Thursday, October 31, 2013

More on the Holiday High Tea

Saturday, December 14, 2013
Doors open at 1:00 pm, tea is served at 1:30 pm

All ladies of the church and their friends are welcome.  Come at 1:00 and view the beautiful tables our ladies have set with their special china. Enjoy tea sandwiches; cucumber canap├ęs; scones with lemon curd, Devonshire cream and raspberry jam; delicious pastries; AND special entertainment.

Tickets will be available in Swain Hall after the service on Sunday, November 24, and Sunday, December 1. They may also be purchased in the church office on Monday-Wednesday, 8:00am-4:00pm, or Thursday, 8:00am -1:00pm. Tickets are $12.00, non-refundable.

Get your tickets early—they sell out quickly!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

November in the Library

On the round table in the library are several new books.

I highly recommend one of them. It is A Rugged Land of Gold. The setting is in a remote section of Alaska where a man and his courageous wife are gold prospectors. When the man gets lost on an island, the wife has to carry on alone and the courage and know-how she uses is unbelievable. Despite the cold and snow and being all by herself, she shows great spunk and lots of determination. Her optimism is an everlasting quality. This is a book that is hard to put down. I read it in a day.

Also, one of our volunteers has resigned—Helen Petersen. Thank you, Helen, for your time spent helping in the library. Good luck to you. If anyone is interested in learning how the library is handled and would like to volunteer, please call me, 623-974-9250.
~Muffy Keen

BOOK REVIEW: That’s the Way It Used to Be by Barbara Anderson

Did you know that our own Barbara Anderson lived in the Navajo Nation for 39 years, raised a family there? Fortunately for us, she has written her memoirs. They’re primarily intended for her Navajo friends and Presbyterian mission co-workers, but there is plenty in its nearly 300 pages of interest to all of us.  One example:  Can you imagine teaching English to Navajos, whose language is one of the three most difficult for non-native speakers to learn?  She gives many examples, such as what she had to insist they learn, and what she had to let be.  Loads of photos.  A treasure.
  ~Helen Petersen

BOOK REVIEW: Faith of Our Mothers: The Stories of Presidential Mothers from Mary Washington to Barbara Bush by Harold I. Gullan

Virtually every presidential mother had faith in her son and a number possessed a devout religious faith as well. The life story of each mother and son who became president is told here.
~Evelyn Haas

Monday, October 28, 2013

The History of the Memorial Carillon

This blog features articles and information related to the fiftieth anniversary of First Presbyterian Church. One of the newest additions to the campus will help raise awareness about our church while adding a distinctive note to the neighborhood.

The memorial carillon is a gift made possible by the generosity of several “saints” who just wanted to hear the sound of a carillon. Pat Stokley and Leona Yousling first proposed a carillon for the church and then good friends like Donna Roth took up the project as a memorial to Pat and Leona. The families of both women made generous contributions and finally, because the budget for the anniversary was opened to the congregation, many members of the church made gifts that assured we’d have a beautiful way to glorify God and enhance our presence in the community.

Thank you everyone who made the carillon a reality. You may be wondering, just what is a carillon and what is it for? As a musical instrument, the carillon consists of a keyboard and a footboard, various levers connected to bells typically suspended in a belfry, the church’s steeple. The carillonneur or carillonist is the title of the musician who plays the carillon. Keys on the board are struck or depressed which causes the clapper in the bell to sound, ring.

The new carillon at First Presbyterian Church is an electronic chime instrument. Technically, not a carillon, but flexible enough to enable us to play “bell” music three times a day with a selection of standard Christian hymns and at the holidays, Christmas Carols and Easter Hymns.

What this gift gives us is the opportunity to announce our presence in the community in a creative and innovative way. It will give us the ability to share our traditions with our neighbors and hopefully create a new connection the whole neighborhood will appreciate.

