Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Process of Discerning Liaison Areas for the 2018 Vestry

By Mother Tracy, Rector

I am grateful to Andrea for her summary of our time together at the vestry retreat, and wanted to add a few words from about the new liaison areas and the process we used to determine them.

First, we had a conversation about what our priorities for 2018 should be. Using that list of ideas, we started from scratch in terms of liaison areas, looking for common themes among our priorities to determine what liaison areas would be most helpful to us in focusing on those priorities.

We came up with the following big-picture categories that we want to focus on in 2018:

  • WORSHIP - How can we make worship more accessible and welcoming for children and families? For people with disabilities or limitations of various kinds (hearing loss, ambulatory issues, etc)? Might we want to consider adding a Spanish language worship service? What about a Taize service, or use of Taize music more frequently in our regular worship? Is our current schedule of worship times (8 am, 10 am and first Sunday 5 pm) meeting our needs as best it could?
  • EDUCATION - How can we provide more quality faith formation for all ages, something people requested during the parish survey during the interim period? Could we offer more Sunday morning formation programs for adults? A formation hour where adults and children all had classes meeting simultaneously? Maybe dividing up our Christian education into “children & youth” and “adults” has created a sense of separation and disassociation. Perhaps we should think of “education” in our faith more broadly, as a task that should engage all ages.
  • BUILDING USE -- We want to begin thinking about the bigger picture of the use of our facilities and how they are or are not meeting our needs: Are we beginning to outgrow our current worship space at 10:00? (Church growth specialists say that if 20% of your seats aren’t empty on Sunday mornings, the space will feel too crowded for newcomers to be comfortable.) How can we provide more Christian formation offerings for all ages with a largely multipurpose space that doesn’t allow for very many meetings happening at the same time? How can we make our worship space more accessible to people with hearing loss and other needs of our aging population? Is coffee hour too crowded to be welcoming? How might we use that space differently to make it more accessible to newcomers?
  • CHURCH GROWTH -- St. John’s has been at the “transitional” stage between a “pastoral-size” (50-150 members) and a “program-size” (150-350 members) congregation for many years. A significant shift in management style and structure happens when a church fully makes the shift into “program size,” usually when a church reaches about 250 people in worship on a regular basis. Although we don't have the numbers of a program-size church (our Average Sunday Attendance (ASA) is currently 91; its highest point in the past 10 years was 120), in some ways we are beginning to function like one, especially with the gift of the Rebele fund for youth and the impending addition of another full-time person to our staff. But how can we ensure that we have sufficient people to sustain a program-sized operation?  There was some hope that building the new building would bring larger numbers of people to worship here, a hope that has largely been unrealized. How might we determine if we are indeed called to grow into a program-sized congregation, and if so, how could we intentionally work toward that goal, rather than just thinking “if we build it, they will come?”
  • OUTREACH - How can we continue to engage our community outside the walls of our church? Could we expand our ESL program, maybe partnering with another church? Could the Helpful Shop play a larger role in our engagement with the community? What is the future of the Helpful Shop, anyway? Are we able to sufficiently staff it and make enough income for it to be financially viable long-term? What will the new youth program at St. John’s look like, and how can we make sure it best serves the needs of youth ages 11-18 in the Aptos community?

Working off that list of “bigger picture” priorities for the coming year, we designated the following liaison areas (below) to help us achieve them.

To assign people to the liaison areas, we used a process of discernment in which vestry members were asked to name which members of the vestry (other than themselves) would be good at each of these categories. This took the focus off “what do I want to do?” and turned it to “what gifts do I see in others for this work?” As the consensus of the group emerged about who might be most called or gifted for leadership in these areas, we assigned liaison areas accordingly.

Worship - We decided that the rector would serve as the official liaison from the worship committee to the vestry. Since the rector has final say over matters of worship and the vestry does not specifically have a role in approving or voting on changes to worship, we decided we could free up a liaison area spot by trusting the Worship Committee to do their work well and the Rector to keep the vestry informed about it, without needing a separate vestry liaison person for this category.

Education - We decided to have one liaison area for “Education” for all ages, rather than having separate liaisons for “Children & Youth” and “Adult Education.” The idea is that the vestry liaison would form an education committee, and on that committee there would be different people representing the needs and interests of children, youth, and adults. Since this was now a bigger area of oversight, we decided to assign two vestry people to this area. Barbara Raney and Peter Goodman are your liaisons for Education this year.

