Sunday, September 30, 2012

Videos for 9-30-2012
Church picnic at Alameda Crown Beach - testimony from Meina Ko and Pui Fong Wong

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Videos for 9-23-12

Chinese Choir

Chinese Sermon

English Sermon - "Be...See...Do What Matters to God " Mark 12:28-34 & Micah 6:1-8, Pastor Emily

Sunday, September 23, 2012

English Ministry News and Notes 09-23-12

*It's Not Too Late! We hope that everyone but everyone will come out for the church picnic next Sunday. If you haven't already signed up, please do so. If you haven't already pitched in $5, please do so! Thanks.

*Kairos Palestine Sunday School Class Update - We've added an extra session! At the request of both the facilitator (Jose) and participants, we will be adding another session to this class. The remaining sessions will be Oct. 7th and 21st. Join in and learn how your faith and the world meet.

*Celebrating World Communion Sunday - We will be celebrating World Communion Sunday on Oct. 14th, 2012. On this special Sunday, we will gather together with our Chinese-speaking brothers and sisters for worship at 10:30 a.m. Worship will be followed by a shared meal of soup and bread. If you are willing to make a pot of soup for the occasion, please connect with Peggy today.

*World Communion Joint Choir - Come out and sing for God! Choir practices will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Saturdays Oct. 6th and Oct. 13th in the chapel. You are urged to participate.

*Lake Merritt UMC food pantry is making some exciting changes. Starting the second Saturday in October, they will begin using the "Shopping Model" to distribute food. Clients will be able to choose the food that they like and leave behind what they do not like. There will be signs identifying how much of each selection clients may take. Volunteers will be on hand to help clients choose their food. As this is a new process, LMUMC has scheduled a training for all volunteers on Sunday, October 7 at 12:30PM at their church.  All CCUMC food pantry volunteers (or those interested) are urged to attend this training so we might become familiar with the new process and be better able to help our clients. We will leave immediately after worship in order to arrive at LMUMC in time for the training. If you plan to attend and/or need a ride,  please connect with Jane Yin.

*LMUMC Food Pantry Work Day - Saturday, Oct. 13th.

*3rd Annual YCVM Benefit Dinner - Please save the date and plan to be a part of this year's gathering. Our goal is to fill all 20 tables! You are urged to invite friends, neighbors and family to be a part of the exciting school building project. Please see Arlene for tickets.

Kairos Palestine: A Moment of Truth. Adult Sunday Series, 9.9.12-10.21.12

We kicked off the new Christian Education season by inviting José Arcellana of Buena Vista UMC to facilitate a series on how our faith intersects with the issues of Palestine / Israel.  It seemed like an appropriate follow up to our meeting in August with Janet Lahr Lewis, the UMC Liaison to the Holy Land.

José crafted a class with the intention of studying “The Kairos Palestine Document” written by a group of Palestinian Christians to us, other Christians and people of faith around the world.  It is their word to the world about  what is happening in Palestine.  José wanted to engage what’s happening in Palestine/Israel not as a political issue as it so often is, but first and foremost as a faith issue.  If you haven’t yet participated, you are encouraged to do so.

This week, I invited some random participants to share a few reflections from the class thus far.  I asked them to share 3 words that they would use to describe the class, something they have learned that they did not know before, and finally, how the class has impacted their faith.  Here are a few responses received:

Amy  –
~ 3 words: Insightful, reflective on ourselves and our faith, inspires me to not be bystanders about what I know is true.
~ A new learning: I learned that the U.S is giving money to Israel. >:[.
~ Impact on faith: The class made me reflect actually not on my faith, but on other people’s. Like I'm trying to live up to what God wants me to be; to be more like God and Jesus. And just seeing that there were Christians and many other believers made me wonder, “Are they really believing in their faith?  Are they just saying that they are Christian, Muslim, etc. for show? Is their religion now the new label for "jocks", "nerds", etc.?” If so then I'm totally speechless.

Ed & Arlene  –
~ 3 words: Informative, learning the pain of the Palestinians and to show caring.
~ A new learning: The history of the pain and suffering of the Palestinians. That it is a political issue for the world to help solve.
~ Impact on faith: Praying for world issues is an ongoing and most diligent prayer. Why do so many people in this world have to suffer and endure so much pain? Loving thy neighbor is more relevant than ever.

