Ecumenical & Interreligious Retreat

September 3 – 6, 2019 at Chapel Rock Conference Center in Prescott

This year’s retreat will focus on:

  • God’s creation, the evolving universe, and how our traditions instruct us to interact with it.
  • Mysticism, angels, spirits, and their relevance in our individual lives and the lives of our traditions.
  • Interreligious dialogue, understanding, tolerance, and acceptance (brotherhood and sisterhood).

The Retreat includes 3 nights lodging, 3 dinners, 3 breakfasts, and 2 lunches in the cool pines of Prescott. The surroundings are beautiful, and the food is fantastic!  Our featured presenters (see below) are well respected members of their temple, churches and mosque communities. 

In times of extreme stress and polarization in our society it becomes increasingly important to come together as people from different faith traditions to develop a deeper understanding of others and inoculate ourselves against the fear and prejudice that is gripping so many people. Our presenters are well-known and respected in their respective faith traditions for seeking this end. This retreat is a great way to seek brother- and sisterhood and spend the hot late summer days in the beautiful cool pines of Prescott.

Rabbi Nina Perlmutter
Rabbi Emerita, Congregation Lev Shalom Faculty Emeritus, Yavapai College Adjunct Instructor, Prescott College

Rev. Michael G. Hegeman
PH.D, Princeton Theological Seminary Director, Fran Park Center for Faith Life at Pinnacle Presbyterian Church, Lecturer in Religion, Spirituality & Humanities

Imam Anas Hlayhel
Serving the southeast valley teaching and coaching Islamic self-help, Quran exegesis, and youth coaching. Contributing author to Muslim Matters, a popular Muslim blog in English.

Rev. Jim Alexander
Associate Pastor and Music Director, Church of the Palms UCC, Graduate of Grand Canyon University, Founding Artistic Director Valley Women’s Ensemble

Cost of the retreat this year is $295 per person (double occupancy). Extra charge of $65 for single occupancy rooms (limited available).

Complete the registration form for the retreat and return it promptly to Church of the Palms to guarantee your spot.

For more information contact Rev. Jim Alexander jim.alexander@thepalms.org.

Summer Music

If you’d like to provide music, a poem, or an instrumental offering during the special music parts of our summer worship, please sign up on the bulletin board outside of the music room. There are two slots for each Sunday. You may do one or both if you’d like. This will begin June 9th and last until September 8th.

Thank you for your time and talent!!

Pastor Jim

Walk for Peace on World Labyrinth Day

9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on Saturday, May 4, 2019

Labyrinths at the Palms will be hosting a ‘Walk for Peace’ in partnership with The Labyrinth Society which promotes a World Labyrinth Day walk. In 2018 over 5000 walkers in 35 countries around the world participated.

The ‘Walk for Peace’ theme is most appropriate as our larger labyrinth has a peace pole in the center. We will be dedicating the peace pole and acknowledging the plaque as we begin our walk together.

Walkers can use either the larger labyrinth which is ½ mile round trip or the smaller 3 circuit labyrinth which is ideal for walkers and wheelchairs. Water, shaded seating, and restrooms will be available.

Thank You for Being the Church: Benefits of a Rummage Sale

Church of the Palms lives its mission statement: “Sharing God’s Unconditional Love, Justice and Extravagant Welcome.” This is evident in many ways, but no more so then in the Rummage Sale. What are the benefits of all that hard work and who really benefits from a Church of the Palms Rummage Sale? Here are some of the beneficiaries: New Life Shelter (domestic violence victims), HART Pantry (homeless teens), Justa Center (homeless seniors), Disabled Veterans, Downtown Phoenix homeless shelter, Solutions Church (African refugees), Asylum Seekers from Central America, CASA, Navajo Reservation, Children First Academy, Charity Recycling (supporting Boys & Girls Clubs). Oh, by the way, don’t forget: 20% of the proceeds of the sale go to our Board of Mission and Outreach and all the other organizations they support.

But what are the direct benefits to the Church of the Palms? The Rummage Sale, like our Community Thanksgiving Dinner, allows us to “Be the Church.” These events build and strengthen the sense of community that permeates the fabric of our church. These activities help us make new friends and build relationships. But what about the money? Well, 80% of the $19,000 in sale proceeds, or about $15,000 this sale, stays with our church and is used to maintain and improve the building in which we all gather to worship God and share fellowship experiences together.

Oh, it’s just a rummage sale. Hardly!! Thanks to the “donaters,” the workers, the buyers. We love you all!!

Community labyrinths

Come walk, pray, reflect, and return to the world, different.

We have created two labyrinths, recognizing the diversity that is embedded in our church and community. One is long, and one is short; please make use of both. The longer one will follow the traditional meandering path that has been used for centuries. Recognizing that that path is simply too far for some, a second labyrinth was designed to meet the needs of those who require the assistance of walkers.

The beautiful new peace pole, created by metal artist Dawn Delaney, is installed in our large labyrinth! Its solar panels will enable it to glow from within at night.

We hope this tool for meditation and reflection can help all of us find meaning right here, right now, in our lives. We invite and welcome all in the community beyond our doors to experience this spiritual practice.

Church of the Palms UCC peace pole and labyrinth

 

 

 

 

 

The Labyrinths at The Palms dedication plaque the peace pole at The Labyrinths at The PalmsThank you to Max Klinkenborg for coordinating this project and to the many volunteers who came to build it.

image credits: Rev. Paul A. Whitlock, Senior Pastor, Church of the Palms UCC, and Nancy Tsuchiya

Lifelong Learning – Mondays

Your Board of Lifelong Learning is beginning a new class for those of you who are wondering what it is that we call “Progressive Christianity” and/or might be questioning the things you were taught as a youngster. What are we “supposed” to believe? Would you like to explore all those questions you have with others who are asking similar questions? If so, you are invited to attend our new class offering, “LIVING THE QUESTIONS.”

