March 7, 2019
News from Grace Episcopal Church ~ Martinez, California
Scripture of the Week



" He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High,
abides under the shadow of the Almighty.
He shall say to the Lord,
'You are my refuge and my stronghold,
my God in whom I put my trust.'"


Psalm 91:1-2
SPRING FORWARD
Daylight Saving Time begins THIS Sunday, March 10. Be sure to set your clocks one hour ahead so you don't miss Church!
 "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
New Curriculum in Godly Play
This week: The Faces of Easter 1 & 2

We begin this week focusing on the story of Christ as a newborn child. This "face of Easter" is a picture of Mary, Joseph and the newborn baby. We then use a second picture, which has the face of Jesus as a youth surrounded by the rabbis, to tell the story of Mary and Joseph losing Jesus in the city of Jerusalem. The panic of the parents is real, as is their relief and joy when they discover Jesus in the Temple taking to the rabbis. We can also sense their confusion when Jesus says something very strange “Didn’t you know I would be in my Father’s house?” The children are told that Mary and Joseph did not understand what Jesus said, but they did not forget it either.  
Safe Church Training
Saturday, March 30, *9:30-11:30am
Called to Right Relationship is the official policy of the Diocese of California on standards and behaviors to ensure that our congregations are safe places for all God's people. Under this policy, volunteers in various ministries of the church are required to complete online courses every three years.
Caren Miles, Associate for Faith Formation, will provide a 2-hour, in-person safe church training that satisfies all the online requirements for training (and then some). We will cover topics from the training for volunteers, staff, childcare workers, and home visitors, as well as answer any specific questions you may have about Diocesan Safe Church policy.

If you volunteer at Grace and need to take or renew your safe church certifications, this is this is the fastest, easiest way to do it. RSVP by March 25 to Jennifer Sabroe via email at info@gracechurchmtz.org, or call the Parish Office and leave a message (925) 228-6574. Members of other churches within the Diocese of California are welcome to attend.

* Check-in begins at 9:00 a.m. Please arrive early to settle in prior to the 9:30 start time. Thank you!


Check out our post on

Resources for a Holy (and Fun ) Lent
 
 Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, March 6. There 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.

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 www.lentmadness.org 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 avance 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.

Jennifer Sabroe is a Lent Madness enthusiast and can answer any questions you have about Lent Madness.
Live in peace with one another

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 both quiet meditation and boisterous interactions with one another. At Grace, we attempt to provide space for all people to find God in their own way.

The way our buildings are designed help us do that. In the church, 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 Narthex after the bell calls us to worship immediately prior to the service.

The structure of our liturgy also helps us to know when to make a joyful noise and when to speak silently to God alone. During the first part of the service we hear the word of God, while the second half is devoted to the liturgy of the table (Holy Communion). In between, we observe the ancient tradition of passing the peace - recognizing and welcoming one another as part of the community of Christ. The ritual of the passing of the peace is designed to do exactly that; find inner peace as we settle ourselves for worship. It is not a time for socializing. We have Coffee Hour for that! Thank you for honoring the purpose of our lliturgical traditions and demonstrating respect for the Church!
Bible Study for Everyone
Wednesdays - 10am Holy Eucharist followed by Bible Study
Each Wednesday at 10 a.m. we offer Holy Eucharist followed by Bible Study in our Chapel.

 On Wednesday, March 13, we will begin a new 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 .
Lent is here!
Here is the Grace Lenten schedule of activities:
 
This Sunday, March 10:

We will follow a very old tradition by starting Lent with the Great Litany. Sung or spoken in procession, the Great Litany serves as both the Prayers of the People and Confession of Sin, encouraging us to begin this season of penitence by clearing our hearts and minds. We will also be changing our Eucharistic Prayer (to Eucharistic Prayer A).

Starting next week and continuing throughout Lent, we will 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 will also change our form for our 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 II10 a.m. Choral Eucharist and Egg Hunt
Raffle Prizes Needed!
The St. Patrick's Day Dinner is coming, and we need your help! We are looking for donations for a raffle that evening. If you have donated in the past and are willing to again, or know a business that has and would, please contact Amy Eudy at eudy.amy@gmail.com .
St. Patrick's Dinner Helpers Needed
Many hands make light work! Volunteers are needed for set-up on Friday, March 15, 6 p.m., as well as serving and clean-up on Saturday, March 16.
Irish Soda Bread Bakers Needed
Looking for donations of Irish Soda Bread for St. Patrick's Day dinner. If you can bake for us please contact Lynda Dyer at 925-408-3792 or lynda.dyer@att.net  
St. Patrick's Dinner
Saturday, March 16
Social Hour 5:30pm; Dinner 6:30pm

Get your green on and come to the St. Patrick's Dinner at Grace, Martinez! This fundraising event has been an annual tradition at Grace for over 40 years. Dinner includes corned beef brisket, potatoes, cabbage and carrots, and soda bread. (Chicken nuggets will be available for young children.) Rounding out the evening will be live entertainment - Irish step dancers - and a raffle for a variety of prizes. Advance reservations are encouraged. Call or email the church office to reserve your seats (pay at the door).

