News from Grace Episcopal Church ~ Martinez, California
September  5, 2019 
Scripture of the Week

" N ow large crowds were traveling with Jesus; and he turned and said to them, 'Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.'"
Luke 14:25-27
"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.
Opening Weekend at Grace!
September 7-8

THIS Sunday, September 8 marks the beginning of our formal program year with the start of Godly Play and the return of the Choir from summer hiatus. 

At Grace we spread out our "Opening Day" festivities over two days. On Saturday, September 7, we will welcome young and old to FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT on our quadrangle. Starting at 7 p.m., there will be a bouncy house to entertain the young ones as we wait for the sun to set, followed by a G-rated film on the lawn. Popcorn will be provided.  Bring your own blankets and lawn chairs (or pull your car up close to the walk).

At our 10 a.m. service on Sunday, September 8, we will bless our Godly Play teachers and students.  Following the service, we will have a * barbecue lunch - and the bouncy house will remain up so the children can play in it. Please be sure to join us.  This is an EXCELLENT opportunity to bring friends to church!

*Hamburger patties, hot dogs, buns, and condiments will be provided. Please bring a side dish to share, if you are able. Marj Leeds is organizing the BBQ. Helpers needed for set-up and clean-up. Email Marj

Liturgical Change
We at Grace are truly blessed that our Music Director Arthur Omura is not only a talented organist and choir director, but also a composer. This coming Sunday, September 8, we will premiere his very first Mass Setting composition. This means that our Gloria, Sanctus,and Agnus Dei will all be new to the congregation (but the choir will have had an opportunity to practice them). We will go over them briefly prior to the service. Please thank Arthur for his work!

Our brother, Bruce Commiskey

It is with sadness that we report that Bruce Commiskey, husband of Darlene, passed into the arms of God last Sunday. There will be a memorial service for Bruce on Sunday, September 15, at 2:30 p.m. at the Connolly & Taylor Funeral Home at 4000 Alhambra Avenue in Martinez. In lieu of flowers, donations to Grace are welcomed.

Introducing 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 will be on Sundays at noon (following our 10 a.m. service and coffee hour). To enroll, see or contact Music Director Arthur Omura.
Renewal of Ministry
at St. Paul's Walnut Creek THIS Saturday!

Backpack / School Supplies Drive - Backpack stuffing this Sunday
We're heading into the final few days of the annual Grace Church Backpacks/School Supplies Drive! For many years, we have been filling backpacks with school supplies for students at Martinez Jr. High. Over the summer we collect supplies. This Sunday, September 8, following the 10 am service, we will fill the bags. Packing takes place in the Education Building on the conference table outside Rev. Deb's office. The backpacks are then delivered to the school where counselors distribute to the students most in need.
How you can help:
3) Bring your donations to church and leave in the bin in the Narthex.
4) Mark the Tracking Chart (new this year). As you bring in donations, mark the tracking chart (located in the Narthex) indicating the quantity for the item(s). By doing this, everyone can see what items (and how many) are still needed to meet our goal.  
Born to be kind

In her sermon last week, Rev. Deb mentioned that scientists believe that compassion is a natural and powerful part of human nature.  White Pony Express, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to alleviating hunger, has teamed with Lady Gaga's Born this Way foundation for their #bekind21 ch allenge that started last Sunday. (It's okay to join a little late and continue on past the September 21 end date). The goal is "to bring more love and kindness into the world. #bekind21 is an opportunity for individuals and communities to build and practice habits of kindness - towards themselves and to each other - while fostering the mental and emotional wellness that is critical to a healthy, thriving life.  Based on the concept that doing something for 21 consecutive days helps turn it into a habit, participants are asked to practice an act of kindness - for themselves and others - every day for 21 days." To sign up, go to Born this way be kind 21.
St. Chistopher's Guild Survey

St. Christopher's Guild is currently examing their mission. Please take a moment to answer this very brief survey about this ministry.
Get prepared!

No one can predict when the next big disaster will occur but Martinez  CERT  (Community Emergency Response Team) wants you to be ready to meet that challenge.
CERT is offering free classes on emergency preparedness and disaster response starting on September 10. There is a Saturday morning session (four Saturdays) from 8 am - 1 pm or a Tuesday evening session (six Tuesdays) from 6 pm - 9:30 pm.

Classes cover Personal and family Emergency Preparedness for Disasters, Fire Safety, Search and Rescue, Emergency Medical Care , Medical Triage, Disaster Psychology,  CERT Organizational Response, Communications and Terrorism. The FEMA Curriculum is approximately 20 hours and students receive a certificate of completion if they finish all the classes.
Please see the  CERT Flyer for details.
Outreach work continues
The Outreach Committee met last Sunday to discuss several ongoing projects including  Sacred Space, an outside worship opportunity. Rev. Deb discussed possibilities for starting this ministry in Contra Costa County. Other agenda topics were the near completion of the School Backpacks' project; the ongoing work of the Deacon's Pantry and CORE; and becoming involved in the Winter Nights housing program. We also got an update on the Blessing Box that Eagle Scout candidate Steve Lowe is building for us. The next meeting is  Sunday October 6, 2019  and will take place after the 10:00 service. All are welcome!
New Curriculum for Wednesday Bible Study: Following the Way of Jesus, Church's Teachings for a Changing World

Each Wednesday at 10 a.m. we offer Holy Eucharist followed by Bible Study in our Chapel.
This Wednesday, September 11, we will begin a new curriculum, "Following the Way of Jesus." According to Church Publishing, " With the launch of the  Church's Teachings for a Changing World series, visionary Episcopal thinkers and leaders have teamed up to write a new set of books, grounded and thoughtful enough for seminarians and leaders, concise and accessible enough for newcomers, with a host of discussion resources that help readers to dig deep. [Presiding Bishop]  Michael Curry leads off this volume with a clarion call for Episcopalians to join the Jesus Movement. A team of the church's brightest stars follow up with reflections on the practice of ministry in light of the movement."
The book is available on Church PublishingAmazon and Barnes and Noble However, as always, you do not need to purchase the book to take part.
Congratulations and Good-bye!

