Annual All Parish Meeting, March 20, 2022
Father Alexander opened the meeting with a prayer, followed by Father Athanasy welcoming the parishioners and reminding them to sign in and collect the packet that included the agenda and reports for the past year. Next, Father Athanasy read the agenda for the meeting.
Paul Johnson read the minutes from 2021. The minutes were accepted as read and approved.
Father Alexander reported on the status of the parish. Sts. Peter and Paul Church has existed for 44 years and is now stronger than before the pandemic. There were six baptisms and one wedding last year. But unfortunately, we also lost nine members of our parish in 2021. Father asked for everyone to stand and pray, remembering those who have reposed, including two priests well known to our parish and the founders of our church.
Father shared two projects that are the primary focus of our parish. The first, the cemetery project initiated in July 2018, was granted a Conditional Use Permit by the County of Sonoma in June 2021. The initial cost was estimated at $15,000 but has grown to $112,000. These costs have been challenged, and no good reason for the increased billing has been given.
The LLC must mitigate land habituated by endangered species, particularly the California tiger salamander. For each acre we develop, we must purchase two acres of mitigation credits at $80,000/acre. The LLC will argue that our project will have minimum impact on the habitat, suggest a 1:1 mitigation ratio, and mitigate only the area covered by the access roads. If this fails, and we must mitigate the entire 10 acres, the cost would be $1.6 million, and we would have to abandon the project. In addition, The LLC will request from the County that the permit costs be held until the cemetery is operating. This action will maintain a positive cash flow in the LLC bank account.
Additionally, we will establish a Sts. Peter and Paul Churchyard Cemetery Trust Fund to be administered by the LLC. The LLC will sell burial plots for $5000 each. This money will be held in trust until all hurdles have been surpassed for opening the cemetery. If such limitations are not cleared, the money will be fully refunded by the trust.
Second, the four carved columns for the church’s interior have been ordered, as well as the altar table. Unfortunately, due to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the date for receiving the altar table is unknown. The columns are due to arrive sometime this summer. Thus, we do not have a firm date for our consecration.
Our fundraising efforts were very successful this year. Our Stewardship program collected over $26,000 for 2021. On February 27, 2022, the St. Petersburg Nights, a fundraiser for the cemetery project, netted $68,000 despite the original date being canceled due to new pandemic restrictions by the County. Father thanked all those who donated their time and talents, especially Paul Johnson and Anya Krassovsky for their many hours of setting up; George (Goga) Engurasoff for his musical entertainment, Eugene (Zhenya) Krassovsky for his role as auctioneer and Master of Ceremonies, Sasha Krassovsky and Katya Logvy for their planning, organizing and administration, and all their helpers who made this such a successful event.
The Sisterhood has also designated luncheons and other activities to benefit the cemetery project.
The Sisterhood has evolved into independent committees over the past couple of years. It thus has been able to ease the burden of the Head Sister, Nadia Stewart, who formerly had to oversee all the functions of the Sisterhood. Several capable women have coordinated the lunch program, the flowers for the church, the outreach program, changing vestments for the church, fundraising, and special events. Earlier this year, the Parish Council decided to formalize this new structure with these groups communicating with each other as needed and what has transpired via phone and the internet. The groups are ultimately responsible to the Parish Council, who will inform them regularly regarding the Sisterhood activities. Nadia, who has the pulse of all the activities related to the Sisterhood, continues to be a great resource and participant of the organization without having to be accountable for all events. Father expressed his gratitude for Nadia’s tireless efforts and many years of dedication to the Sisterhood and our parish.
Father thanked the Parish Council, our Starosta Paul Johnson, and Lana Logvy, who had been a Parish Council member for 20 years and a devoted member of our parish family, for their dedication and hard work.
The number of parishioners receiving Holy Communion during Great Lent in 2021 was up, totaling 460 compared with 420 the previous year. General Confessions in conjunction with private Confessions will also probably increase this year.
The Parish Council will remain at its current membership level. However, any member in good standing in the parish may nominate any other member in good standing for any of the elected posts in our parish administration.
Father blessed 62 homes, up from 55 last year, with the holy Theophany water. Our attendance at Sunday liturgies and Saturday liturgies has also increased. Due to the demographics of younger people attending Sts. Peter and Paul, the service has incorporated more English in the Liturgy.
