Thursday, July 21, 2016

New Virtual Tour

The Google Earth virtual tour of our church campus is now available - and here it is! Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Superior Sound in September!

Worship services during the last six months have highlighted several issues with the sound system in our Sanctuary. The main speaker is aimed over the heads of those in the first few pews and is inadequate to cover the back rows, creating several large “dead spots.” In addition, despite adjustments, the reproduction of David’s voice continues to be too tinny, and intermittent feedback has come close to driving several people out of the room.

In response to these problems, we have called in a professional church sound consultant to design a replacement sound system for us. His proposal includes all new speakers for the Sanctuary; new microphones for the choir and the bell choir; and new controls that will let the sound booth operators adjust more than just the volume level. The total cost for these changes will be $30,000.

Thanks to the generosity of several concerned members of the church, we have already received $12,400 toward this project. The Session has approved an appeal to the congregation for the balance.

Please, if you would like to hear terrific sound quality in our Sanctuary – no dead spots, no feedback, and David sounding like David – make a contribution toward this project today. No amount is too small. You can mail us your donation, drop it off at the church office, or leave it in the collection plate as early as this Sunday. (Be sure to mark it “sound.”) The sooner we have the money available, the sooner work can begin.

Let’s aim for superior sound in September!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Presbyterian Women in July

Dysart School District: School Supplies Needed

We will be asking for school supplies during July for delivery to the Dysart School District late in the month. Our Coordinating Team members will set up and maintain a long table in Swain Hall for these items to be accumulated and displayed.

Here are the suggested items:
  • Crayons Pencils (#2) 
  • Ballpoint Pens (black or blue) 
  • Glue/Glue Sticks 
  • Kids’ Scissors 
  • Rulers 
  • Notebook Paper 
  • 3-ring Notebooks 
  • Spiral Notebooks 
  • 2-pocket Folders 
  • Pocket Calculators 
  • Lunch Boxes 
  • Backpacks

Dollar- and 99-cent stores always have a good selection of many of these items! Monetary donations are also welcome. You may bring or mail a check to the church office, payable to First Presbyterian Church, specifying that it is for school supplies. Someone will do the shopping for you!

Franciscan Renewal Center – PW Synod of the Southwest Fall Gathering.

If you have never experienced the Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale, you may want to attend one or all three days’ activities! The theme for this Gathering is “Who Is Jesus?”, title of the Horizons Bible Study for the coming year. Although the Gathering isn’t until October 28-30, ladies who are interested in attending will need to make reservations by October 8. I have the forms. Here is an abbreviated schedule:

Friday, October 28 
  • Check-In – 4:00 pm 
  • Dinner – 6:00-7:00 
  • Evening Program – 7:15 
Saturday, October 29 
  • Morning Meditation – 7:30 
  • Breakfast – 8:00-9:00 
  • Morning Program – 9:15 
  • Workshops – 10:45-11:45 
  • Lunch – 11:30-12:30 
  • Workshops – 1:00-2:00 
  • Workshops – 2:15-3:15 
  • Free Time Opportunities 3:30-6:00 
  • Dinner – 6:00-7:00 
Sunday, October 30
  • Morning Meditation – 7:30 
  • Breakfast – 8:00-9:00 
  • Worship – 9:30 
  • Lunch – 12:00
Fees range from $60, for one meal plus one program fee, to full registration for all three days, including two nights’ lodging, $230-$300.

~Marge Hagerman, Co-Moderator

Monday, July 18, 2016

Red Cross Blood Drive

Wednesday, July 27, 1 - 6 pm, in the South Parking Lot of the Northwest Regional Library, 16089 N. Bullard Ave. in Surprise. Whatever your reason to help, the need is constant and your contribution is important for a healthy and reliable blood supply. Plus, you'll feel good knowing you've helped change a life. To schedule an appointment to donate blood and to save on waiting time call 1-800-733-2767 or CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A Look on the Inside

We spend so much of life trying to make a good impression on other people, putting our best foot forward, as it were, and sometimes wondering what others would think of us if they knew what we were really like on the inside. The psalmist, however, begins the celebration of faith by acknowledging that God already knows what he's like on the inside and knows him better than he knows himself, even after a lifetime of self-discovery: "O Lord, thou hast searched me and known me!" he wrote in Psalm 139, "...Thou discernest my thoughts from afar, ...and art acquainted with all my ways."

