Monday, April 30, 2012

Videos for 4-29-12

Chinese Choir

Chinese Sermon

English Sermon - "Making Love Real" 1 John 3:16-24, Pastor Emily

Sunday, April 29, 2012

CCUMC News and Notes for 4-29-12

*Praying for One Another - Theresa Siu has decided to become a member of CCUMC!  She will do so on Shepherding Sunday, May 6th.  We rejoice with Theresa and give thanks for her presence and gifts.  Please hold Theresa in prayer as she journeys towards this day.

*Shepherding Sunday - We are kicking off a new initiative throughout the church to strengthen our care for one another next Sunday. That day, we'll commission members of the EM Shepherding Team: Donna Chan Chu, Ed Lang, Brenda Wong, and Jane Yin. Their call is to connect and build meaningful spiritual relationships with and amongst their "flock." Everyone will belong to a flock! Please lift this initiative and our team in prayer!

*LMUMC Food Pantry Work Day - You are invited to pitch in on Saturday, May 12th, at our monthly Food Pantry workday at Lake Merritt. Please connect with Jane Yin for more info. The day starts at 9:45 a.m. and ends at 1:00 p.m.

*Growing Roots @ CCUMC - Are you feeling nudged to take another step in your spiritual journey? Do you feel the pull to "jump in with both feet"? Has CCUMC become your faith home? If you answer "Yes!" to any of these questions, you are invited to connect with Pastor Emily to discern baptism and membership.

*Burt & Jane write of their recent time in Florida - “The General Conference Opening Worship Service Tuesday evening was powerful and spiritually uplifting. To be in worship with over 4,000 disciples in a room nearly the size of the Oakland Coliseum was awesome. The music and the preaching were as close to what heaven on earth must be in our daily context.  We encourage you to witness General Conference between now and May 8th by going to  www.umc.org and watching live streaming of activities and events as they are happening. There is much to learn and experience.  Pray mightily that all there will be filled with the resurrection power of Jesus Christ as they discuss, debate, agree and disagree upon resolutions critical to our UMC.”

We encourage you to witness General Conference via UMCom between now and May 8th. Go tohttp://www.umc.org/site/c.lwL4KnN1LtH/b.8033183/k.8586/General_Conference_2012_Live.htm

Untamed Hospitality

Robert B. Kruschwitz

    While our culture reduces “hospitality” to friendliness and private entertaining, Christian hospitality remains a public and economic reality by which God re-creates us through the places and people we are given. How do we shift gears to practice untamed hospitality?
    When the Apostle Paul urged the Roman Christians to “present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God” (Romans 12:1 ff.), he specifically instructed them to “be transformed [from the empire’s way of thinking] by the renewing of your minds,” “hate what is evil,” and “be patient in suffering”—all serious business for a persecuted little band in Nero’s capital city. Then this command: “Extend hospitality to strangers.”
    What was he thinking? Today we view hospitality through the decorous images of Southern Living or Ladies’ Home Journal as “delicious dinners and polite conversation in one’s own beautiful home.” If it’s more than a private time with friends, we leave it to professionals in the “hospitality industry” of hotels, restaurants, and cruise ships. How could hospitality possibly be at the countercultural heart of early Christians’, and our, discipleship?
    Christian hospitality flows from realizing we have been brought by the Holy Spirit into the very life of God. With this good news it builds communities that can welcome outcasts and strangers, and it publicly challenges the status quo of the culture.
    We learn such “untamed hospitality” in public worship, for there “we do not gather ourselves; God gathers us; God invites us in,” Elizabeth Newman writes. “As divine host, God through Christ in the Spirit draws us into communion with himself and others, giving us desires we had not previously even imagined.”
    We are taught to be not only guests, but also hosts in God’s Kingdom. As our worship spills over into all of life, we learn to:
  • Share our resources in gratitude to God. “The love displayed in God’s life,” Stanley Hauerwas has written, “is not a zero-sum game but one of overflowing plentitude.” Yet we find it hard to embrace the radical abundance of Christian hospitality, Newman concludes, “because we have been so deeply formed by living in a market society…. Consumerism, competition, and individualism already shape our lives.”
  • “Stay put” in commitment to others. Our culture shapes us to be ready to move for more money, a more “fulfilling” church, a less difficult marriage. We are taught “that through our choices we are our own creators, which is exactly what a market society with its relentless advertising campaign would want us to believe.”  Christian hospitality “does not aim for self-fulfillment through autonomous choice…but for allowing God to re-create us” through faithful relationships.
  • Honor and learn from those whom society has abandoned. Newman admires the L’Arche communities where people with handicaps live alongside those without such handicaps. Founder Jean Vanier writes, “We have discovered that we have a common spirituality of humility and presence, close to the poor and the weak; a common call to live with them, not to change them, but to welcome them and share their gifts and their beauty; to discover in them the presence of Jesus—Jesus, humble and gentle, Jesus, poor and rejected.”
    Such hospitality is not an individual or even a communal achievement,” Newman emphasizes. “It is rather a gift to be received, and its faithful reception makes us part of something larger than ourselves: Christ’s own body.”