Facilities - We decided to create a broader category than “Building & Grounds,” with the term “Facilities.” We chose this term because we wanted the liasons for this area to consider the bigger picture questions outlined under “BUILDING USE” above, not only to focus on the nuts and bolts of fixing things that break around the church. Jon Showalter and Rick Becton are your liaisons for Facilities this year.

Welcome & Invitation - We decided we should broaden the “Newcomer” category to include a bigger picture of how we welcome people into our community when they arrive and how we invite people in to join our community in the first place, addressing the questions under our priority of “CHURCH GROWTH.” (This category is really about “Evangelism,” but as good Episcopalians, no one would let me call it that. ;o) Sally Lewis is your liaison for Welcome & Invitation this year.

Hospitality/Parish Life - Because the term “Welcome” could easily be confused with “Hospitality,” we decided to specify that the “Hospitality” liaison area is responsible for overseeing parish events (not for the work of welcoming new people into the congregation, as the Welcome & Invitation liaison is). This area might also be called “Parish Life,” as it tends to all aspects of our time together in social and fellowship oriented events, as well as tending to the details of planning receptions for funerals, weddings, and other major services. It involves overseeing the functioning of the parish kitchen and making sure there are systems in place to recruit volunteers for major parish events. We realized that this is a big enough area of responsibility that it would be good to have two people responsible for this area. Karen Greenleaf and Jeanne O’Grady are your liaisons for Hospitality/Parish Life for this year.

Parish Care - We decided that caring for our members within our walls, the ministry of parish care or pastoral care, should rightfully fall to the junior warden, since the role of that person is to be a liaison between the vestry and the congregation. We felt it also made sense for that person not just to be a communications link, but also to oversee all the ways we care for one another in this place. The group saw gifts for this ministry most strongly in Andrea Seitz, and re-elected her junior warden for another year, now also to be overseeing Parish Care.

Outreach - We felt that keeping “Outreach” as a broad category was important to our focus on taking our ministry outside our walls. Gina Muller emerged as the clear consensus of the group for the person most called to this work on the vestry, and she will be your liaison for Outreach this year.

Stewardship - We decided that “Stewardship” should be its own category, with someone devoted entirely to this (rather than combining it with another category as we did last year), because Stewardship is not just about overseeing the annual pledge drive, but about helping us to think about how we can best be stewards of all God has given us -- not just our financial resources, but our time and our gifts, and the resources of this planet earth. Suzanne Krakover-Nickel will be continuing as liaison for Stewardship this year.

Helpful Shop - Given that we are about to undertake a serious study of the work of the Helpful Shop with an eye toward what its future should be, we felt there should be a specific vestry person assigned to be a liaison to the shop, even though the work of the shop appropriately falls under “Outreach.” Bill Kell, as a member of the Helpful Shop management team, was willing to serve in this official capacity in addition to his duties as Senior Warden.

Finance/Treasurer - While we normally have a liaison for finance, since our treasurer is currently a member of the vestry, she also serves as the finance liaison to the vestry. (The treasurer has not been a member of the vestry in the past, but our by-laws do not prohibit it: they only say the senior warden and junior warden must be members of the vestry. The by-laws don’t say that the clerk and treasurer must be members or must not be members; they leave the matter of their status on the vestry undefined.) Anne Baker will continue to serve as your treasurer and finance liaison this year.

I came away from the vestry retreat excited about the energy generated and hopeful for the future of our congregation as we begin to engage the work of discerning who we will become in the next 5, 10, or 20 years. (Our current "strategic plan" on file runs out in 2021, so be on the lookout for information about re-convening a strategic planning team to begin thinking more systematically about where we are going as a congregation.)

