Friday, July 31, 2015

2015 90+ Tea

If you are 90 or older, please come to the 90+ tea Wednesday, August 12 at 10:00 am in Swain Hall! Otherwise, if you are not yet 90, call Beth or Dee in the church office if you would like to be a host/hostess for this event.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Final Ecumenical Hymn-Sing

The Ecumenical Planners of Sun City invite all who enjoy singing “hymns and spiritual songs” to the “One in Spirit / One in Song” hymn-sings. The final hymn-sing for Summer 2015 will be on August 9th at the St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, 10233 W Peoria Avenue, Sun City at 3 pm. We hope to see you there!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Prayer Shawl Update

Our Prayer Shawl group will have a Special Summer Meeting at 10 am Monday, August 3rd at our regular meeting place at the church. Yarn will be available at this meeting and we have some business to discuss. After the meeting we will go to J. Michaels on 103rd for lunch. Any questions call Nancy Childress.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Faith Formation and Education

On August 15, the 3rd Annual Leadership Training Event of the de Cristo and Grand Canyon Presbyteries will be held at Mission del Sol Presbyterian Church (1565 E Warner Rd., Tempe 85284), starting at 9:00 am and featuring 24 workshops on various aspects of spiritual, congregational, and missional formation. To learn more or to register, go to

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Quote of the Day

"It's not the load that breaks you down. It's the way you carry it." ~C.S. Lewis 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Time for a Thumbs-Up

One of my favorite quotes has always been “Work like a duck: Calm on the surface and paddling furiously under the water.” Some of that has been going on around the church since our Brainstorming and BBQ session on church growth in May. Activity and marketing suggestions have been rolling in for the last two months; I’m thrilled that everyone has been so willing to get involved. Because of that willingness, I’m going to ask you for a favor.

When I first took this job, I updated First Presbyterian’s information on the three major online search engine directories (Google Places for Business, Bing Places for Business, and Yahoo! Local Listings). During the last month I’ve also updated or added entries on sites like,, and, as well as Yelp!, Citysearch, and 10 or so other online directory services. Where possible I’ve uploaded photos, listed our business and worship hours, added our new mission statement, and explained how to locate the campus. As soon as all the changes I’ve made have been approved by the site owners, anyone who searches the Internet for a Presbyterian Church in the Sun City area will be almost guaranteed to find us, no matter what search tool they use. However…

A number of these sites allow the public to write reviews of the businesses listed there. As the administrator of the listings, I can’t also write reviews. But if you have an email address, you can!

Why you would want to? Well, if people are more likely to visit a restaurant when reviewers say the service and the food are good, don’t you think they’ll also be more likely to visit a church that’s received rave reviews? I would! Really think about what you love about First Presbyterian, in as specific terms as possible. Do you like Rev. Davis’s sermons? Our traditional choir and hymn selections? The quality of the food and programs at the Fellowship Dinners? The PW Bible study programs? The fact that we always have room in the parking lot? If you were encouraging a friend to attend our church, what would you say?

Now visit one or more of these links and tell the world:

You can also post a review on our Google Places for Business entry if you have a gmail account – and, of course, if you haven’t already done so, please like us on Facebook. In fact, if you really get excited about this idea, I have other links you can use, too.

Enthusing about the church in person is hard for most of us, because no one likes to risk a face-to-face rejection. A positive online review, though, takes only a few minutes and doesn’t share that risk. Give it a try – it’s a great way for you to help with spreading the word!

~Beth Mabee


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Benefits of Doing Good

Did you know that volunteering can help your brain stay sharp as you age?  This is a great example of doing something for others that benefits you, too.  Read more about the science behind this claim at

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Last Chance to Hear Robert Felix

This Sunday, July 26, is the last time filmmaker and ordination candidate Robert Felix will preach before Harrell returns from his vacation/study break.  Don't miss this chance to hear his message of God's amazing love.

To hear Robert's previous sermons, go to our website; click on About Us -> Listen to Recorded Services and then on the dates he preached (July 5, 12, and 19).

Monday, July 20, 2015

More on Ghost Ranch

We received this update today:

All Are Safe - Flooding Destroys Some of Our Favorite Workshop Areas


A sudden storm raged through Ghost Ranch around 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 7th. Brief yet violent, it brought destructive waters sweeping down through the arroyo, annihilating everything in its path. The force of the 20-foot wall of water that roared through was so strong it snapped mature trees in half and carried buildings away. This week, in the aftermath, we exalt at the fact that no one was hurt… truly a miracle. We are just so grateful to God for the safety of our guests, volunteers and staff.

