Archive for Service

The Longest Night, a Service of Solace

For many of us, Christmastime isn’t the Hands holding candlehappiest time of the year. The loss of a loved one (recent or not), financial stress, life transitions, depression, and many other factors can contribute to our not feeling cheery, expectant, or like we believe we “should” feel during this time. But Advent and Christmas are not seasons only for the joyous – there is space and a place for everyone in this sacred season.

Those who are suffering in their hearts during this season are invited to join us on Monday, December 19, at 7:30pm in the Sanctuary for The Longest Night, a special service for those who need a place where they can be welcomed into the season exactly as they are, without having to put on a holiday face. It is also a service for anyone who would appreciate a little calm, reflective time of peace and worship in the midst of the hectic pace of the season. God comes to us wherever we are – even in our grief, even in our pain – and there is a place for you in this season, too.

Childcare will be available during the service, and refreshments will be served afterward. For more information, contact the church office at 650-948-1083.

Advent Generosity: Be the Light

Advent is arguably the busiest time of the year. Too often we become wrapped up in the trappings of Christmas, and it is a challenge as Christians to make time to prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ. As Adam Hamilton writes in Not a Silent Night, our Advent worship and study book, “Our mission at Christmas is not to get stuff for people to open on Christmas morning. It is to be people of hope who let Jesus’ light shine through them.”

Advent Generosity invites the LAUMC community to share God’s love and grace by making monetary gifts to three worthy causes and—new this year—by participating in service (see service opportunities below). Embracing Advent Generosity this Christmas provides a simple yet effective way to “Be the Light.” Our gifts to Advent Generosity represent our desire to share our love for others by performing acts of kindness, compassion, and goodness. Adam Hamilton tells us, “Grace changes the one who receives it, and it also changes the one who gives it.” We are invited this Advent season to “Be the Light” by emulating Jesus.

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 2016, three worthy programs will be supported:

  • Hope’s Corner, Inc.: Hope’s Corner, Inc., provides weekly meals and showers to people in need in the Mountain View area. Advent Generosity 2016 giving will help Hope’s Corner expand its food service, twice-weekly shower program, and additional services for more than 250 weekly guests.
  • Compassion Week 2017: Compassion Week provides LAUMC congregants and community members an opportunity to put our faith in action by performing acts of service. Compassion Week 2016 involved more than 2,000 volunteers addressing poverty, homelessness, education, hunger, the environment, and more.
  • UMCOR International Disaster Risk Reduction (Advance #3021952): This disaster risk reduction program is designed to prepare for and mitigate both death and economic loss and to facilitate community recovery following common natural disasters. The World Bank estimates that each $1 invested in risk management yields between $2 and $11 in benefits/cost savings in the event of a disaster.

Service Opportunities

  • Project WeHOPE: On December 22, LAUMC will host a Christmas dinner at Project WeHOPE. Those who sign up will facilitate dinner services, and share a holiday dinner with brothers and sisters who are working to end their homelessness. Project WeHOPE is a nonprofit organization in East Palo Alto that provides overnight shelter, food, financial literacy, and other services to clients in its transitional program. Dignity on Wheels, the mobile hygiene and outreach program, provides showers and laundry to people living in encampments, rotating shelters, and out of their vehicles. To sign up to help with the dinner, contact Jan McDaniel. Space is limited.
  • Hope’s Corner: Another option for serving our community as part of Advent Generosity is to volunteer with Hope’s Corner. Volunteers help prepare and serve meals, clean up, or check in shower guests. Visit the Hope’s Corner website for more information about volunteer opportunities and to sign up.

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 by Christmas Eve. Alternatively, you could make your Advent Generosity donation online. Also, please use the provided gift cards to let your family and friends know you have made a donation to Advent Generosity 2016 and/or have performed a service on their behalf.

This Christmas, choose a radical approach to giving, and your celebration of Christ’s birth. Together, let’s worship fully, give more, spend less, and love all through our Advent Generosity giving. If you have questions about Advent Generosity, please contact Valarie Arnesen.

Mexico House Building Trip, April 8–15, 2017

MexicoCome on one of Los Altos UMC’s Mexico trips and put your faith into action! The next trip is scheduled for April 8–15, 2017. We will build simple two-room houses for working people in Tecate. This trip will change your life as you get to know and fall in love with the people of Mexico who live and work in conditions very different from ours.

No power tools are used and no prior experience is necessary, so these experiences are great for the whole family. You don’t have to participate at Los Altos UMC to come on the trip: if you are interested, you are welcome!

Download the trip overview, FAQs, and registration form or pick up print copies of the informational flyers and registration form in the church entry or Creekside lobby. Completed registration forms and deposits are due January 3, with later registrations accepted if space is available. For more information, contact Leslie Carmichael.

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.

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.

Sign Up for Compassion Week Projects, Oct. 3–9

Compassion Week 2015 child painterYou are invited to put our fall “Love Does” theme into action by participating in one or more service and social justice opportunities throughout the Peninsula or on our church campus during our annual Compassion Week, scheduled for October 3–9. Please invite your friends and family to join us! Our goal is to get 2,000 participants from Los Altos United Methodist Church and the community engaged in acts of compassion.

There will be no regular Sunday worship services on October 9. Throughout Compassion Week, our worship will be through our service!

