The Bell Tower News

Newsletter of Grace Episcopal Church 

 Martinez, California


  June 2016 


Grace Episcopal Church | gracechurchmtz.org
In this Issue
Worship Schedule
Interim Ministry and Search Process
Includes Important Parish Meeting Dates 
Quick Links
SUNDAYS 8:00 and 10:00 a.m.
Holy Eucharist Rite II
10:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist Rite II followed by Bible Study
Upcoming Events
Blackhawk Museum Tour  - July 16 

Summer BBQs -   July 10 
                             August 21
                             September 11
Save the Dates: 
Rally Day! - September 11 
Oktoberfest - October 22
3rd Annual Chili Cook-off - November 19
Italian Dinner - December 10

A Prayer for the Search Committee
Loving God, we pray for the search committee of this parish, asking you to grant them open hearts and minds, a discerning spirit, and confidence in your strength and guidance. Fill them with a vision of your reign, and our participation in its fulfillment. Remove from them any blinders or prejudice that may keep them from seeing your face in all those they encounter in their discernment, and give us grateful hearts for the good work and ministry they do. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.
The Vestry meets the second Wednesday of each month, at 6:30 p.m., to conduct the business of the parish. Meetings are open to parishioners.
Susan Bremmer, Sr.Warden
Les Marks, Jr. Warden  John Heyse, Treasurer 
  Jennifer Sabroe, Clerk  Stan Applegate  Barbara Brooks 
  Dave Eary  Luke Hodgson  Marj Leeds 
FromIntRectorFrom the Interim Rector
The Rev. Jeffrey L. Frost
Dear Parish Family:

In the past, summertime was considered to be a season of slowing down. With Sunday School ending and the Choir taking a well-deserved break.  Most of us can look forward to getting out early to avoid the heat of the day, followed by lazy afternoons. For us, Summer is a time of shifting gears, but not slowing down.  And this is especially true this year at Grace Church.

First and foremost, our Search Committee has been selected and will be very involved in using the good materials collected from our Mutual Ministry Review and Discernment Gatherings to shape our search and calling process. Please see the article posted in this newsletter for more information.

Summertime is fellowship time at Grace Church, as there are monthly opportunities to come together as a parish. On Sunday, June 5, we had our first monthly barbecue with almost 80 people in attendance. The barbecue dates for the rest of the Summer are: July 10 and August 21. On September 11, we will also have a barbecue as a part of Sunday School Rally Day. Everyone is invited to these fellowship events following the 10am service. You are encouraged to bring a side dish or desert to share; with beverages and bbq provided.

We will also be experiencing some different contemporary Eucharistic liturgies in worship during the summer. The first one will be from the Iona Community in Scotland, on June 19, at the 8am and 10am services. The value in experiencing these different expressions in Christian worship is to expand our awareness (and appreciation) of our own traditions in liturgy. We are not planning on any permanent changes in worship (I'll leave that to you and your new Rector); however, during the summer, we will have the opportunity to experience some fresh expressions.

Building relationships was an important theme at our recent Greeters planning meeting. Currently underway are plans to create a newcomers brochure and information card. We will also be looking at the best practices recommended by a nationally recognized program - Invite, Welcome, Connect; and incorporating some of them into a customary that will be used to recruit new greeters.

Wishing you and yours a safe and restorative summer!
Fr. Jeff
Interim Rector
IntMinistryandSearchInterim Ministry and Search Process
At our June Vestry Meeting the following people were selected to serve as our Search Committee:

Judi Richardson, Les Marks, Frank Macan, Dave Eary, John Lee, Sally Hanson, Melissa Rodrigue-Kennedy, and Ron Luttringer. 

Our thanks to everyone who volunteered to serve on the Search Committee.

Here is what you can expect in the next few weeks as we continue our Interim/Search process:

July 2 - a joint Vestry and Search Committee Retreat with Diocesan Transition Minister, Denise Obando.  Together we will look at the vision, core values and passions of the parish as we shape what we a looking for in our next Rector.