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Upcoming News and Events for 4-22-12

*Lifting in Prayer - HongJun (Jason) Weng was deployed to Afghanistan early on Thursday (Apr. 19th) morning. This was unexpected as his next step was to enter school training in North Carolina. His understanding is that the deployment is for a short 2-3 weeks but this is not known for certain. Please hold him in God's care.

*Native American Ministries Sunday Special Offering - We will take a special Sunday offering next Sunday, Apr. 29th (one of six through the year). Native American Ministries Sunday nurtures mission with Native Americans and provides scholarships for United Methodist Native American seminarians. Offerings also expand the number of target cities served through the Native American Urban Initiative. You are invited to give generously!

*Save the Date: LMUMC invites CCUMC to attend a special gathering about the Food Pantry Ministry on Saturday, May 5th, from 10:00 - 1:00 p.m.  LMUMC has been investigating moving from a “give-away” model to a “shopping” model and would like to orient volunteers (new and old) to the possibility.  Please RSVP to Jane or Pastor Emily.

*Shepherding Sunday - We are kicking off a new initiative throughout the church to strengthen our care for one another on Sunday, May 6th. That day, we'll commission members of the EM Shepherding Team: Donna Chan Chu, Ed Lang, Brenda Wong, and Jane Yin. Their call is to connect and build meaningful spiritual relationships with and amongst their "flock." Everyone will belong to a flock! Please lift this initiative and our team in prayer!

*Growing Roots @ CCUMC - Are you feeling nudged to take another step in your spiritual journey? Do you feel the pull to "jump in with both feet"? Has CCUMC become your faith home? If you answer "Yes!" to any of these questions, you are invited to connect with Pastor Emily to discern baptism and membership.

United Methodists Meet in Tampa for Worldwide Conference

Nearly a thousand delegates and an estimated 2,500 visitors (including Burt & Jane Yin) will gather at the Tampa Convention Center in Florida from April 24-May 4 for the 2012 United Methodist General Conference.


As the top policymaking body of the worldwide United Methodist Church, the General Conference meets every 4 years to determine the denomination’s future direction. It is the only body that speaks officially for the more than 12.1 million-member church.

The theme of the 2012 conference is “Make Disciples of Jesus Christ to Transform the World.” During the 11-day session, 988 delegates of both clergy and lay will revise The Book of Discipline, which regulates the manner in which local churches, annual conferences and general agencies are organized. The book sets policies regarding church membership, ordination, administration, property and judicial procedures. While these may seem like issues that have little to do with us at the local church level, changes could have great impact.

Delegates also revise The Book of Resolutions, a volume declaring the church’s stance on a variety of social justice issues. The book contains more than 300 resolutions that are considered instructive and persuasive, but are not binding on members.

