A Word from the Pastor – June 2017

For many of us the summer months provide time for a break. School is out. Our choir goes on hiatus. Sunday school has a different format and the youth group goes into summer mode. The session and board of deacons have a lighter schedule. And for many of us, summer means vacation time. As we head into the summer, I want to offer you a reminder and a request.

First, the reminder. EPC does not go on vacation during the summer! The doors will be open every Sunday morning, the AC will be turned on, and there will be preaching and music and fellowship. The summer has a more casual feel, so we may expect to see more shorts and t-shirts at worship. Beginning June 4 there will be adult Sunday school classes on offer with childcare available for those who have little ones.

Second, I have a request. As your travels take you away from the Valley this summer, I hope you will make it a priority to find a place to worship. We can
learn so much from worshiping with other congregations of Christians. As you do, please keep a copy of the worship bulletin and bring it home with you. Drop it
by the church office, and at the end of the summer we’ll have a display of all the places we’ve been and the people with whom we’ve worshiped.

Have a great summer!
See you in church!

Mary Saylor

A Word From the Pastor – May 2017

The Presbyterian Historical Society’s website includes some interesting information about US Presidents and their connection to Presbyterianism. In 1913, Presbyterian elder Woodrow Wilson became President of the United States. The former president of Princeton University came from a long line of Presbyterian ministers and elders. Andrew Jackson, born of Scotch-Irish roots in South Carolina, worshiped at First Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee, in his later years. James Buchanan was raised Presbyterian and joined a Presbyterian church after his presidency. His successor, Abraham Lincoln, often worshiped at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington D.C. Grover Cleveland, son of a Presbyterian pastor, served as President for two terms (1884-1888; 1892-1896) and was defeated in 1888 after his first term by Benjamin

Harrison. Several years after he left the White House, Harrison published a book entitled This Country ofOurs. Theformer President’s book reads like an expanded Sunday school lesson, which comes as no surprise considering Harrison was a Presbyterian elder and former Sunday school teacher.
Twelve days after taking the oath of office, Dwight Eisenhower was baptized and became a member of National Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., and later joined the Presbyterian Church in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Ronald Reagan began worshiping in a Presbyterian church in 1963 and joined Bel Air Presbyterian church after his presidency.

No matter who occupies the White House, the Bible urges us to offer “supplication, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings…for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.” (I Timothy 1:1-2) That is why our congregational prayers often include prayers for our political leaders. Monday, May 4, has been designated at a National Day of Prayer for our country and its leaders. The church will be open from 11AM until 1PM for those who wish to come to our sanctuary to offer prayer. Each of us has a Christian duty to pray for our country, our leaders, and the world Christ came to save, and I encourage you to participate in the National Day of Prayer.
Mary Saylor

Amor Mission Trip

With a group of 25 missionaries, including folks from Emmanuel, Palo Cristi Presbyterian Church, and assorted friends, our Amor mission team pulled out of the EPC parking lot on Friday morning, February 17, headed for Puerto Penasco, Mexico. On the first day of building the weather was not entirely cooperative, but an undaunted team of wet and chilly workers finished up the day having successfully poured the concrete slab and built the walls and roof for installation the next morning. On Sunday and Monday the weather was better, the walls went up, the roof went on, windows and doors were installed, stucco was applied, and another snug Amor home was completed. After presenting a beautiful quilt from the Crafters, a gift Bible from the team, and the keys to their new home to Humberto and Berenice and their two sons, a tired but happy team headed back to Phoenix around midday on Monday. The team will be sharing stories and images of this year’s mission trip in worship on Sunday, March 19, so be sure to be present to hear about the team’s ministry in Mexico and see pictures of their work there.


Who is Amor?

We choose to show God’s love through simple, tangible acts of service. Amor demonstrates to the poor the same grace we have all received through Jesus. Our mission statement is:

Amor brings people together to provide transformational experiences that manifest the justice, kindness, and humility of Jesus Christ.
Founded in 1980, the first ministry group participated in a building project at a Tecate orphanage. Today, more than 300 missions groups take part each year in short-term Mission Trips with Amor Ministries! Amor’s mission remains the same. We believe that God has called us to keep families together. As we carry out this mission, we realize that building a house doesn’t just provide shelter. It builds a foundation for the future. 352,000 short-term missionaries, 18,500 homes built, 354 churches planted and built.
An average Amor Impact Trip provides work for 14 local people and utilizes locally sourced materials and food. Currently building in Puerto Penasco and Baja California, Mexico and Delmas, South Africa.


