monthly breeze

online newsletter

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

Pastor Tom's Missive

Dear Members & Friends,

              I want to begin by thanking you all for heeding our call for caution by returning to virtual, livestreaming worship for the time being. Believe me when I say I know how frustrating that is! But this is a life or death matter, and we are trying to do our best to care for the community.

                   Despite our return to virtual worship due to a sharp spike in the number of new COVID cases, we’re determined to hit the ground running in the new church year! As you’ll see in the rest of the BREEZE, Andrew will be meeting once a month in-person with our youth and once a month virtually. Sunday School’s going to be virtual for the time being, though please know we are eager to start back in-person as soon as that’s advisable. I’ll be offering a couple of Adult Ed book studies. One will explore John Philip Newell’s newest book, Sacred Earth, Sacred Soul. It’s a beautiful entre into Celtic Christianity. And for folks drawn to fiction, consider attending the Thursday evening book group that’ll be reading The Overstory, by Richard Powers. Mark Williams is a big fan and will be co-facilitating with me!

           Notice, too, that on Thursday, September 9th, we’ll be turning our attention to the upcoming anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy. While serving a church in Brooklyn, NY, I was graced with the friendship of two amazing interfaith leaders in NYC in the years following 9/11. Together we created an annual interfaith peace walk. Rabbi Lippman and Debbie Almontaser, and I are hosting a remembrance of the beautiful interfaith energy that arose from the ashes of 9/11. See the information on how to pre-register below in the list of upcoming Adult Education events.

           Looking ahead  to November, we’re planning a Desert Palm “Family Reunion” on Saturday, November 20th at 2 PM. We’re hoping the COVID numbers will have decreased by then, along with outside temperatures, so that a modest gathering outdoors will be safe and fun. Then after the Christmas holidays, we’ll be holding some Town Hall styled gatherings to brainstorm in relation to a new Five-Year plan! Yes, that’s right. Can you believe it? It’s been roughly five years since we prioritized hiring a Youth Director, building our music program, and renovating our building. The last goal was community outreach, which has obviously been put on hold (with the notable exception of us having launched our UCC at ASU ministry) due to the pandemic.

           So despite all the pressures of our historical moment, we continue to be the Church, loving and supporting each other and doing our best to make the world a better place.

See You on Sunday,

Pastor Tom

NEIGHBORS in need special offering

Sunday, October 3rd, 2021

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, special consideration will be given to projects focusing on serving our immigrant neighbors and 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:

  • 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 ‘Give’ feature on our DPCC website.  There will be a ‘Donation’ option and a drop-down box where you can select NIN.

Please send in your contributions by October 15th, so we can send our check to the conference in a timely fashion.   Thank you.

Neighbors in Need needs our support.  Please give generously.

Spread the word

A Southwest Conference Mission Offering

‘Thank You’

The Spread the Word offering was received on August 15, 2021.   The collected offering at this time is $ 510.  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.  

Community/ World

Women's bible study

Thursday Group

Thursday Morning Women's Bible/Book Study resumes September 2. ALL ARE WELCOME!

We will be reading  “Denial is my Spiritual Practice (and other failures of faith)” by Rachel G. Hackenberg and Martha Spong. Available at Changing Hands, Amazon, and other booksellers.

The zoom link is the same for all the meetings and is:

Meeting ID: 823 6656 2235     

A zoom link will be sent out the Tuesday prior to the Thursday meeting. If you need a copy of the book provided to you or have any questions, please contact Sue Henderson at


Sunday Afternoon

Sunday Women’s Bible Study group will meet via ZOOM until further notice.  Our next meeting is Sunday, September 19 at 11 am. From the book “Bible Women—All their Words and Why They Matter,” page 410, “The Woman in the Crowd.” 


Join DPUCC Women’s Bible Study Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 828 7490 0251
Passcode: 717831
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On September 19 we will be extending our studies from the book "Bible Women -All their Words and why They Matter.” Page 410, "The Woman in the Crowd."


Please contact Pat Speer at for more information.


Memorial Service

A memorial service for Don Beaver will be held at Desert Palm on Saturday, Oct 23rd, at 10 a.m.

andrew's ponderings

Family worship                 &

Sunday school

Based on the feedback of our families we are now offering a single Sunday School class at 8:00am on Sunday mornings.  

