News from Grace Episcopal Church ~ Martinez, California
September 20, 2018 
Scripture of the Week

" Happy are those
    who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
    or sit in the seat of scoffers;
but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and on his law they meditate day and night.
They are like trees
    planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
    and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper. "
 Psalm 1:1-3
"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 WEEK: This week we move into the stories of the people of the Hebrew Scriptures. We begin with the story of Ruth and hear of her marriage to the son of Naomi in the land of Moab. We see God's hand at work in the
story of her life and learn how she became the great-grandmother of David the King. It is a lyrical story. The children are invited to "wonder" what part of the story is about them and what part they were in. We hope that if the story is told well and the spirit moves the children, they will also "wonder" about their part in God's plan.

Children are always welcome to participate in all services at Grace. There is a children's area near the piano 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.
Clergy Conference
Rev. Deb and Rev. Walter are out of the office  for Clergy Conference until Friday.  She is out of phone range at the Bishop's Ranch.  If you have an emergency, please contact Senior Warden Stan Applegate.
Attention all 8 o'clockers! 

There will be a meeting for everyone who attends the 8 a.m. service and interested others to discuss the structure and direction of the 8 a.m. service at Grace. This is being held in response to concerns brought forward by parishioners to both the Worship and Liturgy Committee and the Vestry.
Please join us following the 8 a.m. service THIS SUNDAY, September 23,  in the Parish Hall.  Breakfast will be provided. All are welcome.
Welcome our new Music Director!
We are pleased to announce that we have hired a new Music Director! Arthur Omura is a talented organist, harpsichordist, and choral director. He started last Sunday, September 16.  Many thanks to Barbara Brooks, Bob Burman, and Marj Leeds, the members of the Music Director Sear ch Committee, who faithfully and prayerfully helped Arthur discern his call to Grace. Special thanks to the members of the Choir for their consistent musical leadership during this transition period. The choir has resumed rehearsals on Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. 
Bible Study for Everyone!
On Wednesday mornings at 10 a.m. at Grace we celebrate the Holy Eucharist, followed by Bible Study. We are currently studying  the letters of Paul, which constitute about two-thirds of the New Testament. We are using Church  of England bishop and theologian N.T. Wright's series, "Paul for Everyone." On Wednesday, September 26, we will look at Galatians 4:12-20.  We will consider the questions, "What is Paul saying about the role of the flesh in understanding the Gospel?" "What does it mean to be 'zealous'?" and "Where does true understanding come from?"  All are welcome!
Calling all Youth!
Nightwatch is a diocesan event.  This fall, Nightwatch will be an overnight sleepover at  Resurrection in Pleasant Hill . Join youth from around the Diocese and Northern California for fellowship and fun. There will be facilitated community building, active and contemplative activities, art, music, and prayer. Nightwatch can also be a time for youth ministers to spend casual time together. We hope to see you and your youth there!

When:  Friday, Sept 28, 6 p.m. to Saturday, Sept 29, 10 a.m.
Where:  Resurrection399 Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill
Cost: $10 (there is ample scholarship available). All youth must be accompanied by a designated Adult Leader. Let Jessie Senn know if you are interested!
Upcoming Liturgical Change

Several people have asked Rev. Deb if she would let folks know when the Sunday liturgy at Grace is going to change and to offer a few words on why the change is being made. 
While the structure of the service of Holy Eucharist has not changed for hundreds of years, the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) offers us several options for the specific wording of our prayers. Traditionally, at Grace, like many other Episcopal Churches, we change the language of our Eucharist prayers seasonally. The  longest season of the church year is the Season after Pentecost, which has 27 Sundays. This year, the Worship and Liturgy Committee decided to change our liturgy part of the way through the season rather than retain the same prayers throughout. We began the Season of Pentecost with Eucharistic Prayer A from the BCP, which we used for thirteen Sundays. 
For the last six weeks, we have been using a Eucharistic prayer from Enriching our Worship (EOW), one of the supplemental resources of the Episcopal Church. Recently, the General Convention of the Episcopal Church voted against undertaking a formal revision of the BCP, instead asking churches to incorporate existing supplemental resources (like EOW) into our regular worship rotations.  Basically, this means that instead of having four Eucharist Prayers to choose from, we now have nine. Here at Grace, we will be gradually trying these out by incorporating these into our rotating schedule. 
On Sunday, September 30, to mark the beginning of Stewardship season, we will return to Eucharistic Prayer B from the BCP. That will last until Advent, when we will begin using a more penitential rite as befits the season.
Stewardship season begins on September 30
No one likes to talk about money, but the truth is that we cannot provide the programs and services we enjoy here at Grace without it.  On Sunday, September 30, we will kick off a season of education and conversation about what it means to share our time, talent and treasure with this community of Christ.
Next St. Christopher's Guild meeting on
September 30, at 9am
All women of Grace are members of St. Christopher's Guild. On the agenda for September 30 is planning for the December 4 Christmas Luncheon, an annual fundraising event that draws a good crowd not just from our church family but from the wider Martinez community (and beyond!). More than just a luncheon, there are the ever-popular Gift Boutique and Country Kitchen, where guests can purchase ready-made gifts and goodies for holiday giving and entertaining. Putting this event together takes many hands and hearts, and there is a variety of tasks to share for all ability levels. Please come join the conversation! 
Blessing of the Animals for the Feast of St. Francis - October 7
On Sunday, October 7, we will celebrate the Feast of St. Francis with the Blessing of the Animals. Rev. Deb will bless animals at both services. All well-behaved and potty-trained animals are welcome to attend the service of their choice and be blessed.  
Save the date for OKTOBERFEST!
Saturday, October 13, 2018
It's that time of year for another fabulous Oktoberfest dinner! Dust off the Dirndl, shake out the Lederhosen, and work up an appetite! This year we will have a ten-piece "oom-pah" band that will serenade us with German music and accompany "The Chicken Dance!"  Reserve your tickets NOW! $24 per person. Email or call the church office - (925) 228-6574 - or see Amy Eudy on Sundays.    
Memorial Service for Buck Cobb  
There will be a memorial service for parishioner Buck Cobb on Sunday, October 14 at 2 p.m. in the sanctuary.  The service will be followed by a reception in the Parish Hall.  If you would like to contribute to the reception, please let Marj Leeds know.
Book Group
Read any good books lately? Want to participate in a book discussion group? Like to eat out? Come drop in on the Grace Book Group! We'd love to see you!
When: 3rd Wednesday of the month, at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Smooth Season restaurant at Muir Station
Shopping Center. 
Our next get-together is October 17, when we will discuss "Educated: A Memoir" by Tara Westover. For more information call/text Jennifer Sabroe at (925) 383-8386 or  Email Jennifer.
Pastoral Care news
We are so grateful for seeing many new faces at Grace lately, and we want to make sure all of our parishioners are supported and taken care of.  In order to help Rev. Deb do this, we are forming a Pastoral Care Committee, which will be chaired by Leslie Kolesa.  The Pastoral Care Committee will assist with coordinating home visits, food delivery, and regular check-ins with those in need.  If you are interested in being part of this effort, please let Leslie Kolesa know.  

