Tuesday, December 27, 2016

December Service of Reflection Tonight!

Tonight (Tuesday, December 27) is our last 2016 Service of Reflection in the Chapel at 5:00 pm, with dinner to follow in Swain Hall. Psalms and psongs with David Hodgson and Kelsey McKee!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Happy 70th Anniversary!

Our friends Jim and Dot Marker celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on Thanksgiving, so we celebrated them with cake this past Sunday:

Monday, November 28, 2016

Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday

#GivingTuesday puts the global spotlight on charitable giving, especially on-line giving. The Presbyterian Mission Exchange provides an online giving portal for all Presbyterian congregations and mission causes. Learn more at presbyterianmissionexchange.org/givingtuesday

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

November 29 Men's Breakfast Fellowship

Join us in Swain Hall at 8:00 am on Tuesday, November 29, for a hot breakfast and good fellowship! The program will be “The Star of Bethlehem,” a scholars' debate on whether the Star of Bethlehem is a legend created by the early church or a miracle that marked the advent of Christ.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Photos from the November Fellowship Dinner

The food was great, the fellowship was fantastic, and the freewill offering raised $955 for Community Health Evangelism. Now that was a Thanksgiving party!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Veterans Day Celebration

We will be celebrating our veterans this Sunday, November 13, during Fellowship Hour after worship services. If you have service memorabilia that you would like to display, call Tina Porter at 623.910.4231.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Bells are Back!

Our director is back, so The Great Bells of Fire will be practicing on Thursdays at 2:00 pm in the Sanctuary! Contact Mary Lou Klatte at 623.398.8132 or fancypancy@cox.net for details.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Hart Pantry Quilt Raffle

This Sunday, November 6, a representative from the Hart Pantry will bring an antique quilt to Swain Hall during Fellowship Hour and sell raffle tickets for it for $5. The quilt was donated, so all funds will go to support the Hart Pantry, which provides food, toiletries, and Christmas gifts to homeless and at-risk teens from 7 schools in the Peoria school district. If you would prefer to donate a Christmas gift, they are accepting hoodies (medium, large, and extra large); throws; $25 gift cards to Payless Shoe Store; and cash. Donation boxes may be found in Swain Hall, the church office, and the courtyard entrance to the Sanctuary.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

November 2 Reformation worship service

“Write the Vision—Reclaim the Call” is the theme of a church-wide Reformation worship service being led by the Reverend Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, on November 2 at the Presbyterian Center and live-streamed to the public.

“This is an opportunity in this Reformation season to call for a reform within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A),” said Nelson, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly. “It is my hope that we, as a denomination, can embrace a spiritual reformation that breaks down the walls that separate us within the national church and those that divide us from the communities where God has placed us.”

Worship will begin at 10:45 a.m. (Eastern Time) and can be viewed live at oga.pcusa.org. A video of the service also will be posted for later viewing.

The service coincides with Reformation Sunday, which is October 30. Also significant is the fact that 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, which is being celebrated in various ways and across denominations.

Nelson will draw from scriptures in Habakkuk and Luke as he calls the church to proclaim a new vision through prayer, reconciliation, and recommitment to Jesus Christ. The Sacrament of Holy Communion will be served during the worship service. Congregations are encouraged to consider meeting in a common space to view the worship service and discuss possibilities for the future of their ministries. The worship service will be held in the chapel of the PC(USA) national headquarters (100 Witherspoon Street, Louisville, Kentucky).

The liturgy will be available at oga.pcusa.org for viewing or download.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Looking to the Election

This UCC Daily Devotion was recently forwarded to us by a friend:

Life Stories
John A. Nelson

October 28, 2016

"I am the way, the truth, and the life." - John 14:6

In the United States, we are nearing the end of election season. It's less a contest between persons, more a battle of narratives. In one poet's words, "… Faces, orations, battles bait our will / As questionable forms and noises will."

