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.

Quarantine, Schmorentine, Church of the Palms is Not Closed…We Are Deployed

Do you do any of these things: pray, take action, love, tend to others’ needs, support the work of our church? If you do, you are part of our church’s Social Justice Action Team, seeking justice through Prayer, Action, Love, Ministry & Support (PALMS). Using Micah 6:8,And what does the LORD require of us but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God” as our inspiration, our team is working hard in these challenging times to be the hands and feet of Jesus in our community and beyond. Thank you for being an important part of the team. We appreciate and need your involvement. Here is what you are helping to accomplish as reported at our most recent meeting:

Homelessness

  • Jan Eckstein expressed the gratitude of the HART / Helping At Risk Teen’s Pantry for our church’s donation to the Back to School Drive. 275 backpacks were filled and 150 have been delivered.
  • Max Klinkenborg reported that through our Interfaith Homeless Emergency Lodging Program (IHELP) over 20 individuals are off the street and in a home. A shower trailer for individuals not yet in housing has been ordered from the manufacturer and will be arriving soon. The Sun City Rotary Club and the City of Surprise have expressed interest in being partners in this project.

Immigration/Refugee

Suzanne Boisclair reported we have provided $450 to support food needs of the African Refugee Solutions Church members suffering from Covid 19. This will be combined with a donation from Shadow Rock UCC to purchase food in bulk to be distributed to those in need. Pastor Paul reported that our church made a $1,500 donation earlier in the year for the same cause.

Creation Justice

  • Terry Starr reported on the goal of Arizona Power and Light to have 3,000 Faith Climate Voter Campaign Pledges before the November election. The Faith Climate Voter Campaign Pledge can be found HERE.
  • Equally important is the distribution of the Faith Values Voters Guide.  The voters’ guide covers important issues besides the climate crisis, including income inequality, health care, immigration, LGBTQ rights, restorative justice and more.  The guide can be found HERE.
  • Andrea Stefanov reported on the work being done by her and Beth Moore to create a check sheet that individuals could use to help determine their carbon footprint.
  • Nancy Tsuchiya reported on changes being made in recycling efforts and a new aluminum can recycling project being launched with the help from IHELP guests.

Antiracism & Anti-Religious Intolerance

Debby Stinton reported on her partnership with the Southwest Conference on racism. She is currently in the “Sacred Conversations to End Racism Institute.” Debby will be trained as a trainer of trainers on racial justice issues. Debby and partners from the Southwest Conference will take an in-depth look at the subject of racial conciliation as a precursor to racial reconciliation. Debby is preparing a list of resources on this topic to be distributed to those interested in this timely topic.

Neighbors in Need

  • Suzanne Boisclair reported that because of Covid 19, operations at the Dysart Community Center have been limited. They are, however, providing 2 meals per day to the community. In April, our church brought clothes left for the asylum seekers to the Center.
  • John reported on the work of Kay Klinkenborg to provide water to either the White Mountain Apache or Navajo nations based on recent media coverage of the lack of drinking water for these tribes.

Palestinian-Israeli Issue

Beth Moore reported that the challenges for the Tent of Nations (TON) continue to grow. Three factors are contributing to the continuing struggle: Obtaining volunteers because of Covid 19, increasing tension in Bethlehem between Palestinian and Israeli citizens, continuing annexation of territory in the region and difficulty in obtaining supplies for the farm.

Criminal Justice and Prison Reform

  • Jane Zukowski requested assistance with the “Women of Perryville” Project. Each day women leave Perryville Prison after having served their time, often without clothes to reenter society. There is an urgent need for clothing of all sizes: shorts, pants, tops, and business attire for job interviews. No undergarments, sleepwear or shoes, please. Donations can be boxed or bagged (no hangers) and dropped off at church. For more information, leave a message for Jane Zukowski at the church office.
  • Nancy Nonini reported on the “Inside Out Network” led by Fred Nelson, a Lutheran pastor. The Inside Out Network is dedicated to crafting innovative solutions to connect returning citizens with service providers, churches, and ministries, as well as to connect those serving on the inside in prison ministry with those outside who are working on re-entry challenges. Inmates receive tablets to begin the process of re-entry while incarcerated and use their smartphones to continue the relationship when in the community. The Inside Out Network is always free for returning citizens.

LGBTQ Equity

Vickie Ashenbrenner reported on the Pride Parade in the church parking lot in June, the three-year anniversary of the ONA covenant celebrated during a Sunday worship service, and the anniversary of raising the rainbow flag.

