The Grapevine

FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH OF NAPA (707) 253-1411 January 15, 2015

Making Sense

of the Bible

Have you found your place in a study group yet?

Beginning Sunday, January 18th the preaching focus will follow the Adam Hamilton book, Making Sense of the Bible. The study groups will follow the book and Lee’s sermons. Please call the church office to find a group to fit your schedule.

We are grateful to the Napa Community Seventh-day Adventist Church for their gracious invitation to worship in their church at the Corner of Brown and G Streets each Sunday and during the Advent Season.

Celebrating Epiphany by Wrestling with the Bible

Although many of us think of Christmas Celebrations as ending on December 25, the season of Christmas actually lasts through Epiphany on January 6 (also known in some traditions as the 12th day of Christmas). The word epiphany means manifestation or appearance. In the celebration of Epiphany, we remember the revelation of Christ to the Gentiles that took place when the magi, or wise men from the East, followed a star until it took them to the infant Jesus. The season of Epiphany begins on January 6 and lasts until the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday.

With the star that guided the magi playing such a prominent role in Matthew’s story, it’s no surprise that light is a central image of Epiphany. The prominence of light continues in Isaiah 60:1-6 wherein the Scripture calls on the people to “Arise! Shine! Your light has come; the Lord’s glory has shown upon you.” But unless we read the preceding chapters of Isaiah 58 and 59 filled with gloom and darkness, we miss the radical irruption of light and glory, consolation and joy.

Isaiah is clear that the Lord is our light; the light does not come from within us. Yet we are not called to passively receive the light, but to “Arise! Shine!” Because God has shined upon us, we are called to go out and reflect that light into the world. While the message of Isaiah 60 is glorious, it does not ignore that “darkness covers the earth and gloom the nations” (verse 2).

And, so, as we begin 2015, we’ve decided to Arise! Shine! in an engaging manner as we Wrestle with the Bible, a series of Sunday morning messages inspired from United Methodist Church of the Resurrection Pastor Adam Hamilton’s new book: “Making Sense of the Bible.” As we enter into Epiphany, we recall the words of Psalm 119:105: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” Yet for many of us, the words of Scripture have shed more heat than light as we’ve come to wrestle with passages that simply don’t seem to align with who we’ve come to know God to be as revealed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Bible contains some of the loftiest and most beautiful verses in literature. Millions look to it for inspiration and guidance. At the same time, some parts are confusing and others are deeply disturbing. This series of sermon messages takes on these difficult topics that we often find ourselves wrestling with intellectually, morally and spiritually.

Join us in worship on Sundays January 18th through February 15th as we consider such topics as:

And you may choose to read along in the chapters recommended in the book as well as share in conversation in weekly small group discussions held at a variety of convenient times and locations. You may order your copy of Making Sense of the Bible though or by purchasing a copy through the church office.

Upcoming message series include The Final Words from the Cross for Lent; Revival, Faith as Wesley Lived It in late April and May; followed by a series considering Forgiveness concluding on June 21st.

But be sure to join us as we become enlightened by understanding the amazing book which holds the promise of lighting our path through the New Year and beyond. Arise! Shine!

Stewardship Campaign & Earthquake Recovery Report

I’d like to take this opportunity to present an update regarding reception of estimate of giving cards for the coming year. As of January 5th:

If you might be one of those eighteen persons who has yet to submit an estimate of giving card, or if you’ve not pledged in the past but are in a position to do so this year, please use the card enclosed with this newsletter, complete the information requested, and return it to the church office or place it in an offering plate at worship next Sunday.

While 8 persons found it necessary to decrease their estimate of giving from last year, 43 have pledged the same amount while 27 have increased their pledge, netting close to $8,000 in additional pledged funds.

As we’ve filled our previously vacant staff position of Director of Student Ministries with Curtis Tinloy who joined us on December 1st, and was introduced to the congregation last Sunday, it’s more important than ever that you:

  1. Return an estimate of giving card if you’ve not yet done so; and

  2. Consider an increase in your giving if you’re in a position to do so.

As we close out the 2014 Stewardship Campaign for the 2015 calendar year, I want to thank you for helping to make this campaign the most successful since I’ve come to serve as your pastor. We have, indeed, been blessed this year, even in the midst of all the recovery still before us from the August 24th earthquake. I’m grateful for your generosity as expressed in this final report.

And, I enclose this communication from Diane Knudsen, Treasurer and Director of Administrative Services of the California-Nevada Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. She writes:

I hope you had a happy new year’s celebration. Thank you for inviting me to the meeting with your engineers and contractor last week. I found them all to be very professional and thoughtful.

I have determined to include the full cost of the exterior wall strengthening ($320,000) and half of the foundational strengthening by means of the roof ($250,000/2) into the payment from the earthquake fund. Although both are defined by the contractor as seismic strengthening, I am persuaded that the chances are better than 50/50 that the city would require you to do some or all of this work. The total cost of this phase of the Pullman work then that is considered covered by the earthquake fund is $1,725,000. Subtracting the 10% deductible, the check to be mailed to the church will be in the amount of $1,552,500. Our UM Foundation will send the check in the next two weeks.

I share this with you as great news as we continue to progress on the road to full recovery and reentry into our church home later this year. I know you’ll agree with me that this news, indeed, adds to our new year’s celebration!

Pastor Lee

Becoming Like Children

During the past few months, we’ve begun to have success in building our Children’s Ministries Team. Several of you are now volunteering to serve in our 9:30 Grape Express. We’ve also had a few willing to explore what the prospects are to conduct a Grape Express for our 11:00 am Fusion hour for the five-plus regular children who are in attendance each week.

I’m reminded in Jesus’ words when asked “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me (Matthew 18:2-5). That “becoming like children” which the Gospel demands as a condition for entering the Kingdom of Heaven is closely connected with the original wholeness of the child in us.

According to Brother David Steindl-Rast in his book Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer, “we need only watch little children in their play-pen to realize how perfectly they combine concentration with wonderment. Often they are so concentrated on sucking the ear of a toy rabbit or simply on wiggling their toes that you might have a hard time trying to divert their attention to something else. If only our children could grow up without losing their power of wholeness. How often adults destroy that gift with the best intentions. Children have a need to stand and look. A simple thing may absorb their attention for a long time. But then you see everywhere adults pulling children out of their wonderment. ‘Let’s go. We have no time’ –and a long arm pulls the poor child along. No wonder that so many marvelous children turn into dull adults. No wonder that their wholeness is scattered and their sense of mystery lost. ‘Don’t just stand there; do something!’ Well, healthier cultures had a different view of education. Some Native American tribes would say, ‘A well-educated child ought to be able to sit and look when nothing is to be seen, to sit and listen when nothing is to be heard.’ Wherever this attitude prevails, children have a better chance to learn the art of tapping the Source of meaning, the art of prayer.

But even for us, it is never too late to recover that prayerfulness which is as natural to us as breathing. The child within us stays alive. And the child within us never loses the talent to look with the eyes of the heart, to combine concentration with wonderment, and so to pray without ceasing. The more we allow the child within us to come into its own, the more we become mature in our prayer life. This is surely one meaning of the saying that we must ‘become like children.’ There is no childishness suggested here. Jesus says to become, not remain, like children. We are not to be trapped by the child within us. But neither are we to be alienated from it. A truly mature person has not rejected childlikeness, but rather achieved it on a higher level. As we progress in that direction, everything in our daily life becomes prayer. The childlike heart divines springs of refreshing water at every turn.”

If you’re interested in delving into the task of becoming like children, why not see Vicki Poli and explore the opportunities available through Grape Express, either at 9:30 or 11:00 am. You may just find a path back toward wonderment and the Kingdom of Heaven!

Pastor Lee

Calling All Methodists!

The Bridges District is having a Revival!

For such a time as this!

Saturday, February 7th

9:30 am to 4:00 pm

Fairfield Community United Methodist Church

Preachers: Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr.

Rev. Staci Current

Your $10 fee includes refreshments and lunch

Deadline for reservations is Feb. 1st

The agenda is only Holy Spirit worship and opening our hearts to God’s love

Please plan to attend

Meditation Book Study

The book is called   ' The Meditative Path - A Gentle Way to Awareness, Concentration and Serenity'  by John Cianciosi with a foreword by Jack Kornfield.  The book study will be divided into four meetings beginning on Sunday, January the 25th at 11 am after the 9:30 am service at the Seventh-day Adventist church.  Then the group will meet 3 more times on Sunday Feb 1st, 8th and 15th at 11 am.  The room location where we meet will be announced in an upcoming bulletin. The meeting lasts about an hour, plus or minus. We'll cover 3 chapters per meeting. Please bring 1-2 of your own questions and one comment per chapter to the meetings. Those that wish to join us please go ahead and order the book for yourself.  Thank you.  

Peter Scaturro - Monday Meditation Group facilitator.

Youth Group News

The youth group had a great New Year Party with seven kids and Mike Robak and me. We made our own pizzas, played sardines and watched a movie. We all had lots of fun and look forward to our next meeting on Sunday, January 25th from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.

If you are interested in Sierra Service Project, please make sure you’re at our next meeting so we can get it on the calendar. If you’re unable to attend our youth group meeting but want to go to SSP this summer please let the office know when you’re available and where you’d like to go. You can get all the information on the Sierra Service Project website.

Hope to see all of you soon!

Curtis Tinloy

Online Giving

We are pleased to offer online giving for our members and friends. While this can have advantages, we want each person who chooses this option to make sure they are giving in a spirit that pleases the Lord. There are different ways to give electronically including credit cards and FUMC teaches that living "debt free" is a worthy goal for all Christians. We offer online giving as a convenience and not as a way to circumvent sound biblical money management principles or in any way to incur debt.

We use Paypal for our online donations. Paypal is a well-known, time-tested industry standard for online purchasing. PayPal uses the latest in data encryption and anti-fraud technology to keep your information secure, reducing the risk of online fraud. Also, you do not have to have an account to use Paypal. You may make donations with money in your PayPal account, your bank account, or a credit card. You can then follow the steps to make your one-time gift or set up a recurring gift. 

A brief tutorial is available

United Methodist Women News

Attention sewers, pattern cutter-outers and ironers! Please come to a United Methodist Women's dress and shorts making workshop on Wednesday afternoon February 11th from 1-4 pm in the Kagawa Room at our church campus. Bring sewing machines, your favorite scissors, an ironing board and yes, we need two ironing stations. We will help each other create clothing for children in Nicaragua or Cuba. We have fabric to work with but thread would be good for your own machine. Join the sewing bee and let's have some fun too!

Our UMW Mini-Thrift Shop is opening back up again on February 3rd from 9-2:30 pm. We need your donations or just come down to shop for those great bargains and quality second-hand items. We want you to shop with us because the proceeds go to support women and children in Napa and the world. Bring a friend with you too and your cloth shopping bag! 

Our next United Methodist Women's Unit meeting will be held on Thursday, Feb 19th at 10am in the Kagawa Room. Sally Hunter and her team will provide the program and it is about how our church can be more sensitive to supporting folks with disabilities. All church women are invited to learn and explore this topic and please join us for lunch after the program. Our meal is homemade, nutritious and delicious and our company is good too. We will be writing cheerful note cards to the people who receive Meals on Wheels as our mission project. Hope to see you there. 

February UMW meeting dates

All are welcome!

12th - Newton/Ridell Circle 10 a.m. - Conference Room

12th - Lillian Wallace Circle 1:30 p.m. – member’s home

15th - Sarah Crosby Circle 8:30 a.m. – S-dA church

19th - Unit Meeting 10 a.m. Kagawa Room

Program: "Welcoming People of All Abilities"

11 a.m. Mission Project 11:30 a.m. Lunch

Coordinator: Sally Hunter

Host: Lillian Wallace Circle

G.R.A.P.E. Express News

Things have been chugging right along at the train station so far this year. We are so blessed to have the use of the SDA elementary room. While it is not home, it is feeling more and more comfortable every week.

The new program for Children’s Worship is working well. We sing, we talk about God Sightings, we have a lesson. Fall quarter we learned about Joseph and his jealous brothers, David and Goliath, forgiveness and that no matter how small you are, you can do big things. During Advent, we learned about the Advent candles in Christmas Under Wraps. Each week we opened a box that represented the candle for that week and learned about Hope, Joy, Peace, Love ending on Christmas Eve with the gift of Jesus. We also had a happy birthday Jesus party the Sunday after Christmas.

Our first trip for the new year is a six week study of John Wesley. During the six weeks we will learn about his life and how important he is to our Methodist faith. We already learned he was from Epworth England, was born in 1703 and his mom, Susanna, taught all his brothers and sisters at home. Most important, we learned that prayer is a way to talk to God.

Things to look forward to:

If you would like to join our travel group, have questions or would like more information, my email is My phone number is


Blessings to all,

Vicki Poli

The time is always right to do what is right”

Interfaith Martin Luther King, Jr.


Monday, Jan. 19th – 7:00 pm

Congregation Beth Shalom

1455 Elm St., Napa

This has always been an inspiring interfaith event.

We hope to see you all there.

Reception immediately following the Commemoration

Builders News

Do we have a sweetheart of a deal for all you Builders and folks who want to get in on the action. We are going to be celebrating Valentines Day together on Saturday February 14, in the Kagawa room,12-2 for a potluck lunch or bring your $5.00 to donate. Be prepared to join me in singing, “Let me call you Sweetheart”.

I am waiting for program confirmation so will let you know in the next Grapevine. But you won’t want to miss the fun we have getting together as Builders of faith and fellowship. As long as you have your calendar handy, add March 14 for the following Builders meeting!

Kay Neal

224-8491 or 479-8576

Knitters (and those that wanna be)

You know you wanna be a part of a small group but have always been afraid of needles! Well we have the perfect cure for you. Cover the needles with yarn and Va La, you have joined the “Church of the Knitting”. We meet every Wednesday morning in the Kagawa room from 10-12. In December we were able to donate hand made scarves, hats and mittens to Molly’s Angels for distribution to the low income seniors. We continue to provide prayer shawls to anyone who is in need and sometimes we are only aware of the need when you let us know.

Little known fact: four of our group are named Barbara, and four are retired nurses. So that means if you are named Barbara or are retired, this must be the group for you!

Anyone interested in a Kids knitting group taught in the summer months? Or an adult summer session? Let me know!

Kay Neal - 224-8491 or 479-8576

Our Purpose Statement is to be outwardly focused to bring people into relationship with Jesus to display God’s Kingdom on earth through acts of love, peace and justice.

Sunday Traditional Worship Service: 9:30 am

Seventh-day Adventist Church

Fusion Contemporary Worship Experience: 11:00 am

Seventh-day Adventist Chapel

Corner of Brown and G Streets, Napa

Monday Silent Meditation Group—5:30 pm—FUMC Nursery

Friday Labyrinth Meditation Walk—Noon - FUMC

Adult Bible Study Group—10:45 am—Young Adult Room, S-d A Church

GRAPE Express—3 years through 5th grade—9:30-S-d A Church

Special Book Study Groups – Making Sense of the Bible – Call the office for a schedule

Visit us on Facebook—Napa First United Methodist Church—707-253-1411—email—

Pastor: Rev. Lee Neish

Lay Leaders: Barbara Thompson & Mark Andersen

Lay Speaker: Michael Herzog

Office Manager: Dianne Mahler

Director of Music: Jan Lanterman

Organist: Harold Julander

Director of Cathedral Choir: Jan Lanterman

Director of Bonner Bells: Diane Levorsen

First United Methodist Church ~625 Randolph St.~ Napa 94559~ (707)253-1411

Since the earthquake we worship at the Seventh-day Adventist Church on Brown and G Sts.

Please worship with us there each Sunday morning.


You are welcome to visit us on Facebook: Napa First United Methodist Church