News from Grace Episcopal Church ~ Martinez, California 
March 5, 2020
Spring Forward

 
Daylight Saving Time begins THIS Sunday, March 8. Be sure to set your clocks one hour ahead so you don't miss Church!

Scripture of the Week

"The Lord said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. "   
Genesis 12:1-4a
"Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs."  Jesus


At Grace, we have Godly Play (Sunday School) during the school year. During the summer we continue to offer Nursery Care. School age children are invited to join their families in the Sanctuary. We provide coloring and drawing materials, books, and soft toys, as well as a children's area for children who prefer not to sit in the pews with their families.
This week in Godly Play:
Crosses
 
The centerpiece for this story is a box of crosses. They are all different kinds of crosses that look very different. Along with each cross is a card that tells the name and back story of that
particular cross. This is a story with which the children often play as a game - matching the cards to the crosses. Now they will hear about each cross. They are invited to wonder which cross they like best and which cross is most important. They are then invited to make something about how these crosses feel to them.
An UPDATED message from the Diocese: Coronavirus: caring for our congregations and communities
 
As coronavirus continues to be a concern worldwide,  we know many of you may have questions about how best to answer God's call for us to care for the health and well-being of our congregations and surrounding communities.
 
At DioHouse, we are monitoring the advice of many expert sources, including:
Episcopal Relief and Development
 
In light of recent developments, and out of love and concern for all, including our neighbors, I now direct all lay and ordained leaders to cease offering communion wine, either for sipping or by intinction, until we learn more about the nature of COVID-19 transmission and are confident the threat of mass infections has passed.

I also add to our evolving set of guidelines an ask ask that
all those who touch the communion bread/wafers, including altar guild members, wash their hands thoroughly beforehand and use hand sanitizer during the service if handling communion elements during that time.

Other basic guidelines for you and your church community are:
  • If you are sick, please stay home - both to heal and to protect the most vulnerable from infection.
  • During worship services, if you are feeling even slightly unwell, you are encouraged to refrain from contact with the chalice. 
  • Please remember that consuming only bread is also full communion with the Body of Christ.
  • At the peace, please consider alternatives to handshaking or hugging. A nod, a wave, or touching our hands to our hearts are among the many ways we can acknowledge Christ in one another.
Take time now to consider who in your congregation and surrounding community may be most vulnerable in the event of a coronavirus outbreak and/or quarantine. How can you help them prepare and stay connected to you and others who can offer comfort and support.


New Parish Administrator

We are delighted to announce that our new Parish Administrator, Sarah Williams has started! She and Jennifer Sabroe will overlap for the month of March so that Jennifer can train Sarah, who will be here on Tuesdays afternoons and all day Thursday. Please come by and say, "Hello!"
Upper Lot Discernment

At the Annual Meeting Rev. Deb announced that  in 2020 we will embark on a 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. The first step of this process will be to take suggestions from this community of Christ. Everyone is invited to submit any and all ideas for use of the upper lot.  You can submit your ideas to the box in the Parish Hall or by email to: upperlot@gracechurchmtz.org
 Lenten Breakfasts
 Every Sunday in Lent between the 8 and 10 a.m. service, we offer breakfast of pancakes, eggs, sausage, juice, coffee/tea! Come and enjoy! Breakfast is free, but donations are always appreciated. 
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.) On March 15 we will welcome Th e Very Rev. Donald Brown will present on the theories and meaning of  Salvation through Jesus Christ .

Future 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. 
Grace Lenten Services Schedule

Starting THIS Sunday March 8 and continuing throughout Lent, we will begin our liturgy with The Penitential Order, which includes recitation of the Ten Commandments and Confession of Sin.  The Penitential Order is often used as an entrance rite during Lent to emphasize the penitential aspect of Eucharist during this solemn season. We will change our Eucharistic Prayer as well as our form for the Prayers of the People to mark the change of liturgical season.
Sundays during Lent
8 a.m. Holy Eucharist II
9 a.m. Lenten Breakfast in the Parish Hall
10 a.m. Choral Eucharist
Wednesdays during Lent
10 a.m. Holy Eucharist followed by Lenten Bible Study: Living the Way of Love
April 5, Palm Sunday
8 a.m. Holy Eucharist II
9 a.m. Breakfast in the Parish Hall 
10 a.m. Choral Eucharist
April 9, Maundy Thursday
6 p.m. beginning in the Parish Hall with Soup supper, Foot Washing, followed by Stripping of the Altar;
Overnight Vigil in the Sanctuary following the service (hourly shifts by sign-up)
April 10, Good Friday
12 p.m. Stations of the Cross
7 p.m. Good Friday Liturgy
April 11, Holy Saturday
11 a.m. Holy Saturday Liturgy in the Atrium
8:30 p.m. Easter Vigil with the Exsultet and The Lighting of the Paschal Candle
April 12, Happy Easter !
8 a.m. Holy Eucharist II
10 a.m. Choral Eucharist followed by Egg Hunt
Lent is HERE!
Here are some resources on how to have a Holy (and fun) Lent (without giving up chocolate)!

There are many ways to honor the special 40 day season of preparation for Easter. Here are a few:
 
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.
 
Learn and inwardly digest: Observe Join us for our Wednesday Bible Study following our 10 a.m. Eucharist. Starting on March 4, we will be studying, Life Transformed: the Way of Love in Lent
The journey through Lent into Easter is a journey with Jesus. We are baptized into his life, self-giving, and death; then, we rise in hope to life transformed. This Lent, communities are invited to walk with Jesus in his Way of Love and into the experience of transformed life. Together, we will reflect anew on the loving actions of God as recounted in the Easter Vigil readings. Together, we will walk through the depths of salvation history into the fullness of redemption.
 
