Friday, October 31, 2014

Tea Time

It's tea time again - high tea! 

Would you like to host a table?  Help in the kitchen?  Make sandwiches or cookies?  Be a server?  We will need your help!  Call Gail Bickel (623.815.7290) or Tina Trowbridge (623.910.4231) to volunteer.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

November Fellowship Dinner

TUESDAY, November 18 (please note the new date!)
5:00 pm in Swain Hall

Join us for a turkey dinner with all the trimmings and our own Great Bells of Fire handbell choir, and bring a Thanksgiving donation for Valley View Food Bank!  Sign up at the church office or in Swain Hall following worship for dinner or to help with preparations or cleanup.  Your freewill offering will support this and our other fellowship evenings.

And mark your calendar for these future fellowship events:

W Wednesday, December 17—Christmas ham and the seasonal sounds of the Desert Belles

W Wednesday, January 21—Hot soup and a speaker from the Arizona Humane Society

W Tuesday, February 17—Shrove Tuesday pancakes and Ed Fletcher on the organ

PLEASE NOTE: If you sign up to eat and aren’t able to come, be sure to call and let us know you won’t be there.  We prepare food based on the number of probable attendees, and last month 20 people who reserved spots for the pizza party didn’t show.  That puts a serious strain on our fellowship budget!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Meet Striking Stone

Tomorrow (Sunday, October 26), Oakley and Liseanne from Striking Stone will be visiting Fellowship Hour in Swain Hall after worship.  Striking Stone is the company that will be engraving the memorial bricks to fill the Celtic cross in our courtyard.  Meet Oakley and Liseanne and learn about some of their previous engraving projects.  They will be helping us to fill the courtyard cross with beautiful memories.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Library Open House on Sunday

Stop by the church library after worship on Sunday for brownies and the chance to meet new head librarian Carol Maxwell!  We have books for everyone, and they're easy to borrow - if you're not already familiar with the library, check it out

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

November SPIRE deadline is Monday!

The deadline for articles to be printed in The SPIRE newlsetter for November is Monday, October 27.  Please submit your information to Beth Mabee in the church office or (or email it to her at by the end of the day.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Demo Day

The fountain has been taken down and the damaged bricks in the courtyard's Celtic cross are being removed to make way for the new engraved memorial bricks.

Brick removal in process

If you haven't bought your memorial brick(s) yet, contact Norma in the church office at 623-974-3506!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Courtyard Planting Begins!

On Friday, the last of the old plants were removed from the courtyard and Memorial Garden areas.  The sago palms, which had been receiving too much sun, were transplanted to shadier locations.  The other planting beds received new plants that will require less water and less maintenance than the ones they are replacing.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Library Update

New head librarian Carol Maxwell has been cleaning and rearranging the furniture in the church library, and yesterday a more modern computer for cataloging the books was moved into the room.  Plans are afoot for a library open house, but in the meantime, feel free to stop by to check out a book or just check on progress!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Changes in the Courtyard

What's happening out there?
  • The fountain has been removed; the fountain basin will be demolished shortly and the existing damaged brickwork in the Celtic cross replaced with new bricks.  Stop by the church office if you want to buy a memorial brick to go in this area - or several!
  • The pavers have been removed from the seating area in the Memorial Garden.  Tomorrow the overgrown ficus trees will be removed and the sago palms (which are currently receiving too much sun) transplanted to the entryway to the parking lot.
  • Last week many of the new plants for the courtyard and Memorial Garden were purchased at the Desert Botanical Garden's semi-annual plant sale, and more will be delivered tomorrow from Mountain States Nursery.  Planting will also begin tomorrow.
The transformation is beginning!  Here are some of the photos of work in progress.

Paver removal in the Memorial Garden
At the DBG plant sale

At the DBG plant sale

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Schedule Changes

Please note these changes to our calendar:
  • Prayer Shawl Ministry will now meet every Monday at 9:30 am in Annex 3, rather than only twice a month.
  • The movie previously scheduled for October 7 (Philomena, with Judi Dench) will be shown at 10:30 am in Swain Hall on Tuesday, October 21 instead; the defective disk has been replaced.
  • Because work in the courtyard is running behind schedule, the Fall Cleanup Days scheduled for October 24 and 25 have been postponed.  The new dates will be announced shortly.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Photos from Gloria's Birthday

Church member Gloria Bouckenooghe, mainstay of our choir and Fellowship Dinner cleanups, recently celebrated her 80th birthday at the church with her family. Here are some of the photos from the event.


Monday, October 13, 2014

2014-2015 Fellowship Dinners

Except for summer cookouts, which start at noon, our fellowship dinners begin at 5:00 pm. They are held in Swain Hall and each includes a short but engaging program. A freewill offering covers the costs. Please come; guests are welcome!


