Thursday, October 29, 2015

It's a Man's Thing!

Tuesday, October 6 kicked off the 2015-2016 year for the Men’s Fellowship breakfasts in Swain Hall—7:30 breakfast, 7:50 sharing our stories. This is a “man’s thing!” Join us for good food, fine fellowship, and getting to know each other better. See you at 7:30 am in Swain Hall!

~Fellowship Steering Committee

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Justa Center Update

Carol Maxwell (with director
Barbara Lewkowitz and a client)
took 125 pounds of clothing
to the Justa Center last week.
The Justa Center in downtown Phoenix is a resource for homeless seniors. In addition to providing a safe haven in which they can eat, get clean, and store their belongings, the Center helps them look for jobs, claim benefits due to them, and resettle them in homes. We are continuing to collect clothing, hygiene items, and housewares for them in the Agua Fria Room.

If you missed Director Barbara Lewkowitz’s talk about the Center’s work on October 25, you can hear it on our website. For information on how to send cash or other donations directly to the Center, go to their website.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

What Happened to the Extra Pews?

You may have wondered what happened to the extra pews that were removed from the bell choir area.

A nice gentleman named Jonathan Rojas from “Iglesias de Dios Pentecostal, M.I.” church came and picked up two of the pews and delivered them to “A Strong Rock-Roadway to Heaven” church. This is a very small church with few furnishings. They were very happy to receive them. We are happy that they are being utilized. Jonathan will come and pick up the third and final pew when he is able to.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Candle Recycling

You may have not been aware of the abundance of candles we had in our storeroom. After we decided to go with the “battery powered” versus open flame candles, we took inventory and found we had plenty.

We contacted Presbytery and asked to put the word out to those who may have need of these candles. Selena Keesecker responded and advised us that they would be used in various ways with the detention ministry in Guadalupe Iglesias. They would like to take some of them to Rocky Point, Sonora, MX, and others to use with their congregation.  Selena says Thank You for asking, and considering them for sharing the candles.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Get Your Free Books Here!

Carol Maxwell in the Library
Are you aware that our library has many free books available for the taking? From the courtyard entry, take the hallway to your left. There is a bookshelf unit facing the door to the little restroom just before you get to the library. On it are all the books that are free. They consist of duplicates of ones already in our library, ones deemed not appropriate for our library, and some that have been in our library for a long time but never read. From time to time these are gleaned to make room for new books coming into the library. Help yourself. These will be here through the end of October after which they will be donated to one of the thrift shops or shelters.

Also, for your information, all magazines that are donated to the library will be passed on to the Justa Center or Valley View Thrift Store. There seems to be no interest in checking these out of the library.

With October comes the thoughts of Bible Studies. I have come across what I consider to be excellent books for “teachers” or anyone leading a Bible study group. They are “Bread of Angels” and “The Luminous Web,” both by Barbara Brown Taylor. Another is “Leaders” (Learning Leadership from Some of Christianity's Best) by Harold Myra. These three may be found in the section with light blue tabs – Bible Study.

We also have a collection of books for group study. They are as follows:
  • Images of God (8 copies)
  •  Images of the Spirit (6 copies) 
  • Ecclesiastes – Chasing After Meaning (12 copies) 
  • Prayer – An Adventure with God (5 copies)
A new shelf has been designated as “Medical Books” These are from Carol Arseth's library. They are available for research or reading but only in the Library. They are not to be removed from the Library.

I would like to see more names showing up on the library cards. Come on in and give it a try. There is something for everyone. It is easier than going to a city library. Drop in after church or on Bridge Club Wednesday afternoons. Sit and browse a spell. If nothing else, come in and visit with me...

Your Satisfied Librarian,

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance responds to Southeast coastal flooding

This email was received today from the Presbyterian Mission Agency:
On either side of the river is the tree of life . . . and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. (Rev. 22:2)
The Southeast coast is experiencing severe and unprecedented flooding. At its height, more than 400 roads, 150 bridges and two major interstates (I-20 and I-95) were closed, isolating the communities that were most in need of comfort and assistance. South Carolina has borne the brunt of the devastation, enduring what has been described as a 1,000-year flood, and for some, more is still to come.

