Friday, July 3, 2015

Thank Yous

I want to thank everyone for their cards and prayers during my fall, hospitalization and recovery. You are what makes First Presbyterian a great church.

~Billie Lewis


Thanks to all of the Presbyterian women for the presentation of the Honorary Lifetime Membership Certificate, Proclamation, and beautiful “Butterfly” pin.

It was a joyful surprise.

~Ida M. Borhauer


Words cannot describe how thankful I am for all of the expressions of sympathy and love received on the death of my son Larry. All were gratefully appreciated.

~Gerry Shaw

Thursday, July 2, 2015

July in the Library

Carol (left) and previous librarian
Muffy Keen in the church library
It's summer, it's hot, it's a great time to settle down with a cool glass of iced tea and a good book. Come check out your church library! I just finished 2 really great biographies, one featuring the life of Queen Elizabeth from birth through 1996. The other was the story of 5 British War Brides. Both were fascinating stories. There is also a biography in the "Large Print" section of Abraham Lincoln and how his religion shaped his entire life. If you are looking for easy reading, there is a huge variety of good fiction available. Don't be mislead by the Titles of some sections. Some really wonderful stories that don't fit the "Fiction Label" can be found in the "Christian Living" section and the "Human Relations" section.

Thus far in 2015 the library has taken in and shelved 105 new books, compliments of Don and Evelyn Thompson, as well as Harry and Nancy Wilson. Several duplicates will eventually be placed on the "Books for Free" shelves in the hallway before the library. You might want to check out this location which presently is featuring health and cooking books. If those books are not given new homes within our congregation, they will eventually be donated to the Valley View Thrift Shop or possibly the Justa Center.

I would hope to see more of you making use of this wonderful library. Why not drop in after church on Sunday, or on alternate Wednesday afternoons?

Your "Delighted with the Job" Librarian,
Carol D Maxwell

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Presbyterian Peace Fellowship

We would like to introduce the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship (PPF) to your congregation, and to make you aware of the resources we can provide to support you in your peacemaking witness. The PPF is an independent, non-profit organization whose mission is to help move the PC(USA) to follow Jesus’ witness and teachings as a peacemaker.

We work cooperatively with the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, which is a program of the Presbyterian Mission Agency—our national agency tasked with carrying out the program goals determined by the General Assembly of the PC(USA). Our work began in 1944 when a small group of Presbyterian Ministers who felt called to be Conscientious Objectors banded together to support one another. More recently, our small organization has helped to organize a human rights accompaniment program with the Presbyterian Church of Colombia, we’ve sent numerous delegations to Israel and Palestine and supported Christians in the region in their call for nonviolent direct action to end the Occupation, and we’ve developed resources for congregations struggling to respond to increasing incidents of mass shootings and rising levels of gun violence in our country.

We are writing to you because of our deep concern about the state of our country and our world. We feel that our church must stand firmly against war and build effective nonviolent strategies of resistance in a world increasingly characterized by violence. We desire to work together as partners with congregations who share this conviction. As the number of Presbyterians continues to decline, we believe that our identity as a reformed Christians committed to peacemaking must become stronger.

There are many resources available to support your congregation on our website. They include a six-part study on the complicated situation in Israel and Palestine, sermons on challenging topics like how to respond to the threat posed by ISIS, stories from Accompaniers in Colombia who have been transformed by the church’s witness there, and resources to help your congregation deal with the challenge of gun violence.

I am stepping out of my part-time position as Co-Director of the Peace Fellowship and will transition to the volunteer role of Co-Moderator of our National Committee. Emily Brewer will begin as a full-time Co-Director in my place on July 13, and she is available to preach and teach across the church. She joins Fritz Gutwein, who will continue as a half-time Co-Director. Both of their biographies are on our website.

Please let us know of your own efforts to respond to structural violence or specific incidents of violence in your own community or around the world. Let us know if you would like our support, or if your congregation would like to partner with us. We’ll send a note like this a couple of times a year to nurture the possibility of a deeper relationship. We are proud to be Presbyterian, and look forward to working with your community and many others to strengthen our historic commitment to peacemaking as followers of Jesus together.