In addition, the assembly approves plans and budgets for churchwide programs for the next four years and elects members of the Judicial Council and the University Senate.

Worship, special addresses, celebrations, and other plenary sessions will be available on live video streaming at gc2012.umc.org.  Also available at the website will be daily news and feature stories, photos, a “digital lounge” featuring short conversation segments with key persons, and other information.

California Nevada Annual Conference’s delegates are: our own Rev. Jeffrey Kuan, Rev. Odette Lockwood-Stewart, and Rev. Dale Weatherspoon, as well as Randall Miller, Emily Allen, and Yoshi Nakajima.

You are invited to hold our church in prayer during these 11 days, inviting God’s Spirit to work through the delegates in making wise,  transformative decisions that are rooted in grace and love.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Videos for 4-15-12

Chinese Choir

Chinese Sermon

English Sermon - "Experiencing Resurrection!" John 20:19-31, Pastor Emily

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Upcoming News and Events for 4-15-12


*Celebrating Eastertide: We entered a brand new liturgical (worship) season last Sunday! For the upcoming 5 Sundays, we will celebrate Eastertide, a season in which we celebrate experiences of encountering the Resurrected One, Jesus. Keep your eyes open and your hearts flung wide for He is risen! He is risen indeed!


*Support Our Youth & Young Adults: Our Y&YA's will be off to the mountains next weekend (4.20-22) along with Ben, Aeri, and Derek for a time of bonding and spiritual retreat. We'd like to invite you to help with off-setting their costs. Today, a special offering will be taken to do just that. The total cost of the retreat is estimated at $600. The Y&YA's will be contributing approximately $210. You are invited to give as the Spirit moves. Thank you! 


*Usher & Greeter Gathering Today! You are invited to gather in the upstairs chapel for a time of reflection and learning together. Let us continue to strengthen our welcoming and hospitality muscles!


*Save the Date: LMUMC invites CCUMC to attend a special gathering about the Food Pantry Ministry on Saturday, May 5th, from 10:00 - 1:00 p.m. LMUMC has been investigating moving from a "give-away" model to a "shopping" model and would like to orient volunteers (new and old) to the possibility. Please RSVP to Jane. 


*Praying for One Another - Theresa Siu has decided to become a member of CCUMC!  She will do so on Shepherding Sunday, May 6th. We rejoice with Theresa and gives thanks for her presence and gifts.  Please hold Theresa in prayer as she journeys towards this day.


*Celebrating Our 125th Church Anniversary! We will kick off a year long celebration of our 125th year on Pentecost Sunday, May 27th, 2012.  Please mark this special date and plan to be present.  Our theme for the celebration is: “Looking Back, Reaching Forward: Be, See, Do!”  The Rev. Renae Extrum-Fernandez will be preaching at our joint worship!

He is not here; he has Risen!


By Derek Lang


Easter is at the heart of Christianity. The death of Jesus Christ for our sins and His resurrection for our salvation is the Good News of our faith. What will you remember about this Easter?
I had some memorable moments, such as listening to the Disciple Peter’s reflections on the Easter Story at Abundant Life Church on Maundy Thursday; people watching us in wonder as we stood outside our church moon-gate with candles and singing at Good Friday evening service; and flipping pancakes as the Chinatown community gathered to celebrate an Easter Pancake Breakfast. But there is one more.
Last night during small group, Aeri pointed out that in contrast to the angel’s direction to go and tell the good news about Jesus, Mark 16:8 says the women who visited the empty tomb were afraid and told no one. It was not until everyone was filled with the Holy Spirit on Pentecost that they had the courage and passion to spread the Good News. And so I thought about George and the bowling game at our Children’s Easter Party on Apr. 1st.
There was some skepticism about whether we should even have the game. Perhaps it was an uncertainty about how it would be played. Maybe it was unclear what bowling had to do with Easter. Or maybe it was a symbolic sacrilege of trying to knock down a chocolate cross. When we called for volunteers to lead that activity, George ended up being the only one to step forward.
Then a miracle happened. You could tell that something was different by all the shouts from the classroom where the game was set up. Children filled the entrance, clamoring to get a spot to play. There were cheers, and jubilant youth walked away with prized chocolate crosses. George was in the middle of it all, barking out like a carnival showman. He challenged them, and egged them into a frenzy of excitement. I am not sure who had more fun – him or them. He was filled with the spirit, and it was contagious. And I thought, "That is what Easter is all about."
Jesus is risen from the dead, and there is excitement and joy to be shared when we too are filled with the Holy Spirit.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Videos for 4-8-12

