The Bell Tower News

Newsletter of Grace Episcopal Church 

 Martinez, California


  September 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 September  
September 18 - contemporary music ( Renew! songbook) at 10am 
Upcoming Parish Events  
September 11 - Rally Day! & BBQ
September 11 - Backpack packing
September 15 - Deanery Meeting
September 17 - Women's Group Outing
September 17 - Men's Group Breakfast   
October 2 - Blessing of the Animals
October 9 - Free DRCB Concert
*October 22 - Oktoberfest!   (*Save the date - more info in bulletin announcements and October Newsletter) 

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
On August 10, the Vestry had a very productive meeting.  Here are the highlights:
* Search Committee documents were approved by the Vestry so that the Rector position could be posted beginning August 16.
* The 2016 Budget continues to be on track with income and expenses.  An additional $600 was added to the budget for our regular advertising expenses.
* Gratitude was expressed for those who have contributed to our special fundraising appeal for the removal of the dead/diseased trees on the SW corner of the church property.
* It was decided that the piano will reside in the back of the sanctuary.  Extra seating will be added as needed for special worship services.
* Changes in the staffing of the Bishop's Office were noted, with The Rev. Julia McCray-Goldsmith accepting a new position in Portland, Oregon; and The Rev. Eric Metoyer temporarily assuming the duties of the Canon to the Ordinary while The Rev. Canon Stefani Schatz continues her medical leave with treatment for cancer.
* Planning continues for one service on Sunday, September 11, at 10am for Rally Day
InterimRectorFrom the Interim Rector
The Rev. Jeffrey L. Frost
Dear Parish Family:

This edition of the Bell Tower News marks a transition point in our interim relationship together. 

As you will read elsewhere in this newsletter, we are now receiving the names of candidates; and will shortly be discerning whom we might call to be our next Rector. 

In the past, it used to be that a congregation would be "on hold" until a new clergy would arrive.  Fortunately, that has not been the case at Grace Church, as we have worked hard to continue and more deeply connect in our shared ministries together. 

One image that I have noticed, which has particularly resonated in discussions with the congregation, is viewing the parish as "a circle of hope and care," with each person doing their part. What will it mean to bring a new minister into this circle?  How can this new relationship be nurtured so that each of us will grow closer to God and one another? 

As we move through this part of the search process, we are intentionally praying in our worship services.  Here is the post communion prayer that we are using while we receive applications:

Almighty Father, we thank you for feeding us with the holy food of the
Body and Blood of your Son, and for uniting us through him in the fellowship
of your Holy Spirit. We thank you for raising up among us faithful servants
for the ministry of your Word and Sacraments. We pray for that person whom
you would have us call as our next Rector. May they be to us an effective
example in word and action, in love and patience, and in holiness of life.
Grant that, together, we may serve you, now and always, rejoicing in your
glory; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Thank you for your individual prayers in faithfulness to God and Grace Church!

Fr. Jeff
Interim Rector
Special Special Fundraising Appeal. Since our initial plea in last month's Bell Tower News, it has been determined that the number of pine trees on the South-West corner of the property that are diseased/dying has risen to seven (7).  The good news is that, as a result of the tremendous response to last month's plea (we received over $10,000!), we are now able to have all of the trees professionally removed.  Our thanks to everyone who has contributed so generously! Any extra funds will be held in reserve for further landscaping needs. 
Special thanks to Brian Gates, owner of Expert Tree Service, and his hard working, professional crew who certainly lived up to the company's name in removing seven pine trees in one day!
BEFORE                                             AFTER
Les Marks and Stan Applegate
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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).


