Saturday, June 28, 2014

"Alarming" News

Last week the intrusion-only alarm at the church was replaced by a combined intrusion and fire alarm from a different vendor.  That's A Good Thing.  However, the new alarms have different disarm and reset codes than the old system did.  Bill Wentling is distributing new, personalized codes to those who need them.  DO NOT try to use the old alarm codes any more - doing so will result in a visit from the sheriff's posse!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Free Books!

Several good books have been given to the library.  Since they are not quite suitable for our library, I've placed them on the hall shelf leading to the side entrance of our Sanctuary.  Anyone can take them. 

I'll remove them in two months if they are not taken.

~Muffy Keen

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Handbells are Back!

Although the handbell choir is on summer break, a core group will perform at the July 20 worship service.

Practice times for participants will be Tuesday, July 8, and Monday, July 14—both days at 10:00 am in the Sanctuary.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Stephen Ministry Meetings in July

Mondays, July 7 and 21, 2:00 pm in Annex 3

Having one of life’s trying times? Need someone to listen? A Stephen Minister is ready to help you through it. Call coordinator Rev. Dr. David Glenn Walker at 623.977.0930.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Where's Waldo?

If you have a small child in your life, you’ve probably played “Where’s Waldo?” If you haven’t, Waldo is a geeky-looking cartoon kid in a red-and-white striped sweater; his creators hide him in pictures crammed with objects and other people, and the goal of the game is to pick him out from the background. This is harder than you would expect, given his bright clothing; the makers of the puzzles use great ingenuity to ensure that Waldo blends into his surroundings like a human chameleon.

I’m sure the people who landscaped the grounds of our church didn’t originally intend to make it into an architectural version of Waldo, but many of our trees and bushes were planted too close to the sidewalks and to each other, and over the years they have grown into what amounts to living camouflage for the building. Here’s a photo I took last year of the north side of the exterior:

Not exactly friendly and welcoming, is it? In fact, it bears a striking resemblance to the enchanted hedge of thorns grown to prevent anyone from rescuing Sleeping Beauty.

In addition, that foliage barrier has been costing us a lot of money. The obvious expense is the water to keep it alive, but we’ve also been paying hundreds of dollars every month to trim the bushes and blow away the clippings. This sets up a vicious (and expensive) cycle. When the plants are trimmed, they lose moisture from their cut ends. To compensate for that, they drink more water. We end up overwatering to keep them from dying. In response, they grow faster than ever – and we trim them again.

The “Saturday guys” have been urging us for a long time to get rid of some of this living clutter. The University of Life attendees who saw the Adam Hamilton DVD on creating a welcoming atmosphere also pointed out that a church which hides its front door is not going to attract hordes of new members. However, we didn’t want to start randomly hacking at the plants; we needed a plan.

Enter Kris Coates, Master Gardener, Certified Arborist, and Certified Desert Landscaper. Kris was introduced to us by Zane and Martha Porter, and has volunteered to identify which of our plants should be saved and which should go. She has already overseen the removal of the jungle on the north side of the building, and working with a donation earmarked for landscaping, has drawn up a new and improved plan for that area that will save water and dramatically cut the need for maintenance. You’ll get the chance to see and ask questions about her plan at the July 12 Appreciating Our Campus Appreciative Inquiry session. In the meantime, we can finally see our Waldo – or at least our north wall:

I’ve been taking photos of the building from that angle for two years and didn’t know the wall sloped inward; did you?

Even without new plants, our church campus is now a much cleaner-looking and more inviting place, thanks to Kris. Be sure to attend the July 12 AI summit, and meet her in person!
~Beth Mabee

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Chancel Flowers

THANK YOU to everyone who signed the flower chart to provide flowers for chancel the first six months of 2014. The chart was filled; HOWEVER, there are many spaces open on the flower chart for the last six months of 2014.

We need two donors per week—cost is $25.00 each. You will need to advise the office the notation you want in the bulletin—in memory of, celebration of, a thank you, etc.—place your check in a pew envelope and mark “Flowers” on the memo line or on the front of the envelope. The large Sunday bouquet is broken into 3-4 small arrangements to be delivered to our shut-ins.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Clearing the Way

The project to improve our landscaping has begun! Here are a few of the pictures from "removal day:"

Damaged palm...
...cut into logs

Brush removal

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Free Blood Pressure Checks This Sunday!

Every fourth Sunday of the month, we offer free blood pressure checks in Swain Hall during the 10:00 am Fellowship Hour that follows the 9:00 am worship service.

