Holy Week and Easter at Grace

Holy Week and Easter Services will be as follows:

Sunday, April 5, 9 a.m. Palm Sunday, The Blessing of the Palms with Processional and the Palm Sunday Liturgy with the reading of the Passion Gospel. This will take place through the magic of technology. All you have to do is tune in to The Grace Facebook Page at 9 a.m.
The bulletin can be found HERE
Thursday, April 9, 6 p.m. Maundy Thursday Zoom Agape, followed by the (prerecorded) Stripping of the Altar. Please join us in sharing a simple meal and liturgy as well as the traditional washing of feet in the safety of your own home.
The link for preparing and participating in the service can be found here. 
Here is the link for joining The Maundy Thursday Family Agape Dinner and Liturgy on Thursday, April 9 at 6 p.m.
Thursday April 9, 7 p.m. until Friday, April 10, Noon. Gethsemane Watch, (see details in the box below). This year, because we are being asked to shelter in place, we are asking you to find a quiet space at home, in God’s outdoors, your car, or wherever you like to simply be awake with Christ. You can use the time to journal, pray, sing, or meditate. If you would like to participate, simply sign up for one (or more) hour(s) of watch. You can sign up here
Friday, April 10, Good Friday Stations of the Cross, Any time, but Noon is recommended: I will be posting a Stations of the Cross Liturgy designed to be done at home.
7 p.m. Good Friday Liturgy, Tune in to The Grace Facebook page for our livestream of the traditional Good Friday Liturgy, culminating in the veneration of the cross.
On Saturday, April 11 at Noon, The Holy Saturday liturgy will be available for viewing on our website and The Grace Facebook page

Sunday, April 12, EASTER DAY, 9 a.m. livestream service on The Grace Facebook page with Easter Parade, Easter bonnet contest, and Easter Egg Hunt.

We are all sad not to be enjoying a traditional raucus Easter procession in our beloved Sanctuary this year. Nonetheless, we ARE going to see one another.
We are asking everyone to send us a photo of themselves in their Easter finery. You can put on the outfit you planned to wear this year, or share one of your particularly stunning outfits from years past. There will be a prize for the best Easter bonnet! Please send these photos to The Grace Church Office before Good Friday so that you can be part of our wonderful online procession!
Following the service, stay tuned to watchThe Great Grace Egg Hunt. The Easter Bunny and her helper will appear on the lawn of Grace to hunt down the Easter eggs hidden by dastardly youth! The Bunny will be looking out for the chidlren of Grace to make sure there are Easter baskets waiting for them when they return to Grace. 

Information on Wednesday service and Bible Study during Corona Virus restrictions

Transferred to Zoom conferencing:
Wednesday morning service and Bible Study
During Lent we are studying “Life Transformed: The Way of Love in Lent.” During the Coronavirus concerns, Rev. Deb will be hosting our Wednesday Service and Bible Study by Zoom Conference call. To join her, on Wednesday mornings at 10 a.m. simply Click on this link.
The readings for the service can be found here.
In order to keep things simple, we ask that you view the video for our last two sessions (SESSIONS 6 & 7) prior to our virtual gathering. These can be found at this link:  The Way of Love in Lent.
Grace will celebrate the season of Easter with a new round of the Good Book Club. Starting on Wednesday, April 11, 2020, and continuing through the Season of Pentecost, we will be studying the Gospel of Matthew alongside Episcopalians from all over the world. For those interested, the text will be “A Journey with Matthew” which can be found on most online book retailers.

Online worship and fellowship continue

palm sunday
Hosannah! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Since Sunday March 22, in compliance with recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Contra Costa County Health Services (CCHS), and the bishop of our Diocese of California, we at Grace have been gathering and worshipping together “virtually” rather than in-person. While this has been difficult for many of us (including your extroverted Rector), our community of Christ has opened its collective heart to sharing our liturgy online with one another (and hundreds of others on social media). We will continue to follow Bishop Marc’s instructions to suspend “all public, in-person worship services… gatherings, including funerals, memorial services, weddings and non-emergency baptisms…and all… in-person activities” until at least May 10 as requested. 

We will continue to livestream a 9 a.m. Sunday morning service of Holy Eucharist and provide a Wednesday 10 a.m. Holy Eucharist and Bible Study by Zoom Conference.  Due to the increased restrictions imposed on April 1, 2020, we will no longer be serving Eucharist in any form to participants.