Lenten Soup Supper and Study

On Tuesday nights during Lent (March 1st – April 13th) you are invited to join your friends from EPC in the Fellowship Hall for a delicious soup supper at 6:30 PM and a Lenten Bible study following from 7 to 8PM. Our pastor will be leading us in a series of sessions which follow the ministry of Jesus from Nazareth to Capernaum to Samaria to Jericho to Jerusalem. Please plan to join us for this Lenten journey through the landscapes of the Holy Land and the life of our Lord.

A Word from the Pastor – March 2017

It’s Lent again—the 40- day period (not counting Sundays) leading up to Easter, those six weeks (approximately) on the church calendar observed by Christians as a period of preparation and repentance before the celebration of our Lord’s resurrection. Many Christians observe Lent by adopting the traditional practices of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving in some new, intentional, and focused way.

I recently read an article by Methodist pastor and theologian Clifton Stringer in which he makes the following point: Lent is not New Year’s Resolutions Round Two! Stringer points out that we live in a culture so fixated on self- improvement that Lent can sometimes become nothing more than an opportunity to work on ourselves, even to the point where our Lenten fasting becomes a Lenten “diet.” But Lent is not about us; Lent is about Jesus.

Stringer writes, “In Lent we might give up something, do a specific prayer discipline, or change something to push ourselves spiritually. But the point is not self-improvement. The point is not even just self-denial. The point is to feel a little discomfort, a little pain, and by that to be constantly reminded of the love of our Savior Jesus Christ, who denied himself for our salvation.

If you observe Lent with prayer and fasting, use that prayer and fasting first of all to remember Jesus. If Lent is not about getting to know Jesus Christ better, it really is a waste of time.” (Ministry Matters, February 2012).

I love the notion of observing Lent as a time for getting to know Jesus Christ better. Of course, that’s something we strive for all year long. But Lent affords us the opportunity to focus our thinking, our speaking, our praying, our giving, our reading, and our service in ways that intentionally draw us closer to our Lord. Lent is not about us; Lent is about Jesus. May our prayer this Lent echo the words of Richard, Bishop of Chichester: “Thanks be to Thee, my Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits Thou hast given me, for all the pains and insults Thou hast borne for me. O most merciful Redeemer, friend and brother, may I know Thee more clearly, love Thee more dearly, follow Thee more nearly. Amen.”

Mary Saylor

A word From the Pastor – February 2017

Most of us enjoy the various traditions surrounding Valentine’s Day. My husband George and I had our first date on Valentine’s Day, so it’s always a special day for us. But the origins of the holiday aren’t really very romantic at all. The history of St. Valentine is a little sketchy, but the story goes like this:

Valentinus was a Roman priest during the third century, a time when Christians were suffering persecution under Emperor Claudius II. The emperor had issued an edict that members of the Roman military could not marry, thinking unmarried men would make better soldiers. But Valentinus continued to secretly perform Christian weddings and was sent to prison for his efforts.

Many legends surround his imprisonment. One of them says Valentinus prayed for a young girl named Julia who could not see and she was healed of her blindness. The story goes that when the order came for Valentinus to be put to death, his last words were written in a note to Julia signed, “from your Valentinus.” Valentinus was executed the next day, February 14.

While we may think of Valentine’s Day as a time for hearts and flowers and candy, the legend of St. Valentine focuses our thoughts elsewhere. Valentine was a martyr for his faith who was unafraid to stand up for what he believed, even when it meant challenging the powers of government and resisting the edict of the emperor. While St. Valentine has come to be known as the patron saint of love and marriage, he is also remembered for his faith and courage.

As we enjoy our Valentine’s Day celebrations, may we also remember St. Valentine. And may we devote ourselves not only to our loved ones, but to the kind of obedience to God that St. Valentine’s life exemplifies. Happy Valentine’s Day!