Wednesday, October 15
Pizza Night
Pizza buffet, plus the energetic John Leo on the harmonica.

Wednesday, November 19
Turkey Dinner
This pre-Thanksgiving celebration features our own Great Bells of Fire handbell choir.

Wednesday, December 17
Christmas Ham
Enjoy ham and all the trimmings while listening to the seasonal sounds of The Desert Belles.

Wednesday, January 21
Soup Supper
Warm up with a hot bowl of soup and a speaker from the AZ Humane Society.

TUESDAY, February 17
Shrove Tuesday Pancakes
Get into the Mardi Gras spirit at our traditional pre-Lent pancake supper with Ed Dawson of Fletcher Music on the organ.

Wednesday, March 18
Loaded Baked Potatoes
Back by popular demand! And don’t miss the program, “Learning through the Labyrinth.”

Wednesday, April 15
Burrito Bash
This year our annual Earth Day dinner will showcase recycling, with speakers from Parks & Sons and eGreen Electronics Recycling.


Monday, May 25 (Memorial Day)
Saturday, July 4 (Independence Day)
Monday, September 7 (Labor Day)

Not everyone heads north to beat the heat. If you’re here for the summer holidays, join our grillmasters at high noon for burgers, hot dogs, and a few surprises.

Call the church office at 623.974.3605 to make your reservations!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Being Presbyterian

I’m not sure everyone knows that until very recently I have not actually been a member of this church.

As your Associate for Congregational Life, I am one of the people working to grow the church’s membership, but joining the church myself isn’t a job requirement—Otto Wedul, one of my predecessors, worked tirelessly to expand this congregation without ever becoming a member. Although I am employed by you, I could have joined any church in this area, or none, but I chose you.

Selecting a church is a very personal decision that encompasses everything from the very basic “Do I consider myself a Christian?” to the more complicated “Is this denomination a good fit with my personal beliefs?” and “Does this congregation meet my spiritual and emotional expectations?” For me, the answers to the first two questions are “gimmes.” My parents jointly decided to become Presbyterians when they married. I was baptized and confirmed in the Presbyterian church. Over the years I have attended services at many different Christian churches and several Jewish synagogues, but I always come back to the comfort of the structured yet flexible Presbyterian Church. Reformed and always reforming; changed and always changing. The denomination’s willingness and ability to adapt to the evolution of society and theology has lost us some members recently, but over the long haul will keep Presbyterianism alive and vital.

Which brings me to that third question—is this the right congregation to join? For me, at least, the answer is a resounding yes. From the time I first started attending services here, you all have reached out to me in friendship and support. I appreciate the functional and attractive campus; the camaraderie of belonging to the small but mighty choir; and the intelligent, inspiring sermons Harrell delivers every Sunday. I love this church and am happy to be an official member of it.

One of the highlights of my recent vacation was a visit to the First Presbyterian Church of Belfast (founded in 1644, present building completed in 1783). The church is much smaller than ours, but very beautiful. When my sister and I admired the gorgeously modeled and painted plaster ceiling, our guide told us that some years ago it had been severely damaged by a bombing across the street. However, he went on to say, the destruction had been a blessing in disguise. The pews, covered in centuries of nasty black varnish, were so pitted by the falling plaster that they had to be stripped, revealing the lovely golden oak beneath. The Sanctuary is much lighter and brighter since they’ve been refinished.

The First Presbyterian Church in Belfast shares several important characteristics with the First Presbyterian Church of Sun City: A worshipful atmosphere. A commitment to caring for God’s house. And a friendly congregation with a positive, “we can do it” attitude.

It’s good to be back home. It’s good to be Presbyterian. It’s great to be a member of this church.

~Beth Mabee

Thursday, October 9, 2014

News from the Library

We were saddened when Muffy Keen (right, in photo) stepped down August 1 as church librarian after many years of dedicated service. Muffy did a great job of keeping the library organized and the content focused. We are fortunate, however, that Carol Maxwell (left, in photo) has agreed to take over the position in Muffy’s place. Here is Carol’s first article about what’s going on in the library.

As the new church librarian, I am wondering how many of you folks have never checked out our library. I was in awe the first time I entered it to find something relaxing to read. Never before have I seen a church library like this one. There is an absolute wealth of reading material - something for everyone. We have many books on the Bible, the Christian Church, Christian Life, World Religions, Devotions, Worship and Prayer, Grief Support, Human Relations, Biographies, and yes, we even have a fine selection of Fiction.

