News from Grace Episcopal Church ~ Martinez, California

November 9, 2017

Scripture of the Week

" Wisdom is radiant and unfading, and she is easily discerned by those who love her, and is found by those who seek her

Wisdom 6:12
Supporting families in need at Christmas
Each Christmas season Grace Episcopal Church has participated in Shelter Inc.'s Adopt A Family program, in which parishioners provided gifts for families in need. Unfortunately, Shelter Inc. has eliminated this program. Many thanks to parishioner Beth Ilog who faithfully spearheaded this work on behalf of the congregation f or many years.
Fortunately, we have found a new partner so that we can continue to provide assistance to individuals needing support. The Contra Costa Interfaith Housing Spirit of Giving program has provided us with wish lists from 11 families, which we will be placing on a tree in the Narthex.  Please consider taking a tag (or two) and doing your part to make sure these families receive something special for the holidays! If you feel particularly inspired and would like to help organize this project, please let Rev. Deb know.
A Gift from the Diocese: our new Deacon!

We are delighted to announce that The Rev. Walter Ramsey will be serving as Grace's deacon beginning on December 3. Walter is a resident of Contra Costa County and has previously served at the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation in San Francisco and at St. George's Episcopal Church in Antioch. He is a father and grandfather, as well as an engineer and former member of the US military.  Please look forward to making him feel welcome!
Diocesan Convention follow-up meeting
The Grace Church Deanery delegation is hosting a meeting this Sunday following the 8 a.m. service in the Parish Hall to discuss the results of our recent Diocesan Convention.  If you have questions or concerns about any of the actions of the Convention, please plan to come.  You can find the certified results of convention resolutions here.  If you want to stay up-to-date on all of the diocesan news, you can subscribe to Diobytes. You will receive an e-newsletter every Tuesday. This is a great way to be in touch with the greater church. To subscribe, go to Subscribe to DioBytes here
At Grace, Christian education for children ( Sunday  School) is called "Godly Play" and is held during the first part of the  10 a.m.  service after which children join their families for Holy Communion. 
On the 3rd Sunday of the month we have Family Sunday and the children participate in the entire 10 a.m. service. 


There is no Godly Play on Family Sundays (Nov. 19, Dec. 17, Jan. 21)
Godly Play Sunday School            
We have moved into the foundational stories of the Hebrew Scriptures. These are known as the stories of the "People of God", which is a term we often use to refer to the Jews of the Hebrew Scriptures. We will tell the stories of Creation and the Great Flood. After that the stories will be set in a box of sand known as the desert box which signifies that the People of God are wandering, nomadic, and often in a foreign land. These stories are The Great Family (beginning with Abraham and Sarah), Exodus, the Ten Best Ways (Ten Commandments), The Ark and the Tent, and the Ark and the Temple. You might ask yourself what happened to the Garden of Eden, or Moses in a reed basket, or Jonah and the whale, or a dozen other stories. The reality is that there are more stories to be told than Sundays in which to tell them. But, there is always next year.
This Sunday: 
We have been using our Godly Play "desert box" to tell our stories since early October. Stories from the desert box are about a People of God that are wandering, nomadic and often in a foreign land. Starting this week, things change. This Sunday's lesson brings us to Jerusalem with the story of the building of the temple. This lesson is a recent addition to our collection and this is the first time it will be told at Grace. Our Godly Play book tells us that the building of the temple reflected a new way of thinking about the experience of God's presence, marking a shift from conceiving of God in terms of holy time to seeing God in holy space.  
Faith-full Forums     
We recently added a new adult education offering at Grace, monthly speaker forums. In June we welcomed the Rev. Sidnie White Crawford,
PhD, who spoke about "What the Dead Sea Scrolls tell us about the Bible." July brought a visit from the chair of the Martinez Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). August included a fantastic presentation from Holocaust survivor and author Bernie Rosner. In September Rev. Deb presented "Episcopal Church 101" and last Sunday we heard an inspiring message from Diocesan Legacy Officer Amanda Martin.    
Upcoming Forums

We are very excited about the next forum scheduled for  November 19. We will present Screenagers, a film presentation that explores the impact of screen time on our children, followed by a discussion about the struggle to raise children in our social media-driven era. Share this with family, friends and neighbors. For more information, click here:  Screenagers at Grace 
Stewardship Ingathering and Celebration
Stewardship Drive Ending THIS week!
Our annual campaign asking parishioners to pledge their time, talent, and treasure to this community of Christ will end THIS Sunday, November 12 with a special Ingathering service.  Your support allows us to operate the church and help folks in need, so please don't miss your last opportunity to pledge prior to the formal end of the campaign (although we always accept donations)!  
Italian Dinner - Saturday, November 18   
To celebrate the end of this year's Stewardship Drive, there will be parish dinner on November 18, beginning at 5:30 p.m.  Chef Stan Applegate has planned a delicious Italian Dinner menu!  No ticket purchase necessary. This is an expression of gratitude from your parish leadership. Just bring your appetite and good cheer!   
Minute for Mission
A few weeks ago we started including a "Minute for Mission" during the announcement time at Grace at both our 8 and 10 a.m. services.

We are looking for parishioners willing to step up and talk about their membership in the community of Grace.  What groups/activities are you involved in? What drew you to Grace? What do you love about it?

Take a minute and tell your brothers and sisters what inspires you as a member of this community of Christ and why others might be fulfilled by it too. 

Please let Rev. Deb ( know what you'd like to share and we will schedule you for your 1 minute of fame!
Christmas Luncheon and Boutique
St. Christopher's Guild will host its annual Christmas Luncheon on
Tuesday, December 5, at 11am. There will be a variety of brunch casseroles to enjoy for lunch, and items to purchase at the Country Kitchen and White Elephant tables, as well as handmade items, donated by our members.  
And, yes, the famous bean soup mix will be for sale!   
Tickets are $15. Proceeds benefit various local charities at the end of the year.  Please come join us for this festive event!  Tickets may be purchased at the door or call Susan Bremmer at (925) 348-6309 to reserve seats.
Stay in touch!
We haven't gone anywhere but we have changed our address.  We are no longer receiving mail at our P.O. Box.  Please send all mail to:

Grace Episcopal Church
130 Muir Station Rd.
Martinez, CA 94553

Educate yourself!
We have started a Grace Church Theological Library.  It is located in the corner next to the conference table in the Sunday School wing and is a treasure trove of material for you to browse or check-out. There is room for more on the shelves, so if you have books you would like to donate to this collection, please feel free to drop them off (please attach a note with your name and phone number) or contact Les Marks at

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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.