Sunday, December 30, 2012

Videos for 12-30-12


Chinese Choir

Chinese Sermon

English Sermon - "Waiting....Fulfilled" Luke 2: 41-52, Pastor Pui Fong Wong

English Ministry News and Notes 12-30-12


*Great Thanks to Poinsettia Donors - Adrienne & Rich Fong (in memory of our parents), Derek Lang, Eddie & Arlene Lang (in memory of our parents), Val & Jeff Kuan, Donna Chan Chu (in memory of our parents), Peggy & Larry Woon, Lisa Ahn, Brenda & Vince Wong (in celebration of grandchildren), Pastor Emily & Steven Chen, Aeri Lee & Ben Wong, Ben Lang, Anna & David Wong, Elsie Wan, James Yu, Mabel & CK Lee, Ulander Pang, Feng Ying & Wayne, Lucy Zhou, Y.F. Fan Wu, Winnie Pon, Linda Woo, Mei Hwei Lee, Leo & Helena Lin, Lin Kam Huey, Donna Louie. Please take one home after service today!

*Please note - The church office will be closed Monday, Dec. 31st, and Tuesday, Jan. 1st for New Year's. Pastor Emily will be out of the office through Jan. 12th. For pastoral care and concerns, please connect with Meina Ko (510.452.1020 or meina-ko12@gmail.com)

*New Year's Day Hike - You are warmly invited to this annual tradition: kicking off the new calendar year with warm fellowship and time in God's beautiful creation. Hikers will gather at 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 1st followed by dinner together. Please connect with Becky to RSVP and for details (meeting point, etc.).

*Small Group Ministries Starting a New Season - Small Groups will begin anew the 2nd week in January (Jan. 8th and 9th). If you would like to learn more about Small Groups and their impact on our spiritual lives, please connect with any facilitator: Brenda, Becky, Burt, Charlie, Jane, or Steve. Every member of CCUMC is strongly encouraged to participate in a Small Group!

*LMUMC Food Pantry Work Day - Our monthly work day is on Saturday, Jan. 12th, from 9:00 - 1:00 p.m. If you have never served in this ministry, this is a great way to start off the new year! To learn more, connect with Jane.

*Church Appreciation Luncheon - We are SO thankful for the presence of each person at CCUMC. We'd like to gather and celebrate together on Sunday, Jan. 27th. We will be having a special luncheon at Peony Restaurant nearby. RSVP with Becky before Jan. 13th for the special rate of $10 (adults and youth), $8 (for children 6-12).

*Prayer Need: Our children and youth Sunday School program is very much in need of coordination and leadership. This important ministry program is a key way we walk with the children and youth of the church. It can also be a vital outreach to our Homework Club students. We need to build it up. We need to strengthen it. Please pray for God's leading and provision. A special training for any and all wanting to support this ministry will be held on Saturday, Jan. 26th from 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Please consider being a part of the day.

If We Believe by Pastor Derek Lang



In this year's Christmas message, the Pope quoted St. Augustine's Christmas Sermon #2. Speaking about the arrival of baby Jesus, Augustine said "for those good came such sublimity in such humility? Certainly He came for no good of His own, but for our great good - if we believe." "If we believe" echoed in my thoughts as I tried to explain to a friend what Christmas was all about. My words "God sent His Son Jesus as a baby into this world" must have sounded like a folk tale to someone without the context of belief. And yet, these words are so powerful to those of us who put our whole lives in the belief of a God that loved the world so much as to give God's Son to be vulnerable as a baby to the world and to die in love as a man for the world.

Charlie, Donna, and Amy explained to us last Sunday how one can interpret the Gospels' differing accounts of Jesus birth to reveal a truth deeper than fact about the meaning of Christmas. Christmas is more than a history lesson. It is more than facts about people, dates, and places. The story of Christmas reveals humility in a manger, a savior for all people are represented by shepherds lonely in a field, and the respect of kings bowing to the authority of God.

But you can only get to these truths if you believe; otherwise, it is all just a tale. Instead, the story of Christmas transforms us to give food to the hungry, sing carols to lift the spirits of those in need of company, offer gifts to bring a smile to children, and call for peace around the world. The Pope explains, "Today these prophetic words have been fulfilled! In Jesus, born in Bethlehem of the Virgin Mary, kindess and truth do indeed meet; justice and peace have kissed; truth has sprung out of the earth and justice has looked down from heaven."

"If we believe." Such words are so powerful and so fundamental. Yet, when we do believe, they open a door to wonder and hope. How can we not believe?! Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Candle Light Service

A CCUMC tradition continues, with a hundred candles illuminating the sanctuary during a Lessons and Carols worship service on Christmas Eve.  As one member described it, "a blessed event"! (English/Cantonese/Mandarin)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Videos for 12-23-12

Chinese Choir

Chinese Sermon

English Sermon - "A Lifetime of Waiting" Luke 1:26-35, 38, Pastor Emily

Wendy Lee's Baptism Testimony

Our own Wendy Lee got baptized on December 23. She has been a big part of CCUMC for many years and now attends UC Santa Cruz. Watch her share her experience with love here! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppf1zN3X9fY

Sunday School Christmas Pageant

Both adult and children Sunday School collaborated to put on a play showing what happened when Jesus was born, according to the Gospels and with some surprises of course! Watch the pageant here!: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYO1ibbuHP4

English Ministry News and Notes 12-23-12


*Merry, Merry Christmas! We pray all of God's wondrous blessings of hope, peace, joy and love to surround you and your families as we celebrate the birth of Jesus.

*Christmas Eve Candle Light Service - You are warmly invited to be a part of tomorrow (Monday) evening's special service at 7:00 p.m. The sanctuary will be aglow with the beauty of lights. You are encouraged to bring light refreshments for the fellowship afterwards.