Chinese Choir

Chinese Sermon

English Sermon - "The Unfolding of New Possibilities", Mark 16;1-8, Pastor Emily

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Upcoming News and Events for 4-8-12

*Great thanks to all for a wonderfully fun and (hopefully) meaningful Children's Easter Party last Sunday! Let us continue to pray for opportunities to connect.

*LMUMC Food Pantry Work Day - You are invited to "practice resurrection" by pitching in next Saturday, Apr. 14th from 9:45 - 1:00 p.m. To learn more or sign up, please connect with Jane Yin.

*Making Sense of Scriptures, Part II - Our Adult Christian Education (ACE) hour will return to David Lose's invitation to "make sense of scriptures." The upcoming 8 sessions will help participants begin to utilize and try on various tools for deepening understanding of the Bible. Please connect with Charlie Ho to learn more. ACE begins at 9:30 promptly in the Annex each Sunday.

*Living Our Welcome - Ushers and greeters (and any interested in welcoming ministries) are invited to gather for a time of reflection and learning about practicing "radical hospitality" next Sunday, Apr. 15th, at 12:30 p.m. Please RSVP to Ben.

*An Important Transition - At the end of March, our beloved Lay Leader and EMC Chair of the past 10 years, Derek Lang, handed the mantle to Steve Chan and Becky Wong.  We lift our deepest appreciations for the great love and steadfast commitment with which Derek lead and extend our blessings to Steve and Becky.

*Please note: Pastor Emily will be out of the office on Tuesday and Wednesday (Apr. 10th and 11th). For pastoral emergencies, please call her cell phone.

Joyous Easter Greetings, Beloved Community!

Christ is risen!  Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Today, we celebrate the ways in which death does not have the last word.
Today, we celebrate how nothing but nothing can separate us from the love of God.
Today, we celebrate how there is nothing so lost or so mangled as to be unredeemable.
Today, we celebrate that all the tombs of life are gateways to resurrection.
Today, we celebrate that there is life after death.

Christ is risen!  Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!

As we begin this new season – Easter or the Great Fifty Days – I invite you to post this affirmation somewhere visible as a daily reminder of all that we have to celebrate!

We believe in an Easter God,
        who transforms darkness into light,
        hatred into tolerance,
        despair into hope.
We believe God
        is always working for good,
        changing every Good Friday nightmare
        into an Easter dream of new possibility.
We believe in the risen Christ,
        who befriends us on our roads of searching and worry;
        who touches us through song and silence, word and gesture;
        who calls us by name to enter the dance of life.
We believe in the Spirit,
        the hidden presence behind every resurrection,
        who beckons us to leave tomblike safety
        and trust the gracious invitation to live joyfully.
We believe the Spirit
        is always renewing the church
        and making us a people who practice kindness,
        encourage beauty and work for justice and freedom.
We believe we are an Easter people,
        a sign that with God all things are possible.

