Thursday, February 27, 2014

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 in 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 Supper will free you from guilt? Well, no—but we do expect to have good food and a good time!

Tuesday, March 4, 5:00 pm in Swain Hall
Pancake and sausage supper
Bingo and card games to follow—Rev. Davis, M.C.
Call the church office or sign up in Swain Hall to RSVP or volunteer to help! If you need a ride to the dinner, call Craig McCoy at the A.S.K. Service hotline, 623.680.3443.

Wednesday, March 5, 11:00 am in the Sanctuary
Joint service with Faith Presbyterian and Church of the Palms—First Presbyterian hosting. See page 2 for information on shared Holy Week services.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Caring Hands and Heart Newsletter

Carol Arseth, our parish nurse, passed along this article from Banner Boswell Medical Center's Chaplain Larry:

The 10 Key Drivers of Health Care Change

Before we can look at where health care is headed, we need to know, what's driving the change?  I have identified ten key markers for change: Aging, Chronic Disease, Consumerism, Payment/Financial Trends, Religious Identity, Physician Dynamics, Rural Challenges, Talent, Treatment and Technology, and finally Health Care Reform.  Let's look at each one of these factors.

Aging: The number of people over 65 will rise substantially beginning in 2011 as the oldest members of the baby boom generation reach the 65 year mark (I'm one of them).  In the United States today, one in eight Americans is 65 or older.  The number of people age 65 and above will nearly double between 2000 and 2030.

In Arizona in the year 2000, there were 641,766 citizens age 65 or older.  In 2009, nine years later, the number had jumped to 867,508.

Sun City has a population of 38,508.  Of that number, 15,939 are men and 22,569 are women.  (Don't ask why because I value my life!)  The median age in Sun City is 71.2, in the United Sates 35.3.

So what we have is more senior requiring more care with the same number of health care providers (surgeons, doctors, nurses, etc.).

Next month: Chronic Disease.

Have a great month and stay healthy!
~Chaplain Larry

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Souper Bowl Sunday Update

Once again, the Men's Breakfast Fellowship's "Souper Bowl Sunday" was successful!

Max Littlejohn thanks everyone for their support on February 2nd, reporting that the $600 raised will be divided equally between Agua Fria Food and Clothing Bank and Valley View Community Food Bank.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Pictures from the February Fellowship Dinner

We had a good turnout for the Wednesday evening baked potato dinner, and the crowd was hungry.  Here's Donna Roth at the chili station before the mob descended on her:

...and after:

More photos from the dinner:

The after-dinner entertainment was provided by our Great Bells of Fire Handbell choir, who led attendees from Swain Hall into the Sanctuary with a bell peal; director Sherrill Tyacke explained the history of handbells before the actual concert.  These photos are of the handbell choir members at a practice for the performance:

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Mission Corner

The Valley View Community Food Bank, located at 10615 W. Peoria Ave., was founded in March of 2007 in Youngtown, AZ. Having outgrown their facilities, they moved to their Sun City location in April 2012. They serve approximately 300 people a day, which is a large number for area food banks; 43% of those are senior citizens.

To receive food, only a picture ID and number of people in the household are needed. And all in need are welcome.

The hours of operation are 9:00 am-1:00 pm daily for food boxes, but they are available 24 hours a day for emergencies.

Jesse Ramirez, the founder and manager, is very low-key but dedicated to fighting the high rate of food insecurity and helping those in need. He always finds a way to say yes to those who are hungry. The Valley View location also houses a thrift store where you can buy used household items, knick-knacks, etc. Have something you do not want? Take it to them or call and they will pick it up. All proceeds go back into buying produce and items to distribute to the needy.

AND, OH, YES—it would be nice to see our “First Sunday of the Month” food baskets become fuller. We have been slacking. Thank you to those who give faithfully each month.

Their phone number is 623.933.3358.
~Gene Downing

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Habitat for Humanity Update

Welcome the Jean family to their new home!

On Saturday, March 8, 2014, at 10:00 am, a new home at 5602 N. 61st Avenue in Glendale will be dedicated to this family of seven.

First Presbyterian is part of the West Valley Presbyterian Coalition participating in the City of Glendale Home Investment Partnership Program. If you have never before attended one of Habitat's new home celebrations, you are in for a heart-warming experience! For additional information, contact Dick Zabriskie at 623-977-8816.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

New Recruits Needed for the Choir!

Both the voice choir and the handbell choir are gearing up for the Lenten Season and Easter, so join now!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Hot Off The Press

2014 Church Directories and copies of the church’s 2013 Annual Report are available to be picked up in the Courtyard entry and in the Narthex hallway; one copy of each per family, please. Please look at your entry in the Directory and notify Norma Mack if any of the information is incorrect.

In addition, if you signed up to receive the booklet of Donna Roth’s 50th anniversary articles or a DVD of the anniversary slideshow, they are now available in the church office. Stop by to pay for and pick up your memento(s).

Thanks to those who helped to print and assemble the Directories — Evelyn Haas, Sharyl Moen, Fran Kittredge, and Rod Beale.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Mission Corner for February

Banner Olive Branch Senior Center

Banner Olive Branch Senior Center is here to serve the Sun Cities communities.

