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

" Job said, 'O that my words were written down!
O that they were inscribed in a book!
O that with an iron pen and with lead
they were engraved on a rock forever!
For I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that at the last he will stand upon the earth;
and after my skin has been thus destroyed,
then in my flesh I shall see God,
whom I shall see on my side, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.' "
Job 19:23-27a
"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.

This week in Godly Play
 
This week the children will learn about "the Ten Best Ways".  The Ten Best Ways is Godly Play language for the Ten Commandments.  The term is more approachable for the children and both terms are used in our story.  The People of God approach Mount Sinai  and the story of Moses on the mountain unfolds.  The part that is somewhat special is that the commandments are presented in a heart shaped box with three themes - "Love God," "Love People," and "God Loves You."   The commandments themselves are in clearer language than we find in most Bible translations.  "Do not covet thy neighbor's donkey" becomes "Don't even want what others have".  The children are invited to wonder which one of the Ten Best Ways is most important and which is the best.
Memorial for Evelyn Hodgson
 
This weekend we will celebrate the life of our sister, Evelyn Hodgson, who passed away on November 1 (All Saints' Day) at the age of 98.
There will be a viewing on Saturday, November 9,  from 1pm-5pm at  Oak Park Hills Chapel,  3111 N. Main Street,  Walnut Creek.
Celebration of Life Church Service  will be held on Sunday, November 10, at 2pm here at Grace.
Altar Guild Leadership Transition

On Sunday Elaine Quigley will be stepping down as Director of our Altar Guild. We are most grateful to Elaine for her dedicated service to this complex and demanding calling. We are grateful that Barbara Brooks is willing and able to step into Elaine's formidable shoes. Please thank and congratulate both of these faithful ladies. Barbara wants you to know that her first order of business is to accept new volunteers.  If you are interested in talking about joining the Altar Guild, please email her at Barbara Brooks. 
Recommended educational viewing:
NOVA: Dead Sea Scroll Detectives
 
The Dead Sea Scrolls are one of the greatest archeological finds of all time. With remarkable behind the scenes access we follow leading scientists and scholars as they unravel their mysteries and discover million dollar forgeries.Rev. Deb's sister, The Rev. Dr. Sidnie White Crawford, was a consultant on the show. She told Rev. Deb that she doesn't endorse everything in it, but feels it is worth watching. It began airing on Wednesday (11/6) but is available for streaming through KQED.
Upcoming Faithful Forums at Grace

Grace offers monthly educational forums on broad-ranging topics like The Dead Sea Scrolls, Episcopal Polity, Recycling, and Emergency Preparedness for congregations.
 
This month's Faithful Forum: Environmental ministry in the Episcopal Church on November 17, at 11:30 a.m.
 
Join us for this month's Faithful Forum when we welcome Nancy Grove and Emily Hopkins from the Diocese of California. Nancy will be discussing the Sustain Island Home Initiative of the Diocese of California. Learn how to reduce your carbon footprint and add your actions to those of Episcopalians all over the United States. Emily will explain the environmental resolutions passed at General Convention in 2018, including C020 -- Carbon Tax, which is now HR 763; the need for carbon pricing at the national level, in addition to our individual, community and state actions; and other resources and actions for Creation Care. The forum will follow our 10 a.m. service and begin at approximately 11:30 in the Parish Hall. Please join us for this important timely conversation.
 
NEXT MONTH: SWEEPS Ministry Fair
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 November 20, at 6:30 p.m., at Smooth Season restaurant at Muir Station shopping center, when we will discuss Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett. For more information call/text Jennifer Sabroe at (925) 383-8386. 
Daily Prayer: A conversation with The Rev. Christopher H. Martin
For most people, getting into and maintaining a rhythm of daily prayer is the best next step in their spiritual maturity. On Wednesday, November 20th, come to Grace at either 4pm or 7pm to learn from the Rev. Christopher H. Martin how to get into and maintain a rhythm of 20 minutes a day of prayer. Christopher is the Rector of St. Paul's, San Rafael and the founder of The Restoration Project, a national reform movement focusing on Seven Core Christian Practices.  
The Second Annual Grace Martinez Thanksgiving Dinner
Last year Rev. Deb and her family decided they would like to have Thanksgiving Dinner at Grace. By the grace of God and lots of volunteers, we were able to share dinner with about 40 people! This year we will be doing a potluck! Deb and Gary will provide turkey and ham - you bring your favorite Thanksgiving fixings.  Click on  this link and go to the "Sheet 1" tab at the bottom to sign up!
Assistance for our Northern California brethren
The Kincade Fire in Northern California continues to threaten several communities to the north of us. Among the properties that have been evacuated are The Diocese of California's two retreat centers: St. Dorothy's Rest and The Bishop's Ranch. We pray for all who a re affected by the fires.  If you would like to help, you may donate directly to the Diocese of Northern California  Disaster Relief;  100% of your donation will go towards disaster relief , distributed by the clergy at their discretion. Donate at this link:  Northern California Fire Relief 
More reasons to participate in our Annual Stewardship Campaign!
"Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put back into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back." Luke 6:38

Many thanks to everyone who has already made a pledge to Grace!

