Author Archive for Emily Allen

Saying Farewell to Our Departing Staff

This month Los Altos UMC makes goodbyes to three departing staff, with several opportunities to share our appreciation for their time and ministry with us. Rev. Mariellen Yoshino has served as the senior pastor for three years. Rev. Debbie Weatherspoon has been one of our associate pastors for 11 years, most recently as the minister for community engagement. Paul Rosas, our senior organist, has played organ, piano, and even composed new works during his 13 years at Los Altos UMC.

Pastors Mariellen and Debbie will share the message time at all four worship services on Sunday, June 11. This will be their final Sunday in worship at Los Altos UMC. The worship services on Sunday, June 25, will be a celebration of Paul Rosas’ musical ministry in our congregation.

All-Church Dinner: Farewell to Staff
Sunday, June 25, 5:45pm, Creekside
Come to the Creekside Crossings service and stay for this month’s All-Church Sunday Dinner, a farewell to Pastor Mariellen, Pastor Debbie, and Paul. Help us celebrate and honor their service to this church. Dinner will be barbecue. Please register online so we know how many attendees to expect. All are invited! We will have a slide show during dinner. If you have photos of the honorees that you would like to share, please send them to the Staff-Parish Relations Committee.

Farewell Gifts
If you would like to make a monetary farewell gift for one or more of our departing staff, checks are accepted in the offering plate or in the church office by June 25. Please make checks payable to Debbie Weatherspoon or Paul Rosas or make a gift in Pastor Mariellen’s honor to “CNUMC UMF Yoshino Family Mission Fund.” Gifts to Pastor Debbie or Paul are not tax-deductible; gifts to the Yoshino Family Mission Fund are tax-deductible.

Outreach Connection: Community Services Agency, June 11

Our Outreach focus and offering this month is Community Services Agency (CSA). Tom Meyers, executive director of CSA, will speak at our worship services on June 11 regarding CSA’s programs. CSA provides vital social services for residents of Mountain View, Los Altos, and Los Altos Hills, from young, working poor families to elderly persons. The agency provides a safety net so independence and self-sufficiency can be maintained through Emergency Assistance, Senior Assistance Services, and Services for the Homeless.

LAUMC has long been a generous supporter of CSA, and we hope you will give generously. Collection boxes will be set out at church on June 11, or you can give throughout the month by writing a check to LAUMC with “CSA” on the memo line or using our online giving platform.

Resurrection Stories Worship Series, April 16 – June 4

The Easter Season is a time of celebrating all the ways in which resurrection is possible in our lives. We can be in need of rising out of the depths of imprisonment, addiction, poverty, illness and oppression—not just physically and literally, but also spiritually. What holds us back from the joy of life? What binds us, keeping us from the fullness of who God created us to be? What keeps us down? Join us for powerful testimonies–Resurrection Stories–from those who have found “resurrection” in their lives. It might just inspire you to your own rising up!

April 16 (Easter): Resurrection From Death

The ultimate message is this: no matter how dead you feel, God has plans for you! Easter kicks off our “Resurrection Stories” series with the Story of all Stories and the reason why there is always hope. Can you turn your life around? Can you find new life when everything feels lifeless? Can light shine in what feels like a dark tomb? Yes. Yes. Yes! Our scripture is John 20:1-18. Senior Pastor Mariellen Yoshino gives the message at the morning services and Pastors Dirk Damonte and Debbie Weatherspoon at the evening service.

April 23: Resurrection From Addiction

In 12-step programs, the first step is admitting powerlessness over anything that threatens to destroy our connection to God, to ourselves, and to others. Rev. Sam Lewis will give the message at all four services, helping us celebrate the Good News that we can refocus our lives onto things that lead us to life and connection to the Holy. Our scripture will be John 20:19-31.

April 30: Resurrection Stories: The Joy of Children

Come join us for Children’s Celebration Sunday! We will give thanks for the life-giving and life-affirming presence of children in our church and in our lives. Our scripture will be Nehemiah 8:10. Pastor Debbie Weatherspoon will give the message at all services.

May 7: Resurrection From Oppression

This country is made up of so many who escaped to the “promised land” from oppressive regimes. Throughout history people have had to flee situations of horror. Even within our country and in our own time, there are those who live with oppression and fear. We will listen to three inspirational Resurrection Stories to widen our understanding of what we must do to continue to work for liberation on so many fronts. Our scripture will be Exodus 3:1-15.