Thanks again to all those who made this possible. To the saints who envisioned it to those who worked to make it possible, especially Elders, Donna Roth and Bob Johnson, Staff, Norma Mack and various church volunteers, especially Bill Wentling.

The Psalmist wrote: Come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before God’s presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise to God…

For years and years to come, let the sound of the carillon remind us of our friends and may it always be a joyful sound to God. So be it!

~Rev. Harrell D. Davis

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Veteran's Day, a Little Early

Veterans Day this year is Monday, November 11, but First Presbyterian has a lot going on that week.  We'll be celebrating Veteran's Day a little early - at Fellowship on Sunday, November 3, immediately following worship services.  Come to Swain Hall at 10:00 am for homemade baked goodies, patriotic songs, and readings - and don't forget to bring photos of yourself or your loved ones in uniform.  So far we've collected quite a few service photos but we'd like even more.  We want to honor both the veterans still in our midst, and those we remember.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

November at The University of Life

First Presbyterian University of Life is open to church members and guests alike. Our Friday meetings begin at 8:30AM in Swain Hall with orange juice, donuts and coffee. The class begins promptly at 9:00AM for a short hour. University of Life is non-denominational and open to all Christians living in today’s world. Everyone is welcome.
  • November 1: University of Life introduces historian Shirley Fackelman relaying the difficulties and gutsy perseverance of those involved in saving our English Bible.
  • November 8: Louie Giglio presents How Great is Our God. Louie Giglio is an exuberant evangelist whose vibrant presentation will make you sit up and take notice. His is a passion to God we rarely see, with discussion time.
  • November 15: This Friday brings to University of Life our own Beth Mabee talking about the possibilities of “Appreciative Inquiry” and what it could do for us as individuals and for our church.
  • November 22: University of Life presents a gentle lovely film titled The Potter. Retired Pastor and Artisan David Blakeslee equates his work with clay to God’s creation of us. His insightful understanding of life is a joy to witness. With discussion time.
  • November 29: The day after Thanksgiving….no University of Life.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Reformation Sunday 2013

Reformation Sunday 2013 is October 27.  As we mentioned in two earlier posts, First Presbyterian Church of Sun City is celebrating this day by rehanging historic banners that were handcrafted by church members for Reformation Sunday 1976.  One of those banners represents the Heidelberg Catechism, a teaching tool created to explain Protestant theology in the Sixteenth century.  The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will commemorate the Heidelberg Catechism on Reformation Sunday 2013.  For more information on the Heidelberg Catechism, click here to view the pdf flyer developed by the Presbyterian Historical Society in anticipation of Reformation Sunday 2013.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Have You Heard Our Carillon?

At long last our much-anticipated new digital carillon has been installed. The carillon, by the Elderhorst Bell company, will be formally dedicated at the November 3 worship service as part of the Season of Celebration for our 50th anniversary. The bells are now playing softly every day at 8 am, noon, and 6 pm. We will turn up the volume before the dedication service and play the bells prior to every worship service from then on. Stop by to hear this lovely addition to our church campus!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Great Bells of Fire!

The new handbell choir is up and running and preparing to perform at the November 10 anniversary worship service.  The choir has also chosen a name: "Great Bells of Fire."  It's not too late to join this fun and exciting group - they rehearse in Annex 1 every Wednesday at 1:00 pm.  They'd like to have at least half as many members as this group pictured in the church directory from 1976:

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Reformation Sunday Banners, Part 2

The banners made by the women of First Presbyterian Church and used for the first time on Reformation Sunday 1975 portray the eight Confessions (or Creeds) approved and adopted by the Presbyterian Church in its comprehensive statement of beliefs. They represent doctrinal and theological statements which span the history of the Christian Church.

