News from Grace Episcopal Church ~ Martinez, California 
November 28, 2019 
Scripture of the Week

"T he night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ ."
Romans 13:12b-14a
"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. During the summer we continue to offer Nursery Care. School age children are invited to join their families in the Sanctuary. We provide coloring and drawing materials, books, and soft toys, as well as a children's area for children who prefer not to sit in the pews with their families.

Grace IS open for Thanksgiving Dinner!
 Happy Thanksgiving!

No Godly Play this week. Happy Thanksgiving!
 
Advent at Grace
 
Christmas is coming, but in the church we will first celebrate a season of preparation for the birth of the Christ child. We welcome you to join us each Sunday in Advent, beginning THIS Sunday, December 1, to hear and respond to the story of the coming Christ in word, song, and action. Our time of preparation includes both contemplative and celebratory activities, including:
 
Some changes in our Liturgy
 
The church calendar works differently than our day-to-day calendar. At Grace we make changes in our liturgy when we rotate into a new liturgical season. We are now in the season of Advent, which is the church new year. We belong to a group of churches which follow the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL), which is a three-year cycle of assigned scripture readings. Because it is a "new year" in church terms, we will begin reading texts identified in Year A of the RCL. Advent is a contemplative season of preparation, a time in which we prepare for Christmas, when we remember and celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus the Christ. In the Episcopal Church, as in many others, we use the color purple to signify times of preparation and penitence. As has been the tradition at Grace for over 30 years, we will have the opportunity to tell the story of Jesus's sacrificial life and death with a new Eucharistic Prayer (Prayer B). We will also change over to a different form of the Prayers of the People (Form VI) and we will be chanting the psalm instead of reading it. We will continue with our current service music (which we are still learning), but instead of singing the Gloria, a hymn of praise, we will be introducing a new Trisagion ("Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy"), which is a more penitential musical offering.

Finally, we will be trying a new approach to  the Lord's Prayer. Most Christian churches have some version of the Lord's Prayer. According to the Episcopal Church, 
 
" This prayer of Jesus was given to his disciples as an example of how they should pray. The phrase 'Lord's Prayer' is not used in the New Testament. The prayer is found in Mt 6:9-13 as part of the Sermon on the Mount and in Lk 11:2-4 when Jesus and the disciples are on the road to Jerusalem. Luke's version is shorter and more compact than Matthew's. Scholars have argued that ...Luke's version is probably closer to the original. As a prayer, the Lord's Prayer is similar to Jewish prayers. It begins with an address to God ..., continues with petitions which ask God to act in a way which would achieve his purposes, and then has petitions which ask for God's help. The traditional closing, the doxology, is probably a later addition. It is not found in Luke nor in all the manuscripts of Matthew's gospel."  
 
The 1979 Book of Common Prayer (BCP) introduced a new Lord's Prayer which was more faithful to the biblical text. Specifically, it corrected a theological misrepresentation. In the version that existed in the 1928 BCP, the scriptural phrase "lead us not into temptation" was included. As Christians we believe that God would never willingly tempt us to do wrong, so the phrase was changed to "save us from the time of trial" which is consistent with our belief that as human beings we experience trials, but these are not God's will for us. 
 
At Grace, when the 1979 BCP was introduced, Father George Ross adopted its new liturgies, including the "new" Lord's Prayer. When the Rev. Jill Honodel became Rector, she reinstated use of the "old" Lord's Prayer. Many people are very attached to the "old" Lord's Prayer, and find comfort in its familiar words. This is understandable. However, in the spirit of continuing spiritual growth, we must always closely examine the words we say to and about God. For this reason, Reverend Deb and the Worship and Liturgy Committee have decided that the people of Grace should be afforded the opportunity to say either the more accurately translated 1979 version or continue to recite the more familiar version. Therefore, both versions will be printed in the bulletin this season and Reverend Deb will encourage folks to say whatever version of the Lord's Prayer they like. (There are many, many other versions as well, including the one without the doxology used by our Roman Catholic brethren). We are aware that this may sound cacophonous at first, but this is a practice used by the Diocese of California (among others) and our diocesan representatives have found it to be beautiful in practice. 

