The Bell Tower News

Newsletter of Grace Episcopal Church 

 Martinez, California  

  January 2017 


Grace Episcopal Church | gracechurchmtz.org
In this Issue
Parish Events

Worship Schedule
SUNDAYS 8:00 a.m.
and 10:00 a.m. 
Holy Eucharist Rite II
WEDNESDAYS 10:00 a.m.
Holy Eucharist Rite II followed by Bible Study

Service Notes 
       Jan. 15: Contemporary Music Service    
                     No Godly Play
       Jan. 29: One service at 10am
                     (followed by Annual Meeting)

Quick Links
 Jan. 21 - Men's Group Breakfast 
Jan. 28 - Stop Hunger Now! (postponed)
Jan. 29 - St. Christopher's Guild 
Annual Meeting
Sunday, January 29
following  a combined service at 10am.

Please plan to join us as we gather for the Annual Meeting of the Parish. At that time we will elect new members of our Vestry as well as our *Delegates who will represent the congregation at Deanery and Diocesan functions in 2017. We will also hear about the financial status of the parish. 2017 has been a busy year and we are grateful for everyone's contributions to the life of Grace Church. 


*Nominations for Delegates will be taken from the floor during the meeting. There are three Delegate seats, and one alternate. Individuals may nominate themselves.
InterimRectorFrom the Interim Rector
The Rev. Jeffrey L. Frost
Dear Parish Family:

What an exciting time at Grace Church.  In particular, we are pleased to announce the calling of The Rev. Deborah White as the next Rector for the parish.  (For more details use this LINK)  The whole parish has worked hard and prayed faithfully in the time leading up this important moment.  While it may be tempting to feel that you can now sit back and relax (spiritually, and otherwise); you are encouraged to do the opposite. 

Please pray - for the congregation to grow and flourish in this new season of ministry; for Rev. Deb and her family as they make this transition together; for the new and continuing Vestry as they continue to seek and serve Christ; and for our community, with its many needs and opportunities for service.

Please, also, be prepared to work - as Jesus says:  The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few (Matthew 9:37).  Every person is needed, and every effort (large or small) is important for the mission and ministry of the congregation.  Nothing makes clergy happier, than when someone sees a need and offers to share their gifts to fulfill it!  In this new chapter of parish life, may you have new eyes and ears to notice, and enthusiasm to respond the new opportunities which will appear.

My deep gratitude for the warm welcome and ready partnership I have experienced as your Interim Rector.  You are ready for this new call, and my prayers will continue for each of you that I have been blessed to serve and worship with at Grace Church.

Fr. Jeff
Interim Rector
VestryHighlightsVestry Highlights
The following are some highlights of our January 11 meeting:

* A New Vestry Handbook was adopted for use which will include - a leadership calendar, ministry job descriptions, etc.

* At the request of the diocese, an updated Policy for Alcohol and Substance Use in the church was also adopted for the parish.

* The Proposed 2017 Operating Budget was approved for presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Parish, as well as the 2016 Year End financial reports.  Note, it will be the responsibility of the new Vestry at their February meeting to adopt the 2017 budget.

* A policy was approved to require the Safe Church online training, for adults who work with Youth and Children, be completed by all new and continuing Vestry members.

* A reminder that all ministries and organizations of the parish are asked to have a written report submitted to the church office by January 22, in time for publication for the Annual Meeting of the parish (which is on Sunday, January 29, following a combined 10am worship service).
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SundaySchoolNewsSunday School and Youth Group News
Godly Play Update

On the third Sunday of the month, we have Contemporary Music (Renew! songbook) at the 10:00 service. This is also when the children are included in the entire service, so there is no Godly Play on January 15, February 12, March 12. 

Here are the Godly Play topics coming up!   

