WOW, I can’t believe we are already into May. I hope everyone had a great Easter. With that being said, the kids had a blast at their Easter Egg Hunt/Easter Party. We have some great pictures posted on our Facebook site, if you would like to check them out.
Just a reminder, graduation is underway. The kids have been working really hard to prepare for their big day. Graduation will be on Wednesday, May 24, at 10:00am. We will celebrate with refreshments in the Fellowship Hall, following the graduation ceremony. All are welcome to attend.
We are looking for volunteers to help with chapel time on Wednesdays at 9:45am, for approximately 20 minutes of your time. It would consist of singing songs, saying prayers, talking about Jesus with a short bible story. If interested, please contact me.
Summer camp will be starting on June 5th – July 28, 2017. If anyone is interested in enrollment, please let us know. We have lots of fun activities planned, such as water day, cooking classes, movie day, science and art.
If one is new to our church family, we need to have a short history lesson, so we understand the whole picture. When I say, if you are new, I mean within the last twenty or so years, here at P.P.C.We (P.P.C.) had a man in our church family by the name of Dave Smith. David and our long standing member, Sonja (Cook) Harris, were the best of friends. Please do not ask any questions. Just be satisfied with my history lesson. David loved the youth at P.P.C. David was good at being the driver for Priscilla, Sonja’s mother, when they would all traveled together. Sonja and Dave motor homed along with James (Jim) and Gay Riley. Sonja and Gay went to Peoria High School together in the mid 1950’s. A few years ago, both Dave and Gay passed away. As a tribute to Dave, the church named the Sunday School classroom, located next to the church office, DAVE’S ROOM. Sometime passed and we stared seeing Jim and Sonja attending worship together, about every Sunday. Again, as I asked, NO questions.
END OF HISTORY LESSON
About a month ago, the word got our that Jim had lung cancer and was to start chemo. Jim did not have to suffer with pain or the unpleasant task of chemo for very long, because he passed awar suddenly on April 5th, of this year. This was shortly after Sonja’s mother, Priscilla passing away on April 3rd.
Jim and Gay joined P.P.C. October 7, 2007. I give Sonja credit for having Jim and Gay in our church family. Jim and Gay lived on a “desert” ranch, south of Lake Pleasant, about 20 miles north of old town Peoria. They had chickens, but the important item was Jim’s horses, roping and riding them. He was in a horse club, a member of the Elks and the Moose.
In Jim’s working years, he was an electrician for Banks Electric in Glendale and later Foley Electric, helping to build Sun City. Jim grew up in Glendale, went to Glendale High School and was in the F.F.A. (Future Farmers of America)
Him was 81 years old and large man in size. No one tried messing with Gay or Sonja or they might have ended up in the E.R. But, there was no cause for that to happen, because all three lived clean lives.
WE WILL MISS JIM, BUT HE WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN.
WE ALL LOVED HIM.
For the church family, Ken Johnson
WE MISS YOU, JIM RILEY
On Easter Sunday (April 16th), Session met with and welcomed Ten New Members into the Congregation. They have all been in the church family for some time, but now they are members.
(Top Row, Left to Right)
Sandy Lunde, Rita McElwain, Johnnie Crawford, and
Rory and Sheila McKeown
(Bottom Row, Left to Right)
Keith Spiegelhoff, Dale Lunde, Bob and June Marvel, B.J. Laing
II Timothy 1:3-7, May 9, 2004 (Mother’s Day)
When I served in Lake Forest I did not always preach a mother’s day sermon. There was one woman in the parish who always let me have it when I didn’t do a mother’s day sermon. I told her once, “You know, this isn’t a liturgical event, mother’s day…it was concocted by the flower people and the Hallmark card people and the candy people to make a lot of money from guilty children who never treat their mothers like they should during the year and then try to make it up with some flowers or a card on this Sunday.” As you can imagine, my little speech didn’t help matters with her, and I could always see her sitting on the fifth row, eyeing me suspiciously, waiting on the second Sunday in May to see if I would mention the word “mother” somewhere in my sermon.
So I have weakened today, and am unabashedly going to preach a mother’s day sermon. It’s not that the woman in Lake Forest finally convinced me or beat me in submission. It’s just that my own mother, who read all my sermons, told me that she would remove me from her will if I didn’t, at least in passing, mention something about mothers. And even though she is dead, I know she is bending over the balcony of heaven, with her hand to her ear wondering if I’m going to preach on motherhood.
Actually I’ve been thinking quite a bit about this matter of being a mother, not that I qualify as an expert, but I have been married for over 50 years to a darned good mother, and I was born some 70 plus years ago to another good mother. So I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the influence of mothers–and fathers–on the matter of character and faith development.