Love serves: hands-on opportunities
Visit the registration site to browse the listings and sign up. Activities appropriate for all age groups have been planned. Space is limited for many of these projects—sign up soon! If you need assistance, contact compassionweek@laumc.org. We look forward to serving with you.

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Compassion Week 2015 blanket makingProjects to do at home or with your small group
Several flexible projects can be done any time you’re free—at home, with friends, or at your regular small-group meeting! These projects are noted on the registration website with “Pick Your Date” in the title. Contact the listed project leader for instructions to pick up supplies for making cards, fleece blankets, knitted hats and scarves, or letters for social justice.

Design your own service opportunity
If you want to get creative, arrange your own service project with family and friends! Please email the Compassion Week team to let us know what you’re planning so we can add your experience to our final tally.

Save the date: Compassion Week Celebration
Sunday, October 16, 12:00–2:00pm, Creekside Center
To share the successes and stories of our service week, Los Altos UMC is holding a lunch celebration the week after Compassion Week. Meet the organizations we served, share stories about your service experiences, celebrate with worship, and watch a slideshow of photos from various projects. We will also have a Nothing But Nets Basketball Shoot-Out Tournament! Watch for details coming soon.

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.

Book Drive for African Library Project

Los Altos UMC’s Bold Service and Social Justice Committee is sponsoring a 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 library in Malawi, where most people make their living through subsistence farming and education is considered a luxury. Most people do not read regularly because there is little available to read. Books are rare, and little is published in the local languages. Students are eager for English reading materials, as they must pass highly competitive exams conducted in English in order to enter secondary school.

Book drive collection boxes will be available outside the Sanctuary and Creekside May 8–22. Our goal is to collect 1,000 books – gently used ones are fine! Here are some of the types of books needed:

  • Baby board books
  • Paperback children’s picture books
  • Paperback easy readers
  • Paperback juvenile literature/Chapter books
  • K–8 textbooks (English, math, geography, and science)
  • Encyclopedias & atlases (post-1990)
  • Paperback dictionaries

You can also participate by contributing to the cost of shipping the books, estimated to be $500. Checks can be made payable to LAUMC with “African Library Project” in the memo line.

For more information, contact Janice Maggiora (650-857-0454).

Therefore Go: Resurrected Hearts Lead to Action

Following up on our April worship theme of Resurrected Hearts, we have several opportunities over the next few weeks to listen to and participate in some possible “next steps” of having Resurrected Hearts. Read more below about a letter-writing opportunity and a short series called “Therefore Go” (based on Matthew 28:16-20) at our Creekside Crossings evening worship services.

Bread for the World Letter-Writing
Sundays, April 24 and May 1, 9:00am–12:30pm, Redwood Room
Sundays, May 1 and May 8, 6:00pm, Creekside
Come write letters to Congress advocating for policies that help end hunger in the U.S. and around the world. Sample letters and addresses are provided. Learn more about this national campaign on Bread for the World’s website. The letters will be blessed during communion at the May 1 morning services and May 8 evening service.

Therefore Go: Mexico
Creekside Crossings, April 24, 5:00pm
The returning team members of our recent Mexico House-Building Trip will lead the way as we transition from the Resurrected Hearts: Testimony theme of the morning services to our new Creekside Crossings worship series. They will share testimonies about their experiences of going to Mexico to build not just a house but community. After the service, enjoy a Mexican feast and learn about opportunities to serve in our local community from our Bold Service and Social Justice Committee.

Therefore Go: Nepal
Creekside Crossings, May 1, 5:00pm
Katherine Parker, a global missionary of The United Methodist Church, will speak about her experiences as a health and community transformation advisor with the ecumenical United Mission to Nepal. Katherine has a unique perspective on transforming Nepali society into the healthy, dignified, and hope-filled communities God intended. Since 2013, she has worked on issues surrounding water, sanitation, and hygiene in remote areas of Nepal. This work was especially critical after the April 2015 earthquake in Nepal. Prior to her tenure in that country, Katherine was posted with the emerging Methodist Church in Cambodia, where she helped communities with food security, livelihood projects, and access to clean drinking water. (Note: Communion will not be served at this service.)

Therefore Go: Nicaragua
Creekside Crossings, May 8, 5:00pm
For Mother’s Day, we will lift up Casa Materna in Matagalpa, Nicaragua, an organization striving to decrease maternal and infant mortality in rural Nicaragua that LAUMC has long partnered with. Jana Powell will share a reflection about her recent immersion experience there. The Bread for the World letters will be presented as an offering to God as we celebrate Holy Communion.

Invitation to All-Church Family Dinner, April 24

Our monthly All-Church Family Dinners on Sunday evenings have been a huge success! The meals are delicious, and Creekside has come alive with fellowship and celebration. Next up is dinner on April 24 at 6:15pm, when Chef Fred Mayo will prepare a Mexican feast to celebrate the completion of LAUMC’s most recent Mexico house-building trip and to highlight all the areas of service supported by our Bold Service & Social Justice Committee (BSSJ).

The Mexican menu will include favorites such as: carnitas, frijoles, salsas, hibiscus punch, and a dessert of churros and ice cream. BSSJ committee members will be on hand to share stories of LAUMC mission projects, social justice efforts, and agency outreach connections. They will be available to help YOU connect to opportunities for service with our local and global communities!