Archive for All Church

Save the Date for Growth Night

GroupLife and the Deepening Faith Committee are pleased to announce a brand new opportunity for all ages! Growth night is an opportunity to 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 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. The series offers centrist Protestant theology, and it focuses more on asking questions for viewers to engage with than on giving all the answers. 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. GroupLife needs to plan how much dinner to provide, how many journals to purchase, and how many childcare staff to schedule, so please register by Friday, April 14.

Why People of Faith Care About the California Values Act

If you missed the immigration information table between services on March 12, you can still learn about the UMC position on immigration and the California Values Act Senate Bill 54, sign up for a discussion group on these topics, or find sample letters from Faith in Action in support of passage of this important legislation: links are provided below. SB54 protects the safety and wellbeing of all Californians by ensuring that state and local resources are not used to fuel mass deportation, separate families, or divide Californians on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, immigration status, or national or ethnic origins.

Fact Sheet: SB 54, California Values Act

UMC Immigration Links

Letter of support for SB 54

Everyone Has Certain Basic Rights, No Matter Who Is President – National Immigration Law Center

For additional information, contact Yvonne Murray or Jan McDaniel of Los Altos UMC’s Bold Service and Social Justice Committee.

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.

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.

Starfire Benefit Concert and Auction, April 1

All are invited on Saturday, April 1, at 6:30pm in Creekside to Masquerade, the biggest fund-raiser Starfire Singers will hold for its summer tour to the United Kingdom. Donations and proceeds from the live auction will help defray the cost of the tour. Donations may be made online or at the concert.

The concert will feature the Starfire Singers (Los Altos UMC’s high school choir) and Starfire alumni. Guest musicians include members of our own Creekside Worship Band; Nebula, a Bay Area-based jazz group that includes Scott Jespersen and Dylan Damonte (both Starfire ’08); and Orange County-based musician Steven Maggiora (Starfire ’03), who works primarily as a session musician and live musician.

During the auction there will be opportunities to bid on some very exciting trips and parties, including:

Fabulous getaways: Puerto Vallarta, Maui, Palm Desert, St. Helena, Donner Lake, Northstar, Lake Tahoe, and Maine.

Fun party events: elegant dinner party, Cinco de Mayo party, prayer bead making with Carol, mystery luau party, drumming circle with Dylan Damonte & Bill Golden, Memphis BBQ, outdoor summer wine party, poker party, stargazing party, and primp and poker for teens.

The doors will open at 6:30pm for bidding to begin, and the concert will start at 7:00pm. This event happens only once every four years, so you don’t want to miss it! For more information, contact Cindy Golden or Denise Robinson.

Reconciling Sundays – February 19 and 26

Reconciliation: February 19

Matthew 5:38-48 was a passage that Martin Luther King, Jr., often quoted and expanded on. The concept of loving our enemies and praying for those who harass us was an essential principle in the nonviolent civil rights movement. How does it speak to us today, both in terms of our tendency to think of those who are different from us as “the other,” and our call to denounce racism and exclusion?

Reconciling Sunday: February 26

Celebrate what it means for LAUMC to be a Reconciling Church with the Rev. Kristin Stoneking as our guest speaker at all services. Rev. Stoneking is an ordained United Methodist elder and the executive director of Fellowship of Reconciliation. She was previously the executive director and pastor of the ecumenical campus ministry at University of California, Davis.

Advent Generosity 2016 Report

For the seventh consecutive year, our congregation participated in Advent Generosity as a way to share God’s love with others and be a source of light in the world. Your 2016 Advent Generosity giving totaled $99,889 and supported three programs:

  • Hope’s Corner, Inc., is the only local (Mountain View) source of free meals on Saturday for the homeless and needy. In addition to providing hot breakfasts and bag lunches for more than 250 weekly guests, Hope’s Corner also offers shower facilities and helps guests connect with other available services.
  • Compassion Week 2017 provides LAUMC congregants and community members with an opportunity to put our faith in action by performing acts of service. Compassion Week 2016 involved 2,034 volunteers addressing poverty, homelessness, education, hunger, the environment, and more throughout the Bay Area.
  • UMCOR International Disaster Risk Reduction (Advance #3021952) is a program designed to mitigate death and economic loss by preparing ahead for common natural disasters and to facilitate community recovery following such disasters.

LAUMC’s extravagant generosity during the Advent season over the last seven years has resulted in a total of $534,016 being put to work to save, nurture, and enrich the lives of others.

This season, we were invited to participate in hands-on service projects in addition to making monetary gifts. More than 30 people helped to plan, prepare, and serve a Christmas dinner to homeless guests at Project WeHOPE in East Palo Alto. Others served at Hope’s Corner in December and beyond.

Thank you for practicing extravagant generosity through your contributions of time, service, and financial resources. In doing so, you let the light of Jesus shine through you by showering love on others.

Conflict Resolution Class, Feb. 26

We all find ourselves with differences of opinion or outright conflict at times: with work colleagues, kids, friends, or spouses. On Sunday, February 26, at 11:15am in the Resource Center, come take a one-time class with Sue DeLong, who will present a process for safe and respectful conflict resolution, whether in business or personal relationships. This process is useful for everyone and keeps down the drama so that you can handle conflicts in a more positive way. If you need childcare during the class (ages 0–4), it will be provided in the church nursery. Contact Adult Ministries Chair Bob Olah for more information about the class.

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.