News from Grace Episcopal Church ~ Martinez, California

November 30, 2017

Scripture of the Week 
"O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand...Now consider, we are all your people."

Isaiah 64:8-9
Advent at Grace

We welcome you to join us each Sunday in Advent, beginning this Sunday, December 3, 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:

Healing prayer at Sunday services each week;
"Advent in Narnia," a seasonal Bible study using the writings of C.S. Lewis, following our weekly Wednesday, 10 a.m. Holy Eucharist service;
Opportunities to help those in need during the holidays, such as participating in the Contra Costa Interfaith Housing "Spirit of Giving" program;
Our festive Christmas Luncheon and Country Kitchen on Tuesday, December 5, beginning at 11:30 a.m.
We will conclude our Advent season on Sunday, December 24 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 while enjoying hot chocolate and treats!  Invite friends!
Spirit of Giving Project
Over the years, the response to various gift giving projects here at Grace has  always been overwhelmingly generous and enthusiastic. This year is no different.  Thank you for your expressions of love and support as we fill the 81 wish/gift tags for the 11 families we "adopted" through Contra Costa Interfaith Housing this year. 

Our final day for collecting gifts for the Spirit of Giving project is this Sunday, December 3.  The elves will be bagging up the gifts for the 11 families after the 10 a.m. service in preparation for the big delivery to the distribution site on Monday. 
For those who took a gift tag, please remember: gifts should be wrapped and marked either by attaching the gift tag you took from the tree, or attaching a piece of paper with the family code and description of the family member (from the gift tag, e.g. Daughter [6]).  Contact Jennifer Sabroe if you have any questions. Email or call the church office (925) 228-6574. 
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.

Attention "Country Kitchen" Bakers!
For those baking items for the Country Kitchen, please take note to bring your baked goods on the day of the luncheon (Tuesday, December 5) by 10:30 a.m.  If the items need to be picked up, please call Jo-Ann Lee (925-933-6809).  Another option is to drop off the baked goods at her house on Monday, December 4, but please call her first to let her know. 
Christmas at Grace

Our Christmas services will be as follows :
Christmas Eve, Sunday, December 24, at 5 p.m.: This is a traditional Christmas pageant with music.  Walk-ins welcome! ALL children are invited to participate in the pageant. Simply get to the church by 4:30 p.m. and you will get a part!
Christmas Eve, Sunday, December 24, at 10 p.m.: Concert featuring both vocal and instrumental Christmas music.
Christmas Eve "Midnight Mass" beginning at 10:30 p.m.: The Celebration of the first Christmas Eucharist with Choir and instrumentalists (otherwise known as the, "leaving at Midnight Mass").
Christmas Day, Monday, December 25, at 10 a.m.: Choral Eucharist with traditional Christmas carols.
Christmas Lessons and Carols, Sunday, December 31, 10 a.m.

Please join us and BRING FRIENDS!
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 (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: 
Advent is here and in Godly Play we are telling the stories that help our children to anticipate the mystery of Christmas. Our session this Sunday will begin with changing of the color of our story mat from green to purple to reflect the change in liturgical colors in the church sanctuary. This helps us remember that seasons change in the church year just as they do "outside." We will then light a candle and tell the story of the prophets who foretold the birth of Christ in Bethlehem. Anticipating the second week of Advent, a second candle will be lit for the story of Mary, Joseph, and the donkey traveling to Bethlehem. We are all invited to wonder what it means when we say we are all on the road with them.
Faith-full Forums     
Over the summer we began offering an adult education offering at Grace, monthly speaker forums. Through them, we have had the opportunity to learn about everything from the Dead Sea Scrolls to teenage cell phone use! Please join us and invite friends to these fascinating forums.

Upcoming Forum
On December 10th following the 10 a.m. service we will welcome
Kathryn Barush, who will be speaking about   Mary, the mother of Jesus
Queen of Heaven, Mother, Advocate, 
Our Lady of Victory, Star of the Sea:
from  the early Christian centuries to today, representations of the Virgin Mary have evolved and changed, and are as diverse as her many titles.  This illustrated talk will explore the making, meaning, and reception of Marian artwork and devotion across time and within diverse cultural contexts.

Dr. Barush is an Assistant Professor of  Art History and Religion at the Graduate  Theological Union with a courtesy appointment to the Jesuit School of Theology. She received a D.Phil. and M.St. in the History of Art and Visual Culture from the University of Oxford  and has worked at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and the Yale University Center for British Art.
Welcome our new Deacon!

Our new deacon, the Rev. Walter Ramsey, begins his ministry at Grace this Sunday, December 3.  He will be performing the liturgical tasks of a deacon, which include carrying the Gospel book, proclaiming the Gospel, bidding the confession, setting the table for Eucharist, and dismissing the congregation, not to mention just being a great guy to have around.  Please get to know him!
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

Share the Good News

Want to let others know about the great things happening at Grace Episcopal Church? Click on the link below to forward this E-Newsletter to family and friends! 

Serving the community of Martinez
and Contra Costa County since 1868.

Our Mission:
Working together to welcome,
support, and serve all God's people.