We lost the Box Canyon aqueduct, Pot Hollow, Short House, Pole Barn, the Low Ropes Course and equipment shed, and further on down the arroyo, the brand new Fiber Arts Studio. Classes held in these areas have all been relocated. Aside from limited access to the Box Canyon hiking trail and closing part of the Matrimonial Mesa trail, Ghost Ranch is fully operational.

The National Weather Service is investigating the storm as there has not been an event like this in their records and they are surveying to assess how to forecast such an event in the future. For aid and funding to rebuild we're working with the Risk Management staff at the Presbyterian Church (USA), the New Mexico Governor's Office, the Department of Homeland Security, the Rio Arriba Country Emergency Management Office/Rural Events Center/Extension Office, the National Resource Conservation Service and Santa Clara Pueblo. We've also engaged the help of the Presbyterian Disaster Services, American Red Cross, FEMA, National Weather Service, Presbyterian Healthcare Services, PC(USA) Management and Communications Staff, our Governing Board and National Ghost Ranch Foundation.

Many of you inquired how you can help. At this time, the damage is too extensive and the areas are very dangerous to be working in, so we do not have volunteer and staff work crews in the destroyed areas. We have insurance but it comes with a hefty $100,000 deductible. Your help today is needed.

We will rebuild. And although it may seem obvious, we will not rebuild in the same areas.

If you have not yet given to our Flood Recovery Fund, or would like to give again, you may do so by connecting to this link on our website:

OR you can mail a donation to:
Ghost Ranch
280 Private Road #1708, Abiquiu NM 87510.

Visit our website for Other Ways to Support Ghost Ranch which offers portals for shopping on and GoodShop, both which allow a portion of your planned purchases to be donated to Ghost Ranch.

We are also seeking donations for our online auction which opens for bidding September 12. If you have an item or service to contribute to our auction, please email

While the devastation and loss are extensive, we are blessed with wonderful guests, donors, friends, and staff. You are all so awesome! God bless you for your love and encouragement! THANK YOU all SO much for the outpouring of generous offers of financial assistance and help in our recovery.

Immediately after the devastation from Tuesday’s storm, a double rainbow appeared over the Mesa – the promise of God’s love and hope times two!

During these days of assessing the damages, more signs of hope are emerging – a beautiful robin rebuilding her nest in a beam left on the Pottery structure, a road runner skipping across the arroyo, sun, rain and more sun, and best of all, our guests enjoying the abounding beauty and the community of the Ranch, singing, painting, laughing, praising, caring. What joy!

We are so overwhelmed at the outpouring of prayers, financial support, offers of volunteer time, and many words of encouragement. You are all awesome!

With love and gratitude,
Debra Hepler, Executive Director

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Food for Fines

Do you owe money to the Maricopa County Library District?

Through this Saturday, July 19, bring nonperishable food items to any MCLD library and they will forgive your fines up to a total of $50. One food item = $2. Contributions will benefit local food banks. For the list of participating libraries, visit

Monday, July 13, 2015

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Photos from Family and Friends Sunday

This summer we held our first music-centered "Family and Friends" worship service in Swain Hall. Refreshments were served, and the hymn-singing was inspired!


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Fourth of July Photos

Our Fourth of July lunch featured good music, good food, and good friends. If you missed it, plan to come to our next cookout on Labor Day!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Ecumenical Hymn-Sing This Sunday

Feed your soul, and then your body! The Ecumenical Hymn-fest: One in Spirit / One in Song will be at Faith Presbyterian Church [16000 No. Del Webb] at 3 p.m. this Sunday afternoon, July the 12th, with refreshments and fellowship at 4 p.m. Bring friends - there is no charge and all are welcome. For driving directions, go to

Monday, July 6, 2015

Listen to Recorded Services

If you are one of the members or friends of our congregation who travels during the summer, you can still listen to our Sunday worship services.  Go to our website at  Click on "About Us" on the menu bar, and when the submenu drops down, click on "Listen to Recorded Services."  Finally, click on the date of the service you'd like to listen to.  An mp3 recording will open in a separate window; it should start to play automatically.  Recordings are available for services going back to mid-2012; new recordings are usually available within two days of the actual service.  Don't miss any of the great music or inspiring sermons!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Thank Yous

I want to thank everyone for their cards and prayers during my fall, hospitalization and recovery. You are what makes First Presbyterian a great church.

