The Bell Tower News

Newsletter of Grace Episcopal Church 

 Martinez, California  

  March 2017 


Grace Episcopal Church | gracechurchmtz.org
In this Issue
Worship Schedule
Quick Links
Grace Church Online Calendar

Upcoming Parish Events 
March 18:  St. Patrick's Dinner 
April 15 & 16:  Festive receptions following Easter Vigil service and 10am service Easter Sunday. Easter Egg Hunt on April 16!
April 29:   Salad Luncheon & Fashion Show 
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

April 9: Palm Sunday
8:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist II
8:30 a.m. Corned Beef Hash Breakfast
10:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist II with Choir
April 13: Maundy Thursday 
  6:00 p.m. Soup Supper, foot washing, Holy Communion, and stripping of the altar  
April 14: Good Friday 
Stations of the Cross at 12 noon and Good Friday Liturgy at 7:00 p.m.
April 15: Holy Saturday   12 noon
April 15: Easter Vigil  7:00 p.m.
April 16: Easter Day 
8:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist II
10:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist II with Choir and
Egg Hunt following the service
InterimRector Reflections from the Rector, The Rev. Dr. Deborah O. White
I used to enjoy watching Pee Wee Herman's exuberant and educational television show, in which there was a segment called "Word of the Day."  Every time someone said the word of the day, everyone would scream and lights would flash and joy was expressed by all.  If there is a word that expresses my first two weeks at Grace Church, Martinez and deserves that kind of reaction, it is "Gratitude" (Yay)!  

I am so very grateful to my new family at Grace for the warm and generous welcome you have afforded me and my family since (and even before) I arrived.  From painting my office (thank you Stan!) to struggling with curtains and teaching me everything I need to know about the "front office" at Grace (God bless you Jennifer!) to cooking pancakes, hemming vestments, baking bread and playing with my dog Riptide, you have all made me feel comfortable and loved.  

I have not (just) been eating pancakes.  Our wonderful lay leaders and I have been attending to both "regular" and more long-term parish concerns.  I have had the opportunity to talk to and visit with both folks within and outside of the parish, gathering information and expertise that I hope will bring even more faith and fun to the parish. Stan accompanied me to downtown Martinez on Ash Wednesday where we distributed "Ashes to Go" to about 35 people.  The vestry and I had a wonderfully productive meeting last week and look forward to more productivity at our Vestry Retreat on May 6th.  I have been learning about the many important ways Grace parishioners minister to one another and to the community in order to determine with you the ways we might best grow with one another in our future together.

I am in my office on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays all day (unless I have appointments). Please email me at revdeb@gracechurchmtz.org so we can set up a time to get to know one another better - or simply drop by.  Thank you for calling me to be part of your communal faith journey.  I am so delighted to be your rector here at Amazing Grace!

Peace and love,
Rev. Deb

Rev. Deb and Sr. Warden Stan


A fresh coat of paint for the Rector's Office.

 From the Senior Warden, Stan Applegate
Hello Wonderful Congregation,

This is my first newsletter as Senior Warden and I am feeling very proud and grateful indeed. My motivation in accepting this job, as with everything I do, is to make people happy and that is what I am trying ot do.

I have to start by thanking the Search Committee for their time and hard work! We could not have hoped for a better outcome. I'd like to thank all of the Vestry Members who have served our church unselfishly through some extreme challenges to get where we are today. You handled each challenge as our name implies, with Grace! To Fr. Jeff and his wife Ellen and to all the Supply Clergy who brought new and fresh points of view during our time with no permanent Rector. The Service staff has been amazing. You made things run smoothly and I thank you for your professionalism. And my thanks to you, the members of our church family, for your devotion and dedication to Grace Church. Many hands work behind the scenes to make things operate so well.

I have been very fortunate to spend some quality time with Rev. Deb. She is a strong leader who is personable and easy to approach. My role now, as with all of you, is to make that "leap of faith" and put our trust in The Reverend Dr. Deborah White. I know in time you will come to love her as much as I already do. Change is always hard, but constant. The time has come to grow in every way, and, in the process, come closer to God! As my friend Dave said, we've come full circle and the future is bright! I wholeheartedly agree! 

As always, I'd like to give a huge shout out to our Military personnel, past and present, for your service! God bless and keep you all safe! 

Your sometimes humble servant,
Stan Applegate, Senior Warden 
DiffLentA Different Way to Observe Lent
If you are still struggling to figure out what to "give up" for Lent, take on something different instead!  "Lent Madness," the brainchild of two Episcopal priests, is a fun and informative way to make sure that you remember that we are living in the church's primary season of penitence and preparation.  Lent Madness combines the excitement of a sporting event with the opportunity to connect with some of the Christian saints who came before us.  Here's some information taken from the Lent Madness website at http://www.lentmadness.org/about/

"The format is straightforward: 32 saints are placed into a tournament-like single elimination bracket. Each pairing remains open for a set period of time and  people vote for their favorite saint. 16 saints make it to the Round of the Saintly Sixteen; eight advance to the Round of the Elate Eight; four make it to the Faithful Four; two to the Championship; and the winner is awarded the coveted Golden Halo. The first round consists of basic biographical information about each of the 32 saints. Things get a bit more interesting in the subsequent rounds as we offer quotes and quirks, explore legends, and even move in the area of saintly kitsch...
[Lent Madness has] inspired thousands of people along the way by forming an online community of people who are passionate about taking their faith but not themselves too seriously. Articles and spots about Lent Madness have appeared in the Washington Post, NPR, Huffington Post, FOXNews, NBC, USAToday, and even Sports Illustrated.
As Lent Madness continues to grow and evolve, what won't change is the essence of Lent Madness: allowing people to get to know some amazing people who have come before us in the faith and reminding one another that there's no reason for a dreary Lenten discipline. If this helps people connect with the risen Christ during this season of penitence and renewal, and have a bit of fun in the process, then it continues to be worthwhile."
KnowEpisChurchGet to Know Your Episcopal Church
Did you know that the reason we are called the Episcopal Church instead of the Church of England in America is because after the American Revolution we decided we wanted an independent church to go along with our independent nation?  Because the Church of England refused to consecrate bishops for our new, independent church, a representative from the American church sailed to Scotland and the Episcopal Church of Scotland agreed to consecrate bishops for us.  Thus, we took our name from them, becoming The Protestant Episcopal Church in the U.S.A.  (later changed to The Episcopal Church).  

