September 2019 Vestry minutes

Grace Episcopal Church,  Martinez, California, Unadopted Minutes of Vestry Meeting, September 11, 2019

 Present:  The Reverend Dr. Deborah White, Jim Maniatis (Jr. Warden), Betty Case, Pat Hambly, Christina Reich, Connie Towey (left at apprx 6:50pm), Stephanie Zichichi, Jennifer Sabroe (Clerk)

Absent:  Lynda Dyer, Paula Menconi, Josh Senn

Guests:  Steven Broyles, Jack Case

 Call to Order and Opening Prayer.  The meeting was called to order at 5:08 p.m. and led in prayer by Rev. Deb.

Bible Study. Values: John the Baptist Beheaded (Morality)

Solar Presentation. Sun, Light & Power, Steve Broyles presented information on “going solar” including location of solar panels (back roof of parish hall), cost savings and finance options. Following the presentation, there was consensus of the vestry to table the item and discuss at the next meeting.  Rev. Deb indicated that a roof replacement estimate will be provided at the next meeting as well.

Consent Agenda. It was M/S/C (Towey/Reich) to approve the consent agenda items: Minutes of June vestry meeting; Minutes of July 31 Mutual Ministry Review; Rector’s Report; Treasurer’s Report.

Stewardship (building and grounds). Jr. Warden Jim Maniatis gave an update on recent projects:

  • The freezer has been moved from back-porch pantry into the kitchen, located next to the stove. The items on the two shelf units in the kitchen were reorganized to fit on one shelf unit, with some of the items relocated to the pantry where more shelves have been added.
  • The play structure was primed by volunteers over the summer, and now has been painted and the corners sanded down. The cost of paint/painting was covered by donors.
  • Tree work. The trees located in the section between the parking lot and upper lot need to be trimmed, as well as the trees on the south side of the sanctuary. To protect the health of the trees, this work needs to be done in the fall.
  • Car in lot. The blue car that was on the upper lot has been moved to the parking lot. Rev. Deb is in contact with the owner who is trying to sell it.
  • Pew move. The pew that was being stored in the parish hall has been reinstalled in the nave. The piano that was at the back of the nave is now in the parish hall and will be used for the youth choir.

Education Wing Re-envisioning. Rev. Deb presented draft illustrations (thanks to Gary Spenik and Nick White-Spenik) of a re-envisioning of the education wing. The concept includes keeping the current interior walls, converting the current two offices into a nursery, converting the current nursery into secure storage for church records, adding three enclosed rooms at the east end of the wing for Rector’s Office, Parish Administrator Office, and Conference Room. The open space in the middle of the wing would be designated for Godly Play and Youth Group. The doors at the east end of the wing would be eliminated, with new outer doors being placed on the south wall, midway along the wing. The vestry reviewed the drawings and had brief discussion.

It was M/S/C (Hambly/Towey) to get an estimate on this design. Jr. Warden Jim Maniatis will do this prior to our next meeting.

Ministry Teams Update

Service (Outreach). Rev. Deb reported that the Outreach Committee met two weeks ago. The meeting summary has been in Grace Notes: backpack drive has been completed with 60 backpacks filled with school supplies and delivered to Martinez Junior High. The Outreach Committee voted to become part of the Winter Nights program, and agreed to assist another church at their location for the first year (in January 2020).

Worship. Rev. Deb reported that the Worship and Liturgy Committee will likely skip its meeting this month (tomorrow). The most recent items the committee would report are: the new service music written by Arthur Omura (we will be looking for feedback); the rotation of liturgy for the second half of Pentecost, and we had the historical liturgy (1789 service.) Vestry members shared that there were positive comments regarding the new liturgical music (Arthur Omura’s compositions), and the 1789 service on August 25.

Education. Rev. Deb reported that children’s backpacks are now available in back of church for the kids so they can either take a backpack and bring to the pew or play on the rug in the back. Godly Play is in place, Marj Leeds and Barbara Brooks have curriculum planned and in place for school year. We need doorkeepers. Rev. Deb’s podcast is still in progress, but has been stalled due to the producer (Nick) going away to college. The new producer (Gary) is older and slower.

Evangelism/Welcome. Christina reported on the work of the Welcoming Committee, that has been creating a new welcome packet/handbook. A new member on the committee has been contributing to the conversations and giving a helpful perspective. The committee is recruiting buddies (“palm cards” are handed to folks who committee members feel would be good buddies). Christina will be doing follow-up soon. Waiting for nametags — they will be a big part of what the Welcoming Committee is planning. There is also a plan to work with ushers/greeters, to make them an integral part of the welcoming process, and to make sure the pews are supplied with Welcome cards.

