Sunday, December 18, 2016

2016-12-18 Worship Videos

Chinese Choir

Chinese Sermon

English Sermon

English Ministry News and Notes 2016-12-18

  • Let's Go Caroling - Connect with Becky (if you haven’t already) if you plan to go caroling tomorrow! Bring joy to others by sharing your voice!
  • Calling All Bakers - Get out the mixers and sifters: your delicious treats are invited for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day refreshments! Thank you!
  • Celebrate Christmas - this year's calendar invites us to celebrate Christmas in worship and community. You are warmly invited to Christmas Eve Candlelight Worship, Dec. 24th, at 7:00 p.m. Invite friends and family to this beautiful time of remembering the story and sharing the music. On Christmas morn, we'll gather at 10:30 a.m. for a creative joint worship. Again, friends and family are invited and welcome!
  • Sunday School Rests - Please note that there will not be Sunday School next Sunday, Dec. 25th. Adults will also rest on Jan. 1st and resume on the 8th.
  • Please Note - the church office will be closed Dec. 26th - 28th. For pastoral emergencies, please connect with Pastor Emily via email or cell phone.
  • AO Circuit Holy Land Pilgrimage - We will be traveling to the Middle East from May 1st - 12th with our circuit brothers and sisters. The trip cost is $3,250 and includes airfare, ground transportation, hotels, all meals, honorariums, and gratuities. The first installment representing your commitment to the trip is required by Jan. 5th ($1,500). Checks can be made out to CCUMC with Pilgrimage in the memo line. Interested? Questions? Connect with Pastor Emily.

Love: The Children of Susiya

This is a story about a village in Palestine.

Children play and make friends there. But they live in a hard situation. The churches in Jerusalem invite people from around the world to come and see what is happening. Patricia, who wrote this story, is one of those people. For three months she lived with Palestinians and Israelis who are working for peace.

Susiya is a small village in Palestine. The Palestinian people don’t have control of their own country. This situation is called a “military occupation.” In this small village, the Israeli army told the people to leave. They were going to tear down their homes and use their land for themselves.

But the people don’t want to leave. They love their homes. They love their families and their animals. They love the land and their community. This place is their home. Where else would they go?

During this difficult situation, the children try to go about their daily lives. They are just like children anywhere. The other observers and I arrive just as school finishes for the summer. Remember how that feels?

Getting up and out first thing in the morning. Meeting up with friends. Going in and out of each other’s homes? The children play school, marbles, and games. They play little sally saucer and statue. They fill water balloons and—watch out!

We watch the children play. We watch them push and pull, cry and laugh. There is a lot of love in this close community.

A special moment for me is playing rock-a-bye baby. All of the children want a turn being rocked. Even the older ones, who have trouble fitting on my lap! Then I teach them to dance to “Rock Around the Clock.” And they teach me to dance to an Arabic song!

Every child needs a safe place to live and grow up. The children of Susiya and many other villages in Palestine need to have courage. As long as this conflict goes on, they will live with the very real fear of losing their homes.

We hear the love and courage of the people in Susiya who want to keep their village. Are we ready to love? Are we ready to step up and help the people of Palestine and Israel? I wonder what love is calling forth from us?


For pictures of the children of Susiya that accompany this story from the blog of former World Council of Church’s Ecumenical Accompanier and United Church member Patricia Mercer, visit: https://patriciainpalestine.wordpress.com

Sunday, December 11, 2016

2016-12-11 Worship Videos

Chinese Choir

Chinese Sermon

English Sermon

English Ministry News and Notes 2016-12-11

  • Live Hope, Peace, and Joy....By Picking It Up - Let's work together to make our neighborhood beautiful. Today, 12:30 - 2:00 p.m.
  • Prayer Invite - Please remember the final (for the 2016 year) Adventures in Faith chapel this Wednesday, Dec. 14th! Great thanks to the faithful team of faithful grace-sharers and love-bearers we have (Adrienne, Becky, Donna, Katty, Pastor Moon, Richard, Steve, and our Homework Club Team.)
  • Meet Our New Bishop! A reception will be held at Epworth UMC (1953 Hopkins St., Berkeley) on Tuesday, Dec. 13th at 7:00 p.m. to meet and greet Bishop Minerva CarcaƱo. You are welcome!
  • Let's Go Caroling - Drivers are needed for our Christmas Caroling from noon til 4pm on Dec. 19th. Bring joy to others by sharing your voice!
  • Calling All Bakers - Get out the mixers and sifters: your delicious treats are invited for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day refreshments! Thank you!
  • Christmas Eve Candlelight Service will be Saturday, Dec. 24th 7pm. Joint Christmas Day Worship on Dec. 25 at 10:00am

Joy: Music Transforms

This is a story about young people. They use music to bring joy.

At Christmas we sing carols in church. We hear Christmas songs on the street. Or singers might come to our door. Music reminds us that this is a special time of year. Music brings us joy.

There was a boy named Ramzi. Music changed his life. Ramzi Aburedwan was born in Bethlehem. He lived with his grandparents in a refugee camp. A refugee is someone who has been forced to leave their home.

Ramzi’s family dreamed that one day they could return to their home. It isn’t easy to grow up in a refugee camp. Palestinian people want their freedom. But the Israeli government controls what they can do and where they can go. And Ramzi wanted to be free.

When Ramzi was 17 years old, he learned about a new kind of music. Music teachers came to the refugee camp. They taught the children to play instruments. Ramzi learned the viola. (That’s like a big violin.)

He loved the sound of the viola. He loved it even more when all the instruments played together. Ramzi got better and better at playing music. As he grew older, Ramzi’s dream was to teach music to children in Palestine. And his dream came true. He started a school where many refugee children learn music.

