Author Archive for Barbara Richmond

Donate Books for Men’s and Women’s Jails

The United Methodist Women are now collecting books for both men and women at Elmwood Correctional Facility in Milpitas. Would you donate books to those with a little extra time to read? Please bring your book donation to the church office, where there is a collection box. Biographies, inspirational books, good fiction, and historical novels are preferred. Donations will be picked up and delivered by CIC Ministries, which responds to the spiritual needs of incarcerated youth and adults in Santa Clara County.

New Ministry Tools at Work

A crew of Los Altos UMC staff and volunteers have been working hard to change our electronic membership database system to better support our ministries. The switch to the new system was officially made on June 1, although it will take a while to fully implement and integrate all of the new tools available to us.

One new tool is an online portal being integrated into our website. The portal shows upcoming events, active groups, opportunities to serve, and more. (Some of these areas will take a few more months to be fully updated.) If you create a user account, you can also see personal information such as events and groups you are signed up for, your giving history, and a church directory. If it looks like any of your personal information is wrong, contact Membership Services Assistant Kyle Aiken-Forderer (650-948-1083 x121). If you are a group host or church event planner, watch for more information on how the new database system will help you.

The transition team continues to tweak and improve all of the processes and applications involving our new database. If you have any questions, contact Project Manager Lisa Shemwell (650-575-7807).

Habitat Volunteer Report

Last month, members of our OpenCircle young adult group and other Los Altos UMC members worked together to improve the Habitat for Humanity veterans shelter in San Jose. A full day of work involved adding seismic strapping, furring shear walls, digging dry wells, and weed abatement. The 1920s-era buildings have been renovated in partnership with the city of San Jose to serve veterans who are disabled, homeless or facing addiction issues. A special dog bathing station is included for vets with pets. Each room has its own heating and cooling system. Habitat can still use your help. If you would like to help with this ongoing project through our All Faiths team, visit the Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley website and volunteer sign-up page for further details.

African Students Graduate

On June 10, four of the ten young women known to LAUMC as “our students” graduated from Africa University in Zimbabwe, fulfilling what was once only a dream of an education. This dream became a reality for these women due in part to the scholarships they received from LAUMC.

Our African Student Education Fund provides half-tuition scholarships of $2,800 to qualifying students each year until they graduate. We strive to provide this benefit to 10 recipients at a time. As students graduate, we add new students in need. Recipients must be African women who intend to use their education in Africa.

Pambi Jatutu, one of our graduating students, wrote: “You have made a great impact on my life. Having the scholarship was such a great blessing to me and my family. I believe that as I move out of AU, it will have such a great impact on my community as well. Thank you so much for every prayer made for me and for showing me God’s love in many ways. I love you all.”

Six of the remaining ten scholarship students at Africa University need our continued financial support to make their dreams of an education come true. Your donation can help make their dreams become a reality. Make checks payable to LAUMC and denote “African Student Education Fund” on the memo line. Visit the United Methodist Women’s page for the history of this fund.

UMCOR Sunday, April 30

On Sunday, April 30, you are invited to participate at any service in UMCOR Sunday (formerly One Great Hour of Sharing), an opportunity to touch the lives of those in need across the globe. Your special offering will assist in laying the foundation for United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) to continue its ministry of relief and hope.

This church-wide offering, along with other undesignated gifts made throughout the year, covers UMCOR’s costs of doing business, making it possible for UMCOR to use 100 percent of all designated contributions on the many relief efforts it fulfills around the globe, instead of on administrative or fundraising costs. Read more about UMCOR’s efforts online. Please give generously on April 30.

Walk to End Hunger, April 23

Join a team from LAUMC on Sunday, April 23, at 1:00pm for the annual CROP Hunger Walk in San Jose. Registration is at Hoover Middle School, located at 1635 Park Ave. in San Jose, with 1- and 3.5-mile options. Invite your friends and family to walk with you, and join the interfaith community’s efforts to overcome hunger and poverty by supporting the efforts of Second Harvest Food Bank, Sacred Heart Community Service, and Church World Service. You can register for the LAUMC team online or contact team leader Dave Ahn with questions.

Handbell Musicians Wanted

Alleluia Ringers is looking for musically inclined folks to play handbells large and small. Rehearsals are Mondays, 7:00–8:30pm in the Choir Room. Many handbell musicians start on other instruments or come from a vocal background—it is easy to learn the basic techniques for ringing bells! If you are looking for a new way to get involved at church, enjoy fellowship with a wonderful group of people, learn amazing music, and perform it for the congregation, we would love to have you. No commitment is necessary on your first visit: Come try us out for a week. You will be compensated for your time with joy, laughter, playful banter, oranges, and occasionally avocados. Contact Alleluia Ringers Director Scott McGlasson (559-303-8106) with questions.

Animate: Bible Series, April 19–May 31

You are invited to try out a brand new opportunity for adults and youth! Come together for food, fellowship, and a fresh approach to faith. Starting the Wednesday after Easter, April 19, we will gather for seven weeks from 6:00pm to 8:00pm in Creekside Center for no-cost dinner and fellowship, watch a short video from the Animate: Bible series, and then engage in discussions around our tables about the Bible.

Through short, creative videos featuring current Christian thought leaders, we will explore the history of the Bible’s sacred texts and what they offer for us today. (You can watch a trailer here.) The series offers centrist Protestant theology, and it focuses more on asking questions for viewers to engage with than on giving all the answers. The video segments feature Eric Elnes, Phyllis Tickle, Rachel Held Evans, Nadia Bolz-Weber, Jose Morales, Will Willimon, and Jay Bakker. Participants are invited to sketch, doodle, and create in the provided journals, then share their thoughts.

Come be part of the fun, and invite your friends! Each session stands alone, so you don’t have to commit to all seven. The GroupLife planning team wants to plan how much dinner to provide, how many journals to purchase, and how many childcare staff to schedule, so please register if you plan to attend.

Being Mortal: Screening and Discussion

If you are aging or dealing with aging parents, come to a video screening and discussion about what people really care about when aging. Screenings will take place on Thursday, March 9, 10:00–11:30am and Thursday, March 16, 7:00–9:00pm in Creekside Main. The group will watch Being Mortal, the PBS video of Atul Gawandi’s book by the same name. This thought-provoking video shows the dilemma that we all face, as patients and caregivers, when confronted with the kind of care we want at the end of life. It helps introduce the kinds of conversations we all need to have to ensure that the medical system respects our desires, rather than those of a somewhat impersonal medical system. After the video, there will be a group discussion.

You may come in person or participate online via our livestream page on either date. The discussion will be led by Dr. Bill Buchholz. Contact Bill for more information.

Ash Wednesday, March 1: Looking For Love

This year, we will hold a short service of Holy Communion and imposition of ashes at 5:00pm on Ash Wednesday, March 1, in the Sanctuary, then continue to offer communion and the imposition of ashes to all until 8:00pm. Come when you can; come as you are.

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, a marker of the beginning of a journey of self-reflection and discernment, originating in the 11th-century church. The journey of repentance is about “turning around” (the origin of the word repentance) so that we might be in right relationship with God—in a sense, we are looking for love once again. The scriptures invite us to spiritual practices of discernment such as praying and fasting, but not for the sake of looking good (for our sake). Rather, we are to do our work for the sake of the world—to loose the bonds of injustice, to let the oppressed go free. When we look to God for love (not simply for approval), and start with our own turning, we participate in the turning around of the world.