Homeless Ministry in Sun City and the West Valley

Most of us take a lot for granted, including a permanent address, a place to lay our head at night, a place we call home. But an increasing number of people are homeless across the United States, in Arizona, in Maricopa County and in our own communities. A recent newspaper article reported the number of homeless in Glendale doubled over the previous year and Surprise, that counted no homeless as recent as 2014, is identifying a homeless population, albeit small, but very visible and of concern to many residents.

What is the face of the homeless? From data gathered in January of 2017, single adults account for 72% of the homeless population; men make up 64% of that number. Families represent 27% of the population. In Maricopa County 35% of the homeless were over 45 years of age; 6% were over 62, up from 4% in 2015.

The Social Justice Action Team is seeking ways for our church to be a leader in addressing this growing concern in Sun City and the West Valley. Members of the committee have been in conversation with Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest, the sponsors of IHELP (Interfaith Housing Emergency Lodging Program). Team members have visited an active IHELP church and have shared information and a timeline with the Church Council.

IHELP is a working program that provides case management, life planning, finance counseling, job search and preparation, employment services, health care referrals, vital documentation assistance and enrollment in public benefits through LSS staff supervision and guidance. Individuals in the program have 90 days of shelter and meals at no charge. The goal of the program is to move persons from homelessness to self-sufficiency. Multiple churches provide places of shelter and a meal; a Lutheran Social Services case worker implements the IHELP program and provides the services.

At this point the SJAT has more questions than answers. As we continue to develop a plan of action and work in cooperation with other churches to address the needs of the homeless, be in prayer for the homeless and those who provide shelter/food to meet their daily needs. For more information on this project please contact: Max Klinkenborg maxklink@yahoo.com.

HART Pantry collecting goal 2018

HART Pantry July/August food items needed:

Apple sauce cups or fruit cups
Vegetable cups
Fruit juice packs like Capri Sun 100% Juice
Carnation Instant Breakfast packets

Back-to-School Needs List:

Backpacks – high school size
Calculators
Rulers
Compass and protractor kits
3-ring binders (1 1\2 inch minimum)
Composition books
Pens, pencils, colored pencils, sharpeners, erasers
Assignment/calendar books
Single and multiple subject notebooks
Pocket folders
Glue sticks
Highlighters
Scotch tape
Tissue packs and wipes
Reusable water bottles
Men’s ankle socks medium, large extended sizes
Women’s socks shoe sizes up to l0
Gift cards for Walmart or Target
Men’s/women’s deodorants

Backpacks to be packed by the HART team from a consortium of churches the end of July and sent to schools in time for opening of schools in August.

Please bring your purchased items to church and put them in the Hart Pantry back-to-school bin. These donations are tax deductible.

Underground Railroad Quilt

From The Church of the Palms Social Justice Team:

Working together despite differences of opinion and world views has been a hallmark of American history and is certainly true within the United Church of Christ and even right here at Church of the Palms.

It is fitting, then, that the beautiful quilt displayed on the west wall of King Hall represents people, our people, working together, despite very different opinions on the final product, calling attention to a time in US history marked by conflicting views and very different perspectives on what and who should make up the fabric of our country.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

The Church of the Palms Social Justice Team dedicated to: “Seeking justice through Prayer, Action, Love, Ministry, Support” (PALMS) thanks all of those involved in this project and hopes that all will admire its beauty and see it as a symbol of pulling together and a labor of love.

The quilt, a brainchild of Barbara Arnold, beautifully assembled by the dedicated ladies from our Service Project Craft Group and framed by Ron Schultz, tells a story of the Underground Railroad – the Negro slaves fleeing the south during abolition. The quilt represents a people’s quest for freedom, dignity and respect and the risks and rewards of pursuing those noble goals. Each of the squares in the quilt represents a code symbol for those seeking safety known by them and those desiring to help their fellow human beings.

Sew what?

Do you sew?

If you enjoy using a sewing machine, the Service Project Craft Group would love to have your help. There are several items that those who come to our church use regularly including walker bags, neck cooling wraps, and adult bibs. We have the patterns and material – we need someone to sew them!

Come on in from 9 a.m.. to 11 a.m. Wednesday mornings to pick up supplies, sew at your leisure at home, and bring the projects back whenever you they are ready. If you can’t come in on Wednesday a.m., call Carol Reynolds and we will make arrangements for other times.

Thanks for your help!

Next Steps in Discerning COTP Involvement with the people of Israel/Palestine

The Church of the Palms Social Justice Action Team has begun a conversation on ways we might continue to learn about and engage with the people living in Israel/Palestine.

75 COTP members attended the fellowship breakfast in March at which Daoud Nassar spoke (founder of the Tent of Nations outside of Bethlehem). 20 members participated in a four-week study group held in the spring of 2017. We would like to continue to build on the interest and support expressed by congregation members to these two events. The team came up with three possible ways of continuing our learning and ministry in this part of the world. (There may be others and you are welcome to suggest them.)

Please take a minute to email Beth Moore at ebmoore1@live.com to let her know if you are interested in any, or all of the following. Your response at this time is not a final commitment, but a way to hear from those of you who have an interest. Please include your full name in your email.

Learning
Engaging in additional learning opportunities about Israel/Palestine. For example a four week study using a text/written materials, or a DVD / film followed by discussion.