July 17 - our fourth Discernment Gathering as we listen and respond to the results of the July 2 retreat.

Any questions or concerns can be addressed to:

Susan Bremmer, Senior Warden (email
Rev. Jeff Frost, Interim Rector (revjeff@gracechurchmtz.org)
ContempMusicContemporary Music Services
Our next Contemporary Music service will be at 10:00am on Sunday, June 19.  

On Sunday, June 12, we engaged in conversation about our use of contemporary music in worship. The comments were universally positive and supportive for continuing to develop this form of music for monthly use in worship.  After trying several different musical settings for our Gloria, Sanctus, and Fraction Anthems we will be choosing one version for regular use so that people can become familiar with the tunes.  It was also noted that the Renew! Songbook contains many familiar texts and tunes - offered in a more contemporary style.  It was strongly encouraged that we continue to offer our Children's Message as a regular part of our worship experience.
SundaySchoolNewsSunday School News
Summertime Sunday School
Godly Play came to an end for the school year on June 5th with the Sunday School recognition program and a big thank you to all who helped put on the program and to all the participants.  We are now looking for people to lead a craft, tell a story, or whatever sounds good from 10:00 to about 10:30 each Sunday.  This approach has two benefits --  it gives the parents a break and a chance to concentrate on the lessons and sermons, and, it reduces the amount of time the children need to try and be "good."  Just sign up on the sheet in the Parish Hall.  A craft will be available each Sunday that you may choose to use.  It will be fun!  This is your chance to demonstrate through action that the children of our Parish are important. 
Rally Day! Save the Date - September 11
Invite your family, friends and the neighborhood kids to our annual kick-off of the school year with a BBQ lunch and lots of games, activities, and prizes for kids of all ages, following the 10:00 service.
~ Godly Play resumes September 19 ~
Godly Play is the Montessori-based Christian Education curriculum used at Grace Church for elementary-aged children. The goal of the program is to teach children the art of using religious language -- parable, sacred story, silence, and liturgical action -- to help children interpret the spiritual aspects of their daily lives. Children experience the word of God through the elements of prayer, song, The Word, and response. Grace Church has used Godly Play as its principle teaching method since 2006. For more information about Godly Play, go to www.godlyplayfoundation.org.
OtherParishMinistriesOther Parish Ministries
Service Personnel
A sincere heartfelt thank-you to service staff for all you do to support the Sunday Mass! I am so proud to work with such a dedicated, spiritual group of people. The link to the July-August schedule appears below.  
God Bless.
Stan Applegate
St. Christopher's Guild
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. Upcoming meetings: June 26, July 31, August 28.
Sandy Taylor, President
Men's Group
The next event for the Men's Group is one of our great manly potluck breakfasts at the Parish Hall at 8:30 AM on Saturday, June 25th. All men and guests are welcome. You do not need to bring a dish unless you desire to do so. Again for this month's breakfast, Don Dyer will be the coordinator. Next month will be our first ever "Men's Game Day & BBQ" at 11:00 AM on Saturday, July 23 rd - plan ahead for what should be a fun new event. If you have any questions concerning the Grace Church Men's Group, please contact Dave Eary at (925) 370-6024 or send an email.      

The Grace Church Men's Group is open to all the men in Grace Church and their invited guests. We hold one event per month from January through October. Usually every other month is a potluck breakfast at the Parish Hall. If you are not already participating, you are more than welcome to join in. As a matter of information, the Grace Church Men's Group is entirely self-funded. No funds are taken from the Grace Church operating budget for any of our events.If you have any questions about the Grace Church Men's Group or any of our events, please call Dave Eary at (925) 370-6024 or send an email.  

