Serve at Love Modesto!

LOVE MODESTO is getting super excited for this Saturday preparing for over 4000 volunteers, but we can still use your help!

There is still a big need for more volunteers for these following projects:

  • Beautify Modesto Parks
  • Clean Up Modesto
  • Airport Neighborhood – Oregon Park
  • Needham Neighborhood Clean Up
  • Orchard Park Neighborhood Clean Up
  • Tobacco Litter Clean Up
  • Tuolumne River Clean Up
  • Delta Blood Bank
  • Love All Our Kids
  • Pajama Program
  • Downey High School
  • El Vista Elementary School
  • Garrison Elementary School
  • Hanshaw Middle School
  • Johansen High School
  • Modesto High School

People can sign up at and click on “Projects.”

April 18 Festivities begin at 8am on I & 10th Streets, right in front of the Gallo Center.

  • Lots of music, free giveaways including Modesto Nuts tickets for all!
  • Free food and refreshments (SaveMart, Starbucks, Pepsi, Blue Diamond Growers, Del Monte, Buffalo Wild Wings, Frito Lay, Gold N Fresh Bakery, etc.)!
  • Free Kid’s Zone featuring jump houses, face painting, super heroes, games, etc.!
  • Free back massages by Armstrong Chiropractic!
  • Free family/friend photos by Platinum Photo Booth!
  • Fire trucks, ambulances, CHP, Sheriff and MPD patrol cars, motor bikes, swat truck, K9 and horses!
  • And LOTS more!

It’s going to be an incredible family-friendly atmosphere before we all go out to volunteer in 90+ projects!

How Will the Labyrinth be Built

There are two threads to the “how” of the labyrinth. The first has to do with the desire to build a labyrinth at College Avenue. The interest in labyrinths and the seed of a desire for one at our church started in the 1990s, with several members of the church learning about labyrinths, visiting several together and even building a “guerilla” labyrinth at Downey High School.

Two of those members, Sandy Sample and Ken Schroeder are now on the Labyrinth Committee which also includes Melinda Kopp (Committee Chair), Erin King, Tami Bennett, Samantha Bennett, Pastor Michael, Mitchell Mesimer, Rickie Jean Langerman and Robert Nicholas. We are all focused on using Memorial Funds designated for this purpose to build a labyrinth that is well-suited for our property, incorporates a design we are drawn to and will be used by the congregation as well as the community.

The other “how” is the actual construction of the labyrinth. We have, after visiting and experiencing a good number of labyrinths in proximity, settled on the design and materials that we feel will work best for our site and will accommodate constant use by a variety of mobilities. We have made contact with one of the best known and respected labyrinth facilitators, Lars Howlett, who happens to be based in the Bay Area. Our hope is to have his invaluable, expert guidance and assistance as we plan for construction.

We have also connected with a well-regarded landscape architect (and former member), Dennis Dahlin, who will also be available to advise us. Committee member Samantha Bennett has professional knowledge that will lend itself to proper preparation of the site to support the construction.
The funds that have been earmarked for the Labyrinth will also help with landscaping and other features such as explanatory/descriptive signage and other enhancements. We feel we are well-positioned to move forward with construction occurring in mid to late Spring 2015.

Q&A With the Labyrinth Team

The Labyrinth Committee responds to questions you may be wondering about:

Where will our labyrinth be located?
Our plan is to build the labyrinth near our beloved cork oak tree, 
which many of us already experience as having its own sacred spirit.

Why there instead of someplace else?
It is on the corner of College and Orangeburg that our church is most 
visible to the community.  That has been “our corner” since the 
original grape vineyard and farmhouse were
developed into our church campus.

Won’t people driving by wonder why people are walking in a strange 
circuitous pattern?
Our labyrinth will be what is called an “urban style” labyrinth, open 
to the world and visible to the community: to cars passing through the 
intersection and to families picking up school children. If those we 
don’t know see someone walking the winding path, they might wonder 
what it’s all about, and stop to try it out another day.

