Sunday, March 31, 2013

Videos for 3-31-13

Chinese Choir

Chinese Sermon

English Sermon - “Expecting Resurrection” Luke 24: 1-12, Pastor Emily


English Ministry News and Notes 3-31-13

*We warmly welcome all newcomers and guests to worship this morning! Thank you for being here to celebrate the joy of Easter and the grace of Michelle's baptism. Please take a moment to fill out the "Welcome" card in the pew to let us know how we can be meaningfully connected.

*Great thanks to those who brought beauty into our worship space with lillies and flowers! James Yu, Ulander Pang, Winnie Pon, Aden & Vikki Siu, C K & Mabel Lee, Linda Woo, Donna Louie, Elsie Wan, Ben Lang, Dora Chann, Mui Chee Lee Kwan, David & Anna Wong, Daniel & Theresa Leung, Leo & Helena Lin, Donna Chan Chu, Peggy & Larry Woon, Manuel & Leela Ma, Richard & Adrienne Fong, Gloria Gee, Emily Lin, Becky & Al Wong, Leily & Walter Chew.

*LMUMC Food Pantry Ministry Work Day - You are invited to participate in the meaningful ministry with our sister circuit church on the 2nd Saturday of April (or any month). The workday begins at 10:00 a.m. and ends at approximately 1:00 p.m. For more information, please connect with Jane.

*Children's Easter Party! We will be hosting a fun-filled Easter party on Sunday, April 14th, at 2:00 p.m. You are most welcome to bring friends and family to celebrate. You can also sign up to pitch in. There are several ways to do so. Please check out the sign up board going around.

*”UMC 101”, A New Adult Sunday School Series Begins Apr. 7th - Derek Lang and Burt Yin will lead an exciting, informative, enriching six-week series exploring who we are as United Methodist Christians, our history, our core beliefs, and our unique way of practicing faith in community. You are encouraged to be a part of this learning opportunity. We gather in the Annex at 9:30 a.m. sharp!

The Way of Discernment Leads to Resurrection!

Alleluia! Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Over the last six weeks, we have journeyed the Way of Discernment. We have taken seriously that God is alive and well and yearning to do a new thing in and around us. Discernment is the spiritual practice that attunes us to God’s presence and movement. Discernment teaches us how to put up our spiritual antennas and pick up the signals of Spirit and Grace that are truly all around us. Together, we have tussled with keeping alert, trusting, and choosing that which is nutritious and life-giving. We have ventured into the territory of
forgiveness and reconciliation, as well as the new and totally unexpected. And we have sat in darkness (literally!) as we considered our bottom-line call to obedience.

As was illustrated throughout our Sundays of Uniting Prayer (SOUP) readings, discernment leads us down many different paths. Indeed, God does not give each of us the same leadings. Even as we ponder similar questions, God can and does lead us to different conclusions. This can be confusing and disconcerting. Some of us are lead on well-lit paths while others journey through darkness, barely able to see their way through. BUT, we can be confident that the Way of Discernment will always, always lead us to resurrection. It will always lead us to the surprise of the empty tomb. The Way of Discernment is always a path of Life. In this, we can surely confidently shout our alleluias!

With the dawn of Easter morn, we step into a new season – Eastertide. This new season carries us through the 50 days from Resurrection to Pentecost. During this new season, our theme will be “Living the Resurrection: Encountering the Risen Christ in Everyday Life.” This theme, with slight modifications, is borrowed from a book by Eugene H. Peterson of the same title. (Many will know Eugene Peterson as the person who wrote The Message, a popular version of the Bible.) This theme acknowledges that Resurrection can be difficult to understand and integrate. What does it mean, after all? What does resurrection mean in our lives? And more importantly, how do we live it…not just on Easter…but every day? Through the next six weeks, these are the very questions we will explore and engage. You are warmly welcomed to be a part of the season and the adventure!

May you and your family be blessed this day with the excitement of new possibility, the joy of new hope, and the conviction that the empty tomb invites us anew into a world filled with the presence of Resurrection!