Other activities for Advent include:

Healing prayer at Sunday services each week;
 
"A Thrill of Hope," a seasonal Bible study exploring artistic representations of the Nativity story, following our weekly Wednesday, 10 a.m. Holy Eucharist service;
 
Opportunities to help those in need  during the holidays, such as participating in the Deacon's Pantry and CORE donations
 
Our festive Holiday Luncheon and Country Kitchen on Tuesday, December 3, beginning at 11:00 a.m.
 
Evensong, on Wednesday, December 18, 7 p.m.   
 
In addition, we encourage you to prepare for the Christmas season outside of church by participating in one of these Advent activities:
 
Advent Calendars: 
We have purchased a set of Advent poster calendars for families with suggested ways to prepare for Advent. These can be found on the table outside of the Parish Hall.
 
Celebrate Advent Using Your Camera Phones - Join Episcopal and Anglican churches around the world in celebrating Advent through prayer, meditation, and by contributing to a global Advent calendar on Instagram.
 
Advent Words  - This Advent, our Jesuit brothers invite you to join them in looking clearly and honestly at our lives and taking action. Subscribe to Advent Words and every day a new gift will arrive, offering you a moment of solace and reflection on the true meaning of Advent and the coming Christmas season.
 
Make a Reverse Advent Calendar or an Advent Wreath with your family!
 
We will conclude our Advent season on Sunday, December 22 with a 10 a.m. Choral Eucharist and The Decorating of the Christmas Tree. Following the 10 a.m. service, children will be asked to help put ornaments on the Grace Christmas Tree in the Narthex while enjoying hot chocolate and treats!
 
Invite friends! 
St. Christopher's Holiday Luncheon
St. Christopher's Guild invites one and all to its annual Christmas luncheon fundraising event.
  Fiesta Holiday Luncheon
Tuesday, December 3
Grace Episcopal Church, Parish Hall 
Tickets - $15/person  
 
A lovely Mexican-themed lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m. Doors will open at 11 a.m. for early shopping at the ever-popular "Country Kitchen" where you will find a variety of yummy cakes, cookies, candy and snack items to purchase (great for gifts), and at the "White Elephant" table loaded with a wide assortment of unique finds (more gift-giving ideas!). Tickets will be on sale Sunday during coffee hour in the Parish Hall.  Or you may contact Susan Bremmer (phone 925-348-6309) to reserve tickets or a table.  
 
Extra extra! We will be auctioning off several handmade sleds by Grace's late craftsman extraordinairre Ken Roan. These are priceless articles that your family will treasure for generations. Many thanks to Cindy Roan for this generous gift! All proceeds from the auction to go to Grace!
New Bible Study for Advent!

On Wednesday mornings at Grace we have a 10 a.m. service of Holy Eucharist followed by Bible Study.

There will be no Wednesday morning service or Bible study on Wednesday, November 27 due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

Beginning on Wednesday, December 4, we will be engaging in a new curriculum called, "A Thrill of Hope: the Christmas Story in Word and Art." Participants will have the opportunity to consider how familiar Advent and Christmas texts from Matthew and Luke are brought to life in the art of John August Swanson by watching DVDs of his work and then discussing them. Please join us!
Many Many Thanks!
 
Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make our Second Annual Grace Thanksgiving Dinner a tremendous success!
The Elves: Mary Canale, Pat Hambly, Jennifer Sabroe, Sally Applegate (missing from photo: Denise Hansen, Dru Grissom and Jes Senn)
And Many More Thanks! 
 
