News from Grace Episcopal Church ~ Martinez, California
May 23, 2019 
Scripture of the Week

"M ay God be merciful to us and bless us, 
show us the light of his countenance and come to us.
Let your ways be known upon earth, *
your saving health among all nations.
Let the peoples praise you, O God; *
let all the peoples praise you.
Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, *
for you judge the peoples with equity
and guide all the nations upon earth. "    

Psalm 67:1-4
"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  
Grace's children's education model is Godly Play, which is a Montessori-based Christian Education curriculum for elementary-aged children. The goal of the program is to teach children the art of using religious language -- parable, sacred story, silence, and liturgical action -- to help children interpret the spiritual aspects of their daily lives. Children experience the word of God through the elements of prayer, song, The Word, and response.  
This week: The Mystery of Pentecost
This week the children will hear the story of the mystery of Pentecost.  We begin with the story of the Tower of Babel from the Hebrew scriptures.  They learn how the language of the people of the earth was shattered and broke into splinters.  The children are told that thousands of years passed and then Jesus died on the cross but was somehow still with the people around him as he is with us today. After he ascended to heaven he sent the Holy Spirit so that the disciples became so full of its power that they seemed to be on fire.  When everyone saw that the disciples had come close to God, it no longer mattered that they spoke different languages.  And that was the day that the disciples became apostles and went out into all the world to tell this story.  
Memorial Service 
There will be a Memorial Service for Michele Lynch Cobb THIS Saturday, May 25 at 11 a.m. If you are willing to contribute food or labor to put together a potluck reception following the liturgy, please let Susan Bremmer know.  
Faithful Forums are back!

Grace offers monthly educational forums on broad-ranging topics like The Dead Sea Scrolls, Episcopal Polity, Recycling, and Emergency Preparedness for congregations. These take place in the Parish Hall following our 10 a.m. service (approximately 11:30). 
As a result of the activities surrounding Easter, we did not have a Faithful Forum in April. THIS SUNDAY, May 26, we will have the opportunity to talk about our new Grace Church Online Directory. Find out about our upcoming launch and bring your questions for Parish Administrator Jennifer Sabroe and Rev. Deb. 

On June 16, we will wrap up our forum season as Rev. Deb, Rev. Molly and Rev. Walter host an Open Forum called "Ask the clergy a question." No topics are off-limits! Come with your questions about liturgy, theology, and church polity.   
St. Christopher's Guild Meeting 

St. Christopher's Guild hosts events that benefit nonprofit organizations in our community. All women of the parish are automatically considered members of St. Christopher's. There will be an important meeting of St. Christopher's THIS SUNDAY, May 26, at 9 a.m. in the area outside Rev. Deb's office. Please join us!
Youth Group this Sunday
Pizza, Painting and Birthday Cake!

Calling all youth - this Sunday from 5-8pm! We'll be painting the wall mural, and munching on pizza and birthday cake (to celebrate Rev. Deb's birthday). Contact Jes Senn
Plasticware. Thank you to all who cleared out their collection of plastic forks, knives, and spoons. They have been given to Sandy Taylor for the People Feeding People program. Please continue saving them at home, as there will be another collection at church in the fall. Contact Mary Canale for more information.
Your Community of Christ Needs You!

Just like the early Christians, we are a community of many different people with many talents and we need everyone to provide for the community. We have several ministries that are in need of additional volunteers, including Eucharistic Ministers who assist the priest during the Holy Eucharist; Members of the Altar Guild, who help prepare the church for worship; Sunday School and Youth Group volunteers for the crucial task of forming our youth; and Acolytes, young people between the ages of 10 and 18 who assist with the liturgy. Please consider thoughtfully and prayerfully what you can do for the good of the church. Contact Rev. Deb ( and she will direct you to the right person!
And in related news: SAVE THE DATE!

The Diocese of California will hold a
Beloved Community Training Day in the East Bay this fall at St. Paul's, Oakland on Saturday, September 21. 

The day will include required training sessions for Eucharistic Visitors, Eucharistic Ministers, and Whole & Healthy Church Training, along with an array of workshops for lay leaders in all areas of ministry.

Registration will open in mid-summer.

When: Saturday, September 21
Where: St. Paul's, Oakland, 114 Montecito Avenue
Contact: Amy Cook, Working Group Head for Faith Formation,

A message from the Casserole Patrol  
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.  
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 email Rev Deb.
Welcome one and all!
We are looking for folks who are interested in welcoming new folks to our parish. This ministry may include calling or emailing newcomers; designing welcome materials; connecting newcomers to the h eads of various ministries, or hosting newcomer events.  All ideas welcome! If you are interested in assisting with this ministry, please contact  Christina Reich .
Flower and Candle Dedications

We are blessed by having fresh flowers on our altar each week. These are paid for by parishiners 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.
Bible Study for Everyone!

Each Wednesday at 10 a.m. we offer Holy Eucharist followed by Bible Study in our Chapel. Currently, we are delving into  Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's "Way of Love" initiative.  As the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement, we follow the Way of Jesus. His way is the Way of Love, and that love has the power to change lives and change the world. Bishop Curry has described seven paths along the Way of Love:
TURN: Pause, listen, and choose to follow Jesus  
LEARN: Reflect on scripture each day, especially on Jesus' life and teachings
: Dwell intentionally with God each day
: Gather in community weekly to thank, praise, and dwell with God
: Share faith and unselfishly give and serve
: Cross boundaries, listen deeply and live like Jesus
: Receive the gift of God's grace, peace, and restoration.