Love of Creation: Faith Climate Voter Campaign

We need your help. Church of the Palms is one of many faith communities partnering with Arizona Interfaith Power and Light (AZPL) and other organizations to protect and preserve our precious, but increasingly fragile, environment. The goal of AZPL is to have 3,000 Faith Climate Voter Campaign Pledges before the November election. Check out the Faith Climate Voter Campaign Pledge at this link and ask family and friends to join you in this pledge.

Equally important is the distribution of the Faith Values Voters Guides. The voters’ guide covers important issues besides the climate crisis, including income inequality, health care, immigration, LGBTQ rights, restorative justice and more. The guide includes questions for personal reflection and small group discussion and questions to ask candidates for public office. You can download it here.

—Thank you from The Palms’ Creation Justice Task Force and Social Justice Action Team.

Doing Grief in Real Life: Ministry Program at Church of the Palms UCC

A new ministry program is being offered by Palms member Shea Darian, a grief educator and spiritual director who teaches holistic grieving as a life-skill to help you heal your grief – past, present and future. Whoever you are and no matter what types of losses you harbor, Shea offers a new way to think about grief and grieving that will help you learn to use your grief as a life force for healing.

Initially, this ministry will be conducted primarily online due to Covid-19 and will be on a first-come first-served basis. Members and friends of Church of the Palms are invited to participate in one or all of the following offerings: 

The Healing Circle: Sacred Listening Small Groups

Healing Circles are confidential small group encounters to explore personal grief and healing by engaging in a contemplative conversation with three or four others. More than a support group, Healing Circles provide an opportunity for participants to share personal stories of loss, grief and healing. Interludes of quiet contemplation create a deep listening experience that a past participant describes as an “expanded form of listening” in which “the listening and sharing give each in the circle profound energy, joy, gratitude and an expanded connection with being human.”

Small groups meet weekly, biweekly or monthly. Participants commit to 4-5 sessions at a time. Dates and times depend on participants’ preferences and availability as groups are formed.

One-on-One Spiritual Care

For those who prefer one-on-one sharing, Shea is available as a listening companion – biweekly, monthly or on an occasional basis. If this seems like a better fit for you, contact Shea to schedule a time to ask questions and get more information.

Educational Offerings

This fall, Shea will offer a talk and workshop on holistic grieving – based on her Model of Adaptive Grieving Dynamics (Illness, Crisis & Loss, Vol. 22, 2014). Shea’s model illustrates four types of responses to grief that are essential for healing grief-related suffering. These dynamic four are Lamenting, Heartening, Tempering and Integrating. Together, they can serve as your compass to navigate all kinds of losses, and help you become more aware of your preferences, strengths and growing edges as a griever and a healer. Check back for dates and times.

Grief-striking losses come in many forms: death, illness, injury, family dysfunction, conflict, injustice, addiction, loneliness, trauma, social or political ills… Grief can descend in good times, too. It’s so mixed up with love and happiness, it can impact us even when it seems we have nothing to grieve. If you are interested in participating or have further questions, please contact Shea at info@sheadarian.com or 602.315.8480.

Black Lives Matter Quiz: Testing Assumptions

By Pastor Paul

Q: “Protestors” and “Protesting” is synonymous with “Looting,” “Rioting” and “destruction of property.”

A: FALSE! Therefore, don’t use them as if they are the same thing. They are totally different. If you missed that question, go back and answer again. This time, with the correct answer, “False.” Then, implement it in your life.

Q: Looting, rioting, and destruction of property come from one ethnicity.

A: FALSE! Evidence is showing that all races are destroying property – white, black, brown. And those who are looting are mostly not the protestors but groups who want to sow chaos, including white supremacy groups. Learn facts before spreading false rumors.

Q: Protesting is in our roots as a nation.

A: TRUE! The history of the United States shows that whenever a group felt persecuted and unheard, we protested. Our veterans, sworn to defend the constitution, have protested. Take the Continental Army of the 1780s who protested demanding back pay. The Bonus Army of the early 1930s marched on Washington with their families and protested. And the Vietnam War certainly saw its protestors.

Q: Protesting is not only in our national blood, but in our church as well.

A: TRUE! The word, “Protestant” originates from the Latin word “protestari,” meaning “declare publicly, testify, protest,” which combines “pro” meaning “forth, before,” and “testari” meaning “testify.” If you are part of The Palms, you’re a protestor!

Q: Protesting, therefore is not inherently bad; it is part of our constitutional rights.

A: TRUE! The first Amendment reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” When you see protestors, don’t lump them into the groups that are stealing and burning. That is just morally, ethically and factually wrong.

