News from Grace Episcopal Church ~ Martinez, California 
March 13, 2020
Scripture of the Week

" S ince we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us."
Romans 5:1-5
AN UPDATED MESSAGE REGARDING CORONAVIRUS:
Services cancelled
 
"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear." 1 John 4:18
Beloved of Christ,
The increasing numbers of individuals in the Bay Area infected with the Novel Coronavirus and its resulting disease, COVID 19, has led to heightened health concerns in the Bay Area. As Christians, we live in community with one another and are directed by scripture to walk in love and without fear. From a practical standpoint, this means demonstrating appropriate cautions to protect the most vulnerable among us without causing undue anxiety. As your pastor, I am deeply concerned about the well-being of all of our parishioners and have sought to make decisions about the way in which we at Grace respond to the coronavirus situation based on both scientific and spiritual considerations. To that end, I have consulted information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), The Episcopal Church, The Diocese of California, and the elected leaders of Grace Martinez.
On March 10 Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) issued new guidelines for organizations in our area. Among them are to "Cancel or postpone large gatherings such as concerts, sporting events, celebrations, conventions, religious services and community events where 50 or more people are within arm's length of each other and to cancel or postpone events for or attended by older adults or others who are at higher risk for severe illness." Unfortunately, both our planned Lenten Breakfasts and St. Patrick's Day Dinner meet those requirements. For this reason, with regret but also with the full support of your Senior Warden Christina Reich, I have cancelled the Grace St. Patrick's Day Dinner scheduled for this Saturday, March 14.
On March 11, I received the following directive from Bishop Marc Andrus, " I prayerfully ask all churches in the Diocese of California to cancel ALL public worship services for the month of March, with the possible exception of weddings and funerals.  This decision will be revisited by March 31, at which time I will communicate our next steps."  
The bishop has given us permission to " livestream worship services with a small gathering of clergy, altar party, and possibly choir members, making sure none in the gathering is among those most vulnerable to coronavirus." In response to the Bishop's request, t his coming Sunday, March 15, Grace will begin livestreaming a 9 a.m. service of Holy Eucharist.   Details are in the box below.
I will continue to be in my office on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and to make pastoral visits as needed. However, for their own safety I have determined that Eucharistic Visitors will no longer be making visits to those who are unable to attend worship. If you are ill, need pastoral care, or any kind of practical help such as food or rides, please contact me directly. Your community of Christ will be there for you.
 
Live without fear. Your creator loves you, made you holy and has always protected you.
 
In Christ's love,
Reverend Deb  
LIVESTREAM SERVICE THIS SUNDAY
We are still a community! Social distancing does not mean social isolation!

We will begin livestreaming a Sunday 9 a.m. service THIS SUNDAY, March, 15. This will continue for the next three Sundays (3/15, 3/22, 3/29). 

In order to be part of the service as it takes place (the "simulcast") you first need to belong to Facebook.  To do this, search for "Facebook" with your search engine. Click on the site and then click "Create an Account." Fill in the form.  It is free. Once you have a Facebook account, you can search for "Grace Episcopal Church Martinez" or go to the Grace Church Facebook page: Grace Episcopal Church Martinez Facebook page. Scroll down until you see "Posts." At 9 a.m. a window will appear saying we are live. You will be looking at the Chancel of the church. You will then be live with us!

You can follow along in this week's Worship bulletin by clicking on this link:  Worship Bulletin for March 15, 2020 I know it may seem strange to participate from home, but I encourage you to consider yourself at church by saying the prayers, singing along, and shouting out isolated "AMENs" during the sermon (just like normal).

Stay tuned at the end of the service for a special message from Rev. Deb to the children of Grace. The recording of the service will also be available afterward and, as always, sermons will be posted to our website. 

With the likelihood that schools may be closed, we are also developing special online content for our children and youth. Parents will be able to access this through our website. We will also post links on our Facebook page. Please help keep our beloved young people linked in to the church by using and sharing these links.

