monthly breeze

online newsletter

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

Pastor Tom's Missive

We did it, Desert Palm!  We made it through the pandemic and have resumed in-person worship in the sanctuary—while livestreaming worship onto the website for those who are opting to continue viewing the service from home.  

People have been curious to know how many people have been coming since we opened the doors.  I’m not sure if it’s a God thing or what, but without micromanaging the crowd size through any kind of RSVP system, we’ve had about fifty people coming, which is about how many chairs we’ve got in our new, roomy arrangement.  That said, if we get more than we can safely handle in the sanctuary we’ve been prepared to use Mission Hall as a spillover room, where more people could sit (and at least listen to the service) while safely distanced.


Kids are welcome to come to worship and we’ve had a few.  Our plan for the summer is to keep Sunday School (K through 4th grade) virtual.  Beginning this Sunday (June 6th), the virtual Sunday School zoom will start at 8am (just one group as opposed to our earlier division of younger and older kids).  And on the 3rd Sunday of each month we’re going to try family friendly worship that’ll be appropriate for the kiddos.


I want to offer a special word of thanks to Marc Gaston who’s done the lion’s share of adjusting to virtual worship during the pandemic.  It helps that Andrew is our webmaster!  I know so many of you stepped up during the pandemic, managing to help out, help each other, and to stay connected.  Some of what was birthed during the pandemic worked so well (Wednesdays Joys and Concerns, for example), that we’re going to continue. 


Beyond that, I’ll just say get ready for when we’re really back in the saddle come fall.  We’re working on some fun and meaningful celebrations of our community you’re not going to want to miss!

Rev. Tom Martinez


A Congregational Meeting has been called for Sunday, June 13th, 2021 at 11:00 AM to accept the annual reports of the officers and committees, review the final year-end 2020 treasures report, review the 2021 year to date treasures report, revisit the 2021 budget proposed at the Budget meeting on Jan 31st, to act on any membership changes, to review the FCC Funds spending update, and to conduct any other business to come before the meeting. This will be an online Zoom meeting and instructions have be emailed.

Secondary Title

sowing seed for our great love of childrens

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Desert Palm!

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

The monies collected for this offering provide scholarships for youth to attend youth retreats and camp.  Our youth love the experiences they have at camp and the scholarships can help families with the cost, when the fees are challenging.

We want to thank you Desert Palm for the contributions that you made.   As of May 18th, 2021, we have collected $ 790.00.  As usual you have been very generous.

Marie Parsey, Community and World Offerings

Women's bible study

Thursday Group

WBS will be taking a break for the summer and will be back in the fall!

Contact Sue Henderson at  more information. 

Sunday Afternoon

Contact Pat Speer at or Carol Lee Smith at if you would like to be included on the Zoom invite or join us in person.


andrew's ponderings

NEW Zoom Time-children's

chapel & Sunday school

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.  

andrew's ponderings

youth update

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.

Please stay tuned for information about our upcoming happenings!  We will begin at the end of June as we want to give our youth time to get vaccinated if they are 12 and older and for it to take effect.  

andrew's ponderings

asu update

Every Thursday evening at 6:30pm in the month of June 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 (

For ASU specific ministry we have a full plan prepared for on-campus/in-person ministry this Fall.  We can't wait!!  

Secondary Title

A special virtual general synod 33

Join us July 11 – 18, 2021

Refugee Update to Network partners 5/25/21

Top Line Needs

Drive and Drop items on 6/6 for Sonoyta Refugee Shelters- see list below

Hygiene kit and food pack items or small stuffed animals for the Welcome Center

Volunteer shoppers, sorters, or drivers

Donations to the Refugee Fund

Iglesia Cristiana El Buen Pastor

Thank you to all who brought groceries over the past year for the El Buen Pastor food bank.  Donors came from University Presbyterian, Temple Emanuel, Desert Palm UCC, Scottsdale UCC, Epiphany Episcopal, and variety of individuals from various clubs, groups, and word of mouth.  We have now discontinued this support as many of the recipients have begun to find work.  Pastor Hector says he can never repay what we have given, but he will pray for us always.  As do I.  Thank you.