~3 words: that's not fair.
~A new learning: how all the non Jews are treated with no respect & are a prisoner in their own land.
~ Impact on faith: we are all God's children & other people’s plight & struggles should also be mine. We give thanks for the leadership of José Arcellana and pray that our eyes will opened to see how we might do what matters most to God both in our very own neighborhoods and in the wider world that God so loves.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Videos for 9-16-12

Chinese Choir

Chinese Sermon

English Sermon - "Be...See...Do What Matters to God " Mark 6:31-44, Pastor Emily

Sunday, September 16, 2012

English Ministry News and Notes 09-16-12

*Great thanks to Al & Vince for giving our courtyard fountain a minimakeover. The two poured a new layer of concrete into the fountain. After it dries and sealed, we will once again enjoy the splashing of water in our beautiful courtyard.

*Ministry Need: Our beloved Jane Yin will be stepping away from teaching and coordinating the children and youth Sunday School ministry this year. She has graciously agreed to do both through September. Beginning in October, the ministry has no adult leadership. Will we choose to discontinue the ministry? How is God leading us to grow and care for our children and youth? Please be in prayer and connect with Jane or Pastor Emily with any questions or to volunteer.

*All Church Picnic, Sept. 30th, 2012 - A beautiful space has been reserved, a menu planned, and the rest is coming together! Won't you sign up today? You are encouraged to reach out to friends, neighbors, and family who are seeking meaningful community to join in. All are welcome.

*Prayer Request:
1. For David Odi, son of Rev. Martin Odi (Former YCVM Board Chair) - he was involved in a serious accident in India where he was studying. He has sustained head injuries and is currently hospitalized.
2. Silver Omakenyi (YCVM Founder and Staff) - his uncle passed away recently.
3. Suzanne Lee & Family - Darlene Lee, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and Oakland Chinatown community advocate passed away on Sept. 6th.

Let's Listen Together!

This past week, the Committee on Nominations and Leadership Development (CNLD) met.  This committee is charged with the responsibility of “identifying, developing, deploying, evaluating and monitoring Christian leaders to carry out the congregational ministries that fulfill the mission  of making disciples and transforming the community.”  In other words, they are the folks that seek to lift up all the spiritual gifts, skills, interest, knowledge and experience within our congregation, and connect them with meaningful places of service and ministry.

CNLD met to begin talking about, praying about, and discerning leadership needs for the upcoming year.  Over the next few months, CNLD will kick into high gear as they check-in with current leaders, pray about various opportunities to serve, and connect with each member to make bold invitations.  Don’t be surprised to hear from the committee members:  Ed Lang, Peggy Woon, Frances Fong, Leela Ma, Lucy Zhou, and our faithful Co-Lay Leaders, Steve Chan and Becky Wong.  In the mean time you are invited to begin listening for how God might be inviting you to grow through service.  For some, this might mean rotating out of a long-held position of leadership…and trying on something new.  For others, this might mean stepping up and participating in a new way.  There’s a place for everyone at CCUMC!

Some highlighted opportunities include:
There are lots of ways to serve and participate.  We give thanks for all the ways that you already do so.  The opportunities below are just a sample.
Serving with the Children & Youth Sunday School Ministry – Do you care about children and young people?  Do you want the church to be a place where they are nurtured, shaped, and challenged?  Join a team of folks to love our children and youth!
Serving on the Staff-Parish Relations Board (SPRB) – Your role will be to support the pastoral and lay staff of the church, and ensure healthy relationships between the staff and the congregation.  This is a great place for folks who are good listeners.
Serving in the Finance Ministry – Do you like to work with numbers?  Do you have a good head for all things financial?  You can participate by becoming a “counter” (someone who ‘counts’ the weekly offering) or by becoming the Financial Secretary.
Serving on the Committee on Nominations & Leadership Development (CNLD) – This is a great place for a people person: someone who enjoys getting to know others and making sure everyone has a place to
Serving on the soon-to-be-formed Homework Club Advisory Team – This team will be a mixture of HC parents, staff and church members working together to support, develop, and care for this vital outreaching ministry.

You are urged to be in prayer about these opportunities, to ask God to lead you, and to listen intently for stirrings of the Spirit.