The four banners on the right, from left to right, represent the following:
  • The Apostles' Creed
    • The somber brown color of this banner represents the difficulty and rigor of early Christianity under persecution; also, the monastic tradition. The purple arches symbolize the entrances to caves or catacombs, where early Christians met in secret; also, the shape of Gothic church windows. The anchor cross stands for security in Christ, as found by the apostles, some of whom were fishermen. The fish is an ancient symbol for the Christian faith, perhaps a secret code mark. Letters of the Greek word for fish can be used as first letters in the phrase, "Jesus Christ, God's Son, Savior." The chalice represents the Lord's Supper, and thus the earnest and simple fellowship of the early church. The upside-down cross stands for Peter, chief of the apostles, who is said to have been crucified upside down because he thought himself unworthy of a death like the Master's.
  • The Westminster Confession and the Shorter Catechism (England, 1646)
    • The three long panels and the maroon triangle represent the Trinity. The eye symbolizes God's providence and control of all life and history - a dominant theme of Westminster. The crown stands for God's rule. The open Bible symbolizes the authority of the written Word, basic to this Confession's teachings. The Alpha and the Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, referring to Christ and his death as the beginning and the end, and central to our faith.
  • The Confession of 1967 (USA, 1967)
    • The blue, the red, and the gold were the colors of the official seal of The United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America. The golden, down-reaching hand, repeated from the Nicene banner, stands for God, relating to his world. The crown, repeated from the Westminster banner, and the nail-scarred hand, represent the death and victory of Christ as he reconciles the world. The four hands of different colors, the clasped hands and the green circle symbolize the reconciled world at the food of the cross - God's act of reconciliation being the starting point and theme of the Confession of 1967. The stars and planets on the blue background represent the "space-age" setting of this Confession.
  • The Heidelberg Catechism (Germany, 1563)
    • The regal red and gold of this banner are a tribute to the rule of Frederick III, who ordered the writing of the Catechism for followers of John Calvin in Germany. The crown of thorns, the "German" cross, and the tablets are symbols of Misery, Redemption, and Thankfulness - the three basic themes of the Catechism. (The tablets represent the Ten Commandments, which appear in the Catechism where it teaches that obedience is the proper form of thankfulness.) The two lights and the fire represent the Trinity - with the Hebrew name of God on the left orb, the Greek monogram for Jesus on the right orb, and the flame standing for the Holy Spirit. There is a long discussion of the Trinity in the Catechism.
Most of these historic, hand-crafted banners will be hung in the Sanctuary or in Swain Hall during the Season of Celebration for our 50th Anniversary. Don't miss the opportunity to see them!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Reformation Sunday Banners, Part 1

October 27, 2013, is Reformation Sunday.  Eight of our historic banners, most of which we are hanging in the Sanctuary and Swain Hall during our Season of Celebration, were originally made for a "Festival of Faith" service on Reformation Sunday in 1975.  Twenty women (all members of the church) worked more than 300 hours sewing the banners, which symbolize eight historic Confessions of Faith.  Below is the color photo of the banners in place for the service:

