The Bell Tower News

Newsletter of Grace Episcopal Church 

 Martinez, California  

  November 2016 


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 
Nov. 24 - No service on Thanksgiving Day 

Quick Links
3rd Annual 
      Chili Cook-Off! 
This Saturday - November 19 
5:30pm Social Hour 
6:30pm Dinner and Judging 
This is a FREE fellowship event for Grace Church parishioners, family and friends!   To enter a chili for the competition ($10 entry fee), contact Dave Eary no later than Friday, November 18.
Email or phone (925) 370-6024
Free Christmas Concert
Sunday, December 4
Diablo Regional Concert Band
St. Christopher's
Christmas Luncheon and Bazaar
Tuesday, December 6
Italian Dinner
Saturday, December 10
A Prayer for the Rector Search
Almighty God, giver of every good gift; Look graciously on your Church, and so guide the minds of those who shall choose a rector for this parish, that we may receive a faithful pastor, who will care for your people and equip us for our ministries; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.  [BCP p 818]

Your prayers are especially requested for our Vestry as they meet with the clergy-applicants:  Give them, and us, an open and inquiring heart, to listen and respond in faith, where You would lead the way. In Jesus' name. 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  Marj Leeds  Vacant  
VestryVestry Highlights
The Vestry gathered on Wednesday, November 9, for our regular monthly meeting.  The following are some highlights:

* We are on track with our budgeting in both our income and expenses for 2016

* The annual parish audit took place on November 16

* Reviewing the attendance figures for the past several years, it was decided that there would not be a service on Thanksgiving Day this year; and that there will be one service, on Sunday, December 25 (Christmas Day) at 9:00am

* Gratitude was expressed for all the work being done to maintain the buildings and grounds; and, especially, the removal of the pine needles from the sanctuary and parish hall roofs

* The Vestry held an executive session to prepare for interviewing the Rector candidates
InterimRectorFrom the Interim Rector
The Rev. Jeffrey L. Frost
Dear Parish Family:

This coming Sunday, November 20, marks the end of the church year, with the celebration of Christ the King.  The lessons for the day have a compelling dissonance, as we read in Colossians that we are to "joyfully give thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light"; and at the same time re-experience in the Gospel of Luke the story of Jesus' crucifixion.

In the midst of the noise and confusion of the present times how are we, as people of faith, to proclaim - as it states in the first verse of Psalm 46 - "God is our REFUGE and STRENGTH, a very present HELP in trouble" (emphasis added).

Beginning on Sunday, November 27, and for the season of Advent here at Grace Church, we will be refocusing our experiences in Sunday worship to reflect these themes of REFUGE, HELP and STRENGTH -

* Instead of our traditional song of praise at the beginning of the service, we will use the Kyrie (which, translated into English, means: Lord, have mercy).

* We will use Form 1 of the Prayers of the People, which invites a more detailed examination and response of the needs of the community and the world.

* We will also use Eucharistic Prayer B with a focus on Jesus as the "Savior and Redeemer of the world".

* One more significant change will be to offer a station for HEALING PRAYER at both the 8am and 10am services each Sunday in Advent. After coming forward to the altar to receive Holy Communion (or a prayer in blessing), you are invited, if you so wish, to come to the NE corner of the sanctuary, next to the lit Paschal candle, were someone will pray with you and anoint you with oil for healing.

Usually, I would invite everyone to an "anxious" Advent; but there seems to be plenty of stress already about the status of our community, the nation, and the world.  So instead, I will invite you to an "eager" Advent; that with expectancy in our hearts, confident of God's goodness and love, the fullness of Jesus, as savior and redeemer will come amongst us and be with us.

