Sunday, November 30, 2014

English Ministry News and Notes 2014-11-30

Our annual Charge Conference will be held today at 1pm in the social hall! All are invited!

#GivingTuesday. This year #GivingTuesday happens on 12/2/14. #GivingTuesday is a movement that created a national day of giving to kick off the giving season. Therefore, to kick start your holiday gift giving, please support Sister Marilyn Chan’s Women’s Empowerment and Leadership Training Project #3020789. Contribute via The Advance by going online to and designating your contributions to Project #3020789. As part of UMC #GivingTuesday, United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries is matching funds of up to $1 million in gifts made online to any project on 12/2/14.

Christmas Poinsettias! An annual CCUMC tradition is decorating the sanctuary with poinsettias for Christmas Sunday and Christmas eve. If you would like to order a poinsettia ($10.00 each), please connect with Laura or Helena (the plants can be taken home on Sunday, December 28th).

Ferguson Pastors Urge Peace

By Lilly Fowler / St. Louis Post-Dispatch

ST. LOUIS (RNS) Like so many others Monday (Nov. 24) night, the congregants at West Side Missionary Baptist Church were glued to televisions as a grand jury decision in the Michael Brown case was announced.

One woman sobbed in her chair as she learned that police Officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted in the fatal shooting.

Then, with the press conference far from over, the church’s television went dark. And the congregants at the church turned instead to prayer and preaching.

Within seconds, the Rev. Starsky Wilson was at the pulpit, calling for “contrary folk.”
“Thank God for people who go against the teachings of the church,” Wilson said, while referencing those who had told the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. that he was moving too fast on civil rights issues. “Thank God for contrary young people."

“To be contrary is to say we’ve had enough.”

Wilson was named by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon as a co-chair of the 16-member Ferguson Commission to look for a way forward after Brown’s death. On Monday evening, he said that despite the failure of the system to indict Wilson, the road ahead was not impossible. “God through faith turns curses into blessings,” Wilson said. “Ordinary people with extraordinary faith can change the world.”

The Rev. C. Jessel Strong, president of the St. Louis Metropolitan Clergy Coalition, also took the pulpit. “We’re here because we’re sick and tired,” Strong said. “Why does it seem all of our children are shot by the police?”

At the same hour, St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson gathered for prayer at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Roman Catholic Church in Ferguson. Later, he issued a statement calling for calm:

“I implore each of you: Choose peace! Reject any false and empty hope that violence will solve problems,” the archbishop wrote. “Violence only creates more violence. Let’s work for a better, stronger, more holy community — one founded upon respect for each other, respect for life, and our shared responsibility for the common good.”

On Monday afternoon, Interfaith Partnership, which represents 24 faith traditions in the St. Louis region, issued a statement calling for peace and understanding. “As we seek meaningful change and healing, we pray for understanding of the pain of others,” read the statement, signed by Carlson and Strong, of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. In recent days, numerous clergy members have said they will open their worship spaces to serve as safe houses and sanctuaries.

As the grand jury announcement approached Monday night, worshippers at Christ Church Episcopal Cathedral downtown sat quietly. There was no broadcast of the press conference. Those listening on their smartphones were asked to use headphones. When the Rev. Mike Kinman announced the decision, one person at the back of the cathedral shouted a mournful cry and was escorted out by friends. Others in the congregation, including social worker therapist Celeste Smith, covered their faces as if in grief. Smith, who is white, listened to the announcement with Claudine Allen, also a counselor, who is black.

As planned, all fell silent then for 41⁄2 minutes. Kinman read a prayer of forgiveness written by Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and all sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” considered the African-American national anthem.

Then began a 24-hour vigil of prayer and song that would continue all night and day at the cathedral.

Kinman had sent out a notice to the community in advance announcing that people could gather at the cathedral for group prayer, song and silent prayer. He wrote: “Be not afraid. Be prayerful. Be bold. Be together.”

Pastor’s Note: As we enter this season of Advent, let us be mindful that we as the church are called to share the peace and hope of Christ with a desperate and hurting world. O come, O come Emmanuel.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sunday, November 23, 2014

English Ministry News and Notes 2014-11-23

Our annual Charge Conference will be held next Sunday, November 30th 1pm in the social hall! All are invited!

