January 2016: A Word from Pastor Anne

More Jesus

Pastor Sun Hee and I were talking and realized that we have been in this recent push towards our new Ministry Center for about 6 years! (I know many of you that have been at SPUMC longer have earlier memories of hopes for this completion.) 

We began with our need for space as our ministries were at their limits and unable to expand with our previous physical space.  We began to explore potential designs and costs. This led to exploring how much money we could raise and thus how much building we could afford. Our Capital Campaign teams worked hard to raise pledges for a 3 year $500,000 building campaign. The Building team began the process of selecting a design and architect and contractor. When that happened they worked with us on our design and permits. We blessed the land and construction started in spring 2014. After changes and inspections, we consecrated the building in September 2015. We finally received our building occupancy in December 4, 2015!

I give God thanks for each and all of you! This project has taken the combined effort of the whole church being flexible, praying and encouraging with generous spirits all along the way. Our UMW paid the majority of cost for kitchen appliances. Our UMM has donated a large TV monitor for the new conference room. They also assembled the new playground equipment and moved things in from the storage sheds. Others are helping the Preschool assemble and pick up new items. Our Building team persevered with all the changes and decisions along the way. The Finance Committee advised and supported throughout. 

Currently the Preschool has submitted their application to licensing for the new space. Licensing will let us know what our student capacity will be for the new first floor classrooms. The Preschool had their Christmas play in the sanctuary with a surprise magic show and potluck lunch in the new classrooms. Families were able to see the new space and children played in the new playground. The Precious Time community is also very excited!

The last item for our construction is a requirement from the City to do some landscaping along Alvarado Blvd which will be shared with our ISEB neighbors. We are still getting bids for this work and will schedule as soon as possible. It is such an exciting time here at SAINT PAUL! I still am a bit stunned that we are done with construction and moving in. Agape choir is practicing upstairs before worship. 

Many others are asking to use the space. Please contact Patty in the office for all Building space requests for meetings, events and classes in order to go on the master calendar. Please email stpaulfmt@gmail.com or call the office at 510-429-3990 between 8:30 a.m. -1:30 p.m., Tuesday to Friday.

This new Ministry Center is for expanding God’s ministry through our congregation and to the community. It seems appropriate that our 2016 theme will be More Jesus! To keep our focus on the one who calls us and led us this far and is guiding us to what is still ahead. 

How do our ministries lead to More of Jesus for us and others? What do we need help with to have More of Jesus? What is in the way of us sharing More of Jesus with family, friends and others? Where does our community and world need More of Jesus? God has so much more for us. He will prepare us to receive more of Him! Let us seek 

Him together and follow where He leads!  As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us. 

Colossians 1:11-12 The Message

January 2016: A Word from Pastor Sun Hee

Happy New Year! I can’t believe it’s 2016!

I don’t know about you, but I have some mixed feelings about the New Year these days. As much as I like the feeling of newness and witnessing my son, Kevin, grow up and flourish, I am not sure if I am so fond of the idea of getting one year older. These days, I wake up with some aches here and there reminding me of the reality that I am certainly not getting any younger. And though I sometimes feel like I am still twenty years old inside, my body does not necessarily agree!

In all seriousness, I do know that I have a really blessed life. I should have no complaints. At the same time, however, I worry that life is less filled with newness and less opportunities for new doors. When I was actually twenty, I lived pretty optimistically and believed that “anything is possible with God.” That attitude has brought me to where I am today, and for the most part, I still believe that to be true. But living as a forty-something person, I realize that many of the major elements of my life are now determined – my vocation, my family, children and so on. I wonder if there are fewer doors available in my life now.

Recently, I was reminded of some words from Pastor John Ortberg who makes an argument that no matter where you are in life, there are no shortages of new doors and new opportunities. This is what he writes in his book, All the Places to Go…How Will You Know?:

Every morning is an open door; every moment can become one. Some of us see the doors and seize them, and so life becomes a divine adventure. Some of us shrink back or fail to see. A room with no door is a prison. To fail to embrace the open door is to miss the work God has made for us to do. If we want to experience more of the Spirit of God in our lives, we need to train ourselves to look for and respond to moments of divine opportunity.