Cost: $19.50 (general); $10 (ages 11 and under)
Contact: Lynda Dyer at church on Sunday, or call/email the church office at (925) 228-6574, info@gracechurchmtz.org
A memorable Anniversary!
For those of you who were not able to attend services this past Sunday on March 3, John and Jo-Ann Lee wanted to share with you a photo and a prayer. The occasion was the close (March 1st) proximity to Rev. Deb’s first day at Grace Church two years ago. The current and past Vestry members as well as members of the Search Committee surrounded our Rector as we prayed for her and us to continue together to show forth the love of Christ in this world.
A Prayer on the Occasion on Rev. Deb's 2-year Anniversary at Grace
“Almighty God, giver of every good gift: - this day we give you thanks for the first 2 years of the ministry of your servant, Deborah, with all of us who are Grace Parish. As we mark this day, may she continue to be a faithful pastor to our Parish family – as well as all of those who live around us. Continue to fill her with your Holy life-giving Spirit, so that she may in turn nourish us with her warm pastoral care, enabling leadership and inspirational preaching. We thank you for the gifts of change which she brings to our lives. May those changes allow us to grow, so that we are better equipped to fulfill your work in the world. And may we, as a Community, nourish her, so that all our works, together, may reflect your boundless love and glorify your Holy Name. All this we ask in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.” Amen.
Deacon's Doings
We are fortunate to have both a Rector and Deacon at Grace Episcopal Church. In the Episcopal Church a deacon exercises "a special ministry of servanthood" directly under the deacon's bishop, serving all people and especially those in need (BCP, p. 543). Please help Rev. Walter by stocking the "Deacon's Pantry" with donations of food and other items for individuals in need. Rev. Walter will also be establishing a "Deacon's Discretionary Fund," similar to Rev. Deb's "Rector's Discretionary Fund," which provides financial relief to parishioners and friends of the parish. If you would like to contribute, please let Rev. Walter know.
Help wanted
Wanted : a creative and responsible person to head up an All-Parish Inventory at Grace. As part of our growth, the Vestry has been discussing the needs of the church - but we can't figure out what we need until we know what we have. There are many strange and unused items (and things that people are sure we have but can't find!) at Grace, so Rev. Deb has suggested conducting an All-Parish Inventory. Ideally, this would be a fun event that all members could participate in which would be of great help in the work of the Parish. If you are interested in helping Rev. Deb on this, please let her know. You never know what - or who - we might find!
Sharing our "Green Spirit" on John Muir / Earth Day
On Saturday, April 20th "Green Spirit" will make its second appearance at the John Muir/Earth Day Celebration at the John Muir Historic Site here in Martinez. Last year's event was a lot of fun -- folks loved hanging out with "Green Christians." This event is visited by a couple thousand neighbors -- a wonderful way to spread the message about inclusive faith and commitment to the natural world. 

Stay tuned for upcoming information on our involvement this year in coordination with other local churches.

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 March 20, at 6:30 p.m., at Smooth Season restaurant (Muir Station shopping center), when we will discuss Where the Crawdads Sing , by Delia Owens.
 
For more information call/text Jennifer Sabroe at (925) 383-8386 or send her an email .
Amen! Exhibit at Martinez Museum

The Amen! exhibit, featuring seven Martinez churches (including Grace!) at the Martinez Museum at 1005 Escobar, will be on display through Thursday, March 28.
Faithful Forums
Once a month during the program year we open our doors to a variety of fascinating speakers and invite 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 Sunday, March 17 , representatives from Republic Services will be the presenters at our forum on "Stewardship of Creation."
Reminders
Loaves and Fishes. Volunteers from Grace work at Loaves and Fishes, Green and Ferry Streets in Martinez, on the third Wednesday of the month, from 9am-1pm. Our next service date is March 20 . Anyone who would like to serve or observe is welcome. There are positions for those who cannot stand for a long time -- serving drinks, supervising give aways, wrapping utensils in napkins, etc. Contact Beth Ilog for more information
Casserole Patrol
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.

The freezer is currently full! But, please check this space for the call for more casseroles. Casseroles should be frozen or freezable and sized to serve no more than 4-6. Please be sure to mark the meal with its description and the date it was prepared/frozen, if homemade.
Yoga at Grace
Every Tuesday evening at 6:15 p.m. we welcome certified Yoga Instructor Noah Yuzna 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. There will be no yoga on March 12.
Coffee Hour
The Coffee Hour Host schedule is posted in the Parish Hall. This is a vital activity in the life of our parish, and we thank all the volunteers who have signed up. There is always room for more help, and a great way to get to know one another. If you have questions or would like to join a team or start a team, contact Coffee Hour Coordinator Christina (Tina) Reich .
Flower and Candle Sign-ups
The flower chart and candle dedication notebooks are located in the lobby (narthex) of the church. Suggested donation for flowers is $35; for candle $5.
There are no altar flowers during Lent.
Choir rehearsal
Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. You don't need experience or event the ability to read music. Please join this amazing ministry!
No rehearsal March 7.
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, etc. - please email the text of your announcement to the Parish Office by end of day on Tuesday. Thank you!
You can find previous Grace Notes , Sunday Sermons , and much more on our website.