Events and News

 

Pastoral letter 06.02.2020

Silent Witness and March, Wednesday, June 3rd

You are cordially invited to attend a silent witness and march in solidarity of those protesting the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

We will gather tomorrow, Wednesday June 3rd, in the Christ the King Church parking lot at 5:30 and prayerfully march to the Pleasant Hill City Hall (100 Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill). There will be a brief gathering at City Hall with words from various PH clergy. If you cannot march, you can join us at City Hill. We expect to conclude in time to honor the Pleasant Hill curfew staring at 7 pm.

Come prepared to be socially distant with masks on.

 

A Congregational Update, May 27, 2020

Words from the Pastor…
Some of you probably heard that Kathy and I bought a church pew last week for 50 bucks! Since the pandemic started, we have decided not to wear our shoes in-doors, partially because there was speculation that it was a way to transport COVID into our house. So that being the case, we needed some place to sit and put on our shoes. We looked at various benches and chairs. We decided to buy a church pew because it could have many other purposes beyond being a place for our shoes. It could be a confessional bench for our neighbors. Or a place to practice good social distancing (… it is 10 feet long!!!). And even a place for people to sit and hear me practice my preaching.

As I go outside and sit down on my pew to put my shoes on, it is a constant reminder of our church. Each week I am lucky enough to be in our sanctuary to tape our worship services. And each week there is this palpable sadness in not seeing all you fill those pews in our beautiful sanctuary. When I’m at church – which is usually once or twice a week – I half expect to see some of you around doing church-related things. Just today I was with a small group of our Wednesday Work Crew (… by the way, I can attest that they practiced good social distancing). Seeing these guys made my heart sing, but then I was so sad to leave them. There was almost a sense of normalcy in seeing them do their thing for our church.

What I have finally come to accept in this pandemic is that we will never really return to normal. The things we did for the church will never be the same. Last week I wrote to you about how we probably will never worship the same way again. That being said, we have been presented with new opportunities to carve new understandings on the way we do “church.”

We will be celebrating Pentecost Sunday on May 31st. This Sunday traditionally marks the birth of the Church. As I reflect on that first Pentecost, those gathered on that day in Jerusalem had their sense of normalcy taken away from them. For three years they followed this man called Jesus and they were witnessed to his actions and his words of hope. And then in a blink of an eye Jesus was gone, leaving the people with little hope for a future. What that day of Pentecost did for those followers was provide them with a new path and a new hope.

I hope that as we come closer to opening our church that we understand we have a new hope. One in which the Spirit is guiding us to new and exciting things in our church. And so I realize one more thing about my pew, each day I sit in it I realize the beauty and the wonder of seeing all of you in church again, expecting like me to go forward with a new energy to live a life of Love in the world.
Blessings… Pastor Colin

New Sermon Series Coming: From Fear to Hope…
During this pandemic we have lost many things. We may have lost loved ones to COVID-19. Others of us have lost jobs. And then on a more basic level, we have all lost pieces of our lives. We wear masks now to protect ourselves and others from the virus. Most of us venture out of our homes only when it is a necessity to do so. We have lost physical contact with our family and friends.

There is nothing normal about this time. We grieve the loss of what was and fear what the future might hold. Using the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance), we will explore how we dispel our fears and travel to a place of hope.

June 7th
Denial: Is this Really Happening?
Revelation 21:1-5

June 14th
Anger: I’m Mad and I’m Not Going to Take It Anymore!
Genesis 22:9-19

June 21st
Bargaining: Dealing with the “What If’s”
Luke 22:39-46

June 28th
Depression: What’s the Point?
Psalm 143

July 5th
Acceptance: Looking Forward to a New Reality
Romans 5:1-5

Happening This Week…

Virtual Worship this Sunday, May 31st
Pastor Colin’s Sermon: The Strangest of Things Happened based on Acts 2, 1-21
You can access our worship services through linking to 1) our WCUMC website; or 2) WCUMC Facebook page; or 3) our WCUMC YouTube channel.
And if you would like a written summary of Pastor Colin’s sermon or DVD of the worship service, please call the church office at (925) 934-4208.