*New Year's Day Hike - You are warmly invited to this annual tradition: kicking off the new calendar year with warm fellowship and time in God's beautiful creation. Hikers will gather at 1:30 p.m. on Jan.1st followed by dinner together. Please connect with Becky to RSVP and for details (meeting point, etc.).

*LMUMC Food Pantry Ministry Work Day - The first food pantry work day will be Saturday, Jan. 12th. Great thanks to all those who served over the last year and a warm invitation is extended to all those who have not yet experienced the ministry! Please sign up today!

*2013 Hospitality and Altar Flower Sign Up's - As we roll into the new year, you are invited to consider contributing towards the altar flowers (sign up on annex bulletin board, $10/Sunday) and providing hospitality refreshments (next to refreshment table). Consider working with someone new! Please connect with Laura or Peggy about sign ups.

*Holy Communion will be celebrated on the 2nd Sunday in January (Jan. 13th.) We welcome Burt Yin, certified Lay Servant, to the pulpit on Epiphany Sunday (Jan. 6th).

*Great News - Rev. Martin Odi (former Board Chair of YCVM and current consultant) obtained his visa to travel to the US on Dec. 18th.  Thus we will welcome him to the Bay Area on Jan. 30th - Feb. 4th. This is an answer to prayer!

*Please Note - Pastor Emily will be on vacation from Dec. 24th - Jan. 12th. She will return to the office on Sunday, Jan. 13th. During this time, you are encouraged to connect with Meina Ko, our Minister of Discipleship, for any pastoral care concerns or needs. She can be reached in the office at 510.452.1020 or via email (meinako12@gmail.com). Additionally, the church office will be closed on Dec. 24th and 25th.

Christmas Peace, Christmas Just - Rev. Steve Garnaas-Holmes


Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord…
                  who has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their
                  hearts.
         God has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
                  and lifted up the lowly;
         God has filled the hungry with good things,
                  and sent the rich away empty.”
- Luke 1.46, 51-53

Mary sees herself as part of how God is changing the world. Her song is not about piety, but justice. The Biblical model of justice is not just charity for the needy; it’s the exercise of complete compassion among all people as sisters and brothers. This requires the elimination of all that separates us from each other: the end of exploitation and dehumanization, and a radical upheaval and complete re-ordering of power and wealth and the economic and political systems that maintain them, a turning inside out and upside down of our society for the sake of the poor and the suffering. God doesn’t just lift up the lowly, but also brings down the powerful. It’s not just a change in certain people or behaviors; it’s a new world.

Christmas - the coming of Christ - is not a sentimental birthday celebration. It’s an act of God’s anguish at our self-centered ways, God’s judgment of our injustice and violence. It’s the initiation of God’s insurgence into the world to bring about justice and peace. God is sending an undercover human to totally disrupt our abuse of power and the very structure of evil itself. The Undercover Christ will defeat bitterness with forgiveness, subvert suffering with mercy and healing, and even overthrow the inner operation of death itself. Mary sees what’s coming. She sees the empire overturned.

To see the world through Mary’s eyes, through the eyes of Christmas, is to see the world from the place of the outcast and the downtrodden—and to see hope. In Mary’s eyes Christmas doesn’t make us think of comfort food around the family table; it makes us think of prisoners and the homeless, refugees, victims of discrimination, war and human trafficking. And thinking of them, we have hope, because God is among them and for them, and therefore so are we. In the birth of Christ, God is a poor refugee child and the emperor is powerless. If God is truly in the manger, our divisions are illusions: we are all in this together. We all are needy and powerful, all poor, all gifted. God brings us all together as sisters and brothers, and eliminates the illusions with which we separate ourselves from each other.

Seeing the world through the eyes of Christmas we see power in a peasant girl, we see hope in an empty manger, we hear angels when others hear only wind. We know that heavenly messengers visit lowly shepherds, not mighty kings. We see God’s infinite power and glory in every poor, vulnerable child. We hear hope even in the weeping of those who mourn, and we see glory and beauty in everyone, even the most plain. We know that God is among us in love and healing. We know, like Mary, that we are part of how God is changing the world, and we give ourselves over to that change. We know that even in the darkness and evil and suffering and sorrow, we are truly, gently, mercifully, lovingly saved.

To read more of Pastor Steve’s lectionary faith reflections, please visit: www.unfoldinglight.net. You can subscribe to daily devotional writings by him there.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Videos for 12-16-12


Chinese Choir


Chinese Sermon


English Sermon - "Waiting Between the Times" Luke 3: 7-18, Pastor Emily

Practicing Extravagant Generosity


Some time ago, a motion was made and passed in the Board of Administration and Trustees (BOAT).  The motion was made out of a desire to live out what we had been called to as God’s stewards, as well as a desire to pass on the gifts of God to others.  The motion was to give 75% of all net profit from the Homework Club ministry during its first year at CCUMC (May 2011 – Aug. 2012) to Gum Moon Women’s Residence in San Francisco, a project with a long history of extends affordable housing and other services to women in transition. 

At the time the motion was made, BOAT had no idea what 75% would represent.  Would it be $100, $1,000, more?  Approving the motion was an act of faith and required our leaders to hold lightly God’s blessings and gifts.

In August, our Finance team reviewed the books and calculated the profits and found that 75% represented $36,400!  BOAT was as surprised as you are!  Knowing we were going to give that much money away, BOAT hesitated and questioned.  After much discussion and discernment, the original motion was affirmed but amended to direct our Missions Ministry Team to recommend how to allocate the monies and to do so by the end of the year after obtaining BOAT approval.  The only stipulation is that the monies be used for missions beyond our walls, be it local, national, or global.  The Missions Ministry Team meant this past Friday, Dec. 14th, and will do so again on Friday, Dec. 21st.   Your input is welcomed!  Please connect with any Missions Ministry Team member (Donna, Jane, Becky, Burt, Ben, Steve, Aeri) to share your discernment and God’s leading. 

