News from Grace Episcopal Church ~ Martinez, California 
March 19, 2020
Scripture of the Week

"The Lord is my shepherd; *
I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures *
and leads me beside still waters.
He revives my soul *
and guides me along right pathways for his Name's sake.
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I shall fear no evil; *
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You spread a table before me in the presence of those who trouble me; *
you have anointed my head with oil,
and my cup is running over.
Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, *
and I will dwell in the house of the  Lord for ever. "
Psalm 23
AN UPDATED MESSAGE REGARDING CHURCH IN THE TIME OF CORONAVIRUS:
Worship and Community continue online
 
"Live without fear. Your creator loves you, made you holy, and has always protected you. Follow the good road in peace and may God's blessing remain with you always." Attributed to St. Clare
Dear Children of God,
On Wednesday, March 18, we received the following updated instructions from Bishop Marc about worshipping during this time of concern:
"As shelter-in-place orders take effect throughout the Bay Area, and with deep love for and faith in the resilience of our Beloved Community, I share the following new guidelines for our congregations in response to COVID-19...
 
In addition to the suspension of all public, in-person worship services, we ask that all other in-person gatherings, including funerals, memorial services, weddings and non-emergency baptisms, be cancelled and that all of the groups that gather at your congregation suspend their in-person activities for the CDC's recommended eight weeks, or until May 10th. I am aware this time period includes both Holy Week and Easter, and I want to assure you that Easter will happen, and, once these orders are lifted, we WILL celebrate the resurrection with joy and great fanfare in our respective congregations and as a diocese...

[You may continue to offer] virtual worship services to your congregations using video streaming and teleconference... I am providing you with the following guidelines and pastoral direction pursuant to Canon III.9.6(a)(1): You may have the minimum number of people present who can make the worship service functional, and in any case no more than 10 total, ensuring that none are over the age of 65 or in a vulnerable category. All people involved should maintain social distance as required, and you should make sure it is the same group of people for every service to minimize the number of people who are in contact with each other."
Based on Bishop Marc's guidance, here at Grace we will continue to livestream a 9 a.m. Sunday morning service of Holy Eucharist. Because of the Bishop's increased restrictions, we will no longer be including choral music in the service.  Details on accessing this service are in the box below. Last Sunday's service, which was posted on Facebook, has been accessed over 500 times. This demonstrates that we are a large and resilient community of Christ.
In addition to the livestreamed Sunday Eucharist, Grace will also be providing a Wednesday 10 a.m. Holy Eucharist and Bible Study by Zoom Conference.  Information for participating in that service is also in a box below. 
We have posted an audio file of our most recent Evensong Service, along with the program for it, on both our website here and our Facebook page. Evensong is a calming and comforting service. We encourage you to access it as often as you like.
We have begun developing specific content for our families and children so that they can stay connected to our church during this difficult time. This includes a message from me, this Sunday's Godly Play lesson on Parables and an art project that goes with it. These are posted on our website and Facebook pages.
Holy Week and Easter WILL happen. The Worship and Liturgy Committee has determined that the planned Tenebrae liturgy and Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Even services will be available in some form online. We are committed to finding a way to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ in a potentially new but still grateful and joyful way.
We believe that it is crucially important that we stay in touch with one another while we are geographically separated. Social distancing should not mean social isolation. To that end, Jennifer, Sarah, and I have created the c onnected congregation check-in system . This is an organized way of making sure all of our parishioners have a regular contact with other members of the congregation during the time we are unable to meet in person. Details can be found below.
As directed by the Bishop, we will be holding all of our regular meetings by Zoom Conference. I will be providing links to each group as needed.
I will be at the church on Wednesdays in order to conduct our Holy Eucharist service. Otherwise, I will be available by phone and email. If you are ill, need pastoral care, or any kind of practical help such as food or rides, please contact me directly. If you call the church number (925-228-6574) and press the button for the Rector, there is an option to mark your message urgent. Please do so if you need to.  Your community of Christ and I will be there for you.
With faith in the mercy of God, salvation through Jesus Christ, and the continual presence of the Holy Spirit,
Rev. Deb
LIVESTREAM SERVICE THIS SUNDAY
 
We are still a community! Join us for Sunday worship
 

We are now livestreaming a Sunday 9 a.m. service. 
 
