News from Grace Episcopal Church ~ Martinez, California 
April 9, 2020
Scripture of the Week

" Suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised ."

Matthew 28:2-6a
Holy Week and Easter in the time of Coronavirus
The "Triduum" is the term for the three days that precede Easter, and each is theologically important. We encourage you to take part in all of our Triduum services outlined below.

In order to be part of simulcast services, go to the Grace Church Facebook page. Click on this link at the appointed time. There should be a message saying the service will begin shortly.  If not, scroll down until you see "Posts." At the appointed time, a window will appear saying we are live. You will then be live with us!
It is our understanding that you do not have to join Facebook to watch our livestream services. If you receive a prompt asking if you would like to join Facebook, simply click "no." Or you can follow the information on  this link showing you how to bypass joining Facebook.

Our Holy Week services are as follows:
Thursday, April 9, 6 p.m. Maundy Thursday Zoom Agape, followed by the Stripping of the Altar. Please join us in sharing a simple meal and liturgy as well as the traditional washing of feet in the safety of your own home through the use of Zoom conferencing. 

Gethsemane Watch: Thursday, April 9, 7 p.m. until Friday, April 10, 12 noon . We choose as a community to stay awake with Jesus in the hours between Maundy Thursday (following the stripping of the altar) and noon on Good Friday.  
The goal is to have someone awake with Christ every hour. Many people tell us that they enjoy spending quiet time alone (or nearly alone.) This year, because we are sheltering in place, we are asking you to find a quiet space at home, in God's outdoors, your car or wherever you like to simply be awake with Christ. You can use the time to journal, pray, sing, or meditate. If you would like to participate, simply sign up for one (or more) hour(s) of watch. If you haven't signed up and intend to, please do so TODAY. We have several open spaces. You can sign up here.   
Friday, April 10, Good Friday Stations of the Cross, any time, but Noon is recommended. You can find the full service here. You can find just the pictures for Stations without text here.
Good Friday Litury 7 p.m.  Tune in to The Grace Facebook page for our livestream of the traditional Good Friday Liturgy, culminating in the veneration of the cross. The bulletin for the service can be found here
On Saturday, April 11 at Noon, The Holy Saturday liturgy will be available for viewing on our website and the Grace Facebook page  
The worship bulletin for this service can be found here
Sunday, April 12, Easter Day, 9 a.m. Livestream service on the Grace Facebook page
with Easter Parade, Easter Bonnet Contest, and Easter Egg Hunt. 

The worship bulletin can be found here.

To find out how you can be part of the festivities without leaving home, see the box below!

Announcing the First Annual Grace Virtual EASTER PARADE and Egg Hunt

We are all sad not to be enjoying a traditional Easter procession in our beloved Sanctuary this year. Nonetheless, we ARE going to see one another.

We are asking everyone to send us a photo of themselves in their Easter finery. You can put on the outfit you planned to wear this year, or share one of your particularly stunning outfits from years past. There will be a prize for the best Easter bonnet! Please send these photos
 to The Grace Church Office TODAY so that you can be part of our wonderful online procession!

Following the service, stay tuned to watch The Great Grace Egg Hunt. The Easter Bunny and her helper will appear on the lawn of Grace to hunt down the Easter eggs hidden by dastardly youth! The Bunny will be looking out for the children of Grace to make sure there are Easter baskets waiting for them when they return to Grace. 

Grace Episcopal Church Martinez continues worship and community online through at least May 10, 2020
Since Sunday March 22, in compliance with recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Contra Costa County Health Services (CCHS), and the bishop of our Diocese of California, we at Grace have been gathering and worshipping together "virtually" rather than in-person. While this has been difficult for many of us (including your extroverted Rector), our community of Christ has opened its collective heart to sharing our liturgy online with one another (and hundreds of others on social media.)  
On Wednesday, April 1, in response to the more stringent guidelines issued by Contra Costa (and other counties), Bishop Marc issued further restrictions for Diocese of California congregations. We will be following Bishop Marc's instructions to suspend " all public, in-person worship services... gatherings, including funerals, memorial services, weddings and non-emergency baptisms...and all... in-person activities" until at least May 10 as requested. 
We will continue to livestream a 9 a.m. Sunday morning service of Holy Eucharist but we will no longer provide Eucharist to participants. 
Please remember that there is  an audio file of our most recent Evensong Service , along with the program for it, on both our website  here  and our Facebook page, as well as content for our children,  including weekly Godly Play lessons.