If you have ideas, suggestions or energy around any of the areas we want to prioritize this year, I encourage you to contact the vestry liaison for that area and start to talk about it. We will only make progress on these priorities if we all work together as a community.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Christmas Service Schedule at St. John’s
Christmas Eve (Dec. 24) – 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Christmas Day (Dec. 25) – 10 a.m.
Sunday, Dec. 31 – 10 a.m. - Christmas Lessons & Carols with Holy Eucharist
Sunday, Jan. 7 – 5 p.m. - Epiphany Observance
Please join St. John's as we celebrate the birth of Jesus this Christmas season. You are always welcome at any of our services. More details about the schedule are below.
Sunday, December 24
In the traditional liturgical calendar of the church, which the Episcopal Church observes, there are no Christmas celebrations before the evening of December 24 (Christmas Eve). Because the 24th falls on a Sunday this year, any morning services held that day are for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, not Christmas. (So don’t come to the 10 a.m. service on Dec. 24 expecting a Christmas service!)
10 a.m. – Fourth Sunday of Advent (Rite II)
Instead of our usual two Sunday services at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m., on Dec. 24 we will have just one morning service, at 10 a.m. This will be our observance of the Fourth Sunday of Advent.
Following the 10 a.m. service, we will all pitch in to transform the church from Advent to Christmas. We will be decorating wreaths, garlands, adding candle decoration and attaching the aisle tapers to the pews – a great way to get into the Christmas spirit.
4 p.m. – Family Christmas Eve Service (Rite “III”)
This service will be in the style of our informal, family-friendly service, “Feast @ 5” (which is normally held at 5 p.m. on the first Sunday of the month). A “reader’s theater” style Christmas Pageant, with children and adults participating, will take the place of a sermon at this service. There will be Christmas carols, the reading of the Christmas story, and a spoken service of Holy Communion.
9 p.m. – Traditional Christmas Eve Service (Rite II)
Although held earlier than a “Midnight Mass,” this service will be in that style. We will pull out all the stops to celebrate the Incarnation of our Lord in high-church, Episcopal style. The choir will sing, special musicians will play, and the priest will chant the entire Eucharistic prayer. Incense will be part of this service.
Monday, December 25
10 a.m. – Holy Eucharist (Rite II)
This is the “quieter” Christmas service, a simple celebration of Holy Communion on the day of our Lord’s birth. There will be organ music and Christmas carols. No incense will be used at this service.
Sunday, December 31
10 a.m. – Christmas Lessons & Carols with Holy Eucharist (Rite II)
Christmas is not just one day, but a season lasting 12 days! On this 7th day of Christmas, the first Sunday after Christmas Day, we will have a service of Lessons and Carols to help us contemplate the meaning and background of the Christmas story and to give us an opportunity to sing even more of the church's great wealth of Christmas songs. We will hear nine readings from scripture that tell the Christmas story from the prophecies through its fulfillment, and sing a Christmas carol after each reading. Holy Communion will be part of this service.
Sunday, January 7
5 p.m. – Epiphany Observance
Join us to celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany (Jan. 6) on Sunday, Jan. 7 (a day later) at our monthly Feast @ 5 service, an informal, family-friendly service on the first Sunday of the month. We will celebrate the arrival of the magi or “wise men” (the three kings) to visit the Christ child. The service runs about 45 minutes and will be followed by dinner from Zameen's Mediterranean and a King's Cake.

Jan. 7 – 8 a.m., Holy Eucharist, Rite I and 10 a.m.  Holy Eucharist, Rite II –The two morning services will observe the liturgically correct “First Sunday after the Epiphany,” which commemorates the Baptism of Our Lord.

A Word About Advent Changes

by Mother Tracy

You may have noticed a few things last Sunday that were different from what you might have been expecting for the First Sunday of Advent.

  • First of all, the greens were already up in the church and the manger was out.
  • Second, we didn’t omit alleluias in the service.
  • Third, there was no Great Litany at the beginning of the service.

The reason for these changes is to emphasize that Advent is not merely a "mini-Lent," but a liturgical season unto itself with a different “feel” and “flavor” than Lent. Over the years, many churches have come to see Advent as a season of austerity and self-denial, in the same way that Lent is. But although repentance is a common theme to both Advent and Lent, Advent is not nearly as penitential as Lent. Advent also has themes of hope, waiting, expectation, and joy.

So when the Altar Guild asked me what I wanted to do about transitioning the church from Advent to Christmas between the morning and evening services on Dec. 24 (since Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday this year), I suggested they go ahead and put the greenery out (bare, undecorated) for the entire season of Advent.