January 22 - Parable of the Good Shepherd

January 29 - Parable of the Good Samaritan

February 5 - Parable of the Sower

February 12 - St. Valentine

Youth Group Update 
Our activity for next Youth Group gathering on January 29, from 6:30-8:00pm, will be finishing the Rainbow Mural in the Sunday School wing. All youth in grades 8-12 are welcome to Grace Youth Group. Contact Marj Leeds (email) for more information.
 Parish Ministries
StChristophers St. Christopher's Guild
Every December the proceeds from St. Christopher's Guild fundraising events throughout the year are distributed to a number of local charities. At their meeting in December the women selected the following organizations as recipients: Shelter, Inc., Hospice of Contra Costa County, Meals on Wheels, Foster a Dream, Boys & Girls Club of Martinez, and Juvenile Hall Auxiliary.
Many thanks to everyone who participated and supported the 2016 fundraising efforts -- Spring Luncheon, Luau, Tahoe Joe's, Christmas Luncheon & Bazaar. The church family's generosity continues to inspire the St. Christopher's Guild fundraising efforts and invigorates our outreach ministry.

All women of the parish are members of St. Christopher's Guild and are invited to join us for our monthly meetings, which are held on the last Sunday of the month, between services at 9:00. Next meeting: January 29

Sandy Taylor, 2016 President                             Susan Bremmer, 2017 President
Evonne Siguenza, 2016 Vice President              Fran Trant, 2017 Vice President
MensGroupMen's Group
The first get together of 2017 for the Grace Church Men's Group will be on Saturday, January 21 at 8:30 a.m. in the Parish Hall. In addition to the usual fabulous potluck breakfast, the men will be discussing and scheduling their various events for the year.  For more information, contact Dave Eary.  Email Dave.  
Weekly rehearsals are on Thursdays at 7:00 p.m.  Under the direction of our talented organist and music director, Gary Evans, the choir is always looking for more voices! If you are interested in joining the choir, please contact Gary Evans ( email).
Altar Guild
With the new year we say THANK YOU to Dena Maniatis who has served so faithfully as the Director of the Altar Guild and is now retired from that role in ministry.  The new Director is Elaine Quigley, who has been a member of the Altar Guild for many years and now has taken on this new responsibility.  The Altar Guild is always looking for new members.  You can contact Elaine ( email) if you have any questions, or would like to serve in this important ministry. 
A huge THANK YOU! to all those who contributed to our winter activities: Adopt-a-Family, the "warm things" drive, and Cooking for Shelter, Inc. Ev eryo ne was so flexible and came through to make a difference during the holidays.
Chandra and Beth
FoodBasketFood Basket
We keep a basket in the Narthex to collect donations of non-perishable food for our local outreach programs. The food basket will be presented for blessing during the offertory as part of the presentation of gifts.

Suggested Food Items: Canned meats, canned vegetables, canned fruit, boxed meals THAT REQUIRE ONLY WATER, low-sugar cereal like plain Cheerios, peanut butter, instant oatmeal, instant grits, cans of beans, pasta and pasta sauce. 
CoffeeHrCoffee Hour    
The Coffee Hour host schedule / sign-up sheet for 2017 is posted on the bulletin board in the Parish Hall.  Check it out to either sign-up to host or get a sneak peek at some of the special events coming up this year!      
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EventsFellowshipEvents and Fellowship

Stop Hunger Now Meal Packaging Event - Postponed
This event originally scheduled for January 28 is being postponed to a later date - to be determined. Thank you for your patience.  Click here to go to the Stop Hunger Now website to learn more about this organization.

Other Special Mentions
Plastic Forks and Lucky Stamps
Do you have a collection of plastic forks, spoons, and knives cluttering your kitchen drawers?  Would you like to get rid of them and do a good deed? Do you have those tiny stamps from Lucky grocery store filling your wallet? Would like to make more room for your money? Bring these things to church - you'll find a new home for them in the Parish hall right under the bulletin board.  Plasticware will be used for People Feeding People (Saturday night meals) and stamps to purchase future raffle prizes. 
Mary Canale
In an effort to keep our church property safe and secure, we need your help.  If you are among the last to leave, whether it be Sunday services or during the week, it would be much appreciated if you would take a few minutes to double check doors and windows to be sure they are securely closed and locked. Many thanks. 
Photos for the Website
We continue our search for digital photos of church events, that we can post on the church website. If you have recent photos or take pictures at any of the upcoming events, please consider sharing them with us. Photos may be emailed to the church office along with information about the content of the picture, e.g. date taken, event name, names of people in the picture, location, etc.
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Grace Episcopal Church | (925) 228-6574 | info@gracechurchmtz.org  www.gracechurchmtz.org/
130 Muir Station Rd.
P.O. Box 2338
Martinez, CA 94553