Alleluia! Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Peace & Grace, Emily

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Videos for 3-24-13

Chinese Choir

Chinese Sermon

English Sermon - “Into the Darkness” Luke 19: 28-40 & Philippians 2: 5-8, Pastor Emily

English Ministry News and Notes 3-24-13

*One Last Bowl of SOUP - All are invited to our final gathering of Sundays of Uniting Prayer today following worship. We give great thanks to our wonderful crew of soup-makers: Jane & Burt, Arlene & Ed, Becky & Al, Leily & Walter, Aeri & Ben, Laura & Steve, Adrienne & Richard, Gloria, Derek, Leela & Manuel! We also share appreciation to our bread-bringer: Peggy Woon! And how could we forget our readers: Frances Fong, Ben Wong, Peggy Woon, Jacinto Obrera.

*Prayer Invitations - During this special week, Michelle Lu has committed to undergoing "Holy Week Boot Camp" in final preparation for her baptism on Sunday. Please hold her in your prayers and invite God's Spirit to work mightily!

*Calla Lilies & Daffodils - This year, we will be using calla lilies and daffodils to flower the cross. If you have any of these flowers in your yard (thin necked)or would like to purchase and donate them, please let Pastor Emily know today. Please be sure to bring them to the church by Sunday at 10:30 a.m.

*”UMC 101”, A New Adult Sunday School Series Begins Apr. 7th - Derek Lang and Burt Yin will lead an exciting, informative, enriching six-week series exploring who we are as United Methodist Christians, our history, our core beliefs, and our unique way of practicing faith in community. You are encouraged to be a part of this learning opportunity.

*Easter Children's Party, April 14th - Please mark your calendars now to pitch in for this year's Easter party for the children of our church and Homework Club community. The party will kick off at 2:00 p.m. Please RSVP your participation by signing up on the clipboard. We are seeking your presence, Easter treats (candy), as well as hard boiled eggs.

The Journey of Holy Week and Beyond

Today is the sixth and final Sunday within the Lenten Season. It is the Sunday that we mark as Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week. On this day, we remember the story of Jesus as he enters Jerusalem.

Jesus has had his heart set towards Jerusalem for some time. His journey has brought him closer and closer to this important and significant city. Just as the Passover celebrations are set to begin, Jesus and his disciples enter the great city. In all four Gospel accounts, Jesus enters riding on a donkey.

We, too, have been on a journey. We have been traveling along the way of Lent as well as the Way of Discernment. Our journey draws us towards Jerusalem also, and towards the unbearable tragedy that unfolds in the coming week. Our journey, like Jesus’, is drawing us into the darkness.

Darkness is an uncomfortable, sometimes scary place to be. I have known children, and even adults, who sleep with a light on somewhere nearby. Even as they sleep, they do not want to be enveloped by the immense darkness. For often, it is in darkness that we are confronted with all that is ugly, all that is painful, all that is unjust, all that is shameful. It is in darkness that we contend with our fears, our greed, our pettiness, our jealousies, our resentment, our hardness, and our brokenness.

Yet, it is also in darkness that we most clearly distinguish the light. It is in coming face to face with death, and all that is of death, that we more fully appreciate and rejoice in life.

When we gather again next Sunday, Mar. 31st, we will celebrate with great joy and loud Alleluias: Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed! We cannot get there though, we cannot touch into that joy, we cannot raise our voices with any boldness, if we have not journeyed into the darkness first. So please, make every effort to travel through Holy Week together. You are encouraged to connect with another, perhaps share a meal before hand, reach out…and come! If you can’t come to all, consider coming to one. If you can’t come to any, consider joining in by reading one of the Passion narratives (Matthew 26 – 27, Mark 14 – 15, Luke 22 – 23, John 17-19) Come and journey together through the darkness and into the light.

Mar. 28th - Maundy Thursday Worship @ 7:30 p.m. – CCUMC / Social Hall
Mar. 29th - Good Friday Worship* @ 2:00 p.m. – CCUMC / Trilingual Joint
Neighborhood Worship *Please come in through the Annex as we will begin with a time of fellowship. You are invited to bring refreshments to share with our neighbors.
Good Friday Worship @ 7:30 p.m. – CCUMC / Sanctuary
Mar. 30th – Easter Vigil @ 8:00 p.m. – with New Spirit Community Church (1798 Scenic Ave., Berkeley)
Mar. 31st – Easter Sunrise Worship @ 7:30 a.m. – With Wa Sung Community Service Club. Between Lincoln Square and Lincoln Elementary.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Videos for 3-17-13

