Grace Episcopal Church Vestry Meeting Minutes, March 11, 2020

Present:  The Reverend Dr. Deborah White (Rector), Christina Reich (Sr. Warden), Josh Senn (Jr. Warden), Amelia Brooks, Betty Case, Sally Hanson, David Kennedy, Jane Ramsey

Absent:  Stephanie Zichichi

Guests:  The Rev. Walter Ramsey, Marj Leeds (Treasurer), Jennifer Sabroe (Clerk), Jack Case

 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 6:00 p.m. and led in prayer by Rev. Deb.

Bible Study. Matthew 6:25-34. Don’t worry.

 Consent Agenda. It was M/S/C (Reich/Towey) to approve the consent agenda items: Minutes of February 12, 2020, Vestry meeting; Rector’s Report; Senior Warden’s Report; Junior Warden’s Report; Treasurer’s Report

Report on Money Management. Marj and Rev. Deb reiterated the process and criteria for tracking expenses and approving reimbursements. These apply to everyone.

  • Before making ANY purchases – even if you will be paying for it yourself and not seeking reimbursement – run it by Rev. Deb first. This is to avoid duplication of efforts, conflicting goals, and other considerations that parishioners may not be in the loop on.
  • When anyone offers to purchase supplies, food, etc. for events, projects, church needs, etc. always ask the question “Will you want to be reimbursed for that?” If the answer is yes, then prior approval is required and receipts must be turned in with name clearly printed on them.

Rev. Deb noted that any expenditures greater than $1,000 must be approved by the Vestry. Rev. Deb may approve expenditures under $1,000.

 Junior Warden Josh Senn asked how to best make purchases for needed items for Building and Grounds expenditures. Rev. Deb indicated she could make purchases using the church credit card.

Las Trampas parking update. Rev. Deb reported that she met with representatives from Las Trampas last week and oriented them to the space for their parking on the upper lot. The rental agreement is for 14 spots. The vehicles will be mostly transport vans. There is one Las Trampas vehicle there now.

In response to a question about the dirt driveway up to the lot and the likelihood of it degrading over time, especially in wet weather, Rev. Deb indicated that in the event that happens, there will be negotiations with Las Trampas regarding who will purchase the gravel.

In response to a question regarding coordinating with weed cutting and fire mitigation (the goats) schedules on the upper lot, Rev. Deb indicated that when the time comes, the Jr. Warden (Josh) will work with the Facilities Manager (Dru) who will communicate with Las Trampas. This served as a reminder that plans for all buildings and grounds work need to be communicated to the Jr. Warden prior to starting the work. It was suggested that Vestry Members include this reminder during their weekly VPOD announcements.

 Yvonne car update.  Rev. Deb reported that Yvonne has removed the car from the church property.

 Ministry Updates.

Outreach. Walter reported that the Outreach Committee has decided to have meetings every other month instead of monthly, unless there is something special going on. The next meeting is scheduled for May.

Welcoming/Evangelism. Tina reported on: the prototype for the welcome pamphlet, which is being finalized; checking in with Lynda about the name tags; posting safe food handling procedures in the kitchen, including the requirement to wear gloves.  Rev. Deb indicated she will get in touch with Rick Jones, the new owner of the Martinez Gazette, to see about submitting articles again.

Worship and Liturgy.  Sally reported that the 1789 liturgy will be used for the service that will be held in July for the 150th Anniversary Celebration. Bishop Marc Andrus will be coming to Grace on Saturday, May 2, for a regular Holy Eucharist service. Rev. Deb indicated there may be a confirmation at that service. Rev. Deb reported that we have switched some components of our liturgy for the season of Lent. We have also added a new service – Tenebrae to Wednesday of Holy Week. All the other Holy Week services will remain the same, depending on the coronavirus.

Coronavirus Update. Rev. Deb reported on an online meeting she had with rectors from the Contra Costa Deanery parishes and the Canon to the Ordinary. The Diocese is directing the parishes to follow the Contra Costa County Health Services recommendations (which at the moment is the most stringent of all the deaneries in the Diocese), of no gatherings or more than 50 people.  Things are changing and evolving constantly, and recommendations could get more stringent. Because of that, Holy Week plans are on hold for now. She has been clear in her communications about how and why we are making decisions, and what those decisions are. The recent letter sent to parishioners will be in Sunday’s bulletin, and is posted on the website and Facebook page.

Pastoral Care. Connie reported on Casserole Patrol. Rev. Deb announced that lay Eucharistic visits have been cancelled.  Rev. Deb will continue to do sick visits.

Parish Life. David reported on how he is winding down details as a result of the cancellation of St. Patrick’s dinner.

Education. Amelia reported that she obtained stuffed animals for the children to play with during the service and will plan to disinfect them after services. She found special toys designed for kids on the autistic spectrum, as well as tactile and sensory items that will help keep the kids occupied and calm.

 Upper lot discernment process review.  Jennifer reported that we have received 12 responses so far, either in writing or by email. To encourage more responses, Rev. Deb indicated this topic is a good item to remind people about during a VPOD announcement.

Report on All Soul’s visit. Tina, Rev. Deb, and Josh reported on their visit to All Soul’s in Berkeley to explore that parish’s building project. All Soul’s will be razing an old building on their property – the parish house – and building a structure that will include low-income housing, offices and community space for the church, and a Rectory (apartment). They shared information on the process and partnership, especially as it relates to funding. Tina, Josh and Rev. Deb plan to visit St. Paul’s in Walnut Creek next.

At this point in the meeting (approx. 6:25 p.m.) an alert was received via email from the Diocese to not hold public worship for the remainder of March. In order to livestream we may have a small service with necessary personnel only. Rev. Deb will send out an email to the congregation when plans have been solidified.

 Protocols for B&G work at Grace were discussed in items earlier on the agenda, under the Las Trampas parking update.

Junior Warden Proposals. Josh reported on the following proposals:

  • Add Jr. Warden’s phone number on back of the bulletin.
  • Water run off when it rains may be damaging the foundation. Additional rain gutters are recommended.
  • Flower beds. Josh has concerns about the plants in the flower beds along the sidewalk next to the Education Wing that have grown over onto the sidewalk. He recommends some replanting. It was M/S/C (Towey/Ramsey) to support the Jr. Warden in soliciting help from Elaine Quigley to develop a plan.
  • Monthly work parties will be scheduled on the last Saturday of the month, at 9 a.m. beginning March 28
  • New dishwasher racks are needed to replace the old ones that are stained beyond cleaning. Rev. Deb authorized the purchase of new dishwasher racks.

Dismissal. Rev. Walter led the dismissal and the meeting adjourned at 8:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Jennifer Sabroe, Clerk


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