Last Sunday, Dr. Jeffrey Kuan, Dean of Drew University, provided the monthly Mission Moment to give some background on his work in the northeast. He still calls CCUMC his home church, and plans to eventually return to the west coast when his assignment at Drew is complete.
Monday, September 26, 2011
Sunday, September 25, 2011
I just attended Jonathan Snoek’s graduation ceremony for the Kitchen of Champions Culinary Program at St. Vincent de Paul’s. Yeah, Jonathan! It was a jubilant occasion. Lots of happy faces and hoots and cheers. But it was also a moving experience. Each graduate shared their stories or gave thanks. There were a couple of graduates who had been in prison. Another graduate recited a poem he wrote, sharing about the horrors of violence and death in his life and a haunting phrase, "my father inhaled crack and exhaled his future."
One common theme though was the gratitude each graduate had for the program, family and friends who supported him/her. There were lots of big families at the celebration and everyone cheered for each other. It was impossible to understand the depth of each person's challenges, but there was no doubt that the community here was a huge factor in each person's success. How important it was to have community.
Our scripture for this Sunday is Paul's letter to the Philippians. He encourages them, and us, to humble ourselves and to help one another. Sometimes it seems the phrase "love thy neighbor" gets watered down to be something like "do a good deed." But tonight, I am humbled by the importance of community in being there for each other. That bond that we have even when we are strangers transcends all boundaries when we say - just as Jesus said to His disciples, "I am here with you." And it makes all the difference in the world. As we continue our study of Philippians, may we consider our practice of community.
*Please note: Pastor Emily will be on vacation from Sept. 26th - Oct. 3rd. She will return to the office on Oct. 4th. During her absence, please contact our Co-Lay Leaders: Derek Lang and/or Leo Lin in case of emergency. Rev. John Oda, pastor of Lake Park UMC, our sister circuit church is also available.
*Celebrating World Communion Sunday, Oct. 9th - Mark your calendars now for a special joint worship in 3 weeks. Worship will begin at 10:30 a.m. followed by a special soup luncheon. A joint choir will be formed for this special occasion and you are invited to be a part of it. Two practices will be held on Saturdays, Oct. 1st and 8th, at 4:00p.m. Please connect with Pastor Emily if you'd like to be a part of it. Additionally, we are seeking volunteers to make soup for the day. Please connect with Peggy if you'd be willing and able. On this day, we celebrate Christian unity and ecumenical cooperation. In addition, we take a special offering to provide scholarship for racial and ethnic minority students in the UMC, equipping them to transform the world.
*Food Pantry Joint Orientation, Oct. 15th, 10:00a.m. - 1:00p.m. - Have you served at the Lake Merritt UMC Food Pantry already? Are you curious about the ministry? We'll be gathering with Lake Merritt folks on Saturday, Oct. 15th for a time of sharing, learning and collaborating. We hope that this will enable our collaboration to deepen and grow stronger. The orientation will include a potluck lunch. You are invited to bring either a salad, bread/drinks, or dessert/fruit. Please RSVP to Richard and Jane.
*Treasures of the Transformed Life Congregational Study begins Sunday, Oct. 16 - We will kick off a 6-week worship and study series on October 16th. You are encouraged to use the book in your individual daily devotions, reflect on and discuss it in Sunday School, and together, celebrate the themes in worship. Please do purchase your own copy by picking up a used copy at in the social hall or through a local bookstore.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Sunday, September 18, 2011
* Please note: Pastor Emily will be on vacation from Sept. 26th - Oct. 3rd. She will return to the office on Oct. 4th. During her absence, please contact our Co-Lay Leaders: Derek Lang and/or Leo Lin in case of emergency. Rev. John Oda, pastor of Lake Park UMC, our sister circuit church is also available.
* Celebrating World Communion Sunday, Oct. 9th - Mark your calendars now for a special joint worship in 3 weeks. Worship will begin at 10:30 a.m. followed by a special soup luncheon. A joint choir will be formed for this special occasion and you are invited to be a part of it. Two practices will be held on Saturdays, Oct. 1st and 8th, at 4:00 p.m. Please connect with Pastor Emily if you'd like to be a part of it. Additionally, we are seeking volunteers to make soup for the day. Please connect with Peggy if you'd be willing and able. On this day, we celebrate Christian unity and ecumenical cooperation. We also take a special offering to provide scholarships for racial and ethnic minority students in the UMC, equipping them to transform the world.