Pastoral Care during the Pandemic
Bishop Marc Andrus, in conjunction with state and county precautions and believing that this is the best pastoral response to the coronavirus pandemic, is not allowing diocesan clergy to perform "hands-on" pastoral care. Unfortunately, this means that Rev. Deb cannot perform baptisms, funerals, or last rites in person. The bishop is asking that baptisms and funerals be postponed until after the shlter-in-place restrictions are lifted and that sick "visits" and last rites be performed on-line or by telephone.  
Rev. Deb is available by phone and email. If you are ill, need pastoral care, or any kind of practical help such as food or rides, please contact her directlyIf you call the church number (925-228-6574) and press the button for the Rector, there is an option to mark your message "urgent." Please do so if you need to.   
We are fortunate enough to have funds available for our parishioners in need. The Episcopal Impact Fund has provided $1,000 in discretionary funding to each congregation in the Diocese of California for use during this difficult time. Rev. Deb has also received several generous donations to her Rector's Discretionary Fund.  This money is for use in providing direct services to people. If you need help with food, rent, or medical expenses, please do not be shy! Let Rev. Deb know. Your request and the assistance you receive will be confidential.
If you are able to and would like to help your fellow parishioners financially, please send checks to "Rector's Discretionary Fund, Grace Episcopal Church." T o learn more about Episcopal Impact Fund and its work and/or to donate, visit

New resources for Holy Week and Easter at home 

The stay-in-place restrictions related to the coronavirus can serve as an opportunity to deepen your faith practices at home.

We encourage all of our families to take part in Holy Week and Easter as fully as is possible during the coronavirus restrictions.  Here are a few resources to check out.

Set up a home altar and worship together: View this link

This link has ways for observing Holy Week at home for any and all of us.

For families with school-age children, try making Holy Week in a Box

The "Triduum" - the three days that precede Easter are important milestones in Jesus's resurrection journey.  Mark them together at home by  trying the projects at this link

A New Worship Opportunity at Grace
At the request of parishioners, we have added a  Friday Morning Prayer service.  This will take place weekly on Fridays at 10 a.m. by Zoom.  You can join the service by clicking on  this Zoom link on Friday mornings at 10 beginning TOMORROW, April 10.

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.  
During the Shelter-in-Place precautions while we are simulcasting our Sunday morning 9 a.m. service, we will be offering our Godly Play lessons (and a bonus art project) online. These can be found on our  Facebook page 
Life and Joy in our midst!
We are delighted to announce the birth of Andrew John Senn to Josh and Jes Senn. Andrew was born on April 1 (no foolin') at 7:39 p.m. He weighed in at 7 pounds, 7 ounces and is tall like his dad at 20 inches. Mom, Dad, and baby are all doing fine! Grandpa John Heyse is feeling a little faint!

We are also pleased to report that Jose Dyer has been promoted to Lance Corporal and will be receiving a new duty station soon.
Transferred to Zoom conferencing:
Wednesday morning service and Bible Study
Grace will celebrate the season of Easter with a new round of the Good Book Club. Through the Season of Pentecost, we will be studying the Gospel of Matthew alongside Episcopalians from all over the world. You can find the curriculum, the text, and additional information at The Good Book Club website.

During the Coronavirus concerns, Rev. Deb will be hosting our Wednesday Service and Bible Study by Zoom Conference call. To join her, on Wednesday mornings at 10 a.m. simply Click on this link
The bulletin (with the readings) for the service can be found here. This will be a Morning Prayer service.  
 An important message from your Treasurer

We are currently only together as a "virtual" community.  However, our parish expenses will continue as per normal.  I urge you to remember this as you consider your commitment to financially support the mission of Grace Episcopal Church.  You may decide to mail a check (130 Muir Station Road, Martinez, CA  94553) or commit to "catch up" when we are together again . You may also pay your pledge online by going to this link or contact Treasurer  Marj Leeds for more information.