Thank you for all the ways you serve, minister, and lead!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Videos for 9-9-12

Chinese Choir

Chinese Sermon

English Sermon - "Be...See...Do What Matters to God" I Corinthians 12: 4-13, Pastor Emily

Sunday, September 9, 2012

English Ministry News and Notes 09-09-12

*CCUMC Welcomes New Staff...TODAY! Apologies for the misprint last Sunday. Ms. Meina Ko begins her ministry at CCUMC today. Her role as Minister of Discipleship will emphasize equipping disciples for ministry and developing outreaching ministries. You are encouraged to meet, greet, and introduce yourself to Ms. Ko today and in the weeks to come. Please hold the church in prayer as we welcome new staff.

*Rally Day - Today we begin a new season of Christian Education. The first session of Kairos Palestine was held this morning in the Annex and the children and youth met upstairs with Derek. You are urged and encouraged to grow through these opportunities - in faith, in practice, in community!

*Ministry Need: Our beloved Jane Yin will be stepping away from teaching and coordinating the children and youth Sunday School ministry this year. She has graciously agreed to do both through September. Beginning in October, the ministry has no adult leadership. Will we choose to discontinue the ministry? How is God leading us to grow and care for our children and youth? Please be in prayer and connect with Jane or Pastor Emily with any questions or to volunteer.

*All Church Picnic, Sept. 30th, 2012 - A beautiful space has been reserved, a menu planned, and the rest is coming together! Won't you sign up today? You are encouraged to reach out to friends, neighbors, and family who are seeking meaningful community to join in. All are welcome.

Small Group Ministries @ CCUMC

Almost two years ago, we embarked on an experiment of spiritual growth and community building that we called “small groups.” The experiment was the result of several months of praying, discerning, talking, and planning by disciples in the church. Those initial (and all subsequent) small groups were guided by this purpose:

To provide opportunities for intentional spiritual formation that nurtures and grows people in their walk to be disciples of Jesus through building and strengthening relationships with God and one another.

Over the last two years, more than 30 people have participated in this important ministry.  Wow!  That’s more than half of our regular worshipping congregation!  That’s exciting.  In both formal and informal evaluations, respondents have talked about how participation has made a difference to them.  Some have begun praying or reading scripture more regularly.  Others have felt increasingly connected to one another in faithful community.  And still others have noted how small groups has enabled practice in sharing faith…and regularly.  It is certain that the Spirit is present and alive in the gatherings.

This fall, we will be reconvening Small Groups during the 1st full week of November. The season will then run through mid-June 2013. For those who have not yet participated, I want to strongly encourage you to consider participating.  Small groups are an important way we continue to grow spiritually…and we
are called and urged to grow!  For those who have already participated, I invite you to recommit to this life-giving spiritual practice.

Finally, I want to invite any and all to consider becoming a part of a special 6 week small group that will begin the week of Sept. 17th. The purpose of this special small group will be for small group conveners and facilitators (or those thinking about these roles) to go deeper with both our process and how we might build meaningful, faithful relationships with others.  In other words, it’s a small group for small group leaders.  Please connect with me (Pastor Emily) if you feel pulled to this ministry!

Be…See…Do What Matters to God!

Today, we begin a 3 week series in worship opening up the theme that we chose for the church’s 125th
anniversary year: “Be. See. Do What Matters to God!”

Many of you might be thinking, “I get the ‘do’ part, but how are ‘be’ and ‘see’ connected with it?”  Well, that’s exactly what we’re going to be exploring and reflecting on together in the coming weeks.  Here are 4 questions that I invite you to use in your daily devotions during the next 3 weeks.  They are offered in the spirit of encouraging deeper engagement and more meaningful reflection.

1. Who are you?  Who has God created you – fearfully and wonderfully - to be?
2. Who are we, the church?  For what purpose has God called this particular faith community into being?
3. What do you and I have – in terms of spiritual gifts, skills, and other resources – that we value and celebrate?
4. What matters most to the heart of God?  How do we know this?

May this theme come alive in each of our own spiritual walks and then propel us into creative, impactful, and transformative responses.

Church Picnic Information in English and Chinese

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Videos for 9-2-12

Chinese Choir

Chinese Sermon

English Sermon - "Look, Listen, Do" James 1:17-27, Rebecca Wong

Sunday, September 2, 2012

English Ministry News and Notes 9-2-12

*A Great Thanks to all those who pitched in for Street Fest Sunday!

