625 Hamilton Ave.
Palo Alto, CA 94301

fax 650.323.3923


About Us

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

Altar Flowers

You are invited to sign up to sponsor the altar flowers for Sunday worship in memory, honor, or celebration of a loved one or event.

The cost is $70.

Click here to sign up online.

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Stephen Ministry

stephenLogo.gifAre you struggling with one of life’s many issues? Divorce... grieving... job loss... family problems... spiritual malaise... health... job dissatisfaction... depression... unsettled problems...

A Stephen Minister. is here to help.

Stephen Ministers are specially trained lay people, gifted with sensitivity and listening skills. They are available to offer Christian care to those experiencing grief, loneliness, illness or a traumatic transition of any kind.

To get help from a Stephen Minister, contact Pastor Linda 650-323-6167 x101

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Online Prayer Requests

Prayer75121.jpgDo not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

If you have a prayer request, you can now submit it online to our pastors. All prayer requests are held in confidence.

To submit a prayer request, click here.

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Grief Care and Hospital Visitation

Grief CareIf you are grieving, going through a major hurdle, are facing an illness, are in the hospital, or for any other reason, would like to have a visit by or talk with one of our pastors, we are here for you. You can reach Pastor Linda at (650) 323-6167 x101, Pastor Beth at (650) 323-6167 x105, or the Church Office by calling our main number (650) 323-6167.

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Donate Online to First Church

We now offer the ability to make an online donation today to the First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto securely through PayPal.

Your gift is vital to our mission: The Children in our Midst, the Mission at Our Doorstep, a Place of Hospitality and Grace.

Donations help us provide the many programs and ministries of the church including: Children and Youth Ministries, Faith Development and Education Programs, Community Outreach Mission and Service Projects, and Worship. Please note a PayPal account is not required.

To make a donation, just click on the Donate button below.

If you have any questions, please send an email to giving@firstpaloalto.com.

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Hold Your Next Concert at First Church

Please consider First United Methodist Church in downtown Palo Alto for your next concert or series of concerts. With its soaring ceiling, dramatic architecture, great acoustics, Bosendorfer grand piano, and the magnificent Meritt Speidel Organ, the Sanctuary offers a wonderful venue for concerts of any type. Located close to restaurants with ample parking around the church and in the public lot on Webster Street, this is an ideal location.

The Sanctuary has a total seating capacity of 650. This includes seating in the balcony as well as on the main floor. We have the ability to install a stage over the chancel steps, as we do for such groups as the New Century Chamber Orchestra, and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. They have performed their seasons with us for many years. We provide risers for choral groups, a limited number of music stands, and a conductor’s podium.

To schedule a concert or a tour of our facilities, contact our concert coordinator, Jeraldine Johnson 650-323-6167

Requirements and Use fees for concerts

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Become A Member of First Church

Join Us, Become a MemberWe invite you to become a member of the First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto.

If you're considering membership, you are invited to a time of conversation at one of our Pastors. They are happy to answer your questions about church membership as well as sharing the ways we will equip you for a deeper experience of membership.

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.

For more information about the First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto, about membership or about the United Methodist Church, please speak to Pastor Linda 650-323-6167 x101

If you have arranged to become a member of First Church, please fill out this Membership Information Form.

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BaptismIf you're considering Baptism for your children or for yourself, you are invited to a time of conversation with one of our Pastors. They are happy to answer your questions.

For more information about Baptism, the First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto or about the United Methodist Church, please speak to Pastor Linda 650-323-6167 x101.

If you have arranged for a Baptism at First Church, please fill out this Baptism Information Form.

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Our History - Serving The Community Since 1894


The First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto has been serving our community since 1894. Our buildings have changed, our locations have changed, but our mission of spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ to the people of San Mateo and Santa Clara counties is unchanged.

Download a brochure to learn about the history and architecture of our Church.

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Covenant of Inclusiveness

In April 2000 our church adopted a Convenant of Inclusiveness when we became a Reconciling Congregation.

Read it here.

