Thursday, December 31, 2015

Welcome, David!

We are extremely fortunate to have our interim pastor starting at the beginning of January!

According to the Office of the General Assembly,
Interim Pastors offer to the congregations they serve:
  • Worship leadership and preaching
  • Pastoral care
  • Work with the session to provide for the life and ministry of the congregation
  • Administrative work including supervision of other staff persons
  • Staff support for programs and committees of the congregation
In addition, an Interim Pastor leads a congregation during the transition time after an installed pastor has departed, helping the congregation prepare to welcome the leadership of a new installed pastor. Interim Pastors understand the dynamics of a congregation in transition, including feelings of grief, loss, and, sometimes, relief or anger.

Interim pastors will help the session provide for continuity of essential programs, and may assist the session in assessing needs for changes in programs and ministries of the congregation….

A good interim pastor will “hit the ground running," beginning his/her time with the congregation with intensity and energy, and will leave with intentionality, engaging in a “good goodbye” with the congregation and its staff. A good interim pastor is fully present with the congregation from the beginning, and really leaves when she/he leaves.*
The Reverend Doctor David Hodgson is a retired Presbyterian minister with 47 years’ experience as a church or interim pastor. He received his Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary and his Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary. He and his wife Deanne live in Phoenix; most recently he has been serving as Interim Head of Staff at Chandler Presbyterian Church in Chandler, Arizona.

David is definitely “hitting the ground running;” his first Message was our last blog post, and he will be preaching his first sermon for us on January 3rd.

The members of the selection committee are very happy to have David on board; please join them in giving him a warm First Presbyterian welcome!

*Quoted from:

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Getting to Know You

I am excited about being your interim pastor, and am grateful to God for bringing us together. I expect to hit the ground running in the New Year, and I want to meet my new church family as quickly as possible. I ask for your help in creating opportunities for that to happen.

Surely you remember the delightful musical The King and I by Rogers and Hammerstein in which a school teacher introduced herself to her students by singing Getting To Know You. Let the words of the chorus be our theme for January as we introduce ourselves to each other and share the unique journeys that brought us together.
Getting to know you
Getting to know all about you
Getting to like you
Getting to hope you like me
I am grateful for the way Harrell finished his ministry with a ritual of gratitude and of closure in worship, and for the way he encouraged you and me to continue the ministry of Christ in the New Year. Transitions are a time of sadness that comes with parting, and also of adventure that comes with starting something new. In the interim season, I will be meeting with the leadership of the church in retreat in January to set goals for the interim season so we can work together to accomplish all that our Lord inspires us to do.

Interim seasons are fun, and I trust that we will enjoy the time that God grants us to be together. The interim search committee and the Session have already made me feel very much at home among you, and I look forward to experiencing the welcoming spirit of the congregation. Thank you for inviting me to share your ministry.

With every blessing,
David Hodgson

Monday, December 28, 2015

Join the Community Rewards Program

The Congregational Care and Outreach Commission has enrolled the church in Fry’s Community Rewards (FCR) Program. All proceeds derived from FCR must be used for charitable purposes within the community Fry’s serves. The Commission has chosen to use the money received to support the Agua Fria Food Bank. You can participate in the program at no cost to yourself; simply link your Fry’s V.I.P. card to it and from then on whenever you swipe the card to buy groceries at a local Fry’s store, a portion of the money you spend will go toward this important mission.

According to the Fry’s website,
Fry's is committed to helping our communities grow and prosper. Year after year, local schools, churches, synagogues and other nonprofit organizations will earn millions of dollars through Fry's Community Rewards. Our program was designed to make your fund-raising the easiest in town…all you have to do is shop at Fry's and swipe your V.I.P Card! Enroll now for the Fry's Community Rewards Program. And remember…all participants must re-enroll each year to continue earning rewards for their chosen organization.

If you have a Fry’s card and an email address, you can link your card to the program yourself by following the steps below.
  1. Go to
  2. Click on Register (top right corner of the page). 
  3. Fill out all the fields under Create an Account; be sure to complete the Your Location field and click the Find button to find your preferred store. 
  4. Click the orange Create Account button at the bottom left corner of the screen. 
  5. Now you should be on the Add V.I.P. Card screen. Fill out the fields for your card number and your last name and click the Save button at the bottom left. 
  6. At this point, you will be at the Account Summary page. Scroll down until you see Community Rewards and click on the orange Enroll button beneath. 
  7. When the Find Your Organization screen comes up, type 41034 into the field and click on the orange Search button. 
  8. When the church’s information appears, click on the radio button to the left of the church’s name and then on the Enroll button.
And that’s it!

If you already have an online Fry’s account, you can link your card to the program by signing in to the Fry’s website. Click on Community in the menu in the website header, and then on Community Rewards. When the Fry's Community Rewards Program screen comes up, click on the orange Enroll Now button and follow steps 7 and 8 above.

Thank you for your participation!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Week of Prayer Involvement

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is coming up fast!

Our church is hosting the first worship service and lunch on Monday, January 18, from noon to 1:00 pm. Please call Donna Roth, Marilee Marshall, or Beth Mabee to volunteer to take part in the service or help with the food, or sign up in the church office or Swain Hall.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Farewell to the Davises

Sunday, December 27, at 10:00 am in Swain Hall

Come to Swain Hall this Sunday following the worship service to participate in a program celebrating the Davises and thanking them for their work here. Carol Maxwell is coordinating the festivities—give her a call if you have questions or would like to help her with the preparations.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Saying Goodbye

Now the time really has come to say goodbye. In the office, I’ve packed away books and knickknacks. I’ve taken down artwork, pictures, and diplomas. It’s easy to clean out a room. But it will be difficult to see you all for the last time. That will occur on December 27th. At that last worship service we’ll observe a ritual of separation. The Book of Common Worship very helpfully provides a liturgy for saying goodbye. It’s important to mark transition. However, it’s equally important to remember that the church is both visible and invisible. The visible part is what we see every Sunday. It’s the community in worship, celebration, fellowship. It’s the buildings we occupy and the programs we support. All that we can see, touch and enjoy.

