625 Hamilton Ave.
Palo Alto, CA 94301

fax 650.323.3923


Small Groups - Where Friends Journey Together in Christ

Being There for Spiritual Growth at First Church Palo Alto

Monday Night - Great Decisions

Great Decisions at First Church Palo AltoGreat Decisions is a series of thought-provoking and lively discussions on Global Issues and US International Relations.

First Church of Palo Alto is proud to host a Great Decisions Series again in 2014 as we’ve done for about thirty years since our discussion group was founded by Don Loughry.

Please join us for this year’s foreign policy discussion series. These engaging sessions will take place on eight Monday nights at 7:30 p.m. starting February 24, 2014 and continuing to April 21 (skipping April 7). We will hold a concluding/off-season-planning luncheon on Sunday, April 27. Please note that again this year there will be only Monday night sessions.

You need not be a policy wonk or an expert on all corners of the globe to attend. Just bring an open and eager mind; newcomers are welcome! While the discussion is richer when attendees have read the background article in the Great Decisions book (available from Vicki Veenker or Lou Bellardo for $20), it is a poorly-kept secret that we don’t send you home if you haven’t.

The full summary and schedule of topics is shown below. Please note–we don't necessarily follow the same order as the briefing book. If you are interested in facilitating one of the discussion sessions or have any questions, contact Vicki (650-269-3317 or vicki@veenkerlaw.com). Learn more here.

Everyone is welcome

2014 Topic Descriptions

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New Sunday Morning Class: "What's the Right Thing to Do?"

Marcia Sterling will be leading a discussion group called “What’s the Right Thing to Do?” on Sunday mornings from 9:45 to 10:40 in the Patio Room. The first class is on Sunday, February 2, 2014.

We will discuss ethics, morality and values as they pertain to people of faith. The class is expected to continue through the end of April.
Background framework for the discussions will come from Michael Sandel’s Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? and Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion.

You don’t have to read either book to participate in the discussions. This is a drop-in class, each session dealing with a different topic, so you need not attend regularly to participate. It’s also intended to be more of a discussion group than a lecture, as we share ideas on the general topic of how our Christian values play out in day-to-day moral decision-making.

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Wednesday Morning Wesleyans

If midweek and daytime activities are better for you, join us for a guided devotional with prayer, caring time, and conversation about Scriptures or a text we may be reading together.

We have shared biblical texts for discussion, chatted about concepts of theology, and read seasonal devotionals together.

Wednesday Morning Wesleyans meets Wednesdays at 10:00 am at Channing House, located near downtown Palo Alto at 850 Webster Street between Homer and Channing. The group meets in the 5th floor lounge.

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Small Group: Engaging our Social Principles

The social principles are found in the UMC Book of Discipline and, “While not considered church law, are a prayerful and thoughtful effort on the part of the General Conference to speak to the human issues in the world” (Book of Discipline).

The issues are expansive and diverse in nature and cover topics like immigration, abortion, sexuality, environmental issues, and technology just to name a few.

Join Pastor Sadie as we explore and engage our church’s social statements from biblical, historical, and personal perspectives.

The schedule for this group will be determined by the people who sign up for this class.

For more information contact Pastor Sadie Stone 650-323-6167 x102.

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Small Group 4 x 4 Gatherings

Now is the time to start 4x4 groups for social activities, spiritual growth and care with church family and friends.

These intentional small groups are a great way to get to know others in our church community on a deeper level. Each group is comprised of 8-10 other persons from the church and together you build community and relationships through monthly activities; such as fellowship over dinners or dessert potlucks in your home, or at a restaurant, going to a theater, bowling or any other activity you may desire.

Every person or couple gets the opportunity to be a host and plan an event for their 4x4

For more information contact Pastor Sadie Stone 650-323-6167 x102.

