Archive for adults

New Support Group for Children of Aging Parents

Adult children face many issues when dealing with aging parents. One such issue is how to maintain a healthy, respectful relationship as the parent ages and becomes more dependent on the grown child(ren). Congregational Care Ministry at Los Altos UMC invites caregivers and children of aging parents (whether those parents live close by or at a distance) to participate in a safe and confidential place to learn about community resources, especially ones that provide care for caregivers; talk through the challenges of caring for aging parents; and share feelings, needs, and concerns.

This new support group will meet on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month. The first meeting will be held on Thursday, September 22, 7:00–8:30pm in the Chapel. Kathleen Palmer and Doug Webb, both children of aging parents, will facilitate the discussion. For more information, contact the church office (650-948-1083).

Register Now for Poverty Simulation, Aug. 28

Poverty Simulation Step Up Silicon Valley

Thousands of men, women, and children live in poverty in Silicon Valley, and with skyrocketing housing costs, trying to make ends meet is more stressful and elusive than ever. To gain greater insight into and compassion for the challenges they endure, sign up for the Poverty Simulation, a unique role-playing event that allows you to take a deep dive into life with a shortage of money. In this fast-paced activity, you will experience four weeks of poverty in one afternoon, role-playing as a member of a low-income family struggling to provide food, shelter, and other basic necessities while navigating through community resources. You will also meet people who have lived in poverty and discuss opportunities to create a truly thriving community. The experience will touch you on intellectual, emotional, and spiritual levels.

The Poverty Simulation will be held on Sunday, August 28, 12:00–3:00pm in Creekside and is open to adults and high school students. Space is limited! Visit the registration page for more information and to register. Contact Nancy Peterson with questions or to volunteer at the event if you participated in the simulation last year.

The event is sponsored by the LAUMC Bold Service and Social Justice Committee in a multi-faith partnership with Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Palo Alto First United Methodist Church, Bay Area Cultural Connections, Congregation Beth Am, and Saint Simon Parish. Step Up Silicon Valley, a movement to reduce poverty initiated by Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, will conduct the simulation.


Explore the Journey of Membership

Are you interested in learning more about Los Altos UMC and what it means to become a professing member here? You are invited to join our spring Starting the Journey new membership class on Friday, March 11, 6:00–9:00pm in Creekside A/B. Pastor Debbie Weatherspoon, minister of discipleship, and Patricia Parfett, director of congregational care, will discuss how we might deepen each other’s faith together and give an overview of this church and The United Methodist Church as a denomination.

Those who choose to join LAUMC will be received into membership on Sunday, March 20 (Palm Sunday), at the 5:00pm Creekside Crossings worship service. The service will be followed by an All-Church Family Dinner to welcome new members.

Registration for Starting the Journey is required by March 6, and minimum enrollment is 12. Dinner and childcare will be provided. Contact Megan Carroll (650-948-1083 x152), executive assistant to pastoral staff, to register. Contact Pastor Debbie for more information.

Join an Ashland Adventure, Sept. 28–Oct. 1

Ashland OSF promo smallJoin Senior Organist Paul Rosas and his wife, Karen, for a wonderful trip to Ashland for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and a great time with friends. The trip takes place September 28 – October 1, when Oregon’s beautiful fall colors should be at their peak. The group will watch plays, relax, and have opportunities for additional activities. The trip costs $840 per person, which includes transportation, lodging, some meals, and tickets to three plays: Great Expectations, Hamlet, and The Wiz.

Two optional plays are available for an extra fee: Yeomen of the Guard (with an audience participation opportunity) or Twelfth Night. Other optional activities include a culinary adventure (wine, cheese, and chocolate tasting), Jacksonville excursion, back stage tour, delicious dinners, shopping, hiking, and a discussion group with a lead actor.


Registration is now open. A registration deposit of $100 is due April 1, and final monies are due July 1. You can register online or fill out a print registration form (available at the Connection Points and the church office). You may charge your trip to your credit card if you register online, or send your print registration in with a check made out to LAUMC (with “Ashland 2016” in the memo line).

Contact Anne Cross (408-867-1444), Susan O’Neil (408-245-5304), or Paul and Karen Rosas (408-267-8626) if you have any questions.

