Thursday, March 27, 2014

Work Day Tomorrow!

Tomorrow (Friday, March 28) is our final work day before the Presbytery meeting at our church on Saturday the 29th.  We still need help with the following jobs.  Please stop by any time after 10:30 am if you can work.  Thank you!

  • Blowing the courtyard clean
  • Setting up tents, tables, and chairs in the courtyard
  • Food prep (slicing croissants, putting muffins in baskets, icing bottles of water, arranging cookies on plates, washing strawberries)
  • Setting tables in Swain Hall
  • Setting up the Fireside Room as a coffee station
  • Putting up the pew candles in the Sanctuary

Monday, March 24, 2014

Presbyterian Women Update

Ten ladies from our church traveled to Scottsdale to the Franciscan Renewal Center for the Spring Gathering Retreat. We had a time of renewal and fellowship. Rev. Tim Smith was our speaker. His theme was the Holy Spirit and he gave us Images of the Holy Spirit. He discussed meditation and gave us the opportunity to meditate. The Facility was inspirational. It did rain heavily all day so we were not able to do the outdoor meditation as was planned. Thanks to PW Presbytery for the opportunity to be together there.

Women who read 5 or more books were recognized. From our church the following were given a small gift: Ida Borhauer, Nancy Wilson, Billie Lewis and Gail Bickel. Good reading ladies, you will love the new books.

Speaking of books, it is at this Spring Gathering we are introduced to the books for the coming year and given their names and a short review. They were so good it was hard to make a choice so we bought all 9 of them! They will be on the PW rack in Swain Hall soon. I will highlight one of the books in this article to encourage your interest.

My Name is Malala: The Girl Who stood up for Education and was shot by the Taliban, Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lame. The book describes the life of the young Pakistani student who advocated for women’s rights and education in the Taliban-controlled Swat Valley, survived an assassination attempt and became the youngest nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Save this Date! April 12th, 2014 - Introducing the 2014-2015 Horizons Bible Study. Reconciling Paul: A Contemporary Study of 2nd Corinthians. To be held at Desert Palms Presbyterian Church. Registration is at 8:30 am. Overview begins at 9:00 am. and ends at 11:00 am. Bev Phillips and Chris Casanova will be the leaders of the overview. This is especially helpful to our Bible Study leaders.

Coordinating Team will meet at 9:00 am. on Wednesday, April 2nd in Annex 2.

April 23rd will be our Gathering. It will be our Spring Tea with Installation of Officers. It promises to be a lovely event.

The orange ribbons that we introduced at our last Gathering in February will be available at our April Gathering. This is to help us continue to remember violence against women and remember to seek ways through prayer and action to help.

Blessings to all,
~Diane Nestlebush, Moderator

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Clarke Memorial Service

Dennis and Eileen Clarke arriving at the 50th anniversary gala

Reverend Dennis W. Clarke became the Senior Installed Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Sun City on February 5, 1995. Rev. Clarke spoke with a delightful brogue, having been reared in Ireland. He received his seminary training in Belfast and ordination in Maghera, County Londonderry, Ireland. Rev. Clarke had participated in two successful exchange programs; after his family had returned to Ireland a call came from a Presbyterian church in Canada, and the family moved to Canada when Dennis was 35 years old. The Clarkes have three children, two born in Ireland and one in Canada. Rev. Clarke served a church in Atwood, Ontario, Canada (1970-1976); one in Sarnia Ontario, Canada (1976-1989); and then one in Greenville, Ohio, for six years. He met Jane and Fred Bell when they visited Greenville; Jane convinced him that he belonged in Sun City. During his first year as Senior Pastor at the First Presbyterian Church he visited with every church member in their home. He retired in February of 2001.

We are sorry to report that Rev. Clarke passed away in hospice on Monday. His memorial service will be this Friday, March 21, at 1:00 in our Sanctuary. Rev. Clarke will be greatly missed.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Recycling Day Success

Today eGreen-IT Solutions, Arizona's only Certified e-Stewards Recycler, picked up our old electronics equipment.  Thanks to everyone in the congregation who brought in items to be recycled instead of sending them to the landfill!  In addition to getting rid of obsolete equipment, the church has also freed up some of our storage space:


Monday, March 17, 2014

Feeding the Fish

It's that time of year again - time to "FEED THE FISH."

