Community Outreach Ministries

Buena Vista UMC is involved in a number of community outreach ministries fulfilling part of our mission statement: "to live out our Christian faith to our local and global communities through prayer, service, and social justice."  In our mission statement we acknowledge the richness of our historical rootedness in the Japanese American community and affirm the unique way God works through our community of faith:  "God works in human history and in the unique experiences of oppressed communities. God continues to call forth new roles for the ministry of Buena Vista UMC as we encounter new realities and reflect upon our legacies."

 

Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander Disability Awareness Project (AANHPI)

 The Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander Disability Awareness Project provides education, empowerment, and advocacy for  individuals and families living with disabilities and mental health concerns.

 The AANHPI Disability Awareness Project hosts  monthly community gatherings to provide a safe space for mutual support and empowerment.  Community gatherings are culturally sensitive and are organized highlighting themes generated by participants.  The AANHPI Disability Awareness Project also organizes social & recreational activities to build community together.   

 The AANHPI Disability Awareness Project is staffed by Austin Tam, Disability Advocate & Community Developer.  He can be contacted at apidisabilities@gmail.com
Committee members include:  Chris Tam, Chair;  Lai Meng Leong, Lonnie Walker, and Rev. Michael Yoshii
 
A message from Austin Tam: 
On Sunday, September 28, 2014, I was humbled by the invitation by Rev Roger Morimoto,
of Aldersgate UMC in Palo Alto, to speak about disabilities and my faith journey, and where I introduced our Asian Pacific Islander Disability Awareness Project, and how I am hopeful that it is only the beginning.
If you would like to read the excerpt of my speech, please click here.

 

Economic Justice for Immigrants/Migrants (EJIM)

Buena Vista began a partnership with the East Bay Immigrant Coalition in 2015 to provide support for a refugee family from Guatemala. The church is now hosting the Alva-Garcia family for temporary housing in our church parsonage as part of our accompaniment ministry with Otto, Estela, and their three children. EJIM has a working committee that meets regularly with the family to provide support and advocacy in their living circumstances. EJIM members also attend regular meetings of EBIC to join with others in the coalition of faith communities to provide policy advocacy and other broader support for the refugee communities. For more information, please contact Gala King at galateaking@yahoo.com

 

Wadi Foquin Partnership

BVUMC’s partnership with the Palestinian village of Wadi Foquin began in August 2009. Village members struggle to survive on a daily basis, living under the ongoing Israeli military occupation. They are surrounded by the illegal settlement of Betar Illit on the East side of the village and the expansion of the town of Tsur Hadassa expanding into village land on the West side of the village.

The partnership began with economic support for community development projects in the village. These included a bee hive project for honey cultivation, women's basket weaving, youth development, and the creation of a community center. In 2014, funds were raised to help support the construction of a soccer field for the children of the village.

Unfortunately, life under military occupation is unpredictable and oppressive. Land confiscation orders were received by Wadi Foquin and neighboring villages in August 2014 claiming 1000 acres to be "state land".  About 1300 fruit trees were demolished in June 2015 by bulldozers accompanied by Israeli soldiers. The Israeli civil authority also issued orders to stop construction of the soccer field in July 2015. An appeal has been filed in Israeli court.

The partnership has evolved into a group called, "Friends of Wadi Foquin."  FWF has organized congressional briefings on Wadi Foquin in 2013 and 2014 to raise public awareness about the human rights violations taking place in the village. Annual trips are also organized as a Holy Land/Palestine Pilgrimage to provide people with an opportunity to encounter the living spirit of Christ in the historical biblical lands as they intersect with the contemporary justice issues of the Palestinian people and friends in Wadi Foquin.

For more information on the partnership and how you can participate, please visit our website at www.friendsofwadifoquin.com

 

APC Urban Farm

The APC Urban Farm is an urban farm program operated by the Alameda Point Collaborative (APC), an organization that provides supportive housing & other essential services to low-income & homeless residents in Alameda. In 2007, BVUMC established a partnership with the APC Urban Farm with the specific goal of building a meaningful relationship with the APC community. Produce from the farm is sold each Sunday at the church after worship services, with all proceeds going back to the APC Urban Farm program.

The APC Urban Farm produce purchase program is called Farm2Market CSA.  Proceeds from their CSA (community supported agriculture) program and other sales activities are pumped back into APC's programs and activities for its resident community.  For more information and to join the Farm2Market CSA to receive a weekly share of the finest, freshest organic produce available, please visit the APC website at apcollaborative.org/farm2market/, or call 510-898-7800.  Volunteer opportunities to work on the farm are available by visiting: apcollaborative.org/farm/.  Or you can simply visit the farm at 2600 Barbers Point Road, Alameda, CA 94501.

 

Housing Advocacy

Buena Vista UMC gave birth to Renewed HOPE Housing Advocates in the late 90's during a critical time addressing the housing crisis in the city of Alameda. In 2000, Renewed HOPE worked with others to obtain an agreement from the city of Alameda to provide 25% affordability on all new housing developments on the former Alameda Naval Base. The first housing development for the naval base was approved in 2016 and will include 200 affordable homes in the 800 unit development. Renewed HOPE is hosted at Buena Vista UMC and continues to advocate for housing needs in the community. For more information contact Lynette Lee at ljunglee@aol.com

 

Basketball Program

(see Basketball tab)

 

Extending Connections

Extending Connections is a program for seniors. The group gathers on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. Extending Connections provides a regular opportunity for seniors to come together, exercise, learn about each other and the world around us, as well as provide mutual support and encouragement to each other as we grow older!

EC was founded in 1990 by lay member Jo Takata, who continues to facilitate this program with the support of a team of hard-working volunteers. The program embraces inter-faith participation from the Alameda Buddhist Temple as well as community members. While the primary participation is from Japanese American senior citizens, the program is open and welcome to all! The program also provides an opportunity for non-seniors to work with seniors and learn about aging issues.

A nutritious and delicious lunch is served at each gathering for a suggested donation of $2.00. Birthdays are celebrated on the second Wednesday of each month.
 

Buena Vista Community Institute (BVCI)

Buena Vista Community Institute (BVCI) supports the church's community organizing and community development ministries through fund development and fundraising efforts. BVCI is part of a national network of the Community Developer Program (CDP) within the United Methodist Church. The CDP supports congregation-based community organizing efforts through training, technical assistance & funding support. Human Relations Day offering taken annually in the United Methodist Church on the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. supports the National CDP which in turn, provides seed grants for new local church organizing efforts.

BVCI Fund

The BVCI Fund was established to provide long-term financial support for BVCI programs & staff. While we currently operate through the support of outside grants, the BVCI Fund is building long-term community support through donors like you who believe in the work we are doing.

BVCI Board Members

Chair: Junell Ancheta
Treasurer: Lucas Dang
Pastor & Staff Supervisor: Michael Yoshii
Gene Hane
Wayne Koike
Mike Lee
Rafael Saavedra
 

 

 

Janet Lahr Lewis, Methodist Liaison in Israel & Occupied Palestinian Territories 

BVUMC's partnership with the Palestinian village of Wadi Foquin began in August 2009. BVCI has organized annual educational trips to Palestine since the Spring of 2010.

The Bee Hive Project has successfully provided alternative means of economic survival for Wadi Foquin.

Community building at the APC Urban Farm.

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