News from Grace Episcopal Church ~ Martinez, California

June 15, 2017

Scripture of the Week   

"Be joyful in the Lord, all you lands; serve the Lord with gladness and come before his presence with a song."  Psalm 100:1
Stan fell down and broke his crown
Please pray for our Senior Warden, Stan Applegate, and his family.  On Tuesday, while trimming trees here at the church, Stan fell off a ladder and suffered several serious but non-life-threatening/non-permanent injuries, including broken ribs, fingers, and vertebrae.  He is still hospitalized, but, as you can see from this photo and the headline of this article (which he chose), Stan did not break his sense of humor!  Stan does a tremendous amount for Grace and your thoughts and prayers mean a great deal to him.  Another way to support Stan is to step up and help in some of the areas of ministry in which he will be particularly missed in his absence.  Please let Rev. Deb know if you are willing to serve.
Are you called to be a Lay Eucharist Minister?
Lay Eucharistic Ministers (LEMs) assist the priest during the Holy Eucharist (communion) by leading prayers and serving the chalice (wine).  As a sacramental church, Episcopalians identify the Holy Eucharist as the spiritual center of our community, so this is a very important ministry.  You will receive training prior to being scheduled to serve. Please prayerfully consider whether you might find fulfillment in participating in this ministry.  We are currently short on LEMs and hope to add a few folks to the roster.  If you are interested, please let John Lee ( or Rev. Deb ( know.
Many thanks
We are deeply grateful to all of the people who worked to hard to make our Dead Sea Scrolls presentation  last Sunday a success. Dr. Crawford's lecture was interesting and stimulating and drew in an impressive 105 people to our Parish Hall! Many thanks to the cooks, the cleaners, the publicists, the participants, and everyone who helped us live out our mission statement to welcome, support and serve all God's people! 
It takes a village
If you enjoy spending time at our lovely campus on Sunday mornings, please think about what you might do to help maintain it.  The beautiful landscaping and repair work at Grace is largely done by committed parishioners.  During the summer we are hoping to host a buildings and grounds work party, which will include all kinds of opportunities to contribute sweat equity to our church. We also are planning some bigger projects (new signs!  more lighting!  a new deck!) for which we will need all hands.  If you have any special carpentry, electrical, or construction skills or are simply willing to follow orders and enjoy the camaraderie that comes with good hard work done in community, please let our Junior Warden, Les Marks know.
Food is Love Redux: When the Giver needs the Gift
The Grace Church "Casserole Patrol" is one of the ministries that Senior Warden Stan Applegate has been developing at Grace. Stan is making great progress organizing a team of folks to help provide meals to members of the parish in need of assistance during busy or stressful times (such as illness or a new baby). Help can be offered in a variety of ways - cooking, delivering, or simply making an extra batch of something you're cooking for your family and putting it in the church freezer so that we have some meals on hand.  This is an important ministry that gives joy to both team members and recipients. Stan is currently in the hospital himself, so if this is something you'd be interested in taking on during Stan's convalescence, please contact Rev. Deb
Backpack/School Supplies Drive is Underway!
Our annual school supplies drive is open for business! Backpacks will be ordered soon and we are asking for donations to fill them.  Between now and the end of August, donations may be left in the Narthex.  Suggested items: spiral bound notebooks (no 3-ring binders or loose leaf paper needed); scotch tape; yellow highlighters; pens (black, blue, red); scissors; colored pencil sets; packages of white ruled index cards; calculators;  12" rulers with inches and centimeters; boxes of #2 pencils or mechanical pencils; handheld pencil sharpeners. No donation is too small. Any amount is greatly appreciated and brings us closer to the goal of filling backpacks for our local middle school students.  Thank you for your continued generosity and enthusiasm for this longstanding local outreach ministry. Beth Ilog

Come to Family Sunday for Father's Day!
During the Interim period, Fr. Jeff "changed things up" by offering a "contemporary" Sunday service at 10 a.m. one Sunday per month. In this spirit, we have decided that every third Sunday at Grace will be Family Sunday - and this Sunday is our Family service for June!  On Family Sunday there is no Sunday School and the youth and children are more integrally involved in the worship service.  We have a children's homily, our music is simpler and our young folks can help lead the worship.  If you are between the ages of "can walk alone" and "haven't graduated from high school yet," and are willing to help out, please let Rev. Deb ( know!
Blessings Abound
We at Grace invite people celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, and special events in their lives to come forward for a blessing during the Announcements following the passing of the peace during our Sunday services. It has been the tradition of Grace for people to put money into a "blessing box" as part of their remembrance. Although I understand and appreciate the importance of parish customs, I am extremely uncomfortable with there being any hint of an association between the gift of God's blessing and financial compensation. For that reason, I have asked the acolytes not to present the box when people come forward for blessings. Blessings are, like God's mercy, free offerings to God.  I understand that some people may enjoy the opportunity to contribute to the church as part of their personal practice, so our beautiful blessing/ music box, made by John Lee with love, will be placed on a table near the pulpit so that these individuals may continue to do so.  Please remember though that making a contribution is absolutely unnecessary and that having you come forward to share the joys and sorrows of your lives is itself a blessing to the community!   
In peace,
Rev. Deb
Summer BBQs
July 9, August 13, and September 10
On Summer BBQ Sundays, following the 10am service, head on over to the Parish Hall for a great meal and fellowship. Burgers (meat and veggie), hot dogs, buns and condiments are provided. Side dishes and desserts are potluck (as you are able). No charge for the meal, and all are welcome! 
Summer Sunday School
We need volunteers to help the children with an activity during the first part of the 10:00 service on Sundays during the summer. The goal is to keep the kids safe and give parents a break. There is a wide variety of activity supplies in the Sunday School area to use. Look for the sign-up sheet in the parish hall.
Make a joyful noise! 
We would like to invite folks who, for whatever reason, cannot make a regular commitment to our music program to share their gifts with us during the summer months.  If you sing or play an instrument, particularly the piano or organ, or have a friend  or colleague who would like to play on a Sunday  morning, please let our Music Director Gary Evans  know!
Educate yourself!
We have started a Grace Church Theological Library
It is located  in the corner next to the conference table in the  Sunday  School wing and is a treasure trove of material for you to browse or check-out. There is room for more on the shelves, so if you have books you would like to donate to this collection, please feel free to drop them off (please attach a note with your name and phone number) or contact Les Marks at     
Altar Guild Needs You!
As with many tasks in our church community, the larger the team, the lighter the workload. The Altar Guild team is in need of new volunteers. No experience necessary and training is provided. If you are interested in learning more, Altar Guild Director Elaine Quigley would love to hear from you! Call or email Elaine at 925-787-0080 or
Women's Group Event Cancelled
The Women's Group gathering that had been calendared for this coming Saturday, June 17, has been cancelled. Please plan on attending the next meeting of St. Christopher's Guild on June 25 to participate in a discussion of future plans.
St. Christopher's Guild
All women of the parish are members of St. Christopher's Guild and are invited to join us for our monthly meetings, which are held on the last Sunday of the month, between services at 9:00 (between services). Our next meeting is June 25.
Susan Bremmer, 2017 President
Fran Trant, 2017 Vice President
Bills don't take vacations!
Summer is coming and we know that many of you will be taking some well-deserved time off. We will miss you but promise to be here when you get back.  Please remember though that while you are gone the parish still needs to pay our bills.  If you are able to catch up on your pledge before you go, we would very much appreciate it!

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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.