The invisible part is what we mean when we refer to the church universal. When we celebrate World Communion, we’re acknowledging the church universal. By observing communion together, we demonstrate that the church is one, in body and in spirit.

So the church is both what we can see and what we know. We know that we are one body in Christ Jesus our Lord. We know that we are sisters and brothers together through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. We are one. And it will be that way for all time because that’s what God intends.

Even though Carol and I are moving away, we are not breaking our essential communion with you. Wherever we go, when you celebrate communion, we’ll celebrate communion because the sacrament is the same. Wherever we go, when you think of us, and pray for us, and remember us, we’ll remember and pray for you because in Jesus Christ, we are members of one family.

Our time here in Sun City is one point on the continuum of First Presbyterian Church’s history. I rejoice and give thanks for the opportunity you gave Carol and me. You welcomed us into your family. You will always be part of our lives.

Scripture tells us that there is a time for every matter under heaven. So now is the time for saying goodbye. Thank God this is not the end, but merely a transition. Grace and Peace and our love to you all, always….


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Christmas Gift Suggestions

  • “Just Coffee” is again for sale as a Presbyterian Women’s mission project after worship services in the Swain Hall entrance. The Grand Canyon Presbytery partners with Fontera deCristo, a Presbyterian Bi-National Border Ministry (one of five with Mexico) to provide 93 coffee-farming families with a better life from the sale of their coffee beans, grown in Chiapas, Mexico, and roasted at the Arizona border. Each bag sells for $9.00; regular and decaf are both available.
  • Our church cookbooks are still available on the table under the PW bulletin board in Swain Hall. The books are packed with delicious recipes and an incredible bargain at only $5.00 each.

Monday, December 14, 2015

December Fellowship Dinner

Thursday, December 17, 5:00 pm in Swain Hall

You are invited to the Fellowship Christmas Dinner! Plan to come enjoy a delicious meal followed by a musical program presented by our very own choir.

The Christmas Fellowship Dinner will again be hosted by the Rev Harrell and Carol Davis. And this year as a gift to the faithful Fellowship Dinner volunteers, who have helped set tables, prepare food and clean up, Chef George Garnache will be preparing the meal! Chef George has 30+ years of making delicious meals for many clients, friends and family. George and his wife, Sally, are dear friends of the Davis family and reside in Rio Rancho, NM.

Your freewill offering will be donated to The Justa Center.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Presbyterian Women in December

Waiters at last year's High Tea
Friday, November 6, First Presbyterian Church had five women attend the NW unit of Church Women United at “New Song United Methodist Church” on West Bell Road to witness Kathie Mittelsteadt, who has been facilitator for six years, pass leadership to Sally Dorrell of New Song.


Tickets are still available from a table hostess, Gail (815-7290), or the church office. Opportunities for table hostesses may still be available, for either creating your own table or hosting an already prepared table. Those that would like to help prepare for the High Tea, please sign-up in Swain Hall. Help is needed on Friday to prepare sandwiches; we will begin at 9:00 am, and then rest our busy hands and enjoy the provided lunch and fellowship. On Saturday beginning at 9:00 am we will be preparing tables. Plan to join in the fun!

Looking forward to 2016:

  • January 6, Wednesday, 9:30 am—C.T. Meeting for the officers in the Annex. We will be preparing for the Gathering on January 27.

  • January 27, 2016—the third annual Chili Lunch with the men as our guests. This is one you do not want to miss. Not only is the chili outstanding, the program will be our own Zane Porter and Dick Zabriskie with “An Interesting Discussion” you will just have to come and see for yourselves. That is Wednesday, January 27, at 11:30 am. Oh and one more thing—please let us know if you will be there. There will be a sign-up sheet for you in Swain Hall. We wish you all a very Merry Christmas.
~Lois, Marge and Gail

Monday, December 7, 2015

Ladies’ Day at Men’s Breakfast Fellowship

Tuesday, December 15, 7:30 am in Swain Hall

Take part in one of our favorite holiday traditions—breakfast plus The Story of Christmas. All men and women of the church are invited to celebrate the birth of Christ with songs and scripture.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Stewardship Reminder

The monetary portion of your annual stewardship pledge helps pay our staff, maintain the church campus, support our ongoing programs, and defray other operating expenses. As of November 24, 68 pledge cards had been returned, pledging a total of $115,000. The Session will be meeting on December 10 to work on the budget, so if you have not yet sent in your Time, Talents, and Treasure pledge for 2016, please do so as quickly as possible.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Giving Tuesday

From the Presbyterian Mission Agency:

You’ve heard of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, but have you heard about Giving Tuesday—a day designated to kick off the holiday charitable giving season? As part of this global charitable giving effort, the Presbyterian Mission Agency is inviting Presbyterians across the country to take part in this special day of giving, which takes place today, December 1, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

Every gift helps. Your contributions to the Mission Agency will help Presbyterian Disaster Assistance provide aid in times of national and international disasters; support mission co-workers as they proclaim Christ’s good news; empower vulnerable people; build bridges of reconciliation in some of the world’s most troubled places; help the Church in its mission to become more diverse and inclusive of racial, ethnic, cultural, and language groups; as well as equip women for leadership in all ministries of the Church.

We have a day for giving thanks. And now we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. It’s simple: go to the Presbyterian Mission Agency donation page to give your gift to support the important work of the Mission Agency. You may designate your gift to a specific ministry area by clicking on “change it here” and typing in the ministry area.