Grace Episcopal Church Vestry Minutes for July 8, 2020

 Present:  The Reverend Dr. Deborah White (Rector), Christina Reich (Sr. Warden), Josh Senn (Jr. Warden), Amelia Brooks, Sally Hanson, David Kennedy, Jane Ramsey, Connie Towey, Stephanie Zichichi

Excused:  Betty Case

Guests:  Marj Leeds (Treasurer), 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 6:10 p.m. and led in prayer by Rev. Deb.

Bible Study.  Isaiah 43:18-21. The group read and discussed what it means to welcome new things.

Consent Agenda. It was M/S/C (Hanson/Brooks) to approve the consent agenda items: Minutes of May 13 and June 10, 2020, Vestry meetings; Rector’s Report; Senior Warden’s Report; Treasurer’s Report.


Treasurer Marj Leeds reported on Grace’s finances, especially calling the vestry’s attention to the money we currently hold in reserve, which is approximately $220,000. She recommended leaving $140,000 in our Morgan Stanley investment account, and considering $80,000 as available for the mission of the church.  She proposed using some money for needed upgrades to Grace’s audiovisual capabilities.

Gary Spenik and others have done a great deal of work on soliciting bids, asking the vendors for adjustments, and so on. It is possible that earmarked donations will come in for this.

It was M/S/C (Reich/Towey) to authorize the spending of up to $25,000 to purchase a new sound/video system to upgrade the sound quality in the church and streaming of services. The money would come partially from the Building and Music accounts, partially from the “mission” money, some from designated donations, and, if necessary, from the general fund.


Ministry Updates


  • Jennifer Sabroe reported that the backpack drive has to wait until this fall’s plan for the schools is announced. If schools open, we can think about what we should provide for the backpacks.  It might be preferable to use an online gift registry rather than have many volunteers physically handle the items.
  • The Deacons’ Pantry and the Casserole Patrol both need to be replenished.
  • Winter Nights is having meetings. Two Outreach Committee members have been designated to contact them for updates.

Worship and Liturgy – At the June meeting, the committee discussed regathering, plans for the Pentecost season, and the 150th anniversary service. The 150th is reduced somewhat from the original plans. Friday, July 10, everyone is asked to ring bells at noon.  Marj plans to ring Grace’s bell 150 times.  At the July 12 service, Bishop Marc will preach.  We hope that he will watch the simulcast and interact in the comments. He will join our Zoom coffee hour afterwards, and following coffee hour we will have our socially-distanced car parade.  We are not doing the historic liturgy for July 12, but may do it later. Our celebration was announced in DioCal News and Events, the weekly Diocesan newsletter.

Welcoming – Tina reported that the committee will meet next week, picking up where they left off.  She is inviting some new people to serve on the committee.  The first Zoom coffee hour went well, attended by nine people.  We will continue having them after the worship service instead of before, and with a rotation of leadership.  The same Zoom link is used every week.

Education – We offer Godly Play every week, with an art project.  Faithful Forums have started again.  Rev. Deb is getting in touch with the people who had been scheduled to do Faithful Forums before the pandemic hit in order to reschedule with them.  Bible study continues.

Pastoral Care – Connie reported that casseroles are coming in.  Rev. Deb has been able to help some church members with food and other needs. The phone tree is activated every two weeks.

Parish Life – Rev. Deb encourages groups to start meeting by Zoom.  Jennifer reported that the book group will have a “reunion” meeting next Wednesday and choose a book. There may be a group for young families.  St. Christopher’s Guild may begin meeting.

Stewardship – Rev. Deb asked vestry members to think about who might serve as chair of stewardship this year.

Buildings and Grounds

Josh reported that last week’s work party was wonderful.  The volunteers pulled weeds and worked on the back porch.  Josh has been watering and pruning.  The grounds will look good for the car parade.

Back steps – The back steps behind the parish hall have been built but did not pass inspection. They will be fixed.

Gutters – Dick Evans is working to figure out the drainage situation so we can then put in gutters.

Sound system – See above, under “Guest Presentation” for more on the sound system.

Choir loft – The choir loft is being cleaned out and work is proceeding to put an audiovisual studio so that livestreams can continue after we begin worshiping together in person.


Upper lot discernment next steps

Rev. Deb and Tina met with Kirk Miller from All Souls’ Church in Berkeley, and he is interested in continuing to help with our project. One early task is to find a way to have the property assessed without the church paying for the assessment. It is time to form a task force to handle the first stage of the project.  Rev. Deb plans to meet with Janet Kennedy in order to see if she would be interested in serving on an Upper Lot Discernment Task Force. She encouraged vestry members to think about people they know who have expertise that would be useful on this committee.  Dick Evans has agreed to take part.

Lynch memorial

In the Senior Warden report, Tina expressed her gratitude for the bequest made to Grace by Michele Lynch, and suggested that a labyrinth for walking meditation would be a fitting tribute to her.  The vestry discussed possible locations and ways to do this.  Replacing part of the lawn would save water; the irrigation system would have to be adjusted. Tina will research options.


Rev. Deb reminded the Vestry that on July 2 Bishop Marc communicated that all plans for regathering in larger groups have been put on hold, due to the spoke in coronavirus cases in our area. The diocesan regathering committee will gather at the end of July to reassess the situation at that time.

Rector vacation

Rev. Deb will take vacation from July 29 to August 8th.  The Rev. Dr. Paula Nesbitt will preach and preside on July 26 and August 2.  Nicholas White-Spenik will run the simulcast on July 26 and we are hoping that Amanda Burt will run the simulcast on August 2. The Rev. Liz Tichenor of The Church of the Resurrection in Pleasant Hill will cover for pastoral care if needed.

Tina asked the vestry to help her brainstorm ideas for how to show the church’s appreciation to Rev. Deb’s family for the enormous amount of work that Gary, Nick, and Katie have done to make the Sunday morning services possible.

Dismissal.  Rev. Deb led the dismissal and the meeting adjourned at 7:40 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Sarah Williams

Parish Administrator

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