monthly breeze

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

Pastor's Missive

October 2020 Breeze

A Note from Pastor Tom

With the COVID death count having surpassed 200,000 in the US and one million worldwide, this is indeed a fall, unlike any other. My proverbial hat is off to all of you who are soldiering on, despite the physical distancing, masking, and the thousand different ways in which we have altered our lives. In the midst of it all, you are praying, worshipping, writing notes, and making phone calls and reminding people that they are not forgotten. I've always liked the observation that the etymological roots of remembering suggest a bringing back together, a restoration of the whole. I suppose you could say that this has always been the work of the Church. Like in the Jewish notion of Tikkun Olam, in which the world's original wholeness was shattered such that our work is remembering its pieces. May every phone call you make and email or text you send be part of that restoration of the whole. 

As for the ongoing work of the Church, in addition to the Annual Meeting of the SW Conference (Oct. 3rd & 4th), the big news around here concerns our Sunday School program. Upon Michael-Ann's departure, we convened a Visioning Task Force tasked with assessing our evolving strengths and needs, in light of the many recent developments in the Church's life. That Task Force eventually arrived at a conclusion hiring someone part-time to lead our Sunday School program was advisable. Meanwhile, the Community Outreach Task Force arrived at the same exact conclusion. The Five-Year Planning Committee was appraised of these developments and supported bringing the plan to the Council. A job description was drafted and has been continuously revised over the past couple of months. 

This is where you come in. I doubt we will have many people saying we shouldn't fill the position at some point. The questions, of course, are when to fill it and how to fund it. The Council has designated the now new regular zoom coffee hour (11 AM) on three Sundays (October 25th, Nov. 4th, and 11th) to hear from you. Maybe you think we shouldn't hire anyone until we have a vaccine, or until… (you fill in the blank). Perhaps you think this is so vitally important we should dedicate a year's worth of FCC funds, hire someone immediately, and see where we stand in a year. Whatever your thoughts, please join us for any of the three sessions to share them and engage in this process. And remember, we don't have to all agree. Everyone who wants to speak will have the chance their thoughts, even if I have to go stand outside someone's window to get them. Once we've finished with our brainstorming, we'll proceed according to our democratic guidelines and processes. Ready, set, go!

Moment for mission

Neighbors in need

All Children Have the Right to Simply Be Children….

I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me – Matthew 25:40 (The Message)

Neighbors in Need Special Mission Offering

The Neighbors in Need offering, which we will receive on October 4th, 2020, supports the UCC’s ministries of justice and compassion throughout the United States. Two-thirds of the offering is used by the UCC’s Justice and Witness Ministries to fund a wide array of local and national justice initiatives, advocacy efforts, and direct service projects. Through, our national Justice and Witness Ministries office offers resources, news updates, and action alerts on a broad spectrum of justice issues. Working with members of the UCC Justice and Peace Action Network (a network of thousands of UCC justice and peace advocates), Justice and Witness continues its strong policy advocacy work on issues such as voting rights, immigration, health care, hate crimes, federal budget, civil liberties and environmental justice.

Neighbors in Need also supports our American Indian neighbors in the UCC, One-third of the offering supports the UCC’s Council for American Indian Ministries (CAIM). Historically, forebears of the UCC established churches and worked with Lakota, Dakota, Nakota, Mandan, Hidatsa, Arickara and Hocak in North and South Dakota, Wisconsin and northern Nebraska. Today there are 20 UCC congregations on reservations and one urban, multi-tribal UCC congregation in Minneapolis, Minnesota. These churches and their pastors are supported by CAIM. CAIM is also an invaluable resource for more than 1,000 individuals from dozens of other tribes and nations who are members of other UCC congregations in the US.

Neighbors in Need helps make A Just World for All possible. For this to occur, it needs your support. You can contribute to the offering in two ways:

1). You can write a check payable to Desert Palm UCC and make a note on the memo line for NIN.

2). Or, you can use the new ‘Give’ feature on our DPCC website. There will be a Donation option and a drop-down box where you can select NIN.

Neighbors in Need needs our support. Please give generously.


By Ray Littleford 

October 11 is Access Sunday and Disabilities Awareness Week across the UCC.  During the pandemic work was completed on the bathroom at the back of the sanctuary and library so that we now have a restroom with disability access.  That project was three years in the making, starting with a proposal from the Accessibility Audit Committee.  Marc Klein and Bill Kaszeta performed most of the planning and construction.

One idea to help increase our disability awareness is to host a Watch Party (via Zoom) in which people are given a link to watch the video, “Crip Camp,” and then gather in a live Zoom meeting to discuss the video. This movie is about the history of the legal rights of disabled individuals. Watch for an announcement of the date and time for this zoom meeting.