Fr. Jeff
Interim Rector
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IntMinistryandSearchSearch Committee
Dave Eary John Lee Melissa RodrigueKennedy Ron Luttringer Sally Hanson Judi Richardson Frank Macan Les Marks
Thank you so much!
To our incredible, devoted friends who served us so well on the Search Committee and gave so much of their time and energy to the important work set before them ... WELL DONE!   
(left to right) Dave Eary, John Lee (Chair), Melissa Rodrigue-Kennedy (Clerk), Ron Luttringer, Sally Hanson (Co-Chaplain), Judi Richardson, Frank Macan, Les Marks (Vestry Liaison).
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SundaySchoolNewsSunday School and Youth Group News
Godly Play Update
Twenty three people in all - the children of the Church, and a number of adults too, had a fun "All Hallows Eve" celebration October 30th. There was a great mix of the generations who had fun together decorating cookies, playing games and generally laughing it up. Everyone agreed that this was a great time.
As Advent comes upon us the Godly Play Program will be changing too. "The Holy Family" will be presented on November 27th and Advent Calendars will be provided to all in attendance. On December 4th we will be learning about Saint Nicholas. And then the next two Sundays, the 11th and 18th, will be reserved for preparations for the Christmas Pageant. If you have children you would like to have in the pageant, please let Marj Leeds know so we can be certain they are written into the script!
YouthGrpYouth Group Update
On October 23rd the Youth Group gathered together over 100 grocery items in what might be described as a "scavenger hunt for the hungry". They broke into 2 teams and visited the homes of various Parishioners who donated food items to their efforts. A special thanks goes out to the Parishioners who donated and our 2 Drivers - Jess Senn and Jeremy Lowe. The Group will next meet on Sunday, December 4th to write our annual Christmas Pageant and then visit the local live Nativity on December 18th.
 Parish Ministries
StChristophers St. Christopher's Guild
Plans are underway for our annual Christmas Luncheon, a community favorite and long-standing tradition here at Grace. Mary Canale is chair of this event.  On behalf of St. Christopher's Guild, Mary is extending an invitation to the parish family to bake cookies, nut breads, or your favorite holiday treat that can be sold at the Country Kitchen table. Please contact JoAnn Lee [phone: 925.933.6809 or email JoAnn] if this is something you can help with.  The ladies are also asking for donations of items that can be sold at the White Elephant table. Start looking through your closets and cupboards and bring your White Elephants to church.  Leave them on the long table under the bulletin board in the parish hall, anytime between now and December 1.

BEAN PARTY this Sunday (Nov. 20) between services
(Rose Bowl Soup Mix assembly line)

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: November 27
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).
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 is posted on the bulletin board in the Parish Hall.  Many thanks to those who have signed up to provide refreshments following the 10:00 services. There are still a few openings between now and Christmas, so please check it out. Enlist a fellow parishioner to co-host with you.  It's a great way to get to know each other!   
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EventsFellowshipEvents and Fellowship
DRCBFreeFree Christmas Concert at Grace
Sunday, December 4, 3:00 p.m.
Featuring Diablo Regional Concert Band, directed by Cora Martens

This concert is open to the public and admission is free. Donations will be gratefully accepted at the door. A reception with light refreshments will be held in the Parish Hall following the concert.

ChristmasLuncheonSt. Christopher's Guild Christmas Bazaar & Luncheon
Date:        Tuesday, December 6 
Time:        Doors open at 11:15 a.m. for earlybird shopping; Lunch served at 12 noon 
Location:  130 Muir Station Rd., Martinez
Tickets:     $15 per person
Contact:    Mary Canale  925.682.0660
This popular fundraiser, hosted by the women of Grace Church, is open to the public. This year's Christmas Bazaar & Luncheon will include a variety of vendors including Scarves by Elaine, and books by church authors Barbara Brooks, Elizabeth Richards, and Thom Kolesa (Leslie Kolesa's father), as well as the White Elephant table, and our own Country Kitchen baked goodies and featuring the famous Rose Bowl Soup Mix for sale.  Click here for flyer.

Stop Hunger Now Meal Packaging Event
Save the date - Saturday,  January 28, 2017 - when we will be hosting a Stop Hunger Now meal packaging event at Grace. Lynda Dyer and Susan Bremmer are taking the lead in putting this together. More information will appear in upcoming newsletters.  Click here to go to the Stop Hunger Now website to learn more about this organization.

Other Special Mentions
Lucky Stores Rewards Stamps Program
Lucky shoppers, please consider donating your collectible stamps to the church to acquire the next promotional offer from Lucky Stores, to be used for raffle prize or a useable tool for the kitchen.  Mary Canale is the stamp collector. (925) 682-0660.
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