Thursday, July 28, 2016

August Events

These items are listed on our online calendar, but they’re worth repeating!
  • Wednesdays, August 3 and August 17—The church library will be open from 1:00-3:00 pm. However, Carol will not be serving refreshments; last month she had to eat most of them herself. (She says she gained several pounds and it’s all our fault.) Come visit her anyway!
  • Wednesday, August 10, at noon—The summer luncheon hosted by PW. All men of the church are invited, too. This is the last day to donate school supplies for the children in the Dysart School District.
  • Thursday, August 11, 7:00 pm—The Ben Hur preview at Arrowhead Fountains 18 (Harkins) Theater. See Beth in the church office for tickets. They are free for veterans and $9.00 each for the rest of us. 
  • Sunday, August 14, 3:00 pm—We are hosting the last of this summer’s One in Spirit/One in Song ecumenical hymn-sings in our chapel. Bill Gleason and Kelsey McKee will lead us in song, with homemade cookies to follow in Swain Hall. 
  • Thursday, August 25, 2:00 pm—The annual 90+ tea. If you are 90 or older, you will be receiving a personal invitation. If you are not yet 90 but would like to help out by driving someone, working in the kitchen, or hosting one of the tables, please call the church office. 
  • Special music—The worship service on Sunday, August 7, will see the return of tenor Dan Post, always a summer favorite, and August 14 will feature a piano duet by Kelsey McKee and Vonda Hagen. 
And don’t forget, our last summer cookout will be on Labor Day, Monday, September 5, at noon!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Guest Pastor This Sunday

This Sunday, July 31, the Reverend Doctor Douglas P. Wright will be preaching at our 9:00 am worship service.  A former senior pastor at First Presbyterian, Doug is now mostly retired, but still active with Recorded Recreational Reading for the Blind.  To learn more about Doug and the RRRB, visit!who-we-are/c8k2.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Scam Phone Calls Continue

We recently received this information from Carole Studdard, Marketing Coordinator at the Sun City Home Owners Association (SCHOA).


SCHOA has received numerous calls relating to:
  • APS threatening to turn off electricity and to call 855.209.7714.
  • ADT to upgrade your system.
  • Cox performing maintenance and asking for account information.
  • IRS taking you to court.
Do not return or respond to these phones calls.  The Attorney General's Office suggests that you contact their office to report the information and file a complaint (602.542.5025). 

Thank you for sharing this information with your neighbors.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Peace and Justice Report

From Diane Nestlebush on the Peace and Justice Network of the Presbytery of Grand Canyon:

You will not want to miss this! International Peacemaker Luis Fernando Sanmiguel will be coming to Faith Presbyterian Church on Sunday, October 2nd (World Communion Day) for the morning service and a workshop later in the day. More details on times will be given in the September edition of The SPIRE and in our bulletin.

The Rev. Luis Fernando Sanmiguel serves as pastor of the Community of Hope Presbyterian Church of Columbia. He has engaged in peace work for 26 years, taking part in a variety of social justice and human rights activities and movements and accompanying some of the most vulnerable rural communities. Rev. Sanmiguel has participated in peace talks between the Columbian government and guerrilla groups, among them the Revolutionary Armed forces of Columbia and the National Liberation Army. He is part of the Commission for Social Oversight appointed by the Dialogue in Havana, Cuba. He has served as a pastoral accompanier to political prisoners in Villavicencio and Medellin Antioquia. He belongs to the diaconate office of the Presbyterian Church of Presbytery of Uraba called “Uraba Territory of Peace” and in Bogota he coordinates an interfaith movement called “Teusaquillo Territory of Peace.”

The Peace and Justice Network is excited that Rev. Sanmiguel is able to come talk and share his experiences with us. Look for more information in September.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

New Virtual Tour

The Google Earth virtual tour of our church campus is now available - and here it is! Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Superior Sound in September!

Worship services during the last six months have highlighted several issues with the sound system in our Sanctuary. The main speaker is aimed over the heads of those in the first few pews and is inadequate to cover the back rows, creating several large “dead spots.” In addition, despite adjustments, the reproduction of David’s voice continues to be too tinny, and intermittent feedback has come close to driving several people out of the room.

In response to these problems, we have called in a professional church sound consultant to design a replacement sound system for us. His proposal includes all new speakers for the Sanctuary; new microphones for the choir and the bell choir; and new controls that will let the sound booth operators adjust more than just the volume level. The total cost for these changes will be $30,000.