As a Reconciling Congregation we are a part of the Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN), a growing movement of United Methodist individuals, congregations, campus ministries, and other groups working for the full participation of all people in the United Methodist Church.

We are one of over 200 Reconciling Congregations in the US. The Reconciling Ministries Network is not officially part of the United Methodist Church, but rather, "we are a part of the Methodist tradition of social concern and action, a justice-seeking, Spirited people".

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Peace Pole

"Blessed are the Peacemakers" Matthew 5:9

The Peace Pole is a reminder to members and to visitors to First United Methodist Church that God's house is a place of Peace and that we are called to inner peace and to be peacemakers.

"My peace I leave you, My peace I give you, trouble not your hearts…." John 14:27

The multiple languages on the pole signify our prayers for world peace and recognizes the inclusiveness of all peoples. Each language proclaims "May Peace be in Our Homes and Communities".

The UMW and Outreach Committee presented a grant application to the Centennial Endowment Fund committee for the purchase of our Peace Pole.

While the Peace Pole is located in the narthex, it is moveable so that it can be incorporated into some worship services, and also be available for use in various Sunday School classes, committee meetings, and special occasions.

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Memorial Garden

MemorialGardenFlower150100.jpgIn 1995, a small group of members of FUMC, Palo Alto, “affirming their faith that death is not the end of life, but rather the climax of life on earth, leading to eternal life on another life” began planning a Memorial Garden in Garland Court (North Patio). Planning and construction were completed in 1997 and dedication of the Garden was done on Novmeber 7 of that year.

The garden includes two planter areas: in the upper one, specific sites can be selected where ashes can be buried either directly in the ground or in a biodegratable bag; in the lower area, ashes will be buried in an undesignated site. In either case, a record of burial is kept in the church office and a copy in a safe off-church site. Name plaques with dates of birth and death are mounted on the wall.

The Memorial Garden is maintained by an income from an endowment fund made possible by a portion of the fees paid for burials as will as by Memorial gifts and other gifts made by individuals. Centennial Endowment Fund grants have also made several grants for specific needs.

We encourage FUMC members to consider making arrangements for their ashes to be buried in our Memorial Garden. If you have any questions, please do call Mary Ann Michel (650-494-0162)

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Have Your Wedding At FirstPaloAlto

WeddingSanctuary150149.jpgOur Sanctuary offers a most memorable and beautiful location for a Bay Area wedding.

We invite you to take a tour and learn more about how we can help make your wedding day perfect.

Please go to our Wedding Page for more information.

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Bishop R. Marvin Stuart

R. Marvin Stuart, a retired bishop of The United Methodist Church, died at Channing House in Palo Alto on November 11, 2003 at the age of 93


November 22, 1909 -- November 11, 2003

Click here to view photos of Bishop Stuart from the First Palo Alto archives

Click here to read Rev. Stuart's farewell sermon just before he left the First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto to become the Bishop of the Denver Area

Born in Paullina, Iowa, on November 22, 1909, to Robert Lee and Josie Lena Stuart. Stuart grew up in the Midwest, where his father was a Methodist minister. He met his wife-to-be, Mary Ella Rose, when they both attended Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, which Stuart's father later served as president. At the time of Mary Ella's death in 2001, the Stuarts had known each other for 74 years and had been married for 68. Mary Ella was a devoted partner in ministry, including skills as teacher and writer and a devotion to gracious hospitality in her home.

Stuart received his B.A. in 1931 at Taylor and S.T.B. and S.T.M. degrees at Boston University School of Theology in 1934 and 1935. He was given a D.D. by Taylor University in 1945.

Stuart served pastorates in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and El Cerrito, San Francisco, and Palo Alto in California.

Twenty-two years at the First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto was at the heart of Stuart's ministry. During that time all the current buildings of the church were constructed, including its landmark "contemporary Gothic" place of worship. The congregation grew to over 2,000 members and in two consecutive years led the churches of the entire United Methodist denomination in giving for benevolences.

Relating deep personal Christian commitment to efforts for peace and social justice was a key priority in Stuart's life. He called himself an "evangelical liberal." He was a Christian pacifist. He ministered to Japanese Americans who were interned during World War II and protested their internment. When he retired in 1980, Japanese Americans paid special tribute to Stuart's ministry to them. When a bishop in the Denver Area, he protested the Vietnam War.

