- What times do services start?
- What should I wear to a service?
- Do you have hearing-assistance devices?
- What happens after the service?
- When is Communion?
- Who can participate in Communion?
- Are there gluten-free and non-alcoholic Communion options?
- How is Communion served?
- 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?
- How do I arrive by car?
- How do I get arrive by public transportation?
- Where should I park?
- Do you have a bike rack?
- Is there an elevator to the upper and lower levels?
- Where does Sunday School meet?
- Where are the rest rooms?
- Is smoking allowed anywhere on the church campus?
- How do I get in touch with the Ministers?
- How do I find out about special events or on-going projects?
- What other volunteering opportunities does the church have?
- Are there Bible study opportunities?
- 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?
- How do I get married at First Palo Alto?
- Can I have a funeral, memorial service, reception or fellowship gathering at First Palo Alto?
- Can I rent First Palo Alto facilities for a private party or event?
- Can my organization hold our meetings at First Palo Alto?
- Can my group hold a concert at First Palo Alto?
What times do services start?
Our classic worship service starts at 10:45 AM on Sunday morning and is held in the Sanctuary.
Our contemporary Upstream service is held on Wednesdays with a soup meal from 6 PM, followed by a casual service and bible study at 7 PM.
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 at www.firstpaloalto.com/live
What should I wear to a service?
Wear whatever you please. Some people like to dress up; others don’t. We welcome those in three-piece suits and those in jeans.
Do you have 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 other’s 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.
Are there gluten-free and non-alcoholic Communion options?
The Methodist Church always serves non-alcoholic Communion with grape juice “wine”.
One pair of ushers will always have gluten-free bread.
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.
A pair of ushers will bring Communion to those who cannot come to the front of the church.
Children’s Participation and Activities During Service
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 5 years and under during the worship hour.
Worship activity packets are available in the Narthex.
What if my child is restless?
We have two soundproof “cry rooms” for fussy babies and their parents located at the back of the sanctuary, and children’s activity packets for older children. You are also welcome to take your child to childcare in the nursery at any time during the service.
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 Welcome Center volunteers to show you where it is.
How do I arrive by car?
Click here for driving directions.
How do I get arrive by public transportation?
Bus and train services 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 0.7 miles from the Church.
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 lot on Byron.
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.
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 between the pastors’ offices 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 women’s restroom.
Where does Sunday School meet?
We have Sunday School for all ages from 9:45 to 10:40 AM each Sunday. Please call the office for seasonal changes to the normal schedule.
- 3 yrs–Kindergarten — Butterfly Room (1st floor)
- 1st–5th Grade — Rainbow Room (2nd floor)
- Youth (middle through high school) meet on Sunday nights 6–7:30 PM
- Adults — Wesley Room (1st floor)
Where are the rest rooms?
There are men’s and women’s restrooms at the back of the Narthex. The men’s room is behind the left staircase heading to the balcony and the women’s 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.
Is smoking allowed anywhere on the church campus?
There is no smoking permitted anywhere on the church grounds.
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 at 650-323-6167.
- Call Pastor Debra at 650-323-6167 x101
How do I find out about special events or on-going projects?
There are a variety of ways to find out what is happening at First Palo Alto:
Monthly Newsletter: If you have given us your mailing and/or email address, you will receive our newsletter, Insights, which will tell about what is happening in the next month or so. The latest issues can be viewed online here.
Weekly Email: Every Friday we also send out an email update with the latest church news. You can sign-up here.
Sunday Bulletin: The Sunday bulletins distributed at each service also contain a weekly calendar and information about upcoming events.
What other volunteering opportunities does the church have?
There are a variety of ways to volunteer both at church and in our larger community, both regularly and as special events. Further details about volunteering opportunities can be found on the Joy of Doing page. Be sure to check our e-news email, Sunday bulletin, and social media for news on upcoming events and ongoing projects.
Are there Bible study opportunities?
There are two regular courses meeting three times a week:
Adult Sunday School meets Sundays at 9:30 AM in the Wesley Room, located on the 1st floor of the Church Education Building.
Wednesday Bible Study meets at 10:00 AM on the fifth floor lounge of Channing House. Channing House is located at 850 Webster St. in Palo Alto. You do not have to be a resident of Channing House to attend. Wait for the front desk attendant to buzz you in and ask for the Bible Study class.
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 visit our membership page.
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.
Weddings and Events
How do I get married at First Palo Alto?
Contact our Wedding Coordinator, Theresa Mendoza Barbere, at 650-323-6167 x107 or email@example.com for details about getting married at First Palo Alto. An overview can be found on the weddings section of our website.
Can I have a funeral, memorial service, reception or fellowship gathering at First Palo Alto?
Yes. Non-members are invited to have their events here under the guidance of our ministers and the events coordinator. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the church office at 650-323-6167 for specific details, or visit our memorials page for more information.
Can I rent First Palo Alto facilities for a private party or event?
FUMCPA has a policy of only renting to nonprofits.
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 organizations. Because of this we may not be able to meet your needs. Please email email@example.com or call the church office at 650-323-6167 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 at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your needs and visit our concerts page for more information.