One day, Ramzi and a group of young musicians got onto a bus. They went to a checkpoint. Palestinians have to pass through these places to get from one city to another. They need permission to travel to get to work, school, or a hospital, or to visit family. They need a special paper. And Israeli soldiers check their bags.

People have to line up inside cages. It is crowded. People often get tired and angry. They have to wait a long time. And sometimes the soldiers don’t let people through.

The musicians came with their instruments. They knew that music can bring joy to a joyless place. Ramzi told them to keep playing, even if the soldiers told them to leave. The young people were very brave. They started to play music for everyone at the checkpoint.

The soldiers didn’t know what to do. The people who were waiting in line stayed to listen to the music. Ramzi and the young musicians brought a gift of joy. They showed the world that even in a difficult situation, they can share a message of freedom, life, and peace.

I wonder how we can share joy with those around us? Where can we bring the gift of joy?

The blog of former World Council of Church’s Ecumenical Accompanier and United Church member Patricia Mercer includes pictures of what a checkpoint is like. Visit: https://patriciainpalestine.wordpress.com

Sunday, December 4, 2016

2016-12-4 Worship Videos

Chinese Choir

Chinese Sermon

English Sermon

English Ministry News and Notes 2016-12-4

  • Circuit Charge Conference, Today! Please gather at Twin Tower UMC at 2:00 p.m. Address: 1411 Oak St., Alameda. There is plenty of street parking on Oak or Central as well as a free city parking garage (entrance on Oak, btwn CVS and Cinema Grill).
  • Christmas Poinsettias - Today is the last day to sign up with Peggy if you’d like to donate a plant for our sanctuary.
  • Pitch In and Pick It Up - Next Sunday, Dec. 11th, we'll join with others to care for our neighborhood by picking up trash, sweeping, and generally beautifying our streets. This is one way we can "show up" and make a difference for Chinatown. Please sign up today! Great thanks to Richard for anchoring this month.
  • Let's Go Caroling - Drivers are needed for our Christmas Caroling from noon til 4pm on Dec. 19th. Bring joy to others by sharing your voice!
  • Christmas Eve Candlelight Service will be Saturday, Dec. 24th 7pm. Joint Christmas Day Worship on Dec. 25 at 10:00am.

Peace: Learning about Where We Live

This is a story about a young woman who learned something about her home. My name is Niva. I’m a Jewish person born in the south of Israel. I grew up in a small community that was surrounded by desert. As a child, I didn’t get to know my neighbors very well. We didn’t speak the same language, and we didn’t go to the same places. I was told that the people who lived on this land before us—the Bedouin people of Palestine—just left.

One day, my father took part in a protest. Our army had hurt and killed a lot of people in the country next to us, Lebanon. Some people from our own country attacked the group my father was with. He was killed. The people who attacked him were angry. They didn’t think that we should speak for peace and justice, or question our leaders. Losing my father when I was very young changed how I see the world.

When I finished school, I had to join the Israeli army. It is the rule. I wished I didn’t have to join. When I finished my service after two years, I thought about leaving Israel. Life here isn’t easy. We live in fear and there is a lot of fighting. One day, I was walking along the seashore with my friend, Amaya. She told me about what happened 60 years ago when our country, Israel, was formed.

She said that there were other people living here, Palestinian people. Many of them were forced to leave their homes and their towns, because our people wanted to live here instead. I was shocked by what she told me. This isn’t something we learn a lot about in school. I started to feel scared and sad. I had so many questions.

This is where I live. How come I didn’t know about this before? If my country is the reason Palestinian people had to leave their homes, what can we do about it? I wondered if I should leave Israel. Maybe life would be better somewhere else with no war and no fighting. But I was born here. I love the people, the food, the language, and the land. I decided I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to do something about what Amaya told me. I knew it would be hard, but I wanted to learn more and work for change.

I started to work for a group called Zochrot. (The word means “remembering” in the Hebrew language, in the feminine form.) I volunteered to create a tour of four Palestinian villages that used to exist in the south of Israel. I didn’t know much about these places growing up, so I used the knowledge that Zochrot had about them. Today parts of these villages are covered with trees, but you can still find old buildings, like schools and houses where people lived. We at Zochrot lead tours to teach Israeli Jewish people about what happened here. People were forced to leave their homes so that we could live here. It is not easy to do this work. There are people in my country who don’t want us to talk about these things.

My hope is that one day we will live together in this land, Palestinians and Israeli Jews as equals. Then the Palestinian people could return to their homes. There is a lot of fear, hatred, and fighting between people. But we need to learn how to live together. I believe most people want happiness, health, and a good life. They want to live in peace with no wars. I don’t want other people to suffer because of what I do, or what my people did and still do today.
Things are difficult, but I believe they can change.

Thank you to Niva Grunzwieg from Zochrot (http://zochrot.org) for sharing her story.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

2016-11-27 Worship Videos

Chinese Choir

Chinese Sermon

English Sermon

English Ministry News and Notes 2016-11-27

  • UM Student Day Special Offering, Today! - We remember our students today. Your special offering supports students as they prepare for life in uniting faith with knowledge by providing scholarships for qualified United Methodist applicants.
  • Great Thanks to all those who turned in their Stewardship Response Card. You are invited to do so asap if you haven’t. We will be following up this year!
  • Charge Conference: Dec. 4th, Sunday, at 2:00 p.m., Twin Towers UMC (Alameda). For the first time, we'll be joining with our circuit brothers and sisters for this annual business meeting! Please sign up to go today!
  • Christmas Poinsettias - Bring Christmas beauty and color to the sanctuary by donating a $10 poinsettia. Today is the last day to sign up. Thank you!
  • ”Pick It Up Chinatown” - We join together with AYSC and others again on Dec. 11th for a time of hands on service in our neighborhood, 12:30—2:00 p.m. Please sign up today!
  • Let’s Go Caroling - Bring the joy and connection of the season to others by sharing your voice. We will carol for neighbors who are strangers, shut-ins, and friends. Monday, Dec. 19th, from noon to 4:00 p.m. Drivers are needed! Please sign up today!
  • Looking Ahead: We will celebrate Christmas Eve Candlelight Worship at 7:00 p.m. on Dec. 24th and then come together for a joint Christmas Worship on Dec. 25th at 10:00 a.m.

