News from Grace Episcopal Church ~ Martinez, California

January 25, 2018

Scripture of the Week

"The fear of the  Lord is the beginning of wisdom; those who act accordingly have a good understanding; his praise endures for ever."

Psalm 111:10
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 (Feb. 18, March 15) 
Godly Play Sunday School            
This Sunday: The Synagogue and the Upper Room Our story this week begins with Jesus in the synagogue in the village of Nazareth reading from a scroll of Isaiah. We then move to the upper room and a telling of the story of the Last Supper. The important moment occurs when the stories come together as we begin to see that both the synagogue and upper room are the foundations for church buildings as we know them today, complete with the lectern and table. This reminds us that for Christians, the liturgy of the word and the liturgy of the table are joined together. 
Please join us for the Annual Meeting
The Episcopal Church considers all of its members to be equal partners in making decisions in our parishes. One of the primary venues for discussion and planning is The Annual Parish Meeting. We will hold our annual meeting this Sunday, January 28, 2018, following the 10 a.m. service

The meeting will be held in conjunction with a Pot Luck Luncheon. Please bring a dish according to these guidelines:

If your last name begins with A-C: Salad; D-H: Beverage; I-R: Main Dish; S-Z: Dessert. If you are available to help set up for the meeting/lunch, please contact Stan Applegate.

At the gathering we will set our annual budget and elect new members to the Vestry.  Vestry members serve for three (3) year terms. We will also elect Deanery delegates who attend quarterly meetings of our regional church council. To be eligible to serve on vestry you must be a baptized, pledging member of the parish.

The nominees for Vestry are:

Paula Menconi
Paula was born in San Francisco and has remained in the Bay Area all her life. Her husband Dave and two children are also native Californians. Paula's son Chad is married to Casey and they have three children, Kyla, Eric and Jillian. Her daughter is married to Doug and they have two boys, Gavin and Kade. The entire family lives close by and get together often.  Before having children, Paula worked as a bookkeeper for Smith-Rice Derrick barge and tugboat company in San Francisco. As a working mother, Paula was employed at Advanced Scaffold as a payroll and bookkeeper, later transitioning to work for the Bishop of the Oakland Diocese in the Marriage Tribunal, where she was employed for seven years.  Paula's last paid position was at Carondelet High School in Concord, from which she retired in August after 29 years. Paula says she and Dave feel blessed to have found a home here at Grace. "The community has shown us such warmth, caring and welcomed us with open hearts. We want to give back and be part of this wonderful community. God bless!"
Connie Towey
Connie was born in Tecumseh, Michigan and baptized there in St. Peter's Episcopal Church.  She earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at University of Michigan School of Nursing. Connie reports that she chose to use her nursing education as a Home Care Nurse in Detroit. After her marriage ended she returned to Tecumseh to be close to her family and raise her children. Connie continued Home Care in her home county of Lenawee and served her community as a member of the City Council for 8 years. According to Connie, "It wasn't until I was in my 40's that I realized that my mission had been and would always be providing care and love to people. Four years ago I decided to move to California. Alice was happy with my idea to move here, and Pat said he would come too. So I sold my house and we loaded the dog and a few things for travel into the car and here we are!" Connie has been a member of Grace for about two years and says she has "found opportunities here for caring and loving - from the 'Peace' to the casserole patrol, to being doorkeeper for Godly Play." She feels "it will be a blessing to serve on the Vestry, as I could serve the Lord in an added capacity."
Josh Senn
Joshua Senn is a 28 year-old parishioner who was born in Walnut Creek and grew up in the Danville/Diablo area. He's the second oldest of 7 siblings. Josh is married to Jes Heyse Senn. They have a beautiful 2 year-old daughter, Emma. Josh started coming to Grace Church in 2012 when he began dating Jes, whose family has been active members of the parish for years. (Josh's in-laws are John and Wendy Heyse.) Josh and Jess were married at Grace Church in 2015. Josh was raised Catholic but is happy to be a member of the Episcopal Church now. He enjoys church events, and is currently on the Building and Grounds Committee and co-leads the Youth Ministry with his wife, Jes. Josh has helped out at numerous church events, including helping Stan in the kitchen with the cooking and preparing of meals. Josh, writes, "I have a great set of leadership skills. I'm good at planning and organizing, I've been a leader on certain things in my life, I'm dedicated to what I do and I also enjoy doing new things. I'm hard working, strong, and willing to help those who need it."
The nominees for Deanery Representative are: 
Les Marks
Les Marks is our Junior Warden. He also serves as a Eucharistic Minister and is currently a Deanery & Convention delegate. Les was bor n and raised on a farm in a small Minnesota community; his high school graduating class had only 19 students.  He thanks the US Navy for bringing him to the Bay Area in 1960, and he has never left.  He was born into a Methodist family, but was introduced to many protestant religions while in the Navy, as Chaplains tended to slant their services to their ordained religious affiliation.  After the Navy, he bounced around from one church to another until coming to Grace Episcopal Church in 2008.  After deciding Grace would be his church of choice and wanting to learn more about the Episcopal religion, he embarked on a course of study at Church Divinity School of the Pacific in 2013.  Taking one class per semester, he completed the Certificate of Theological Studies program, and graduated in May, 2016.  Les is asking you to support him in continuing to serve as a Deanery member and delegate to the convention.  He believes his schooling and especially his work in many facets of the life of Grace Episcopal Church, will make him a good representative for the congregation.
Pat Hambly
Pat Hambly is a member of the Vestry and has been a Deanery and Diocesan Convention Representative for approximately seven years. She also serves as a Eucharistic Minister. Pat was born in South Haven, Michigan, and is a "cradle" Episcopalian. She has two sons and six grandchildren who live in Chico and Marin County. Many of us have met Pat's grandchildren, especially Haley, who is a sophomore at Tulane University. Pat became a member of Grace in the early 80's. Pam and Claude Nave brought her to Grace when she was looking for a church home. Pat immediately felt comfortable at Grace, because it followed the liturgical tradition she was used to, had activities for her children, and was accepting and welcoming. Pat has enjoyed being a Deanery and Diocesan Convention delegate because it provides an additional perspective on the workings of the church beyond Sunday worship. She says "Grace is a very welcoming and open Christian community" and she is proud to represent the parish to the greater church.
Barbara Brooks
Barbara is running for a second term as one of Grace's Deanery and Diocesan Convention delegates. She has been a member of several parishes since toddlerhood, finally landing gratefully at Grace about 18 years ago. The majority of Barbara's time has been spent with the children at Grace in Godly Play and now in nursery care, but has had stints on Vestry, choir and, since last year, Altar Guild. She and husband Paul have two children and a cat, all of whom served as inspiration for Barbara's book, published last year, "War and Peace, or The Cat Should Sleep Where She Wants."  When not traveling, hiking, reading, watching movies, or swimming, Barbara is working on what she calls "The Novel That Would Not Die," with a deadline for this draft on April Fool's Day. She volunteered last year as a delegate because she feels it is important to have both representation in the larger church and to participate in the dialogue and democracy that is a hallmark of the Episcopal Church.  
In addition to our three Deanery Representatives, we elect one  Alternate. Parishioner  Mary Canale served in that capacity this year and is willing to continue.
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 February 18 we will look at The Polity of the Episcopal Church. The word "polity" (not to be confused with the word "politics") means "the process of government." We will consider the idea of the church as a hierarchical democracy and look specifically at the roles of various church ministers, including bishops, priests, deacons, and lay persons.
Looking forward, please reserve April 15, when  
Dr. Donn Morgan will be here 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!
Church beyond Sunday