In 2017 the World Health Organization announced that depression was the leading cause of disability around the world. The US Center for Disease Control reported that 7.6% of Americans age 12 and up exhibited moderate to severe symptoms of depression within the last two weeks of being surveyed. The survey was conducted from 2009 to 2012. The highest rate of depression by sex and age was found among women between 40 and 59, at 12.9%. Of those with severe symptoms of major depression, only 35% reported seeing a mental health professional in the past 12 months.  

Treatment for depression that includes both psychotherapy and antidepressant medications is helpful for about 80% of patients. For the other 20%, a promising research area is developing with repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Spinning magnets over the skull's left temple area create an electrical field that stimulates the frontal lobe of the brain. This is a noninvasive procedure that has very few side effects, unlike electroconvulsive treatment. TMS is helping approximately half of these patients with treatment-resistant depression. Psychiatrists at Stanford have developed a more specialized form of TMS that helped end the suicidal thoughts in 19 of 21 subjects. A large-scale study is now being conducted.


MHN-UCC 2020 Fall Conference for Mental Health

The Mental Health Network of the UCC will conduct a virtual Fall Conference on Nov. 13 and 14 for churches seeking the WISE designation. The Indiana-Kentucky region had been scheduled to host the conference. 

Anyone is welcome to register online for the event. If you were not able to attend the conference held in Phoenix last year, then you may be interested in attending this conference online. The conference will discuss ways congregations can address mental health concerns and practical steps to engage in the mental health ministry. 

Please view the website for more details. 

Nationa WISE Training Coming Via Zoom November 13th-14th

If you missed last year's national WISE training, you will have another chance to hear Re. Sarah Lund and learn more about WISE! This is the ministry of DPUCC has engaged in as the first church in the SW Conference to "become WISE" through the adoption of our WISE Convent. if you have't experienced one of these national gatherings,  we highly recommend you sign up at least to hear the keynote address, usually given by Re. Sarah lund (author of, blesses are the crazies). her personal story is compeling.




Sunday School news

A special word of thanks is due to all of our Sunday School volunteers. Audrey and Kathryn have assumed leadership positions, coordinating the many diverse voices and ideas streaming their way regarding Sunday School. For now, we’re offering two Sunday morning Zoom sessions (first through 5th graders meet at 10 am, pre-K through Kindergarten meet at 10:45). Eventually, we hope to hire a Minister of Christian Formation whose primary responsibilities will be fall under our religious education program (see the Five Year Plan update)

Women's bible study

Sunday Group


The following meeting will be October 25th at 3:00 pm. This group will continue on Zoom, meeting once or twice a month. We are reading Bible Women: All Their Words and Why They Matter, by Lindsay Hardin Freeman. We will be reading the New Testament, Herodia's daughter (Salome) We will discuss not only the book and the bible passages, but how they relate to what is happening in our lives and the world we live in now


You do not need to have come in the past to join us now. Please contact Pat Speer ( if you wish to be added to the email list to receive the Zoom link.  



Thursday Morning Group


The Thursday Morning Women's Bible Study will continue to meet every other week by zoom. ALL ARE WELCOME TO JOIN. We are a friendly and welcoming group, and our discussion is free-flowing, covering current concerns and supportive dialogue. It is a great way to connect during these challenging times.


We will be using two books to facilitate our discussion. We will be reading Psalms for the Struggle, Edited by Martha Spong, as the meeting's introduction and conclusion. Purchasing this book is optional. Changing Hands can order it for you:, and it can also be purchased or from the publisher here: 


monthly update from andrew ponder williams,

youth minister and campus minister for arizona state

andrew's ponderings

UCC@ASU Update

We are meeting entirely on Zoom for this Fall.  Here is what we are offering.  All ASU students (graduate and undergraduate) are welcome.

Weekly Small Group-Every Thursday at 6:30pm

Open One-on-One Office Hours on Zoom with Andrew-Every Other Tuesday from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

Monthly Worship


Our Youth continue to meet every Thursday at 3:30pm on Zoom.  We want to invite our full congregation to join us for our Zoom on Thursday, October 22 at 3:30pm for a special Youth Talent Showcase.  All our youth are preparing to share something meaningful and we want to include all the generations of our congregation for this special time together.  Stay posted to your Weekly Update for the Zoom Link!

For Zoom links and to learn more you can always contact Andrew at

ucc@asu swc annual meeting report

We encourage all in our congregation to check out this video report about UCC@ASU that will be shared at our Annual Meeting.  We have much to celebrate at Desert Palm about this new ministry and what our work with the conference means to the ASU community and to our shared UCC witness in the Southwest Conference.


ucc@asu campus ministry

latest podcast episodes

A podcast is an audio program series hosted by individuals or organizations.  We are excited to launch this program to share with students and with our Desert Palm UCC congregation and churches across our conference.  We have incredible students contributing content and their production skills.