Author Archive for Emily Allen

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.

Scout Sunday, Feb. 12

A Scout Is ReverentOn Sunday, February 12, we will honor our affiliated Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops along with all scouts during our worship services. All scouts are invited to wear their uniforms to one of our worship services. Services are at 8:00am, 9:30am, 11:15am, and 5:00pm.

Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts will be giving witnesses of faith and serving in worship in various ways. At the morning services, the sermon will be a dialogue on “What Is Required?” between Pastor Debbie Weatherspoon and Eagle Scout Nicholas Trautman, an active youth member of our church. The scripture basis of their joint message is Micah 6:8. At the evening service, Pastor Dirk Damonte’s sermon will be about “Convergence.”

February Outreach Connection: House of Grace

Cityteam House of Grace

Cityteam House of Grace is a uniquely comprehensive program where addicted, abused, or homeless women can rebuild their lives, without being separated from their young children. It is a 12- to 14-month residential program. As part of the program, the women participate in classes to complete their high school education, vocational and life skills classes, counseling, and 12-step meetings. House of Grace is a community-based model, stressing personal responsibility, shared goals and support, mentoring, and empowering. It is a place where women are taught how to join the mainstream of community life so that they can become productive citizens, supporting themselves, their families and their community. This program has a proven track record of making a lasting difference in the lives of the women who have successfully completed the required phases.

We will have an opportunity to give a special offering to the House of Grace Recovery Program during all services on February 12, or you may give online. For more information, visit www.cityteam.org/san-jose/house-of-grace.

Membership Invitation and Coffee/Tea Time

Are you interested in learning more about what it means to be a member of LAUMC? Would you like to explore what it is that United Methodists believe? Would you like to explore your involvement with and commitment to this community of faith? If these questions interest you, you are invited to a new members’ coffee/tea time at 9:30am in Senior Pastor Mariellen Yoshino’s office whenever there is a “fifth Sunday” in a month. Upcoming dates are April 30, July 30, October 29, and December 31.

During these coffee/tea times, Pastor Mariellen and Director of Congregational Care Patricia Parfett look forward to getting to know you and discussing the beliefs and mission of LAUMC.

On the Sunday after each gathering, those who attended the coffee/tea time will have the opportunity to join the church as a new member at the 11:15 am worship service. Following the service, new members will be invited to lunch and a workshop with other church leaders at 12:30–2:15pm.

Please let Patricia know if you are interested in being a part of a scheduled fifth Sunday coffee/tea time.

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.

Africa Sunday, Jan. 29

Come to worship services this Sunday for our annual celebration of our church’s ties to Africa. The guest preacher at our services on January 29 is James H. Salley, the associate vice-chancellor for institutional advancement for Africa University. We will also have special music from our choirs, a special offering, and the United Methodist Women’s Sale-Abration fund-raiser.

An important aspect of our Africa Sunday celebration is raising money for the African Student Education Fund. What started in 2005 as a decision by our United Methodist Women to help a young African woman with university tuition payments has developed into a major commitment for LAUMC. Twelve years later, we have helped 53 women to pursue a higher education! The cost to educate one student at Africa University (a United Methodist institution) is $5,645 per year (including tuition, room and board, and other fees). Our fund supports each of our students with a partial scholarship of $2,823. This school year we are supporting 10 women at Africa University. Once we begin supporting a student, we hope to continue our support through her graduation.

To continue to provide 10 partial scholarships for the next academic year, we need to raise $28,230. You can contribute to this important effort by giving generously during our special collection and/or by shopping at the Sale-Abration. Please make checks payable to LAUMC with “African Student Education Fund” on the memo line or donate online, designating your donation to the African Student Education gift fund.

Sale-Abration Goodies Support Africa Sunday

saleabration basketAs part of our celebrations for Africa Sunday, the Los Altos United Methodist Women have organized their annual Sale-Abration fundraiser. Stop by Creekside Center on Sunday, January 29 or February 5, between 9:00am and 1:00pm or 4:30pm and 7:00pm to browse a variety of hand-made gifts, crafts, and baked goods. Gift baskets, gifts for your valentines, and various baked chocolate treats will be hard to resist. Floral arrangements will give you the feeling of spring in the air. Snacks for Super Bowl Sunday or any day of the week will be waiting for you. And don’t forget to get the bean soup mix, which is always a best-seller!

All profits from Sale-Abration go to the African Student Education Fund to support tuition scholarships for African women. Thank you for your support!