Dave Eary, Men's Group Coordinator
Women's Group
Grace Women Cut Loose
All work and no play makes Jackie a dull girl: with that thought in mind, the women of Grace Church have followed the example of the church's men's group, organizing get-togethers for the express purpose of enjoying each other's company. Rallying behind the flag of fun and fellowship for their own sake, a group of fourteen women met at Susan Bremmer's house for a potluck brunch on June 4. After strengthening ourselves in Grace Church fashion with breakfast goodies, mimosas, and enthusiastic chatting ("We're so loud!"), organizing began. With the approval of Gigi the Maltipoo and one cat, all other felines abstaining, a schedule through October was set:
  • Saturday, August 13: Potluck Breakfast and Bunco in the Parish Hall
  • Saturday, September 17: Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historic Park and lunch at Assemble Restaurant
  • Saturday, October 15: Potluck meal and games

No "meetings" are planned for November and December

More details about each event will be announced as its date approaches. Just a few of the many suggestions for activities are: strolling the Benicia waterfront, visiting the Ruth Bancroft Gardens, wine tasting in Livermore, walking the Golden Gate Bridge, and taking in a play at the Campbell Theater, as well as seizing every opportunity to share a meal together.
Questions? Please contact Jennifer Sabroe via the church's email at info@gracechurchmtz.org or Jennifer's phone 925-383-8386.
We hope to see you at the next gathering on July 16!

Acolyte Program 
The Grace Church Acolyte Program is alive and well. We are thrilled to have so many younger members of the congregation participating as they are growing up - now with most having grown taller than the Acolyte Coordinator. All Grace children are eligible to begin serving as an Acolyte at age 9. If you're interested in learning more about the Acolyte Program, please contact Dave Eary, Acolyte Coordinator, (925) 370-6024
Altar Guild
If you are interested in joining the Altar Guild or would like more information about this important ministry, please contact the church office (phone 925-228-6574 or email) and we will put you in contact with Dena Maniatis, our Altar Guild Director.
Flower and Candle Dedications
The sign-up books for flower and candle dedications are located in the Narthex. Suggested donations are $35 (flowers) and $5 (candle). 
The choir is taking a break June-August, with weekly rehearsals resuming the end of August or early September. 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).
Backpack/School Supplies Drive is Underway!
Our annual school supplies drive is open for business! Backpacks have been ordered and we are asking for donations to fill them.  Between now and the end of August, donations may be left in the corner of the narthex. When shopping for supplies, remember that spiral notebooks are preferred over 3-ring binders. 
("Packing date" to be announced.)
Throughout the year, Chandra Damele and Beth Ilog continue to keep us connected and attentive to many needs in our community. If you're interested in joining these ministries, feel free to contact Chandra ( email) or Beth ( email).
  • Backpack Drive  At the start of the school year, the Outreach Committee facilitates its annual Backpack/School Supplies Drive that benefits students at Martinez Jr. High School. Those interested in supporting and contributing to this effort are asked to purchase school supplies over the summer.  The items are collected and on a designated Sunday in September there is a Stuffing Party to stock up the 60+ backpacks, which are then delivered to the school.  
  • Loaves and Fishes  A dedicated group of volunteers from Grace Church works the Loaves and Fishes kitchen in Martinez on the third Wednesday of the month. Grace has had a team in place at Loaves and Fishes for 22 years!  If you'd like to learn more about this ministry or join the team, contact Beth (email)
  • Dinners at SHELTER, Inc.  Teams are arranged to cook dinners at SHELTER, Inc. family shelter during the week after Christmas.
  • Warm Socks and Gloves Drive   At the onset of winter, a collection basket is placed in the Narthex to receive contributions of warm socks, scarves, and hats.
  • Adopt-a-Family  In early November, Beth takes the lead in organizing us as sponsors for multiple families through an Adopt-a-Family drive.
  • Food Drive  Throughout the year, a basket is kept in the Narthex to receive donations of non-perishable food items to support various local food sharing programs.
People Feeding People
Thank you to everyone who contributes to the success of People Feeding People throughout the year.  We serve 25 - 35 (sometimes more!) people each week in downtown Martinez.  Meals are served at 6pm Saturday nights on the corner of Pine and Escobar. All are welcome at our table and if you know of anyone who needs our services please let them know about our program.  If you would like to help prepare, serve or just join us for the fellowship, come on down!
Sandy Taylor
Book Corner
There are used books available for a small donation on the Book Cart in the Parish Hall. (If you don't see the cart in the Parish Hall, you will find it parked in the Sunday School wing, across from the mailboxes.) Donations from the Book Corner are passed along to Seminarians.
Coffee Hour Hosts Needed! 
There are openings on the Coffee Hour host schedule. Please consider hosting or enlist a friend to co-host with you!  The sign-up sheet is in the parish hall. We'd like the following dates to be filled: June 19 (this Sunday!), July 3, July 24, July 31, August 14, and August 28.
Thank you!
EventsFellowshipEvents and Fellowship
EventsFellowshipMen vs Women Bocce Ball Tournament and Parish Picnic

