Meet the 2020 Church of the Palms Social Justice Champions: Max and Kay Klinkenborg

By John Durbin

Each year, the Social Justice Action Team selects an individual or individuals to receive the Social Justice Champion Award. The person(s) chosen best exemplifies our guiding scripture: “And what does the LORD require of us but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God” Micah 6:8. The criteria for the award include: being a member or friend of The Church of the Palms, being active in church leadership roles, a history of being active in social justice ministries, personal actions challenging injustices and affecting change through education, advocacy, activism, and demonstrating the belief that everyone deserves equal economic, political, and social rights and opportunities. Max and Kay meet all of these criteria and then some.

Rev. Max Klinkenborg (Retired)
Max was born on a farm in central Missouri and walked to a one-room schoolhouse. He graduated from the University of MO and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Here are a few of his social-justice efforts spanning his life so far:

  • Led church members of a small town church to establish a “Clothes Closet” to recycle used clothes for children and adults;
  • served free food along with Kay and son Erik in a small soup kitchen to poor and homeless in Columbia, MO;
  • made two work trips to Baton Rouge with Habitat for Humanity, post Katrina, for those displaced from their homes;
  • participated in the renovation of a church in Turrialba, Costa Rica sponsored by American Baptists;
  • organized and led 10 youth mission trips to Bacone College in Muskogee, OK, learning the true story of the relocation of the five civilized tribes along the Trail of Tears; worked monthly at the Micah Ministry of Independence Blvd. Christian Church to provide meals to the homeless and food insecure in the northeast area of Kansas City, MO;
  • worked weekly at Harvesters Food Bank in Kansas City that served 26 counties in Missouri and Kansas;
  • and shed blood for the sick, donating 320 pints of blood and counting.

And of course, since joining Church of the Palms, Max has launched two programs for the homeless: I-HELP and the Shower Trailer “Feet and More” ministry.

Kay Klinkenborg
Kay was born in Missouri as the oldest of three children. She worked as a nurse and hospital administrator prior to returning to school to obtain a graduate degree in marriage and family therapy. She has done training in the fields of domestic violence, sexual abuse and women’s counseling.

The following are some of Kay’s social-justice activities:

  • along with Max and son Erik, served monthly meals to the homeless in Columbia, MO;
  • co-led with Max “Clergy Response to Domestic Violence” and “Spouses Support Group” for men whose wives were victims of childhood or adult sexual-assault;
  • founded “Women of the Corn” in Jacksonville, IL (support group for building positive self-esteem and psychological development);
  • pro-bono counseling for Women’s Shelter in Jacksonville, IL.;
  • wrote and produced the video: “ACT: Communication Steps & Tools for Advocates Working with Elder Abuse”;
  • volunteered for PORA (Positive Options, Referrals and Alternatives) remodeling old houses for transitional housing to non-street living in Springfield, IL;
  • served as chair of “’VOICES in Action” (International Conference for Survivors of Sexual Assault); coordinated “Senior Tuesday Lunches” for Ray and Clay Counties (education, meal, B/P and foot care clinic) in Lawson, MO;
  • coordinated “Dresses for Africa” (dresses and boys shorts shipped to Africa, Haiti, Kenya);
  • volunteered for Project Linus (made over 280 blankets for children in hospitals, shelters or homeless), KC, MO;
  • coordinated public seminar (LGBTQ Issues & Faith”);
  • volunteered monthly at Harvester’s Food Bank and Micah Ministry, KC, MO. (prepared and served meals for 600- 800 people).

And since Kay has joined Church of the Palms, she has provided spiritual counseling to several church members, has led groups and taught marvelous education programs spanning a wide variety of social-justice topics.

Wow, we are blessed to have the Klinkenborgs as members of Church of the Palms.

HART Pantry Food Drive

Saturday, February 6, 9–-11 am
Sun City Lion’s Foundation, 9451 N 99th Avenue

Current HART Pantry needs:

  • peanut butter (10–16 oz jars)
  • protein bars
  • toaster pastries
  • pudding or fruit cups
  • juice boxes
  • ramen noodles
  • assorted canned pasta

For your safety, masked volunteers will collect the donated items from your vehicle.

Monetary donations are also appreciated!

Clothing Needs at Near-Emergency Levels for Women Leaving Perryville Prison

Each day, women leave Perryville Prison after having served their time, often without clothes to reenter society. THANK YOU to all who have responded to our calls for donated clothing! There is still a huge need for clothing of all sizes, but particularly pants of all types: jeans, sweat pants, leggings, slacks, etc. No undergarments, sleepwear or shoes, please.

Donations can be boxed or bagged (no hangers) and delivered to The Church of the Palms, 14808 N Boswell Blvd., Sun City.

Who starts a new ministry right in the middle of a pandemic?

“Who starts a new ministry right in the middle of a pandemic?” That was Pastor Jim’s question/statement to us at the shower trailer dedication. The answer is, “We do!”
We are called to be about ministry despite the pandemic, right in the middle of pandemic, because of the pandemic. Like the proverbial phoenix rising from the ashes, we are called. Listening to the challenge of MLK, Jr., when he advised stepping out in the future even when we can’t see the whole staircase, we have stepped out in faith.
I am so proud of you, church. Guided by the Holy Spirit, you have inspired me.
No matter how we gather in 2021 – in-person, over the Bridges platform, or on the streets helping others, I’m glad to be journeying with you.
Shalom, Paul

The Palms’ shower ministry is named ‘FEET-N-MORE’

By Max Klinkenborg

A seven-member shower trailer committee has been meeting weekly for the last two months to establish protocols for use of the trailer, decide on the “wrapping” for the trailer, to pick a name for the shower ministry, and much more. The name comes from the Biblical story of Jesus taking on the role of a servant and washing the disciples feet. The Church of the Palms is offering a shower trailer to be used by the homeless and needy of the northwest valley, following the pattern of service of Jesus.

