News from Grace Episcopal Church ~ Martinez, California
November 8, 2018 
Scripture of the Week
 
" Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts.   But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.
Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, 'Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.  They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything-all she had to live on.' "    
Mark 12:41-44
"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: Jonah the Backward Prophet:
This week we return to the stories of the prophets. The story of the prophet Jonah has a slightly different storyline. The storyteller first reminds us that "prophets are people who come so close to God, and God comes so close to them that they know what God is telling them to do. Then they go do it." Even as these words begin to fade we hear that Jonah did not do what God wanted him to do. In fact, he tried his hardest to run away from God's call! The story continues with Jonah running away in a boat, and then being thrown out of the boat, and then getting swallowed into the belly of a big fish and finally vomited onto shore and being sent to Nineveh. Jonah did not do what we expect of prophets; he did not speak for the One True God; he did not bring people closer to God; and he did not rejoice when people who were bad became good. Jonah did everything wrong and yet everything came out right except, perhaps, his own relationship with God. The listeners are invited to wonder how they would finish the story. 

Children are always welcome to participate in all services at Grace. There is a children's area near the piano at the rear of the sanctuary with toys, books, and coloring materials for children who do not enjoy sitting in the pews.  There is Nursery Care for babies and young toddlers in the education building.
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 office (info@gracechurchmtz.org) by end of day on Tuesday. Thank you!  
Veterans to be honored on Sunday
We will remember our Veterans this Sunday, November 11, 2018, the nearest Sunday to Veterans Day. Veterans are invited to wear their military service caps or other gear to honor their service.
Pasta Night being held in gratitude for a successful Stewardship Drive

The annual fellowship pasta dinner is on Saturday, November 17th at 6pm. Come enjoy this wonderful FREE meal and spend time getting to know your fellow parishioners here at Grace. To help us plan the feast, please email Amy Eudy with your name and how many people will be in your party that evening. eudy.amy@gmail.com  
 
Calling all bakers!!
To help offset the cost of our next Parish Life event, we are having a dessert auction at Pasta Night. If you would like to donate a dessert, please contact Amy Eudy at eudy.amy@gmail.com and let her know what you'll be baking!!  Not a baker? We will gladly take a donation of store-bought baked goods for the occasion! 
Stewardship season is drawing to a close
 
No one likes to talk about money, but the truth is that we cannot provide the programs and services we enjoy here at Grace without it.  Stewardship is a season of education and conversation about what it means to share our time, talent and treasure with as a community of Christ. Last Sunday we heard about Worship and Liturgy at Grace and the costs associated with it, such as a large percentage of the Rector's salary.  Last Sunday John Lee put together all of the information we've learned about ministry and budgeting at Grace and suggested a thoughtful way to consider approaching tithing with your pledge.  On Sunday, November 18, we will have an ingathering and blessing of pledge cards. Hopefully, you have been inspired and will contribute what you can!
 
Although stewardship campaigns often focus on financial contributions (treasure), the willingness to donate your time and ministry gifts (talents) is equally, if not more, important. There are several ministries here at Grace that are currently in need of volunteers. Currently, we are looking for someone interested in putting together some Fundraising events at Grace. If this is something you feel called to do, please check in with Rev. Deb.
...and keep in mind

Two gentle reminders about our finances: You can set up your pledge to autopay from your bank account. Please contact Treasurer Paula Menconi for more information about how to do this. Also, p lease remember that we are attempting to make our budget/spending process completely transparent. In order to do that, we need your help. Please do not give the church for two purposes or accounts at once (for example, don't write one check for both your pledge and a ticket for an event). This will help us keep our finances in order. Many thanks!
Living together as Christians
 
As the world around us becomes more polarized, it is important that we, as Christians, follow the words of our savior Jesus Christ to love one another as we would be loved. Our scriptures are full of helpful reminders about how we should treat each other. You can find some of them here.

At Grace Martinez, we have established behavioral norms to help us live together in harmony:

1) Love God and love your neighbor as yourself
2) Show respect for all people
3) Do not gossip

The Diocese of Washington provides additional guidance for pastors to share with parishioners. Rev. Deb has them posted outside her door:
  • If you have a problem with me, come to me.
  • If I have a problem with you, I'll come to you
  • If someone has a problem with me and comes to you, send them to me.
  • If someone consistently will not come to me, say, "Let's got to the pastor together. I am sure s/he will see us about this."
  • Be careful how you interpret me - I'd rather do that.
  • I will be careful how I interpret you.
  • If it's confidential, don't tell.
  • I do not read unsigned letters or notes.
  • I do not manipulate; I will not be manipulated; do not let others manipulate you.
  • When in doubt, just say it.

These simple rules will assist us in following the way of Jesus and keeping this community of Christ healthy. 

Bible Study for Everyone!
On Wednesday mornings at 10 a.m. at Grace we celebrate the Holy Eucharist, followed by Bible Study. We are currently studying  the letters of Paul, which constitute about two-thirds of the New Testament. We are using Church  of England bishop and theologian N.T. Wright's series, "Paul for Everyone." On Wednesday, November 14, we will look at Galatians 5:22-26.  We will consider the questions, "How do you know if you are bearing 'fruit of the spirit'"?" "How does the law related to 'fruits of the spirit'?" and "How do we line ourselves up with the spirit?" All are welcome!