Here are the explanations of the four banners on the left, from left to right:
  • The Scots Confession (Scotland, 1560)
    • The blue of the shield is the background color of the Church of Scotland. The tartan, X-shaped cross is a form called St. Andrew's Cross, after the apostle who brought the Gospel to Scotland. The tartan, or plaid, is that of the Hamilton clan in honor of the first martyr of the Scottish Reformation, Patrick Hamilton. The Celtic cross at the front of the shield is another ancient form of cross associated with Christians of the British Isles. The Bible and the sword remind us that Paul called the Word of God "the sword of the Spirit," and the sharpness of John Knox's preaching of the Word was a major power for reformation in Scotland. The ship is a symbol for the Church; the confession contains a remarkable, strong doctrine of the Church. The burning bush which is not consumed is to remind us of Moses's Mt. Sinai experience; it is a symbol of God's presence and call, and the chief symbol of the Church of Scotland.
  • The Theological Declaration of Barmen (Germany, 1934)
    • This banner features a crossed out swastika and the cross rising as a protest and witness against Nazi tyranny and any effort to take the role of God and control of the Church. The fire symbolizes the suffering and death which follows from defense of the faith against tyranny, as for some of the Barmen signers, but the cross survives such persecution and the crisis of war, rising out of the flames.
  • The Second Helvetic Confession (Switzerland, 1566)
    • The blue and white are the heraldic colors of ancient Switzerland. The cross is again dominant on this banner because of the extensive discussion of salvation in the Confession. The "hand and the burning heart" is a traditional symbol for John Calvin, father of Presbyterianism in its Swiss homeland. The lamp symbolizes knowledge and discipline, two of the themes of the Helvetic which make it unique. The shepherd's crook and the pasture stand for the pastoral ministry and the flock's care for its own members. The chalice and the waves represent Holy Communion and Baptism.
  • The Nicene Creed (4th Century)
    • The cross which is also a sword is a symbol for the Emperor Constantine and his successors, because he called the ecumenical council which began the process of thinking which resulted in this creed; because he was he first Christian emperor; and because he began the tradition of imperial Christianity. The cross is central here because the doctrine of Christ is central in the Creed. The green triangle and the three symbols with it represent the doctrine of the Trinity formalized in the Nicene Creed. The hand reaching down symbolized God, the Father. The chi rho monogram stands for Christ; chi and rho are the first two letters of the Greek word for Christ, used by Constantine on the shields and helmets of his army. The dove represents The Holy Spirit, and the crowns stand for the rule and glory of God.
The symbolism of the remaining banners will be discussed in the next post.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

We are now on Pinterest!

While preparing for our 50th anniversary celebration, we've collected photos from our past, photos of our church and its campus, and photos of our ongoing activities. To see them, visit the History, Campus, and Events Boards on our new Pinterest page, at

Visit and enjoy!

Monday, October 14, 2013

2009 at First Presbyterian

During January 2009, Associate Pastor Rev. Deborah Kehle was nominated to be Interim Pastor, temporarily filling the position vacated by Dr. John Barklind. February was a busy month with the Valentine’s Day Sweetheart Breakfast at Men’s Fellowship, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday services shared with Faith Presbyterian, and many of us engrossed in reading The Shack. University of Life was studying the parables of Dr. Seuss as explained by Ellen Van Arsdale. In March, Craig McCoy began the H.E.L.P. group to “help eliminate little problems,” a tremendous assist to those of us with minor home chores we couldn’t do. In June we visited “Gilligan’s Island” at Vacation Bible School and had a joyful time with Rev. Kehle and Rev. Stan Burtless. In July, Lana Goodman replaced Irene Stevenson in the office and twenty-two “car-poolers” enjoyed a Diamondbacks Baseball game. Charles Sedgwick vigorously loaded his car, weekly, with donated items for Agua Fria Food Bank and Thrift Shop and spent the day there as a volunteer. Charles continues his dedication to Aqua Fria. By October, a Pastoral Nominating Committee was established to find a new Pastor for First Presbyterian. November introduced the first combined Variety Show with Temple Beth Shalom and Unity Church to benefit Valley View Community Food Bank. We happily welcomed back our winter visitors and gladly put them to work! In December, Session voted to mail flyers to residents of Sun City and Youngtown during Advent. The Deacons donated $400.00 to Valley View Food Bank. The church choir boasted 27 members and performed a glorious Christmas Cantata. We joined hands saying Grace before our Fellowship Christmas Feast in a beautifully decorated Swain Hall and after sharing punch and snacks Christmas Eve, celebrated the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, in a Sanctuary festive with candles and swagged with wreaths. New members for the year 2009 were Cheryl Davis, Forrest Bartenhagen, Helen Petersen, Elizabeth Stradtner, Gene Klatte, Lucie Marsh and Viola Patterson.
~Donna Roth

