New Worship Experience: Sound Bath

Dear friends & community members,

Last August, our worship team took a field trip to experience the Sound Bath at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.  I was deeply touched by experiencing Sound Bath for the first time and also the hundreds of siblings who gathered on a Friday night to bathe in the reverberation of sound. Since then, our worship team has dreamed of having a sound bath at Lake Merritt UMC to offer the experience to our neighborhood community.  I would like to share what I am learning about sound baths.

Though a sound bath may seem like a “new age” concept, the practice of healing bodies through sound is technically thousands of years old with deep roots in cultures across the world. The “spiritual, cleansing music” varies according to place and culture but it can be as simple as chanting as om following your yoga session or as complex as an hour-long experience in a dedicated space with a sound practitioner.

What is Sound Bath?

According to Medical News Today, in general, a sound bath is a meditative experience where those in attendance are “bathed” in sound waves. These waves are produced by various sources, including healing instruments such as gongs, singing bowls, percussion, chimes, rattles, tuning forks, and even the human voice itself. The music doesn’t have a catchy melody or rhythm like you’d experience at a rock concert or symphony but, instead, is a carefully selected wash of instruments and voices with notable resonances and overtones.

“The intention is really to change and help balance the energy of the participants.  During a sound bath, you don’t want to hook into a melody.  You don’t want to repeat things because you don’t want the brain to recognize a repeated beat.  Instead, you want participants to release, and you want the brain to let go,” explains Tamalyn Miller, the lead sound practitioner at Naturopathica Chelsea in NYC.

What Happens During a Sound Bath

During the sound bath, participants lie on their backs – sometimes referred to as the Savasana position in yoga – for the entire experience, adds Christina Resasco, a sound healing practitioner and yoga therapist at Saffron & Sage in San Diego, California. The sound healing practitioner facilitates the experience, and sometimes the entire group participates with chants, mantras, or rolling oms.  A guided experience like this generally lasts anywhere between 15 and 60 minutes.  After a sound bath, participants may be advised to move slowly when transitioning to a seated position.  Other advice after a sound bath ends can include staying hydrated, getting rest, and staying relaxed.

Where does the practice of sound bath come from?

According to the Tricycle Foundation, which is a Buddhist nonprofit, the origins of both singing bowls and sound bath are unclear. There is a common misconception that the practice must come from Tibet because singing bowls are sometimes known as “Tibetan” singing bowls. While sound and music have long been part of religious practices in Tibet and other East Asian countries, chimes and bells seem to be more prevalent. However, a Japanese instrument called a rin is similar to a singing bowl.  This may be where the Western understanding of singing bowls originated. Despite claims that sound bathing is ancient, the practice that exists today may have emerged from contemporary Western or New Age Spiritualism.

Benefits of Sound Baths

According to Medical News Today, most of the evidence about the benefits of sound bathing is anecdotal.  Proponents of this practice claim it is relaxing and meditative and may promote spiritual well-being. Only a few studies have explored sound baths or the use of singing bowls, but what does exist suggests that the practice may offer some health benefits.

For example, in one 2020 study, 105 participants took part in a single 40 min long sound bath.  Following the sound bath, all participants showed reductions in negative mood and increased in positive mood based on a positive and negative affects rating scale. The 10 participants who agreed to heart rate monitoring saw a decrease in their heart rate.  A 2018 randomized, controlled study assessed the effects of music using singing bowls on 60 people awaiting surgery.  The participants either listened to music or listened to music or wore headphones without sound.

The music group showed lower measures of anxiety based on an anxiety inventory.  They also showed a slight decrease in heart rate variability, suggesting lower anxiety and stress.

In some previous research, blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate also improved. A 2016 observation study of 62 adults found participants reported lower tension, fatigue, depression, and anger after singing bowl meditation.  The effects were strongest among people new to this form of meditation. (Source:

Siblings, LMUMC is hosting our first Sound Bath in our own sanctuary on November 10, 2023, Friday at 7:00 PM.  Would you join us?  I will be there!  Amen.

-Pastor Sunae

Come, let us adore Him! Christ is born!

Blessings to you my brothers and sisters at Lake Merritt and Lake Park United Methodist church!

 For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

 – Isaiah 9:6

What a wonderful time of year it is as once again we pause and remember the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I know the word “pause” might seem like an odd one to use during this time of year when everything about the season seems to be so chaotic.

Yet, I believe it is relevant and important for us to “pause” and keep our minds and eyes on the Jesus!

The first Christmas night was busy, hectic, noisy, and heavy trafficked due to people traveling to their hometown to register for the census! In their midst, we see that some people brought their hearts to bow before a little baby in a manger and brought him excellent gifts.

Let us take a ‘pause’, ‘be still’ and say, “O, Come Let us Adore Him. O, Come Let us Adore Him”.

Jesus was born in Bethlehem. But today, he wishes to be born within your heart. This Christmas season receive the greatest gift that can ever be given. Open your heart and let the One who was born in a stable in humility, died on a cross in love, and rose from the dead in power, enter in to your heart!

This Christmas Eve, six of our circuit churches are joining together at Twin Towers UMC in Alameda at 5:30pm for a joint candlelight worship service. The worship service will be live steamed and please see the link below.  Come and let us worship Jesus Christ!

