News from Grace Episcopal Church ~ Martinez, California
October 24, 2019 
Scripture of the Week

" I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing. "
2 Timothy 4:7-8
"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. During the summer we continue to offer Nursery Care. School age children are invited to join their families in the Sanctuary. We provide coloring and drawing materials, books, and soft toys, as well as a children's area for children who prefer not to sit in the pews with their families.
This week in Godly Play

This week we have another of the great teachings from the Hebrew scriptures - the Exodus. The story begins with the People of God going to Egypt because of the famine in their land. But then the Pharaoh traps them there. Moses is introduced and the last of the plagues, the death of the oldest boy in each Egyptian family, comes upon the land. The people of God are finally allowed to leave and go off into the desert, but the hooves of Pharaoh's horses began to sound and the people are pushed against the water. The story reaches a climax as the water, represented by two pieces of blue felt, parts and the people pass through safely. As the felt water comes back together the People of God dance in celebration. The story ends with the children having the chance eat matzo bread and "taste the story". The children are invited to wonder what it would be like to be trapped against the water and what amazement would come upon them as the water parted.
           Grace's Annual Stewardship Drive is underway!

"Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put back into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back." Luke 6:38

Over the next few months the Finance Committee will be setting our agenda and budget for 2020. In order to know what we can do we need to know what resources we have. This means asking our parishioners to tell us how much time, energy, and, yes, money, they are willing to provide for the life of this parish. Although we appreciate any and all contributions to Grace, we ask members to pledge - meaning to promise to contribute regularly to this community - so that we can make reasonable plans for our work together. God's grace is free, but unfortunately keeping Grace Church operating is not; it requires time, talent, and treasure from each of us.
The biblical standard for giving is a tithe - or ten percent of our time, energy, and income. We recognize that some of us contribute in various ways to many different worthy causes, including Grace, so you may wish to look at your total charitable giving if you are thinking about how you might begin moving toward that goal. The chart below is provided to help you consider the relative importance of financial charitable giving in your lives, but you can apply the same formula to percentages of your donations of time and talent. Ideally, you will be able to commit to pledging in each of these areas, but we are grateful if you are able to increase your giving in any of them . Please take some time to reflect about the spiritual gifts you receive here and how you can, in turn, contribute to our life together and to the work of the Jesus Movement in this community. Thank you.

Stewardship Bonus Opportunity

As a fun incentive we are offering these tongue-in-cheek t-shirts to people who are able to increase their pledge this year. 
November 3    
On All Saints' Sunday during the Litany for All Saints, the names of beloved who have passed will be read aloud as the bell tolls.  If you would like to have someone remembered during the service, please email the name(s) to the church office at  
Please submit names no later than Tuesday, October 29
For those without email, please print the names on a piece of paper and put in the offering plate on Sunday or leave in Parish Administrator Jennifer Sabroe's mailbox, located next to Rev. Deb's office in the Education Wing.  
Some interesting history

Last week Rev. Deb heard the most intriguing story from her friend, The Rev. Krista Fregoso, Rector of our sister church, St. Paul's Walnut Creek. Apparently, in reviewing their history, they found the following sentence in one of their documents, "The beautiful stained glass window of 'The Good Shepherd' and massive antique oak chair are both memorials to Dr. Abercrombie." This is interesting, because Dr. Abercrombie served BOTH St. Paul's and Grace Martinez in the late 1800s. The history continues, " Given by friends in Martinez, they were intended for Martinez, but, the donors not caring for the clergyman in charge, gave them to Walnut Creek." Rev. Deb looked up this unpopular clergyman who served at Grace in that time frame and found the following notation, " There is no information on the rectors from 1890-1911."   Who was this clergyman and when will St. Paul's give us back our stuff?
More history:
Grace is almost 150!!
IMPORTANT UPDATE! Thanks to the faithful sleuthing of Melissa Rodrigue-Kennedy, we now know that the name of our Rector in 1890 was W.J. O'Brien. We also know that NEXT YEAR Grace will celebrate our 150th anniversary as a parish. We would like to commemorate this important milestone. If you are interested in being part of a  150th Anniversary  planning group, please let  Rev. Deb  know
Diocesan Convention
The annual Diocesan Convention will take THIS WEEKEND October 25 and 26 at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. Convention is an opportunity for delegates from all over the diocese to meet and discuss concerns of the church, including the diocesan budget, resolutions and canon changes. Grace's delegates are Barbara Brooks, Mary Canale, and Pat Hambly. Jennifer Sabroe is our alternate. Rev. Deb, in addition to representing Grace, is also a member of the Standing Committee of the diocese. Please pray for their work.
THIS SUNDAY October 27!
Kids' All Hallow's Eve Party  
Costumes welcomed and encouraged
2 - 3:30 p.m.