Having the bare greens up for the whole season of Advent gives us a sense of expectation… the wreaths are up, but no bows yet  no red or gold or any of the Christmas decorations. It’s almost here  but not yet. If the space looks like it’s unfinished, half-decorated, that’s the intention! Having things partially present helps to create that sense of “already, but not yet” that is at the theological heart of Advent. On Dec. 24 after the morning service, we’ll add all the Christmas “bling,” and you’ll be amazed by how the space will be transformed for Christmas.

For the same reason, we decided to put out the manger on the first Sunday of Advent this year, and gradually fill it with figures throughout the season. Next week you might see a few animals show up, then some shepherds, then Mary and Joseph, and finally on Christmas Eve, the baby Jesus. (And on Epiphany, the three wise men!) The transition between Advent and Christmas is much more gradual in the liturgy than the abrupt transition between Lent and Easter, and reflecting this in how we decorate can bring that to life for us more fully.

As for the alleluias, the rubrics in the prayer book instruct us to omit alleluias during Lent, but not during Advent. A number of Advent hymns include the word alleluia and even call the people to rejoice! (Not very penitential or Lent-like!) The joy is a bit muted during Advent, but it’s not entirely omitted.

The Prayer Book’s rubrics instruct us to use the Great Litany "especially in Lent and on Rogation days." Since Advent is not mentioned in their "especially" clause in their rubric, I interpret that as meaning that Advent is not a preferred time to use it in the way that Lent is. Because of its association with the extremely penitential season of Lent, if we use the Great Litany during Advent, I think it reinforces that connection between Advent and Lent that I’d rather not emphasize.

So give yourself permission to breathe a little easier this Advent, as Amma Eliza’s sermon encouraged us to do last Sunday. You don’t have to be focused entirely on repentance. Make room for a little joy, even before Christmas – because although he’s not here yet, Jesus is coming! That’s something to celebrate, even before it happens.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Episcopalians: Have you requested your Letter of Transfer?

by Mother Tracy

The office is working hard to get membership records in order, and we're finding that we don't have paperwork for many people who are active in the community at St. John's. Over time and changes of priest and staff, records can get incredibly out of date and inaccurate.
If you have been a member of another Episcopal church in the past, and never officially transferred to St. John's, technically you are still a member of the other church and not of St. John's.
The transfer process is very simple. Contact (by phone or email) the last Episcopal church in another city, town, or state you were a member of and request that they mail a Letter of Transfer for you to
The Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist
P.O. Box 188, Aptos CA 95001
When you make this request, the staff and priest at your old church fill out an official form to certify that you were a member on their books. They mail this form to us at St. John's. I sign it and send it back to them, certifying that we have received you as an official member here. You're then added officially to our membership rolls and deleted from the rolls of your old church.
Why worry about it? It is easy for folks to skip this technicality when moving from parish to parish, and many priests don’t follow up and encourage them to do it. Taking care of this official paperwork is important for the record-keeping process of the church. If not followed, we wind up with inaccurate membership numbers on a denomination-wide level as people are counted as members in more than one parish when each parish does its annual parochial report.
There is another unfortunate side to not taking care of official paperwork. Sometimes no one pays attention until there is a “problem” during a Vestry election. Then concern is raised that someone does not have their paperwork and they may be excluded from voting or serving because they aren't officially a member. Others may have served without the proper paperwork, but since all was running smoothly the clergy and church leadership turned a blind eye.
This, to me, is unethical. If there are going to be rules, they need to apply equally to everyone. I might come across as a "stickler for the rules" causing some frustration or hassles, but please know that my motivation is to ensure that everyone is treated equally.
What if you were baptized or confirmed in another Christian denomination?
If you were baptized Methodist or Presbyterian or Catholic or Baptist and were confirmed in another church, or were baptized as an adult in another church, but have never officially joined the Episcopal Church, there is a formal process to be confirmed or received into the Episcopal Church in order to be an official member of St. John's.
I will start a new program at St. John's (in the past called RCIA) after the first of the year for adults seeking to join the Episcopal Church through confirmation or reception, and also for adults just becoming Christians for the first time through baptism. When Bishop Mary makes her annual visitation to St. John's on April 15, 2018 (save the date!), the people who have gone through that class can be officially received into the Episcopal Church through being baptized or confirmed or making a reaffirmation of their baptismal vows.

