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

A Word from the Pastor – March 2016

unspecifiedIf you had stopped by the church early on the morning of February 12 you would have seen a variety of vehicles loading up wheelbarrows, rakes, and shovels, as well as food, water, and snacks for our annual mission trip to Mexico. Once again this year a mission team from EPC and Palo Cristi Presbyterian Church, along with a few friends and relatives, headed off for Rocky Point, Mexico, to build a house over Presidents’ Day weekend.

Our team spent two- and-a-half days digging sand, mixing cement, nailing 2x4s, and troweling on stucco to create a home for 23- year-old Judith and her family. It wasn’t a large home (about 11 feet by 22 feet) and it wasn’t grand (no electricity or running water). But the home was solid and safe and secure, and a place to call her own for
a young mom who had been living with her children and her parents and her brother in an equally small dwelling.

Judith is a single mom with a four-year-old son and a nine-month-old daughter who works as a cashier at the local Sam’s Club and brings home just under $50 a week to support her family. She was there at the work site waiting for us the moment we arrived and worked with us mixing cement and driving nails. Judith’s little daughter Jenifer found two good friends in Annika Raub and Ethan Bintz who were just her age. And Judith’s little brother Jonathan and her son Axel quickly made friends with our own Claire Juby. It was a privilege to become acquainted with Judith and her family, including her mother Alma who was at the work site every day. Judith’s determination, her faith, and her commitment to providing for her family in very challenging circumstances was humbling for us to witness.

Included in this issue of “The Word” are several pictures from our trip to Mexico. They will give you a glimpse of our work there. Thank you to all of you who helped support this year’s mission trip with your finances, your prayers— and your cookies! And thanks to everyone who joined our 2016 mission trip. This was a very special opportunity to offer the labor of our hands and the love of our hearts in Jesus’ name, and it was a wonderful blessing to all of us who were privileged to participate.

Mary Saylor

EPC First Annual Women’s Retreat

What: EPC First Annual Women’s Retreat
When: Saturday, April 23, starting at 10:00am – Sunday, April 24 ending at noon
Where: Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center, Carefree, AZ (about a 20 mile drive from EPC)
Who: All EPC women are invited (friends are welcome, too!)
Cost: $100 includes overnight lodging and three meals (scholarships are available)

Please join us for a weekend of fun, faith, fellowship and relaxation. Our theme for the weekend will be “Our Spiritual Journey.” Come and hear inspiring speakers and engage in small group discussions and fun activities surrounded by the beautiful and peaceful landscape of the Carefree desert. There will be time to socialize, to grow in our faith, to laugh and play games, to relax and to just get away from it all. Watch for more information in our Sunday bulletins and in upcoming issues of “The Word.” Registration will begin in March so mark your calendars now and plan to attend this fun and faith-filled weekend.

A health class at church? What is that all about?

It’s about engaging with a fundamental dimension of the gospel. Jesus cares about making and keeping people well. Since the early centuries, the church has expressed compassion for the poor through health ministries. More recently, though, we have separated our health and our faith into distinct compartments that rarely intersect. Jesus said he came so we could have abundant life.

Wouldn’t we love that? For too many people, real life falls short of that ideal. Stress at work gets the best of us. Relationships suffer. Time with God turns into frantic prayers when we feel overwhelmed. We whiz through dinner without sitting down with our families. Exercise is something we feel guilty for not doing. Loss crushes us. Is it any wonder that aches and pains drive us to doctors looking for a fix? Just when do we get this abundant life we long for?

Despite what many might think, we do not have to die before we get to experience living in God’s kingdom. God created us as whole human beings, body and spirit, and God wants us to live in ways that nourish both body and spirit together. “Body & Spirit: Faith and Health ” explores the connection between spirituality and wellness. The Bible has a lot to say about that connection.

The above comes from “Body and Spirit: Faith and Health in the Bible” By Rev. G. Scott Morris, MD and Susan Martins Miller.

For the next several months, we will explore more of what these authors have to offer in the way of that connection. Stay tuned.

Pat Vest, RN, BSN, FCN