The Bell Tower News

Newsletter of Grace Episcopal Church 

 Martinez, California  

  October 2016 


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

Special Services in October  
October 16  - contemporary music ( Renew! songbook) at 10:00 a.m. 
Parish Events in October  
October 2 - Blessing of the Animals
October 9 - Free Concert 
October 15 - Women's Group 
                            Breakfast & Bunco
October 17 - Men's Group 
                            Mon Night Football & BBQ
October 22 - Oktoberfest!
October 23 - Youth Group  
                            Food Scavenger Hunt
October 30 - All Hallows' Eve Party  

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  Marj Leeds  Vacant  
Vestry Highlights
Due to illness, injury, surgery and travel, the Vestry was unable to meet in September. The next meeting will be Wednesday, October 12, at 6:30 p.m.
InterimRectorFrom the Interim Rector
The Rev. Jeffrey L. Frost
Dear Parish Family:

In a few short weeks we will mark a special celebration in the life of the church - All Saints Day.  This, coincidentally, will be the day of our in-gathering of financial pledges in support of the parish for 2017.  It seems very appropriate that these two activities should come together since we are called, as Christians, to "work and pray" together.  On Sunday, November 6, we will pray for the saints of the Church, past, present and future; and we will dedicate our lives (and financial gifts) to the work of sharing the good news of the kingdom of God with all people.

Please note all of the other activities and ministry opportunities that are available at Grace Church for your participation - for prayer and for work in sharing your gifts.  We are richly blessed to be a blessing, and I see each of you contributing from your abundance in Christ, who gives us all things so richly!

Fr. Jeff
Interim Rector
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IntMinistryandSearchFrom the Search Committee
Dave Eary John Lee Melissa RodrigueKennedy Ron Luttringer Sally Hanson Judi Richardson Frank Macan Les Marks

The Search Committee: (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).
Applications To Be Our Next Rector Received
The Grace Church Rector position was listed across the Diocese and the USA in mid-August.  On September 16, we received many complete applications from those who were enthusiastic to be considered for the position. The Search Committee has been reviewing the Letters of Introduction, Resumes, answers to essay questions and the Office of Transition Ministry Clergy Portfolios. That is a lot of information to consider for each candidate.  On October 1, the Search Committee met to narrow the list of candidates to those we wish to continue the dialogue for mutual discernment to be our next Rector.  That dialogue will consist of an interview using SKYPE video conferencing. We hope to complete that element of the process in the next few weeks.  We will then confer as a committee to decide on those candidates which we wish to visit at their home parishes.  That personal visit will be to further understand their approach to Liturgy, Preaching and how they might be a part of our Parish Family. The Search Committee will break into groups of three for that stage.  Scheduling can often be problematic so it is difficult to predict when that phase will be done. But when it is complete, we will put forward anywhere from two to four candidates for the Vestry to meet with here in Martinez and make a final decision. More to come on that in the future.  We wish to be transparent as we can and will keep you up to date on our activities.  But as a reminder, we are limited as to what we can discuss to ensure confidentiality for all of our applicants.  Thank you for keeping us in your daily prayers.
John Lee for the Grace Church Search Committee
StewardshipStewardship Drive

Cottage Meetings Starting Soon!

Invitations have now been sent to members of our parish to attend a Cottage Meeting as part of our annual appeal in stewardship with the parish.  Please respond to your Host, as noted in your invitation - to confirm your presence, or to arrange to attend a different meeting.  If you did not receive an invitation and would like to attend a Cottage Meeting, please contact Marj Leeds via email as soon as possible or phone her at 925.812.6258 

Our stewardship program for this year will culminate in a combined worship service on November 6 at 10:00 a.m. for our Commitment Sunday.  

DioceseAround the Deanery and the Diocese
The Diocese of California is organized into six deaneries (a group of congregations). The Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, and Southern Alameda deaneries cover their respective counties; the Peninsula Deanery consists of all of San Mateo County and a small portion of Santa Clara County. Grace Church Martinez is in the Contra Costa Deanery. 

We are asked to continue to keep Canon Stefani in our prayers as she enters another round of chemo-therapy.  [The Rev. Cn. Stefani Schatz is Canon to the Ordinary,  on the staff of Bishop Marc Andrus.] 
The Expanding Horizons Capital Campaign is going very well with very successful results in several parishes.  The Bishop has also obtained pledges for some very large gifts.  Congregations are urged to consider participation in what promises to be a great success.
Diocesan Convention is
Friday October 14 and Saturday October 15.  There will be bi-lingual evensong on Thursday the 13th with the Bishop of Cuba in attendance.