Chinese Choir

Chinese Sermon

English Sermon - “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet!” Isaiah 43:16-21, Pastor Emily

English Ministry News and Notes

*An Invitation - Buena Vista UMC, our sister circuit church, invites us to a fundraiser to support members of their annual Holy Land Pilgrimage. The pilgrimage will take place in mid-April. The fundraiser will be held on Saturday, Mar. 23rd, at 5:30 p.m. at Buena Vista (2311 Buena Vista Ave., Alameda.) Tickets are $40 and include a delicious catered Mediterranean meal. Donations are welcome even if you cannot attend. Please RSVP to Pastor Emily.

*Alert! The Oakland Marathon is happening next Sunday, Mar. 24th. Several streets around CCUMC will be closed thus impacting parking. You are encouraged to plan ahead or take public transportation.

*Joining Our Voices - CCUMC hosts this year's neighborhood Good Friday Worship (Mar. 30th at 2:00 p.m.) We will create an ad hoc joint choir for the day. Practice will be held Sunday, Mar. 24th at 1:30 p.m. and Friday, Mar. 30th at 1:00 p.m. Please connect with Pastor Emily if you'd like to participate.

*Sharing Prayers - Please remember Amy Ma as she travels to Nepal over the next 2 weeks to build a school through buildOn. "buildOn runs afterschool youth service programs that mobilize urban teens to lift up their communities and change the world through intensive local community service and by building schools in some of the poorest countries on the planet." Amy returns on Easter Sunday, Mar. 31st.

*Holy Week is Just Around the Corner - Please mark your calendars now to journey through Holy Week together. (Please note, Small Groups will not meet during Holy Week.)
Maundy Thursday Worship, Mar. 28th, at 7:30 p.m.
Good Friday Worship, Mar. 29th, at 2:00 p.m. (bilingual worship with neighborhood churches) and 7:30 p.m.
Easter Vigil, Mar. 30th, at 8:00 New Spirit Community Church

*Easter Lilies & More - You are invited to order beautiful Easter lilies for the sanctuary. Each plant is $10. Sign ups will be taken this week only! We are also seeking small to medium calla lilies or daffodils for the flowering of the cross. Please connect with Pastor Emily if you'd like to donate these.

*Celebrating Easter - You are encouraged to invite a friend (or two) to celebrate Easter here at CCUMC! Sunrise Service will be held at 7:30 a.m. at Lincoln Square and Easter worship celebration will begin at 11:00 a.m.

Thrive: Living in Authentic Christian Community

Author Suzanne Farnham writes, “We can never achieve wholeness simply by ourselves but only together with others.” If she’s right, community becomes hugely important in the practice of discernment and faith. Community offers us one another’s insights, resources, and prayer. Below is a reflection written by a pastor in our Annual Conference, Rev. Blake Busick. He lifts up the importance of small groups in our journeys of faith.

There were about 12 people in the group ranging from ages 17 – 80. I was the 17 year old. In this small Christian community was a couple that had been married over 50 years and another over 25 years. There was a young mother of two children and various other people from very different stages and experiences of life. We really didn’t have anything in common except that we were all followers of Jesus. We met for 12 consecutive weeks and the experience changed my life.

It was an experiment in practical Christianity. Each week we sought to live into the previous week’s discussion about what it meant to be a disciple of Christ. When we returned the following week we shared how that experiment went and discussed a new aspect of the Christian life to “try-out” the next week. I received so much from each member of that group even though none of them was close to my age. They even said that they received much from me even though we were far apart in years. Somehow God used this most unlikely grouping of people to communicate Christ’s presence, guidance and life. We became a real community in a few short weeks.

This phenomenon is miraculous – but ever since that small group experience 36 years ago, I see it happen all the time. Where two or three gather in Christ’s name, He is there and the group becomes something more than people meeting. It becomes a means of grace where Christ ministers to each person through the others. People thrive in small groups like these because they embody the essence of the church – people who are growing as apprentices of Jesus, who love, serve and know God.

We are made to thrive in Christian community. Most of us can experience that most directly in a small group that is designed for this purpose. For many people, however, the biggest stumbling block to being a part of a group is time. We are such busy people that we have a hard time fitting everything in.

