News from Grace Episcopal Church ~ Martinez, California 
January 30, 2020
Scripture of the Week

" H ow dear to me is your dwelling, O  Lord  of hosts! 
My soul has a desire and longing for the courts of the  Lord;
my heart and my flesh rejoice in the living God.
The sparrow has found her a house
and the swallow a nest where she may lay her young; by the side of your altars, O  Lord of hosts, my King and my God.
Happy are they who dwell in your house! 
they will always be praising you.
Happy are the people whose strength is in you!
whose hearts are set on the pilgrims' way.
Those who go through the desolate valley will find it a place of springs, 
for the early rains have covered it with pools of water.
They will climb from height to height, and the God of gods will reveal himself in Zion. "   
Psalm 84:1-6
"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: The Parable of the Sower
Last week the children heard a parable to answer the question "What is the Kingdom of Heaven like?" The answer last week was "a great pearl." This week they hear that the Kingdom of Heaven is also like a sower who scatters seed along the path. They hear the oft-told story of the fate of the various seeds. Some are eaten like birds. Others wither. Some are choked among the thorns. But some seeds push their little roots into the good earth and thrive. The children are asked to wonder if the sower has a name, whether the sower was happy when the birds came and ate the seeds, and if the birds have names. There are so many things to consider as we try to understand parables!
Annual Parish Meeting Summary

This past Sunday we held our annual meeting following the 10 a.m. service.  At this gathering we set our annual budget and held elections. The new members of the Grace Vestry are:

Amelia Brooks, Betty Case, and Jane Ramsey (elected to Class of 2022) and David Kennedy and Sally Hanson (appointed to the Class of 2021 and 2020 respectively). Our current representatives to Deanery and Diocesan Convention, Barbara Brooks, Mary Canale, Pat Hambly and Jennifer Sabroe (alternate) were re-elected. 

Reverend Deb announced that we have hired a new Parish Administrator and will begin discerning a use for our Upper Lot this year. 

You can find the presentation packet here , or on our website (, Facebook page, or Twitter feed.

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:
New Parish Administrator

I am delighted to announce that we have hired Sarah Williams to be our new Parish Administrator. Sarah is currently the part-time Parish Administrator at St. Clement's in Berkeley and St. John's Presbyterian Church in Berkeley. We will be sharing her St. Clement's, where she will continue to work part-time.  Sarah comes to us with a wealth of knowledge and experience in church administration. All of our staff has met her and find her to be delightful! She will be at Grace on Tuesday afternoons and all-day Thursday and will complete the rest of her 20 hours per week in the "cloud." Sarah will begin on March 3rd and she and Jennifer will overlap for a month so that Jennifer can train her in the ways of Grace. Please welcome her warmly!
A message from our Treasurer

Offering Envelopes - The offering envelopes are available in the Narthex of the Church. They are slightly different this year as they do not have dates or pledger numbers. This is because we made an executive decision not to pay $250 for 50 sets of envelopes. Hopefully this decision will not backfire. Because of this change, it is important that you put your name on the envelope if you are giving cash to the church. If you are writing a check, you do not need to fill out any information on the envelope.
End of the Year Statements reflecting each pledging unit (family/parishioner) giving for 2019, have been distributed either in person or by mail.  Please review your statement carefully and contact me at if you have any issues. (The information is input to an Excel spreadsheet manually, so it is vulnerable to human error.)
Thank you! Marj Leeds.   
St. Patrick's Dinner

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! Please contact Melissa by email 
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, or speak with co-chairs John Vander Kamp or Melissa Rodrigue-Kennedy.
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.) 

Future dates and topics include:

February 16: The Reverend Susan Reeve will discuss Kairos Prison Ministry.
March 15: The Very Rev. Donald Brown will present on the theories and meaning of Salvation through Jesus Christ.
April 19: The Rev. Will McGarvey will introduce the work of The Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County.
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. 
Collecting Palm Crosses

In preparation for Ash Wednesday, the Altar Guild is collecting palm crosses from previous Palm Sundays so they can be burned to make ashes for the service. Please put them in the basket on the table in the Narthex.  Thank you!
 Epiphany Bible Study: The Gospel of John
On Wednesday mornings at Grace we have a 10 a.m. service of Holy Eucharist followed by Bible Study.

We are currently studying  The Gospel of John with the Good Book Club Each day through Shrove Tuesday, February 25, we'll read a passage from this compelling gospel, inspired by "the disciple whom Jesus loved."

We'll encounter the favorite verse of football fans and inspirational sign makers with John 3:16, and we'll also hear stories only heard in John: Jesus turns water into wine at the wedding of Cana, encounters the woman at the well, and raises Lazarus from the dead.

The spiritual Gospel of John uses beautiful poetry: Jesus as the bread of life and as the vine. And it's in John that we hear the great I AM statements.

The text for the course is  A Journey with John:  This book explores the Gospel of John with fifty days of scripture, meditations, and prayers written by dynamic spiritual leaders from across the United States and around the world. It is available as an e-book from most digital platforms.  For information, go to The Good Book Club webpage.
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 February 19, at 6:30 p.m., at Smooth Season restaurant at Muir Station shopping center, when we will discuss The Dragon of God, by Earl Thor.  
For more information call/text Jennifer Sabroe at (925) 383-8386
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.   
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.   
Online Directory 
E arlier this year Grace moved to a new church recordkeeping solution called RealmĀ® Inform to  serve the administrative needs of our church. The online directory feature is 
an important part of the way we connect with each other.  We know that it is an adjustment to go from a paper to online directory, but it is now the primary way the church office can reach you, so please enter your information in it.  The information below will help you do that.  Remember, regardless of whether you opt-in to the directory, by keeping your information current, you are helping Rev. Deb and church staff.

Church members get a unique Profile that contains information that you want people in our church to know about you. When you're logged in to your Profile you can update your contact information, change family details, display your photo, and view the online directory. You can customize your privacy settings to select as much or as little contact information to display in the directory. 
If you are a church member and fit any of the scenarios below, please contact Parish Administrator Jennifer Sabroe,
-         You want access to the online directory (aka Realm) but haven't gotten around to creating a login,
-         You want your contact information available to fellow parishioners in the online directory (aka Realm) but don't want to do the login thing, or don't have a computer,
-         You don't want to be in the directory, but want to confirm or update your contact information for the church office.
  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
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.