Accepting Applications for a Rector
On August 16th , the Grace Church Rector position was officially listed as open by the Diocese. The deadline for applicants is Friday, September 16. At that time, the Search Committee will begin evaluating all applicants with the goal of presenting two to four outstanding candidates to the Vestry for final discernment.
The Search Committee had developed several documents which were approved by the Vestry on August 10th. The first is a Portfolio of answers to standard questions posed by the National Church's Office of Transition Ministry. That is called the Office of Transition Ministry Parish Portfolio . This document represents a great deal of prayerful work on the part of the Committee. We used the discernment gatherings as well as the combined Vestry / Search Committee Retreat in creating written responses.
The second document was summary for all applicants as to the application process, qualities we seek in a Rector and asking some essay questions as to how to they might be qualified to help accomplish our four main goals. That is now two separate documents called the Rector Invitation and the Application Instructions .
All of these documents prepared by the Search Committee are available for you to review by clicking on the underlined document name above or going to the Grace Church WEB site at gracechurchmtz.org , selecting ' Rector Search ' and then clicking on the documents listed there. Also there are some of the notes and handouts from our previous activities in the process of making the best decision for calling a new Rector to lead our Parish.
We ask your prayers for discernment by all involved in this process. We are expectantly waiting and preparing for the celebration of the arrival of a dynamic leader who will join us for a new chapter of ministry as a family of faith, loving and serving by God's Grace.
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StewardshipStewardship Drive

Fall Appeal in Stewardship

As mentioned in the August newsletter our Vestry has decided that we will have a "cottage meeting" style program for our annual appeal in stewardship.  This means that we will be organizing host homes where we can gather in a more informal and intimate setting; to reflect on the importance of our spiritual practice of living and giving with gratitude, hear from our own members about how stewardship has influenced their life of faith, and inform you about the financial needs of the parish for the coming year.  At that time, you will also be invited to complete a pledge card, indicating your financial support for the parish in 2017. 

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

Sept112016September 11 Special Service and Fellowship

There will be lots going on at church September 11, and we look forward to a day full of special worship, recognition, food, fun and fellowship. 


One service at 10am (no 8am service) which will include Holy Eucharist, Procession of Acolytes, Blessing of the Backpacks, and return of the Choir.


Rally Day! fun will commence after the service with organized games and activities for kids of all ages.


BBQ Lunch. The last BBQ of the summer with burgers, hot dogs, grilled veggies, condiments, and beverages provided for all our guests.  Side dishes are provided potluck, so if you are able, please bring a side dish or dessert to share.


Backpack Stuffing.  Helping hands led by Beth Ilog will gather after the service to help fill the 60 backpacks with school supplies.   


This is our annual celebration to kick off the new school and catch up with friends, new and old, as another summer comes to an end. This is a great opportunity to invite family, friends, neighbors, and yourselves!

DeaneryMtgGrace Church to Host Deanery Meeting
On Thursday, September 15, we will be hosting the Contra Costa Deanery for dinner and our regular business meeting prior to Diocesan Convention (to be held on Friday and Saturday, October 13 and 14, at Grace Cathedral).  Please watch for further announcements about how you can help host our Deanery Clergy and Delegates.
JrWardenReportJunior Warden Report
Les Marks

There is never a dull day at Grace Episcopal Church for the Junior Warden. In mid-July the storage shed door was smashed in, but as far as we could tell nothing was taken. Martinez PD investigated and assigned a case number and asked me to call if we did determine that anything had been taken. Thank you Jimmy Maniatis for spending one full day with me replacing the door.


Our squeaking bell in the tower has been lubricated and now rings clear with no background squeak. I rethreaded the rope on the bell wheel as it had come off. That is the second time the rope has come off the wheel in three months. Those who ring the bell on Sunday mornings, please pull the rope "GENTLY" -- it is not much fun climbing up in to tower to rethread the rope on the wheel.
As many of you probably noticed, our annual weed abatement to reduce the risk of fire on the hillsides has been completed. Yes the goats came and did their efficient job and it appears they got fat "tummies." Thank you Dick Evans for arranging that and making it happen.
Stan Applegate is arranging to have 7 pine trees that are either dead or dying from a beetle infestation remove from the backside of the church and parish hall. By the time you read this, hopefully they will be gone. Thanks Stan and those generous parishioners who funded this project.
Due to planned family activities, I will not be available for most of September. Father Jeff would like to have several work days in September, I would ask that one or several people step forward to work with Father Jeff to plan and coordinate the work days. Please contact Father Jeff if you are willing to do this.
SundaySchoolNewsSunday School News
~ Godly Play resumes September 18 ~

Godly Play

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.
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.

God Bless.

Stan Applegate 

Service Personnel Rota September-October  

StChristophers St. Christopher's Guild
Our Tahoe Joe's fundraiser on August 14 was a great success. We raised $565!  Thank you very much for your participation, generosity, and support.

