February 28, 2019
News from Grace Episcopal Church ~ Martinez, California
Scripture of the Week

"W e have such a hope, we act with great boldness, not like Moses, who put a veil over his face to keep the people of Israel from gazing at the end of the glory that was being set aside. But their minds were hardened. Indeed, to this very day, when they hear the reading of the old covenant, that same veil is still there, since only in Christ is it set aside. Indeed, to this very day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their minds; but when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed...We have renounced the shameful things that one hides; we refuse to practice cunning or to falsify God's word; but by the open statement of the truth we commend ourselves to the conscience of everyone in the sight of God. "

2 Corinthians 3:12-15; 4:2
 "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
New Curriculum in Godly Play starts this Sunday!

The Mystery of Easter (First Sunday of Lent) We have a new curriculum for Godly Play for the season of Lent. Our story this week, the Mystery of Easter, is an introduction to a series of stories about Jesus that will be told during the season of Lent. The central part of the story is a puzzle with six pieces, each one symbolizing a week of Lent. The puzzle pieces are purple on one side and white on the other. The completed puzzle is in the form of a cross. The story emphasizes that Lent is a solemn time overflowing with meaning. It introduces the children to the relationship of Lent to the Mystery of Easter, as well as how Easter Day is just the beginning of the season of Easter.

In the coming weeks leading up to Easter we will be telling the story of Jesus’ life and death - of his journey toward the cross and resurrection. We will hear about how Mary and Joseph lost and then found Jesus in the temple, his baptism and blessing by God, his temptation in the desert, his work as a healer and parable-maker, and, finally, the story of the last supper, Jesus' crucifixion and his resurrection. These stories are presented using a series of pictures that show the different faces of Jesus, building a single story week by week. It is certainly a lot to fit into just a few weeks, so be sure to ask your children what they are learning in Godly Play!


Check out our post on Christian Unity
Shrove Tuesday
Due to facility issues, there will be NO Shrove Tuesday dinner at Grace this year. We are sorry for the pancake inconvenience!
Ash Wednesday
Lent begins with Ash Wednesday on March 6. We will have 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. services that day. Rev. Deb and Rev. Walter will also be distributing Ashes to Go in the community starting at 12 p.m. If you know of anyone who cannot get to an Ash Wednesday service, please let Rev. Deb know.
Resources for a Holy (and Fun ) Lent
 
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, March 6. There 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.

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 www.lentmadness.org 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.

Jennifer Sabroe is a Lent Madness enthusiast and can answer any questions you have about Lent Madness.
Live in peace with one another

We use the word "church" in many different ways: to describe any Christian place of worship; to talk about the larger Episcopal denomination; and, most frequently, to refer to our parish, Grace Episcopal Church, Martinez. But scripture tells us that "the church" is not a piece of property; it's the People of God! We also know that people are very different and that individuals find the Holy Spirit in a variety of ways, including through both quiet meditation and boisterous interactions with one another. At Grace, we attempt to provide space for all people to find God in their own way.

The way our buildings are designed help us do that. In the church, we have an area for getting information and chatting (the Narthex, or entrance area) and a sacred space reserved for worship (the Sanctuary). In order to help remind us of the sacred nature of our worship space, we are asking all worshippers to use the Narthex for social visiting and, on Sunday mornings, to stop conversing in the Narthex after the bell calls us to worship immediately prior to the service.

The structure of our liturgy also helps us to know when to make a joyful noise and when to speak silently to God alone. During the first part of the service we hear the word of God, while the second half is devoted to the liturgy of the table (Holy Communion). In between, we observe the ancient tradition of passing the peace - recognizing and welcoming one another as part of the community of Christ. The ritual of the passing of the peace is designed to do exactly that; find inner peace as we settle ourselves for worship. It is not a time for socializing. We have Coffee Hour for that! Thank you for honoring the purpose of our lliturgical traditions and demonstrating respect for the Church!
Bible Study for Everyone
Wednesdays - 10am Holy Eucharist followed by Bible Study
Each Wednesday at 10 a.m. we offer Holy Eucharist followed by Bible Study in our Chapel.

 The 10 a.m. Holy Eucharist on March 6 will be an Ash Wednesday liturgy and will take place in the Sanctuary. On Wednesday, March 13, we will begin a new 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 .
Raffle Prizes Needed!
The St. Patrick's Day Dinner is coming, and we need your help! We are looking for donations for a raffle that evening. If you have donated in the past and are willing to again, or know a business that has and would, please contact Amy Eudy at eudy.amy@gmail.com .
St. Patrick's Dinner Helpers Needed
Many hands make light work! Volunteers are needed for set-up on Friday, March 15, 6 p.m., as well as serving and clean-up on Saturday, March 16.
St. Patrick's Dinner
Saturday, March 16
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, info@gracechurchmtz.org
Martinez Community Emergency Response Team offers Spring classes