Hospitality. Christina reported that the coffee hour schedule through December has been posted, with two dates still open in December.

Narthex/Nave Doors closed during service. A concern was expressed about the practice of having the double doors to the nave closed once the service begins. The concern is that this is not welcoming and may discourage people arriving late to come in. Rev. Deb explained that the closing of the doors has been instituted in order to remind people to refrain from loud conversations in the narthex. If we can get this under control, then the doors can remain open. There are people who want to come into a quiet space at worship. The bell is tolled at 3 minutes before the service, as a signal to observe quiet. Rev. Deb is talking with the bell ringers about the precision of the timing.  The greeters/ushers are supposed to remain in the narthex through the gospel in order to open the doors for late comers.

Pastoral Care.

Casserole Patrol. Connie expressed thanks for moving the freezer into the kitchen. She reported that the requests for meals has dropped for now.

Pastoral update. Rev. Deb provided an update on pastoral care.

Parish Life. Christina reported that Amy Eudy (Parish Life chair) is feeling better and working on plans for the next Trivia Night. The Bocce Tournament and Parish BBQ is set for Sunday, October 6, following the 10 service, at Rodgers-Smith Park. Stephanie Zichichi, Jim Maniatis, and Sandy Taylor are facilitating.

Stewardship (Buildings and Grounds). Jim distributed a list of projects that have been completed or still to be done. He asked vestry members to review the list and let him know if they have questions, or if there is anything else that should be added to the list.

Stewardship (Fundraising). Stephanie reported that she is working with Ron Luttringer on the possibility of a crab feed in January or February. Will need to wait to see if crab will be available. She asked for help with selling Oktoberfest tickets and making announcements at 10 service. The Oktoberfest Committee currently includes: Stephanie Zichichi, Pat Corr, Mary Canale, Lynda and Don Dyer, Christina Reich, Stan Applegate, Jim Maniatis, and they welcome more to help! She also reminded the vestry about the binder located in the kitchen that has procedural and supply information on most of the special events we have held at Grace. There was discussion of various venues to advertise.

Stewardship. Rev. Deb reported that planning for the Stewardship Campaign needs to get underway as it usually launches in October. There were no volunteers among the vestry members present to chair the committee. Rev. Deb will check with John Lee to see if he is available to chair again this year.

By-law Review Committee. This has been on hold over the summer. Bylaws need to be in line with Canons of Diocese and National Church. Rev Deb is reviewing the Grace bylaws to see what is not in line. Once that is done, Christina and Connie will work on the revision.

St. Christopher’s Guild Survey is live and all are encouraged to complete it. St. Christopher’s is critically looking at the group and its mission. They are asking for input from members and non members.

Nursery Hire. Rev. Deb reported that the vestry agreed earlier that we need to hire a nursery caregiver. She’s learned that most churches hire from an agency and the going rate is $20/hr, 2 hrs/Sunday = $40/week ($2080/year.) The treasurer (Marj) has confirmed that we can afford it. We will still need to assign one volunteer each Sunday, as Whole & Healthy Church requires two people with the children.

It was M/S/C (Reich/Hambly) to approve hiring a nursery attendant up to $2100 per year.

Parish Administrator Hire.  Rev. Deb reported that we are gathering input from staff and other churches in the Diocese to develop a job description.

Communicating and supporting parish size changes.  Tabled to next meeting. Rev. Deb would like to continue the conversation about what it means when there is change in church size – from family size to pastoral size – specifically, it means we have to change the running of the church. We’re still making that transition. She would like to talk about how we can better communicate that to parishioners.

SWEEPS Ministry Fair Forum. In an effort to help people understand SWEEPS, Rev. Deb would like to hold a SWEEPS Fair on December 15 (as a Faithful Forum). The idea would be for each ministry area under SWEEPS to have a “booth” with information. Helping people understand the variety of opportunities will encourage them to volunteer. Christina indicated that the welcome packet will also include information on SWEEPS.

New phone system. Rev. Deb reported that we bundled our phone and internet service (through AT&T). It has been difficult trying to set up the new system, so it’s not up and running yet. Once it’s set up there will be options when calling in to get directions, get service times, leave a message for the Rector, leave a message for the office, etc.

Time of Vestry Meetings.  Rev. Deb asked to look at our meeting time to see if there’s a better option that will work for everyone. Meeting attendance has been sporadic. Maybe a new time will help.

Closing Prayer and Adjournment. The meeting adjourned at 7:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Jennifer Sabroe, Clerk

Leave a Reply