Vestry Minutes September 2018

Grace Episcopal Church Martinez, California  Minutes of Vestry Meeting  September 12, 2018

Present:       The Reverend Dr. Deborah White (Rector), Stan Applegate (Sr. Warden), Paula Menconi (Treasurer), Pat Hambly, Sally Hanson, Ron Luttringer, Connie Towey,

Jennifer Sabroe (Clerk)

Absent:        Les Marks, Lynda Dyer, Josh Senn, The Rev. Walter Ramsey


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.




CONSENT AGENDA. It was M/S/C (Towey/Applegate) to approve: the minutes of the July 11, 2018, Vestry meeting; the August 19, 2018, Vestry special meeting; the August 26, 2018, Vestry special meeting; Rector’s report; Senior Warden’s report; Junior Warden’s report; Treasurer’s report, as amended.




Update on Music. Rev Deb announced that we have hired a new Music Director, Arthur Omura. Arthur’s first Sunday with us will be September 16.




Service (Outreach) Minutes of the last Outreach Committee meeting have been posted on the Outreach bulletin board in the Parish Hall, and a summary of the meeting will be in this week’s Grace Notes. Vestry liaison to the Outreach Committee, Connie Towey, reported on a number of the items discussed at the meeting: the blessing of the donations to CORE, the blessing of the backpacks from the recent backpack/school supplies drive, Denise Hansen will be talking to the Youth Group about Outreach opportunities, Contra Costa Interfaith Housing is beginning its Spirit of Giving program, in which we will be participating. Connie also noted an idea proposed by Denise to hold a bocce game, take up donations, and distribute coats to the homeless.


Education (Adult Formation) Rev. Deb reported that Godly Play is up and running for the season. She noted some improvements in the Education wing such as furniture rearranged in the Youth area, more games for teenagers, and the donation of supplies. Rev. Deb is working on Adult Education.


Evangelism  Rev. Deb reported on a plan to schedule a Bring a Friend to Church event.


Stewardship This year’s Stewardship campaign will begin September 30. The Stewardship Committee has designed flyers to be distributed every Sunday of the campaign, focusing on different aspects of ministry – Christian education, pastoral care, buildings and grounds, worship. Every Sunday during the Stewardship campaign, at both services, someone will do a Minute for Mission to talk about the way they have been touched by one of the ministries at Grace. On September 30 and the last Sunday of the campaign, the sermons will focus on stewardship. There will be a Pasta Dinner thank-you / fellowship event in November, before Thanksgiving. Rev. Deb noted that this is a particularly important stewardship year because we have so many new folks, and she challenged vestry members to be the first ones to fill out pledge cards, to set an example to the congregation on the first Sunday of the campaign.


Worship and Liturgy. There’s been discontent at 8am about changes in liturgy. At yesterday’s Worship & Liturgy meeting there was a conversation about it.


Rev. Deb provided some background. The planned change regarding Prayers of the People didn’t go into effect as soon as originally planned because there was one person who was very upset about it. Therefore, there were more conversations about it, which delayed putting it into effect. As a result, the liturgical change (change to Enriching Our Worship, Eucharistic Prayer 1) occurred almost simultaneous to the change to Prayers of the People. Because of that, some members of the 8 o’clock congregation apparently got the idea that Rev. Deb was just “changing everything.” At that point, Rev. Deb wrote a piece in Grace Notes about how we “do” liturgy at Grace, including how previous rectors did it. Another complaint was that the changes had not been announced. Rev. Deb explained the reason for this is because that had never been done before (by previous rectors), but people had the impression that it had.  Rev. Deb explained that she had talked to all available previous rectors and learned that was not the case. She agreed that in the future she will announce liturgical changes before they happen, and that she is always happy to explain to anyone who has a concern about them.  She indicated that the overall response to the format of the Prayers of the People has been very positive. It is in keeping with the spirit of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer and what the larger church is doing. She indicated that she is considering making some liturgical changes before the end of this cycle of Pentecost.  She emphasized that she is very responsive to feedback, but on the other hand, that doesn’t mean because someone doesn’t like it (the liturgical change) that we’re not going to do it. We all have to try new things, challenge ourselves, and we have to see how it goes.


She noted that the meeting time of Worship & Liturgy might be changed to earlier in the day.


Rev. Deb has invited The Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers back for another Faithful Forum, to talk about how the Episcopal Church determines how we do liturgy and what that process is.


There were comments, questions and discussion.


Rev. Deb shared what she said in her response to Elaine Quigley who had presented the concerns from the 8:00 congregation on their behalf. She appreciates and will listen to feedback when something new is introduced; respond to feedback in a systematic way; tell ahead of time when there’s going to be a liturgical change; and gave assurance that nothing will be switched suddenly – it always goes to Worship & Liturgy first. She pointed out that she is the first rector that has done that. Previous rectors made changes without conversing with anyone.


