Annual UMW Christmas Bazaar – December 3

The doors will open on Saturday, December 3 at 9am until 1:30pm for 86th Annual UMW Christmas Bazaar.  Come & visit our Bake Shop with lots of homemade goodies, the Jam & Jelly Room with a variety of homemade jams & jellies, the Christmas Room with all things Christmas, the Boutique Room with lots of handmade items, Candy Room with lots of homemade candies, the Silent Auction, Cheeseball booth, Attic Treasures and Mattie’s Tea Room where you can purchase pie, cake, coffee & tea & spend time with friends.  Lunch begins at 11:30 in the Wesley Hall.  For tickets please call Joyce at 209 617–8119.

George and Sonja Got Married

Sonja & George Edd-Bennett are excited to celebrate our wedding with our friends who couldn’t join us at our remote destination venue. We are overjoyed with God’s gift of one another – bringing us together in love for the journey of our lives.

We are having an open house reception with food and frolicking at our home at 59 Sun Valley Court in Merced.  It will be Bar-B-Que’d meats and United Methodist Women’s treats for everyone.  Join us between 2:PM and 6:PM on September 3rd.

PG & Sonja weddingGifts are in no way expected, but if gift giving is your way of celebrating a wedding, we have created a registry that invites you to help us journey through our European Honeymoon together in September. We will travel about 12,000 miles together over two weeks and expect that will cost about $2 per mile (which also covers some exciting stops along the way!)  Please visit  to help us journey.

We look forward to embracing each of you in our happy home.

Enjoy God,

George & Sonja


Our Worship Times Are Changing

@UMCMerced, we are joyfully making room for worship!  We are blessed to have a new Hmong pastor with us and, as Pastor Joseph also serves the Atwater United Methodist Church, we are working to accommodate all of our friends and faith communities.  Beginning September 4th, morning worship will start at 10:AM!  Sunday School will begin at 11:30AM, followed by Hmong worship at 1:PM.  With this, Pastor Joseph can lead worship in Atwater and make it to Merced to participate in Sunday School and lead our Hmong congregation here.


Come to Breakfast

The Welcome Team is having a Welcome Back to Sunday School & Time Change Breakfast on Sunday, September 4th from 9:00 – 9:45am. A free will offering will be taken.  We will have yummy casserole, fruit, muffins & breads, juice & coffee.  (Gluten free items will be available) We hope you will join us. Invite a friend & neighbor to join you and come for some good food & fellowship.

Bobby Jo Valentine to perform August 14

Bobby Jo ValentineSinger/songwriter Bobby Jo Valentine will return to UMCMerced on August 14th to hold a CD release party for his new album.  Bobby Jo performed with us in October of 2014 and is excited to visit again.  The concert will be held in our sanctuary at 7:PM on August 14th; suggested donation of $10 per person. 

Bobby is a proud supporter of equal rights for all people. He believes that we’re all in this together, that “the arc of the universe is long, but bends toward justice,” and that real justice means justice for everyone. Bobby is a constant supporter of LGBT rights and performs at Pride festivals and benefits and for LGBT youth programs all over the US. He has also been invited to perform for many child protection, child homelessness, and domestic violence prevention non-profits, including the national Safe Place Network.

We’d love to fill the church, so invite a friend to enjoy Bobby’s songs of hope and inspiration!

Pastor George & Sonja are getting married

PG n SonjaDear Church Family,

Many of you are aware that Pastor George and his beloved Sonja will be married on July 22nd, 2016.
We will then be George and Sonja Edd-Bennett.  This day has been planned to be a small ceremony on the beach that will forever be the first joyful event in our newly formed families’ common memory.  We are so excited!  Praise God!

We know that many of you would like to celebrate this great joy with us, and we are both very thankful for your love and support throughout our engagement and our life ahead.   Please allow us to suggest that gifts might work best if we wait until the reception.  Sonja and I will spend the next six weeks pulling our homes together from two households two hours apart to one household here in Merced.  We will probably find an over-abundance of household items in our new life together.

We would love to have all of you help celebrate with us on Saturday, September 3rd.  We will have a drop-in open house at 59 Sun Valley Court between 12:PM and 7:PM.  BBQs will be working and many volunteers will be providing delicious snacks.  By this time, we hope to have a honeymoon registry.
This will allow wedding gifts to support our first adventure as husband and wife.

