Archive for Serve & Social Justice

UMCOR Sunday, April 30

On Sunday, April 30, you are invited to participate at any service in UMCOR Sunday (formerly One Great Hour of Sharing), an opportunity to touch the lives of those in need across the globe. Your special offering will assist in laying the foundation for United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) to continue its ministry of relief and hope.

This church-wide offering, along with other undesignated gifts made throughout the year, covers UMCOR’s costs of doing business, making it possible for UMCOR to use 100 percent of all designated contributions on the many relief efforts it fulfills around the globe, instead of on administrative or fundraising costs. Read more about UMCOR’s efforts online. Please give generously on April 30.

Walk to End Hunger, April 23

Join a team from LAUMC on Sunday, April 23, at 1:00pm for the annual CROP Hunger Walk in San Jose. Registration is at Hoover Middle School, located at 1635 Park Ave. in San Jose, with 1- and 3.5-mile options. Invite your friends and family to walk with you, and join the interfaith community’s efforts to overcome hunger and poverty by supporting the efforts of Second Harvest Food Bank, Sacred Heart Community Service, and Church World Service. You can register for the LAUMC team online or contact team leader Dave Ahn with questions.

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!

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.

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.

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).

Outreach Connection, Jan. 8: Day Worker Center

Day Worker Center Mountain ViewOn Sunday, January 8, our featured Outreach Connection agency will be the Day Worker Center in Mountain View, which serves men and women working as day laborers in our community. Representatives will tell us about the center during each worship service, and we will have an opportunity to donate money in support of its operation. The Day Worker Center provides for its members critical economic and emotional support, a sense of community, a clean, safe, warm and dry place to gather, and education and training.

How can we help?

  • Donate money on our online giving site and selecting the Outreach Connection gift fund or by writing a check to LAUMC with “Day Worker Center” in the memo line and putting it in the offering plate.
  • Volunteer to lead a job training workshop (painting, pruning, house maintenance, etc.), help teach English, computer literacy skills, or resume writing, or tutor students at homework club.
  • Donate tools and equipment such as sewing machines, painting supplies, buckets, hard hats, measuring tapes, leaf blowers, drills, vacuums, etc.
  • Employ a day worker to help you move, weed your garden, paint your house, repair your fence, or prepare for a party.
  • Post a positive review of your experience on Yelp.

For more information, visit the Mountain View Day Worker Center website, visit the center at 113 Escuela Ave, Mountain View, or call 650-903-4102.

Salvation Army Bell Ringing: Sign Up Now!

Salvation ArmyThe local branch of the Salvation Army has asked Los Altos UMC for volunteers to ring the bell for its Red Kettle Christmas Campaign at the Nob Hill grocery store located on Grant Road in Mountain View. Bell ringing is fun work: bring a friend or your family! Sign up for a two-hour shift (or several shifts!) between November 28 and December 24. Bells and aprons will be provided; remember to dress warmly.

Salvation Army programs in our area include food and nutrition, senior citizen clubs, transitional housing, music and art programs for youth, and worship services.

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

MexicoUpdate: Registration has been extended to January 15! See below to download the registration form.

Come 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.