As we look through our records, if we find that we have no record of your having officially joined the Episcopal Church, we will reach out to you and invite you to be part of that class so that you can officially join, if you would like to do so.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

NOTICE: Vestry Election to be held
Sunday, December 10, 2017

A hard copy of the full text of this notice is also posted on the Parish Notices bulletin board at the church and will be included as a bulletin insert for the next several weeks.

Nominations for Vestry Now Open
Deadline November 19
The Vestry Nominating Committee is currently considering nominees for vestry positions for 2018. The Nominating Committee uses a formal discernment process to prayerfully discern who to ask to serve on the vestry next year.
First, the qualities and characteristics and skills needed on the vestry at the current time are discerned from the collective wisdom of the group (each individual forms a list, and the lists are then shared, looking for common things that appear on all lists). Then, each member of the Nominating Committee goes through the parish directory with the list of desired characteristics in hand, praying for God to reveal to them who has these qualities and God may be calling to serve on the vestry next year, and forms a list (without input from anyone else on the committee). Then the Committee meets and shares their lists. If someone's name comes up on more than one person's list, that person is sent a letter asking them to consider running for vestry next year.
The Nominating Committee this year consists of the three vestry members who are rotating off the vestry at the end of this year: Eileen Fernald, Debra Spencer, and Vicky Wilson, two members-at-large from the congregation: Ray Wolfe and Brian Raney, and the rector: Tracy Wells Miller.
Members of the parish at large may also nominate themselves or others as candidates by filing a petition with the Clerk of the Vestry, who is currently Nancy Shephard. (You may email her at or leave a note in her box in the mailbox slots in the church near the Godly Play room.) A petition naming the nominee must be signed by five (5) voting members of the Parish and filed with the Clerk no later than November 19, 2017. Each petition shall name only one nominee. No nominations are accepted from the floor at the Annual Parish Meeting.
All nominees for Vestry will be announced to the parish by November 25, 2017. Those names Will appear on the ballot for election to the Vestry at the Annual Parish Meeting (Part 1) on December 10, 2017. No distinction shall be made as to those candidates who were discerned and recommended by the Nominating Committee and those who are on the ballot by petition.

What is the Vestry?
The Vestry is the governing board of the church, similar to the Board of Directors in a secular organization, but serving on the Vestry is not exactly the equivalent to serving on a board. Although the Vestry is charged with oversight of the business and temporal affairs of the church, they are also spiritual leaders within the congregation. Together with the Rector, they cast vision and set direction for the parish.    -

Why serve?
In order to contribute your gifts to the overall well-being of St. John's, and ultimately, to the glory of God, and to guide the vision and supervise the overall operations of the Parish. The combination of the collegiality of the group and impact of the work makes serving on the Vestry both satisfying and important.

What kind of commitment is involved?
Vestry members serve a three-year term. Those elected this December will serve from January of 2019 through December of 2021. The Vestry meets monthly (currently on the 2nd Tuesday from 7-8:30 p.m., or 7-9 p.m. if we have a guest presentation), and from time to time as needed on particular projects. Each Vestry member oversees a ministry area (like Worship, Newcomers, Outreach, or Hospitality) and facilitates involvement in and communication about the parish's ministries in their area. (The Vestry member doesn't have to do everything in that area themselves, but they are responsible for making sure someone does them.)

What are the qualifications to serve?
Per St. John's by-laws, Article 4: "Vestry members and candidates other than the Rector shall be lay persons who are voting members of the Parish. Additionally, during the 12 month period before the announcement of election (60 days prior to the second Sunday in Advent), vestry candidates and members must have contributed to the undesignated fund or building fund of the parish." This means that if you have not contributed financially to the undesignated fund or the building fund of the parish .at the time this notice comes out, you are not qualified to run for vestry this year. Check with Mother Tracy (rector© if you have any questions about your qualifications to run.

