The Bell Tower News

Newsletter of Grace Episcopal Church 

 Martinez, California


March 2016 


Grace Episcopal Church | gracechurchmtz.org
In this Issue
Upcoming Events
Sr. and Jr. Wardens' Reports

Interim Ministry and Search Process
Includes Important Parish Meeting Dates


Quick Links
St. Patrick's Dinner - March 19
St. Christopher's Luau - May 14
Bocce Ball Tournament & BBQ - May 15 

Palm Sunday and Holy Week Services
March 20, 8am & 10am - Palm Sunday
March 24, 7pm - Maundy Thursday
March 25, 12noon & 7pm - Good Friday
March 26, 10am - Holy Saturday
March 26, 6:30pm - The Great Vigil
March 27, 8am & 10am - Easter Day 
Worship Schedule
SUNDAYS 8:00 and 10:00 a.m.
Holy Eucharist Rite II
10:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist Rite II
A Prayer for Our Parish
Almighty and everliving God, ruler of all things in heaven and earth, hear our prayers for this parish family. Strengthen the faithful, arouse the careless, and restore the penitent. Grant us all things necessary for our common life, and bring us all to be of one heart and mind within your holy Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
from The Book of Common Prayer
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
Having reached the half-way point through Lent, there is still time to reflect on what we have done (or left undone) in our journey towards Easter.  Indeed, the liturgies of the church will increase in their frequency and intensity as we move into Holy Week.  Listed at the beginning of this newsletter is a complete schedule of services, starting with Palm Sunday, on March 20.

Here are a few waypoints that may assist you in your steps with Grace Church into the celebration of our Risen Lord, Jesus:

Palm Sunday - our services will begin with the Liturgy of the Palms and include congregational participation in reading the Gospel of Luke in the story of Jesus' Passion and Death on the Cross.

Maundy Thursday - the service will include the ceremony of the washing of feet, Holy Communion, and the stripping of the altar (with all of the religious elements removed from the sanctuary).  This is the night that Jesus prayed in the Garden and invited Peter and the two sons of Zebedee to watch with him.  We will place the reserve sacrament on the altar in the Chapel, and people are invited to stay and watch in silence.

Good Friday - this year we will have two services, at noon and 7:00pm.  Following each service there will be the opportunity to stay and walk the liturgy of the Stations of the Cross in the sanctuary.

Holy Saturday - we will hold this service at 10:00am as we gather in preparation for the first celebration of Easter on Saturday evening at 6:30pm.  Many people, and especially our Altar Guild will be working hard to provide for the restoration of the sanctuary (from Maundy Thursday).  This brief, simple service will allow us to begin this day of transition with prayer and holy scripture.

Easter Vigil - In line with the Hebrew tradition that the new day begins at sundown, we will begin this liturgy at 6:30pm.  For many people this service is their most significant celebration of Easter, and we have intentionally made this service more inter-generational and interactive for the whole church family.  A reception will following in the Parish Hall. Please note the article elsewhere in this newsletter about the full liturgical program of activities planned for this service

The Sunday of Easter - will bring us together in the fullness of Christ's resurrection, both God's story and ours!

The Sacred Paschal Triduum are the three most solemn days of the liturgical year; Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil. These most holy days celebrate the Paschal Mystery, first, the passion, suffering, and death of the Lord Jesus, followed by his resurrection, the triumph of the holy cross, and Christ's decisive victory over sin and death. The Triduum is a single feast, the Paschal Mystery, celebrated over three days, and they are the three holiest days of the entire liturgical year.

Looking forward to sharing this journey and celebration with each of you!

Fr. Jeff
Interim Rector
SrWardenRptSenior Warden's Report
Lots of good stuff going at Grace Church. I hope everyone is enjoying the Lenten Breakfasts and the delicious blueberry pancakes, scrambled eggs and sausages. A big thank you goes out to our cooks, Jim Maniatis, pancake maker extraordinaire, John Heyse, the egg king and their side kicks, Les, Stan and Dave.
Our first family movie night was on Saturday, February 20th, hosted by Dave Eary and Stan Applegate and was lots of fun. Let's hope another one is in the works!
Please make sure you read the Grace Episcopal Church e-news. There are several church meetings that will be taking place to update parishioners on what's going on, i.e., review of the Church Health Survey that will take place on April 9th, Discernment Gatherings that will be held in the Parish Hall on April 17th, May 1st and May 22nd. Your attendance and participation will be greatly appreciated as your input is important to us as we move forward in the discernment process.
If you have any concerns or questions, please contact me or another member of the Vestry.
Susan E. Bremmer, Senior Warden
Junior Warden's Report
Hello Grace Parish Congregation,