Also, in the interest of transparency, we will be posting a short monthly financial summary in Grace Notes following each Vestry meeting. If you have questions, check in with Marj or a member of the Vestry.  Here's this month's:

March Report
Income Year to Date        $39,920.96
Expenses Year to Date    $46,468.28
Deficit                                    $6,548.02
  1. Pledge income is $5000 under budget (bad)
  2. Expenses are $3000 under budget (good) due to the Treasurer unintentionally prepaying a portion of the pension in 2019 (about $2700)
Helping your city and county during the Corona Virus shelter in place, a new initiative of Contra Costa Episcopal churches
Several of our folks have generously inquired about volunteering to help high risk individuals during the mandated shelter in place. 
We are very excited to announce the launch of a new community initiative: Pandemic Partners - Pleasant Hill Regional. Following the wonderful example and generous guidance of First Presbyterian Church in Bend, Oregon, we have launched this Facebook group to serve as a hub where people in our community can come together to get needs met. You can find it  here.
It's simple - people living in Martinez and the surrounding area can join the group. Once there, if you need help, ask. If you can offer help, respond out of the goodness of your heart. This can include running errands for immediate needs,  picking up groceries, getting help with technology to stay connected to loved ones, etc. In a time where fear can be overwhelming, this is a way to choose kindness, generosity, and love for our neighbors.
To be clear, in using this group, everyone remains responsible for their own health and safety. Anyone who lives here may join the group, and volunteers will not be vetted or trained by Grace Episcopal Church nor will volunteers be subject to the church's direction or control. We strongly encourage people to continue to practicing hand washing, sanitizing, sheltering in place and distancing measures recommended by Contra Costa County Health Services and the CDC. Invite your friends and neighbors who live in the area to join as well. Thank you!
If you are a parishioner of Grace and need help yourself, please call the church (925-228-6574) and we will make sure you get what you need. 
In terms of helping in Martinez, community, Rev. Deb contacted City Council member (and parishioner) Noralea Gipner to inquire how Grace might assist the community during this time. Because of the stringent distancing rules, most groups assisting those in need prefer financial contributions to offers to help at this time. 
Noralea asks that if you would like to help individuals who are high risk as a result of homelessness, you can support the maintenance of the new porta potties, "If any of you are in a situation where you can help with the maintenance of the Porta potties please just write a check to homeless action coalition. Mail it to 2221 Castro St., Martinez."
Contra Costa County Health Services is now accepting donations of  Eye protection, such as goggles and face shields;  Antibacterial and disinfecting wipes, typically alcohol or bleach based (unopened). NO baby wipes. N-95 and surgical masks (unused),
Waterproof gowns, coveralls and sleeved aprons, h and-sewn cloth masks
The next donation dates and sites are:      
Tuesday, April 14 - Thursday, April 16 from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
San Pablo Library, 13751 San Pablo Ave., San Pablo
Tuesday, April 21 - Thursday, April 23 from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Orinda Library, 26 Orinda Way, Orinda
Ygnacio Valley Library, 2661 Oak Grove Rd., Walnut Creek 
Tuesday, April 28 - Thursday, April 30 from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Antioch Community Center, 4703 Lone Tree Way, Antioch
Summit Center, 2530 Arnold Dr., Martinez

Tuesday, May 5 - Thursday, May 7 from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Summit Center, 2530 Arnold Dr., Martinez
Loaves and Fishes, a group with which many of our folks have volunteered over the years, is not taking new volunteers but continues to provide food to homeless individuals. They ask you to donate if you can.
Monument Crisis Center continues to hold emergency food distribution open to all in need. The next dates and times are Monday April 13th 9am-12pm and  Tuesday April 14th 9am-12pm. They are in desperate need of perishable and non-perishable food items. You can donate during the above times. You can also drop off donations at our sister church, St. Stephen's Orinda, 66 St Stephens Drive in Orinda. Their Narthex is open all the time and there is a barrel inside labeled for donations to Monument Crisis. To donate without leaving home, text MCC to 41-444. Thank you! Please feel free to share this information with anyone in need.
Martinez Clothing Exchange
(aka Homeless Showers)

In light of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, operations of the regular Friday showers have been suspended.