Election Calendar
  • October 11 - Notice to Parish of Vestry Election
  • November 19 -Nominations for Vestry Candidates Close
  • November 25— Parish Notified of Nominees for Vestry, Parish Register Open for Inspection By Candidates
  • December 10 - Annual Parish Meeting, Part 1: Election of Vestry Members
  • January 14— Annual Parish Meeting, Part 2: Election of Delegates to Diocesan Convention

Who can vote in the elections?
Article 2 of St. John's by-laws states that Voting Members are those who "have made a mature public affirmation of their faith (either through being baptized as an adult, or being confirmed or received as an adult if baptized as a child), who have been faithful in corporate worship (unless for good cause prevented) and in working, praying, and giving for the spread of the Kingdom of God, and who are at least 16 years old. They must, also, be listed in the Treasurer's books as a contributor within the previous 12 months, and have been a member of the Parish for at least six months."
This means that you need to be a communicant in good standing (the technical term as defined by The Episcopal Church for a member who meets the qualifications listed in this section of our by-laws) in order to vote, and you must have given some kind of financial gift - of any amount, to any fund - to the church in the past year.
You do not have to have made a financial pledge to St. John's in the past year to vote. As long as you have given some amount of money to something, you are qualified to vote. (Examples: You put $1 in the plate one Sunday. You attended Nico's concert earlier this year and paid $20, which went to the music fund. You contributed money (any amount) to one of our outreach programs.)

Here's the catch, though: the contribution must be traceable to you. That means cash dropped in the plate, or cash given to pay for an event like the aforementioned music fundraiser concert -- without any identifying information that shows you are the one who gave it -- doesn't count. If you've been a regular cash giver but have done so anonymously in the past (just dropping cash in the plate on an occasional basis), please take the time in the next few weeks to use one of the new giving envelopes in the news (pictured here) to make sure you are "listed in the Treasurer's books as a contributor." It's simple: just put your cash offering for the day in that envelope and write your name and the date on it.
If you give anonymously out of principle (you don’t want anyone knowing exactly how much you give), please still put a token dollar in an offering envelope in the next few weeks so we at least know THAT you give (and we still won’t know the total of how much).

Full Text of Relevant Sections of St. John's By-Laws
Article 5, Section 8 of St. John’s by-laws requires that “The Vestry shall notify all Parish members, not later than sixty (60) days preceding the APM, of the qualifications and duties of Vestry members and of the provisions of this Article.”
In order to comply with this requirement, as part of this official notice we include the full text of Article 4 (Qualifications of Vestry Members), Article 5 (Vestry Member and Delegate Elections) and Article 7 (Powers and Duties of Vestry Members). (The entire text of the by-laws are available on the vestry page of St. John’s website at A hard copy is also posted on the Parish Notices bulletin board in the church.)

Qualifications of Vestry Members
Vestry members and candidates other than the Rector shall be lay persons who are voting members of the Parish. Additionally, during the 12 month period before the announcement of election (60 days prior to the second Sunday in Advent), vestry candidates and members must have contributed to the undesignated fund or building fund of the parish.

