News from Grace Episcopal Church ~ Martinez, California
April 4, 2019 
Scripture of the Week
" Whatever were gains to me I now consider loss  for the sake of Christ.   What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ  and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ -the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. "
 Philippians 3:7-9
"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, but children and youth share in the ministry of the church year-round, serving as acolytes, readers, and oblation bearers. 
This Sunday in Godly Play  
The Faces of Easter 6
In the last few weeks we have told the stories of Jesus' birth and growth, Jesus is lost and found, Jesus' baptism and blessing by God, Jesus' desert and discovery experience, and Jesus as a healer and parable-maker. We now show our next storyboard  - 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.
The children enjoy Godly Play during the beginning of the 10 a.m. service and join their families for Eucharist. There is a children's area at the rear of the sanctuary with toys, books, and coloring materials for children who do not enjoy sitting in the pews.  There is Nursery Care for babies and young toddlers in the education building.

Have you noticed something missing? (Hint: it's food)!

The Holy Eucharist - sharing Christ's body and blood - is the core of our worship. In many denominations, including the Episcopal Church, it is traditional to consecrate (bless) bread and wine to symbolize and remember Jesus's sacrificial death on our behalf. For the past couple of years, Grace has offered a choice of fresh-baked wheat bread or manufactured wafers at the communion rail. During Lent, however, we have only been offering wafers. If you have missed the bread, please let  Rev Deb or one of the members of the Worship and Liturgy Committee know. If enough folks tell us they would like to continue to have the option of bread, we will be setting up a bread-baking guild. Each baker would be responsible for baking one recipe of bread, probably no more than monthly (and maybe less).  We will provide the recipe. If you are interested in this ministry, please let Rev. Deb know.
Lenten Pancake Breakfasts

Each Sunday during Lent we hold a Pancake Breakfast between our 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. services. Please join us for eggs, sausage and pancakes and a chance to meet and chat with one another. A donation of $3 is suggested.  
Lent is almost over but there's still time to get closer to God!

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. We have changed our Eucharistic Prayer (to Eucharistic Prayer A.) and will also change our form for the Prayers of the People (to Form II) to mark the change of liturgical 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: Forgiveness

April 14, Palm Sunday
8 a.m. Holy Eucharist II
9 a.m. Corned Beef Hash Breakfast
10 a.m. Choral Eucharist

April 18, 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)

April 19, Good Friday:
12 p.m. - Stations of the Cross
7 p.m. - Good Friday Liturgy

April 20, 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 21, Happy Easter!
8 a.m. Holy Eucharist II 10 a.m. Choral Eucharist and Egg Hunt
Gethsemane Watch

Jesus spent the last night of his life with his friends, eating and drinking together in the Garden of Gethsemane. He asked them to stay awake with him, but one by one they all fell asleep, leaving him alone and despairing. In an attempt to do better, and in some small way to make up what was lacking in the first disciples, we choose as a community to stay awake with Jesus in the hours between Maundy Thursday (following the stripping of the altar) and the first service of Good Friday. T he goal is to have someone  present in our sanctuary at all times. Unlike the first disciples, you do not need to stay awake all night. Many people tell us that they enjoy spending time alone (or nearly alone) in the sanctuary. You can use the time to journal, pray, sing, or meditate. If you would like to participate, simply sign up for one (or more) hour(s) of watch. The youth will be taking the first two-hour shift. The sign-up sheet is on the table in the entry to the Parish Hall (near the Lent Madness bracket poster). 
A reminder from Rev. Deb (and her family)

Rev. Deb publishes her cell phone number for use in case of emergencies. If you have an urgent need for clergy, you can find it at the end of the answering message at the church. Rev. Deb is available at the church telephone number Tuesday- Thursday and Sundays. If you do have an emergency and need Rev. Deb after hours, please do not text her. She does not hear the text message notification after she (and her family) have gone to bed. Her cell phone is paired with her home phone, so if you call, she will answer. Please be judicious in your use of Rev. Deb's cell phone. If you have a question or concern that can wait until the next day, please do so. If it is a business day, please try the office phone first. Many thanks!
Resources for a Holy (and Fun!) Lent

T here are many ways to honor the special 40-day season of preparation for Easter. Here are a few:
Episcopal Relief and Development Lenten emails : Each day during Lent you will 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.