This is incredibly exciting.  We invite your intentional prayers as we, together, discern how God would have us use God’s resources for God’s purposes in the world.

English Ministry News and Notes 12-16-12


*Come Wrap! We will hold a wrapping party replete with Christmas music, fellowship, and lots and lots of presents to wrap. We'll gather in the Annex at about 12:45 p.m. With many hands, all the gifts for the children of Asian Health Services will be done in no time.

*Prayer Invitation - Rev. Martin Odi, former Board Chair of Youth & Child Visionary Ministries and current consultant will be interviewed at the US Embassy in Kampala on Tuesday, Dec. 18th. He is applying for a visa to come to the US to visit us among other ministry partners. Please hold him and the whole process in your prayers!

*Adventure in Faith Christmas Party! We will be throwing a special Christmas party for our Homework Club students on Friday, Dec. 21st. Please come at 2:00 to help with set up. The party will run from 3:15 - 4:30 p.m. Your participation will make a difference!

*Christmas Caroling - We'll be heading out to share the joy and hope of the season with strangers and neighbors alike next Sunday, Dec. 23rd. Please sign up TODAY so that we can prepare a simple lunch. We will plan to return by 4:00 p.m. Drivers are needed!

*Christmas Eve Candle Light Worship - We will celebrate the beauty and wonder of God coming to be with us and amongst us, Monday, Dec. 24th at 7:00 p.m. Please consider bringing some light refreshments to share for our time of fellowship afterwards.

*Hospitality in 2013 - Thank you to all who extended hospitality each Sunday, providing delicious refreshments as well as cleaning up. The calendar for the first half of 2013 is up. You are invited to use this as an opportunity to get to know others and build relationships.

*Please Note - Pastor Emily will be going on vacation from Dec. 24th - Jan. 12th. She will return to the office on Sunday, Jan. 13th. During this time, you are encouraged to connect with Meina Ko, our Minister of Discipleship for any pastoral care concerns or needs. She can be reached in the office at 510.452.1020 or via email (meinako12@gmail.com). Additionally, the church office will be closed on Dec. 24th and 25th.

A Way in the Wilderness, Rev. Steven Garnass-Holmes



...As it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight a path for God." - Luke 3.4


Luke does a sleight of hand here, Isaiah says "The voice of one crying out: 'In the wilderness prepare a way.'" Isaiah is talking about a road through the desert that would bring the exiles back home. Luke is talking about John preaching in the desert, so he makes it sound like it's the preacher that's in the wilderness, not the path that's being prepared. Luke connects John and Isaiah because the coming of Jesus is not just abot personal salvation; it's about justice.

We've turned Christmas into a sentimental feeling-fest. We get warm and fuzzy loving each other and feeling touched at the midnight candles and the pretty music. But listen to the scriptures and it's actually all about God's profound and even traumatic incursion against the unjust systems in the world, to create a new order. The mountains and valleys of wealth and power will be leveled. The rough places of exploitation and dehumanization will be smoothed. No wonder there'll be "signs in the heavens and distress among the nations."

To really honor Christmas we should not just to shop for our loved ones but act of behalf of God's loved ones, the poor and powerless. Tonight I'm taking some church members caroling at the prison. Maybe it will get some of them involved in reform of our "justice system." Maybe our singing will be a small voice crying out: "In the wilderness prepare a way...."

This Christmas, be mindful of those who are marginalized, exploited or oppressed. Keep in your prayers those who are lonely or afraid or abused. Put them on your list, not just to shop, but to work for justice. In the wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord. Make straight a path for God. And all flesh shall see the salvation of our Lord.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Videos for 12-9-12

Chinese Choir


Chinese Sermon


English Sermon - "Waiting for the Day of the Lord" Isaiah 11: 1-9, Pastor Emily

English Ministry News and Notes 12-9-12


*Great Thanks to all those who served at the LMUMC Food Pantry Ministry yesterday!

*Charge Conference is Today! - Please make every effort to be a part of our short but sweet Charge Conference today at 1:30 p.m. We'll share a time of lunch and fellowship at 1:00 p.m. in the Annex before gathering officially. Charge Conference is the annual "business meeting" of the church. Our time together will be used to set the pastoral compensation, receive the membership report, and elect a team of new leaders and confirm those returning.

*AHS Toy Drive - We're teaming up with our Chinese speaking brothers & sisters to gather toys for the young patients of Asian Health Services between now and Dec. 16th. On the 16th, we'll host a "wrapping party" from 12:45 - 1:45 p.m. You are encouraged to donate toys in the following categories: books, games, art supplies. Thank you!

*Adventure in Faith: Christmas Edition - We'd like to throw a mini-party for the Homework Club students on Friday, Dec. 21st, from 2:30 - 5:00 p.m.  Please pitch in!

*Christmas Poinsettias  - You are invited to purchase poinsettias to "Christmasify" the sanctuary. Each plant is $10. Plants will be available on the 30th to take home. To do so, please connect with Peggy.

*Christmas Caroling - Please mark your calendars now for an afternoon of caroling with brothers and sisters on Sunday, Dec. 23rd. Please RSVP on the sign up sheet if you will be participating. Please let us know if you'd be willing and able to drive (must be 25 years old or older) and how many passengers you can take. All are welcome.

*Christmas Eve Candle Light Service will be celebrated on Dec. 24th, Monday, at 7:00 p.m. Our service will include Cantonese/ Mandarin for the first time.

Anticipating the Advent


Lance Moore @ Ministry Matters Anticipation. You may remember the old ketchup commercial where Carly Simon sings the song "Anticipation" while the ketchup slowly hangs in midair. Anticipation should be a joyful feeling, not the feeling of anxiety and dread. But the feelings are similar in that whatever we expect, whether good or bad, is often surprising.

