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Minutes of April 2023 Vestry meeting

Grace Episcopal Church

Martinez, California

Meeting by Video Conference

Unadopted Minutes of Vestry Meeting

April 11, 2023

Present: The Reverend Dr. Deborah White (Rector), Amy Eudy (Sr. Warden), Shannon Kleinschmit (Jr. Warden), Liz Charlton, Dru Grissom, Sally Hanson, Bob Morano, Jennifer Sabroe, Catherine Sumner

Absent: Ann Fisher

Guests: Sarah Williams, Parish Administrator; Emily Hyberg, Seminarian; The Rev. Walter Ramsey, Deacon

M/S/C denotes motion made, seconded and carried. The names following M/S/C in parentheses denote the persons who made the motion and seconded it.

Call to Order and Opening Prayer. The meeting was called to order at 7:02 p.m. and led in prayer by Reverend Deb.

Bible Study: Isaiah 42:5-12, 16 The group read and discussed the passage.

Consent Agenda. It was M/S/C (Amy Eudy/Catherine Sumner) to approve the consent agenda items as follows: Agenda, Minutes of the Vestry retreat, Minutes of the vestry meeting following the retreat, Minutes of the email vote on the driveway expenditure, Rector’s report, Senior Warden’s report, Junior Warden’s report, Treasurer’s report.



Outreach (Service) Dru reported that there are no major updates at this time. Jennifer added that CORE picked up the large amount of donations from the narthex. Jennifer asked them what they can and cannot accept, so we can collect more items for them. Hotel toiletries are very welcome. They cannot accept clothing. Rev. Deb suggested we ask them for a list to put into Grace Notes. Jennifer said she would.

Worship and Liturgy Sally reported that Holy Week went well. Everyone enjoyed the music. There were no liturgical hitches that could be detected from a congregational perspective. The committee meets this week to discuss Holy Week and Easter. Vestry members were encouraged to share any observations with Sally or Rev. Deb. Rev. Deb reported that our attendance numbers were atypical this year. While the Good Friday liturgy and Easter Vigil attendance were low, Holy Saturday was very high. All were pleased with the excellent Easter Day turnout. Amy suggested that perhaps some people didn’t realize that the Easter Vigil would mostly be inside the sanctuary (as opposed to more of it being outside in previous years), so we may want to emphasize that in publicity next year.

Rev. Deb reported that The Rev. Dr. Mark Richardson, who was scheduled to preach and preside in her absence on May 21, had to cancel, so she will look for someone else to supply. Supply clergy is in place for this Sunday and June 11.

Welcoming Jennifer reported that Ann Fisher has sent cards to recent visitors, and Jennifer plans to phone them all to welcome them. Amy offered to contact new young families. Rev. Deb added that she thinks that two families who attended the Easter services are interested in joining Grace.

Education Catherine reported on upcoming Faithful Forums, including Seminarian Emily’s plan for “Episcopal 101.”

Rev. Deb has spoken to The Rev. Dr. Mark Richardson about leading a Faithful Forum this summer. He was enthusiastic.

Parish Life Amy reported that the St. Patrick’s Day Dinner went very well, and the brunch on Palm Sunday (which helped use up the groceries purchased for the dinner!) was wonderful. The food was delicious and vegetarian options were included. Thanks are due to Stan and James for cooking for St. Patrick’s Day and to Stan for making hash for Palm Sunday. People loved having a brunch on Palm Sunday.

We had a good turnout for the Maundy Thursday dinner/service, and thanks are due to Stan for cooking that day as well. Vegetarian options were appreciated.

Rev. Deb noted that there was not enough food for coffee hour on Easter Sunday. It was suggested that perhaps people did not realize that they were invited to bring food for the coffee hour and that we should do more publicity next year.

Sarah is impressed with Grace’s ability to produce all-parish meals with very little advance notice. We should not take this for granted.

Pastoral Care Liz reported that she is working on the formation of the Pastoral Care Committee. She and Rev. Deb plan to meet to discuss how the work will be divided and what training might be needed. Rev. Deb noted that several pastoral care needs have been met through the team work of parishioners, including getting Bob Burman settled in his new home. Rev. Deb will make several pastoral visits and calls prior to leaving on vacation on Friday.

Stewardship Bob reported that he is taking advantage of the diocesan resources, and has ideas. He hopes to make stewardship a yearlong program, not just in the fall. He and Jennifer plan to meet to discuss this.