May 14: Mother’s Day

We will celebrate mothers and the ways they embody resurrection. Pastor Mariellen will give the message at the morning services and Pastor Debbie at the evening service.

May 21: Resurrection From Imprisonment

We may be imprisoned by many things. Jesus’ declaration that he had come to “set the prisoner free” can be interpreted for all of us, whether we’ve ever experienced being behind literal prison bars. We will hear the powerful Resurrection Story of someone who was incarcerated and is now living a truly free life, thanks to the help of a new-found faith. We will reflect on how we can each step into freedom from whatever binds us. The scripture is from Acts 16:16-34.

May 28: Resurrection From Illness

Illness of mind, body, or spirit can sap us of our life passion and energy. Sometimes illness can change the course of our lives forever, asking us to adapt in ways we never imagined. A Resurrection Story of rediscovering a passion for life after a devastating illness will offer us a different perspective on how we deal with any life-altering situation. The scripture is Genesis 32:24-32.

June 4 (Pentecost): Resurrection Spirit

The Spirit is alive and moves among us as it did in the early church! The end of our series will offer us an opportunity to commit ourselves to some important and concrete goals for our mission in the world. We are a church that can mobilize to alleviate suffering and proclaim resurrection hope through the power of the Holy Spirit! The scripture is Romans 12:1-16.

Hero Central Vacation Bible School: June 19–23, 2017

Los Altos UMC’s Vacation Bible School 2017 will be an amazing week of adventure, games, science projects, crafts, community service, music, snacks, and more! Using the Hero Central VBS curriculum, we will inspire and empower kids to “Discover Your Strength in God” as we move, act, care, follow, and share God’s love.

Super Heroes: This VBS session is for 3 ½-year-olds* through 3rd graders. The fun begins at 9:30am and goes until noon. The cost is $95 for the week.

Caped Crusaders: This VBS session is for 4th through 6th graders. The fun kicks into gear at 9:30am and goes until 2:30pm. This group will go on an off-site field trip one day! The cost is $125 for the week.

Online registration is now open. Registration closes May 19 or when classes are full.

*Children must have turned 3 by December 1, 2016, and must be toilet-trained to participate.

If you have any questions about VBS, please contact Erica Carlstrom, coordinator of Vacation Bible School.

Holy Week and Easter Services, April 9–16

Holy Week services commemorate Jesus’ life, death on the cross, and resurrection victory on Easter. Through Jesus, we come to know God. Travel the journey of Holy Week at Los Altos United Methodist Church. Join Jesus in his triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, his last gathering with his disciples on Maundy Thursday, his sacrifice and sorrow on Good Friday, his time of waiting through God’s perfect timing on Holy Saturday, and his victorious resurrection on Easter Sunday. As you journey through Holy Week, may you discover a renewed commitment and a richer, more meaningful Easter.

Our services are listed below, or you may download our Holy Week at LAUMC flyer for your reference.

Palm Sunday – April 9
8:00, 9:30, 11:15am, Sanctuary
5:00pm, Creekside
With the procession of palms, we will celebrate Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The worship theme is “Look for the King,” with scripture from Matthew 21:1-11. Rev. Sam Lewis will preach at the morning services and Rev. Debbie Weatherspoon at the evening service.

Maundy Thursday – April 13
7:30pm, Sanctuary
Chancel Choir and Morning Glory combine to sing Requiem of Remembrance, written by our own Senior Organist T. Paul Rosas. Come for the special music, contemplation, and Holy Communion.

Good Friday – April 14
7:30pm, Creekside
Experience the stations of the cross. Rev. Mariellen Yoshino will give the message, and music will be by the Creekside Worship Band.

Easter Vigil – April 15
7:30pm, Creekside
Journey through the stories of creation and covenant that prepare us to receive the risen Christ. This service, led by Rev. Sam Lewis, will be interactive, fun, and engaging for all ages.

easter_flowersEaster Sunday – April 16

Sunrise Service, 6:30am, Sanctuary Garden
Hear the Easter message and rejoice with our youth choirs, Lightshine and Starfire Singers. Rev. Dirk Damonte will give the message.

Morning Worship, 8:00, 9:30, 11:15am, Sanctuary
Easter is a time to celebrate all the ways in which resurrection is possible in our lives. Come for festive hymns, special anthems, and a message from Rev. Mariellen Yoshino.