Each of you have received your fish box to fill with coins and/or checks for Presbytery's One Great Hour of Sharing.  This program helps people with self-development in ways such as teaching them how to fish, dig a well, provide for irrigation, or plant a garden, in order to become self-sustaining. The Fund also helps to rebuild after a disaster and in many other ways around the world where there is need.

Of the three annual Presbytery Funds we support, this one seems to get the most attention, with over $3000 contributed over each of the past few years.  Thank you for your past and continued support.

This year the collection will be on Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014.

For more about the One Great Hour of Sharing offering, click here.
~Gene Downing

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Refurbishing Delbert's Fountain

Delbert's Fountain, newly repainted
First Presbyterian is blessed to have a group of conscientious volunteers who clean up our grounds every Saturday morning in preparation for Sunday worship services.  They also handle minor repairs and landscaping.  This week they went above and beyond their usual duties to brighten the church courtyard.

The buildings of the church campus roughly form a hollow square which contains the Memorial Garden and columbarium to one side, and a central courtyard that includes Delbert's Fountain.  The fountain was donated by the Scruby family in memory of Delbert Scruby, the church's first treasurer, who died while rock hunting in the Superstition Mountains.  (Click here to read the whole story.)  Over the almost 50 years since the fountain was installed, the mineral-laden Arizona water had badly stained the surface of its central statuary.  The Saturday crew had made previous attempts to remove the stains, but without success.

Yesterday Gabe Conwell (with assistance from the rest of the crew) repainted the center of the fountain so that it is now an unblemished white.  The whole courtyard looks brighter and cleaner as a result, and the fountain is once more a fitting tribute to one of the founding members of our church.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Our Online Calendar

How do you know what will be happening this month - or next month - at First Presbyterian?

Well, we try to highlight upcoming events on this blog, on our Facebook page, and on our "Church Events" Pinterest Board, but for an overall view check out the online calendar on our website.

After clicking on the Calendar link on the website you can view the month-by-month calendar of events for all of 2014 online, or download or print the PDF version.  The website will always show the date the calendar was last updated, so you will know whether changes have been made since you last accessed it.

We hope to see you soon at one of our worship services or fellowship events!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Perfectly Positive

Lately, people have been using the phrase “a perfect storm” to describe an event where all the contributing factors are so negative that the final outcome is more disastrous than anyone could have predicted. I don’t know of a similar term for an event where everything snowballs positively; serendipitous, maybe, but that doesn’t fully capture the satisfaction of a win/win/WIN event. Whatever you want to call it, we’ve had one of those minor miracles in the church office this month.

We have been using a hodge-podge of methods to produce the printed communications for the church – everything from small laser-jet printers for flyers and posters to a large duplicating machine for The SPIRE and our weekly bulletins. The output from the color printers and copier was quite good but also quite expensive. The output from the duplicator was much more cost-effective, but of lower quality, and it couldn’t do full color. All of these documents also had to be separately folded and collated. The new church and Foundation Fund brochures had to be jobbed out to achieve the look and feel we wanted – and that’s not an option for our more mundane printing needs.

Last fall Norma had a brilliant idea. The lease on our duplicator was expiring in February; what if, instead of renewing it, we got a better deal on printing with our color copier? After a couple of meetings with vendor representatives, we agreed to trade in our existing duplicator for a much smaller one that will be primarily used for envelopes and the copier for a larger one that offers:
  • Extremely high-quality reproduction
  • Cost-effective color
  • Banner capability
  • Integrated printing of covers on different paper
  • Hole punching, collating, folding, and stapling
  • Network connectivity
(And that last item wouldn’t matter to me if John Szantho hadn’t just installed a new router in our office that will allow me to print wirelessly through the network. Thank you, John!!)

