Updated: Sep 19
Present: The Reverend Dr. Deborah White (Rector), Amelia Brooks (Sr. Warden), Shannon Kleinschmit (Jr. Warden), Liz Charlton, Chandra Damele, Amy Eudy, Ann Fisher, Dru Grissom, Sally Hanson, Jane Ramsey
Guests: Lieutenant Patrick Salamid, Martinez Police Department; the Rev. Walter Ramsey; 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 6:33 p.m. and led in prayer by Rev. Deb.
Ann Fisher introduced Lt. Patrick Salamid of the Martinez Police Department, who came to discuss church security, especially regarding shooting events.
He began by reminding us that mass shooting events are extremely rare. He went on to explain the current understanding of best ways for organizations to prepare for them.
Current wisdom on preparing for an active shooter
Hardening the facility: procure steel doors, good locks, and so on. This strategy may be less relevant to a church on Sunday mornings because worship is a public event with no list of allowed participants, but might be relevant for protection during other times when group members, volunteers, or staff are on the premises.
Policies and procedures, a plan for how to react to a shooter: Current understanding is that specific plans (like the ones organizations have in case of fire) are not useful for “active shooter” situations. People need to do what’s best in the particular situation. Generally, the priorities are to flee if possible, hide if fleeing isn’t possible, and (for those who choose to) fight the attacker if needed. Basically, run, hide, fight (in that order of priority).
People fleeing would need to scatter, not assemble at a pre-arranged spot the way we would do if there were a fire.
One thing we can do ahead of time is make sure that church members know the physical layout of the church, including exits, so individuals can make good decisions about where to go.
General watchfulness: We should feel free to call the police if something doesn’t feel right. Police will at least take our phone call and advise, or they could just come to the lot to be present, or intervene if necessary.
Shannon mentioned the Terrorism Liaison Officer program – in large organizations they sometimes have a designated representative to receive reports of potential trouble (like threats or an ongoing problem with a violent person). Lt. Salamid said that if we think we have a possibly violent situation developing over time, the police can help us evaluate it and even talk to the person in question.
He also said that, for example, if we are worried about someone who has come into a worship service, we can call the police and talk it through with them over the phone, or ask for police to come and just be in the parking lot in case of trouble. We don’t have to think that calling the police must be saved for the worst emergencies.
What we will do next
After the Lieutenant left the meeting, the vestry discussed possible improvements to security.
Seeking a balance between being prepared and frightening people unnecessarily, any security training would be for selected people and the leadership, not the whole congregation. There was interest in the vestry receiving the training offered by Lieutenant Salamid, so Ann will arrange it.
The coverage that our current security cameras give was discussed.
The vestry discussed the roles of the greeters and the Vestry Person of the Day (VPOD). They agreed that having a floater who is a point person for security problems would be good. They recognized that the greeters have duties during the service that might preclude them from keeping an eye on security. They also recognized that some of the greeters and some of the vestry members are not physically able to serve as a floating security point person.
Right now the role of VPOD includes being a visible presence of the vestry, possibly speaking during announcement time, and locking up the church at the end of the Sunday morning activities.
The vestry considered many possible ways to have a “security point person” scheduled for each Sunday, while still having all vestry members take part in the rotation to stand up during announcements and say “I’m on the vestry; talk to me if you need me.”
It was M/S/C (Amy Eudy/Amelia Brooks) to add to the worship volunteer schedule a vestry person specifically in charge of locking up and being the security point person at each service.
Vestry members who are willing to handle the security floater duty and lock up after church will be scheduled to cover all the Sundays.
The consent agenda was reviewed but Rev. Deb neglected to remember to have a formal approval vote so it will need to be done next month.
Outreach (Service) Dru reported that the Outreach Committee is finalizing plans for Winter Nights and will be meeting this month.
Worship and Liturgy Sally requested that, if anyone has heard a request for wine at communion, please let her know. Rev. Deb explained the Worship and Liturgy committee’s stance, which is that wine will be considered if there are requests for it from large numbers of people. The common cup is the only method that is not allowed by the Diocese, and there are some people who would only want to go back to wine if it were by common cup.
Welcoming Ann reported that the committee will re-group before the next vestry meeting.
Education Chandra reported on upcoming Faithful Forums:
August: John Lee discussing end-of-life conversations and planning
September: Liz Charlton will talk about growing orchids
October: Victoria Bevins will visit to talk about the training of service dogs for people with diabetes
November: Rev. Deb will give an explanation of the search for a new bishop.
All these will be on the third Sunday of the month (which is also Family Sunday).
Godly Play is on hiatus for the summer and will begin again on September 11, which is the first Sunday after Labor Day.
Parish Life Amy reported that the barbecue was a huge success. Stan grilled; we offered vegan options and many salads. People had fun dining together. Amy proposes quarterly parish events: a barbecue in summer, a vestry-hosted, stewardship-related event in the fall, a winter event, and a spring event. Rev. Deb requested a kickoff event for the beginning of the school year. Gary offered to do another movie night, and Amy will coordinate with him about that.
Pastoral Care Liz reported on calls she has made, and she and Rev. Deb gave other updates on how parishioners are doing.
Stewardship Liz reported that she and Jane met to plan the campaign. They plan to attend the webinar offered by the Diocese. Rev. Deb reminded the vestry that the Treasurer’s Report shows the amount of income lost due to the Las Trampas Regional Center rental of our parking spaces. Amy reminded the chairs that she and Faith can support the message using our social media. Liz hopes to have vestry members speak in church about why they give.
Building and Grounds
Trees – Shannon will get two bids from arborists for looking at the diseased and vulnerable trees in the parking lot and making recommendations.
Lawn and Labyrinth – looking forward to the labyrinth, Amelia is bringing someone to look at the lawn and irrigation system. Rev. Deb reports that the gardener Pat is currently watering the grass one day/week, three times on that day, as a “deep watering” strategy. He begs us not to change the timing.
St. Christopher’s Guild
The St. Christopher’s bank account has been closed. Rev. Deb apprised the vestry that the account had been emptied (except for one penny) by the Treasurer of St. Christopher’s Guild in July and checks written to three non-profit agencies. Rev. Deb will check in with the President and Vice-President of St. Christopher’s Guild to inquire about these decisions.
Upper Lot Update
A new development went up recently in the city of Alameda on a lot smaller than ours and without a great deal of opposition. Rev. Deb sent information about this to the City of Martinez. There will be a hearing about the city’s development plan on August 31.
Emily Hyberg will begin the Sunday after Labor Day (and will be in the office before that). She hails from the Diocese of Northern California. She will be with us in time for the next vestry meeting.
Rev. Deb reported that she has been informally informed about a potential financial bequest to the parish. She indicated that there is no formal paperwork related to this so Vestry members should demonstrate caution when asked about it. Rev. Deb reminded the group that the Vestry makes financial decisions on behalf of the parish, regardless of the source of the funds.
Rev. Deb reminded everyone that when a parishioner dies it is important to deal with the spiritual and emotional aspects of their death, but we should also remember that we also lose pledges when this happens and we need to be thinking of new ways to draw people into church.
Leslie Kolesa has offered to start an Environment Committee. Rev. Deb encouraged the Vestry to support her effort.
DISMISSAL Rev. Walter dismissed the meeting at 9:26 p.m.