Craig’s Corner 2020 October

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” – Matthew 6:33-34 This may be the most important election of our lifetime. This coming November we will have the opportunity to vote for who we believe best represents our country.  I will be in prayer over this and I hope you will, too.  Our elected leaders should represent the values and ideals we hold as a country.  They should reflect what we hope to achieve.  And hopefully, that person will understand that the United States is one among many nations and we are dependent on one another to make the world a better place. … [Read more...]

Craig’s Corner 2020 September

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,    the world, and all who live in it;2 for he founded it on the seas    and established it on the waters. – Psalm 24:1-2 What does giving mean to God? I hope you’ve been following along with us this past month (August) as we have been exploring what giving if all about (Hint: It’s NOT about money).  We realize that it already all belongs to God anyway and nothing is permanent in this world.  The hope we have for the future lies in Jesus Christ and his promise for us of a life beyond this one.  Giving is just one way to bring us closer to the life God wants for us.  Giving is a discipline that helps us to let go of the material so we can focus on the spiritual.   We’ve been talking about it for the past few … [Read more...]

Craig’s Corner 2020 August

What does giving mean to you? Giving is a central tenet of our faith.  Not because “the church needs money” but because giving is part of our faith and trust in God.  More than the amount we give (re: The Widow’s Mite), it’s really about our heart for giving.  As Paul wrote to the church in his letter to Corinth, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor 9:7).”  We’re going to explore that during the month of August as we challenge ourselves what it means to give.   I hope we truly will embrace the challenge, not only in our personal giving to BMUC but more importantly to our heart for giving and letting go of the fear of not having enough.  Back in … [Read more...]

Craig’s Corner 2020 July

Online giving is coming… FINALLY!  I am so happy to announce that online giving is coming to BMUC.  In our digital age it makes sense for us to have more and more digital options and this is one of them.  People are familiar and comfortable with using their phones and other mobile devices for everyday transactions, it only made sense for us to go in that direction, too.  Especially with the transition to online worship.  To be able to give online is a much-needed step in the right direction.   But we didn’t want to go with just any online provider.  We wanted one that was safe, trusted, used by many, with good testimonials and a good reputation.  We wanted a provider that would give us a positive online experience and one that offered options … [Read more...]

Craig’s Corner 2020 June

When are we coming back to worship? People are starting to wonder about when we will open the doors to the church building and welcome people in person once again.  The short answer is…probably not for a long time.   We all WANT to come and worship live and in person.  We want to hug and shake hands with friends and family.  We want to welcome new people into our church family.  But sometimes our needs outweigh our wants.  In this case, the need to love our neighbor by NOT meeting in person, the need to love our church family by NOT gathering together, the need to NOT be a viral hotspot outweighs our wants.  By a lot. I know we will come back to worship live and in person one day.   But it won’t be soon.  When we do, there will be … [Read more...]

Craig’s Corner – May 2020

We can get through this together. It’s been a tough six weeks since we were asked to “shelter in place.” Thousands have died.  Families are grieving.  To make matters worse, we can’t even congregate to share our grief.  The economy is in free fall. Millions of people have lost their jobs or been furloughed.  Some who have kept their jobs were asked to take a pay cut.  And for the rest of us lucky enough not to be in those categories have been worn down by the anxiety, stress, and adjustments to a new way of life. But we are fortunate in so many ways.   It’s just not easy to see when you’re in the midst of it all.  But most of us are healthy.  We have enough food.  Either someone is helping to take care of our needs or we are able to go out and get essentials … [Read more...]

Craig’s Corner 2020 April

What is Easter without an Easter Egg Hunt? Still the most significant day in the Christian calendar.   As I write this, we are in the midst of the coronavirus crisis and “sheltering in place” for the time being.  While I am confident we will emerge from this time in greater need of God than ever before and stronger as a church community for having endured this, it still leaves us for the time being feeling helpless, anxiety-filled, and uncertain.   Already, our church council voted to cancel the Bazaar and the Fall Church Retreat.  With so much time, effort, and planning that needs to go into both of those events, it just didn’t seem possible to do either of those justice or to have people commit to the event with so much going on in their own lives.  We … [Read more...]

Craig’s Corner 2020 March

Parents – this Craig’s Corner is not for you! Please pass this to your child as you read this.  Don’t read past this line.  This message is for your kids, your grandkids, your nieces and your nephews.   Okay, now that I’ve got you alone, hello!  If we haven’t talked in person, I’m the pastor of your church, Rev. Craig and I want you to know that YOU are important.  Yes, you.  The person reading this article.  It is my hope and dream to make Berkeley Methodist United Church into YOUR church.  Not your parent’s church.  Not your grandparent’s church.  But YOUR church.  I want it to be a place you will have fond memories of far into your adult years.  I hope one day as you reflect on your faith, you’ll look back and say, “I’m … [Read more...]

Craig’s Corner 2020 February

Why the history of our church is so important… Even though today our church serves people of all ethnicities, we definitely have our origins in the Japanese-American community.  Formed during a time of prejudice and hatred toward “the other” there were many laws out there designed specifically with Asian immigrants in mind.  The California Alien Land Laws of 1913 and 1920 were written to discourage immigrants from Asia and primarily Japan while simultaneously making life purposefully more difficult for those already living here.  It was even upheld by the Supreme Court and wasn’t invalidated until 1952 in the case of Sei Fujii v. California.  The environment for people of Japanese descent was hostile to say the least.   When the United Methodist Church (then … [Read more...]

Craig’s Corner 2020 January

My hopes and dreams for 2020… This is the month of new beginnings!  It is also the month which we celebrate that lauded humanitarian, visionary, and civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  So in that spirit, I wanted to share with you my hopes and dreams for our church in the year 2020.   Increase in outreach – The mission of every church is to make disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.  And our church vision which we crafted together of “Transforming Lives Through Christ’s Love” is part of that mission.  To do that, we need to reach out into the community more often and in new and different ways.  It will mean embracing our community and its people with love and kindness, celebrating their differences and realizing … [Read more...]