Vestry Member and Delegate Elections
Section 1.        The term of office of Vestry members shall begin on January 1 of the year following their election and shall continue for three years or until the term to which they were elected has expired. The terms of  Vestry members shall be staggered so that one-third of the members shall be elected each year to the extent that this is possible. In addition, at the APM session one, members shall elect Vestry members to fill any unexpired terms, whether previously filled by interim appointment or vacant.
Section 2.        The candidate(s) receiving the highest number of votes shall be appointed for a term of three years; the candidate(s) receiving a lesser number of votes shall be appointed to fill the unexpired term(s). The candidate receiving the next highest number of votes shall be appointed for a term of two years. In the case of candidates who receive an equal number of votes, the Rector shall indicate which candidate(s) shall be appointed for full terms and which shall be appointed to fill shorter unexpired terms of office.
Section 3.        Should a candidate be unable to stand for election for a full three-year term, the Rector may, in his/her discretion, appoint such individual, if elected, to a term of less than three years if this action would be in the best interests of the Parish, with Vestry approval.
Section 4.        The results of the election of Vestry members shall be announced no later than the Sunday following adjournment of the APM session one. The results of the election of Delegates shall be announced no later than the Sunday following adjournment of the APM session two.
Section 5.        No Vestry member shall hold office for a continuous period of more than three (3) years; provided, however, that after the lapse of one (1) year from the termination of such three year period, s/he may be re-elected to the Vestry; further provided, however, that a member of Vestry elected or appointed to fill a vacancy of less than one year shall, after the expiration thereof, be eligible to election for a term of three (3) full years.  Additionally, when the Rector leaves (by retirement, resignation, death, or removal), the incumbent Senior Warden shall remain eligible for re-election to the Vestry for an additional one-year term.
Section 6.        No later than the August Vestry meeting, the Vestry shall appoint a Nominating Committee consisting of at least three members of the Vestry. The chairperson of the Nominating Committee, who is one of the three members, shall be designated by the Vestry. The Nominating Committee may choose one or two additional members from the Parish at large. At least 21 days prior to the date of the APM Session 1, the Nominating Committee shall select nominees of no less than one person for each vacancy on the Vestry . Written notice of the names of the nominees shall be given to the Clerk of the Vestry.
Section 7.        In addition, members of the Parish at large are encouraged to nominate candidates by filing with the Clerk of the Vestry, not less than 21 days before the APM, a petition signed by five (5) members of the Parish with the name of the nominee. A petition shall name only one nominee. The nominations will close on the (21st) twenty-first day prior to the APM and no nominations will be accepted from the floor at the APM.
Section 8.        Each member of the Parish shall be notified of the names of the nominees at least fifteen (15) days before the date of Session 1 of the APM. No distinction shall be made among the nominees as to whether they were selected by the Nominating Committee or by petition.  Additionally, beginning that date the Parish Register will be open for inspection by candidates.
The Vestry shall notify all Parish members, not later than sixty (60) days preceding the APM, of the qualifications and duties of Vestry members and of the provisions of this Article.
Section 9.        Notice of a Vestry membership election, or of any Parish meeting shall be given during worship service on the Sunday preceding the day on which the election or Parish meeting is to be held. On the Sunday following such election or meeting, the names of such Vestry members elected and/or the nature of the business transacted at the meeting shall be announced.
Section 10.      The voting shall be by secret ballot, and each member shall have one (1) vote for each vacancy.  When several candidates are running for several seats, no one may cast more than one vote for any single candidate.  The person or persons receiving the largest number of votes shall be elected to fill each vacancy. In case of a tie, there shall be additional ballots until it is resolved by election.
Section 11.      The election will be conducted and the ballots counted by members of the Nominating Committee unless, at the request of three (3) members, there shall be appointed from the membership three (3) judges of the election, one of these to be appointed by the Rector, one by a vote of the Vestry, and these two shall elect the third, who shall together be the judges of the qualifications of the Electors, and who shall canvas the ballot and certify in writing the results of the election.
Whenever a vote shall be challenged, the voter will be allowed to cast a ballot, however, his/her ballot shall be placed in an envelope upon which their name shall be written along with the reason for the challenge. The Nominating Committee or Election Judges shall consult the Parish records and attempt to resolve challenges to the satisfaction of the challenger.  The resolved challenge ballots will be opened and mingled with all other ballots. The ballots will then be counted.
If the number of remaining challenged ballots would determine the outcome of the election, the Rector will enclose all ballots cast at the election, and all challenged ballots, in a sealed envelope along with a copy of the Parish Register and other pertinent documents, and deliver this material to the Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese (EAD) for a final determination.
If the remaining challenged ballots would not determine the outcome of the election, the election results will be certified by Election Judges or Nominating Committee, and this certification as well as all ballots cast will be placed in a sealed envelope and delivered to the Vestry. The envelope shall be preserved unopened, subject to the order of the EAD, for a period of one year.
An appeal from the certified result of the election shall be to the EAD.
Section 12.      It is the duty of the Rector or, in his/her absence, of the Wardens, to certify to the Diocese the names of the Wardens, Vestry members, Delegates, Treasurer, Clerk and other officers elected or appointed in January of each year.

Powers and Duties of Vestry Members
The Vestry shall have the power and responsibility:
1.      To conduct, manage and control the temporal affairs and business of the Parish, approve the wages and selection of employees, and to make such rules and regulations not inconsistent with law, the Constitution and Canons of TEC and the Diocese, and these bylaws, as they may deem best.
2.      To establish an annual Parish budget, to monitor the current and long-term financial circumstances of the Parish; and to oversee the congregation’s vitality. A preliminary Parish budget for the coming year shall be prepared and presented to the Vestry at the November Vestry meeting.
3.      To appoint or dissolve such committees as are deemed necessary to facilitate management and control of the Parish’s ministry.  Committees shall take no action unless approved by the Vestry unless the committee was specifically empowered to take such action.
4.      To borrow money and incur indebtedness for the purposes of the corporation, and to cause to be executed and delivered in the corporate name, promissory notes and other evidence of indebtedness subject to the provisions of the Constitution and Canons of the TEC in the Diocese.
5.      To call special Parish meetings, upon petition of at least four (4) Vestry members.  Such petition shall include the agenda for the special Parish meeting.

