Archive for All Church

Festival of Carols & Lights, Dec. 10

Festival of Carols & Lights 2012Christmas comes to life with words and music at our annual Festival of Carols & Lights concert celebration on Saturday, December 10, at 5:00pm and 7:30pm. Join us in the Sanctuary or watch either performance live online. This year’s theme is “Not a Silent Night.” Our worship choirs, Chancel Choir, Morning Glory, Lightshine & Starfire Singers, and Creekside Worship Band will be joined by an orchestra as the Sanctuary is filled with the music of familiar carols, Christmas anthems, and readings that will fill your heart with the joy of the holidays.

Let Christmas come to life with the music of the season, and let the Festival of Carols and Lights be a part of your celebration of the mystery and wonder of Christmas. A free-will offering will be taken. Childcare is available during the 5:00pm performance upon request to Lisa Conway.

Not a Silent Night Advent Worship Series

Our Advent and Christmas worship series this year is taken from Adam Hamilton’s book Not a Silent Night: Mary Looks Back to Bethlehem. The series looks at Jesus’ life through the eyes of his mother, Mary, working backwards from the resurrected Christ to the birth of a baby in a humble setting. This reverse focus will help us examine the significance of Jesus’ birth through the lens of his life, death, and resurrection.

November 27: Beginning With the End
In Acts 1:8-14, Mary is named among those who formed the community of Jesus’ disciples after his ascension. Senior Pastor Mariellen Yoshino will give the message at the morning services and Rev. Sam Lewis at the evening service.

December 4: The Piercing of Mary’s Soul
Pastor Mariellen will preach from Luke 2:33-35 at the morning services and Pastor Dirk Damonte at the evening service. Holy Communion will be offered at all services.

December 11: Amazed, Astounded, and Astonished
One of the few stories of Jesus as a child is found in Luke 2:41-51, where Jesus visits the teachers in the temple without his parents’ knowledge. Pastor Mariellen will give the message at the morning services and Pastor Debbie Weatherspoon at the evening service.

December 18: Mary, Full of Grace
In Luke 1:26-33, the angel Gabriel brings a message to Mary. Pastor Mariellen will preach at the morning services and Rev. Sam at the evening service.

December 25: It Was Not a Silent Night
This year Christmas falls on a Sunday! Come spend an hour with your church family to celebrate. We will hold one service, at 10:00am, in the Sanctuary (no evening service). Pastor Mariellen will give the message from Luke 2:1-7, the telling of the Christmas story.

January 1: Now What?
Christmas and the baby are here, the new year is here, but has anything really changed? Isn’t the world just as troubling as it ever has been? Christmas is here – now what? Rev. Sam will preach from Matthew 2:13-23. On New Year’s Day we will also have only one service, at 10:00am in the Sanctuary.

January 8: Epiphany
Pastor Mariellen will give the message, using Matthew 2:1-12.

Advent Generosity: Be the Light

Advent is arguably the busiest time of the year. Too often we become wrapped up in the trappings of Christmas, and it is a challenge as Christians to make time to prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ. As Adam Hamilton writes in Not a Silent Night, our Advent worship and study book, “Our mission at Christmas is not to get stuff for people to open on Christmas morning. It is to be people of hope who let Jesus’ light shine through them.”

Advent Generosity invites the LAUMC community to share God’s love and grace by making monetary gifts to three worthy causes and—new this year—by participating in service (see service opportunities below). Embracing Advent Generosity this Christmas provides a simple yet effective way to “Be the Light.” Our gifts to Advent Generosity represent our desire to share our love for others by performing acts of kindness, compassion, and goodness. Adam Hamilton tells us, “Grace changes the one who receives it, and it also changes the one who gives it.” We are invited this Advent season to “Be the Light” by emulating Jesus.

Support These Causes

Consider donating to LAUMC’s Advent Generosity campaign on behalf of your friends and family. Or, ask family and friends to make a donation in your honor instead of purchasing a gift for you. By making one donation to Advent Generosity 2016, three worthy programs will be supported:

  • Hope’s Corner, Inc.: Hope’s Corner, Inc., provides weekly meals and showers to people in need in the Mountain View area. Advent Generosity 2016 giving will help Hope’s Corner expand its food service, twice-weekly shower program, and additional services for more than 250 weekly guests.
  • Compassion Week 2017: Compassion Week provides LAUMC congregants and community members an opportunity to put our faith in action by performing acts of service. Compassion Week 2016 involved more than 2,000 volunteers addressing poverty, homelessness, education, hunger, the environment, and more.
  • UMCOR International Disaster Risk Reduction (Advance #3021952): This disaster risk reduction program is designed to prepare for and mitigate both death and economic loss and to facilitate community recovery following common natural disasters. The World Bank estimates that each $1 invested in risk management yields between $2 and $11 in benefits/cost savings in the event of a disaster.

