CCUMC’s Stewardship Season begins today. Together, we will explore the path and practice of generosity, extravagant generosity to be exact. 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.
Today, we lift up the sharing of Arlene Lang.
What do you love about your church? When Pastor Emily asked to reflect on this question, I thought this could be an easy answer. Then I thought “what does she mean”?
As I walk into church on Sundays I just do it on auto pilot. Then I started thinking what do I see, what do I feel when I walk in? I started looking around, started really observing more things, really looking at who I was looking at. This is what I found.
I really love this church! First of all I enjoy the family relationships that we extend to one another and the support that each person gives on a personal basis. It’s like a family reunion every Sunday.
Then I started looking around at the architecture. The moon gate is so well known in Chinatown. The tile roof above gives us the feeling of entering into a special place and the sound of the water from the fish pond adds to it. Once into the sanctuary you sit down and you see the beautiful tile cross with the light coming through, telling you to let the light of God be with you.
You look around and see all the beautiful wall hangings that have been made with such loving hands. When you enter into the hospitality room it’s like entering a family room with its large fire place. Another example, when you walk into the kitchen doesn’t it feel like your walking into your own kitchen?
We are a small intimate church with a mighty spirit.
I’m glad that I can give back to our church. Giving time as Church Treasurer has been a rewarding service. I’ve always liked working with numbers and it reflects back to my bookkeeping days. It’s been a delightful experience, getting to know those involved in finance, BOAT, YVCM, Sunday School and our Union City small group. It hasn’t always been this way but I’m glad to be back. Thanks to Pastor Emily for rejuvenating my spirit and to my son Derek for always being an inspiration. I am blessed!
*Great Thanks to all who pitched in for Saturday’s Work Day! Your time, talents and presence make a difference.
*Adventure in Faith: Halloween Edition - We are using this much celebrated occasion to reach out to our Homework Club community, Wednesday, Oct. 31st. You're invited to come and play! We start at 2:00 p.m. with preparations and launch chapel at 3:30 p.m. If you generously brought items for the party, please place them in the social hall. Thank you!
*3rd Annual YCVM Benefit Dinner, Nov. 2nd, 6:30 p.m. - Please hold this important event in prayer. We give thanks to the amazing response and look forward to a inspirational evening.
*Exploring Faith Youth Gathering, Nov. 4th @ 2:30 p.m.- following the SPRB meeting!
*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, Nov. 10th - You are invited to sign up and be a part of this ongoing ministry serving our neighbors. For more information or to participate, please connect with Jane.
*Save the Date! This year, we will be holding our Thanksgiving Parallel Worship and Potluck Luncheon on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 25th.
*Great Thanks who pitched in to our World Communion Joint Worship and Luncheon! What an amazing team we make. Special thanks to our soup-makers, bread providers, and bridge builders.
*Stewardship Season Kicks Off Next Sunday, Oct. 28th - Beginning next Sunday, we will kick off a 4-week worship and study series. There is a daily devotional that each person is encouraged to utilize in individual devotions, as well as reflecting on and discussing in Sunday School, and together, celebrate the themes in worship. You can purchase your own copy after worship ($6.50) or subscribe to it through email ($4.00) through www.ministrymatters/dailyemails (scroll down to Extravagant Generosity.)
*Next All Church Work Day - Let’s come together to care for our beloved church buildings, Saturday, Oct. 27th from 8:30 a.m.—2:00 p.m. You presence and any amount of time is appreciated. Please connect with Al for more info.
*Connecting Communities: Asian American & Palestinian Stories - This community forum event will be held at Buena Vista UMC (2311 Buena Vista Ave., Alameda) next Saturday, Oct. 27th, from 1:00—5:00 p.m. The time will include a film, talk with the film-maker, as well as two panels exploring intersections and solidarity. This is a great “next step” to our recent Sunday School series.
*AiF Throws a Party! Pitch in on Oct. 31st, Wednesday, at 2:00 p.m. and onwards for a time of getting to know the children of the Homework Club!
*Small Groups Gather Anew in November - Have you been missing your small group? We will be (re)gathering the first week of November. Please mark your calendars now and plan to be a part of this vital way we strengthen and deepen our discipleship and mutual bonds.
