About Us

The Gardens of Saint Francis on Easter Monday 2020


The People and Pets of St. Francis


Mission Statement

For the faithful and the seekers who need a safe place to find hope and spiritual nourishment in a Christ-centered community, St. Francis offers a theologically progressive, diverse, welcoming and joyful church committed to exploring and deepening our faith in God and each other through community, worship and outreach.

Church Staff

Reverend Stacey Grossman, Priest-in-Charge, 415.892.1609

Stacey Grossman, Preschool Director, 415.892.1600

Janneen Stickle, Office Admin, 415.892.1609


About Reverend Stacey, Priest-in-Charge

Stacey Grossman began her new call as Priest-in-Charge at St. Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church in Novato in August, 2018. She has served three parishes as intentional interim and had a long pastorate at the Church of the Nativity in San Rafael. She has also trained as a hospital chaplain.

Stacey has served on a variety of diocesan committees and commissions, and counts her term on the Standing Committee  as her most important ministry. She has been involved in safe church work, including leading an effort to rewrite the diocesan safe church standards and policies. She taught Pastoral Theology at CDSP and conflict resolution in the field education program there.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Pomona College as well as an MBA in finance and international business from New York University.  Her Masters in Divinity was earned at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Berkeley, California, a member seminary of the Graduate Theological Union.

Stacey lives in Novato, Marin County. She is a fifth generation Californian and has happily assumed her grandmother’s role as the family genealogist. She lives under monastic vows taken in 2005 in friendship with the Order of the Holy Cross, an Episcopal religious order. While not engaged in the work of the church, she rows in the early morning on the San Francisco Bay with the Marin Rowing Association. She loves all things Yosemite and is an avid contemplative photographer.


St. Francis Vestry and Deanery

2020 Vestry

Mary Santora, Senior Warden, marysantora@gmail.com

Tony Mei, Junior Warden, tonymei.novato@gmail.com

Rowena Hutchinson, Secretary, metrelineg@gmail.com

Al Ferrando, akferrando@earthlink.net

Roy Gale, Facilities, roygale67@comcast.net

Sean McConnell, smcconnell@episcopalrelief.org




2020 Deanery Representatives

Bill Burrell

Carole Dillon-Knutson 

Frank Lewis



Church History 1948 to Present

Our Church began as a Mission founded in 1948. On November 7 of that year, Paul and Marie Brindel, Novato citizens who wanted an Episcopal Church to inhabit the vast and rural area that was Novato, hosted a group of twenty people at their home to meet with the then Bishop of California, Karl Block. Bishop Block allowed the creation of an Episcopal Mission, and the people chose Saint Francis to be the mission’s patron saint. The choice of Francis was twofold: for one, the church was located a mere 30 miles from the great city by the same name; and two, Novato was a land rich in peaceful, natural settings.

In 1950, the Mission worked with the diocese to purchase an acre-and-a-half of quiet, ancient-oak-tree studded farmland to be the grounds for that Mission.  The first building, a humble chapel named after Saint Clare, was carved out of the very earth on which it stood, a monument to the Mission’s connection with nature and its humble beginning. Over-time St. Francis grew from a mission to parish.


Jesse Parish, Director

St Francis Preschool

  Send Email  •  (415)892-1600

Nestled among tall oak and pine trees, St. Francis Preschool has been serving families in the North Bay Area for more than forty years. A safe environment, physically and emotionally, is provided where children are given the opportunity to become curious learners who are socially competent, cooperative, self-reliant, motivated, confident, and considerate. To learn more about our preschool and to schedule a tour call Jesse Parish, at 415.892.2597.

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