Won’t those who are walking the labyrinth feel uncomfortable being so 
exposed  to anyone going by?  It is a noisy, busy  corner!
Those who are walking the labyrinth may be aware of the noise of “the 
world around us” at first. But as the path winds them toward the 
center,  they’ll find it possible to lay aside
distractions and preoccupations, and allow the sacredness of the 
space to connect them to their own quiet center, where God awaits.

Will there be some landscaping around the labyrinth to beautify the 
We hope to eventually develop some landscaping that can provide some 
soft separation from the busyness of that corner — but walking the 
labyrinth will always invite us to learn how to let the noise around 
us carry us to the center, not only of the labyrinth, but of the 
stillness of our own heart as well.

We hope you will allow our labyrinth to lead you deeper into God’s 
loving embrace.

The Chartres Labyrinth

The labyrinth committee researched and experienced walking different types of labyrinth designs. We decided to create our labyrinth based on the Christian Chartres Cathedral design found in the gothic cathedral of Chartres which is located outside of Paris, France. This classic design has 11 circuits—concentric circles—with the 12th circle being the center with the rosette pattern. This design was created in the 12 Century.

One of the commitments a Christian made at that time was to journey to Jerusalem and experience the path that Jesus walked. During this time, the Crusades were happening, making it almost impossible for the Christian to go to Jerusalem. The Bishops at that time, decided to create labyrinths in the major cathedrals in Europe. This would allow Christians to symbolically journey to the “New Jerusalem” which would be the center of the labyrinth.

From a contemporary perspective, this design’s energy causes one to calm, to focus inward as one walks the labyrinth as a meditative walk. Other design’s energy do the opposite—energize and “rev up”. The 11 circuit design welcomes us to experience an inner spiritual process of releasing and letting go of our every day “stuff;” receiving guidance, insight, inner peace; and then returning to the world.



Labyrinth Team Update


The Labyrinth Committee is meeting regularly and making definite progress on bringing a labyrinth to our campus by summer of 2015. In an effort to inform you of their work and purpose, committee member Erin King, who is especially knowledgeable about labyrinths, would like to share this information.

Why does the labyrinth attract people? Because it is a tool to guide healing, deepen self-knowledge, and empower creativity.

Walking the labyrinth clears the mind and gives insight into the spiritual journey. It urges action. It calms people in the throes of life transitions.

To those of us who feel we have untapped gifts to offer, it stirs the creative fires within. To others who are in deep sorrow, the walk gives solace and peace.

The experience is different for everyone.

1. The labyrinth is a tool for meditation. By following the path to the center, the seeker can use the labyrinth to quiet the mind and find peace and illumination at the center of his or her being. As soon as one enters the labyrinth, one realizes that the path serves as a metaphor for one’s spiritual journey.

2. The labyrinth is a path of prayer. seekers can go in, allow their minds to quiet, and then begin to pray for whatever they need in their lives.

3. The labyrinth is a place of release or renewal. A seeker can release the feelings as they arise and ask for guidance, forgiveness, or whatever is needed for healing.

Festival of Gifts: 2014

Sunday, December 7, 11:30am – 1:15pm, Fellowship Hall

We invite you to participate in College Avenue’s Festival of Gifts 2014–a seasonal event for children/youth ages 3 – 15 to create handmade gifts for people they love.

The Festival of Gifts will begin soon after worship with a simple lunch for children in a secret on-site location,  After all have eaten, Fellowship Hall will be open to children, offering a variety of gift projects geared to a variety of ages, as well as a gift-wrapping station.

How you can help:

Creative adults and older youth are needed to:

  • Set up and staff a gift project table with enough supplies for 20 children
  • Set up and help staff the gift-wrapping station
  • Help a child who needs assistance with gift projects, or be a “floater”
  • Help with set-up (during worship) or clean-up (after 1:15 pm)

To join the fun by volunteering, please sign up on November 23, or call Patti Canoles (521-1080) or Judy Brown (239-7011).