In order to be part of our services as they take place (the “simulcast”), go to the Grace Church Facebook page: Grace Episcopal Church Martinez Facebook page at the appointed time. Scroll down until you see “Posts.” At the appointed time, a window will appear saying we are live. You will then be live with us! For those of you concerned about joining Facebook, John Lee has found a way to access the livestream without joining Facebook.  You can find a link showing you how here. Thank you John! To join the Wednesday Holy Eucharist and Bible Study on Wednesday mornings at 10 a.m. simply Click on this link.
Please remember that there is also an audio file of our most recent Evensong Service, along with the program for it, on both our website here and our Facebook page, as well as content for our children, including weekly Godly Play lessons. 

COMING SOON: A weekly short service for families with younger children.

Rev. Deb will be continue to be at the church on Sundays in order to conduct our Holy Eucharist service. Otherwise, she will be available by phone and email. If you are ill, need pastoral care, or any kind of practical help such as food or rides, please contact me directly. If you call the church number (925-228-6574) and press the button for the Rector, there is an option to mark your message urgent. Please do so if you need to. The Sanctuary will be open for individual prayer and for you to drop off donations for Martinez Homeless Services and CORE on Sundays from 8-9 a.m. and 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Grace Episcopal Church Vestry Meeting Minutes, March 11, 2020

Present:  The Reverend Dr. Deborah White (Rector), Christina Reich (Sr. Warden), Josh Senn (Jr. Warden), Amelia Brooks, Betty Case, Sally Hanson, David Kennedy, Jane Ramsey

Absent:  Stephanie Zichichi

Guests:  The Rev. Walter Ramsey, Marj Leeds (Treasurer), Jennifer Sabroe (Clerk), Jack Case

 M/S/C denotes motion made, seconded and carried. The names following M/S/C in parenthesis denote the persons who made the motion and seconded.

 Call to Order and Opening Prayer. The meeting was called to order at 6:00 p.m. and led in prayer by Rev. Deb.

Bible Study. Matthew 6:25-34. Don’t worry.

 Consent Agenda. It was M/S/C (Reich/Towey) to approve the consent agenda items: Minutes of February 12, 2020, Vestry meeting; Rector’s Report; Senior Warden’s Report; Junior Warden’s Report; Treasurer’s Report

Report on Money Management. Marj and Rev. Deb reiterated the process and criteria for tracking expenses and approving reimbursements. These apply to everyone.

  • Before making ANY purchases – even if you will be paying for it yourself and not seeking reimbursement – run it by Rev. Deb first. This is to avoid duplication of efforts, conflicting goals, and other considerations that parishioners may not be in the loop on.
  • When anyone offers to purchase supplies, food, etc. for events, projects, church needs, etc. always ask the question “Will you want to be reimbursed for that?” If the answer is yes, then prior approval is required and receipts must be turned in with name clearly printed on them.

Rev. Deb noted that any expenditures greater than $1,000 must be approved by the Vestry. Rev. Deb may approve expenditures under $1,000.

 Junior Warden Josh Senn asked how to best make purchases for needed items for Building and Grounds expenditures. Rev. Deb indicated she could make purchases using the church credit card.

Las Trampas parking update. Rev. Deb reported that she met with representatives from Las Trampas last week and oriented them to the space for their parking on the upper lot. The rental agreement is for 14 spots. The vehicles will be mostly transport vans. There is one Las Trampas vehicle there now.

In response to a question about the dirt driveway up to the lot and the likelihood of it degrading over time, especially in wet weather, Rev. Deb indicated that in the event that happens, there will be negotiations with Las Trampas regarding who will purchase the gravel.

In response to a question regarding coordinating with weed cutting and fire mitigation (the goats) schedules on the upper lot, Rev. Deb indicated that when the time comes, the Jr. Warden (Josh) will work with the Facilities Manager (Dru) who will communicate with Las Trampas. This served as a reminder that plans for all buildings and grounds work need to be communicated to the Jr. Warden prior to starting the work. It was suggested that Vestry Members include this reminder during their weekly VPOD announcements.

 Yvonne car update.  Rev. Deb reported that Yvonne has removed the car from the church property.

 Ministry Updates.

Outreach. Walter reported that the Outreach Committee has decided to have meetings every other month instead of monthly, unless there is something special going on. The next meeting is scheduled for May.

Welcoming/Evangelism. Tina reported on: the prototype for the welcome pamphlet, which is being finalized; checking in with Lynda about the name tags; posting safe food handling procedures in the kitchen, including the requirement to wear gloves.  Rev. Deb indicated she will get in touch with Rick Jones, the new owner of the Martinez Gazette, to see about submitting articles again.