Father reminded the parish how prayerful and unique our Lenten services are and encouraged everyone to attend especially considering the past two years of the pandemic and the current situation with Russia and Ukraine.
The Unction service is on Monday, April 11, 2022, at Sts. Peter and Paul ROC, with Bishop Theodosy, presiding. Last year, seven clergy members from ROCOR and OCA parishes participated, led by Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America, with 70 Orthodox Christians attending.
Father gave Konstantin (Kostya) Pavloff, the choir director, and all the choir members his heartfelt gratitude for their love and dedication to the church. Father acknowledged the many people behind the scenes who keep our parish going with love and dedication for the Glory of God.
Father discussed the election of the Parish Council, Auditing Committee, Sts. Peter and Paul Fund, LLC, and the Board Members for 2022. Father had previously indicated that any member in good standing in the parish might nominate any other member in good standing for any of the posts in our parish administration. It was announced again at the meeting, and there were no nominations. There was a motion to keep the members of the various committees as is, and it was seconded and accepted with no objection.
Paul gave the treasurer’s report as follows. There was $266,738.83 in our bank account as of December 31, 2021. With our other assets and investments, we have a total of $5,838,605. Parish activity for 2021 includes expenses of $237,335.64 and income of $237,797.86, leaving the parish a net of $462.22.
The Sisterhood gives the church $2500 per month. The treasurer made the initial payments, but the Sisterhood could not pay their total obligation until after the Bazaar, one of the more successful ones they have had. Paul did not discuss the details of the Sisterhood report.
The LLC has $53,295.08 in its checking and savings accounts. The property is valued at $1,111,900. The LLC has an outstanding note for $310,000. If the cemetery project becomes nonviable and the property sold at the valued price, the note balance would be paid, leaving a balance of $855,195.08.
The end of the year balance for 2021 for the LLC-managed property, aka 21 Acre, netted $11,093.66. Income on the farmhouse, pasture rental, and a transfer from the LLC savings account amounted to $42,802.89. Expenses for utilities, taxes, development and interest paid on the note for the cemetery project were $31,709.23.
Paul Johnson read the report Status of the Cemetery Project written by Todd Stewart. The project was approved by Sonoma County unanimously on June 10, 2021. The next step is negotiating the mitigation costs and having the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and The Army Corps of Engineers agree with our proposal. CDFW requires updated surveys on the unique status species found on the property five years ago. CDFW did this in March. Another survey will be conducted in April and in May of this year.
The CDFW would like the LLC to look at project alternatives that might have a lesser environmental impact. Therefore, the LLC will be having a meeting on March 9, 2022, with the WRA, Inc. (ecological consultants) to review the mitigation requirements.
In summary, the make-or-break point of this project depends on the mitigation process and whether the government agencies conclude that the cemetery project will avoid most wetlands and special-status plants. There will be some impact on the California Tiger Salamander, but it is limited. Based on the discussions mentioned above, it is unknown whether the project will be feasible.
Father Alexander explained how the 10-acre parcel would be developed during the question-and-answer period. It will hold about 8,000 grave sites. It is unknown what the cost for the cemetery will be until the mitigation process is determined for the land. The cost will be exorbitant if the governmental agencies require two acres of mitigation for each acre developed. If the agencies evaluate the land and determine that not much will be disturbed, we may be able to lower the mitigation costs.
Projects completed in 2022 include:
Installed screens in the bell tower to keep the pigeons out.
Daniel Alva and Andrew Merriss removed the diseased birch trees on our church property.
Installation of two stanchions in front of the control unit for the gate. Someone had backed into the unit causing $7400 in damages. Insurance covered all of it except for the $250 deductible.
The large tent purchased for the Vecherinka on February 27 will remain on the deck in front of the hall.
The tips of the new fence and gate were painted gold by Fr. Athanasius and Paul Johnson.
Our church sign was scrubbed by Aliona Russie and painted by Father Alexander. He then installed plexiglass over the sign to keep it clean.
A camera was installed at the main entrance of the church for streaming live services.
A drain and the overflow drain got clogged with leaves and pigeon droppings during a storm causing water damage to the men’s bathroom and the kitchen. Both rooms have been repaired.
Projects proposed for 2022 include:
Finish painting and gilding the cupolas for installation.
Replace the carpet with wood flooring in the administration building and paint the room.
Complete the bracing of the Iconostasis, install the columns, and purchase the analogia and altar table for the church.