Hope: A Farmer’s Heart for the Land

This is a story about an olive farmer who finds hope and strength in the land. My name is Shareef Omar. I’m a farmer from a small village in Palestine, called Jayyous. As Palestinian people, we don’t control our own country. The Israeli government sets the rules. They decide where we can live. They tell us where we can go and what we can do. In 1988, the government took my farmland away. They said that I couldn’t use the land to grow food. It was too full of stones.

I paid for a bulldozer to clear the stones. I had to sell my sheep and goats and my wife’s jewellery to get the money. I put in plastic pipes for water. I proved that my land could grow food. Eight years later, I was lucky. I got my land back. I grow juicy guava fruit, oranges, olive trees, and many vegetables. The land is how we make a living. It is also our memories, our dreams, and our hopes. I feel alive when I am on the land.
Let me tell you a short story. It shows how farmers feel about their land. In 2002, a big fence was built. It blocked us from our farmland. The only way to get to my land was if I had a special paper, which was hard to get. Many farmers snuck through the fence. We cut a hole in it so that we could water our plants. The army arrested many of us, but some of us escaped.

During this time, I discovered a wild tree growing on a steep rock. It was dry and thirsty. I poured a bottle of water. But the rock was steep, and the water ran off. I drilled the lid with a nail, so the water came out drop by drop. The wild tree began to bloom. I did that every day for weeks.

Finally I had to travel out of the country for a meeting. I felt sad about the wild tree. I went to it and said, “Sorry, I have to leave. I will not be able to come back to take care of you, because I have no permit. I don’t want you to suffer, because you are thirsty.” Then I cut its two branches to stop it from growing anymore. When I reached the gate, the soldier asked me what I had in my hand. I felt confused. Why was I still carrying the branches?

Five months later, I got a permission to go to my land. My wife and I passed through the gate together. We were very quiet. We looked at everything as if we were seeing it for the first time. When we reached our small house, my wife cried. Everything was wrecked and dusty. I went to the place of the wild tree to see if it was still alive. I was amazed! Many of its branches were growing again. I kissed it and apologized for cutting two of its branches before. My wife heard me talking. She shouted, “Shareef! Wake up! Who are you talking to?”

I was lying beside the wild tree. A few drops of blood were on my lips, because I had kissed the thorny branches. My wife looked at the rock. She asked, “How can this tree survive? I said, “This is a Palestinian tree. A Palestinian can live without water, without food, if its roots are in its land.”

May we be reminded that we are called to seek justice and to take action to help keep hope alive.

World Council of Churches. Theological Reflection on Accompaniment:
Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel, 2005, pp. 162-171.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

2016-11-20 Worship Videos

Chinese Choir

Chinese Sermon

English Sermon

English Ministry News and Notes 2016-11-20

  •     Happy Thanksgiving! You are warmly invited to a fellowship potluck luncheon following worship today. Special thanks to turkey and ham bakers: Larry, Aeri, Brenda and Arlene.
  •     Great Thanks to all those who participated in "Pick It Up Chinatown" last week! We heard that it was fun and satisfying. Special thanks for Burt & Jane’s leadership. Plan to join in next month on Dec. 11th.
  •     UM Student Day Special Offering, Nov. 27th - The last Sunday in November has been set aside to remember our students. Your special offering supports students as they prepare for life in uniting faith with knowledge by providing scholarships for qualified United Methodist applicants.
  •     Advent Begins - We will begin the special 4 week journey of Advent next Sunday, Nov. 27th.
  •     Christmas Poinsettias - Bring Christmas beauty and color to the sanctuary by donating a $10 poinsettia. Signs up today through Dec. 4th. Thank you!
  •     Please mark your calendars for Charge Conference: Dec. 4th, Sunday, at 2:00 p.m., Twin Towers UMC (Alameda). For the first time, we'll be joining with our circuit brothers and sisters for this annual business meeting!
  •     Support the UMC's Imagine No Malaria campaign at Malaria Awareness Night with the Warriors on Jan 4th, 2017, 7:30pm - With each ticket sold, a lifesaving bed net will be donated to Nothing But Nets. Tickets are $80/$95. See Ben Wong for more info.

Thanksgiving


At Thanksgiving we pause, even if only in a cursory way (and it often is) to consider what we’re thankful for. Usually we’re more interested in turkey, football and shopping than in the practice of deep gratitude. (Isn’t it odd how on one day we give thanks for all we have, and then the next day we go on a mad shopping rampage?) But give gratitude a try. Take a moment to think of what you’re most deeply grateful for. Most people’s lists are kind of short. Family, friends, health, material comforts, our nation, church and pets. That about covers it.

Go deeper. As long as you’re being thankful for something, say, our nation, be thankful for the whole thing, not just your favorite parts. I’m thankful for all the people, all the kinds of people, all the races, all the ages and shapes and lifestyles and perspectives, the heroes and the ones who struggle. Everybody. If you are grateful for your family, give thanks for the whole ding dang family tree stretching back to Adam and Eve, even the drunks and cheats and losers and misfits. Thank God for them, each one of them, or you wouldn’t be here. If you are grateful for your health, thank God for your body, this amazing creation that may be older and weaker than you wish, but it keeps you alive. It knows how to move and feel things, how to digest food and fight germs and how to get sick instead of just rolling over and dying. Even pain is a necessary gift. Thank God for pain.