Virtual Coffee Hour, Sunday, May 31st, 11 am
Our Coffee Hours have been a great way to see one another in the “virtual” flesh. To be part of this Sunday’s time, please link here.

Adult Education Class, Sunday, May 31st, 1 pm
This class has been studying Catherine Keller’s On the Mystery for quite some time. If you are interested in joining this engaging class, please contact Johanna Meyer-Mitchell (johannamm@aol.com).

Bible Study on the Gospel of Mark, Wednesday, June 3rd, 7 pm
Email Mark Charlton at mrcharlton@comcast.net . He will send you a Zoom invitation to join the session. Please call 925-206-4876 if you have any questions.

Your Upper Rooms are Now Available…
For those of you that are interested, our Upper Room Devotional booklets are available once again through our Church Office. Our normal office hours during our shelter-in-place order are Monday – Friday, 8 am – 12 noon. Simply come by the office, pick one up, and say “hello” to our office manager, Randy Short!

Youth News…
Weeks and weeks of eating moms cooking, not seeing friends, hours of online schoolwork and now no summer camp, no SSP, no swimming and no graduation parties. We have been meeting weekly via ZOOM and I am happy to report that these youth are not just surviving, they are connecting and laughing and letting their lights shine. We have had 2 zoom sessions with our friends from SSP in Montana, a scavenger hunt watching kids running around their houses trying to find random objects including dust bunnies, flip phones and a spider (dead or alive). We have had “After Dark” with Greg hosting game night via Jack Box games for 2 hours of mayhem and laughter and offering a safe space each week for connection, sharing and support.

When I asked the youth about meeting on-line, I was afraid they would not want to wake up for normal UMYF time since, well we aren’t going to church. They ALL said yes, keep it the same as always. We all are looking for and missing our typical routines and I so appreciate that they are committed to our gatherings as much as I am. Seeing these faces on Sunday morning is a highlight of my week and for an hour or so our little youth family shines a whole lot of love and kindness on each other. I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what we are called to do right now…..connect, connect, connect.

CONGRATULATIONS to our 3 high school graduates!
Kyla Dobshinsky
Anthony Martin
Kylie Ward

Prayer Requests…
We continue to receive prayer requests to share during our “virtual” worship. So if you have a specific prayer to share during the service, please email those prayers to pastorcolin@walnutcreekumc.org no later than 11am this Thursday, May 21st.

Giving…
Please remember you can give to your church in the following ways: 1) by mailing your offering directly to the church office; 2) by giving online through our church website (please click here); or 3) by texting your donation to (877) 769-1961. Thank you for your continued support of your beloved church.


A Congregational Update, May 19, 2020

 
Words from the Pastor…
If you are like me, you’re probably paying close attention to the news coming out of our local Contra Costa County Health Services. This is our local agency tasked with enforcement of our local shelter-in-place order. As I have read their proclamations, our county is starting to reopen businesses. Just today I read that local merchants can open with certain restrictions.
 
We still do not have any clear orders as to when churches might be able to open for worship. I do know, however, that it will not be “business as usual” when that blessed day comes. Recently, there was a webinar sponsored by the American Choral Directors Association dealing with, among many items, the implications of singing in a public space. Experts from scientific and medical fields all stated that institutions like churches should curtail any congregational or choral singing until there is a vaccine and we have developed “herd immunity” for COVID-19.
 
Of course, this was quite startling news to your staff. We are Methodists and we sing in church! But I also believe that we are realists, and we want to maintain the safety of our congregation. Again, this points to the fact that we have been changed by this pandemic. No longer can we assume that it will be business as usual in our church. We must accept this and change accordingly.
 
To that end, your staff is working diligently on new strategies to help us as we reconvene as a worshipping community. Just to name one such strategy: we have been doing “virtual worship” during the pandemic. We have learned and grown in doing this ministry. We also realize that not everyone will be able to be in church right away, and therefore we are starting to invest more in our online ministries.
 
You will see more news on this in the future. But for now, please know that we are committed always and everywhere to bring that Love of God to the world. And the way we do this will certainly look different than it was before this pandemic.
 