Madly in love,


Mission u is coming to @UMCMerced

The women of United Methodist Church of Merced are excited to invite you to one of our four price-less 2016 Mission u Events:

  • Weekend, August 5-7: United Methodist Church of Merced
  • One-day, August 13: Visalia United Methodist Church
  • One-day, August 20, First United Methodist Church of San Rafael
  • One-day, August 27, First United Methodist Churc of Roseville


Mission u presents an opportunity to study current issues impacting society.  The three studies and study leaders for 2016:

  • Spiritual Growth (all but Visalia) – The Bible and Sexuality: Claiming God’s Gift, Jo Ann Lawson
  • Geographic (weekend only) –  Latin America: People and Faith, Nan McCurdy
  • Social Issue (all but Visalia) – Climate Justice: Call to Hope and Action, Rev. Sharon Delgado
  • Youth Study (Visalia) – Climate Justice youth study, Rev. Marcelo Escarzaga
  • Social Issue (Visalia) – Climate Justice: Call to Hope and Action, Katherine Parker


At Mission u we “learn together for the transformation fo the world.”  The studies give particular attention to the fulfillment of women through mission work of the church.  Events also include worship, singing, and building of unity in friendship.  Lots of “hoopla” too!

Mission u is open to members and non-members of the United Methodist Women.  Over 25,000 men and women in the U.S. attend Mission u events each year in every United Methodist Conference.  The weekend event offers an in-depth study, while 1-day events give overview of most studies.

Scholarships are available at

Applications are available in the Fireside Room.

Saying Goodbye to Pastor Wang Pao Thao

Pastor Wang Pao Thao has served the Merced Hmong congregation for 20 + years.  We celebrated his ministry with us on June 5th during worship as he goes into retirement.  Here are a few of those pictures.

16-06-05 Hmong Choir

Hmong Choir

16-06-05 Wang Pao Thao Communion

Pastor Wang blessing the communion

16-06-05 PG Wang Pao Thao & Yer

Pastor Wang & his wife Yer & Pastor George


1000 Miles on the AT for ALS

Don Hoornaert HikingBy Don Hoornaert

An idea got in my mind and I couldn’t suppress it. Could I “Thru-Hike the 2162” miles of the Appalachian Trail?  How long would it take, is it realistic, what happens if I can’t, how would things survive at home? What about food, water, sleeping, bears, ticks, mosquitoes and loneliness?  It could be hard, cold, wet, humid and hot.

The scenery, the Great Smoky Mountains, exercise and the challenge. Oh, the thoughts! You’d think making decisions at 61 would be easy, but no. So the real question is why?  Like most decisions, there are many factors but the simple answer is, walk I can!

Twenty years ago I was tentatively diagnosed with ALS by a major university hospital, and like many that have received a grim diagnosis, it shakes your world. ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, (also called Lou Gehrig’s disease) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Its progression eventually takes away the ability to walk, dress, write, speak, swallow, and breathe, shortening the life span: the average survival is 3 years, 20% live 5 years, 10% survive 10 years…

Mine was a misdiagnosis but instilled in me the amazing gift of life and the ability to move forward each day. I’ve known the fear that these abilities would gradually and progressively be taken away. For Pastor Victoria Schlintz, this is real life. I am truly in awe of Pastor Victoria’s strength. Her ability to move forward each day and be a positive example in our church and community is inspirational!  In a small way I would like to be a tool to help find a cure and treatment for this insidious disease.  In honor of her and all who suffer with this affliction I am seeking donations for each mile to the Golden West chapter of the ALS association.  A thru-hike is not realistic, but half the trail I can do. So on June 1st I’ll leave Harpers Ferry, West Virginia and hike the bottom 1000 miles (about 2.2 million steps) of the Appalachian Trail.  I expect to arrive at the terminus of the trail in Springer Mountain, GA 60 to 70 days later. If Pastor Victoria has touched you, if this disease has touched you, please consider a mile-based donation for my goal, to one day live in a world without ALS.   is the website to donate $.01 per mile=$10.00; $.05 per mile $50.00; $.10 per mile $100.00; $.25 per mile $250, or you choose.

 Pastor Victoria’s ALS Journey:  I was a pastor in Fairfield when I noticed a foot drag. 6 days beforePastor V coming as Atwater UMC Pastor, I was diagnosed with ALS. I walked up the aisle, but by 2 years later rolled up to a wheelchair pulpit. 2 years after that I was appointed to disability, yet continue in ministry, as possible, when I can preach, teach, write, photograph, or participate in other sacred events.  Though limitations are significant and my body continues to decline, God isn’t finished with me yet.

Easter Flowers

On Easter Sunday, March 27, as we celebrate the risen Christ, the church will be beautifully decorated with lilies and spring flowers. If you would like to provide a potted flower in honor of someone special in your life or in memory of a loved one, please complete the Easter Flowers