While South Carolina is the area most recently experiencing severe flooding, other parts of the country, including Texas, are still struggling to recover from massive floods that impacted multiple counties and left numerous Presbyterian churches damaged. As the rains finally subside in South Carolina and essential aid begins to arrive, we pray for a community of healing and hope for all those in the midst of this adversity.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) is walking alongside impacted mid councils to bring God’s hope and healing to all affected by flooding. Gifts from One Great Hour of Sharing are helping Presbyterian congregations as they reach out to their affected communities to provide emergency provisions like water, food and other supplies to neighbors in need. Members of the PDA National Response Team have been helping with assessments, connecting with long-term recovery groups and serving as a present witness of the larger church during this difficult time.

You can join in the response and encourage those in need by standing in the “GAP”—Give. Act. Pray.

Financial support for relief efforts can be designated to DR000191 to help address the needs of those impacted by the flooding. Gifts can be made online, by phone at 800-872-3283 weekdays between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. (EST), or by check; mail to:
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
P.O. Box 643700
Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700
Learn how your congregation can help families who have lost everything in the devastation. Stay informed and like us on Facebook, download resources and share updates with your congregation.

Make Gift of the Heart kits.

Register your volunteer work team’s interest in assisting with cleanup and rebuilding efforts with the PDA Call Center by calling 866-732-6121.

Pray for families impacted by flooding through loss of property and livelihood; for first responders and all others who put themselves in harm’s way to care for those impacted; that communities will work together and build stronger relationships and connections; for God’s sustaining grace through it all.

For more information, visit

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Prayer Shawl Ministry Update for October

The Prayer Shawl Ministry Group is now meeting on the first and third Mondays of every month, at 9:30 am in Annex 3. Anyone who likes to knit or crochet is encouraged to attend.

Even though the ladies didn’t meet regularly over the summer, they were busy! Be sure to check out the fruits of their labors at the October Fellowship Dinner. They will have items there available for sale (Christmas is coming!) to fund the purchase of additional yarn. And yes, yarn, coupons, and money are still gratefully accepted. Drop them off in the church office or the designated basket in Swain Hall.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Presbyterian Women in October

Diane Nestlebush (r)
& Ida Borhauer (l)
In Matthew 3 we read that Jesus comes from Galilee to the Jordon River to be baptized by John. John tries to deter him, saying, rather, that Jesus should baptize him. Jesus explains that having John baptize him “fulfills all righteousness.” This is the beginning of Lesson Two of Come to the Waters, this year’s Horizons Bible Study. Baptism—life-giving water—is just one of the many references to water in the Bible.

September’s topic was the “Birthing Waters”—God’s creation of our world. Each lesson is independent; it’s possible to study them out of order if you happen to miss a session. If you haven’t yet joined one of our Bible Study Circles, please consider it.

For our September PW Gathering we enjoyed a continental breakfast and heard about Diane Nestlebush’s attendance at the Church-wide Gathering in Minneapolis in June. Thank you, Diane, for your involvement in PW activities, including those at the Presbytery level.

The October 28 gathering, a luncheon in Swain Hall, will include visitors from Faith Presbyterian as well as from our “in-house” congregation, Emmanuel Baptist Church. We will have as guest speaker Senator Debbie Lesko, sharing her experiences.

Other future Gatherings at our church will include the traditional chili feed, when the men are our guests (this year they provide the program); a program by Colleen Newell, who taught school for one year in Russia; and a video about Women of the Bible. We thank Gail Bickel, Co-Moderator, for making these arrangements. Of course the annual Holiday High Tea on December 12 will be a favorite festive occasion.

Remember to check the PW Library—a collection of recommended books, against the wall just inside the main entry to Swain Hall. There is an easy check-out system; ask someone to show you—i.e., Billie Lewis.

Blessings, and Peace,
Marge Hagerman, Co-Moderator

Thursday, October 8, 2015

A Season of Strength

Growing in Discipleship and Faith

Now that we’ve reached October, even Arizona is starting to experience autumn. That means our “migratory” friends are beginning to return, and the church’s winter schedule is going into effect.