* Order your copy of Treasures of the Transformed Life by John Ed Mathison now! Our congregational wide study will be on Oct. 16th. You will be encouraged to utilize this book as a daily devotion, attend a Sunday School class to reflect on it, hear about it in worship, and have a chance to chew on it more in Small Groups. Pastor Emily currently has 15 used copies in various condition available for $5. Copies can also be ordered online at various online book stores.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Children and youth will experiment with a new model this season. Their time will be structured as worship and include music/singing, prayer, scripture reading and storytelling, a time to respond through activities/projects, and, of course, offering! We give great thanks to a new team that has galvanized behind this experiment: Jane Yin, Derek Lang, Leily Chew, Gloria Gee, Margaret Mar, Richard Hall, and Richard Fong (substitute). Please commit to praying for each of them. While this team gets things rolling, please note that YOUR participation is needed and invited. At our recent meeting, Gloria mentioned that when she invited her daughter and family to visit CCUMC recently, her daughter asked, “Do you have a Sunday School for children?” This question awakened a sense of urgency in Gloria about the importance of a thriving Sunday School. To get involved, please contact ministry coordinator, Jane Yin.
This fall, adults will tackle two book studies. In the first, just 5 weeks long, we will be diving into a short, meaty study of the book, The Prodigal God. This book by Timothy Keller explores the familiar parable that we often call Parable of the Prodigal Son found in Luke 15. His easy-to-read, thought-provoking treatment of the parable will surely (re)open our eyes to who God is, who we are, and what the amazing Good News is all about. This study is a wonderful opportunity for folks new to Christianity as well as those who’ve been around the block a few times. Everyone is sure to be blessed in the process. In mid-October, a second study will begin using Treasures of the Transformed Life by John Ed Mathison. We are utilizing this 40-day devotion to reflect on and deepen our understanding and practice of stewardship. Whether you end up choosing to participate in the study or not, you are encouraged to purchase the book and use it in your personal daily devotions.
This day also marks the kick-off of a new season for our Small Groups Ministry. As I shared in a recent sermon, small groups (originally called class meetings) were developed as more and more people came to John Wesley earnestly seeking a way to grow and live out their faith. They were not satisfied with being “lukewarm believers” but wanted a faith that was alive and meaningful. These weekly gatherings proved to be incredibly effective in doing just that. We give deep appreciation to the team of facilitator/conveners who have prayed and prepared for this ministry: Burt & Jane Yin, Charlie Ho, Steve Chan, and Becky Wong. Three small groups will meet in various locations: Castro Valley (Tuesday), Union City (Wednesday), Oakland/CCUMC (Thursday).
Back in January, a group of 20+ of us gathered at Lake Park UMC to dream and vision for this new year. Over and over again, we talked about our deep desire to grow. We wanted to grow spiritually – we wanted our faith to mature - and we also wanted to see this community grow numerically. We’ve been intentional about creating opportunities for us to put legs on those desires, to move our hopes into action. Be it Sunday School or Small Groups, you are invited to take a step in growing – perhaps a new step for some and another step for others.
The writer of James says, “Draw near to God, and God will draw near to you.” (James 4:8a) May we look forward to the wonderful ways that we will experience God’s presence, grace, and love anew as we draw near.
Peace, Pastor Emily
*Small Groups Begin - Weekly gatherings of small groups begin anew this week. Groups will gather on Tuesday (Castro Valley), Wednesday (Union City), and Thursday (CCUMC). Small Groups are an important way to support, strengthen, and ground our walk as disciples of Jesus and our relationships with one another. You are encouraged to pray about this invitation and take a step of faith! For more information, connect with Burt, Jane, Charlie, Steve, Becky or Pastor Emily.
*Gum Moon Women's Residence Tour - A private tour has been set up for us to visit the Gum Moon Women's Residence in San Francisco. Founded in the mid-1800s to save Chinese immigrant women from prostitution by the Methodist church, Gum Moon continues to serve disadvantaged women and children in the Chinatown area. The tour will be held this Saturday, Sept. 17th from 11am-12pm. We will go for dim sum afterwards. Sign up on the Social Hall bulletin board. We will provide directions for everyone shortly, and can organize carpools for those who need a ride. Contact Steve Chan or Derek Lang for questions.
*Monthly Adventures in Faith - Our Homework Club is off and running. There are 62 children studiously completing homework each afternoon. We would like to offer a monthly "Adventures in Faith" program that shares the love of God with these 62 children. Will you be a part of it? Please pray about the opportunity and connect with Pastor Emily to share your interest. We will gather in the 2nd week of October to plan and prepare.
*2nd Annual YCVM Benefit Dinner - Tickets are available from Arlene or Jane for the benefit dinner at Legendary Palace on Friday, October 7th. An inspirational evening awaits you!
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Every summer, CCUMC member Aeri Lee travels to Uganda for one month to be in mission with the Reformed Theological College in Kampala, and Youth and Child Visionary Ministries (YCVM) in Kumi. Upon her return, a special worship, luncheon, and afternoon session is conducted to share her experiences, stories, and updates from the mission trip. CCUMC members have supported YCVM for several years, through fundraisers for constructing a boarding school, and supporting orphaned children. www.ycvm.org
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Sunday, September 4, 2011
*It's a Party, Sept. 10th - You are invited to celebrate the beginning of a new season of Small Groups with a party! We're gathering Saturday from 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. Our time together will build community, orient us to the new season, and of course, be fun! Please RSVP today!