Invite - Welcome - Connect
A Contra Costa Deanery Day with Mary Foster Parmer
Saturday, October 29, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
St. Alban's and St. George's Episcopal Churches, 301 E. 13th St., Antioch
RSVP - Jeanne Virgilio ecejeanne@yahoo.com; Carol Richardson 925.918.0161 or cmrich3@gmail.com 
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SundaySchoolNewsSunday School and Youth Group News
Godly Play Update
Godly Play is back in session. The lessons leading up to Advent will concentrate on the story of God's people from the Old Testament including Abraham, Sarah, Jacob, Ruth, Joseph, Moses, and Samuel. Then, with the arrival of Advent, we will be moving on to stories about the Holy Family, a lesson on St. Nicholas, and preparation for the Christmas Pageant.

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, please visit godlyplayfoundation.org.
YouthGrpYouth Group Plans

Here are upcoming youth group plans for the remainder of the year -

October 23 - Food Scavenger Hunt - Youth will meet at the church at 6:30 p.m. and divide into 2 groups.  They will then be driven to Parishioners' homes to collect the food on a list (canned vegetable, soup, etc). The first group to get all the food is the winner! We will be looking for Parishioners in the Martinez area who are willing to donate food when the youth knock on their door.

November 13 - Write the Christmas Pageant - Youth will meet at the church at 6:30 p.m. to write the Christmas pageant to be performed on Christmas Eve. Work has already begun on this and it promises to be fun.

December 18 - Live Nativity - Youth will visit the live Nativity in Martinez that is sponsored by a local church. In the event of bad weather the group will bake Christmas cookies to go to the homeless.

The Grace Church Youth Group meets the last Sunday of each month from 6:30-8:00 p.m. during the school year, for Jr. High, Sr. High youth and their friends.

Our youth events have included field trips to local area sites, Six Flags, "Nightwatch" overnight program at Grace Cathedral, and simply getting together for pizza and fellowship.

We subscribe to the philosophy that peer support is essential to any successful youth group. This is why our children have grown from nine-year old acolytes to high school age acolytes and continue as active members of the Youth Group. 
We continue our search for a new Youth Minister and look forward to working with our new Rector in this effort. Feel free to contact youthgroup@gracechurchmtz.org about special events or if you have questions. 
OutreachOutreach Updates
Loaves and Fishes Culinary Program Awarded $10K Grant
Thanks to the efforts of Beth Ilog, Rev. Jeff Frost, Loaves and Fishes and Chef Sally Van Slyke, we are happy to report that Episcopal Charities awarded Loaves and Fishes of Contra Costa County a 2016 Action Network grant of $10,000! This grant is for the new culinary training program at Loaves and Fishes, which is designed to help youth and adults acquire job and life skills. In the notification letter, Kathleen Piraino, Executive Director of Episcopal Charities, stated that "...this is the first year of a potential 3-year grant... We look forward to supporting the important work Loaves and Fishes is doing in Contra Costa County."
Applying for any grant involves a LOT of work, attention to detail, and patience. This was a commendable undertaking, and obviously well worth it!  Loaves and Fishes is an important part of our community and provides much needed support to the less fortunate, so we are especially excited and grateful that the new culinary program will get a boost from this generous grant. 
A Thank You Letter from Martinez Junior High School Principal DeFrancesco
     " As the principal of Martinez Junior High School, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your very generous donation to the students of our school of backpacks filled with school supplies. I cannot express what a tremendous help it is to our school to have these school supplies available for students who cannot affort them. Our students will truly benefit from your generosity.
     It is because of organizations like yours, with your consideration and support that make Martinez the wonderful community that it is. We will definitely make good use of all these items.
     Our school truly appreciates your thoughtfulness and generosity."
                                                               Michael DeFrancesco, Principal 
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OtherParishMinistriesParish Ministries

ServicePersonnel Service Personnel

Heartfelt thanks 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 September-October schedule appears below.  The November-December schedule will be distributed later this month. 

God Bless.

Stan Applegate 

Service Personnel Rota September-October  

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.

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: October 30

Sandy Taylor, President
MensGroup Men's Group
The last Men's Group planned event for 2016 --- Monday Night Football (Jets vs Cardinals) and BBQ, Monday, October 17, at Dave Eary's house beginning at 5:00 p.m. and ending after the game. 

Dave will provide the grill and hamburgers, sausages, hot dogs, veggie burgers, turkey burgers, buns and condiments. Please feel free to bring a side dish for all to enjoy if you would like. This event has been a great success in the past and a lot of fun. As always, feel free to invite your friends.

