News from Grace Episcopal Church ~ Martinez, California

February 15, 2018

Scripture of the Week

"'I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth...When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.'"

Genesis 9:14, 16

At Grace, Christian education for children ( Sunday  School) is called "Godly Play" and is held during the first part of the  10 a.m.  service after which children join their families for Holy Communion. 
On the 3rd Sunday of the month we have Family Sunday and the children participate in the entire 10 a.m. service. 


There is no Godly Play on Family Sundays 
Godly Play Sunday School   
This Sunday, Family Sunday: The children are invited to join us in the sanctuary for the entire service. There will be a Children's Homily and the children will help bring up the offerings and bless the bread and wine.
Lent is here!

Here is the Grace Lenten schedule of activities:
This Sunday, February 18:
We will begin this solemn season with the Great Litany, which is an intercessory prayer that includes various petitions that are said or sung by the leader, with fixed responses by the congregation. It was used as early as the fifth century in Rome. The Litany was the first English language rite prepared by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. It was first published in 1544. 

Sundays during Lent :
8 a.m. Holy Eucharist II
9 a.m. Pancake breakfast
10 a.m. Choral Eucharist

Wednesdays during Lent:
10 a.m. Holy Eucharist followed by Lenten Bible Study: The Good Book Club

March 25, Palm Sunday
8 a.m. Holy Eucharist II
9 a.m. Corned Beef Hash Breakfast
10 a.m. Choral Eucharist

March 29, Maundy Thursday, 6 p.m. in the Parish Hall, Soup supper, Foot Washing, followed by Stripping of the Altar;
Overnight Vigil in the Sanctuary following the service (hourly shifts by sign-up)

March 30, Good Friday:
12 p.m. - Stations of the Cross
7 p.m. - Good Friday Liturgy

March 31, Holy Saturday
10 a.m. Holy Saturday Liturgy
8 p.m. Easter Vigil with the Exsultet and The Lighting of the Paschal Candle

April 1, Happy Easter!
8 a.m. Holy Eucharist II
10 a.m. Choral Eucharist and Egg Hunt

St. Christopher's Guild  

St. Christopher's Guild welcomes all women to join us the last Sunday of the month between services at 9 a.m. for fellowship and event planning meetings in the Parish Hall. Our events foster community building and the funds we raise are distributed throughout the community to groups serving those less fortunate than ourselves. We will have our first meeting of 2018 this Sunday February 18 after the 8 a.m. service. This is a change from the previous date. Currently, we are planning three (3) events: a Spring Luncheon, a Hawaiian themed Luau and our annual Christmas luncheon the first Tuesday of December.  I look forward to seeing you in Church and at our meetings. Please contact me by calling my cell phone 925-586-6062  or by emailing me at .  Kind regards, Fran Trant
Faith-full Forums     
Once a month since June we have opened our doors to a variety of fascinating speakers and invited anyone who is interested to come and see. Through them, we have had the opportunity to learn about everything from the Dead Sea Scrolls to teenage cell phone use! Please come and invite friends to any and all of these presentations.
This Sunday, February 18, we will look at The Polity of the Episcopal Church. The word "polity" (not to be confused with the word "politics") means "the process of government." We will consider the idea of the church as a hierarchical democracy and look specifically at the roles of various church ministers, including bishops, priests, deacons, and lay persons.
Looking forward, on March 18 we will welcome Kathleen Piraino, Executive Director of The Episcopal Impact Fund, which s upports organizations that address the root causes of poverty in the San Francisco Bay Area, both financially and through mentorship and guidance. Rev. Deb is an EIF Board member and in 2017 Grace sponsored a table at the EIF Night of Light event.  Please come and hear more about their wonderful work!
Dr. Donn Morgan will be here on April 15 to discuss his book, Fighting with the Bible: why scripture divides us and how it can bring us together.
Donn Morgan is Professor of Old Testament Emeritus at Church Divinity School of the Pacific. Always a student and teacher of the Bible, he also held administrative positions at CDSP (academic dean, president). He has been deeply involved in theological education in The Episcopal Church and the Graduate Theological Union, as well as teaching in Asia and England. We are lucky to host him!
During Lent we will be joining Episcopalians around the world in reading the Gospel according to Luke during Lent and the Book of Acts during Eastertide in 2018. As part of The Good Book Club, our Wednesday Bible study will be dedicated to delving deeply into Luke's Gospel. You are welcome to join the conversation on Wednesday mornings in the Chapel, beginning February 21. 10:00 Holy Eucharist, followed by Bible study. This week, we will be discussing Luke and Acts as a multi-volume work intended to be read together and the history of salvation as told in the Hebrew Scripture and New Testament. The passage to be discussed is Luke 1:46-56.
End of Life Planning
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). As a Lenten discipline, the Grace Worship and Liturgy Committee would like to encourage all of Grace's parishioners to complete their advance directive, funeral, and memorial gift planning. To that end, we will be providing resources about funerals in the Episcopal Church, advance directives, and memorial gifts to the church. It is our hope that each parishioner will complete a planning packet and provide a copy of it to the church office. Please consider participating. 
A Different Way to Observe Lent
If you are struggling to figure out what to "give up" for Lent, take on something different instead!  "Lent Madness," the brainchild of two Episcopal priests, is a fun and informative way to make sure that you remember that we are living in the church's primary season of penitence and preparation.  Lent Madness combines the excitement of a sporting event with the opportunity to connect with some of the Christian saints who came before us.  Here's some information taken from the Lent Madness website at
"The format is straightforward: 32 saints are placed into a tournament-like single elimination bracket. Each pairing remains open for a set period of time and  people vote for their favorite saint. 16 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. The first round consists of basic biographical information about each of the 32 saints. Things get a bit more interesting in the subsequent rounds as we offer quotes and quirks, explore legends, and even move in the area of saintly kitsch...
[Lent Madness has] inspired thousands of people along the way by forming an online community of people who are passionate about taking their faith but not themselves too seriously. Articles and spots about Lent Madness have appeared in the Washington Post, NPR, Huffington Post, FOXNews, NBC, USAToday, and even Sports Illustrated.
As Lent Madness continues to grow and evolve, what won't change is the essence of Lent Madness: allowing people to get to know some amazing people who have come before us in the faith and reminding one another that there's no reason for a dreary Lenten discipline. If this helps people connect with the risen Christ during this season of penitence and renewal, and have a bit of fun in the process, then it continues to be worthwhile."
Keep an eye out for the bracket poster that will be posted in the Parish Hall and updated once Lent Madness begins! If this sounds like something you'd like to do as a Lenten observance, there will be a limited number of Saintly Scorecard booklets in the church office. The Saintly Scorecard is the annual publication containing all 32 first round bios and information about how to participate in Lent Madness as a congregation, including how to enjoy Lent Madness with children!   
Healing prayer
We have recently begun offering Healing Prayer during both our 8 and 10 a.m. services. If you wish to have someone pray with you for yourself or others, you may go to the prie dieu (kneeler) at the right rear corner of the sanctuary after receiving communion. This is a ministry of the people of Grace to one another -no clergy required!  We are looking for more volunteers for this important ministry, so if you are willing to pray with others, please let Rev. Deb know. No experience is necessary; we will train you!
Save the Date!!
St. Patrick's Dinner
Saturday, March 17 

