Archive for outreach

Report on Pack-a-Back Drive

pack-a-back-drive-backpacksIn July the Outreach Team and the Children’s Center held a drive to gather school supplies and backpacks for the Sacred Heart Community Service Pack-a-Back Drive. Together, we collected:

  • 14 full backpacks
  • 49 empty backpacks
  • $230 in gift cards for shoes
  • 15 scientific calculators
  • Numerous boxes of crayons, pencils, paper, glue, scissors, and more

This amounts to more than two complete classrooms of students who started this school year prepared to learn! Thank you for your generosity. This year, we were part of an effort to deliver a record 3,088 backpacks to K–12 children whose parents could not afford to purchase all the necessary supplies to help them succeed.

Sacred Heart is one of the agencies that our congregation supports with volunteers and funds. If you are interested in helping Sacred Heart in its efforts to eradicate poverty in Silicon Valley, sign up to volunteer during Compassion Week.

Guest Preachers Lead Creekside Crossings Toward Compassion Week

The Bold Service and Social Justice Committee and the Creekside Crossings worship team have arranged a series of guest preachers at our evening services this month to help us thoughtfully prepare for Compassion Week.

September 11: Rod Cardoza, founder and executive director of the Abrahamic Alliance International
The Abrahamic Alliance is a faith-based, nonprofit organization uniting Jews, Christians, and Muslims for active peace building and poverty relief. Rod Cardoza is a cultural, theological, and linguistic anthropologist who has extensively researched Muslim culture and lectures internationally on Muslim-Christian dialogue. His sermon topic will be “Loving Your Muslim Neighbor.”

September 18: Paul Bains, senior pastor at Saint Samuel Church and founder of Project WeHOPE
Pastor Bains is a third-generation clergyman who grew up with a spirit of hope and a heart for the homeless. He founded Project WeHOPE in 1999 with his wife, Cheryl, with the initial goal to strengthen the East Palo Alto community by developing transformational leaders to address the critical issues facing the community. Our Outreach Connection offering this Sunday will be for Project WeHOPE.

September 25: Dave Robinson, executive director of Correctional Institutions Chaplaincy (CIC)
CIC offers love to incarcerated children and adults in Santa Clara County through a prison ministry that brings church into local jails and youth correctional facilities, giving inmates hope for and guidance toward a better life with Jesus Christ. By sharing worship, testimonies, and gospel messages, CIC chaplains and volunteers minister to individual needs and present the gospel of Jesus Christ to all who will listen.

September Outreach Connection: Project WeHOPE

Dignity on Wheels shower trailerThis month, our featured Outreach Connection agency is Project WeHOPE. Project WeHOPE started as a homeless shelter in East Palo Alto in the winter of 2009. Since then, the organization has grown its scope of service to include job training, transition to permanent housing, and mobile shower units. Pastor Paul Bains, the founder of Project WeHOPE, describes its mission as helping the homeless and those at risk in rebuilding their lives through services that are customized to the needs of each client.

An Outreach Connection offering will be taken for Project WeHOPE on Sunday, September 18, at all services. You may give in person or online. Pastor Bains will also be the guest preacher at the evening Creekside Crossings service that Sunday, and all are invited to attend. We have also partnered with Project WeHOPE to offer several service opportunities at the agency during this year’s Compassion Week.

August Outreach Connection: Hope’s Corner

Our featured Outreach Connection agency this month is Hope’s Corner, Inc. People in our community are hungry. Even if employed, people earning minimum wage cannot afford both rent and food. In addition, people who are unhoused need a place to feel welcomed. Hope’s Corner, Inc., addresses these needs every Saturday by providing a nutritious breakfast and bag lunch. Hope’s Corner now serves 250 breakfasts per week on average. The organization also offers free showers and recently expanded the shower program to be open on Thursday mornings as well as Saturday mornings. On Thursdays, Community Services Agency has a social worker on site to help connect guests with the services they need.

On Sunday, August 14, Hope’s Corner board member Kevin Thompson will speak at the morning services and board President Leslie Carmichael will speak at the evening service with updates about what Hope’s Corner offers. You will find donation boxes outside the entrances to the Sanctuary and Creekside. Please give generosity to this growing program.

Ramadan Dinner Attracts More Than 100 People

Ramadan iftar dinner LAUMC 1 On the evening of June 27, Creekside was alive with storytelling, new friends meeting, prayers exchanged, laughter, and great Turkish food as we shared a fast-breaking Ramadan meal with more than 40 members of the Pacifica Institute. People of all ages from LAUMC and various local Muslim mosques came together to hear about the significance of Ramadan and to observe the evening call to prayer. Organized by the Bold Service and Social Justice Practice Committee, this event was one of many that we have shared with our Muslim “cousins” over the past nine months. LAUMC guests who attended said: “I’ve worked side by side with Muslims in the tech industry but never took the time to talk about traditions, faith and culture. What an inspiring evening.” “I felt so connected with the woman that I dined with, I invited her to join my small group.” “I never understood the similarities we have as faith traditions.”

