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

"[Jesus said], ' For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.  Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.'"
John 3:16-17
Bonus Scripture of the Week
Happy International Women's Day!

" You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lordand a royal diadem in the hand of your God. '"
Isaiah 62:3
Don't be late for church on Sunday!

Don't forget to set your clocks ahead one hour on Saturday night (March 10) as this is the time we "spring forward" for Daylight Saving Time!
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
The Faces of Easter 5 and 6 - Following a quick review of our lessons from the last two weeks we focus on Jesus' work as a healer and storyteller. Our first picture  shows the face of Jesus as he is healing a blind man. The children are also told that people are changed when Jesus comes close to them. In scripture, after meeting Jesus, people could see things they could never see before. They could do things they could never do before. They became well after being sick. What words of joy and hope for our children! Next, we will look at a picture of Jesus offering the cup and bread as we tell the story of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem and
the Last Supper. This portion of the presentation focuses on the face of Christ as he enters Jerusalem and offers the Twelve - and us- the bread and wine. 
Grace Youth Gathering   
  Join Grace's new Youth Leaders Jes and Josh Senn for a gathering of the Grace Church Youth (8th grade and up) this  Sunday at 5:30 pm.  There will be pizza and fellowship and the opportunity to plan what the youth would like to do this year.   Bring your ideas for fabulous youth activities and events - and friends. The event is free.
St. Patrick's Dinner
Saturday, March 17
Make your reservations!
This annual fundraising event has been guaranteed fun, fellowship and fabulous food for over 40 years!  Social Hour begins at 5:30 pm, Dinner will be served at 6:30 pm. Tickets are $20 ($5 for children 12 and under). Dinner includes corned beef brisket, potatoes, cabbage and carrots, beer bread, soda bread, and dessert. Rounding out the evening will be live entertainment - dancers from the Dillon Magh Adhair Academy! - and a raffle with many wonderful prizes. Pass the word to friends and family!

You are encouraged to buy your tickets or make reservations in advance. You can purchase tickets on Sunday from Jennifer Sabroe, Lynda Dyer or Sally Applegate. Or, you may call or email the church office to reserve your seats (and then pay at the door). Either way, it's a big help to the team in planning if you make your reservations now. Thank you!
Church Office Phone:  (925) 228-6574
Church Office Email:

Support the Raffle 
Donations for the raffle table, such as themed baskets, bottles of good wine, etc., will be gladly accepted, but need to be received before March 17! Please leave a message at the church office (925-228-6574) or email the church office or flag down Jennifer Sabroe or Sally Applegate on Sunday. 
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.
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!
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.
*The March meeting will be on March 18, to adjust for Palm Sunday on March 25.

Dates are set for three fundraisers this year:

Spring Luncheon Fundraiser: "Layette Shower," Saturday, June 2, 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. benefitting the Layette Program at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center (the county hospital.)  

Hawaiian themed party, Saturday, August 18, 4-9 p.m.  

Christmas Luncheon, Tuesday, December 4, 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.   

End of Life Planning Packets available Sunday
The Grace Worship and Liturgy Committee would like to encourage all of Grace's parishioners to complete their advanced healthcare directive, will or trust, financial planning, funeral arrangements, final instructions and memorial gift 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). To that end, we have developed resources about funerals in the Episcopal Church, advance directives, and memorial gifts to the church. These packets are now available in the Narthex and the Parish Hall. 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. 
Lent at Grace

Here is the Grace Lenten schedule of activities:
During Lent, we 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.  


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

Maundy Thursday Overnight Vigil
"Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, 'So, could you not stay awake with me one hour'"?
Each year we hear the story of Jesus praying alone in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night before his arrest as his disciples sleep nearby. Their inability to stand vigil with their beloved rabbi is one of the saddest parts of the crucifixion narrative. For this reason, we seek to symbolically stay awake with Jesus on the evening of Maundy Thursday. This year at Grace, we will be trying out an overnight vigil. Beginning at the end of the Maundy Thursday service and continuing until the noon service on Good Friday, we will try to have someone in the sanctuary at all times.  Volunteers are invited to sign up for one hour (or more) shifts and to use that time to pray, sing, or meditate as we contemplate the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ on our behalf.  If this seems like too much, there will also be an opportunity to support this vigil at home by committing to stay awake and pray during each time frame.  Please look for the sign-up sheet in the Parish Hall.
Stations of the Cross
It is customary on Good Friday to symbolically walk Jesus's path to crucifixion by participating in the Stations of the Cross.  In years past, Grace has used temporary photographs to represent the stations. This year we will be installing permanent stations.  If you would like to donate to purchase part or all of one of the stations (or more), please let Lynda Dyer know. Thank you!
D uring Lent we are 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,  o ur 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, following our 10 a.m. Holy Eucharist. 

Next week we will consider the question of whether it is possible to own things without having the things own you.  The text will be  Luke 12:22-34.  Please join us. The readings can be found in your Bible or online at
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."
The bracket poster is posted in the Parish Hall and is updated daily! If this sounds like something you'd like to do as a Lenten observance, sign-up at to receive daily emails. The email will provide the information/bios for the two contestants of the day, and you can cast your vote. The only thing you need to provide in order to sign up is your email address.  
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!
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.
Music Director update
We have begun looking for the right person to serve as Grace's Music Director. We have formed a Music Director Search Committee, consisting of Barbara Brooks, Bob Burman, and Marj Leeds and are currently reviewing resumes and setting up interviews. This coming Sunday  Richard Thomas will be our guest Music Director for the second time. Please welcome him.
If you notice an RV parked on the upper lot, it belongs to Katie Taylor and John Reich, and is there with permission.

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!

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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.