Monday, December 29, 2014

January University of Life

The University of Life program, meeting on Thursday afternoons at 1:30 pm, will continue on January 8, 15, 22, and 29, with Rev. Richard Zabriskie leading. He will be dealing with the Biblical book of Genesis, giving an overall perspective, but dealing especially with the first 11 chapters, which is something of a unit in itself.
  • January 8 will be on “Background Understandings.”
  • January 15 will deal with the stories of Creation.
  • January 22 will focus on Human perversity and God’s Interactions.
  • January 29 will cover the purpose of genealogy, the tower of Babel, and the antidote of Pentecost.
We hope you will come, have a snack, and join in on the lively discussions each week. Guests are always welcome, too!

Please note: Because of the Elder/Deacon retreat in Swain Hall on January 15, University of Life will meet that day in the Fireside Room.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

January Fellowship Dinner

Wednesday, January 21
5:00 pm in Swain Hall

Warm up this January with some hot soup and furry friends!

After our annual soup supper, representatives from the Arizona Humane Society (human and canine) will present an overview of their life-saving service to animals in the community, and discuss how those with pets can plan for them should something happen.

And mark your calendar for these future fellowship events:
  • Tuesday, February 17—Shrove Tuesday Pancakes and Ed Fletcher on the organ
  • Wednesday, March 18—Loaded Baked Potatoes and “Learning through the Labyrinth”
  • Wednesday, April 15—Burrito Bash with an Earth Day program by Parks & Sons and eGreen Recycling
Call the church office at 623.974.3605 to RSVP. Your freewill offering helps cover the cost of the meal and future dinners. And for even more fellowship, consider signing up to be a greeter or to help with setup or cleanup. Many hands make light work!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Justa Center Thanks

Thank you to everyone who contributed items to the Justa Center in response to Scott Ritchey’s recent visits. We will continue to collect “stuff” (blankets, warm socks, toiletries, etc.) for them in Carol Arseth’s former office. For information on how to send cash or other donations directly to the Center, go to!donate/c24kz

Friday, December 26, 2014

Honor Flight

Honor Flight Arizona recognizes American Veterans for their sacrifices and achievements by flying them to Washington, D.C., to see their memorials at no cost to the vets. Top priority is given to WWII veterans. Guardians fly with the vets on every flight to help them have a safe, memorable, and rewarding experience. For further information, talk to Bill Wentling, contact Honor Flight at 928.377.1020, or visit the Honor Flight Arizona website at

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve Services at 5:00 Tonight

Please join the congregations of First Presbyterian and Emmanuel Baptist Churches tonight as we jointly celebrate Christ's birth in the Sanctuary at 12225 N 103rd Ave in Sun City, AZ.  The service will be the traditional Christmas Eve lessons and carols, and all are welcome to attend.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

December in the Library

It was wonderful to see the nice turnout for the Library Open House. But now I would love to see more folks take advantage of this wonderful gathering of reading material. This church is truly blessed. If you haven't noticed, the library is now open every other Wednesday from 12:00 noon until 3:00 pm (whenever the bridge club is meeting in the Fireside Room).

At present we have only 10 books checked out (all of them by only 3 families). We have some great Holiday reading material, thoughtful Prayer and Devotional books, and great Biographies. If you like fiction, we have mysteries galore, westerns, humor, love stories, and historical novels. Reading provides a window into the soul of the world. Don't miss it.

~Carol Maxwell, Librarian

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Presbyterian Women in December

It is that wonderful time of year again, Advent-Christmas! I was looking over the 2014 Presbyterian Giving Catalog and thought what a wonderful way to celebrate the birth of Christ by giving a gift to someone that can make a difference in his or her life. Take a look at all the unique ideas that can help people around the world who are facing daily struggles.

The women in PW are busy making plans and preparations for the annual Christmas High Tea. This year’s event will be held on Saturday, December 13th, and promises to be bigger and better than ever. If you would like to volunteer to help with this event, contact Gail Bickel at 623-815-7290.

December is a busy month for everyone so you might want to make note of the following activities for January 2015!
  • Church Women United Human Rights Celebration
    Friday, January 30th in Swain Hall, from 9:30 am to 11:30 am
  • PW Gathering Chili Luncheon honoring men of the congregation
    January 28th at 11:30 am in Swain Hall

Son of the Underground, The Life of Isaac Liu, son of Brother Yun the Heavenly Man by Isaac Liu and Albrecht Kaul

Because his father was an enemy of the state, Isaac’s mother was about to be forced into having an abortion, though seven months pregnant. After desperate prayer, the night before she was due to go into a hospital for the operation, she miraculously gave birth.

My Name is Malala, The Girl Who stood up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai with Christine 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.

