News from Grace Episcopal Church ~ Martinez, California 
February 13, 2020
Scripture of the Week

" If you choose, you can keep the commandments,
and to act faithfully is a matter of your own choice.
He has placed before you fire and water;
stretch out your hand for whichever you choose.
Before each person are life and death,
and whichever one chooses will be given.
For great is the wisdom of the Lord;
he is mighty in power and sees everything;
his eyes are on those who fear him,
and he knows every human action.
He has not commanded anyone to be wicked,
and he has not given anyone permission to sin. . "   
Sirach 15: 15-20
"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: Family Sunday

This week is the third Sunday o
f the month when we invite our children to join us in the Sanctuary for the entire service. There will be a Children's Homily and our young people will take more active roles in the service. All are welcome!
         Special Offering Sunday 
We  have designated the third Sunday of each month for a special offering to The Rector's Discretionary Fund. This is a special fund separate from the church budget that allows Rev. Deb to assist parishioners and others in need in an immediate way. This Sunday, February 16, there will be a special offering envelope in the bulletin. (If you wish to write a check, please make it payable to The Rector's Discretionary Fund.) As always, thank you for your generosity.
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.) 

THIS SUNDAY we will be joined by  The Reverend Susan Reeve, who will preach at our 8 a.m. service and then lead our Forum on  Kairos Prison Ministry.

Future dates and topics include:
March 15: The Very Rev. Donald Brown will present on the theories and meaning of Salvation through Jesus Christ .
April 26: (NEW date and topic) Martinez Vice-Mayor Noralea Gipner and Martinez Police Community Service Officer Rodney Brinser will talk about efforts in Martinez to alleviate homelessness.
May 17:  John Cumming, President of the Board of the San Francisco Night Ministry will talk about this important ministry to people who live on the streets in San Francisco. 
June 21: The Rev. Will McGarvey will introduce the work of The Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County. 
Rev. Deb away

Rev. Deb will be away from the office from Tuesday, February 18- Friday, February 21. If you have a pastoral care emergency, please call the regular church phone number 925-228-6574 and follow the directions for emergencies. 
Upper Lot Discernment

At the Annual Meeting Rev. Deb announced that  in 2020 we will embark on a discernment process which will help us discover God's plan for our upper lot.  Discernment involves not just thinking about what we might do, but actively praying and discussing our options in community. The first step of this process will be to take suggestions from this community of Christ. Everyone is invited to submit any and all ideas for use of the upper lot.  You can submit your ideas to the box in the Parish Hall or by email to:
New Parish Administrator

We are delighted to announce that we have hired Sarah Williams to be our new Parish Administrator. Sarah is currently the part-time Parish Administrator at St. Clement's in Berkeley and St. John's Presbyterian Church in Berkeley. We will be sharing Sarah with St. Clement's, where she will continue to work part-time.  Sarah comes to us with a wealth of knowledge and experience in church administration. All of our staff has met her and find her to be delightful! She will be at Grace on Tuesday afternoons and all-day Thursday and will complete the rest of her 20 hours per week in the "cloud." Sarah will begin on March 3rd and she and Jennifer will overlap for a month so that Jennifer can train her in the ways of Grace. Please welcome her warmly!
Collecting Palm Crosses

In preparation for Ash Wednesday, the Altar Guild is collecting palm crosses from previous Palm Sundays so they can be burned to make ashes for the service. Please put them in the basket on the table in the Narthex.  Thank you!
In other pre-Lent news...

Many thanks to Jes Senn and John Heyse, who have volunteered to chair our Shrove Tuesday Dinner on February 25.  Shrove ( or Fat) Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. In preparation for Lent, many Protestant churches host pancake dinners to represent the purging of rich food items like butter and processed meat prior to our Lenten fasts. Please sign up well in advance to help with set-up, cooking, or clean-up. There is a sign up sheet on the table in the vestibule of the Parish Hall or let The Parish Office know if you are interested!
Lenten Breakfasts?????
Jes and John have also volunteered to coordinate the Lenten Breakfasts, which are also a tradition at Grace. We like to offer breakfast between the 8 and 10 a.m. services on each Sunday of Lent. Like other long-term Grace events, however, these gatherings have become dependent on a very small group of people providing a great deal of work. In order to continue this tradition, we need to have volunteers for EACH SUNDAY lined up BEFORE Ash Wednesday. There are sign-up sheets on the clipboard on the table in the vestibule of the Parish Hall.  If we do not have a full slate of volunteers by Ash Wednesday, we will cancel the breakfasts.
Holy Eucharist and Bible Study
There will be NO Wednesday morning Holy Eucharist on or Bible Study on February 19 and February 26. Please join us for Ash Wednesday services in the Church on February 26 at 10 a.m.

We will begin our new curriculum, "Life Transformed: The Way of Love in Lent" on Wednesday, March 4.
Grace Book Club 
Read any good books lately? Want to participate in a book discussion group? Come drop in on the Grace Book Club! We meet on the third Wednesday of the month. We'd love to see you!  
Our next get-together is February 19, at 6:30 p.m., at Smooth Season restaurant at Muir Station shopping center, when we will discuss The Dragon of God, by Earl Thor.  
For more information call/text Jennifer Sabroe at (925) 383-8386
"Through the Decades"
Trivia Night!
Saturday, February 22
Potluck dinner begins at 5:30 p.m. Trivia at 6 p.m. If you are able to bring something for dinner, please let us know what that will be so we can be sure to have a good balance of entrée, veggies, bread, dessert, etc. Potluck AND Team sign-up sheets are in the Parish Hall. Contact Amy Eudy with questions:
Lent begins in less than two weeks!
Here are some resources on how to have a Holy (and fun) Lent (without giving up chocolate)!

