Lenten Bible Study

Greetings siblings in Christ, We’ve entered Lent. I pray you are finding ways to draw closer to God and lean into leadings of the Holy Spirit (HS).  We want to invite you to one of our two Lenten studies: Sundays after worship in the Issei Chapel from noon to 1 pm. or via zoom you can at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85637995920?pwd=OHFCV2JZdGd5SDFPVmJaVGtNSEdBQT09  OR  Tuesday evenings at 7 pm via zoom at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83090843990?pwd=eklYL1RVOXA1cW5sMTloVWd6TnluZz09 (please note, these are 2 different zoom links!) Our sessions will begin Sunday, March 5, 12:00 pm and Tuesday evening, March 7, 7 pm You can pick up the book through Kate Bowler’s website at https://katebowler.com/good-enough/#pre-order You can get the related study … [Read more...]

Pastor’s Letter 2023 February

Greetings Siblings in Christ, I pray you are well this day. Lent begins, Wednesday, Feb 22, with Ash Wednesday marking the beginning of our 40-day journey into reflection and introspection on how we might continue to grow our focus on and listening to God’s call on our lives.  What might we do differently to avoid the distractions that keep us from heeding God’s call?  It connects us to Jesus’ own 40-day journey in the wilderness where he encountered evil’s use of human desires and needs to distract Jesus from God’s call on his life. Our Ash Wednesday service will be in person and online beginning at 7 pm.  We will share in the imposition of ashes as well as the anointing of oil – physical reminders of our own mortality and preparedness for its end, as well as the … [Read more...]

Pastor’s Letter 2023 January

Happy New Year Siblings in Christ, I pray that your Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were spirit-filled and helped to draw you closer to the in-breaking of God in Jesus of Nazareth. It was deeply moving to worship on Christmas Eve with you both in person and online. We truly do experience wondrous things when we open ourselves to God’s vision and works. I am deeply touched by your Christmas giving; your well-wishes for me, and for my daughters as well. Thank you. You all have filled me with joy by your welcoming and helping me navigate BMUC’s history, culture, worship, and missional work. I am excited to continue to learn more from you and work with you to continue doing the work God has set before BMUC. Without sounding too gushy, my cup overflows. I pray that your New Year’s … [Read more...]

Pastor’s Letter 2022 December

Dear Siblings in Christ, This month I wanted to share this writing with Greg Suzuki following our experience as first-timers of the Covenant House Sleep Out fundraiser.  Taking place over one night in both Northern and Southern California, it is one of the biggest fundraisers for Covenant House (CH) which supports young adults, mostly aged 18-24, assisting them in moving off the streets into safe housing and providing all-around supportive services. We went to Levi Stadium in Santa Clara and gathered with over 120 other fundraisers.  Three CH alumni shared their stories, and we heard from many of the leaders of the organization.  We learned that they are not only building new locations, but adding affordable/transitional housing as well for the young adults who … [Read more...]

Pastor’s Letter 2022 November

Dear Siblings in Christ,In mid-October I joined other clergy of JAUMCs in visiting the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.  We went to see the special exhibit Sutra and Bible, showcasing altars, statues, prayer books, and - accidentally found stones with Lotus Sutra inscriptions and handwritten annotated bi-lingual Japanese and English Bibles, called the Kitaji Bibles.  We were blessed to be led through the exhibit by one of the curators, Emily Anderson.  The exhibit displayed the power that religion both Buddhism and Christianity, faith, ritual, and community carry in all circumstances, but especially in the most heartbreaking of times.It was my first visit to the JANM, so I was not only viewing the special exhibit, I was also … [Read more...]

Mission in Action

Mission and Outreach Team(Pauline, Greg, Lee, Naomi, Pablo, Hailey, Pastor Pam)Following our weeks of preparing for our first mission project in worship, we finally did it!  During worship this past Sunday, Sep 18, we made 50 Period Packs to be sent to our UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) distribution center, Sager Brown Depot in Louisiana.Setting up outside for worship and Period Pack making was not so challenging, especially with the many folx who came early for set up.  The challenge came when it began to rain – do we stay outside, or to we head inside into the Fellowship Hall?  By 10:00, the rain had stopped and we decided to stay outside.  We were blessed with a few new folx joining us for worship and Period Pack making.  Two people came following … [Read more...]

Holy Land Pilgrimage Opportunity in 2023

Meeting at BMU on Sunday, 9/25 at 1:30PM We’re happy and relieved to announce that Friends of Wadi Foquin are renewing our Holy Land pilgrimages beginning in spring 2023 after a break of five years (whew!).  You’re getting this email because members of your congregation have expressed interest in the past in joining us. We have three possible departure dates.  We’ll select the date that is most convenient to the most people and announce it around Labor Day.  Here are the choices:     April 17, 2023    May 1, 2023    May 8, 2023. Our current intention is to return either April 28, May 12, May 19, respectively.  We might extend the trip one or two days, depending on pilgrim interest. Please announce this within your … [Read more...]

Pastor’s Letter 2022 August

Dear Siblings in Christ, I recently went to the movie theaters.  Angled two rows behind me were two people chatting during the trailers for upcoming movies.  I looked back to see who was talking; not annoyed at that moment, just curious and hoping (the wishful kind of hoping, not the faith kind of hoping) that they would stop chatting when the movie began.  I like chatting to be kept to a whisper, if at all, so as not to distract from the movie experience, as it is a public space and not my living room.  I also own that I am not very good at tuning out extraneous noise when I am trying to focus on something.  I also noticed that the two folx appeared older than me. I gave a lot of grace - maybe hearing issues for at least one of them; this was their occasional … [Read more...]

Craig’s Corner 2022 March

Getting ready for Easter! Although the mask mandate has been lifted state and county wide, our COVID team decided to remain worshipping online to get a better feel for how the infection rate will be affected by the change.  We all remember last summer when mandates were first lifted before we discovered Delta and Omicron variants to the virus and the need to shut down again because of the rapid spread of the infection.  We definitely wanted to avoid that scenario and decided to play it safe for now.   The good news is we plan to reopen on Palm Sunday – April 10.  Just in time for Easter Sunday.   We hope that the COVID infection rate and the relatively low number of cases will remain low and there won’t be a need to do anything differently.  But just … [Read more...]

Craig’s Corner 2022 February

Help Wanted! The proverb goes, “Many hands make light work.”  And it’s true.  The more hands we have, the more we are able to do together.  The saying is also true we shouldn’t “burn our candle on both ends.”  Which we seem to be doing more and more of.   It’s a delicate balance to run and maintain a church and its property.  It requires skills and knowledge that encompass a wide range of talents.  From keeping financial records, to project management, to facilities maintenance – those are just fancy words for the tasks we need to have done on a routine basis.  The more people we have who can do those jobs, the easier it is for us to do all the exciting and meaningful things we do together. The wonderful thing about BMUC is we often have … [Read more...]