If you’re really deeply grateful for what you have, you know that it’s a gift. You haven’t earned or created it yourself. Your health, your family, your station in life, even the money you’ve “earned” is a gift (plenty of people work hard and no one pays them for it). And you’re grateful for all those who suffered so that you could have it: the underpaid migrants who pick your fruit, the black-lung infected miners who dig the coal that keeps you warm, the slaves that pick your chocolate (sorry, but it’s true, unless it’s Fair Trade chocolate).

Beware of selfishness masquerading as gratitude. There’s a difference between gratitude and possessiveness. Love does not rejoice at the suffering of others, nor does it seek to keep what we are grateful for to ourselves. (Thank God for my food; too bad for the poor... thank God we get cheap goods, though the people who made them can’t afford them...thank God for oil; too bad for the earth...) If we are truly grateful we are mindful of the whole. Even as we give thanks for our goods, health, friends and comfort, we are aware of those without. And we are aware not just in thought but in deed. In love, gratitude is not a feeling; it’s an act. We don’t just have thanks; we give thanks.

So as you think of the things you are grateful for, try this:

If you are grateful for your belongings, donate to UMCOR to support those who have experienced disaster and lost everything.

If you are grateful for your house, find out where the closest homeless shelter is and make a donation to them.

If you are grateful for your church, tell someone about this community today and invite them to come with you to worship one day.

If you are grateful for the abilities God has given you, put them to use by committing to a particular ministry via the Stewardship Response Card.

If you are grateful for your friends, greet someone you don’t know at worship this Sunday.

May gratitude be more than just a feeling for you, but something you practice. I hope that you have a deeply grateful thanksgiving.

-Adapted from “The Other Side of Thanksgiving” , Steve Garnass-Holmes

Sunday, November 13, 2016

2016-11-13 Worship Videos

Chinese Choir

Chinese Sermon

English Sermon

English Ministry News and Notes 2016-11-13

  • Pick It Up - Join in the opportunity to be a sign of God's grace and goodness today. Participate in picking up trash in our neighborhood with others. Gather in foyer at 12:25 p.m. and follow Burt and Jane!
  • Giving Thanks - We will celebrate Thanksgiving next Sunday, Nov. 20th. Worship will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the Annex, followed by a fellowship potluck for the whole church. Please bring a favorite dish (main or side...no fruit or dessert, thank you!)
  • Please prayerfully consider your giving this year in the areas of prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness. You are kindly requested to return your completed stewardship card on Nov. 20th. Please connect with any questions or concerns.
  • An Altar Piled High - as a sign of your gratitude, let’s fill our Thanksgiving altar with healthy canned food and dried goods for the Alameda County Community Food Bank barrel.
  • Advent Begins on Nov. 27th!
  • How Might You Serve? There are all kinds of different ways to be in ministry here at CCUMC. Please pray about this and be open to conversation for what that might look like in the new year!
  • Please mark your calendars for Charge Conference: Dec. 4th, Sunday, at 2:00 p.m., Twin Towers UMC (Alameda). For the first time, we'll be joining with our circuit brothers and sisters for this annual business meeting!

Salt & Light, Here & Now


Below is an excerpt from “Ahead of the Election, Poll Shows a Nation Divided” (US News & World Report, Oct. 25, 2016):

“Less than two weeks away from the presidential election, an annual survey released Tuesday shows the nation is sharply divided on nearly every topic, from race relations to what problems the next president should fix first, and a record percentage of people believe the country is on the wrong track – up nearly 20 percentage points since the last race for the White House.

Further, a sizable number of Americans, particularly evangelical Protestants, believe the nation’s best days came during the era of Elvis, the Cold War and legal segregation. Meanwhile, nearly half think the era of Beyonce, Islamic State group and Black Lives Matter is so bad that the country needs an authoritarian leader “who is willing to break some rules in order to set things right.”

Those are the top lines from a new poll, “The Divide Over America’s Future: 1950 or 2050?” a survey of voters conducted last month by PRRI, a public policy think tank.

Examining the attitudes among a broad sample of voters on a range of issues, the survey reveals a country sharply at odds with itself, said Robert P. Jones, PRRI CEO and co-author of the report, speaking at a Brookings Institute forum.

“It’s not a really stretch to say one thing about this election is it really is a referendum on the future,” said Jones. “Does the future look bright? Are we going to reach back for something in the past? Or are we going to lean into the cultural and demographic changes that are happening in the country and even celebrate those changes?”

Though the divide may seem obvious to anyone following the bitter presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the winner, Jones says, will face a daunting challenge: unifying a country that’s divided on partisan lines, including political correctness and whether the election itself will be legitimate.”


As we sit with the election results and the recognition that we are deeply divided, how will we be salt – preserving, enhancing, seasoning, and creating a thirst for God in the world? How will we be light – illuminating, awakening, revealing in the world? How will we be growing disciples that make a difference, that exert influence, that are engaged and relevant for the transformation of the world?

