The Grapevine

FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH OF NAPA (707) 253-1411 October 1, 2014

We especially thank the Napa Community

Seventh-day Adventist Church

at the Corner of Brown and G Streets

for inviting us to worship in their church

each Sunday.

The Fruit of the Vine

Now that some of the dust from the 6.0 earthquake that hit Napa on August 24th is both figuratively and literally settling, it seems good to catch up on some of the issues with which we currently wrestle and what is most likely to transpire over the coming weeks and months. For easier reading, I’ll present what I know in a Q&A format so you might quickly access the information which you’ll find most helpful.

Q: What damage have we discovered resulting from the earthquake?

A: 1. Most of the damage was contained to the historical building which contains our sanctuary, parlor and social hall. It has been “red tagged” by the City of Napa Building Inspector. This means that this structure has been inspected, found to be seriously damaged and is unsafe to occupy. We may not enter this part of the structure, except as specifically authorized in writing by the City of Napa as entry may result in death or injury.

2. The office areas on the first floor and the music office and rehearsal spaces on the second floor have been “yellow tagged” by the City. This means that this structure has been inspected and found to be damaged to the point that entry, occupancy and lawful use are restricted. The exterior east wall has partially separated from the roof diaphragm. There are visible cracks on the exterior parapet and visible top plates on the interior second floor above the office space in the choir rehearsal room. Thus access to the second floor is limited to inspection and necessary repairs. Access to the office is restricted to staff as needed.

3. There has been minor, superficial cracking of wall coverings throughout the Bonner Building and Adams Hall, neither of which sustained any structural damage. As a result, they have both been “green tagged” by the City. This has meant that all of our self-help community groups, children’s Grape Express ministries and Fusion Worship Experience have been able to continue unaffected by the quake with these ministries resuming on Monday, August 25th. Adams Hall containing the Hope Center and the UMW Mini-Thrift Shop has also been “green tagged” allowing the Hope Center to be open and fully operational (with the exception of losing all their hot water due to our red tag designation) on Sunday, August 24th, the day of the earthquake. The Mini-Thrift Shop re-opened this week as much breakage had been done internally that had to be cleaned up.

Q: What has happened to ministries that have been displaced?

A: Early on Monday, August 25th, we received a gracious invitation from Pastor Marvin Wray of the Community Seventh-Day Adventist Church on the corner of G and Brown Streets to move our worship services into their space free of charge as their services of worship are contained to Saturday morning. By Monday evening, Church Councils for both Napa First and Community Seventh-Day Adventist had officially entered into this new relationship. Execution began that week with a worship transition team led by Napa First Director of Music Jan Lanterman. Our first traditional worship service was held at Community Church on Sunday, August 31st while the Fusion Worship Experience is expected to begin holding it’s 11:00 am worship at that site beginning on Sunday, October 5th. Until then, Fusion will continue to hold worship at its current location in the Asbury Room of the Bonner Building.

Most weekday meetings, classes and small groups have continued uninterrupted. Those meeting in the historical part of the building including the parlor, library and Ruth rooms have been relocated to Bonner Building rooms. Leadership Team meetings and Cathedral Choir rehearsals have begun meeting at Community Church on Wednesday evenings. Bonner Bells resumed their rehearsals last Monday evening in the Nursery Room of the Bonner Building.

Q: What’s happening with our Youth Ministry?

A: Marissa Conway’s resignation as Director of Student Ministries effective August 27th to take a job at her volunteer site in San Mateo triggered the transition currently experienced by our Youth Ministry. Her decision was made prior to and, thus unaffected by, the earthquake on August 24th. A candidate has been identified to potentially assume a part-time interim Student Ministries position through the final quarter of 2014 until our church leadership can adequately assess the need for staffing across the church and, subsequently, submit position recommendations for decision by our Church Council. A Search Team will be formed shortly for interviewing and recommending this or another candidate to our Committee on Staff-Parish Relations and, subsequently, Church Council.

Q: What’s happening with our Children’s Ministry?