Social Hour begins at 5:30 pm, Dinner will be served at 6:30 pm.
Tickets are $20. We will serve a Corned Beef Dinner complete with corned beef brisket, potatoes, cabbage and carrots, beer bread, soda bread, and dessert. Live entertainment and Raffle. Pass the word to friends and family! This annual fundraising event has been guaranteed fun, fellowship and fabulous food for over 40 years!
Confirmation at Grace
Confirmation is the sacramental rite in which individuals "express a mature commitment to Christ, and receive strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop" (BCP, p. 860). Through Confirmation, those who were baptized at an early age are invited to make a mature public affirmation of their faith, recommit themselves to the responsibilities of their baptism, and receive laying on of hands by a bishop (BCP, p. 412). Individuals who were baptized into other denominations and wish to affirm their commitment to the Episcopal Church may be received by a bishop. Bishop Marc will be visiting and performing confirmations at Grace in July. We will  be preparing individuals for Confirmation using the Discovery Series: A Christian Journey, which is a ten-week educational program for confirmation preparation Those classes will begin on April 22. If you are interested in being confirmed, please let   Rev. Deb know.
The church is us!
We use the word "church" in many different ways: to describe any Christian place of worship; to talk about the larger Episcopal denomination; and, most frequently, to refer to our parish, Grace Episcopal Church, Martinez. But scripture tells us that "the church" is not a piece of property; it's the People of God! We also know that people are very different and that individuals find the Holy Spirit in a variety of ways, including through quiet, meditation and boisterous interactions with one another. At Grace, we attempt to provide room for all people to find God in their own way. Our "church building" helps us do that. We have an area for getting information and chatting (the Narthex, or entrance area) and a sacred space reserved for worship (the Sanctuary). In order to help remind us of the sacred nature of our worship space, we are asking all worshippers to use the Narthex for social visiting and, on Sunday mornings, to stop conversing in the Sanctuary after the bell calls us to worship immediately prior to the service. Thank you in advance for demonstrating respect for the Church!
And speaking of bells...
Grace is blessed with a beautiful bell and tower. Our church bell was purchased in 1875 for $300, making it the second oldest bell in Martinez. It was cast by the W. T. Garrett Company in San Francisco. In 1979 a group of parishioners joined together to construct a bell tower at its present location. We ring the bell prior to each service. Church bells ring to call people to prayer and to welcome the community to join us for worship. Traditionally, multiple daily church services were held and each service was associated with a specific pattern of bell-ringing. Church bells are always rung in multiples of three, the number of the Trinity. At Grace, we have begun ringing the bell nine times (three rounds of three) prior to each service as a prayer offering to God the Creator, Christ our Redeemer, and the sanctifying Holy Spirit.  We invite you to listen and follow this call to prayer.
Support our community
The city of Martinez is one of the top five  finalists for a feature on the television show "Small Business Revolution: Main Street" with Shark Tank Investor Robert Herjavec. The winning city will receive funding for revitalization. You can vote once a day at Martinez on Small Business Revolution Main Street. Voting ends on February 20.

An easy way to contribute to Grace


Grace Episcopal Church Martinez is now 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!

Share the Good News

Want to let others know about the great things happening at Grace Episcopal Church? Click on the link below to forward this E-Newsletter to family and friends! 

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

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