On the first Sunday of each month we are inviting everyone to join us online or in-person for our monthly family worship that includes communion at our usual 9:00am worship time.

andrew's ponderings

youth update

September Virtual Gathering

Sunday, September 19 at 4:00pm

September In-Person Gathering

Sunday, September 26 at Noon

Phoenix Art Museum

Please bring $10-assistance available, just ask me :)

Parents please join us as we will meet there and hope you can stay!

andrew's ponderings

asu update

Stay tuned as we will soon be launching our new partnership called The Circuit Ministry, which will be a nationwide online community for college students.  This is a special opportunity for us to engage with students who do not live on a university campus.

For ASU specific ministry we are looking forward to offering on-campus/in-person ministry later this Fall based on the status of the pandemic.  

Donations for haiti & afghanistan


The UCC has issued $100,000 appeal for Haiti after its 7.2 earthquake.

The SW Conference recommends donating through: Global H.O.P.E.



To donate toward “peace-building, humanitarian support, diplomatic engagement, and expansion of access to the U.S. resettlement program, and to provide refuge for Afghans fleeing violence and persecution,” the SW Conference recommends we donate through:

Church World Service Afghanistan which provides resources to support newly arriving Afghan refugees.



Top Line Items

  • Single-serving snacks and breakfast items needed for the Welcome Center.
  • An amazing donor brought 7 cases of toilet paper.   No more needed for a few months.  But we can use towels!
  • Please see “What can you or your worship community do to help?” below.   


Phoenix Welcome Center (WC)

Maricopa County has stopped the Welcome Center from preparing meals or snacks.  Two meals a day, from outside commercial kitchens (St Vincent de Paul and others) are served However, for breakfast and for new arrivals that come hungry, the Center can only offer commercially prepared prepackaged single-serve items. Over 100 people are being dropped off every day.  On three days last week, over 200 were dropped off.  So, a call has gone out to all worship communities and nonprofits for single-serving items, such as granola bars, squeeze applesauce, nuts, Vienna sausages, packaged tuna/chicken salad, single-serving cereal, crackers with cheese or peanut butter, etc.  Refrigeration is available, so yogurt, string cheese, single-serving milk/juice boxes, lunchables, commercially pre-made PBJs, or similar items are also possible.  If you want to bring your donations to me, I will transport to the Welcome Center. Or you can deliver directly -call Holly for the address.


Sonoyta Shelters/ New Resource Center (RC)

The Resource Center is up and running with some initial services and gearing up for more.  A small miracle happened- I heard that the UCC Conference office was moving into the Methodist Center so asked if they might have some extra furniture to donate.  They did!  A ton!  So last week, the Ajo Samaritans came up with two trailers, two pick-ups, and two SUVs and loaded up 25 tables; 100 chairs; several side tables; lamps; a futon; bookcases; office supplies; rugs; a BBQ; and a full kitchen of plates, glasses, mugs, pots and pans, pitchers, serving dishes, utensils, etc.  As the caravan of donations went to the border, the Mayor of Sonoyta came up to ease its passage into Mexico.  There was quite the celebration as it all was unloaded at the RC.  Funds designated for these items can now be used to set up the kitchen and outside patio cover.


If you want a visual, please go to  The video is a month old but helps you see the facility and catch the spirit of the place.  It was a run down 4-sided compound that has been (and is being) extensively repaired.  Soon, it will do the cooking of two meals a day for both the men’s shelter and the family shelter, and will provide medical attention, legal assistance, job referrals, temporary housing options, clothing, showers, English classes, and other programs.  All this is offered to residents of both shelters as well as other refugees passing through the city.


What can you or your worship community do to help?

  • Immediately put out a plea for prepackaged single-serving food items for the WC. (List is above).  You can deliver directly to the Welcome Center or take to Holly for delivery. 
  • Both the Resource Center and the Welcome Center are always in need of  new/used men’s jeans (waist sizes 28-36, shorter lengths), t-shirts (S, M, L), or tennis shoes (sizes 8-11).   It is so easy to shop the thrift stores.  And you would be amazed at how much $100 will buy.  Sign up online at Goodwill and get a monthly 20% discount coupon. 
  • Volunteer at the Welcome Center- ask Holly for information.  All asylum seekers are Covid-tested at arrival.  You can also ask for jobs that do not require direct contact.
  • University Presbyterian is supplying 100 hygiene kits a month to the Welcome Center.  Each item in the kit has a sponsor that provides it.  Your worship community could do it, too.  Call Holly for information.
  • The Resource Center can always use towels and washcloths.  Ask your members to clean out their linen closets.  Soon we will be asking for lightweight jackets and twin blankets.