A: To more effectively serve families with children in and beyond our congregation, the Children’s Ministry Team under the leadership of Children’s Ministry Director Vicki Poli with the advice and consent from the Committee on Worship launched Children’s Church as part of it’s Sunday morning Grape Express Children’s Ministry on Sunday, September 7th. This decision was made in July and was, thus, unaffected by the earthquake in August. Initial experience with the new format has been quite successful resulting in sixteen children present in the ministry on Sunday, September 14th. Both children and parents are grateful for this change which has resulted in nine additional adult volunteers coming forward to engage in this ministry. An initial training session will be held at 11 am on Friday, September 19th, in the Asbury Room. We’re working toward engaging a total of twenty volunteers by the end of October who will split between working once a month at the 9:30 hour and another set working at the 11:00 hour to serve the half-dozen or so children from families who now attend the Fusion Worship Experience. Further training sessions will be held. Please consider joining one of the ministry teams serving families with children coming to our church.

Q: What’s happening with earthquake recovery for members of our Napa First Church family?

A: During the two weeks immediately following the earthquake, members of our Congregational Care Ministry Team made phone contact with all members and friends of the congregation who we had not heard from to ensure their safety and well-being. Having responded to several non-life threatening needs, the Team reports that there were no casualties or major injuries resulting from the quake for our members. Fun & Fellowship Coordinator Patty Renfrow organized a church picnic on and around Triangle Park just west of our campus on Friday evening, August 29th, attended by a record number of our church family. It was just the right time to reconnect with one another and share the stories of our experiences the previous Sunday morning. Arriving around 6:00 pm, many lingered until dusk enjoying the BBQ prepared by United Methodist Men’s Ministry Director Dana Zaccone and enjoying a sumptuous potluck contributed by all who attended. And stay tuned for the next major event sponsored by Fun & Fellowship: the ever popular Napa First Talent Show being scheduled for early November!

Your Congregational Care Ministry Team continues to be available for calls, visits and consultations as you may find the need. Do not hesitate toll call your CCM minister, the church office, or Pastor Lee Neish at (408) 655-2872, should you need to talk with someone. We’re here to serve you. Also, our Congregational Care Ministry Team along with PSR Field Placement Student Burke Owens are on hand every Sunday throughout September in the Chapel at Community Church following our 9:30 traditional service for personal prayers of healing and anointing with oil. Please proceed to the Chapel immediately following the close of worship to receive this ministry service.

Q: What’s happening with earthquake recovery for our yellow- and red-tagged buildings?

A: On Monday, August 25th, Greg Bickell, a structural engineer and friend of member (and civil engineer) Jon Lander’s, was summoned to join Jon, Trustee Board chairperson Gary Neal and Pastor Lee Neish to begin the process of facilities recovery. Structural engineer Greg Bickett began leading us through a discovery process which gave us an initial scope of the challenges we were facing with a look toward possible solutions. By the end of the first week, he had worked with us to interview several candidates for possible hiring to continue the work he had begun. We settled on Pullman Company (yes, that’s right, the folks who originally made the Pullman passenger train cars) whose experience with restoring and seismically retrofitting historical structures spans from contracts with Alcatraz to the California State Capitol Building in Sacramento. On Wednesday, September 3rd, we entered into a $43,000 contract with Pullman to brace and restore the east-facing wall along Randolph Street that separated from the rest of the building. That “phase one” construction will likely be completed by the time you read this newsletter. A second contract was entered into on September 12th to begin discovery and identification of load-bearing members responsible for holding this 100 year old structure together and, almost, in one piece. This “phase two” poking and prodding will take about a week of onsite work beginning on Monday, September 22nd, and several weeks following to design a strengthening plan and estimate the costs which will go into the main contract. Phase two will cost $37,000 and result in a bid to do the major repair and recover work sometime in mid-October. While we have no idea what the scope of that work will be and, therefore, the cost, we believe it could top $2 million or more by the completion of the recovery. We’ve also entered into a contract with a trench digger, plumbing contractor and PG&E which will total something close to $30,000 to bring gas into the Bonner Building and Adams Hall because the gas will remain off through the construction phase of the historic building. We are hoping to restore hot showers for our Hope Center clients and hot water to the rest of our campus by early October.

While Dianne Mahler and Lee Neish were successful in getting our office back up and running on Wednesday, August 27th, we continue to discourage you from coming to or dropping by the office as it will continue to be yellow-tagged through the remainder of the construction period. Please enter the Bonner Building hallway door only if you have business in the office. Don’t hesitate to call or email the office for business or ministry needs. Pastor Lee is always available to meet with you in the green-tagged part of the building for church business or to address your pastoral concerns. He, as well as the Congregational Care Ministry Team, are available for your consultation offsite as well. Simply call to make an appointment with any one of us.