There are many ways to honor the special 40 day season of preparation for Easter. Here are a few:
Pay attention to God: Pick up "The Way of Love in Lent 2020 Calendar" in the entrance way to the Parish Hall. Each day has a brief Bible verse and a question to consider.

Do a Carbon Fast. Consider how you might lessen your negative impact on the planet by using less and conserving more.  For tips go to Carbon Fast information
Pray more:  Episcopal Relief and Development Lenten podcasts: Each day during Lent subscribers receive a daily reflection, co-authored by a group of faith leaders from across the church. During this season of reflection on our Christian faith, their writings will enhance your spiritual journey as they both inspire and challenge you. You can sign-up here. Other ways to feel closer to God include Pray as you goa daily prayer session, designed to go with you wherever you go, to help you pray whenever you find time, but particularly whilst traveling to and from work, study, etc. A new prayer session is produced every day of the working week and one session for the weekend. It is not a 'Thought for the Day,' a sermon or a bible-study, but rather a framework for your own prayer. Lasting between ten and thirteen minutes, it combines music, scripture and some questions for reflection.
Learn and inwardly digest: Observe Join us for our Wednesday Bible Study following our 10 a.m. Eucharist. Starting on March 4, we will be studying, Life Transformed: the Way of Love in Lent
The journey through Lent into Easter is a journey with Jesus. We are baptized into his life, self-giving, and death; then, we rise in hope to life transformed. This Lent, communities are invited to walk with Jesus in his Way of Love and into the experience of transformed life. Together, we will reflect anew on the loving actions of God as recounted in the Easter Vigil readings. Together, we will walk through the depths of salvation history into the fullness of redemption.
Spend time with your family:  Observe Lent as a family by trying out the "Lent in a Bag" project. You can find it here .
Bring in items for the CORE Team and The Deacon's Pantry, a ministry of Grace, both of which provide donations of food and other items for individuals in need.
Plan ahead:  The Grace Worship and Liturgy Committee offers its yearly reminder for  Grace's parishioners to complete their funeral arrangements and final instructions. 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. These are available on our website. Please consider participating. 
Go crazy for Lent:  Want to be inspired by some saintly souls this Lent and have fun along the way? Join with thousands of Christians across denominations who have discovered the joyful online learning community that is Lent Madness. With its unique blend of competition, education, and humor, Lent Madness allows participants to be inspired by the ways in which God has worked through the lives of saints over the generations. Based loosely on the NCAA basketball tournament of a similar name, this online devotion pits 32 saints against one another in a single-elimination bracket as voters choose their favorites throughout Lent. 
Here's how to participate: on the weekdays of Lent, information is posted at about two different saints. Each pairing remains open for 24 hours as participants read about and then vote to determine which saint moves on to the next round. Sixteen saints make it to the Round of the Saintly Sixteen; eight advance to the Round of the Elate Eight; four make it to the Faithful Four; two to the Championship; and the winner is awarded the coveted Golden Halo.  
Lent is coming!

Here is the Grace Lenten services schedule.
February 26, Ash Wednesday 
10 a.m. Ash Wednesday Liturgy
12 noon - 2 p.m. Ashes to Go (various locations)
7 p.m. Ash Wednesday Liturgy
Starting on March 1 and continuing throughout Lent, we will begin our liturgy with The Penitential Order, which includes recitation of the Ten Commandments and Confession of Sin.  The Penitential Order is often used as an entrance rite during Lent to emphasize the penitential aspect of Eucharist during this solemn season. We will change our Eucharistic Prayer as well as our form for the Prayers of the People to mark the change of liturgical season.
Sundays during Lent
8 a.m. Holy Eucharist II
10 a.m. Choral Eucharist
Wednesdays during Lent
10 a.m. Holy Eucharist followed by Lenten Bible Study: Living the Way of Love
April 5, Palm Sunday
8 a.m. Holy Eucharist II
10 a.m. Choral Eucharist
April 9, Maundy Thursday
6 p.m. beginning in the Parish Hall with Soup supper, Foot Washing, followed by Stripping of the Altar;
Overnight Vigil in the Sanctuary following the service (hourly shifts by sign-up)
April 10, Good Friday
12 p.m. Stations of the Cross
7 p.m. Good Friday Liturgy
April 11, Holy Saturday
11 a.m. Holy Saturday Liturgy in the Atrium
8:30 p.m. Easter Vigil with the Exsultet and The Lighting of the Paschal Candle
April 12, Happy Easter !
8 a.m. Holy Eucharist II
10 a.m. Choral Eucharist followed by Egg Hunt

St. Patrick's Dinner
Saturday, March 14
The St. Patrick's Dinner has been a popular, annual fundraising event at Grace for many years. We are pleased to announce that the Kennedy family has offered to chair the event. As first-time hosts, they are looking for all the help they can get, so please volunteer to assist if you can! Please contact Melissa by email 
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.
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 Realm® 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 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 posted in the Parish Hall. Thank you to all those who signed up to host and 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.