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Willow Weekly - November 16, 2017


The mission of the United Methodist Church
is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. 

  We are . . . God's family growing

  through caring, sharing and serving.

November 16, 2017  

from Pastor Rebecca

Is it that time already? Thanksgiving is almost upon us. My first thanks goes to Lisa Jacobs, who will be preaching this Sunday. Her texts are Micah 6:8 and Isaiah 58:6-12 and her sermon title is: "Throwing my hands up." Not sure what that's about, but I'm sure it will be good.

We will be worshiping in the sanctuary this Sunday and every Sunday through Christmas Eve. Both Christmas Eve services will also be in the sanctuary.
On December 31st, we will gather in Kohlstedt Hall at 10 am for a pancake breakfast and worship to ring in the new year. Hopefully, by then, our lift replacement will be underway.

Here's the latest on the lift from this week's Board of Trustees' meeting: The Trustees have approved a contract to hire a structural engineer to go over the architect's drawings and provide all the measurements and specifications that the city inspectors might want in order to approve the project. When that work is done, our Board chairman and the architect will go to the city for approvals and put out the project for final bids. We are hoping and praying that the city won't require other ADA upgrades so that we can begin right away.
I want to assure you that we are slowly making progress. As anyone who has ever done a remodel knows, this takes time and patience. Thank you all so much for hanging in there. We know that it's been uncomfortable for some of you and extra work for others, and we really appreciate your willingness to put others' needs before your own, just like St. Paul tells us to do. [Philippians 2:4]

New Member get-together: I've been trying to schedule a new member get-together for those who have been attending regularly and may be ready to join our faith community. That is getting hard to do as we enter into the holiday season, so we are going to hold our new member orientation at our Advent Family Nights on Tuesdays: Nov. 28, Dec. 5, 12 and 19, from 6 to 8 pm at Woodhaven. This is a perfect opportunity to get to know the Willow Glen family. Everyone is invited!

Labyrinth Walks on Tuesdays. At the same time as the Advent Family Nights, we will be setting up our portable labyrinth in Kohlstedt Hall for anyone who wants to spend some quiet, reflective time in prayer during a stressful season. We'll provide the labyrinth, candlelight, music and prayer slide show and the labyrinth will be open from 6 to 8:30.

Opportunities to Give:
This year, as always, there are lots of opportunities to give thanks to God by giving to others. Because there will be many "asks" I want to give you a heads up so you can decide which of these projects to participate in:

November 26th: United Methodist Student Day. On the weekend that a lot of college students are home, the UMC takes a collection to fund  some of its scholarship programs.
  • Giving Tuesday: If you volunteered for the Village House Shelter in the past, you may get a request to contribute to the Village House organization. This money will go to paying for the shower truck, cots, supplies, part-time case manager and overnight staff. This money,  however, will not go directly to Willow Glen. We will be taking our own offering for the expenses we incur when we host in February.
  • December 3rd: Migration Sunday. This year, the Council of Bishops has asked us to take a special offering for UMCOR in response to the worldwide refugee crisis.
  • Family Giving Tree and Esther's Outreach: As usual, you will have the opportunity to buy Christmas gifts for families in need.
  • Christmas Eve Offering: This offering will go to cover our costs of hosting the Village House in February. We estimate our costs to be approximately $6500.
  • WGUMC: Of course, we welcome your extra mile giving to Willow Glen UMC. At the end of the year, we try to catch up on our tithe to the ministries of the UMC. Your end-of-year gifts really make a big difference!

This looks like an overwhelming list and that doesn't begin to cover what comes to you in your mailbox this time of year. You can't possibly do it all, so I suggest you take the list and pray over it and let the Spirit guide you in how best to give generously of your time, talents and treasure.
Where is worship for November and December?

   First two Sundays of November:  Kohlstedt Hall

   Last two Sundays of November:  Sanctuary
   December:  We will worship in the Sanctuary.

Early Response Training (ERT CLASS)

November 18 & 19
8am to 5pm

Are you interested in learning how to provide a caring, Christian presence to communities affected by a disaster? Come to a training for Early Response Teams (ERTs), which do light clean-up and mitigation tasks, all with a spirit of Christian presence; this is not a rebuild and repair team. Work includes cleaning out flood-damaged homes, removing debris, placing tarps on homes, and helping to prevent further damage.

Early Response Team (Basic and Leader) training will take place November 18 and 19 at Los Altos UMC, 655 Magdalena Ave., Los Altos, CA 94024. Los Altos UMC is hosting this training for the California-Nevada Conference. Trained instructors will provide Basic Training and certification for interested participants on Saturday, Nov 18th, 8am-5pm in Creekside Center.  If you are interested in leading a group, Early Response Leader Training will be held on Sunday, Nov 19th, 1-3pm in the Garden Room. Registration is required, and the cost is $50 per person, which includes lunch, training manual, ID badge, t-shirt, and snacks.