And looking forward...

During the season of Advent (beginning Wednesday, December 5, we will be studying Advent Women, by Lyn Fraser. "Not always virtuous, the women of Adven are endlessly creative, wondrously adventuresome, necessarily defiant, occasionally manipulative, and absolutely faithful to God. Read their stories and celebrate these women including Elizabeth and Mary without whom there would be no Advent or Christmas.

Then, for Epiphany we will join  partners from across the Episcopal Church, to participate in the Good Book Club, a church-wide Bible reading initiative. The Good Book Club will focus on Paul's Letter to the Romans, with participants reading a section of scripture each day during the Epiphany season, starting on January 9, 2019.
    
The Good Book Club kicked off during Lent and Easter of 2018, with tens of thousands of Episcopalians, including members of Grace, reading the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts. Survey results from participants showed a hunger and desire to continue the initiative and provide more opportunities for people to read and discuss scripture together. Romans was the first choice of participants for the next Good Book Club. 
Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry supports and encourages individuals and congregations to join the Good Book Club as a way to engage in "Learn," one of the seven Way of Love practices for a Jesus-centered life.  
Upcoming Faithful Forums at Grace

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. Click here for the flyer 
 
On November 18 we hear a presentation on Homelessness in Martinez by th
e Reverend Scott Williams, Associate Pastor of Morello Christian Church. Scott was previously the liaison to the Community Outreach Referral and Engagement (CORE) Team in Martinez and is well-versed on this topic.
 
Looking forward to December 9, The Reverend Dr. Paula Nesbitt will be here to present on "Engaging the Feminine Face of God." The Bible offers rich imagery of God as Lord and Father. Less often do we encounter the biblical imagery of God that evokes feminine traits. Both masculine and feminine qualities are necessary in order to understand the full esse
nce of God and the radical equality of all humanity that God has intended through our creation. This session will explore some of the feminine biblical images and theological understandings of God found in both Jewish and Christian traditions, and their meaning for our church today. The Rev. Dr. Paula Nesbitt, has taught gender and religion in both seminary and university settings for two decades. Her publications on this topic include "Feminization of the Clergy in America" and numerous book chapters and articles. She currently serves on the International Anglican Women's Network Steering Group charged with developing a biblical and theological curriculum on gender justice for the Anglican Communion.
 
On January 13, 2019, we will welcome representatives from Republic Services, who will address "Stewardship of Creation" in terms of Grace's recycling policies. 
 
February 17, 2019 will bring  The Very Rev. Dr. Malcolm Young, Dean of Grace Cathedral, to Grace to discuss Theology and Nature, specifically the influence of 19th century author and philosopher Henry David Thoreau on religious thought about the natural world.
Tech nerds wanted!
We are in need of individuals who are savvy about and enjoy technology to help us with our sound system at Grace. Specifially, we are looking for folks willing to come in early for the 10 a.m. service and set microphones, check levels, and record the sermon. If you are willing, please let Rev Deb know.
History buffs needed!
We recently received a letter from the Martinez Historical Society letting us know that the next new display at their museum will go up on January 1, 2019 and will be titled, "AMEN!" It will feature information, photographs, history, and artifacts from any and all houses of worship in Martinez who choose to participate. They are interested in photos, objects for worship, and anything else we would like to share with them. If you are interested in spearheading this effort, or simply have ideas and or articles to contribute, please let Rev Deb know.
An invitation from Loaves and Fishes
Volunteer Appreciation Event 
Wednesday, November 14, 2018, 2:30-4:30 p.m.  
Shell Martinez Clubhouse
1635 Pacheco Blvd.,Martinez, Ca.

W e want to celebrate you!  Chef Ted and the culinary students are cooking up a special feast & we need to know if you will join us.  Come for an afternoon of food, fun, and awesome door prizes to thank YOU, our wonderful volunteers!! Please let us know if you can attend!
rsvp: info@loavesfishescc.org or call 925-293-4792
 
Come and celebrate with friends, fellow volunteers.  Meet our Board of Directors & staff.  Don't miss Chef Ted and the Culinary Program's delicious appetizers, beverages.  Also, awesome doorprizes!   Hosted by Our Board of Directors . 
"Spirit of Giving" Drive is underway!
Thank you all for your incredibly enthusiastic response to this year's drive to provide Christmas gifts to families who live in the supportive communities of the Contra Costa Interfaith Housing. All of the tags have been "adopted" and the shopping has begun! Wrapped and labeled gifts need to be brought to church no later than Sunday, November 25. At that point, Jennifer and Dru will need help taking inventory, sorting and batching the gifts for delivery to CCIH by December 3. Stay tuned for announcements about the details of that work party, including date and time. If you'd like to help or have any questions about your tag please email Jennifer Sabroe at info@gracechurchmtz.org or call/text her cell (925) 383-8386.   
Pastoral Care news
 
We have received many inquiries about the health and well-being of parishioners who are currently on our prayer list. As a result, we have decided to offer periodic updates on folks who have agreed to make their health status public in this section of Grace Notes. Please remember that we do not provide information unless we have permission.