Sunday, November 6, 2016

English Ministry News and Notes 2016-11-6

  • Great Thanks to all who participated in the All Church Clean Up last Sunday. The kitchen is shiny, the social hall closet was thoroughly organized, bathrooms deep cleaned, and more! Special thanks to the leadership of Steve and Al.
  • Let's Love Our Community by “Picking It Up” - Next Sunday, Nov. 13th, from 12:30 - 2:00 p.m. we'll join others in Chinatown to pick up trash and clean storm drains. This is an all ages opportunity to serve. Please sign up with Burt & Jane today!
  • Giving Thanks - We will celebrate Thanksgiving on Sunday, Nov. 20th. Worship will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the Annex, followed by a fellowship potluck for the whole church. Please bring a favorite dish (main or side...no fruit or dessert, thank you!)
  • Please prayerfully consider your giving this year in the areas of prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness. You are kindly requested to return your completed stewardship card on Nov. 20th. Please connect with any questions or concerns.
  • An Altar Piled High - as a sign of your gratitude, let’s fill our Thanksgiving altar with healthy canned food and dried goods for the Alameda County Community Food Bank barrel.
  • Advent Begins on Nov. 27th!
  • Please mark your calendars for Charge Conference: Dec. 4th, Sunday, at 2:00 p.m., Twin Towers UMC (Alameda). For the first time, we'll be joining with our circuit brothers and sisters for this annual business meeting!

A Prayer for Election Day, Rev. Mark Sandlin


In Proverbs, we are reminded that Wisdom is a thing in which you delight daily. In the life and teachings of Jesus, we are reminded that loving others is one and the same as loving you.

As we, a nation who boldly proclaims across the face of our currency “In God We Trust,” approach yet another election cycle, we ask that you might inspire in us a deep seated desire to delight in wisdom rather than focus on party lines.

May we be moved to a compassion for others as a way of expressing our love for you.

May our hearts and minds teach our eyes to see the voting booth as a way to express our undying devotion to a better world – a world less cluttered with the pitfalls of the powerful – a world less littered with the entrapments of consumeristic competition – a world less defaced with the warping of the beautiful diversity your Creation contains.

Prayerfully we hope to be moved into action. Knock us out of our sometimes overly complacent perspectives of the importance of an individual vote. Compel us toward a fully engaged electorate who demands an equal engagement from those elected.

Plant in us a seed of biblical justice. Teach us to nurture and grow it. Teach us to never hide it under a bushel. Inspire us to plant it in our town squares, publicly proclaiming the value of every individual in our society. And with it grow in us and in our nation an expectation that our elected officials be active reflections of that same justice.

Keep all of this in our hearts as we approach the voting booth this week. May our choices be predicated on a desire to build a better nation, a true light on a hill, a nation that holds these words to be self-evident that all people were “created equal and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Never let us forget, that the voting booth and an active electorate are our first line of defense. In a nation that has created people out of corporations, and “voice” out of dollar bills, remind us that, for now, our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution still tip the balance of power to “We The People.”

May we wield that power with grace and love and biblical justice based in equality, but... may we wield it boldly, assertively, and on behalf of all people. May we do so in numbers so massive that our voices be heard and in standing up may we alter the course of this great nation – re-establishing the pursuit of Life, Liberty and Happiness for ALL rather than solely for the powerful.

Let us not leave these words on this page, heard only in our hearts and never put into action in our lives. Rather let us be the voices in the Wilderness that the United States as become – let us be the ones proclaiming a higher way where all flesh may know that it is valued, it is cared for and it is loved.

Amen.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

2016-10-30 Worship Videos

Chinese Choir

Chinese Sermon

English Sermon

English Ministry News and Notes 2016-10-30

  • Great Thanks for Pitching In - Today, we will hold an "all church clean up" from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. Your energy, effort, and presence is much appreciated. Please look out for and welcome the AYSC and Symphonic Band youth who are here to pitch in too. Learn their names and include them!
  • We wondered recently: "What if CCUMC made a positive difference in the Chinatown community and was seen as an active partner for good?" And God responded with an invite to "baby steps": We are invited to pitch in to "Pick It Up Chinatown", a new monthly community venture to clean up and beautify Chinatown. Nov. 13th, 12:30 - 2:00 p.m. Please sign up today!
  • Celebrate Thanksgiving, CCUMC Style - we will gather for parallel worship on Nov. 20th at 9:30 a.m. followed by a festive fellowship potluck luncheon.
  • Don’t Forget: We “fall” back next Sunday, Nov. 6th! Adjust your clocks! We will also welcome into membership Kenneth Kwan from the CM. Please gather in the annex to sing our welcome song, “Jesus Loves Me.”
  • Can Christians Celebrate Halloween? This question comes up every year. The United Methodist Church doesn't have an official statement or position regarding Halloween. You are free to make your own decisions about participating. Here's food for thought: http://www.ministrymatters.com/all/entry/7792/halloween-and-christian-faith

"We Have Gifts..."

Recently, Pastor Meina and I pulled out the Nominations Report from 2015, reviewed it, noted items for follow up, and placed the whole list under prayer. Reviewing the list is always accompanied by a sense of enormous gratitude and appreciation for the amazing and faithful service of so many, and for God’s provision.

As a refresher, the Nominations Report is a roster of all the different ministry areas, leadership roles, and disciples who have said “Yes!” to serving and leading in a given year. (Please do note: It is not a comprehensive list of all the many ways that many people serve. It doesn’t list our hospitality sharers, for example, or our scripture readers, soundboard techs, or Messenger editor. Please know, this does not in any way discount or overlook that service!) Each year, this report is presented at our annual “business” meeting, otherwise known as Charge Conference, and voted on.

