625 Hamilton Ave.
Palo Alto, CA 94301

fax 650.323.3923


Advent and Christmas at First Palo Alto UMC

Advent and Christmas

Joy! Peace! Hope! Love!

Celebrate Advent and Christmas with us!

The days and weeks leading up to Christmas can be hectic and even stressful. First Palo Alto has a lot going on this Advent Season too, and we invite you to check out what's happening. You don't need to feel like you need to come to every event (though we won't stop you if you do!). Rather, find some that speak to you. Think of these not as events to shoehorn into already overbooked calendars, but rather opportunities to take a breather from the holiday hubbub, have a little God time, and find some rest and inspiration for your soul. We hope to see you!

Holiday Services

Sunday Worship – 8:45 am + 10:45 am

Join us in worship this Advent on Sundays at either Upstream, our informal service at 8:45 am and/or our Traditional service at 10:45 am. Stay for snacks and a hot beverage afterwards and chat with friends new and old on the patio.

Advent Service – Dec. 4, 6:00 pm

Begin Advent this year in song and praise. The Chancel choir and guest musicians will lead us in an Advent procession with carols.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve Services – Dec. 24

Family Service, 5:00 pm – Sing favorite Christmas songs as the children bring to life the story of that first Christmas long ago.

Lessons and Carols, 8:00 pm – Hear the story and sing the carols that define what this time of year is all about. Our choirs and instrumental groups will join in this candlelight celebration as we remember and rejoice in the birth of Christ.

Join us after each service for cookies and cocoa around the fire on the patio.

Christmas Day – Dec. 25, 10:00 am

Christ is born! Halleluia! Join us for a combined service in the sanctuary.

New Year's Day – Jan. 1, 10:00 am

A new year is here. Welcome 2017! Join us for a combined service in the sanctuary.

Out of town? Watch any of our services live online. Go to www.firstpaloalto.com/live to view the live video webcast.

Need directions? How to get here

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Dive Deeper into the Story

Advent Study – Thursdays at 12 noon + Sundays at 9:45 am

Join us as we read and discuss Underdogs and Outsiders by Tom Fuerst, which looks into some of the unlikely characters of Christmas. The class is offered twice weekly on Thursdays at noon, and Sunday mornings at 9:45 am, beginning Dec. 1 and Dec. 4 respectively. Contact Pastor Beth for more info and to get your book.

Advent Devotionals

This Advent we are very excited to announce that we have created an Advent Devotional authored by members of our very own church family. It is a daily devotional delivered straight to your email inbox each morning. If you aren't on our list and would like to be, please email the church office with your name and preferred email address and we will be happy to add you to the distribution. There are also a limited number of hard copies available at the church for those who don't use email.

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Opportunities to Give

Joy of Giving

The Joy of Giving is a long Christmas tradition of First Palo Alto United Methodist. It is a natural expression of our faith in Christ and our caring and love for people in our local community, our region, and across the whole world. Through the Joy of Giving, you are able to transform lives.

This year our Service and Mission team have chosen six different organizations to give to. They are EPA Can Do, the Pastors' Discretionary Fund, the Ecumenical Hunger Program, Cal-Nev Annual Conference Disaster Relief Efforts, Sierra Service Project, and the UMCOR Advance for Children, Poverty, and Violence. Information about each can be found in the brochure which you can view by clicking here.

Donating is easy. If you would like to contribute to Joy of Giving, simply make your check payable to First Palo Alto UMC and indicate "Joy of Giving" in the memo line. If you would like to specify which project your donation goes toward, click on the brochure here to access the giving form. All donations should be mailed to the church address which is 625 Hamilton Ave. Palo Alto, CA 94301.

Holiday Toy Shoppe

The Holiday Toy Shoppe, done by LifeMoves, annually serves more than 800 Bay Area children. The Toy Shoppe allows parents who have limited resources to select Christmas gifts for their children. You can help make the Toy Shoppe happen. Please bring NEW, UNWRAPPED toys to First Palo Alto UMC between Nov. 20 and Dec. 11. Place toys in the collection barrels in the narthex, education building reception area, or bring them to the church office during regular business hours.

Needed Items: Gifts for children of all ages, infants to teenagers. Stocking stuffers. Gift-wrapping supplies including paper, tape, tissue, tag, ribbons, and bows.
Gift suggestions: Movie tickets, gift cards (Wal-Mart, Target, Kohl's, etc.), board games, stuffed animals, non-violent toys, sports equipment, pre-school development toys, multi-racial and multi-cultural dolls, books for all ages, fashionable tween/teen clothing, DVDs, make-up sets, watches.

UMW Cards for Mission

Our United Methodist Women are selling beautiful handmade Christmas cards every Sunday after worship in Advent. They will be located outside the church office after the 8:45 am service, and on the patio after the 10:45 service. All proceeds will go to support UMW mission projects.

Sunday School Christmas Project

The children of our Sunday School are collecting baby gifts for the baby Jesus. Donate small, new baby items for the YWCA's domestic violence program. Collection bins will be under the narthex tree beginning Dec. 4.

Life Packs

Seeds of Hope is collecting beanies, socks, mittens/gloves, and blankets which will be loaded into backpacks and distributed to homeless youth. Look for bins in the narthex and church office beginning Dec. 18. Contact Caryn Cranston for more information and ways to help out.

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Food, Fellowship, and Fun

Advent Dinner – Dec. 4, 7:00 pm

Candles, music, good friends, and good food. Contact Janet Nicholls or the church office to reserve your seat now.

UMW Christmas Coffee – Dec. 10, 10:00 am

The United Methodist Women cordially invites all women to their annual Christmas coffee which will be held on Dec. 10 in the Patio Room. In addition to coffee, tea, and lots of holiday munchies, Pastor Shijung will lead an Advent Devotion and our very own Community Upstream Band will provide music. Everyone is invited!

Koinonia Christmas Party – Dec. 10, 6:00 pm

It's a potluck party and everyone is invited! Please bring a "white elephant" for our gift exchange and a dish to serve 8 according to your last name: A-F, dessert; G-S, entrŽe or vegetable; T-Z, salad and bread. Bring a beverage of your choice to share. Contact Nancy Olson to RSVP and get directions.

Eid Festival – Dec. 17, 11:00 am – 2:30 pm

Experience how Muslims celebrate their holidays. Our Service and Mission team is pleased to host the Eid Festival again this year. It is a holiday to build a "beloved community." All are welcome and warmly encouraged to attend. More information is available at www.amuslimvoice.org.

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Activities for Youth (6th–12th grades)

Ice Skating – Dec. 9, 8–9:30 pm

We're going ice skating! Meet up at Winter Lodge in Palo Alto, and lace up your skates for a fun night skating under the stars, listening to Christmas carols, and of course having a cup of hot cocoa to warm up. Contact Pastor Beth for more info.

UMCOR Birthing Kits – Dec. 23, 7–9:00 pm

Come join us and celebrate the birth of Jesus by assembling birthing kits for UMCOR. These simple kits include everything needed to help women who are in difficult circumstances give birth safely. We will have all the supplies, but we need you to put them all together. This is a great way to be in mission and really make a concrete difference in someone's life. These kits will be shipped and used worldwide through UMCOR. Contact Pastor Beth if you have any questions or want to know more.

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Join us in worship this Sunday:

8:45 am – Upstream (a casual service)

10:45 am – Traditional Service (with choir and organ)

1:00 pm – Tongan language worship service

2:00 pm – Fijian language worship service

Can't make it to church? Watch our 10:45 am service online.