Q: How are we going to pay for all of this work?

A: Another blessing that became apparent to us immediately following the earthquake came in the call I received that day from Rev. Kristie Olah, California Nevada Conference Dean of the Cabinet, asking for an initial report regarding my health and well-being and that of the congregation. During that conversation, she assured me that the California Nevada Conference comprised of our 360 United Methodist churches across northern California and northern Nevada was self-insured for earthquakes. She offered that the Conference would be a major player in funding the necessary repairs resulting from earthquake damage. UMCOR Conference Staff Phil Bandy and his associate from Santa Rosa were on hand that afternoon in person to assure me of their quick response efforts.

On Monday, Conference Superintendent Greg Bergquist (who many of you will remember from our “Grow a Church for God” Fundraiser Dinner as one of the auctioneers serving alongside Burke Owens) and Benare Agrape, also from the Conference office in Sacramento, met with us assuring us of financial help. Since then, conversations with District Superintendent Schuylar Rhodes and Conference Treasurer Dianne Knudsen confirmed their willingness and eagerness to work with us in regard to assisting with funding toward our full recovery.

In addition to this source, we are seeking funding from the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) in the amount of $100,000 with the prospect of more funds becoming available if needed. We’re also hoping for a threshold to be reached by downtown businesses (including Napa First UMC) for accumulated total loses exceeding the threshold for Federal Emergency Management Assistance (FEMA) funds to be released by the federal government for use in downtown Napa’s recovery. Finally, we’ve been the recipient of many generous contributions from churches and individuals across our Conference and nation as people have responded using the newly added feature of Pay Pal for online contributions through our website. To date, we’ve received over $12,000 with much more promised from other churches and individuals. Finally, an advance gift of $50,000 from one of our member families toward our capital campaign for church renovation was released for earthquake recovery work by the generous donor to help in the paying some of the immediate bills incurred as was discussed earlier.

As of this writing, and without knowing the full scope and cost of repairs to be made during the recovery, I cannot say for sure that I know where all the money will come from. But, I can say with all assurance that the money will come and it will be sufficient to meet our needs. We, after all, are a people of faith. We serve a God of abundance. God’s provision has been sufficient to provide all we’ve needed in the past. God’s provision will be sufficient to provide for all our needs in the future.

Q: Is it the wisest use of all this money to use for repair and recovery when so much could be accomplished if it were used for assistance to the poor, food for the hungry, or the alleviation of illness and disease?

A: In a word, the answer to this question is yes. I’ll try to explain why as thoroughly as I can.

During the past twenty or so years, Napa First UMC, like other mainline Protestant congregations, has experienced numerical decline. While there are many reasons for that decline we now believe, through the Readiness 360 process engaged by our leadership and other resources both within and outside of our Conference, we can and will halt the decline at Napa First and begin to experience growth. This turn around will not be easy and will provide many opportunities for us to make difficult choices. But we can begin to grow. God is calling us to grow. We are one of the churches in the California Nevada Conference that the cabinet is betting on to grow.

If we were to continue to decline without investing any dollars to bring our physical campus toward a more attractive option for twenty-first century families, the total dollars given toward mission would also decline. Fewer people participating in the mission and ministry of the church results in fewer dollars to accomplish that mission. On the other hand, every dollar invested in making our ministries to families with children and youth more robust is a dollar that can ultimately achieve a return of multiple dollars given to mission beyond the walls of the church. Over time, the more attractive we become to potential church members who visit us and choose to remain and participate in the mission and ministry of our church, the more dollars will be freed and made available to that mission. It requires us to take the long view of making the right investments to realize the right yield.

Thanks in large part to the combined efforts of the Catch Team in strengthening welcoming and hospitality ministries, the launch of an alternative contemporary worship service which has been successful in attracting young adults, the church leadership in making funding available for hiring new staff to strengthen our ministries to families with youth, the increased volunteer efforts and enhanced facilities to strengthen our ministries to families with children, we’ve already seen the tide turn as the decline in our numbers has been reduced and, more recently, replaced by a net increase in our membership. But this work has only just begun. We have much more ahead of us and, by God’s grace, we will prevail as a twenty-first century United Methodist congregation.