Blessings…. Pastor Colin
 
Happening This Week…
 
Virtual Worship this Sunday, May 24th
Pastor Colin’s Sermon: The Ascension based on Luke 24:44-53
 
You can access our worship services through linking to 1) our WCUMC website; or 2) WCUMC Facebook page; or 3) our WCUMC YouTube channel.
And if you would like a written summary of Pastor Colin’s sermon or DVD of the worship service , please call the church office at (925) 934-4208.
 
Virtual Coffee Hour, Sunday, May 24th, 11 am
Our Coffee Hours have been a great way to see one another in the “virtual” flesh. To be part of this Sunday’s time, please link here.
 
Bible Study on the Gospel of Mark, Wednesday, May 13th, 7 pm
Email Mark Charlton at mrcharlton@comcast.net . He will send you a Zoom invitation to join the session. Please call 925-206-4876 if you have any questions.
 
Sunday Adult Education Starting Again on Sunday, May 24th…
This coming Sunday, May 24th starting at 1 pm, our Adult Education Class will be meeting again! This class has been studying Catherine Keller’s On the Mystery for quite some time. If you are interested in joining this engaging class, please contact Johanna Meyer-Mitchell (johannamm@aol.com).
 
Prayer Requests…
We continue to receive prayer requests to share during our “virtual” worship. So if you have a specific prayer to share during the service, please email those prayers to pastorcolin@walnutcreekumc.org no later than 11am this Thursday, May 21st.
 
Giving…
Please remember you can give to your church in the following ways: 1) by mailing your offering directly to the church office; 2) by giving online through our church website (please click here); or 3) by texting your donation to (877) 769-1961. Thank you for your continued support of your beloved church.
 

A Congregational Update, May 12, 2020

 
A Word from the Pastor…
For many of us this sheltering-in-place has been challenging at times. Personally, I’d rather be working any other place but home. However, there are advantages like having no travel time from home to office or having lunch each day with Kathy. One of the downsides is looking around the house and seeing all those projects waiting for me.
 
Last Saturday I had to redo the caulking on my patio cover. It took me most of Saturday to cut and scrape out the old stuff. By the end of the day I was tired and sore and thought I could do the rest of the project on my next day off later this week. Then I looked outside this morning and saw the ominous rain clouds on the horizon. So, feeling a bit guilty for dispensing with church work, I scrambled up my ladder and completed my re-caulking project today before the rains came.
 
Our sheltering-in-place has thrown off many of our schedules. Our best laid plans sometimes get superseded by more pressing issues like, in my case, an emergency home repair. Sometimes I think to myself before the pandemic I had my schedule to stick to. There were certain things I did each week as part of my work: meetings, visits, study with the culminating event of worship each Sunday. Now all of that is gone for now and there is no routine like I had before.
 
The mantra that keeps popping into my head is that everything will be accomplished in God’s time. Worship planning, Zoom meetings, taping worship – they will all get done in God’s time. And even when my best laid plans are rudely disrupted, like having to go up to roof to finish re-caulking, that too is part of God’s time. And with this pandemic raging in our world and there seems to be little understanding on when we will return to normal, we must know that it will be in God’s time.
 
Just a thought for the day… Pastor Colin
 
Happening This Week…
 
Virtual Worship this Sunday, May 17th
Pastor Colin’s Sermon: Testify based on Acts 17:22-31
You can access our worship services through linking to 1) our WCUMC website; or 2) WCUMC Facebook page; or 3) our WCUMC YouTube channel.
And if you would like a written summary of Pastor Colin’s sermon or DVD of the worship service , please call the church office at (925) 934-4208.
 
Virtual Coffee Hour, Sunday, May 17th, 11 am
Our Coffee Hours have been a great way to see one another in the “virtual” flesh. To be part of this Sunday’s time, please link here.
 
Bible Study on the Gospel of Mark, Wednesday, May 13th, 7 pm
Email Mark Charlton at mrcharlton@comcast.net . He will send you a Zoom invitation to join the session. Please call 925-206-4876 if you have any questions.
 
Trustees Update…
Our parking lots will be resealed and striped from Wednesday, May 13 to Friday, May 15th. The parking lots will be closed starting Tuesday evening and will reopen on Friday, May 15th afternoon.  
 
