the weekly update

Current News and Events at Desert Palm

In-Person Worship has resumed

The DPUCC Council has voted by email to resume in-person worship. Sunday School will continue to be virtual. We are also going to continue to ask that folks wear masks. As usual, if you haven't been feeling well (especially if you have any COVID symptoms) or are at risk for any reason, please feel free to stay home and live stream from the church website. You can also watch the service later, as recordings are now posting to both FB and our new Youtube channel.


Tomorrow/This Saturday, November 27th at 9 AM-11 AM

All are invited to stop by to help hang lights and decorate the sanctuary as we prepare for the first Sunday of Advent (this coming Sunday)!

pledge drive

A HUGE thanks to those of you who have sent in your pledges for 2022. As of this writing, we have received 37 pledges.  As you know, it is tremendously helpful for planning when we receive people's pledges. 

It is NOT too late to send in your pledge by filling out the form here
or by contacting the church office. 

Pastor Tom writes: 
To Each of You Who Have Pledged,

I want to thank each of you for your generous support, especially in these challenging times. Your pledge empowers our programming, from book studies to worship to our youth outings and the new ministry reaching out to ASU. You are, of course, also helping support our presence in the community. In a time when folks are questioning the viability of science, the reality of climate change, and the uncomfortable reality of entrenched, systemic racism, Desert Palm has emerged as a place where we dare engage these real and pressing issues. While so many seem determined to shut down the educational process (outlawing the teaching of critical race theory, for example), we are committed to bringing the full weight of our religious tradition to bear, complete with its historical, prophetic witness and commitment to justice.

What does it mean to be a follower of Christ at the dawn of the 21st century? That is the question we are engaging with our collective heart, mind, and soul.  For me, it means opening to life's sacred depths. It involves surrendering dogmatic certainty in order to risk real growth and transformation. It requires deep vulnerability and a willingness to mature in our capacity to show love and compassion. It means being slow to judgment and quick to hold ourselves accountable. Imagine a world in which that was the norm! Yes, it's a long way off. But being able to imagine something is the first step toward making it real. 

I trust you feel the excitement building around our upcoming round of visioning. The last time we engaged in such work, we created a youth program (hiring Andrew), expanded our music program, and renovated the building (thanks, FCC!). Now we are turning out attention outward: how might we get our message out and welcome more folks from the world. Community into our sacred space? Perhaps tapping into Marc Gaston's love of the arts? Perhaps forging a deeper relationship with ASU (work Andrew has started). Or maybe you have a new idea? Watch for upcoming opportunities for your voice to be heard.

And know that none of this would be happening if it weren't for your loyal support.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Grace & Peace,
Pastor Tom

October 2021  Financial Secretary Report – As of November 1, 2021

It’s beginning to look like we are going to have to rely on the folks that are able to give more than what they pledged to balance out for those that are having difficulties meeting their pledge.  This message brought to you by the letter “K” and your financial secretary – Pat Quinnett

 "Why We Pledge" 


65 Pledgers

2021 Total Pledged:    $182,859.96


As of November 1st, Total Received:  $152,975.00

83% of year has passed, 84% pledges received so far. 


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

% range                     #pledgers                        $ Range                           #pledgers

1%-50%                            6                                  100-500                              5

51%-75%                         12                                 501-1000                          17

76%-95%                         26                                 1001-2000                        19

96%- 100%                      14                                 2001-3000                        10

100%+                              7                                   3001-5000                         6

                                                                               5000+                                 8


Family Reunion Followup

We Are Thankful Banner

The November 20 Desert Palm Reunion was well attended and those who attended seemed to have a good time.  Thanks to all who planned the event, entertained us, brought refreshments, and helped to set up and clean up.  The Banner Group had a We Are Thankful banner for people to add their thankfulness for the special things happening in their own lives.  52 people wrote on paper cutouts and pinned them on the banner. Overwhelming people were thankful for their Desert Palm church family.  A close second were good friends and family, particularly for grandchildren and great-grandchildren born during the pandemic and for finally being able to gather together again and seeing family and friends after the long isolation.  Good health and thankfulness for vaccinations and booster shots and just making it through alive were mentioned several times. Other things mentioned include having a good home, I-Help, Arizona sunshine, and hooray for new beginnings.  Thank you all for sharing and participating in the Reunion.  The Banner Group wishes you a very special holiday season.