Many thanks to the Men's Group for hosting this year's 5th Annual Men vs Women Bocce Ball Tournament and Parish BBQ. The weather was perfect, the food was delicious and the competition invigorating! This year's winner ... The Bluebelles! Congratulations Women for ending the Men's 3-year winning streak! 

The Bluebelles: Alexis Taylor, Karen Lowe, Shelby Taylor, Lynda Dyer



6th Annual Men vs Women Bocce Tournament & BBQ

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Summer BBQs at Grace: July 10, August 21, September 11
Meat burgers, Veggie burgers, hot dogs, buns, condiments and beverages are provided. Side dishes and desserts are potluck, so if you are able, bring something to share. Bring a friend!
Cardmaking: June 26 and July 24
Our small group of papercrafting enthusiasts will be meeting after the 10:00 service on June 26 and July 24 to learn a few cardmaking techniques. Please feel free to join us!  Kits will be available, which will include all the materials needed to create your own greeting card. For more information, please contact Jennifer Sabroe by email or phone (925) 383-8386.
Women's Group Outing to Blackhawk Museum - Saturday, July 16
The Women's Group has organized an outing to Blackhawk Museum and we invite you to come along! We have a group reservation that includes a docent tour of Spirit of the Old West (photographs and artifacts from Native Americans and early settlers) exhibit at 10:30 a.m., which takes approximately 45 minutes. Then we can do a self-guided tour the antique car exhibit following the docent tour.  
When:  Saturday, July 16.
  • Meet at Grace Church parking lot at 9:15 to carpool.
  • Please let us know if you are willing to be a carpool driver.
  • Meet at the Museum at 10:15 a.m for the group rate.
Cost: $10 Adult / $8 Senior fare for the Museum. This is the Group Rate.
  • Please bring cash for the entrance. You need to be with our group at the museum at 10:15 to get this rate.
  • Lunch. Cost will be up to the individual. We will be eating at one of the restaurants (tbd) in Blackhawk Plaza.
RSVP:  Please let us know by Wed., July 13, if you will be attending
Contact:  Dianne Ostermiller  EMAIL or PHONE (925) 228-3432

OtherOther Special Mentions
Garden of Meditation 
We want to express heartfelt thanks to a local Eagle Scout who took on the project of re-leveling the pavers in our Garden of Meditation. This is a beautiful spot on our property and if you haven't found your way there in while, please do visit. The view is always stunning, and the mature trees and oleanders that thrive there seem to offer a welcoming and comforting embrace.
Garden of Meditation Garden of Meditation View
Searching for an Army Cot
Mary Canale is looking for an "Army Cot," the type that is foldable with olive green canvas material, like you would have found in an Army surplus store. If you have any leads, please give her a call her at (925) 682-0660 or send her an email
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're looking 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 info@gracechurchmtz.org along with information about the content of the picture, e.g. date taken, event name, names of people in the picture, location, etc.
Grace Episcopal Church | (925) 228-6574 | info@gracechurchmtz.org  www.gracechurchmtz.org/
130 Muir Station Rd.
P.O. Box 2338
Martinez, CA 94553