Buildings and Grounds

Driveway Shannon reported on the driveway repair job. It appears to have gone well. There were several questions about a long-term fix, including how to redirect the water flowing down the hill that seems to have been redirected as part of the Muir Heights Development. Shannon is working on that. Rev. Deb said that she is trying to avoid doing a full repaving or significant structural work as that area will likely be changed as a result of any upper lot development project. Liz reminded the group of the need to have any work reviewed by a surveyor. Rev. Deb reported that Dick Evans spent a great deal of time managing the project. Amy suggested that vestry members thank him for his work.

The trash/green can/recycling pickup now cannot be done in the parking lot because the trucks are so heavy that they damage the driveway. To that end, Rev. Deb has spoken to Republic Services, the City Manage of Martinez has followed-up with them, and our attorney has written them a letter telling them that they may not come onto our property with their trucks. Unfortunately, now the cans must be taken down to the entrance, near the mailbox in time to be picked up every week.The vestry discussed how difficult it might be to develop a rotation for doing this. Rev. Deb presented a suggestion from Marj Leeds to hire our landscaper to do this. After some discussion, it was M/S/C (Shannon Kleinschmit/Jennifer Sabroe) to pay the landscapers “a reasonable fee determined by Marj” to take the cans down for pickup. Marj will arrange this with them.

No update on the labyrinth. Amy reported that she and Amelia Brooks have scheduled a meeting.

Rev. Deb reported that, although the parking lot light installer keeps saying he will adjust them according to the needs of our neighbors, he has not done so. Gary Spenik is considering a plan to do it himself.

Dru reported that the roofer came back and fixed the tiles that blew off the roof in the last storm.

Shannon reported that he is going to set a date for an all-parish Spring work day. Sally reported that Jerry Apostolo has offered to rebuild the benches in the Atrium with Elaine Quigley’s help.

Rev. Deb reported that she is talking to potential donors about replacing the church doors. The Education Building double doors are also in need of replacement. Liz asked if the same company can be used for both. Rev. Deb said they could but that she would seek separate donors for each set of doors as they are expensive. Amy volunteered to get an estimate from someone she knows. Shannon reported that he also has a name and will also get an estimate.

The refreshment of the landscaping continues under the auspices of the Landscaping Committee.

Rev. Deb reported that only Shannon and Gary came to the last Buildings and Grounds meeting. She encouraged vestry members to attend and to invite others to attend as well.

Upper Lot Update The Upper Lot development team, now called the Ministry Development Committee, is composed of Rev. Deb, Christina Reich, Kathleen Piraino (Former Episcopal Impact Fund Executive Director), Donna Colombo (Lay lead on the St. Paul’s Towers’ development), and Christina Alvarez (Episcopal Impact Fund Executive Director). Rev. Deb outlined the recent meetings, concerns, and work currently occurring to determine if we can develop the upper lot. She encouraged the vestry to be aware of the city’s work on its new Housing Element, which will have an influence on any potential project proposed by Grace. There is a hearing at City Hall on April 26.


Pat Corr’s funeral went well earlier today. Rev. Deb reminded the vestry that funerals are evangelism.

Rev. Deb vacation and June coverage This Friday, April 14, Rev. Deb leaves on vacation. She will return in time to preside on April 23. Please see Rev. Walter for pastoral care issues. She reminded the vestry that she will also be gone in one Sunday in May and one in June.

Rev. Deb sabbatical: Grace has applied for a large grant from The National Clergy Renewal Program (administered by the Lily endowment) to cover Rev. Deb’s proposed upcoming sabbatical. The grant will cover up to $15 thousand for Rev. Deb’s clergy coverage. This would save us from spending money that has been put away for this purpose, but Rev. Deb plans to go on the sabbatical whether we receive the grant or not. Grace does have enough for her sabbatical coverage without the grant money. Marj is the lay point person for communications between the grant committee and the congregation as we will change Senior Wardens prior to Rev. Deb’s sabbatical. Rev. Deb is in conversation with the Diocesan Transition Officer regarding the nature of and possible names for clergy coverage. It will probably be a part-time job, but the person will work more than Sundays and will provide pastoral care. Rev. Deb’s application proposes a three-month, two-part sabbatical: two months at a Spanish immersion program in Costa Rica and one month back home to launch her podcast. The proposed dates are January 8-March 31, 2024. In order to meet this schedule, we would hold the 2024 annual meeting before she goes. She would return in time for Easter. Rev. Deb will find out in August if the congregation will receive the grant.

DISMISSAL Rev. Waslter dismissed the group and the meeting was adjourned at 8:47.

Respectfully submitted,

Sarah Williams, Parish Administrator

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