We also want to make sure all of our parishioners are supported and taken care of.  In order to help Rev. Deb do this, we now have a Pastoral Care Committee, which will be chaired by Leslie Kolesa.  The Pastoral Care Committee will assist with coordinating home visits, food delivery, and regular check-ins with those in need.  If you are interested in being part of this effort, please let Leslie Kolesa  know.  
Loaves and Fishes update
Our team from Grace will not be serving on November 21.  A corporate group has requested that day.   
Outreach Update
The Outreach Committee met on November 4 - here is a summary of the main topics we discussed:
  • The Grace team will not be serving at Loaves & Fishes on November 21 (a corporate group has requested that day.)
  • There is a Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon at Loaves & Fishes on Wednesday, November 14.
  • Spirit of Giving was rolled out on October 21. All gift tags have been "adopted." Deadline to bring wrapped and tagged gifts to church is November 25. A call for volunteers will go out soon, to help inventory, sort and batch.
  • The CORE donations have been rolling in and it's time for them to be picked up by CORE team. The items will be blessed on November 11, with pick-up arranged for the following week.
  • Appreciation was expressed to all the volunteers who helped pull together the dinner at the CCIH Garden Park Apartments on October 11.
  • Kindness Kits discussion has been deferred until January.
  • Downtown Grace. Denise reported on her attendance at an outreach ministry event hosted by Victory Church at the Loaves & Fishes dining room.
The next Outreach Committee meeting will be Sunday, December 2, 9 a.m. All are welcome!
 
Book Group
Read any good books lately? Want to participate in a book discussion group? Like to eat out? Come drop in on the Grace Book Group! We'd love to see you! 
Our next get-together is November 28*, at 6:30 p.m. when we will discuss "Lipstick Brigade" by Cindy Gueli.  Smooth Season restaurant at Muir Station Shopping Center.  For more information call/text Jennifer Sabroe at (925) 383-8386 or  Email Jennifer.
*Changed to the 4th Wednesday due to Thanksgiving 
 
Join the choir!
Now that we have a fabulous new Music Director and a fancy chamber organ in the Sanctuary, it's time for anyone who has been hiding their vocal light under a bushel to step forward and sing a new song unto the Lord! Choir rehearsals at Grace are Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. You don't need experience or even the ability to read music.  Arthur will be teaching a "Learn or Improve your music abilities" class before choir each week, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Please join this amazing ministry!
Yoga at Grace
We welcome certified Yoga Instructor Noah Yuzna every  Tuesday evening at 6:15 p.m. to conduct a 60 minute yoga class.  All levels are welcome and modifications will be 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.  Invite your friends!
  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 will be providing 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
  • 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
  • Hygiene items including (but not limited to) soap, shampoo, oral care, shower wipes, shaving supplies, feminine hygiene items
  • 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).

Parishioners are invited to make donations of items by leaving them in the bin in the Narthex (labeled "C.O.R.E. Outreach"). The items will be blessed by Rev. Deb, and handed off to members of the C.O.R.E. team who distribute while doing their mobile outreach work in the local community.
Do nated Turkeys Needed!
Message from Loaves and Fishes
 
Loaves and Fishes of Contra Costa serves two special holiday turkey meals -- the day before Thanksgiving and then Christmas Eve at all 5 dining rooms. We expect to serve more than 1,000 people. We need turkeys donated so we can provide these much appreciated meals to our clients. 
 
In partnership with Let's Feed The Kids, a multi-faith group of 6 congregations in Contra Costa County focused on alleviating childhood hunger, Loaves and Fishes is also collecting donated turkeys for their Winter Break project. This project provides food to school children and their families from 9 Richmond/San Pablo schools during their winter break. Winter break is when these families don't have access to federally-funded breakfast and lunch programs.  
 
Please deliver turkeys to Chef James at our central kitchen located at:  
510 Garcia Ave., Unit H, Pittsburg
Questions, please call: 925-293-4792 
Thanksgiving Food Drive
Message from Shelter, Inc.
 
Shelter Inc. is accepting nonperishable food items so that all families in Contra Costa can enjoy a Thanksgiving meal this year.  
  • Gift Cards for turkeys - $25 to local grocery store. Please no fresh or frozen turkeys.
  • Pantry Food: chicken stock, canned corn, cranberry sauce, cream of mushroom soup, biscuit mix, stuffing mix, gravy, pasta noodles and sauce, salt and pepper.
  • Desserts: pumpkin pie mix, pudding mix, jello mix
  • Drinks: hot cocoa, coffee, sparkling cider
Please deliver donated items by 5pm on Thursday, November 15, 2018, to Shelter Inc. main office at 1333 Willow Pass Rd., Suite 206, Concord.
 
If you'd like to volunteer to assemble Thanksgiving boxes for families please contact Fransena Harmon at Fransena.Harmon@shelterinc.org 

 

 

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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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