Grace Episcopal Church Vestry Meeting, April 1, 2020

Meeting conducted by video conference.

Present:  The Reverend Dr. Deborah White (Rector), Christina Reich (Sr. Warden), Amelia Brooks, Sally Hanson, David Kennedy, Jane Ramsey, Connie Towey, Stephanie Zichichi

Absent:  Josh Senn (Jr. Warden), Betty Case

Guests:  The Rev. Walter Ramsey, Marj Leeds (Treasurer), Jennifer Sabroe, Frank Macan, Sarah Williams (Clerk)

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

Call to Order and Opening Prayer. The meeting was called to order at 6:05 p.m. and led in prayer by Rev. Deb.

Bible Study.  Isaiah 53:3-5:  Suffering and God. The group read and discussed the passage.

Consent Agenda. It was M/S/C (Towey/Reich) to approve the consent agenda items: Minutes of March 11, 2020, Vestry meeting; Rector’s Report; Senior Warden’s Report; Treasurer’s Report.

Treasurer’s Update – Marj Leeds

Finances are in fairly good shape, considering the disruption due to the coronavirus.  Pledge income is $5000 behind people’s commitments.  Year-to-date we have spent around $6,000 more than we have taken in.  There will be some people unable to fulfill their pledge, due to being unemployed or other effects of the pandemic.  Some special gifts have come in, and we are able to pay our bills.

Quarantine-related savings include:  cleaning service has been halved, which has also reduced the cost by half.  Nursery staff is paid when she works.

Ongoing costs include regular staff salaries – the Rector, the Music Director, and the Parish Administrator.

The Rector’s Discretionary Fund is a concern, as many people are likely to have food or rent emergencies because they are out of work.  The Episcopal Impact Fund is sending $1000 to each parish, and we will put that into the RDF to use for immediate parishioner needs. Marj and Rev. Deb asked the vestry to make sure people understand that the assistance Rev. Deb gives from the RDF is completely confidential, and if they need the help they should ask.

We will not pursue a small-business loan from the federal government, because our finances are strong enough and we do not want to have to pay it back with interest.


Coronavirus procedures 

The counties have enacted tighter restrictions.  The Bishop has asked us to follow them.  The new end date to the shelter-in-place order doesn’t affect us, as the Bishop’s order already gave May 10 as the earliest possible return to in-person worship services, which is more stringent than the county’s directive.

We have prohibited the groups that rent from us from meeting on our premises, and we are not asking for payment for their canceled meetings.

Sundays after conducting the live-streamed service, the worship team wipes and sprays everything down.

Volunteers need to stop going to the church property to do building and grounds work, both due to the public health directive prohibiting it and because it is unsafe to be there working alone.

Marj goes in on Mondays to pick up checks and bills.  Rev. Deb picks up mail on Wednesdays and Sundays.

People can pay their pledges on line.

New directive from the Bishop: No one but the priest receives the physical form of Eucharist.

Communication during coronavirus:  Connected Congregation

Jennifer Sabroe and Sarah Williams worked to compile parish contact information from various sources, and then created a communication tree that we can use during this time. Vestry members, some staff, and some other volunteers will each have a list of 4-8 households to contact.  Rev. Deb would like everyone to contact the people on their list now, making sure that they know about our online worship services and other activities, and finding out whether they need anything.  In the future, every two weeks or so Rev. Deb will activate the system, asking us to get in touch with the households on our lists.

(At this point Jane arrived, and Rev. Deb passed the gavel to Tina and left the meeting.)

Coronavirus and Holy Week

Jennifer and Sarah described the Holy Week activities planned for this shelter-at-home period, including a full Palm Sunday service with palm procession to be streamed, a full Maundy Thursday service by Zoom meeting, Gethsemane Watch, Good Friday Stations of the Cross to  download, Good Friday and Holy Saturday liturgies streamed, and a full Easter program including Easter Parade slide show, worship service, and an egg hunt video.


Ministry Updates

Worship and Liturgy.  Sally reported that, while the 150th Anniversary events are on hold and we don’t know when they can take place, the planning continues.  Many of the details will be in place when it becomes possible to hold the events.

Pastoral Care. Connie reported that it would be good to be able to deliver a casserole to the doorstep of a person who needs one, and the group discussed how to do this safely.


There was nothing wrong with the dishwasher itself; the plumbing was backed up.  A plumber came and took care of it. We also bought new dish racks.

Dismissal. Rev. Walter led the dismissal and the meeting adjourned at 7:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Sarah Williams

Parish Administrator/Clerk

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