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.
Wednesday Holy Eucharist and Bible Study
 
Join us on Wednesday mornings at 10 a.m. for Holy Eucharist and Bible Study. During Lent we are studying "Life Transformed: The Way of Love in Lent."
45th Annual
St. Patrick's Dinner
Saturday, March 14
Tickets now on sale!

$20/person ($10/child 6-12; 5 and under free) 5:30 p.m. Social Hour; 6:30 p.m. Dinner includes corned beef brisket, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, soda bread, dessert. (There will be kid-friendly options for children - Dino-nuggets) And you will be entertained by Irish step dancers, Raffle, and St. Patrick's Day/Ireland Trivia! The St. Patrick's Dinner has been a popular, annual fundraising event at Grace for many years. We are pleased to announce that the Kennedy family has offered to chair the event. As first-time hosts, they are looking for all the help they can get, so please volunteer to assist if you can! The sign-up sheet in on the table in the vestibule of the Parish Hall. For more information email Melissa Rodrigue-Kennedy at duckme2@gmail.com. by email
Grace Book Club  
Read any good books lately? Want to participate in a book discussion group? Come drop in on the Grace Book Club! We meet on the third Wednesday of the month. We'd love to see you! Our next get-together is March 18, at 6:30 p.m., at Smooth Season restaurant at Muir Station shopping center, when we will discuss What the Eyes Don't See :
A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City , by Mona Hanna-Attisha. For more information call/text Jennifer Sabroe at (925) 383-8386.   
Attention Grace Youth and their caregivers! Spend part of your summer changing your life! 
 
The event : Episcopal Youth Event at the University of Maryland, College Park.  Over 2000 Episcopalian youth from across the country will gather.
The cost : $400 all inclusive per youth.  This includes everything - airfare, lodging,food etc.  The Diocese of California is committed to our youth by putting their money where their mouth is.   Caren Miles of the diocese has been empowered to underwrite a large portion of the cost. Grace can also help with scholarship money!
The dates: Leave on July 7 with a return flight on July 11
Minimum age and grade: must be a rising 10th grader and 15 by July 7
Commitment timeline: Can you let us know in a week and a half if you are genuinely interested? I'd like to have a tentative list of names by February 29.  I would like a $50 deposit by March 6. You can make a check out to our church and we will deposit it as one lump sum to the diocese.
Fundraising : The diocese would like your youth to participate in fundraising opportunities at church over the next few months.  You can write a check for the non-underwritten amount, but I would encourage the youth to be involved in the fundraising process. 
Martinez Clothing Exchange
(aka Homeless Showers)
Updated Needs

Hello! We would like to take this week to focus specifically on the below items. These items have been completely depleted or are very low from our stock. We hope you consider donating some this week!
 
The weather is changing and stock on cold-weather gear is plentiful! Thank you! Please consider donating more warm weather appropriate apparel. 
 
Men's and Women's lightweight jackets
Men's Shorts: All sizes
Men's Boxer Briefs: All Sizes

Women's Shorts
Women's Tank tops and camis: All sizes
Women's Underwear: Small
Women's Sports Bras: All sizes
Women's Leggings: Small, Medium
Women's Belts
 
Men's and Women's Shoes   
 
Wet wipes
Foot powder 
Toothpaste   
Bags: Heavy shopping bags, duffel, backpacks  
 
Please note: No more cold weather apparel is currently needed.  
 
Reminder: Only requested items should be dropped off at donation locations. This is strictly a volunteer-run effort and when unwanted and unneeded items are donated, it creates additional work for volunteers who have to sort, organize and find alternative destinations for unrequested items. We are limited on storage space as well so please HELP US as we work TOGETHER to help our community.
 
WHERE DO I DONATE?
 
Items LISTED ABOVE can be donated on Fridays at the Clothing Exchange from 9 AM - 1 PM in the parking lot of NorCal Sports at Waterfront Park or 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!
Contra Costa County requests volunteers

Contra Costa needs volunteers to help staff Questionnaire Assistance Kiosks (QAK) in homeless service sites in Contra Costa in April to help ensure that people in our community experiencing homelessness are counted in the 2020 Census!   
WHAT IS A QAK?
QAKs are physical locations where the people can access a computer to complete their Census questionnaire online or complete it by phone.

WHAT WILL VOLUNTEERS DO?
QAK volunteers will be stationed at homeless service sites/events with a laptop computer to encourage people to fill out the form, give out incentives when someone completes their form and direct people to more information about the Census.  Volunteers will receive training on how to complete these activities.

WHEN IS THIS HAPPENING?
QAK shifts (typically 2-4 hours) will be available in multiple parts of the county and during daytime, evening and weekend hours in the month of April.
 
WILL I GET TRAINED?
Yes, all volunteers will need to complete a short (30 minute) training before their shift. 

To sign up to volunteer go to h ttps://signup.com/go/sKEhXkW
Get ready to party like it's 1870!

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. Please let us know your ideas via email at  Gracemtz150@gmail.com, or speak with co-chairs John Vander Kamp or Melissa Rodrigue-Kennedy.
Make a joyful noise! 
Be 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.   
The Amazing Grace Youth Choir!
Young people ages 7-17 are invited to join in learning to read, appreciate and perform music in a low-stress environment.
Rehearsals are on Sundays at noon (following our 10 a.m. service and coffee hour). To enroll, contact Music Director Arthur Omura by calling the parish office (925) 228-6574, after the greeting, select Option 4.   
  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, so we are requesting:
  • 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.
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

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.
 
 
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