Ramadan iftar dinner LAUMC 2Guests from Pacifica Institute also shared comments, including one of the evening’s planners: “I came home with a very sweet taste in my mouth, a very pleasant feeling in my heart, and a hope for the future! Tonight was very special. Not only because it was one of the last ten nights of the holy month of Ramadan though. I experienced a strong sense of belonging to the community increasing every minute I spent there. Praying in both religions next to my Methodist friends was priceless. I wish everybody at Pacifica could experience this.”

Thank you to all who made this evening special, and may we continue to grow in compassion, appreciation, and understanding toward our Muslim neighbors.

Same Pastor, Different Title

As of July 1, Pastor Debbie Weatherspoon has a new title! She has transitioned from being the minister of discipleship to being the minister of community engagement. Pastor Debbie makes this change after hearing a calling to this work. She discerned a new way to use her strengths of connectedness, empathy, positivity, harmony, and developing to engage the community both within Los Altos United Methodist Church and beyond the campus, in our neighborhood and wider region.

In her new role, Pastor Debbie will seek to provide collaborative leadership and support to the ministries of Los Altos UMC, with an emphasis on strengthening whole family connections, volunteer development, and partnerships with community organizations. Her key collaborations will be with the Radical Hospitality and Bold Service & Social Justice Practice Committees, the Children’s Center and Children’s Ministries, and our welcome and hospitality ministries.

Please give your support to Pastor Debbie as she makes this transition. Ask her to tell you more about her vision for the congregation’s engagement with our church and our community—and in return, she might ask you where you feel called to engage!

Outreach Connection: Community Services Agency, June 12

Our Outreach focus and offering this month is Community Services Agency (CSA). Harvey Dixon, former president of CSA’s Board and a long-time member of LAUMC, will speak at our morning worship services on June 12 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 12, 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 Offering, May 29

This month we will take part in a special UMCOR Sunday offering, laying the foundation for United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) to continue its ministry of relief and hope.

UMCOR Sunday, formerly known as One Great Hour of Sharing, is a denomination-wide offering that, along with other undesignated gifts made throughout the year, covers UMCOR’s costs of doing business. This makes it possible for UMCOR to use 100% of all designated contributions on the many relief efforts it fulfills around the globe, instead of on administrative or fundraising costs.

UMCOR does not receive United Methodist World Service or apportionment funds, so without your offerings, UMCOR would not exist. Among its many current aid projects, UMCOR is helping in recovery efforts from the devastating April earthquake in Ecuador, providing emergency food kits and water purification filters; providing assistance to displaced Syrians, both within Syria and to those who have fled to Europe; and in drought-stricken Cambodia, offering local farmers climate-oriented food security technical training that focuses on how to adapt to a changing climate pattern.

Through the UMCOR Sunday special offering, we have an opportunity to touch the lives of those in need across the globe. Please give generously on May 29.

Celebrating Mothers and Families, May 8

This Sunday, Mother’s Day, come celebrate our mothers during the morning services. Senior Pastor Mariellen Yoshino will preach on the great joy of the family of faith, from Luke 24:44-52. We will take a special offering for one of our Outreach Connection partners, Heifer International.

April Outreach Connection: Habitat for Humanity

habitat_logoThe Outreach Team supports agencies within our community and the world that promote human dignity by supplying the basic needs of food, shelter, or education. Each month, the Outreach Team highlights one of the agencies our church supports by inviting us to participate in an Outreach Connection with a special offering at all worship services.

Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley provides safe, affordable homes for hard-working families that might not otherwise be able to enter the housing market, and these families work alongside community volunteers to construct their new home. Through construction work days and financial support, LAUMC is a longtime partner with this local Habitat chapter.

On April 10, we will have a chance to hear about the work that Habitat does locally to fulfill its vision that every person should have a decent place to live. At the 8:00am and 5:00pm services, Don Varney from Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley will speak about the work Habitat is doing locally, including opportunities to volunteer on a site or at a Restore. At 9:30 and 11:15am, a recipient family will share about the impact on their lives of receiving a Habitat home.

You can contribute to the special offering for Habitat by writing a check payable to LAUMC with “Habitat for Humanity” in the memo line or using our online giving page any time this month.