Worship and Liturgy.  Sally reported that the 1789 liturgy will be used for the service that will be held in July for the 150th Anniversary Celebration. Bishop Marc Andrus will be coming to Grace on Saturday, May 2, for a regular Holy Eucharist service. Rev. Deb indicated there may be a confirmation at that service. Rev. Deb reported that we have switched some components of our liturgy for the season of Lent. We have also added a new service – Tenebrae to Wednesday of Holy Week. All the other Holy Week services will remain the same, depending on the coronavirus.

Coronavirus Update. Rev. Deb reported on an online meeting she had with rectors from the Contra Costa Deanery parishes and the Canon to the Ordinary. The Diocese is directing the parishes to follow the Contra Costa County Health Services recommendations (which at the moment is the most stringent of all the deaneries in the Diocese), of no gatherings or more than 50 people.  Things are changing and evolving constantly, and recommendations could get more stringent. Because of that, Holy Week plans are on hold for now. She has been clear in her communications about how and why we are making decisions, and what those decisions are. The recent letter sent to parishioners will be in Sunday’s bulletin, and is posted on the website and Facebook page.

Pastoral Care. Connie reported on Casserole Patrol. Rev. Deb announced that lay Eucharistic visits have been cancelled.  Rev. Deb will continue to do sick visits.

Parish Life. David reported on how he is winding down details as a result of the cancellation of St. Patrick’s dinner.

Education. Amelia reported that she obtained stuffed animals for the children to play with during the service and will plan to disinfect them after services. She found special toys designed for kids on the autistic spectrum, as well as tactile and sensory items that will help keep the kids occupied and calm.

 Upper lot discernment process review.  Jennifer reported that we have received 12 responses so far, either in writing or by email. To encourage more responses, Rev. Deb indicated this topic is a good item to remind people about during a VPOD announcement.

Report on All Soul’s visit. Tina, Rev. Deb, and Josh reported on their visit to All Soul’s in Berkeley to explore that parish’s building project. All Soul’s will be razing an old building on their property – the parish house – and building a structure that will include low-income housing, offices and community space for the church, and a Rectory (apartment). They shared information on the process and partnership, especially as it relates to funding. Tina, Josh and Rev. Deb plan to visit St. Paul’s in Walnut Creek next.

At this point in the meeting (approx. 6:25 p.m.) an alert was received via email from the Diocese to not hold public worship for the remainder of March. In order to livestream we may have a small service with necessary personnel only. Rev. Deb will send out an email to the congregation when plans have been solidified.

 Protocols for B&G work at Grace were discussed in items earlier on the agenda, under the Las Trampas parking update.

Junior Warden Proposals. Josh reported on the following proposals:

  • Add Jr. Warden’s phone number on back of the bulletin.
  • Water run off when it rains may be damaging the foundation. Additional rain gutters are recommended.
  • Flower beds. Josh has concerns about the plants in the flower beds along the sidewalk next to the Education Wing that have grown over onto the sidewalk. He recommends some replanting. It was M/S/C (Towey/Ramsey) to support the Jr. Warden in soliciting help from Elaine Quigley to develop a plan.
  • Monthly work parties will be scheduled on the last Saturday of the month, at 9 a.m. beginning March 28
  • New dishwasher racks are needed to replace the old ones that are stained beyond cleaning. Rev. Deb authorized the purchase of new dishwasher racks.

Dismissal. Rev. Walter led the dismissal and the meeting adjourned at 8:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Jennifer Sabroe, Clerk


More resources for families with children

Ti and Deb Childrens HomilyFor Hello all!
Many thanks to Fran Trant and Jennifer Sabroe for finding these additional resources for our children,

Karin Holsinger Sherman offers Candle Walk, a beautiful illustrated picture book that prepares children for sleep by taking them on a candlelit wander through the woods and inviting them to experience the Compline, a centuries-old practice of contemplative evening prayer. Appropriate for toddlers through elementary aged children, Candle Walk is a wonderful way to prepare children for sleep, assured of the nearness of God. The Order of Compline from The Book of Common Prayer is also included at the back of the book.

Click here to access Candle Walk.

Children's activity for church members during COVID-19

Hello all! 

