625 Hamilton Ave.
Palo Alto, CA 94301

650.323.6167
fax 650.323.3923

info@firstpaloalto.com

Welcome Visitors!

Welcome

Welcome CenterWelcome! Whether you are visiting the Silicon Valley, or are looking for a new church home, we welcome you to First Church!

We offer a variety of worship celebrations, small groups and classes to nourish your soul, as well as numerous ways to serve both the local community and the world.

Programs and opportunities for fellowship for kids, teens, tweens, young adults, adults and seniors abound.

Join us for worship at 8:45 and 10:45 am.

Our 10:45 am classic worship service is celebrated in the Sanctuary.

Our Upstream service is at 8:45 am in the Chapel.


Can't make it to Church? Watch the live worship webcast. Join us online Sunday morning at 10:45 am.

Questions? - If you would like to learn more about First Church please contact one of our Co-Pastors.

Pastor Sadie 650-323-6167 x102           Pastor Linda 650-323-6167 x101



return to top



Our Vision

First Church Vision Statement








At First Church we focus on the vision of...

           The Children in our Midst

           The Mission at our Doorstep

Always calling on the One who redeems us to create here...

           A Place of Hospitality and Grace



return to top



Frequently Asked Questions That Visitors
Might Have About The First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto


We've tried to think of questions you might have. If you have others, just ask anybody. Ours is a close church family. If one person doesn't have your answer, he or she can find someone else who does. You can also email your questions to info@firstpaloalto.com

Worship Services
  • What time should I come?
  • What goes on during the service?
  • Do you have any hearing-assistance devices?
  • What happens after the service?
  • When is Communion?
  • Who can participate in Communion?
  • How is Communion served?
  • Can I get a copy of a sermon?
Getting Here
  • Where are you located?
  • How do I get there?
  • How do I get there by public transportation?
  • Where do I park?
  • Do you have a bike rack?
The Church Building
  • Is there an elevator to the upper and lower levels?
  • Where does the Sunday School meet?
  • Where are the rest rooms?
Children's Participation and Activities
  • May my children stay in the Sanctuary during the service?
  • What if my child is restless?
  • What if my child is too young to sit through the service?
  • What youth activities do you have?
Making Contact
  • How do I get in touch with the Pastors?
  • How do I find out about special events or on-going projects?
Getting Involved
  • How can I be of service on Sunday mornings?
  • Are there ways to be of service to the community through the church?
  • Are there Bible study opportunities?
Membership
  • How do I become a member?
  • What if I'm not a Methodist?
  • Do I have to give a certain amount of money to the church?
Weddings and Events
  • How do I get married at First Palo Alto?
  • Can I have a funeral, reception or social gathering at First Palo Alto?
  • Can my organization hold our meetings at First Palo Alto?
  • Can my group hold a concert at First Palo Alto?
What Other Things Might Be Helpful to Know?

Worship Services

What time should I come?

Our classic worship service starts at 10:45 AM on Sunday morning and is held in the Sanctuary.

Our Upstream service is at 8:45 am on Sunday mornings in the Chapel.

Our Young Adult worship service, 3RD S3SSION, is at 8:00 pm on third Thursday of every month in the Wesley Room.


However, if you are running late, don't stay away because of that. You are always welcome at any time.

You can also watch our 10:45 sermon online. Just go to www.firstpaloalto.com/live

What goes on during our classic 10:45 service?

The printed Order of Worship will guide you as to will be happening in that particular service. It also indicates when, if you are able, you are requested to stand.

The 10:45 am service also includes a sermon, bible readings, hymns, a song performed by the choir, a listing of joys and concerns and prayers. An offering will also be taken.

The organist will then play the postlude during which time you are invited to leave the sanctuary and join the rest of the congregation on the patio for coffee and fellowship.

During the summer months the 10:45 service is much more informal. We have a summer "pick-up" choir that you are invited to join.

Do you have any hearing-assistance devices?

Yes, ask one of the ushers to get you one.

What happens after the service?

Please join us for refreshments and fellowship on the Patio. Follow everyone out the left hand door at the front of the Narthex. That is when we share what's been going on in our lives and just enjoy each others' company. It's an ideal time for you to learn more about our church and for us to get to know you.

When is Communion?

Holy Communion is celebrated on the first Sunday of the month and sometimes at other special Sundays and services.

Who can participate in Communion?

The United Methodist Church practices open Communion. Everyone (including children) who wishes to take Communion in the spirit with which it is offered is welcome to participate.

How is Communion served?

We usually celebrate Communion by "intinction". The ushers direct people up the center aisle, where the communion servers hold the bread and "wine" (grape juice). Each person takes a piece of the bread and dips it in the grape juice and eats it. You may choose to kneel and pray at the prayer rails. Afterwards you return to your seat by the side aisle.

If you are unable to come to the front of the church for Communion please notify one of the ushers so that a server may bring the Communion elements to you.

Can I get a listen to a past sermon online?

