News from Grace Episcopal Church ~ Martinez, California
August 23, 2018 
Scripture of the Week

"Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. "
Ephesians 6:13-17
"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: Although school has begun, our Sunday School program year does not begin until September 15. 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.
All Parish Work Day THIS SATURDAY!!

We have a beautiful campus and many "angels" who help maintain it, but bigger jobs require all hands on deck. Please join us
THIS Saturday, August 25, beginning at 8am for an All Parish Work Day. We have quite a long task list, including:

- Cleaning of gutters
-Cement block removal
-Clean up of the back of the Parish Hall
- Washing of Windows
- Roof flashing repair
- Sign placement
and other fun projects!

All able-bodied parishioners are welcome to help and folks with physical limitations are invited to come and supervise!   
We will provide a.m. coffee and snacks, as well as pizza for lunch.   
Work will begin at 8:00 a.m. and continue until Rev. Deb keels over.  
But, seriously, we don't want anyone keeling over, so come for whatever length of time you are comfortable. Work is fun when we do it togethe r! Community service hours available for teens! 
Greeter's meeting

There will be a Greeter's meeting THIS Sunday, August 26 following the 8 a.m. service in the Sanctuary.  Please plan to attend.  Thank you!
Youth Group gathering

There will be a Youth Group meeting THIS Sunday, August 26 at 6 p.m. at the church.  We will play shaving cream whiffle ball (?!) and bid good-bye to Katie White-Spenik as she heads off to college. Pizza dinner will be provided.
Liturgy at Grace
Folks have been asking questions recently about how we "do" worship at Grace, including when and why we change things in our weekly services.  Here is some information:

According to the Episcopal Church, Liturgy is " The church's public worship of God... [which] is the work of the Christian people."  Liturgy is not just the words we say, but the way we say them - what gestures we use, what we wear, and how we move in our worship. As a member parish of the Episcopal Church, Grace's liturgy comes from either the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) or one of its approved supplements. 
On Sundays at Grace, we demonstrate our faith in community by celebrating Holy Eucharist together. The structure of our service does not change, but the BCP offers us several options for the specific wording of our prayers. Traditionally, at Grace, like many other Episcopal Churches, we change the language of our Eucharist prayers seasonally. This practice was used by Father Ross, Rev. Jill, and Rev. Jeff - and Rev. Deb has continued it. One change initiated by Rev Deb was to establish a Worship and Liturgy Committee to advise her on liturgical matters. Previously, the Rector made all of the liturgical decisions alone.  Rev. Deb believes that occasional changes in liturgy encourage us to think about the words we are saying and provide as many people as possible with the opportunity to connect deeply with our liturgy.  The Worship and Liturgy Committee provides input and feedback prior to and after making any  changes in liturgy. 
The longest season of the church year is the Season after Pentecost, which has 27 Sundays. This year, the Worship and Liturgy Committee decided to change our liturgy half-way through the season rather than retain the same prayers throughout. In order to encourage worshippers to become familiar with all of the liturgical resources the church has to offer, for this "half-season" we have introduced a Eucharistic prayer from Enriching our Worship, one of the supplemental resources of the Episcopal Church. We did this last year during the season of Advent, and it was well-received. Please feel free to offer your feedback on the current liturgy to any member of the committee.  They are Don Dyer, John Lee, Marj Leeds, Les Marks, Elaine Quigley, Rev. Walter and Rev. Deb.
A Message from the
Outreach Committee
The Outreach Committee meets once a month on Sundays at 9:00 a.m. ( Usually  it is the first Sunday of the month.) Please attend and bring your ideas!
In an effort to keep all church members informed of Outreach Committee activities, we will be including a brief summary of each meeting in Grace Notes. Additionally, a hard copy of the meeting minutes will be posted on the bulletin board in the Parish Hall. 
Here are the highlights of the most recent meeting on August 9: 
  • Grace Church's assigned lunch preparation/service at Loaves and Fishes (3rd Wednesday of the month) resumes on August 15.
  • We continue to ask for donations to the school backpack project, and thank everyone who has donated so far! There will be a backpack "stuffing" party starting at 9:45 am on Sunday, September 9, which will likely last for several hours. Please consider coming to help out. Backpacks will be delivered to Martinez Jr. High the following week.
  • We also thank everyone who has donated items to CORE homeless outreach. Rev. Deb will bless the items the donated items this coming Sunday, August 26. A CORE team member will then pick up the items for distribution. This is an ongoing project, so please keep bringing donations to church!
  • Denise Hansen and Jes Senn are working on outreach projects for the church youth, including an upcoming meal preparation night for Contra Costa Interfaith Housing.
  • We are looking at the possibility of organizing a winter coat drive and community meal. Denise Hansen is doing preliminary research and the Committee will discuss at the next meeting (September 9).
  • The Outreach Committee is interested in inviting Scott Williams to present at an upcoming Faithful Forum about the state of homelessness in our county. Scott is an Associate Pastor at Morello Hills Church, and works with the County Homeless Outreach program.   
The next meeting will be Sunday, September 9, 9:00 a.m. in the Parish Hall. All are welcome to attend!
Casseroles Needed  
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 short. If you can contribute a freezable casserole, please let Connie Towey know.