Q: What’s happening with our core ministries and ministry outreach initiatives?

A: Our core ministries continue stronger than ever. Our music ministry continues under the leadership of Director of Music Jan Lanterman assisted by Diane Levorsen conducting Bonner Bells and Harold Julander at the organ. We are already planning special concerts around the Christmas season in conjunction with the Community Seventh Day Adventist Church and have scheduled a major guest artist to be with us in worship on January 11th and in concert for both congregations that afternoon. Our children’s ministry has seen the greatest increase in numbers with it’s new schedule and increased volunteer team. Our youth ministry is in search of new leadership to see us through the end of this year. And, your generous participation in the “Growing A Church for God” fundraising dinner in July has ensured our capacity to reach and serve new families with children and youth throughout the remainder of this year. The Covenant Bible Study planned by Lay Leader Michael Herzog and Pastor Lee Neish, while delayed from starting in September, will begin early in October with a start date to be announced shortly and, most likely, will convene in the Asbury Room.

And, while our standard outreach ministries continue to thrive including participation at The Table once a month and UMW’s hosting of our weekly Mini-Thrift Shop, new outreach ministries are now being scheduled to be launched. The first will be our long awaited Napa Circles Initiative slated to open it’s first training for circle leaders on Tuesday, November 4th. This would be an excellent time to step forward as a volunteer to help in child care, serving meals, or serving on a circle as an ally. We’re also revisiting and cultivating a relationship with Shearer Elementary School with the help of new member and Shearer teacher Jennifer Tokar as we intend to serve those children and teachers in the coming months and years.

We Welcome Our Newest Members

Kevin Bryden

142 Brown Street

Kevin has lived in Napa for several years. He found our church because he lives just down the street. He came several Sundays and decided he would like to be part of our church family so he joined in April. He chooses between the traditional and fusion services and occasionally he enjoys both. He reads a lot and likes to witness about Christ. I especially liked something he told me: “Power without wisdom is equivalent to freedom without responsibility.” We would all do well to remember that.

Margie Braun

1415 Fourth Street #9

Margie is a native Napan and tells me that her grandfather built the Church of the Nazarene on Linda Vista Avenue. She lives across the street so was aware of our church. She is quite active in AA and was doing a service commitment at our church when she met Pastor Lee and his wife Jo. They talked to her and she became interested in the fusion service. She joined in April. She speaks highly of the Neish’s and how they have helped her. She thinks God was tugging on her heart to be here. She has become part of the team that helps set up for the fusion service. At home she has a kitten named Puppy, 2 parakeets and 3 fish tanks with parrotfish. She enjoys being part of our church family.

Michelle Richardson

Michelle is a very busy lady who came to our church by invitation from Jo Neish. She usually attends the fusion service and in the past was part of the Fusion Worship team. She met Jo when she joined Sing Napa Valley. She enjoys singing and at the present time is preparing for a recital in November. She belongs to the Vine Running Club and is joining the Eagle Cycling Group. She moved here in 2012 from San Diego to work for the city of Napa as a housing specialist. She is also an accomplished horsewoman and says that if anyone has a horse they need exercised to please contact her.

Vanya Leighton

1800 Atrium Parkway #332

Vanya has been a square dance teacher and caller for the past thirty-six years. Before that she worked at Mare Island as a clerk-typist and then a helper electrician. She moved to Napa two and a half years ago from Clearlake. She had previously lived in Napa in the 1960’s. She attended the Methodist church in Lower Lake and after moving here visited us, deciding she would like to join us. In her past church she was very active in United Methodist Women and we hope she joins with our Napa unit. She is presently a very active member of the Rebekahs. She has two sons and two daughters, four grandchildren, eight step-grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren. In her spare time she enjoys sewing, crocheting and playing computer games.

Mike Robak

1011 Woodlawn Drive

Last summer Mike served as a counselor to our SSP youth. He said that it was a wonderful experience and would like to do it again. He also encourages others to consider it. He moved to Napa twenty-five years ago because of Dottie Lee, his wife. She is also the reason he became acquainted with our church, as she was already a member. Mike worked all last year as an adult leader with our youth groups. He and Dottie have joined a supper group and are also in a small study group. They both have done the Christian Believer Study led by Michael Herzog. Mike also enjoys the Friday Morning bicycle group. He sometimes substitutes at the Table. He also works out at the gym a couple of times each week and he runs. When there is enough snow they both enjoy cross-country skiing. Mike recently retired after serving for thirty-three years as a

Probation Officer in Solano and Marin Counties. He is finding a lot to fill up his days.