#GivingTuesday. This year #GivingTuesday happens on 12/2/14. #GivingTuesday is a movement that created a national day of giving to kick off the giving season. Therefore, to kick start your holiday gift giving, please support Sister Marilyn Chan’s Women’s Empowerment and Leadership Training Project #3020789. Contribute via The Advance by going online to and designating your contributions to Project #3020789. As part of UMC #GivingTuesday, United Methodist General Board of Global Minis-tries is matching funds of up to $1 million in gifts made online to any project on 12/2/14.

Christmas Poinsettias! An annual CCUMC tradition is decorating the sanctuary with poinsettias for Christmas Sunday and Christmas eve. If you would like to order a poinsettia ($10.00 each), please connect with Laura or Helena (the plants can be taken home on Sunday, December 28th).

Hospitality Sign-ups! The last 3 Sundays in December are available for YOU to share your hospitality by providing refreshments after service! Please sign up!

Happy Thanksgiving!

The notion of building nests is often used as a metaphor to describe people successfully providing for their own comforts. When we are comfortable, secure, and feel at home in our workplace or living area, we talk about the space being “our own little nest.” The word nest often connotes shelter, coziness, homelike, comfortable. In actual fact, the nests which birds build are not for the birds who build them, but for their young, for the next generation, for the future of the species. Now consider the “nests” we build in our churches. The buildings, programs, ministries, job descriptions and services - are they for our own comfort and coziness? Or are they to further the faith and provide for future generations? Vibrant, fruitful congregations focus as much energy, prayer, and planning on those outside the church as they do on those who are already active in the congregation. For those who practice Extravagant Generosity, the nests we build are not for ourselves – they are for the next generation, those new to the faith, the future of the body of Christ.

Excerpt from Practicing Extravagant Generosity Devotional by Robert Schnase

However and wherever you celebrate Thanksgiving this week, may your heart be open to receive God’s gracious and abundant love.

Pastor Brenda

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sunday, November 16, 2014

English Ministry News and Notes 2014-11-16

Maintaining Covenant Relations: If you haven’t already, please see Sylvia Louie to sign a Thanksgiving card for Pastor Joseph and Sister Marilyn!

Save the Date~ Saturday, November 22nd from 6pm to 8pm. Wadi Foquin Fundraiser Dinner

Thanksgiving Sunday 9:30AM Parallel Worship November 23rd! Worship will be followed by a gratitude potluck. For those with last names ending in A-M: please bring a main/meat dish to share. For those ending in N-Z: please bring a side/veggie dish to share. Ulander and Mabel will provide Ham, Larry and Peggy will provide Turkey. The Youth and Adrienne/Rich will provide dessert.

Kumi Reflection - part 2

By Becky Wong

Going to Kumi this second time around for me held a totally new aspect of Mission Service. As one of two retired schoolteachers on the team (the other being Connie Branson), I was invited to share some of my teaching expertise with the KCVS staff. This sounded like an intriguing opportunity, filled with possibilities of all kinds. So we both agreed to the task of teacher training.

But as the trip grew closer, and Connie and I started to plan, all kinds of uncertainties and questions began to arise: What kind of training did the teachers already have? What books were they using? What materials were available? What would the teachers think of learning in cooperative groups----a teaching style that was probably radically different from what they were used to? How could we share worksheets when copy machines and even paper were not readily available supplies? And what would Kumi teachers think of 2 foreign retirees who looked, spoke, and lived in very different worlds from them? In short, where should we begin? Of course, there were no simple answers to any of these questions.

So looking over our reserves of science teaching tools, and proceeding in what I’ll call Faith with Trepidation, we began to pull lessons we thought might work from an elementary school science program put out by U.C. Berkeley. We packed tape measures, balance scales, metric weights, paper clips, buttons, and seashells.

So we spent 4 days training the staff and the Head Teacher. I remember that the first day, the teachers seemed very shy and quiet. Moses, James, Scovia and Stella had some previous experience teaching, but Jessica was brand-new----in fact she was one of the orphans we had sponsored through high school. I kept hoping that they could understand my English accent, because sometimes it was a challenge for me to understand their British accent.