We will be getting all these advantages at a significantly lower price than the total cost of our previous patchwork printing solutions, and just in time to work on the programs for the Presbytery meeting we will host on March 29. From the viewpoint of your marketing person, this is way beyond serendipity; I am feeling absolutely blessed.

Maybe it’s odd to get so excited over a piece of office equipment, but think about it – don’t you pay more attention to printed materials that look as if they were professionally produced than to those that were apparently run off a mimeograph in someone’s basement? Isn’t your attention more likely to be grabbed by high-quality color graphics and photos than by black-and-white clip art? I’m not so much excited by the printer itself as by all the ways in which I can see it helping us to spread the word about First Presbyterian Church of Sun City.
~Beth Mabee

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Got Glasses?

The Lions Club "Recycle for Sight" program collects used eyeglasses, cleans them, sorts them by prescription strength, and packages them for distribution to people in need in developing countries where they will have the greatest impact. Lions accept prescription and reading glasses, sunglasses, and plastic and metal frames. They also accept hearing aids.

For more information, contact Bill Wentling or Tina Trowbridge, or visit the Lions Club website. You can donate your old glasses to the Lions by giving them to Bill or Tina, or drop them off in the Lions collection box in the church office.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Per Capita Apportionment

THANK YOU to members who have contributed their per capita apportionment for 2014. To date we have received $2,062.00. This was contributed by 36% of the 184 active members. The church expense is $5,983.00 ($31 x 193 members at the end of 2012). Our budget goal is to receive $2,500.00. Will you help?

For more about what the per capita apportionment pays for, go to

Friday, March 7, 2014

Sending in the Clowns

Today the "Red Hot Clowns" visited the University of Life to give us a lift at the start of Lent.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Presbyterian Women in March

It came to my attention on page 41 of the January/February 2014 issue of Horizons Magazine, an article about bringing awareness to end violence against women and girls. The United Nations’ Secretary General’s “UNiTE to End Violence against Women” campaign proclaims the 25th of every month as Orange Day. Quoting this article, “The aim is to spark worldwide interest and conversation, highlight the fact that violence against women and girls is a violation of human rights and call for its eradication without reservation, equivocation or delay.” A quarter of U.S. women and more than a third of women in other parts of the world experience domestic violence at some point in their lives. At our Coordinating Team Meeting on February 5th we discussed this matter and decided to provide orange ribbons at our Gathering on February 26th. Our idea was that we can wear them to our PW Gatherings to remind us of this violence and seek ways through prayer and action to help.

Sunday, March 9, 2014 is “Celebrate the Gifts of Women Sunday.” Let us celebrate that we are no longer strangers, but diverse sisters in God’s household. One of the aims is to bring together sisters of different cultures.

However, I also suggest that we reach out to others in our church family and get to know and appreciate each other.

On Saturday, March 1st, ten women from our church will be traveling to Scottsdale to attend the PW Spring Gathering Retreat by Presbytery of Grand Canyon. Please pray for safe travel for us and pray that we will have a time of fellowship and renewal. We will report back on this exciting trip.

Presbyterian Women in Presbytery de Cristo have invited Mary Cook Jorgeson, Moderator of the Churchwide Coordinating Team, to be the guest speaker at their Spring Gathering on Saturday, April 5th at Christ Presbyterian Church in Tucson. This will be a great opportunity to hear her and also to meet Bonnie Thompson, PW Synod of the Southwest Representative to the 2014 Global Exchange. Bonnie, who lives in Tucson, will be traveling to the Caribbean November 4-20. See Diane Nestlebush for more information.

There is no Coordinating Team Meeting March, the next CT Meeting will be Wednesday, April 2nd, at 9:00 am.

There is no Gathering in March.

Let us encourage one another. Invite a sister to a Circle Meeting or Gathering.

Blessings to all,
~Diane Nestlebush, Moderator

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Getting Ready for the March Presbytery Meeting

First Presbyterian Church is hosting the next meeting of Grand Canyon Presbytery on Saturday, March 29.  Registration begins at 8:00 am; worship service will be from 9:15 to 10:15 am; and the business meeting will run until 3:00 pm, with one break and an hour for lunch.  Workers are needed for a number of jobs before and on the date of the meeting.