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."  We will not meet next week, August 29. The following Wednesday, September 5, we will look at Galatatians 3:23-29.  Please consider the questions, ""What does Paul mean by 'being God's grown-up child'?" "What does Christian baptism mean in this context"? and "What does this passage have to say about divisions among Christians"? All are welcome!
Yoga at Grace
We have begun Yoga classes 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!
Opening Day at Grace
Please join us on Saturday, September 8 and Sunday, September 9 for our annual opening weekend festival celebrating the beginning of our program year. On Saturday, there will be games, a bouncy house, face painting, and fun in the afternoon, followed by Karaoke and a (G-rated) movie under the stars. Sunday will be Family Sunday, with the children assisting at Eucharist and a Children's Homily - and the bouncy house will remain up during our festive coffee hour! BRING FRIENDS!!! 
Coming soon: The Grace Directory Online

We have been growing so much that we are in desperate need of a new Parish Directory. In order to make things as convenient, confidential, and environmentally-friendly as possible, we are opting to use an online format. (Individuals who are not online or are uncomfortable with the online format may ask for a hard copy version of the completed directory). For online us, parishioners will be given the opportunity to "opt in" to the directory and will have direct control over their own entries. At about the same time, we will be switching our mailing server from Constant Contact to Mail Chimp.  This means you will need to opt-in to Grace Notes and church mailings as well.  Stay tuned for more information and instructions!
  The blessing of the C.O.R.E. Homeless Outreach donations
This Sunday at the 10 a.m. service Rev. Deb will bless the many donations that Grace Church parishioners have provided for the C.O.R.E. Homeless Outreach team to assist our homeless brothers and sisters. 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 still requesting:

- 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"), and the members of the C.O.R.E. team will pick them up and distribute them while doing their mobile outreach work in the local community.
School Backpacks/Supplies Drive 
We have 60 backpacks to fill and we're off to a great start with the donations collection. Thank you, wonderful church family for your support, enthusiasm and generosity! There is still a ways to go though, so if you are able,   please click here for the Suggested School Supplies List . Hard copies are available in the Narthex and Parish Hall. Every little bit helps, is greatly appreciated, and definitely makes a difference! Donations may be dropped in the labeled box in the Narthex.

Backpack Stuffing is scheduled for Sunday, September 9, beginning at 9:45(ish) a.m. The task usually takes 2-3 hours. Everyone is invited to help! You can join the work party any time between 9:45-12:30pm. Backpacks will be delivered to Martinez Jr. High on Wednesday, September 12.  
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 September 19, when we will discuss "One Thousand White Women," by Jim Fergus.  
Youth Representatives sought

Each year the Diocese of California holds its Annual Convention to address the business of the church, including election of lay and clergy officials, consideration of resolutions, and approval of the diocesan budget.  In September, the Contra Costa Deanery, of which Grace is a member, will select two youth appointees to the Convention. This individual will be able to observe and offer feedback on the work of the Convention. We would be delighted if one of this year's CCD youth delegates came from Grace, Martinez.  If you are interested or would like to nominate one of our youth members for this role, please let  Rev. Deb know.
Your Community of Christ Needs You!
"Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good."  1 Corinthians 12:4-7
Just like the early Christians, we are a community of many different people with many talents and we need everyone to provide for the community. The Altar Guild ministry is currently in need of additional volunteers. Members of the Altar Guild work in teams and help prepare the church for worship . Please consider thoughtfully and prayerfully if this is a ministry that you could do for the good of the church. Contact  Rev. Deb or Altar Guild Director Elaine Quigley.



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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.