monthly breeze

online newsletter

We update this page at the start of each month with articles and updates.

Tom’s April 2024 Missive

Dear Members & Friends,

The Easter Season is a natural time to consider new projects and to renew efforts already  begun. Case in point: the wonderful video series being produced by Pat Riemer and Sandy Kazseta, with help from Marc Gaston and a videographer he helped secure. So far I’ve recorded a clip about the church in general; Don and Lois Arey were interviewed (by John Linda); John and Holly Herman were interviewed (we’ll be showing that clip at a special event coming up this summer).

Our conversation about the affordable housing crisis continues to evolve. After two informal meetings with developers who specialize in collaborative projects with churches to create affordable housing, the DPUCC Council has decided to create a task force to explore our options so as to present relevant information to the DPUCC Council and congregation.

My book study of Richard Rohr’s classic (blending the 12 steps of recovery with Christian spirituality) Breathing Underwater, begins Monday night (at 7PM), April 8 th . It’ll be by zoom so simply get your hands on the book and watch for the zoom link or look for it on the DPUCC online calendar.


Speaking of calendaring, May 2nd is Tempe’s Day of Prayer, a chance for the interfaith community to gather in spiritual solidarity. I’ve been asked to serve as the next convenor of our local clergy group, the Tempe Interfaith Fellowship (or “TIF”), so I’ll be saying a few words at the event (we’re hoping to hold the event outside the Tempe City Library at 6PM).

I’ve also been asked to serve on the board of the Tempe Community Council or TCC. The overall goal of TCC is to build connections “between those in need and those who care.” TCC coordinates the annual Social Services Fair held outside the library which features an impressive array of agencies (with tables and free information); they (TCC) review budgets for the City’s social service agencies; and they are involved in programming to support at-risk youth, including the “Threadz” thrift store. As a board member I’m expected to help fundraise for TCC (which is a non-profit), so if you’re on the lookout for a worthy organization to support, please consider donating to TCC and if you do, please mention my name.

And speaking of the wider Tempe community, we’re now officially part of the City’s Resiliency Hub project. The idea there is to foster collaboration with the City in preparation for power outages or some other kind of emergency, doing some prep work so that we might help the larger Tempe community be more resilient in times of crisis. On a practical level the hope is that we’ll build some social capital by networking with our neighbors. If you have contacts in the community you think would be interested in working with us, please let me know.

Pastor Tom

Dear UCCDM Members:

Thank you for considering Desert Palm UCC's application to become an A2A church. This application addendum will update you on our continuing work to become accessible to all.

* Our church uses Canva to create communications for the church's Facebook and Instagram accounts, the website, and PDF documents. For more than two years, Canva has enabled us to provide video captions, strategically employ light and dark modes, and select screen reader settings. As of February 2024, we have increased our on-screen message display time, employed alternative text, and implemented semantics on PDF documents.

* Our minister in discernment/youth leader preached on anxiety, depression, and loneliness.

* A member of the W.I.S.E. Committee wrote a book review of Rachel Aviv's Strangers to Ourselves: Unsettled Minds and the Stories that Make Us, which will appear in the church's April newsletter. The author will also submit the review to the Southwest Conference of the U.C.C .for publication.

* Desert Palm's Church Counsel voted to become a regional resiliency hub for the community. Providing this resource will assist persons with and without disabilities during emergencies.

* The Church is planning for Mental Health Awareness Month by assembling liturgical materials. The pastor plans a sermon for April 14 to address mental and physical disability challenges as well as mental health generally.

Thanks again for considering our application. If you have questions, please don't hesitate to reach out. 

Desert Palm UCC Inclusion Team

Tom & Gordon's Book Study

Apr 8, 2024 07:00 PM
Gordon Street and Rev. Dr. Tom Martinez will be facilitating this 7 week book group using Richard Rohr's, Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps. After a general introduction to the book at the first session, each Monday evening at 7PM (via zoom) will cover two steps of the 12 steps.  Fans of Richard Rohr and anyone struggling with (or who has struggled with) addiction will enjoy the book. And note that Rohr approaches addiction quite broadly, noting that at times we are addicted to a way of thinking! The gist of the book is that through surrendering to a higher power we grow beyond our egos and become more conscious of and compassionate towards others.