I know this will be daunting and scary for some of you, but we will get it figured out. Live without fear!
Transferred to Zoom conferencing:
Wednesday Holy Eucharist and Bible Study
 
During Lent we are studying "Life Transformed: The Way of Love in Lent." Beginning THIS Wednesday, March, 18, Rev. Deb will be hosting our Wednesday Eucharist and Bible Study by Zoom Conference call. If you are interested in being part of this interactive service, please let Rev. Deb (revdeb@gracechurchmtz.org) know and she will send you a link to click on to join the conference. In order to keep things simple, we ask that you view the video for each session (SESSION 3 this week)  prior to our virtual gathering. These can be found at this link:   The Way of Love in Lent
 An important message from your Treasurer
We will only be together as a "virtual community" in the coming weeks.  However, our parish expenses will continue as per normal.  I urge you to remember this as you consider your commitment to financially support the mission of Grace Episcopal Church.  You may decide to mail a check (130 Muir Station Road, Martinez, CA  94553) or commit to "catch up" when we are together again . You may also pay your pledge online. Contact Treasurer  Marj Leeds for more information.

Also, in the interest of transparency, we will be posting a short monthly financial summary in Grace Notes following each Vestry meeting. If you have questions, check in with Marj or a member of the Vestry.  Here's this month's:

February Report

Income Year to Date       $26,427.09
Expenses Year to Date    $23,706.51
Excess                                   $2720.58
Comments
  1. Pledge income is $4000 under budget (bad)
  2. Expenses are $8000 under budget (good) due to
    1. Diocesan billing is behind (about $4500)
    2. The Treasurer unintentionally pre-paid a portion of the pension in 2019 (about $2700)

  Lenten Breakfasts and  45th Annual
St. Patrick's Dinner  HAVE
 BEEN CANCELLED

We are sorry to have to cancel these events, especially since ticket sales for the St. Patrick's Day Dinner were very promising! Many thanks to Jess and Josh Senn and their breakfast workers and the Rodrigue-Kennedy family and their committee for their very hard work on these events. We hope to apply some of the resources that were dedicated to St. Patrick's as part of a future event. If you purchased a ticket for the dinner, we will return checks by mail. If you paid with cash, please check in with  David Kennedy and he will be sure you get your money back. Rev. Deb has suggested that if health restrictions are lifted by May, we might introduce "Santo Patricio de Mayo!" Corned beef tacos! Stay tuned!
Faithful Forums 2020
Grace offers monthly educational forums on broad-ranging topics like The Dead Sea Scrolls, Episcopal Polity, Recycling, and Emergency Preparedness for congregations. These take place in the Parish Hall following our 10 a.m. service (approximately 11:30 a.m.) 

THIS SUNDAY'S Faithful Forum with Th e Very Rev. Donald Brown has been postponed indefinitely.

Future dates and topics include:

April 26:  Martinez Vice-Mayor Noralea Gipner and Martinez Police Community Service Officer Rodney Brinser will talk about efforts in Martinez to alleviate homelessness.
May 17:  John Cumming, President of the Board of the San Francisco Night Ministry will talk about this important ministry to people who live on the streets in San Francisco. 
June 21: The Rev. Will McGarvey will introduce the work of The Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County. 
Loaves and Fishes   
Loaves and Fishes provides meals for individuals who suffer from food insecurity. Grace parishioners volunteer monthly with this ministry. Our volunteer day is NEXT Wednesday, March 18, from 9 am until 1 pm. THIS EVENT HAS NOT BEEN CANCELLED, but more stringent health and safety requirements have been put in place. Please contact Beth Ilog at eilog@comcast.net for more information.
Grace Book Club   
March 18 meeting has been cancelled ... 
 
As this is a church activity we must adhere to the diocesan guidelines and postpone this month's get-together.  
 
This month's read is What the Eyes Don't See : A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City , by Mona Hanna-Attisha.   
Introducing Monthly Buildings and Grounds Work Parties!
There is never a shortage of things that need to get done at Grace and, thankfully, there is also never a shortage of people who want to help out.  In order to make best use of this gift, Junior Warden Josh Senn has announced that we will be holding monthly work parties on our property.  Josh will be here on the last Saturday of every month at 9 a.m.  with a to-do list that you can spend a couple of hourse helping with . Barring complications from Corona Virus precautions, the first of these will be on March 28. Thank you in advance for your help!
Gethsemane Watch  
(Pending based on the status of corona virus precautions)
 
Jesus spent the last night of his life with his friends, eating and drinking together in the Garden of Gethsemane. He asked them to stay awake with him, but one by one they all fell asleep, leaving him alone and despairing.  
 