Indeed, every morning is an open door. Every day is a new day and a new gift. This is what I forgot in my moment of sadness. No matter what, no matter who, no matter when, each of us are given each day freely and equally. I was so struck with that notion in Ortberg’s book: “A room with no door is a prison.” It takes training for us to look for and respond to moments of divine opportunity. Granted, I now have some things under my belt, so now I can potentially tackle other divine opportunities that God is calling me to. If I fail to recognize this, I can actually become a prisoner (something that my twenty year old self vowed that I would never become!).

There is a quote that says, “To find out what’s on the other side of an open door, you’ll have to go through it.” This is so true. This is what I’m committing my new year for, and I hope and pray that you will also be able to discover those open doors and boldly and courageously walk through them. God is setting before us new adventures, and certainly God will be calling us to experience the best year of our lives yet! Say yes to that call and welcome in 2016 with incredibly faith and eagerness!

Praying for all those amazing doors,

Pastor Sun Hee

December 2015: A Word from Pastor Anne

Pastor Anne’s column December_15 newsletter

 Give Thanks | Do Good | Get Ready for Jesus

Fall is typically a time of year we talk about Stewardship. Christian Stewardship is the management and care of the resources God has given us responsibility for. How appropriate that all this preparation leads into our country’s season of Thanksgiving and Advent preparation to celebrate the coming of Jesus. We have so much to be thankful for and that fuels our generosity!

While our move in to the new Ministry Center took longer than we thought, we have used the time to prepare by seeking God and trusting Him to lead the way. The One who has led us to this point will surely complete it!

Lots of preparation has been going on in the church -

·         Dream Weavers gathered to share ideas and possibilities,

·         Ending Well seminar helped people care for those who will remain after we die,

·         Finance led us in our annual church Stewardship campaign, Take a Shot and Become a Warrior for SAINT PAUL. We learned from Andy Stanley about God’s ways for How to Be Rich. It is all about using our resources in this world for eternal riches. Be generous and do good deeds to glorify God. It guards us from the dangers of greed.

·         Core team and church ministries are exploring additional ways to make disciples of Jesus Christ as we finalize our 2016 budget.

We have had and will have many opportunities to serve God and be God’s light in the world. October had Make a Difference Day with many projects after worship. Filipino American Ministries (FAM) Pasasalamat will include fun runs for Imagine No Malaria. We join with Compassion Network for our annual collection of Thanksgiving meal ingredients and Christmas gifts for families in need.

I know we are just beginning to dream and listen for God’s leading on how to use the new Ministry Center for making disciples of Jesus, loving others and being His light. The energy and excitement at the church is a gift from God. I thank God for each one of you that is part of what God is doing at SAINT PAUL!

May we be led by God’s Spirit to glorify Him and reach new people for Jesus Christ! Let our prayer be, “Come Lord Jesus come! Prepare us to receive you.”

December 2015: A Word from Pastor Sun Hee

WHEN THE ANGELS SANG

 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” ~ Luke 2:12-14

One of the things I love most about the Advent and Christmas season is the way the music feeds and blesses my soul.  When I begin to hear Christmas carols and holiday tunes start playing on the radio or over the speakers in the mall, it actually does something in me. I get the warm fuzzies, and it puts me in the “mood’ of Christmas. And I’m pretty sure that this is not accidental. This is the way that it's meant to be… ever since the first Christmas.

When the news of Jesus’s birth was given to the shepherds watching their flock at night, the angels burst into song! They gave praise and worship to God and music filled the air that first Christmas night! That’s where we get that time favored hymn, Hark the Herald Angels sing. Singing, praising, worshipping. This is really at the heart of Christmas. And this is what I really, really love.

But music alone cannot bring glory to God. The songs themselves cannot create the essence of worship. It’s the heart of the worshipper that has the capacity to bring forth true praise. And we can forget this all too easily.

Recently, our praise team joined the praise team of a newly formed church called EMBRACE to spend a day together in seeking the “true heart of worship”. Through intentional times of singing and learning and being equipped, we were all reminded of what it means to “be in the presence of Jesus.” If fact, that’s what Christmas is about. Jesus coming near. And us coming near to Jesus.

Christmas needs to involve more than just the music. Worship involves our true and full hearts… Christmas or at any other time of the year. I pray that this Advent season, you journey deeper into the heart of worship, and like our wonderful praise team and like when the angels sang from 2000 years ago, bring everything to Him. Indeed, it’s all about you, Jesus.

Wishing You Christmas Blessings,

Pastor Sun Hee

October 2015: A Word from Pastor Anne

A Glorious Day to Praise Our God!