~Billie Lewis

Thanks to all of the Presbyterian women for the presentation of the Honorary Lifetime Membership Certificate, Proclamation, and beautiful “Butterfly” pin.

It was a joyful surprise.

~Ida M. Borhauer

Words cannot describe how thankful I am for all of the expressions of sympathy and love received on the death of my son Larry. All were gratefully appreciated.

~Gerry Shaw

Thursday, July 2, 2015

July in the Library

Carol (left) and previous librarian
Muffy Keen in the church library
It's summer, it's hot, it's a great time to settle down with a cool glass of iced tea and a good book. Come check out your church library! I just finished 2 really great biographies, one featuring the life of Queen Elizabeth from birth through 1996. The other was the story of 5 British War Brides. Both were fascinating stories. There is also a biography in the "Large Print" section of Abraham Lincoln and how his religion shaped his entire life. If you are looking for easy reading, there is a huge variety of good fiction available. Don't be mislead by the Titles of some sections. Some really wonderful stories that don't fit the "Fiction Label" can be found in the "Christian Living" section and the "Human Relations" section.

Thus far in 2015 the library has taken in and shelved 105 new books, compliments of Don and Evelyn Thompson, as well as Harry and Nancy Wilson. Several duplicates will eventually be placed on the "Books for Free" shelves in the hallway before the library. You might want to check out this location which presently is featuring health and cooking books. If those books are not given new homes within our congregation, they will eventually be donated to the Valley View Thrift Shop or possibly the Justa Center.

I would hope to see more of you making use of this wonderful library. Why not drop in after church on Sunday, or on alternate Wednesday afternoons?

Your "Delighted with the Job" Librarian,
Carol D Maxwell

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Presbyterian Peace Fellowship

We would like to introduce the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship (PPF) to your congregation, and to make you aware of the resources we can provide to support you in your peacemaking witness. The PPF is an independent, non-profit organization whose mission is to help move the PC(USA) to follow Jesus’ witness and teachings as a peacemaker.

We work cooperatively with the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, which is a program of the Presbyterian Mission Agency—our national agency tasked with carrying out the program goals determined by the General Assembly of the PC(USA). Our work began in 1944 when a small group of Presbyterian Ministers who felt called to be Conscientious Objectors banded together to support one another. More recently, our small organization has helped to organize a human rights accompaniment program with the Presbyterian Church of Colombia, we’ve sent numerous delegations to Israel and Palestine and supported Christians in the region in their call for nonviolent direct action to end the Occupation, and we’ve developed resources for congregations struggling to respond to increasing incidents of mass shootings and rising levels of gun violence in our country.

We are writing to you because of our deep concern about the state of our country and our world. We feel that our church must stand firmly against war and build effective nonviolent strategies of resistance in a world increasingly characterized by violence. We desire to work together as partners with congregations who share this conviction. As the number of Presbyterians continues to decline, we believe that our identity as a reformed Christians committed to peacemaking must become stronger.

There are many resources available to support your congregation on our website. They include a six-part study on the complicated situation in Israel and Palestine, sermons on challenging topics like how to respond to the threat posed by ISIS, stories from Accompaniers in Colombia who have been transformed by the church’s witness there, and resources to help your congregation deal with the challenge of gun violence.

I am stepping out of my part-time position as Co-Director of the Peace Fellowship and will transition to the volunteer role of Co-Moderator of our National Committee. Emily Brewer will begin as a full-time Co-Director in my place on July 13, and she is available to preach and teach across the church. She joins Fritz Gutwein, who will continue as a half-time Co-Director. Both of their biographies are on our website.

Please let us know of your own efforts to respond to structural violence or specific incidents of violence in your own community or around the world. Let us know if you would like our support, or if your congregation would like to partner with us. We’ll send a note like this a couple of times a year to nurture the possibility of a deeper relationship. We are proud to be Presbyterian, and look forward to working with your community and many others to strengthen our historic commitment to peacemaking as followers of Jesus together.

We often talk of the need to be bold in our witness, and to watch for pivotal moments when our actions can leaven the broader movement for peace in the world. We hope you’ll share this letter with your session, your deacons, and your entire congregation—that we might take action together.

If you would like to receive our twice-monthly PresbyPeace E-News with news, events, and analysis of peacemaking from a Presbyterian perspective, I invite you to join [us]...

Peace to you,

Rick Ufford-Chase
Presbyterian Peace Fellowship
Moderator, 216th General Assembly, PC(USA) – (2004-2006)