Join us for coffee, cookies, and the chance to see how your pressure is doing this Sunday, June 22.  See you then!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Deacon's Lunch reminder

Don't forget, Lunch with Your Deacon is this Wednesday, June 18, at noon in Swain Hall.  If you haven't already signed up, be sure to call the church office today so we can have an accurate head count. 

If you don't have a deacon because you are not yet a member of the church, you can come anyway - we always have room for you!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

More Orange Ribbons

Our PW members wore orange ribbons to the May salad lunch in honor of the victims of domestic violence.  When they arrived at the church that day, they were greeted by more orange ribbons draped over many of our overgrown trees and bushes.  Those ribbons were there to mark the plants to be removed in anticipation of our upcoming re-landscaping project. 

Under the direction of Master Gardener and Certified Arborist Kris Coates, we will be replacing inappropriate plantings with items that will minimize our maintenance costs and save on water.  They will also be considerably more attractive.  The landscaping will take place in phases, starting with the area on the north side of the church, next to the entry to the parking lot.  Watch this space for photos of our progress throughout the next year!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Photos from the May PW Salad Lunch

For the May program, Nita Cinquina spoke on "How I Became an American Citizen."  Everyone wore orange ribbons in memory of abused women, and hygiene items were collected for donation to Eve's Place, a shelter for victims of domestic violence.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Do You Have News?

Our newsletter, The SPIRE, is mailed the last Wednesday of every month. That means it's printed the day before (Tuesday), and the deadline for anything you'd like to include is the day before that (Monday). In June, the deadline is Monday, June 23. Please email your church-related news to Beth Mabee, our editor, or drop it off in the church office on or before the deadline.

Thank you!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Session Recap

Minutes of the Session Meeting of May 15, 2014

The meeting was opened with prayer given by Don Thompson. The minutes of the stated session meeting of April 17, 2014, were approved. Session noted the deaths of Carolyn Bruno on April 25; Elder Max L. Clark on April 28; Elder Mary E. (Betty) Douglas on May 2; Elder William (Bill) Ellsworth on May 10. Communion was served in the sanctuary May 4, 2014 to 136. Communion was served to fourteen (14) at Sun Valley Lodge on April 30, 2014 by Rev. Harrell Davis. Bonnie Massey was served communion at her group home on April 30, 2014 by Carol Arseth and Janie Wiliams. Membership this date: Active 179 and Affiliate 28.

Rev. Davis stated in his report he had received an email from Pastor Posey of Emmanuel Baptist church asking that they be allowed to erect permanent signs where they now place temporary signs. After discussion, Rev. Davis will consult with Pastor Posey regarding questions raised by the ruling elders.

Rev. Davis asked for agreement authorizing a capital campaign; there was unanimous agreement.

Donna Roth advised that Muffy Keen, librarian, will retire as of August 1, 2014.

Janie Williams, Deacon Representative, announced “Lunch With Your Deacon” will be held on June 18th.

The Financial Statement for period ending April 30, 2014, was distributed. The report reflected contributions are over budget $5,800.00. Expenses for the same period are over budget $6,900.00 due to unexpected capital improvement repairs/replacement.

The meeting adjourned at 11:55 a.m. with prayer given by Elder Wanda Morrill.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Wear Red Tomorrow!

Our beautiful red Pentecost vestments
and paraments were donated by the Pruett
family, in memory of Roy Pruett.
Tomorrow (Sunday, June 8) is Pentecost, the day we celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles ( Acts of the Apostles 2: 1–31). 

Originally the fire of the Holy Spirit was symbolized by having the priest or minister wear red vestments on Pentecost; now the rest of us often do, too. 

If you will be joining us for worship tomorrow - or even if you won't - consider wearing red!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Foundation Fund—the Story Continues

NOW...You Can Make a Gift That Keeps on Giving

The Fund of The First Presbyterian Church Sun City Makes This Possible

This was the headline for the brochure introducing the Fund – which was formally established in 1980. And of course, a committee was also formed to administer and promote the Fund.The dedicated members of the Fund Committee carefully monitored and managed the Fund.

“In the early years the Committee invested in U.S. Government Bonds, maintaining a pattern of balanced maturities which would provide the greatest income.” By the early 1990’s the investment strategy had been broadened to include both income and growth. “The Fund has grown also because most of the income from investments has been saved and added to the Fund so that more would be available for future needs.”

The $25,000 seed funds and a variety of additional gifts increased the Fund to over $275,000 by 1994.

It wasn’t just careful stewardship and the focus on growth that accounts for the increase - Committee members worked tirelessly to get the word out.

“A permanent fund that can be drawn on for special needs and purposes will greatly strengthen the total Ministry of our church. It can also serve as an extension and a vehicle for the donor’s own Christian influence.”