One of my favorite jokes illustrates the connection between anticipation and surprise. Back in the wild West, a stranger stands at a saloon bar. Suddenly a cowboy runs into screaming, "Hey, everybody, Big Bad John is coming to town." Several others exclaim: "Big Bad John is the meanest, toughest, biggest outlaw in the West. Let's run for it." Everyone heads for the door except the stranger replies, "I don't know who he is, but he can't be all that big and bad. I'm not afraid." So the stranger and the bartender wait. Soon the saloon doors fly off their hinges, and a mountain of a man stomps through the door. Covered with scars and sporting a scowl, he demands a drink. The bartender meekly complies. The stranger nervously thinks to himself, "Now I wish I had run away; this guy is the biggest, meanest-looking outlaw I've ever seen." The outlaw downs the drink in one gulp, slams it down on the bar, then turns and looks the stranger coldly in the eye to announce, "I don't know about you, stranger, but I'm gettin' outta here. I don't wanna be here when Big Bad John comes in!"

Anticipation is usually followed with surprise! Most jokes have that same structure: anticipation, then surprise. We know something is coming but then it was not what we expected. There is something delightful about the formula. Children know it. That's why they love opening Christmas presents. They must look at those wrapped gifts for weeks of suspense, and only on Christmas morning do they receive the surprise.

If only we adults could reclaim some of the anticipation and surprise, the excitement and wonder, of a child's Christmas ... or of the very first Christmas. Admittedly, we know what is coming. We feel no anticipation about the coming of Christ; Christmas for some people is just another holiday, that same old time of year where we fight our way through stores, unpack our ornaments, and eat too much.

So we must work at it if we wish to reclaim the excitement of Advent. Paradoxically, one must work at it if we wish to reclaim the excitement of Advent. Paradoxically, one must prepare to be surprised. So I'm asking you in this Advent season to shift your perspective. Don't view Christmas as a mundane or repetitious holiday. Don't expect the "same old, same old." Don't rule out the miraculous and the startling; prepare your mind for the serendipitous joy of new insights, liberation, and the fulfillment of hope. Prepare to be surprised.

The gift of Christ at Christmas has come, and will come again. Anticipate that gift. Prepare for it. Don't let it get buried underneath the packages and tree trimmings. Don't walk past the eternal, oblivious in your worries of the temporal. Open your eyes. Watch for the signs. Bare and prepare your heart. Wait. The miracle is coming!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Videos for 12-2-12

Chinese Choir


Chinese Sermon


English Sermon - "Called to Wait" Genesis 12: 1-9, Pastor Emily

English Ministry News and Notes 12-1-12


*Thank You to all those who designed and created our beautiful Advent space! May it contribute to our having a worshipful experience.

*God is AMAZING...and So Are You! We have met and exceeded our YCVM benefit dinner fundraising goal! Even after all our expenses, our donations totaled $24,400. Great thanks to God and to each and every donor to this worthwhile effort. Please personally thank your friends who attended!

*Ushers and Greeters Gather Today @ 12:45 p.m. - Whether you're new to the team or an old hand, you're invited to gather for the last time this year to reflect and celebrate.

*Charge Conference, Dec. 9th, Next Sunday - Please make every effort to be a part of our short but sweet Charge Conference next Sunday at 1:30 p.m. We'll share a time of lunch and fellowship before gathering officially in the Annex. Charge Conference is the annual "business meeting" of the church. Our time together will be used to set the pastoral compensation, receive the membership report, and elect a team of new leaders and confirm those returning.

*AHS Toy Drive - We're teaming up with our Chinese speaking brothers & sisters to gather toys for the young patients of Asian Health Services between now and Dec. 16th. On the 16th, we'll host a "wrapping party" from 12:45 - 1:45 p.m. You are encouraged to donate toys in the following categories: books, games, art supplies. Thank you!

*Christmas Poinsettias  - You are invited to purchase poinsettias to "Christmasify" the sanctuary. Each plant is $10. Plants will be available on the 30th to take home.  To do so, please connect with Peggy.

*Christmas Caroling - Please mark your calendars now for an afternoon of caroling with brothers and sisters on Sunday, Dec. 23rd. Please RSVP on the sign up sheet if you will participating. All are welcome.

*Christmas Eve Candle Light Service will be celebrated on Dec. 24th, Monday, at 7:00 p.m. Our service will include Cantonese/ Mandarin for the first time.

The Meaning is in the Waiting


This year's Advent worship theme is taken from the title of a short, sweet Advent devotional titled, "The Meaning is in the Waiting" by Paula Gooder. The book had been hiding in my bookshelf for I don't know how long. And just as I was looking for inspiration for worship during this new season, the title poked its head out and gently took hold of me. The title alone drew me in.
In the foreword, the writer notes:
American culture gives us lots of cues about how to live inside time.  Chiefly, we are told to spend it (have you ever noticed that almost all the verbs we pair with time are borrowed from the worlds of finance - spend, save, manage...) We're told, by advertisements and by our Blackberries, to squeeze time dry, to use it well, to maximize it.
The church tells us a different story about time - it is God's, and there is enough of it, more than enough. The church's narrative about time is never clearer than during Advent, when we are invited to spend out time very foolishly indeed.  We are invited to wait.  Just to wait.

This seems to be an especially important invitation as we enter this time of year. Over the next few weeks, most of us will find our lives becoming even busier than usual.  Our schedules will become full of planning and attending holiday gatherings with family, friends, colleagues, and clubs.  We will go shopping here, there, and everywhere in search of the perfect gifts.  And then there are all the tasks associated with closing out another calendar year that we must squeeze in somehow (for me, this means a mountain of Charge Conference paperwork!).  And yet, on this Sunday, the first Sunday in Advent, the church starts time anew.  Rather than closing out a year, we begin a new one.  And the invitation is not to work ourselves into a frenzy, but rather to slow down, to quiet, to simply wait.  I wonder how that feels to you? Does it feel impossible...or appealing? Do you find yourself wanting to resist the invitation...or to embrace it? However you encounter the invitation, I pray that we might enter it together and learn what waiting offers to our lives of faith and our walk with God.

