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.
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.
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. Trust me, you don’t want to miss it!
Wednesday, April 8, 7 p.m. Tenebrae, Tune in for our livestream Tenebrae service. Professional musicians will perform this ancient and beautiful liturgy, which includes songs of lament and hope that are very appropriate for our current circumstances. This can also be found on The Grace Facebook page at the appropriate time.
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.
I will be continue to 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. The Sanctuary will be open for individual prayer and for you to drop off donations for Martinez Homeless Services and CORE (see below) on Wednesdays from 9 until 3 and Sundays from 8-9 a.m. and 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Believing that God is with us in all things,