In order to be part of the service as it takes place (the "simulcast") go to the Grace Church Facebook page: Grace Episcopal Church Martinez Facebook page. Scroll down until you see "Posts." At 9 a.m. a window will appear saying we are live. You will be looking at the Chancel of the church. You will then be live with us!
 
For those of you concerned about joining Facebook, John Lee has found a way to access the livestream without joining Facebook.  You can find a link showing you how here. Thank you John!
 
You can follow along in this week's Worship bulletin by clicking on this link: Worship Bulletin for March 22, 2020. The bulletin does not contain announcements as you can read them here.  I know it may seem strange to participate from home, but I encourage you to consider yourself at church by saying the prayers, singing along, and shouting out isolated "AMENs" during the sermon (just like normal).
 
The recording of the service will also be available to view afterward and, as always, sermons will be posted on our website. 
 
We know this will be daunting and scary for some of you, but we will get it figured out. Live without fear!

Think Pink!
 
This Sunday is the fourth Sunday of Lent, sometimes referred to as "Laetare" Sunday. According to The Episcopal Church, " The term is derived from the opening words of the Latin Mass, 'Rejoice (Laetare) Jerusalem' (Is 66:10)... This joyful theme provides lightening from the penitential emphasis of Lent. Since the thirteenth century the celebrant of the eucharist has been permitted to wear rose-colored vestments which express the change of tone in the Lenten observance. Laetare Sunday therefore may be called 'Rose Sunday.'" This year, Rev. Deb will be wearing a rose chasuble and stole that were given to Grace by our Deacon, The Rev. Walter Ramsey. We encourage everyone watching the simulcast at home to put on their rose clothes (or pink pajamas) too!
Transferred to Zoom conferencing:
Wednesday Holy Eucharist and Bible Study
 
During Lent we are studying "Life Transformed: The Way of Love in Lent." During the Coronavirus concerns, Rev. Deb will be hosting our Wednesday Eucharist and Bible Study by Zoom Conference call. To join her, on Wednesday mornings at 10 a.m. simply Click on this link or dial One tap mobile ,,875169197# and enter this Meeting ID: 875 169 197.

In order to keep things simple, we ask that you view the video for each session (SESSION 4 this week)  prior to our virtual gathering. These can be found at this link:   The Way of Love in Lent.

A recording of last week's service can be found here 
and the Bible Study can be found here
 Connected Congregation

During this difficult time, it is extremely important that we remain in touch with one another. In order to ensure that our parishioners receive important messages and, perhaps more crucially, simply check-in with one another, we have developed the Connected Congregation check-in system. This is a communication tree that allows us to quickly and easily contact one another. It also allows individuals who need help during this crisis and people who are willing/able to provide such help to connect with one another.

The system is based on "afffinity groups" (folks who know one another through similar ministries). The idea is for people to be in touch with one another on a regular (bimonthly) basis. A Vestry, Staff member, or ministry leader will be responsible for regular contact with one "branch" of our Grace family tree. They will then request that you be in touch with one another.

We are prepared to include all of the members of Grace for whom we have contact information in this system, but it  is optional to participate.  If you DO NOT want to be part of this effort or want to limit the type of communication people may have with you, please let the Parish Office know. Next week we will be sharing the connection list so you can find your place on it.  THE LIST WILL ONLY INCLUDE NAMES - NOT CONTACT INFORMATION. 

We hope that everyone will be part of this effort to stay connected by checking in.
 An important message from your Treasurer
We will only be together as a "virtual community" in the coming weeks.  However, our parish expenses will continue as per normal.  I urge you to remember this as you consider your commitment to financially support the mission of Grace Episcopal Church.  You may decide to mail a check (130 Muir Station Road, Martinez, CA  94553) or commit to "catch up" when we are together again . You may also pay your pledge online by going to this link or contact Treasurer  Marj Leeds for more information.

