Cal-Nevada 'Change the World' Participation Doubles This Year

May 12, 2011

Twenty-five (25) churches in the California-Nevada Annual Conference are planning events to "Change the World" this weekend (May 14-15). That's more than double the 12 churches which participated in the inaugural event last year!

From cleaning – to building, painting, repairing, and landscaping; from fundraising for worthy causes to distributing food and planting gardens; from visiting shut-ins, to praying and tutoring – these are just some of the many ways that thousands of United Methodists will team up to make a positive difference, locally and globally.
Here are a few of the creative plans by Cal-Nevada churches on which we haven't reported previously:
  • Chinese Community UMC in Oakland will distribute food to the homeless, do street sweeping and cleanup, and give out free bottled water in the local community.
  • St. Paul's UMC in Fremont will join St. Christina's and Pathway Community churches in participating in the Fremont CROP Walk on Sunday, May 15, to raise funds for Church World Service and the Centerville Free Dining Room. "Last year we raised about $3,000. Hopes are high again for this year!"
  • Almaden Hills UMC in San Jose will celebrate an Earth Sunday worship on Sunday, May 15 with a special focus on the significance of clean, life-giving water. The following Friday (May 20), Green Ministries will present a screening of the award-winning film, A Sea Change, which explores the relationship between clean oceans and future generations (through the eyes of a man and his grandson), and on Saturday, May 21 from 9 a.m. to noon, the church will "put words into action" and participate in National River Cleanup Day at Hellyer Park in San Jose.
  • Like Novato UMCWatsonville UMC will be Painting for Peace. "Graffiti is an ongoing problem in our town and our Youth Group for Girls, with the help of church members and friends, looks forward to painting over as much graffiti as possible," reports the church's pastor, the Rev. Robin Mathews-Johnson. The project has been authorized by Neighborhood Services of the City of Watsonville and the paint, brushes, rollers, and other supplies have been donated. "Watch out, Watsonville!" Mathews-Johnson says.
  • Wesley UMC of Bakersfield will gather as a church in the Sanctuary on Sunday, May 15. After singing, prayer, and commissioning the congregation will move to the local elementary school, Horace Mann, to do paint touch-ups on murals and paint a map of the United States on the playground. They also will do general clean-up and plant flowers, donated by the congregation. It is the oldest campus in the Bakersfield City School District and the surrounding neighborhood is working class, with many living at or near the poverty line.
  • The UMW at Kernville UMC will sponsor a "Special Day" for a local low-income/no-income trailer park. The church's youth will pick up trash, pull weeds, etc. The UMW will provide a picnic lunch for residents and will have canned goods and gently used clothing to give away.
View complete list here.
Event Mobilizes Churches to Change the World: UMs Unite to Make a Difference
Last year more than 100,000 people from 1,000+ churches hosted events and undertook projects to help others.
"We've already received registrations for nearly 1,500 events and projects in 14 different countries," the Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive of United Methodist Communications, said on Monday. "Some churches are building on existing ministries and others are initiating new events. Many churches are having multiple events. The variety of projects is amazing."
"One of the great things about this project is not just how easy it is to participate, but that we are using our connectional system to make a positive difference," said the Rev. Laura Speiran of First United Methodist Church of Saline (Michigan). "I love that about the United Methodist Church!"
From 8 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. on May 14, will broadcast live streaming interviews with participants from around the world, including Japan, Mozambique, Uganda, Germany, Ukraine, Philippines, and the U.S. The interviews also will be available on the Rethink Church You Tube channel, so that churches can use the video clips during worship services and study settings. (See the schedule – and sign up to get an email reminder, if you like – at
Change the World was created by United Methodist Communications as part of an effort to "Rethink Church" by utilizing outreach events to make a positive difference in the world beyond church doors. The event is based on a concept originated by the Rev. Mike Slaughter, author of Change the World: Recovering the Message and Mission of Jesus, who asks the haunting question, "If your church closed its doors tomorrow, would the community notice?"
Other partners in the event include the United Methodist Publishing House, the General Board of Discipleship (Worship Division), United Methodist Men, United Methodist Women, and the General Board of Global Ministries.
For more information about Change the World or to find an event near you, go to