Food Fight 2015 – Thank you!

food-fight-2015-panoramaThank you to everyone who gave so generously towards the food fight with our friends from Crosswinds Presbyterian.  EPC collected a total of 1,275 pounds of food (donated to Paradise Valley Emergency Food Bank) and 3,521 pounds of water (donated to Phoenix Rescue Mission) for a grand total of 4,796 pounds of donations!  Crosswinds collected a total of 4,697 pounds of food and water, which means together our congregations have donated over four and half tons of provisions!  Although EPC are the winners of the food fight, the real winners are the folks who will be able to feed their families and slake their thirst because of what was given in Christ’s name.  We look forward to celebrating with Crosswinds later this fall.

Food Fight! 2015

food-drive-2014We have been challenged to a food fight by our friends from Crosswinds Presbyterian Church. For the next few Sundays we will be collecting canned goods and other non-perishable food items for the Paradise Valley Emergency Food bank.

July 5th through August 2nd, 2015

The church collecting the most food, measured by the pound, will be declared the winner. We are asking that the donation of cases of water, which will be delivered to the Phoenix Rescue Mission downtown, be held until the last Sunday, August 2. If you are unable to bring food and would like to contribute towards the purchase of canned goods, you can designate a money gift for that purpose in the offering, and we have shoppers who will gladly purchase food on your behalf. Remember, food banks are in greatest need during the summer months, so please give generously.

A Word from the Pastor – June 2015

May has come and gone, Memorial Day has passed, graduations have been celebrated, and school’s out for the summer. And here at EPC summer school is underway! Adult education classes are scheduled for Sunday mornings before worship, starting at 9:15, through the end of July. Coffee and donuts will be on offer, and child care will be available. We have an interesting lineup of course offerings and hope you’ll make it a point to join us as your summer schedule allows. The dates, classes, and teachers are listed below. So, as the summer offers an

opportunity for a change of pace, please include these wonderful opportunities for growing your faith in your summer schedule.

  • May 31: Theology of Food, Shawn Bawulski
  • June 7: Racism, Shawn Bawulski
  • June 14: Income Inequality, Shawn Bawulski
  • June 21: Westminster Confession of Faith, Shawn Bawulski
  • June 28: Introduction to Augustine’s Confessions, Tom Jenney
  • July 5: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, Tom Jenney
  • July 12: Paul and Women, Mary Saylor
  • July 19: History of Biblical Israel, part 1 George Saylor
  • July 26: History of Biblical Israel, part 2 George Saylor

Blessings, Mary Saylor

Terrific Tuesdays – Summer 2015

Terrific Tuesdays - 2015Kids ages 3 years through entering fourth grade are invited to Terrific Tuesdays this summer at Emmanuel.  The theme is “Jesus and His Friends.” There will be Bible stories, music, crafts, puppets, snacks and games.

We will meet from 6:30 – 8:00pm on Tuesdays

  • June 2nd
  • June 23rd
  • July 14th
  • August 4th

The cost is free and kids are encouraged to bring friends! There is no need to sign up, just come and have fun. Older children who are interested in helping may contact Valerie Zehr. Parents are welcome to participate with their children or just enjoy a night out!

 

Adult Summer Education School at EPC

We are excited to offer a wonderful opportunity for growth in discipleship this summer! Adult education classes will be offered on Sunday mornings at the west end of the fellowship hall from 9:15 – 10:15 am starting on May 31st, 2015 and running until July 26th.

Coffee and donuts will be on offer along with wonderful teaching on a variety of interesting topics in a casual setting. Childcare will also be offered.

Topics

  • May 31st: Theology of Food
  • June 7th: Racism
  • June 14th: Income Inequality
  • June 21st: Westminster Confession of Faith
  • June 28th: Introduction to Augustine’s Confessions
  • July 5th: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness
  • July 12th: Paul and Women
  • July 19th & 26th: The History of Biblical Israel (parts 1 & 2)

Please plan to join us as your summer schedule allows.

A Word from the Pastor – May 2015

I grew up in a church where no one would ever think of clapping. Applause was fine for a concert or a sporting event, but certainly not forworship. Clappingin church, whether keeping time to the music or responding to a sermon, was just simply not the done thing. I remember being shocked the first time I attended worship with a friend and discovered there was a whole lot of clapping going on in her church. When I commented on that, she reminded me that the Bible itself encourages applause. Psalm 47:1 says, “Clap your hands, all you peoples; shout to God with loud songs of joy.”