This is normal planned preventative maintenance. The work was scheduled for July, but we decided to move up the work during the SIP order. Thanks to Ron Kain for coordinating this project. 
 
The Wednesday Work Crew is planning to resume our new-normal maintenance work on Wednesday, May 20th. This type of work is allowed under the new orders in Contra Costa County. We will observe strict social distancing and wear masks. 
 
Finance Update…
April Income and Expense Report                                       33.3% of the year
Income Year-to-date                         $159,793                    31.9% of Budget
Expenses Year-to-date                      $165,039                   32.2% of Budget
 
Prayer Requests…
We continue to receive prayer requests to share during our “virtual” worship. So if you have a specific prayer to share during the service, please email those prayers to pastorcolin@walnutcreekumc.org no later than 11am this Thursday, May 14th.
 
Giving…
Please remember you can give to your church in the following ways: 1) by mailing your offering directly to the church office; 2) by giving online through our church website (please click here); or 3) by texting your donation to (877) 769-1961. Thank you for your continued support of your beloved church.

 

 

A Congregational Update, May 5, 2020

One of the benefits for me in this pandemic is sleeping. For some reason I’m finding that I am sleeping much longer and sounder than I ever did before our shelter in place. I have tried to figure out why this is so. I think it is partially because my schedule has been so disrupted, that things like sleep have fallen into a natural, longer rhythm. At least that is the non-expert opinion of your pastor. Nevertheless, it is one of the benefits I find helpful as I deal with other, more stressful things in my job as your pastor.

My sleep patterns notwithstanding, during this crisis I have also been reminded to breathe. There are times when I find I am under a lot of stress, but I have been shown opportunities in which I can just stop and relax. My work in never done as I’m sure some of you realize the same thing about your jobs and lives. But through the stress of life, of jobs, of family, of sheltering in during this crisis, we have been given a unique opportunity to just “be.” To live in the moment, take some deep breaths, and rest.

For me, this is just one small way the Spirit of God keeps speaking to me… Pastor Colin

Our now on to our weekly congregational updates…

A Thank You. Each week there has been a team of wonderful volunteers and staff that create and produce our worship service every Sunday. When our sheltering in place started, we had little or no idea how best to bring worship to you. Through our collective thinking and time, our worship services keep evolving and getting better each Sunday. A special thank you to Bill Ray, our producer, to our music staff, and to all the wonderful volunteers who have stepped forth and have done the readings and children’s stories each week.

Announcing a new Bible Study. This Wednesday, May 6th at 7 pm, we will be starting a Bible Study on the Gospel of Mark.

  • What:  We’ll study two chapters from the Gospel of Mark each session.
  • When:  Wednesday nights at 7 for an hour. 
  • How long:  8 weeks.  If the class wants to move at a slower pace, we’ll do it.  There’s a lot to cover!
  • How:  email Mark Charlton at mrcharlton@comcast.net .  He’ll send you a Zoom invitation to join the session. 

New to Zoom?  It’s easy to do; follow the instructions in the email.  Sign in early (6:45 PM) and we’ll help you work out any bugs.

We’ll also send you a Word document with the chapters from Mark for each session.

Please call 925-206-4876 if you have any questions.

Worship Services. There are three ways to access our taped Sunday worship services:

  • By linking through our WCUMC website;
  • By accessing our WCUMC Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/walnutcreekumc;
  • Or by going to our WCUMC YouTube. Simply go to youtube.com and search for Walnut Creek UMC (hint: there are two Walnut Creek UMC’s. Our YouTube page has a picture of the front of our church).

And if you would like a written summary of Pastor Colin’s sermon, please call the church office.

Zoom Coffee Hour. Our next coffee hour is scheduled for Sunday, May 10th at 11 AM. Here is our Zoom link to join us this Sunday:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81097909646?pwd=QXhkZ1ppcE9RZFB2SWdKZGg1M2xnZz09

Meeting ID: 810 9790 9646

Password: 293803

Or by phone, dial by your location

        +1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose)

Meeting ID: 810 9790 9646

Password: 293803

We hope to “see” you next Sunday!