Over the next four weeks, we will explore together:

  • Why we wait,
  • What it feels like to be someone who waits,
  • What happens when we don't wait, and
  • Why God might want us to get better at waiting.

We will explore these questions by walking alongside some important biblical characters who waited...and waited...and sometimes, waited some more: Abraham and Sarah, the prophets of the Hebrew (Old) Testament, John the Baptist, and Mary, the mother of Jesus.  The hope is that by delving into and practicing waiting, we might be enabled to turn more and more towards God (and away from ourselves), and from being driven by an unpredictable future to being fully and joyfully present.
Happy waiting! ~Emily

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Videos for 11-25-12

Chinese Choir


Chinese Sermon

English Sermon - "Thanksgiving Faith Sharings" Psalm 100, Deuteronomy 6, 8,  Vince, Amy, Jenny C

New Membership

Sunday, November 25, 2012

English Ministry News and Notes 11-25-12


*Stewardship Response Cards - If you were unable to return and offer up your card today, please do make every effort to return them - through the offering - by next Sunday.  Great thanks!

*Advent Begins!  The new year of the church begins next Sunday, Dec. 2nd.  In preparation, you are invited to gather and prepare the space on Saturday, Dec. 1st, beginning at 10:30am. We'll be hanging the greens and putting up the tree as well  as other things.  This coincides with our monthly work day.  That will begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at 2:00 p.m. (You are invited to come for any portion of time.)  Our Advent theme this year is:  ´The Meaning is in the Waiting ."

*Advent Sunday School Series - Beginning Dec. 2nd, our adult Sunday School class will move into a new year with a new book. The book is titled, "The First Christmas: What the Gospels Really Teach about the Birth of Jesus." Over six sessions, we'll peel away all that has built up around the birth of Jesus during the last 2,000 years and consider the question, "What do these stories really mean?" Sunday School begins promptly at 9:30 a.m. Your attention to time enables us to have a focused class.

*LMUMC Food Pantry Work Day  - Saturday, Dec. 8th, 2012, from 9:00 -1:00 p.m.

*Charge Conference @ CCUMC - Please plan to be a part of this important gathering, Sunday, Dec. 9th, at 1:30 p.m. A simple lunch will be provided prior to our meeting.  In preparation for Charge Conference, all ministry leaders are gently reminded to turn in their ministry reports and forms for the year no later than Nov. 20th. Thank you!

The Prayer of Thanksgiving by Howard Thurman


Today, I make my Sacrament of Thanksgiving.
I begin with the simple things of my days:
Fresh air to breathe, cool water to drink, the taste of food,
The protection of houses and clothes, the comforts of home.
For all these I make an act of Thanksgiving this day!

I bring to mind all the warmth of humankind that I have known:
My mother's arms, the strength of my father, the playmates of my childhood,
The wonderful stories brought to me from the lives of many who talked of days gone by when fairies and giants and all kinds of magic held sway;
The tears I have shed, the tears I have seen;
The excitement of laughter and the twinkle in the
Eye with its reminder that life is good.
For all these I make an act of Thanksgiving this day.

I finger one by one the messages of hope that awaited me at the crossroads:
The smile of approval from those who held in their hands the reins of my security;
The tightening of the grip in a simple handshake when I
Feared the step before me in darkness;
The whisper in my heart when the temptation was fiercest
And the claims of appetite were not to be denied;
The crucial word said, the simple sentence from an open
Page when my decision hung in the balance.
For all these I make an act of Thanksgiving this day.

I pass before me the main springs of my heritage:
The fruits of labors of countless generations who lived before me,
Without whom my own life would have no meaning;
The seers who saw visions and dreamed dreams;
The prophets who sensed a truth greater than the mind could grasp
And whose words would only find fulfillment
In the years which they would never see;
The workers whose sweat has watered the trees,
The leaves of which are for the healing of the nations;
The pilgrims who set their sails for lands beyond all horizons,
Whose courage made paths into new worlds and far off places;
The saviors whose blood was shed with a recklessness that only a dream
Could inspire and God could command.
For all this I make an act of Thanksgiving this day.

I linger over the meaning of my own life and the commitment
To which I give the loyalty of my heart and mind:
The little purposes in which I have shared my loves, my desires, my gifts;
The restlessness which bottoms all I do with its stark insistence
That I have never done my best, I have never dared
To reach for the highest;

The big hope that never quite deserts me, that I and my kind
Will study war no more, that love and tenderness and all the
inner graces of Almighty affection will cover the life of the
children of God as the waters cover the sea.

All these and more than mind can think and heart can feel,
I make as my sacrament of Thanksgiving to Thee,
Our Father, in humbleness of mind and simplicity of heart.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Videos for 11-18-12




Chinese Choir


Chinese Sermon


English Sermon - "Extravagant Generosity - The Heart of Giving (IV)" John 3:16-17; 2 Corinthians 8:24, Pastor Emily

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Membership Welcome: Gloria Gee

We celebrate the membership reception
of Gloria Gee!

Becoming an intentional, active disciple here at CCUMC is in many ways a coming of full circle for Gloria.  She has many ties at this church through her participation in the Methodist Youth Fellowship way back when.  She was also married by the Rev. Edwar Lee (one of the early pastors here).  Gloria has two children (Julie and Michael) and four grandchildren.

Gloria spent years teaching in elementary school in Hayward and then Oakland, and later, as reading specialist with the Active Reading Center in Walnut Creek.  There, she learned to teach through games and fun activities, skills that she brings to her Sunday School teaching here at CCUMC.