For details and to register, go to http://www.cnumc.org/VIMregistrations

Update from the JYM

JYM Logo
Read the latest news, see pictures and updates from our Joint Youth Ministry - the 6th-12th grade program with youth from WGUMC, Almaden Hills UMC, and Cambrian UMC. Click on this link to read all about it: JYM Email Update
Migration has been a part of my entire life and ministry. Perhaps it is because my father was an immigrant from Mexico who first came to the U.S. under the Bracero program in the 1940s.

In the absence of men to work in the agricultural fields of South Texas because of so many men from the region serving in World War II, the U.S. established a program that allowed men from Mexico to come to the U.S. to pick up the work left behind by men at war. Bracero is derived from the Spanish word brazos, which means arms. My father was a pair of arms for the fields. 

When U.S. men began to return from the war, the Braceros like my father were summarily dismissed with no recognition that they had helped to save the economy of not only my home state but that of the country. They had been paid for their work, but just enough to feed their families while they were gone.

My father would later become a despised Wetback, called this because he had crossed the Rio Grande River from Mexico back into the U.S. looking for more work and thus had gotten his back wet; a derisive and hate-filled description of my beloved father and those like him who would do anything to care for their families. 
It was through my illiterate father that I learned the history of two nation states living side by side like two brothers, one wealthy and one poor, one stealing from the other with the other responding to its inflicted poverty by becoming corrupt. 

A popular saying in my father's homeland of Mexico is, "So close to the U.S. and so far from God." It is a lament of brokenness and the need for God. I cannot help but believe that God created us to abide together as stewards of God's creation and of each other, not divided by man-made borders but rather bound together by the gentle cords of God's own love. 

Early on in my ministry, I was asked if I would take in a young woman who was escaping violent civil wars in her country. What I was not told until I met her was that she was coming with her 18-month-old baby. I welcomed them into my home. They became part of my family, and they transformed my life. Through them I came to know other dimensions of the suffering of migrants. 

The young woman was a Christian who worked in an internal migration camp for people displaced by civil war. Because of her work, her life had been threatened and she had been forced to flee to save her life and that of her child. 

I remember all her stories, but the one I remember most is the one of her crossing the same river my father had crossed many years before. She had crossed that river that had seen so many other migrants before her with her 18-month-old baby in her arms, the river waters reaching all the way to their necks, her heart beating fast, as she prayed fervently that her child would not cry so that they would not be detained and prevented from finding safety.

I heard her stories until they haunted my dreams and I was convicted of the need to be engaged in the work of standing with migrants, for them and for the sake of my own soul.

I once rather rhetorically asked a small gathering of migrant women whether they knew the Good Shepherd.  I had just read the 23rd Psalm to them and the question was intended to be my launching pad for teaching these women what I assumed they did not know. But before I could delve into the Bible study I had prepared, one of the women responded with confidence and joy, "I know the Good Shepherd for He is my salvation."

She proceeded to share with all of us how one day on her migration journey she had found herself all alone in a desert that seemed to have no end and no escape. She had run out of food and water and began to prepare to die. On the fourth day of her ordeal, she fainted on the desert floor. She did not know how long she had laid there unconscious. She remembered a nudge and thought it was surely a desert animal about to make her his dinner, but she opened her eyes and saw no threatening animal around. What she did see was something shining in the desert.

It took all her strength to crawl over to the shining object in the sand. As she began to push away that hot sand, lo and behold, she uncovered a glass container full of water. On her elbows, she opened it expecting that it would be foul and putrid. She paused as if she had returned to that very moment. We could all feel it. And then she broke out into a radiant smile, saying to us, "Sisters, it was cool delicious water from the very hand of my Good Shepherd, our mighty God who never abandons us." 

I was humbled by the experience and my faith was strengthened. I truly believe that as we walk with migrant sisters and brothers, our faith will be strengthened as we see God at work in their lives. God is walking with migrants and they come to us to share the good news that God is with us, actively present in our human suffering!

The story of a migrant child moves me the most. While I did not meet this child, I have met hundreds of children like him, and sometimes I have met their grieving mothers and fathers. This migrant child was 11 years old. One day, his mother sent him on the migrant journey to escape poverty, violence and the very real possibility of premature death.

I wonder whether as she sent her little boy down the road not knowing whether she would ever see him again, she felt what Moses' mother must have felt when, under similar circumstances, she placed her own child in a basket and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile in the hope that someone would extend compassionate care to him.  