We often talk of the need to be bold in our witness, and to watch for pivotal moments when our actions can leaven the broader movement for peace in the world. We hope you’ll share this letter with your session, your deacons, and your entire congregation—that we might take action together.

If you would like to receive our twice-monthly PresbyPeace E-News with news, events, and analysis of peacemaking from a Presbyterian perspective, I invite you to join [us]...

Peace to you,

Rick Ufford-Chase
Presbyterian Peace Fellowship
Moderator, 216th General Assembly, PC(USA) – (2004-2006)

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Support Your Local Theater

Carolyn McBurney, from the Presbytery of Grand Canyon, will be appearing during July in the Brelby Theatre Company production of Beyond Musketeers: Utopia Lost. The theatre is located at 6835 N 58th Ave in historic downtown Glendale. For more information about the Brelby Theatre Company or to buy tickets to this show, go to: http://brelby.com/

Monday, June 29, 2015

Love One Another

On Sunday, just a few days after the latest horrific outburst of violence in Charleston SC, I made these comments.
You know when something gets completely out of whack, like your DVR or your thermostat, or your cell phone, you can hit the reset button and everything goes back to “normal.” The reset button wipes out errors and gives you a fresh new start. We need to activate the reset button; we need to reframe; we need a start over because racism, and sexism, and violence continues to traumatize us. We’re out of whack as a nation. We cannot, especially as people of faith, continue to witness events like Charleston or Sandy Hook or Aurora CO and act as if they were somehow unconnected to us.
Violence hurts us too. If you no longer feel the pain of the families who’ve lost loved ones or the suffering of the refugees in the Middle East or Africa or Malaysia, it’s because all that pain has made us numb. But just because we’re numb to pain does not mean it cannot still hurt us. The psychic toll of violence makes all of us its post trauma victims.
I also quoted from a Facebook post by the mother of a little girl who had been killed at Sandy Hook elementary school. Nelba Marquez-Greene, whose daughter Ana Grace was killed along with other first grade classmates wrote on behalf of the families who lost loved ones in Charleston SC. She said:
It’s time for every American to decide which side of history they will be on. It’s time for communities of faith to take a stand against gun violence. Be courageous. Be strong. Let your voice be heard. We cannot afford to wait for our leaders in Washington to lead courageously. Many have refused. If you were waiting for a hero, look in the mirror. The time is now.
As a leader of a community of faith I agree that the time to take a stand is now. We know what we’re called to be and do. Jesus entrusted the ministry he began on this earth to the church, to us. And while there may be dubious confusion about what motivated the Charleston gunman, there is no doubt about what Jesus intends for his followers: “I give you a new commandment,” he said, “that you love one another.” And by saying “when you do this for the least of these who are my brothers and sisters, you do this for me,” Jesus left no doubt that God’s love includes all people.

We’re called by Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit to be the church. To make a difference; to be courageous; to be strong; to use our voice so that all people may know the saving and transforming love of Jesus Christ. The time is now! So that all the people may live, let it be so.

~Harrell

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Guest Preacher in July

During July Rev. Davis will be taking a well-earned vacation and study break.  In his absence we will be enjoying sermons by guest preacher Robert Felix, a documentary filmmaker and ordination candidate.  To learn more about Robert and the inspiring films he has worked on, go to http://dixiletta.com/

Friday, June 26, 2015

Ecumenical Update

Next January, our church will again take part in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, this time as one of the host churches. First Presbyterian and our co-host, Shepherd of the Desert, will be responsible for the worship service and lunch for the week’s kickoff on Monday, January 18. Debbie Thompson and Beth Mabee will be heading up the team to work on this project; they will be looking for helpers as we get closer to the date, both for the worship service (which is run by lay people from the congregation) and for the lunch that follows. For more information about the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, go to the World Council of Churches website at http://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/week-of-prayer/.