Things I ponder… When we raised our 3 Great Loves banner – Love of Neighbor, Creation, and Children, where was the “We should love everyone” crowd? When there was a bombing at the Boston Marathon and we became, “Boston Strong,” where was the “But all cities matter” group? When we talk about supporting Breast Cancer research, do people insist on also saying, “All cancers should be researched?” No. But some people do add “All Lives Matter” when we say “Black Lives Matter.” Why? My answer is systemic racism.

Luke 15 is the gospel in a nutshell; that is, if you want to know about God and God’s love, read Luke 15. It really fits today’s Black Lives Matter movement. In the first part of that chapter, ninety-nine sheep are safe, but one sheep is not. The Good Shepherd leaves the 99 and goes out searching for the one sheep to provide safety for all. Do the 99 complain, “What about us? Don’t we matter?” No. At that moment, at that time, it is the one who needs protection that gets the shepherd’s attention. All of this is a building up to the last story in the chapter, which the focus is on the older brother’s response to the situation. The last story in the chapter centers around a prodigal child who is coming home and the parent upon seeing the child goes out to greet the prodigal and decides to throw a party. The resentful older sibling then, in essence, says, “What about me?” Or, in today’s lingo, “What about me…doesn’t my life matter? Because all lives matter.”

I have three children. There have been times when I have to say to two of them, “Mom and I need to help this one right now.” That doesn’t mean we lack love for the other two children. It just means one needs us at that time, at that moment. That’s the essence of the “Black Lives Matter” movement. It DOESN’T mean that other lives are inferior or lack meaning or simply just don’t matter. It just means, at this particular time in our history, and in this particular judicial system, we need to recognize that black people are not treated in the same way as white folks. It’s time we acknowledge systemic racism and change!

Please join me in saying, “Black Lives Matter.”

Shalom, Paul

Meditation on the Medicine Wheel: Prayers on the Sacred Circle

By Max Klinkenborg

Like the labyrinth, the most dominant geometric shape of the Sacred Circle is the circle.

“The circle acknowledges the connectedness of everything in life, such as the four seasons, the four stages of life and the four winds, and it represents the continuous cycle and relationship of the seen and the unseen, the physical and spiritual, birth and death and the daily sunrise and sunset.” —Kelly Beraulieu, an Ojibway woman.

As opposed to the linear view of life where we go from A to B to C, the circle goes from A to A; every beginning is an ending, and every ending is a beginning. The more we are in harmony with nature, the more aware we are of the cycles of life.

The second dominant geometric pattern that you see on the Sacred Circle is the two lines that bisect the circle and are at a right angle to each other. They are placed so that one is on a north-south axis and the other is on an east-west axis. The Sacred Circle is a giant compass that points to sunrise and sunset each day. Below the circle is Mother Earth and above is Father Sky; the Great Spirit is at the center where the axes cross. It is marked by a green rock that symbolizes the Spirit of Life.

The third pattern is the four quadrants of the circle that are created by the two bisecting lines. Each quadrant represents a season of the year: Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. It also marks the four stages of life: childhood, youth, adult and elder. And it marks the four times of the day: sunrise, midday, sunset and midnight.

To use the Sacred Circle for Meditation and Prayer, one can move from quadrant to quadrant, beginning at the southeast quadrant for birth and move counterclockwise, praying for friends or family members at each stage of life from childhood, to youth, to adulthood and, finally, elder. One could also think about their own life at each stage and the people who were their spiritual teachers or mentors, praying for them, their memory and influence on our growth.

Focusing on the seasons of the year, one could move around the circle thanking God for the beauty of Spring flowers, the growth of plants in the Summer, the harvest of Fall and the earth resting in Winter.

Or one could mark the four times of day with a prayer of thanksgiving for the beauty of each time: the promise of sunrise, the labor of a midday sun, the beauty of a sunset, and the quiet and serenity of midnight.

There are limitless possibilities for using the Sacred Circle as a source of meditation and prayer. Everyone can make it fit their orientation to life and their appreciation of nature.

Seeking volunteers for potential shower trailer ministry

When homeless persons are asked what they need, they most often say: A shower. Cities all over the U.S. are finding creative ways to offer showers. In Mesa, Paz de Cristo rents a shower trailer each Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., during which 60 people will take a shower.

As we continue our ministry to the NW Valley homeless, the Mission and Outreach Committee is exploring the use of a shower trailer, both with I-HELP churches, like The Palms who do not have showers, but also to surrounding communities with sizeable homeless populations.

To facilitate this ministry, we will need volunteers to take a shower trailer to a site, set it up for use and then service the trailer to prepare for its next use. Each trip demands 4-6 hours of time, a vehicle able to tow the trailer and familiarity with the use of the trailer.

