current news & Events

In-Person for SunDay Worship

Masks continue to be optional. We'll continue to live stream so folks with special vulnerabilities or concerns can continue tuning in without coming in person. 

Pastor Tom's July 2022 Missive

Dear Members & Friends,

With the arrival of monsoon season there’s no denying it: summer is upon us. Is it just me or do the storms of the natural world feel like a reflection of what’s going on in the country and around the world? COVID is hanging on and disrupting people’s lives (though thankfully less people are being hospitalized or killed), the longstanding Roe v. Wade decision has been overturned, the war in Ukraine rages on and then there’s the list of ecological catastrophes buffeting the SW and the planet writ large. What’s a church to do?

            One thing we’ve done is support the Arizona Fair Election Act. Johnny Martin from the Arizona Faith Network came and introduced the Act on the Sunday we held our petition drive (June 26th). If you missed it, the thrust of the proposed legislation is to make it easier for all registered citizens to vote (regardless of one's political party). The historical backdrop to this legislation is centuries of voter suppression in relation to people of color (and women, of course).

            We’re also embarking on a banned book summer sermon series. I kicked that off last Sunday with a sermon about Abraham being tested by God with the near-sacrifice of Isaac. That resonated with a scene in the 2018 remake of Fahrenheit 451, the banned book we kicked off our series with. I’ll be away visiting family in Seattle for the next week and a half so Sonja Haller and Marc Gaston will be adding their voices to the series! 

            I want to say a special word of thanks here to Mark Williams for agreeing to another term as Moderator (he had originally taken on the role as a stop-gap but has been talked into another term)! We all know Mark is a multi-talented individual who can seem to and pretty much does do it all, which is easy to take for granted. But his tireless prep and behind-the-scenes coordination with our financial team (Sue Henderson, Ethel Utter, Pat Quinnett, and Carl Hansen, who will be replacing Sue). As all you long-time church folk well know, it’s no simple matter keeping the lights on and making it possible for us to offer a spiritual oasis in the desert, which is what I think we really are (hence that language on the website).

            Back in 1953, Bradbury was already warning us of the dangers of our fast-moving, tech-obsessed society, worrying people would give up reading altogether and lose touch with each other and the land. Needless to say that dystopian future feels all too accurate about now, especially with the attack on the capital, the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the recent ruling to limit the powers of the EPA, etc. But as I mentioned in that sermon, his main character escapes by daring to question the lies that he had previously accepted. He’s able to do this in part through the power of art and great literature. And it’s of course worth noting that his ultimate liberation is speeded along by a river, which carries him along under a vast canopy of stars. Then he finds a community of people who have dared to read and think for themselves, and so it goes.

            This may seem rather far removed from the struggle we face, but Bradbury’s point is that we need to reconnect: with ourselves, each other, and the land. I couldn’t help but think of that story in relation to the passing of Eunice Fairbanks, who grew up on a farm and lived her life beside a self-described “country doctor” (Leland). Growing up close to the Earth, devoting one’s life to health and healing, tending to family, church, and the larger community. It’s a fine legacy, one that I think serves quite well as a counterpoint to the dystopian loss of values associated with our post-modern world. Let’s continue to help each other slow down, share stories, and focus on the things that really matter.

See you in church,

Pastor Tom



Book Group: Richard Rohr's, Falling Upward: a Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life.
Hybrid, Thursdays in August at 7 PM: August 4th, 11th, 18th, and 25th.
If you're looking for some good summer reading consider Falling Upward by Richard Rohr. Pastor Tom will be offering a book group Thursday evenings this August, using this beautiful and spiritual reflection on two major phases of the spiritual life. 

Anti-Racism Storytelling Group: Pastor Tom is going to be leading an anti-racism storytelling group to start in late September and going into October. We'll be sharing stories with each other about our most formative experiences around race in an effort to engage in the ongoing work of decentering whiteness. If this is something you'd be interested in, you can reply to this email or email the church with "Storytelling" in the subject heading to indicate your interest. Tom will reach out to the group to find the most convenient meeting time.

Now What? Informing, Educating, and Mobilizing Progressive Churches for Reproductive Rights

Saturday, July 9, 10 AM AZ/11 AM NM/El Paso.
Panelists include

  • Frank Fox, SWC Attorney
  • Rev. Dr. Cari Jackson, National Staff/Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
  • Joan Lamunyon Sanford, Executive Director/NM Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
  • Karen Richter, Our Whole Lives Educator
  • Rev. Dr. Barbara Doerrer-Peacock, Associate Conference Minister

The event will be hosted on zoom. Registration is required. The event description can be found on the SW Conference website:


No Sunday School on July 3rd
July 4th Weekend,  

Parents of Sunday School-aged kids please note that we are skipping the July 4th weekend. Our Sunday School classes will meet in person throughout July, with the exception of July 3.  Any children attending church on July 3 are invited to remain in the sanctuary and enjoy the service.