In our church life the drama is somewhat the same. We, as a congregation, create a public image of our church and then wonder why the community doesn't beat a path to our doors; we live with the conviction that if the community knew what our church was really like on the inside, they would knock down the doors just to be a part of it. But how do we do that? How do we get people to see the inside of the church?

The most profound answer is to share the love and energy and strength of our faith with friends and neighbors, because God uses our witness to draw people into faith. But now technology is coming to the rescue with a resource that may help curious folks to see the inside of our church from afar.

Google Earth has long been able to view any place on the globe from satellite distance, zooming in on terrain and streets, pinpointing precise locations; and lately they have also provided a street level feature, so that one can not only find the location, but view the specific address, and rotate the camera to explore the neighborhood! It's all rather amazing, really.

And now Google has asked to come and photograph the inside of our church so that prospective viewers can not only locate the church and zoom in on the site, but also open the door and enter to discover how beautiful our church is on the inside. In time there may also be a feature by which we can prov-ide a personal video clip with words of welcome. I don't know how long it will take for Google’s virtual tour of our church to become operational; but it feels as though we're all on the same page at the same time. It's time to let the world see what we're like on the inside, so that God can draw people in from the outside to new life.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Grace and Gratitude

by Joe Small

Reprinted from the Presbyterian Foundation’s June 16th edition of “The Pastor’s Life.”

The Christian life is shaped by gratitude - gratitude for the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit. It is by God's grace that we receive the gift of our own lives, and so we are called to shape the whole of our lives by our grateful response. "The stewardship of all of life" is a common phrase, yet too often stewardship is reduced to an annual program, the annual program is reduced to the means to achieve an end, and the end is reduced to the church budget. "Gratitude for all of life" may be a way to broaden and deepen our understanding and our use of the gifts God has given us.

Taking "The Offering" is not a modern development in Christian worship. From the outset, Christians who gathered for worship shared their resources. But in the early centuries, the offering was not for salaries and buildings, not even for church programs. A fascinating description of the offering is found in Tertullian's Apology, written at the close of the second century. He contrasts Christian use of the offering with the "dues" paid in pagan cultic associations. [The offering] is not made up of money paid in entrance-fees, as if religion were a matter of contract. Every man once a month brings some modest coin - or whatever he wishes, and only if he does wish, and if he can; for nobody is compelled; it is a voluntary offering. You might call them the trust funds of piety. For they are not spent upon banquets nor drinking-parties nor thankless eating-houses; but to feed the poor and to bury them, for boys and girls who lack property and parents, and then for slaves grown old and shipwrecked mariners; and any who may be in mines, islands, or prisons.

Such work of love (for so it is) puts a mark upon us, in the eyes of some. "Look," they say, "how they love one another" and "how they are ready to die for each other."

What Tertullian doesn't say is that it was common practice in the early churches to share the fruits of their offering not only with fellow-Christians, but also with pagan neighbors. They provided food for the poor and burials for the indigent; they opened their homes to orphans and discarded slaves; they rescued sailors; and they provided for prisoners in Roman "gulags." Tertullian doesn't mention that Christians typically cared for victims of Plague and other dangerous diseases. All of these were "thrown-away people" in Greco-Roman society.

We modern Presbyterians would do well to be reminded of the origin of "The Offering" as the plates are passed each Sunday … or as we write a monthly check, contribute online, or set up an automatic withdrawal account. We might also pay closer attention to what "The Offering" is for.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Special Music this Sunday

Our summer worship services in Swain Hall have been filled with surprises, from fireworks to a trip through outer space, and we're not done yet! This Sunday, July 10, we'll be enjoying the musical talents of soloist Emily Denielle, the granddaughter of Craig and Mary Lou McCoy. You won't want to miss her! (As always, worship will begin at 9:00 am.)