Each year, as “Nominations” is underway, I am reminded again of how the apostle Paul envisioned the church – as Christ’s body, a body with many members/parts, each member uniquely gifted and graced, each gift and grace meant to build and strengthen the whole. There are lots of scriptures in which this image is named, developed, and affirmed (Romans 12:4-8, I Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, Colossians 2, to name the “big” ones.) In Christ’s body, there is no one too young or too old to participate. In Christ’s body, there is no one too dumb or too smart to contribute. In Christ’s body, there is no one more able or less able to make a difference. Your gender, looks, IQ, educational background, housing status, past failings...nothing disqualifies you from being a valued, important, necessary part to the well-being and wholeness of the Body. We all have something to give, and we all count. In fact, we’re all needed.

So I invite you to set aside some time to pray in the next weeks, asking God to show you how you are uniquely called to participate, contribute, and make a difference in this community...and beyond in the coming year.

  • How might you step up?
  • How might you try on a ministry or an act of service in order to grow and listen to God?
  • How might you seek out intentional partners and mentoring in order to strengthen and sharpen a gift you sense in yourself or someone else?
  • How might you say “yes” to something in order to practice relying on God instead of yourself?
  • How might you open yourself up to being used by God to enable what only you can?

May you sit with these questions and allow God’s Spirit of Life and Transformation to move. And may we, day by day, move into the fullness that we’ve been called.

Peace,
Pastor Emily

Sunday, October 23, 2016

2016-10-23 Worship Videos

Chinese Choir

Chinese Sermon

English Sermon

English Ministry News and Notes 2016-10-23

  • Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow - We give great thanks for all that transpired at the 7th annual Kumi Benefit Dinner and the many, many hands and hearts that made the whole thing possible. Let's keep praying for our partners!
  • Let's Do This Together - The next all church clean up will be held on Sunday, Oct. 30th, following worship (from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.) This is an all hands on deck occasion to scrub down the kitchen, clean out closets, move old items, and generally spruce everything up. Please sign up today!
  • We wondered recently: "What if CCUMC made a positive difference in the Chinatown community and was seen as an active partner for good?" And God responded with an invite to "baby steps": We are invited to pitch in to "Pick It Up Chinatown", a new monthly community venture to clean up and beautify Chinatown. Nov. 13th, 12:30 - 2:00 p.m. Please sign up today!

How Do I Grow in My Christian Faith?

Every Christian is called to grow. Some people grow faster and others grow slower, but it is an ongoing process which never ends in this life. The key to becoming more mature in your faith is by consistently persevering in spiritual disciplines such as Bible reading/study, prayer, fellowship, service, obedience and witnessing. Doing these things will not save you, but bearing these fruits demonstrates your salvation.

READ AND STUDY THE BIBLE - Since the Bible is the Word of God, you must read, study, apply, and obey it. Doing so enables God to transform you. All you need to learn about Jesus and living the Christian life is found in the Bible. If you are new to the Bible, consider reading the gospel of John first. Ask God to help you apply what you have learned. If you don't have a Bible, try reading it free online at a website such as Bible Gateway. As you frequently stay in God's Word, the result will be spiritual growth.

DEVOTE YOURSELF TO PRAYER - When Jesus lived on the earth, prayer was a vital ministry. Actually, Jesus continues to intercede for the believer today. The Holy Spirit also intercedes for us according to God's will. Since prayer is important to Jesus and The Holy Spirit, it should be for us as well. You should not only pray for yourself, but also for others including your enemies. Prayer should also involve praising Jesus for who He is and being thankful for all the great things He has done. We should also confess the ways we’ve missed the mark and ask for forgiveness and how to move forward. A healthy prayer life is essential to spiritual growth.

WORSHIP, FELLOWSHIP AND SERVICE - It is critical to attend a healthy church. Church is about honoring and worshipping God and is meant for disciples to gather. It is important to have Biblical fellowship because it edifies the church and the Christians. Fellowship causes spiritual growth because Christ is the subject and source. It should include encouraging and praying for one another. You should also serve God and His people in the same way that Jesus came to Earth to serve us.

TELL OTHERS ABOUT JESUS - A faithful disciple will be obedient to the Word of God and should feel privileged to share the good news of the gospel and fulfill the great commission. Our motivation should be to glorify God and to see people come to faith in Jesus Christ. The gospel message has the power to heal and transform people. When you see lives changed by God, it encourages you and causes spiritual growth. Before sharing the gospel, pray for the Holy Spirit to give you boldness, truth, power, and love. You are called to be faithful, not successful because God does the transforming. Some people may not see the gospel as good news, but Jesus Himself got mocked, made fun of, spit upon and persecuted because He stood for truth.

MOVING FORWARD - If God has saved you and you devote your life to these spiritual disciplines, you will surely become more like Christ and stronger in your faith.

What’s YOUR next step to grow?

From www.washedred.com

Sunday, October 16, 2016

2016-10-16 Worship Videos

Chinese Choir

Chinese Sermon

English Sermon

English Ministry News and Notes 2016-10-16

  • We Warmly Welcome Sister Marilyn and Pastor Joseph Chan! The Chan's are our covenant partners in mission ministry serving in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Pastor Joseph retired from GBGM assignment 2 years ago though remains active in ministry while Marilyn continues as the Cambodian Methodist Women's Coordinator as a GBGM missionary. Please introduce yourselves to the Chan's and welcome them today!
  • You're Prayers Are Invited: The 7th Annual Kumi Dinner will be held this Friday, Oct. 21st, at 6:00 p.m. Please remember this gathering in God's light as final preparations are made.
  • Let's Do This Together - The next all church clean up will be held on Sunday, Oct. 30th, following worship (from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.) This is an all hands on deck occasion to scrub down the kitchen, clean out closets, move old items, and generally spruce everything up. Please sign up today!
  • UMCOR at Work - We lift up and remember the United Methodist Committee on Relief as they respond to the damage of Hurricane Matthew particularly in Haiti by providing emergency supplies, food, health kits, and other assistance. You can be a part of the recovery by visiting www.umcor.org and clicking on donate!
  • It's Not Too Late! Join in the exciting series "From Membership to Discipleship" happening each Sunday at 9:30 a.m.