Gloria loves tap dancing, an activity she took up about four years ago.  She now dances with three groups: the Wa Sung Tappers, the Grant Avenue Follies, and Ballet Etc.  In addition, Gloria is active in many clubs including Wa Sung here in Oakland, as well as Diablo Valley Chinese Cultural Association.  “When I become a member, I don’t sit back,” Gloria affirms, “I get involved!”  When asked what is a little known fact about her, she replied, “I am a poker player!”  She has been playing with “the same girls” for 38 years!

Since becoming a part of CCUMC, Gloria has served through the children’s Sunday School program as well as this past summer’s Adventures in Faith program.  She is also a part of the Oakland Small Group.

We welcome Gloria Gee as a part of this faith community!

Praise God!


Today, Yvonne lead our choir and church out to the street, raising funds for those who struggle to recover from Hurricane Sandy.
We give great thanks to God that Chinatown was once again so generous.
In 2 short hours, we were able to raise $1,400.
We will forward this money to the Red Cross.
We also give thanks that we are able to use our gifts, time, and energy to do what matters to God and to share God's great love and compassion with others - be it to those we met on the street or those all the way on the East Coast.

Special thanks to Yvonne, Meina, Dale, Ben, Aeri, Burt, and Jane for their part in the day.
Also special thanks to our lovely choir!

Let us continue to tirelessly do what matters to God!

Peace,
Emily

English Ministry News and Notes 11-18-12


*Advent Sunday School Series - Beginning Dec. 2nd, our adult Sunday School class will move into a new year with a new book. The book is titled, "The First Christmas: What the Gospels Really Teach about the Birth of Jesus." Over six sessions, we'll peel away all that has built up around the birth of Jesus during the last 2,000 years and consider the question, "What do these stories really mean?" Sunday School begins promptly at 9:30 a.m. Your attention to time enables us to have a focused class.

*Next CCUMC Work Day - You are invited to pitch in on Saturday, Dec. 1st, any time between 8:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. This is one way you can care for the church! For more info, please connect with Al.

*Special Offering for Hurricane Sandy Recovery - Today we'll be taking a special offering for recovery work in Sandy's aftermath. We recognize the massive destruction experienced by many, including  those on the East Coast as well as in Haiti (the poorest nation in the western hemisphere) and other portions of the Caribbean. Your generous offering today will go to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). Thank you!

*Celebrating Thanksgiving - We wish everyone a most wonderful and warm Thanksgiving celebration this week. We will cap off the festivities with a celebration of our own next Sunday, Nov. 25th. Please remember that worship will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the annex (please come on time and leave your potluck items in the "blue room.") Our worship will be followed by a potluck. During worship, we will receive a new intentional and active disciple into membership: Gloria Gee! Let us hold her in our prayers this week.

*Thanksgiving @ LMUMC - LMUMC is holding its annual Thanksgiving Community Luncheon on Thanksgiving day. More than 300 people are served a delicious, homemade meal. You are welcome at the feast - as diner or volunteer. Volunteers are particularly needed for the clean up (from 2:30 - 5:00 p.m.) If you'd like to pitch in, please send an email to Stephen Ford (srford1@aol.com) today. Thank you!

*Stewardship Response Cards - Please bring back your completed stewardship response cards next Sunday, Nov. 25th. We will be offering these to God during worship. Stewardship response cards are  not only important spiritual practices for each of us, they also enable the church to better plan for the coming year. Your prayerful preparation is invited.

*Charge Conference @ CCUMC - Please plan to be a part of this important gathering, Sunday, Dec. 9th, at 1:30 p.m. A simple lunch will be provided prior to our meeting.

Extravagant Generosity: Ed Lang and Laura Chan


Today we mark the 4rd Sunday in our Season of Generosity. During this season, we explore the path and practice of generosity and consider the call to extravagant generosity.  Together, we’ll wrestle with how our lives as disciples of Jesus are shaped and transformed through this practice and how we might live this practice out.  Each week, we will celebrate stories of generosity – both God’s and one another’s.  This week we lift up the sharing of Ed Lang and Laura Chan.

Ed Lang
“God so loved the world that he gave his only son to us.” John 3:16
God’s love is priceless! 
My giving is so little compared to what I have received from God. I will continue to give in whatever way God directs me. Stewardship and generosity is one of the ways that I can give.
I would like to express my testimony of the ways that God has helped me through out my life. God has always been generous to me. He watches over me all the time. He picks me up when I fall and encourages me when I feel discouraged. He gives me courage to face all problems without hesitation. He keeps me safe and in good health, I have had some life threatening situations throughout my life and He came to my rescue. He blessed me with a good wife (my partner) and a wonderful family. He forgave me of all my many transgressions; He gave me the hope of eternal life. God is always giving to me and I in return have given what little talent I have to serve. I try to treat everyone with love and respect and to have the courage to spread the good news of God. Try to love and forgive others, to help and pray for those in need. I am still a work in progress to do God’s work.

