Archive for Service

Register Now for Compassion Week 2020

It’s time to check out this year’s Compassion Week projects and sign up! Compassion Week is scheduled this year for October 5-11, and there are more than 120 projects arranged for all ages and abilities. Visit the Compassion Week website to browse the available options and register for one or more opportunities.

Project focuses include creation care, human trafficking survivors, those who are hungry or unhoused, the elderly, the incarcerated, and more. There are virtual learn-and serve opportunities, materials for take-home sewing and crafting projects, and (socially distanced) on-site options. You will be sure to find something to suit you.

With so many virtual projects and opportunities, Compassion Week is not limited to Bay Area residents! Invite your friends to do a project with you, no matter where they live.

Compassion Week Gains New Partners

The Compassion Week Planning Team is pleased to announce that community support for Compassion Week continues to grow. Compassion Week has its first corporate sponsor, Fremont Bank. In addition, a new partnership has formed with St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, whose members bring new ideas to the table regarding environmental justice. Returning partners include Christ Episcopal Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Los Altos Community Foundation, Pacifica Institute, and St. Nicholas/St. Williams Catholic Parish.

The planning team continues to grow in other ways, as well. Yvonne Murray has accepted the position of Compassion Week Program Manager. She will work alongside the Compassion Week leadership team to help move the vision of Compassion Week 2020 forward.

Ash Wednesday Services, Feb. 26

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season of Lent, a journey of self-reflection and discernment which positions us to more fully understand and live into the miracle of Easter. The journey of repentance is about “turning around” so that we might be in right relationship with God.

You are invited to attend an Ash Wednesday service on February 26. You have two opportunities this year: Come before work or school to the 7:00am service in the Chapel at the Mountain View campus, or come at the end of your work day to the 7:00pm service in the Sanctuary at the Los Altos campus.

The 30-minute service will provide time for you to reflect and pray as well as the opportunity to receive the imposition of ashes on the forehead—a sign that reminds us that we have not always gotten things right, that life on this earth is fragile, and that we have the opportunity, in the person of Jesus, to live another way.

Dinner Serving Opportunities

The Bold Service and Social Justice team has arranged several opportunities for congregants to prepare and serve dinner to unhoused members of our community, either at the winter shelter at the LAUMC/Mountain View campus or at Project WeHOPE in East Palo Alto. Check the dates below and sign up if you would like to serve in this way.

Cold-Weather Shelter Dinners

There are several dates to provide dinner this winter to the shelter’s residents: December 26; January 2, 16, and 30; February 13 and 27; and March 12 and 26. Three to four volunteers are needed on each date, 4:30–8:00pm, at the Mountain View campus. Sign up on the Hope’s Corner volunteer site.

Project WeHOPE Dinner

In what has become a much-anticipated annual tradition, LAUMC folks (and friends) provide a sumptuous holiday feast for Project WeHOPE shelter guests. Volunteers help prepare, transport, and serve the dinner, with meal preparation taking place in the LAUMC kitchen and dinner being served at Project WeHOPE in East Palo Alto. This year’s dinner is scheduled for Thursday, December 19. Volunteers are needed in shifts for various tasks between 3:00pm and 9:00pm. Contact Jan McDaniel to sign up.

Compassion Week 2019 Report

The Compassion Week planning team has compiled the final results of Compassion Week 2019 (September 30 – October 6) and is excited to announce that the goals set for this year’s event were met!

  • 3,032 volunteer spots were filled out of 3,842 available opportunities
  • 119 projects were completed
  • 37 agencies were served
  • 7,591 hours of combined volunteer service

The Compassion Week team is grateful for the LAUMC community’s support as well as for the partner organizations that helped expand Compassion Week’s reach into the broader community. Stay tuned for information about Compassion Week 2020 and opportunities to participate in its planning and execution.

Volunteers in Mission Opportunities

Volunteers in Mission (VIM) teams can go nearby or around the globe to address a wide variety of needs, such as disaster recovery, medical, justice, construction, Bible study, and more. Here are some upcoming VIM opportunities:

Middletown Fire Rebuilding: October 20–25 (see previous post)

VIM Leader Training: Saturday, October 26, 9:00am–3:00pm, Youth Room. Learn how to prepare and guide a team to work with the hosting community to address the community’s needs as well as create the most meaningful experience for your team. Contact Steve Elliott (925-640-9797) for more information.

Puerto Rico Hurricane Rebuilding: February 14–22 (ages 18+). Contact Leslie Carmichael (650-468-7890) for more information.

Women’s Build Mexico House-Building: June 13–20 (ages 14+). Contact Leslie Carmichael (650-468-7890) for more information.