Every Monday - Silent Meditation at 5:30 p.m.

in our Sanctuary

Every Friday - Labyrinth Meditation Walk in the

Labyrinth Courtyard

Grapevine Schedule

Deadline October 9th—Mailing October 15th

Exploring Membership Dinner

October 5th, 5-7 pm

Preston Shackleford and John Todd’s home

Are you thinking about becoming a member of First United Methodist?  Do you have questions or concerns?  Would you just like to get to know our Pastor and others who are or are interested in becoming members?  Are you up for a congenial light supper with friends?

Join us for our Exploring Membership Dinner!!!!  We are creating a warm, loving, spiritual community and we want you to join us on this journey!  We can guarantee fun, interesting conversation, tasty light supper and responses to your questions.

If this date doesn't suit, the next one will be the first Sunday in October, October 5.

RSVP if possible to Preston Shackelford,, 256-9064.  Or just show up.  There will be plenty of food and a place at the table.  Join us!!!!!!

United Methodist Women News

Hello to all Unit members, 

I wanted to pass along this thank you note from Rev. Holly Hillman. Holly was our March retreat leader and the pastor to whom we sent the letters we wrote to the women prisoners at our August UMW unit meeting. I know it was difficult for some of you to write your letters. Many of you said you just did not know what to say. But whatever you wrote, it was a wonderful gift to the women at the prison. I am personally thankful and I think we may try to do this again for our mission project at another unit meeting.

Peace, Pat Parker

Here is a sample letter:

Dear Napa UMW Members, 

Your UMW letters arrived the day before we went into the prison, and WOW, how BEAUTIFUL they were! The women spoke over and over again about how meaningful it was to receive the letters. For them it was tangible proof that they were indeed loved by God and remembered by the world, as so often they feel utterly forgotten.

Thank you again for supporting these women so mangled by life and surrounded by such a soul deadening institutional environment.




October UMW Meetings

9th -  11:00 a.m. - Newton Riddell Circle Meeting

9th - 1:30 p.m. – Lillian Wallace Circle Meeting

19th -  8:00 a.m. – Sarah Crosby Circle Meeting – S-dA Church

19th - 11:00 a.m. -  Sunday Unit Meeting

11:00 – Local Mission Project

11:45 – Lunch

12:15 – Program – Drawing Our Circle Wider    

Coordinator – Jan Geren

Hosts – Susanna Wesley Circle                  

If you or your children have changed any of your personal information recently, please make sure the church office has your updated addresses, phone numbers and email addresses. Since our most recent Church Directory was in 2009 we’ve probably made many changes to our personal information. Thanks so much.

Our Purpose Statement is to be outwardly focused to bring people into

relationship with Jesus to display God’s Kingdom on earth through acts

of love, peace and justice.

Sunday Worship Service: 9:30 am—Seventh-day Adventist Church

Corner of Brown and G Streets, Napa

Fusion Contemporary Worship Service: 11:00 am—Asbury Room

Monday Silent Meditation Group—5:30 pm—Nursery

Friday Labyrinth Meditation Walk—5:30 pm

Adult Bible Study Group—10:45 am—Young Adult Room, S-d A Church

GRAPE Express—3 years through 5th grade—9:30-S-d A Church

Visit us on Facebook—Napa First United Methodist Church—707-253-1411—email—

Pastor: Rev. Lee Neish

Lay Leaders: Barbara Thompson & Mark Andersen

Lay Speaker: Michael Herzog

Office Manager: Dianne Mahler

Director of Music: Jan Lanterman

Organist: Harold Julander

Director of Cathedral Choir: Jan Lanterman

Director of Bonner Bells: Diane Levorsen

First United Methodist Church ~625 Randolph St.~ Napa 94559~ (707)253-1411

Since the earthquake we worship at the Seventh-day Adventist Church on Brown and G Sts.

Please worship with us there each Sunday morning.


You are welcome to visit us on Facebook: Napa First United Methodist Church