News from Grace Episcopal Church ~ Martinez, California
January 3, 2019 
Scripture of the Week
"For [the king]  delivers the needy when they call, the poor and those who have no helper. He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. From oppression and violence he redeems their life; and precious is their blood in his sight. "
  Psalm 72:12-14
"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 in Godly Play:  
This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany.  It is the culmination of the stories we heard in Advent - the foretelling of Jesus's birth by the prophets; meeting the Holy Family, and learning about how the Messiah will come into the world. Then the pure joy bursts forth as the Christ Child comes into the world and is worshipped first by the shepherds and then the foreign travelers we know of as "the three kings." The story centers around the gifts they bring. The children have a chance to see the gold and smell the myrrh and burning frankincense.  It is the official end of Christmas - and the beginning of a new season of light.

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, and "Gloria." Welcome to the season of light!
This Sunday, January 6, at both services, in honor of those who came to serve the Christ child, we will honor those who have chosen to serve at the Church altar with the Commissioning of Eucharistic Ministers and Acolytes.
There will be an Outreach Committee meeting this Sunday, January 6, at 9:00 a.m. in the Education Building.
Reverend Deb out of town 

  Reverend Deb will be out of town from January 12- January 21. During her absence The Rev. Molly Haws  will be covering services and pastoral care. You can reach Rev. Molly through the church office and by email at Rev. Molly.
Yoga at Grace resumes!
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 are 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.  
A request from the Casserole Patrol
One of Grace's most important pastoral ministries is the
Casserole Patrol, which provides meals to those who, for
one reason or another, can benefit from having a meal
delivered to them. Currently, our supply is running low. Casseroles should be frozen, or freezable, and preferably the size of 4-6 servings (or less.) If you can contribute, please let Connie Towey know.  
Stewardship Wrap-Up

The Grace Vestry is tasked with completing a 2019 Budget prior to our Annual Meeting on January 27. To do this, we must have all of the pledge income figures. Unfortunately, we are still behind the amount of pledged income we received last year, even though the church has grown in numbers. If you have not pledged, please consider doing so before the end of the calendar year.  Many thanks!

P.S. from Treasurer Paula Menconi - Personalized boxes of Pledge envelopes will be available in the Narthex for pick-up starting this Sunday.
Annual Parish Meeting
We will hold our annual meeting on January 27, 2019, 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.
Here's an idea for a New Year's resolution: Join the choir!
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!
Coffee Hour News!
Thank you to everyone who has "opted in" as a Coffee Hour Host/Team. This is a vital activity in the life of our parish. There is always room for more help, so if you have questions or would like to join a team or start a team, contact Coffee Hour Coordinator Christina ("Tina") Reich. Many thanks.
(Hosts, please remember that if you cannot serve on a particular Sunday, kindly secure a substitute and let Tina know.) 
Bible Study for Everyone!

On Wednesday mornings at 10 a.m. at Grace we celebrate the Holy Eucharist, followed by Bible Study.   

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.  

Grace Cathedral Bishop's 50+ Anniversary Evensong

We are approaching the Bishop's 50+ Anniversary Evensong celebrating
couples who have been married or partnered for 50 or more years together.
Rev. Deb is compiling a list of couples from Grace who have been together 50+ years. Please email Rev Deb or call the Parish Office at (925) 228-6574, by January 5 to get on the list! 
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 
The Forum on "Stewardship of Creation" scheduled for January 13, 2019, with representatives from Republic Services, has been postponed. We will let you know the new date as soon as possible. 
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.
On Sunday, January 13, set aside time in the afternoon to head downtown to visit the Martinez Museum at Escobar and Court Streets. We have been invited to the opening of the Martinez Historical Society's exhibit "Amen!"  which will focus on the history of churches in Martinez - and, of course, Grace is one of them! There will be displays of artifacts and photos, with accompanying historical information. The Open House is from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. The exhibit will until March, 2019.
Trivia Night at Grace!
Saturday, January 19th at 5:30pm in the Parish Hall.  Form a team of your own or join one with space available. Don't miss out on pizza and fun!!The theme is Movie Trivia, so start brushing up on your big screen knowledge! There is a $20 entry fee per team, and teams can have up to 5 people on them. Teams can sign up in the Parish Hall. See you there!!
Youth MLK Day of Service event

I know you're probably up to your ears in Advent and Christmas planning, but the  annual MLK overnight at Grace Cathedral is only about 6 weeks away!

This year diocesan youth will gather at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco at 5 pm Sunday, January 20. We will attend the 6 pm eucharist, have dinner, games, discussion, and more before we sleep in the Cathedral. On  Monday, January 21 we will have breakfast, a project to help the kids connect the past with the future and prepare them for the MLK March.  We will head down the hill to participate in the march. Return to Grace for lunch. Then head home tired and happy!
This is an excellent event that teaches our youth that we all must do our part to promote peace and justice for all people. The event is open to grades 7 - 12 and costs $10 a person (scholarships available). All youth must be accompanied by a designated adult leader.

Youth Registration
Flower Chart for 2019
The Altar Guild has posted a new flower chart for 2019, in the Narthex by the stairwell. When signing up for a date on the chart, please be sure to also write your name in the flower dedication notebook, on the corresponding date. The notebook is on the little table below the flower chart. Include your dedication message in the notebook (for example, in loving memory of ...; in celebration of ...; in thanksgiving for...). Suggested donation $35. There is also a sign-up notebook for candle dedications in the Narthex on the table under the bulletin board. Suggested donation $5. 
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! 
  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).

During Advent, C.O.R.E. donations may be left under the Christmas tree in the Narthex.
Help us solve the mysteries ...
Occasionally folks with the best intentions leave items for the church. While we appreciate the thoughtfulness, it causes confusion when there is neither a note attached (from "Anonymous" would be okay) nor who the intended recipients should be.    
For example ... Several large pieces of lovely blue fleece fabric have appeared in the lobby of the parish hall. We would love to know who the donor is (again, "Anonymous" is okay) and/or what the plan is for the warm bundles!  
Another discovery is a box full of sheet music, most of the pieces lovingly tucked in protective plastic sleeves. Jennifer recalls this box appearing about a year ago, with no note attached. We would like to know if the music belongs to someone, or if it was left as a donation. Any information would be greatly appreciated.  
Thanks for your help!  


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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.