We are using the text, "Living the Way of Love," which is available  here. It's also available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. However, as always, you do not need to purchase the book to take part.
In related news:

Coming soon: The Way of Love Podcast
Coming the week of Pentecost: a new podcast from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.  The Way of Love: with Bishop Michael Curry. This episodic podcast will offer more ways to engage with the Way of Love, Practices for a Jesus-Centered Life, The Episcopal Church's intentional commitment to a set of practices as a way to follow Jesus. Audiences will listen to stories of people from around the Church as they put the Way of Love practices of Turn, Learn, Pray, Worship, Bless, Go, Rest, into action. Keep an eye on future DioCal newsletters - we'll announce when the podcast is live !
Parish BBQ and Ice Cream Social!
Sunday, June 2 
Come enjoy a barbecue lunch and ice cream social following the 10 a.m. service on Sunday, June 2! Hamburgers and hot dogs, buns, condiments, beverages, and ice cream! will be provided. Side dishes are "potluck." If you are able, please bring a salad or side dish to share. Please join us!
Godly Play and Youth Group recognition
We will hold our annual Recognition Sunday on June 2, 2019. Children and adults who have participated in Godly Play or Youth Group will be honored at the 10 a.m. service. We will also say "thank you" and "good luck" to our three high school graduates. There will be a barbecue following the 10 a.m.  
Bring a friend to church day!
Sunday, June 16 
Why is it that we are all so willing to share the latest and best restaurant, diet, or internet bargain with our acquaintances, but feel strange talking about the most important thing in our lives - our faith in God? In order to encourage one another to demonstrate our commitment to the importance of Christian community and the necessity for all of us to help for it to grow, Grace is hosting "Bring a friend to church day" on Sunday, June 16. If there is someone that you have been thinking about inviting to church but haven't had the nerve, now is the time. The service will be followed by our Faithful Forum "Ask the clergy a question," so the timing is perfect! 
Information from The Episcopal Church
We have recently received several inquiries about the Episcopal Church's formal position on reproductive rights.  They have provided us with a helpful summary, which is below.
In response to questions related to The Episcopal Church's position on abortion, the Office of Government Relations offers this summary of General Convention Policy on Abortion and Women's Reproductive Health. Additional information, including the text of the official policies and statements of the General Convention and Executive Council of The Episcopal Church may be found  here .
Clergy throughout The Episcopal Church counsel women, men, and families who must make decisions relating to pregnancy and childbirth, adoption, family planning, and who face infertility. Our ordained and lay leaders walk alongside Episcopalians and others who struggle with this intimate and challenging aspect of human life. Over the past several decades, the General Convention has addressed the topic of abortion from a position informed by this ministry and personal lived experience of clergy and laity within their own families. As a result, the General Convention of The Episcopal Church recognizes the moral, legal, personal, and societal complexity of the issue. The diversity of views within the Church represents our common struggle to understand and discern this issue.
The Episcopal Church  teaches  that "all human life is sacred. Hence, it is sacred from its inception until death. The Church takes seriously its obligation to help form the consciences of its members concerning this sacredness. Human life, therefore, should be initiated only advisedly and in full accord with this understanding of the power to conceive and give birth which is bestowed by God." Our liturgical text Enriching Our Worship  calls for great pastoral sensitivity to the needs of the woman and others involved in decisions relating to "abortion, or mishaps of pregnancy and infertility." This ministry is particularly important in situations that result in the loss of a pregnancy or inability to become pregnant and as a Church, we have experienced that all of these have "a tragic dimension."
In a series of statements over the past decades, the Church has declared that "we emphatically oppose abortion as a means of birth control, family planning, sex selection, or any reason of mere convenience." At the same time, since 1967, The Episcopal Church has maintained its "unequivocal opposition to any legislation on the part of the national or state governments which would abridge or deny the right of individuals to reach informed decisions [about the termination of pregnancy] and to act upon them."
The Church  urges  dioceses and congregations "to give necessary aid and support to all pregnant women."  General Convention  "commends the work and mission of pregnancy care centers which stress unconditional love and acceptance, for women and their unborn children." We have urged support of "local pregnancy care centers" that "develop an outreach of love to pregnant women and to mothers and their children."
At the General Convention in  2018 , The Episcopal Church called for "women's reproductive health and reproductive health procedures to be treated as all other medical procedures." The Convention declared "that equitable access to women's health care, including women's reproductive health care, is an integral part of a woman's struggle to assert her dignity and worth as a human being."
We continue to advocate that "legislating abortions will not address the root of the problem. We therefore express our deep conviction that any proposed legislation on the part of national or state governments regarding abortions must take special care to see that the individual conscience is respected, and that the responsibility of individuals to reach informed decisions in this matter is acknowledged and honored as the position of this Church."
The Church also sees education as an essential component of engaging with issues relating to family planning, child spacing, adoption, infertility and abortion. The global Anglican Communion, of which The Episcopal Church is a member, first supported the use of contraceptives in 1930, and as Christians we affirm responsible family planning. General Convention policy  states  "it is the responsibility of our congregations to assist their members in becoming informed concerning the spiritual, physiological and psychological aspects of sex and sexuality." The Book of Common Prayer affirms that "the birth of a child is a joyous and solemn occasion in the life of a family. It is also an occasion for rejoicing in the Christian community" (p 440).
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.  
Coffee Hour News!
Coffee Hour Hosts needed for May-August!
The sign-up sheet is in the Parish Hall. If you'd like to help but have never done Coffee Hour before, we can partner you with a "veteran."    
 Email Coffee Hour Coordinator Christina ("Tina") Reich or leave a note on the sign-up clipboard.    
Thank you to those who have already signed up. Please remember that if you can't do your assigned date, you are asked to make arrangements for a substitute.  
  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:
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.