We update this page at the start of each month with articles and updates.
Greetings Desert Palm,
First off I want to say THANK-YOU for a fantastic three-month sabbatical! I was able to introduce Catalina and the kids to my mom (back in Tallahassee, FL); attend two weeks of educational events at Chautauqua Institute (upstate NY); and spend some quality time with friends and family in the Northwest. And that left plenty of time for reading, writing and reflection.
You may recall the theme of my time away was spiritual growth over the course of the life-cycle. Just before I left for my sabbatical, James Ewing and Rich Doerrer-Peacock helped me put on an adult education event focused on spiritual growth in the latter stages of the life-cycle, something a lot of folks at DPUCC are interested in. The gist of that presentation was that, according to scholars in the field, when we continue to grow and develop in later years, there’s a tendency to broaden our spiritual and theological horizons. This fits with what Richard Rohr writes about in his book about second half of life spirituality, Falling Upwards. There’s a natural gleaning of our experience, an uncovering of the values and memories we hold most dear.
One practical practice for getting at the essence of our experience is storytelling, something we’ve been working with here at DPUCC over the past few years. I know while I was away you got to hear some faith stories from DP members and friends. I’m looking forward to hearing about that at our post-sabbatical time of sharing after church on September 24th. I’ll share my highlights and look forward to hearing from Marc and Sonja and all of you regarding how things went back at the ranch.
As for the coming fall, I see Pat Riemer and the Fellowship Committee held a family-friendly trivia event back on August 18th. Way to go Fellowship Committee! Gary Gephardt has invited a speaker from the social justice group “one-n-ten” to speak at an adult ed event after church on September 10th. They do a lot of great educational work with youth and adults around LGBT issues. And please please please helps us shake the trees regarding our free storytelling workshop for youth (Sunday afternoon, September 17th at 2PM). We’ve got two world-class storytellers (Doug Bland and Elizabeth Warner) coming to share their wisdom so please encourage your youth to attend!
And to all that I’ll close the way I began, with heart-felt thanks for the opportunity to take some time for rest and reflection. I’m especially grateful to Marc and Sonja for all they’ve done to keep Sundays strong and our community united.
Grace & Peace,
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The WISE Team is going to suspend the Supportive Conversations for September and October. This online support group for anyone facing a mental health challenge was started three years ago shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown began in the spring of 2020. We are considering a switch to in-person meetings at the church. Soon a WISE Survey will be sent to all church members to gather input on the WISE activities that are deemed most important. We look forward to your input, and we also invite anyone interested to join our WISE committee. Many thanks, Ray Littleford
Friday, September 8 - Sunday, September 10, 2023 at Chapel Rock Retreat Center in Prescott, Arizona
The Arizona Disciples of Christ Women’s Ministry is inviting all who identify as women in the UCC Southwest Conference to their annual fall retreat!
The retreat leader is Rev. Katie Sexton, who you might know from her role as Executive Director of Arizona Faith Network. You might also recognize Wende Gonzales of the UCC Southwest Conference staff who will serve as song leader.
The keynote speaker is Rev. Carol Devine, the Director of Blessed Tomorrow, a coalition of diverse religious partners united as faithful stewards of creation, and Co-Director of Green Chalice for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). She is an ordained pastor in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
This retreat will focus on cherishing creation.
Learn more and register here.
September 10th, 10 AM
Join us after worship on Sunday, September 10 to discover more about One n Ten. Representatives from One n Ten will be present to discuss the vital services they offer to the LGBTQ+ youth of our community. For further details, please get in touch with Gary Gephart at 847.571.5750 Community/World Community.
Sunday, September 10, from 6-8 p.m.
Semicolon Society is hosting the first-ever Downtown Chandler World Suicide Prevention Day Gathering and Vigil on Sunday, September 10, from 6-8 p.m. at the Chandler Community Center! There will be resources from organizations, free food, and art activities, music by the teen band Zero Reasons, free t-shirts (while supplies last), mental health providers including a therapy dog, conversations and speakers about suicide prevention, and a candlelight vigil to remember those we have lost to suicide. The entire event is free and family-friendly. Please register so we can accommodate all who attend!
Sunday, September 24, at 10 a.m.
The theme of Pastor Tom's sabbatical was spiritual growth over the course of the life-cycle. Come here more about that, his sabbatical experience, and join in a time of sharing about the experience of the church while he was away. Sunday after church on September 24th in the sanctuary.