Starting Thursday, October 1, the church office will be open during the following hours:
  • Monday-Wednesday, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm 
  • Thursday, 8:00 am to 1:00 pm
The resumption of our winter schedule and the months leading up to our farewell to Harrell give us the opportunity to strengthen the ministry, mission, and fellowship of our church through the fourteen practices that Craig Dykstra identifies in Growing in the Life of Faith as supporting discipleship growth:
  • Worshipping God together 
  • Telling the Christian story to one another
  • Interpreting the Scriptures and history of church’s experience together 
  • Praying 
  • Confessing sins to one another 
  • Tolerating one another’s failures and encouraging one another 
  • Carrying out specific acts of service and witness 
  • Giving generously 
  • Suffering with and for one another and all our neighbors 
  • Providing hospitality and care 
  • Listening and talking attentively to one another 
  • Struggling together to become conscious of and to understand the world in which we live 
  • Criticizing and resisting powers and patterns that destroy people and corrode community 
  • Working together to maintain and create structures and institutions that sustain life
Let’s make this fall a season of renewal and strength. Let us worship God!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Fall Fellowship Fun

Thursday, October 15
5:00 pm in Swain Hall

This season’s Fellowship Dinners kick off with Pizza Night!  Those who attended last year’s event remember the great variety and high quality of the fresh-baked pizza buffet.  The entertainment for the evening will be stellar, too, featuring Dale Matthies on the accordion.  Dale performed at last year’s  Holiday High Tea, where his high energy and wide repertoire helped to make the afternoon memorable.

Signup sheets for diners and workers are available in Swain Hall or the church office, and an email version will go out the week before the event.  Since an outside vendor will provide the food, we need an accurate advance headcount; if you plan to come, please sign up, and if you sign up, be sure to show up. 

And mark your calendar for these holiday get-togethers:
  • Thursday, November 19 – Turkey Dinner with a Greek children’s dance group
  • Thursday, December 17 – Christmas Ham and the First Presbyterian choir
(Note that this year’s Fellowship Dinners will be held on Thursday evenings.)

See you in Swain Hall on the 15th!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A Season of Change

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven….

I shared this letter with Session on September 17th. The Session voted to concur with my request. Now it’s the time for transition for all of us. Thank you for the opportunity to serve this congregation. Thank you for your friendships and support. You have blessed me. I will remember you always. Thanks be to God!

Session: First Presbyterian Church of Sun City
12225 N. 103rd Ave.
Sun City, AZ 85351


After prayerful reflection and lengthy conversations with Carol and the rest of our family, I have decided to retire from full-time ministry effective January 1, 2016. Scripture tells us there is a time for every matter under heaven. Now is the time for transition for both the congregation and our family.

The past five years have been the most rewarding of all my years as an ordained minister. You have welcomed me and made our family part of your journey. You have gifted me with the privilege of serving as your pastor. Together we celebrated the first fifty years of this church’s ministry. We created a vision for the future and raised the funds to renovate the buildings and grounds. We restored the courtyard and memorial garden. The Celtic Cross will be a lasting legacy for generations to come. Along with the Session, we restructured policies and procedures to make the church more efficient and provide for the long-term. As a congregation, we have brought the best of the past with us while taking steps toward the future. First Presbyterian Church is strong and alive.

Every congregation develops skills and insights. Those assets will carry you forward as you move into the future. You have the gifts of talented staff and dedicated volunteers. You have a strong foundation upon which to build. Your future is bright and I’m excited for you.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for the honor of being pastor to this church. I give glory to God for the opportunity you gave me to walk alongside you in ministry, dedication, and love.

Grace and Peace.

Monday, October 5, 2015

For Potential New Members

The Administrative Commission will sponsor a brief meeting in the Fireside Room after worship services on Sunday, October 18, for anyone who is considering becoming a member of the church. Attendees will have a chance to meet the members of Session, find out what it means to be Presbyterian, and learn more about our congregation. New members will be welcomed at a reception in Swain Hall on October 25 during Fellowship Hour.