CRAIG’S CORNER—State of the Church 2017

Things at Palm UMC are indeed looking up! We have had more people in worship, more kids involved in Sunday School, did more community outreach, and have been willing to try new things. We didn’t achieve our church goals from last year, so we still have a ways to go, but I see signs of growth in our church that seem hopeful and exciting!

I love that we have new families coming to worship, new things to celebrate, and for the first time in years, new professions of faith. Our worship attendance only went up a fraction, but considering we lost four wonderful people this year and others who haven’t been able to come due to illness and injury, I’m encouraged. Keep up the good work and continue to invite family and friends (and even strangers) to join us in worship.

Our small group numbers went up drastically! Part of that is because I hadn’t been including our Sunday School kids as part of that group, but what’s been most encouraging is watching those Sunday School numbers rise dramatically over the past year. You have been bringing your kids, your grandkids, your neighborhood kids, and it has made a difference. We now have a blessed problem with needing more people to help Susan so I hope you’ll step up and volunteer as we head into the New Year. Don’t wait for me to ask – go and ask Susan how you can help. Our other small groups haven’t been growing, but then Aiko felt God’s call to start a new one that she’s looking to begin next year. And then Katherine came up and felt God put it on her heart to begin an addiction support group also beginning some time next year. If you’d like to help either of these efforts (and I hope at least one of you will for each group), please do not wait for me to encourage you! Go and talk to Aiko and Katherine about how you can help. Experts not needed – just people who want to help.

Giving has gone up! You have all been so charitable and loving, not only to one another, but to missions, UMCOR, Open Gate, Youth for Christ, disaster relief, and so many other organizations that need help to make the world a better place. Our charitable giving went up by nearly 75%! Our overall giving is up by nearly $13,000 compared to last year. Some of that giving is due to some very generous gifts on behalf of those who have passed away, but our congregation’s giving spirit overall is encouraging and much needed. We are still losing money every month and the question of whether or not we can afford to stay a full-time congregation is something we really have to consider. But thank you to all of you who were able to give more!

Although the number of people involved in mission outreach is about the same, our overall engagement has really gone up. We gave out meals for the Soup and Pie Lunch, visited our community during the candy holidays passing out over 800 treats to people in our local businesses and invited them to worship. We sent out postcards to our neighbors inviting them to worship on Easter and again this Christmas. Our social media presence has grown with our Facebook page having over 100 followers and our daily devotions, events, and sermons are reaching about 50-75 people on average – more than we have in worship! And we get about 120 page views per month for our sermons. That’s an average of about 20-30 extra people in worship every week (interestingly, they don’t all read the current series but read different sermons we’ve shared over the past 5 years).

We’ve introduced different styles of worship, different ways of doing communion, and for the first time doing our Administrative Board differently, too. Fewer people, fewer meetings, equal commitment.

We still have work to do. Even with all of the forward progress, we still are short financially every month by nearly $2,000. We’ll have to have serious discussions about whether or not we can afford to have a full-time pastor. But things are really encouraging. And even if we don’t have a full-time pastor, by working hard and diligently we can continue to grow the church for God as we are called to do. In the five years I’ve been here, this year has been our year of greatest growth and I feel so blessed to be your pastor. I wonder what God will do with us in 2018!

Peace and Blessings, Pastor Craig



Please continue to pray for cancer warriors Jacob dela Montanya, Josh Crampton, Matt Sakaguchi, Danny and Kay Armijo (Pat’s cousins), Miyoko Cabello (Diane’s mother), and Gerard Laquerriere (friend of John and Pat).

Please keep Irene Burkart, Rosalinda Vasquez and her family, Florence Brayfield, Mas Konatsu, Marcia Williams, Kenji Tashiro, Lee Bulosan (Janice’s father), Oliver and Winnie Cadiente, Terry and Nancy McKittrick, Iris Yamakawa, Yoshiko Yamagata (Iris’ mother), Ken and Cathie Metz, Mike Yada, Jerry Munson, Ken Yoshihara (Craig’s father), Martha Onishi (Kathy Onishi’s mother-in-law), Marianne Couch (Janice’s cousin), Wilma Conner, Sandy Hansen, Stephen Sandoval (Youth for Christ mentor at Dinuba Lincoln School), first responders, the Yoshihara family, and Open Gate Ministries in your prayers.

Congratulations to Sebastian Garza, winner of the annual Jon Lamb Most Inspirational Basketball Player (DHS) Award!

Congratulations to Alan and Kristen (Yoshimura) Floresca on the birth December 1 of baby Theodore! Proud grand-parents are Susan and Lindy Yoshimura.

DIRECTORY CHANGES : Ruben and Beverly (Cadiente) Aleman,  Carmencita Balderama, Eve LaBelle, Junior and April Bulosan – contact Marian for details.