Wednesday Night Movie Class

Film reel moviesPastor Mariellen and CJ Arnesen are once again this year leading a movie class. The class will meet on Wednesdays, January 27 through March 2, from 7:00 to 8:30pm in Creekside. This six-week class focuses on the theological implications of the best movies of the year, often those nominated for Academy Awards. Participants are asked to see the film prior to the class when it is discussed. The leaders will summarize the themes of the film and then offer questions to help encourage conversation around tables followed by large-group discussion and exploration of each film. The final class will be a wrap-up session after the Oscars. The schedule of movies will be posted as they are determined.

  • January 27: The Big Short
  • February 3: Inside Out
  • February 10: Bridge of Spies
  • February 17: The Martian
  • February 24: Spotlight
  • March 2: Brooklyn

Making Shoes for Children in Uganda, Feb. 7

Sole Hope LogoFor lack of adequate footwear, children in Uganda suffer from jigger bites and related infections. Instead of (or before) Super Bowl Sunday, come to Super SOLE Sunday! We will meet on Sunday, February 7, 10:30–1:00pm in Creekside to recycle old blue jeans and plastic jugs into the materials needed to construct simple shoes and save lives. The shoe parts we produce will be shipped to Africa by Sole Hope, where local tailors and shoemakers create the finished shoes. Bring an old pair of blue jeans, empty plastic laundry detergent, milk or liter soda bottles, and a pair of sharp scissors. Some extra supplies will be available. For more information, contact Jan McDaniel.


GroupLife Workshop for Lent, Feb. 6

TheGodStory_CoverGraphics smallGroupLife invites current small-group leaders and anyone interested in potentially leading a small group for Lent to a workshop on Saturday, February 6, 9:00am –12:00pm in Creekside C/D. Jacob Armstrong, the author of our Lenten study book, will join the workshop by video call to inspire leaders in their own spiritual practices for Lent and equip them to use his book, The God Story, in small groups. The workshop is free, but please RSVP to GroupLife Intern Kristen Wandryk so the organizers know how much breakfast to provide.

January Adult Study Opportunities

Los Altos UMC has several opportunities for study and fellowship starting in January. Members of the community are welcome! You do not have to go to this church to participate. Read more about each class or group below.

Being Mortal: Screening and Discussion
Wednesday, January 13, 1:30–4:30pm, Creekside
Wednesday, January 20, 7:00–9:30pm, Creekside

Come see the PBS documentary Being Mortal, about how doctors and patients approach the end of life, then Dr. Bill Buchholz will facilitate a discussion about how we can help the medical system respect our own end-of-life wishes. You may come to either date. Contact Bill for more information.

DISCIPLE 1 Bible Study
Wednesdays, 7:00pm, Starting January 20

Want to know more about God as revealed through the Bible to the people in Bible times and to us today? DISCIPLE 1 is a program of Bible study aimed at developing an understanding of the wholeness of the Bible, spending 12 weeks on the Old Testament and 12 weeks on the New Testament. DISCIPLE includes personal Bible reading and study, a video giving overview and insight, and dynamic group discussion. For more information, contact Adult Ministries Chair Bob Olah. Space is limited, so please register your intent to participate on our small groups site.

Five Languages of Love
Sunday, January 24, 11:15am–12:45pm, Resource Center

We all hope for good relationships with important people in our lives. This one-session class will give very important information to improve all our relationships. Sue DeLong will facilitate, and childcare will be available. Contact Bob Olah for details. Register our small groups site.

Good Grief Recovery Group
Sundays, Jan. 24 – Feb. 28, 7:00–8:30pm, Redwood Room

Loss can be very painful. While there are no right or wrong ways to grieve, there are practical/useful ways to cope with the pain. Come explore the ways we grieve and healthy ways of navigating through that experience. Contact Director of Congregational Care Patricia Parfett with questions or register online.

Financial Peace University
Wednesdays, 7:00–8:30pm, January 27 – March 23

Do you need a plan for your money? Financial Peace University (FPU) can help you make that plan! FPU teaches God’s ways of handling money and biblical, practical steps to take to move from where you are now to where you’ve dreamed of being. Through video teaching, class discussions, and interactive small group activities, FPU will show you how to get rid of debt, manage your money, spend and save wisely, and more. Sign up at our small groups registration site.

Summer Reading and Study

The GroupLife Ministry Team has several suggestions for summer reading and study, either individually or with your small group. Stop by the Resource Center for more ideas!