Advocacy
Being part of a group to receive email updates from Beth on events in Israel / Palestine (approximately monthly) with a request to take “action”. This usually means making a call to congressional representatives to express your opinion / thoughts about the issue. Often “talking points” are provided if you wish to use them.

Travel
Participation in a 10 -14 day trip to the Holy Land that would include opportunities to hear from both Israelis and Palestinians about their search for a just peace, as well as visits to some of the historical holy sites. This would also include a visit to the Tent of Nations with opportunities to volunteer. Timing to be decided but could be Fall of 2019 or Spring of 2020.

Fundraising
Contributing to or helping to raise funds for a special gift to the Tent of Nations – for example olive or fruit trees, or a piece of equipment they need. This might be done in conjunction with a planned trip and could be taken by the group travelling to the farm.

“Becoming Transgender”

Monday, April 16, 2018, 6–8:30 p.m.
The Church of the Palms, 14808 Boswell Blvd., Sun City, AZ 85351

”in some point of time, every journey must have a beginning, and at this point the journey is usually just a vague idea, such as i want to go hike Mt. Rainer or i want to go to Italy… the journey at this point may be an idea, a hope, a wish or a promise that we can carry with us for years or we put into place immediately… my current journey i carried with me literally my whole life.” -tess julianna

tess julianna was born male and lived her life in that role for 66 years, including a beautiful marriage of 44 years. tess is transgender.

This is a discussion of one person’s lifelong journey and the implication of living a life being transgender. Through understanding can come acceptance.

RSVP: 623-302-0356

Promoted by the LGBTQA Groups and Clubs of Sun City Grand, Sun City West, Sun City & Corte Bella.

The Heart of Nuba

You are invited to experience “The Heart of Nuba” at the April Fellowship Breakfast, Tuesday, April 10, at 8 a.m. This timely and moving film by award-winning director/producer, Kenneth A. Carlson, is presented by Kenneth’s father, Palms’ associate member Rev. Bob Carlson.

The film explores the genocide of the people of Sudan, and the faith and courage of Dr. Tom Catena, an American doctor who selflessly serves the needs of the forgotten Nuba people of Sudan.

This film was so impactful that the President of Sudan, after seeing it, stopped bombing the South Sudan. Wow!! With the bombing stop, innocent lives have been saved!! It is an opportunity you won’t want to miss! ALL are welcome.

Read more: The Heart of Nuba: CNN Coverage

Used Bikes for Hart Pantry

If you have a used bike to donate to the HART (Helping At Risk Teens) Pantry for use by the teens of this great organization, please contact Jan Eckstein or Ruth Langford.

Don’t’ worry about the condition of your donation; the bikes are repaired before they are gifted. HART Pantry gets them to our at-risk teens as soon as they can get them refurbished and checked out, sending along a new bike lock with each bike so they are protected.

Thanks as always for your generosity!

Jan Eckstein and the Board of Mission and Outreach

Social Justice Action Team

Seeking justice through Prayer, Action, Love, Ministry & Support

The Church of the Palms Social Justice Team has been very active. The team members working on the Immigration/Refugee issue have developed a working relationship with Refugee Focus, a division of Lutheran Social Services. For more than thirty years, this organization has served some of the world’s most persecuted people living right here in Phoenix. Violence and armed conflict chase millions of people from their homes, their families, and their countries, forcing them to seek safety in other countries around the world.

Honoring a proud identity as a nation of immigrants, the United States has welcomed refugees and asylees throughout its history. Every year, the State Department identifies global regions in which people have an exceptional need for protection outside of their home countries. These refugees and asylees are then invited to resettle in the “land of opportunity,” in a nation that has traditionally cherished the value of uplifting the oppressed. Refugee Focus services include:

Pre-arrival housing
Case management
English classes
Transportation services
Employment support
Education service
Women’s empowerment
Immigration services

And here is what Church of the Palms Social Justice Team members are doing to support this effort:

Beth Malmgren – tutoring in finances
Linda Hofmann – teaching English
Kurt Hofmann – mentoring families
Nancy & Richard Mueller – teaching English
Suzanne Boisclair – teaching English
Linda Rouches – working with children

Please feel free to speak to any of these Social Justice Team members to see how you could become involved. The Social Justice Team meets the second Friday of the month at 9:30 in the chapel. All are welcome.

 

Social Justice Team update

Seeking justice through Prayer, Action, Love, Ministry & Support!

The Church of the Palms Social Justice Team is a vital ministry in and of our church. The very nature of seeking justice infers advocating on behalf of those individuals and classes of individuals that have been marginalized and oppressed. We keep our eyes, ears, and hearts open to the needs in our church, our community, and our world.

We have several action items that we are participating in to become more informed about how we can prayerfully support others and how we can help in other ministries across our community, the state, and beyond. Keep your antenna up for information on issues of interest to members of our church and community such as the genocide in South Sudan, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and the topic of “White Privilege”.

If you are interested in justice issues and feel a call to contribute, please come – you are always welcome.

Social Justice team members with full tummies after good food and fellowship at First Watch on field trip to Lutheran Social Services in Phoenix.
Social Justice team members with full tummies after good food and fellowship at First Watch on field trip to Lutheran Social Services in Phoenix.