Giving. Please remember you can give to your church in the following ways: 1) by mailing your offering directly to the church office; 2) by giving online through our church website (please click here); or 3) by texting your donation to (877) 769-1961. Thank you for your continued support of your beloved church.

Prayer Requests. We continue to receive prayer requests to share during our “virtual” worship. So if you have a specific prayer to share during the service, please email those prayers to pastorcolin@walnutcreekumc.org no later than 11am this Thursday, May 7th..

Youth News. One of the biggest events for our youth group each year is attending the Sierra Service Project (SSP). SSP is a summer mission program for youth across the Western United States. Each year some 2,000 youth and adults travel to several sites around the West to do home repair. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, SSP has had to cancel its entire 2020 summer program.

Even though this news is shocking, the leadership of SSP knows it is the right thing to protect its constituents. We here at WCUMC are sad for our youth and volunteers who were signed up this year to go and work at the SSP Smith River site. We pray for SSP and their future plans for the 2021 season.

 


A Congregational Update, April 28, 2020

Greetings! As I write to you today, I am looking outside my window and relishing the warmth and vibrancy of Spring. Kathy and I are thinking about renaming our house “The Little House on Gregory Avenue” in honor of the Little House on the Prairie. Much like the Ingalls in the Little House books, Ma and Pa Kerr-Carpenter have used much of their shelter-in-place time to plant and cultivate our version of a Victory Garden.

I can hardly wait for all the wonderful things we’ve planted to come to fruition. I think the thing that gives me the most satisfaction with my garden is seeing – and eating – the fruits of my labors. Every day we go outside and marvel at how much our tomatoes or strawberries have grown in a days’ time, and that very soon they will be on our dinner table.

My garden also reminds me of the small miracles God gives us each day: the miracle of a seed becoming a plant, the miracle of sun and water being part of bringing that plant forward, and the blessing of being one with our precious earth. In my deep periods of anxiety and depression in this pandemic, the simplicity of planting my garden and seeing it grow has immeasurably nurtured my soul and renewed my spirit.

I hope that you too will find those things that nourish you and renew your spirit… Pastor Colin

Our weekly congregational updates…

Worship Services. There are three ways to access our taped Sunday worship services:

  • By linking through our WCUMC website;
  • By accessing our WCUMC Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/walnutcreekumc;
  • Or by going to our WCUMC YouTube. Simply go to YouTube and search for Walnut Creek UMC (hint: there are two Walnut Creek UMC’s. Our YouTube page has a picture of the front of our church).

We also realize that some of our folks do not have access to technology. If you would like a written summary of Pastor Colin’s sermon, please call the church office.

Zoom Coffee Hour. We had a wonderful time yesterday. There were at least 27 folks that joined in. We will gather again this Sunday, May 3rd at 11 AM. Here is our Zoom link to join us this Sunday:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81097909646?pwd=QXhkZ1ppcE9RZFB2SWdKZGg1M2xnZz09

Meeting ID: 810 9790 9646

Password: 293803

Or by phone, dial by your location

        +1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose)

Meeting ID: 810 9790 9646

Password: 293803

We hope to “see” you next Sunday!

Church Financial Update. Your Finance Committee has been meeting regularly throughout this crisis. We are very happy to announce that we ended the first quarter with a balanced budget! Many churches have applied for loans through the recent aid package passed by Congress. WCUMC has not had to take such drastic measures. Furthermore, we are fortunate to continue to pay all our staff and meet all our other financial obligations. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your continued generosity and support during this time!

Please remember you can give to your church in the following ways: 1) by mailing your offering directly to the church office; 2) by giving online through our church website (please click here); or 3) by texting your donation to (877) 769-1961. Thank you for your continued support of your beloved church.

Prayer Requests. Many people gave me prayer requests to include in our service last week. We will continue to do this as a normal worship practice throughout our sheltering in place. So if you have a specific prayer you would like me to publicly pray for during the service, please email those prayers to pastorcolin@walnutcreekumc.org no later than 11am this Thursday, April 30th.

Children’s Ministries. A vital ministry at WCUMC is our ministry to our children. This report comes from Corrie Binker, our Director of Children’s Ministries…

For Sunday School: I sent packets home to all the children with the Easter materials I had gotten for them (books and activities about Holy Week).  I will continue to send/email lessons home to them, and to be in touch with their families. Children’s Time is again part of our Sunday Worship services.

