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.

The Shower Trailer is Here; Now What?

by Max Klinkenborg

The shower trailer arrived at Church of the Palms on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020, after a 1,534-mile trip from Elkhart, Indiana, where it was manufactured. It came with a notebook full of instructions and manuals for the air conditioner, water heater, controls, etc. To provide the electrical power for the trailer, we have a 7,500-watt portable generator. We had it all operational by that Friday noon and were able to offer showers to three of our I-HELP guests that afternoon.

Seth Dyson, Director of Human Services and Community Vitality for the City of Surprise, invited community leaders from the NW Valley to a “show and tell” on Oct. 28 at COTP, to see the trailer and talk about how it can be used with the homeless population in their communities. Seth has been a supporter of I-HELP from the beginning and is now an advocate for our shower trailer.

We have been in conversations with Capt. Mark Merritt of the Salvation Army on Avenue of the Arts regarding the use of the shower trailer in partnership with their ongoing ministries to the homeless. We want to honor that partnership by making our trailer available there as one of our first locations for regular showers.

Through Seth, we have also had conversations with the City of Surprise regarding the use of the trailer. We have scouted some preliminary locations in Surprise that are easily accessible to the homeless. Again, with Seth’s assistance, the City of Surprise has offered us the opportunity to dump our holding tank into their sewage system. As far as community utilization, we will probably begin with Surprise, developing our protocols and contractual arrangements. Once again, we are partnering with others to meet needs. Beyond Surprise, we anticipate reaching out to other communities with the shower trailer for regularly scheduled times and/or special events.

As part of our ministry to the homeless, we want to provide toiletries, clean socks and underwear, and haircuts. We will invite other social-service providers to be present with medical and dental services, inoculations for COVID-19 and Influenza, etc. We do not know where this will lead us, but we want to be ready, creative and generous in what we do.

Thanksgiving: Not Just a Meal

As was announced earlier, it has been decided for safety reasons that The Church of the Palms will not serve a meal this year for Thanksgiving. However, we do feel that some of the goals of the activity can still be met.

The goals of The Annual Joyce Spaulding Memorial Thanksgiving Feast:
• Opportunity for ministry
• Provide extravagant welcome
• Remember Joyce and Roy Spaulding
• Have fun

As an opportunity for ministry, we are asking those who are able to consider donating what they would have spent on their Thanksgiving dinner food donation to the church. In turn, the church will give that money to church ministries that feed people. This would include feeding the homeless in our part of the I-Help program and to the HART Pantry which, among other things, feeds at-risk teens.

To make it fun, we will track the donations on a board that represents King Hall. We have calculated that our normal dinner costs about four dollars per person. For each four dollars we receive, we will put a token on the board to represent a diner. Our goal is to fill our imaginary King Hall with imaginary diners. The wonderful part comes later when actual people are fed with these donations.

Though this is not the same as gathering together and enjoying a meal of Thanksgiving, those of us who are able can have the opportunity to give thanks for our blessings by sharing with others. I cannot think of anything that would please the Spauldings more than knowing that hungry people are being fed. Bless you all as we enter the holiday season.

–Wendy Whitlock

Dysart Community Center School Supplies Needed

The Palms’ Social Justice Action Team is running a “School Supplies Drive” November 1–15 for kids at the Dysart Community Center. There’s a drop-off box in the narthex for these suggested items. Thank you!

• #2 pencils
• Extra erasers
• Pens (blue or black)
• Box of crayons
• Box of markers or colored pencils
• Glue sticks
• 1/2 inch 3-ring binder
• Composition or spiral notebooks
• Dividers-at least 6
• Pack of graph paper
• Packs of loose-leaf paper
• Two-pocket folders
• Highlighters
• Scissors
• 3X5 ruled index cards
• Ruler (inches and centimeters)
• Compass
• Graphing calculator

The shower trailer is here!

The Church of the Palms’ shower trailer was delivered on October 20!

Once it’s ready, we’ll invite their I-HELP guests to be the first to use it. In time we’ll use the shower trailer around the NW Valley, offering showers to the homeless on regular schedules.

The shower trailer has three private compartments, each containing a 32-inch-by-32-inch shower, a lavatory, and a bench. The trailer is air-conditioned and has an on-demand, liquid-propane water heater. A gasoline generator will provide the electricity, a water hose will provide the water, and a 300-gallon holding tank will contain the gray water from the showers. The trailer can provide 12 showers per hour.