Christmas Sunday morning worship, we will be gathering virtually in the Spirit of our living God.  LMUMC and LPUMC kids and adults have created a Christmas Pageant message as we reflect Immanuel God with us.  We are truly blessed by their deep reflection and their story of God with us.  Gather your whole family on Christmas day to worship after opening their Christmas gifts with hot cocoa or Eggnog.  The worship is filled with songs, prayers, and Christmas pageant message and is only 20 minutes!!!  Isn’t that amazing?  It will fill your spirit!  Come and let us adore God.

The worship link for the Christmas Sunday morning is sent via an Eblast and it is also found in our church website, under the Worship Link.   The Christmas Eve Live Streaming link is here:

Come and let us adore Him!

May the wonder of Jesus Christ’s love for you and his saving grace renew and refresh you in your heart and in your family during this Christmas time. May you experience the power of Christ’s birth anew this season.  May you be blessed with peace and joy through this Christmas season and into the coming year.

Christ is born!    Rev. Sunae Cho

Happy Thanksgiving! November 22,2022

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever.  – Psalm 136:1

Dear my beloved Lake Park and Lake Merritt church family, I bring you greetings with Shalom of God.

It’s been a busy few months at Lake Park and Lake Merritt United Methodist Church!  I spent some time being still in the presence of God this morning, and your faces passed through as I was still before God and I felt so blessed to have all of you in my life.

I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is just two days away!   Thanksgiving is a time of reflection, looking back at the year and thanking God for bringing us through it a little stronger and a little wiser.  It is also a time to count our blessings.  Some of us may have had a difficult year battling cancer, COVID 19 infection, and other health challenges, while others have found much success in their endeavors.  It is through the grace of our God that we are able to consider the lessons we have learned and the experiences God has given us, and to allow them to deepen our relationship with our loving God.

My new appointments at Lake Park and Lake Merritt have been a great blessing. As I shared this past Sunday, you are my blessing cup!  We are growing and deepening our faith together and collectively we are experiencing challenges that are stretching our faith in action to navigate our world where oppression, violence, hate against LGBTQ siblings and other races and inequality continue. My heart is heavy but I know God is on the move through us in the world bringing God’s kin-dom.

This week, we are witnessing God’s kin-dom here at Lake Merritt. This morning at 830am, the Thanksgiving Turkey Prep crew arrived and prepared fourteen turkeys and they are all wrapped and ready to be cooked tomorrow.  At 9am, 100 salads, hot turkey meals, water bottles, pies, shirts, and a reusable bag for the Lake Lunch was delivered to us from the city of Oakland.  Our Lake Lunch Crew and community volunteers including children and youths arrived at 11:30 am and they joyfully went out to serve and distribute our unhoused siblings the hot lake lunches, essential items, their smiles and most of all, God’s love. It was a good day at Lake Merritt UMC.

Our table grows each time God opens our resources and we share them with our community in need.  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr said, “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”  We have decided to stick with love and live in such ways to reflect the kind of society that Jesus envisioned.

It was great timing, as I was walking out of the Stark Hall, my Spotify was playing “I’ve decided to follow Jesus” and so I joyfully sang …. “I’ve decided to follow Jesus.”

The holiday seasons can be a difficult time for some of us. Let us be compassionate to ourselves as well.  Take a day of rest. A day where you can move more slowly, eat healthy but…, exercise if you wish and do something that refuels you.  A day with people you love… who will make you laugh and sit with you in silence.  Then perhaps for some introverts, just some time alone.  Dear friends, let us continue this journey of love and service together with renewed joy and strength.  Spend some time to give thanks to God for his love and goodness for us and for all his creation.

I promised to send you the video that did not play during the worship service.  The video is from the Skit Guys and is called, “How Big Is Your Table?”  The video file is too big to attach here but Mike, my husband, was able to edit it in Facebook worship from this Sunday.  Here is the link, and it begins at 20:29 to 24:22. Enjoy watching.

Also there was one prayer request from our online community during worship from Sia Linda which was emailed by Don Weingarten, “Praise be to God that I moved yesterday. The moving truck tire blew on the road, but God is good and has provided and we are safe. Thank you for your prayers church”. Grace abounds.  Have a great Thanksgiving week and see you this Sunday.

With many gratitude,

Pastor Sunae

July 24, 2022

“Radical Hospitality”

Bulletin Link


Worship Music Links

Together We Serve
  Help Us Accept Each Other
We Bring the Sacrifice of Praise
Jesu, Jesu

You may give your Tithes & Offerings by mail or through this link click here.

Worship begins at 10:15 AM (Come early for check-in and get your worship supplies. Fellowship follows worship for as long as you would like to stay. We have Nursery and Children’s Godly Play School with enhanced safety and fun for your children. Everyone over age 2, please wear masks (for everyone’s safety and comfort).  We have masks in case you drop or forget yours!

Bulletins will not be handed out in person, and you are welcome to bring your own printed bulletin, use your electronic devices, or follow along on the screen as we project the order of service


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Passcode: 326043

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Meeting ID: 868 2447 3010
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Please read ALL announcements:


Welcoming Rev. Sunae Frances Cho & Family
July 24th

Sunday, July 24th we will welcome Pastor Sunae Cho and husband, Michael to our Congregation. We are planning a Barbecue on the patio – Williams/Reed style!
If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Judi Fabrizio or 510 530-7094 with
      SIDE DISH or DESSERT you plan to bring to complete the meal.
Let’s surround our new Pastor with love and your presence!

Free COVID Vaccination Clinic for ages 5+; Saturday, July 30


LMUMC Choirs Information

To join the voice choir, contact the Music Director,
Jim Meredith

To join the handbell choir, contact the Handbell Director,
Margaret LeWright

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