In partnership with city governments, churches and non-profit service providers, we will provide showers that preserve human dignity, contribute to health and prepare them for employment. We are currently working with the City of Surprise, the Salvation Army and are in communications with the cities of Peoria and El Mirage. We will be taking the trailer to sites in the NW Valley beginning in January. We will be approaching other NW Valley cities with the shower trailer in 2021, particularly as it becomes safer for guests and volunteers to be together.

“FEET-N-MORE” will be focused on offering showers, but we are inviting other service providers to be present with us when we are serving the homeless. Trevor’s Vision is preparing a haircutting trailer and they want to be with us when we offer showers. Chance Shelter provides for the pets of the homeless while they are showering. We hope to provide medical and dental services on occasion and to distribute food and clothes on an emergency basis. We will be inviting Social Service Agencies that are focused on helping the homeless to be present. It is only limited by our imagination.

We will be dedicating the shower trailer for ministry and commissioning our volunteers on Sunday, January 3rd, at 11:30 a.m. The service will be in the parking lot with the shower trailer in the background.

Volunteers to work with the shower trailer are always welcome. We will need three to four volunteers for 4-6 hours each time the trailer goes out. A variety of jobs need to be done each time and there will be training for your job. Contact the church office (623.977.8359) or Max Klinkenborg (816.377.4618) if you are interested.

Kairos Call to Action: The Fierce Urgency of Now

The Kairos Call to Action recently issued by the United Church of Christ’s Council for Climate Justice builds on what Martin Luther King, Jr. called “the fierce urgency of now,” and an understanding of Kairos time as time that is ripe, pregnant, and urgent time. The call to action urges congregations to begin a decade of focus on one of the UCC’s “3 Great Loves”: Care for Creation.

We, as the church, have the opportunity to assert that we are fully committed to our first calling as caretakers of God’s creation. In contrast to destructive theologies of dominion/domination over the Earth, we have the opportunity to manifest a theology of kinship with creation and a spiritual connection to Mother Nature.

As Pope Francis put it in his encyclical, Laudato Si’: On the Care for our Common Home, earth and human ecology are inextricably intertwined. That means that as we care for creation, we also care for the other two great loves to which we in the UCC are committed: neighbor and children. Climate science tells us that the next decade will be decisive if we are to interrupt the dangerous course of planetary warming that we are on. Now is the time.

In response to this call, the Social Justice Action Team at The Church of the Palms has initiated a Creation Justice task force which will build on the steps taken by COTP in the past, and intensify these efforts. We have shared our mission and goals with you on our page on the church website.

Over the next year and more we will be offering opportunities for learning and actions that you can take as households, and we will work with the trustees to examine and take action on ways that the church itself can reduce its carbon footprint. We will update you quarterly on our work together. If care for creation is something for which you have a passion, please consider joining the taskforce. You may contact Terry Starr at to indicate your interest.

Let us covenant with one another to seize this moment and commit ourselves to this Kairos Call to Action, as a congregations as households, and as individuals; joining in the healing of our sacred earthly home.

—Beth Moore, Creation Justice Task Force

Note: I am indebted to the UCC’s national website and a speech by Rev. John Helt at the Wisconsin UCC’s annual conference gathering in June 2020 for much of this content.

I-HELP Needs Overnight Volunteer Monitors

Are you a night owl or a morning dove? Here is an Interfaith Homeless Emergency Lodging Program (I-HELP) late-night or early-morning volunteer opportunity for you: I-HELP needs overnight monitors.

Volunteer time-slots are 10:00 p.m.-3:00 a.m. or 3:00-7:00 am. The I-HELP guests are usually weary and sleep soundly during these hours. Usually, there are 12 guests. There are 2 monitors for each shift.

Worried about COVID? We are limited to 7 guests during this time. All I-HELP participants have tested negative for COVID to enter the 90-day program, are retested when needed, and they are temperature screened when they enter COTP. There is almost no interaction with the guests between 10:00 p.m. and 6:30 a.m.

You must obtain a State of Arizona Level One Fingerprint Clearance card, which requires a bit of paperwork. Registration is easy, and the $65 cost will be paid by COTP. I-HELP has just celebrated its first year. Over 25 people have found housing. You can help make a difference in the lives of others in Year 2.

If you are interested in volunteering, contact Nancy Mueller or Vickie Ashenbrenner.

HART Pantry Christmas Drive 2020

Can you be one of Santa’s little elves and help us make this a wonderful Christmas for our At-Risk Teens?

Our wish list of items:

  • Hooded sweatshirts (adult sizes S, M, L, XL or XXL)
  • Throw blankets (no larger than twin size)
  • Face masks
  • Small (2 oz.) hand sanitizers
  • Target and Walmart gift cards in $25 denominations (for teens to buy shoes)
  • Fast-food gift cards in $10 denominations

Donations will be accepted in the HART Pantry box in the narthex until Nov. 23. Monetary donations can be made online or sent to 8456 W. Sanna St, Peoria, AZ 85345.