Adult Education Summer School

We are excited to offer a wonderful opportunity for growth in discipleship this summer! Adult education classes will be offered on Sunday mornings from 9:15 to 10:15AM in the fellowship hall. Please plan to join us as your summer schedule allows.

June 5: Ask a Theologian Shawn Bawulski
Join us for interesting and enlightening conversation as Dr. Shawn Bawulski responds to our questions.

June 12: Jesus and the Women Mary Saylor
Mary Saylor will lead us in a study from the gospel accounts of Jesus’ relationships with several significant women in his life.

June 19: Jesus and the Fathers Mary Saylor
It’s Father’s Day, and Mary Saylor will guide us through the accounts of Jesus’ interaction with several fathers mentioned in the gospel.

June 26 through July 31: Body and Soul Tom Jenney and George Saylor
Tom Jenney and George Saylor will lead this six-week study exploring what it means to belong, body and soul, to God—based on the Heidelberg Catechism.

A Word from the Pastor – June 2016

In July of 2013 our session voted to become part of the Acts 16:5 project, a nation-wide program designed to revitalize congregations and help them grow disciples. For the past three years Emmanuel Presbyterian Church has participated, along with about twenty of our sister churches, in the Acts 16:5 project sponsored by Grand Canyon Presbytery. Our Acts 16:5 Vision Team attended nine weekend workshops over the past three years led by Stan Ott, the director of Acts 16:5 Ministries. Our team (nine people including our parish associate) also met monthly, gathering on Friday nights in one of our member’s homes to share a meal and reflect on how to apply what we’ve learned. I have also been part of a pastors’ group that meets every month for lunch, mutual support, and prayer.

Acts 16:5 has helped us look at programs and evaluate if we were just doing the same things because we had always done them. We decided not to do some of the things we’d done for years (our annual fall Fun Fest and VBS, for instance) to move in other directions. And we’ve tried some new things that have been well received—Terrific Tuesdays, Motorcycle Sunday, a pulpit exchange among five Acts 16:5 churches, and our first annual women’s retreat, to name a few. Our participation in the Acts 16:5 project has been an enormous blessing not only for me and our team, but for our congregation and beyond. (See the article “Acts 16:5 at EPC” on page 7 for more examples.)

As our commitment to the presbytery program comes to an end in July, our vision team is considering continuing to meet together for fellowship, prayer, and reflection on how the Spirit might be moving us in new directions. The clergy group I am part of has already decided we enjoy each other’s company and companionship too much to stop our monthly meetings! I am grateful for the opportunity to have been part of this wonderful program offered by our presbytery. And I am grateful to our vision team (Jereme Bintz, Pat Hall, Dana Huether, George Saylor, Kristine Smith, Dirk Van Dyke, Laurie Van Dyke, and Valerie Zehr) for their enthusiastic participation. As our three-year commitment to the presbytery program comes to an end, we are grateful for the blessing of participating and excited to see where God will lead us going forward!

Blessings— Mary Saylor

First Annual Womens Retreat Followup

Womens Retreat 2016
On April 23 and 24, nineteen women from EPC gathered at Spirit in the Desert retreat center in Carefree for a wonderful weekend of beautiful scenery, inspiring speakers, and warm fellowship. The weather was Chamber-of-Commerce perfect as the women gathered around tables on the patio for delicious meals, strolled across the beautiful campus to enjoy the labyrinth, or assembled in the chapel for music and worship. The theme for the weekend was “Our Journey of Faith” and speakers from the group shared how God had guided their steps throughout their journey with Jesus. There was lots of laughter (and a few tears) as women shared their experiences of God’s faithfulness in their lives. All who attended the retreat had a great time and are looking forward to next year’s retreat!

A Word from the Pastor – May 2016

Our congregation’s mission statement is: Following Christ, Sharing the Truth, Serving Others. In the upcoming weeks each of our Sunday worship services will include something special that highlights the various ministries and mission of Emmanuel Presbyterian Church.