We will still be providing assistance to our unhoused community members by distributing items every Friday at Loaves & Fishes.


As eateries and grocery stores have restricted hours and limitations have been placed on options for the distribution of warm meals, we are asking you to help fill the gaps of vital food to our unhoused community members.

Please consider donating the following non-perishable items:
- Bottled Water
- Canned goods: items like soup or canned pasta preferably 
- Instant Coffee
- Nutritious, prepackaged snacks items 

Only requested items   should be dropped off at donation locations. This is strictly a volunteer-run effort and when unwanted and unneeded items are donated it creates additional work for volunteers who have to sort, organize and find alternative destinations for unrequested items. We are limited on storage space as well so please HELP US as we work TOGETHER to help our community.
Items LISTED ABOVE can be dropped off on the porch of 2221 Castro Street (Green House)
*Please consider neatly folding and sorting items prior to donation.*


  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. PLEASE DO NOT STOP GIVING DURING THE CORONA VIRUS CRISIS. NEEDS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER. YOU CAN DROP OFF AT THE CHURCH ON SUNDAYS BETWEEN 8 AND 10 a.m. WE WILL BE SURE THINGS ARE DELIVERED.
  • 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.
Introducing Monthly Buildings and Grounds Work Parties!
There is never a shortage of things that need to get done at Grace and, thankfully, there is also never a shortage of people who want to help out.  In order to make best use of this gift, Junior Warden Josh Senn has announced that we will be holding monthly work parties on our property.  Josh will be here on the last Saturday of every month at 9 a.m.  with a to-do list that you can spend a couple of hourse helping with . Barring complications from Corona Virus precautions, the first of these will be on May 23. Thank you in advance for your help!
Faithful Forums 2020
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 a.m.) 

Faithful Forums will resume when the corona virus crisis has passed. We hope to reschedule any cancelled sessions. Currently, f uture dates and topics include:

April 26:  Martinez Vice-Mayor Noralea Gipner and Martinez Police Community Service Officer Rodney Brinser will talk about efforts in Martinez to alleviate homelessness.
May 17:  John Cumming, President of the Board of the San Francisco Night Ministry will talk about this important ministry to people who live on the streets in San Francisco. 
June 21: The Rev. Will McGarvey will introduce the work of The Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County. 
Upper Lot Discernment Update

At our most recent Vestry meeting, Grace's leadership heard a very exciting proposal related to the  discernment process which will help us discover God's plan for our upper lot.  Discernment involves not just thinking about what we might do, but actively praying and discussing our options in community. You might want to ask one of your vestry members about it. Everyone is invited to submit any and all ideas for use of the upper lot.  You can submit your ideas to:
Update on 150th anniversary!

Did you know that our church is the second oldest in the county, and that it turns 150 years old this July?  To celebrate this momentous occasion our Planning Committee needs your suggestions and your financial support. There is now a 150th Anniversary Fund. To donate, please contact our Treasurer,  Marj Leeds. Please let us know your ideas via email at, or speak with co-chairs John Vander Kamp or Melissa Rodrigue-Kennedy.
The Amazing Grace Youth Choir in on hiatus!

Rehearsals will resume on Sundays at noon (following our 10 a.m. service and coffee hour) after the corona virus crisis.    Young people ages 7-17 are invited to join in learning to read, appreciate and perform music in a low-stress environment. To enroll, contact Music Director Arthur Omura by calling the parish office (925) 228-6574, after the greeting, select Option 4. 
Make a joyful noise! 

When we resume regular services, please consider being  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 by calling the parish office (925) 228-6574, after the greeting, select Option 4.   
Yoga at Grace on hiatus

Yoga is cancelled for now. Once the corona virus restrictions end, please join Certified Yoga Instructor Noah Yuzna on Tuesdays at 6:15 for a class which is suitable for all ages and ability levels. The class is free with all proceeds divided between Noah and the Church. 
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.