Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Habitat for Divinity

It was truly a humble honor to represent all of you at the dedication of our most recent Habitat for Humanity project. I was not here to do any of the work, but was invited to offer the prayer of dedication.

I met the family that has been blessed by our generosity and service, and I can tell you that their joy was beyond anything that words alone could describe. Those who had accomplished the extraordinary transformation were there—not to be recognized for their outstanding work—but to give thanks to the family for the privilege of being involved.

It was a time to celebrate the way faith in God had made us family to each other, and God was there to receive our dedication. In my prayer I thanked God for the way habitats built for humanity also become dwelling places for divinity; and in that great effort I caught a glimpse of the mission spirit of our congregation. It is beautiful in my eyes, and I can't wait to see what God does with it.


David with the family

The house

Workers with the family

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Summer in the Library

Carol Maxwell will be opening the library from 1:00-3:00 pm on two Wednesdays of every month during the summer. Come browse the shelves and stay awhile to read or chat with Carol—she will have cookies and iced tea available!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Justa Center Update

Thank you to Carol Maxwell, who has been ferrying fruit, clothing, and household goods to the Justa Center all spring. Executive Director Barbara Lewkowitz is very grateful to everyone for your generous donations. For the summer, the Center’s most pressing need is for supplies to keep their daily operations running smoothly. Items they particularly want now:

Bottled Water (individual or 2-liter bottles) Deodorants
Paper Towels Anti-Itch Cream
Toilet Paper Razors
Styrofoam Cups Dish Soap
Cotton Swabs Laundry Soap
Antacids Towels & Washcloths
Allergy Pills Underwear
Decongestants NEW Men's & Women's Socks

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Electronic Recycling Success

Thank you to everyone who brought their dead electronics to the church for recycling, rather than sending them to a landfill.

According to eGreen IT Solutions, we sent them a total of 739 pounds of recyclable materials.  eGreen handles the collected items according to the following standards:
eGreen IT Solutions ... ensures all electronic scrap will be securely dismantled and/or tested for the purpose of recycling, commodity value recovery or refurbishing purposes.  All data on received electronic scrap will be destroyed in accordance with the National Institute of Standards and Technology along with the US Department of  Defense data destruction standards...
All commodities will be sent to our approved downstream vendors that comply with the requirements of a Quality, Environmental Health and Safety System and with the provisions of the e-Stewards practices, Recycling Industry Operating Standard, ISO14001, and OSHA SA8000 ...
eGreen IT Solutions adheres to a strict zero-landfill disposal policy.
Our third annual recycling event was a great success; let's start collecting again for next year's Earth Day celebration!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Is Interfaith Dialogue the Key to Peace?

Some say that peace in the world can happen only if there is first peace among the world’s religions. And that peace among religions can only happen through dialogue. Be part of this in-depth discussion on the importance of interfaith dialogue.

Dr. Hava Tirosh-Samuelson, Speaker
Thursday, May 19, 2016
Islamic Center of the Northeast Valley 12125 E Via Linda, Scottsdale
Dinner: 6:00 pm Welcome: 7:00 pm
Suggested Donation: $10

Sponsored by the Theological Dialogue Commission, Arizona Faith Network

For more information contact Al Gephart at al@gepharts.org
To register email Penny Davis at pzwdavis@cox.net
Erin Tamayo, Executive Director reverintamayo@gmail.com

Monday, May 16, 2016

May Fellowship Dinner

Memorial Day
Monday, May 30
Noon in Swain Hall

We’re wheeling out our barbeques for the first picnic of the summer!  And if you are interested in the scenery and animals of Australia and New Zealand, stick around for Beth Mabee’s pictures of her vacation.  A cookout and koalas—what could be better?  Reserve your seat (and tell us what you want to eat) by signing up in the church office, or in Swain Hall on Sundays.

Your freewill offering helps to cover the cost of the meal, as well as support future dinners.  Guests are always welcome!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Save the Date!

Orangewood Presbyterian Church at 7321 N 10th St, Phoenix, will be hosting a Men’s Retreat on November 15. More details to follow!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Do You Play an Instrument?

