News from Grace Episcopal Church ~ Martinez, California
March 14, 2019 
Scripture of the Week
[Jesus said] "'Jerusale m. Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!' "    Luke 13:34
This Saturday - March 16   
St. Patrick's Dinner!
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, 
"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  
This Sunday is the third Sunday of the month, Family Sunday. On Family Sunday, we invite the children to spend the entire service in the Sanctuary with their families. There will be familiar hymns, a Children's Homily and more participation in the liturgy by our youth and children.   
Children are always welcome to participate in all services at Grace. There is a children's area 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.

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts": 
A message about passing the Peace from the Worship and Liturgy Committee, the Vestry, and Rev. Deb

One of the most wonderful things about Grace is that we are always happy to meet new folks and we show it. As a community of Christ, however, our primary way of being in relationship is worshipping together. As part of our worship,  we observe the ancient tradition of passing the peace - recognizing and welcoming one another as part of the community of Christ. The Peace is not an intermission in the service. It is part of the liturgy itself. It is not a time for socializing. (We have Coffee Hour for that!) In order to help us to remember this, beginning this Sunday, we will be moving the announcements and blessings to the end of the service. Following the Absolution and before the Offertory Sentence, we will have a brief period to extend a heartfelt "The peace of the Lord" to those nearby, and then we will continue with the liturgy.  
Lenten Pancake Breakfasts

Each Sunday during Lent we hold a Pancake Breakfast between our 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. services. This week our Youth are hosting. Please join us for eggs, sausage and pancakes and a chance to meet and chat with one another. A donation of $3 is suggested. 
Faithful Forums at Grace
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.
This Sunday, March 17, representatives from Republic Services will present the Forum on "Stewardship of Creation."  

There will be no Faithful Forum in April to accomodate Palm Sunday and Easter.

See our post on "Giving it up for Lent"  here
Lent is here!

Here is the Grace Lenten schedule of activities:
This Sunday, March 17:
Starting this Sunday 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 have changed our Eucharistic Prayer (to Eucharistic Prayer A.) and will also change our form for the 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 II 10 a.m. Choral Eucharist and Egg Hunt
Resources for a Holy (and Fun!) Lent

T here 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.

The Grace Worship and Liturgy Committee would like to encourage all of Grace's parishioners to complete their funeral arrangements and final instructionsDeath 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 now available in the Narthex and on our website. Please consider participating. 

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 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. Saintly Scorecards - the publication containing all 32 first round bios - are available on the table at the Parish Hall entrance.
A message from Casserole Patrol
Our supply is running low. We need your help replenishing the freezer. Casseroles should be frozen, or freezable, and preferably the size of 4-6 servings (or less.) Please label the casserole with a description, and the date it was prepared/frozen. If you can contribute, please let Connie Towey know.
The Casserole Patrol is one of Grace's most important pastoral ministries, as it provides meals to those who, for one reason or another, can benefit from having a meal delivered to them.   
Book Group
The next get-together of the Grace Book Group is March 20, 6:30 p.m., at Smooth Season restaurant (Muir Station shopping center), when we will discuss "Where the Crawdads Sing" by Delia Owens. All are welcome! For more information call/text Jennifer Sabroe at (925) 383-8386 or send an email.  
Men's Group Breakfast
The Men's Group calendar for monthly potluck breakfast is set for the year! The breakfast schedule is generally the third Saturday of the month, with exceptions in March (3/23) and April (4/27). The next Men's Group Breakfast is Saturday, March 23, 8:30 a.m., in the Parish Hall. All men of Grace and their guests are invited. If you can bring something, great! If not, come anyway and know you are welcome at this fellowship gathering, where the agenda is to enjoy breakfast! For more information, contact Don Dyer. (email Don)
Safe Church Training
Saturday, March 30, 9:30 a.m.
(check-in begins at 9am)

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 the fastest, easiest way to do it.
RSVP by March 25 to Jennifer Sabroe via email at, 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.
Bible Study for Everyone!

Each Wednesday at 10 a.m. we offer Holy Eucharist followed by Bible Study in our Chapel. We are currently engaged in a  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 .
Yoga 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 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.  

The Martinez Historical Society's exhibit "Amen!"  focuses on the history of churches in Martinez - and, of course, Grace is one of them! There are displays of photos and artifacts, with accompanying historical information. The exhibit runs until March 28.
A call for plastic-ware
As you do your Spring cleaning, keep this in mind! Mary Canale has put out a call for "plastic-ware" - forks, knives, spoons. There will be a container on the table (under the bulletin board) in the Parish Hall for donations. Plastic-ware collected will be passed along to Sandy Taylor for her Saturday dinner project. Thank you!
Coffee Hour News!
Thank you to everyone who has "opted in" as a Coffee Hour Host/Team. This is a vital activity in the life of our parish. There is always room for more help, so if you have questions or would like to join a team or start a team, contact Coffee Hour Coordinator Christina ("Tina") Reich. Many thanks. (Hosts, please remember that if you cannot serve on a particular Sunday, kindly secure a substitute and let Tina know.) 
  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). Please leave donations in the Narthex.
Join the choir!
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!

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.