"Questionable forms and noises" seems an apt description, as ideologies ride roughshod over ideas. The competition for attention and allegiance is fierce, raucous, ugly. What's a faithful person to do?

John's gospel may be especially helpful. It begins by reminding us that our hope is cosmic — "The logos [the essential meaning at the heart of all things] was with God, and the logos was God." John's gospel reminds us that our hope is also particular: in an unplanned provision for a wedding party, an unexpected bounty of food; an unanticipated healing, in signs too numerous to name that declare: God has shown up. In other words, our hope is in the One who bridges earth and heaven, meeting the needs of body and soul.

Which ideology wins an election will influence our lives: granted. But the work of the faithful remains the same, regardless: to answer meaninglessness with purposeful compassion; to respond to exceptionalism with universal forgiveness; to reply to fearful bigotry by taking on the perspective of those who have suffered persistent indignities; to mend the world.

"I am the way, the truth, and the life," said Jesus. Which means for us who follow not simply evoking the name above all names, but electing a narrative that is not on any ballot. We elect the way of love for God's creatures and creation. We elect the truth of God's love for the lost, the lonely, the last, the least, the let down, the left out. We elect the life that would rather give itself up than compromise love.

God of earth and heaven, preserve us from despair or triumphalism in the thin narratives of our own making. Grant us grace to once more find ourselves in your hope-giving story of love unbounded. Give us courage today to choose the way, the truth, and the life that will gladden your heart. In Jesus' name; Amen.

 John A. Nelson is Pastor and Teacher of Church on the Hill, UCC, in Lenox, Massachusetts.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Thursday, October 20, 2016

October Fellowship Dinner

Tonight (Thursday, October 20) at 5:00 pm in Swain Hall, it's Pasta Night! We will have vegetarian and gluten-free options available. The program will be Yvonne Lazago from ViewFinder, speaking on strategies for coping with low vision. Call the church office now to reserve your spot!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Sun City Farmers Market

In the parking lot of the Bell Recreation Center
Thursdays (starting October 6), 9am-1pm

Organic & seasonal crops, plants & seeds.
Great variety. Farm fresh. Locally grown!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Monday, October 10, 2016

Hurricane Matthew Relief Efforts

From the Presbyterian Mission Agency:

[God] comforts us in all our trouble so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (2 Cor. 1:4 NIV)

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) urges your support for those affected by Hurricane Matthew. The category 4 hurricane has already been blamed for hundreds of deaths and continues on a path of destruction toward the southeastern US coast. Earliest assessments confirm extensive damage in southwestern Haiti and eastern Cuba. PDA was already active in the area, doing long-term recovery work related to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and Superstorm Sandy of 2012.

PDA will immediately begin working alongside established partners to respond to this latest crisis. Immediate response will help provide essential food, water, and supplies for impacted communities and villages. As long-term recovery needs are determined, PDA will continue to support those in impacted areas to ensure a comprehensive recovery.

As more information becomes available on conditions in Haiti, Cuba, the Bahamas, and the United States, PDA will update this information and keep the church apprised on the emerging disaster response and community needs for recovery. Thank you for your generosity in prayer and in giving to those whose lives have been impacted by wind and water; as the Holy Spirit once brooded over the unformed waters of the earth and created order and life, so your prayerful gifts bring hope out of chaos.

The needs for the response will be great. God’s people are once again called on to stand in the “GAP”—Give. Act. Pray.

GIVE Financial support for relief efforts can be designated to DR000148 with reference to Matthew. Gifts can be made online, by phone at (800) 872-3283, or by check, which can be mailed to:
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
P.O. Box 643700
Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700

ACT Learn how you and 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.

PRAY Pray for those who suffered loss of family or home or for those who are working tirelessly to provide rescue, humanitarian aid, and spiritual and psychological support.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Hart Pantry Fundraiser

The Hart Pantry provides evening and weekend food for at-risk teens. Next Saturday, support them by chowing down on pancakes at the Applebee's at 93rd Ave. and Northern in Glendale. Tickets are available at the church office during regular office hours.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Photos from World Communion Sunday

Following the joint worship service, we enjoyed baklava brought by our guests from Tucson's Middle Eastern Presbyterian Fellowship.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

This World Communion Sunday is Special!