First Presbyterian is hosting the ecumenical Hymn Sing in August, and we plan to give our guests a fun time. Please share your talent with an instrument you play — from violin to spoons — we need you! Let us make our Hymn Sing a joyful sharing experience for our guests. Call the church office at 623.974.3605 and leave a message for Donna Roth if you are interested in helping out.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

This Sunday is Pentecost

...with guest preacher Rev. Dr. David Glenn Walker at our church. Plan to wear red - and in the meantime, enjoy this post about other ways to observe Pentecost Sunday: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jack-levison/pentecost-for-the-rest-of-us_b_1540129.html

Monday, May 9, 2016

Angels Among Us

Angel: Originally a term used to describe investors in Broadway shows, "angel" now refers to anyone who invests his or her money in an entrepreneurial company (unlike institutional venture capitalists, who invest other people's money). *

Thank you to the angels who have adopted these items from the new “wish list:”
  • The plants and labor for landscaping the 103rd Avenue side of the campus 
  • Carpet for the chapel 
  • Needed sound equipment for the Sanctuary
Additional thanks to Roy and Kathy Gray for giving us the large totem pole and organ pipe cactus recently added to the planting bed in front of the chapel, and to Walt McMartin for donating a coin counter to handle the annual One Great Hour of Sharing offering.


Thursday, May 5, 2016

Fellowship Dinner Planning

Thank you to everyone who attended the April 7 Fellowship Dinner planning session, and to those of you who couldn’t attend but sent suggestions! Altogether about 20 people contributed, which was awesome; here are the highlights:

General notes:

We will keep most events on Thursdays, since we haven’t seen a drop in attendance and the choir has been able to help with cleanup. We will continue to fund the dinners through freewill offerings. This year we would like to schedule entertainment for the cookouts as well as the winter events.

Tentative 2016-2017 schedule:
  • October – We are waiting to hear whether the ASU Korean Students Ensemble will be putting on our program, and if so, on what date. The food will be pasta; vegetarian and gluten-free options will be available. 
  • November – The traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner, on Thursday, November 17. 
  • December – Holiday ham dinner on Thursday, December 15.
  • January – “Dinner with Your Deacon,” probably on Thursday, January 12; details to be hammered out with the Deacons at their May meeting. 
  • February – TWO events; a potluck dinner on Thursday, February 16, at 5:00 pm, and the Shrove Tuesday pancakes on Tuesday, February 28, from 11:00 am-1:00 pm. 
  • March – The Lenten Fish Fry on Thursday, March 16. We will add potato salad to the menu.
  • April – The Earth Day dinner on Thursday, April 20, serving loaded baked potatoes and sweet potatoes. 
  • May – The Memorial Day cookout at noon on Monday, May 29. 
  • June – NO scheduled events.
  • July – The Independence Day cookout at noon on Monday, July 4. 
  • August – The 90+ tea on Thursday, August 17 (time to be determined). 
  • September – The Labor Day cookout at noon on Monday, September 4.


Suggestions included the Me & My Brother guitar and drum group; marimbas; The Steele Sound (small steel drum group); The Desert Belles; a barbershop quartet; The Sun City Accordion Club, or a subset of it; a piano duet; James Jones (descendant of a Buffalo Soldier); The Arizona Trio (two guitars and a banjo); Bill Ciccione (blind vocalist/pianist); a fireman from the Buckeye Valley Fire Department; and videos.

We hope to have the entire schedule for next year hammered out in May and to send out the brochures for next year in the June SPIRE so everyone can mark their calendars well in advance of the fellowship evenings.