Stuart advocated open housing in Palo Alto, working to remove restrictive real estate covenants. When he heard that a new Jewish congregation was looking for a temporary home, he invited it to share the facilities of his church, and a very special relationship developed over several years between Jews and Methodists.

In Palo Alto, Stuart was one of the founders of the Family Service Association, Palo Alto Fair Play Council, and Youth Coordinating Council. He was active in the Boy Scouts and Y.M.C.A. and a member of Kiwanis. The Palo Alto Real Estate Board named him "Citizen of the Year" in 1960. In 1995, retired in Palo Alto, Stuart was honored by the Senior Coordinating Council of Palo Alto with one of its "Lifetimes of Achievement" awards.

Stuart served as a regent of the University of the Pacific and a trustee of the University of Denver, the Iliff School of Theology, Alaska Methodist University, and the Pacific School of Religion.

As a delegate to the General Conference of The United Methodist Church, Stuart carried to the floor of the conference the resolution that resulted in women being ordained as clergy.

Elected a bishop of The United Methodist Church in 1964, Stuart was assigned to the Denver Area, responsible for eight years for churches in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and Montana. He became resident bishop of the San Francisco Area, in 1972-1980, with oversight of approximately five hundred churches in Northern California and Nevada. Stuart's offices in San Francisco were adjacent to those of the Glide Foundation and Church, whose controversial ministries to the disadvantaged he supported strongly.

Stuart was President of the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church world-wide in 1978-1979.

In retirement, Stuart played a key role in establishing an endowment of over $500,000 for the chaplaincy at the University of the Pacific. He became part-time chaplain at Lytton Gardens in Palo Alto, a residence for persons with low and moderate incomes, which he had worked earlier to establish.

Being a pastor was vitally important to Stuart even when he had enormous administrative responsibilities. He worked to give ministers special resources to empower growth and surmount obstacles. In retirement, he was beloved by those on whom he called daily to share prayer and often one of the stories for which he became noted. Even after suffering a stroke, he moved himself around in a wheel chair to call on persons even more limited in mobility than he was.

An avid sports fan, Stuart was devoted particularly to the San Francisco Giants and the athletics program of Stanford University, especially women's and men's basketball.

Stuart's philosophy of leadership was summed up in two key guidelines: "People will support what they help create" and "You cannot lead where you are not going."

Bishop Stuart is survived by his son, Dr. Robert Lee Stuart, retired Professor of English at the University of Redlands and a resident of The Sequoias in San Francisco, and by a sister, Josephine Juett, of Lake Side Ohio.

A memorial service was held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 17,2006, at the First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto. Interment of Stuart's ashes with those of his late wife and two children who died in infancy will be private.

Bishop Stuart requested before his death that flowers not be sent, but memorial contributions could be made to the Stuart Landscaping Endowment at the First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto, at 625 Hamilton Avenue, Palo Alto, California, 94301.

Click here to view photos of Bishop Stuart from the First Palo Alto archives

Please feel free to leave your remembrances of Bishop Stuart below.

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Community & Beyond

Weddings, baptisms, funerals, receptions, and other social gatherings are a part of the ministry of our church. Nonmembers are invited to have their events here under the guidance of one of our ministers and the Events Coordinator.

Contact our events coordinator (650) 323-6167 x112.

A number of other groups regularly use our facility including: Twelve-Step groups, International Folk Dancing, Boy Scouts, and a Weaver's Guild.

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Church Fundraiser Application

Planning on holding a church fundraiser?

Official Church groups and committees may hold fundraisers. Fundraising activities include, but are not limited to: special offerings, meals, food sales, product sales, sponsorships and shows.

In order to maintain our tax exempt status all fundraising activities at the Church must be approved in advance by the Finance Committee. This procedure also helps to coordinate the timing of fundraisers so that groups do not have to simultaneously compete for funds.

Click here to download the fundraiser application form and detailed rules.

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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.