Adult Sunday School at EPC

Starting Sunday, February 5th 2017 classes will be held in the Fireside Room at 9:15. Our first set of lessons will be on the parables of Jesus and will focus on a video series by Kenneth Bailey. The class is open to all and is free, but donations are accepted to offset material costs. See Jereme Bintz with any questions.


  • Feb 5th – Introduction by Kenneth Bailey
  • Feb 12th – The Good Samaritan
  • Feb 19th – No Classes – Amor Trip
  • Feb 26th – The Lost Sheep & The Lost Coin
  • Mar 5th – The Lost Younger Son
  • Mar 12th – The Lost Older Son

A word From the Pastor – January 2017

A Presbyterian pastor friend of mine recently published his favorite “wise sayings” in his church’s newsletter. Among those favorites were:

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. —Albert Einstein

Life is 5 percent what happens to me and 95 percent how I respond to what happens to me.

Holding resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die from it.

Adversity teaches us the life lessons we would never be willing to teach ourselves.

He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep in order to gain what he cannot lose. —Jim Elliot, missionary

We often find ourselves in need of wisdom, and fortunately for us, we serve a God who can help us with that. James 1:5 tells us, “If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you.” Proverbs 3:5-6 encourages us to “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

At Wilbur Woods’ memorial service his grandson read one of Wilbur’s favorite Bible verses from the Old Testament book of Joshua: “Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” As we enter a new year we do so knowing that no matter what lies ahead, God goes with us. As one of my childhood Sunday school teachers always said, “We don’t know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future.” As we embark on a new year, may the assurance of God’s presence and the promise of his wisdom give us confidence in God’s good plans for us.

Mary Saylor

A word from the Pastor December 2016

Does it seem to you that Christmas decorations appear earlier every year? When I was a child, all the stores put up their trees and wreaths and window dressings the day after Thanksgiving. But now we start celebrating Christmas even before Halloween arrives. Our local Hallmark store has had Christmas ornaments on display since July.

A friend and I have had discussions about this. I prefer to wait to begin Christmas preparations at least until after the Thanksgiving stupor has worn off! But she loves everything Christmas and delights in anything that gets the season rolling as early as possible. And the malls are on her side!

In any case, Advent is upon us and all too soon Christmas will be here. Our Emmanuel family will be celebrating this holy season in a variety of ways. There will be opportunities for giving and helping as well as times for singing and celebrating. I hope you will take part in the festivities.

And I encourage you to invite you friends and family who may not have a church home to join in as well. Invite them to come with you to an Advent worship service or to one of our Christmas Eve services. There’s no better way to welcome Jesus than by welcoming others into his family.

May you and yours enjoy this Christmas season and all the preparations of Advent. And may the One who is coming soon bless you and keep you in his care.

Mary Saylor

Parish Nurse Notes – Nov 2016

As I was reading my September 2016 issue of the American Journal of Nursing, I encountered an article that I feel is important to share a portion of with you.

Debra L. Campo is chair of Level I at St. Joseph School of Nursing, Providence, R.I. She explains the difference in symptoms of myocardial infarction (heart attack) between males and
females. She states, “According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women as well as men. More than 1 in 3 adult women have some form of CVD. And CVD was responsible for the deaths of 400,000 American women in 2011.”

The signs and symptoms of heart attack are different for women than men and harder to recognize. The most common symptoms of heart attack in men are crushing chest pain, collapse and sweating. This is not necessarily so in women. We are much more likely to present with fatigue, shortness of breath, neck pain, RIGHT arm pain, jaw pain, fainting or dizziness, or nausea and

vomiting. However, we can also have the same symptoms as men. Women may also have symptoms well in advance of an actual heart attack for days, weeks, or even months.

We all need to be aware of the possibility of heart disease in women, especially if there is a history of other risk factors– smoking, obesity, diabetes, poor diet, lack of exercise. The sooner treatment is obtained, the greater opportunity for preserving heart muscle function!

So, please be aware this group of symptoms may be serious, and seek medical help.


-Pat Vest, RN, BSN, FCN