News from Grace Episcopal Church ~ Martinez, California
April 19, 2018 
Scripture of the Week

W e know love by this, that he laid down his life for us-- and we ought to lay down our lives for one  another. How does God's love abide in anyone who has the world's goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?
Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. 

1 John 3:16-18

Grace to participate in "Green Spirit" Interfaith booth at John Muir Birthday Earth Day 

Members of Grace Episcopal Church, led by Deacon Walter, will participate in an Interfaith booth at the John Muir Birthday/Earth Day Celebration here in Martinez this Saturday, April 21, from 10am to 4pm. The theme is "Green Spirit Contra Costa." If you are attending the festivities, please stop by Exhibit 18 and say, "Hi."
At Grace, Christian education for children ( Sunday  School) is called "Godly Play" and is held during the first part of the  10 a.m.  service after which children join their families for Holy Communion. 
On the 3rd Sunday of the month we have Family Sunday and the children participate in the entire 10 a.m. service.  
Godly Play Sunday School   
This Sunday:
The Parable of Parables -

This week we have a parable about parables. The children watch as a series of nested boxes are opened, revealing smaller and smaller boxes. It is intended to introduce them to  the concept that there are deep meanings in the simple stories that Jesus tells. Learning this concept helps the children understand that many things we think of as clear have complex meanings. By listening closely we can often find something wonderful hidden  inside.
A message from the Worship and Liturgy Committee
The Worship and Liturgy Committee values your feedback.  Some folks have expressed that the service music changes for Eastertide have been a bit much, so you will notice that we are singing a more familiar Gloria and have returned to using the Agnus Dei (spoken at 8) following the Breaking of the Bread.

In other liturgical news:

What's up with the Dismissal? We recently moved the Dismissal from its traditional place following the recessional to immediately after the Blessing. While this may seem "new" to us, this is now recommended by liturgists and standard practice in the Diocese of California. That's because, from a liturgical standpoint, the Dismissal actually provides permission for the people processing to move from the church, so we need to say it before we move. In order to become more comfortable with this change, we would like to invite our 8 o'clock congregation to fall in with the recessional, exiting immediately following the altar party.  At 10 a.m., the postlude will begin immediately after the recessional hymn in order to remind everyone that the service is over.  
Developing Kindness Kits for our homeless neighbors
We will be putting together Kindness Kits for our brethren who suffer from homelessness. We are currently deciding what should go in them, when we can put them together, and how to distribute them.  If you would like to be part of this project, please come to a planning meeting on THIS SUNDAY, April 22, at 9 a.m. (between services) in the Education Building. We value your input!
Music Director update
We are looking for the right person to serve as Grace's Music Director. We have had a good response to our advertising and the Music Director Search Committee, consisting of Barbara Brooks, Bob Burman, and Marj Leeds, currently interviewing finalists. We have been fortunate to have several candidates play during the search, and are now lucky enough to welcome back  Gary Evans, who will be playing for the remainder of the search process.
Confirmation at Grace - Classes begin THIS SUNDAY
Confirmation is the sacramental rite in which individuals "express a mature commitment to Christ, and receive strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop" (BCP, p. 860). Through Confirmation, those who were baptized at an early age are invited to make a mature public affirmation of their faith, recommit themselves to the responsibilities of their baptism, and receive laying on of hands by a bishop (BCP, p. 412). Individuals who were baptized into other denominations and wish to affirm their commitment to the Episcopal Church may be received by a bishop. Bishop Marc will be visiting and performing confirmations at Grace in July.

We will  be preparing individuals for Confirmation using the Discovery Series: A Christian Journey, which is a ten-week educational program for confirmation preparation. If you are interested or have signed up, please meet Rev. Deb in the Education Building following the 10 a.m. service.
Chamber Music Concert this Sunday

Our friends at Contra Costa Interfaith Housing have shared an invitation to a Chamber Music Concert this Sunday, April 22, at 3pm, St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church. This is a FREE event where 100% of any goodwill donations will go to Contra Costa Interfaith Housing. The performers will be showcasing pieces from Blumer, Wilder, Brahms and Franck.

Click here to download the flyer.  
During Eastertide, o ur Wednesday Bible study continues to participate in 
The Good Book Club,   along with Episcopalians around the world. After delving deeply into Luke's Gospel during Lent, we are now studying the book of Acts (or "Luke Part 2").  This Wednesday we will tackle dreams, visions, and conversion. The text is Acts 11:1-18.  Please join us!
Loaves and Fishes
On the 3rd Wednesday of each month, Grace Church cooks and serves the daily meal to the clients at the Martinez facility, located on the corner of Ferry and Green Streets. Beth Ilog is the Grace Church point person for this longstanding outreach ministry and oversees our team of volunteers, supplies, meal preparation, service and clean up. There is always room for more volunteers! (And, there are a couple of jobs that can be done sitting down.) The time commitment is 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Please talk to Beth if you're interested or would like more information.  Email Beth or call her at (925) 370-8142.
The next Grace work day at L&F is May 16.
End of Life Planning Packets available  
The Grace Worship and Liturgy Committee would like to encourage all of Grace's parishioners to complete their advanced healthcare directive, will or trust, financial planning, funeral arrangements, final instructions and memorial gift planning. Death and dying can be difficult issues to discuss, but it is a great blessing to our loved ones when we plan ahead for our own eventual death. This is especially true for families whose members are of different faiths (or no faith). To that end, we have developed resources about funerals in the Episcopal Church, advance directives, and memorial gifts to the church. These packets are available on our website. It is our hope that each parishioner will complete a planning packet and provide a copy of it to the church office. 
Healing prayer
We offer Healing Prayer during both our 8 and 10 a.m. services. If you wish to have someone pray with you for yourself or others, you may go to the prie dieu (kneeler) at the right rear corner of the sanctuary after receiving communion. This is a ministry of the people of Grace to one another -no clergy required!  We are looking for more volunteers for this important ministry, so if you are willing to pray with others, please let Rev. Deb know. No experience is necessary; we will train you!

An easy way to contribute to Grace


Grace Episcopal Church Martinez is now 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!

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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.