Small groups that thrive are not meant to be something that we add on to an already busy schedule. When they are healthy, these groups integrate life and make living well possible. Through Christian community we draw closer to Christ who is the Lord of every aspect of life. The closer we move Him to the center the more we find a healthy rhythm. The more we push Christ to edge, the more chaotic is our life experience. Christ brings order, direction, energy and purpose to all that we do. The busier your life, the more you need a small group in which to thrive.

This article appeared on Mar. 13th, 2013 in the Cal-Nev Annual Conference blog: Vital
Signs and Wonder (

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Videos for 3-10-13

Chinese Choir

Chinese Sermon

English Sermon - “Looking in All the Wrong Places” Luke 15:1-3,11b-32, 2 Corinthians 5:16-21,Jamie Michaels

English Ministry News and Notes 3-10-13

*We Welcome Jamie Michaels to CCUMC! Jamie Michaels serves as Campus Minister for UC Merced and Merced College. A recent graduate of Pacific School of Religion and candidate for ordination in the United Methodist Church, Jamie served the church as a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries for two years as a US-2. She worked with the General Board of Church and Society in Washington DC, as well as with the United Methodist Committee on Relief as it opened its new Relief Kit Depot site in Salt Lake City. Jamie's passions lie in worship and the arts, Young Adult ministry and leadership development, and moving the UMC towards policies that embody God's desire for justice for all people.

*Faith & Immigration: Discerning Our Way Together - This new Sunday School series has begun! There are just two more sessions left! You are greatly encouraged to be a part of the learning, deepening, listening, and discerning the next 2 Sundays at 9:30 a.m. sharp!

*Appreciations to LMUMC Food Pantry Servants! Thanks to those who served yesterday, Mar. 9th. If you haven't already, please consider pitching in! Sign up sheet is located on the Social Hall bulletin board.

*Please Note: Pastor Emily will be at the Asian American Language Ministry Committee's (AALMC) meeting Monday through Tuesday in Burlingame.

*An Invitation - Buena Vista UMC, our sister circuit church, invites us to a fundraiser to support members of their annual Holy Land Pilgrimage. The pilgrimage will take place in mid-April. The fundraiser will be held on Saturday, Mar. 23rd, at 5:30 p.m. at Buena Vista (2311 Buena Vista Ave., Alameda.) Tickets are $40 and include a delicious catered Mediterranean meal. Donations are welcome even if you cannot attend. Please RSVP to Pastor Emily.

*Joining Our Voices - CCUMC hosts this year's neighborhood Good Friday Worship (Mar. 30th at 2:00 p.m.) We will create an ad hoc joint choir for the day. Practice will be held Sunday, Mar. 24th at 1:30 p.m. and Friday, Mar. 30th at 1:00 p.m. Please connect with Pastor Emily if you'd like to participate.

Reflecting on "The Most Loving Place in Town"

In January, the adult Sunday School began studying the book, “The Most Loving Place in Town.” This book, written as a story, acknowledges that churches – for all their talk about love: loving God and loving one another – often have a very difficult time actually living that love out. Churches, sadly, are often not experienced as loving places at all. The book invites and challenges the reader to consider the question, “How might we live into that possibility of being the most loving place in town?”

This book was selected by the adult Sunday School committee as a way to open up conversation about being community together. One of the goals of the committee for 2012-2013 is to deepen and strengthen the sense and practice of community at CCUMC.

We give great thanks to Steve Chan for facilitating the class.
Below are reflections by those who participated in the class, including Steve.

Steve Chan - What I learned was that I am not a very loving person. I also learned that we all must look in the mirror and take an inventory of where we fall short of doing what pleases God. I learned that to love God means that we must love one another. Lastly I learned how it is impossible for me to be the most loving person without allowing the Holy Spirit to work and to focus on God, who loved us unconditionally. To close, we all need to help each other in the journey to make CCUMC the most loving place in town.

