstanding. The Pastor’s Discretionary Fund, typically consisting of donations at Christmas Eve services ($1,300 in 2019), was supplemented by $2,600 in donations in 2020, which helped provided assistance during the pandemic, and had a current balance of $3,000. As of August 21, the three investment accounts had recovered from significant losses earlier in the year. Peter noted, (1) that but for the one-time PPP loan the current $18,000 operating net revenue would be only $6,000, cautioning moderation in spending; and (2) that the Finance Committee would be meeting with the investment managers about possible reallocation in anticipation of continuing repercussions from the pandemic.

Deacons’ Report. Steve Fox referenced his written report and noted that Paula and the deacons recommended that for the next two months Sunday services continue via Zoom. This was based on their review of current federal and state data and analyses regarding the spread of infection, recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, and news reports of church gatherings as among spreader-events, which they balanced against the desire for in-person services. Soon to be announced in detail would be specific mid-week opportunities (date/time/place) for very small group gatherings in backyards and the Remembrance Garden, for those interested in signing-up to meet in-person to renew more personal contact.

Possible Building Addition. Paul said three building-addition designs were being presented for the congregation’s information, and that a decision on an addition and design would take place in January 2021, considering financials and fundraising.

Sandy Ragan, Chair of the Ad Hoc Building Committee (“BC”), said that everyone on the BC was in agreement that any building would not begin before the summer of 2021 or 2022; and that any construction should be treated as a preservation project and blend in with the church. She said that containing costs would be important, as would setting a standard that would last for 100 years and that would be appreciated by members of the community at large who valued the church and, in the first renovation, supported the capital campaign, e.g., a matching grant from the Pool Association.

Two-story design.  Referring to the projected diagrams, Sandy highlighted the following: The “elevation” diagram showed the exterior exit would not be flush with the ground. There would be steps out due to the memorial garden elevation. The elevation would be flush with the existing church floor, and the building elevation and roofline would be reproduced in the same style as the existing roof of the Church. The “first floor” diagram shows that the existing dueling-doors would be corrected; the kitchen would be enlarged and traffic flow improved; existing fixtures and cabinets would be reused; and a staircase in the meeting room would lead to second floor. The “second floor” design provided a separate pastor’s area as well as walk-in storage, the finishing of which could be a second phase.

Design to repurpose storage room.  Rob Harriman explained his first design as simply converting the existing storage room into a meeting room, with the objective of containing costs. His highlights included: minimizing tear-down; retaining the existing bathroom; retaining but enlarging the existing kitchen by removing partitions; adding a door from the kitchen to the renovated meeting room; adding double-hung windows in the meeting room for light and ventilation; reusing existing cabinets; correcting existing dueling-door problem; and avoiding any property-line question.  The design does not address storage (pantry cabinets posited as a possibility), or the flue/chimney or a new foundation. Rob said Brady Construction gave a “quick” estimate of approximately $30,000 for this design, subject to a firmer estimate given more direction.

One-story design. Rob described his one-story design [numbered pp 1-5] as a modification of Brady Construction’s original design as presented at the January semi-annual meeting, and possibly still an option, which included a cathedral ceiling and had an estimated cost of $100,000. The objective of Rob’s modified design was again to introduce some cost-saving ideas. Rob highlighted expanding the interior space by incorporating the current exterior back-deck space; again retaining the existing kitchen and bathroom; expanding and rearranging the kitchen and providing natural light to the kitchen by creating windows into the meeting room; creating storage by a sturdy pull-down stairs from the kitchen’s 7’5” ceiling, affording easy access to store, e.g., lightweight Tupperware tubs around the opening, and more but less accessible space farther from the opening;  having a hall entrance into the meeting room; having a flat 8-foot ceiling in the meeting room instead of a cathedral ceiling and window; and having a hip roof instead of a peaked roof, saving siding and chimney. As in the first design, a “quick” estimate from Brady Construction was approximately $75,000, excluding addressing the flue/chimney issue, a new foundation or any property-line issue. In conclusion, Rob said whatever design was ultimately chosen would be fine with him and he’d help in any way he could.

Discussion ensued including the following:

  • A ballpark estimate for the two-story design, according to Sandy, based on Brady Construction’s estimate of $300 per sq. ft., was $150,000, which included a new chimney and building the second floor but not finishing it, which would cost approximately another $30,000.
  • Paul suggested that the BC meet within the next few weeks to discuss resolution of the broken furnace flue and its short- and long-term implications for the chimney and any addition.
  • Sandy pointed out for further BC consideration the need for a strong new foundation, regardless of the design. The cost of a new foundation was not included in any of the estimates and remains to be obtained.

Sandy invited anyone to email her with questions, suggestions or reactions. Paul urged everyone to be in touch with Sandy, Rob or Paul as soon as possible to provide their reactions to the plans. Bob and Paula thanked everyone for all the work and significant progress since the early concept of an addition.

Paul announced that Ken is stepping down as Program Chair and welcomed hearing from anyone with ideas about Ken’s successor.

At 12:07, upon motion (Sandy/Bob), Paul adjourned the meeting.

Respectfully submitted,


Anita Coupe, Clerk



Distributed in advance of the meeting:

  • Minutes of Semi-Annual Meeting, January 26, 2020 (Anita Coupe)
  • Pastor’s Report, August 30, 2020 (Paula Norbert)
  • Treasurer’s Notes, August 30, 2020 (Debbie Lamb)
  • Summary of Union Church Operations as of 8.21.20 (Debbie Lamb)
  • Deacons’ Report, August 24, 2020 (Stephen Fox)
  • Mission Report, August 30, 2020 (Ken Murray)
  • Program Report, August 30, 2020 (Ken Murray)
  • Trustees’ Report, August 25, 2020 (John Comeau)
  • Moderator’s Report, August 30, 2020 (Paul Schlaver)


Designs/Diagrams of Possible Building Addition: