Author Archive for Emily Allen

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.

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!