For Bus Stop: I heard from some of them that they are doing okay. Days are spent doing schoolwork, texting their friends, and playing lots of video games. I will send home to the 4th Graders their “Graduation from Bus Stop Program Certificates” and their Gift Cards to Staples, which are a tradition.

For FALL: Who knows what will happen and when?!  Stay tuned for updates! Thank You!! to all the Teachers, Tutors, and Children’s Time Folks for giving of your talents and time to our Children.  You (and they!) are very much loved and appreciated.


A Congregational Update, April 20, 2020

Dear Friends:

Greetings! I noticed on my calendar that I was supposed to be on vacation in a week. Kathy and I were planning a trip to see our daughter and son-in-law in Montana. And like so many things in this unprecedented time, our vacation has been canceled. As I feel all the emotions associated with living through this pandemic, today I am experiencing an extreme feeling of longing for a sense of normal.

I would be in my office at the church as I write this. Instead I am writing you from my dining room table with my cat staring at me. My Mondays are office days spent catching up on phone calls and email. Instead I’m totally distracted by my gardener blowing leaves outside and my dogs barking at him inside. I am frustrated that I can’t have my “normal” in doing my job.

Then I realize I’m not going through this alone. I am sure you all are experiencing the same thing. Our souls are restless. We long for an end to this pandemic. We want our normal back. We want to see and be with people without being 6 feet apart and wearing a mask. We want to be in church. We want to go out to restaurants and to go shopping for things other than the mere essentials.

We may never return to “normal”, but I believe that this pandemic has taught us what truly matters in life. For me, I am so thankful I am not alone. I value the presence of my spouse and regular communication with my children. I am thankful I serve a church that knows how to be a church. I am thankful for a wonderful home and ample resources to live through this time. It is my hope that you all will continue to see and feel the many blessings in your life.

And now on to the news of the congregation…

Zoom Coffee Hour. In our quest to find new ways to be in connection with one another, we will be trying something new and innovative: A Zoom Coffee Hour! We will gather this Sunday, April 26th at 11 AM. You can join our Coffee Hour in one of two of the following ways:

  • If you have computer, tablet or smartphone, you can join by clicking here.
  • If you would like to join us by phone, please email Tessique Houston at tessique.houston@gmail.com for instructions.

We hope to “see” you next Sunday!

Prayer Requests. May it be noted that prayer time during our Sunday worship is special and unique. Unfortunately, during this pandemic, we are unable to pray in the way we are normally accustomed to. Until we are back into our normal worship schedule, I would like to offer a time in our recorded worship to pray for those needs of our congregation. So if you have a specific prayer you would like me to publicly pray for during the service, please email those prayers to pastorcolin@walnutcreekumc.org no later than 11am this Thursday, April 23rd.

Giving. And finally, thank you always for your pledges and offerings. Please remember you can give to your church in the following ways: 1) by mailing your offering directly to the church office; 2) by giving online through our church website (please click here); or 3) by texting your donation to (877) 769-1961. Thank you for your continued support of your beloved church.

Finally, blessings as we travel together on this journey together!

Pastor Colin

 


A Congregational Update, April 15, 2020

Greetings my fellow shelter-in-placers! We are now into our 20,317 day of our SIP mandate (…or at least that’s what it sometimes seems to me as I live through this crisis!).

I wanted to bring you greetings as we progress into this Christian season of Eastertide. This Easter Sunday was not typical by any stretch of the imagination. Quite frankly, I had a huge gaping hole in my heart as I tried to celebrate this holiest of days in the Church. Absent were the wonderful celebrations of Easter we usually share: our sunrise service, our worship celebrations, the children’s Easter Egg hunt, and our breakfast put on by the men of our church.

But as I was ruminating about how much I missed the joy our church brings to my life and others, I realized that being the Church is more than just a building. I witnessed examples of God’s Love being lived out in the world. I heard stories about families gathering by Zoom. Other families and friends gathered in their yards practicing the art of social distancing. I heard other stories of people getting offers of groceries being delivered to them. And still other stories of people receiving a phone call from a friend just to check in and chat with them. Even though we did not experience worship with each other last Sunday, Christ’s Spirit was alive and present!