Michelle Lu – The Most Loving Place in Town is one of my favorite books. When I first read it, I asked myself, can a church be the most loving place in town? When I think of a church community, my mind is always saying, "Oh a church should be a loving place, right?" Although this book demonstrates that a church is not always the most loving place in town, it discusses the process that a church can go through to become it. In the end, I have hope for the church because of the people. I would definitely say our church is a loving church because of the people. I feel our church has loving people and that is what makes the church a loving place. We're being loving by caring for others and sacrificing little things to help people. You know at times, not everyone can be loving or sacrificial, but it takes time for that to grow.

Ben Wong – I appreciated that the book was very accessible, which enabled everyone to get into the Sunday discussions easily. One new concept was the different stages of introducing change from an organizational leadership standpoint. The hard part for me is receiving criticism without getting defensive about my efforts to move CCUMC in the right direction. Much of it is setting aside my ego. I'd like the church to continue to take the surrounding neighborhood seriously - if we are to really make inroads towards being the "most loving place in town". As a tight-knit community within, do people in Chinatown know us as loving people? We know that our sidewalk outreach and nursery/after school programs are noticed and seen as positive things by the general public. How do we take the next step in being seen as more than simply supporters of good causes and providers of social services, but additionally as folks who want to care for Chinatown residents on a person-to-person level?

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Videos for 3-3-13

Chinese Choir

Chinese Sermon

English Sermon - “Choosing Well, Choosing Life” Isaiah 55: 1-9, Pastor Emily

English Ministry News and Notes 3-3-13

*We Continue Our Lenten Journey along The Way of Discernment. All are invited and welcome to participate in S.O.U.P. (Sundays of Uniting Prayer) following worship. Please listen for the gong that will invite you next door to the Annex. S.O.U.P includes a time of contemplative eating, guided sharing, and prayer. Great thanks to our soup-makers for today: Aeri & Leily, and our bread-provider: Peggy.

*Congregational Vitality Workshop Learnings & Reflections: You are encouraged to connect with any of the 6 folks who attended this workshop yesterday (Becky, Steve, Jane, Richard, Meina and Pastor Emily) to find out more!

*Prayer Invitation: Please pray for the brand new Youth & Child Visionary Ministry (YCVM) Board which will be meeting on Sundays 3.3.13 and 3.10.13. They will be discerning how best to ensure that Kumi Christian Visionary School (KCVS) opens in 2014.

*We Welcome Jamie Michaels to CCUMC Sunday, Mar. 10th - Recent Pacific School Religion graduate and current UC Merced Campus Minister, Jamie Michaels, will be our guest preacher next week. Jamie is in the ordination process through the Cal-Nev Annual Conference.

*Faith & Immigration: Discerning Our Way Together - We will begin an exciting 3-week only Sunday School class next Sunday, Mar. 10th. The class will be facilitated by Rev. Deborah Lee, Director of the Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights (ICIR). This will be a unique and important opportunity to dialogue with the Bible, one another, Rev. Deborah, and her guests. Please be on time! Class begins promptly at 9:30 a.m.

*Are You Being Called, Nudged, Invited to Baptism, Confirmation, or Membership here at CCUMC? Please connect with Pastor Emily to consider your journey as an active, intentional disciple with and amongst this community.

The Way of Discernment

I was all set to share about the Lake Merritt UMC Food Pantry in this space this week when I came across this poem from Rev. Steve GarnassHolmes. His meditation affirmed what had come to me in my sermon preparations and was too powerful to pass up. I share the poem with you praying that it will be a place for meaningful reflection in the coming week. Although Rev. Steve does not explicitly say so this time, I hear echoes of 3 of the lectionary texts for this week: Isaiah 55:1-9, Psalm 63:1-8, and Luke 13:1-9.

"Repent or Parish"

Life-giving God,
you are my oxygen,
my heart and lungs.

I long for you
like I yearn each moment
for my next breath.

I try to find life elsewhere,
easier, closer---but there is none,
and it does not give life.

But I breathe deeply of your presence,
your grace filling my body and soul,
and I live.

In my hunger I gorge
on junk food for the soul,
and I am even hungrier.

But I feast on your love
for me and all living beings
and I am satisfied.

When I think of my soul as a tree
planted in a box, untouched,
it withers.

But you dig around the roots of my soul
and the richness of life and death
soaks in through my roots and fills me.

In my fear
I turn from you
and starve myself.

But in your love
I return to you, my life,
and I live.