     Sermon Bible Study meets Tuesdays at 1:00, except January 2 and 16 (no office hours the week of January 15). Old Testament Bible Study meets every Wednesday at 11:00. Prayer Group meets Thursdays at 10:00 AM. Ikebana Class will meet Saturday, January 20, at 1:30. Administrative Board will meet on Sunday, January 7, following worship.
     Following 10:00 worship on Sunday, December 31, Rodney and Marian Clifton will host New Year’s Eve Coffee Hour—please stay for lunch!
     Following 10:00 worship on Sunday, January 14, we will celebrate the new year with our annual Ozoni (rice dumpling soup) brunch, hosted by the January toban team.
     During worship on Souper Bowl of Caring Sunday, February 4, we will “Appreciate Andy Clifton”, followed by a missions donation lunch—proceeds to benefit Open Gate
Ministries of Dinuba.
     Don’t miss the annual Open Gate Soup, Salad, and Pie Lunch at Palm Church on Wednesday, February 7, 11:00—1:00 ! Let Marian know if you can bring a pie or a cobbler,
and let Aiko know if you can help with the Boutique!
     On Wednesday, February 14, everyone is encouraged to meet at the church at 10:00 to hand out candy in the community! (Let Craig know if you can help.)


(L to R, Top to Bottom): Pastor Craig and Kathy giving out ice cream in our Beat the Heat in the Community; One of the beautiful displays at the Ikebana Show and Boutique; Aiko Takeda receiving the Bishop’s Award for her dedication and service; Our Annual Chicken Dinner crew putting together plates; Easter treats for giveaway; Ice cream treats for giveaway; Open Gate Soup and Pie Lunch hosted by our church; Andy and Sarah; Melanie and Greg; Our Easter in the Community crew ready to give away treats; Trying something different for communion; The ladies of our Ikebana Class; New shirts for community service; Faith and Family Trip

Special Activities

Sunday, December 31, New Years Eve Coffee Hour hosted by the Cliftons
Friday, January 6, Epiphany or Three Kings Day
Sunday, January 14, 11:00 Annual Ozoni Brunch
Sunday, February 4, 11:00 “Souper Bowl of Caring” donation lunch
Wednesday, February 7, 11:00–1:00, Open Gate Soup, Salad & Pie Lunch
Wednesday, February 14, 10:00 “Spreading Love in the Community”
Saturday, February 17, Disneyland Faith and Family Trip


Chalice, chalice cover, paten, and white napkin are kept in the Communion cabinet   in the kitchen. Bring 100% juice and a round loaf of bread to church on Communion Sunday; place the  bread on the paten, and cover with napkin. Pour the juice into the chalice (not too full). Cover the  chalice, and place it and the paten on the Communion table on the Chancel. After church, please  remember to wash, dry, and replace supplies in the kitchen cabinet. Thank you!  –Norma


511 North “K” Street, Dinuba 559-591-1241

Personal Hygiene Items / Pads / Diapers / Paper Towels / Toilet Paper / Kleenex / Shampoo / Hairbrushes / Rice / Beans / Pasta / Spaghetti Sauce / Powdered Milk / Mayonnaise / Flour / Sugar / Oil / Salt / Pancake Mix / Coffee and Creamer / Canned Fruit, Juice, Vegetables, & Meat / Sliced American Cheese / Snacks for Children / Peanut Butter / Mixing Bowls / Children’s Videos / Bath, Dish, and Hand Towels / Blankets / Sheets / Pillowcases / Pajamas—all sizes / Volunteers, especially at the Thrift Store


Worship Leader: Kathy Lamb
Communion Steward: Norma Lozano
Greeters / Ushers
     7 Ruth Kurihara, Taye Abe
    14 Norma Lozano, Marian Clifton
    21 Jerry and Ginger Munson
    28 John and Pat dela Montanya

January Tobans: * Marian Clifton, Susan Yoshimura, Nancy McKittrick, Ruth Fujinaga, Janice Serios, Carmencita Balderama, April Bulosan


1—Carmencita Balderama
2–Eve LaBelle
3—Florence Brayfield, Peter Fern
5—Jimmy Yamakawa
10—Anthony Espino
13—Jerry Yada, Nathaniel Joseph
16—Christine Cadiente, Karen Shaver
20—Eileen Tashiro
21—Sirenna Bulosan
29—Sandy Hansen
31—Ruth Fujinaga, Camille Joseph, Marian Clifton


Pastor: Craig Yoshihara, cell: 559-840-5091, craig@palmumc.org
Newsletter Editor: Marian Clifton
Worship Bulletin Editor: Kathy Lamb
Webmaster: Sandy Hansen
Office Hours: Tues. – Thurs. 9:00-12:00, Mon. & Fri. Office Closed
Office Location: 438 West Tulare Street
Office Phone: 559-591-0746 e-mail: info@palmumc.org
Website: palmumc.org
Church Location: Tulare and “P” Streets
Sunday Service: 10:00 AM—Worship and Sunday School


Chairman: Nancy McKittrick
Lay Leader: Kathy Lamb
PPRC Chair: Susan Yoshimura
Finance Chair: Jerry Munson
Trustees Chair: Aiko Takeda
Treasurer: Arthur Anderson
Financial Secretary: Jerry Munson
Recording Secretary: Cathy Yada
Lay Delegate to Annual Conference: Derek Fujinaga
Worship Chair: Norma Lozano
UMW President: Janice Serios
Missions Co-Chairs: Aiko Takeda, Marian Clifton
Education Chair: Susan Yoshimura
Nominations Chair: Pastor Craig Yoshihara