Parish Life.  Liaison Ron Luttringer had nothing to report, as there haven’t been any meetings. Rev. Deb indicated that Stan Applegate and Katie Reich have been working on Parish Life, but are not interested in being the chair. Amy Eudy has volunteered to be a “chair,” so between the three of them there are hard workers, an idea person and an organizational person. It is hoped with this shared load, it won’t be a burden on any of them. They have begun working on Oktoberfest planning.


Rev. Deb indicated that it has been her perception that there has been confusion between “fundraisers” and “parish life” events. There has been feedback not to make the ticket prices to events too high because not everybody can attend. We want everybody to be able to attend; however, we have not been raising money outside of pledging since she arrived last year. With that in mind, Rev. Deb is working to separate Parish Life from Fundraising. The steps she has taken so far are to get Parish Life up and running, and set up meetings to put in place a Fundraising Committee that focuses specifically on fundraising.


Pastoral Care.  Rev. Deb indicated that our parish is now growing to the point where we need a Pastoral Care Committee. Leslie Kolesa has stepped up to chair one. Under the umbrella of the Pastoral Care Committee will fall: Eucharistic Visitors, Casserole Patrol, Lay Pastoral Care group, and greeting cards (a task St. Christopher’s has been doing.)




Buildings and Grounds The All Parish Work Day on Saturday, August 25, was a success. Much got done (refer to Jr. Warden’s Report).


Easement. We continue to work through this with our lawyer. Discovery Builders missed the deadline to get the paperwork in for the Standing Committee meeting in September. They have now sent us the proposal and Rev. Deb is in the process of “redlining” it.  The next Standing Committee meeting is in October.




Staff meetings. Rev. Deb, Marj Leeds (Godly Play), Paula Menconi (Treasurer), and Jennifer Sabroe (Parish Administrator) will begin meeting twice a month.


Online Directory and Online Giving. Rev. Deb explained that the reason for the staff meeting was because of the work being done to find an Online Directory and Online Stewardship (Online Giving). The staff has been looking for programs for each of those purposes, and discovered that many of the church management programs have both features, and it is cheaper to get them together rather than separately. By the time they figured that out they only had two to look at and one was the “Cadillac” and the other was the “clunker.” They now know much better what to look for in terms of features, cost and user-friendly attributes.


Facility Use – Outside groups. Jennifer gave an update on facility use. The agreement document has been revised, as well as the rates. Instead of a fee structure based on less than or more than 4 hours, the use rate is now hourly. Jennifer will be handing off the responsibilities of facility use to Dru Grissom, who has generously agreed to take on the task.


Hospitality. Rev. Deb reported on the formation of the Hospitality Committee that will be an umbrella covering: Greeters, and Coffee Hour, with the goal of welcoming new people into the church family. Christina Reich will chair the committee, with Susan Bremmer overseeing the Greeters.


Vestry Liaisons. Rev. Deb reminded vestrypersons to attend the meetings of the committees they have been assigned to as liaisons.




VPOD (Vestry Person of the Day) Rev. Deb explained that as users of our own parish hall, we are lacking in consistent clean up/security on Sundays. There is no set person responsible to close up and check everything is in order as the last one out. With our previous cleaning person, as part of her work schedule, we arranged to have her come on Sunday afternoons/evenings to reset furniture, spot mop, check the bathrooms. With the new cleaning service we have hired, the cleaning crew comes once a week on Fridays. To add the Sunday spot clean to the schedule would be an additional $25 per week. Rev. Deb presented a proposal that many churches use –  a rotation of vestrypersons (Vestry Person of the Day), who would be responsible for opening and closing the buildings on Sundays, making sure that doors/windows are secure, heat and lights are off, trash (including bathroom wastebaskets) are emptied, floors are swept/spot mopped, and furniture is reset. Those with limited mobility could enlist one of the cadre of volunteers to take their turn. There was discussion, ending with consensus to table the idea to the next meeting, to allow time to think about it.


Clergy Conference.  Rev. Deb will be attending Clergy Conference at Bishop’s Ranch from Wednesday afternoon (9/19) through end of the day Friday (9/21). There will be Wednesday Eucharist and Bible Study on Sept. 19.


Deanery Meeting. We are hosting the Contra Costa Deanery meeting on Thursday, September 13.


Buck Cobb Memorial. Buck’s memorial has been scheduled for Sunday, October 14, at 2 p.m. There will be a reception following the service.


Hymn Suggestion Box. Connie asked if it would be possible to set up a suggestion box for hymns that people would like to sing. Rev. Deb will get one set-up. The Music Director will make the selections.


CLOSING PRAYER  Rev. Deb led the closing prayer.


ADJOURNMENT The meeting was adjourned at 6:35 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,

Jennifer Sabroe, Clerk

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