September 20th – a day I will surely treasure and remember! What a wonderful way to finish off SAINT PAUL’s 50th anniversary year.

We gathered in worship for the Consecration of the Virginia Maniti Williams Ministry Center. Bishop Warner H. Brown Jr. preached on “The Meeting Place” from Matthew 28:16-20 and led our ceremony. Our new District Superintendent Rev. Staci Current joined in.

Things tried to stop us from celebrating… We were scheduled for an inspection Thursday morning and received a call that the inspectors were all in training. We were rescheduled for the following week. Special gifts to hand out did not arrive in time. They are being given out. We had hoped to gather in the new upstairs space to eat and begin to move items in. Unfortunately that was not the case and yet the Spirit could not be contained!

We just had to celebrate and give thanks for all that God has already done to get us to this point. We were led in worship by our praise team and our many worship leaders with special music from our Kingdom Kidz Choir and Agape Choir.

The family of Deaconess Virginia Maniti Williams received the special plaque we will hang at the new entrance to Precious Time Christian Preschool. It will be at a height for parents and children to see and be reminded. Deaconess Virginia lived a life inspired by God and made that God incarnate through her service as Director of Children’s Ministry and initiating the formation of Precious Time Christian Preschool. Her witness continues to intersect with so many children, families and volunteers impacted by these ongoing ministries. It is a privilege to honor and be reminded of one of God’s saints among us.

The delicious meal was catered by Ima’s Kusina in Milpitas (owned by the Maniti family) with donations of salmon from the Capistrano family, turon from the Maniti family and fruit from Naomi Porcuna and Paz Flores.

Truly a glorious day!

Special thanks go to so, so, so many! My apologies if anyone is left out accidentally.

·         Capital Campaign committee and the United Methodist Foundation who led us in the Building a Future Through Faith campaign;

·         Building Committee and Technical team who have persevered through all the changes;

·         Manny Bautista who joined me every other week at the construction site meetings;

·         Finance Committee who has made our church finances work;

·         Proforma Construction staff who we have gotten to know well and love;

·         District Board of Church Location and Building for guidance and support;

·         North San Jose Church Extension Society for a loan to bridge the financial gap for converting our construction loan to a mortgage loan;

·         Fremont Vice-mayor Suzanne Chan and Pastor Sherman Williams of CityServe who helped us work with the City Planning department;

·         The wonderful prior and current Precious Time Christian Preschool staff for making Jesus known;

·         Those who have given to the Building Fund and prayed for this Ministry Center over the years;

·         Pastors, leaders and faithful followers who have dreamed and worked towards God’s dream and what is still to come;

·         Most importantly to our God and the Holy Spirit for inspiring and leading us to do far more than we would have imagined we were able to on our own!

And there is still more to come! Our UMW provided funds to purchase the new kitchen appliances. Jay and Linda Canuto donated and installed a sound system for the upstairs classrooms. Our UMM will be providing a new TV in the new space. Others have donated funds for furnishings. We will need help assembling the new playground and furnishings. We are exploring improving our sanctuary sound system. Talk with Lloren Corpuz, Manny Bautista or Cheryl Konno about furnishing needs.

I have been saying for several weeks that I cannot help smiling and then sometimes I feel like crying because it is so amazing that we are reaching this point in ministry. God is so incredibly good to us! I just thank God for each and all of you. What a joy it is to be in ministry together. Our Dream Weaving will have happened and we hope to continue to explore next steps to follow where Jesus leads. What an exciting time this is! Thanks be to God!

October 2015: A Word from Pastor Sun Hee

The Heart of Worship

 I love the song called, “The Heart of Worship” by Matt Redman. 

 “When the music fades and all is stripped away and I simply come…

You search much deeper within, through the way things appear, You’re looking into my heart.

I’m coming back to the heart of worship
and it’s all about You, it’s all about You, Jesus.
I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it
when it’s all about You, it’s all about You, Jesus.”

It reminds me of the purpose of worship and the importance of my attitude of bringing all that I am—my heart, mind, and focus – to worship.

Recently, I read an interview of Rick Muchow, worship leader at Saddleback Church (known for Purpose-Driven Life pastor Rick Warren) where he talks about what is worship and what isn’t.

He said that Worship is “Any expression of our love to God—for who He is, for what He's said, and for what He's doing. The Bible says, ‘So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God’ (1 Cor. 10:31). Worship is a physical expression of our spiritual relationship with Him.”