We received the following wonderful resource from the folks at My Church Events. They are offering children’s activities for use during the shelter at home mandate. You can find the page with links to the PDF files here: www.childrensbulletins.com/covid19-childrens-activities-for-churches



Church in the time of Corona Virus: Worship and Community continue online

“Live without fear. Your creator loves you, made you holy, and has always protected you. Follow the good road in peace and may God’s blessing remain with you always.” Attributed to St. Clare
Dear Children of God,
On Wednesday, March 18, we received the following updated instructions from Bishop Marc about worshipping during this time of concern:
“As shelter-in-place orders take effect throughout the Bay Area, and with deep love for and faith in the resilience of our Beloved Community, I share the following new guidelines for our congregations in response to COVID-19…
In addition to the suspension of all public, in-person worship services, we ask that all other in-person gatherings, including funerals, memorial services, weddings and non-emergency baptisms, be cancelled and that all of the groups that gather at your congregation suspend their in-person activities for the CDC’s recommended eight weeks, or until May 10th. I am aware this time period includes both Holy Week and Easter, and I want to assure you that Easter will happen, and, once these orders are lifted, we WILL celebrate the resurrection with joy and great fanfare in our respective congregations and as a diocese…
[You may continue to offer] virtual worship services to your congregations using video streaming and teleconference… I am providing you with the following guidelines and pastoral direction pursuant to Canon III.9.6(a)(1): You may have the minimum number of people present who can make the worship service functional, and in any case no more than 10 total, ensuring that none are over the age of 65 or in a vulnerable category. All people involved should maintain social distance as required, and you should make sure it is the same group of people for every service to minimize the number of people who are in contact with each other.”
Based on Bishop Marc’s guidance, here at Grace we will continue to livestream a 9 a.m. Sunday morning service of Holy Eucharist. Because of the Bishop’s increased restrictions, we will no longer be including choral music in the service. You can access this service through The Grace Episcopal Church Facebook page. Last Sunday’s service, which was posted on Facebook, has been accessed over 500 times. This demonstrates that we are a large and resilient community of Christ.
In addition to the livestreamed Sunday Eucharist, Grace will also be providing a Wednesday 10 a.m. Holy Eucharist and Bible Study by Zoom Conference. You can participate by clicking on this link at 10 a.m. on Wednesdays.
We have posted an audio file of our most recent Evensong Service, along with the program for it, on both our website here and our Facebook page. Evensong is a calming and comforting service. We encourage you to access it as often as you like.
We have begun developing specific content for our families and children so that they can stay connected to our church during this difficult time. This includes a message from me, this Sunday’s Godly Play lesson on Parables and an art project that goes with it. You can find it under “posts.”
Holy Week and Easter WILL happen. The Worship and Liturgy Committee has determined that the planned Tenebrae liturgy and Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Even services will be available in some form online. We are committed to finding a way to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ in a potentially new but still grateful and joyful way.
We believe that it is crucially important that we stay in touch with one another while we are geographically separated. Social distancing should not mean social isolation. To that end, Jennifer, Sarah, and I have created the connected congregation check-in system. This is an organized way of making sure all of our parishioners have a regular contact with other members of the congregation during the time we are unable to meet in person. Details can be found in Grace Notes.
As directed by the Bishop, we will be holding all of our regular meetings by Zoom Conference. I will be providing links to each group as needed.
I will be at the church on Wednesdays in order to conduct our Holy Eucharist service. Otherwise, I will be available by phone and email. If you are ill, need pastoral care, or any kind of practical help such as food or rides, please contact me directly. If you call the church number (925-228-6574) and press the button for the Rector, there is an option to mark your message urgent. Please do so if you need to. 
Your community of Christ and I will be there for you.
With faith in the mercy of God, salvation through Jesus Christ, and the continual presence of the Holy Spirit,
Rev. Deb

Wednesday Holy Eucharist and Bible Study now on Zoom

We will not be deterred by the shelter in place order.  Wednesday morning Eucharist and Bible study will take place by Zoom Conference. You will be able to use your computer or phone to dial in and participate in the service (unlike Sunday’s simulcast, you will be heard).  Here is the information. Mostly, all you have to do is click the bolded link which says “Join Zoom Meeting.”
Topic: Holy Eucharist and Bible Study
Time: Mar 18, 2020 10:00 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
        Every week on Wed, until Apr 8, 2020, 4 occurrence(s)
        Mar 25, 2020 10:00 AM
        Apr 1, 2020 10:00 AM
        Apr 8, 2020 10:00 AM

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 875 169 197
Password: 508976

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Meeting ID: 875 169 197
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