Book Drive for African Library Project, Jan. 15–29

Los Altos UMC’s Bold Service and Social Justice Committee is sponsoring its second book drive in partnership with the African Library Project. The African Library Project changes lives by starting libraries in rural Africa that serve to improve literacy, education, and self-empowerment. Our book collection efforts will support a new primary school library in Swaziland, so please donate books appropriate for children in preschool through fourth grade. Drop off your donated new and gently used books in the red barrels in either the Sanctuary entry or Creekside lobby between January 15 and January 29. Here are the types of books needed:

  • Baby board books
  • Children’s picture books
  • Children’s fiction (e.g., chapter book series such as “Junie B. Jones” or “Magic Treehouse”) and nonfiction
  • Early readers
  • BIG books
  • Teacher resource books for school libraries
  • Children’s dictionaries/picture dictionaries
  • Children’s encyclopedias/picture encyclopedias less than 15 years old
  • Children’s thesauruses
  • Paperback textbooks in math, English, geography, health, and science at appropriate levels (kindergarten to fourth grade). Send no more than two copies of any textbook; these will be used for teacher resources.
  • Books with universal themes, such as friendships, animals, or love
  • Children’s books teaching life skills about health, hygiene, adolescence, and careers
  • Accurate, up-to-date atlases
  • Books about Africa or African-Americans
  • Educational children’s science and literary magazines in good condition
  • Brain teasers, flash cards, educational games, and puzzles

You can also participate by contributing to the cost of shipping the books. Please make checks payable to Los Altos UMC with “African Library Project” in the memo line.

For more information, contact Janice Maggiora (650-857-0454).

Living Generosity: January Worship and Stewardship Theme

Have you noticed the huge heart posters that have been displayed in our Sanctuary entry and the entrance to Creekside, each heart filled with sightings of generosity? Last fall, our Extravagant Generosity Practice Committee asked us to notice moments or experiences of generosity and write these “generosity sightings” on cards that were placed inside the big hearts. It has been inspiring to see these hearts become filled with cards, each with an example of generosity, of loving and caring actions.

Since we have noticed and shared these generosity sightings, the heart posters are overflowing. We can’t help but feel drawn to the stories of extravagant giving, sharing, living, and loving. As our faces light up and our hearts are warmed, we realize that we were made for this. Our generous God designed us to be generous people. If you found joy and inspiration in reading the cards, and if you found your own heart overflowing with the desire to be more generous, maybe this is God’s way of growing your heart of generosity.

We will further explore these concepts in our next worship series on stewardship and generous hearts, “Living Generosity.” This stewardship season will include three Sundays focusing on Living Generosity and three gatherings to talk about stewardship in different ways, culminating in Commitment Sunday on February 5, when we will make our commitments to the 2017 LAUMC Operating Fund. As we prepare to commit to a plan of financial giving for the coming year at LAUMC, consider how God is nudging you to give extravagantly and imagine the impact of sharing your resources with our church and our world. Perhaps the next time we are asked to reflect on generosity sightings, it will be your own story that comes to mind.

Living Generosity Worship Series

January 15: Living Generosity: Responding. The scripture story from Luke 9:12-17 is of Jesus feeding the crowd of five thousand with five loaves and two fish.

January 22: Living Generosity: Realizing. The scripture from Mark 8:14-21 is of Jesus talking to the disciples, who do not understand the significance of his feeding miracle.

February 5: Living Generosity: Rejoicing. The scripture from 2 Corinthians 9:6-8, 10-15 reveals that God gives us gifts that God wants us to use generously. We will make our commitments to LAUMC’s Operating Fund as part of our living generosity. Holy Communion will be served.

Stewardship Gatherings

To support our stewardship focus, there will be three informational and participatory gatherings, designed to help us “live generosity” in 2017. Please consider attending at least one gathering.

Generosity: Gifts and Graphs
Thursday, January 26, 7:30pm, Creekside C/D
Would you like to understand the congregation’s giving patterns and the underlying demographics? Would you like to know more about how we invest our operating funds to support our ministries? Through our stewardship, we provide resources that enable LAUMC to live out generosity for our congregation and our community while, at the same time, we cultivate our own living generosity. Come learn more about the financial state of our congregation as Extravagant Generosity committee member Tonya Treble and Finance Chair Derek Nam host a discussion of how our stewardship can ensure a healthy future for LAUMC.

Generosity Across Generations
Friday, January 27, 6:00pm, Creekside Center
It’s tough to raise a family in the Bay Area. How can we be generous to the church and still pay for tuition, sports, extracurriculars, and a home, all while trying to pay off debt and save for retirement? What do we teach our kids about giving, and how do we set examples of living generosity for them? How can our practice of giving draw us closer to God and give us peace? Hear Brian Jones and other church leaders share their experiences, and then discuss what living generosity might look like for us. Come for a pizza supper at 6:00pm, followed by childcare for young children, stewardship activities for older children, and interactive conversation for adults. If you are bringing your child(ren), please RSVP to childcare@laumc.org with the number of children and their age(s) so we can plan an appropriate number of childcare providers.

Generosity Sightings and Giant Sandwiches
Saturday, January 28, 12:00pm, Creekside C/D
Were your heart touched and spirit inspired by reading about or witnessing an act of extravagant generosity over the holidays? Phil Pompei will lead the gathering in sharing stories of “generosity sightings” over lunch and reflecting on how we might be inspired to respond with our own living generosity. Come with your stories and reflections and leave with full hearts and stomachs.