Asylum Seekers: Sonoyta Shelters

University Presbyterian holds a “First Sunday of the Month Drive and Drop” to collect breakfast items for Tempe Community Action and supplies for the Sonoyta shelters. So, drive by on June 6th from 12-2 in the church parking lot.  I will be there collecting the following items:  bar soap, large shampoo/conditioner, razors, toilet paper, deodorant, baby wipes, and diapers (sizes 2, 4, and 5).  Hopefully these regular grocery store items will make it easier for you to participate in our shelter ministry.  Worship Communities:  we would love for you to collect these items for us!

There are two shelters that we support in Sonoyta, Mexico- a men’s shelter and a family shelter.  Each houses about 100 people.  It takes a village- and several nonprofits assist the Ajo Samaritans as they take the lead and coordinate this effort.  They provide money for food, bus tickets, medical care, shelter repairs, stipends for the shelter managers, and utilities, among other things.  But we are the ones that provide most of the clothing, shoes, underwear, socks, hygiene products, diapers, TP, towels, blankets, etc.  We buy new tennis shoes at discount stores (it’s almost as cheap as used ones at the thrift stores, if you can even find them).  We shop for underwear, socks, diapers, hygiene products, kids shoes, etc. at Walmart or Costco.  Shoppers shop the thrift stores for specific clothes.  We get a list of needed items every week from the Ajo Samaritans and disburse the shoppers.  A driver takes a carload every two weeks.

If any of you want a complete list of items that are generally needed at the shelters, email me. Or if you want to help shop, let me know that, too.  If you want to donate clothing, shoes, towels, blankets, etc.-  please email me for a list of what we accept.

Asylum Seekers:  Phoenix Welcome Center(WC)

ICE is now dropping off about 100 people a day at the Welcome Center.  So, there is plenty for volunteers to do!  You do not have to speak Spanish!  RefugeeAid provides the volunteer crews on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.  Please let me know if you would like to join them and I will make the connection for you.

Worship Communities:  If you want to form a team of volunteers to take on an additional day/week, please let me know and I will make that connection, too.

Meanwhile, we will continue to collect hygiene and travel food items and small/medium sized stuffed animals (these are handed out to children when they arrive while they wait for their COVID test and results.)

Hygiene kit items: small soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, chap stick, washcloths, combs, razors, brushes, toothpaste, and toothbrushes. (Consider  buying these items online in bulk for better pricing.  

Food pack items: soft granola bars, squeeze applesauces, Vienna sausages, trail mix, crackers with cheese or peanut butter, raisins, nuts, etc.

Checks for the Sonoyta Refugee Shelters can be mailed to UPC or dropped through the church mail slot. Indicate "Refugee acct" on the memo line.  These cash donations allow volunteer shoppers to purchase clothing, underwear, shoes, and other items requested by, and then delivered to, the Ajo Samaritans for both the men’s and family shelter.  Donations of "stuff" can be brought to my house, or call for a pick up. If you have questions about what we need, please call or email me.


Thank you all for your continued compassion, energy, and generosity. We truly appreciate all of you.


Holly Herman
(480) 570-0450
1701 W Lindner, Mesa, 85202
(near Baseline and Dobson)

University Presbyterian Church ( UPC)

139 E. Alameda Dr. Tempe, AZ 85282

MESSAGE from music director

Greetings and blessings! 

How I have missed sharing our music together throughout this Pandemic.  Because of preparing each Sunday's worship service and rotating with leading the weekly Joys & Concerns, I have been fortunate to stay in contact with many of you and our church members.

To be honest it kept me sustained, but just isn't like the in person sharing as a family our talents and friendship in service to our collective music ministry at Desert Palm.

With the lifting of restrictions and all of us being vaccinated, we have the opportunity to come back as a musical family to make music together.  

I am inviting each of you to come join together for a Rehearsal on Wednesday, June 9th:

Bells of Peace - 6:00 to 7:00 PM

Chancel Choir - 7:00 to 8:00 PM

Our summer project will be collectively putting together a Service Of Song! This special service will be in honor of our homecoming from the Pandemic and will be both live and Live Streamed to our new internet viewers.

All are welcome to join us in the summer project.  Current Chancel Choir and Bells of Peace members please  invite any new people you think might be interested in participating after coming out of social distancing.  Speaking of social distancing, we will spread out across the Sanctuary with doors open for ventilation to keep safe.

I'm so looking forward to seeing you all on June 9th.

God Bless You All!

Marc Gaston

Director of Music & Arts

Desert Palm UCC, Tempe, AZ