Sunday, October 13, 2013

2008 at First Presbyterian

January 6, 2008, the Christian Education Committee made plans for 6 weeks of Bible Study and Prayer and a 3-day study of the ancient spiritual tool of personality types known as The Enneagram. In February the University of Life series would be “I believe in God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit," each part to be explored by Rev. Kehle, Rev. Barbara Farwell or Dr. Douglas Wright. Norma Mack resigned her position as of February 15 and Cynthia Sanders became the Administrative Assistant. Tina and Chris Vasiliow entertained with Irish Ballads after the Irish Stew Dinner the Kitchen Angels prepared for the St. Patrick’s Day celebration on March 12th. In April, Janie Williams and Claire Eliason were honored by receiving “Senior Service Awards” presented by Presbytery at the Orangewood Presbyterian Church. First Presbyterian hosted over twenty health and wellness agencies April 4 at a health fair. On the 16th court came to Swain Hall when Judges Judy, Wapner and Brown put the Nursery Rhymes on trial. Charles Sedgewick and Claire Eliason were honored by Agua Fria for their services. The “Blood Pressure Clinics” continued in Swain Hall following the 4th Sunday Services. Shirley McVicker had started the Prayer Shawl Ministry in May and by June they had shawls ready for the ill or shut-ins. PW began collecting personal grooming items, school supplies and canned goods. July 16th was Pizza night with card games. Irene Stephenson began work in the office as Administrative Assistant while Norma Mack continued as Financial Secretary. On August 20th we learned to play “Froggie Farkle,” ending the evening with dessert. September 2nd was a car pool to a ball game and on the 17th we had a bus trip to Organ Stop Pizza. In October Dr. John Barklind resigned as Senior Pastor. In December the Senior Trippers went to see “Holly Jolly Christmas” at the Broadway Palms Theatre. The third annual PW High Tea was on the 13th and on the 17th we were served a Christmas Dinner and entertained by the Handbell Choir. On Christmas Eve 2008 we were served Punch and Cookies in Swain Hall prior to the 5PM Service. Winter visitor Roxanne Fogarty became a church member in 2008.
~Donna Roth

Saturday, October 12, 2013

2007 at First Presbyterian

In January of 2007, Nita Cinquina began an 8-week work book study by Marie Dunnam at the Sunday morning Bible Study.  Carol Arseth, R.N., started a monthly Coffee Klatch discussing pertinent health subjects. As many as 85 were in attendance at the Men’s Breakfast. A luncheon on Valentine’s Day celebrated those who had been married 50 years or more. Rev. Wedul retired from his duties at First Presbyterian. Pairs of Deacons and Elders served Communion to homebound members. In April volunteers packed boxes of food supplies at the West Side Food Bank and on Easter Sunday the Deacons served breakfast to Choir members. Martha and Zane Porter were honored “for their outstanding church work” by Presbytery! The second home was started at Habitat for Humanity in Peoria. Guest Tom Wilson sang and sang and sang for the program at the May Tea honoring 2 centenarians and 30 guests over 90. “Lessons From Mayberry” became the theme for the first, very popular, Vacation Church School during June of 2007. After the Fellowship Chicken Dinner in July, diners were entertained with duets by Al and Pat Trejo, native Arizonans. The Fellowship Dinner in August. featured ten members of the Shuler Family singing “down home gospel music” and after a Mexican dinner in September, the entertainment was provided by the “Musical Journeys” performing old time show tunes. “Mission and Ministry” were discussed by four speakers at University of Life during October.  December brought the PW High Tea on the 8th; the Choir performed “Journey of Promises”, a Cantata, during a service on the 16th; and a special Christmas Dinner was served on December 19th with entertainment by the Desert Belles. A Wassail Bowl in Swain Hall greeted Church attendees at 4PM for the Christmas Eve Service at 5PM. Among the new church members of 2007 were Norman and Joelle Keprios, Donna Roth, Gabe and Mary Jo Conwell, Lee and Juanita Devers, Arla Harvey and Pat Wright.
~Donna Roth