*Praise & Thanksgiving - God is good...all the time! The upcoming YCVM Benefit Dinner is sold out! Thanks to all who purchased tickets, sponsored tables, invited friends. We look forward to another inspiring evening, Nov. 2nd, at 6:30.
In September, we kicked off a new Christian Education season with an exciting adult Sunday School class, “Kairos: Palestine.” The class was taught by José Arcellana, a member of Buena Vista UMC, our sister circuit church. For many, we know very little about what is happening in Palestine/Israel except that there is an ongoing conflict. The series was an opportunity not only to learn about the land of Jesus’ birth and ministry, but also to reflect on the situation with and through our faith. The final class was today and there are many opportunities to continue learning about and getting involved with the issues. We give great thanks to José and all who participated in the class.
Here are reflections that came out of the class from Ben, Donna, and Burt.
What is something new you learned from being a part of this class?
Ben - I learned that Israel's borders are not clearly defined, which leads to disagreement over ownership of the land.
Donna - Before I believed that since Palestine and Israel are so far away, that what was happening there really didn't interest or concern me. But after being in the class, reading "Kairos Palestine" and the brief history of Palestine materials, seeing the DVD, and listening to Jose, I found that my eyes are now opened to the facts of how and why the Occupation happened and what continues to happen to this day.
Burt - One of the first things that hit me the hardest was that I did not have the slightest idea of what was really happening in this region of our world. I had not a context in which I could interpret or understand what the issues were and continue to be. I need to commit to further study of those conditions which our Christian Palestinian brothers and sister are struggling and suffering with daily. How did this class impact or challenge your faith:
Ben - When I saw people in extreme oppression, in an enormously complex situation, still able to trust and hope in the Lord, it made my faith seem pretty small. I don't know if I will face such a challenge, but now I know there are models for faith and hope that I can aspire to.
Donna - Knowing that the Palestinian people are inhumanly treated yet they remain there and stay strong in their faith has challenged my own faith. I ask myself these questions, "Am I willing to recognize someone who mistreats me, as a child of God, as my brother or my sister?" "Am I able to love my enemy?"
Burt - The current situation is quite frightening as I learn that our Christian Palestinian sisters and brothers are faced with untold hardships and constant threats of demolition of their houses and eventually being forced to flee with nothing more than what they can carry in their hands. I do not live under such frightening circumstances. I need to stand by their side and support them in their struggles. What insight/inspiration/learning will you take away from this class?
Ben - The class continues to enlarge my perspective on the world, which I largely don't know much about. I have a lot to learn! Particularly about how much of the world struggles, and I have no reference point that even comes close to understanding it.
Donna - I am inspired by the writing of "A moment of truth" by Christians in Palestine. There is hope, there is faith and there is love which the writers documented by scripture. If hope, faith and love can be found in Palestine, then surely they can be found in the streets of East Oakland, in the graffiti taggers, in the ones who prey on seniors and in me.
Burt - Just as I experienced in my mission trip to the Philippines in July, 2008, I also believe that in order for me to thoroughly comprehend the current realities affecting the Christian Palestinians, I need to plant my feet in their pathways, and to hear their stories first hand. It is only by personally being there that we can build relationships grounded in God’s peace and grace.
Adult Sunday School is a rich time of learning and growing! You are invited and encouraged to attend. You will be transformed.
few months ago, Steve and I were invited to a special showing of a new
documentary film, "The Waiting Room." The
movie features the waiting room (surprise!) of Highland Hospital, our local
county hospital. It
was a powerful film that lifts up the voices of those working the emergency
room and those waiting. Steven
and I were both moved and challenged.
of you know Steven now works for the Alameda County Medical Center (ACMC) of
which Highland is a part.
like to invite you to "go to the movies" with us to view this
important film. "The
Waiting Room" is currently being shown at Oakland's Grand Lake theater. I
am proposing that we go on Thursday, Oct. 25th, for the 7:00 p.m.
will join us afterwards as we gather for dessert and discussion.
you'd like to come, please RSVP by Tuesday, Oct. 23rd. Tickets
are $10 for general admission and $7 for children and seniors.