If you are interested in such a ministry, contact Max Klinkenborg at 816.377.4618, John Durbin at 623.693.8866, or Suzanne Boisclair at 603.494.8242.

Interested volunteers will be a great encouragement to the Board of Mission and Outreach as they explore this new
ministry.

Global Pride 2020

Pride won’t be beaten by COVID19 – join us on Saturday 27 June 2020 for the world’s first Global Pride!

Global Pride 2020 is being organised by Prides from across the world. We will have speeches, performances, film and other content from Prides in Africa, Europe, Asia, Oceania, and South, Central and North America. A worldwide team of more than 100 volunteers are reaching out to Prides around the world and we’re promising an amazing line-up of performances that you’d expect from a Pride event.

How you can watch Global Pride, wherever you are in the world: All you’ll need is a mobile device like a cellphone, a tablet, or a computer.

The host of Global Pride 2020 will be Todrick Hall, an American singer, songwriter, actor, director and choreographer – famous for his viral YouTube videos including original songs, parodies, and skits. Todrick has spoken openly on what it’s like to be Black and Gay in America and most recently featured on the cover of @Billboard Magazine’s 2020 Pride issue.

Speakers include:

  • Ann Linde, foreign minister of Sweden
  • Carlos Alvarado Quesada, president of Costa Rica
  • Erna Solberg, prime minister of Norway
  • Guðni Jóhannesson, president of Iceland
  • Helena Dalli, European Commissioner for equality
  • Joe Biden, former vice-president of the USA
  • Justin Trudeau, prime minister of Canada
  • Leo Varadkar, taoiseach of Ireland
  • Manvendra Singh Gohil, prince of Rajpipla, India
  • Sadiq Khan, mayor of London
  • Victor Madrigal-Borloz, independent expert on LGBTQ+ rights for the UN
  • Xavier Bettel, prime minister of Luxembourg

Performers include:

  • Adam Lambert
  • Ava Max
  • Bebe Rexha
  • BETTY
  • Betty Who
  • Bright Light Bright Light
  • Calum Scott
  • Conchita Wurst
  • Courtney Act
  • Daya
  • Deborah Cox
  • Erika Jayne
  • Fred Schneider
  • Jake Shears
  • Jordy
  • Kate Pierson
  • KEiiNO
  • Kesha
  • Kristine W
  • Laverne Cox
  • Leann Rimes
  • Leslie Jordan
  • Lucy Spraggan
  • Martha Wash
  • Mary Lambert
  • Max
  • Melanie C
  • Natasha Bedingfield
  • Olivia Newton-John
  • Pabllo Vittar
  • Peaches
  • Pussy Riot
  • Pussycat Dolls
  • Rachel Sage
  • Rita Ora
  • Russell Tovey
  • Stephen Fry
  • Steve Grand
  • Thelma Houston
  • Todrick Hall
  • Tom Goss
  • Village People
  • VINCINT

More speakers are being announced daily on the Facebook event page and check out this article, too.

Visit globalpride2020.org/ for more information.

Pride Parking Lot Parade

June is Gay Pride Month!

The Church of the Palms is celebrating Open and Affirming Sunday during the 10:00 a.m. online worship service on June 28, 2020.

Afterward, we’ll have a parking lot parade starting at 11:00 am. Keeping our physical distance, we’ll cruise our church parking lot. Decorate your car, your truck, your golf cart, your skateboard, or your pogo stick and come on down!

There will be popsicles, pride, and good times a-plenty!

WISE Moment for Mental Health

As The Palms focuses on LGBTQ Pride and National Hunger Awareness Month, it is a blessing that our church is a safe place to speak openly, advocate fully, and remain present with our LGBTQ Community. There is still much to do to ensure that our lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, queer brothers and sisters experience rights and freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution. Thank you for your commitment to be the church!

The coronavirus pandemic has put the LGBTQ community, particularly those aged 50 and up, at increased risk in several ways. A history of systemic discrimination and poorer health outcomes is part of the reason. Coupled with the fact that many LGBTQ individuals do not feel comfortable coming out to their health care providers and other possible resources, these precious souls are not receiving the help they need. Loneliness is another big concern. Many live alone and don’t have people to check on them to help ensure that regular medical appointments and that proper access to food and household necessities is available to them. Lack of companionship leads to additional stress, increased depression and may lead to the use of alcohol or other substances.

How can we help? First, reach out to your friends. Stay connected! If you know people who are particularly vulnerable, offer what you can: resources, phone numbers, companionship. Educate yourself on the signs and symptoms of those who may be at risk. Check out the links provided below. Lets keep working on ways to be Welcoming, Inclusive, Supportive & Engaged for the mental health of everyone in our community!