The Bell Tower News

Newsletter of Grace Episcopal Church 

 Martinez, California


May 2016 


Grace Episcopal Church | gracechurchmtz.org
In this Issue
Upcoming Events
Interim Ministry and Search Process
Includes Important Parish Meeting Dates 
Transition Minister Visitation 

Quick Links
Burchard Funeral - May 7, at 1:00pm
Vestry Meeting - May 11, at 6:30pm 
Luau! - May 14
Bocce Ball Tournament & BBQ - May 15
Sunday School Recognition - June 5 
Summer BBQs -  June 5 
                             July 10 
                             August 21
                             September 11
Rally Day! - September 11 
Worship Schedule
SUNDAYS 8:00 and 10:00 a.m.
Holy Eucharist Rite II
10:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist Rite II followed by Bible Study
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
One of the Major Feast days in the church year is the day of Pentecost.  In our tradition we will hear about the coming of the Holy Spirit, as promised by Jesus, as the disciples, and others, were empowered for the world-wide ministry of grace and reconciliation.

On Sunday, May 15, we will celebrate Pentecost at Grace Church; and invite you to the following activities:

* Wear red clothing items on that day to worship
* Contact Fr. Jeff via email if you are foreign language speaker and can be part of
  our multi-lingual reading from the Acts of the Disciples
* Enjoy and invite your friends to the contemporary music service at 10am
* Continue the celebration with our BBQ and Bocci Ball tournament at
  Rodgers-Smith Park ( see article in this newsletter)

Also, if you have a large van or SUV that can be available for about one hour on Saturday afternoon, May 14, please email Fr. Jeff as soon as possible.

The month of May brings a wide variety of activities at Grace Church.  Please read through this edition of the Bell Tower News for all of the great opportunities available!

Fr. Jeff
Interim Rector
IntMinistryandSearchInterim Ministry and Search Process
We had an excellent meeting of the Vestry on April 13; as we are currently reviewing the criteria for participation on the Search Committee, and our plans regarding our entire Interim/Search process at Grace Church:

Our process of Discernment continues with -

Two more Sunday morning Discernment Gatherings will take place between the 8am and 10am services (the first was held on April 17).  They will take place in the Parish Hall on 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.

We continue to be on track for soliciting participants in May and 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)
VisitationVisitation by Transition Minister - Denise Obando
On Sunday, May 22, we are blessed to have Denise Obando, Transition Minister for the Office of the Bishop of the Diocese of California, as our guest and speaker at both the 8:00am and 10:00am services.  Denise brings a wealth of expertise and a compassionate heart to the work of guiding congregations that are the transition process.

Please plan to attend worship that Sunday, and also attend our final Discernment Gathering at 9:00am in the Parish Hall, where Denise will be present.
ContempMusicContemporary Music Services
Our next Contemporary Music service at 10:00am will be on Sunday, May 15.  

On Sunday, June 12, following the 10:00am service those who may wish to are invited to remain in the sanctuary for a Conversation about our use of contemporary music in worship.  Some questions to ponder include: 
  • What has been your best experience in worship at our contemporary services (generally, the 3rd Sunday of each month)?
  • How can our contemporary music offerings be part of welcoming others and nourishing a deeper relationship with God in the community of faith?
SundaySchoolNewsSunday School News
Sunday School Recognition Day - June 5
This is the very special day when we honor our youngest members who make up our great Sunday School Program, as well as the teachers and doorkeepers that lead the way. During the 10:00 service the children will receive recognition for their participation and then, following the service, we will celebrate with our first BBQ of the summer! 
Godly Play Update
Over the weeks in Lent we told the story of Jesus. The sessions included his birth, visit to the temple, baptism, temptation in the desert, work as a healer and teller of parables, the Last Supper, Palm Sunday, the Crucifixion and Resurrection. And now  during the season of Easter we are retelling a number of the parables that come to us in the Bible. 
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.
YouthGroupYouth 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
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 May-June schedule appears below.  
God Bless.
Stan Applegate
St. Christopher's Guild
We are busy preparing for the Luau on May 14! It will be lots of fun with great food, refreshing drinks and exciting entertainment.  We encourage you to dress for comfort and with an Hawaiian flare. More information further down in this newsletter. 