A child of the U.S. democracy, the Episcopal Church (which now extends beyond U.S. borders) is a democratic organization, with layers of government that are similar to those of our civil authorities. Thus, rectors (like mayors), are responsible for the local church unit, the parish; bishops head up our dioceses, and a presiding bishop manages the national church.  We have courts who adjudicate disciplinary issues and representative bodies to act on behalf of all of our lay people.  On a local level, the Contra Costa Deanery communicates  the issues of our local churches to the Diocesan Convention.  

On Thursday evening, Rev. Deb, Barbara Brooks and Pat Hambly attended the Contra Costa Deanery meeting, where we were reminded of all of the wonderful things happening in our deanery and diocese.  We are a significant part of our diocese and it is a blessing to share in that ministry.  A great way to stay up on news and events in the diocese is to subscribe to the diocesan newsletter, DioBytes.  To do so, go to the diocesan website, www.diocal.org and click on the Sign-up Diocese Newsletter (at the bottom of the home page) and you will get a weekly e-newsletter with all of news fit to email. If you are interested in learning more about the broader Episcopal Church, go to www.theepiscopalchurch.org
OppsMinistryOpportunities for Ministry at Grace
We are so grateful for all of the wonderful ministries happening at Grace and we want everyone to know! In order to help Rev. Deb become more familiar with everything we do here and to keep our work organized, we are putting together "Ministry Teams" to help guide her in working with specific areas of ministry at Grace. Right now, we are looking for volunteers to help in the following areas:
Finances: Our Finance Manager, John Heyse, could use some assistance. If you like numbers and have some time, this would be of great service to the parish.
Evangelism: The dreaded "E" word! In true Episcopalian fashion, there will be no door-to-door proselytizing required! We are just getting together a group of folks to think about how to make the wonderful work of the parish better-known to the community. 
Education: If you are a life-long learner or a parent raising learners, please join us in planning our Christian formation curriculum.
If you are interested in any of these opportunities, please email Rev. Deb.
CommBreadA Word About the Communion Bread
We are currently using communion bread with organic wheat flour farmed at the Bishop's Ranch in Healdsburg. The wheat for the flour is grown using seeds blessed at the altars of participating parishes in the Diocese of California. This heirloom, stone milled flour is very digestible so people with gluten sensitivity (not celiac) find they can once again enjoy bread. Although participation in this program usually requires and annual fee, The Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin in San Francisco (where Rev. Deb was Interim Co-Rector) gifted Grace with the flour. 
Sunday School and Youth Group News
Godly Play
March 19 -   Contemporary Music Service - No Godly Play

March 26 - "Feast Day"

April 2 - "Jesus and the Twelve"   

Youth Group
Rev. Deb invites the Youth Group to a meeting on Sunday, March 26, at 9 a.m. to talk about possible youth activities between services.

Also on Sunday, March 26, the Youth Group will be going to the movies! Time TBD. Contact Marj Leeds ( email) for more information.

All youth in grades 8-12 are welcome! Future plans include a hike in nature and a service project of some type.
Parish Ministries
StChristophersSt. Christopher's Guild
We are very excited about the Salad Luncheon and Fashion Show that is planned for Saturday, April 29. The fashion show will feature ensembles from Dress Barn, modeled by our very own Grace ladies.   Here is the flyer with all the information.

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: March 26

Susan Bremmer, 2017 President
Fran Trant, 2017 Vice President
MensGroupMen's Group
The March get together of the Grace Church Men's Group will be a manly potluck breakfast, in the Parish Hall, on Saturday, March 25, beginning at 8:30 a.m.  
For more information, contact Dave Eary (email). 
WomenGrpWomen's Group
The next Women's Group adventure will be on May 13, beginning at 11:30 am. Wine Tasting and Potluck Picnic at Viano Vineyards, Martinez. Price is $10 per person (for wine tasting, and you get to keep your glass!)
Contact Connie Towey to RSVP or get further information. (925) 957-6096 or email.
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

St. Patrick's Dinner

When:  Saturday, March 18,  5:30 pm Social Hour,  6:30 pm Dinner

Tickets:  $17 / General;  $10 / Age 6-12;  Age 5 and under free

Reservations/Information:  Call (925) 228-6574 (church office) or email (church office)


Put on some green and come on over to Grace Church on Saturday night to enjoy a festive evening complete with a delicious dinner, friendly folks, and merry music! Dinner includes corned beef, cabbage, herbed potatoes, herbed carrots, beer bread, green jello and ice cream.  Invite your friends and neighbors. There will be raffle prizes!  Co-chairs Barbara Brooks and Lynda Dyer 


St. Patrick's Dinner Flyer 

Other Special Mentions
Plastic Forks, Spoons & Knives and Lucky Rewards Stamps
THANK YOU everyone. With your help I was able to redeem enough Lucky Rewards Stamps to get a can opener and waffle iron. They will be on the raffle table at the Spring Luncheon on April 29. I will continue to collect plasticware until the end of March. Then you can start to save them at home until a later date.  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