They offer a variety of services for us.  Some of these services are social and educational activities, and meals cooked on site.  They offer breakfast and lunch at a nominal fee.  Also, they provide meals on wheels for those who are shut in or unable to cook.

Services also include health screenings, trips and entertainment, legal services and more.  Our support to them is greatly appreciated and we are welcome to use their facilities.  Go and have breakfast there or go online through  You an also call (623) 974-6797.

~Gene Downing, Mission Committee

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Presbytery Open House

From Grand Canyon Presbytery:

You are cordially invited to an open house, Wednesday, February 26, from 1 pm - 4 pm at the Presbytery Office, Conference Room A.

We are excited to welcome our new Presbytery Pastor, Rev. Bradley Munroe, and our new Stated Clerk/Associate, Bob Schulz.  You will also want to say a fond farewell to our outgoing Interim Stated Clerk and Acting Executive Presbyter, Tony Cook.

Put the date on your calendar today!

The Presbytery of Grand Canyon
4423 N. 24th St., Ste 200
Phoenix, AZ 85016

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Calling All Volunteers

From Grand Canyon Presbytery:

The Mennonite and Baptist teams of builders have completed their work in Yarnell and are moving on.  We need volunteers to finish some tasks in these houses (texturing drywall, painting, installing washers and dryers, and some carpentry work).  A team will be working on these tasks from Monday, February 10 to Sunday, February 16.  If you can help, please call Art Campbell at 480-861-7852.  Housing will be at the Lighthouse Church in Yarnell while meals will be provided by the volunteers themselves.  If you want to schedule volunteering at another time, please call Bob Brandon in Yarnell at 928-308-0651 to schedule your work.

Now that the houses for the uninsured are being finished, work is soon to begin on houses for the underinsured.  This will require many volunteers to keep the cost down.  We really need a contractor or one who can read blueprints and supervise volunteer crews (which need to be recruited) to build the first house for the uninsured.  If interested in learning more and being considered for this opportunity, please call Bob Brandon at 928-308-0651 or Paul Jones at 928-899-5422.

We call on all Presbyterians and their friends to help us out at this important time in the ongoing recovery work in Yarnell.  Let's make this a wonderful New Year for volunteers and for those we are striving to help.

In Christ,
Art Campbell and the Presbytery PDA Team

Monday, February 10, 2014

Friday, February 7, 2014

Health & Wellness Update

Dr. Joseph Dramise discussing stem cell transplants
I wanted to let everyone know how great the class was as "Dr. D" did the presentation for our Health and Wellness meeting in January.

I talked to "Dr. D" and he was pleased.  I have asked him for a continuation of the program on stem cell implantation.  He will give us further information on the proton therapy which we did not have time for during the January program.  It will be later in February or in early March.  I hope as many will come for this part as did for the first class.

~Carol Arseth, R.N., Parish Nurse

Thursday, February 6, 2014

February at University of Life

During the month of February, Rev. Dr. David Glenn Walker will be teaching the University of Life series on “Lessons for Living from the Stories of the Dying.” This four-class series will be drawing heavily on lessons learned from hospice care, from 50 years working as a Presbyterian pastor, and from Dr. Karen Wyatt, a family physician who spent much of her medical career as a hospice medical director. These lessons are for those who sometimes feel lost or hopeless about their lives in our contemporary world.

The classes will have the power to change the way you see everything about:
  • The meaning of suffering
  • Recognizing life’s priorities
  • Letting go of limiting beliefs and past traumas
  • The true purpose of existence
  • The key to unlocking the flow of grace
  • Transcending fear

There will be opportunities for discussion at the close of each class.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Welcome, Sharyl!

Sharyl Moen has joined the office staff effective January 21.  She will be working from 9:00 am to noon, Monday through Thursday, doing the clerical jobs that Norma was doing.  Norma will continue her financial duties, working noon to 4:00 pm Monday through Wednesday.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Presbyterian Women in February

We hosted a successful Chili Luncheon for the men of the church on January 22nd at a Gathering. There were 50 people in attendance to enjoy the good food. Thanks to Gail Bickel for making the chili. Rod Beale provided an interesting program on a mission to Nepal.

For those of you who shop at Safeway stores from time to time, we are able to make money for PW from your purchases. You need to have a Safeway Card. To sign up for this program, go to the escript website and sign up or renew. You need to renew each year. The website is Our church number is 9605356. If you don’t have a computer, ask a friend who does, or contact Diane Nestlebush. It would be nice to add a few more dollars to our treasury!

FOUND: After the Christmas Tea, silverware was left at the tables. There are 3 spoons, 2 knives and 2 forks. If you are missing any of these items, they are in the church office in the PW mailbox.