All women of the parish are members of St. Christopher's Guild and are invited to join us for our monthly meetings.

Sandy Taylor, President
Men's Group
The Grace Church Men's Group enjoyed a new event in April with our first ever "Martinez Waterfront Butterfly Walk" hosted by our resident expert, John Heyse. We saw the male and female Cabbage White, the Anise Swallowtail, and Michael Applegate even spotted a Monarch. Afterwards, several of us joined together for lunch at the Creek Monkey restaurant downtown, while others moved on to the Earth Day activities at the John Muir House.
Our next meeting will be Sunday, May 15, for the annual Men vs. Women Bocce Ball Tournament and Picnic, at Rodgers-Smith Park, 730 Grayson Rd, Pleasant Hill. This event will start at 12 noon after church. On June 25, we will be having one of our wonderful manly breakfasts in the Parish Hall starting at 8:30 a.m.
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
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). 
Over the next month we will be experimenting with different configurations for positioning the piano and choir in the sanctuary.  This comes out of the need to find a new location for the piano (which is being used weekly) and the choir in order to better support the congregation in worship. Thank you, in advance, for your patience while we seek to find the best way(s) to include our musical offerings in our experience of worship at 10:00am.

The choir will be 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).
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 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
When : Saturday, May 14,  5:30 p.m. social hour, 6:30 p.m. dinner
Where : Grace Episcopal Church, 130 Muir Station Road, Martinez 
Cost :  $25 general; $10 age 6-12; age 5 and under free
Get out the Hawaiian shirts and muumuus, dress for comfort and an evening of fun and delicious food. Hosted by St. Christopher's Guild, this event will have something for everyone with games and contests, Polynesian dancers, and our very own Rev. Jeff and Ellen Frost playing their ukeleles. Invite your friends and neighbors! (Special Note: The Luau will be held outside on and around the lawn area. Bring extra layers in case the weather turns chilly.)
EventsFellowship5th Annual Men vs Women Bocce Ball Tournament and Parish Picnic
When : Sunday, May 15, 12noon-4pm
Where : Rodgers-Smith Park, 730 Grayson Rd., Pleasant Hill (between Taylor and Pleasant Hill Rd.)
Cost : free
In its fifth year, this is a popular, fun family and fellowship event. We are holding it earlier in the year (May 15) to avoid the intense July heat we have been experiencing in the past. Also, since the men have been winning the past few years, the men decided this year to not hold our usual annual practice session. Instead, we will be entering the May competition on the same footing as the women.
We want to emphasize that this event is open to the entire church family regardless of whether you want to play bocce ball. There will be other family games available to play for all ages, as well as plenty of seating and shade for just hanging out. The picnic area, located within a short distance from the parking lot, includes multiple picnic tables, shade trees, restrooms and a wonderful children's playground.

Following the 10:00 service at Grace, the picnic at Rodgers-Smith Park will start at 12noon, on Sunday, May 15. We have the facility from 12noon-4:00 p.m.

The Men's Group will provide the meat, buns and condiments. All who attend are encouraged to bring a side dish and your own beverages. We usually start eating by 1:00 and Bocce is usually over between 2:30 -3:00 p.m. All of us in the Men's Group hope to see you there for one of our parish's most popular events. 
730 Grayson Rd., Pleasant Hill
From Martinez, go South toward Pleasant Hill on Alhambra Ave. Note that Alhambra Ave. turns into Pleasant Hill Rd. at Taylor Blvd. Continue on Alhambra Ave/Pleasant Hill Rd. to Grayson (Shell station is on the right). Turn right onto Grayson. The park will be on the left before the next stop light (Taylor).
Summer BBQs at Grace
We will be firing up the grill for our summer BBQs over several Sundays beginning the first Sunday in June, following the 10:00 service.  Meat burgers, Veggie burgers, hot dogs, buns and condiments will be provided. Side dishes and desserts are potluck, so if you are able, bring something to share.  June 5, July 10, August 21, September 11. 
OtherOther Special Mentions
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 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