A Bigger Table

We’re hoping everyone will participate in our next book study! It begins December 2nd and goes into the New Year,

No one likes to eat alone; to approach a table filled with people, only to be told that despite the open chairs there isn’t room for you. The rejection stings. It leaves a mark. Yet this is exactly what the church has been saying to far too many people for far too long: “You’re not welcome here. Find someplace else to sit.” How can we extend unconditional welcome and acceptance in a world increasingly marked by bigotry, fear, and exclusion?

Pastor John Pavlovitz invites readers to join him on the journey to find—or build—a church that is big enough for everyone. He speaks clearly into the heart of the issues the Christian community has been earnestly wrestling with: LGBT inclusion, gender equality, racial tensions, and global concerns. A Bigger Table: Building Messy, Authentic, Hopeful Spiritual Community asks if organized Christianity can find a new way of faithfully continuing the work Jesus began two thousand years ago, where everyone gets a seat. Pavlovitz shares moving personal stories and his careful observations as a pastor to set the table for a new, more loving conversation on these and other important matters of faith. He invites us to build the bigger table Jesus imagined, practicing radical hospitality, total authenticity, messy diversity, and agenda-free community.

We’re inviting everyone to read the book so you can part of the conversation, even if you don’t choose to participate in a study/discussion group.

Groups will meet:
Sundays, December 16 and 23, January 6 and 13 after worship
Wednesday, December 5, 12, and 19, and January 9 or 16. 

But if coming to a group is not your thing, we will be having posts in the Facebook group as well. Feel free to participate whether or not you are in a group!

In paperback, the book costs $12, and we’ll order one for you if you like. It’s also in Kindle format for less than $8.

Sign-up at the welcome table to let us know you want to read the book. Signing up doesn’t mean you commit to a study group, but it does mean you commit to reading the book. 

Living Faithfully in God’s Promises

God has made a covenant with the Israelites at Mount Sinai, providing instructions on the ways to live that bring life to all and promising to be with them. Joshua and Solomon remember God’s covenant and seek to serve God wisely. Their example helps others to live faithfully in God’s covenant as well. Living faithfully and trusting God creates opportunities to share God’s power with others, as Elisha did in healing Naaman. Yet, because of sin, it can be a struggle to live in the ways God desires. David reveals that we can often stray from God, making decisions that bring pain instead of life. Still, no matter what we do, God is always faithful, and always offers forgiveness and love.

October 21: Crossing Boundaries and God’s Promise
2 Samuel 11:1-5, 26-27; 12:1-9; Psalm 51:1-9
Nathan and King David

October 28: All Saint’s Sunday — The Promises of Living as Saints
John 11:32-44, Revelation 21: 1-6a

November 4: Healing for All
2 Kings 5:1-15a
Elisha Heals Naaman

November 11: Visions of Mercy, Justice, and Peace
Micah [1:3-5] 5:2-5a; 6:6-8

November 18: God’s Plans for Peace
Isaiah 36: 1-3, 13-20, 37:1-7

November 25: Jeremiah’s Call
Jeremiah 1:4-10, 7:1-11

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!


God’s Promises Bring Hope

God’s promises bring hope for the future. After the flood, God promises never to flood the earth, and affirms God’s loving relationship with all people. Calling Abram from his home, God promises him a future of descendants through which all the world will be blessed. God’s continued presence brings Joseph hope even as he faces trials of many kinds. Rescuing the Israelites, God promises to be their God, a covenant which becomes a central theme in the Old Testament. The gift of this covenant and the Ten Commandments provides the Israelites with guidelines on how to love God and love others in ways that bring life and hope to all.

September 9: The Rainbow Promise
Genesis 6:5-22; 8:6-12; 9:8-17
Noah and the Ark

September 16: Bilingual Service – Mariachi Service
Genesis 12:1-9
God Calls Abram

September 23: Joseph’s Hope
Genesis 39:1-23
Joseph Dreams a Dream

September 30: Freedom Promises
Exodus 14:5-7, 10-14, 21-29
Parting of the Red Sea

October 7: The Promise of Living Together in Harmony
Exodus 19:3-7; 20:1-17
The Ten Commandments

After-Party Pride Dinner

San Jose First has planned a LGBTQ Welcome Dinner on Sunday, August 26th at 7:00pm, after the San Jose Pride Festival. The dinner is free, food will be provided by Stanford University cafeteria. All are welcome! Please RSVP to Pastor Gerardo (408-854-3013 / gerardov@sanjosefirst.org) if you will be able to attend. I hope to see many of you there.

La Primera Iglesia Metodista de San Jose. que se ubica en la esquina de la calle 5 y Santa Clara. Tiene planeada una Cena despues d de la fiesta gay pride LGBTQ Domingo 26 de Agosto a las 7:00 pm. La cena es gratis y donada por la cafeteria de la Universidad de Stanford si quieres asistir llama al Pastor Gerardo al 408 854-3013. gerardov@sanjosefirst.org para que te registres y esperamos mirar a muchos de ustedes a qui.

