By Shana LiVIGNI
On Saturday evening, Nov. 14, Crescenta Valley United Methodist Church hosted Empty Bowls, its second annual community fundraiser, with the help of local potters, chefs, musicians, friends and neighbors. There was an extensive display of hand made ceramic bowls of all shapes, sizes and colors – all individually designed by students, parents and CV residents. For a mere $15, patrons got to cruise through the tables and shelves of pottery, pick the bowl they wanted to keep, then get in line for a choice of homemade soups donated by local restaurants.
Music director Dr. Wayne Hinton was one of the five musical performers which also included the church’s regular professional musicians: Ricky Cosentino, Tim Kobz and Forrest Robinson. Guests Eric Knight, Angie Knowlton and the band Heavy Mellow completed the Empty Bowls on-stage line-up.
The proud United Methodist Pastor Paige Eaves explained, “We were able to take this on because our potter-in-residence Jeanne Lavieri teaches at the Community Center of La Cañada-Flintridge and secured their partnership. She also taught most of the church [how] to make bowls. An additional 100 bowls came from ceramics teacher Mike Flower and the students at CVHS.” Empty Bowls is a grassroots movement to raise money and awareness in an effort to end hunger and food insecurity. To be part of the Empty Bowls event, participants have to make their own bowls and give the money away to hunger-fighting organizations.
“Our church is really bubbling with a great spiritual energy!” said Eaves. “Almost everyone in the church was involved, and we were so excited to invite hundreds from our community into our fellowship hall for a heart-warming, tummy-warming evening of bowls, soup and music. So far we have raised over $6,500 for local food pantries and a food and medical relief ministry in Burma.” Participating restaurants included Leo’s All Star Sports Bar & Grill, Gourmet a Go-Go, New Moon Restaurant, DISH of La Cañada, Hill Street Café, Zeke’s Smokehouse, Frank’s Famous Kitchen & Bakery, and Berolina Bakery.
Crescenta Valley United Methodist Church is deeply rooted in the community. The congregation includes up to three generations of families as well as new residents, local business people, local teachers and families connected to CV schools. Other churchgoers include JPL scientists, professional musicians, sheriff’s deputies, kids and retired people.
“Our church has grown over 15% in the last year, and we continue to open our hearts and doors to neighbors and friends who are seeking a loving, inclusive, Christ-centered church; a helpful, nurturing community; and relevant ways to reach out to people in need and speak into the issues of the day,” explained Eaves. “Many of our new members have come back to the idea of church after a long time away, finding CVUMC to be a spiritually healthy place.
“We invite our neighbors to rediscover church during the Christmas season. We’ll start working on a special Christmas children’s pageant this week and the performance will be held on Dec. 20. We welcome families who are not part of a church and would like their children to have this experience. Our choir is preparing a very special Americana music cantata entitled ‘I Hear the Prophet Calling’ to be offered in worship on Dec. 13. The youth have been building our float for the Montrose Christmas Parade. I haven’t seen it yet, but I hear that it will be fabulous!”
In January, CVUMC’s next eight-week Bible study begins – N.T. Wright’s Romans for Everyone. The Read & Practice Peacemaking Group is reading Afghanistan’s Untold Story. Newcomers are invited. Upcoming outreach efforts include a partnership with the Learning Works! Charter School in Pasadena, two nights hosting dinner and set-up at the Bad Weather Shelter and summer’s Sierra Service Project trip for the youth group.
The church offers preschool and infant care and half and full day programs for children.
Crescenta Valley Methodist Church is located at 2700 Montrose Ave. in Montrose. Worship is 10:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings. For more information, call (818) 249-6173 or visit their website at www.cvumc.org.