Observe Lent as a family by trying out the "Lent in a Bag" project. You can find it here OR check out this free, downloadable family devotional for Lent centered around food .

This year, the Godly Play children will be collecting items for The Deacon's Pantry, a ministry of Grace. This kitchen space (in the "accordion door" pantry) has been set aside for donations of food and other items for individuals in need.
The Grace Worship and Liturgy Committee would like to encourage all of Grace's parishioners to complete their funeral arrangements and final instructionsDeath 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 now available in the Narthex and on our website. Please consider participating.  

Finally, try something completely different! 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 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. Saintly Scorecards - the publication containing all 32 first round bios - are available on the table at the Parish Hall entrance.
And see our post on "Giving it up for Lent"  here 
This fragile earth, our island home

Lent is a good time to consider our treatment of God's creation. To help us to remember that human beings are only a small part of the earth's resources, our Presiding Bishop, The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, has asked all Episcopalians to consider taking the following  Creation Care pledge:

"As the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement, we long to grow loving, liberating, life-giving relationship with the whole of God's Creation. Together, we pledge to protect and renew the Earth and all who call it home. Together, we are living the Way of Love and make this commitment to specific actions."

Go to  Take the pledge to find out more and sign the pledge.

Another way to demonstrate your concern for the environment is to take part in  The John Muir Earth Day Celebration, Saturday, April 20, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you are willing to plan for, set-up, help staff, and/or clean-up the Interfaith Green Spirit Contra Costa booth, please let Rev. Walter know.
Bible Study for Everyone!

Each Wednesday at 10 a.m. we offer Holy Eucharist followed by Bible Study in our Chapel. We are currently engaged in a  Lenten study called "Practicing Forgiveness." All are welcome! Each week in Lent we will focus on a different aspect of forgiveness in relationship to our weekly scriptures. The Living Compass offers a packet of Lenten resources that includes a booklet with daily meditations, but y ou do not need to have these in order to participate in the group. If you are interested, you can download the "Living Well Through Lent/Practicing Forgiveness" booklet for free or order it for $1 on the Living Compass Website .
Youth Group
Youth Group will meet on Sunday, April 14, at 6:00 p.m. for Pizza and filling plastic eggs for the Easter Egg Hunt! 
Book Group

The next meeting of the Grace Book Group is Wednesday, April 17, 6:30 p.m. at Smooth Season (Muir Station Shopping Center), when we will discuss "The Little Paris Bookshop" by Nina George.
A message from Casserole Patrol
Our supply is running low. We need your help replenishing the freezer. Casseroles should be frozen, or freezable, and preferably the size of 4-6 servings (or less.) Please label the casserole with a description/directions, and the date it was prepared/frozen. If you can contribute, please let Connie Towey know.
The Casserole Patrol is one of Grace's most important pastoral ministries, as it provides meals to those who, for one reason or another, can benefit from having a meal delivered to them.   
Yoga at Grace!
We welcome certified Yoga Instructor Noah Yuzna every  Tuesday evening at 6:15 p.m. to conduct a 60-minute yoga class.  All levels are welcome and modifications are available for folks with limited mobility.  Classes are open to the community and there is no set cost.  Participants are invited to contribute what they can for each class.  
Compost Containers available!
Marie Knutson from Republic Services who presented the Faithful Forum last month, has provided kitchen-countertop-size compost containers for distribution to anyone who would like to have one. To get in on the action, please add your name to the sign-up sheet in the Parish Hall, OR notify the Parish Office by email, OR call the Parish Office (925) 228-6574 and leave a message. 
Coffee Hour News!
Thank you to everyone who has "opted in" as a Coffee Hour Host/Team. This is a vital activity in the life of our parish. There is always room for more help, so if you have questions or would like to join a team or start a team, contact Coffee Hour Coordinator Christina ("Tina") Reich. Many thanks. (Hosts, please remember that if you cannot serve on a particular Sunday, kindly secure a substitute and let Tina know.) 
  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 will be providing 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 (UPDATE: the first two bulleted items are especially needed at this time):
  • Hygiene items including (but not limited to) soap, shampoo, oral care, shower wipes, shaving supplies, feminine hygiene items
  • Adult diapers (e.g. "Depend") (men's and women's) all sizes
  • 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
  • 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.
Join the choir!
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!

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.