Checks to support the Sonoyta Resource Center can be mailed to University Presbyterian Church or dropped through the church office 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 the Resource Center and then relayed to the Ajo Samaritans for delivery.  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 me.


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


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


By Tom Martinez & Jo Vredenburg

One day the documentary filmmaker Macky Alston got a phone call from a professor of psychology by the name of Bob Michtel. As Bob’s story unfolded, Macky was in for quite shock. “I was bullied as a teenager,” Bob said. “And I murdered two of the boys who bullied me.” Macky ended up making a film that tells the whole story (The Killer Within, 2006). Because Bob was an adolescent at the time of the crime, records of the incident were sealed and no one, including Bob’s wife, knew this part of his past. Bob decided to contact Macky because bullying had been in the news and he wanted to share his story in hopes of bringing awareness to the issue.

Now, some sixty years following Bob’s experience, the traumatic consequences of bullying is well known.  That doesn’t mean that the problem has gone away; like the awakening around systemic racism, we’re simply more aware of the problem. The National Bullying Prevention Center ( has a powerful website brimming with statistics showing the prevalence of bullying (one in five school-age kids report being victimized), along with preventative strategies and resources.

So what might this have to do with us as a faith community? Research shows the most common reasons people are bullied include “physical appearance, race/ethnicity, gender, disability, religion and sexual orientation” (that’s according to the Center for Educational Statistics, 2019). We should add poverty and social class as another reason people get bullied. As a church we stand against the oppression of disabled people, racism and xenophobia, homophobia, misogyny, and all forms of discrimination and abuse. As Christians rooted in the Gospels, we understand that the Biblical revelation illuminates the tendency of groups to build themselves up at the expense of a scapegoated “other.” And we realize that’s not okay anywhere—not locally or geopolitically!  

As the research around bullying grows, we’re learning more about its traumatic impacts. Youth who are bullied are more at risk for “depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, lower academic achievement, and dropping out of school” (Centers for Disease Control, 2019). One teacher in New York helped her students understand the lasting scars of bullying by having them crumple up and then try to smooth out a piece of paper. After a good crumpling you just can’t get all those creases to go away. 


So what practical steps can our youth take?


  • If it’s an instance of cyberbullying, block the person!
  • If you see a friend doing it, be brave and say that’s not okay!
  • Talk to a trusted adult about what you’ve seen or experienced.
  • Practice small acts of kindness with kids who may be at risk of being bullied.
  • Check out the “Students with Solutions” resource page:



And we should all be aware that “school-based bullying programs reduce bullying by up to 25%” (McCallion & Federer, 2013). Let’s all be clear that whether we’re talking about church, work or school, communities that value diversity and inclusion foster health and well-being. May that be our goal!


  • List Item

    Join people of faith as we study Isabel Wilkerson' masterful portrait of an unseen racial justice phenomenon in America. "Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents" is an eye-opening story of people and history, and a reexamination of what lies under the surface of ordinary lives and of American life today.

    She tells us stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system—a rigid hierarchy of human rankings.

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adult education fall 20211

We’ve got four different opportunities for adult education this fall!

Documentary Film Discussion: “Beyond Belief”

Thursday (Sept. 9th) at 7PM we’ll meet virtually to discuss the film, “Beyond Belief” discussion. This film tells the story of two 9/11 widows who responded by creating an organization to help widows in Afghanistan. Due to COVID, we’ve decided against showing the film in the sanctuary as originally planned. It can be rented online for $3.99 by going to this link:

To join the DPUCC Thursday, Sept. 9th discussion, use this zoom link:

9/11 20th Anniversary Interfaith Event:

Saturday, September 11th, 5:30PM, 

Interfaith Service Marking the 20th Anniversary of 9/11

To pre-register to get the zoom information:

To help guide us into a time of reflection around the upcoming 20th anniversary of 9/11, I’m inviting everyone to an interfaith event being held on zoom. When I began my ministry in Brooklyn (NY) I was introduced to two amazing activists, a Rabbi named Ellen Lippmann and the Muslim educator and activist Debbie Almontaser. This was in the early years following 9/11, and It just so happened they were in the process of organizing an interfaith peace walk model on one that had taken place in NM. And they needed a Christian! So began my involvement in the Children of Abraham Interfaith Peace Walk. Each year we stopped at a mosque, synagogue, and church before sharing a meal together. Eventually, we shifted the date to 9/11. The march took place annually for about ten years. On the upcoming 20th anniversary of that tragic day, we’ll be reconvening some of the faith leaders and layity who were so instrumental to the success of the peace walk that rose from the ashes.