This little boy traveled alone, starting on a bus packed with humanity, then walking across countries, and then joining the thousands who out of despair have embarked on a train so deadly it is called "The Beast." Migrants travel not in this train but on top of it, holding on for dear life, many of them falling and losing limbs and life. But that little boy faced each horrendous struggle on his journey and conquered it, even "The Beast." 

One day, he got to the banks of a great river, but somehow got across that river winding up on the land of a family he did not know and who did not know him. From that moment on, however, he and that family would be eternally bound together. On the land of that unknown family, that child fell and died.

That innocent migrant child died of hunger, dehydration and exposure. I wonder if he also died of a broken heart having experienced the callous cruelty of our world. The family upon whose land he died did not know what to do with him, but assuming he was one of the thousands of unaccompanied children who are migrating in the world, they called border authorities. It is reported that when the border authorities came and saw the fragile, broken, dead body of that little boy, they fell on their knees by his side and wept. Eventually, someone called a local funeral home to come and retrieve the child's body.  

At the funeral home, someone began to examine that child's body, carefully removing his clothes.  When the examiner got to the boy's belt and began to remove it, he discovered something of great significance. On the back side of the small belt buckle was a note that had been taped on. The note stated who the child belonged to and where he was going.

A note was not needed to know that this child belonged to God and was going to that safe place where God's future for him waited. I worry that we people of faith have forgotten whose we are and where we are going. We are God's people called to journey toward the land of God's mercy, grace, justice and peace.  

Global Migration Sunday is Dec. 3, the first Sunday of Advent. The day of prayer and special offering is aimed at raising awareness and funds to aid migrants and refugees.
To support The United Methodist Church's response to the global migration crisis, consider giving to the Global Migration Advance #3022144. For more information, including resources to help celebrate Global Migration Sunday, visit umc.migration.org.

Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño 







Lift Update


from, Jim Leonard

Progress is being made! Final changes are currently being made to the project design drawings so they can be submitted to the city for review, comment and hopefully approval. At the same time the drawings will be submitted to at least 2 contractors for their refined bids. Discussions continue with the dealer who will supply and install the lift. He has identified a second manufacturer that he feels has a better product with shorter delivery times for the same price.

Financially we are getting closer to our goal of $55,000.00. With the money we have in hand along with that pledged we have over $30,000.00 now. At the last Trustee's meeting it was voted to take $10,000.00 from the Major Maintenance Fund and put it toward the lift. This means that we are now within $15,000.00 of our goal (there is light at the end of the tunnel).

At this rate we should be able to get started with ordering the equipment and site preparation as soon as we get the go ahead from the city.

Keep the positive thoughts and prayers coming that we can reach our financial goal and get things going ASAP.

Financial UPDATE through September 30th
Our giving receipts through September 2017 are $239,642, which is $42,837 less than our planned budget.  Being able to split Susan's salary with the preschool, using up our reserve cushion and careful spending have allowed us to meet payroll and pay our other bills.   
Also - please check the status of your church pledge and get caught up.  If you're one of those who typically donates in one or two lump sums for the year, now would be a good time!  You may update your giving profile at giving.wgumc.org or send an email to Ingrid at .  

Thank you so much for your ongoing support of ministries at WGUMC.
Remember, you can Give to WGUMC while you shop! 
Instead of going to amazon.com, go to smile.amazon.com. You will be prompted to choose your charity from the drop-down list which includes WGUMC. That's it! Prices, passwords and any lists are just like Amazon, but a percentage of your purchase price goes to the church. Be sure to include amazon.smile.com in your favorites on your browser for easier access. Your gifts mean more than you know.

Give Thanks to our Body Builders! 

Each week volunteers bring snacks for our joyful consumption during coffee fellowship after service.  Please give them thanks! 
November 19 - Anita Layman
November 26 - Lois Moore

Faith Development Opportunities 

Monday       Christian Meditation - 12:30pm (Woodhaven)
Tuesday       Women's Prayer & Study Group - 9:30am (Library)
Wednesday  Women's Early Bible Study (WEBS) - 7:15am
                    (LeBoulanger on Lincoln Ave.)

Thursday     Bible Study - 8:00am (Library)

Bulletin Board of Events, Information

Do you look at the bulletin Board(s) in the Hallway when you go to Fellowship after services?  The board is regularly updated with new items; some list events happening elsewhere in the conference or in the neighborhood that would be of interest to all.  Stop by and take a look! 
Events are also listed on our glassed-in board in front facing Newport Avenue for our neighbors to see and join us.

If you have events and information that should be on the board, or the bulletin announcments, or here on the weekly email, send all the details to  


Friendly Reminders