Archive for Spanish-Speaking Ministries

Celebrating Día de los Muertos

Día de los Muertos, The Day of the Dead, is a tradition and cultural celebration. In Mexico and other Latin countries, it’s a time when families honor their relatives who have passed away. They make an altar and put flowers, pictures, religious objects and favorite foods the relatives liked. Day of the Dead is a beautiful ritual in which Mexicans happily and lovingly remember their loved relatives that have died.

San Jose First is recognizing and celebrating The Day of the Dead with two special events:

Movie Night: “Coco”
Saturday, October 27, 7:00pm
All ages are welcome to this FREE screening of the heartwarming and family-friendly movie “Coco.” Popcorn and drinks will be provided. Children must be accompanied by an adult. 

Día de los Muertos Service
Friday, November 2, 7:00pm in our Sanctuary
All are welcome!

 

Spring Events You Won’t Want to Miss

Pentecost Jazz Sunday Service!

Sunday, May 20, 10:00AM

Our service will be swinging as we celebrate the Christian Holy Day of Pentecost with a jazz ensemble, led by our very able Kirk Tamura! We’ll celebrate the birthday of the Church, the giving of the Holy Spirit, and our call to cross cultural divides in the name of Jesus. Invite your friends!

 

City Circuit 1st Annual Picnic

Saturday, June 2, 2:30-6:00pm
Emma Prusch Park, Rose Garden section

The eight churches in the City Circuit are gathering together to enjoy a day of old-fashioned fun, games, food and meeting new and old friends.

The committee will provide BBQ hot dogs and hamburgers and all the fixings, plus lemonade and iced tea. We are asking everyone to bring a simple potluck dish to share.

 

Community Meeting with Ed Garcia, San Jose Chief of Police

Thursday, June 7, 7:00pm
San Jose First UMC

Our latino members have expressed concerns about gangs and their affect on the children in our neighborhood. We’ve invited Ed Garcia, the SJ Chief of Police, to attend one of our Thursday evening dinners to build bridges with the police department and for us to learn how to partner with the police. Chief Garcia was born and raised in Puerto Rico, and speaks Spanish.

La Posada

Posadas are an important part of Mexican Christmas traditions. These community celebrations take place on each of the nine nights leading up to Christmas, from December 16 to 24th. The word posada means “inn” or “shelter” in Spanish, and in this tradition, Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem and their search for a place to stay is re-enacted. 

Posadas are held in neighborhoods across Mexico and are also becoming popular in the United States.

The celebration begins with a procession in which the participants hold candles and sing Christmas carols. Sometimes there will be individuals who play the parts of Mary and Joseph who lead the way, or occasionally images representing them are carried. The procession will make its way to a particular home (a different one each night), where a special song (La Cancion Para Pedir Posada) is sung.

Asking for Shelter

There are two parts to the traditional posada song. Those outside the house sing the part of Joseph asking for shelter and the family inside responds singing the part of the innkeeper saying that there is no room. The song switches back and forth a few times until finally the innkeeper decides to let them in. The hosts open the door and everyone goes inside.

Celebration

Once inside the house there is a celebration which can vary from a very big fancy party to a small get-together among friends. Often the festivities begin with a short Bible reading and prayer. Then the hosts give the guests food, usually tamales and a hot drink such as ponche or atole. Then the guests break piñatas and the children are given candy.

The nine nights of posadas leading up to Christmas are said to represent the nine months that Jesus spent in Mary’s womb, or alternatively, to represent the nine days’ journey to Bethlehem.

Our Posada celebration will not be for nine days, but for just one evening on Thursday, December 21. We are inviting the Wesley UMC Church to participate in this beautiful celebration in order to contribute to a more unified community in the heart of downtown San José.

We will start the festivities at 6:00 P.M. at the Wesley UMC Church, located at 566 North 5th Street, in a procession with candles. We will sing Christmas carols during our walk to San José First UMC, where we will perform our beautiful tradition for the third year in a row. Everyone in our Methodist congregations are invited, as well as all the people in the downtown neighborhood.

Participants will experience the Mexican representation of Christmas with its traditional costumes, Biblical readings, and songs. And finally, everyone is invited to enjoy a dinner cooked by Gerardo—authentic Mexican Pozole—accompanied by coffee, tea, and water. If anyone one wants to bring something for dessert or a dish to share, they are welcome to do so. We thank you and hope to see you on December 21st.

Attend and have fun!

— Gerardo Vazquez-Padilla

Día de los Muertos, The Day of the Dead

Día de los Muertos is a tradition and cultural celebration.

In Mexico and other Latin countries these events happen on November 2. It’s the time the families honor their relatives who have passed away. They make an altar for themselves and they put flowers, pictures, religious objects and favorite foods the relatives liked. It is a sad day for them. This is very special ritual since it is the day in which the living remember their departed relatives. Sometimes, when people of other cultures hear for the first time about the celebration of the Day of the Dead, they mistakenly think it must be: gruesome, terrifying, scary, ugly, and sad. Nothing is further from the truth. Day of the Dead is a beautiful ritual in which Mexicans happily and lovingly remember their loved relatives that have died. Much like when we go to a graveyard to leave some lovely flowers on a tomb of a relative.

I give thanks to the church for opening the doors for other cultures, to find a place to grieve and honor their families. Please welcome them and enjoy the time together with them. This is the time to introduce our church and the American culture to them. If you want to participate please feel free to do so. If you have questions, please feel free to ask me.

There will be light refreshments after the service.

—Gerardo Vazquez
gerardov@sanjosefirst.org
408-854-3013

Weekly Spanish-English Conversation Group

Tuesdays from 7–8pm

The Spanish Conversation Group is a mixture of English, Spanish, and bilingual speakers. For the first 30 minutes, we speak to each other in only Spanish; for the second 30 minutes we speak to each other in only English. Come practice the language you are trying to learn!