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Oikos Palo Alto Adult Small Group

OpenCircle15061.jpgOpenCircle small groups — called Oikos groups or O-groups (“oikos” means family or household in Greek) — are aimed at fostering accountability, deeper and more intimate relationships, spiritual growth and prayer.

These groups are made up of 6 to 12 individuals and meet on a bi-weekly basis, Wednesdays evenings at 7:00 pm in the Wesley Room.

For more information contact Pastor Sadie Stone 650-323-6167 x102.

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Open Circle Young Adults

OpenCircle15061.jpgJoin us at Open Circle.

Our vision for OpenCircle is to provide a relevant, life-empowering, spirit-filled place and ministry for young adults ages 18 through 35, grounded in our five core values: Love, Faith, Relevance, Grace and Impact.

We call ourselves OpenCircle because we believe “there’s always room.”

• Room for one more (LOVE)
• Room for broader theology (FAITH)
• Room for doubt and questions (RELEVANCE)
• Room for mistakes (GRACE)
• And room to make a difference (IMPACT)

By living out our these core values, our hope is to reach young adults in the Silicon Valley and share with them the message that in OpenCircle and in God’s Kingdom, “there’s always room.”

We hold a monthly worship service takes place the first Saturday of every month at 5:00 pm at Creekside at the Los Altos UMC.

For further information please visit our webite, www.opencircleumc.org

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Encoders: Living into the Biblical Text


Rick Allen leads a spirited and informed discussion of lectionary texts every Sunday morning at 9:45 am in the Pat's Place.

Join us as we study together and journey through the Bible. The class follows the schedule of the Revised Common Lectionary. This is a facilitated class in which everyone gets the chance to learn at their own pace.

Great for newcomers to the text and long-time students as well.

All are welcome. Drop in!

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Couples Fellowship

Couples FellowshipJoin us in a place of friendship and caring where you and your partner's relationship can be nurtured.

We meet on the 1st and 3rd Sundays in the Wesley Room right after worship at 12:00 noon.

All couples are welcome to attend. Please call Lou or Patty Bellardo for more details.

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Covenant Group

Are you called to meet with others in a loving, respectful, and confidential environment to build relationships within our church?

This committed, small group meets Sunday mornings at 9:30 am. We engage in thoughtful and wide­ranging discussions of spiritual matters, books, and published articles that are important to us personally.

If you might be interested in this group, contact Linda Grossman.

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Tuesday Trekkers

Tuesday TrekkersThere is a small group of folks who are walking at 10:00 am out near the Bay front every Tuesday morning.

We walk for about 1 1/2 hours and cover 3 miles, so it is a very leisurely pace.

Note: new start time: During September, the Tuesday Trekkers leave the Avenidas parking lot promptly at 9:50AM.

The intent is to have a different starting point for the Tuesday walks
each month. That will give us a little different view of the Bay shoreline. Hope to see you there.

Please contact Patty Bellardo. (650) 327-1428, with questions or comments.

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UMW - United Methodist Women

umwlogo.jpgAll women at FUMCPA are invited to join the United Methodist Women.

Purpose of United Methodist Women
The organized unit of United Methodist Women
shall be a community of women
whose PURPOSE is to know God
and to experience freedom as whole persons through Jesus Christ;
to develop a creative, supportive fellowship;
and to expand concepts of mission through participation in the global ministries of the church.

What Does It Mean To Be A United Methodist Women
A member of United Methodist Women is one who commits herself to our PURPOSE and chooses to participate in meetings, prayer, giving, study, action, and/or service. The organization celebrates an inclusive membership and welcomes all women who want to be members.

One becomes a member by committing to be a part of this supportive community of women and by accepting the challenge to grow in mission and to participate in life-changing experiences. Membership can be expressed in many ways. Some examples are:

          * Intercessory prayer;
          * Attendance at meetings;
          * Undesignated Mission Giving to support global mission;
          * Accepting leadership responsibility;
          * Participation in various events, projects, issues, and concerns of the Women's Division
          * Participation in the Reading Program;
          * Reading Response;
          * Attending Schools of Christian Mission.