Guest Peacher Sundays July 3rd and 10th
Sundays, July 3rd, July 10th, 9 AM

Pastor Tom is heading to Seattle to visit family. While he's away Sonja Haller, our current Member in Discernment (the term for people formally engaged in discerning a call to ordained ministry) will be preaching on July 3rd. Marc Gaston will be preaching on the 10th. Both guest preachers will be engaging our series on banned books!

Intergenerational Game Night
Friday, August 19th, 7:00-9:00 P.M.
Our new Fellowship Committee Chair, Pat Riemer, is planning a fun evening of games for Friday, August 19th. Mark your calendars and contact Pat with any questions or suggestions or to volunteer ( 

Bells of Peace
We will officially start in October 2022 to prepare for Advent and Christmas. However, for anyone interested in trying something new at 6 pm, beginning on June 15 will be lessons and training on how to play the bells.   If you have any questions, you may email or call 602-228-5587.

Announcing Our Summer "Banned Books" Series

Join us in our regular Sunday morning summer worship as we explore some of the books currently red-flagged as "dangerous." You know, books like To Kill a Mockingbird and Fahrenheit 451. Why are certain books identified as threatening? Is it pure fear-mongering? Is there something powerful lurking within their pages that might upset the status quo? And what might some of these classics (and newer novels by break-out writers) have to do with Jesus' quest to set us free?

Here's a sample of what books we'll be touching on if you're looking for summer reading (or a book on tape)! And if one of these titles has been important for you, personally, please let Tom know as we'd love to have folks offer short (5 min.) testimonials as part of each service: Fahrenheit 451 (this Sunday, June 26th); The Hate You Give (July 3rd); The Old Man and The Sea (July 17th); The Lord of the Flies (July 24th); To Kill a Mockingbird (July 23rd); The Confessions of Frannie Langton (Aug. 7th).

Strengthen the Church Offering

‘Thank You’

The Strengthen the Church offering was received on June 5, 2021.   The collected offering at this time is $ 1410.00.  Thank you so very much for supporting this special offering.

Strengthen the Church The funds raised support leadership development, new churches, youth ministry and innovation in existing congregations. Thank you, Desert Palm for always being so generous.  

Community/ World                                                                                                                                                                                                             *

Youth Ministry Transition

We are happy to announce our Youth Director, the Rev. Andrew Ponder Williams, has accepted a call to serve as the pastor of United Community Church in Johnsbury, VT. As such we are currently in the process of hiring a new Youth Director to coordinate trips and regular youth group meetings. Watch for forthcoming announcements!

Coffee hour

Coffee Hour is a time after the church service for people to get together and talk about whatever is on their mind. Get to know people you may not know very well. You can talk or just listen; it’s up to you. Whether you’re in the Phoenix area or across the country, join us and share some good conversation and fellowship time. 

Topic: DPUCC Coffee Hour
Every Sunday 11:00 AM

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 897 3401 4493

Women’s Bible Study

Thursday Group

Please contact Sue Henderson at 480-734-0921 or

Sunday Group

Please contact Pat Speer at for more information.                                                                                                                *

May 2022 FINANCIAL Secretary Report

As of June 2, 2022

Thanks again to all of you that have taken the time to send in your pledges. Pledging is very important for budgeting and program development. The visioning committee on May 15th did a great job presenting the survey results and engaging the congregation to fine tune the results. Again, thanks for all you do. If you haven’t done it already mail/email/call the office to register your pledge You can also send in your pledge by filling out the form here .

63 Pledgers

2022 Total Pledged: $208,866

As of June 2nd, Total 2022 pledges Received: $95,523.39

42 % of year has passed, 46% pledges received so far. 


Breakdown of %pledge completion:                 Breakdown of Received to Date Pledge Dollars

% range                     #pledgers                      $ Range                   #pledgers

      0%                              11                                 0-100                         13

    1-25%                            1                                 101-500                     13

  26%-50%                       40                               501-1000                      7

  51%-75%                         3                              1001-4000                    23

  76%-99%                         2                               4001-8000                     6

    100%  +                         6                                  8000+                           1

Please No Glass containers

United Food Bank donation request by month

January: Soup   

February: Beans

March: Pasta & Sauce

April: Canned/Dry Milk

May: Canned Fruit

June: Canned Meat & Fish

July: Peanut Butter & Jelly

August: Fruit Juices

September: Rice

October: Whole Grain Cereal

November: Canned Chili
December: Canned Vegetables

15 years of

making a difference

This I-HELP program is celebrating 15 years of providing comprehensive emergency shelter in partnership with an array of faith organizations that provide nighttime facility access.