"Spirit of Giving" Drive starts this Sunday!
Supporting families in need at Christmas
We have once again partnered with the Contra Costa Interfaith Housing Spirit of Giving program to help provide Christmas gifts to 40 individuals (in 14 families) this year.  This Sunday you will notice a small tree in the Narthex, adorned with "gift tags." Each tag is for one member of a family, and will have that individual's "wish list" printed on it. We ask that people take a gift tag and arrange to purchase no more than two items from the person's "wish list." You can either purchase the two gifts yourself, or find a buddy to share the fun of giving.  
In addition, we'd like to provide each family with a $25 Safeway gift card for each member of the household (i.e. a family of 4 would receive four $25 Safeway gift cards; a family of 2 would receive two Safeway gift cards.) This year, instead of tree tags for the Safeway gift cards, we have a collection box where you can deposit as many as you like. We have 40 individuals that we've "adopted" so our goal is FORTY $25 Safeway gift cards. We prefer the gift cards be in denominations of $25 so that they can be distributed easily to the families according to the number of people in each family.  
The Safeway gift cards are a great option for those who aren't "shoppers" but would like to donate to the drive. There's another, even simpler, option -- we'd be happy to take cash and make purchases on your behalf.  
Please consider taking a tag or making a donation, and doing your part to make sure these families receive something special for the holidays!  
Wrapped and labeled gifts should be brought to church by Sunday, November 24.  
Questions? Need more information? Email Jennifer Sabroe or call/text her at (925) 383-8386; Email Dru Grissom   
Thanks and blessings, from the Outreach Committee.
Online Directory 
E arlier this year Grace moved to a new church recordkeeping solution called Realm® Inform to  serve the administrative needs of our church. The online directory feature is  an important part of the way we connect with each other.  We know that it is an adjustment to go from a paper to online directory, but it is now the primary way the church office can reach you, so please enter your information in it.  The information below will help you do that.  Remember, regardless of whether you opt-in to the directory, by keeping your information current, you are helping Rev. Deb and church staff.

*Everyone gets a unique Profile that contains information that you want people in our church to know about you. When you're logged in to your Profile you can update your contact information, change family details, display your photo, and view the online directory. You can customize your privacy settings to select as much or as little contact information to display in the directory.  (*Church Member)
If you fit any of the scenarios below, please contact Parish Administrator Jennifer Sabroe,
-         You want access to the online directory (aka Realm) but haven't gotten around to creating a login,
-         You want your contact information available to fellow parishioners in the online directory (aka Realm) but don't want to do the login thing, or don't have a computer,
-         You don't want to be in the directory, but want to confirm or update your contact information for the church office.