This class will be taught by Linette Stenberg beginning May 6 and will have 12 sessions. It is scheduled for Monday afternoons from 1 to 2:30 pm. We will watch and discuss the presentations on the DVD “Living the Questions” You will receive a handout packet of information about the content of the DVD and a bibliography of books that might interest you.

It’s a Long Road

Volunteers from Church of the Palms and Dove of the Desert UMC ( 14 thus far) are continuing to travel weekly to the host church in Tolleson (about 20 minutes away) where 150 asylum seekers are dropped off each Monday and Tuesday. We sort clothing to provide a clean set of clothes after the visitors have had a shower – usually their first in several days. We also package snack items for onward travel which are given to each traveler. On occasion, we will help serve a meal. Drivers from our church use the church bus to take groups to the bus depot or airport for their onward travel. We do whatever is needed.

As you may recall, from last month’s article, the hosting church has a very small space in which to welcome 100 people. One of the things on their “wish list” was a large tent in which they could feed the visitors, and offer some protection from extreme heat and cold. We wrote a grant to the national United Church of Christ offices for assistance in paying for such a purchase. The grant was funded and a 30’x50’ tent has now been erected in back of the smaller building.

There is no sign that we are at the end of this journey. So, If you’d like to travel with us, please come. We guarantee you will meet inspiring, and faith-filled people. We carpool from our church in groups of three to six each Monday and Tuesday. Our current schedule is Mondays, 10:00 – 1:30 and Tuesdays, 9:30 – 2:00. If we can place you on a regular schedule (weekly, bi-monthly, monthly etc.) that helps us to let the host church know how many will be coming to assist. Please contact Kurt or Linda Hoffman (KoH39@hotmail.com) to indicate your interest)

In addition, there is a box in the narthex labeled “Donations for Asylum Seekers.” If you wish to contribute, any of the items listed below are welcome:

Clothing for men, women, children, and infants in sizes small and medium ONLY:
Tops (t-shirts, short sleeve tops, sweaters, jackets, shoes, pants / slacks
New underwear and socks for men, women, and children (again, smaller sizes)
Please NO large or extra large sizes, no dresses or skirts

Staples:
toilet paper
paper plates
utensils
styrofoam cups

Hygiene items:
toothbrushes
toothpaste
soap
shampoo

Food / snack items individually wrapped:
cheese or peanut butter crackers
applesauce cups
bottled water

As our friend Daoud Nassar from Tent of Nations outside of Bethlehem in the West Bank of Palestine says: “The road seeking justice for all is a long one.” There is no guarantee that we will see the end of the road, only that God will walk with us.

Church of the Palms is a Giving Church! Calendar for non-monetary donations

Thanks to your financial generosity and receiving 20% of the proceeds from all fundraising events, our Board of Mission and Outreach is able to contribute between $15,000 to $20,000 annually to various charities and community-based organizations (CBOs) in our local and global communities. Recipients this year include: Benevilla, Meals on Wheels, Sun City Community Fund, Sun City Posse, New Life Shelter, Sow the Seed Youth Camp, UCC Disaster Relief Fund, NW Sun City Connect, Glendale Missions Ministry, HART Pantry, Solutions Church, Asylum Seekers, Tent of Nations, Dysart Community Center.

In addition to these monetary contributions, our members donate physical items throughout the year including clothing, water, soup, diapers, hygiene products, backpacks, snack items, school supplies, blankets, and more. In an effort to maximize our non-financial donations, and provide the most help possible to our beneficiaries, the Social Justice Action Team and Board of Mission and Outreach have established a donations calendar. The needs are great, and donations can be made anytime throughout the year. But by emphasizing specific charities and CBOs during specific months of the year we will help bring attention to the causes, the items needed, and make our donations power more effective.

Thank you, Church of the Palms, for being such a giving church!!

Months Charity/CBO Items Needed
January/February Children First Academy (homeless elementary school students) Water (8oz bottles)
Valley View Community Food Bank (Souper Bowl competition with neighboring churches) Soups (cans and dry mix)
March/April Dysart Community Center Children’s Underwear and Socks, Copy paper, Construction Paper, Arts & Crafts Supplies, Pencils/Erasers, Board Games, English/Spanish Dictionaries
May/June New Life Center (Domestic Violence Shelter) Baby Diapers (sizes 4-6 months)
July /August HART Pantry (homeless high school students) Back to School Items (school supplies & backpacks)
September/October Asylum Seekers (mostly women & children approved by ICE for asylum court hearing) Adult (size small) and Children (boys & girls) Clothing
November/December HART Pantry (homeless high school students) Christmas gifts (high school students)

Dining with the Sharks

Saturday, May 25, 11 a.m. (bus departs church at 10:30)

Sharks in the desert? You bet! On May 25, 2019 the Board of Worship and Fine Arts will again host Dine with the Sharks at Dillon’s KC BBQ Restaurant next to the Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park in Litchfield Park. The Palms’ bus will be available for those who don’t drive. Lunch is at 11:00 and the bus will leave at approximately 10:30.

If barbeque doesn’t tempt you, there are loads of other options on Dillon’s extensive menu. The shark tank is fascinating; the company is fabulous; and the food is fantastic. A sign-up sheet will be on the events table in the narthex on Sunday, May 6.

Mark your calendars now and if you want to ride the bus, sign up early. This is one of our most popular events and the bus fills up rapidly.