In an attempt to do better, and in some small way to make up what was lacking in the first disciples, we choose as a community to stay awake with Jesus in the hours between Maundy Thursday (following the stripping of the altar) and the first service of Good Friday.  
 
The goal is to have someone present in our sanctuary at all times. Unlike the first disciples, you do not need to stay awake all night. Many people tell us that they enjoy spending time alone (or nearly alone) in the sanctuary. You can use the time to journal, pray, sing, or meditate. If you would like to participate, simply sign up for one (or more) hour(s) of watch. The youth will be taking the first two-hour shift. The sign-up sheet is on the table in vestibule of the Parish Hall.
Upper Lot Discernment Update

At our most recent Vestry meeting, Grace's leadership heard a very exciting proposal related to the  discernment process which will help us discover God's plan for our upper lot.  Discernment involves not just thinking about what we might do, but actively praying and discussing our options in community. You might want to ask one of your vestry members about it. Everyone is invited to submit any and all ideas for use of the upper lot.  You can submit your ideas to the box in the Parish Hall or by email to: upperlot@gracechurchmtz.org
Easter Lily Dedications    
 
Every Easter at Grace, the altar is adorned with beautiful lily plants. If you would like to dedicate an Easter lily, please email or call the Parish Office (925) 228-6574, indicating "In loving memory of ___; In thanksgiving for ___; or, In celebration of ___." Suggested donation $10.
Update on New Parish Administrator
Those of us who spend time at Grace during the week have been enjoying getting to know our new Parish Administrator, Sarah Williams. She and Jennifer Sabroe will continue to overlap for the month of March so that Jennifer can train Sarah, who will be here on Tuesdays afternoons and all day Thursday. They are also transitioning the Parish Email Address: info@gracechurchmtz.org. Currently, "Sennifer" is sharing the address, but beginning in April, Sarah will be receiving your emails to "info." Please say, "Hello!" by email!
Grace Lenten Services Schedule

The Sunday services scheduled for March 15, March 22, and March 29 have been cancelled. Wednesday Eucharist has also been cancelled. There will be a 9 a.m. online service simulcast on these three Sundays.
Sundays during Lent
Cancelled
Wednesdays during Lent
10 a.m. Holy Eucharist and Bible study - now online through Zoom Conferencing
The following services are contingent on potential health and safety restrictions related to the novel corona virus.  Information will be updated as available.
April 5, Palm Sunday
8 a.m. Holy Eucharist II with the Blessing of the Palms
9 a.m. Breakfast in the Parish Hall Cancelled
10 a.m. Choral Eucharist with the Blessing of the Palms and processional
April 9, Maundy Thursday 
6 p.m. beginning in the Parish Hall with Soup supper, Foot Washing, followed by Stripping of the Altar;
Overnight Vigil in the Sanctuary following the service (hourly shifts by sign-up)
April 10, Good Friday
12 p.m. Stations of the Cross
7 p.m. Good Friday Liturgy
April 11, 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 12, Happy Easter !
8 a.m. Holy Eucharist II
10 a.m. Choral Eucharist followed by Egg Hunt
It's still Lent. If the Novel Corona Virus restrictions have you at loose ends, NOW is the time to try some of these great Lenten practices!

Listen to the message from our Presiding Bishop, The Most Rev. Bruce Michael Curry found HERE
 
Pay attention to God: Pick up "The Way of Love in Lent 2020 Calendar" in the entrance way to the Parish Hall. Each day has a brief Bible verse and a question to consider.

Do a  Carbon Fast . Consider how you might lessen your negative impact on the planet by using less and conserving more.  For tips go to  Carbon Fast information
 
Pray more:  Episcopal Relief and Development Lenten podcasts: Each day during Lent subscribers 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. Other ways to feel closer to God include Pray as you goa daily prayer session, designed to go with you wherever you go, to help you pray whenever you find time, but particularly whilst traveling to and from work, study, etc. A new prayer session is produced every day of the working week and one session for the weekend. It is not a 'Thought for the Day,' a sermon or a bible-study, but rather a framework for your own prayer. Lasting between ten and thirteen minutes, it combines music, scripture and some questions for reflection.
 
Spend time with your family:  Observe Lent as a family by trying out the "Lent in a Bag" project. You can find it here .
 
