Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Journey

Adam Hamilton is a pastor, writer, teacher. He’s a popular speaker, workshop leader and sought-after expert in the field of church growth. He’s the pastor of a large growing metropolitan congregation which sets him apart, but even more, he’s the pastor of a mainline Protestant congregation.

During the month of February, the University of Life group has discussed some of Hamilton’s observations about the church and what Christians “get wrong.” Hamilton says that young people, particularly in the age range of 18-40, are not rejecting God. They’re not attending church because of church people. In other words, when young people experience churches that say one thing and do another, when they don’t practice what they preach, they’re turned off.

Here’s how another well known theologian describes the dilemma. Barbara Brown Taylor writes: 
According to most reports, the church as we have known it is now on the endangered species list. While faith in God has remained high in this country, faith in the church has been on a steady decline, until many of our mainline denominations are wondering how they will survive…. We have lost our consensus about what it means to be Christian, and we have lost the language of faith we once had in common (or thought we did)…. Who can blame young people for looking elsewhere for God? Or for deciding—based on the behavior of churchgoers they know—that there is not much reason to look for God at all?
Hamilton and Brown Taylor paint such a bleak picture it’s difficult to imagine solutions. Here’s one possibility. The solution to this and other aspects in our relationship with God is not ours to give. God chose us. We did not choose God. God’s purpose for us and for God’s church is still unfolding.

The liturgical season of Lent provides both for us and the church a helpful metaphor. David W. Johnson of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary writes:
“Journey” provides the metaphor…in this Season of Lent. There is a physical one, of course, that we follow as Jesus makes his way to Jerusalem. There is also the many-faceted spiritual journey of Christian discipleship: the journey from our false selves to our true self, the journey from our solitary self to living with others, and the journey of our soul to God.
This year, during Lent, I invite you to experience the richness of journey, the promise of new life, the freedom in discovering that God has called us; God has chosen us; God is renewing us, both individually and as a congregation. God loves us; we are God’s children. We are on the journey. Thanks be to God!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Shop with a Smile

NEW: If you plan to buy books, music, or other items from, you may donate to PW (free to you!) by signing up for and shopping through Amazon Smile.

Visit and select Presbyterian Women as your favorite charitable organization. From then on, shop through Amazon Smile just as you would through “regular” Amazon, and a portion of the purchase price of eligible items will be donated to PW. You shop, Amazon gives, PW receives!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Be a Busy Bee

NEW! Join the Busy Bee Club and help with the chores needed to keep our church clean. The group will meet from 9:00-11:00 am in Swain Hall on the first and third Thursday of every month. If you have questions or would like to help get things rolling, please call Tina at 623.910.4231.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Are you fasting or feasting?

This year, Ash Wednesday was February 18 and Maundy Thursday is April 2, so the entire month of March is part of the 40 days of Lent. In recognition of that, we are reprinting this article Evelyn Haas submitted.
Lent should be more than a time of fasting. It should also be a joyous season of feasting. Lent is a time to fast from certain things and feast on others. It is a season in which we should:
  • Fast from judging others; feast on the Christ dwelling in them.
  • Fast from emphasis on differences; feast on the unity of all life.
  • Fast from thoughts of illness; feast on the healing power of God.
  • Fast from words that pollute; feast on phrases that purify.
  • Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.
  • Fast from anger; feast on patience.
  • Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism.
  • Fast from worry; feast on divine order.
  • Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation.
  • Fast from gossip; feast on affirmation.
  • Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
  • Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion.
  • Fast from blame; feast on personal responsibility.
  • Fast from discouragement; feast on hope.
  • Fast from suspicion; feast on truth.
  • Fast from thoughts that weaken; feast on promises that inspire.
~Author Unknown

May the promise of Easter inspire you during this Lenten season!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Photos from the 2/7 Handbell Read & Ring

First Presbyterian Church in Sun City was chosen as one of the many locations within the United States to host a Read and Ring event this year. The Handbell Musicians of America, a nationwide membership association, started putting on this event 3 years ago. The plan is that all over the U.S., handbells will ring the same music at the same time. Five events were being hosted here in Arizona along with hundreds in other states. Handbell ringers brought their bells and chimes and their love for music, and together went through 16 new songs for handbells just released for 2015. This is a wonderful way to hear the new music, and if the ringers decide they like it, the scores can be purchased at a discount on the day of the Read and Ring. This 3-hour event gives ringers a chance to meet other ringers and share stories and talents together. The Great Bells of Fire were very excited to be hosting this event!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Why Pancakes? The Story Behind Shrove Tuesday

Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day, Malasada Day, Carnival, Mardi Gras - whatever you want to call it - is the day before the start of Lent, the season the Christian calendar leading up to Easter.

Traditionally Lent was a penitential time, and many (particularly in the Catholic church) "gave up" something for Lent.  Now that might mean forgoing smoking or chocolate, but at one time it regularly involved abstention from meat, dairy, eggs, and sugar, and any food made with those substances.

Lent lasts for 40 days, so in the era before refrigeration any meat, dairy, or eggs left in the larder at the beginning of Lent wouldn't still have been edible at Easter.  This must have been unacceptable to frugal housewives.  Over time, people got into the habit of using up those leftover perishables on the night before the start of Lent - and making pancakes, which contain eggs, milk, and sugar, and go well with a side of bacon or sausage, was a great way to do that.

Some cultures eventually took the idea farther, throwing elaborate parties or staging parades and celebrations as if to use up Lenten-inappropriate high spirits in addition to rich foods.

According to Merriam-Webster, "Shrove" is derived from the Middle English "schrof," meaning "shriven," and "to shrive" means "to administer the sacrament of reconciliation to" or "to free from guilt."  Does that mean that eating pancakes at our Shrove Tuesday Fellowship Dinner will free you from guilt?  Well, no - but we do expect to have good food and a good time!

Shrove Tuesday Fellowship Dinner
Pancakes, Sausage, and Fresh Orange Juice
Music by Ed Dawson of Fletcher Music on the organ
Tuesday, February 17, 2014
5:00 pm in Swain Hall
First Presbyterian Church of Sun City
12225 N. 103rd Ave., Sun City, AZ 85351

Call 623-974-3605 to reserve your place now!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Photos from the January 21 Soup Supper

Those present enjoyed their choice of turkey noodle or bean and ham soup, plus a presentation on the services offered by the Arizona Humane Society.  This month's Fellowship Dinner will be the annual Shrove Tuesday pancake and sausage supper with Ed Dawson on the organ, Tuesday, February 17, at 5:00 pm in Swain Hall.