News from Grace Episcopal Church ~ Martinez, California
September 13, 2018 
Scripture of the Week

" Then [Jesus] began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, 'Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.'  He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, 'If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.'"
 Mark 8:31-37
"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 WEEK: We kick off our season of Godly Play (Sunday School for the Baby Boomers in the congregation) by  telling stories about God and the church with "the Circle of the Church Year." In the following weeks, we will learn about some of the people of the Hebrew scriptures, including Ruth, Samuel, King David, and Daniel, followed by the prophets Ezekiel, Jonah and Isaiah.  

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.
Men's Group Breakfast 
The Men's Group will be having their monthly breakfast in the Parish Hall on Saturday, September 15, beginning at 8:30. Contact Don Dyer for more information.
Welcome our new Music Director!

We are pleased to announce that we have hired a new Music Director! Arthur Omura is a talented organist, harpsichordist, and choral director. He will be starting on Sunday, September 16.  Many thanks to Barbara Brooks, Bob Burman, and Marj Leeds, the members of the Music Director Sear ch Committee, who faithfully and prayerfully helped Arthur discern his call to Grace. Special thanks to the members of the Choir for their consistent musical leadership during this transition period.  
Faithful Forums begin THIS Sunday with Advance Care Planning film and discussion 
  Our adult educational program, Faithful Forums, begins this week after the 10 a.m. service with the important topic of advance care planning with Linda Best, Chair of the Contra Costa Steering Committee, and  Leslie Dietterick, Project Coordinator, of East Bay Conversation Project, a community wide-coalition of organizations and individuals dedicated to promoting understanding and engagement in advance care planning in Contra Costa and Alameda Counties. We will be showing the film, "Extremis," which is an Academy Award-nominated short film that debuted in 2016. The film takes place at Highland Hospital in Oakland and features Dr. Jessica Zitter. It focuses on the emotions that doctors, patients, and families can experience when faced with difficult decisions in a hospital intensive care unit. The film will be followed by a guided discussion and information session. Please join us!
Youth Group this Sunday!

The Grace Church Youth Group will meet THIS Sunday, 9/16, from 6-8 p.m. in the Education Building for fellowship and a planning meeting for this year's activities. Bring your ideas! 
Attention all 8 o'clockers! 

There will be a meeting for everyone who attends the 8 a.m. service and interested others to discuss the structure and direction of the 8 a.m. service at Grace. This is being held in response to concerns brought forward by parishioners to both the Worship and Liturgy Committee and the Vestry.
 
Please join us following the 8 a.m. service on September 23
in the Parish Hall.  Breakfast will be provided. All are welcome.
Upcoming Liturgical Change

Several people have asked Rev. Deb if she would let folks know when the Sunday liturgy at Grace is going to change and to offer a few words on why the change is being made. 
 
While the structure of the Episopal church service does not change, the Book of Common Prayer (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. 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 part of the way through the season rather than retain the same prayers throughout. We began the Season of Pentecost with Eucharistic Prayer A from the BCP, which we used for thirteen Sundays. 
 
For the last six weeks, we have been using a Eucharistic prayer from Enriching our Worship (EOW), one of the supplemental resources of the Episcopal Church. Recently, the General Convention of the Episcopal Church voted against undertaking a formal revision of the BCP, instead asking churches to incorporate existing supplemental resources (like EOW) into our regular worship rotations.  Basically, this means that instead of having four Eucharist Prayers to choose from, we now have nine. Here at Grace, we will be gradually trying these out by incorporating these into our rotating schedule. 
 
On Sunday, September 30, to mark the beginning of Stewardship season, we will return to Eucharistic Prayer B from the BCP. That will last until Advent, when we will begin using a more penitential rite as befits the season.
Stewardship season begins on September 30
No one likes to talk about money, but the truth is that we cannot provide the programs and services we enjoy here at Grace without it.  On Sunday, September 30, we will kick off a season of education and conversation about what it means to share our time, talent and treasure with this community of Christ.
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 19, we will look at Galatians 4:8-11. Please consider the questions, "Why would someone choose captivity over freedom?" "What does Paul say about idolatry and the law?" and "Why might it be easier to follow the law than the Spirit?" All are welcome!
Memorial Service for Buck Cobb  
There will be a memorial service for parishioner Buck Cobb on Sunday, October 14 at 2 p.m. in the sanctuary.  The service will be followed by a reception in the Parish Hall.  If you would like to contribute to the reception, please let Jennifer Sabroe know.
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.

Calling all Youth!!
Nightwatch is a diocesan event.  This fall, Nightwatch will be an overnight sleepover at  Resurrection in Pleasant Hill . Join youth from around the Diocese and Northern California for fellowship and fun. There will be facilitated community building, active and contemplative activities, art, music, and prayer. Nightwatch can also be a time for youth ministers to spend casual time together. We hope to see you and your youth there!

When:  Friday, September 28, 6 p.m. to Saturday, September 29, 10 a.m.
Where:  Resurrection399 Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill
Cost: $10 (there is ample scholarship available). All youth must be accompanied by a designated Adult Leader. Let Jessie Senn know if you are interested!
 
From the Outreach Committee 
 
 
Here is a summary of the main topics we discussed at our September 9th meeting:
  1. The backpacks and supplies were blessed at the 8am service on Sunday. The backpacks were then loaded with supplies to be delivered to Martinez Jr. High.

UPDATE! The backpacks were delivered to Martinez Jr. High on Tuesday, received happily, and will be distributed by staff to students. Many thanks to everyone who donated and volunteered!

  1. Loaves and Fishes is back to serving every 3rd Wednesday - contact Beth Ilog if you wish to join our team of volunteers.
  2. Giving Tree will soon be underway. Jennifer Sabroe will be working with Contra Costa Interfaith Housing to arrange for our participation in the "Spirit of Giving program." Our goal is to provide Christmas gifts for 12 families this year (up from 11 last year)
  3. Items for the CORE team Homeless Outreach were blessed at 10am service on Sunday. The CORE team will pick up the items this week. We will continue to request donations on an ongoing basis.
  4. Denise Hansen will be meeting with the Youth Group to discuss outreach projects involving the church youth.
  5. We agreed to invite Scott Williams to discuss homelessness at the November Faithful Forum.
  6. We will prepare a bulletin board in the parish hall for outreach related items including full copies of all meeting minutes, agendas, announcements, pictures, etc.
The next meeting will be Sunday October 7th at 9am - all are welcome to attend!
  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:
  • 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
  • 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.
A message from Episcopal Relief and Development:
Hurricane Relief
We respond to storms in the United States and U.S. territories through our U.S. Disaster Program. Through our partnerships with Episcopal dioceses, we offer resources and training to help people prepare for disasters and provide emergency support so vulnerable people can make a sustained recovery after the storm. The benefit of our partnership with Episcopal churches is that these congregations are already deeply integrated within their communities. In other words, the Episcopal Church is there before responders arrive and will remain long after the news cameras have gone. You can help provide critical relief to affected communities by donating to our Hurricane Relief Fund. To donate and read the latest updates, visit  https://support.episcopalrelief.org/hurricane-relief.
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!
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. For more information call/text Jennifer Sabroe at (925) 383-8386 or Email Jennifer.   
Save the date for OKTOBERFEST!
Saturday, October 13, 2018
It's that time of year for another fabulous Oktoberfest dinner! Dust off the Dirndl, shake out the Lederhosen, and work up an appetite! More details coming soon! Tickets will go on sale next week.    
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 use, 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.
 
 
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