Before the meeting, we need volunteers for:
  • Cleaning, decorating, and generally making sure the campus has its "game face on."  Tina Trowbridge will be in charge of Church Campus Cleanup Day, which will be on Saturday, March 22.  Meet at Swain Hall at 9:00 am; bring your favorite cleaning tools if you'd like.  Lunch will be served.
  • Setting up tents, tables, and chairs in the courtyard for the registration staff and displays.  Bill Wentling and the "Saturday crew" will do this on Friday, March 28, but they could use some additional help.  They would also like help taking everything down on Sunday, March 30, after we've enjoyed Sunday Fellowship in the courtyard.
The day of the meeting, we need:
  • Registration helpers and greeters/guides.
  • Kitchen helpers and waitstaff.
  • Help to reconfigure equipment in the Sanctuary after worship and before the business meeting.
  • Cleanup crew after the meeting is over.
Signup sheets will be available in Swain Hall; please help if you can!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Beneath the Cross of Jesus

Rev. Harrell D. Davis
The Book of Common Worship reminds us: Friends in Christ, every year at the time of the Christian Passover we celebrate our redemption through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Lent is a time to prepare for this celebration and to renew our life in the paschal mystery. We begin this holy season by acknowledging our need for repentance, and for the mercy and forgiveness proclaimed in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We begin our journey to Easter with the sign of ashes. This ancient sign speaks of the frailty and uncertainty of human life, and marks the penitence of this community….

Lent, beginning with the imposition of ashes, is the church’s way of symbolizing our journey to Easter. Like a symbolic via dolorosa, our journey traces the steps of faith traveled by spiritual ancestors, brothers and sisters, the saints of First Presbyterian Church. We, like they, are embarking on the spiritual journey that will lead to the cross.

“Beneath the Cross of Jesus I fain would take my stand….” So says one of our favorite Easter hymns. But what does it mean to fain take a stand? One dictionary says: “The old word fain describes the feeling of gladly or willingly doing something. You would fain have stayed home, but had to venture out in the rain.” So, the hymn asks us, using an archaic adjective, to gladly, willingly, take our place beneath the cross of Jesus.

How do you sell a journey, much less a destination, that brings us to the symbol of Christ’s suffering and death? How do you encourage a spiritual journey of penitence in an age of rampant excess?

New Testament scholar David Lose reminds us that Ash Wednesday (including the whole of Lent) is about the unexpected, the counterintuitive, a reversal of expectations. He writes: As we once more commence our journey to Jerusalem and the cross, we must be prepared to meet the God who always defies our expectations. Caught off balance and unawares, we may once again recognize that our best and only hope for blessing in this life—and salvation in the one to come—rests in God being true to God’s own nature, even to the point of taking on our lot and our life to die on the cross that we might live with hope…..

I invite you, therefore, in the name of Christ, to observe a holy Lent by self-examination and penitence, by prayer and fasting, by works of love, and by reading and meditating on the Word of God.

I invite you to gladly, willingly, take your place beneath the cross of Jesus. Thanks be to God.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

World Day of Prayer

World Day of PrayerWorld Day of Prayer this year is March 7.

WDP is "a global, ecumenical movement of Christian women joined together to observe a common day of prayer each year on the first Friday of March."  This year's theme is "Streams in the Desert," prepared by WDP Egypt.

For more information, visit or

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Joint Lenten Services

Again this year, First Presbyterian will be jointly celebrating Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday services with other Sun City Congregations.  The schedule will be:

  • Ash Wednesday, March 5, 11:00 - First Presbyterian hosting; service in the Sanctuary.

  • Maundy Thursday, April 17, 7:00 pm - Church of the Palms at 14808 N. Boswell Blvd. will be hosting.

  • Good Friday, April 18, time to be announced - Faith Presbyterian at 16000 N. Del Webb Blvd. will be hosting; United Church of Sun City will also join us that day.