Friday, October 11, 2013

2006 at First Presbyterian

Early in 2006, eighty church members formed into 9 groups for Bible Study to supplement the Sunday morning Bible class. Presbyterian Women reduced their number of circles to six. The Wilsons donated $115.00 to Ronald MacDonald House from the “empty can” collections.  FPC Travelers visited Barleen’s Arizona Opera, a dinner theater in Apache Junction, and in February, Taliesin West, winter home of Frank Lloyd Wright. On March 2nd the Watoto Children’s Choir from Uganda performed. In May, the church’s “sound committee” upgraded equipment from tapes to CDs. Carol Arseth, R.N., announced in June that the Deacons were returning the new HIPAA forms quickly. PW began collecting baby items for the New Life Center in Goodyear. In July, to the delight of diners, the World Life Zoo visited the Fellowship Dinner. Session reported that, due to tree roots, the brick courtyard in the Memorial Garden was buckling and five trees would be removed. Stephen Ministers had grown to twelve members. A two day trip to Agua Prieta Mission, near Douglas, was made by FPC Travelers in September. October 29th was a Sunday of “Old Time Religion” with hymns of the past. University of Life offered a series on “What does it mean to be a Presbyterian” taught by Rev. Zabriskie, Rev. Kehle and Dr. Barklind. December 2006 started with the High Tea on the 9th;  Men’s Fellowship invited all church ladies to breakfast on the 12th. December closed with a catered Fellowship Dinner held on the 20th. New members at First Presbyterian for 2006 were May Kent, Don and Evelyn Thompson, Jack and Judy Goss, Nancy Childress and Billie Lewis.
~Donna Roth

Thursday, October 10, 2013

2005 at First Presbyterian

Bible Study continued in the Annex at 9AM on Sunday mornings during 2005 as the Intercessory Prayer group faithfully met every Tuesday in the Fireside Room. University of Life would study the “Parables of the Good Samaritan” on video. Nancy and Harry Wilson presented $100.00 to Ronald McDonald House from their collecting of empty soda cans. First Presbyterian gave, from the Endowment Fund, $25,000.00 for Presbyterian Churches damaged during Florida’s hurricane and $25,000.00 for medications to the Tsunami Relief. In March the FPC Travelers enjoyed “Guys and Dolls” at the Broadway Palms and Swain Hall received a new roof. During the summer PW collected $300.00 worth of cleaning supplies for the New Life Center in Goodyear, $400.00 in school supplies for the Glendale Family Development Center, 250 jars of peanut butter for Agua Fria and $2000.00 of slightly used clothing for Hope’s Closet. The October Fellowship Dinner featured the trio of Tina and Chris Vasiliow and Selma Stoormans as evening entertainment. In October the Associate Pastoral Nominating Committee nominated Rev. Deborah Kehle as Associate Pastor. The second annual Presbyterian Women’s Christmas High Tea was scheduled for the 10th of December, but sadly, the annual Christmas Eve dinners would cease due to lack of a caterer and the escalating prices. New church members in 2005 were Vernon and Elinor Bothell, Mary DeRosia, Lillie Duffy, Betty Hanneld, Walt and Mary McMartin, Tom and Marylyn Uithoven, Carolyn Bruno, Miles and Frances Gehm and Vernon and Julie Moldenhauer.
~Donna Roth


