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October 25, 2018, 12:11 PM

Marriage Commitment



Saturday, October 20

 

So when my niece asked me to perform her marriage ceremony in New Mexico, she said that she and her fiancé were “not religious,” and could we keep the God-talk to a minimum?

 

I don’t think she knew who she was asking.

 

I did try to respect her wishes and took out the prayers I would normally offer (I said them to myself, though!), but I did include the part about finding my father’s prayer book when I cleaned out his apartment after he had died. I have shared this with some of you before. At Dick and Anne Collis’ wedding, I shared it with them.

 

On the front page of the beloved prayer book was written: Vernon’s Prayer Mantra. He must have prayed it often. The book is literally held together with duct tape. He wrote three drafts of the same prayer:

 

Father of Jesus, I receive your mercy with thanksgiving in the Spirit.

 

I’m sure he prayed that prayer for years. Then, in another pen and slightly older hand, he wrote:

 

Father of Jesus, I receive your mercy with thanksgiving in the Spirit, and passion for your Kingdom’s coming.

 

A mature statement of faith, and one that expects almost immediate results. What a statement of faith!

 

Then, in an older hand yet, he scratched out some words and added some more.

 

Father of Jesus, I receive your mercy with thanksgiving in the Spirit, and commitment to your Kingdom.

 

My point to couples about to be married is this: sometimes the passion is not enough, and when that time comes, commitment is what will get you through a rough patch.

 

So I think the Lord was able to speak to my niece and her new husband. I even wore my clerical collar and they kept getting asked “Where did you find a priest?”




October 24, 2018, 5:31 PM

Trunk or Treat



Trunk or Treat with us this Sunday evening from 5 to 7pm! There'll be plenty of decorated cars, trucks and SUVs handing out candy for the kids. Enjoy the Cake Walk and popcorn. You don't want to miss your opportunity to try out your costume and get lots and lots of candy. We'll be set up in the main parking lot of First Presbuterian Church. 702 E. Cottonwood Lane (next to the Pinal County Complex) See you there!




October 16, 2018, 1:18 PM

Saturday, October 13


Went to the Presbytery meeting at St. John on the Desert Presbyterian church in Tucson.  Lovely campus (although plenty wet at the time!) in eastern part of the city.  On the docket:  moving a young woman from being an "Inquirer" to a "Candidate" for ordination in the de Cristo Presbytery, even though she is attending Union Seminary in New York.  The honorable Pastor Bill Heinle (chair of the Presbytery's Commission on Preparation for Ordination) presiding.  Also present at the meeting were Peter Vogel and Elder Larry Pazier.

Very touching was the church from Safford who were requesting to be dissolved, as their church has dwindled to less than a dozen members now.  Instead of putting their church building up for sale, they requested that the church property be donated to a new, thriving church in their town packed with younger folk and children without a church building of their own.

They even added a trust fund to take care of the church columbarium after the transfer of property.

A poignant reminder again of how fortunate we are a First Pres, and how we are being called to plan for the future and add diversity to our domographic makeup.

By the way, St. John's has a lovely Labyrinth on campus, with a spot for meditation in the  middle of it.  If it wasn't raining, I would have used it.

Pastor Paul




October 16, 2018, 12:59 PM

Friday, October 12


Had a lunch organized by Phyllis Wells today.  Present were two people from the de Cristo Presbytery, Phyllis, Peter Vogel, Elizabeth Elgin and myself.  The guests were a pastor from Cameroon who is seeking asylum from the violence in her country, and a "Peace Enabler" from a Presbyterian church in Syria.  She said that their greatest need is meeting the physical and educational requirements from the children of the roughly 1.5 mission refugees (in Lebanon alone, just across the border from them) from the Syrian "Human Tragedy."  She would not characterize it as a "Civil War," as we do.  She asked "Why us?  Syria was a prosperous, peaceful country until recently."  The Arab Spring, in their case, turned into a seemingly endless winter.

Not only a call to help those in need, but also a reminder of how fortunate we are to have peace and freedom to worship.  She said her part of Western Syria has been inundated with Christians and others in the north, fleeing from Isis.

Pastor Paul




October 10, 2018, 2:00 PM

Caring Ministry



The Caring ministries of First Presbyterian Church have been in transition over the past few months. Volunteers who have faithfully served in caring for our congregation are no longer able to serve. Don and Marge Shepherd as Parish Associates did a tremendous job visiting members and friends who were sick or in the hospital for many years at FPC. We are so grateful for their service.

Helen Wheeler faithfully served communion to those who were unable to attend worship services and she also organized a calling ministry to call the members and friends of FPC on a regular basis. With Helen’s passing we recognize and commend the great grace with which she served our congregation.

For as long as I can remember Tonya Collet has served our congregation with her card ministry. If you were ever on the prayer list, you probably got a card from Tonya with an uplifting message. Tonya has moved to Georgia to live with her daughter. You may contact Peter Vogel to get her address to send her a card. I’m sure she would like to know how much her cards meant to you.

Kudos to those of you who are serving on the Visitation Team. Your visits bring a welcome relief to people in the hospital or long-term care. I want to thank all who serve on the Board of Deacons. You have taken up the slack and have given each of your parish’s extra attention, and I commend you for that. Thanks to all who have participated in Helen’s calling ministry. You have reminded folks that they are not forgotten. Thanks to all who serve in caring ministries. Your ministry is important. It makes a huge difference to those in need. Jesus taught us the essence of Mosaic Law when he told us we are to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your strength; and to love your neighbor as yourself.


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