Women’s Desk Ministry Newsletter, Cambodia

Women’s Desk Ministry focuses on the improvement of women and children. We would like to see them grow in God and improve in their knowledge and skills. We believe that women are important for the development of the society. According to the Cambodian history, many adults have suffered from civil war. Cambodia lost many human resources during Khmer Rouge regimes. Survivors continue to experience painful stories. Some Cambodian adults experienced mental health issues, lost of confidence, low esteem, self-pity, and depressed. Many women are fearful of sharing and speaking. Through the Women’s Desk Ministry, many women have gained back their identity as the daughter of God, and a follower of Jesus who saved, forgave, restored and healed them. This is the time that the Lord wants us to heal these people. Praise the Lord ! Their lives have been transformed. Women’s Desk Ministry and Cambodian Methodist Women Committees work and collaborate to train Cambodian women to become good leaders. Through the fellowship and training, women understand more about their rights and how to protect themselves and help another women in the communities from any forms of violence. Women start to teach and share, and they get the knowledge through home visit and prayer with other women. We give thanks to our Lord, our Father, for His kindness and love. Thanks to all donors for keeping us in their prayers and their supports. We would like to thank all the UMCs in the US and all UMW for supporting us so that this program can continue.

In 2010, a group of 4 volunteers in mission from Glenn Memorial UMC, Atlanta, GA, came to visit the Women’s Desk Ministry. Mrs. Marilyn Chan, the Women’s Desk Ministry’s coordinator, shared with the group about the challenges in Cambodia, especially related to the young generation’s education issue. Many poor families can’t afford to send their children to school or to support them to pursue their further education. And, some families would rather send their boys to school instead of girls due to the scarcity of their financial resources. Many students also drop out of school because they want to help their parents to earn for living.

Many children are living in poverty and suffer from poor health condition. A lot of teenagers choose to become migrant workers in Thailand, Korea, or Malaysia to earn for their living. Among them, there are teenagers who have become victims of human trafficking. What makes it worse is that there are also many children who fall into child trafficking, mostly girls.
We would like to give thanks for the passions and the initiatives of our generous partners and the Glenn Memorial UMC VIM team who started to support some female students. That made it possible for them to go to university through the scholarship program of Women’s Desk Ministry.

In 2016, through Glenn Memorial UMC, we supported 32 students including 4 primary school students, 9 elementary students, 7 high school students, 10 university students, 1 master degree student, and 1 for a short course study.

Here is a story of how we build up hope in a life of a vulnerable woman. Srey Oun, who lost her two eyes due to the acid attack, is struggling to raise her two daughters and one niece. She got the support from Glenn Memorial scholarship fund. Supporting her family by making hand craft business, Srey Oun is very grateful for the program that gives a chance for her daughters and niece to continue their study and also for Women Desk for giving the fund for her business.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

2016-10-9 Worship Videos

Chinese Choir

Chinese Sermon

English Sermon

English Ministry News and Notes 2016-10-9

  • Great Thanks to all who pitched in for World Communion Sunday worship and picnic! Praise God for the beautiful weather and the wonderful turn-out.
  • We Welcome Pastor Joseph & Marilyn Chan Next Sunday, 10.16 – We look forward to hearing about what God is doing in Cambodia with and through the Chan's, missionaries with whom we share a covenant partnership.
  • 7th Annual Kumi Benefit Dinner, Oct. 21st - It's not too late to be a part of an inspiring, hope-filled evening all to sustain Kumi Christian Visionary School. Please connect with Jane or Arlene! Please get your Silent Auction items to Donna Chan Chu ASAP!
  • Are You Practicing Hospitality? - 1 Peter 4: 9 says, “Be Hospitable without complaint.” God commands each one of us to endeavor to share hospitality to strangers as well as to our brothers and sisters. This is not just an encouragement for you to sign up to host refreshments after worship service, but an invitation to you to be welcoming to those who come to enter God’s House.

