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.

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2020

Mark your calendar and please plan on attending one or more of the Week of Prayer services at churches around Sun City during the week of January 20th.
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The presentation theme this year is: “They Showed Us Unusual Kindness” -Acts 28:2.

The emphasis this year is on all churches demonstrating “unusual kindnesses” to each other and as one to the world in need.

The schedule for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is as follows (the first church listed is the host church, the second church is the supporting church).

Monday, Jan. 20: First Presbyterian w/ St Christopher’s
Tuesday, Jan. 21: United Church of Sun City w/ Faith Presbyterian
Wednesday, Jan. 22: St Elizabeth Seton w/ Church of the Palms
Thursday, Jan. 23: All Saints of the Desert w/ St Joachim & St Anne
Friday, Jan. 24: First United Methodist w/ Shepherd of the Desert

Services: 12:00 – 12:30 p.m.
Fellowship lunch: 12:30 – 1 p.m.

Look for additional details in Sunday bulletins as the Week of Prayer approaches. If you have questions, please contact Pat & John Durbin.

Holy Week and Easter at Church of the Palms

ALL are welcome at these events!

April 14: Palm Sunday. Our Sanctuary Choir will share a musical presentation, Reflections on Holy Week.

April 18: Maundy Thursday 5:00 p.m. We’ll host a community service that will include our sister churches: United Church UCC and Sun City Christian.  Communion will be served.

April 19: Good Friday self-directed labyrinth walk* 12:00 – 3:00 p.m. Bell choir plays at 12:30.

April 21: Easter. Communion will be available at both services:

    • Early Service at 8:00 a.m. Pastor Jim will be preaching from Luke 24:1-12. Our hope is in the risen Christ. Worship will be on the patio.
    • Regular Worship at 10:00 a.m. The story is familiar. Can you notice anything new in the resurrection story? Pastor Paul recently did. He’;ll reveal it during the sermon. Read John 20:1-18.

*More about the Good Friday labyrinth walk:

The “Labyrinths at the Palms” will host the church’s Good Friday service this year. There will be a self-directed walk on the larger labyrinth from 12:00 – 3:00 pm on Friday, April 19th. The Bell Choir of Church of the Palms will play at 12:30 p.m. The smaller labyrinth will also be available to accommodate those using wheelchairs and walkers.

The walk into the center of the labyrinth will have the 14 Stations of the Cross marked on the path. Each walker will be given a guide that provides a scripture reading and prayer corresponding to each of the stations, following Jesus from the Garden of Gethsemane to the Tomb.

Once at the center, walkers will be able to linger in prayer/meditation, and then walk directly off the labyrinth or return to the entrance by the path. There will be chairs available under the tree for journaling or a time of prayer.

Labyrinth volunteers will be available to assist as needed. The guides will be available throughout the afternoon and evening in the literature box near the sidewalk.

Church of the Palms UCC community labyrinths and peace pole

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.