We will be sharing communion this Sunday, October 2, with several members of the Middle Eastern Presbyterian Fellowship from Tucson. Worship will be back in the Sanctuary at the usual 9:00 am time slot, and we will have brunch in the Courtyard afterward. The weather and the fellowship should both be glorious; come and be a part of this special day!

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Choir is Back - and They Need You!

Last week was our first fall choir rehearsal. If you like to sing, please join Dr. William Gleason and the choir each Wednesday evening at 6:30 in the Westminster (choir) Room to practice. They will start work on this year's Christmas cantata soon, so don't delay!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

September Service of Reflection

This month's jazz and poetry worship service reflecting on the themes of September's sermons will be Tuesday, September 27, at 5:00 pm in the Chapel, and will be followed by dinner in Swain Hall. If you would like to attend, please let the church office know so we will be sure to have adequate food prepared.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

PW Gathering Rescheduled

The September Gathering of our Presbyterian Women's group will be at 9:30 am on Wednesday, September 28, NOT September 21 as previously announced. A continental breakfast will be served, and our speaker will be a representative from the Dysart School District. We hope to see you there!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Deadline Reminder

Next Monday, September 19, is the deadline for items to be added to the church's October calendar and published in the October edition of The SPIRE newsletter. You can still send us calendar items after that date, but later submissions won't be included in the calendar information sent to the local newspapers and printed in our newsletter. Thank you!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

PW Circle Meetings Start Next Week

Rachel Circle meets Tuesday, September 13, at 1:30 pm in Annex 3. Lydia Circle meets Wednesday, September 14, at 9:00 am in Annex 2. This year's Bible study is "Come to the Waters." Please call the church office at 623.974.3605 if you have any questions.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Stephen Ministers Start Fall Meetings

Today (Tuesday, September 6) at 10:00 am is the first Stephen Ministers meeting of the fall.

Are you a compassionate person, full of faith and trustworthy? Would you like to help, on a one-to-one basis, people who are going through a personal crisis? If so, the Stephen Ministers of First Presbyterian would like you to join them.

Don’t know how to be a Stephen Minister? We will train you through classes held here at the church by our Stephen Leaders and Stephen Ministers.

The meeting days for Stephen Ministers are the first and third Tuesdays of every month, at 10:00 am in Annex 3.

INTERESTED? Contact coordinator Rev. Dr. David Glenn Walker at 623.977.0930.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Quote of the Day

Your mind is a garden.
Your thoughts are the seeds.
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Guest Pastor This Sunday

This Sunday, August 28, we welcome the Rev. Dr. David Glenn Walker to the pulpit. His sermon title is "When God Whispers." Please join us at 9:00 am in Swain Hall for this special service!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Tuesday Night Service of Reflection

Join us tomorrow night (Tuesday, August 23) at 5:00 pm in the Chapel for a short worship service featuring poetry and jazz. David Hodgson will help us reflect on the lessons of the first three Sunday sermons of this month. Dinner will be served afterward in Swain Hall. Please come and bring a guest!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

New News Deadline

We have been told that in order for our events to be included in the local newpapers' monthly church calendars, the information must be submitted to them no later than noon on the Tuesday before the last Monday of the month. To ensure we have everything we need before that deadline, we are changing the monthly deadline for The SPIRE to the second-to-last Monday of each month. If we have all the necessary event details that day, we can send them to the papers the next day. And, voila! Free press!

So, the deadline for anything to be printed in the September issue of The SPIRE will be next Monday, August 22, and we will send our September calendar of events to the newspapers on Tuesday morning. If you have an event that should be included in the calendar, please help us meet the papers' deadline by meeting ours. After all, it's good publicity, and free!