The primary source of the Fund’s growth is Bequests and Wills. In addition, there have been many types of gifts to the Fund. One example is the couple who celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary with a $100 gift. There have also been memorial gifts like the gift of common stock given in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Calhoun, Sr., parents of pastor emeritus Dr. Paul Calhoun.

The Fund Committee continues to promote giving opportunities to assure the future ministry of First Presbyterian Church of Sun City – from recently updating a brochure listing the many ways to contribute, to making recommendations to the Session.

To be continued.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

June Deacons' Corner

Minutes of the May 6, 2014 Board of Deacons Meeting

The meeting was called to order by Mary Jo Conwell in Moderator Anita Downing’s absence. Janie Williams gave the devotion and opening prayer.

The minutes of the April 1, 2014, meeting were approved. The Treasurer’s Report was unchanged from April.

The Statistical Report for March indicated that 14 received communion from The Rev. Harrell Davis at Sun Valley Lodge on April 30th. Several members received home communion, brought to them by Parish Nurse Carol Arseth and their respective deacons.

No Deacon attended the Session meeting on April 17, 2014.

  • Communion: Served to 150 in the Sanctuary on April 6 and 136 on May 4.
  • Flowers: Flower bouquets were taken to shut-ins during April, Shirley Walker reported.
  • Receptions: A committee chair is still needed to oversee the preparation and serving of receptions after memorial services. Judy Goss is temporarily serving as a contact when receptions are requested, with Tina Trowbridge managing them.
  • Health & Wellness: Good attendance was reported at the Tai Chi sessions on Fridays at 11:00 am.
Old Business: A summer event, “Lunch with Your Deacon,” was discussed. The Deacons learned from Rev. Davis that a salad luncheon is planned by Beth Mabee for Wednesday, June 18. Deacons will contact members in their districts and encourage sign-ups for this event.

New Business: Proceeds from donations for the Easter Lilies project were $171.93. This amount will be shared equally by Valley View and Agua Fria food banks.

The meeting was closed with the Deacons’ Prayer.

Respectfully submitted,
~Marge Hagerman, Secretary

Monday, June 2, 2014

A Season of Change

Traditionally, the long hot days of summer are marked by limited activities and undertakings. Families take vacations to visit relatives or travel to exotic destinations. Summer is the time for fun and relaxation. Many in our congregation take a summer trip to escape the heat! Summer is many things.

But in the life of the church, summer can be a time for postponing. Activities are put on hold as some members leave for the summer. With the exception of Pentecost (which occurs early this year, June 8), even the church calendar seems to take a holiday. For the rest of the summer the liturgical color will be green indicating that we’ve entered the period called Ordinary Time.

Ordinary Time simply means there are no church holidays like Advent or Easter. The paraments will change from Pentecost red to the green of Ordinary Time and will remain so until the first week in December.

The liturgical calendar may say it’s Ordinary Time, but your church staff will be busy this summer. Plans are actively taking place and soon you’ll see the impact of that work. As a staff, we’re excited about what’s taking shape. As a congregation we believe you will be too.

The Book of Order provides the context I believe for all these activities. In the Directory for Worship (W-1.3013) we read:
As God created and appointed days, God created a rhythm of time and appointed seasons for worship. In the Old Testament, people observed seasons of fasting and feasting as occasions for festival worship of God. Jesus kept these festivals. For the Church in the New Testament, the festivals were transformed in meaning and purpose by Jesus’ life and teaching, his death and resurrection, and by the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension, and promised return give meaning to the seasons which order the annual rhythm of worship….
Just as the seasons of the year provide rhythm for all living things, the rhythm of life in our congregation includes periods of growth and change. This summer will be a time of much needed updating and refurbishing for the buildings and surrounding church campus.

We look forward to sharing the vision of our enhanced church property. And we look forward to the renewed energy and purpose and increase God will add. Summer is here! Thanks be to God!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

June Mission Corner

Montlure Presbyterian Church Camp

Montlure has been a special place for many campers over the past 75 years.

Montlure is owned by the two Presbyteries of Arizona, the Grand Canyon Presbytery and the DeCristo Presbytery.

Montlure is a camp for children, youth, and adults in the ministry of the church.  It provides the opportunity for a Christian experience in a setting that places it apart from the everyday world so they may experience the beauty of God's world and what it means to have God's experience in their lives.

Summer camping sessions are held for groups from grade 4 to high school seniors.

Go to their website at and click on their newsletter for February 2013 for an update since the fire and see ways in which you can contribute if you desire.

~Gene Downing