In addition to servicing I-HELP host churches without showers, The Palms plans to contract with communities in the NW Valley to provide showers to the homeless, beginning with the city of Surprise and expanding to others as time and volunteers allow.

Social Justice Action Team: October update

Creation Justice

Mission statement:  

To embody our faith in our relationships with God’s creation

Goals:

  • To educate and encourage congregational members to take concrete actions that express their stewardship of creation
  • To strive for significant reductions in the church’s energy and water consumption and waste in order to offset our carbon footprint
  • To advocate for policy change that will slow climate change and mitigate its impacts

Homeless

I-HELP AT COTP

One Year Anniversary.  We first hosted I-HELP guest on October 28-29, 2019 on a Monday night.  Within a few months we committed to a second night each week to provide the full 7 nights of coverage for our guests that we wanted.  Since then we have held forth on Monday and Friday nights, asking our volunteers to step up their involvement. We have over 55 volunteers working with the program, including bus drivers, cooks, shoppers, monitors and laundry.  Each time we host, our volunteers give 45-55 hours of time for 100 hours each week.  What a tremendous gift in service to others. The ultimate measure of success is the number of guests that have found permanent housing.  This is the work of the LSS staff and we celebrate the 24 guests that are now housed.  This represents about half of the people that have been enrolled in the program.  Despite the Covid 19 virus and the fact that our churches were closed we were able to provide full coverage for our guests, 7 nights each and every week.  Testing each guest before enrolled, with disinfecting protocol in place, practicing social distancing and taking the temperature of volunteers and guests each time, we have been able to minimize the risk of infection. We have made our program more green by using plates, bowls and glasses that we run through the dishwasher and cloth napkins and rags that we wash with bedding in our washer/dryer.

I-HELP Guests First to use Shower Trailer.  The new shower trailer of COTP will be here by mid-October, and once ready we will invite our I-HELP guest to be the first to use it.  In time we plan to use the shower trailer around the NW Valley, offering showers to the homeless on regular schedules.

Palestinian-Israeli Issue

Beth Moore provided an update on what is happening with the Nassar’s farm. The last month has been very difficult with vandals damaging the property, a neighboring group calling for re-registration of the land and the ongoing court case related to land ownership. Ongoing prayers and support are needed.

Antiracism

The Social Justice Action Team adopted the action items recently approved by the Southwest Conference:

Church of the Palms Awakening to Racial Injustice Action Steps
Learning with White friends and family about White privilege, White fragility, and White supremacy,
Regularly reading books, watching performing arts events, and drawing on theological resources featuring Black, Indigenous, and People of Color to deepen understanding and appreciation of the history, contributions, and culture of these groups of people.
Learning with our children through children’s stories about racism in age-appropriate ways,
Centering the stories of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color and their rich and diverse heritage in New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas,
Forming partnerships with congregations of Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color,
Learning about and supporting organizations in New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas that make it a mission to be Interrupters, [1]
Speaking up whenever you hear a comment or joke that marginalizes Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color,
Writing op-eds or letters to the editor about issues of bigotry, White supremacy, or racism in your communities,
Making a public witness like putting a Black Lives Matter sign at your church or on your lawn and prepare yourselves to welcome Black, Indigenous, and People of Color who may come to our churches, and for conversations with people who demonstrate White fragility because you take this step.
Inviting Black, Indigenous, and People of Color into leadership roles and explore governance structures that reflect their experience.
Asking Black, Indigenous, and People of Color what their needs are.
Assessing your congregation’s racial diversity, equity and inclusion. Participate in the UCC’s racial diversity, equity, and inclusion assessment of the National setting of the United Church of Christ.
Including elements in worship services that reflect the needs and experiences of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color present in your congregation and in your community
Using your money to support businesses and ministries of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color,
Inviting a Sacred Conversations to End Racism facilitator of the Southwest Conference to present a program in your congregation. The program could include many options from a selected movie with reflection to a programmed discussion or guest sermon.  