Share the Love: Angels on Call

Angels on Call is a ministry within LAUMC that provides opportunities to give or receive care. This ministry has been around for a while, and it’s getting a reboot! If you have some free time and a car, volunteer as an angel to help someone get around, or to bring them a meal. Angel volunteers are “on call” to be notified when someone who is ill or recovering needs meals, or make themselves available to those who don’t drive—giving rides to LAUMC services or events, doctor’s appointments, running errands, and similar requests as available. Angels could even grocery shop for someone who is housebound! If you are interested in providing services such as these, or if you or someone you know would benefit from an angel, contact Coordinator of Senior Adult Ministries Megan Carroll (650-948-1083). Please complete volunteer application.

Finding Hope in the Ashes: An Early Response Team Report

The devastation of the Camp Fire is hard to picture unless you see it first-hand. There are burned out homes, businesses, and vehicles as far as you can see. So many lives have been changed forever. Closure will be hard to come by.

Nonetheless, the role of our recent Early Response Team mission to Paradise was to help start the journey of renewal. For about two weeks we sent teams with residents to visit their property and to assist with the recovery of what limited possessions that survived, if any.

It was heartbreaking. Most everything was gone. Look around your house and imagine losing every bit of it. Everything. We all recognize that a lot of it is “just stuff,” but there are also treasured keepsakes, photos, cherished jewelry, kid’s toys—a lifetime of memories.

Most days we sent out three teams of two people, each lead by an Early Response Team Leader. A full day was about three stops of two to three hours per site. We met with the resident at their property and first talked about their situation—how they are feeling, how they are doing now. Each person needs to tell their story. Then, as we suited up in protective gear (there are many hazardous chemicals and toxins in the ruins), they would tell us what specific things to look for.

Each situation was different. Most were looking for valuables of some type—a wedding ring, coin collection, or other personal treasure. After a few rains, finding such things in the soggy, soupy ash was nearly impossible. We had some successes and some disappointments. Others wanted to salvage grandma’s china, family knick-knacks, and mementoes of times gone by. Some were just looking for anything to remind them of their life in that place. Time is short. The bulldozers come in a few weeks.

Everyone processes loss in their own way. A good cry helps. Others wanted to reflect on special fond memories. We lent a willing ear for a couple of hours as we sifted ashes. And then we were gone. The clients were left with their own grief. Most are uncertain about their future: rebuild or not, where to live, what about the job they lost, and so many life decisions crammed into a few upside-down weeks. And yet, among all the sadness, we saw glimmers of hope, just like the sparkle of a lost ring in the debris.

Our mission participants will never forget this experience. We touched the lives of a few hundred people in a time of extreme crisis. It was a fleeting but meaningful impact. We marveled at the resilience and the determination of people so traumatized. “Grateful to be alive” takes on a whole new meaning!

Outside of our own comfort zone, we have grown as individuals who experienced the true meaning of living our faith in such a tangible way. Join us in prayer for the people of Paradise.

In Mission Together,

The California-Nevada Conference Camp Fire Response Team

Compassion Week 2018: Changemaking in Action

For the sixth year in a row, LAUMC suspended regular worship services and instead offered opportunities throughout the week of September 24–30 for congregants to put their faith into action through participation in a range of service projects. Although the final numbers are still being tabulated, by all accounts Compassion Week was once again a resounding success. Over the course of the week:

  • More than 1,500 volunteer positions were filled
  • More than 60 service projects were covered
  • Participants addressed a range of needs, including feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, visiting prisoners, ensuring safe and affordable housing, cleaning up the environment, and assembling hygiene kits for disaster relief

New this year was a focus on “building a bigger table” by going beyond acts of service to actively engaging in building relationships with others. LAUMC sponsored two very well attended community dinners during Compassion Week. One was focused on listening to youth about the challenges they face, and the other was an interfaith gathering designed to foster understanding and friendship with people from many faith traditions.


Thank you to all who participated in Compassion Week! Plan to join us again next year. Better yet, think about how you might “do Compassion Week” all year long!

Rebuilding Together Team, Oct. 27

In partnership with the community, Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley rehabilitates the homes of low-income homeowners so that they may live in warmth, safety and independence. Rebuilding Together also repairs nonprofit facilities so they are better able to serve our community. On Saturday, October 27, from 8:00am to 5:00pm, you are invited to join a team from LAUMC  that will repair the home of a low income homeowner in San Jose. All skill levels are welcome, and the minimum age is 14. Sign up here. Contact Leslie Carmichael  (650-468-7890) with questions.