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

2004 at First Presbyterian

The year 2004 began with Holy Communion served in the Chapel at the 8AM service. The Presbyterian Women’s eight circles, led by Nita Cinquina, proudly donated $400.00 to the church’s general fund. Men’s Fellowship invited the women to their second annual Valentine’s Day Breakfast on February 2. Bobbi Hoover was encouraging the beginning of a Stephen Ministers group and the FPC Travelers enjoyed “Show Boat” at the Broadway Palms. On March 7, twenty-five young string musicians performed at the 10am service and on April 2, the African Children’s Choir gave a 7pm performance following a catered dinner. April also saw the “Singles Fellowship” meet on the 19th and the FPC Travelers visited several Native American Reservations. The June Fellowship Dinner was a Pizza Party. Carol and Larry Arseth were honored by Grand Canyon Presbytery for their “church dedication and work!" In August Presbyterian Women collected school supplies for the Glendale Family Development Center at their Taco Salad luncheon. A Grandparent’s Day Picnic with treats and activities for kids followed the services on September 12. Rev. Gary Kush resigned on September 26. In October the long-awaited Heavenly Helpings cookbook went on sale for $12.95 each. A Fashion Show entertained diners at the November Fellowship Dinner on the 17th and PW held a food drive for Agua Fria. December 11 introduced the first of many delightful P W Christmas High Teas. Men’s Fellowship invited the women to their Christmas Program and Breakfast on the 14th, while those attending the Potluck on the 15th were serenaded by our choir singing Christmas Carols.
~Donna Roth

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Anniversary Planning Update

The goals for the anniversary celebration articulated by the attendees at the "Appreciating Our Anniversary" AI summit included:
  • A catered and very special dinner;
  • Honoring former pastors and their wives;
  • Focus on a new mission initiative;
  • Bible study;
  • Inviting the neighbors to help us celebrate;
  • Spreading the word about the celebration to others!
The 50th Anniversary Planning Committee has started work on these requests and is now meeting every Thursday to keep everything on track. The major events in the celebration will be:
  • October 6, World Communion Sunday, kickoff for our Season of Celebration - return to the Sanctuary for worship, historic banners hung in the Sanctuary and Swain Hall (we will rotate during the next few weeks, based on the themes in the lectionary), first choir performance under new director Bill Gleason (recording available on our website), attendees asked to write the names of their spiritual mentors on bulletin inserts (we will continue to do this or something similar in the weeks to come).
  • October 16, October Fellowship Dinner - readings by the Stone Soup Troupe around the theme of "Memories."
  • November 3, All Saints Day - dedication service for the new carillon, display of the papers naming spiritual mentors.
  • November 10 - Worship service followed by an ice cream social at which former pastors and their spouses will be honored; neighbors to be invited to both. Special music during worship by the choir and by the new handbell group.
  • November 13 - Catered gala celebration!

Watch this space for more details to come!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Communion Banners

In honor of World Communion Sunday, two of our historic banners (the ones celebrating communion) hung today in the Sanctuary during worship services.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Our Sunday Schedule

Worship Service: 9:00am in the Sanctuary (October - May) or the Chapel (June - September)

Fellowship/Coffee: 10:00am in Swain Hall

First Sunday of every month: Holy Communion, non-perishable food donations for Valley View Community Food Bank

Second Sunday of every month: Celebration of the month's birthdays during Fellowship in Swain Hall

Third Sunday of every month: Rev. Davis meets in the Conference Room after worship with visitors who have questions about the church or are interested in joining the congregation

Fourth Sunday of every month: Have your blood pressure taken for free following worship services (Swain Hall in summer)

Fifth Sunday: In months with five Sundays, the fifth Sunday is usually a congregational hymn-sing

Assisted hearing devices, large-print bulletins, and CD recordings of the services are available; just ask!

Bring your grandchildren to church! When children are present, Rev. Davis engages them in a short, interactive children's sermon.

Sundays in October

October 6: "Hard Lesson;" Psalm 137, Luke 17: 5-10
October 13: "Giving Praise to God;" Psalm 66: 1-9, Luke 17: 11-19
October 20: "Faith on Earth;" Psalm 119: 97-105, Luke 18: 1-8
October 27: "God of Mercy;" Psalm 65: 1-4, Luke 18: 9-14

Remember, October 6 is this fall's first performance by our choir under new director Bill Gleason!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Meet Kelsey McKee

Kelsey McKee, our summer keyboard player, is a student at Grand Canyon University majoring in music. An experienced performer, she also teaches piano. If you weren’t able to attend worship services in our Chapel during the summer, or our Fellowship Dinner in September where she provided the entertainment, you missed some truly lovely instrumental pieces.

