Grace Episcopal Church
Meeting by Video Conference
Unadopted Minutes of Vestry Meeting
December 14, 2022
Present: The Reverend Dr. Deborah White (Rector), Amelia Brooks (Sr. Warden), Shannon Kleinschmit (Jr. Warden), Liz Charlton, Chandra Damele, Ann Fisher, Dru Grissom, Sally Hanson
Absent: Amy Eudy, Jane Ramsey, The Rev. Walter Ramsey
Guests: Emily Hyberg, Seminarian; Jennifer Sabroe; Sarah Williams, Parish Administrator
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 6:37 p.m. and led in prayer by Reverend Deb.
Bible Study: Numbers 11:16-17, 24-29. The group read and discussed the passage.
Consent Agenda. It was M/S/C (Liz Charlton/Ann Fisher) to approve the consent agenda items as follows: Rector’s report, agenda, minutes of the November meeting, Treasurer’s report, Senior Warden’s report.
Outreach (Service) Dru reported that the gifts were boxed and delivered last week for the Hope Solutions’ Spirit of Giving program, which provides holiday gifts to people who might otherwise not be able to afford them (through Hope Solutions). They had funds left over after completing shopping for 29 individuals in eight families.
Worship and Liturgy Sally reported that Advent is in full swing. Be sure to read your Grace Notes in order to know when the services are. On Christmas Eve, 5:00 PM Pageant, 10:00 PM concert and 10:30 PM “Ends at Midnight Mass.” On Christmas Day, 10:00 AM service (note not our usual Sunday time). Rev. Deb reminded the group that the once monthly 8 a.m. service (on Family Sundays) will begin in January.
Welcoming Ann reported that the committee is working on a new welcome gift for visitors. Rev. Deb let Ann know that there is a box of Grace pens in the Parish Administrator’s office that can be used for this purpose. Ann also reported that the greeters will try to have visitors sign the guest book so that we can capture contact information of potential new members.
Education Chandra reported that there will not be a Faithful Forum in December and the one scheduled for January will be postponed to February. The vestry discussed possible topics for a January forum. Godly Play continues to have good numbers on Sunday mornings.
Parish Life In Amy’s absence, Amelia reported that the brunch on December 11 went well despite difficulties with the logistics. Rev. Deb talked about how to get these events to happen without Vestry members chairing them.
Pastoral Care Rev. Deb and Liz reported on recent pastoral care needs. The Thanksgiving dinner was a great success. We had some new people: some from Loaves and Fishes, one family from the new housing development next door.
Stewardship The Stewardship Campaign was not as successful as we would have liked and we are facing a larger deficit budget than last year. Marj is contacting those who usually pledge but haven’t. If she needs Vestry support in this, she will let us know.
Buildings and Grounds
Labyrinth – We have still not been able to find a local contractor experienced with building labyrinths like what we have in mind, but are continuing to look for an affordable solution.
Lights for the parking lot – We have two quotes for the lights. We may have a loan of a cherry picker, which would bring down the cost considerably. It was M/S/C (Liz Charlton/Shannon Kleinschmit) seconded that we accept the first quote, from the company that offered a lower price and also demonstrated better customer service as far as we can tell from online reviews and the company’s responses to them. It was M/S/C (Liz Charlton/Ann Fisher) to empower Rev. Deb and Gary Spenik to choose an electrician to install the lights.
Work Party – There are many small projects that could be tackled with a parish work day. Rev. Deb mentioned several of them. Sally spoke with Jerry Apostolo, who says that the benches he made for the front of the church need to be refinished and are starting to warp.
Upper Lot Update – Rev. Deb reported that the City Council has approved a new master plan. A housing plan will follow from it, and they are working on that now. They hope to have that document ready in the spring. The City of Martinez seems very supportive of our project ideas right now. Rev. Deb has a meeting scheduled with another nonprofit developer, and will report back after that takes place. Rev. Deb has been attending meetings of the Planning Commission, the City Council, and the Contra Costa County committee on homelessness as she is checking into all sources of possible funding for our project. She invited others to share more in this work.
Preliminary stewardship/budget report – Our current budget has a large deficit that is the result of changes on both the income and expenses side. Pledges are down, but some regular pledges have not come in this year and Marj believes that when they do our deficit will be reduced. On the expense side: the Diocese requires that we give a 6.8% cost-of-living adjustment to staff in 2023 and has increased our diocesan assessment. The proposed budget includes money for a professional soloist to support the choir once per month during the nine months when the choir is active. Rev. Deb and Dru are working on increasing the numbers of groups that use our space during 2023.
Once pledge numbers are finalized, the budget numbers can be firmed up. At the January Vestry meeting (which is before the Annual Meeting, so the current Vestry members will be meeting), this vestry will approve a budget. At the annual parish meeting, the budget will be presented for their information but is not put to a vote by the parish.
Rector’s housing resolution – It was M/S/C/ (Sally Hanson/Ann Fisher) to adopt the statement below about the Rector’s housing. This is routine business that allows the Rector to designate a portion of her salary for housing. (It has no fiscal impact on the church and does not change the Rector’s salary.)
WHEREAS the Rev. Dr. Deborah White is employed as a minister of the Gospel by Grace Episcopal Church, Martinez, California, which does not provide a residence for her, the vestry resolves that of the total compensation of $98,256.00 to be paid to The Rev. Dr. Deborah White during 2023, that $58,120.00 be designated a parsonage allowance within the meaning of that term as used in Section 107 of the IRS Code of 1986.
Nominating committee – The nominating committee proposed a slate of candidates for vestry. They agreed that it would be better to have a set slate than a competitive election. Rev. Deb encouraged them to add the names of two alternate candidates in case their first three choices decided not to serve. Two alternates were proposed. It was M/S/C (Ann Fisher/Amelia Brooks) to have the nominating committee ask them if they are interested in the order discussed..
Bishop search discussion –The Diocesan Bishop Search Committee requested that every vestry and bishop committee spend some time discussing a series of questions about the characteristics we desire in our next bishop at our December meeting. You can find the vestry’s responses at this link or on the attached addendum.
DISMISSAL Rev. Deb dismissed the meeting at 8:48 p.m.
Sarah Williams, Parish Administrator