News from Grace Episcopal Church ~ Martinez, California 
November 21, 2019 
Scripture of the Week

" G od is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be moved, and though the mountains be toppled into the depths of the sea;  
Though its waters rage and foam, and though the mountains tremble at its tumult. The  Lord of hosts is with us;  the God of Jacob is our stronghold ."
Psalm 46:1-4
"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
This week brings a brand new story to be told to the children - "Mary, the Mother of Jesus".  It is interesting to hear the story of Jesus from a different perspective, that of his mother.  The story begins with Mary as a young person looking forward to "growing up".  Then she is visited by the Angel Gabriel and her life will never be the same.  We follow her through the birth of Jesus and then hear from Old Simeon that the baby she has brought to the temple is the Messiah.  We feel her confusion years later when her son turns water into wine and then declares that his followers are his real family.  We move on to her overwhelming grief beside the cross and then to the astonishment that he is risen.  It is a perfect story to prepare for Advent. 
"Spirit of Giving" Drive

Please be reminded that if you "adopted" tags from the Spirit of Giving Tree, we will need the gifts brought to church THIS Sunday, Nov. 24. If you are unable to bring your gifts to church, let Jennifer or Dru know and we can arrange a pick-up at your house.

On Monday, Nov. 25, beginning at 9:00 a.m. we will be inventorying, sorting and batching the gifts in preparation to deliver them to CCIH. If you would like to help (we could use 3-4 people), please email Jennifer or call/text her at (925) 383-8386.

Many, many thanks to everyone for the incredibly enthusiastic response to this year's drive to provide Christmas gifts to families who live in the supportive communities of the Contra Costa Interfaith Housing.
Last Chance to contribute to our Stewardship Drive!
"Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put back into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back." Luke 6:38

Many thanks to everyone who has already made a pledge to Grace!

We will be wrapping up our Stewardship Campaign THIS SUNDAY to coincide with Thanksgiving. If you are grateful for the community of Grace, please consider pledging. Thank you!
The Second Annual Grace Martinez Thanksgiving Dinner is a week away!
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 will be doing a potluck! Deb and Gary will provide turkey and ham - you bring your favorite Thanksgiving fixings.  Click on  this link  to sign up! Also, please pick up some flyers and distribute to anyone who might like to join us!
St. Christopher's Holiday Luncheon
St. Christopher's Guild invites one and all to its annual Christmas luncheon fundraising event.
  Fiesta Holiday Luncheon
Tuesday, December 3
Grace Episcopal Church, Parish Hall 
Tickets - $15/person  
A lovely Mexican-themed lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m. Doors will open at 11 a.m. for early shopping at the ever-popular "Country Kitchen" where you will find a variety of yummy cakes, cookies, candy and snack items to purchase (great for gifts), and at the "White Elephant" table loaded with a wide assortment of unique finds (more gift-giving ideas!). Tickets will be on sale Sunday during coffee hour in the Parish Hall.  Or you may contact Susan Bremmer (phone 925-348-6309) to reserve tickets or a table.  
Extra, Extra! We will be auctioning off several handmade sleds by Grace's late craftsman extraordinaire Ken Roan. These are priceless articles that your family will treasure for generations. Many thanks to Cindy Roan for this generous gift! All proceeds from the auction to go to Grace!
New Bible Study for Advent!

On Wednesday mornings at Grace we have a 10 a.m. service of Holy Eucharist followed by Bible Study.

There will be no Wednesday morning service or Bible study on Wednesday, November 27 due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

Beginning on Wednesday, December 4, we will be engaging in a new curriculum called, "A Thrill of Hope: the Christmas Story in Word and Art." Participants will have the opportunity to consider how familiar Advent and Christmas texts from Matthew and Luke are brought to life in the art of John August Swanson by watching DVDs of his work and then discussing them. Please join us!
Grace members elected to Deanery/Diocesan offices
Please congratulate our Grace folks who stepped up to take Deanery and Diocesan positions at our Contra Costa Deanery meeting last week:
Marj Leeds: Contra Costa Deanery Representative to the Executive Council fo the Diocese of California
The Rev. Walter Ramsey: CC Deanery Representative to the Diocesan Nominations Committee
Barbara Brooks: Treasurer of the CC Deanery!
Many thanks to you for your willingness to serve the Church in these important roles!
St. Christopher's Guild Special Meeting

There will be a Special Meeting to discuss the future of St. Christopher's Guild on Sunday, December 15 at 9 a.m. in the Education Building. If you are a member or have an interest in this ministry, please plan to attend.
Online Directory 
E arlier this year Grace moved to a new church recordkeeping solution called RealmĀ® 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.
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, see or contact Music Director Arthur Omura.
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 at 
Invitation to be part of the counsels of the church
The Episcopal Church is structured as a representational democracy. It considers all of its members to be equal partners in making decisions in our church government. One of the primary venues for discussion and planning is the
Annual Parish Meeting. We will hold our annual meeting on January 26, 2020. At this gathering we will set our annual budget and elect new members to the Vestry and Deanery/Diocesan Convention Representatives.  Vestry members serve for three (3) year terms. Deanery members officially occupy one year terms. If you are interested in serving, please contact one of the members of the Nominating Committee: Paula Menconi, Josh Senn, or Connie Towey. To be eligible to serve on vestry you must be a baptized, pledging member of the parish who attends church regularly.
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'd love to see you! Our next get-together is January 15, 2020, at 6:30 p.m. at Smooth Season restaurant at Muir Station Shopping Center, when we will discuss The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah. For more information call/text Jennifer Sabroe at (925) 383-8386. 
  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 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.
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 through December is posted on the bulletin board in the Parish Hall. Please be sure to take a look at it for your assigned Sunday.
If you're new to Grace and would like to be part of a Coffee Hour team and to "learn the ropes" please email Coffee Hour Coordinator Tina Reich or leave a note in her box. 
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.