Service Opportunities

  • Project WeHOPE: On December 22, LAUMC will host a Christmas dinner at Project WeHOPE. Those who sign up will facilitate dinner services, and share a holiday dinner with brothers and sisters who are working to end their homelessness. Project WeHOPE is a nonprofit organization in East Palo Alto that provides overnight shelter, food, financial literacy, and other services to clients in its transitional program. Dignity on Wheels, the mobile hygiene and outreach program, provides showers and laundry to people living in encampments, rotating shelters, and out of their vehicles. To sign up to help with the dinner, contact Jan McDaniel. Space is limited.
  • Hope’s Corner: Another option for serving our community as part of Advent Generosity is to volunteer with Hope’s Corner. Volunteers help prepare and serve meals, clean up, or check in shower guests. Visit the Hope’s Corner website for more information about volunteer opportunities and to sign up.

Pick up an Advent Generosity envelope in the Sanctuary, Creekside, or the church office starting November 20. When you choose not to buy an unnecessary gift or decide to forgo a Christmas related goodie, place the money you save in the envelope. Return your envelope to the church office or place it in the offering plate by Christmas Eve. Alternatively, you could make your Advent Generosity donation online. Also, please use the provided gift cards to let your family and friends know you have made a donation to Advent Generosity 2016 and/or have performed a service on their behalf.

This Christmas, choose a radical approach to giving, and your celebration of Christ’s birth. Together, let’s worship fully, give more, spend less, and love all through our Advent Generosity giving. If you have questions about Advent Generosity, please contact Valarie Arnesen.

Mexico House Building Trip, April 8–15, 2017

MexicoCome on one of Los Altos UMC’s Mexico trips and put your faith into action! The next trip is scheduled for April 8–15, 2017. We will build simple two-room houses for working people in Tecate. This trip will change your life as you get to know and fall in love with the people of Mexico who live and work in conditions very different from ours.

No power tools are used and no prior experience is necessary, so these experiences are great for the whole family. You don’t have to participate at Los Altos UMC to come on the trip: if you are interested, you are welcome!

Download the trip overview, FAQs, and registration form or pick up print copies of the informational flyers and registration form in the church entry or Creekside lobby. Completed registration forms and deposits are due January 3, with later registrations accepted if space is available. For more information, contact Leslie Carmichael.

Thanksgiving Eve Service, Nov. 23

Thanksgiving Food AltarThe Thanksgiving Eve service, held this year on November 23 at 7:30pm in the Sanctuary, is one of the most heartwarming services of the year. Our two youth choirs, Lightshine and Starfire Singers, lead us in worship through song. Pastor Dirk Damonte will share the message. Please bring nonperishable foods and/or men’s or women’s knit caps, socks, scarves, and gloves. The collected food and clothing will be donated to Community Services Agency.

Invitation to Thanksgiving Dinner

Are you looking for a table to join at Thanksgiving? Or are you just tired of thawing, stuffing, cooking, slicing, dicing, mashing, mincing, and baking? Join your LAUMC family for Thanksgiving dinner! You can bring the whole family—even Uncle Bob! It’s free to attend, with contributions accepted but not necessary. No shopping, cooking, or worry—just show up and give thanks. Thanksgiving Dinner will be held in Creekside on Thursday, November 24, 2:00–5:00pm. The menu includes roast turkey breast, gravy, stuffing, honey baked ham, garlic mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, roasted vegetables, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, ice cream, coffee, tea, and milk.

Reservations are required by Monday, November 21. Register online here. We will gather at 2:00pm in Creekside, with dinner served at 2:30 (please arrive by 2:15). We hope everyone can give five minutes after dinner to help clean up.

If you would like to volunteer to assist with cooking, serving, or cleaning up, please contact Karl Hansen by November 15.

November Outreach Connection: Salinas First UMC

The focus for this month’s Outreach Connection is Salinas First United Methodist Church, a longtime partner of Los Altos UMC. The Salinas church’s Neighborhood Ministry serves breakfast and lunch six days a week to more than 100 homeless and hungry people in Salinas Salinas Outreach Connectionas well as providing a safe, inviting place for the homeless to gather during the day, clothes closet, weekly mobile health clinic, support groups for veterans and those with addictions, job counseling, and more. At our services on Sunday, November 13, we will get to watch a new video updating us on this program.

Under the direction of head pastor Steve Lundin, the mission of FUMC Salinas is to “put love into action and live our faith.” Please put your love into action and give generously to this Outreach Connection partner, which is truly acting on Jesus’ admonition to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and welcome the stranger as if they were Jesus himself. If you would like to contribute to this ministry, you can donate online or by check made payable to LAUMC with “Salinas” in the memo line.

The Outreach Team at LAUMC organizes special monthly collections for outreach organizations 10 times per year. Each month the congregation learns about the highlighted organization and how it addresses the basic needs of people in our community, nationally, or internationally. A special donation is taken one Sunday, usually the second Sunday of the month, but donations designated to Outreach Connection are accepted throughout the month.