Also, in the interest of transparency, we will be posting a short monthly financial summary in Grace Notes following each Vestry meeting. If you have questions, check in with Marj or a member of the Vestry.  Here's this month's:

February Report

Income Year to Date       $26,427.09
Expenses Year to Date    $23,706.51
Excess                                   $2720.58
Comments
  1. Pledge income is $4000 under budget (bad)
  2. Expenses are $8000 under budget (good) due to
    1. Diocesan billing is behind (about $4500)
    2. The Treasurer unintentionally pre-paid a portion of the pension in 2019 (about $2700)

Martinez Clothing Exchange
(aka Homeless Showers)
Updated Needs (PLEASE CONTINUE TO GIVE DURING THIS CRISIS) 
Hello! We would like to take this week to focus specifically on the below items. Items in red are completely depleted or are very
low from our stock. We hope you consider donating some this week!  
 
Important additional updates:
  • This homeless outreach event has been deemed an essential service and will continue through the shelter in place. 
  • Volunteers are needed to support the Loaves & Fishes food distribution tent. Volunteer commitment is 7AM-12:30PM. Contact Kevin Murray directly to inquire about volunteering: 925.285.7526 or kevinmurray@sbcglobal.net
Needed items: 

 

Men's jeans sizes 30, 32, 34     
Men's Boxer Briefs: L, XL 

Women's pants and sweatpants: All Sizes

Women's Tank tops and camis: All sizes

Women's Underwear: Small, Medium

Women's Sports Bras: Small, Medium

Women's Leggings: All sizes

Men's and Women's Shoes
Unisex Beanie Hats 
Coats
Wet wipes for hands and BODY
Chapstick
Foot powder
Travel size shave gels  
Toothpaste, mouth wash    
Reading glasses
Hairbrushes
Feminine Hygiene Products
Deodorant
Denture Cleaner
Dog treats and leashes 
 
Please note: No more cold weather apparel is currently needed.  
 
Reminder: Only requested items s
 
WHERE DO I DONATE?
 
Items LISTED ABOVE can be dropped off on the porch of 2221 Castro Street.  *Please consider neatly folding and sorting items prior to donation.
 
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT OF THIS VITAL EFFORT!
  C.O.R.E. Homeless Outreach donations
C.O.R.E stands for Coordinated Outreach Referral and Engagement. It is a program of the Housing and Homeless Services Division of Contra Costa County Health Services. Grace provides the C.O.R.E. team with needed items to distribute to individuals suffering from homelessness. This is an ongoing project. PLEASE DO NOT STOP GIVING DURING THE CORONA VIRUS CRISIS. NEEDS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER. YOU CAN DROP OFF AT THE CHURCH ON SUNDAYS BETWEEN 8 AND 10 AND ON WEDNESDAYS. WE WILL BE SURE THINGS ARE DELIVERED.
  • Sleeping bags
  • Blankets (moving blankets are inexpensive and durable)
  • Backpacks - ideally large capacity, durability is less important as they are frequently lost or stolen after a few weeks/months
  • Hygiene items including (but not limited to) soap, shampoo, oral care, shower wipes, shaving supplies, feminine hygiene items
  • Incontinence products (e.g. "Depend") (men's and women's) all sizes
  • Healthy food - preferable non-perishable items that don't require cooking, a can opener, or good teeth. Pull-top cans are good.
  • Bottles of water
  • Socks
  • Sunscreen
  • Pet food (in particular, wet food in pull-top cans). Other pet goodies would be appreciated too!
We also encourage parishioners to consider developing the habit of thinking of our homeless neighbors when shopping (i.e. picking up an extra item or two) and traveling (bringing home the hotel soaps/shampoo). Please leave donations in the Narthex.
Gethsemane Watch  
Now taking place in homes all over Contra Costa and Alameda counties!
 
Jesus spent the last night of his life with his friends, eating and drinking together in the Garden of Gethsemane. He asked them to stay awake with him, but one by one they all fell asleep, leaving him alone and despairing.  
 
In an attempt to do better, and in some small way to make up what was lacking in the first disciples, we choose as a community to stay awake with Jesus in the hours between Maundy Thursday (following the stripping of the altar) and the first service of Good Friday.  
 
