News from Grace Episcopal Church ~ Martinez, California
August 30, 2018 
Scripture of the Week

"My beloved speaks and says to me:
'Arise, my love, my fair one,
    and come away;
for now the winter is past,
    the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
    the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
    is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs, 
and the vines are in blossom;
    they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my fair one,
    and come away.'"
Song of Solomon 2:10-13
"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: Although school has begun, our Sunday School program year does not begin until September 15. Children are always welcome to participate in all services at Grace. There is a children's area near the piano 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.
Rev. Deb is away this Sunday, September 2

Rev. Deb is back east getting her daughter, Katie, settled at college and visiting with her mother.  We welcome The Rev. Molly Haws back to Grace. Rev. Deb returns on Wednesday.  If you have any pastoral concerns, please let  Rev. Walter know.
You are cordially invited to the
Eagle Scout Court of Honor
José Dyer 
Please join José and his family on
Saturday, September 8, at 11:00 am
as he receives his Boy Scout Eagle Scout rank.
José has worked very hard for this achievement and is very grateful for all of the support he has received from this community of Christ. 
There will be a r eception following the ceremony in the Parish Hall.
Opening Day at Grace
Please join us on Saturday, September 8 and Sunday, September 9 for our annual opening weekend festival celebrating the beginning of our program year. On Saturday, beginning at 2 pm, there will be games, a bouncy house, face painting, and fun in the afternoon, followed by Karaoke and a (G-rated) movie under the stars. Sunday will be Family Sunday, with the children assisting at Eucharist and a Children's Homily - and the bouncy house will remain up during our festive coffee hour! BRING FRIENDS!!! 
Recent Happenings at Grace
Many thanks to everyone who supported and made these recent events at Grace a success!
Luau at Grace
August 18
All-Parish Work Day
August 25
Casseroles Needed  
One of Grace's most important pastoral ministries is the
Casserole Patrol, which provides meals to those who, for
one reason or another, can benefit from having a meal
delivered to them. Currently, our supply is running short. If you can contribute a freezable casserole, please let Connie Towey know.

Liturgy at Grace
Folks have been asking questions recently about how we "do" worship at Grace, including when and why we change things in our weekly services.  Here is some information:

According to the Episcopal Church, Liturgy is " The church's public worship of God... [which] is the work of the Christian people."  Liturgy is not just the words we say, but the way we say them - what gestures we use, what we wear, and how we move in our worship. As a member parish of the Episcopal Church, Grace's liturgy comes from either the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) or one of its approved supplements. 
On Sundays at Grace, we demonstrate our faith in community by celebrating Holy Eucharist together. The structure of our service does not change, but the BCP offers us several options for the specific wording of our prayers. Traditionally, at Grace, like many other Episcopal Churches, we change the language of our Eucharist prayers seasonally. This practice was used by Father Ross, Rev. Jill, and Rev. Jeff - and Rev. Deb has continued it. One change initiated by Rev Deb was to establish a Worship and Liturgy Committee to advise her on liturgical matters. Previously, the Rector made all of the liturgical decisions alone.  Rev. Deb believes that occasional changes in liturgy encourage us to think about the words we are saying and provide as many people as possible with the opportunity to connect deeply with our liturgy.  The Worship and Liturgy Committee provides input and feedback prior to and after making any  changes in liturgy. 
The longest season of the church year is the Season after Pentecost, which has 27 Sundays. This year, the Worship and Liturgy Committee decided to change our liturgy half-way through the season rather than retain the same prayers throughout. In order to encourage worshippers to become familiar with all of the liturgical resources the church has to offer, for this "half-season" we have introduced a Eucharistic prayer from Enriching our Worship, one of the supplemental resources of the Episcopal Church. We did this last year during the season of Advent, and it was well-received. Please feel free to offer your feedback on the current liturgy to any member of the committee.  They are Don Dyer, John Lee, Marj Leeds, Les Marks, Elaine Quigley, Rev. Walter and Rev. Deb.
Bible Study for Everyone!
On Wednesday mornings at 10 a.m. at Grace we celebrate the Holy Eucharist, followed by Bible Study. We are currently studying  the letters of Paul, which constitute about two-thirds of the New Testament. We are using Church  of England bishop and theologian N.T. Wright's series, "Paul for Everyone." On Wednesday, September 5, we will look at Galatians 3:23-29.  Please consider the questions, "What does Paul mean by 'being God's grown-up child'?" "What does Christian baptism mean in this context"? and "What does this passage have to say about divisions among Christians"? All are welcome!
Yoga at Grace
We have begun Yoga classes 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 will be 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.  Invite your friends!
School Backpacks/Supplies Drive 
We have 60 backpacks to fill and we're off to a great start with the donations collection. Thank you, wonderful church family for your support, enthusiasm and generosity! There is still a ways to go though, so if you are able,   please click here for the Suggested School Supplies List . Hard copies are available in the Narthex and Parish Hall. Every little bit helps, is greatly appreciated, and definitely makes a difference! Donations may be dropped in the labeled box in the Narthex.

Backpack Stuffing is scheduled for Sunday, September 9, beginning at 9:45(ish) a.m. The task usually takes 2-3 hours. Everyone is invited to help! You can join the work party any time between 9:45-12:30pm. Backpacks will be delivered to Martinez Jr. High on Wednesday, September 12.  
  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:

- 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
- Hygiene items including (but not limited to) soap, shampoo, oral care, shower wipes, shaving supplies, feminine hygiene items
- 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).

Parishioners are invited to make donations of items by leaving them in the bin in the Narthex (labeled "C.O.R.E. Outreach"). The items will be blessed by Rev. Deb, and handed off to members of the C.O.R.E. team who distribute while doing their mobile outreach work in the local community.
Book Group

Read any good books lately? Want to participate in a book discussion group? Like to eat out? Come drop in on the Grace Book Group! We'd love to see you!
When: 3rd Wednesday of the month, at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Smooth Season restaurant at Muir Station
Shopping Center. 
Our next get-together is September 19, when we will discuss "One Thousand White Women," by Jim Fergus.  
Coming soon: The Grace Directory Online

We have been growing so much that we are in desperate need of a new Parish Directory. In order to make things as convenient, confidential, and environmentally-friendly as possible, we are opting to use an online format. (Individuals who are not online or are uncomfortable with the online format may ask for a hard copy version of the completed directory). For online us, parishioners will be given the opportunity to "opt in" to the directory and will have direct control over their own entries. At about the same time, we will be switching our mailing server from Constant Contact to Mail Chimp.  This means you will need to opt-in to Grace Notes and church mailings as well.  Stay tuned for more information and instructions!



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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.