Plant trees and shrubs in the center island of the parking lot, install planter boxes on the deck, and purchase more tables and chairs for outside seating.
In addition, Paul thanked Elena Poluektov, Arina Bohn, Lena Piskuleva, and Julia for all the flower arrangements that beautify the church. He thanked Ian McWethy and Yura Franke-Zaharoff for their help with the candlestand activities. Ian also helps clean the church, as does Lydia, which is very much appreciated. Lastly, Paul extended his thank-you to everyone who helped with the set-ups and tear-downs necessary for the fundraisers.
Vera Williams read Nadine Stewart’s Sisterhood report. The Sisterhood has evolved from having a Head Sister to several committees responsible for accomplishing the functions necessary for our parish community. In addition, a group was formed that communicates about lunches, fundraisers, income, expenses, scheduling, and special events on a need-be basis. This group and all other groups are responsible for reporting to the Parish Council. Fortunately, the women in all the groups are capable and independent, making good decisions based on their many years of experience at Sts. Peter and Paul Church and Father Alexander’s guidance.
Nadia thanked Sharon Buot for her dedication to ensuring the kitchen was ready for lunch, for setting up the tables and serving area, for her help with cleaning up after the meal, and for encouraging people to volunteer to prepare part of a meal for our Sunday luncheons. Anna Judd and her helpers have faithfully prepared outreach baskets at Christmas and Easter for our shut-ins. Elena, Lena, Arina, and Julia have done an excellent job with the flowers for the church. Finally, appreciation was extended to all the parishioners who had worked so hard to make the Bazaar one of the most successful.
Our fundraising for the Cemetery Project has included special luncheons, the Blini Sunday luncheon, the Vecherinka, and recently the sale of Zhavoronki (skylark buns).
Kulichi and paska will be available for purchase, as well as tvorog (farmer’s cheese) and vanilla beans. Pelmeni is also available for sale. Verbe (spring bouquets) will be available for Palm Sunday, thanks to Masha Lysenko. A special thank-you went to Alex and Zoya Litvinenko for the many times they prepared the dough for our many food-related functions.
The next meeting for the Sisterhood is still to be determined.
There were no comments or questions regarding the reports from 2021 except for correcting the dates to 2020/2021 reports instead of 2019/2020. A motion was made to accept the minutes and was seconded.
Father discussed the 2022 operating and capital budgets. Every year, the budget is based on the expenditure reports prepared by the Starosta. Last year, we took out $40,000 in savings based on what we thought our capital budget would be and put it in the checking account. Notably, $20,000 was put back into the savings account because our expenses were not that high. This year, the projected cost of improvements will be approximately $29,000. However, the consecration of our church is not included in the budget because we do not have a firm date. Therefore, Father expects the budget to be balanced and sees no need to dip into our savings account.
Father reminded the parish that the Sisterhood contributes $30,000 to our church each year. Much time is needed to set up the luncheon and clean up. Supplies, as well as kitchen staples, need to be purchased. Many hours are spent providing a tasty luncheon for those 40 people who stay for lunch. The cost of food has gone up considerably, yet the volunteers do not ask for reimbursement most of the time. Father asked everyone to please be generous when donating for their meal. The Sisterhood is behind the scenes in many areas, and we need to support them.
Part of the reason we initiated the Cemetery Project was to make sure our church would be taken care of in the future.
There was a motion to accept the operating and capital budgets report. It was seconded and approved.
Father Alexander and Paul addressed general questions and answers. Father then explained the stewardship program. Our parish lets everyone determine what they can afford to give the church yearly. Most people pay with a check, but some have their money offering deducted automatically from their paycheck. The program, which has existed for 11 years, brings in $26,000-$27,000/year and has covered the operating expenses since that time. Our parish survives from the stewardship program, the collection plate, and the monthly donation from the Sisterhood. It was explained there is also a PayPal app on the church website where parishioners can donate to the church.
A question arose regarding the increased energy cost and inflation and how it will affect our budget. Father believes the parish will rise to the occasion and donate more as they have in the past. There is $200,000 in reserve that could be used if necessary.
The use of solar panels was discussed. The cost of installing solar has gone down significantly. No proposals were made at this time.
There were no elections this year.
Father thanked all those who work year-round for our parish and ended the meeting with a prayer.
Anna Ferguson, Parish Council Secretary