We are delighted to announce that our Assisting Priest The Rev. Molly Haws has been called to serve as the Long-term Supply Priest at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Berkeley. She will begin working there in October. Sunday, September 15 will be Rev. Molly's last Sunday with us. She will be preaching and enjoying Family Sunday with our wonderful children and there will be a special coffee hour following the 10 a.m. service. Please join us in thanking her for her good work at Grace!
Faithful Forums 

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). 
On September 15 we will explore " What is a Justice Ministry?" with members of the Social Justice Committee of the Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin, San Francisco
Future dates and topics include:
October 20, Open Forum with The Rev. Canon Abbott Bailey, Canon to the Ordinary of the Diocese of California
November 17, Sustaining Earth, Our Island Home conversation with the Environmental Ministry of the Diocese of California
December 15, SWEEPS Ministry Fair 

The Diocese of California will hold a
Beloved Community Training Day in the East Bay this fall at St. Paul's, Oakland on Saturday, September 21. 

The day will include required training sessions for Eucharistic Visitors, Eucharistic Ministers, and Whole & Healthy Church Training, along with an array of workshops for lay leaders in all areas of ministry.


When: Saturday, September 21
Where: St. Paul's, Oakland, 114 Montecito Avenue
Cost: $10 (to cover lunch)
Contact: Amy Cook, Working Group Head for Faith Formation,

Save the Date!
Annual Bocce Tournament and BBQ
Sunday, October 6, 12-4 pm
Rodgers-Smith Park, Pleasant Hill
Stay tuned for more info.
Contact: Sandy Taylor (925) 458-5040
Save the Date! 
Date: Saturday, October 5
Venue: Christ Episcopal Church, Alameda
Times: Check-in and registration begin at 8:00 am (snacks provided!)  
Workshop 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Stephen Ministry is the one-to-one lay caring ministry that takes place in congregations that use the Stephen Series system.
Stephen Ministry congregations equip and empower lay caregivers-called Stephen Ministers-to provide high-quality, confidential, Christ-centered care to people who are hurting.
The workshop is designed for churches in our general area who have shown an interest in Stephen Ministry. This is a great opportunity to get a feel for the ministry, so please consider joining the workshop. If interested, please contact Dru Grissom.
The Second Annual Grace Martinez Thanksgiving Dinner
Last year Rev. Deb and her family decided they would like to have Thanksgiving Dinner at Grace. By the grace of God and lots of volunteers, we were able to share dinner with about 40 people! This year we'd like to do a bit more advanced planning and are looking for folks to help with this.  If you are interested, please let  Rev. Deb know. Thanks in advance!
Deacon's Pantry items needed
We are running down on food and other items in our Deacon's Pantry. The Deacon's Pantry is a cabinet in the kitchen (accessible from the Parish Hall) that contains food and other practical items that are available to anyone in need of them. Please ask Rev. Walter what is needed and then drop it off in the new box in the Parish Hall labeled, "Deacon's Pantry supplies." Many thanks!
IMPORTANT Traffic Notice

Discovery Builders has begun construction on the development that is being built on the lot above our upper lot (formerly the trailer park). Continuing through August, Muir Station Road will be closed daily in both travel directions between the hours of 9 am and 5:30 pm, Monday through Saturday. If you spend time at Grace during the week, please take this into account prior to visiting. 

Here is a link to the map and detour plan. Thank you for your patience.
Be part of the online directory
If you have not received an email from the Parish Office and would like to be part of the Grace online directory, please let  Parish Administrator Jennifer Sabroe know.
Energetic folks needed!

We continue to work on organizing our various ministries at Grace. There are several areas where we are in need of help:
We are working on a standing Fundraising Committee. Traditionally, the Vestry has spearheaded fundraising events,  but are now busy with administrative and liaison duties. If you have a passion for or experience with organizing events which raise funds, please consider heading up a Grace Fundraising Committee. If you are interested, please contact Rev Deb.
The Hospitality Committee is off to a great start and would love more members. Specifically, we are looking for parishioners willing to serve as Mentors to new folks to help them get oriented to Grace.  If you are interested, please talk to Christina Reich
We continue to need more folks to help in liturgical roles, including Eucharistic Ministers who assist the priest during the Holy Eucharist; Eucharistic Visitors, who bring Eucharist to folks unable to attend services; members of the Altar Guild, who help prepare the church for worship; Choir members, who sing during the 10 a.m. service; and Acolytes, young people between the ages of 10 and 18 who assist with the liturgy. Please consider thoughtfully and prayerfully what you can do for the good of the church. Contact Rev. Deb ( and she will direct you to the right person!
29th Annual Oktoberfest
at Grace Church!

Save the Date
Saturday, October 19, 2019
5pm Social Hour ~ 6pm Dinner

German food, music, entertainment, and raffle. Contact Stephanie Zichichi  if you would like to help. More information to follow!
Coffee Hour Sign-Up
An updated Coffee Hour schedule will be posted on Sunday for the months of September through December on the bulletin board in the Parish Hall. Please be sure to take a look at it for your assigned Sunday. This is a great opportunity to team up with someone and host during this fellowship time following the 10:00 service! Questions:  Email Coffee Hour Coordinator Tina Reich or leave a note in her box if you have any questions. Please remember that if you can't do your assigned date, you are asked to make arrangements for a substitute.   
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 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.  
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.
  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:
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.

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.