Category Archives: Local Events

Events and activities sponsored by local units. Let us know if you have an event you wish to invite others to!

Keeping the Sabbath for Spiritual Growth: Retreat at Walnut Creek UMC

Can we make time for Sabbath? Should we?

This is the topic of a UMW Retreat at Walnut Creek United Methodist Church on Saturday, April 28, 2018, from 10am to 2:30pm.  Join Lori Johnson Ortiz, Mdiv, and the Walnut Creek to ponder these questions, and the impact of the answers.

WCUMC members are asked to sign up in the Social Hall. Others who wish to attend may contact Karen Jones to register and request child care.  The Retreat fee is $15 per person, and includes a salad bar lunch and child care (if needed).

Get rejuvenated at the Leadership Events 

Rev. Robin Mathews-Johnson will speak at the 2018 District UMW Leadership Events.

Rev. Robin Mathews-Johnson will speak at the 2018 District UMW Leadership Events.

When women unite, bold and courageous actions happen! Please join us to learn more about being United Methodist Women together.

Our 2018 District UMW Leadership Events are offered with a choice of location:

Our guest speaker will be Pastor Robin Mathews-Johnson, of Watsonville First UMC. She will speak on a topic she is passionate about, “The Power of Bold: Taking a Stand on Immigration.”

Following Pastor Robin’s talk, we will have a choice of workshops, including some by role (president, secretary, treasurer) and some by interest (Knowing God; UMW in Mission; Program Planning; Teaming up to Grow UMW).

Get the registration flyer and more information at the Events page.

La traducción al español estará disponible en el evento de Watsonville, el 3 de febrero.

Spanish translation will be available at the Watsonville event, February 3.

Please register by Jan. 20 (for Fremont event) or Jan. 27 (for Watsonville event).

Are you missing a cane?

After the recent District Annual Celebration at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Fremont, CA, the church staff found a cane that appeared to have been left by one of our attendees.  If you or a friend are missing your cane, please contact the office of St. Paul UMC to make arrangements for its return.

This post was first published as an El Camino Real District UMW “Quick News.”  If you wish to subscribe to Quick News, please send an email to

Assembly 2018 scholarships, early registration available now

United Methodist Women around the world are getting excited to attend Assembly 2018, May 18-20, in Columbus, Ohio.  This international event highlights our capacity for positive change when we work together. (Get more info about Assembly 2018 here.)
Even though Assembly is 6 months away, there are important things to do now in preparation.

1.  Scholarships are available, with application deadlines on November 15:

  • For youth  and young adults ages 13-33 – deadline for application is extended to Nov. 15. Get application in PDF or Word format.
  • For adults over 55 – deadline for application is Nov. 15. Get application in PDF or Word format.

2.  Register before Nov. 30 for best pricing:

3.  Book hotels before Nov. 30 for best selection:

This post was first published as an El Camino Real District UMW “Quick News.”  If you wish to subscribe to Quick News, please send an email to

Revitalize at our District UMW Retreat

Dear Sisters,

We invite you to an opportunity, an opportunity to escape to the beautiful redwoods in Scotts Valley.  Put life, as we know it, aside for a bit, and return with a revitalized, energized, rejuvenated soul!  

An opportunity to develop new relationships, reconnect with friends, small group sharing our stories, hopes and dreams, singing, laughter, comfy beds, fresh air & NO COOKING!  Rev Linda Holbrook will lead us on an exploration of our soul’s journey in Soul Tending: Spirituality for Everyday Life.”

Invite your girl-friends; come join us for a soul-changing weekend!  Scholarship applications are available on website and are due by March 3rd, making it very reasonable for the recipient.  Registrations due by March 10th  

See our Events & News page for details and registration & scholarship forms.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

K Stone

“Strengths” resources from Rev. Kristie

Rev. Kristie Olah

Rev. Kristie Olah

During our Leadership Training Events (Feb. 4 and 11, 2017), our guest speaker Rev. Kristie Olah used two handouts relating to her presentation on “Leading from the Heart.”  Many attendees requested copies of those handouts to use with their local groups. Rev. Kristie has graciously provided them to us, as two separate pages:

Send us a comment about how you or your group use these!

Missionary Katherine Parker to speak at Annual Conference UMW Breakfast

We are honored to have missionary Katherine Parker be the guest speaker at the CA-NV Conference UMW breakfast to be held Saturday, June 25, 2016, at 7am, at Fale Hufanga Tongan United Methodist Church in San Carlos, CA.

Katherine has served for 12 years with the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church. She is now part of the Health Team of the United Mission to Nepal, focusing on water, sanitation, and hygiene. Come hear her speak about her experiences in mission around the world.

If you will be attending Annual Conference, note that shuttle transportation will be available from the Hyatt Hotel at 6:30am.

Get the registration flyer here.  Registration deadline is Wednesday, June 22.