Donate to the Fire Relief in Hawai'i (link provided below). Checks can also be made to the SWC (P.O. Box 44968, Phoenix, AZ. 85064, memo line for Hawai'i Fire Relief and donations will be sent to National.
Southwest Conference Mission Offering
The Spread the Word offering was received on August 20, 2023. The collected offering at this time is $705. Thank you so very much for supporting this special offering.
Spread the Word is an offering that is used to support new churches and to help with the revitalization of existing churches. Local churches in our conference are able to use funds to help with such items as new technologies, additional supplies, salary supplements, training, or advertising.
Thank you, Desert Palm, for always being so generous.
Missions Offering Coordinator
Neighbors in Need (NIN) is a special mission offering of the United Church of Christ that supports ministries of justice and compassion throughout the United States. One-third of NIN funds support the Council for American Indian Ministry (CAIM).
Two-thirds of this offering is used by the UCC’s Justice and Witness Ministries (JWM) to support a variety of justice initiatives, advocacy efforts, and direct service projects through grants. Neighbors in Need grants are awarded to UCC churches and organizations doing justice work in their communities. These grants fund projects whose work ranges from direct service to community organizing and advocacy to address systemic injustice.
This year, a special focus is on environmental justice. May we pay attention to keeping our planet cleaner. We can find ways to individually do our part, as well as, collectively in our communities.
Neighbors in Need helps make a ‘Just World for All’ possible. For this to occur we need your support. You can contribute in two ways:
- You can write a check payable to Desert Palm UCC and make a note on the memo line for NIN.
- Or you can use the ‘Give’ feature on our DPCC website. There will be a ‘Donation’ option and a drop-down box where you can select “Neighbors in Need” (NIN).
Please send in your contributions by October 9th, so we can send our check to the conference in a timely fashion. Thank you.
Neighbors in Need needs our support. Please give generously.
Don't forget to save the date! The Pride Parade is taking place on Sunday, October 22nd at 10:00 a.m. Let's get ready to join the festivities and demonstrate our support! To obtain additional details, please reach out to Gary Gephart at 847.571.5750.
I know that many of you are aware of the “box”, which is now a “bin”, just outside the atrium as you walk into church. There is also a table in the atrium for more donations on Sunday morning. I know that you are aware, because we have received many, many, MANY donations this summer and before. These donations are then given to the Welcome Center in Phoenix and the Centro de Esperanza (Center of Hope) in Sonoyta, Mexico for distribution to those seeking asylum. The asylum seekers in Sonoyta are waiting until they can get an appointment to cross into the US legally. The ones in Phoenix have already crossed legally and are now waiting for their court case which will determine whether they can stay or will be deported.
In the mean time they need a fresh set of clothes, a shower, toiletries, and food in order to either wait or continue their travels.
For September, Desert Palm is highlighting the need for large bottles of BODY WASH for the showers. Can you imagine what a shower feels like for people who have journeyed to Sonoyta? Can you imagine what a shower feels like for people in Phoenix who are going to travel possibly the next day to be with their sponsors? They need BODY WASH for the showers!
Of course, they need clothes and shoes as well. So please put in the bin whatever you have to share, day or night, or bring it with you on Sunday morning.
Holly Herman, the coordinator of the East Valley Network Refugee (ENVR) that serves those in Sonoyta, Mexico says…
Thank you all for your continued compassion, energy, and generosity. We know this is a long term effort and energy can wane over time. Unfortunately, this is a long term need. We appreciate all of you that help.
Each month Holly sends out an update on ALL that is happening through the EVNR. If you would like a copy of that, please email or text me and I’ll email it to you. It is full of wonderful information and updates regarding the “Persian Village”, the Center of Hope, and other projects that the network is involved in. This month includes a special request from the directors of the Center of Hope, Karla and Aaron.
To receive a copy of Holly’s update contact ME at firstname.lastname@example.org (480) 694-8186 or contact Holly Herman directly at Hhbillsmom@gmail.com (480) 570-0450.
“As it is written…
Nothing left over to the one with the most.
Nothing lacking to the one with the least.”
2 Corinthians 8:15 The Message
Thank you Desert Palm family for your continued support of the East Valley Network and IRC Welcome Center, helping refugees and asylees coming to the United States. For the month of September, donations of full-size bottles of body wash are requested.
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.