I love that clarity in definition. It’s not just music, ritual, nor what happens on Sunday morning only. It’s much bigger and wider than that. In fact, Jesus exemplified many ways of worshiping-through obedience, teaching, reading and quoting Scripture, prayer, fasting, and giving. It’s anything and everything that we do to show our love to God and the focus of that love is toward God. This is why I think it is important to know what worship isn’t and we also need to watch out not to worship in wrong ways. This is Rick’s answer to ‘Is there a wrong way to worship?’ He said,

“Focusing on yourself. There's a difference between ‘service’ and ‘serve us.’ A lot of people go to church for what they're going to get out of it. But it's not about us. Though we benefit from worshiping God, that's not why we should do it. You don't love your kids for what you can get out of it. You love them because you love them.”

Yes, indeed. As the song, “Heart of Worship” reminds us, “it’s all about you, Jesus.”

As you might already know, many people are involved in making our Sunday worship run as smoothly as possible, and they have been working diligently to make improvements to our worship—skills, technology, presentations and more. I know they don’t want to draw the attention to themselves but to Jesus. As a pastor, I am thankful for their faithful ‘expression’ of their love to God each Sunday. With gratitude, my hope is for all of us to pray for those who are working hard in the backgrounds, encourage their efforts to serve, and most importantly, bring the ‘Heart of worship’, so that our lives would reflect His love and through our lives, God will be glorified.

Coming back to the heart of worship,

Pastor Sun Hee 

September 2015: A Word from Pastor Anne

Pastor-Anne-Word.png

A Word from Pastor Anne Here We Are!

It is hard to believe that we are finally here anticipating the completion of the Virginia Maniti Williams Ministry Center! It has been over a year with a variety of speed bumps and temporary road blocks. God has led the way through it all.

In the summer, we were required by the elevator inspector to add air conditioning to the elevator equipment room. The Great Hall ceiling and upper walls had additional work to increase the fire rating per inspection requirements. Kitchen appliances and cabinets are being installed. Plumbing is being installed. The final portions are being textured and painted. Furnishings for the new spaces are being looked at by Cheryl Konno (Trustees) and Manny Bautista.

We have received an $100,000 loan at 3% from our El Camino District Church Extension Society. We will be talking with Fremont Bank, our lender, to explore including the additional costs in our mortgage loan.

Our Precious Time Christian Preschool continues to add students to their wait list in anticipation of the start date in our new space. The Preschool Board is working with them as they plan for the move and licensing requirements to determine our new school capacity. Director Wanda Sawicka estimates perhaps 55 students. With our wait list and current students, we are close to that total already! That means we will be close to capacity when we start! (Did you know that young families in the community are talking about how great our Preschool is?) They may need help picking up new furniture and assembling items. Contact Vicki Ramirez if you are interested in helping.

I am not sure if we would have started all this if we had known ahead of time the challenges, needs and costs we would face. And here we are now with the building almost done! God has filled the gaps and helped us to stretch beyond what we thought we could.

And doesn’t it look amazing?! Many have commented on how large the new space is. It will about double our overall square footage.

If you talk to any of our long time members, this building is much hoped for and anticipated (since the existing building was built). We know that God led us to this point when our existing space was limiting ministry here at SAINT PAUL. And we had a successful building campaign, Building A Future Through Faith, during a slow economy. And God has led us through a variety of change orders and additional costs. What God has led us to do, He is completing and we get to be part of it! And it is not done with our building ready for occupancy and contractors leaving.

This building is a step (a BIG step but still only a step) along the way of the ministry that God is leading us into. This opens additional possibilities for ministries such as afterschool program, exercise classes for the community, retreats and luncheons to welcome newcomers. People are talking about renting out the upstairs space for parties and events or hosting community events.

Let’s celebrate together on Sunday, September 20th when Bishop and Mrs. Brown are coming for the Virginia Maniti Williams Ministry Center dedication. We have so much to celebrate!

 

 

The Virginia Maniti Williams Ministry Center is our shared legacy. We get to be part of this happening. And the even greater legacy will be the people who come to know and become fruitful followers of Jesus- building God’s Kingdom and blessing others in the name of Jesus. Our hope is not simply in a building. It is in our Lord Jesus Christ who invites us to continue to follow Him and tell others about Him. Please continue to pray for guidance, safety and trust in God.

What a great year this is as we finish our 50th anniversary of our church and 20 years here at our present location. And there is so much more yet to come! God’s Holy Spirit is mighty!