And speaking of casseroles: many thanks to everyone who brought casseroles to the church to restock our pantry. We like to have food on hand for those who need it.  Now that the freezer is full, we need folks willing to deliver them to those who have requested them.  If you can do this, please let the office know. Call (925) 228-6574 or Email
A message from ERD:
Responding to Hurricane Florence

Episcopal Relief & Development is working with partners to provide critical support for the most vulnerable communities affected by Hurricane Florence.

On Friday, September 14, Hurricane Florence made landfall. More than 35 inches of rain fell in parts of North Carolina. Major flooding continues throughout the Carolinas and southern Virginia. In North Carolina, local officials believe tens of thousands of homes have been damaged so far, with weeks of challenges on the horizon.

We are responding in a variety of ways. For example, our partnership with the Episcopal Diocese of East Carolina, the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina and the Episcopal Farmworker Ministry, to provide emergency assistance to migrant and seasonal farmworkers including water, food, cleaning supplies, hygiene kits, clothing and transportation to safe locations in two counties in eastern North Carolina.

"The waters are still rising and assessments are limited due to safety concerns," continued Mears. "We will continue working together with church partners to serve and care for affected communities in the weeks and months ahead."

To make a donation, please fill out the coupon (flyers will be available on  on the tables in the Narthex and Parish Hall) and mail it in with your check or credit card information. You can also contribute online to our Hurricane Relief Fund at

Please continue to pray for those impacted by Hurricane Florence. Donations to the Hurricane Relief Fund will help Episcopal Relief & Development respond to this crisis.
From the Outreach Committee 
Here is a summary of the main topics we discussed at our September 9th meeting:
  1. The backpacks and supplies were blessed at the 8am service on Sunday. The backpacks were then loaded with supplies to be delivered to Martinez Jr. High.

UPDATE! The backpacks were delivered to Martinez Jr. High on Tuesday, received happily, and will be distributed by staff to students. Many thanks to everyone who donated and volunteered!

  1. Loaves and Fishes is back to serving every 3rd Wednesday - contact Beth Ilog if you wish to join our team of volunteers.
  2. Giving Tree will soon be underway. Jennifer Sabroe will be working with Contra Costa Interfaith Housing to arrange for our participation in the "Spirit of Giving program." Our goal is to provide Christmas gifts for 12 families this year (up from 11 last year)
  3. Items for the CORE team Homeless Outreach were blessed at 10am service on Sunday. The CORE team will pick up the items this week. We will continue to request donations on an ongoing basis.
  4. Denise Hansen will be meeting with the Youth Group to discuss outreach projects involving the church youth.
  5. We agreed to invite Scott Williams to discuss homelessness at the November Faithful Forum.
  6. We will prepare a bulletin board in the parish hall for outreach related items including full copies of all meeting minutes, agendas, announcements, pictures, etc.
The next meeting will be Sunday October 7th at 9am - all are welcome to attend!
Upcoming Baptisms
Grace follows the Episcopal Church practice of administering Holy Baptism on or near the Great Vigil of Easter, the Feast of Pentecost, All Saint's Day and the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord (the First Sunday after the Epiphany). The next opportunity for Baptism is November 4, All Saint's Day.  If you or your child would like to be baptized, please let Rev. Deb know and fill out the form found at this Baptism Intake Form link, so you can begin preparations.
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 will be 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.  Invite your friends!
  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).

Parishioners are invited to make donations of items by leaving them in the bin in the Narthex (labeled "C.O.R.E. Outreach"). The items will be blessed by Rev. Deb, and handed off to members of the C.O.R.E. team who distribute while doing their mobile outreach work in the local community.
Kitchen Klutter
An assortment of cooking implements and supplies has accumulated in the kitchen over the past month or so. These are all items that probably belong to a number of wonderful helpers. If this rings a bell for you, please retrieve your items next time you're at church. 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.