Contemporary Worship, 5:00pm, Creekside
The ultimate message is this: no matter how dead you feel, God has plans for you! Sing and praise in this contemporary service, with music by Creekside Worship Band and a message from Pastors Debbie Weatherspoon and Dirk Damonte.

Annual Rummage Sale, May 19–20

The annual Rummage Sale is just around the corner, and the Los Altos United Methodist Women and Starfire Singers are ramping up to get ready! Creekside Center will be filled with bargains for adults and children, and the Youth Room will feature a large selection of antiques and vintage collectibles. This is your opportunity to clean out your closets and garages and donate useable items, then pick up new-to-you bargains. Profits from the sale will support local, national and international missions of the United Methodist Women and assist our Starfire Singers youth choir in covering the costs of their summer tour.

Would you like to help? Here’s how:

DONATE to the sale. Bring your treasures to Creekside on Tuesday, May 16, or Wednesday, May 17. If you have larger furniture items in good condition, a pick-up can be arranged within 5 miles of the church. Contact Patricia Parfett (650-906-6265) to schedule. If you can’t donate on those dates, contact Karen Van Buren about scheduling an early donation. Donations of handled grocery bags or other large shopping bags are also needed.

VOLUNTEER to work before or during the sale. It’s fun! People of all ages can help sort, price, and sell. You don’t need to preregister to help sort and price items; just show up on Monday through Thursday, May 15–18, and we will find a place for you. Lunch and snacks will be provided. We will schedule helpers for Friday and Saturday during the sale. Contact Kay Zitzner if you are willing to work one or more shifts as a cashier or some other needed position.

SHOP at the sale on Friday, May 19, 8:00am–5:00pm and Saturday, May 20, 9:00am–2:00pm. Categories will include men’s and women’s clothing, children’s clothing, kitchen, home, office, garden, sports, books, artwork, games, toys, and more!

Invitation to Pause for Lent Together

Are you interested in connecting with a small group during the six weeks of Lent and engaging in intentional spiritual time to center your heart and mind in preparation for Easter? Several new and existing groups are available for you to participate in, starting the week of March 5. Just show up – no sign-ups needed!

  • Sundays, starting March 5, led by Jeff Jenks (men’s group)
    12:15pm, Live Oak Room
  • Mondays, starting March 6, led by Senior Pastor Mariellen Yoshino
    9:30am, Resource Center
  • Mondays, starting March 6, led by Pastor Mariellen
    12:00pm (bring your own lunch), Resource Center
  • Tuesday mornings, starting March 7, online group (details in process)
  • Wednesdays, starting March 8, led by Perrie Erickson
    7:00pm, Resource Center

All groups will use the daily devotional Pauses for Lent by Trevor Hudson. The book includes 40 theme words (one for each day of Lent), each one paired with a scripture and short meditation. Read/do the daily devotional on your own, then meet with your group on campus for six weekly sessions to discuss the words and experiences of the past week, going deeper in faith together. Contact GroupLife with any questions.

Lent Worship Series: Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

Our Lent worship series is “Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places.” The lectionary for Lent this year offers many images of where love, grace, forgiveness, righteousness, healing, can REALLY be found. And usually it is not in the usual places. Isn’t it as true of us today as it was of the scriptural authors? Don’t we often look for wholeness and happiness (love) in places that offer only temporary good feelings and satisfaction? Lent is a wonderfully reflective time to reassess where we are searching for meaning, for redemption. We’ll move through the lectionary to find out who offers the real deal.

March 5: Look for the Resistor

The story at the center of our look for love this week is the story of the temptation of Jesus in the desert after his baptism found in Matthew 4:1-11. In this story we see the futility of looking for love in the things that only provide temporary satisfaction, in seeking empty highs, tempting fate, and in mindless adoration. Rather, as Jesus demonstrates, it is in our resistance to evil that we find true communion with God. Resistance to evil starts with our own confession of complicit acts that move us further from love. Our groaning can turn to “glad cries of deliverance” as we choose good over evil time after time—even and especially if it isn’t the popular thing to do.

March 12: Look for the Helper

Oftentimes we believe that we must “deserve” the love we receive. We work, work, work to get approval and to feel like our life is justified—pulling our own weight, thinking that whatever life we create and love we get is only what we ourselves can conjure up. But John 3:1-17 offers the image of God as our “keeper”—always helping, always present. Nicodemus, a Pharisee who comes to Jesus for advice in the middle of the night, has followed all the rules and done everything HE can do, and yet he is still looking for love—for tangible connection with God. Jesus says that he must be born “of the Spirit.” It’s not all up to him! It’s not all up to simply “doing the right thing”! It is about allowing the Spirit to help birth love in our lives, having faith that the Spirit of God is always present and urging us to choose love. For “God so loved the world” that God birthed into the world a Son (Love) that would embody the grace we can count on.

