Archive for worship

Christmas Eve Service Times

This year, Christmas Eve is on a Sunday! We will have one service in the morning, at 10:00am in the Sanctuary, to celebrate the fourth Sunday of Advent. The service will include a special musical presentation of Dan Forrests’s “Jubilate Deo” with choir, soloists, and orchestra.

In the afternoon and evening, we will hold our usual Christmas Eve services. Come prepare your heart for the miracle of the Christ child at the service that best fits your schedule.

Traditional family services: 3:00pm & 5:00pm
Contemporary family service: 7:00pm
Candlelight services: 9:00pm & 11:00pm

Infant care (ages 0–2) will be offered in the nursery during the 3:00, 5:00, and 7:00pm services. Children are invited to join their families in the service.

The Longest Night: A Service of Solace, Dec. 18

On the threshold, come through the door to what matters after a year of bad news, disasters, anxieties, pain, and sadness. For many of us, the days leading to Christmas are not filled with joy and celebration as much as feelings of sadness or longing. If this sounds familiar, or if you simply want a peaceful space, we invite you to join us for a candlelight service of reflection on Monday, December 18, at 7:30pm in the Sanctuary. The service will be led by Pastor Cate Noellert and our Congregational Care Ministers.

This service is 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. Refreshments follow the service.

Childcare is available by request to Megan Carroll (650-948-1083) by December 10.

Do Not Be Afraid: Advent Worship Series

Our December worship and sermon series is “A Voice in the Darkness: Do Not Be Afraid.” The angels that appear in the story of Jesus’ birth would have been very comfortable in our world of tweets and hashtags. Their messages were short and to the point. And every message began with the same words: Do not be afraid, even in the darkness. All through Advent, our sermons will mine the angels’ messages to Zechariah, Joseph, Mary, the shepherds, and the magi for what they say to us. You are invited to worship with us this season and consider where you can confront the darkness in your own life with #morehope, #morepeace, #morejoy, #morelove, and #morelife.

December 3: Make Ready a People: #morehope – Luke 1

December 10: He Will Save His People: #morepeace – Matthew 1:18-25

December 17: Nothing Is Impossible: #morejoy – Luke 1:26-56

December 24*: This Will Be a Sign: #morelove – Luke 2:1-20

December 31*: Get Up and Go: #morelife – Matthew 2:1-23

*Note: There will be one morning service on December 24 at 10:00am. On December 31, morning services will be at 8:30am and 10:00am and a Watch Night Service at 5:00pm.

Thanksgiving Eve Service

You are invited to one of the most heartwarming services of the year at Los Altos UMC. On Thanksgiving Eve, falling this year on Wednesday, November 22, at 7:30pm, our two youth choirs, Lightshine and Starfire Singers, will lead us in worship through song. Pastor Dirk Damonte will share the message.

Thanksgiving Food AltarPlease bring nonperishable foods; the collected food will be donated to Community Services Agency to feed hungry families and individuals in our community.

On the Other Side of Ruin: A Season to Ready Us for Advent

The work of the prophets was to tell the truth, which was not always easy to hear. The prophets’ message often was, “Under the surface, everything is not as it appears. We are not what we should be.” But the truth also brought new life and new hope. Sometimes life forces us into situations and places we do not want to go. If we are paying attention, we may see that they are also calling us into becoming another, better version of ourselves.

What do we do as we prepare for a new challenge? We renew our commitment to the disciplines that make us strong, ready, and equipped. Come hear and respond to our sermon series exploring this topic.

November 12: Finding Ourselves Far From Home – The Story of the Exile

November 19: Out of the Valley of Dry Bones – Ezekiel 37:1-6

November 26: Everything Has a Crack in It … That’s How the Light Gets In – Jeremiah 31:31-34

Fall Worship Themes

We will cover several themes in worship over the next month. All are welcome to worship with us in the Sanctuary at 8:00, 9:30, or 11:15am or in Creekside at 5:00pm.

October 22: The Best Is Yet to Come
Pastor Dirk Damonte will preach at all four services, using scripture from Philippians 3:12-16. At the 9:30am service, we will present Bibles to our third grade Sunday schoolers.

October 29: Are You Smarter Than Jesus?
Pastor Jon Visitacion will give the message at the morning services, based on Matthew 22:34-46. Senior Pastor Kathi McShane will preach at the evening service.

November 5: All Saints Sunday
Pastor Sam Lewis will preach at all four services on Revelation 7:9-17. Holy Communion will be served.

A Lever and a Place to Stand Sermon Series, Sept. 10–Oct. 15

Archimedes famously said, “Give me a lever and a place to stand, and I will move the world.” He was talking physics, but the principle also works as a metaphor. The “lever” is the gathering of people working for good in the world—the Church, committed to following Jesus, building the Kingdom of God on earth. But in order to have the power necessary for this work, the lever must rest on a “fulcrum”—a vertical piece, sunk deep into the ground beneath it, that is firmly embedded, well grounded.

