March Vestry Minutes

Grace Episcopal Church,  Martinez, California

Unadopted Minutes of Vestry Meeting, March 13, 2019

Vestry Present: The Reverend Dr. Deborah White, Lynda Dyer (Sr. Warden), Jim Maniatis (Jr. Warden) (left at 5:35), Paula Menconi (Treasurer) (left at 6:40), Pat Hambly, Christina Reich, Josh Senn, Connie Towey

Others Present: Jennifer Sabroe (Clerk), Dru Grissom (Facility Use)

Vestry Absent:   Ron Luttringer, Stephanie Zichichi

Call to Order and Opening Prayer.  The meeting was called to order at 5:05 p.m. by Rev. Deb who led the opening prayer.  


Spiritual Formation – The Prodigal Son


It was M/S/C (Towey/Dyer) to accept the consent agenda items as presented: Minutes of February 13, 2019 meeting; Rector’s report; Senior Warden report; Junior Warden report; and Treasurer’s report.


Dru Grissom, Facility Use Manager, presented information on current user groups and facility use procedures. National church guidelines, insurance and liability issues, federal tax laws are considered when determining what groups/individuals we can rent to. A flowchart illustrating the process was distributed. Groups must have evidence of being a 501(c)3 or 501(c)4 non-profit, provide a certificate of insurance, and sign an agreement which includes terms of use of the Parish Hall (including Kitchen; however, kitchen use is limited to food staging only – no food preparation.) New rate is $35 per hour. Currently we have five groups that use our parish hall.

  1. WARDEN REPORT. Referring to the to-do list in the Jr. Warden’s Report, there was a question regarding the need for re-wiring of the Parish Hall. Jim explained that only the top plug works on all of the outlets on the long-side walls, and these aren’t properly grounded. In response to a question about the cleaning of the hillside along Muir Station Road, Jim explained that the brush and debris need to be cleared out for fire mitigation. Josh suggested contacting the city to take care of clearing a few feet from road and then we work from top down. There was discussion of scheduling a work-party day to take care of other things on the Jr. Warden’s to-do list.  


Service/Outreach.  Pat had nothing to report as she has been gone for a month. Rev. Deb provided an update. Outreach Committee has met. The Kindness Kits concept is now off the agenda because now we have the Deacon’s Pantry, which meets the need.

Worship. Rev. Deb reported that the Worship & Liturgy meeting would be meeting the next day at 1pm when there will be discussion of Holy Week and the Children’s area. Last month there was discussion concerning noise in church. In response, Rev. Deb included the article about noise in church in Grace Notes, and when there didn’t seem to be a response, she talked about it during the service. The noise issue is not just about the children; there are parts that are about the adults too. There was discussion about the Peace – it has become disruptive and beyond the scope of the intent – and how to rein it in.

Education. Godly Play has acquired a new curriculum. Youth Group is meeting monthly and moving along. At the February meeting they watched the Academy Awards. There are some new faces in the group. Efforts still underway for the Youth Group to coordinate an activity with Outreach.    

Evangelism. Josh reported that he has researched our current website software, WordPress, and has reached out to a company that specializes in WordPress to get a quote on reworking our website.

Use of Space. There was discussion around of use of space and requests for space. Rev Deb indicated that she is getting a lot of requests with competing interests for space in the Education Wing – Nursery, Godly Play, Youth Group, Office Staff, etc. She would like to schedule a meeting of all those concerned, including Buildings and Grounds, to talk about reconfiguring the Education Building.   

Pastoral Care. Connie reported that she and Leslie have met about pastoral needs. More casseroles are needed now, so she requested it be announced in Grace Notes and the bulletin.

Rector’s Discretionary Fund. Rev. Deb explained the purpose of the Rector’s Discretionary Fund and how she disburses the money. There was discussion on the idea of a special offering envelope to insert in the bulletin once a month (3rd Sunday) specifically for the Rector’s Discretionary Fund. Christina offered to design special offering envelopes and write up a blurb for Grace Notes.

Parish Life. Christina reported on her conversation with Amy Eudy about Parish Life events. There are plans in the works for another themed trivia night. Amy would like to get a formal committee together and will start working on that soon so that future events for the upcoming year can be placed on the calendar. Amy will talk to St. Christopher’s Guild regarding their event planning. Rev. Deb indicated she’s talked to Stephanie Zichichi about chairing the Fundraising Committee. She has also asked Susan Bremmer if St. Christopher’s would do a fundraiser for Grace.  There was discussion about the role of St. Christopher’s Guild.

Lenten breakfasts. Lynda reported that Jim Maniatis, Don Dyer, and John Heyse have volunteered to do the cooking for the pancake breakfasts during Lent. There will be a rotation of workers (Youth Group, St. Christopher’s, and Vestry) every week to do set-up, take orders, and clean-up.

Stewardship: Fundraising – St. Patrick’s Day Dinner.  There was brief check-in on set-up, food, clean up, raffle, bar. Everything is under control.


Connie Towey and Christina Reich reported that when they finish going through the bylaws – The Episcopal Church (TEC) Canons, Diocesan Canons, and Grace Bylaws – they will meet with Rev. Deb to review their recommended changes to the Grace Bylaws.


Rev. Deb reminded the Vestry that there will be a 2-hour in-person training here at Grace on Saturday, March 30, presented by Caren Miles, Faith Formation person from the Diocese, as an alternative to the online courses. Staff and volunteers in various ministries need to complete the Safe Church courses every three years.

VPOD reminder. Vestry members were reminded of their responsibility to the Vestry Person of the Day schedule.

HOMELESSNESS COMMISSION IN MARTINEZ. Rev. Deb reported on her meeting with a Martinez City Councilmember and Chief of Police. The City of Martinez is putting together a formalized commission on homelessness. The representatives asked if Rev. Deb would take part. She agreed. She also referred them to other folks who already have efforts going.

SWEEPS calendar. Rev. Deb is working on putting together a color-coded church calendar, to help track various activities throughout the year.  

RECTOR’S TIME OFF (3/25-3/29; 4/22-4/28; 8/8-8/15) AND CONTINUING EDUCATION (6/2-6/6). It was M/S/C (Hambly/Dyer) to approve Rev. Deb’s requested time off.  

TRAILERS ON UPPER LOT. Rev. Deb updated the Vestry on the circumstances regarding the trailers on the upper lot. One trailer (and truck) belong to a parishioner and are not being used; however, Rev. Deb is checking in with the family to find out when it will be moved. The other trailer (and vehicles) belong to a member who has recently become homeless. There was discussion. It was M/S/C (Dyer/Towey) to check into legalities (including insurance) of having someone living on our premises temporarily.

VESTRY RETREAT. Rev. Deb is looking for a date that will work for everyone for the Vestry Retreat.  May 11 seemed to be a good date, but at least one vestry member is not available then.  Rev. Deb will send out another link to the Doodle poll.


The meeting was adjourned at 7:00 p.m.  

Respectfully submitted,


Jennifer Sabroe, Clerk

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