News from Grace Episcopal Church ~ Martinez, California
October 11, 2018 

Scripture of the Week


" For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need . "

 Hebrews 4:15-16
"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 WEEK IN GODLY PLAY: This season we are sharing stories of the people of the Hebrew Scriptures. This week the  children hear a "hero story" as they learn about Daniel. It is a story of being true to one's deepest values despite the unworthy values promoted by political leadership and includes visions of a hopeful future. This tale is about a lot more than lions! The story begins with Daniel interpreting dreams for a very displeased King of Babylon. Daniel maintains his devotion to the one true God and finds himself in with lions as his reward. At the climax of the story, God sends an angel to protect Daniel.   It is a grand story to tell and hear.

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.
Healing Service for victims of sexual abuse and assault
Scripture tells us that knowing the truth sets us free. This ancient understanding has been echoed in more modern times by mental health research, which tells us that being able to tell our significant truths - no matter how painful they are - can bring relief and healing. During the testimony and media coverage related to the confirmation hearings for Justice Brett Kavanaugh, The National Sexual Assault Hotline received more than 3,000 calls - 738 percent more than normal.  The pain of women and men who have been abused calls for a Christian response, and allows us the opportunity to treat victims with dignity and love. On Saturday, October 13, at 1 p.m. in the Sanctuary there will be a Service of Healing for victims of sexual assault and abuse. Prayers and anointing will be offered, and participants will have the opportunity to share their stories if they so desire.  All are welcome.
OKTOBERFEST!
This Saturday, October 13, 2018
It's that time of year for another fabulous Oktoberfest dinner! Dust off the Dirndl, shake out the Lederhosen, and work up an appetite! This year we will have a ten-piece "oom-pah" band that will serenade us with German music and accompany "The Chicken Dance!"  Reserve your tickets NOW! $24 per person. 5:30 p.m. Social Hour, 6:30 p.m. Dinner. Email or call the church office - (925) 228-6574.    
A season for thinking about how we care for God's creation and our own church 
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 learned about Christian Education at Grace and the cost of continuing to offer Godly Play for children, Youth Group and Confirmation for young people and adults, and Bible Study and Faithful Forums for all ages.  This Sunday, October 14, we will hear a brief presentation about Pastoral Care at Grace.

A gentle reminder: you can set up your pledge to autopay from your account. Please contact Treasurer Paula Menconi for more information.
 
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, including the Altar Guild, Counters, and Hospitality Committee (especially coffee hour hosts). To volunteer for the Altar Guild, please contact Elaine Quigley. To volunteer as a counter, please contact the church office. If you are interested in participating in Hospitality at Grace, please let Christina Reich know. For more information about ministries at Grace, check in with Rev. Deb.
Memorial Service for Buck Cobb  

There will be a memorial service for parishioner Buck Cobb this Sunday, October 14 at 2 p.m. in the sanctuary.  The service will be followed by a reception in the Parish Hall. 
Welcome The Rev. Molly Haws 
 
We are delighted to announce that the Reverend Molly Haws will be serving as an Assisting Priest at Grace.  Molly will be here most Sundays and will preach every two months. Please welcome her!
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, October 17, we will look at Galatians 4:21-31.  We will consider the questions, "What does it mean to be 'true' children of God?" What have you previously heard about the story of Hagar and Ishmael"?" and "What does this passage have to say about 'outsiders'?" All are welcome!
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!
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!
When: 3rd Wednesday of the month, at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Smooth Season restaurant at Muir Station
Shopping Center. 
 
Our next get-together is October 17, when we will discuss "Educated: A Memoir" by Tara Westover. For more information call/text Jennifer Sabroe at (925) 383-8386 or  Email Jennifer.
Pastoral Care news
We are so grateful for seeing many new faces at Grace lately, and we want to make sure all of our parishioners are supported and taken care of.  In order to help Rev. Deb do this, we are forming 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.  

And speaking of casseroles: many thanks to everyone who brought casseroles to the church to restock our pantry. We like to have food on hand for those who need it.  Now that the freezer is full, we need folks willing to deliver them to those who have requested them.  If you can do this, please let the office know. Call (925) 228-6574 or Email info@gracechurchmtz.org
Upcoming Baptisms
Grace follows the Episcopal Church practice of administering Holy Baptism on or near the Great Vigil of Easter, the Feast of Pentecost, All Saints' Day and the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord (the First Sunday after the Epiphany). The next opportunity for Baptism is October 21. We are doing it on that day rather than All Saints' Day in order to accommodate our beloved twins, Anna and Gigi, whose dad, Shannon, is deploying prior to All Saints' Day.  If you or your child would like to be baptized, please let Rev. Deb know and fill out the form found at this Baptism Intake Form link, so you can begin preparations.
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!
Outreach Update
The Outreach Committee met on October 7 - here is a summary of the main topics we discussed:
1) Backpacks for Martinez Jr. High students - backpacks were successfully delivered last month, many thanks to all who contributed!
2) Loaves and Fishes continues serving every 3rd Sunday - contact Beth Ilog if you wish to volunteer.
3) Giving Tree/Spirit of Giving - we are signed up to provide gifts to 35 people this year (up from 29 last year). Dru Grissom and Jennifer Sabroe will be officially rolling this out to the full church on Sunday 10/21
4) We will continue to request donations for the CORE team on an ongoing basis.
5) The Outreach Committee and the Youth Group are providing and serving dinner at Contra Costa Interfaith Housing's Garden Park apartments on Thursday, Oct. 11. As of now, there are no plans to make this a recurring project.
6) Scott Williams has agreed to discuss homelessness at the November Faithful Forum.
7) We now have a bulletin board in the parish hall for  outreach related items including full copies of all meeting minutes, agendas, announcements, pictures, etc.
8) Downtown Grace (proposed Sunday evening church service at Loaves and Fishes) - still in long-term planning stages; we continue to work to find other local churches to partner with (ideally would have 4 churches so each church would be responsible for 1 Sunday per month). 

The next meeting will be Sunday November 4th at 9am - all are welcome to attend!
  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.
Night of Light
On Friday, November 2, the Episcopal Impact Fund (EIF) will host its annual "Night of Light" at the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco. EIF is the granting arm of the Diocese of California and is dedicated to addressing the root causes of poverty.  If you are interested in going, please let Rev Deb know. This year Grace Martinez will host TWO tables, which means we have 20 seats to fill. We have two generous donors who have agreed to cover the cost of the tables, but if you are interested in going and are able to contribute the cost of your ticket, we would be grateful as it would be nice not to have our two donors pay the entire cost.

 

 

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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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