May this affirmation mark a new beginning for us as we embark on the practice of being and living as Easter people once again.  And may it guide the ways we consider building community, forming covenants, making commitments, and walking alongside one another as spiritual companions on the Way.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Videos for 4-1-12

Chinese Choir

Chinese Sermon

English Sermon - "Hosanna! Save Us!", Mark 11:1-11, Pastor Emily

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Homework Club Children's Easter Party











Upcoming News and Events for 4-1-12

*SOUP Finale! Today we celebrate our final Sunday in Lent...and our final gathering of SOUP. Great thanks to our wonderful chef's and bread-bringer as well as each participant. I pray that our time of silence, sharing, and praying together has been rich and nourishing to your spirit.
*Children's Easter Party! We will begin to set-up immediately after SOUP (approximately 1:30 p.m.) You presence and pitching in is greatly appreciated. The party will begin at 2:30 p.m.
*Flowers, flower, and more flowers - are you able to contribute cut flowers for our resurrection practice of "flowering the cross"? If so, please see Pastor Emily today!
*Holy Week Invites - All are welcome! Invite friends, family and neighbors.
Maundy Thursday Worship, Apr. 5th, at 7:30 p.m.
Good Friday Worship, Apr. 6th, at 7:30 p.m.
Easter Sunrise Worship, Apr. 8th, at 7:30 a.m.
Easter Worship Celebration, Apr. 8th, at 11:00 a.m.
*Did You Know?! Last Sunday, we met and then surpassed our Mission Exchange Fundraising Goal ($7,000)! This is a miracle of grace! Great thanks to God and to the generosity of those here and beyond. Please hold Silver and Grace in prayer as they travel to Kampala in the coming weeks to apply for their visitor visas.
*LMUMC Food Pantry Work Day - You are warmly invited to sign up and pitch in on the 2nd Sunday (Apr. 14th) ministry. Please connect with Jane for more info.
*Usher & Greeters' Gathering - We will be catching up and sharing about our welcoming ministry. Please RSVP to Ben today.

The Practice of Encountering Others: Building Community through Covenant, Commitment, and Companionship

By Brenda Wong
 
As our four children grew up, I had my share of worries and concerns. At each stage of their lives came new challenges and hurdles to cross. Were they eating well, staying healthy, hanging out with the right friends, getting good grades in school, making wise choices and setting priorities?  Were they ready to get a driver’s license, getting into the right college, choosing the right major, landing the best job, relationships and choosing the right mate? Will they have healthy pregnancies and deliveries when grandchildren come? What about their spiritual health and were they seeking God’s will for their lives?
In 1996, our oldest daughter was going off to graduate school, our second daughter was already in college, our son was a senior in high school and about to head to college, and my youngest was in middle school becoming a teenager. They were so far away from home and worries for them just multiplied. In my head I knew what the scriptures said, “Do not be anxious about anything...” We are to pray presenting our requests to God. I had to let go and let God! I had to trust God to watch over and protect our children who had “flown” away, testing wings of their own. I prayed for them daily but somehow I was still worried and anxious.
Then a friend invited me to a prayer group in Castro Valley called Moms in Touch, a gathering of moms in the community who had children in school and met each week to pray for each other, their children, their teachers and schools. I soon realized I was not praying alone but with a group of powerful praying moms. I thought I had faith but not like these women who taught me how to pray. At first I sat in awe, mostly listening to the humble prayers of my sisters as they specifically raised up their concerns for each child, and others would pray in one accord bathing the child in prayer. Over and over again I was reminded that we must pray and believe without seeing or knowing the outcome, to an awesome God who loves our children more than we do, and can do the impossible. I learned to turn over my worries to God who is omnipresent. Prayers were not always answered the way we thought and God often had surprises and turned down our requests, only to open doors to our children in even better ways. His ways are higher than our ways and he wants the best for our family.
    God led me to a special mom in Moms in Touch 17 years ago and we are still praying together. We both have three girls and 1 boy in the same birth orders. We met when her second daughter and my youngest were in middle school. When our girls went off to college, we formed a new prayer group Moms in Prayer, a blessed companionship which included praying for our kids in college and beyond. We’ve prayed for the right colleges and grad schools, study abroad programs, landing first jobs, the right marriage partners, weddings and now for the grandchildren to come. With other moms, we are committed to pray for one another each week for an hour, forming a covenant of trust, encouraging one another in our faith journeys.  We help each other through trials and rejoice with one another as God answers prayers and builds our faith.