Told You So Worship Series, Nov. 6–20

Advent is the season of preparing for the birth of Christ, and for the last few years, Los Altos UMC has used a pre-Advent worship series in November to “prepare to prepare.” The commercial holiday season comes upon us so quickly, by December 1 it seems Christmas is already here! By “preparing to prepare” in November, we set ourselves up in a better frame of mind for an intentional Advent season of true preparation.

This November, our worship series has the theme “Told You So: Preparing for the Coming of the Christ.” The book of Isaiah is filled with prophecies that point to the coming of our Messiah, Jesus Christ. In a sense, these prophecies were the Hebrews of the time “preparing to prepare” for Christ’s coming. As we prepare for our annual celebration of Christmas, how do these prophecies speak to our culture, our community, and our context today? We know what we are preparing for, or think we know. How do these prophecies help us really know what to prepare for?

November 6: God With Us. The scripture for this week is Isaiah 7:14, one of the sections that is used in the New Testament to claim Jesus as the anointed one the people were waiting and hoping for. As we prepare once again to prepare our hearts to make room for Jesus, we turn our attention back to the realization that in Jesus, God is with us. Maybe we have forgotten that. Maybe we’ve just been too busy to notice that. Maybe things have happened that make it difficult to believe that. God’s promise to the people of Isaiah’s time is still God’s promise to us today: God is with us, and we know that through the incredible gift that we are preparing for, the gift of Jesus Christ. Senior Pastor Mariellen Yoshino will preach at the morning services and Pastor Dirk Damonte at the evening service. Holy Communion will be offered at all services.

November 13: Wonderful, Mighty, Everlasting. Isaiah 9:6 is another section of Isaiah that is viewed through New Testament eyes as pointing to the birth of Jesus the Messiah. (It is hard to read this passage without hearing the music of Handel’s Messiah echoing in our hearts!) What is amazing about this passage is these descriptions of the one God is sending: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. This one whom God sends, this Jesus, is all these things and so much more! As we prepare our hearts to realize the depth and scope of this gift from God, we see that this Messiah is a Messiah for all time, and we can put all of our trust in him. Have we done that? Have we gotten away from that? Do we doubt that? In our preparing to prepare, we reflect on the ways that God’s love lives in these attributes of Jesus. We can put all of our trust in him! Pastor Mariellen will give the message at the morning services and Pastor Debbie Weatherspoon at the evening service.

November 20: The Spirit Is Upon Us. Luke 4:16-21 tells us that Jesus himself quoted Isaiah 61:1-2, and concluded by saying “Today, this scripture has been fulfilled.” Preparing to prepare for Jesus to (re)enter our hearts and lives means recognizing that this good news, healing, justice and release comes through Jesus. John Wesley liked to go further than these two verses and point out that Isaiah goes on to include more categories of the marginalized that God’s Spirit is reaching out to. John Wesley considered this a mandate for all of Jesus’ followers. As we prepare to prepare, we are being called into deeper relationship with God’s creation through Jesus Christ. Pastor Mariellen will preach at the morning services and Pastor Dirk at the evening service.

All Saints Sunday, Oct. 30

All Saints is a day when we recognize the saints of our church. Not only those you may think of as saints—Mother Theresa, Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Patrick—but also those Christians who have taught us what it is to follow Jesus. They may not have seemed saint-like their entire life, but they taught us something about who Jesus was to them, and we believe that God was working to perfect them.

On October 30, we will observe All Saints Sunday and read aloud the names of those in our church who have gone on to glory in the last year. Our scripture will be Luke 6:20-31, which contains what are often referred to as the beatitudes. “Happy are you who are poor, because God’s kingdom is yours. Happy are you who hunger now, because you will be satisfied. Happy are you who weep now, because you will laugh. Happy are you when people hate you, reject you, insult you, and condemn your name as evil because of the Human One. Rejoice when that happens!” (CEB). We will engage with this text in our worship, including a sermon by Pastor Sam Lewis titled “Wait … What?” and the hymn “I Sing a Song of the Saints of God.”

UMW Autumn and Christmas Craft Sale

UMW baked goodsThe United Methodist Women have been creating fall and Christmas crafts: fall and holiday wreaths, witch hats, table décor, ornaments, cross stitch, gift bags, pillowcases, and more. The sales of these items will support the Bill Wilson Center, CIC Ministries, Community Services Agency, Cancer Connection, Family Supportive Housing, Pathways Hospice, YWCA Women’s Shelter, Palo Alto VA Hospital, and many other organizations. Come to one of the sales listed below and pick up some decorations and gifts for the holidays.

  • Friday and Saturday, October 14–15, 10:00am–4:00pm, 1501 Oakley Dr., Los Altos
  • Sunday, October 16, 9:00am–2:00pm, Creekside
  • Sunday, October 23, 9:00–11:30am, Creekside (including a bake sale)
  • Sunday, November 13, 9:00–11:30am, Creekside
  • Sunday, December 4, 9:00–11:30am, Creekside (including a bake sale)

For those of you who remember the UMW’s Harvest Craft Faire of previous years, these craft sale dates replace the full Faire. There will be no vendors other than the United Methodist Women’s own crafts and baked goods.