Grace Episcopal Church, Martinez, California
Meeting by Video Conference
Unadopted Minutes of Vestry Meeting
October 13, 2021
Present: The Reverend Dr. Deborah White (Rector), Liz Charlton (Jr. Warden), Amelia Brooks, Chandra Damele, Sally Hanson, David Kennedy, Jane Ramsey, Stephanie Zichichi
Absent: Christina Reich (Sr. Warden), Amy Eudy
Guests: The Rev. Walter Ramsey; Columba Salamony, Seminarian; Jennifer Sabroe; Sarah Williams, Parish Administrator.
M/S/C denotes motion made, seconded and carried. The names following M/S/C in parenthesis denote the persons who made the motion and seconded.
Call to Order and Opening Prayer. The meeting was called to order at 6:34 p.m. and led in prayer by Rev. Deb.
Bible Study. The group read and discussed Colossians 3:8-17.
Consent Agenda. It was M/S/C (Liz Charlton/Amelia Brooks) to approve the consent agenda items: Agenda, Minutes of the September 8, 2021 meeting, Rector’s Report, Treasurer’s Report.
Outreach (Service). Chandra and Jennifer reported that Winter Nights went well.
Worship and Liturgy. Sally reported that attendance is increasing at the 9:00 Sunday service, and that there has been no complaining or arguments about the vaccination requirement. We are almost to the end of the Pentecost season. We are getting new hangings for Advent, which Stephanie has agreed to alter because they are too small. Eucharistic Visitors are taking home communion to a handful of parishioners who can’t come to church. Columba’s project for seminary is going to be to revise and revive our acolyte training, as we have young people who are ready to serve. When Columba graduates and leaves, Stan Applegate will take over coordinating acolytes. The Worship and Liturgy committee meets next week.
Welcoming. Rev. Deb pointed out that it was very good that we had the new name tags when we started requiring proof of vaccination.
Education: Godly Play going well. Halloween is on a Sunday, so there will be a Halloween party after church that day. Bible Study and book group are going well. The Faithful Forum for October was the in-person Safe Church training on October 10. November’s Faithful Forum is being planned. Rev. Deb also mentioned the interfaith environmental event that is coming up October 17. Rev. Deb is giving a prayer at this event, and details about it are in Grace Notes.
Parish Life: Stephanie and the vestry discussed possibilities for a social event like a modest-sized Oktoberfest, or a social event that also has an outreach aspect, like a fundraiser or a meal-packaging event. Our usual Thanksgiving dinner would not fit with current COVID protocols, but something simpler might be possible. The weekend before Thanksgiving was proposed, possibly November 21 after church, for a simple dinner, which can be a fundraiser for a local nonprofit. It was decided that Stephanie, David, and Reverend Deb will put their heads together to plan a possible brunch event on that Sunday.
Pastoral Care: Rev. Deb reports that there is plenty going on in this area, as always.
Building and Grounds
Dispersal of bark on the church grounds: It was M/S/C (Amelia Brooks/Jane Ramsey) to spread the bark behind the church building and any other areas that need reinforcement. Gary Spenik will pursue renting a Bobcat-type vehicle for the purpose. J
Steps off the parish hall:
Dick Evans has placed a deposit on a contractor to install the railing needed to pass inspection but he has been unreachable since cashing the check, which is a concern. Jimmy Maniatis and Dick are pursuing. There was a suggestion to buy a railing kit from a store and install it in order to pass inspection and then see if the contractor shows and he can replace it if desired. Reverend Deb suggested giving Jimmy and Dick until the next meeting to pursue the contractor since the money has been spent.
Committee members (Jane, Sally, Any) will be giving talks in worship. The stewardship committee needs to meet to determine all of the elements they will require to make the campaign a success as the letter should go fairly soon, and a stewardship sermon scheduled.
Upper Lot Update
As reported last month, the committee has learned that the Martinez development plan dates from decades ago and does not allow for the kind of density that we would need. The company that built the new residences above our lot had to lobby the city for years to get an exception allowing a denser project. They also promised the city new water pipes and other things; Grace is not in a position to offer anything like this. The consultant recommended that, since Grace will have to ask for an exception to the plan, it is more likely to be approved if Grace has a plan and a developer ready to go. So the order in which we do things will be different from what we thought. Our consultant has now written a request for proposals, which they are ready to send out to 38 different developers. Rev. Deb was contacted by a woman who works with advocacy for unhoused people, including Hope Solutions. Rev. Deb explained that we need to generate an income stream and any project must include housing for future rectors. Hope Solutions hopes to think of a project that would meet those criteria.
Congregational Vitality Assessment
Please see https://www.cvatool.org/) This assessment is a free, online diagnostic tool that churches can use to determine the health of the organization and what resources they have at their disposal. “Made available free of charge to congregations of all denominations and religions by a partnership between The FaithX Project and the Episcopal Church Foundation.” The organization recommends that first, the vestry members should take the survey, and then a sample of parishioners as well. Vestry members agreed to take it and suggest others who should take it.
The vestry read and discussed an article about creative ways to engage people who feel outside traditional church, both people who were raised without a religious practice and people who have left one (the “Nones” and “Dones”). Rev. Deb asked the vestry to poll their friends outside the church world and find out what they need, and report back. Possibly we can offer what they need.
The Vestry entered Executive Session at 8:07 p.m. The meeting resumed at 8:27 p.m.
The Vestry passed the 2022 Vestry Employee Benefits Policies per diocesan policy.
DISMISSAL Reverend Deb dismissed the meeting at 8:30 p.m.
Reverend Deb reporting on Executive Session