But the neat part was watching them try out being the student. One exercise had them use paper clips to measure a desk. I was relieved that they didn’t think it was at all silly. You could see their minds being challenged by a very different style of teaching. Who in Kumi had ever heard of using paper clips to teach measurement? In the afternoon, we tried the same lesson with a class of students, and the teachers observed. When we debriefed the following day, it was interesting what they noticed.

First, they were delighted with how the kids “took” to the lesson. Kids were out of their seats, and talking to each other about the task. They realized that their students were engaged in doing real thinking and problem-solving. Head Teacher Jacob commented that as the master teacher, I didn’t skip over students who didn’t have the answer right away, but gave them time to think and offer a guess or a thought, even if they weren’t sure it was right. A real eye-opener was when I pointed out that their classes were seated with total separation of boys and girls. We talked about opportunities for girls, and encouraging them to have confidence. Almost immediately, the two male teachers, James and Moses, got up from their seats and walked over to the three female teachers, and indicated that they also needed to mix the gender seating, just as their students should. This was met with surprise, and then giggles as they rearranged their seats, and Connie and I realized that they really “got it”. They were sharp, and they were open to learning something new. In that moment, I was totally grateful that we had come halfway around the globe. Here, with our new brothers and sisters, we delighted in learning together, learning from each other, and seeing the future opening doors wider and wider for all of us.

Another surprise came on the day of the great celebration: Commissioning Day for KCVS. About 500 villagers had gathered at the school that Saturday. Everyone was in awe of the Uganda Minister of Education, a beautifully dressed woman seated on a bright red sofa chair brought in for the occasion. It was hot, and we had been sitting for about 3 hours. But when it came time for her to give her speech....we hung on every word. She had great praise for the school construction. But I was caught totally off-guard when she mentioned the science lessons and trainings that had been offered to the teachers and students. She hoped that these could be shared with other schools throughout the area. WOW, I thought. Indeed, you never know what an impact you might make, just doing a small thing like sharing a science lesson.

Thinking back, I’m so glad that I didn’t let my fears and uncertainties get in the way of the willingness to serve. While I had tons of questions going into this new mission, I learned that having respect and an open heart goes a long way in building bridges and overcoming differences. I truly thank God for the blessings of this journey.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Worship Videos 2014-11-9

Chinese Choir
Chinese Sermon
English Sermon

English Ministry News and Notes 2014-11-7

Homework Club Parenting Workshop will be held on Friday, November 14th beginning at 6:30. The focus will be on how to improve your child’s study habits. Please pray for this important ministry. Although they don’t need anything for this event, the children could use a donation of small paper cups for their snacks (4 oz should be fine).

Save the Date~ Saturday, November 22nd from 6pm to 8pm. Wadi Foquin Fundraiser
Dinner at Lake Merritt UMC. $50/person or $300/table of 7. The dinner is the culminating event of a speaking tour hosted by Friends of Wadi Foquin and the CA-Nev UMC United
Methodist Women, Israel-Palestine Task Force and Advocacy and Justice Committee. Proceeds will help fund community development projects in Wadi Foquin to retain their rights to land and life in their homeland.

Parallel Worship Services beginning at 9:30 will be on November 23, after which we’ll be having our Thanksgiving PotLuck! More information coming soon!

VIM Trip Reflection

By Becky Wong

Traveling to Kumi this 2nd time around held special excitement for me. Having spent more than half my life teaching in the public schools, I couldn’t wait to see teachers and students in the brand-new classrooms. I pictured the rough brick structure that we had helped start 5 years ago, now transformed into a shiny new edifice. Well, on my first visit to KCVS, I was in a state of disbelief at what this “new” school looked like:

Dirt floors, crudely finished walls, no glass in the metal window frames. The front doors of the school lay on the ground amidst construction rubble. The walkway to get to the classrooms was a mixture of lumpy rock and cement, inviting one of us to twist an ankle or stub a toe. The chalkboards looked as if they were 10 years old, and where were the books? I certainly couldn’t see any. If this were a school in the U.S., it would be immediately shut down! My gosh, I thought, what have we done???

This was the first Saturday after we arrived, so school was not in session. But the amazing thing was that kids were around. Maybe they were bored at home and had nowhere else to go, or maybe they had seen the new visitors arrive in the school van and were curious. First there was a handful, then pretty soon, a dozen or more kids, smiling and looking at us. We started to chat with them, asking them their names and their grades.