Choosing Love / Laura Chan 
Giving is an expression of my love for God as a response in realization of what He has done for me...freed me for eternal glory by the self sacrifice of His son Jesus.  God made the first move and waited for my response.  I find that God is gentle in his dealings with me showing me how I can return that love. Overcoming challenges to things that need to be transformed in my life, finance was one of them.  It started early in my faith journey as a youth...now it is a practice.
One can surely in theory say we believe in God but when not put into action, faith is dead.  We had 3 groups, faith, fellowship & action.  I had been exposed to Christianity & its teaching at VBS (Salvation Army) & Cameron House in SF as a child.  Amazing since my parents weren't Christians.  But it wasn't till I came to CCUMC's Methodist Youth Fellowship (MYF) and met Mrs. Wong that I finally got it.  The group I picked to be part of was faith, so that meant bible studies.  I noticed many of bible verses refer to giving and about tithing.
Should I take this step of faith?  Do I really trust God to provide for my needs?  By giving away the "first fruits of the harvest" I am saying that without God I would not have the harvest.  It is an acknowledgement that I trust God that He is in control of all...even to things I hold dear, $$$.  Perhaps it was by watching my mother when visitors came during CNY with goodies. They never went home without something in return. And I can admit that I did not grow up in middle class household.  As a tangible sign of love she gave back something tangible.  I saw and developed an attitude of gratitude.  It was a step by step process for me in the beginning, testing & tasting that the Lord is good and I was not worst off.  Then I was "all in" becoming more serious & consistent.  It is a powerful feeling of joy & accomplishment knowing I had this one area of faith fulfilled. Being able to return to God what is His is one of the ways of showing God I love Him and that He is in control.
I see for some life can be become difficult in a flash, beyond their control.  The recent Sandy storm that affected so many in New York & New Jersey, one day they were living in a relatively comfortable lifestyle with a roof over their head, food in the pantry & fridge, a warm shelter to come home to and electricity to see at night.  In the beginning, the news showed people in distress & despair wondering where their help would come from as their lives were turned upside down and many losing their home and belongings with flooding.  Their faces said it all & I cannot imagine what that would be like.  But more recently I hear stories of generosity where people from New Orleans were there to reciprocate the help they received from all over the US.  A busload of church people drove from S Carolina to help homeowners remove their damaged walls to start the rebuilding.  The despair turned into hope.  While I cannot be there with helping hands, I can donate our money to provide for the temporary shelters, food, clothing, and personnel to provide help that is there on the ground.  I can be a witness with giving so that God can use that to comfort and provide what is truly needed.  I cannot fathom the devastation and why it happened but I can act in compassionate by giving of our abundance and being Jesus with hands.
Here it is stewardship month and we are talking about extravagant generosity.  I pray that we as individuals and as a church we trust God in this area and I know He will return the love.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Videos for 11-11-12










Chinese Choir







Chinese Sermon







English Sermon - "Extravagant Generosity - The Heart of Giving (III)" Joel 2: 29, Matthew 6: 33, Richard Fong, Lay Speaker

Sunday, November 11, 2012

English Ministry News and Notes 11-11-12


*A Faithful  - and Generous  - Response to Hurricane Sandy - Yvonne Chu from the Chinese Ministry has initiated an effort to raise funds for the relief effort on the East Coast in the aftermath of Sandy. We will "take it to the streets" on Saturday, Nov. 17th, from 10:00 a.m. to noon, inviting our Chinatown neighbors to "pitch in." Monies raised will be routed through the American Red Cross.  You can make a difference by sharing music, helping to set up or take down, greeting neighbors, or collecting funds.  Please sign up today!

*Save the Date!  This year we will be holding our Thanksgiving Parallel Worship and Potluck Luncheon on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 25th. Worship begins at 9:30 a.m. in the Annex.  (Please be on time!) Those with names beginning A - K are invited to bring a side dish or salad, and those with names beginning L-Z are invited to bring a main dish. Leftovers are welcome! Dessert will be provided.

*Advent Sunday School Series - Beginning Dec. 2nd, our adult Sunday School class will move into a new year with a new book. The book is titled, "The First Christmas: What the Gospels Really Teach about the Birth of Jesus." Over six sessions, we'll peel away all that has built up around the birth of Jesus during the last 2,000 years and consider the question, "What do these stories really mean?" Sunday School begins promptly at 9:30 a.m. Your attention to time enables us to have a focused class.

*Mark Your Calendars Now - Our annual Charge Conference will take place on Sunday, Dec. 9th, at 1:30 p.m. This is an important time when we get together to do the "business" of the church: electing new officers and leaders, approving pastoral compensation, and reviewing the membership report. All members are encouraged to be present and take part.

*Prayer Request - Please keep Silver Omakenyi and his whole family clan in your prayers.  We received word on Wednesday that Silver’s father passed away.

Extravagant Generosity: Ben Wong


Today we mark the 3rd Sunday in our Season of Generosity.   During this season, we explore the path and practice of generosity and consider the call to extravagant generosity.  Together, we’ll wrestle with how our lives as disciples of Jesus are shaped and transformed through this practice and how we might live this practice out.  Each week, we will celebrate stories of generosity – both God’s and one another’s.  This week we lift up the sharing of Ben Wong.

I’m a goal-oriented guy.  I love setting goals, and then trying to reach them. I need to see positive change in my surroundings, and have a hard time accepting the status quo.  I believe things can be improved, and I work really hard to move the needle.  It’s really difficult for me to sit around and let time pass without doing something.  I’m not content to just exist - I have to live with purpose.

Naturally, I tend to hang out with people who are also interested in making a change.  Hopefully they share the same purpose as me.  At my company, my coworkers are all working towards the same goal.  Similarly, at CCUMC, I’m hoping that we’re also united in purpose, and I think the UMC is very clear on what that purpose is - making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

As you can probably imagine, I get really frustrated when goals aren’t met, or change doesn’t happen.  At my company, if the product I’m working on has no chance to succeed, I would have no energy or enthusiasm to go to work.  I would feel like quitting.  But sometimes companies do that - they’re content to simply keep themselves alive.  Can you imagine that - a company that had no impact on the world, and was content to simply maintain the status quo?  (see the parable of the talents, Matthew 25:13-30)

My hope for the coming year is that CCUMC would make disciples - that we would make good on that unifying goal set forth by the UMC.  I hope that we haven’t placed anything else as higher priority, and that we sacrifice everything to achieve that goal. So, is CCUMC having any success with this? How are we delivering on this goal?  How are you delivering on this goal? As with many things in life, it all begins with each one of us individually - with our Prayers, Presence, Gifts, Service, and Witness.  If you build yourself up as a disciple, then you are helping to reach the goal.  Beyond that, are you helping others to do the same? That is what disciple-making is all about.