Making Sense of the Bible: Rediscovering the Power of Scripture Today, by Adam Hamilton
Adam Hamilton addresses the hot-button issues that plague the church and answers many of the questions frequently asked by Christians and non-Christians alike. Did God really command Moses to put gay people to death? Did Jesus really teach that everyone who is not a Christian will be assigned to hell? Why would Paul command women to “keep silent in the church”? Were Adam and Eve real people? Is the book of Revelation really about the end times? Who decided which books made it into the scriptures and why? Is the Bible ever wrong?

Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith, by Kathleen Norris
Struggling with her return to the Christian church after many years away, Kathleen Norris found it was the language of Christianity that most distanced her from faith. Words like “judgment,” “faith,” “dogma,” “salvation,” “sinner”—even “Christ”—formed what she called her “scary vocabulary,” words that had become so codified or abstract that their meanings were all but impenetrable. Blending history, theology, storytelling, etymology, and memoir, Kathleen uses these words as a starting point for reflection and offers a moving account of her own gradual conversion.

Love Wins: A Book About Heaven and Hell and Everybody Who Ever Lived, by Rob Bell
Rob Bell addresses one of the most controversial issues of faith—hell and the afterlife—arguing, Would a loving God send people to eternal torment forever? With searing insight, Bell puts hell on trial with a hopeful message—eternal life doesn’t start when we die; it starts right now. And ultimately, Love Wins.

Why? by Adam Hamilton
Adam Hamilton brings fresh insight to the age-old question of how to understand the will of God. Rejecting simplistic answers and unexamined assumptions, he lays out core ideas for comprehending God’s plan for the world, including:
God will not take away our free will, even when we use it to grieve him.
God will never abandon us, especially in the midst of our suffering.
While God is not the author of suffering, God will bring blessing out of tragedy.

The First Paul: Reclaiming the Radical Visionary Behind the Church’s Conservative Icon, by John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg
Meet Paul again … for the first time. Two New Testament scholars use the best of biblical and historical scholarship to expose the church’s conspiracy to silence Jesus’s most faithful disciple, the radical apostle Paul.

Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion, by Gregory Boyle
For twenty years, Gregory Boyle has run Homeboy Industries, a gang-intervention program located in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles, the gang capital of the world. He distills his experience working in the ghetto into a breathtaking series of parables inspired by faith. Arranged by theme and filled with sparkling humor and glowing generosity, these essays offer a stirring look at how full our lives could be if we could find the joy in loving others and in being loved unconditionally.

Revival: Faith As Wesley Lived It, by Adam Hamilton
Wesley’s message and his faith continue to speak to 21st-century Christians—calling for a revival of our hearts and souls so that our world might be changed. Wesley’s story is our story. It defines our faith and it challenges us to rediscover our spiritual passion. Six sessions with DVD and leader guide.

Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World, by Brian McLaren
When four religious leaders walk across the road, it’s not the beginning of a joke. It’s the start of one of the most important conversations in today’s world. Can you be a committed Christian without having to condemn or convert people of other faiths? Is it possible to affirm other religious traditions without watering down your own? Brian McLaren proposes a new faith alternative, one built on “benevolence and solidarity rather than rivalry and hostility.” This way of being Christian is strong but doesn’t strong-arm anyone, going beyond mere tolerance to vigorous hospitality toward, interest in, and collaboration with the other. Affirming other religions can strengthen our commitment to our own. And in doing so, he invites Christians to become more Christ-like than ever before.

Disciple Bible Study: Introduction to Romans
Exploring how people have interpreted Romans through the ages is a good lens to view the history of Christianity itself. Compare what Paul writes in Romans to what theologians like Augustine, Luther, and Calvin say in trying to understand Paul in their time. At the end of this study, your group will have a more informed commitment to Paul’s radical vision of God’s relationship to both Christians and Jews and to their relationship to each other, thanks to the “love of God in Christ Jesus.” This eight-session short-term Disciple class with DVD and leader guide is exceptional.

Ideas and Resources for Lent

Lent crossWelcome to the church season of Lent, the 40 days leading up to Easter. Many people take this season as an opportunity to deepen their relationship with God through adding new spiritual practices and/or letting go of (fasting from) habitual indulgences.

If you are looking for ways to add meaning to your Lenten season, consider one of these devotions, reflections, or activities. Remember, you don’t have to start these at the very beginning, or continue them all the way through to Easter. Try one out for a day or a week and see how it helps you.


  • Rethink Church: Lent – Each week, ponder a theme and question, then post your responses and reflections on social media. Be as creative as you like!
  • 40 Ideas for Lent – Blogger Rachel Held Evans has gathered a list of 40 resources for different ways to observe Lent.