Service in the way of Jesus is about transformation of the world. If our work is going to have the leverage it needs to be an effective instrument for transforming the world, it must be grounded deeply in the life of God, the love of God, and the intention of God. We find our way there through a rhythm of prayer/action/reflection. This rhythm and each of its elements will be the theme of our sermons and worship services for September 10 through October 15. Follow along as we explore “A Lever and a Place to Stand: The Mechanics of Transformation.”

September 10: A Recipe for Transformation – Seek the Welfare of the City Where I Have Sent You
Senior Pastor Kathi McShane will give the message based on Jeremiah 29:4-7.

September 17: Grounded in Contemplation – The Practice of Prayer
Pastor Kathi will give the message with Matthew 14:13-23.

September 24: Urged Toward Action – Compassionate Action
Pastor Kathi will preach using the text of Matthew 20:29-34.

October 1 (World Communion Sunday): Altered by Reflection – Humility/Reflection
Matthew 20:1-16 will be used by Pastor Kathi to give the message. Holy Communion will be offered at all services.

October 8 (Compassion Week): We Worship With Our Hands
We will not have any regular worship services in our Sanctuary this week, instead worshipping through our Compassion Week service.

October 15: The World Is Not the Same/We Are Not the Same
This week will focus on a theological reflection and celebration of Compassion Week. Pastor Kathi will preach using collected reflections from Compassion Week participants.

Why We Do the Things We Do Worship Series, Aug. 6 – Sept. 3

There are some practices we do over and over in church. Things like communion, prayer, and baptism. Why do we do these things? What do they mean? Let’s dive in and find out! Come to the Creekside Crossings worship service on Sundays at 5:00pm to learn more about why we do these and other practices.

August 6: What Is This Meal and Why?
Associate Pastor Sam Lewis will guide us through the practice of communion, both preaching about the practice and leading the communion service. Her scripture text is Luke 24:28-35.

August 13: Prayer: The Sixth Sense
Why do we pray? What is prayer? Associate Pastor Jon Visitacion will explore the meaning and practice of prayer, using Matthew 6:7-15.

August 20: What Is Your Name?
Senior Pastor Kathi McShane will preach about the practice of baptism and its meaning in our church. The scripture is Mark 1:9-11.

August 27: Standing Tall
Pastor Jon will explore hope and healing and how they are practiced in the church today, using John 8:1-11.

September 3: The Power of Our Stories
Pastor Jon will preach about the practice of witness, or speaking about our faith as Christian disciples. His scripture is Luke 24:28-35. Holy Communion will be offered.

God Is Still Speaking, Aug. 6 – Sept. 3

The “canon” of the Bible was closed long ago. But neither creation nor God’s word stopped once that original story was told! In this final month of summer, we will explore some of the ways God continues to speak to us, in ways we can hear now. Come for the sermon and worship service at 8:00am or 9:30am, and/or come for a deeper study of the day’s text at 11:15am with Senior Pastor Kathi McShane.

August 6: God Is Still Speaking … In the Words of Poets
Poetry offers meaning on many different levels. Readers can consider the intentions and circumstances of the poet as well as the ways a poem speaks to their own experience. This process of reading poetry parallels the way we read scripture. Senior Pastor Kathi McShane will give the message. Holy Communion will be served.

August 13: God Is Still Speaking … In the Stories We Tell
Associate Pastor Sam Lewis will preach.

August 20: God Is Still Speaking … In the People Around Us
Associate Pastor Jon Visitacion will give the message, with scripture from Acts 2:5-18.

August 27: God Is Still Speaking … In a Starfire Trip to the United Kingdom
Minister of Music and Worship Arts Dirk Damonte will preach, sharing about the recent trip the high school youth choir took to the UK.

September 3: God Is Still Speaking … In the Work We Do
Pastor Kathi will give the message, themed around Labor Day and with scripture from Genesis 4:1-5 and Galatians 2:19-20. Holy Communion will be served.

Worship Schedule Alteration

Summer is an out-of-the-ordinary time. A little breathing space to try new routes and routines. This summer we’d like to try to bring our congregation all together more regularly for worship. For five Sundays—August 6 to September 3—we will hold just two regular worship services on Sunday mornings, instead of three.

Worship at 8:00am or 9:30am, then stay for extended conversation and study of the day’s text with Pastor Kathi at 11:15am in the Redwood Room. The evening Creekside Crossings service will remain at its regular time of 5:00pm.

We hope that this will offer all of the morning worship-goers a chance to see and worship with folks they don’t usually get to see!

This is not a permanent change. At the end of this five-week “pilot project,” we’ll ask you what you thought about this arrangement, and we’ll figure out together what’s best for our church in the long term. Please share your questions or comments with us along the way. We’ll be glad to hear them!

With blessings and hope,

Rev. Kathi McShane, senior pastor
Rev. Dirk Damonte, minister of music and worship arts
Margie Gong, chair of Church Council
Jan Grace, interim chair of Passionate Worship Practice Committee