Thanks to the generosity of several concerned members of the church, we have already received $12,400 toward this project. The Session has approved an appeal to the congregation for the balance.

Please, if you would like to hear terrific sound quality in our Sanctuary – no dead spots, no feedback, and David sounding like David – make a contribution toward this project today. No amount is too small. You can mail us your donation, drop it off at the church office, or leave it in the collection plate as early as this Sunday. (Be sure to mark it “sound.”) The sooner we have the money available, the sooner work can begin.

Let’s aim for superior sound in September!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Presbyterian Women in July

Dysart School District: School Supplies Needed

We will be asking for school supplies during July for delivery to the Dysart School District late in the month. Our Coordinating Team members will set up and maintain a long table in Swain Hall for these items to be accumulated and displayed.

Here are the suggested items:
  • Crayons Pencils (#2) 
  • Ballpoint Pens (black or blue) 
  • Glue/Glue Sticks 
  • Kids’ Scissors 
  • Rulers 
  • Notebook Paper 
  • 3-ring Notebooks 
  • Spiral Notebooks 
  • 2-pocket Folders 
  • Pocket Calculators 
  • Lunch Boxes 
  • Backpacks

Dollar- and 99-cent stores always have a good selection of many of these items! Monetary donations are also welcome. You may bring or mail a check to the church office, payable to First Presbyterian Church, specifying that it is for school supplies. Someone will do the shopping for you!

Franciscan Renewal Center – PW Synod of the Southwest Fall Gathering.

If you have never experienced the Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale, you may want to attend one or all three days’ activities! The theme for this Gathering is “Who Is Jesus?”, title of the Horizons Bible Study for the coming year. Although the Gathering isn’t until October 28-30, ladies who are interested in attending will need to make reservations by October 8. I have the forms. Here is an abbreviated schedule:

Friday, October 28 
  • Check-In – 4:00 pm 
  • Dinner – 6:00-7:00 
  • Evening Program – 7:15 
Saturday, October 29 
  • Morning Meditation – 7:30 
  • Breakfast – 8:00-9:00 
  • Morning Program – 9:15 
  • Workshops – 10:45-11:45 
  • Lunch – 11:30-12:30 
  • Workshops – 1:00-2:00 
  • Workshops – 2:15-3:15 
  • Free Time Opportunities 3:30-6:00 
  • Dinner – 6:00-7:00 
Sunday, October 30
  • Morning Meditation – 7:30 
  • Breakfast – 8:00-9:00 
  • Worship – 9:30 
  • Lunch – 12:00
Fees range from $60, for one meal plus one program fee, to full registration for all three days, including two nights’ lodging, $230-$300.

~Marge Hagerman, Co-Moderator

Monday, July 18, 2016

Red Cross Blood Drive

Wednesday, July 27, 1 - 6 pm, in the South Parking Lot of the Northwest Regional Library, 16089 N. Bullard Ave. in Surprise. Whatever your reason to help, the need is constant and your contribution is important for a healthy and reliable blood supply. Plus, you'll feel good knowing you've helped change a life. To schedule an appointment to donate blood and to save on waiting time call 1-800-733-2767 or CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A Look on the Inside

We spend so much of life trying to make a good impression on other people, putting our best foot forward, as it were, and sometimes wondering what others would think of us if they knew what we were really like on the inside. The psalmist, however, begins the celebration of faith by acknowledging that God already knows what he's like on the inside and knows him better than he knows himself, even after a lifetime of self-discovery: "O Lord, thou hast searched me and known me!" he wrote in Psalm 139, "...Thou discernest my thoughts from afar, ...and art acquainted with all my ways."

In our church life the drama is somewhat the same. We, as a congregation, create a public image of our church and then wonder why the community doesn't beat a path to our doors; we live with the conviction that if the community knew what our church was really like on the inside, they would knock down the doors just to be a part of it. But how do we do that? How do we get people to see the inside of the church?

The most profound answer is to share the love and energy and strength of our faith with friends and neighbors, because God uses our witness to draw people into faith. But now technology is coming to the rescue with a resource that may help curious folks to see the inside of our church from afar.

Google Earth has long been able to view any place on the globe from satellite distance, zooming in on terrain and streets, pinpointing precise locations; and lately they have also provided a street level feature, so that one can not only find the location, but view the specific address, and rotate the camera to explore the neighborhood! It's all rather amazing, really.