Applause has become a common practice in many churches and is not unheard of in our own congregation. And from time to time the subject has come up in our Worship Committee meetings, with choir members, and in other arenas of discussion. Is applause appropriate or not? Does it enrich our worship or does it distract from it?

Some folks have commented to me that we should always clap for the choir to show our appreciation for their performance. I believe the first thing to consider in this regard is this: who is the “audience” in worship? The audience is always God. Whatever we do in worship is meant to be an offering to honor God. While we certainly want to offer God our very best, nothing we do in worship is meant to be a performance to entertain the congregation. In the one place where scripture mentions clapping our hands, it is clear that the applause is meant as an act of worship and praise to the Lord, not as an expression of approval for what the choir has sung or what the pastor has said.

There are times when clapping along with a piece of music is an expression of joy and enables us to enter into a richer worship experience. There are occasions when the congregation spontaneously breaks into applause because an answer to prayer has been announced or new members have been welcomed into the church or a newly married couple has been introduced to the congregation—and what a wonderful way that is to express our gratitudetoGod! There well may be times when the music is so uplifting and so encourages our souls to praise the Lord that the only fitting response is to raise our hands in applause and thanks to God.

But applause can become an awkward thing in worship. Do we applaud only for the children’s choir? Or only for a particularly “good” anthem? And if we applaud the music of the choir or the soloist, why not the pastor’s sermon? And if we applaud only the music, what about those pieces of music that are reverential in tone and prayerful in nature? Applause can be distracting and seem out of place when the music itself calls for a reflective, silent response.

I encourage us all to think about clapping in church as carefully as we consider any other act of worship. Trying to develop some hard-and-fast rule will only lead to legalism, and that is never good for God’s people. But it is always good for us to think about how we can best honor the Lord with our worship. When we are overwhelmed by the goodness and greatness of our God, we might respond with either joyous applause or reverential silence. Either can be an appropriate expression of our gratitude. Thanks be to God!

Blessings, Mary Saylor

Giving Opportunities April/May – Mother’s Day Purses

A Special gift-giving project that will be as fun to create as it is to give!!handbag

Through a project sponsored by the Shoebox Ministries, let us 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 and any other goodies you feel would put a smile on a mom’s face. And wouldn’t they look festive with bows or scarfs tied on them? These gift-filled purses will be cheerily collected and displayed in the sanctuary following Easter on April 12, 19, 26, and May 3 before 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.

A Word from the Pastor – Easter 2015

Happy Easter! Easter Sunday may be past as you read this, but Easter is far from over. According to the church calendar, Easter is not just a day, it is a season—Eastertide. (“Tide” is an old English word meaning “time” or “season.”) For fifty days, until Pentecost (which falls on Memorial Day weekend this year), the church celebrates Easter.

I carry out a sort of personal crusade every year to reclaim the twelve days of Christmas (December 25 through January 5) as a proper celebration of Christmas. But I have been largely unsuccessful! Most people I know put their decorations away by New Year’s Day and are really sort of relieved to be done with Christmas— perhaps because we are encouraged to be in “Christmas mode” even before Halloween rolls around!

In keeping with my efforts to observe Christmas as a twelve-day season following Advent, this year I’ve decided to try to be more intentional about celebrating Easter as a season for the seven weeks following Resurrection Sunday. While every Sunday is a “little Easter” in that we celebrate our Lord’s resurrection each time we gather for Sunday worship, this year I am planning on focusing our worship services on the basic truth of Easter: Christisrisen! Heis risen indeed!

So again, Happy Easter! I invite you to join me in making the next several weeks a time of rediscovering the life- changing implications of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Eastertide gives us an opportunity to think and pray about what that great good news means to us and to the world. May your Eastertide be a season of new life, new hope, and new understanding of Christ’s undying love for us.

Blessings, Mary Saylor

Giving Opportunities March – Easter Box-ets

Shoebox Ministry’s special event to assist the Valley’s homeless and provide them with an Easter
gift. Be creative – feel free to decorate your box using the graphics from the flier or your
own. Include a note of cheer and/or some Easter
candy. Completed kits should be delivered to Shoebox one week before Easter so they can be delivered in time for Easter.

This Easter Box-et is a gift to you. It is given as freely as His love is given to all of us.