Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Prayer Shawl Update

Our Prayer Shawl group will have a Special Summer Meeting at 10 am Monday, August 3rd at our regular meeting place at the church. Yarn will be available at this meeting and we have some business to discuss. After the meeting we will go to J. Michaels on 103rd for lunch. Any questions call Nancy Childress.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Faith Formation and Education

On August 15, the 3rd Annual Leadership Training Event of the de Cristo and Grand Canyon Presbyteries will be held at Mission del Sol Presbyterian Church (1565 E Warner Rd., Tempe 85284), starting at 9:00 am and featuring 24 workshops on various aspects of spiritual, congregational, and missional formation. To learn more or to register, go to

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Quote of the Day

"It's not the load that breaks you down. It's the way you carry it." ~C.S. Lewis 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Time for a Thumbs-Up

One of my favorite quotes has always been “Work like a duck: Calm on the surface and paddling furiously under the water.” Some of that has been going on around the church since our Brainstorming and BBQ session on church growth in May. Activity and marketing suggestions have been rolling in for the last two months; I’m thrilled that everyone has been so willing to get involved. Because of that willingness, I’m going to ask you for a favor.

When I first took this job, I updated First Presbyterian’s information on the three major online search engine directories (Google Places for Business, Bing Places for Business, and Yahoo! Local Listings). During the last month I’ve also updated or added entries on sites like,, and, as well as Yelp!, Citysearch, and 10 or so other online directory services. Where possible I’ve uploaded photos, listed our business and worship hours, added our new mission statement, and explained how to locate the campus. As soon as all the changes I’ve made have been approved by the site owners, anyone who searches the Internet for a Presbyterian Church in the Sun City area will be almost guaranteed to find us, no matter what search tool they use. However…

A number of these sites allow the public to write reviews of the businesses listed there. As the administrator of the listings, I can’t also write reviews. But if you have an email address, you can!

Why you would want to? Well, if people are more likely to visit a restaurant when reviewers say the service and the food are good, don’t you think they’ll also be more likely to visit a church that’s received rave reviews? I would! Really think about what you love about First Presbyterian, in as specific terms as possible. Do you like Rev. Davis’s sermons? Our traditional choir and hymn selections? The quality of the food and programs at the Fellowship Dinners? The PW Bible study programs? The fact that we always have room in the parking lot? If you were encouraging a friend to attend our church, what would you say?

Now visit one or more of these links and tell the world:

You can also post a review on our Google Places for Business entry if you have a gmail account – and, of course, if you haven’t already done so, please like us on Facebook. In fact, if you really get excited about this idea, I have other links you can use, too.

Enthusing about the church in person is hard for most of us, because no one likes to risk a face-to-face rejection. A positive online review, though, takes only a few minutes and doesn’t share that risk. Give it a try – it’s a great way for you to help with spreading the word!

~Beth Mabee


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Benefits of Doing Good

Did you know that volunteering can help your brain stay sharp as you age?  This is a great example of doing something for others that benefits you, too.  Read more about the science behind this claim at

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Last Chance to Hear Robert Felix

This Sunday, July 26, is the last time filmmaker and ordination candidate Robert Felix will preach before Harrell returns from his vacation/study break.  Don't miss this chance to hear his message of God's amazing love.

To hear Robert's previous sermons, go to our website; click on About Us -> Listen to Recorded Services and then on the dates he preached (July 5, 12, and 19).

Monday, July 20, 2015

More on Ghost Ranch

We received this update today:

All Are Safe - Flooding Destroys Some of Our Favorite Workshop Areas


A sudden storm raged through Ghost Ranch around 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 7th. Brief yet violent, it brought destructive waters sweeping down through the arroyo, annihilating everything in its path. The force of the 20-foot wall of water that roared through was so strong it snapped mature trees in half and carried buildings away. This week, in the aftermath, we exalt at the fact that no one was hurt… truly a miracle. We are just so grateful to God for the safety of our guests, volunteers and staff.

We lost the Box Canyon aqueduct, Pot Hollow, Short House, Pole Barn, the Low Ropes Course and equipment shed, and further on down the arroyo, the brand new Fiber Arts Studio. Classes held in these areas have all been relocated. Aside from limited access to the Box Canyon hiking trail and closing part of the Matrimonial Mesa trail, Ghost Ranch is fully operational.

The National Weather Service is investigating the storm as there has not been an event like this in their records and they are surveying to assess how to forecast such an event in the future. For aid and funding to rebuild we're working with the Risk Management staff at the Presbyterian Church (USA), the New Mexico Governor's Office, the Department of Homeland Security, the Rio Arriba Country Emergency Management Office/Rural Events Center/Extension Office, the National Resource Conservation Service and Santa Clara Pueblo. We've also engaged the help of the Presbyterian Disaster Services, American Red Cross, FEMA, National Weather Service, Presbyterian Healthcare Services, PC(USA) Management and Communications Staff, our Governing Board and National Ghost Ranch Foundation.

Many of you inquired how you can help. At this time, the damage is too extensive and the areas are very dangerous to be working in, so we do not have volunteer and staff work crews in the destroyed areas. We have insurance but it comes with a hefty $100,000 deductible. Your help today is needed.

We will rebuild. And although it may seem obvious, we will not rebuild in the same areas.

If you have not yet given to our Flood Recovery Fund, or would like to give again, you may do so by connecting to this link on our website:

OR you can mail a donation to:
Ghost Ranch
280 Private Road #1708, Abiquiu NM 87510.

Visit our website for Other Ways to Support Ghost Ranch which offers portals for shopping on and GoodShop, both which allow a portion of your planned purchases to be donated to Ghost Ranch.

We are also seeking donations for our online auction which opens for bidding September 12. If you have an item or service to contribute to our auction, please email

While the devastation and loss are extensive, we are blessed with wonderful guests, donors, friends, and staff. You are all so awesome! God bless you for your love and encouragement! THANK YOU all SO much for the outpouring of generous offers of financial assistance and help in our recovery.

Immediately after the devastation from Tuesday’s storm, a double rainbow appeared over the Mesa – the promise of God’s love and hope times two!

During these days of assessing the damages, more signs of hope are emerging – a beautiful robin rebuilding her nest in a beam left on the Pottery structure, a road runner skipping across the arroyo, sun, rain and more sun, and best of all, our guests enjoying the abounding beauty and the community of the Ranch, singing, painting, laughing, praising, caring. What joy!

We are so overwhelmed at the outpouring of prayers, financial support, offers of volunteer time, and many words of encouragement. You are all awesome!

With love and gratitude,
Debra Hepler, Executive Director