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Advent Generosity: A Voice in the Darkness

Advent is often the busiest time of the year, and it is a challenge to make time and space to prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ. This Christmas, choose a radical approach not just to Christmas giving, but to your holiday preparations and celebration of Christ’s birth. Advent Generosity provides a simple yet effective way to be “a voice in the darkness,” sharing God’s love by making monetary gifts to three worthy causes and by participating in service.

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 2017, three worthy programs will be supported:

Hope’s Corner, Inc.: For the past six years, Hope’s Corner, Inc., has provided nourishing meals and showers to people in need in the Mountain View area. Hope’s Corner is the only local source of free meals on Saturdays for the homeless and needy. Advent Generosity giving will help Hope’s Corner expand its food service, twice-weekly shower program, and additional services for more than 250 weekly guests. With your help:

  • $100 buys a hand wash sink with soap and towel dispenser
  • $500 buys epoxy coated, corrosion-resistant shelving for a walk-in refrigerator
  • $1,000 buys a commercial coffee brewer
  • $5,000 buys a mobile hot food serving counter

Compassion Week 2018: Church and community members have an opportunity to put their faith into action, engaging in worship by performing acts of loving service and social justice. During Compassion Week 2017, more than 2,000 volunteers donated more than 6,000 service hours to perform projects addressing poverty, homelessness, education, the environment, hunger, veterans’ needs, prison support, and more—locally and worldwide. With your help:

  • $50 buys comfort item materials for 7 women going through chemotherapy treatments
  • $100 buys the supplies to fill 10 UMCOR health kits for fire and hurricane victims
  • $500 feeds 100 veterans waiting for important surgeries at the VA Hospital
  • $1,000 buys Rise Against Hunger meal kits to feed 1,360 people on the brink of starvation

Response to 2017 Natural Disasters: A fund for LAUMC’s 2018 mission trips in response to 2017’s U.S. and international disasters. This fund will be available to supplement and provide scholarships for hands-on mission work in, for example, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Texas, and California. With your help:

  • $50 buys 128 sq. ft. of drywall
  • $100 buys five rolls of insulation
  • $500 buys one volunteer’s round-trip airfare
  • $1,000 buys 1,000 sq. ft. of composition roofing shingles

Service Opportunities

Habitat for Humanity: On December 16, an LAUMC team will be working with Habitat for Humanity at its Fremont Commons building site. Space is limited; please sign up on the Habitat website.

Project WeHOPE: On December 21, LAUMC will host a dinner at the Project WeHOPE shelter in East Palo Alto. There are opportunities to shop for ingredients, prepare food at LAUMC, serve dinner at Project WeHOPE, and share a holiday meal with brothers and sisters who are working to end their homelessness. Contact Jan McDaniel to sign up.

How to Participate

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 on or before Christmas Eve. (You may donate cash or make checks payable to Los Altos UMC with Advent Generosity on the memo line.) You may also donate online or by texting AG and your gift amount to (650) 229-5200. On Christmas Eve, credit card readers will be available at church if you’d like to put your donation on your credit card. In addition, the offering taken at our Christmas Eve services will go toward our Advent Generosity recipients!

If you pick up Advent Generosity materials at church, gift cards are provided so that you can let your family and friends know you have made a donation to Advent Generosity 2017 and/or have performed a service on their behalf.

Thanksgiving Eve Service

You are invited to one of the most heartwarming services of the year at Los Altos UMC. On Thanksgiving Eve, falling this year on Wednesday, November 22, at 7:30pm, our two youth choirs, Lightshine and Starfire Singers, will lead us in worship through song. Pastor Dirk Damonte will share the message.

Thanksgiving Food AltarPlease bring nonperishable foods; the collected food will be donated to Community Services Agency to feed hungry families and individuals in our community.

Estate Planning for Uncertain Times, Nov. 5

The Endowment Committee is delighted to have Scott Haislet, CPA and Esq., speak on estate planning techniques that can help you avoid common mistakes, reduce your estate tax exposure (especially in this uncertain political climate), and go over some common tools that you or someone you know can benefit from. On Sunday, November 5, a complimentary lunch will be provided in Creekside by the Endowment Committee at 12:30pm, with the presentation starting at 12:45pm. If you plan to come, your RSVP by Wednesday, November 1, will help the committee order sufficient food quantities.

There will be time for questions at the end. Mr. Haislet writes and lectures frequently about tax, real estate, finance, and estate planning.

Donate Books for Men’s and Women’s Jails

The United Methodist Women are now collecting books for both men and women at Elmwood Correctional Facility in Milpitas. Would you donate books to those with a little extra time to read? Please bring your book donation to the church office, where there is a collection box. Biographies, inspirational books, good fiction, and historical novels are preferred. Donations will be picked up and delivered by CIC Ministries, which responds to the spiritual needs of incarcerated youth and adults in Santa Clara County.

African Students Graduate

On June 10, four of the ten young women known to LAUMC as “our students” graduated from Africa University in Zimbabwe, fulfilling what was once only a dream of an education. This dream became a reality for these women due in part to the scholarships they received from LAUMC.

Our African Student Education Fund provides half-tuition scholarships of $2,800 to qualifying students each year until they graduate. We strive to provide this benefit to 10 recipients at a time. As students graduate, we add new students in need. Recipients must be African women who intend to use their education in Africa.

Pambi Jatutu, one of our graduating students, wrote: “You have made a great impact on my life. Having the scholarship was such a great blessing to me and my family. I believe that as I move out of AU, it will have such a great impact on my community as well. Thank you so much for every prayer made for me and for showing me God’s love in many ways. I love you all.”

Six of the remaining ten scholarship students at Africa University need our continued financial support to make their dreams of an education come true. Your donation can help make their dreams become a reality. Make checks payable to LAUMC and denote “African Student Education Fund” on the memo line. Visit the United Methodist Women’s page for the history of this fund.

Outreach Connection: Community Services Agency, June 11

Our Outreach focus and offering this month is Community Services Agency (CSA). Tom Meyers, executive director of CSA, will speak at our worship services on June 11 regarding CSA’s programs. CSA provides vital social services for residents of Mountain View, Los Altos, and Los Altos Hills, from young, working poor families to elderly persons. The agency provides a safety net so independence and self-sufficiency can be maintained through Emergency Assistance, Senior Assistance Services, and Services for the Homeless.

LAUMC has long been a generous supporter of CSA, and we hope you will give generously. Collection boxes will be set out at church on June 11, or you can give throughout the month by writing a check to LAUMC with “CSA” on the memo line or using our online giving platform.

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!

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.