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Mexico House-Building Trip, April 7–14, 2018

Come on one of Los Altos UMC’s Mexico trips and put your faith into action! The next trip is scheduled for April 7–14, 2018. 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. Financial assistance is available from the Mission Trip Scholarship Fund; please review the scholarship criteria and then submit the application form. For more information, contact Leslie Carmichael.

Advent Generosity: A Voice in the Darkness

Advent is often the busiest time of the year, and it is a challenge to make time and space to prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ. This Christmas, choose a radical approach not just to Christmas giving, but to your holiday preparations and celebration of Christ’s birth. Advent Generosity provides a simple yet effective way to be “a voice in the darkness,” sharing God’s love by making monetary gifts to three worthy causes and by participating in service.

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 2017, three worthy programs will be supported:

Hope’s Corner, Inc.: For the past six years, Hope’s Corner, Inc., has provided nourishing meals and showers to people in need in the Mountain View area. Hope’s Corner is the only local source of free meals on Saturdays for the homeless and needy. Advent Generosity giving will help Hope’s Corner expand its food service, twice-weekly shower program, and additional services for more than 250 weekly guests. With your help:

  • $100 buys a hand wash sink with soap and towel dispenser
  • $500 buys epoxy coated, corrosion-resistant shelving for a walk-in refrigerator
  • $1,000 buys a commercial coffee brewer
  • $5,000 buys a mobile hot food serving counter

Compassion Week 2018: Church and community members have an opportunity to put their faith into action, engaging in worship by performing acts of loving service and social justice. During Compassion Week 2017, more than 2,000 volunteers donated more than 6,000 service hours to perform projects addressing poverty, homelessness, education, the environment, hunger, veterans’ needs, prison support, and more—locally and worldwide. With your help:

  • $50 buys comfort item materials for 7 women going through chemotherapy treatments
  • $100 buys the supplies to fill 10 UMCOR health kits for fire and hurricane victims
  • $500 feeds 100 veterans waiting for important surgeries at the VA Hospital
  • $1,000 buys Rise Against Hunger meal kits to feed 1,360 people on the brink of starvation

Response to 2017 Natural Disasters: A fund for LAUMC’s 2018 mission trips in response to 2017’s U.S. and international disasters. This fund will be available to supplement and provide scholarships for hands-on mission work in, for example, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Texas, and California. With your help:

  • $50 buys 128 sq. ft. of drywall
  • $100 buys five rolls of insulation
  • $500 buys one volunteer’s round-trip airfare
  • $1,000 buys 1,000 sq. ft. of composition roofing shingles

Service Opportunities

Habitat for Humanity: On December 16, an LAUMC team will be working with Habitat for Humanity at its Fremont Commons building site. Space is limited; please sign up on the Habitat website.

Project WeHOPE: On December 21, LAUMC will host a dinner at the Project WeHOPE shelter in East Palo Alto. There are opportunities to shop for ingredients, prepare food at LAUMC, serve dinner at Project WeHOPE, and share a holiday meal with brothers and sisters who are working to end their homelessness. Contact Jan McDaniel to sign up.

How to Participate

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 on or before Christmas Eve. (You may donate cash or make checks payable to Los Altos UMC with Advent Generosity on the memo line.) You may also donate online or by texting AG and your gift amount to (650) 229-5200. On Christmas Eve, credit card readers will be available at church if you’d like to put your donation on your credit card. In addition, the offering taken at our Christmas Eve services will go toward our Advent Generosity recipients!

If you pick up Advent Generosity materials at church, gift cards are provided so that you can let your family and friends know you have made a donation to Advent Generosity 2017 and/or have performed a service on their behalf.

Post-Disaster Early Response Team Training, Nov. 18

Are you interested in learning how to provide a caring, Christian presence to communities affected by a disaster? Come to a training for Early Response Teams (ERTs), which do light clean-up and mitigation tasks, all with a spirit of Christian presence; this is not a rebuild and repair team. Work includes cleaning out flood-damaged homes, removing debris, placing tarps on homes, and helping to prevent further damage.

Trained instructors will provide basic training and certification for interested participants on Saturday, November 18, 8:00am–5:00pm in Creekside. If you are interested in leading a group,  ERT Leader Training will be held on Sunday, November 19, 1:00–3:00pm in the Garden Room. Los Altos UMC is hosting this training for the California-Nevada Conference. Registration is required, and the cost is $50 per person, which includes lunch and a training manual. For details and to register, go to www.cnumc.org/VIMregistrations.

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.

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.