March 19: Look for the Thirst-Quencher (Confirmation Sunday)

The Samaritan woman at the well found out that the water she came for was not really the water she needed so desperately. This woman had looked for love in many places, in many faces and when finally offered a soul-quenching love by Jesus, she became a powerful messenger of Good News. Just as the water given by God that flowed in the desert for the Israelites offered new life, the desert of our lives can be refreshed if we look for love regularly at the well of living water and offer life-giving water to others. This Sunday, we will also celebrate with those eighth graders who joined as members of the church at the previous evening’s Confirmation Service. Holy Communion will be offered at all services.

March 26: Look for the Shepherd

We too often look for security (love) in powerful figures, sure that they can “fix” things for us. It was no different for the people of the First and Second Testaments. They were looking for kings, saviors, or liberators who would offer peace and security in uncertain times. And they often looked “in all the wrong places.” The story of Samuel looking for God’s appointed ruler among the sons of Jesse is a case in point. The youngest son, a “ruddy” boy out taking care of the sheep, turns out to be the one (David). So, too, the Pharisees just can’t believe that this trouble-maker, rule-breaker named Jesus is the One, the Son of God and Savior. Time and again Jesus uses the metaphor of a shepherd to teach us how we ought to love and care for each other. No wonder: the Shepherd does what is needed, when it is needed, regardless of the “rules.” Our scripture will be Psalm 23.

April 2: Look for the Liberator

Sometimes the things we think offer love actually seek to bind us, preventing us from being full and whole and offering our best love to the world. In John 11:32-45, the story of Lazarus, whose funeral shrouds trail him out of the tomb, offers us a metaphor of new life as we recognize that true love is that which unbinds us, that which wants for us more, not less, freedom and life. Jesus says to us, “Come out!” Walk! Live! Love! Shed your funeral clothes and offer your deepest self, your deepest love, for the world. Of course this kind of love can be dangerous, as we will see as the events of Holy Week loom closer. But the price of continuing to look for love in the wrong places is higher than the blessing of life lived boldly. Come out! Walk! Live! Love! Note: Holy Communion will not be offered this week.

April 9: Look for the King (Palm Sunday)

We will celebrate Palm Sunday with the traditional palm processional, as we enter into Holy Week together. The scripture will be Matthew 21:1-11.

Women’s Retreat: Our God Connection, April 21–23

All women are invited to register for the annual spring Women’s Retreat, held Friday–Sunday, April 21–23, in Santa Cruz. This year’s theme is “Our God Connection: Praying All Ways.” This retreat offers a nurturing break at beautiful Villa Maria del Mar. Senior Pastor Mariellen Yoshino, Director of Congregational Care Patricia Parfett, and Director of Music & Ministry for Youth Carol Damonte will lead the retreat, which is always a special weekend of fun and relaxation as well as learning and inspiration for those who attend—newcomers as well as returnees.

Register online or pick up a printed registration form at church. The early bird registration fee is $310 per person for a double room and $395 for a single and covers two nights, all meals, and the retreat program. Space is limited and goes quickly, so confirm your place soon! After March 15, the registration fees will be $345 for a double room and $430 for a single. Contact Susan O’Neil (408-245-5304) with questions.

GroupLink to Find a Group for Lent, Feb. 26

Are you interested in joining a small group during Lent and engaging in intentional spiritual time to center your heart and mind in preparation for Easter? You have an opportunity to link with others and form a small group right on the spot! GroupLife is hosting a GroupLink event on Sunday, February 26, at 9:30am in Creekside. This event is designed to help people interested in a group to find each other based on availability, agree to a time, and reserve a room on the church campus to meet each week. No complicated sign-ups needed!

All groups will use the daily devotional Pauses for Lent by Trevor Hudson. The book includes 40 theme words (one for each day of Lent), each one paired with a scripture and short meditation. Individuals will read/do the daily devotional on their own and meet with their group on campus for six weekly sessions to discuss the words and experiences of the past week, going deeper in faith together. If you are unable to attend the GroupLink event on February 26 but wish to be in a six-week Lenten group, contact GroupLife or check back on this website starting February 27 for a list of the groups formed during GroupLink and choose one to join.