This fall, as worship services return to the Sanctuary, Kelsey will continue to serve as our piano player, practicing and performing with our choir under the direction of Bill Gleason. The grand piano in the Sanctuary should showcase her talent even more effectively than the keyboard in the Chapel did.

Kelsey also sings as a member of the GCU Choral Society, which with the Canyon Symphony Orchestra is presenting a free concert on Tuesday, October 8, at 7:00 pm. The concert, which will feature Beethoven's Mass in C and Choral Fantasy, will be presented at First Southern Baptist Church of Phoenix, 3100 W Camelback Road in Phoenix. For more information about the concert, please visit

At First Presbyterian we have always prided ourselves on the quality of our music program, and Kelsey is a wonderful addition to our services. Be sure to welcome her yourself!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

World Communion Sunday

This Sunday, October 6, is World Communion Sunday, a day on which we celebrate our oneness with others all around the world.  This prayer of unity is one of many appropriate for World Communion Sunday:

good beyond all that is good,
fair beyond all that is fair,
in you is calmness, peace, and concord.
Heal the dissensions that divide us from one another
and bring us back to a unity of love
bearing some likeness to your divine nature.
Through the embrace of love
and the bonds of godly affection,
make us one in the Spirit
by your peace which makes all things peaceful.
We ask this through the grace, mercy, and tenderness
of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

(BCW, p. 812, Dionysius of Alexandria, died 264) 

To learn more about World Communion Sunday, and the Presbyterian Church's role in establishing it, go to

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Courage to Change

Something happened a little over a week ago that holds the potential for historic change. It remains to be seen, of course, but last week the newly elected Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, held his first extensive interview.

According to the New York Times, “in remarkably blunt language, Francis sought to set a new tone for the church, saying it should be a home for all and not a small chapel focused on doctrine, orthodoxy and a limited agenda of moral teachings.”

The Pope went on to say: “We have to find a new balance, otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.”

Here’s why his comments might bear the weight of history. Change, especially in the church, occurs slowly. In the two thousand years of Christian Church history there have been two substantive moments of change. One occurred virtually at the beginning when the Church split into the Eastern Orthodox tradition and the Western tradition centered in Rome.

The next major change occurred 600 years later in the middle of the Sixteenth Century when the Reformation gave rise to the various denomin-ations we see today. Our own Presbyterian Church had its origins in the Reformation.

It’s been 600 years since the Reformation. Perhaps the Pope’s rhetoric signals another season of change. Institutional change follows other shifts. When the early Church split between East and West, the differences in doctrinal preferences paralleled the growth and influence of the “Occident” as distinct from the “Orient.” Later when the Reformation took place the changes sweeping Europe followed on the heels of the “discovery of a new world,” and the advances in scientific and philosophical thought associated with the Renaissance. “History” changed.

And it all began when a few brave “explorers” searched for “a new tone,” a new land, a “new balance.” I wish the new Pope well and I will pray for his ministry. I agree that we must “find a new balance,” or “set a new tone,” in order for change to take place. And if that happens one more ingredient is essential. It takes courage to change.

Especially in the church change occurs slowly—and that’s probably a good thing—but we should never forget that the church belongs to God. We are the clay; God is the Potter. As we go forward into a new church year, that’s a good image to carry with us. Thanks be to God!


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Coming Soon - The Holiday High Tea!

Presbyterian Women Holiday High Tea
Saturday, December 14th at 1:30 pm

The planning has started; be sure to mark your calendar for this special annual event!  (The photos are just some of last year's beautiful table settings.)

Wish to set a table? Call Gail Bickel at 623-815-7290. Can you help in any way? Call Nita Cinquina at 623-975-2034.

We especially need someone for the pastry area. This would involve attending 2-3 “tea” meetings, assisting in deciding on the pastry menu, and arranging the pastry plates the day of the tea. If you would like to help with this, please see or call Nita.