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.    
WomensGroup Women's Group
Breakfast and Bunco!  Saturday, October 15, 9:00 a.m. - 12 noon-ish.    Bunco is an easy-to-learn dice game and lots of fun.  If you've never played it before, don't let that stop you from coming to this play date. You won't be alone and everything will be explained.  If you can toss dice, you have the skillset for Bunco!  We will start at 9:00 a.m. with a potluck breakfast. Please bring something to share on the food table (if you are able), and $3 to add to the Bunco game prize pot. Coffee, tea and juice will be provided. Feel free to invite a friend!  All are welcome. To RSVP or if you have questions, please contact Mary Canale (925) 682-0660 or Jennifer Sabroe (925) 383-8386 (voice or text)
On September 17 a number of Grace women met up at Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front Visitor Center, a National Historic Park, in Richmond. After a self-tour, including two excellent historical videos, and browsing the gift shop, the group enjoyed lunch at Assemble Restaurant, located just across the walkway.  Heading home, a few of the ladies took the long way out to visit Red Oak Victory, docked at Shipyard 2.  
Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front Visitor Center
Left to Right: Elizabeth Richards, Ellen Frost, Fran Trant, Ellie Wynn, Sally Applegate, Jennifer Sabroe, Pam Saw. Not in the picture: Mary Canale, Michelle Cobb and her friend Margaret.
Preparing to board Red Oak Victory

On board Red Oak Victory

watching a cargo ship leaving.

AcolytesAcolyte Program 
All Grace youth 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
AltarGuild Altar Guild
The Altar Guild is a group of volunteers who work in teams, whose ministry is to care for the altar, vestments, vessels, and altar linens. Teams alternate each week, and prepare the sanctuary for services, and clean up afterwards. The Altar Guild is experiencing a shortage of volunteers and would like to hear from anyone interested in joining or learning more about this important ministry.  Training is patiently paced for each individual. 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). 
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).
Food 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. 
BookCartBook Cart
You are invited to browse through the cart of used books and help yourself for your reading pleasure, or to share with friends. Free-will donations are gratefully accepted, with proceeds passed along to the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, in Berkeley, for seminarians. 
BookGrpBook Group
Do you like to read? Do you need motivation to read more often?  Would you like to be a part of a discussion group?  We welcome you to join us! The Book Group meets on the 3rd Wednesday of the month, at 6:30 p.m.  Depending on the size of our group, we meet either at the Parish Hall for a potluck dinner or at Smooth Season restaurant at Muir Station Shopping Center.  
October 19: After You, by Jojo Moyes. This is a sequel to Me Before You, that we read last month.
November 16: The Time In Between, by Maria Duenas.  
If you'd like to know more about the Book Group or would like to come to our next meeting, please feel free to email the church office or to talk to one of us: Fran Trant, Pat Hambly, Phyllis Weston, Melissa Rodrigue-Kennedy, Ellie Wynn, Wendy Heyse, Jennifer Sabroe.
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 Pops Concert at Grace
Sunday, October 9, 2:00 p.m.
Featuring Diablo Regional Concert Band, directed by Cora Martens

We are very excited to be hosting our local community band - once again - for a free concert. As with past concerts, the program will be filled with many popular and familiar musical selections. On the program will be a mixture of pops and patriotic: Air Mobility March, A Crazy Mixedup Opera, American Celebration Music from the Incredibles, California Dreamin', New York 1927, Riders for the Flag, Seranata, A Tribute to Henry Mancini, Themes Like Old Times.  

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.

Save the date for the free Christmas Concert at Grace, on Sunday, December 4, at 3pm! 
Date:     Oktoberfest celebration design with Bavarian hat and autumn leaves.     Saturday, October 22 
Time:       5:30 p.m. Social Hour,  6:30 p.m. Dinner
Cost:        $25 General, $10 Youth 12 and under
Location: 130 Muir Station Rd., Martinez
Tickets/Reservations: Susan Bremmer 925.316.6076 
Music, Raffle, and Delicious Food!
Dinner menu includes: Variety of Sausages, Choucroute Garnie à l'Alsacienne (stewed pork shoulder), Sauerkraut, Rotkohl (red cabbage), German potato salad, and Dessert.

AllHallowsEvePartyAll Hallows' Eve Party
Bring a child (or two or three) and come join us on Sunday, October 30, from 2:00 until 3:30 p.m. for our annual All Hallows' Eve Party. Costumes are encouraged and lots of fun activities are being planned including donut chases and cookie decorating.   If you can provide a snack or want to help out with the fun please connect with Marj Leeds to make arrangements.
ChristmasLuncheonChristmas 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 year's Christmas Bazaar & Luncheon will include vendors from Tupperware, Pampered Chef, 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.

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.

BlessingAnimalsRaining Cats and Dogs!

Last Sunday's Blessing of the Animals service provided a
double blessing -- of the animals and of the earth! 
Just as a number of parishioners were gathering with their animal companions for the Liturgy of St. Francis, the first real rain of the season came down. It was a happy surprise, and after a few adjustments, Fr. Jeff presided over a wonderful service celebrating a variety of pets.

OtherOther 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