Rain Outside our Window — District UMW Retreat 2016

by Bonnie Home

Our traditional District United Methodist Women’s Lenten Retreat date is the first Saturday of March, and it’s traditional to anticipate rain for that day.  This year’s retreat kept both traditions!  But it was a pleasure to sit in San Jose First UMC’s lobby with its huge, two-story glass walls, eating lunch and visiting with friends while watching the rain fall on San Jose’s handsome City Hall across the street.

P1330587Conference Lay Leader Gayle Shearman (photo at right) drove down from Novato to lead the day’s retreat.  Her theme was “Windows to Our World.”  Gayle’s favorite window scenes are Mt. Shasta near her childhood home, and the rare view of Denali during her Alaska trip.  Some retreat participants brought printed photos of what they could see through their windows, but the tech savvy ones held up their cell phones which displayed their pictures.  We look outward through our windows, but can also look inward through them.

Gayle divided the day into three sessions.  In the Personal Holiness section, she encouraged us to be grounded with both feet firmly planted in our faith, rather than settling as one-footed “spiritual flamingos.”  In her Spiritual Holiness talk, she urged us to have a specific devotion time.  If we choose “when I wake up”  for our devotions, that time could fall during a half hour of insomnia in the middle of the night.  If the calendar is too crowded, write the word “something” on one of the free days.  When someone tries to fill that day for you, you can honestly say that you already have “something” on that day.  The small group discussion during the Social Holiness portion included stories of warming centers for the homeless held at the various churches in our district.

P1330590We walked the labyrinth laid out in one of the meeting rooms (see above photo), and took home a finger labyrinth to use later.  Craft projects were adorable angels made of beads strung on a large butterfly paper clip (photo below), and “promise bracelets” made of beads.

P1330601Women meditated in the prayer room faced the wall-size stained glass window of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, a window that was rescued from the original First UMC sanctuary that burned.

Throughout the day Willow Glen UMC’s John Brewer soothed us with his piano renditions, and accompanied our hymn singing.

The retreat offering was sent to the brand new endowment called “The Legacy Fund,” established by the United Methodist Women in celebration of their 150th anniversary in 2019.

Photos by Bonnie Home.

The Umbrella Defense

by Bonnie Home, Almaden Hills UMW

Beth EdmondsWomen from all over El Camino Real District were sure to put their umbrellas in the car before they drove to Gilroy for the United Methodist Women’s Leadership Training Event on February 6.  Rain was not in the forecast, but they knew that keynote speaker Beth Edmonds (at right), an ambassador for Shared Hope International, would be addressing the campaign against human trafficking, and the symbol for that campaign is the umbrella.

Why an umbrella?  The “umbrella” defense was a football play created by the New York Giants coach in 1950 to shut out the then-formidable Cleveland Browns.  The umbrella reminds us that it is society’s job to shut down traffickers and embrace the survivors, and to name it a crime to control and coerce people through fraud and force.  In January and February 2016, United Methodist Women all over Northern California opened their umbrellas to raise awareness of human trafficking.

Speaker Beth Edmonds dabbed her eyes as she spoke about the sixteen trafficked girls the organization had rescued in that month alone.  She told how vulnerable girls are targeted by older men, and at first are treated like pampered girlfriends, but then are forced to work and raise money for their exploiters.  Beth explained the signs that someone is being used.  She urged us not to believe that it cannot happen in our comfortable neighborhoods.  Because these young girls are not prostitutes but instead are children who are exploited,  “Shared Hope” works to keep them from being sent to juvenile hall or jail.  Instead, each is paired with a trafficking survivor and housed at a victims’ center.

In the afternoon after lunch Cari, another “Shared Hope” ambassador who was once trafficked herself, told her own story, letting her audience see again how this could happen to someone.

Trafficked people may …

  • Not be free to go where they please.
  • Be in a work place with opaque, barred or boarded up windows, barbed wire.
  • Exhibit fearful, anxious behavior.
  • Avoid eye contact.
  • Appear malnourished.
  • Not be allowed to speak for themselves.  A third party may insist on being present.
  • Be unable to say where they are staying.  May not know which city they are in.
  • Have burn marks, bruises or cuts.
  • Have a recent tattoo, “branded” by their exploiter.
  • Be very young people continuously accompanied by much older men.

Umbrella Defense by El Camino Real District UMW at Gilroy UMC

At the Feb. 6, 2016 Leadership Event of El Camino Real District UMW, we opened our umbrellas and displayed signs in support of anti-trafficking efforts around the world.  A passing motorist honked in approval. Photos by Bonnie Home.

One-day Spiritual Retreat: Windows to Our World

datauri-fileMarch 5, 2016, at San Jose First United Methodist Church.

Our retreat leader, Gayle Shearman, has an inspiring program planned for us, so bring your Bible, paper, pencil, and a picture of a WINDOW. (It can be in your mind, or a photo, or a drawing.)  There will be a labyrinth to walk, songs to sing, friends to meet, and food to eat. Please fill out the registration form with your choice of sandwich.

Registration forms are due Friday, February 26, 2016. Here’s the form in Word format and also printable PDF format.  Registration fee is only $12.

Registration at 9:30am, Program 10:00am to 3:00pm.