Finally, I have to say that not only am I goal-oriented, I’m also results-oriented. If something isn’t working, we have to change our strategy.   If we aren’t having much success making disciples, then I hope we would change how we go about trying to make them.  My high school tennis coach would always tell us “you always change a losing game plan.”  Are we willing to take a hard look at the things that aren’t making disciples, and either sacrifice them, or alter them until they do produce?  I hope we are willing to do that in the coming year.  And I hope that you take your own discipleship, and the discipling of others, to heart.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Videos for 11-4-12









Chinese Choir







Chinese Sermon







English Sermon - "Extravagant Generosity - The Heart of Giving (II)" John 13: 34-35, Pastor Emily

Sunday, November 4, 2012

News of YCVM Sponsored Children


First of all, I would like to add my voice to that of Silver to acknowledge the receipt of funds sent for children's education.* I thank all of the donors for their hearts of generosity at giving!

All the children have fully paid up their tuition for this term, and did receive scholastic materials. We are grateful.  Jessica, Grace, Stellah and Raymond asked me to tell you to share with them Psalms 23. In fact they wished you could recite that Psalm verse by verse by heart.

Raymond is working hard and I am optimistic he will make it to the university. He enjoys playing football and has high sense of choice and is focused- I am impressed.  Stellah is a bit quiet. Grace is talkative. In fact she's served punishment once this term for being talkative in class! Jessica is a good singer and likes reciting poems. Her first poem is taken from 1 Corinthians 13:1-13: "What is love?" she asks. I talk with Sarah at least once a week. So far she is fine except she has a challenge in economics in which I advised her to consult with respective lecturers, be actively involved in discussion groups, identify gifted students and make friends with them, put extra time to reading economics and pray to God for understanding. John and Sheilla are sweet! They will always wear that great smile on their faces. But they long to see Mama Aeri.  Sheilla asks when Mama Aeri is coming and I keep saying soon.

Lastly, Jessica is sick. I sought a car to take her to hospital at 11.00pm after receiving a phone call from the school nurse last Tuesday. She had lost consciousness. The doctor put her on IV treatment and she is recovering though rather slowly. Stellah is also sick but taking medication at home. She doesn’t need hospital admission as advised by the doctor. Let's pray that these children recover soon as they are missing their classes a lot. 

I thank you for loving us and praying with us.

Peace and blessings, Grace (Among)


*A total of $2,425 was disbursed from CCUMC to YCVM for school fees in September .  This provided school fees for 7 sponsored children varying from primary to university level.  We will disburse the next term fees in January.

English Ministry News and Notes 11-4-12


*Praise God! We give thanks to God, to an amazing team of volunteers, and to the community that gathered on Friday for the 3rd Annual YCVM Benefit Dinner. Now that was some extravagant generosity being lived out!

*Small Group Ministries Stir to Life! Small Groups are wonderful opportunities to be nourished and strengthened as a disciple of Jesus and to build meaningful community with others. You are warmly invited to participate in this vital ministry. Small Groups will meet for six sessions starting Nov. 6th and 7th and ending the 2nd week in December. Groups will meet on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in Oakland (at church), in Castro Valley, and in Union City. We give thanks to our amazing team of facilitators: Burt, Jane, Brenda, Becky, Charlie, and Steve. To learn more, connect with any of the facilitators.

*LMUMC Food Pantry Work Day - Saturday, Nov. 10th, 2012.  Please also remember our theme to fill the food barrel this month is: Thanksgiving!  You are encouraged to practice generosity!

*Stewardship Response Cards - Next week (Nov. 11th) we will pass out "stewardship response cards." You are invited to prayerfully discern God's invitation and take a new step in your commitment and practice. Cards will be offered up in worship on Thanksgiving Sunday, Nov. 25th.

*A Faithful - and Generous - Response to Hurricane Sandy - Yvonne Chu from the Chinese Ministry has initiated an effort to raise funds for the relief effort on the East Coast in the aftermath of Sandy. We will "take it to the streets" on Saturday, Nov. 17th, from 10:00 a.m. to noon, inviting our Chinatown neighbors to "pitch in." Monies raised will be routed through the American Red Cross.  You can make a difference by sharing music, helping to set up or take down, greeting neighbors, or collecting funds.

*Save the Date!  This year we will be holding our Thanksgiving Parallel Worship and Potluck Luncheon on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 25th. Worship begins at 9:30 a.m. in the Annex.  (Please be on time!) Those with names beginning A - K are invited to bring a side dish or salad, and those with names beginning L-Z are invited to bring a main dish. Leftovers are welcome! Dessert will be provided.

Extravagant Generosity: The Heart of Giving


Today we mark the 2nd Sunday in our Season of Generosity.   During this season, we will explore the path and practice of generosity and consider the call to extravagant generosity.  Together, we’ll wrestle with how our lives as disciples of Jesus are shaped and transformed through this practice and how we might live this practice out.  Each week, we will celebrate stories of generosity – both God’s and one another’s.  As we celebrated All Saints Day earlier this week, we take time today to consider those saints  – in and beyond the church - who have made a difference in our spiritual lives and the world’s.
All Saints – Rev. Steven Garnass-Holmes

For the saints of all the ages
who have baked the bread of faith
and allured us with the aroma,
we sing praise.

For the saints in our own lives
who, finding their way through the dark
became our light,
we give thanks.

For the unseen saints in this world
who hold it up with their prayers,
whose hope and labor save us
without our ever knowing,
we cry glory.

For the suffering saints
who are our only hope in this world,
who languish in prisons and slums,
reservations and townships,
who labor in fear,
who are trafficked and tortured,
who die of hunger even as we pray,
we ask blessing.

May we all be made holy
in wonder and gratitude
and steadfast loving kindness
toward all that lives.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Videos for 10-28-12






Chinese Choir





Chinese Sermon





English Sermon - "Extravagant Generosity - The Heart of Giving (I)" 1 Timothy 6:17-19, Pastor Emily