Are You Ready to Help Your Family & Neighborhood? Don't be Scared... Be Prepared! FREE CLASSES – SPRING 2019 CERT Basic Training - 20 Hour Course CERT Basic Training – Saturday Morning Series 8 AM - 1 PM on March 23, 30, April 6, 13 Martinez City Council Chambers, 525 Henrietta Street, Martinez CERT Basic Training – Tuesday Evening Series 6:00 – 9 :30 PM on March 19, 26, April 2, 9, 16, 23 IBEW Hall, 1875 Arnold Dr. A practical review for Emergency Medical, Medical Triage, Search and Rescue and Fire Suppression on Sat. April 27 from 8 am -12 noon at Martinez City Hall. This session is optional but highly recommended. CERT Basic Training – Disaster Drill Skills Exercise – Saturday May 18, 7 AM – 2 PM. Optional but will qualify you to become a volunteer city disaster service worker. Location TBD. You are an important part of the emergency response solution for our area. CERT will train you to be better prepared for emergencies and how to respond when your family, neighbors, and community need you most. 

For more information, go to The Martinez CERT webpage
Deacon's Doings
We are fortunate to have both a Rector and Deacon at Grace Episcopal Church. In the Episcopal Church a deacon exercises "a special ministry of servanthood" directly under the deacon's bishop, serving all people and especially those in need (BCP, p. 543). Please help Rev. Walter by stocking the "Deacon's Pantry" with donations of food and other items for individuals in need. Rev. Walter will also be establishing a "Deacon's Discretionary Fund," similar to Rev. Deb's "Rector's Discretionary Fund," which provides financial relief to parishioners and friends of the parish. If you would like to contribute, please let Rev. Walter know.
Sharing our "Green Spirit" on John Muir / Earth Day
On Saturday, April 20th "Green Spirit" will make its second appearance at the John Muir/Earth Day Celebration at the John Muir Historic Site here in Martinez. Last year's event was a lot of fun -- folks loved hanging out with "Green Christians." This event is visited by a couple thousand neighbors -- a wonderful way to spread the message about inclusive faith and commitment to the natural world. 

Stay tuned for upcoming information on our involvement this year in coordination with other local churches.

Grace Book Club
Read any good books lately? Want to participate in a book discussion group? Come drop in on the Grace Book Club! We meet on the third Wednesday of the month. We'd love to see you! 

Our next get-together is March 20, at 6:30 p.m., at Smooth Season restaurant (Muir Station shopping center), when we will discuss Where the Crawdads Sing , by Delia Owens.
 
For more information call/text Jennifer Sabroe at (925) 383-8386 or send her an email .
Amen! Exhibit at Martinez Museum

The Amen! exhibit, featuring seven Martinez churches (including Grace!) at the Martinez Museum at 1005 Escobar, will be on display through Thursday, March 28.

There will be an informal Open House on Sunday, March 3, 2019, 1 pm - 4 pm with light refreshments, to enjoy the Amen! exhibit and the other museum exhibits including Images in Black a display of Roz Miller-Boyd's collection of African-American ethnic dolls and memorabilia.
Faithful Forums
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.
On Sunday, March 17 , representatives from Republic Services will be the presenters at our forum on "Stewardship of Creation."
Reminders
The Book Cart in the Parish Hall is a great place to find your next read. Check it out! Suggested donation is $1 for hardcover, .50 for paperback. Proceeds benefit the Books for Seminarian Fund at CDSP (Church Divinity School of the Pacific, in Berkeley).
Casserole Patrol
One of Grace's most important pastoral ministries is the Casserole Patrol, which provides meals to those who, for one reason or another, can benefit from having a meal delivered to them.

The freezer is currently full! But, please check this space for the call for more casseroles. Casseroles should be frozen or freezable and sized to serve no more than 4-6. Please be sure to mark the meal with its description and the date it was prepared/frozen, if homemade.
Yoga at Grace
Every Tuesday evening at 6:15 p.m. we welcome certified Yoga Instructor Noah Yuzna 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. There will be no yoga on March 12.
Coffee Hour
The Coffee Hour Host schedule is posted in the Parish Hall. This is a vital activity in the life of our parish, and we thank all the volunteers who have signed up. There is always room for more help, and a great way to get to know one another. If you have questions or would like to join a team or start a team, contact Coffee Hour Coordinator Christina (Tina) Reich .
Flower and Candle Sign-ups
The flower chart and candle dedication notebooks are located in the lobby (narthex) of the church. Suggested donation for flowers is $35; for candle $5.
There are no altar flowers during Lent.
Choir rehearsal
Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. You don't need experience or event 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, etc. - please email the text of your announcement to the Parish Office by end of day on Tuesday. Thank you!
You can find previous Grace Notes , Sunday Sermons , and much more on our website.