The group will meet by Zoom on Monday evenings at 7PM beginning April 8th. Note that we will be skipping the first Monday in May (May 6th), concluding on May 27th. (see flyer below)

Here's the complete zoom link:

Tom Martinez is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Breathing Under Water Spring 2024 Book Group
Time: Apr 8, 2024 07:00 PM Arizona
        Every week on Mon, until May 20, 2024, 7 occurrence(s)
        Apr 8, 2024 07:00 PM
        Apr 15, 2024 07:00 PM
        Apr 22, 2024 07:00 PM
        Apr 29, 2024 07:00 PM
        May 13, 2024 07:00 PM
        May 20, 2024 07:00 PM
         May 27, 2024
Please download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 825 3541 9621
Passcode: 738402

It Can Happen Here – White Power and the Rising Threat

of Genocide in the US

Sunday, April 14, 6:00 pm

First Church UCC
1407 N 2nd St, Phoenix, AZ 85004

This event marks our culminating in-person gathering for our Breaking Barriers: American Christian Nationalism series for the Phoenix area, promising a thought-provoking discourse that will linger long after the last word is spoken. The evening will be a conversation with scholar Dr. Alexander Laban Hinton, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, Founder and Director of the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights, UNESCO Chair on Genocide Prevention at Rutgers University, and the author of over a dozen books.

Women In Jazz Series: Claudia Bloom –
Duos & Quartets

Claudia Bloom will be joined by Natalie Gallatin playing an “evening of duets and quartets”.

Day of Prayer

Thursday, May 2, 2024, Time: 6 pm
Location: TBD, but tentatively outside at the Tempe Community Complex between the Tempe Library and Tempe History Museum (Southern and Rural). It is easier to park there than at City Hall and it is more centrally located.

Sow the Seed 2024

During the month of February, we collected the offering for ‘Sow the Seed.’

The monies collected for this offering provide grant awards that support ministries of faith formation of youth in our Southwest Conference. The awards focus on children and youth under 18, families with children and young adults between 18 and 25.  
We want to thank you Desert Palm for the contributions that you made.   As of March 15, 2024, we collected $1025.00. 

Thank you for your support!
Marie Parsey, Community and World Offerings

Secondary Title

One Great Hour of Sharing

Thank You, Desert Palm!

The OGHS Offering with the message of “Share the Light,” was received on March 17, 2024. The collected offering at this time is $1751.00. Through your generosity, the world is a better place. Thank you to the Desert Palm congregation for sharing their financial resources and for supporting an ecumenical offering that meets so many needs in the world.

Marie Parsey, Community/ World Mission Team

Welcome Center East Valley Network

The Welcome Center and East Valley Network have both been busy welcoming people to the United States. We continue to serve 200-300 people per day. The donations of clothing, hygiene products, baby products etc. are very much needed. For the month of April we are looking for full sized bottles of unscented lotion. We will continue to split these donations between the East Valley Network and the Welcome Center. The people who use these products are very appreciative. Clothing items are still needed. If you would like to learn more about ways you can help, you can speak to Rich Doerrer-Peacock. He is very knowledgeable about these programs.

We will be collecting items for Gathering Humanity, also. Gathering Humanity is a non-profit that collects essential items for persons experiencing resettlement and who are in need. Gathering Humanity collects the items and works with other non-profit organizations to distribute these items to those who need them. They do have specific items they want and items they do not want. You can check their website for a list of needed items. We will also be providing some suggestions of items needed each week in the bulletin.

Thank you everyone for your continued commitment to helping our neighbors in need.

Annual Meeting

June 9th, post Sunday service
Please get your reports to Maria by Sunday, May 5th

Secondary Title

Western Regional Youth Event website is up

The projected cost is $675 per participant, and this includes a full day at Disneyland. (Please note that Desert Palm will find the funding for youth and guardian wanting to attend.) Three meals a day is included in this price.
The youth will start some fundraising in a couple weeks, so be on the lookout for must-have Desert Palm merch.
A registration website will be launching soon. 
I’ve also learned that we are anticipating a key talk from our new, United Church of Christ President Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson
     Other scheduled guests include:
        Rebekah Bruesehoff, a 17-year-old activist on a mission to spread a message of hope and improve support for transgender and LGBTQ youth.
Pickle, a drag performer who will lead story hour.
        An 8-person music team to lead worship.  
A Zoom check in with youth leaders in the southwest conference is being set up soon to discuss possible travel plans. Have questions about attending? Find me and let’s talk.
Thanks, Sonja


Did you know that the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration manages approximately 200 call centers across the country? These centers are designed to provide support for those experiencing mental health crises or struggling with thoughts of suicide. It's great news that there's now a new phone number to access mental health emergency services - simply dial 988.

Global Ministries