  • There will be a PW Coordinating Team Meeting on Wednesday, February 5th at 9:00 am in Annex 2. Team Members, your attendance is appreciated.
  • February 26th is a PW Luncheon Gathering at 11:30 am. It will be hosted by Rachel Circle #2. The program will be our own John Szantho on “Escape from Hungary.”
  • Saturday, March 1st-SPRING GATHERING RETREAT by Presbytery of Grand Canyon. Time 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. The theme is “Fall Afresh on Me.” Registration is $15, which includes a continental breakfast and lunch. The deadline to register is February 21, 2014. Registration forms will be available from your Circle Leaders or Diane Nestlebush. We will carpool from the church. Please let Diane know if you register and if you need to carpool. We are excited to have this opportunity; please join us!
  • Church Women United will hold a Human Rights Celebration on Friday, February 28th at 9:30 a.m. for Fellowship/Refreshments. Program from 10;00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. , “Through God Our Hands Can Protect”. Guest Speaker – Dr. Tamera Zivic, Executive Director of World Hunger Education, Advocacy, Training. To be held at First Presbyterian Church of Peoria, 10236 N 83rd, Peoria. Items for Doves and Justa Center Veterans will be collected that morning. See our bulletin board for list of items needed.
I encourage to you attend these meetings and be inspired and enjoy the fellowship.

Blessings to all,
~Diane Nestlebush, Moderator

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Extraordinary Time

It’s February already – that doesn’t seem possible.

When someone mentions February, we tend to think of the secular holidays during the month – Super Bowl Sunday, Presidents’ Day, and Valentine’s Day. OK, that last one was originally SAINT Valentine’s Day, but the contemporary celebrations don’t have much to do with religion. From a Protestant point of view, in fact, February is a kind of blank spot between Epiphany and Lent – part of “ordinary time” in the church calendar.

That doesn’t mean there’s going to be anything ordinary about this February at First Presbyterian. In fact, I’m going to go so far as to say this coming month will be extraordinary:
  • I mentioned a while ago that I had set up a Pinterest account to display current and historic photos of the church campus and events. I’ve just added another Board –From Around the Web—filled with inspiring quotes from other “pinners.” Here’s just one example: “Find out where joy resides, and give it a voice far beyond singing. For to miss the joy is to miss all.” ~Robert Louis Stevenson. So, visit if you need a little lift in your day — and if you have a favorite Bible verse or other saying you’d like me to add, please let me know!
  • In addition to being the day of “the big game,” February 2 is the date we will celebrate this year’s Souper Bowl of Caring. Please support the Men’s Fellowship in this worthwhile annual charity drive.
  • We’ll be celebrating February birthdays on the third Sunday of this month rather than the second Sunday, to avoid a conflict with the Annual Congregational Meeting and Corporation Meeting. Come to fellowship on February 16 prepared to sing “Happy Birthday” to all the good folks who were born in February!
  • This month’s Fellowship Dinner should be even more fun than usual because we’re inviting the neighbors and showcasing the talent of our Great Bells of Fire. It will be a few days after Valentine’s Day, but you can still show the handbell choir (and any visitors) a little love. February 19 at 5:00 pm in Swain Hall!
  • February’s University of Life will feature our former interim pastor Rev. Dr. David Glenn Walker with a four-part discussion of “Lessons for Living from the Stories of the Dying.” Among other things, he will be talking about “the key to unlocking the flow of grace.” Don't miss this thought-provoking lecture series.

Love will be in the air this February, even though it may not be the kind promoted by Hallmark cards. Enjoy!

~Beth Mabee

“Our love to God is measured by our everyday fellowship with others and the love it displays.” ~Andrew Murray

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Facing the Future

How do you top that? Now that we’ve celebrated fifty years of mission and ministry, what’s next?

A recent issue of Presbyterians Today Magazine headlined the changing face of world mission. The accompanying photograph depicted two African women in tribal attire addressing a gathering from various denominations, including the Presbyterian Church (USA).

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words and certainly a picture of two women addressing a crowd of African church leaders in 2014 speaks volumes. Ethnic identity, gender roles, and cultural expectations which previously defined the parameters of world mission are changing as certainly they must. What is not on display in the picture are years of paternalism that enabled political colonialism and created an attitude of mission as “doing something for” the people. What you can see in the faces of the women is determination, confidence, and strength. There’s one other thing you can see. One of the women is holding a child. He or she (can’t tell) is looking upward at the woman speaking. Is she the child’s mother? Again, can’t tell but you can see in the youngster’s face the gaze of respect, hopefulness, love.

There are two other headlines on the page framing the women: "Global Mission Partners speak out" and "When canned-food drives are no longer enough." The entire publication emphasizes the changing character of World Mission in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Going into the Twenty First Century, mission has shifted from “doing for” to “accomplishing with.” In other words, Mission has been transformed into active Partnership.

What does this mean for a congregation of the Presbyterian Church located in Sun City, AZ? First and foremost it means that we are more connected than ever. We call our denomination a connectional church. That means structurally and philosophically we are partnered with Presbyterians around the world. In practical terms it means we are no longer constrained by patterns of ministry developed in the 18th, 19th, or even the 20th Century.

God is calling the whole church and our congregation to develop new patterns of ministry and mission that will lead all of us into the 21st Century. Fifty years in Sun City have prepared us for the next chapters in our history. God has given us a wonderful foundation upon which to launch the future. With new partners, with new vision, with new energy and excitement, God is leading us into the new year and into the future! Thanks be to God!