*Rally Day - Sept. 11th! We're kicking off a new season of Sunday School (children/youth and adults) as well as Small Groups. You are encouraged to take a new step: if you haven't been attending Sunday School, consider participating; if you haven't been a part of small groups, consider joining. These are important ways that we nurture growth together! Please note: Sunday School will begin promptly at 9:30 a.m. for children, youth and adults! Your promptness is appreciated.
*Gum Moon Women's Residence Tour - A private tour has been set up for us to tour the Gum Moon Women's Residence in San Francisco. Founded in the mid-1800s to save Chinese immigrant women from prostitution by the Methodist Church, Gum Moon continues to serve disadvantaged women and children in the Chinatown area. The tour will be held on September 17 at 11am-12pm. We will go to dim sum afterwards. Sign up on the Social Hall bulletin board. Directions will be provided for everyone shortly and carpools organized for those who need a ride. Contact Steve Chan or Derek Lang for questions.
* Asian Health Services Annual Gala - Please connect with Derek Lang or Steve Chan if you would like to attend this event on Saturday, September 24th at Oakland Marriott City Center! Tickets are $100/person. Proceeds benefit AHS’s comprehensive health center.
* Support the YCVM Benefit Dinner by donating new “desirable” items, or gift certificates of any kind (services or goods) to their Silent Auction! The benefit dinner will be held on October 7th. Items may be brought to church beginning September 25th, but you can pledge your donation now by connecting with Becky Wong.
*Mark Your Calendars Now for October Happenings:
· 2nd Annual YCVM Benefit Dinner, Oct. 7th @ 6:00 p.m
· World Communion Sunday Joint Worship & Luncheon, Oct. 9th @ 10:30 a.m.
· Food Pantry Orientation (LMUMC & CCUMC), Oct. 15th @ 10:00 a.m.
· Treasures of the Transformed Life Stewardship Season begins, Oct. 16th (Used copies for sale at fellowship time or can be ordered online.)
Today, we celebrate missions and our call to collaborate with God in enabling God’s dream to be lived on earth.
For those who might be new to the congregation, Aeri Lee - our worship ministry chair - has travelled to Uganda for the last 12 years. What began as a short-term, one-time trip has lead to significant relationships and an annual commitment. This year, in addition to teaching at the Reformed Theological College in Kampala, Aeri also spent one week in Kumi with our Youth and Child Visionary Ministry (YCVM) brothers and sisters. We welcome Aeri sharing her reflections of her time as we lift up and celebrate missions.
The congregation is urged to attend the special luncheon following worship in the Annex. In addition to a delicious meal, we will hear a report-back from Aeri specifically about her time in Kumi with YCVM. This is an important occasion for us to continue learning about the ministry there, the work that we have and continue to support, and hear updates and responses to questions we might have. All are invited and welcomed!
If you’d like to learn more about YCVM, please do visit the website at: www.ycvm.org.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Dear Beloved Community -
What a joyful, grace-filled summer we have had!
Together, we caught fire as we considered God's movement anew in our own lives and the life around us.
Together, we ministered to 63 children in our summer program, scattering seeds of faith and watering them with God's love.
Together, we welcomed in over 200 children and their families during Street Fest and shared 1,000 back-to-school gift bags.
Additionally, we deepened our understanding and practice of missions through the summer intergenerational Sunday School series: Missions 101 and we served monthly at the Lake Merritt UMC Food Pantry.
And now the Fall is here!
Please take note of the following invitations:
*Missions Celebration Sunday - Sept. 4th: Aeri Lee will be preaching in worship as we celebrate our call to missions. Worship will be followed by a special Ugandan styled lunch and a report-back from Aeri on her summer trip to Uganda. Aeri spent a full week with our brothers and sisters at YCVM and has much to share. Worship begins promptly at 11:00 a.m.
*Rally Day, Sunday, Sept. 11th - We are kicking off another year of learning and growing together. On Sept. 11th, we will celebrate the beginning of a new season of Sunday School for all ages (children, youth and adults) as well as Small Group Ministries. Please note that Sunday School for all begins promptly at 9:30 a.m. Children and youth will meet upstairs in the Annex while adults will remain downstairs. Adults will be engaging two books during the fall: The Prodigal God (Timothy Keller) and Treasures of a Transformed Life (John Ed Mathison). If you haven't already done so, please order your copies immediately!
*Small Groups Ministry - Small Groups will be holding a party on Saturday, Sept. 10th from 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. This will be a time to reconnect with one another, learn more about small groups at CCUMC, and plain have fun. Please RSVP by this Sunday! Small Groups are a powerful way to deepen and strengthen our spiritual lives. Small Groups meet weekly beginning the week of Sept. 11th in 3 locations. For more information, please connect with Burt, Jane, Charlie, Steve, Becky or me.
I look forward to a faith-filled Fall with you.