Blessings to all,
~Diane Nestlebush, Moderator

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Capital Improvement Update

Thank You to those who have contributed or those who have pledged contributions for 2015 and 2016 to the Capital Improvement Campaign.  As of November 24, 2014, we had deposited $58,474.88 for improvements and $4820.00 for bricks.  Capital Improvement contributions have been in amounts of $100 to $15,000.  Thank you to the following:  Lloyd & Ruth Baumgartner, Donald Berg, Harrell & Carol Davis, Frances Gehm, Evelyn Haas, Vonda & Gwynn Hagen (for part of the Fireside Room), Dean & Carol Hilst, Earl & Frances Kittredge, Gene Klatte & Mary Lou Pancy, Max Littlejohn, Beth Mabee, Darrell & Norma Mack, Wanda Morrill, Zane & Martha Porter, Donna Roth, George & Joyce Saltsman, Fred & Doris Stainbrook, Jane Whaley, and Harry & Nancy Wilson.

Bricks have been ordered by:  Hazel Bacon, Nita Cinquina, Cheryl Davis, Harrell & Carol Davis, Sharon Gearhart, Frances Gehm, Ham & Bunny Geisbert, Judy Goss, Evelyn Haas, Vonda Hagen, Dean & Carol Hilst, Jane Hundley, Earl & Fran Kittredge, Max Littlejohn, Jim & Janet MacDonald, Craig & Mary Lou McCoy, Pat & Rosie Mills, Marilyn Olney, Wayne & Claribel Parker, Charlotte Pooley, Donna Roth, Charles Sedgwick, Chesley Sikkema, Fred & Doris Stainbrook, David & Shirley Walker, Bill Wentling, Jane Whaley, and Dick & Karen Zabriskie.

Improvements made to date are: 
  • Iron fence (in front of office to Annex 2),
  • Landscaping
  • Security system
  • Six new toilets
  • Nine occupancy sensors (restrooms)
  • Exterior painting
  • Steel security gates/fence behind Swain Hall
  • Celtic cross in courtyard repaved
  • Tuff shed for property/maintenance equipment
  • Thermostat and a/c updates
  • Cracked window in Narthex replaced
Total costs have been covered for these items.

Still to come:
  • New upholstery for the chairs in the Fireside Room
  • Interior paint for the Sanctuary and adjoining areas
  • Additional landscaping and irrigation
  • Permanent repairs to the ceiling of Swain Hall
Wish list - these are “nice to have” items that won’t be done unless donors specifically adopt them:
  • New upholstery for the chairs in the south entry to the Sanctuary
  • Outdoor shade structure/umbrellas for the courtyard
  • New gutters around the office/annex
Want to be added to the list of donors?  It’s not too late.  No contribution is too small; every dollar helps.  Thank you for showing your love for God’s house in this very visible way!


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Birth of Hope

God didn’t come to reign over humanity at Athens or Rome or any of the other major cities where one would expect God to arrive, but rather—God came to identify with us by being born in lowly Bethlehem in the form of a vulner-able infant. And God didn’t come to conquer the world with military or political might, but instead—in the scandal, shame, and pain of the cross. So also God continues to come where we least expect God to be….And that’s not all. If we are willing to suspend our expectations and live into the surprising reality of the God we know in Christ, then we are invited to meet God not in some distant eternal life or other-worldly reality but here and now, in the concrete and real need of our neighbors, just as they are invited to meet and be blessed by God….The God we know in Jesus is revealed, that is, not in power but in vulnerability, not in might but brokenness, and not in judgment but in mercy. ~David J. Lose, Nov. 17, 2014.

Lose’s commentary is truly Good News in a world of violence and suffering. Every day we read about or hear about more bad news. The promise of a Messiah, a savior who will save us from calamity, might seem as far-fetched to us as it must have sounded to First Century folks.

The realization that God fulfilled the promise of a savior, not in might but brokenness and not in judgment but in mercy changes all expectations and brings hope to the world. At Christmas we celebrate the birth of hope! Hope changes everything….

Each year hope “shimmers” amid the darkness of fear and doubt. This year it takes, for me, the form of a song, a video from the a cappella group Pentatonix. Their vocal harmony is beautiful, but it’s the words they sing that capture what Jesus’ birth means:
Mary did you know….
The blind will see.
The deaf will hear.
The dead will live again.
The lame will leap.
The dumb will speak.
The praises of The Lamb.
I invite you to find that video on YouTube or Vevo or on our own church’s Facebook page. Listen, enjoy, let hope grow in your heart. Thanks be to God!


Monday, December 15, 2014

Courtyard Rededication

Sunday, December 21, after worship

The bricklayers have been hard at work, and the Celtic cross with its new memorial bricks will be the centerpiece of our redesigned central courtyard for many years to come. Particularly if you bought one or more bricks to honor your loved ones, you will want to attend this short ceremony to rededicate the area for use in the church’s ministry.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Last Call - Holiday High Tea

Saturday, December 13, at 1:00 pm in Swain Hall

There are only a few tickets left for this festive annual affair—if you want one, call Gail Bickel NOW at 623.815.7290.