Criminal Justice Reform

Prosecutors have a significant role in Criminal Justice Reform.  They can decide whether or not to prosecute minor offenses or possibly send the accused to a diversion program, especially for people with substance abuse issues.  We have an opportunity to watch interviews with the candidates for Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, the third largest such office in the US!  You can view the interviews at:

Julie Gunnigle at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tk_UaG0jmfE

 Allister Adel at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2Kt4n5Jux0

Criminal Justice Reform Presentation from Grace Cathedral in San Francisco

Each year the cathedral chooses a theme for inspiration. In 2020 our theme is bridges. We are challenging ourselves to explore and reflect upon reconciliation in this very divisive time in our country.  Join us to hear from San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, who, in conversation with Dean Malcolm Clemens Young, will talk about his work building bridges that promote justice and safety in our community.  About the guest  Chesa Boudin is the recently elected District Attorney of San Francisco. Personally, impacted by parental incarceration and the failings of the criminal justice system, DA Boudin was inspired to become a public defender, and now, decarceral prosecutor. He is focused on reforming the criminal justice system and making our communities safer by developing data-driven policies to expand alternatives to incarceration and treat the root causes of crime. In his first few months in office, DA Boudin ended the office’s practice of asking for cash bail, eliminated status enhancements, implemented California’s first diversion program for primary caregivers, and ended the prosecution of charges resulting from racist pre-textual traffic stops. He has also implemented numerous police reforms, started an innovative Economic Crimes Against Workers Unit to protect workers from exploitation, and has succeeded in reducing the jail population in San Francisco even as crime rates declined. He remains committed to additional reforms that promote justice and protect public safety.  Check out DA Boudin’s podcast, Chasing Justice: https://www.chasingjusticepodcast.com/


Mental Wellness Education Month at The Palms

October 2020 is Mental Wellness Education Month at The Palms. Each week this month, you will be provided with information you can use to become aware of the stigma associated with mental health. There are significant gaps that exist within our society making it difficult for individuals to receive proper care, support and treatment. From our faith communities to our insurance companies, retirement communities to our criminal justice system, attention must be given to the dismantling of this stigma and the tearing down of barriers so that journeys of resiliency and recovery can take place. Here is a list of the items to look for as the month progresses in the weekly Order of Worship and on the Tools2Thrive page.

Tackling Mental Health Stigma—Strength Over Silence

National Alliance on Mental Illness Ambassador Chris Hubbard

Discovering My Superpower—Strength Over Silence

National Alliance on Mental Illness Ambassador A.J. Mendez

You Are Not Alone—On The Road to Recovery

Listen to two stories from people with one or more mental conditions and how they are helping to break the stigma associated with mental wellness issues.

You Are Not Alone—Write Your Own Story Through the Psalms

Kay Klinkenborg will guide us to write our stories of healing, resiliency, and journeys to wholeness not matter where we are on the pendulum of mental wellness.

As a part of Mental Wellness Education Month, a group of 11 Church of the Palms members will be attending a virtual Mental Wellness First Aid Training Seminar on October 19th. Upon successful completion of the seminar, this group will be certified in Mental Wellness First Aid. They will understand what to look for and how to provide comfort, reduce distress related to stressful situations, and to call for proper professional assistance for the person experiencing a mental-health crisis. This training can be likened to using a first aid kit: they will learn how to be present, apply the ointment of comfort, the band-aid of protection against further stress, call for the professionals, and remain on the scene until that help arrives. The training could also be thought of in light of taking a CPR class. They are equipped to spot the signs of a person in distress and apply life-giving techniques until help arrives. Upon successful completion of the training, they will be available as resources on campus should the need for mental wellness assistance arise.

The training of this group is one of the last remaining steps in the process of The Palms becoming a W.I.S.E. Congregation for Mental Wellness. The W.I.S.E. Steering Committee has just completed and forwarded the W.I.S.E. for Mental Wellness Covenant Statement and W.I.S.E. for Mental Wellness Confidentiality Statement to our Church Council for approval. These statements along with the group of Certified Mental Wellness First Aid participants will be presented at our Annual Meeting in January 2021 for adoption by the Church. Once the Church adopts these items, we will apply to The United Church Of Christ Mental Health Network to be recognized as a W.I.S.E. Congregation for Mental Wellness.

WISE Moments for Mental Wellness: Preparedness

by Judy Jondahl

The WISE Moments for Mental Wellness will be focused on Preparedness during the month of September. Have you ever noticed how much stress and anxiety is associated with the physical things of your home that just need attention: if you don’t have a fire extinguisher; if you don’t have a way to see who is at your front or back doors without having to open the door; or if you don’t have automatic on/off lighting at the entrances of your home. Those are just a few of the items that we will address during the month. We will attempt to highlight the items that may increase your safety, both inside and outside of your home or apartment. We will also assist you with some ideas that may help you stay organized in case of a health crisis or emergency. It is important that you have contact information and your instructions prepared in case you are unable to speak for yourself in such crises.