Thank you to all who provided baked goods or snacks for the Family Reunion last Saturday.  Your delicious sweets and snacks helped make the celebration a big hit!
Pat Riemer

DPUCC is Thrilled to Announce an Ecclesiastical Council 

for Andrew Ponder-Williams

Sunday, December 5th at 3 PM (virtual)

To access the zoom, watch for a zoom invite from DPUCC or go to the "Connect" tab on the DPUCC website and then select the calendar. We try to have all of our zoom events listed on the calendar, so if you ever need to find a link at the last moment, you'll have a central place to find them.

For those of you who are new to the UCC, an Ecclesiastical Council (often referred simply as an "EC") is a gathering of representatives from the SW Conference of the United Church of Christ. We gather to hear the Member in Discernment's summary of their ordination paper, usually a summary of their faith journey, theology, and how they came to embrace the UCC. After a presentation and some Q&A, those folks serving as delegates vote. A positive vote confirms that the Member in Discernment is approved for a call to be ordained. These are fun since, by this time, people in Andrew's shoes (and this certainly applies to him!) have worked very hard to satisfy the rigorous requirements for ordination. The "EC" is an opportunity for the MID to be introduced to the wider church community and for the wider community to weigh in! Only delegates can vote, but anyone interested in the larger life of the Church is welcome to join the zoom!



You are invited to a Zoom meeting.

When: Dec 5, 2021 03:00 PM Arizona

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

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
Time: Nov. 28, 2021 11:00 AM Arizona
        Every week on Sun, until Dec 12, 2021.
        Nov 28, 2021 11:00 AM
        Dec 5, 2021 11:00 AM
        Dec 12, 2021 11:00 AM
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 840 9788 7395
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Meeting ID: 840 9788 7395
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Supportive Conversations

Topic: Supportive Conversations

Time: Nov 29, 2021 07:00 PM Arizona

Every week on Mon, until Dec 20, 2021.

Nov 29, 2021 07:00 PM

Dec 6, 2021 07:00 PM

Dec 13, 2021 07:00 PM

Dec 20, 2021 07:00 PM

Please download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system.


Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:

Or Telephone:

Dial (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):

US: +1 602 753 0140 or +1 669 219 2599 or +1 669 900 6833 or +1 720 928 9299 or +1 971 247 1195 or +1 213 338 8477 or +1 253 215 8782 or +1 346 248 7799 or +1 301 715 8592 or +1 312 626 6799 or +1 470 250 9358 or +1 470 381 2552 or +1 646 518 9805 or +1 646 876 9923 or +1 651 372 8299 or +1 786 635 1003 or +1 267 831 0333

Meeting ID: 830 5130 7854

International numbers available:

Or iPhone one-tap (US Toll): +16027530140,,83051307854# or +16692192599,,83051307854#

Women’s Bible Study

Thursday Group

If you would like to be part of the Thursday's Women's Bible study please contact  Sue Henderson, at

  Sunday Group

Please contact Pat Speer at for more information.


Monthly family worship

Monthly Family Worship

First Sunday of the Month at 9:00am

Online at or In-Person

We are now focusing on making our worship on the first Sunday of each month extra family friendly.  No online Sunday School on the first Sundays of the month because worship is our focus for our families this day.  

Online Sunday School

Online Sunday School continues to be offered all Sundays of the month at 8:00am except on the first Sunday of the month when we focus on the Family Worship.  We will continue with one class for all children through the 4th grade.  


youth update

Youth Outdoor Adventure Club

Look below for info. We will be gathering outdoors throughout these upcoming cooler seasons so that we can enjoy God's creation and be mindful of virus concerns.  Masks required.


All families with youth who are in the age range for confirmation have been invited to an upcoming info session about Confirmation, which will begin in January. We are again partnering with some of our sibling UCC congregations.  

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

bells of peace and the chancel choir

After confirming with Counsel and the Music Committee, we will be resuming Bells of Peace and the Chancel Choir.  Starting Wednesday, November 17th, the Bells of Peace and Chancel Choir will begin rehearsals at their normal times and location.  We will be working on music specifically for the Christmas Eve service that will be held on December 24th at 6 PM. 

We are going to keep the music simple and traditional. All previous members and any new members are welcome to join and participate.  We will be following safety guidelines during this time of the pandemic.

