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Dear Members & Friends,
I don’t know about you all, but it sure feels good to be emerging from the year of social distancing. I know we’re not completely out of the woods yet, even here in the US. But many folks are heeding the advice of medical experts and getting the vaccine. The number of new cases and deaths is going down here in the US. Of course, God’s compassion knows no boundaries. The whole human family has suffered greatly and, with the passage of time, systemic injustice is winding its way into the pandemic so that countries that are struggling economically are also facing especially difficult challenges accessing the and disseminating the vaccine. While an estimated 47% of people have been vaccinated in the US, the number in India is less than 5%. From what I understand, the percentage of people living on the African
continent is even less (https://www.statista.com/statistics/1221298/covid-19-vaccination-rate-in-african-countries/).
Widening our lens of compassion is part of the work of justice. We’ve been focused on justice these past few weeks, following the lead of our children’s curriculum in an effort to help us all get on the same page. We’ve explored Jesus’ reading of the passage in Isaiah which announces God’s intent to restore and liberate the oppressed (as found in Luke 4:14-30). We marveled at the mind-blowing generosity of the early Church in its effort to care for everyone (Acts 4:32-37). This week we’ll be engaging a text in which a group of sisters challenge Moses over a law that would give their inheritance to the closest male heir of their deceased father, completely bypassing them SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY WERE WOMEN (see Numbers 27:1-11)! Imagine, women having less rights than men!
If we have eyes to see and ears to hear, our tradition pushes and prods us to awaken to the reality of injustice in our own day. More and more people are awakening and for that reason it’s an exciting time to be alive. But too many people are railing against injustice without a clear vision of a better world. There are notable exceptions to that, of course (Rev. Dr. Barber and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharris of the Poor People’s Movement). As progressive people of faith we have something to offer—a vision of the beloved community, one that shares and cares, one that is open to all without malice or fear. The challenge as I understand it is to admit our complicity, speak truth to power, and model the inclusive love of Jesus as we do our best to embody the beloved community here and now.
So, I hope you’ll tune on to our live-streamed service or come check us out in person!
See you on Sunday,
WBS will be taking a break for the summer and will be back in the fall!
Contact Sue Henderson at email@example.com for more information.
Women’s Sunday Bible Study group will meet August 15 immediately after church (in the Library area). We will also offer Zoom for those interested.
On August 18 we will be extending our studies of Martha of Bethany. Page 405 of the book “Bible Women, All their Words and why They Matter.”
Please contact Pat Speer at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Based on the feedback of our families, we are now offering a single Sunday School class at 8:00am on Sunday mornings. We also will continue to offer the Children's Chapel on the second Sunday of each month at 8:00am. On the second Sunday all our kids of all ages gather together for Children's Chapel with scripture, stories, and activities. Please connect with Andrew if you want to be added to our emails with the link. Thank you to all our incredible teachers who are continuing to serve our families online as we wait for children to be eligible for vaccination.
We have been so blessed to have a weekly time with our youth through Zooms over the past year and few months. We are now transitioning to in-person gatherings on some Sunday afternoons this Summer.
On Sundays, August 8 & 22 we will be meeting at the Phoenix Art Museum and the Heard Museum at Noon for fun and formative outings focused on art and racial justice.
Every Thursday evening at 6:30pm in the month of August we are offering our new Zoom group for all young adults. We have young adults from across California, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, and Texas signed up. We specifically are creating a space to support people just out of college who are looking for meaningful community and spiritual engagement. Contact Andrew for more (email@example.com).
For ASU specific ministry we have a full plan prepared for on-campus/in-person ministry this Fall. We can't wait!!
The memorial service for Vernon Higginbotham, father of our former interim pastor Rev. Elice Higginbotham is scheduled for Saturday, August 7 at 11 a.m. The service will be held at the Encanto Community Church UCC, 2710 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix. Desert Palm folks are invited to attend. Please wear a face mask.
A teacher in New York was teaching her class about bullying and gave them the following exercise to perform. She had the children take a piece of paper and told them to crumple it up, stomp on it and really mess it up but do not rip it. Then she had them unfold the paper, smooth it out and look at how scarred and dirty it was. She then told them to tell it they’re sorry. Now even though they said they were sorry and tried to fix the paper, she pointed out all the scars they left behind. And that those scars will never go away no matter how hard they tried to fix it. That is what happens when a child bullies another child, they may say they’re sorry but the scars are there forever. The looks on the faces of the children in the classroom told her the message hit home. Pass it on.
Desert Palm will be highlighting and collecting funds for the ‘Spread the Word’ Southwest Conference offering on August 15th, 2021.
This special conference offering is used to support new and revitalizing churches. With some new churches beginning and several churches active in renewal efforts, there is a great demand for funds for a variety of reasons – salary supplements, supplies, advertising, insurance, training and more.
We hope you are able to make a contribution to this vital offering helping churches in our local conference.
You can make a donation in one of two ways:
1). You can write a check payable to Desert Palm UCC. Make a note on the memo line for Spread the Word and send to the church office.
2). You can use the ‘Give’ feature on the DPUCC website. Go to the ‘Donation option’ and from the drop-down box you will be able to select Spread the Word to make your contribution.
Your contributions are greatly appreciated. Thank you, Desert Palm!
TRUE COLORS IS BACK "IN PERSON" YAAAAY!!
Please mark your calendar for Thursday, August 12th, 10am at Pat Quinnett’s house. The main item to bring is you and your chatter. Feel free to bring a friend.
This project has two objectives: first is to provide an opportunity to be social and catch up with each other, and second is to create messages for housebound folks with that personal touch.
Personally I like working with all the different colors.
Thanks to recent contributions we have plenty of coloring supplies. Please bring any pictures that you might have colored during the last few months.
If you want to bring a snack to share that is good too. I will have a fresh pot of coffee and ice water.
As always RSVP is appreciated but not required.
See you soon!
Pat Q – (480)818-2203
P.S. The pictures we color are mailed to folks stuck at home or in the hospital or you can work on projects for your friends and family. If you have any spare stamps or long envelopes, it is always a big help with the mailings.