And now Google has asked to come and photograph the inside of our church so that prospective viewers can not only locate the church and zoom in on the site, but also open the door and enter to discover how beautiful our church is on the inside. In time there may also be a feature by which we can prov-ide a personal video clip with words of welcome. I don't know how long it will take for Google’s virtual tour of our church to become operational; but it feels as though we're all on the same page at the same time. It's time to let the world see what we're like on the inside, so that God can draw people in from the outside to new life.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Grace and Gratitude

by Joe Small

Reprinted from the Presbyterian Foundation’s June 16th edition of “The Pastor’s Life.”

The Christian life is shaped by gratitude - gratitude for the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit. It is by God's grace that we receive the gift of our own lives, and so we are called to shape the whole of our lives by our grateful response. "The stewardship of all of life" is a common phrase, yet too often stewardship is reduced to an annual program, the annual program is reduced to the means to achieve an end, and the end is reduced to the church budget. "Gratitude for all of life" may be a way to broaden and deepen our understanding and our use of the gifts God has given us.

Taking "The Offering" is not a modern development in Christian worship. From the outset, Christians who gathered for worship shared their resources. But in the early centuries, the offering was not for salaries and buildings, not even for church programs. A fascinating description of the offering is found in Tertullian's Apology, written at the close of the second century. He contrasts Christian use of the offering with the "dues" paid in pagan cultic associations. [The offering] is not made up of money paid in entrance-fees, as if religion were a matter of contract. Every man once a month brings some modest coin - or whatever he wishes, and only if he does wish, and if he can; for nobody is compelled; it is a voluntary offering. You might call them the trust funds of piety. For they are not spent upon banquets nor drinking-parties nor thankless eating-houses; but to feed the poor and to bury them, for boys and girls who lack property and parents, and then for slaves grown old and shipwrecked mariners; and any who may be in mines, islands, or prisons.

Such work of love (for so it is) puts a mark upon us, in the eyes of some. "Look," they say, "how they love one another" and "how they are ready to die for each other."

What Tertullian doesn't say is that it was common practice in the early churches to share the fruits of their offering not only with fellow-Christians, but also with pagan neighbors. They provided food for the poor and burials for the indigent; they opened their homes to orphans and discarded slaves; they rescued sailors; and they provided for prisoners in Roman "gulags." Tertullian doesn't mention that Christians typically cared for victims of Plague and other dangerous diseases. All of these were "thrown-away people" in Greco-Roman society.

We modern Presbyterians would do well to be reminded of the origin of "The Offering" as the plates are passed each Sunday … or as we write a monthly check, contribute online, or set up an automatic withdrawal account. We might also pay closer attention to what "The Offering" is for.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Special Music this Sunday

Our summer worship services in Swain Hall have been filled with surprises, from fireworks to a trip through outer space, and we're not done yet! This Sunday, July 10, we'll be enjoying the musical talents of soloist Emily Denielle, the granddaughter of Craig and Mary Lou McCoy. You won't want to miss her! (As always, worship will begin at 9:00 am.)

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

July Ecumenical Hymn-Sing

The next One in Spirit / One in Song ecumenical hymn-sing (9 churches in our area are involved) will be Sunday, July 10, at Faith Presbyterian Church, 16000 N. Del Webb Blvd in Sun City. Singing starts at 3:00 pm, with light refreshments to follow at 4:00. You don't have to be a great singer to attend; just come to enjoy your favorite old hymns and maybe learn a few new ones. For directions to the church, go to

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Flooding in West Virginia

Last week we received this email from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance:

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is responding in West Virginia
Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it.—Song of Songs 8:7
Our hearts, prayers and thoughts go out to the people of West Virginia in the wake of catastrophic flooding. Presbyterian Disaster Assistance has deployed the National Response Team to support the Presbytery of West Virginia and Synod of the Trinity as they begin outreach to those affected.

Please give by clicking here. You’ll be taken to our web site to donate securely and quickly.

If you prefer to mail a check, you may send it to:
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
PO Box 643700 Pittsburgh, PA, 15264-3700

You may also call us Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (ET), at 1-800-872-3283 and donate by phone.

Give: Share your financial blessings by designating gifts to DR000191—Disaster Relief—U.S. Flooding. Gifts can be made online, by calling (800) 872-3283, or by mailing a check to Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), PO Box 643700, Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700. You can also text PDA to 20222 to donate $10.

Act: Stay informed: Subscribe to receive PDA Rapid Information Network emails to keep aware of current responses and urgent needs that you can share with your congregation, and like us on Facebook.

Pray: Please pray for those who suffered loss of loved ones and for those who are working tirelessly to provide rescue, humanitarian aid, and spiritual and psychological support.