Thank you again for all the wonderful suggestions. I believe this WILL be our best year of Fellowship Dinners ever!
~Beth Mabee

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Peace and Justice Update

Diane Nestlebush recently forwarded this article by Phebe Packer from the Peace and Justice Network, Presbytery of the Grand Canyon:

In this time of tumult and strident discourse, it is easy to feel left out and helpless to bring about change. It can also be difficult to cut through the rhetoric toward true understanding of important issues. At the Peace and Justice Network our area of focus for 2016 is Tolerance, including areas such as combating racism, welcoming strangers, and mass incarceration. We seek to bring awareness and offer resources for understanding and action. Here are some suggestions:
  • Contact the Office of Public Witness. Once on their mailing list, they will periodically send you issues with links for contacting your congressional representatives and signing petitions.
  • Visit the websites of the Southern Poverty Law Center and/or Sojourners for information and resources. 
  •  Consider writing letters to detainees in Florence. Contact the Florence Project at www.firrp.org
Read to further your understanding:
  • Islam and the Future of Tolerance, A Dialogue (Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz)
  •  The New Jim Crow, Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (Michelle Alexander) 
  • The Righteous Mind, Why Good People are Divided by Polititcs and Religion (Jonathan Haidt)
  • Just Mercy, A Story of Justice and Redemption (Bryan Stevanson)
  • Tattoos on the Heart (Gregory Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries)
We are developing two workshops—more information on these soon!
  • Tolerance (Becoming Models for Listening and Discussing) 
  •  Toward Right Relationships (Native American Legacy)
We will add to this information on the Presbytery website during the year.

We hope you will consider joining us to bring forward your own areas of concern!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A Message from Our Pastor

I want to use this space to thank Harrell Davis for sharing our worship one Sunday in April. It was so very good for us to stand shoulder to shoulder in the ministry that we share. Perhaps no other moment in our interim season spoke more clearly about the transitional nature of ministry and the one Lord who alone is constant.

Paul put it best to his former parishioners in Corinth when he explained: "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth." The Corinthians had lost sight of the Lord who is the great head of the Church and were focused on the work and personalities of individual pastors. Paul wasted no time in setting the record straight: God uses some pastors to plant, others to water (and in my case to fertilize—if you remember the sermon); but we must never lose sight of the fact that it is God who inspires and enables the growth within and among us.

Sometimes that growth is physical, at other times it is spiritual. It can be in personal maturity or in social solidarity. The growth God provides in church life is as varied and as beautiful as a flower garden and as nourishing and diverse as a vegetable garden. Our garden may be a small one at the moment, but small gardens produce just as abundantly for God as larger gardens do, and signs of growth are everywhere.

Pastors come and go, for God rotates leadership even as He rotates crops—and sometimes even recycles parishioners; but the mystery of growth belongs to God, and it is beautiful in my eyes. Thank you, Harrell, for returning to the garden in which you labored so well for the Lord.


Monday, May 2, 2016

Presbyterian Women in May

Our Horizons Bible Study for 2016-2017 is now available! If you’re a subscriber to the magazine, you Who is Jesus? We’ve enjoyed Come to the Waters this past year. The new topic promises to be equally as captivating.
have already received your free copy of

Quoting from the magazine,
On March 15, 2013, a new Churchwide committee chose Judy Yates Siker to be the study’s author. The committee directed Judy to write a study that used scripture to explore how we learn who Jesus is, and Judy developed the idea of the many “lenses” through which we see and discover Jesus’ identity.
For example, Lessons One through Four are based on the scriptures of the four Gospel writers—Mark, Matthew, Luke and John. If you’re not already a subscriber to Horizons, call 866.802.3635 or go to www.pcusa.org/horizons.

Meetings in May:
  • Wednesday, May 4, 9:00 am: Coordinating Team in Annex 2 
  • Friday, May 6: Northwest Unit of Church Women United Celebrates May Friendship Day
    “Finding Grace at the Table”
    Hosting: Desert Garden United Church of Christ
    18818 N 128th Avenue, Sun City West
    (Off Bell Road, take R.H. Johnson Blvd., go to the 3rd right onto 128th Ave.)
    9:30 am for Fellowship and Refreshments
    10:00 am: Program centering on the 23rd Psalm
    Fellowship of the Least Coin Offering will be received during the meeting
  • Wednesday, May 25, 1:30 pm Gathering: Annual Spring Tea, with Election of Coordinating Team for 2016-2017

~Marge Hagerman, Co-Moderator