It grieves me that two out of every five children in this country do not live with their fathers. They live with single mothers. In fact, a missing father is a better predictor of criminal activity than race or poverty. Young women who grow up in disrupted families are twice as likely to become teenage mothers. Today only 51% of kids still live with both biological parents. And the growing child abuse demonstrates a strange inability to nurture, let alone tolerate, the presence of the next generation.
So my intention today is to honor our mothers, honor our families, and try to make a case for Christian family values. It is more important than we think.
I found a little piece about motherhood the other day. It brought a big smile to my face, because it talks about the big role mothers play, and what a hard job it is.
“Children, children,” says mother. “Hurry and put on your clothes. Hurry, hurry, soon the school bus will come.
“See Laurie. Laurie is combing her hair. See Bobby. Bobby is reading about Michael Jordan. See Chris. Chris is tattooing his stomach with a ball point pen. See mother’s hair stand up. What is mother saying? Those words are not in our book, are they? Run children, run.
“Mother, mother,” says Laurie, “I have lost a shoe.”
“Mother, mother,” says Bobby, “I think I am sick.
“Mother, mother,” says Chris. ‘My zipper is stuck and I have a jelly bean in my ear.
Oh, see mother run.
“I am going mad,” says mother.
“Here is Laurie’s’s shoe in the stove. Here are other pants for Chris. Here is a thermometer for Bobby, who does not look sick to me.
Now what are the children doing? Laurie is combing her hair. Bobby is playing the guitar. Chris is under the bed feeding jelly beans to the cat.
“Oh, says mother, “Hurry, hurry. It is time for the yellow school bus.” Mother is right
“See the children on the bus jump up and down, jump, jump, jump. See the pencils fly out the window. Listen to the driver of the school bus. He cannot yell as loud as the children, can he? Run, Laurie. Run Bobby. Run, Chris. See mother throw kisses. Why do Laurie, Bobby and Chris pretend they do not know mother? Goodby, goodby,” calls mother.
“How quiet it is. Here is Chris’s sweater in the boot box. Here are Bobby’s glasses under the cat. Here is Laurie’s comb in the fruit bowl. Here is crunchy, crunchy, crunch cereal all over the kitchen floor. Mother is pouring a big cup of coffee. Mother is sitting down.” Mother does not do anything. Mother just sits and smiles. Why is mother smiling?
The reality is bringing children into this world and rearing them to maturing is no easy game. I marvel at the ingenuity and tirelessness with which so many do it. Especially young mothers. Between changing, feeding burping; between cleaning, and chauffeuring and shopping, between refereeing, encouraging, and teaching, it is one of the most strenuous jobs around
But it must be done. Whether the next generation grows up to be productive and responsible will very much determine what kind of country we will inherit, what sort of politics we practice, what kind of churches we will worship in.
Of all the things we pass on to our children, the most important thing of all is moral character. And moral character comes from a vital and living faith.
I was at a dinner party in Atlanta a couple of years ago. It was hosted by one of Atlanta’s most successful developers, George Johnson. George is an active elder at Trinity Presbyterian Church, Atlanta, a tither, and a millionaire many times over. He told our group: “I don’t plan to leave my kids a lot of money. I’m going to give my money to the church and the Atlanta Community Foundation. I have seen very few people who have done well by inheriting a lot of money. My wife and I started out dead broke. I think we worry far too much about our children’s inheritance, and we hurt them more than help them by giving them a lot.”
Having lived in several communities where where people inherited inordinate wealth, and seeing how poorly most people handle it, I tend to agree with George Johnson. You won’t do your kids any favors by leaving them a lot of money. If you want to do something for them, leave them the legacy of integrity and faith. This kind of legacy may not be giving your children what they think want; but it is giving them what they need.
In our New Testament reading Paul is writing to Timothy, his young protégée. Paul knows Timothy, knows his background, knows his family. He says, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice, and now, I am sure, lives in you.” Why was Timothy a Christian? Why did he become a leader in the church? Because of a mother who believed in Jesus and told her daughter, who then passed it off to her son.
The old hymn is wrong. It isn’t:
Jesus loves me, this I know,
For the bible tells me so.
Jesus loves me
This I know
For my mother told me so.
There are many studies around which reveal the characteristics of good mothering and fathering, which reveal what contributes to healthy families. Dr. Nick Stinnet says that strong families have six characteristics.
1. Family members express a good deal of appreciation for each other and build each other up psychologically.
2. They spend a lot of time together, and genuinely enjoy being with one another.
3. They do a lot of direct talking with one another, and are not thrown off by rumor.
4. They are deeply committed to promoting each other’s happiness and welfare.
5. They tend to be committed to a spiritual life-style. This seems to help them have a sense of purpose and helps them be more patient and forgiving with one another.
6. They draw upon the trust they have in each other to unite in coping with a crisis rather than being fragmented by it.
We need to be working and praying to make that happen in each of our homes. But, the good news is that we do not struggle alone. There is the church.
