October 27, 2013


Pastoral Letter

Fall Greetings one and all,

Our fall season is surely upon us, and it's a wonderful season full of festivals, costumes, and pumpkins. While most of us here in the Long Beach area are not spending the fall season in the fields harvesting and storing food for the winter, we still have our fair share of fall festivals and places to celebrate the fall harvest! And this need for gathering (despite the reason) is not unique to fall, by any means. It seems that in every season, we have reasons (or we will find one) to gather (spring picnics, July 4 fireworks, etc.). To me, this illustrates our simple human need to gather; our human longing to be together and to form community. Whether around the table at a family dinner, or at CROP Walk with many others from all over our "village," we long to be with one another.

But, I would suggest that in this longing is more than simple human need. For, God actually longs for us to gather as God's people, and it is often in these gatherings, that we experience God at God's fullest expression. As we come together, we learn, we laugh, we play. We share our loss and the tough times; we share our joys and celebrations. As disciples of Christ, we do this weekly during Sunday worship, and hopefully, during the week at places where we serve God's people together (St. Luke's Meal; Habitat for Humanity, CROP Walk, Homework Club and ESL Tutoring) and at places where we come together and share in our faith story and play (Everyone's Inn). We also do this in our United Methodist Women circles and LAUMC small groups, Sunday school classrooms, and music rehearsals ... and many more places.

As we consecrate our stewardship journey this morning, I would invite us all to consider how our individual spiritual practices of offering our gifts and talents help to further God's expression of beloved community in the church at Los Altos United Methodist. How are we invited to practice our returning to God a portion of God's bounty shared with us? How will we respond to God's grace expressed here, and how will our giving practices offer grace to further God's work in our community? As we all determine our spiritual giving for the year this morning, let us together pray for our community and its ministry to God's world here -- and everywhere.

Blessings upon blessings,

Pastor Melinda