Archive for Service

Habitat Volunteer Report

Last month, members of our OpenCircle young adult group and other Los Altos UMC members worked together to improve the Habitat for Humanity veterans shelter in San Jose. A full day of work involved adding seismic strapping, furring shear walls, digging dry wells, and weed abatement. The 1920s-era buildings have been renovated in partnership with the city of San Jose to serve veterans who are disabled, homeless or facing addiction issues. A special dog bathing station is included for vets with pets. Each room has its own heating and cooling system. Habitat can still use your help. If you would like to help with this ongoing project through our All Faiths team, visit the Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley website and volunteer sign-up page for further details.

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.

Advent Generosity 2016 Report

For the seventh consecutive year, our congregation participated in Advent Generosity as a way to share God’s love with others and be a source of light in the world. Your 2016 Advent Generosity giving totaled $99,889 and supported three programs:

  • Hope’s Corner, Inc., is the only local (Mountain View) source of free meals on Saturday for the homeless and needy. In addition to providing hot breakfasts and bag lunches for more than 250 weekly guests, Hope’s Corner also offers shower facilities and helps guests connect with other available services.
  • Compassion Week 2017 provides LAUMC congregants and community members with an opportunity to put our faith in action by performing acts of service. Compassion Week 2016 involved 2,034 volunteers addressing poverty, homelessness, education, hunger, the environment, and more throughout the Bay Area.
  • UMCOR International Disaster Risk Reduction (Advance #3021952) is a program designed to mitigate death and economic loss by preparing ahead for common natural disasters and to facilitate community recovery following such disasters.

LAUMC’s extravagant generosity during the Advent season over the last seven years has resulted in a total of $534,016 being put to work to save, nurture, and enrich the lives of others.

This season, we were invited to participate in hands-on service projects in addition to making monetary gifts. More than 30 people helped to plan, prepare, and serve a Christmas dinner to homeless guests at Project WeHOPE in East Palo Alto. Others served at Hope’s Corner in December and beyond.

Thank you for practicing extravagant generosity through your contributions of time, service, and financial resources. In doing so, you let the light of Jesus shine through you by showering love on others.

Scout Sunday, Feb. 12

A Scout Is ReverentOn Sunday, February 12, we will honor our affiliated Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops along with all scouts during our worship services. All scouts are invited to wear their uniforms to one of our worship services. Services are at 8:00am, 9:30am, 11:15am, and 5:00pm.

Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts will be giving witnesses of faith and serving in worship in various ways. At the morning services, the sermon will be a dialogue on “What Is Required?” between Pastor Debbie Weatherspoon and Eagle Scout Nicholas Trautman, an active youth member of our church. The scripture basis of their joint message is Micah 6:8. At the evening service, Pastor Dirk Damonte’s sermon will be about “Convergence.”

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).

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

MexicoUpdate: Registration has been extended to January 15! See below to download the registration form.

Come 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.