While staying in our homes provides familiarity and a sense of independence, it is important that the home environment is safe and that we are prepared for emergencies. In both the survey conducted as a start of our Faith Community Nursing ministry and the recently-completed W.I.S.E. survey, home safety was identified as an area of concern. There is a definite link between physical and mental/emotional wellness, so I want to address some important steps that should be taken to ensure safety and preparation for potential emergencies in this month’s article. While many of those reading this are seniors or have physical limitations, it is important for all us to remember that falls are the number one cause of injury for seniors. Is your home taking precautions to avoid this in your home? Having recently experienced the danger of area/throw rugs recently, I was reminded why these home decorations may not be wise. And trying to get light into my main living area, I learned to how to hide extension cords when furniture is not up against a wall.

Keeping emergency numbers handy is another important preparation – cell phones can help with this if you program emergency numbers for easy access. At a minimum, include fire and police, Poison Control, doctor, and family or an emergency contact person.

Fire safety in your home includes having smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and change batteries regularly. My son, a fireman, on his first visit to my home, was walking around looking at the ceiling in each room. When I asked what he was doing, he said checking for smoke alarms. After he returned home, I received a package with 2 smoke detectors and a note that my son-inlaw would install them. He also knows my love of candles but strongly suggested I switch to the battery operated ones with timers. Recently, after getting home from a fire, he called with a reminder to stay low while getting to the closest exit to limit exposure to smoke.

Bathrooms and kitchens provide special considerations for safety. For example, I remember my daughter asking an apartment manager about installing grab bars in my bathroom. (After covering my ears, she referenced my age and smirked.) Kitchens generally have high cabinets, which may require use of a step stool to reach.

Ensuring adequate lighting can prevent misjudging space and shadows that can be misleading. Outdoor lighting is important when you or someone else approaches your home at night; motion sensor lights do not require electricity and can provide lighted walkways and discourage unwanted strangers.

Having peepholes in doors or some way to see who is at your door while keeping doors and windows locked are also ways to stay mentally and physically safe in your home. Staying aware of phone and email scams is also an important step in being prepared to avoid loss.

These next pages offer a place to begin. There are many items you can complete on your own and make the necessary safety improvements. If there are items that you can’t do, such as the installation of peep holes, indoor/outdoor lighting, and other tasks that require climbing of ladders or working with power tools, please start making a punch list of items that need attention. Once your list is complete, call Pastor Jim at 623.792.5295, and he will make arrangements to help you accomplish your safety goals. You will be surprised at how much more comfortable and at ease you will feel when these items are accomplished! If you do not see some items on this list that may help address areas of concern within your particular situation, please include them on your punch list, and we will try to address them.

Shower Trailer Ministry Moves Forward

by Max Klinkenborg

It began with a need and a desire to help. In mid-2019, as Church of the Palms members planned for hosting the homeless at our church as part of the NW Valley I-HELP program, we realized that personal hygiene was a big need of our guests.

Cleanliness is a basic right of everyone; everyone deserves to feel their best. Being clean and feeling good about yourself is vital to a job interview, a key to getting out of homelessness. Poor hygiene is also a significant cause of health problems in people who experience homelessness. Cleanliness involves everything from clean clothes to toothpaste and, especially, a shower.

The Trustees at COTP hit the wall, pun intended, when we sought a place to build a shower within our facility. We knew that the majority of I-HELP host churches would not have showers, either.

Two things came together at this time that were more than just coincidence: a vision on the part of those ministering to the homeless to provide a shower trailer and a bequest given to the church designated for social ministries. The Board of Missions and Outreach was to be the steward of the bequest, making sure it was spent as designated. A presentation was made to the Board of Missions and Outreach before the pandemic brought everything to a screeching halt. On Aug. 10, the M&O Board met on Bridges and approved a $45,000 line of credit to purchase a shower trailer; the Church Council affirmed this action on Aug. 15. Three bids from three different manufacturers were discussed by a leadership committee, and an order to purchase was made on Aug. 17.

The shower trailer has three private compartments, each containing a 32-inch-by-32-inch shower, a lavatory and a bench. The trailer is air conditioned and has an on demand, liquid-propane water heater. A gasoline generator will provide the electricity, a water hose will provide the water, and a 300-gallon holding tank will contain the gray water from the showers. The trailer can provide 12 showers per hour.

In addition to servicing I-HELP host churches without showers, we plan to contract with communities in the NW Valley to provide showers to the homeless. We will begin with the city of Surprise and expand to others as time and volunteers allow.

We will begin to offer showers only when it is safe for our volunteers and the guests.