The goal is to have someone awake with Christ every hour. Many people tell us that they enjoy spending quiet time alone (or nearly alone). This year, because we are being asked to shelter in place, we are asking you to find a quiet space at home, in God's outdoors, your car or wherever you like to simply be awake with Christ. You can use the time to journal, pray, sing, or meditate. If you would like to participate, simply sign up for one (or more) hour(s) of watch. You can sign up here
Easter Lily Dedications    
 
Every Easter at Grace, the altar is adorned with beautiful lily plants. If you would like to dedicate an Easter lily, please email or call the Parish Office (925) 228-6574, indicating "In loving memory of ___; In thanksgiving for ___; or, In celebration of ___." Suggested donation $10.
Introducing Monthly Buildings and Grounds Work Parties!
There is never a shortage of things that need to get done at Grace and, thankfully, there is also never a shortage of people who want to help out.  In order to make best use of this gift, Junior Warden Josh Senn has announced that we will be holding monthly work parties on our property.  Josh will be here on the last Saturday of every month at 9 a.m.  with a to-do list that you can spend a couple of hourse helping with . Barring complications from Corona Virus precautions, the first of these will be on April 25. Thank you in advance for your help!
Faithful Forums 2020
Grace offers monthly educational forums on broad-ranging topics like The Dead Sea Scrolls, Episcopal Polity, Recycling, and Emergency Preparedness for congregations. These take place in the Parish Hall following our 10 a.m. service (approximately 11:30 a.m.) 

Faithful Forums will resume when the corona virus crisis has passed. We hope to reschedule any cancelled sessions. Currently, f uture dates and topics include:

April 26:  Martinez Vice-Mayor Noralea Gipner and Martinez Police Community Service Officer Rodney Brinser will talk about efforts in Martinez to alleviate homelessness.
May 17:  John Cumming, President of the Board of the San Francisco Night Ministry will talk about this important ministry to people who live on the streets in San Francisco. 
June 21: The Rev. Will McGarvey will introduce the work of The Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County. 
Upper Lot Discernment Update

At our most recent Vestry meeting, Grace's leadership heard a very exciting proposal related to the  discernment process which will help us discover God's plan for our upper lot.  Discernment involves not just thinking about what we might do, but actively praying and discussing our options in community. You might want to ask one of your vestry members about it. Everyone is invited to submit any and all ideas for use of the upper lot.  You can submit your ideas to: upperlot@gracechurchmtz.org
Grace Lenten Services Schedule
Our regular 8 and 10 a.m. Sunday services have been replaced with a 9 a.m. simulcast Eucharist.  You can find it at 9 a.m. on Sundays at The Grace Episcopal Church Martinez Facebook page
 
Wednesdays during Lent: 10 a.m. Holy Eucharist and Bible study - now online through Zoom Conferencing. To participate click on this link at 10 a.m. each Wednesday
We will be observing Holy Week and celebrating Easter. We are still evaluating the form this will take. Stay tuned!
Another Update on New Parish Administrator
Those of us who spend time at Grace during the week have been enjoying getting to know our new Parish Administrator, Sarah Williams. She and Jennifer Sabroe will continue to overlap for the month of March so that Jennifer can train Sarah. Both Jennifer and Sarah are currently working from home because of the Shelter in Place restrictions. They can BOTH be reached at the Parish Email Address: info@gracechurchmtz.org. Beginning in April, Sarah will be receiving your emails to "info." Please say, "Hello!" by email!
It's still Lent. If the Novel Corona Virus restrictions have you at loose ends, NOW is the time to try some of these great Lenten practices!

Listen to the message from our Presiding Bishop, The Most Rev. Bruce Michael Curry found HERE
 
Pay attention to God: Pick up "The Way of Love in Lent 2020 Calendar" in the entrance way to the Parish Hall. Each day has a brief Bible verse and a question to consider.

Do a  Carbon Fast . Consider how you might lessen your negative impact on the planet by using less and conserving more.  For tips go to  Carbon Fast information
 
Pray more:  Episcopal Relief and Development Lenten podcasts: Each day during Lent subscribers receive a daily reflection, co-authored by a group of faith leaders from across the church. During this season of reflection on our Christian faith, their writings will enhance your spiritual journey as they both inspire and challenge you. You can sign-up here. Other ways to feel closer to God include Pray as you goa daily prayer session, designed to go with you wherever you go, to help you pray whenever you find time, but particularly whilst traveling to and from work, study, etc. A new prayer session is produced every day of the working week and one session for the weekend. It is not a 'Thought for the Day,' a sermon or a bible-study, but rather a framework for your own prayer. Lasting between ten and thirteen minutes, it combines music, scripture and some questions for reflection.
 
