News from Grace Episcopal Church ~ Martinez, California

June 8, 2017

What do the Dead Sea Scrolls tell us about the Bible?

The Rev. Sidnie White Crawford, Ph.D.
THIS SUNDAY - June 11, 12:30 p.m.

Many people have heard of the Dead Sea Scrolls, but few people know what they say or why they are important. This lecture will shed light on how the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls has dramatically increased our knowledge of the history and text of the Hebrew Bible.

Sidnie White Crawford is the Willa Cather Professor of Classics & Religious Studies at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. She is an internationally recognized scholar in the areas of Dead Sea Scrolls and Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible, and is the author of several books on the Dead Sea Scrolls. She also happens to be Rev. Deb's sister.

Free and open to the public, this presentation will be held in the Parish Hall, Grace Episcopal Church, 130 Muir Station Rd., Martinez.
Providing "Brain Food" for this Sunday
We are excited about the upcoming Dead Sea Scrolls presentation being held at Grace this Sunday. In order to be as hospitable as possible to our guests, we have indicated that we will be providing food for the event. Our Senior Warden, Stan Applegate, is coordinating this effort and needs your help. Please let Stan know ( if you can contribute. Thanks in advance for your generosity! 
The Reverend Deb O. White - The First 100 Days
by Stan Applegate, Senior Warden
June 9 marks the 100th day that Rev. Deb has been our Rector at Grace Episcopal Church. She laughs at me for counting the days but what she doesn't know is I'm really counting my blessings since she arrived. She hit the ground running on Ash Wednesday and hasn't slowed yet. We have accomplished a great deal so far and are addressing our short and long-term goals to assure the continued success of our church.  As for Rev. Deb's approval rating, it's sky high in my book. With her collaboration and leadership I feel we are in a position to really thrive and nourish our community through God's Love.  I remind you that 100 days is not enough time to reach all of our goals so I ask for your faith, your prayers, and especially your patience as we strive to walk in the footsteps of Christ.  I hope you will join me in giving Reverend Deb a very heartfelt "thank you" for all of her hard work, love and devotion. It's been the best 9 months squeezed into 3 months of my life!
Blessings and Peace,
It takes a village
If you enjoy spending time at our lovely campus on Sunday mornings, please think about what you might do to help maintain it.  The beautiful landscaping and repair work at Grace is largely done by committed parishioners.  During the summer we are hoping to host a buildings and grounds work party, which will include all kinds of opportunities to contribute sweat equity to our church. We also are planning some bigger projects (new signs!  more lighting!  a new deck!) for which we will need all hands.  If you have any special carpentry, electrical, or construction skills or are simply willing to follow orders and enjoy the camaraderie that comes with good hard work done in community, please let our Junior Warden, Les Marks know.
Food is Love
Our Senior Warden Stan Applegate is forming Grace Church's official "Casserole Patrol."  He is looking for folks who are willing to help provide meals to members of the parish in need of assistance during busy or stressful times (such as illness or a new baby).  You can help out in a variety of ways - cooking, delivering, or simply making an extra batch of something you're cooking for your family and putting it in the church freezer so that we have some meals on hand.  This is an important ministry that gives joy to both team members and recipients. Please contact Stan if you are interested
Let the children (and youth) come to me!
During the Interim period, Fr. Jeff "changed things up" by offering a "contemporary" Sunday service at 10 a.m. one Sunday per month. Rev. Deb and the Worship and Liturgy Ministry Team heartily embrace the concept of a monthly "change up" and have decided that every third Sunday at Grace will be Family Sunday.  On these days there will be no Sunday School and the youth and children will be  more integrally involved in the worship service.  T here will be simple music, a children's homily and our young folks  will help lead the worship .  If you are between the ages of "can walk alone" and "haven't graduated from high school yet," and are willing to help out, please let Rev. Deb (revdeb@gracechurchmtz) know!  
Blessings Abound
We at Grace invite people celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, and special events in their lives to come forward for a blessing during the Announcements following the passing of the peace during our Sunday services. It has been the tradition of Grace for people to put money into a "blessing box" as part of their remembrance. Although I understand and appreciate the importance of parish customs, I am extremely uncomfortable with there being any hint of an association between the gift of God's blessing and financial compensation. For that reason, I have asked the acolytes not to present the box when people come forward for blessings. Blessings are, like God's mercy, free offerings to God.  I understand that some people may enjoy the opportunity to contribute to the church as part of their personal practice, so our beautiful blessing/ music box, made by John Lee with love, will be placed on a table near the pulpit so that these individuals may continue to do so.  Please remember though that making a contribution is absolutely unnecessary and that having you come forward to share the joys and sorrows of your lives is itself a blessing to the community!   
In peace,
Rev. Deb
Summer Sunday School
We need volunteers to help the children with an activity during the first part of the 10:00 service on Sundays during the summer. The goal is to keep the kids safe and give parents a break. There is a wide variety of activity supplies in the Sunday School area to use. Look for the sign-up sheet in the parish hall.
Make a joyful noise! 
We would like to invite folks who, for whatever reason, cannot make a regular commitment to our music program to share their gifts with us during the summer months.  If you sing or play an instrument, particularly the piano or organ, or have a friend  or colleague who would like to play on a Sunday  morning, please let our Music Director Gary Evans  know!
Educate yourself!
We have started a Grace Church Theological Library
It is located  in the corner next to the conference table in the  Sunday  School wing and is a treasure trove of material for you to browse or check-out. There is room for more on the shelves, so if you have books you would like to donate to this collection, please feel free to drop them off (please attach a note with your name and phone number) or contact Les Marks at     
A bulletin - about your Sunday bulletin!
Those of you who attend church regularly may have noticed some changes in the Sunday Worship Bulletins (or programs, as they call them in the world of theater).  With the approval of the Worship and Liturgy Ministry Team, we recently purchased a computer program called "Rite Series," which allows us to format the bulletins using templates directly from the Book of Common Prayer, as well as other official resources of the Episcopal Church.  It also enables us to use all of the church's music resources, which provides us with a wider variety of hymns.  n addition, we recently received a donation of a color printer, which has allowed us to add photographs to the bulletin.  If you have feedback on our "new look," please let Rev. Deb ( know! 
Supporting our service members
We will be adding a section to the weekly Prayers of the People for those serving on active duty in the U.S. military. Please send any names you would like included to Jennifer at  
Altar Guild Needs You!
As with many tasks in our church community, the larger the team, the lighter the workload. The Altar Guild team is in need of new volunteers. No experience necessary and training is provided. If you are interested in learning more, Altar Guild Director Elaine Quigley would love to hear from you! Call or email Elaine at 925-787-0080 or
Bills don't take vacations!
Summer is coming and we know that many of you will be taking some well-deserved time off. We will miss you but promise to be here when you get back.  Please remember though that while you are gone the parish still needs to pay our bills.  If you are able to catch up on your pledge before you go, we would very much appreciate it!

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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.