My name is Les Marks and I am your Junior Warden , so I wanted to introduce myself and let you all know how I will serve the Parish in that capacity. I have been a member of Grace Parish for the past five years and attend the 8am service, working as a Eucharistic Minister, which is why there may be a few congregants from the 10am service who don't know me. To enhance my lay ministry work and grow in my spiritual knowledge, I have been attending the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, the Episcopal Seminary of the West in Berkeley for the past three years. In May I will complete my Certificate of Theological Studies program, and would be happy to discuss the school if anyone has an interest.
The Junior Warden at Grace Parish is responsible for looking after the building and grounds of the Parish, to make sure that all systems are operating properly and that the grounds are well kept and inviting to our congregants, facility renters and especially to prospective new members. As we are all well aware, the budget of our Parish is slim, so I will make a very conscious effort to approach the job in a fiscally responsible manner. It is inevitable that maintenance work will need to be done from time to time. As a maintenance item occurs, I will look at the best and most cost effective way to accomplish the work that needs to be dome. I already have some go-to-people that are willing to work with me on projects. I would like to invite anyone who has skills and talent and is willing to work with me and others, to talk with me, so I can add you to the list of go-to-people.
  • Removing two large branches that were blocking the north-side parking lot lights. Thanks wife Jeanne for your assistance.
  • Repaired an electrical circuit problem in the Parish Hall affecting the Admin and Rector's offices. This was accomplished with donated labor and a 50 foot piece of electrical cable. Thanks Stan Applegate and Jim Maniatis.
  • Installed wire mesh screens along the north side of the church to keep birds from building nests in the eaves. Thanks Dick Evans.
  • In the stained glass window light boxes, one 2 foot fluorescent fixture, one 4 foot fixture ballast and five 4 foot bulbs were replaced.  Again, thank you wife Jeanne for your assistance.
Les Marks, Jr. Warden

IntMinistryandSearchInterim Ministry and Search Process
We had an excellent meeting of the Vestry on February 17 and can share the following plans with the congregation regarding our Interim/Search process for Grace Church:

Our process of Discernment will continue with -

A Vestry Retreat on Saturday, March 5.  On the Sunday following (March 6) there will be a 10 Minute Update to the parish at the end of each service.

A Mutual Ministry Review of the Parish and Planning Event (based on the results of our church health survey) will take place on Saturday, April 9.  Again, on the Sunday following (April 10) there will be a 10 Minute Update to the parish at each service.

Three Discernment Gatherings, to take place between the 8am and 10am services, will be held in the Parish Hall on April 17, May 1, and May 22.  Each meeting will have different focus questions for discerning our future as a congregation. 

Your participation is welcomed and needed at all of these discernment activities.

Over the next several months your Vestry will be busy reviewing the materials for an effective clergy search process, with the goal of confirming our Search Committee at the June 8 Vestry meeting.

Your Vestry, and many other leaders in the congregation are working extra hard during this time of transition.  Your prayers and support are greatly appreciated and needed.

Any questions or concerns can be addressed to:

Susan Bremmer, Senior Warden (email
Rev. Jeff Frost, Interim Rector (revjeff@gracechurchmtz.org)
Contemporary Music Service and Guest Preacher
Our next Contemporary Music service at 10:00am will be on Sunday, March 13.  On that day we will also have a special guest preacher - The Rev. Canon Julia McCray-Goldsmith who is the Canon for Discipleship for the Diocese of California.  
SundaySchoolNewsEaster Vigil: An Inter-Generational and Interactive Celebration
Starting at 6:30pm on Saturday, March 26, we will have our first service in celebration of Easter. 

For our Easter Vigil this year there will be innovative and interactive stories told by our youth and other members of the congregation around the new fire of Easter in our courtyard as we hear of God's saving acts in history. 

We will move from this informal setting outside (or in the Parish Hall if it is raining) to a candle-light procession into the darkened church where the new fire will be brought to the altar.  The Easter acclamation - Alleluia, Christ is risen - will bring us into the light of God's resurrection love for each of us, as we renew our baptismal vows and celebrate Holy Communion together.

Things to Do and Bring:

Do - wear warmer clothing for sitting outside for the first 30 minutes of the service

Bring - a bell, any style or size, that can be rung by hand (some extras will be available in case you forget)

Do - plan to have wonderful and meaningful experience of liturgy

Bring - family and friends, both for the liturgy and the reception to follow in the Parish Hall

Do - know that plenty of outdoor seating will be provided in folding chairs both on the lawn and in the walkway

SundaySchoolNewsSunday School News
Godly Play Update
We begin with a thank you to those who made the Christmas Pageant so successful. In particular a thanks to Lynda Dyer for her costuming and the Youth Group for all their creative thought and hard work to make the presentation so very good.
Godly Play has moved into a phase known as "The Faces of Easter". Over the weeks in Lent we tell the story of Jesus. The sessions include his birth, visit to the temple, baptism, temptation in the dessert, work as a healer and teller of parables, the Last Supper, Palm Sunday, the Crucifixion and Resurrection. And then during the season of Easter we will retell a number of the parables that come to us in the bible. It is always interesting to see what insights the children will have on any given Sunday.
Marj Leeds
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.
Easter Egg Hunt
Once again plans are in the works for an Easter Egg Hunt immediately following the 10:00 a.m. service on Easter Sunday.
So be sure to invite your family and friends to join us. While the event is fun for the kids, it is likely even more fun for the adults who stay around to watch the celebration.
Youth Group

