May Vestry Minutes

Grace Episcopal Church, Martinez, CA Vestry Meeting, May 8, 2019, 5 p.m. Minutes

Vestry Present:          The Reverend Dr. Deborah White (Rector), Lynda Dyer (Sr. Warden), Paula Menconi (Treasurer), Christina Reich, Connie Towey, Stephanie Zichichi

Others Present:         Jennifer Sabroe (Clerk), Dick Evans (Buildings and Grounds) and Fran Evans, Dru Grissom (Facilities)

Vestry Absent:          Jim Maniatis (Jr. Warden), Pat Hambly, Ron Luttringer, Josh Senn

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.


Matthew 20:20-28, Leadership


It was M/S/C (Towey/Reich) to accept the consent agenda items as presented: Agenda, Minutes of April 10, 2019 meeting; Rector’s report; Senior Warden report; Junior Warden report; and Treasurer’s report.


 Stewardship: Buildings and Grounds.

 Invoices for work on hillside.  On behalf of Jr. Warden Jim Maniatis, Dick Evans reported on the clean- up of brush and overgrowth on the hillside on the Muir Station Rd. side of the church property, that was done a couple of weeks ago. The Jr. Warden had arranged for the work, without prior notice to or approval of the Rector or Vestry. He had reasoned that there was urgency due to the upcoming fire season and the amount of brush (including poison oak) and debris to be cleared. His assessment was that it was too big and dangerous a job to be done by a volunteer work party. After obtaining a quote, he hired a company to do the work, in the amount of approximately $6,000.

Rev. Deb reminded the Vestry of the protocol that any expense over $1,000 is to be approved in advance by the Vestry. Dick noted that Jim realizes he should have obtained prior approval. He has apologized.

It was M/S/C (Reich/Towey) to approve retroactively the expenditure of approximately $6,000 for the hillside clearing work. The vestry frowned collectively, but agreed unanimously.

Goats. Dick Evans reported that the goats will be scheduled for the end of May or early June.

 Solar. Dru Grissom has been researching solar power systems for our property. She reported that a representative from Sun, Light and Power will do a survey on May 9. He will look at the property, layout, breakers, PG&E bill, etcetera and provide information on our options. This is the first vendor she has talked to. There are others to compare with if necessary. The installation process takes 3-6 months.

 Upper Lot. Rev. Deb reported that the Vestry retreat (date TBD) will be a full day meeting, to discuss issues that are beyond the scope of a regular meeting, and that require more time for discussion. The upper lot is one of those issues. The conversation needs to be “How are we going to decide what to do with the upper lot?” rather than “What are we going to do with the upper lot?” The next step will be to conduct an all-parish discernment process.

Remodeling. With the growth in church attendance we have experienced the last two years, there are more families and kids of a wide range of ages. We are now experiencing issues with space in the Education wing and offices. Jim Maniatis has some good ideas for reconfiguring space. This will also be a topic for discussion at the Vestry retreat.

 Fundraising. Rev. Deb will be meeting with St. Christopher’s Guild president Susan Bremmer to discuss the possibility of St. Christopher’s organizing a fundraiser for Grace. Stephanie will start working on fundraising in the next couple of weeks.

Rev. Deb reminded the Vestry that we have divided events into either Parish Life or Fundraising. Amy Eudy is chair of Parish Life. Parish Life events are planned so that the cost is minimal and those attending pay if they are able.



Outreach Committee. Rev Deb reported on topics discussed at the May 5 meeting. A “field trip” is being planned to learn about Sacred Space in Oakland.  Tina reported on the discussion of Winter Nights, a Contra Costa Interfaith shelter program. Grace is the only Episcopal church in the Contra Costa Deanery that is not involved with this program. There will be a Faithful Forum in August about Winter Nights, with participants in the program sharing their experiences about how the program works. Winter Nights provides housing during the months October – March to homeless families. Churches rotate every two weeks to provide overnight shelter at their facilities. Hosting churches provide dinner, and volunteers at a ratio of 1:5 (one volunteer for every five guests).

Worship. There will be a Worship and Liturgy Committee meeting tomorrow.

Education. Lynda provided an update on the Nursery and Godly Play. They are looking for activities that the children can do during Sunday School time, once Godly Play ends for the summer. She reported on the missing toys and the announcement for kids to return toys if they take them from the nursery. She’s working on filling church activity backpacks with quiet materials.  Greeters will be trained to offer backpacks to families with children as they come into church. (The backpacks are to be left in church after the service. There will be wall hooks at the rug area to hang the backpacks.) Last day of Sunday School is June 2, when we will have Sunday School Recognition and recognition of high school graduates.


 Easter. Rev. Deb reported that attendance at Easter services was 149.

Thanksgiving at Grace 2019. Christina and Lynda volunteered to organize this year’s Thanksgiving at Grace. This is an Evangelism event open to the community, to provide a meal and fellowship for whomever wants to come, and for those who have no other place to go.

 Website. Josh Senn has been working with Rev. Deb on upgrading the website. Rev Deb is still looking for someone to help with keeping the website current (uploading sermons, posting Vestry minutes and special announcements, etc.)

 Welcoming. Rev. Deb thanked Stephanie for providing the electronic copy of the “old” welcome packet. We are looking for a volunteer to take on Welcoming oversight. Gary Spenik has agreed to do a retraining of ushers/greeters.

 Pastoral Care. Rev. Deb provided an update on pastoral care.  Leslie is taking a break from PC.

 Casserole Patrol. Stan Applegate will cover for Connie for a few months.

Michele Lynch’s memorial is Saturday, May 25, 11 a.m.

Parish Life. Tina reported that there will be no bocce tournament this year, due to conflicts on the calendar. On June 2, there will be a Parish BBQ and Ice Cream Social to celebrate the end of the school program year and honor the high school graduates. Plans are underway to schedule another Trivia Night in September. Date TBD.

 BYLAWS REVIEW COMMITTEE.  Rev. Deb will begin work on this bylaws revision, as there is concern that the bylaws as they are written now do not address things that need attention. Christina will type the hard copy document into Word (there is no editable electronic document at this time.)

Changes in bylaws criteria (per current bylaws): Can be done at a regular vestry meeting with ¾ of vestry approving. Has to be provided 15 days in advance in writing to allow time to review.

VESTRY DUTY REMINDERS. Lynda addressed the group with a reminder of the importance and responsibilities of Vestry members, including, to be present at meetings, church events, retreat, and worship.

Rev. Deb will send out another Doodle poll to find a retreat date.

 UPDATE: TRAILERS ON UPPER LOT. Rev. Deb updated the Vestry on the circumstances of the person living in the travel trailer on the upper lot, including the week-to-week agreement that was put in place following the March Vestry meeting. The other trailer and truck have been on the upper lot for over a year.

It was M/S/C (Zichichi/Towey) to give both parties notice that they must be out by May 31, 2019.


Connie Towey will be having surgery next week.

The online directory is ready to launch. There will be a Faithful Forum on May 26, to inform the congregation of how it will work and answer questions.

Tina is making special offering envelopes for Rector’s Discretionary Fund. On the third Sunday of the month, the special envelopes will be included in bulletins to be used for RDF offerings.

Lynda is working on nametags.


There was no new business.


The meeting was adjourned at 7:05 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Jennifer Sabroe, Clerk


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