Clara Swain Circle
Meets on the 4th Tuesday of each month at 1:30 pm in the Church Patio Room

Judy Newton Circle
Meets on the 4th Monday of each month at 1:00 pm in the Patio Room or in a member’s home

The D’vora Circle (Women range in age from 20-60)
Meets one a month at a member’s home

Fijian Circle
Meets at times and locations to be announced

Meets on the 3rd Tuesday of each month at 9:30 am in a member’s home

Reading Program
Meets on the 3rd Monday of January, March, May, September, and November at 11:30 am at a restaurant to be announced

UMW Walking Group
Meets on the first Thursday of each month

For more information, please contact Lois Hammar, 327-9120

For information on the California-Nevada Conference United Methodist Women, visit their website at www.cnumw.org

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Feminist Christian Reading Group Is On Hiatus

Feminist Christian Reading GroupPlease note the Feminist Christian Reading Group is on temporary hiatus

New members are welcome and encouraged to join this group for indepth discussions of faith and religion.

Bring your faith, your call to social justice, and your love of reading to this great gathering of women who care about how all people can flourish in the church and the wider world beyond. Explore new visions of the feminine divine. Lasting friendships come out of deeply engaging conversations about these important issues.

Newcomers are very welcome.

Through conversations about books and our lives, we practice a Christianity that supports the flourishing of women and all people in mutual respect and joyful celebration of the uniqueness and variety of God's gifts.

We seek to understand how our Christian tradition has marginalized women and made it difficult to see women as truly made in God's image. Through lively and heartfelt dialogue we are revitalizing and transforming our tradition, including expanded images of the Divine, inclusive language, and female spiritual role models. As we explore these themes we support each other in discovering how they influence and inform our lives and our worship. We have been meeting since 2002.

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Koinonia is a fellowship group of the First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto. We meet once a month to dine together, hike, have a Progressive dinner, or to do a service project for the Church, all in the spirit of Christian fellowship. We welcome couples or singles of all ages. Generally, we meet the second Saturday of the month.

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Easter Sunday Worship Services
Christ is Risen! Join us for Easter Sunday.

6:30 am: Sunrise Service
8:45 am: Upstream Service
8:45 - 10:45 am: Easter Breakfast
10:45 am: Worship Service featuring the Hallelujah Chorus
11:45 am: Easter Egg Hunt

Full details and schedule here.

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

Easter Egg Hunt
After the 10:45 am Easter Sunday worship, bring a basket and come for the hunt, the food and a good time

Come Sing the Hallelujah Chorus on Easter Sunday
Join us at the 10:45am worship on Easter Sunday to sing the Hallelujah Chorus

Palm Sunday - April 13, 2014 - What About Suffering? - Pastor Sadie Stone (Audio)
Listen to Pastor Sadie's sermon.

Sadie Stone and Linda Holbrook Appointed as Co-Pastors
Pastor Sadie is being reappointed to her 3rd year at First Church, while Pastor Linda is coming from Valley Faith UMC in Sunnyvale. Both full-time appointments are as of July 1st. Learn more here.

Tuesday Nights - Come Cheer on A Swing and a Prayer
Our softball team is back in action. They play Tuesday nights @ 6:30pm in Greer Park. Full schedule and results here.

Easter Sunday Breakfast - Sign up to bring food and help out
Join from 8:45-10:45 am on Easter Sunday for a delicious breakfast.

We also need people to bring food and also to help out. Sign up here.

April 6, 2014 - What Brings Fulfillment? - Pastor Michael Love (Audio)

Save the Date - BBQ Picnic in the Park!
Starting July 10th, join us Thursdays in July at 6pm in Mitchell Park for lots of fellowship, food and fun at our BBQ Picnics.

March 30, 2014 - Where is God? - Pastor Michael Love (Audio)