Parents will need to sign their children in and out, and provide a phone number at which they can be reached, and then make themselves scarce, so surprises can be kept secret.  Pick-up time is 1:15 pm — please be prompt! Advance registration by November 30 will help us plan for lunch.

Festival of Gifts is a long-standing College Avenue tradition, revived by Women of Wonder (WOW), with new participants each year.

Out of the Darkness Walk to Prevent Suicide

Saturday, Sept. 20, Mancini Bowl in Graceada Park, 8am: registration, 9am: walk

Walk to raise awareness about suicide.

Labyrinth Update

The interest in and possibility of a labyrinth at our church actually began around 2000, when members Sandy Sample, Ken Schroeder, and Doris Scanlon (among others) began information gathering, learning about, and visiting labyrinths near and far.

There are several factors contributing to the reinvigorated interest and goal of realizing a labyrinth on our property at this particular time: Doris’s daughters, Lucinda and Melinda, contributed seed money from her estate; the corner property, now devoid of lawn, offers the space necessary to accommodate a labyrinth and the labyrinth itself provides an actual practice of release, meditative insight, renewal and empowerment for whomever is open to its path; as our Year of Unity begins we see the labyrinth project as one worthy of focus that will connect us to the wider community.

We have had five meetings to date and are already making significant progress toward educating ourselves about labyrinths (Erin King is extremely knowledgeable); field trips to see a variety of styles and materials used in labyrinths that are fairly close to us; access to information about a similar project nearing completion at Church of the Brethren (Ken Schroeder); understanding what our grounds will accommodate and the preparation necessary (Samantha and Tami Bennett’s expertise). Along the way we plan to contact a labyrinth consultant who can give us more guidance and expert assistance.

We will keep the congregation fully informed about our direction and progress. We are all available to hear your ideas and thoughts and answer questions. We are very excited about bringing this project to fruition for all to experience and share.

Formed in late Spring 2014, the Labyrinth Committee is working toward the goal of installing a Chartres-type labyrinth on College Avenue’s grounds. The committee members are: Samantha Bennett, Tami Bennett, Erin King, Melinda Kopp (Chair), Rickie Jean Langerman, Mitchell Mesimer, Sandy Sample, Pastor Michael Schiefelbein, and Ken Schroeder.

Invincible Singing

Invincible Singing
by Mary Luti
“I will sing and make melody. Wake up, my spirit; awake, lute and harp; I will wake up the dawn.” -Psalm 108:1-2
When human beings sing, we sing against the odds. It’s an act of faith, fundamentally defiant. It’s always been this way. We sing of hope when there’s no hope, of courage when we’re terrified, of gratitude in the midst of grief, of a new tomorrow as we’re led to the slaughter.
For centuries, we’ve stood powerless against tyrants, weaponless against bigotry, defenseless against greed, pride, and ambition, up to our necks in trouble, without a prayer-except for our songs. Anywhere you look in the human family, when trouble comes, the next thing you hear is singing.
The scriptures attest that Jesus sang a psalm the night he was handed over-a song sung by his people in exile and freedom, in trouble and peace. A song he learned from his mother, who learned it from hers. A song of life stronger than the death he knew he was facing. It was on his lips when he rose from the grave. As long as we’re singing, we’re invincible.
What repertoire of resistant grace are you singing today? What songs are you teaching your children? Are they loud enough, strong enough, joyful enough, confident enough, defiant enough to wake up the New Day’s dawn?


Mentors-in-Action, College Avenue’s mentoring program pairing community volunteers with Modesto High students, will be holding a mentor training Saturday, September 27, from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm, at 1341 College Avenue, Fireside Room.   We welcome any of you who are interested in developing a friendship with a teen and helping him/her achieve potential in school and in life.

The students may be disadvantaged economically, but they are academically able and part of a program that prepares them for college.  A minimum of four hours a month and a year’s commitment are required. If you are interested in attending the training or have questions or concerns, please call Sharon Froba at 521-7265.

Worship With Us

Worship with us at 10am on Sunday mornings!


Contact Us

1341 College Avenue
Modesto, CA 95350

(209) 522-7244