The Spirit of Giving drive has concluded. On behalf of the Outreach Committee, thank you so much to everyone! Your support and generosity got us to our goal quickly to provide gifts to 40 individuals - spanning 14 families - from each family member's wish list as well as a $25 Safeway gift card for every family member. And we got it all done before Thanksgiving! Because you all followed the instructions so well, our exceptionally energetic elves were able to inventory, batch and deliver the gifts to CCIH before noon last Monday! 
St. Christopher's Guild Special Meeting

There will be a Special Meeting to discuss the future of St. Christopher's Guild on Sunday, December 15 at 9 a.m. in the Education Building. If you are a member or have an interest in this ministry, please plan to attend.
Online Directory 
 
E arlier this year Grace moved to a new church recordkeeping solution called RealmĀ® Inform to  serve the administrative needs of our church. The online directory feature is 
an important part of the way we connect with each other.  We know that it is an adjustment to go from a paper to online directory, but it is now the primary way the church office can reach you, so please enter your information in it.  The information below will help you do that.  Remember, regardless of whether you opt-in to the directory, by keeping your information current, you are helping Rev. Deb and church staff.

Church members get a unique Profile that contains information that you want people in our church to know about you. When you're logged in to your Profile you can update your contact information, change family details, display your photo, and view the online directory. You can customize your privacy settings to select as much or as little contact information to display in the directory. 
If you are a church member and fit any of the scenarios below, please contact Parish Administrator Jennifer Sabroe, info@gracechurchmtz.org
-         You want access to the online directory (aka Realm) but haven't gotten around to creating a login,
-         You want your contact information available to fellow parishioners in the online directory (aka Realm) but don't want to do the login thing, or don't have a computer,
-         You don't want to be in the directory, but want to confirm or update your contact information for the church office.
The Amazing Grace Youth Choir!
Young people ages 7-17 are invited to join in learning to read, appreciate and perform music in a low-stress environment.
Rehearsals are on Sundays at noon (following our 10 a.m. service and coffee hour). To enroll, see or contact Music Director Arthur Omura.
Make a joyful noise! 
  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!  For more information contact Music Director Arthur Omura at music@gracechurchmtz.org. 
Invitation to be part of the counsels of the church
 
The Episcopal Church is structured as a representational democracy. It considers all of its members to be equal partners in making decisions in our church government. One of the primary venues for discussion and planning is the
Annual Parish Meeting. We will hold our annual meeting on January 26, 2020. At this gathering we will set our annual budget and elect new members to the Vestry and Deanery/Diocesan Convention Representatives.  Vestry members serve for three (3) year terms. Deanery members officially occupy one year terms. If you are interested in serving, please contact one of the members of the Nominating Committee: Paula Menconi, Josh Senn, or Connie Towey. To be eligible to serve on vestry you must be a baptized, pledging member of the parish who attends church regularly.
  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 provides 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
  • Hygiene items including (but not limited to) soap, shampoo, oral care, shower wipes, shaving supplies, feminine hygiene items
  • Incontinence products (e.g. "Depend") (men's and women's) all sizes
  • 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.
Flower and Candle Dedications
We are blessed by having fresh flowers on our altar each week. These are paid for by parishioners who wish to dedicate flowers (or candles) in thanksgiving or memory of loved ones. There are many open dates available on the flower and candle dedication calendar, located in the Narthex. When signing up for a date on the chart, please be sure to also write your name on the corresponding date in the flower dedication notebook (located on the little table below the chart). Suggested donation $35. The candle dedication notebook on the table under the bulletin board. Suggested donation $5.
Yoga at Grace
Please join Certified Yoga Instructor Noah Yuzna on Tuesdays at 6:15 for a class which is suitable for all ages and ability levels. The class is free with all proceeds divided between Noah and the Church. 
Coffee Hour
The Coffee Hour schedule through December is posted on the bulletin board in the Parish Hall. Please be sure to take a look at it for your assigned Sunday.
If you're new to Grace and would like to be part of a Coffee Hour team and to "learn the ropes" please email Coffee Hour Coordinator Tina Reich or leave a note in her box. 
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.
 
 
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