You may not know it, but Grace has a mid-week Eucharist service at 10 a.m. on Wednesdays in the Chapel, which is followed by Bible study. We are currently reading "Welcome to the Bible," which "describes the Bible and its literature, offers a perspective on its theological and religious meanings over time, and makes some suggestions about how to read and study it. Our hope is to make the Bible more accessible and intelligible to people who are exploring a deeper relationship with God in Jesus Christ." You don't need the book to participate, but if you would like a copy you can get it  here. This coming Wednesday, we will be continuing Chapter 3, "How do we know what the Bible Says?" (page 37).
Preparing for Lent
Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, which is February 14 (that's right, Valentine's Day!) this year.  If you have palm crosses from last year, you are invited to bring them to church and place them in the offering plate. The Altar Guild will used them to make ashes for Ash Wednesday services. 

On Tuesday, February 13 (the evening before Ash Wednesday) all are invited to our Annual Shrove Tuesday Pancake Dinner from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the Parish Hall. We will have pancakes, eggs, and sausage.  There is no cost.
The church is us!
We use the word "church" in many different ways: to describe any Christian place of worship; to talk about the larger Episcopal denomination; and, most frequently, to refer to our parish, Grace Episcopal Church, Martinez. But scripture tells us that "the church" is not a piece of property; it's the People of God! We also know that people are very different and that individuals find the Holy Spirit in a variety of ways, including through quiet, meditation and boisterous interactions with one another. At Grace, we attempt to provide room for all people to find God in their own way. Our "church building" helps us do that. We have an area for getting information and chatting (the Narthex, or entrance area) and a sacred space reserved for worship (the Sanctuary). In order to help remind us of the sacred nature of our worship space, we are asking all worshippers to use the Narthex for social visiting and, on Sunday mornings, to stop conversing in the Sanctuary after the bell calls us to worship immediately prior to the service. Thank you in advance for demonstrating respect for the Church!
A note from the 2018 St. Christopher's Guild President 
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. Please note this coming Sunday, we will not be having a meeting as the Parish Hall will be in 'pre-Annual Meeting' mode. We will have our first meeting of the year on February 25, 2018. Currently, we are planning on having three (3) events: a Spring Luncheon, a Hawaiian themed Luau and of course our annual Christmas luncheon the first Tuesday of December.
I am looking forward to seeing you in Church and at our meetings. Please contact me by calling my cell phone 925-586-6062  or by emailing me at  Kind regards, Fran Trant
Join the conversation about helping our homeless sisters and brothers
A couple of weeks ago we introduced a proposed program to offer some concrete assistance to our homeless neighbors. In many churches, ideas about helping people outside of the parish community are generated by an Outreach Committee. In this case, however, Rev. Deb has been receiving visits at Grace from people in need, often when she is alone in the evening. Since she had no Outreach Committee to consult with, she initiated the idea of stocking Kindness Kits for homeless people who visit our campus. These small backpacks would contain a bottle of water, space blanket, granola bar, socks, and a grocery store gift card (to start with) and be available for distribution to those in need. Rev. Deb feels that by giving this kit we would be helping others desperately in need as well as increasing safety at our campus by spreading the word that we do not store or provide money. Since its introduction, however, several parishioners have expressed concern that initiating this project will make them unsafe on the campus. For these reasons, we have decided to stop work on this project until the Vestry is able to discuss it at their February meeting. We would like to hear from you. Please express either your concern or support for this program to any Vestry member.

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.