Spend time with your family:  Observe Lent as a family by trying out the "Lent in a Bag" project. You can find it here .
 
Bring in items for the CORE Team and The Deacon's Pantry, a ministry of Grace, both of which provide donations of food and other items for individuals in need.
 
Plan ahead:  The Grace Worship and Liturgy Committee offers its yearly reminder for  Grace's parishioners to complete their funeral arrangements and final instructions. Death and dying can be difficult issues to discuss, but it is a great blessing to our loved ones when we plan ahead for our own eventual death. This is especially true for families whose members are of different faiths (or no faith). To that end, we have developed resources about funerals in the Episcopal Church. These are available on our website. Please consider participating. 
 
Go crazy for Lent:  Want to be inspired by some saintly souls this Lent and have fun along the way? Join with thousands of Christians across denominations who have discovered the joyful online learning community that is Lent Madness. With its unique blend of competition, education, and humor, Lent Madness allows participants to be inspired by the ways in which God has worked through the lives of saints over the generations. Based loosely on the NCAA basketball tournament of a similar name, this online devotion pits 32 saints against one another in a single-elimination bracket as voters choose their favorites throughout Lent.  Here's how to participate: on the weekdays of Lent, information is posted at  www.lentmadness.org  about two different saints. Each pairing remains open for 24 hours as participants read about and then vote to determine which saint moves on to the next round. Sixteen 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.
Update on 150th anniversary!

Did you know that our church is the second oldest in the county, and that it turns 150 years old this July?  To celebrate this momentous occasion our Planning Committee needs your suggestions and your financial support. There is now a 150th Anniversary Fund. To donate, please contact our Treasurer,  Marj Leeds. Please let us know your ideas via email at  Gracemtz150@gmail.com, or speak with co-chairs John Vander Kamp or Melissa Rodrigue-Kennedy.
The Amazing Grace Youth Choir in on hiatus!

Rehearsals will resume on Sundays at noon (following our 10 a.m. service and coffee hour) after the corona virus crisis.    Young people ages 7-17 are invited to join in learning to read, appreciate and perform music in a low-stress environment. To enroll, contact Music Director Arthur Omura by calling the parish office (925) 228-6574, after the greeting, select Option 4. 
Make a joyful noise! 

When we resume regular services, please consider being  part of the joyful liturgy at Grace by lending your voice to the choir. Choir rehearsals at Grace are Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. You don't need experience or even the ability to read music. Please join this amazing ministry!  
 
For more information contact Music Director Arthur Omura by calling the parish office (925) 228-6574, after the greeting, select Option 4.   
Flower and Candle Dedications
We are blessed by having fresh flowers on our altar each week. These are paid for by parishioners who wish to dedicate flowers (or candles) in thanksgiving or memory of loved ones. There are open dates available on the flower and candle dedication calendar, located in the Narthex. When signing up for a date on the chart, please be sure to also write your name on the corresponding date in the flower dedication notebook (located on the little table below the chart). Suggested donation $35. The candle dedication notebook on the table under the bulletin board. Suggested donation $5.
Yoga at Grace on hiatus

Yoga is cancelled for now. Once the corona virus restrictions end, please join Certified Yoga Instructor Noah Yuzna on Tuesdays at 6:15 for a class which is suitable for all ages and ability levels. The class is free with all proceeds divided between Noah and the Church. 
Coffee Hour
The Coffee Hour schedule is posted in the Parish Hall. Thank you to all those who signed up to host and for your generosity in making coffee hour welcoming to newcomers and enjoyable for us all. If you are new to Grace and have questions about coffee hour, give Tina a call at 925-266-0567 or email her at deadheadtina63@att.net.
Grace Episcopal Church Martinez is on Amazon Smile. If you are shopping at Amazon, simply go to the  Grace Martinez Amazon Smile link and we will receive a portion of their sale to you.  Spread the word!
Do you have an announcement?
If you have a parish-related announcement for the bulletin or Grace Notes - meeting reminders, upcoming events, special requests, etc. - please email the text of your announcement to the Parish Office 
by end of day on Tuesday. Thank you.

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Serving the community of Martinez
and Contra Costa County since 1868.

 
Our Mission:
Working together to welcome,
support, and serve all God's people.
 
 
STAY CONNECTED: