Welcome Letter

Blessings of Health to you in the time of Covid 19!   We hope you will find renewal and safety here as you ‘Shelter In Place’.

At the United Methodist Church of Santa Cruz, we envision ourselves as a Reconciling Congregation … called to be a blessing of welcome as we provide the encouragement of grace to everyone whom God places in our path.    Join us as we explore and deepen our spiritual journey with Jesus.   

You are invited to participate in Zoom Worship during this Pandemic on Sunday Mornings at 10:45.

You are invited to participate in Zoom Small Groups:

  • Sunday Morning Upper Room, 9:30 am.
  • Tuesday Morning Upper Room, 8 am.
  • Tuesday Evening Centering Prayer, 6 pm.
  • Thursday Bible Study on The Gospel of Mark, noon.
  • 1st and 3rd Thursday Evening Upper Room, 7 pm.
  • Other Small Groups are being planned . . . .

For questions and additional information, please contact us through our website:  UMCSANTACRUZ.ORG

Whoever you are and wherever you are on your journey of faith, you are welcome here!   May Peace with Justice be yours! 

Pastor Jay

Peace with Justice Sunday

This is Morris Brown and the community of African Methodist Episcopal Church, praying after 9 African Americans were killed during a Bible Study in Charleston SC on June 17, 2015.  We remember injustice is still among us.

Howard Washington Thurman was an African-American author, philosopher, theologian, educator, and civil rights leader.    As a prominent religious figure, he played a leading role in many social justice movements and organizations of the twentieth century.    Thurman’s theology of radical nonviolence influenced and shaped a generation of civil rights activists.    He was a key mentor to leaders within the movement, including Martin Luther King, Jr.    These are his words: 

“In the stillness of the quiet, if we listen, we can hear the whisper of the heart giving strength to weakness, courage to fear, hope to despair.”

“The movement of the Spirit of God in the hearts of men and women often calls them to act against the spirit of their times or causes them to anticipate a spirit which is yet in the making. In a moment of dedication they are given wisdom and courage to dare a deed that challenges and to kindle a hope that inspires.”

“Do not be silent; there is no limit to the power that may be released through you.”

“Listen to the long stillness:   New life is stirring … New dreams are on the wing … New hopes are being readied: Humankind is fashioning a new heart … Humankind is forging a new mind … God is at work.  This is the season of Promise.”

“I will light candles this Christmas, Candles of joy, despite all sadness, Candles of hope where despair keeps watch. Candles of courage where fear is ever present, Candles of peace for tempest-tossed days, Candles of grace to ease heavy burdens. Candles of love to inspire all my living, Candles that will burn all the year long.”

“There is a quiet courage that comes from an inward spring of confidence in the meaning and significance of life. Such courage is an underground river, flowing far beneath the shifting events of one’s experience, keeping alive a thousand little springs of action.”

“During times of war, hatred becomes quite respectable even though it has to masquerade often under the guise of patriotism.”

Pentecost and Beyond

Greetings from the United Methodist Church of Santa Cruz!  We remain Sheltering In Place through the month of June … even as the Winds of the Spirit come among us at Pentecost on May 31st and the months that follow!

We invite you to gather with us on Sunday mornings for Zoom Worship at 10:45 am.  If you are new to Zoom, contact Pastor Jay with an email message about worship or any other inquiry on our Website.  Simply go to “Contact” listed on the top of this site to share your request. 

We anticipate adding additional Zoom Small Groups to our current offerings of Tuesday Morning and 1st and 3rd Thursday Evening Upper Room, and Tuesday evening Centering Prayer. 

Coming online will be a Zoom Sunday Morning Upper Room beginning on June 7th, and a Zoom Bible Study on the Gospel of Mark (TBA).

We are also beginning a trial Zoom Small Group entitled “Disciple Like Jesus”.  When the trial is over, we anticipate offering this Small Group on a regular basis.

There is also interest in resuming our in-person, 6 feet apart Walking Small Group on Wednesday Afternoons at 1 pm; please let us know of your interest!

As the Spirit of God empowers us to stay focused on our health and well-being while also praying for our sisters and brothers throughout the world, we continue to care for our Sheltered Guests on our Church Properties, while also praying for sufficient affordable housing in our area.  We also offer our Pray Box at the entrance of our parking lot on California Street.

Coming soon will be the opportunity to continue sharing your support of the ministry of Jesus, as we will soon be offering an electronic donation option on our website through PayPal.  Your supportive generosity of our ministry is most appreciated.

 May Loving Peace guide your Spirit, as the Jesus in you meets the Jesus in others – even with as mask on, six feet apart! 

In Grace, pastor jay

The Celebration of Easter Continues

You are most welcome to join us in “Zoom Worship” at 10:45 on Sunday mornings.

Glance through our website and explore the ways we are offering to connect with one another during this time of Social Distancing … Sheltering In Place.

We invite you to continue to grow in your faith journey during this time, as we experience the effects of the Corona Virus.

Whoever you are, and wherever you are on your journey of faith, you are welcome here!  Please be in contact with us.  We look forward to getting to know you.  Explore who we are by viewing us on Facebook and Instagram.

How to connect on Zoom. 

If you have not received a link to our service, please be in contact with me (go to the dropdown tab “Contact” on the header of our website), and send me an email by one hour prior to worship.  Please leave me your email address; I will be happy to send you the link.

Easter Celebration 2020

‘Virtual Easter’ … The Day we have been anticipating … is here … join us!

Invite family, friends and loved ones, and neighbors far and wide to this ‘Virtual Celebration of New Life!’  Feel free to get all gussied-up or come casual … just join us! 

Welcome and be Renewed in the experience of Love … even in this time of social distancing and sheltering in place.  Let us affirm once again that we are indeed Easter People … even six feet apart or halfway around the world!

There will be music … connect (from afar) … praying and joy.  Nothing can separate us from the love of God!

How to connect on Zoom. 

If you have not received a link to our service, please be in contact with me (go to the dropdown tab “Contact” on the header of our website), and send me an email by one hour prior to worship.  Please leave me your email address; I will be happy to send you the link.

Holy Week 2020

Join us for Zoom Worship this Holy Week!


Holy Thursday

Thursday evening, April 9th at 7:30 pm

We will celebrate our ‘virtual’ Taize Service; we will remember the time of the Passover and the Last Supper.  Just before our service begins, please lovingly and thoughtfully wash your hands … we will reference this important issue of ‘washing’ as we remember the experience of Jesus washing the feet of the Disciples! 

We also invite you to prepare a small Communion Snack to be consumed during worship; grape juice and a piece of bread, tea and crumpet, coffee and a scone, hot oatmeal and rice milk, PB&J and a glass of milk, nuts and yogurt, whatever you’d like.  Jesus reminded us to “eat and drink to remember what he shares with us”.

Feel free to light a candle and create a special sacred space in your home so that you can find renewal and healing as you worship, pray, meditate, or read … a specific place for you to be with God and “virtually” with one another.


Goood Friday

Good Friday, April 10th at 1 pm

You are invited to join us ‘virtually’ as we remember “The Last Words of Jesus from the Cross”.  This service will remind us how willing Jesus was (and continues to be), so giving of his life that we might have New Life!  This will be a time of “holding” one another and our world in great distance, so that we may all find healing and peace!


Easter sunday

Easter Celebration, Sunday morning at 10:45 am.

‘Virtual Easter’.  Invite family, friends and loved ones, and neighbors far and wide to this ‘Virtual Celebration of New Life!’  Feel free to get all gussied-up!  Welcome and be Renewed in experience of Love … even in this time of social distancing and sheltering in place.  Let us affirm once again that we are indeed Easter People … no matter what!


How to connect on Zoom. 

If you have not received a link to any of the above service, please be in contact with me (go to the dropdown tab “Contact” on the header of our website), and send me an email by one hour prior to any of the above services.  Please leave me your email address.  I will be happy to send you the link.

Palm Sunday 2020

Join us for Zoom Worship this Sunday, April 5th, for Palm Sunday, at 10:45 am.

Palm Sunday celebrates Jesus as he enters Jerusalem.  Imagine celebrating the possibility of New Life as we Shelter In Place!

We have two opportunities for Palm Sunday that will help you prepare for this celebration!

On Friday afternoon, from 3 to 5 pm (or by arrangement), we invite you to “drive through our parking lot) to receive a Palm Branch (while they last).  Our parking lot makes a loop; just drive through and I’ll come to your car (from a distance!)  250 California Street, Santa Cruz 95060.

We will celebrate Communion during Worship on Sunday.  We invite you to prepare a small Communion Snack to be consumed during worship; grape juice and a piece of bread, tea and crumpet, coffee and a scone, hot oatmeal and rice milk, PB&J and a glass of milk, nuts and yogurt, whatever you’d like.  Jesus reminded us to “eat and drink to remember what he shares with us”.

How to connect on Zoom.  Please be in contact with me (go to the dropdown tab “Contact” on the header of our website), and send me an email by 9 am on Sunday, leaving your email address.  I will be happy to send you the link.

We welcome everyone; invite your friends and family, or someone who is on their journey of faith.  We hope you will be renewed by this experience. 

May you be well in this time of Social Distancing … Peace be in your heart…pastor jay

News of Live Worship service!

Dear Faithful Community,

Grace and Peace, even during this time of great uncertainty and changes! I hope you are well, and that “Shelter At Home” is not too much of a burden! This is our new reality!

We trust that if you are in need of food or medication, and you are unable to leave your home, that you will make contact with me on my cell phone; we have people who have offered to serve those in need. Please do not hesitate to let me know; arrangements for your care will be made!

I am excited to report to you that we are preparing to use “Zoom” on Sunday for worship and will also try to work out details to create opportunities for Small Groups to meet by Zoom. With Zoom, you may access our on-line worship service from the comfort of your own home, using your computer/laptop/iPad/iPhone.

You may choose to be “just audio” or “audio and picture”. Colin will be sending out an email today with an invitation to join Zoom. Before Sunday, simply follow the directions; if you have any difficulty, please let me know. There will be a group of us doing a test run tomorrow to address any issues before we launch our worship service.

As we approach our worship time of 10:45, you may follow the directions on that invitation, and be a part of worship – even as we “shelter at home”. That’s Zoom! We can have up to 100 people at this gathering – imagine!!! So, if there is someone you know who would like to participate, please let us know by email, and we will send them an invitation (this will be an ‘obligation-free’ invitation!)

You remain in my daily prayers. Colin and Gina join me in being in ministry in a variety of ways. Please continue to explore ways to “be church” to one another and beyond!

I ask that you continue to pray and take care of yourselves in this time of the Corona Virus. I also ask that you include, especially tonight, the ministry we are continuing with our Shelter Guests tonight. While so many of us are housed in the comfort of our homes, there are many in our community and throughout the world, who are living without permanent shelter. And please, continue to pray for our medical responders and those in need of healing for any reason.

Loving Peace be upon your hearts, in your prayers, and expressed through your actions; Healing Peace, Pastor Jay (831) 334-4287

Coronavirus and Sheltering in Place

Beloved Community of the United Methodist Church of Santa Cruz
Grace and Peace to You in this time, as we learn to live differently with the Corona Virus around us.
Hopefully by now, you have become aware that we are in a state of “Shelter In Place”; for your safety and the safety of others, we are curtailing most of our activities here at the UMCSC. We are trying to work out details that will enable our community to meet and stay in contact, virtually. For those who are using computers and smart phones, this will be easier. For others that are not using the latest technology, we are working out another way to stay in touch.

WHAT THIS WILL MEAN FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE:
No Formal In-Service Sunday Morning Worship.
All Small Groups can meet “on-line”.
We will keep you posted with updates and information by way of email, Facebook, and our website.

OPTIONS DURING THIS TIME:
Sunday On-Line Worship is being offered for everyone by Los Altos United Methodist Church, either as a Livestream or through their Archives; Senior Pastor Kathi McShane is a wonderful pastor, and I believe you will appreciate what LAUMC is offering to everyone who participates. Go to: https://laumc.org/worship/laumclive

WHAT WE ARE ALSO OFFERING:
We will be offering daily postings on our Facebook page; please “like us” and share this information with your friends. We will be working to keep our Website current.
You may subscribe to other Spiritual on-line daily devotionals including:
The Upper Room Daily Devotional (upperroom.org)
For Lent, we are using WeRiseNow.org
The Center for Action and Contemplation (with Richard Rohr) (on-line daily devotions).
We are working on creating podcasts/livestream events.

KEEP UP TO DATE ON THE LATEST HEALTH INFORMATION:
CNUMC.org
Megan B Holland suggests texting covid19 to 211211
Center for Disease Control (CDC)
World Health Organization (WHO)
CA Department of Public Health (cdph.ca.gov/covid19)

WHAT WE CAN DO AS A CONGREGATION:
There have been three families in our congregation who have offered to be resources for our Senior Families who are homebound; they can deliver food, medications, and provide other resources. Please be in contact with Pastor Jay by cell: (831) 334-4287.
Pray … Write Letters … Use your phone to make contact with others … email/text/or make contact via social media. We are setting up a call/visit system, and if you would like to participate or need assistance, call Pastor Jay.
If you are a Small Group Leader, offer to be in contact with your small group on a regular basis.
Spend time doing the things “you’ve always said you need to do…”; clean out that closet, read that book, write that letter, make that phone call, do that yardwork, cook that meal, finish that prayer shawl, participate in centering prayer (there is a phone app for this!) … so many opportunities!

FRIDAY NIGHT SHELTER WILL CONTINUE:
For those who have no home to retreat to … we are their shelter home one night a week.
We are working out the details of how to proceed, but we will continue to offer care for our Shelter Guests on Friday nights … please contact Pastor Jay to help.

More information is forthcoming.
Know that the grace of God is present even when we are in the midst of the struggle!
Love is present … prayers are evident … kindness is a gift we can share.


Peace, Pastor Jay

Lent 2020

We begin the Season of Lent … 6 weeks!

Lent recognizes the last days of Jesus’ life, when he empowers his followers to take our faith deeply inside, and to listen and share from that deep place of grace.  Jesus takes on his own deep faith, and from that place, we experience the ultimate grace of forgiveness.  We will move with Jesus to Jerusalem, to the triumphant entry on Palm Sunday, through the Holy Week experiences of the Passover, Good Friday, and finally the Celebration of the Resurrection on Easter.

This is a time to remember who you are … you are a Beloved Child of God … you are of Sacred Worth!

We are all born equal; we live in diversity; and we end our days in the grace of God.

Each Sunday we will offer worship that will include prayer from the ancient text of the Psalms, and an engaging opportunity to experience the narrative of scriptures from the perspective of the characters who interacted with Jesus.  Other services will be offered in April; we will let you know!

Lent is a time to let go of anything that hinders you and embrace the grace of God in your life!  Come.  Make the journey.  Invite others to join you walk that walk toward grace.  You are not alone!  You will walk with Love!