Here is some information to consider when deciding whether or how much to pledge:
 
A pledge is different from an offering (a gift usually given in response to something that has happened). A pledge is a promise to invest in the future of Grace on a regular basis. We depend on pledging to set our annual budget.  Without having promises for consistent income, we cannot know whether we can afford to pay our bills and provide ministry to our parishioners and beyond.  

Some financial facts about Grace:

Grace has had a deficit budget for a number of years. We are usually able to come out even because of unexpected donations. This is not a sustainable financial model, especially if we hope to continue to grow. We cannot budget for salaries and buildings and grounds expenditures without pledges. 

At the Diocesan Convention in October, a new Budget Resolution was passed.  This new Budget Resolution includes mandatory salary increases for clergy (in Rev. Deb's case, this would mean an approximate $8,000 increase) and an increase in our annual assessment (tax) to the diocese. In addition, we have been "strongly encouraged" to provide a Cost of Living Increase (COLA) to lay staff (that means Arthur). Jennifer Sabroe has announced her intention to retire in 2020. The Vestry has committed to replacing her with a paid staff member.  These four budget items alone will increase our budget by approximately $35,000. 

At Grace, we are committed to living in healthy, loving Christian community and we will always make every effort to assist each other in every way we can. Please consider how you might be able to help. 
Stewardship Bonus Opportunity
 
As a fun incentive we are offering these tongue-in-cheek t-shirts to people who are able to increase their pledge this year. Rev. Deb handed out five shirts this week. Hurray and many thanks!!
Grace is almost 150!!
Thanks to the faithful sleuthing of Melissa Rodrigue-Kennedy, we have been reminded that NEXT YEAR Grace will celebrate our 150th anniversary as a parish. We would like to commemorate this important milestone, but are a little late in starting to plan. If you are interested in being part of a  150th Anniversary  planning group, please let  Rev. Deb  know
"Spirit of Giving" Drive is underway!
Supporting families in need at Christmas
 
We have once again partnered with the Contra Costa Interfaith Housing Spirit of Giving program to help provide Christmas gifts to 40 individuals (in 14 families) this year.  This Sunday you will notice a small tree in the Narthex, adorned with "gift tags." Each tag is for one member of a family, and will have that individual's "wish list" printed on it. We ask that people take a gift tag and arrange to purchase no more than two items from the person's "wish list." You can either purchase the two gifts yourself, or find a buddy to share the fun of giving.  
 
In addition, we'd like to provide each family with a $25 Safeway gift card for each member of the household (i.e. a family of 4 would receive four $25 Safeway gift cards; a family of 2 would receive two Safeway gift cards.) This year, instead of tree tags for the Safeway gift cards, we have a collection box where you can deposit as many as you like. We have 40 individuals that we've "adopted" so our goal is FORTY $25 Safeway gift cards. We prefer the gift cards be in denominations of $25 so that they can be distributed easily to the families according to the number of people in each family.    
 Safeway gift card progress - 13 of 40 received! 
                                                                               
 
The Safeway gift cards are a great option for those who aren't "shoppers" but would like to donate to the drive. There's another, even simpler, option -- we'd be happy to take cash and make purchases on your behalf. 
 
Please consider taking a tag or making a donation, and doing your part to make sure these families receive something special for the holidays!  
 
Wrapped and labeled gifts should be brought to church by Sunday, November 24.  
 
Questions? Need more information? Email Jennifer Sabroe info@gracechurchmtz.org or call/text her at (925) 383-8386; Email Dru Grissom   
 
Thanks and blessings, from the Outreach Committee.
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.
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.  
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.
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.

*Everyone gets 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.  (*Church Member)
If you 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.
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. 
Wednesday Bible Study: Following the Way of Jesus, Church's Teachings for a Changing World

Each Wednesday at 10 a.m. we offer Holy Eucharist followed by Bible Study in our Chapel.
 
We are now studying, "Following the Way of Jesus." According to Church Publishing, " With the launch of the  Church's Teachings for a Changing World  series, visionary Episcopal thinkers and leaders have teamed up to write a new set of books, grounded and thoughtful enough for seminarians and leaders, concise and accessible enough for newcomers, with a host of discussion resources that help readers to dig deep. [Presiding Bishop]  Michael Curry leads off this volume with a clarion call for Episcopalians to join the Jesus Movement. A team of the church's brightest stars follow up with reflections on the practice of ministry in light of the movement."
 
The book is available on Church PublishingAmazon and Barnes and Noble However, as always, you do not need to purchase the book to take part.
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.
  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.
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. There are still two open dates (December 8 and December 29) to be filled. This is a great opportunity to team up with someone and host during this fellowship time following the 10:00 service! Questions:  Email Coffee Hour Coordinator Tina Reich or leave a note in her box if you have any questions. Please remember that if you can't do your assigned date, you are asked to make arrangements for a substitute.     

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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