If you are not able to join us in this showing, please consider seeing the film
on your own. It is well worth your time.
When I ask folks at CCUMC, “Who has made a difference in your life of faith?” one of the names that often pops up, especially from our older members, is Mildred Wong. As I understand it, Mrs. Wong cared deeply about the children and youth of CCUMC. She wasn’t just another adult at church but went out of her way to grow and shape the faith of young people. Every week, she got up just that much earlier so that she could make the rounds and pick up children and youth in her van and bring them to church for worship and fellowship. She taught Sunday School and lead youth group. Mrs. Wong was the one who taught Laura, for example, the importance of the practice of tithing (giving 10% of one’s income back to God), something that Laura has committed to and practiced ever since. Mrs. Wong gave many of our current members a strong foundation in faith and taught them the love and grace of God. It is clear that Mrs. Wong impacted the lives of many and, in a very special way, lived out Jesus’ words to his disciples from today’s scripture reading in Mark: “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Mark 10:14.)
I wonder what Mrs. Wong might say to us today as we continue to ponder and discern how God is leading us to minister to and with the children and youth in our midst today?
CCUMC is blessed with a small but growing number of children and young people. Some have grown up here, others have connected through the mysterious grace of God. Some come with their parents and families, others are dropped off or come alone, trusting that the church is a good place, a caring place. However, whether they come with families or not, the majority come to 11:00 a.m. worship without the presence of a caring adult to shepherd or accompany them as they worship in the pews. We are also experiencing a great shift in our children and youth Sunday School program. Our leadership is in transition and it is not at all clear what will happen come January. What does it mean for us in real and meaningful ways to “let the children come to Jesus”? How do we do that through our ministries, our worship, and our very lives? How can we do all in our power to remove those things that could be hindering them from coming to know and experience the presence and love of God? Are we willing to extend ourselves in order to teach the children and youth about the beauty, hope and reality of the kingdom of God?
Theses are big questions, maybe even weighty questions. There are no simple answers, and none that will be arrived at without some stretching. But I am convinced that the children and youth amongst us are gifts. They are gifts of grace meant to help us understand, see, and experience the kingdom of God. I am convinced that the children and youth in our midst are also a tremendous invitation, an invitation to make faith real, an invitation to “pass it on”, an invitation to imitate Jesus. The gospel continues, “And Jesus took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them” (Mark 10:16). Will we do the same? Will we invite our children and youth to come to know God’s love through us? Let us continue to be intentional in praying for and about God’s leading.
*Great Thanks to all for a wonderful picnic last Sunday. Special thanks to those who helped to purchase food and prepare it, those who set up and cleaned up, those who transported folks, and those who lead activities and games. May the joy of fellowship and God's grace continue to be celebrated!
*LMUMC Food Pantry Orientation - As the Food Pantry moves to a "shopping" model, all new and old volunteers are invited to gather for a time of orientation and training today at 12:30 p.m. at LMUMC. Carpools are available.
*World Communion Sunday - We celebrate World Communion Sunday next Sunday, Oct. 14th. Our joint worship service will begin at 10:30 a.m. Worship will be followed by a simple fellowship luncheon. If you would like to participate by bringing a pot of soup or fruit (we are in need of 2 more pots), please connect with Peggy.
*World Communion Joint Choir - Our 2nd practice will be held this Saturday, Oct. 13th at 9:30 a.m. It's not too late to participate! All are invited.
*Kairos Palestine Final Class - The final session of this exciting series will be held on Oct. 21st. It's never too late to get in on a good thing! You're invited to gather in the Annex at 9:30 a.m. sharp!
*Advent Worship Planning Retreat - Want to imagine the Advent season together? Have an idea for worship during that special season? Let's gather for a time of dreaming and planning on Saturday, Oct. 20th, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Please RSVP to Aeri or Pastor Emily.
*Next All Church Work Day - Let’s come together to care for our beloved church buildings, Saturday, Oct. 27th from 8:30 a.m.—2:00 p.m. You presence and any amount of time is appreciated. Please connect with Al for more information.
*Got Tickets?! Please purchase your tickets to the 3rd Annual YCVM Benefit Dinner held on Friday, Nov. 2nd, today! To do so, please connect with Arlene