Bring in items for the CORE Team and The Deacon's Pantry, a ministry of Grace, both of which provide donations of food and other items for individuals in need.
 
Plan ahead:  The Grace Worship and Liturgy Committee offers its yearly reminder for  Grace's parishioners to complete their funeral arrangements and final instructions. Death and dying can be difficult issues to discuss, but it is a great blessing to our loved ones when we plan ahead for our own eventual death. This is especially true for families whose members are of different faiths (or no faith). To that end, we have developed resources about funerals in the Episcopal Church. These are available on our website. Please consider participating. 
 
Go crazy for Lent:  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 advance 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.
Martinez Clothing Exchange
(aka Homeless Showers)
Updated Needs
Hello! We would like to take this week to focus specifically on the below items. These items have been completely depleted or are very low from our stock. We hope you consider donating some this week! The weather is changing and stock on cold-weather gear is plentiful! Please consider donating more warm weather appropriate apparel. Thank you!
 
-          Men's and Women's lightweight spring/summer clothing
-          Men's Shorts: All sizes
-          Men's jeans sizes 30, 32, 34
-          Men's Boxer Briefs: New, all sizes
-          Men's T-shirts
-          Men's Belts
-          Women's pants and sweatpants: All Sizes
-          Women's Shorts Women's Tank tops and camis: All sizes
-          Women's Underwear: Small, Medium
-          Women's Sports Bras: All sizes
-          Women's Leggings: All sizes
-          Women's Belts
-          Men's and Women's Shoes 
-          Wet wipes
-          Foot powder 
-          Toothpaste   
-          Reading glasses
-          Bags: Heavy shopping bags, duffel, backpacks, large purses 

Please note: No more cold weather apparel is currently needed.  
 
Reminder: Only requested items should be dropped off at donation locations. This is strictly a volunteer-run effort and when unwanted and unneeded items are donated, it creates additional work for volunteers who have to sort, organize and find alternative destinations for unrequested items. We are limited on storage space as well so please HELP US as we work TOGETHER to help our community.
 
WHERE DO I DONATE?
 
Items LISTED ABOVE can be donated on Fridays at the Clothing Exchange from 9 AM - 1 PM in the parking lot of NorCal Sports at Waterfront Park or dropped off on the porch of 2221 Castro Street.  *Please consider neatly folding and sorting items prior to donation.
 
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT OF THIS VITAL EFFORT!
Contra Costa County requests volunteers

Contra Costa needs volunteers to help staff Questionnaire Assistance Kiosks (QAK) in homeless service sites in Contra Costa in April to help ensure that people in our community experiencing homelessness are counted in the 2020 Census!   
WHAT IS A QAK?
QAKs are physical locations where the people can access a computer to complete their Census questionnaire online or complete it by phone.

WHAT WILL VOLUNTEERS DO?
QAK volunteers will be stationed at homeless service sites/events with a laptop computer to encourage people to fill out the form, give out incentives when someone completes their form and direct people to more information about the Census.  Volunteers will receive training on how to complete these activities.

WHEN IS THIS HAPPENING?
QAK shifts (typically 2-4 hours) will be available in multiple parts of the county and during daytime, evening and weekend hours in the month of April.
 
WILL I GET TRAINED?
Yes, all volunteers will need to complete a short (30 minute) training before their shift. 

To sign up to volunteer go to h ttps://signup.com/go/sKEhXkW
Update on 150th anniversary!

Did you know that our church is the second oldest in the county, and that it turns 150 years old this July?  To celebrate this momentous occasion our Planning Committee needs your suggestions and your financial support. There is now a 150th Anniversary Fund. To donate, please contact our Treasurer,  Marj Leeds. Please let us know your ideas via email at  Gracemtz150@gmail.com, or speak with co-chairs John Vander Kamp or Melissa Rodrigue-Kennedy.
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 by calling the parish office (925) 228-6574, after the greeting, select Option 4.   
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, contact Music Director Arthur Omura by calling the parish office (925) 228-6574, after the greeting, select Option 4.   
  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 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 is posted in the Parish Hall. Thank you to all those who signed up to host and for your generosity in making coffee hour welcoming to newcomers and enjoyable for us all. If you are new to Grace and have questions about coffee hour, give Tina a call at 925-266-0567 or email her at deadheadtina63@att.net.
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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