Youth Group meets monthly, usually the last Sunday of the month in the evening, and is open to young people in grades 8-12. Contact Luke Hodgson by email at youth@gracechurchmtz.org 

OtherParishMinistriesOther Parish Ministries
Service Personnel
To All Service Staff! A sincere heartfelt thank-you for all you do to support the Sunday Mass! I am so proud to work with such a dedicated, spiritual group of people. The new schedule is out for March and April 2016 with the inclusion of Holy Week. If anyone would like to volunteer as a Lector or any other service position please let me know and I will bring it up with the Rector. Happy Easter everyone and I hope to see you at all the fun events we have planned! I also want to say a big thank you to Reverend Jeff for all his hard work and professionalism (and patience)!
God Bless.
Stan Applegate
St. Christopher's Guild
We hope to have an exciting and productive year.  We are going to have a Luau on May 14.  There will be great food, lots of good drinks and we are looking for entertainment.  Get out your Hawaiian shirts, muumuus and beads for a fun evening. More details in upcoming bulletins.  Watch for news on a Tahoe Joe's scrumptuous dinner, date to be determined.
All women of the parish are members of St. Christopher's Guild and are invited to join us on the last Sunday of the month between services for our meetings.

Sandy Taylor, President
Men's Group
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 manly 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.
Dave Eary, Men's Group Coordinator
Altar Guild
The good news is we have a new member in the Altar Guild. Sally Applegate has joined the team and will be with Sandy Taylor. We are very happy to have her.
We are approaching Easter Season which is a busy time for us. As posted in Sunday's Bulletin, if you would like to donate an Easter Lily please complete the form that is in the Sunday Bulletin. It is a nice way to remember a loved one, or in thanksgiving for a special blessing. Suggested donation is $10. You can place the forms in the offering plate, or give them to me or one of the other Altar Guild members.
Palm Sunday is March 20th and if you would like to help make Palm Crosses please join us in the Parish Hall after the 10 o'clock service on March 13th and we will make the crosses. It is a fun time and the more hands we have the faster it will go.
On Holy Saturday, March 26th, we will be decorating the Church with the Lilies, and other flowers. We would welcome extra hands, so please join us if you can.
If anyone is interested in joining the Altar Guild or would like more information please see me.
Dena Maniatis, 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). 
"...And the turtle-dove's cooing will be heard in our land..." Song of Solomon 2:12b 
Calling all turtle-doves! Weekly choir rehearsals are held on Thursdays at 6:30 p.m., under the direction of our talented organist and music director, Gary Evans. The choir is working hard to provide an uplifting selection of anthems for Sunday services and beautiful music for Easter. If you are interested in joining the choir, please contact Gary Evans email 
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
  • 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 has contributed to the success of People Feeding People this 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.
EventsFellowshipEvents and Fellowship
St. Patrick's Dinner
When : Saturday, March 19, 5:30 p.m. Social Hour, 6:30 p.m. Dinner
Where : Grace Episcopal Church, 130 Muir Station Road, Martinez
Cost : $25 (general) $10 (children 12 and under)
Hosted by the Vestry, this is our 41st year of holding the St. Patrick's Dinner ... so you know it's a winner! We hope you will spread the word to your family, friends and neighbors to join us and for this festive event and delicious dinner of corned beef, cabbage, herbed potatoes, herbed carrots, beer bread, green Jell-O, and ice cream. Musical entertainment including an open mic Danny Boy Karaoke Challenge.
Tickets/Information: info@gracechurchmtz.org or call the church office (leave a message) (925) 228-6574. Marj Leeds and Susan Bremmer will be selling tickets on Sundays at church.  
Luau! Save the date and stay tuned for more details ...
When : Saturday, May 14,  time TBD
Where : Grace Episcopal Church, 130 Muir Station Road, Martinez 
Cost :  TBD
Get out the Hawaiian shirts and muumuus and get ready for an evening of fun and delicious food. Hosted by St. Christopher's Guild
5th Annual Men v Women Bocce Ball Tournament and Parish BBQ
When : Sunday, May 15, 12noon-4pm
Where : Rodgers-Smith Park, Grayson Rd., Pleasant Hill
Cost : free
In its fifth year, this is a family and fellowship fun event. We hope you will be able to join us and bring your friends along. Play on a team or be a cheerleader for the competition.  
Other Special Mentions
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 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.
Knives for Knaves
Thank you, all you Lucky shoppers.   With your help we were able to purchase new Knives for our Kitchen Knaves.  Six new shiny blades to do our slicing, dicing and paring.
Mary Canale
Missing Metal Pans for Chafing Sets
Several of the shallow metal pans that belong with the chafing service sets are missing. If you know their whereabouts, please help bring them back home. 
Many thanks!
Grace Episcopal Church | (925) 228-6574 | info@gracechurchmtz.org  www.gracechurchmtz.org/
130 Muir Station Rd.
P.O. Box 2338
Martinez, CA 94553