Good news! Our city construction crew has reported that they have completed the most disruptive work on Muir Station Road and it will no longer be closed
Night of Light!
The Episcopal Impact fund serves organizations that address the root causes of poverty in the Bay Area, both financial and through mentorship and guidance. Inspired by the teachings of the Gospel, we share a vision of a Bay Area without poverty. The Episcopal Impact Fund's annual fundraiser, The Night of Light will take place on Friday, November 1. Grace Martinez has bought TWO tables for this black tie event. There are a limited number of free seats available. If you are interested, please let Rev. Deb know as soon as possible.
Piano Recital 
Saturday, November 2, 2 p.m.
The parish family is welcome to attend a piano recital at Grace featuring beginning and intermediate students of our former organist, Joe Lim.
Harpsichord Concert
Sunday, November 3, 2 p.m.
featuring Grace Music Director and Harpsichordist, Arthur Omura
J S Bach is a home-body when compared to his globe-trotting contemporaries; Telemann, who traveled all over Europe to promote his music; and Handel, who lived several years in Italy before settling in London.  Nevertheless, Bach always had an eye on the international scene: he carried on a correspondence with François Couperin, and was so mesmerized by Vivaldi's violin concertos he made transcriptions of them so that he could play them himself on the organ. Bach was so taken with these foreign styles that he dedicated the second volume of his own Clavier-Übung (keyboard exercises) to them.  Vol. 2 contains an Italian-style "concerto" In the style of Vivaldi and a French dance suite in the style of the high-Baroque opera of the Paris stage, re-imagined by the great composer for the harpsichord. The program is completed by Bach's startlingly brilliant Chromatic Fantasy and Fuge, a work which has no national imitations, but springs directly from the mind of the Master.  
* The concert is free, but donations gladly accepted at the door.  
The Amazing Grace Youth Choir!
Young people ages 7-17 are invited to join in learning to read, appreciate and perform music in a low-stress environment. Rehearsals are on Sundays at noon (following our 10 a.m. service and coffee hour). To enroll, see or contact Music Director Arthur Omura.
Wednesday Bible Study: Following the Way of Jesus, Church's Teachings for a Changing World

Each Wednesday at 10 a.m. we offer Holy Eucharist followed by Bible Study in our Chapel.
We are now studying, "Following the Way of Jesus." According to Church Publishing, " With the launch of the  Church's Teachings for a Changing World  series, visionary Episcopal thinkers and leaders have teamed up to write a new set of books, grounded and thoughtful enough for seminarians and leaders, concise and accessible enough for newcomers, with a host of discussion resources that help readers to dig deep. [Presiding Bishop]  Michael Curry leads off this volume with a clarion call for Episcopalians to join the Jesus Movement. A team of the church's brightest stars follow up with reflections on the practice of ministry in light of the movement."
The book is available on Church PublishingAmazon and Barnes and Noble However, as always, you do not need to purchase the book to take part.
St. Christopher's Guild Survey

St. Christopher's Guild is currently examining their mission. Please take a moment to answer this very brief survey about this ministry. This survey is open to EVERYONE, regardless of gender or association with the group. Currently we only have responses from those already familiar with their work. We would like to hear from everyone. Hard copies are available on the table in the Narthex.
Make a joyful noise! 
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!  For more information contact Music Director Arthur Omura at 

There is nothing to fear but fear itself: violence and mental illness

Rev. Deb recently wrote an informative article for the Martinez Gazette on Violence and Mental Illness.  You can find it at  Martinez Gazette on Violence and Mental Illness
Faithful Forums 
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). 
Upcoming dates and topics:
November 17 , Sustaining Earth, Our Island Home conversation with the Environmental Ministry of the Diocese of California
December 15, SWEEPS Ministry Fair 
The Second Annual Grace Martinez Thanksgiving Dinner
Last year Rev. Deb and her family decided they would like to have Thanksgiving Dinner at Grace. By the grace of God and lots of volunteers, we were able to share dinner with about 40 people! This year we will be doing a potluck! Deb and Gary will provide turkey and ham - you bring your favorite Thanksgiving fixings.  There is a sign up in the Parish Hall!
Season 2 of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's "Way of Love" podcast online now

Join Bishop Michael Curry of The Episcopal Church as he guides us through the practices of the Way of Love: turn, learn, pray, worship, bless, go, and rest. In season 2 of this podcast, Bishop Curry talks with our hosts, Sandy Milien and Kyle Oliver, and others about following the Way of Love - beyond the church walls. Subscribe now and listen each week wherever you get your podcasts.
  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 provides 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
  • 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
  • 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.
Coffee Hour
The Coffee Hour schedule through December is posted on the bulletin board in the Parish Hall. Please be sure to take a look at it for your assigned Sunday. There are still two open dates (December 8 and December 29) to be filled. This is a great opportunity to team up with someone and host during this fellowship time following the 10:00 service! Questions:  Email Coffee Hour Coordinator Tina Reich or leave a note in her box if you have any questions. Please remember that if you can't do your assigned date, you are asked to make arrangements for a substitute.     
Flower and Candle Dedications

We are blessed by having fresh flowers on our altar each week. These are paid for by parishioners 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.

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.