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.

Holy Week Services

Sunday, March 25, 10:00AM
This service begins Holy Week, and commemorates Jesus entering Jerusalem in a parade on the seat of an ass. What was Jesus telling us about his mission when he did this?

Thursday, March 29, 7:00PM
This evening at San Jose First will feature a simple soup supper meal with the whole congregation plus St. Paul UMC members, a bilingual service commemorating Jesus last meal with his disciples, and welcoming new members to our congregation

Friday, March 30, 5:00PM
Join an ecumenical Christian witness outside the MLK library at the corner of S. 4th and San Salvador. We will remember the crucifixion of Jesus as an act of violence of the Roman Empire and raise our voices in lament and calls for the end of state sanctioned violence today. We will be led by PACT clergy leaders and join the weekly peace vigil.

Sunday, April 1, 10:00AM
This is one of the major festival Sundays of our faith, as we celebrate the resurrection life in Christ. We will have special music, bells, communion, and an inspirational message on the theme of “The Gift of Unlimited Love!”

Chancel and Cross Task Force needs your input

The Chancel and Cross Task Force is at work exploring options for furnishing the chancel area of the sanctuary with a more cohesive look and appropriate symbols for worship, such as a cross. You can provide input: click here to go to an online Google survey form to fill out. Paper copies of the form are available on the table outside the Sanctuary, and in the bulletins.

Please fill out and/or return them by Sunday, March 18th.

Task Force Members: Jerry Burge, Ron Hunt, Joan Clements, Kristeen Pemberton, and Patty Meeko.