Then Connie and I couldn’t resist, we got out the pen and paper and asked a child to write his name on the paper. Sure enough, he neatly printed his name and grade, then proudly handed it back to us. Of course, we had to take his picture, he smiling shyly, but obviously pleased with his accomplishment. Then one by one, each child did the same; wrote in the notebook, and snapped a photo with us.
Then it dawned on didn’t matter that the floors had dirt or the chalkboards looked worn or the cement was half broken; there was something here that was unmistakably a sure sign of a good school: smiling, bright-eyed children were here and they were eager to learn.

Over the course of the following week, it became evident that teachers, using chalk, chalkboard, and only one book for a whole class, were teaching reading, writing, math, and all the basics, and were doing a remarkable job, using lots of their own creativity and ingenuity. Every day was graced with children singing and praying, giving thanks to God for all they had. And even in the few days we were there, we saw the building transformed before our very eyes. The construction crew worked round the clock to complete 3 of the classrooms so they DID look spanking new! Along with cement floors and a newly- cemented walkway to each room. Glass panes were hand-cut and placed in the windows, and the front door took it’s rightful position to welcome the guests on the day of commissioning.

So what did I learn? First, not to let first impressions cloud the true underlying picture. Second, in Kumi, the people can use even the simplest resources and with hard work and perseverance, produce great results. Third, that when we let God be in control, miracles can happen beyond our imagination, and that is exactly what is happening with KCVS. The humble gifts that we have offered are opening new doors to a bright future for the children of Kumi.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Worship Videos 2014-11-2

Chinese Choir
Chinese Sermon
English Sermon

Covenant Relationships with Missionaries

Currently there are over 300 Global Ministries missionaries serving in over 60 countries throughout our United Methodist Church and World Methodist Church connection. Individuals and churches are invited to partner with a missionary and provide financial, spiritual, and emotional support. When we covenant with one missionary, we are supporting the entire United Methodist missionary community on their behalf and in their name.

CCUMC Begins a New Journey

After a lengthy period of time for discernment to determine whether or not to broaden and deepen our congregation’s need with a ministry outside our community, CCUMC decided to establish covenant relationships with three missionaries or mission fields. Beginning January of 2012 and through June 2016, we have decided to be in covenant relationships with Rev. Joseph Chan and Marilyn Chan, both of Cambodia, and Youth and Child Visionary Ministries (YCVM) Kumi, Uganda.

There are three conditions through which we experience covenant relationships. First, we establish a financial goal of five dollars per church member per year in financial support of each missionary’s work. For CCUMC, this amounts to $250.00 per missionary/mission field. However, the covenant is much more than a financial commitment. It is also, secondly, a dynamic relationship where the church and its members and the missionary pray for one another and lastly, that all partners communicate regularly.

For more information about our Covenant Partners, connect with Sylvia Louie, Steve Chan, or Burt Yin. A detailed brochure is available here.

English Ministry News and Notes 2014-11-2

We Welcome Rob Herrmann as our guest speaker today while Pastor Brenda takes a mini break to visit Pennsylvania. Rob is currently a seminary student employed at Lake Merritt UMC.
Mission Ministry Team Meeting on Saturday, Nov. 8th, from 10am-noon at church.

Maintaining Covenant Relations: If you haven’t already done so, please sign greeting cards for Pastor Joseph and Marilyn Chan. See Sylvia Louie to sign a 35th wedding anniversary card and a Thanksgiving card.

There are Available opportunities to share your Hospitality! Sign up on the sheet in the Social Hall!

Parallel Worship Services beginning at 9:30am will be on November 23, after which we’ll be having our Thanksgiving Potluck! More information coming soon!

Spring Forward, Fall Back: Just a reminder to set your clocks BACK one hour THIS weekend (November 2nd, 2014)!

I-Relate Workshop

An I-Relate workshop led by Shan McSpadden and Aeri Lee was held on Saturday, October 25th, where we explored a deeper understanding of ourselves and of those that may be different from us. The workshop included fun and interactive activities, self-discovery, some "a-ha" moments, as well as a time of fellowship with each other and with our pastors.
Both Pastor Brenda and Pastor Meina shared their call stories, and some background for their journey of faith.