On May 1 we will dedicate the purses collected as Mother’s Day gifts to be distributed to women living in Phoenix shelters through Shoebox Ministries.
On May 8, Mother’s Day, we will welcome several young people into church membership who have recently completed confirmation classes and will be making their own profession of faith. The confirmands have undertaken a mission project and will present it to the congregation.
On May 15 we will observe Pentecost, celebrating the coming of the Holy Spirit and the birthday of the church. (Remember to wear red, the symbolic color of Pentecost.) And we will be welcoming new members to our congregation.
On May 22 we will honor our 2016 graduates as well as those who have served in our Christian education and music ministries during the past program year.

May will be a busy and exciting time for us as a church family. We have much to celebrate and much to be grateful for.
Please plan to join us every Sunday in May as we thank God for all the blessings we have received and honor God with our worship and witness.

Blessings— Mary

Mother’s Day Purses

Put a smile on a Mother’s face! Mother’s Day Purses

It was such a success last year, let’s do it again!

Through a project sponsored by Shoebox Ministries, let’s help children in family and domestic violence shelters show their love on Mother’s Day. Please collect and fill new and gently used purses with gift items, such as perfume, cosmetics, jewelry, manicure items, nail polish, tissue packs, hair items, toiletries and any other goodies you feel would put a smile on a mom’s face. And wouldn’t these purses look festive with bows or scarfs tied on them? These gift-filled purses will be cheerily collected and displayed in the sanctuary before being taken to the Shoebox Ministry site. From there, our purse gifts will be taken to the shelters and given to the children so they can present these special dazzling gifts to their moms on Mother’s Day.

Please remember to remove all personal items from your purses before donating them.

Please have a generous heart!

Parish Nurse Notes – Points to ponder this summer

From “Faith and Health in the Bible” by Reverend G. Scott Morris, MD, and Susan Martins Miller

Points to ponder:

  • Take to heart what Jesus thinks about healing.
  • Healing announces the kingdom of God.
  • Early church stories are full of healing.
  • Jesus calls us to care about what He cares about.
  • Wellness is a pursuit of the wholeness God wants for us.

Three questions to ask ourselves:

  • What paralyzes us or what keeps us from moving forward to better health?
  • How might lack of meaning in our lives show up in lifestyle choices?
  • How might comforting ourselves, masking our pain, and taking risks show upas threats to our health?

With summer approaching, it is time for a reminder to guard against sun damage to our skin. Remember the sun is most intense between 10:00am and 2:00
pm. Protect your skin with clothing, hats, sunscreen, or avoid going out then if you can. Be certain to apply sunscreen frequently to our little ones when they play outdoors or in the pool.

Stay healthy!

Pat Vest, RN
Faith Community Nurse

A Word from the Pastor – April 2016

With our session’s blessing, I was privileged to attend a presbytery training event in Dallas on March 6 through 11 with five other members of our presbytery’s Commission on Ministry. The training took place at King of Glory Lutheran Church in Dallas and was provided by the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center. It was superb training, and it was mentally exhausting! Sessions started at 8:30 in the morning and lasted until 5PM, and I found myself heading for bed by 8:30PM!

Having grown up in a heavily Mennonite community in Ohio, I was familiar with the Mennonite tradition of non-violence and peacemaking. In fact I was born into a religious tradition (The Apostolic Christian Church) which has much in common with Mennonite theology. The training event I attended focused on mediation skills, and our teacher, The Rev. Richard Blackburn, was excellent. He helped us understand conflict as it occurs interpersonally and in congregations, and he taught us invaluable skills in managing, intervening in, and resolving conflict.

One thing we were reminded of is that conflict is not necessarily destructive. Conflict can be constructive and can bring about healthy change and growth. For example, the first recorded instance of conflict in the New Testament church occurred in Acts 6:1-7 when the church was experiencing tremendous growth and the needs of some were being neglected because the leadership was overwhelmed. It was out of this conflict that deacons were appointed to share in ministry, and the passage ends by recording that the word of God continued to spread and their numbers continued to increase.

But we all know that conflict can have awful consequences if not managed well. Unfortunately that happens all too often in churches. Our mediation team will be available to pastors, sessions, and congregations who are experiencing conflict and need help in managing it constructively, and will be invited to work with them towards reconciliation. Thank you for the opportunity to attend the training and for your support as our team has opportunity to serve the presbytery.

Mary Saylor