Please forward this information to anyone you think would like to participate.

DPUCC Sanctuary
1230 E Guadalupe Rd.
Tempe, AZ. 85283

Bells of Peace - 6 PM
Chancel Choir - 7 PM

Rehearsal Dates:
Wednesday, November 17th
Wednesday, December 1st
Wednesday, December 8th
Wednesday, December 15th
Wednesday, December 22nd

Christmas Eve Service
Call Time 5:30 PM
Service 6:00 PM

I am so looking forward to making beautiful Holiday music together this Christmas Season with you all.

Marc Gaston
Director Music and the Arts.

wise announcement for grief series on december 12 & 19

The WISE Committee would like to offer a two-part conversation regarding the process of grief, which can be acute during the winter holidays.  Ray Littleford will lead the discussion on the Sunday afternoons of December 12 and 19 at 4pm.  These will be Zoom meetings.  The first one will focus on the inner world of grief, and the second one will focus on the outer world of grief.  

The inner world of grief includes the wide range of emotions we feel and our internal distress regarding a multitude of issues:

Gifts for foster children

Desert Palm will be partnering again this year with Southwest Human Development to provide gifts for children in foster care programs.  Tags with a child’s name, age, and requested items will be available at the Desert Palm family reunion on Saturday November 20 and before and after worship on November 21 and 28.  Gifts should be returned to Desert Palm by Sunday December 8. 

Southwest Human Development has requested an increase in their guidelines, suggesting gifts in the range of $40 to $50.  If that is beyond your budget, or if you would rather not be out shopping in person, you may donate any amount to the project.  You may give cash or write a check to Desert Palm with “foster kids” on the memo line.


If you have any questions or would like more information, please call Rebecca Bond at 480-897-7620 or email at

Secondary Title

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.

Register here:

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

Secondary Title

Anti-Hunger Call (Partner Event)

Fri. Dec. 3, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Join the anti-hunger and food systems advocacy calls with the Arizona Food Bank Network and the Arizona Food System Network, held every other Friday. More information and recordings of past calls are available at:

Volunteer Opportunities
Are you interested in helping refugee children but aren't sure where to begin? 

The "Let's Read, Neighbor" program might be for you!  Volunteers meet and read with newly arrived refugee children at least once per week.  Meetings usually occur in the child's home. The goal is to improve the children's English skills while also exposing them to American culture. You don't need to know Arabic; all you need is a willingness to help. If you want more information, please contact Kathryn Andrews: at ...or you can apply to join the program by contacting the program's director, Melek Akgul-Lee, at

Secondary Title

in the loop

Find out what's new in this week's "In the Loop." To find out more about SWC lick on more. 

Secondary Title

East Valley Network -Refugee Update 11/3/21

by holly herman

Top Line Items

• The Sonoyta Resource Center has its new name and logo- Centro de Esperanza (Center of Hope).  See below.  Top needs are twin blankets, infant formula, and size 5 diapers
• The Phoenix Welcome Center, in addition to its ongoing need for travel food, is asking for folders, preferably with pockets, or manila envelopes to hold legal documents.
• Please see “How can you or your worship community participate in this ministry?” below.  
Phoenix Welcome Center (WC)

The Welcome Center is receiving an average of 200 guests per day.  To handle that volume, 15-20 volunteers are needed daily to supplement the staff with help in food service, the clothing room, “traffic control,” childcare, sanitizing, and transportation.  A new need is for folks to do laundry. If interested, please contact me and I will direct you to the proper person for more information.  All on-site volunteers must be fully vaccinated.
How can you or your worship community participate in this ministry?
• Schedule a “Drive-n-Drop” for travel snack items for the Welcome Center.
• Coordinate a special offering of twin blankets for the Sonoyta Center of Hope.
• Shop the thrift stores for winter clothes.  You would be amazed at how much $50-$100 will buy.  Sign up      online at Goodwill and get a monthly 20% discount coupon.
• Volunteer at the Phoenix Welcome Center- ask me for information.
• Supply hygiene items to the Welcome Center or Center of Hope.
• Invite me to speak to a group at your worship community, or other group you belong to, to get them informed and potentially involved.
Checks to support the Sonoyta Center of Hope 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 needed items.  Donations of "stuff" can be taken to Holly Herman’s house, or call for a pick-up. If you have questions about what we need, please call Holly.
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)