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

" Here is my servant, whom I uphold, 
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my spirit upon him;  
he will bring forth justice to the nations.  
He will not cry or lift up his voice,
    or make it heard in the street;
a bruised reed he will not break,     and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; h
e will faithfully bring forth justice.  
He will not grow faint or be crushed  until he has established justice in the earth;  and the coastlands wait for his teaching." 
Isaiah 42:1-4
"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. 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: The Parable of the Mustard Seed
 
This week the children hear the story of the Parable of the Mustard Seed. It is one of the stories that attempts to answer the question posed to Jesus - "What is the Kingdom of Heaven like?" We hear of birds and seeds and especially the wondrous mustard seed that can grow into a tree to provide a home for our feathered friends. The children are invited to wonder what the tree really is and whether they have ever come close to a tree like this. This certainly is food for thought!
Welcome to Epiphany, a new liturgical season
 
The church calendar is composed of liturgical seasons, each represented by a color. Now that we have fully celebrated Christ's nativity with 12 days of Christmas, we are entering a new season, heralded by the arrival of the eastern sages (popularly known as "the three kings"). Just as we welcome the seasons outside of church, at Grace we reflect the change in our 
liturgical season by making slight alterations in what we see, hear, and do in our worship. Thus, for the season of Epiphany, our vestments and altar hangings will be white, our crèche will disappear until next year, and we will celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist with a different Eucharistic Prayer, Prayers of the People, service music and blessing. Welcome to the season of light!
St. Christopher's Guild

 
There will be a meeting of the St. Christopher's Guild THIS Sunday, January 12, at 9 a.m. in the Education Building outside of Rev. Deb's office. All women are welcome.
Youth Group this Sunday! 

 
Youth Group meets this Sunday, January 12, from 5:30 - 8 p.m. for pizza and game night!
 
Contact: Jes Senn 
You are invited to a Contra Costa County Interfaith Event

Loaves and Fishes
Loaves and Fishes provides meals for individuals who suffer from food insecurity. Grace parishioners volunteer monthly with this ministry. Our volunteer day is Wednesday, January 15 from 9 am until 1 pm. There are many different jobs, including ones you can do sitting down. Please contact Beth Ilog
Evensong

Wednesday, January 15, 7 p.m. Many of us remember the days when the Episcopal Church only celebrated Eucharist on one or two Sundays a month. The other Sundays were reserved for "office" liturgies, such as Morning and Evening Prayer, which do not require the presence of a priest. The Anglican Communion, of which we are a part, has a long tradition of offering a sung version of Evening Prayer, referred to as "Evensong." This beautiful, contemplative service has recently enjoyed a surge in popularity as young people have discovered the peace and beauty it conveys. Please join us for this lovely worship experience. As always, we welcome everyone!
TRIVIA is BACK!
 
There will be a Spaghetti Dinner and Trivia Night on Friday, January 17, 2020. Dinner begins at 6:30 p.m., followed by competitive trivia nerd action. Come and bring friends! If you would like to help or need more information, contact  Amy Eudy
Many thanks!

Thank you so much to all of the wonderful Grace parishioners and friends who participated in the Winter Nights Shelter program this past week. Several teams of faithful cooks and servers provided meals for homeless families from Thursday, January 2 through Sunday January 5. A special thanks to team captains Marj Leeds, Don Dyer, Denise Hansen, Liz Charlton, Christina Reich, and overall event chair Nathan Brooks.  This is truly the Jesus movement in action!
A message from our Treasurer

Offering Envelopes - The offering envelopes are available in the Narthex of the Church. They are slightly different this year as they do not have dates or pledger numbers. This is because we made an executive decision not to pay $250 for 50 sets of envelopes. Hopefully this decision will not backfire. Because of this change, it is important that you put your name on the envelope if you are giving cash to the church. If you are writing a check, you do not need to fill out any information on the envelope.
 
End of the Year Statements - We are in the process of putting together letters for each pledging unit (parishioner/family) reflecting their giving in 2019. Please review the statements carefully and contact me at m-mleeds@comcast.net if you have any issues. (The information is input to an Excel spreadsheet manually, so it is vulnerable to human error.)
 
Calling Pledger #19 - I have not been able to find the list of pledger numbers that correspond to giver names. This results in an inability to provide a statement of giving to the mysterious Pledger #19. If that is your number, please let me know.   
 
Thank you! Marj Leeds.   
 Epiphany Bible Study: The Gospel of John
 
On Wednesday mornings at Grace we have a 10 a.m. service of Holy Eucharist followed by Bible Study.

We have started our Epiphany Bible Study: The Gospel of John with the Good Book Club Each daythrough Shrove Tuesday, February 25, we'll read a passage from this compelling gospel, inspired by "the disciple whom Jesus loved."

We'll encounter the favorite verse of football fans and inspirational sign makers with John 3:16, and we'll also hear stories only heard in John: Jesus turns water into wine at the wedding of Cana, encounters the woman at the well, and raises Lazarus from the dead.

The spiritual Gospel of John uses beautiful poetry: Jesus as the bread of life and as the vine. And it's in John that we hear the great I AM statements.

The text for the course is  A Journey with John:  This book explores the Gospel of John with fifty days of scripture, meditations, and prayers written by dynamic spiritual leaders from across the United States and around the world.It is available as an ebook from most digital platforms.  For information, go to The Good Book Club webpage.
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.) Future dates and topics include:
January 19: Rev. Deb will share her neuropsychology background with us in conversation about Neuropsychology and Spirituality.
February 16: The Reverend Susan Reeve will discuss Kairos Prison Ministry.
March 15: The Very Rev. Donald Brown will present on the theories and meaning of Salvation through Jesus Christ.
April 19: The Rev. Will McGarvey will introduce the work of The Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County.
Grace Book Club
DATE CHANGE 
Our next get-together has been pushed back one week to Wednesday, January 22, at 6:30 p.m., at Smooth Season restaurant at Muir Station shopping center, when we will discuss The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah. For more information call/text Jennifer Sabroe at (925) 383-8386.  
Annual Parish Meeting

We will hold our annual meeting on January 26, 2020, following the 10 a.m. service.  At this gathering we will set our annual budget and elect new members to the Vestry and Deanery/Diocesan Convention Representatives. Any pledging member of the parish age 16 or over is allowed to vote.
Important note: We will not be printing hard copies of the agenda or reports for the meeting. The information will be displayed during the meeting in a PowerPoint presentation. Prior to the 26th, the entire meeting packet (agenda and reports) will be available for download via a link on the Grace website.
Get ready to party like it's 1870!

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. Please let us know your ideas via email at  Gracemtz150@gmail.com, or speak with co-chairs John Vander Kamp or Melissa Rodrigue-Kennedy.
Join the 2020 Census Team!

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, contact Music Director Arthur Omura by calling the parish office (925) 228-6574, after the greeting, select Option 4.   
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 by calling the parish office (925) 228-6574, after the greeting, select Option 4.   
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.

Church members get 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. 
If you are a church member and fit any of the scenarios below, please contact Parish Administrator Jennifer Sabroe, info@gracechurchmtz.org
-         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.
  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.
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.
Yoga at Grace
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. 
Coffee Hour
The Coffee Hour schedule is now posted in the Parish Hall. There are still a few open spots. We have experienced folks who are available to co-host with you if you're not familiar with the routine. As always, thank you for your generosity in making coffee hour welcoming to newcomers and enjoyable for us all. If you are new to Grace and have questions about coffee hour, give Tina a call at 925-266-0567 or email her at deadheadtina63@att.net.
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.
 
 
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