Details on the Pride Parade & Festival
San Jose First will join several other United Methodist congregations in walking in the San Jose Pride Parade in downtown San Jose on Sunday, August 26. We will also take turns staffing a booth at the Pride Festival that afternoon. The parade is 10-noon, and the festival is 12-6. If you would like to participate in the parade or take a shift staffing a booth at the festival, please contact Melissa Diaz at mstevensondiaz@outlook.com

Engaging the Powers

In this sermon series, we will be looking at the nature of what the new testament calls “the powers” – the forces in life that seek to dominate over others. The powers live among us, and while they can work for good, they can also work for domination and oppression. How are we called to engage the darker powers of our time and work for the realm of God that Jesus imagined? What lessons of Jesus might we apply to our own times, and how does the experience of the early church help us live lives with the light of God amidst challenging forces?

July 29: Rooted and Grounded in Love
Scripture: Ephesians 3:14-21
We will be naming the powers over us, hear a great story, and get some great advice from Mr. Rogers.

August 5: Bonds of Peace (Amid Chain Rattling)
Scripture: Ephesians 4:1-16
In highly polarized times, how can we walk effectively through the thickets of “chain rattlers” to work for good? This involves understanding Jesus’ nonviolence approach that moves beyond “being nice.”

August 12: Killing with Kindness
Scripture: Ephesians 4:25-5:2
Why being like Mr. Rogers might be a great strategy for living.

August 19: Living Wisely in Evil Days
Scripture: Ephesians 5:15-20
What is evil (versus plain old sinning and being mean)? How can we protect ourselves from getting contaminated by evil forces, and turning into that ourselves?

August 26: Against the Powers
Scripture: Ephesians 6:10-20
We have to create ways of protecting ourselves – creating healthy boundaries – in times when the powers want to dominate. What spiritual “clothing” do we need to put on for these encounters?

Following Jesus: How do we become people of faith

The stories of what happened to the followers of Jesus after he ascended into heaven in the Book of Acts are rather astonishing.  If we aren’t careful, we might be lulled into thinking that all was neat, cozy and tidy about this new movement of Jesus.  But if we think about it a bit more, it was nothing of the kind.  This new Jesus movement was upturning 1,000 years of history and breaking a lot of rules in a very traditional society.  It was allowing people to gather together who had not before.  It was a new social/religious movement with great spiritual power behind it, and with it, great risks.  Following Jesus was not taking the safe road.

Upcoming sermon series:

June 3 – Following Jesus: Finding Sabbath Time
Image: Jesus as spiritual leader
Mark 2:23-3.6

June 10 – Following Jesus: a new kin community
Image: Jesus as Abba
Bilingual service; communion
Mark 3:20

June 17 – Following Jesus: Learning to Garden the World
Image: Jesus as Source of Life
Mark 4:26-34

June 24 – Following Jesus: Courage Amid Chaos
Image: Jesus as Controller of Seas
Mark 4:35-41

July 1 – Following Jesus: Healing for All
Image: Jesus as Healer
Mark 5:21-43

July 8 – Following Jesus: Being Sent Out
Image: Jesus as Peacemaker
Mark 6:6b-13

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.

New Discipleship Opportunities

Want to grow in faith and connect with others? Sign up for one of these small group opportunities:


Book Study on Grateful, a new book by Diana Butler Bass

While studies show that most people feel a sense of personal thankfulness for specific things, the author sees a gap between that feeling and our worry and fear as a society. We’ll explore our personal and collective emotions of gratitude and our ethics/actions in response, with a book full of personal stories, spirituality, and Biblical reflections.

Class will meet Sundays at 11:20am–12:45pm on April 29, May 6, May 20, June 3, and June 10. Led by Pastor Kristie Olah.


Book Study on Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, a classic book by Marcus J. Borg

Marcus Borg went on a spiritual journey as an adult when he was asked to talk about Jesus “and make it personal.” As an academic religion scholar, Borg found that he was profoundly moved in the process and it illuminated his faith in new ways. We will go on that journey with him, exploring our personal relationship and discovering new images and ways to see Jesus through the scriptures.

Class will meet Wednesdays at 6:30–7:45pm on May 2, 9 16, 30 and June 6 & 13. Led by Pastor Renée Rico.


Both books are available in hardcopy (either hardback or paperback) and in electronic form.

Sign-up here online, or fill out a form at church!

Church Work Day: Volunteers Needed

On Saturday, April 14, we’re having a workday to bring the pieces of the old pipe organ down from the attic, and into the multi-purpose room. We need strong hands, and at least a few people who are willing to go up and down attic stairs. We’ll start at 9:00. Lunch will be provided.