I especially enjoyed reading a history of the Presbyterian church here in Arizona from its very beginning. If any of you read the series of books called Left Behind, you might want to check out a book in the Christian Life section called The Rapture Exposed by Barbara Rossing. It gives a much different interpretation than that proposed by Tim LeHayes and Jerry Jenkins in the Left Behind books. If you are a native of the West or a transplanted westerner, you might enjoy reading Dan Powell, The Making of an American Cowboy by Debbie Weitzell. It is in the fiction section. However, it is more of a biography as Dan Powell actually existed and eventually became a cowboy after being orphaned at a very early age. You'll find the library sandwiched between the Fireside Room and the hallway just off the courtyard entrance to the sanctuary. Do come and have a look-see!

~Carol Maxwell, Librarian

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Justa Center's Scott Ritchey to Speak at Men's Breakfast Fellowship

Scott and Laura Ritchey
On Tuesday, October 14, Rev. Scott Ritchey of the Justa Center will speak to the Men's Breakfast Fellowship of the First Presbyterian Church of Sun City. The Justa Center is a unique day resource center dedicated to helping homeless seniors in the Phoenix area, and one of our designated Mission recipients. Rev. Ritchey is an engaging and inspiring speaker; those who heard him as the guest preacher at our September 28 worship service will certainly want to hear him again. The meeting begins at 8:00 am in Swain Hall, and all men are welcome - bring a guest if you like.

For more information about the Justa Center, visit their website at

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

"These Days" Personal Devotion Booklets

The October “These Days” personal devotion booklets for October, November, and December can be found in the holders attached to the hallway bulletin boards, in Swain Hall, or in the entryway outside the church office. Even though the price printed on them is $2.95 each, you may have yours by paying only $1.00, brought to the office, dropped in the slot below the booklets, or into the Sunday offering plate in a miscellaneous envelope marked “These Days.”

Monday, October 6, 2014

Prayer Shawl Ministry Update

Our Prayer Shawl Ministry group of ladies have been very busy over the summer. We invite any ladies who like to knit or crochet to join us the second and fourth Monday of the month at 9:30 am at the Church. We will have an extra get-together for lunch at 11:00 am Friday the 31st of October at JiMichaels on 103rd between Grand and Thunderbird.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Women's Ministry in October

By the time you read this we will have had our first lesson of our Bible Study presented by Rev. Bev Phillips. This was the launch of our Bible Study for this year. I hope that we will all gain an understanding of Paul and be able to share it with each other. Let’s study our lessons and help the study leaders as they teach the lessons.

Our Gathering in October will be October 22nd. It will be a Salad Luncheon. Joan Fenton (PWP Justice and Peace Coordinator) will be our speaker. Joan is well-versed on women’s issues and we welcome her. Sign-up sheets for the salads will be passed around at our October Circle Meetings.

The Creative Ministries Offering Committee of Presbyterian Women has announced that the recipient of the 2014 Birthday Offering grant is Blue Corn Mothers Alliance, Albuquerque, New Mexico. They provide a range of services for Albuquerque’s Native American women who have experienced domestic violence. They have a multifaceted program that offers advocacy; crisis intervention; health, counseling and educational services; and referrals for legal and shelter services to Native American women and children who have suffered domestic violence.

The Creative Ministries Offering Committee of Presbyterian Women reviews proposals and selects recipients before the Birthday Offering is collected. Grant amounts for the recipients depend on gifts contributed during 2014.

For your fall reading:

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia after being at war and takes a job as a lighthouse keeper. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up on shore carrying a dead man and a living baby.

Calling Invisible Women by Jeanne Ray
Clover, a mom in her early fifties, feels she is invisible to her family. One morning she wakes up and finds she can’t see herself. Her family doesn’t even notice. She soon finds other women of a certain age who seem to have disappeared. As the story unfolds, she joins a movement of invisible women to affect change.

I will be returning the end of September and will be so happy to join my church family. I have visited two different churches here with my granddaughter and have enjoyed meeting the people and worshipping with them.

Blessings to All,
~Diane Nestlebush, Moderator

Friday, October 3, 2014

Popcorn and a Movie

 Tuesday, October 7, 10:30 am in Swain Hall

In October, this popular (and free) program moves to the first Tuesday of the month. This month’s movie is Philomena, starring Judi Dench as a mother looking for the child she gave up for adoption many years ago. Based on a true story.

No reservation required - guests are welcome!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Call to Congregational Meeting

A Congregational Meeting will be held October 12, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. in the Sanctuary. The purpose of the meeting is to elect two Elders to fill two unexpired positions on Session for Class of 2014.

By Order of the Session.
Evelyn Haas, Clerk to Session