Most of the sermons preached at FirstPaloAlto are available on our website. You can listen to online, or you can download them to your phone or computer. Go to www.firstpaloalto.com/sermons to view the available sermons.

Return to top

Getting Here

Where are you located?

We are located at 625 Hamilton Avenue in downtown Palo Alto.

How do I get there by car?

Click here for driving directions.

How do I get there by public transportation?

Bus and train service are located nearby. Transit 511 has an online travel planner to help you get here by public transit. Our street address is 625 Hamilton Ave, Palo Alto 94301.

The Palo Alto CalTrain station is .7 miles from the Church.

Bus systems serving Palo Alto include the Santa Clara VTA and the San Mateo County samTrans.

Where should I park?

Parking is available on city streets or in the municipal Parking Garage on Webster. There is limited parking in the church parking lots on Byron and Webster streets, as well as unofficial alternative parking on Webster ONLY for Sunday services.

A map of all of the available parking locations can be found on this page.

Do you have a bike rack??

Bike riders are welcome at First Church. We have two bike racks for your use. One is located on our front patio facing Hamilton Avenue, and the other is in our main parking lot located off of Byron Street.

Return to top

The Church Building

Is there an elevator to the upper and lower levels?

Yes, there is an elevator that links all 3 floors of the education building.

  • On the lower level it is located across from the entrance to the memorial garden.
  • On the first floor it is located next to room 175 near the door leading to the sanctuary and chapel.
  • On the second floor it is located at the end of the hallway next to the womens restroom.

Where does the Sunday School meet?

Sunday School meets from 9:45 am - 10:45 am. Our Bible-based curriculum is designed to nurture the youth in their faith journey.

Before Sunday School, from 9:15 am - 9:45 am, children are invited to attend the Children's Music Program.

Please note that both programs are on hiatus during the Summer.

Where are the rest rooms?

There are mens and womens restrooms at the back of the Narthex. The mens room is behind the left staircase heading to the balcony and the womens restroom is behind the right staircase heading to the balcony.

In the education building there are restrooms on the lower level, on the upper level and across from the Library on the first floor. Directional signs are located at the corners, and by the stairwells of each floor.

Return to top

Children's Participation and Activities

May my children stay in the sanctuary during the service?

You and your children should do whatever makes you most comfortable.

Childcare is available for children under five years old during the worship hour.

At the 10:45 service, we encourage children to remain with their families for the start of worship service. In the middle of the service, the children are invited to go to Children's Worship. They will return to their their families shortly before the worship service ends.

Worship activity packs are available in the Narthex.

During the Upstream service, the children are invited at 9:15 am to go to choir practice.

What if my child is restless?

An usher can provide you with a cloth bag of quiet things that will interest your child. Otherwise you may ask the usher to direct you to the nursery where child care is provided. We also have two glassed-in "cry rooms" located at the back of the sanctuary.

What if my child is too young to sit through the service?

Please feel free to leave your child in the Noah's Ark Nursery in the education building. It is a well-equipped nursery, with cribs and toys, and tended by dedicated and caring individuals. Please ask one of the ushers, or one people at the Welcome Center to show you where it is.

What youth activities do you have?

We have two active youth group, led by a team of dedicated individuals. One group is for middle schoolers (grades 6-8) and the other group is for senior high youth (grades 9-12). Please contact our Director of Children and Youth Ministry, Pastor Sadie 650-323-6167 x102 for more information.

Return to top

Making Contact

How do I get in touch with the Ministers?

There are several ways:

  • Sign the attendance sheet during the worship service. If you give your address and phone number, one of our ministers will get in touch with you, and we will add you to our mailing list.
  • Introduce yourself to them after the service, and come to the patio to meet some of the members.
  • You can leave a message at the Welcome Center, or with the church office 650-323-6167
  • You can e-mail the Rev. Michael Love at michael@firstpaloalto.com and Pastor Sadie Stone at sadie@firstpaloalto.com

How do I find out about special events or on-going projects?

We have several ways to find out what is happening at First Palo Alto.

  • The news page of our web site is updated regularly with the latest schedule of events.
  • If you have given us your mailing and/or e-mail address you will receive our newsletter, Insights, which will tell about what is happening in the next month or so.
  • Every Friday we also send out an email update with latest church news.
  • Click here to sign up to receive Insights and the weekly email update.
  • The Sunday Order of Worship also contains information about upcoming events.

Return to top

Getting Involved

How can I be of service on Sunday mornings?

We are delighted to have many people take an active role on Sunday mornings. If you want to know more about how to do that, contact the Church office at 650-323-6167. Check out our Signup page for some of our immediate needs.

Additional opportunities to serve include:

  • Greeter
  • Usher
  • Lector (read one of the Scripture lessons)
  • Sing in the choir
  • Help with the Fellowship Hour
  • Help with Upstream
  • Help teach Sunday School
  • Help tend the Nursery

Are there ways to be of service through the church?