The church, the faith community where we are cared for, where we acknowledge our need for each other, and join our hands and hearts in our journey together. The church is a place where children can feels safe, where families can be strengthened and reinforced, where value are taught, and pray God, modeled by the adults who are members of the church. The most obvious moment when we model the reality of church is when a baby is baptized. I take the child from the parents, and as a minister of the church universal, I say this child belongs to us, not just the parents–but all of us, the body of Christ.
In the frontispiece of my favorite Bible there is an old, yellow, dog-eared consecration prayer. It means a lot to me. I read it several times a week, for it embodies all I aspire to as a Christian. It’s language is a little archaic as you will see, but I will explain why after I read it.
“Dear Jesus, I give myself to Thee. I giver Thee my mind to think through; I give Thee my eyes to see through; I give Thee my mouth and tongue to speak with. I give thee my hands to turn the pages of thy book and to work for thee. I give thee my feet to run errands with, and I promise thee that they shall never carry me into a place where I have to leave thee at the door. I give thee my body to be the temple of the Holy Ghost. I give thee all of my family and relatives. I give thee all my possessions. I give thee my time and talent. I give thee my reputation. I give thee all I think of, and all I do not think of…”
It is signed: “A.L. Turner, 116 East Court Street, Greenville, S.C.
A.L. Turner, Alexander Lee Turner, was my great grandfather, and this prayer was on the frontispiece of his bible. When it was given to me by my grandmother, I tore it out and put it into my own bible.
Here was a man I only knew in pictures. I never met him. But he passed his faith onto to my grandmother, Pauline Turner Wilson, who passed it on to my mother, Mildred Wilson Swicegood, who passed it on to me. And I hope, only God knows how much I hope, that this faith which means so much to me will live in my two children.
“I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and now, I am sure lives in you.” Three generations and going strong.
Today we think God for all the Lois’s and Eunice’s in our own life. And we pray that all our mothers here today might serve as the same winsome example to Jesus Christ to their own children
The April Session meeting had perfect attendance, again. There was not much action, but a lot of talk. Some of the concerns were/are to increase the number of our church family, both young and old. One item was/is, when the older people are gone (not vacationing), is our church going to keep going? Session is open to any suggestions for growth.We lost two of our members the first week of April. Our oldest member in time, Priscilla Cook passed away on April 3rd and Jim Riley on April 5th. Jim was Priscilla’s daughter, Sonja’s best friend.
The church treasurer, Donna Davis, reported expenses from January 1st through April 7th.
It was approved for the youth to have a 50/50 raffle with 50% of the “sales” going to the youth programs and activities and 50% to the lucky ticket holder.
Much credit was given to the 125th Anniversary Committee. The committee worked hard on all of the activities. Thank you to everyone who served on the committee and to those who helped out, even though they were not on the committee.
The Pastor’s, Deacon’s, Treasurer’s, and all Committee reports were received. The report involving the recent meeting of the Presbytery, was also received. The next regular meeting of Session is Monday, May 8th at 5:30 PM.
A Publication of the First Presbyterian Church of Peoria, Arizona
I led a Bible study when I was at Pinnacle Presbyterian Church. We always began with with introductions and then I posed a question to each member of the group. The question one day was, “If you could meet any figure in history, who would it be and what would you like to ask them?”
The answers were interesting. Here’s a sample.
“Abraham Lincoln–do you have any regrets?”
“Adolf Hitler (my choice)–looking back from the perspective of history, are you remorseful?”
“Condoleezza Rice–how did you become so accomplished in so many pursuits?”
“Barbara Bush–where did you get your sense of humor?”
“Charlemagne–where did you get your ideas for such military genius?”
But my favorite was this one: “Vince Lombardi–what can we do to help the Cardinals win the Super Bowl? “
In my life-time there were three people I wanted to meet. All were heroes to me in one way or another. They were Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela and Pope John Paul VI.
I have had the good fortune of having several meals with Desmond Tutu, and believe me, he is the real deal. This Nobel Prize winner has an impish sense of humor and does so many things right. On his long flights to Europe from South Africa when he was on speaking tours, he would write personal notes to the children of his clergy in the Anglican Province of South Africa.
I met Pope John Paul VI in the Vatican in the summer of 1994. I was with a group of seminary leaders and we had an “audience” with the pope. We shook hands. He asked me in good English, “What do you do?” I told him I was a Presbyterian pastor in Chicago. He said, “Blessings on your community.”
A picture of our shaking hands is in a prominent place in our living room.
I never met Nelson Mandela but I sat 25 feet from him at a political rally in South Africa when he was running for state president. What I remember from his political stump speech is the promise of indoor plumbing and electricity in all homes in South Africa.
Of course, there is one hero we all bow before, our Lord and Master. I have so many questions for him I don’t know where to begin, but one of them is: “Why didn’t your heavenly Father make me a better golfer.”