Singular Is Out, Plural Is In, www.baptistdigest.com

Amelia Earhart made flight history when she flew solo in 1932 from Newfoundland across the Atlantic. We need determined individuals to pave the way forward. However, lest we forget, (and not to minimize Amelia’s feat) it took hundreds of years of trial and error, thousands of inventors who devoted their talents and skills to enable humans to be airborne, a number of investors, engineers, and flight controllers who built and guided the plane she flew. That’s a team the size of a Kansas town. Solo doesn’t come close to describe the efforts it took to fly solo. Plural is more like it.
In Christianity rugged individualism (this dogged determinism to do it my way, without help) is no friend of spiritual formation. In shaping our character, in walking with the Master no person is an island. Doing the Christian life solo is not an option. Spiritual formation beckons us to do life in community.
When it comes to our spiritual growth many of us are lonely. We know the depth of Paul Simon’s words in I Am a Rock: “Hiding in my room, safe within my womb, I touch no one and no one touches me.” The renovation of our soul happens best when we touch one another in groups where belonging and community prevail. Doing life together is spiritual formation’s bread and butter.
Africans have proverbs about the way the village raises its children. It also takes a village to raise a follower of Christ (Parents are primary, but grandparents, Sunday school teachers, aunts and uncles, pastors and youth leaders, etc... play a role). Spiritual formation tolerates no spirit of independence.
Shaping lives in the likeness of Christ is a multidirectional activity: Let us spur one another on to love and good works and thus to grow in Christ, enjoins the writer of Hebrews (10:24-25). When Peter commands “grow in the knowledge and grace of Jesus Christ our Savior” he uses the plural form of the verb to grow. The idea that spiritual formation happens best in groups is biblical and a way of life in church history.
Our God, who is Trinity, calls us and shapes our lives to become conformed to the image of his Son. This formation is done as the Holy Spirit acts in us as his individual and collective temple. Our Trinitarian God transforms us into his likeness individually (but never as separated from a community of believers). I am one member in the body of Christ. Most of the instructions for Christian living in Paul’s letters address groups. You is hardly ever singular.
Baby Boomers are attracted more by individualism than by plurality. The Marlboro Man fascinates us; that lonely figure who rides into the sunset with his cigarette as his only friend. We are attracted to the John Waynes, the Clint Eastwoods, the Colombos, and the Dirty Harrys of the cinema who personify rugged individualism. Trendle’s Lone Ranger attracts us with his mysterious private existence. This man whose name nobody knows, and who never takes his mask off, makes us wonder: “Who was that masked man?”, only to be told, “Why, he’s the Lone Ranger!” We build walls, “fortresses deep and mighty that none may penetrate” ... “I am a rock, I am an island”, we sing with our lives. Individualism hinders the spiritual formation in the church. A new day has dawned and by God’s grace younger generations know spiritual formation is a community affair.
We spend energy to hire the best preachers money can afford, we develop the best programs, we stage the greatest music for worship, we house these in the best brick and mortar dollars can buy, and not much of it has had a sustained record of success in changing our character or the character of the church or of society! Meanwhile, in the chair next to us, there is someone wondering: Where do I belong, how do I become Christ-like in my family, at work, and at church, and how do we do life together? How will we respond?
Reflection: What draws you into community? What hinders you?

Sunday, September 25, 2016

English News and Notes 2016-9-25

  • New Christian Ed Series - "From Membership to Discipleship": gather with others to explore, discuss, consider, and engage the invitation to (re)commit to following Jesus as a disciple. This 7 part series begins today and continues through Nov. 13th. Sessions begins promptly at 9:30 a.m. in the annex.
  • World Communion Celebration Worship & Picnic - Next Sunday, Oct. 2nd, we head out to creation to celebrate our connection with brothers and sisters around the world. Worship will begin at 10:30 a.m. followed by a fellowship lunch. You are invited to bring: water/water bottle, camping chairs, picnic mats, fruit or dessert to share. Please let Frances know if you need transportation or can offer it.
  • It's Not Too Late - Join in the transformative experience of our upcoming church retreat, Oct. 8th. Our facilitator/teacher is Sam Yun, a dynamic, fun, insightful pastor who will inspire us to consider where we are and the possibilities before us as a church. We will gather at Lake Park UMC.
  • Are You In? Have you invited your friends and purchased your ticket/table yet for the upcoming Kumi Benefit Dinner happening on Oct. 21st?! If you have wonderful items that would be good for the Silent Auction, please connect with Donna Chan Chu. Get on it!
  • Have You Heard? - Beginning with CCC, God has multiplied generosity and created abundance! Over the last month, $15,500 was donated from individuals to KCVS. This amount is being set aside to enable KCVS to bid for a new used school bus. Stay tuned!

What Is a Disciple?

by www. Intervarsity.org

I thought of two traditional descriptions that accurately reflect what a disciple is, but they do not fully define the profound quality of life made possible by reconnection with God. By looking at these definitions, however, perhaps we can see what lies beyond them.

1. A disciple does certain things.

2. A disciple understands certain things.

A disciple does certain things. This view of a disciple emphasizes discipline and obedience. You demonstrate that you are a follower of Christ by trying to live as He lived and by carrying out His commands. A disciple does “good things,” such as quiet times, evangelism, involvement with other believers, and social justice work. We feel deep concern for righteousness, whether personal or cultural.

A disciple understands certain things. This view of a disciple emphasizes accurate thinking and insight concerning God, people, salvation, and so on. The theory is that if you think correctly about the important things, then the rest of your life will assume the proper prospective. A disciple must understand that God is both holy and loving; that people, though sinners, are made in the image of God; that Christ’s death was the substitute payment for our sin; and that because of Jesus’ payment, we are granted access to the heart of God.

This view holds that we can acquire a substantial understanding of God’s redemptive work, which enables us to correctly see Him and our position in Him. An extension of this view is that we can also gain a substantial understanding of our own lives, our personal history and family background. This understanding enables us to make progress in our relationship with Christ. For instance, understanding that your father’s past ridicule has hobbled your self-image helps you begin to confidently give yourself to others.

The Dilemma of Defining Relationship

The dilemma with defining a disciple is that you are not defining a static object that stands alone and possesses such and such properties. Rather, you are defining a person who is in relationship with another person. A disciple is defined by his or her relationship with God.

The two traditional descriptions discussed above do reflect some of the work and fruit of a disciple, but they are incomplete. A disciple should never be described in terms of things, even if those things are behaviors and ideas. It is possible, after all, to do right things and have accurate answers, and yet be very far away from God. A disciple is best described not in terms of relationship with things, but in terms of relationship with God Himself.

God desires our passionate love — this is the great appeal and command of the whole of Scripture, and the endpoint of the Gospel. As a result, our definition of a disciple should be no less.

Yes, a disciple does and understands certain things. Yet far more fundamentally and profoundly, a disciple loves a certain Someone. A disciple is someone growing in adoration of and love for God, and subsequently in love for other people. Such a person is other-centered because his or her focus is on God.
If love for God is the definition of a disciple, then how do we develop love for God and others? All the implications of our strategy for “developing disciples” stem from the answer to that question. The better we can answer it, the better we will be in helping others to mature in Christ.