At the August meeting we began planning for our annual Christmas Luncheon, a community favorite and long-standing tradition here at Grace. Mary Canale is chair of this event. If you have questions or would like to help out, she is the one to contact.  Save the date: Tuesday, December 6.  Plans are in early stages - stay tuned in weeks to come for more 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: September 25.

Sandy Taylor, President
MensGroup Men's Group
The next event for the Men's Group will be a bowling outing at Pacheco Lanes at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, September 17. All men and guests are welcome. If you have any questions concerning the Grace Church Men's Group, please contact Dave Eary at (925) 370-6024 or send an email.      

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

WomensGroup Women's Group

Saturday, September 17, 10am-2pm 

Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historic Park and lunch at Assemble Restaurant.  Feel free to invite a friend along! All are welcome.  Admission to the park/museum is free, however, attendees will need to bring money for lunch. For those who want to carpool, meet at the church parking lot at 9:15am.  If you would like to be a carpool driver, please indicate in your RSVP.  To RSVP or if you have questions, please contact Fran Trant (925) 586-6062 or Fran's email
Click this link to go to the park's website   Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front  
From USA TODAY Rosie the Riveter grandma inspires NASA granddaughter. Click the link to view the article. http://usat.ly/1MFokT6
If you have general questions about the Women's Group, feel free to contact Jennifer Sabroe via the church's email or leave a message at the church office (925) 228-6574.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Breakfast and Bunco, August 13, 2016
Photo from our get together in August. Left to right around the table: Dianne Ostermiller, Leslie Kolesa, Pam Saw, Evelyn Hodgson, Dena Maniatis, Karly Maniatis, Mary Canale, Ellie Wynn, Gretchen Vander Kamp, Karen Lowe, Betty Kean, Evonne Siguenza, Sally Applegate, Fran Trant. Not in the picture, but present: Sandy Taylor, Meghan Taylor, Sharon Woolard, Elizabeth Richards, Jennifer Sabroe, and Melissa Rodrigue-Kennedy.  
YouthGrpYouth Group 
The Grace Church Youth Group meets the last Sunday of each month from 6:30-8pm 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 currently have eight acolytes and 10 members in our Youth Group. As you may have heard, Luke Hodgson, our most recent Youth Minister, had to resign following the birth of his daughter, as well as increased responsibilities at work. We wish Luke and his family the very best. We are grateful and appreciative for all he did to get the Youth Group reactivated. As a result of Luke's departure, and until we find a replacement, the Vestry has committed to a plan that will ensure monthly meetings for our Youth Group, beginning September 25.  Please keep an eye out for this year's schedule.
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. 
AcolytesAcolyte Program 
Our Acolytes have been on summer hiatus, enjoying a well-deserved break. Their duties will will resume on September 11, highlighted by the Procession of Acolytes at the 10:00 service. 

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
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 will resume on Thursday, September 8, at 7:00 p.m. with the choir back in service on Sunday, September 11.  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).
Backpack/School Supplies Drive
We are collecting donations for our annual backpack/school supplies drive to fill 60 backpacks for local junior high school students. If you are able to help with a donation this year, it is very much appreciated, no matter how big or small. Donations may be left in the Narthex. When shopping for supplies, remember that spiral notebooks are preferred over 3-ring binders. Other suggestions: calculators, colored pencils, personal size tissue packets.  The date for stuffing the backpacks is set for Sunday, September 11. There will be a special blessing of the backpacks at the 10:00 service. 
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.
BookCartBook Cart
The Book Cart has been refreshed!  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.  
The book selection for September is Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes. 
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 Hosts Needed  
The Coffee Hour host schedule / sign-up sheet is posted on the bulletin board in the Parish Hall. There are many blanks for the next couple of months.  Please consider hosting or enlist a friend to co-host with you!  
Thank you!
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EventsFellowshipEvents and Fellowship
End of Summer BBQ
Our last barbecue lunch for the summer will be part of the Rally Day celebration on September 11.  Meat burgers, Veggie burgers, hot dogs, buns, condiments and beverages are provided. Side dishes and desserts are potluck, so if you are able, bring something to share. Bring a friend!
BlessingAnimalsBlessing of the Animals
Sunday, October 2, 1:00 p.m. 
Whether or not you have a pet, please mark your calendars and plan on joining us for this special service honoring our animal companions.  
October 5, 2015
DRCBFreeFree 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.
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 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