Yes, there are many ways you can help. Check out our Signup page for some of our immediate needs.

Volunteer activities in the church include

  • Helping in the office or staffing the reception desk
  • Being a greeter for the Monday Night Meat
  • Serving on a church committee
  • and many, many more

Contact the Church office at 650-323-6167 to find a opportunity that meets your interests and skills.

You can also make a difference in our Community by volunteering with a local organization. Check out our Joy Of Doing section for more information.

Are there Bible study opportunities?

There are many several opportunities to study the Bible at First Church. Check out our Bible Study and Adult Christian Education page

for full information about all of our classes.

Return to top

Membership

How do I become a member?

We welcome interest in membership at First Palo Alto.

Members are received in three ways:

  • By profession of faith and baptism
  • By letter of transfer from another United Methodist Church
  • By letter of transfer from another Christian Church OR by reaffirmation of faith when a letter of transfer is not appropriate/possible.

To learn more about membership please speak to one of our pastors.

What if I'm not a Methodist?

Several of the most active people at First Palo Alto are not members, and some are not even Methodists. Non-members are welcome to participate on committees and other activities. Speak to one of the Pastors about what it means to be a Methodist, and about becoming a member.

Do I have to give a certain amount of money to the church?

You are always welcome to worship with us and participate regardless of whether you contribute money. However, we would like everyone who considers First Palo Alto their church (whether as a formal member or not) to make a commitment (a "pledge") to contribute some amount, either weekly or monthly.

It is entirely up to you to decide how much you can afford to give and how important the church is to you. The pledge isn't binding and we know everyone's circumstances differ and can change at any time. What you give is kept confidential by the financial secretary and the treasurer.

If you would like help in deciding how much to give, we have some guidelines and facts about our financial needs. We like to think about giving in terms of a percentage of one's income. Tithing is the ultimate goal (10%), but the important thing is to do whatever you can.

Return to top

Weddings and Events

Weddings

How do I get married at First Palo Alto?

Contact our Wedding Coordinator, Bernadette Harland 650-279-2449, for details about getting married at First Palo Alto. Click here to view the Wedding section of our website.

Can I have a funeral, memorial service, reception or social gathering at First Palo Alto?

Non-members are invited to have their events here under the guidance of our ministers and the events coordinator. Contact our Events Coordinator, Bernadette Harland 650-279-2449, for specific details.

Can my organization hold our meetings at First Palo Alto?

Our meeting rooms are very much in demand by our own groups and committees, as well by local community organziations. Because of this we may not be able to meet your needs. Please contact our Events Coordinator, Bernadette Harland 650-279-2449, for specific details.

Can my group hold a concert at First Palo Alto?

Several groups have made First Palo Alto their concert home. Please contact our concert coordinator Jerry Johnson 650-323-6167 to discuss your needs.

Return to top

What Other Things Might Be Helpful to Know?

  • The Communion is non-alcoholic. Gluten-free bread is available.
  • The coffee served during refreshments is regular. There is also cold punch or juice (non-alcoholic) and cookies or other snacks.
  • There is no smoking anywhere on the church grounds.
  • Wear whatever you please. Some people like to dress up; others don't. We welcome those in three-piece suits and those in jeans.
  • A Fijian fellowship is also part of our Church. Their services are conducted in the Fijian language. They worship in our Chapel on Sundays at 11:00 AM Their congregation welcomes you as well.
  • The First Tongan United Methodist Church of Palo Alto shares our facilities. Their services are conducted mostly in the Tongan language. They worship in the Sanctuary at 1 PM on Sundays and at 7 PM on Wednesdays.

    Their congregation welcomes you as well. For more information contact the Rev. Sione Halafau 650-323-4340

Return to top



return to top



Welcome
Next Sunday: Join us for worship at 8:45 and 10:45 am.

Can't make it to Church?
Watch online
at 10:45 am

Young Adult Worship:

Saturday - Hanging of the Greens
Help the Worship Team decorate the Church for Advent and Christmas on Saturday morning, November 29th

November 23, 2014 - Gratitude - Pastor Sadie Stone (Audio)




Over 1000 toys and gifts are needed for the Toy and Teen Shoppe
Help brighten a child's Christmas by donating a new, unwrapped toy to fill the shelves of the "Toy Shoppe". We also need books or other gifts for teens. The deadline is Sunday, December 7th

Foster Children Need Bags
Please join the UMW and the Outreach Committee in supporting local foster children by donating a new or gently used bag. Help us collect 50 bags by December 15, 2014.

Advent Study is Under Way
Pastor Sadie and Pastor Linda are leading a study for Advent using the book When God Comes Down by James Harnish. Learn more here.

Advent Candlelight Dinner
Join us December 7th for an elegantly catered dinner, featuring the music of the Main Street Singers. Click here to reserve your seat

Joy Of Giving 2014
The Joy of Giving is a Christmas tradition that helps to show our caring and love for people in every part of the world. Click here for the Joy of Giving information brochure and donation form.