I am writing you today with a few updates for the week:

Worship Services. Most of you have access to our worship services electronically either through our church website or church Facebook page. If you or someone you know does not have electronic access, we are able to make DVD copies of the service. Please contact our church office at (925) 934-4208 for more information.

Basic Care Groups (BCG). The purpose of our Basic Care Groups is to care for the members of our congregation during this shelter-in-place. As I have received weekly reports from our BCG leaders, it has helped me to know who might need some assistance from our church and your pastor. If you are not part of a BCG and would like to be included, please contact the church office.

A Financial Update. Unlike many other churches, our church so far remains financially healthy. We continue to employ our staff, and they in turn are continuing their respective work and helping in other areas like the administration of our Basic Care Groups. We are keeping a close eye on our expenses and our income. Please remember you can give your offering in the following ways: 1) by mailing them directly to the church office; 2) by giving online through our church website: walnutcreekumc.org/giving; or 3) by texting your donation to (877) 769-1961. Thank you for your faithful support.

Finally, I want to encourage you to not lose hope. I know some of you are struggling mightily during this time. But please remember the eternal words of the Risen Christ when he spoke to the women at the tomb: Do not be afraid! Let’s us go forward knowing that we do not walk alone through this crisis. We have our families, our friends, our church, and most of all, our faith in the Risen Christ to help us move forward this day and every day! Amen!

Blessings…

Pastor Colin

 


A Letter from Pastor Colin

April 10, 2020

Dear Friends:

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ, our Risen Savior!

Some 2,000 years ago, something strange and miraculous happened at a tomb outside of Jerusalem that would change the world. In the days leading up to that first Easter, the Roman authorities and chief priests of the Temple were trying to squelch a movement led by a Jewish peasant. This movement gave hope to people of better future and new understanding of a God of compassion, justice and love. And yet on that first Easter morning, there was not much hope because this man Jesus had been put to death and buried in that tomb. There was an impenetrable darkness that pervaded the land.

In this extraordinary time we are living in, we too feel like a darkness has permeated our very souls. We are faced with a virus that has spread like wildfire throughout the world. We are confronted daily with reports of those who have lost their lives in this pandemic. Some of us have people close to us that are suffering now from this virus. In a matter of a few weeks our world has been totally turned upside down, and we are left fearful and our lives thirsty for a return to normal.

Our Gospel reading this Easter is from the Gospel of Matthew. In it we read that after the women had encountered the risen Christ, he commanded them, “Do not be afraid…” (Matthew 28:10 NRSV). We should take great solace in these powerful words because they give us the power to confront our own anxiety and fear. They teach that in conquering the very thing we fear most, Christ Jesus showed us that that Love that conquer death is the same Love we must hold on to in these times.

This is precisely the reason why the Church exists, and I hope you know that even amid this crisis, your own church continues to live this Love out in the world. I want you to know that I, along with our staff, continue to pray for you daily. We also started our Basic Care Groups as a way for you to feel our love for you. These groups are a way for all of us to be connected, to care for one another, and to meet any needs that you might have as we shelter in place. If you have not been assigned to a Care Group, please contact our office at (925) 934-4208.

I also wanted to note that this is just one of the wonderful things our church is doing in living out Love during this pandemic. Our youth are now meeting weekly using virtual technology. Groups like Bead and a Prayer are doing the same. And, of course, we are taping our worship services and putting them up on our website and church Facebook page.

We thank you for your support and prayers during this time. We especially want to thank all those who continue to give their offering to our church. We cannot do all the wonderful ministries nor have our capable staff without your support. Please remember that you can send your offering by mailing it to the church office or give online by accessing the giving page on our church website.

Finally, I want to offer you these words of a hymn we sing often in church. In the hymn Because He Lives, it says…

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living, just because He lives

I hope that you find great comfort and hope in these words. They give us certainty in the face of adversity. Please remember that each day is a new day. We must live fully in the present knowing each day is worth the living. And know that Christ lives. His values of Love and Compassion are present and fully alive this day and every day!