*CCUMC Welcomes New Staff - Today is the 1st day of our new pastoral staff member, Ms. Meina Ko. She begins her role as Minister of Discipleship with a special emphasis on the Chinese Ministry congregation. You are encouraged to meet, greet, and introduce yourself to Ms. Ko. Please hold the church in prayer as we welcome new staff.

*Sound Board & Video Camera Training - Today, after worship, Ben will lead a training for any who are interested in operating the sound board and/or video camera during worship. All are welcome.

*LMUMC Work Day - Saturday, Sept. 8th. Have you signed up lately?

*We're Kicking Off A New Season!  Next Sunday, Sept. 9th, we will celebrate Rally Day. On this day we will begin a new Christian education season for all ages. Adults have a fantastic opportunity to learn about Palestine/Israel and the Kairos Document, a special document written by Palestinian Christians to us (Christian brothers and sisters around the world.) You are strongly encouraged to participate in this opportunity.

*Ministry Need: Our beloved Jane Yin will be stepping away from teaching and coordinating the children and youth Sunday School ministry this year. She has graciously agreed to do both through September. Beginning in October, the ministry has no adult leadership. Will we have to discontinue the ministry? How is God leading us to grow and care for our children and youth? Please be in prayer and connect with Jane or Pastor Emily with any questions or to volunteer.

*Counting Down - There are just 14 more days to sign up for this year's All Church Picnic! Please do so today on the sign up boards going around and/or through Steve, Becky, or Gloria G. You are urged to invite friends and neighbors!

Seeking God's Shalom: Reflections on Labor Day - Rev. Bruce Epperly

While Labor Day is often regarded as the last chance for a long summer weekend at the beach or with friends - making it one of the "low Sundays" of the church year - might it also offer an opportunity to reflect spiritually on the deeper significance of this national holiday?

The celebration of Labor Day - a day of rest and respect - emerged out of conflict. First celebrated in 1882 by the Central Labor Union in Boston, "Labor Day" became a federal holiday in 1894 in response to the deaths of a number of workers during the Pullman Strike between labor unions and railroads. Sadly, government was pitted against the people as U.S. marshals and military forces were responsible for the deaths of striking workers. In response to this abuse of power, President Grover Cleveland made reconciliation with the labor movement a top national priority.

The labor movement, often in partnership with Christian leaders, went on to become the source of many of the benefits and rights that both blue and white collar employees hold dear today: vacations, holidays, workers compensation, days off, health insurance, disability, and collective bargaining. Although the church was often at the sidelines and even, in some cases, opposed workers' rights, the Social Gospel movement affirmed the intersection of faith and social ethics and played a major role in securing justice for working people.

Labor Day is more than symbolic. It reflects the prophetic concern for justice for the hardworking, poor, and vulnerable. The prophetic writings and the gospel message consistently affirm the rights of laborers and the dispossessed in relationship to wealthy landowners and greedy business people. Economics matters in the biblical tradition. What people eat and where they live is a spiritual as well as economic and political issue. Disparity of income and power is a recurring biblical concern: the widows, landless persons, and unemployed people matter to God. Just as God heard the cries of the oppressed Israelites, God hears the cries of the poor. Jesus' ministry embraced rich and poor alike, but his most controversial acts involved his inclusion of outsiders, people at the margins of the religious, social, and economic worlds, as members of the realm of God, deserving care in this life as well as the next.

With the growing disparity between the wealthy and middle class—not to mention the poor—in the United States, Labor Day is an opportunity for the church to give thanks and recognize the importance of those who stand up for workers, as well as embrace the larger implications of this holiday. This is not merely a matter of class struggle but the recognition of God's Shalom in which property and wealth are ultimately a matter of spiritual stewardship rather than private ownership. The scriptures do not oppose property ownership or wealth, but see them as part of God's care for the whole earth. Despite the imperfections of governmental agencies, recent calls to disband the Environmental Protection Agency, eliminate regulations related to business practices and the environment, and radically restructure Medicare need to be examined closely in light of worker's concerns by persons who seek to follow Jesus. The earth is God's, the economy is a matter of justice, and care for the vulnerable is a moral and spiritual requirement.

Labor Day, then, offers us a reminder and challenge to affirm the value of work, seek healthy workplace environments, and support opportunities for entrepreneurial adventure in the context of a just social safety net. On Labor Day, we give thanks for those whose efforts have led to workers rights and care for the least of these. And we can make a commitment to seek justice for all workers and balance the need for profit making with care for our society's most vulnerable members.