6.      To do and perform every act or thing which may be done by a Board of Directors of a corporation.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Free Childcare Safety Plan Workshop & DACA Work Permit Renewal Information

Free Childcare Safety Plan and
DACA Work Permit Renewal Workshops for Immigrants
A childcare safety plan (family preparedness) workshop will be held at St. John’s on Monday, September 25, 2017 starting at 7:00 p.m. in the church.   The workshop is open to all parents but may be especially helpful for immigrants who wish to plan for the care of their children, in case they should be detained or removed from the country by immigration authorities. (Workshop is not for DACA work permit renewal.)
The childcare safety plan enables parents to designate the person(s) who should care for their children, or become the children’s legal guardian, if the parent should be detained by immigration authorities or removed from the country.  Parents will leave with a notarized written plan for the care of their children.
Volunteers at the workshop will be available to help with Spanish-English translation.
Parents who wish to prepare a plan should bring the following to the workshop:
  •  Caregiver information.  The names, addresses and phone numbers of up to three potential caregivers for the child.
  •  Optional guardian nominees.  The names and addresses of up to two people whom the parent wishes to nominate as guardian if the parent is detained for a long time or is removed from the country. (The guardian will be need to formally appointed by the court.)
  •  Optional Travel information.  The following information, if the parent wants to permit the child to travel out of the country with a caregiver or other adult: 

           For the Child:
§ Passport Number and Date of Issue
§ Passport Issuing Authority
§ Birth Certificate Registration Number
§ Birth Certificate Issuing Authority
           For the Person Authorized to Travel with the Child:
§ Passport Number and Date of Issue
§ Passport Issuing Authority.
  •       Identification required for notarization of childcare safety plans. One of the following forms of identification so that the plan can be notarized:

§  A CA drivers license or CA non-drivers id card that is current or issued in the past 5 years OR
§  a U.S. passport that is current or issued in the past 5 years OR
§  Any of the following, if the id is current or was issued in the past 5 years and has an identifying number, a photo and physical description of the person, and the person's signature:
v  A Mexican or Canadian drivers license
v  A valid consular id issued by the consulate from the person’s country of citizenship
v  A valid passport from the person’s country of citizenship
v  A drivers license or non-drivers id card from a U.S. state other than California
v  A U.S. military id
v  An employee id issued by a CA city or county
v  An id card issued by a federally-recognized tribal government (for Native Americans.) 
If someone has none of these forms of identification, it may be possible to establish their identity through witnesses who have proper identification, but it is much easier if everyone brings id.              
Additional Free Childcare Safety Plan and
DACA Work Permit Renewal Workshops in the Community
Additional free workshops at which participants may prepare childcare safety plans and also renew DACA work permits will be held in Watsonville, as follows:
  •         September 20, 2017 - 6-8:30 p.m.  - EA Hall Middle School, Brewington Ave., Watsonville
  •         September 25, 2017 - 6-8:30 p.m.  -  Pajaro Valley High School, 500 Harkins Slough Rd, Watsonville (for childcare safety plans only, not DACA work permit renewal.
  •         September 27, 2017 - 6-8:30 p.m. - Pajaro Middle School, Salinas Road, Watsonville.

There is a short time (until October 5) in which DACA work permits can be renewed, so it is important to attend a workshop soon.
Persons who wish to renew DACA work permits should bring the following information to the workshops:
  •        Their current work permit
  •         A check or money order for $495 made out to USCIS
  •        Two passport style photos
  •        Their social security number
  •         If possible, their last application form and approval notice.
  •         Identification for notarization, as described above.

Volunteers at the workshops will be available to assist with Spanish-English translation.
These workshops are sponsored by community groups, including Community Bridges, the Santa Cruz County Immigration Project, Monarch Legal, and volunteers from the Bar Association and the community.
If you have questions, please contact Myra Prestidge at (831) 685-3270 or

The Process of Discerning Liaison Areas for the 2018 Vestry

By Mother Tracy, Rector I am grateful to Andrea for her summary of our time together at the vestry retreat, and wanted to add a few words ...