The I-HELP model serves as a cost-effective and scalable solution for ending homelessness. As the homeless population continues to rise, in turn, the volume of affected people unable to access services is also rising. 

The I-HELP shelter program provides a safe place to sleep and a spectrum of services to prepare men and women for employment, financial stability, and permanent housing. 

Today, you can sponsor one night of shelter and additional services for a man or woman in need for $35 and help us celebrate 15 years of making a difference. 

Click on the link provided to learn more

East Valley Network June Update

Needs that can be delivered to Holly Herman’s House

  • Constant and continual need at the Sonoyta Center of Hope is for laundry soap, toilet paper, shampoo, and body wash.

 Sonoyta Center of Hope

The Center of Hope continues to provide basic resources for three refugee shelters in Sonoyta, MX as well as those area refugees not housed in shelters. Services include meals, clothing and other supplies, laundry, showers, medical care, child care, and legal assistance. A few pics are below.


In early May, the Center of Hope hosted a representative from Casa Misrocardia, a refugee shelter in Nogales, MX.  During the visit, they identified the disparity in legal support offered at the Sonoyta Center compared to the Nogales Casa.  This was mostly due to Sonoyta’s more rural location.  

Two weeks later, Casa Misrocardia arranged for 50 asylum seekers to transfer to Nogales where another nonprofit, Justice for our Neighbors, provided more information and legal help.  The nonprofit Shelters for Hope paid for the transportation.  All but two of these families have now crossed into the US, filed their asylum claims, and have traveled to their sponsors.


Working collaboratively now with Casa Misrocardia, Justice for our Neighbors, Shelters for Hope, and Casa Alitas (the Tucson Welcome Center), the Sonoyta Center for Hope hopes to regularly move more families from the Sonoyta shelters to the Casa, and then to the US.  This will make more shelter space available in Sonoyta for incoming families to start the process.  Fifty more refugees left for Nogales this week.


This increased movement of asylum seekers through the Center of Hope will naturally create more demand for supplies and clothing as new families arrive to take their place.


Iglesia Cristiana el Buen Pastor

  • El Buen Pastor continues to host up to 50 asylum seekers every Wednesday.  If you want to help transport to the airport/bus station, let Holly know.  If you want to supply food, that would be much appreciated, too.  A load of clothing and hygiene products are taken to El Buen Pastor monthly from your donations.

 What Can I Do?

  • Every Friday in the Desert Palm Update, we share a needs list for The East Valley Church Network. Items on that list can be dropped off at the church, and will be taken to Holly’s.
  • It is so easy to shop the thrift stores.  And you would be amazed at how much $25 will buy.  Sign up online at Goodwill and get a monthly 20% discount coupon. Tuesdays are Senior Days and 25% off. We ALWAYS need men’s jeans!
  • Would you like to help in our clothing room as we sort and pack items for the various places?  Let Holly know. We usually gather for an hour every other Tuesday at 10 a.m. at University Presbyterian Church.

 Thank you all for your continued compassion, energy, and generosity. We appreciate all of you that help.  This is a long term, ongoing need.  Your energy is what sustains us.


Holly Herman

(480) 570-0450

1701 W Lindner, Mesa, 85202

(near Baseline and Dobson)                                                                                                                                                                                               *


Donations are now being accepted for a variety of people who are migrating to our country.  Some are coming as refugees who have already been vetted and are ready to settle.  Others are coming as asylum seekers who cross the border and are given permission to stay and plead their case.  In order to serve those waiting in Mexico, we donate to the East Valley Network.  To serve those who have been released by ICE to go to their sponsors, we donate to the Welcome Center.  To serve those who have refugee status, we donate to Gathering Humanity. 

All donations may be placed in “The Box” 24/7 which is just outside the gate entering the atrium of the church.

Used and new clothes and tennis shoes are always more than appreciated.  (However, no used underwear.  J )   

In addition, Desert Palm has some special requests for the month of July.

  •        For the East Valley Network: Pencils, markers, & spiral notebooks (basic school supplies)
  •        For the Welcome Center:   File folders for their documents and shoe laces for their shoes (ICE often takes away their shoe laces upon arrival)
  •        For Gathering Humanity:   Cleaning supplies.

Remember:  Whatever you’ve got, a little or a lot, just put it in “The Box”.


Contact Don or Pat Riemer, Rich Doerrer-Peacock, or Becky Klein.

Your donations inspire not only the recipients, but they inspire us as volunteers.  Thank you.                                                                              *

Welcome center Needs

baby food, pocket file folders, and shoe laces.