Archive for children

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).

Compassion Week Celebration, Oct. 16

Compassion Week logoWhether you participate in Compassion Week or not, come celebrate the great things we can do when we work together to “do love” in our community! A week after Compassion Week, on Sunday, October 16, 12:00–2:00pm in Creekside, we will have a celebration lunch with food and games for the whole family. The complimentary lunch will include burgers hot off the grill, veggie burgers, salad, fruit, and macaroni and cheese. For dessert there will be shave ice in 10 flavors.

There will be videos and photos highlighting some of the service opportunities during Compassion Week. Kids can play on an inflatable “Chuggy Choo-Choo” playground, play a life-size game of Pac-Man, or shoot basketball free throws. Other entertainment options for adults include listening to music by the Creekside Worship Band, browsing and purchasing fall and holiday crafts sold by the United Methodist Women, and cheering on your favorite competitors in the Nothing But Nets basketball championship tournament, benefiting Imagine No Malaria.

Celebrating Our Children, May 1

LAUMC children singingChildren’s Celebration Sunday, on May 1, is a special opportunity to celebrate the hard work and the rewards of LAUMC’s weekend Children’s Ministries and weekday Children’s Center Preschool and all of the children involved in our church.

This year’s theme is “Each of us is a flower growing in God’s garden.” Pastor Debbie Weatherspoon will preach at the morning services, and the children will sing. Children’s Center Codirectors Denize Gray and Heidi Bliss will lead a May pole dance/celebration for the Sunday school children at 9:30am.

Parenting Education Event: Banishing the Bogeyman, March 23

Finger monsters 300pxOur Children’s Center Preschool has scheduled Patty Wipfler, the founder and program director of the nonprofit Hand in Hand Parenting, to come talk about how to ease children’s fears. All are welcome to come on Wednesday, March 23, at 7:00pm in Creekside to hear Patty present the essential skills parents need to help children overcome their fears. She will share information about the roots of children’s fears, how they indirectly communicate about their fears, and how adults can help them recover from frightening experiences. She will offer several listening tools, simple but practical ways to help children release the tension that locks them into reactive behaviors. Participants will go home with an increased understanding of what makes children tick and with concrete, proven strategies for easing their fears.

The program is free, but please register online for planning purposes. Contact Bryn Stuebner to request childcare or for more information.

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.


Imagine Worship Series, May 31-June 14

A Three-Part Journey Into Embracing God’s Future

Ephesians 3:20-21 speaks of a God who is able to do infinitely and abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine. The narrative of God is one in which God speaks things into being. Things that did not exist before have all the potential of being present now and in the future through the power of God. As God’s people, we are called to this “Imagine” spirit, where we hope and hunger for the new. We celebrate over these three weeks the “beyond imagination” potential of children, the creative power of the arts, and the unknown ripples of our ministry together.

May 31 | The Children Are Our Future (Children’s Celebration Sunday)

How do we celebrate and cherish the incredible potential that exists in every child? How do we understand the great need to invest in their potential, not just as parents, but as a community of faith? What they will be is “beyond imagination”! Retiring Children’s Center Director Non Mead will preach at the morning services, and we will celebrate her service with our preschool families as well as our overall Children’s Ministry. The scripture is 1 Corinthians 3:10-14.

June 7 | In the Image of God (Arts Alive! Sunday)

The first thing we come to understand in Scripture about God’s character is that God is a “creator God.” God takes the formless and even the void and shapes beauty into creation. God is the Divine Artist. To be created in the image of God means that we have the capacity for great imagination and creativity. To celebrate the gift of the arts is to celebrate the character of God that lives within us. As we lift up and acknowledge the incredible gifts within our community, we celebrate the creative power of a God who “paints the sky and shapes the beauty of our earth.” Holy Communion will be served at all services. Pastor Mariellen will preach at the morning services and Pastor Dirk at the evening service. The scripture is Genesis 1:1-5, 26-27.

June 14 | A Call to Multiply (Celebration of Ministry)

When faithful people respond to God’s call to “go forth and make disciples,” amazing things happen. The church in Acts 16:5-15 is a community that continued to multiply. When ministry takes place, multiplication happens. We have to believe that the power of God is able to do far more than we ask or imagine. There are “unknown ripples” of our ministry together, changing lives and transforming this world. Pastor Mariellen will give the message at the morning services and Pastor Sam at the evening service.

Help Us Honor Retiring Preschool Director Non Mead

meadAfter 25 years of loving and caring for children in our community, Children’s Center Director Non Mead is retiring. Non has been the director of LAUMC’s preschool for the past 15 years, and she has devoted her time and energy to supporting young families as they navigate this wonderful stage of life. The church and preschool community is invited to two opportunities to celebrate Non’s time with us.

Children’s Celebration Sunday, May 31
Worship: 8:00, 9:30, & 11:15am, Sanctuary
Luncheon: 12:30pm, Creekside

The church will celebrate Non’s instrumental ministry with our preschool children on Children’s Celebration Sunday, May 31, at all morning services. Non will preach at the three morning services. Afterward, all are invited to a luncheon to honor her. If you are able to attend the luncheon, please RSVP here. Cards and notes of wishes and thanks for Non will be welcomed.

Children’s Center Lemonade Social
Sunday, June 7, 2:00–5:00pm, University Club of Palo Alto

The Children’s Center Preschool is hosting a celebration of Non’s contribution to the children and families in our community. This lemonade and cookie social is designed to provide an opportunity for anyone who has been touched by Non’s teaching and guidance to drop by and say hi. There is a large grassy area for play, and we kindly ask that parents supervise their own children. You are invited to stop by to wish Non well in the next chapter of her life. Please RSVP here for planning purposes.

Gift for Non

We can only guess what Non may need as she begins to fully enjoy retirement and time with her precious grandchildren. If you would like to make a monetary retirement gift for Non’s personal use, please make your check payable to Non Mead with “gift” in the memo line. Only the names of the gift givers will be provided to Non. Checks can be sent to the church office or the Children’s Center, or put in the Sunday offering plate. Your direct gift to Non is NOT tax deductible.

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.