We grieve with the members of First Congregational UCC in Albuquerque as they mourn the deaths of two of their members, Laura and Shanta Hanish, who were murdered a week ago. As Pastor Sue wrote in a letter to the congregation, "Laura and Shanta were members of this community. Laura started the monthly change for change program. It is human nature to want to make sense of this devastating loss. I don’t believe we will ever make sense of it. It is senseless. Laura and Shanta were bright lights whose love profoundly impacted those around them."
From the Rincon Migrant Shelter: "There are some moments when I wish I could break our "no photos of guests" rule. This is one. We have the sweetest tiny three day old baby here right now. She was born while her parents were in detention. She's quiet as a mouse. Beautiful. I pray special blessings over her future and safe journey as she goes on her way." Help us remember why we are here and whom we serve.
Black Mountain UCC is collecting items for refugee-hosting churches as part of their homeless ministry team.
(Editorial comment: Several UCC and other churches are now involved in the refugee response by hosting asylum-seekers released by ICE. Congregations are invited to pick one and specifically focus on their needs as we all respond to this humanitarian crisis. My current church, University Presbyterian in Tempe, started hosting this last weekend. Desert Palm, along with several other Tempe churches, are forming a support network to support UPC and other hosting churches in the East Valley. Thank you, SWC, for your prayers and encouragement. – Holly Herman)
It's summer at Santa Fe United! "We’ve blessed the new garden beds for the children and youth, and started outdoor worship in the new Celebration circle. We welcomed the Opera Apprentices, Yale Dean Harry Attridge, and Rev. Wes Granberg-Michaelson in worship this month. Later in July, we will welcome United’s new Ministerial Resident, Emily Syal, who will focus on Youth Ministry and the environment. The Outreach Team’s annual Summer Food Drive for Adelante helps us help feed children and families who are homeless."
This fall, Shadow Rock will be offering junior high and high school level classes in "Our Whole Lives." This is a comprehensive, inclusive, and values-based sexuality education program. There are still class spots open, but they're going fast and the program kicks off at the end of August. All age levels of OWL center around a set of values: justice and inclusivity, sexual health, self-worth, and responsibility.
First Church Phoenix is reaching out to all the educators of pre-school, primary and secondary education who consider First Church their home in this year’s back to school drive. With that in mind, they will have the Christmas in July Giving Tree. Tags on the tree will have items requested by our educators. Simply follow the instructions on the tag, returning the item, with the tag attached by the date specified.
The Pima Council on Aging (PCOA) is pleased to bring the Aging Mastery Program® (AMP) to Casas Adobes Congregational Church, (CACC-UCC) and northwest Tucson. AMP, a fun, innovative and person-centered education program that empowers older adults (55+) to make small but impactful lifestyle changes and make new friends. Each week a community expert will present on the topic for the week and related interactive activities will help all to continue the learning process. Topics cover various aspects of mastering the aging process (i.e. Financial Fitness, Relationships, Sleep, Medication Management and more). The program begins Tuesday, September 10th and continues through November 18th from 1:30 to 3:00 pm. Early Bird Registration fee (includes program materials), payable in advance, is $89 per person through August 16th and $99 after this date. To register, call PCOA at 520-305-3409.
The Board of Directors of DUET, a mission partner of Church of the Beatitudes, has announced the appointment of Ann Wheat as its new Executive Director. Ann follows in the footsteps of Elizabeth Banta, who retired after 23 years of dedicated service.
In his speech to the General Synod accepting the nomination for a second term as General Minister and President, Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer said he moves forward with three assumptions:
*The Holy Spirit envisions a future in which we matter.
*We are living through and are going to continue living through a time of transformation.
*We already have all that we need to realize the future the Holy Spirit envisions for us.
Church of the Painted Hills interpreted those words into these, personalized for their community:
*Know that we matter individually and as a community of faith. The individual prayerful work each of us does matters. In our communal work of feeding the homeless, serving our guests in the migrant shelters and advocating for the oppressed and marginalized, we matter.
*Accept that we are in the midst of change, and we need to open our hearts to the transformation the Spirit is leading us towards.
*Believe that with the power of the Holy Spirit in each of us we have what we need to move into the ministry we are being led to in Tucson and around the world.