News from Grace Episcopal Church ~ Martinez, California 
January 2, 2020
Scripture of the Week

" H ow dear to me is your dwelling, O  Lord  of hosts!
My soul has a desire and longing for the courts of the  Lord my heart and my flesh rejoice in the living God.
The sparrow has found her a house and the swallow a nest where she may lay her young; by the side of your altars, O  Lord of hosts, my King and my God.
Happy are they who dwell in your house! they will always be praising you.
Happy are the people whose strength is in you! whose hearts are set on the pilgrims' way.
Those who go through the desolate valley will find it a place of springs, for the early rains have covered it with pools of water.
They will climb from height to height, and the God of gods will reveal himself in Zion. "
Psalm 84:1-6
"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: Baptism

While there are many Godly Play stories that the children love, the story of Baptism is likely everyone's favorite.  We learn about baptism.  We speak of baptizing in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit - the Creator, the Redeemer, and the Sustainer.  We speak of the water of creation.  And then we reenact the sacrament.  The session ends with the lighting of a candle for each child with the instruction to "remember the day of their baptism".   It is a wonderful story to tell.
Rev. Deb away until Tuesday

Rev. Deb is taking a much needed break following the Lessons and Carols service on Sunday.  She will be back in the office on January 6, Epiphany.  Perhaps, like the wise people, she will bring gifts from the far east! If you have a pastoral need in Rev. Deb's absence, please contact Senior Warden Lynda Dyer or Deacon Walter Ramsey
This Sunday we will welcome The Rev. Kathy Trapani to preach and preside at both our 8 and 10 am services. Rev. Kathy is the former Associate and Interim Rector at Resurrection Pleasant Hill and is know for her excellent preaching.
Opportunity to participate in the Winter Nights Shelter program

This year, we have the opportunity to serve as a co-host for the Winter Nights Family Shelter program. Winter Nights is run by the Contra Costa Interfaith Council and provides shelter, food, transportation, and case management services to homeless families with children during the winter months. The families spend the winter staying at multiple churches throughout the county, usually moving from one host church to another every 2 weeks. Other congregations are able to act as co-hosts by providing volunteers and material support to the host churches. 

Beginning TODAY, from January 2-5, Grace will be co-hosting the shelter while the families are staying at First Congregational Church in Pittsburg. For those four days, we will cook hot meals, stock the pantry, help with laundry, and provide fun activities for the kids. 
 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.

THIS  Wednesday, January 8 we will begin our Epiphany Bible Study: The Gospel of John with the Good Book Club
Start 2020 in the beginning-with the Good Book Club and the Gospel of John! Each day, from Epiphany on January 6 through 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.
St. Christopher's Guild

There will be a meeting of the St. Christopher's Guild on Sunday, January 12, at 9 a.m. in the Education Building outside of Rev. Deb's office. All women are welcome.
You are invited to a Contra Costa County Interfaith Event

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!
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
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
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 Sunday, January 26, 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.
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, 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 RealmĀ® 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,
-         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
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.