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Compassion Week: Save the Date, Lead a Project

Last year, Compassion Week surpassed our goal of 2,000 volunteers, and we hope to do the same this year, October 2–8. Save the dates and plan to go beyond our Sanctuary walls and into the world to serve. With more than 100 projects available, everyone has an opportunity to serve, regardless of age or varied abilities. Consider blocking out an afternoon, a day, or the whole week to serve in our community.

Project leaders are an important part of our service! If you are interested in leading a project or learning more about Compassion Week, contact Nadine Tadeo.

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.

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!

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.

Salvation Army Bell Ringing: Sign Up Now!

Salvation ArmyThe local branch of the Salvation Army has asked Los Altos UMC for volunteers to ring the bell for its Red Kettle Christmas Campaign at the Nob Hill grocery store located on Grant Road in Mountain View. Bell ringing is fun work: bring a friend or your family! Sign up for a two-hour shift (or several shifts!) between November 28 and December 24. Bells and aprons will be provided; remember to dress warmly.

Salvation Army programs in our area include food and nutrition, senior citizen clubs, transitional housing, music and art programs for youth, and worship services.

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.

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.

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.