Blessings,
The Rev. Colin Kerr-Carpenter
Senior Pastor, Walnut Creek United Methodist Church


WCUMC Congregational Update – Monday, April 6, 2020

A Congregational Update, April 6, 2020

Greetings in the name of Jesus, our Guide to Love and Salvation! I am writing this as I’ve just arrived to the office from my commute – from the living room to the dining room. I trust that you all are holding up and accepting that this is our new normal… at least through the end of the month. As I write this, I am looking out my front window at our stormy day and trying to be thankful for the rain. Even though it is gloomy and cold, I realize that the rain is part of the  natural cycle of life.

Connected to this natural cycle of life is our shelter-in-place. For in this time of isolation, we see signs of the renewal of our earth. Examples abound! I read the other day that the water in the canals in Venice, Italy, has a clarity not seen in decades because there are no gondolas out on the waterways. I saw a picture of the skyline of Los Angeles and the air was pristinely clear. And here is the last, and perhaps most “nerdy example: because of so many of us staying at home and not driving or using public transportation, scientists are now able to more accurately measure the earth’s natural vibrations in order to study seismic phenomenon. So, I would say in these most difficult of times, our earth has had a chance to catch its breath and renew itself!

And now to the news of our congregation…

Sunday Worship. Our worship service for Palm Sunday has been posted on our website and our WCUMC Facebook page. But if you do not have access to either of those platforms, you can see the service by clicking here.

One of the things I’ve realized as a preacher in this crisis is that I did not sign up to be a video producer. I wanted to thank Bill Ray for his time in videotaping and putting our service together. I also wanted to thank Corrie Binker, Tessique Houston, and Natalie Ning for their invaluable contributions to our service this past Sunday. In sum, this is a group effort. Our videos may not be the best you see among churches, but be assured that we are learning and growing in this process and know that what is presented is our best effort to convey the Word to you.

Holy Week. Obviously, our regular Holy Week activities have been severely curtailed. Rest assured next Sunday we will have our Easter Worship service taped and ready to be viewed. But this coming Holy Week I wanted to lift up several other worship possibilities for you…

  • Our Bishop Minerva Carcaño is offering daily Devotions during Holy Week. The devotions will be audio recordings and will be distributed at 8:30 each morning and continuing through Thursday April 9thas well as on Saturday April 12. To access her words of hope and inspiration, click here.
  • Additionally, Bishop Carcaño will be joined by Conference Lay Leader Micheal Pope in leading a Good Friday Memorial Service at noon on Friday April 10. The service will last 30 minutes and commemorate the passing of those who have succumbed to complications from COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus. It can be accessed by going to the California-Nevada Facebook page.
  • Easter Sunrise Service. Our own Zayne Matthias will be hosting a Facebook Live Easter

Sunrise Service at 5:30 am on Easter Sunday, April 12th. You can access this service through our church Facebook page.

  • Finally, our own Easter Service will be ready for viewing by Sunday morning, April 12th. Remember there are a variety of ways to access the service, primary among them are our website and our church Facebook page.

Giving. I wanted to thank all of you for your continuing offerings and pledges. Please remember you have several different options to give to your church: 1) simply mail your donation to the church office; 2) donating online by clicking here; or 3) by texting your donation to (877) 769-1961 and following the directions.

As we go through this holiest of weeks, I would encourage you to focus on the meaning of this week. Just as Jesus walked through that week in Jerusalem nearly 2,000 years ago, we can still feel his angst and his sorrow today. In the story of the Passion, Jesus experienced times of great joy and times of great anguish, pain, and loneliness. Let us remember during this time of hardship that our stories do not end in pain and loneliness. Through the Easter story, we are taught that in the cycle of life that faith, hope and love always abound. Amen.

Blessings… Pastor Colin


Mini-Worship and Sermon – Sunday, March 29, 2020

Press Release
March 25, 2020

Our Bishop Minerva Carcano is calling us, along with all United Methodists, to pray the Lord’s Prayer at 12 noon today in solidarity for those affected by COVID-19 around the world. Follow this link to hear her call.

 

Press Release
March 23, 2020


PRESS RELEASE
MARCH 19, 2020

An-Update-from-us-on-COVID