We’ve also got Two Book Groups Scheduled, in addition to our ongoing women’s Bible study groups:

Sacred Earth, Sacred Soul: Reawakening to What Our Souls Know and Healing the World, by John Philip Newell

Saturday’s at 4PM-5:30PM (hybrid: virtual/in person) 

zoom link:

September 25,  

October 2, 9, 16, (no mtg on Oct. 23) 30th

November 13

This gorgeous book extends and deepens Newell’s celebration of Celtic Christianity, which affirms God’s presence in all things (nature, people, our bodies, matter, the Earth…) while avoiding the idolatrous worship of “power over” characteristic of imperial Christianity since Constantine. Eco-Activist and scholar Bill McKibben says, “as this book makes clear, the Celtic spiritual tradition is a clear-flowing stream that can help us in this hot and thirsty moment. There are deep lessons to be learned from these remarkable women and men.” Newell draws from the lives of St. Brigid of Kildare, John Muir, Teilhard de Chardin, and others. He also offers a nine-day cycle of short meditative prompts with a prayer. 

A slightly different format: we’ll chat about the book as we tend to do in our book groups. But we’ll be a little more intentional about how we share, identifying the ways in which Newell’s insights intersect with our spiritual paths. “I like what he says here because I’ve found in my life that….” We’ll also save time at the end for a short time of meditation and prayer. We’ve positioned this in the late afternoon on Saturdays in hopes it will become another time of spiritual reflection during the weekend.

And in Celebration of the Arts, our other book group will take up….

The Overstory, the (2019) Pulitzer-prize winning novel by Richard Powers. 

Thursday evenings at 7PM (hybrid: virtual and in person)

Zoom Link:

October 7, 14, 21, 28

November 4, 11, 18, 

The Overstory, by Richard Powers

Winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction

Shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize

A New York Times Notable Book and a Washington PostTimeOprah MagazineNewsweekChicago TribuneKirkus Reviews, (Now Available in Paperback)


“The Overstory, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, is a sweeping, impassioned work of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation of—and paean to—the natural world. From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, Richard Powers’ twelfth novel unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. There is a world alongside ours—vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe.”

For mor information about Richard Powers and his work:

Justice & Witness

Back in early August, Rev. Rich Doerrer-Peacock gave a wonderful presentation on current  immigration issues. Among the many items covered, he mentioned:

The Guaranteed Refugee Acceptance Admissions Ceiling Enhancement Act: this would stabilize the number of new refugees each year (at 125,000, a huge increase from 15,000). Rich mentioned that this legislation is being strongly endorsed by Lutherans (who are doing a letter writing campaign on the issue).


Rich also called attention to:


  • HR 1177 US Citizenship Act
  • S. 348 US Citizenship Act: a pathway to Citizenship for most of the undocumented people in US.


Holly Herman joined us and filled us in on the relief effort taking place at the Welcome Center.  University Presbyterian (where John and Holly attend) is sending 100 hygiene kits per month to the Welcome Center. Each one contains 15 items. Holly mentioned that non-perishable snack items are always needed (for food on the trip to family, etc.). A DPUCC member took a truck load recently! Watch for an announcement concerning specific items needed once we are coming back in person.

Though the pandemic has curtailed much of our in-person activities, various members have managed to stay connected to the vibrant work of the Arizona Faith Network, the Arizona Interfaith Power and Light and the awesome ongoing work of the UCC’s national Council for Climate Justice. As for the ongoing work and focus of the UCC’s Council for Climate Justice, we recently decided to support the work of Honor the Earth, which is spearheading the effort to block pipeline three in MN (think Standing Rock and you’ll get the picture). To learn more go to this link:


Lastly we had a petition drive opposing the flat tax which would limit funding for education. This was thanks to Claudia (Bloom), who brought and turned in the petitions. For more information on the petition drive and this issue, go: