The June Session meeting had more discussion than action. Sometimes we just need to talk and sleep on what we talked about.
Elder Shannon Langston has been training to be a Lay Pastor. She is planning to attend a Children’s’ Pastor Conference January 15-17, 2019 in Orlando, Florida. Total cost for the conference, hotel, and air fare is $2,500. Session approved giving Shannon some of the money from P.P.C. account. Other sources may be available for financial help later but any amount would be appreciated if one wants to help. She is representing P.P.C.
Approval was given to put Elders Mickey Gilsdorf and Larry Cary as signers on the VALIC account. The VALIC account is the money from the sale of the church manse about 25 years ago. Our pastor at the time wanted to purchase the house (manse) because upon retirement of a pastor, if they have lived in the church manse during the years of pastoring, they have no house.
The Pastor’s, Deacon’s, and all committee reports were received.
At the May Session meeting, Elder Linda Maxwell volunteered to chair the Memorial and Mission Disbursement Committee. I missed this in the May meeting. Thank you Linda for all you do for P.P.C.
Next Session meeting is July 9, 2018.
Clerk of Session
Several summers ago I read three monumental books which I commend to you for your summer reading.
The books were “Peter the Great”, “Catherine the Great”, and “Nicholas and Alexandra”. I read them in anticipation of the Russian River Cruise that Barbara and I embarked upon in early June, 2014. Robert K. Massie, the author, writes history with such interest that one cannot put the books down.
“Peter the Great” won the Pulitzer Prize in 1981. One reviewer summed it up with the words, “Against the monumental canvas of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Europe and Russia unfolds the magnificent story of Peter the Great, one of the most extraordinary rulers in history. Impetuous and stubborn, generous and cruel, tender and unforgiving, a man of enormous energy and complexity, Peter the Great is brought fully to life in this exceptional biography”. As Barbara and I walked the magnificent boulevards of St. Petersburg, we marveled at the tenacity and ingenuity of this ruler who raised one of the most beautiful cities in the world out of swamps and bogs.
Catherine the Great was the longest reigning female in the history of Russia. Reigning from 1762 to 1796, she brought the first works of art into the Hermitage, which was then the winter palace. Catherine’s reign was marked by vast territorial expansion, which greatly added to Russia’s coffers but did little to alleviate the suffering of her people. Even her attempts at governmental reforms were often bogged down by Russia’s vast bureaucracy. However, Catherine considered herself to be one of Europe’s most enlightened rulers, and many historians agree. She wrote numerous books, pamphlets and educational materials aimed at improving Russia’s education system. She was also a champion of the arts, keeping up a lifelong correspondence with Voltaire and other prominent minds of the era, creating one of the world’s most impressive art collections
in St. Petersburg’s Winter Palace (now home to the famed Hermitage Museum) and even trying her hand at composing opera. (A postscript: if you have Amazon streaming video watch “Ekaterina: The Rise of Catherine the Great”.)
One of my personal highlights on our trip was to visit Catherine’s Palace. Terribly damaged by Nazi shelling in World War II, it has now been restored to its original splendor. In his commanding book, “Nicolas and Alexendra”, Robert K. Massie sweeps readers back to the extraordinary world of Imperial Russia to tell the story of the Romanovs’ lives: Nicholas’s political naïveté,
Alexandra’s obsession with the corrupt mystic Rasputin, and little Alexis’s brave struggle with hemophilia. Against a lavish backdrop of luxury and intrigue, Massie un- folds a powerful drama of passion and history. The story of a doomed empire and the death- marked royals who watched it crumble.
One caveat: the books are long, over 800 pages each. It took me four months to read all three. But I can tell you, it’s worth every minute of your time
Our prayer chain has lost a link and we need help in fixing it
Deacons are updating the prayer chain. If you are not receiving an E-mail from June Schooley or a phone call concerning prayer needs and want to be on the prayer chain, please contact Dot Bell or Carol Spiegelhoff . We also need volunteers to call 4 or 5 people who don’t have emails.
HART PANTRY wishes to Thank all of you for your continued support, both financial contributions and in kind donations. HART is ending another school year with approximately 25 graduates from the kiddos we have been helping in 2017/2018. Thank you to June Schooley for donating handmade graduation cards to hold our gift cards for the graduates. Our gift is again going to be matched by one of our Sun City church partners. We continue to work in all three local school districts until the end of school and then will keep food bags at the Peoria Community Center throughout the summer months for those students in need.
We have increased our volunteer staff to over 30 folks and with the help of Barb Tiberi now have both a Facebook page and a WEB site. We are working in 2018 to strengthen our Board of Directors and take our business records online making us more efficient. We hope to purchase new laptop computers for those staff members involved in keeping financials and inventory so all records will be kept in house.
We are aware that the needs of and numbers of At-Risk and homeless teens continue to grow in our local society and we also know that HART PANTRY cannot step up to those needs without the continuing help of our donors. We appreciate all of you who find it in your hearts to help us help the kiddos.
May is underway here at the preschool. We have a busy month planned for the kiddos. Mother’s Day and graduation are just a couple of our upcoming events. This month we will be focusing on spring time, Moms and how important a Mother’s love is. The students are enjoying learning some new songs at chapel time and reading new stories.
Picture day will be April 25, 2018 at 9:00 am. Children should be dressed in their best with a big smile. Graduates will take pictures in their caps and gowns as well.
Graduation is May 23rd at 10:00 am in the Sanctuary. We will have light refreshments in fellowship hall afterwards! All are welcome to join in this great celebration.
Muffins for Moms will be held on May 8, 2018. We will be having a special treat for our moms and grandmas during drop off time to let our moms know how special they are to us.
Dick and Ruth Langford were nominated by the Session of the First Presbyterian Church of Peoria for the Senior Service Award of the Presbytery of the Grand Canyon on April 12, 2018. Terry and Barbara Swicegood, as well as the Langford’s daughter, Cassie, were present for the occasion. The citation for the Langfords read as following:
“If you have visited First Presbyterian in downtown Peoria, you have probably been stunned by the immaculate yard and historic building. Dick has played a role in that loving care as chair of Building Grounds while in Session. Ruth is on her second term as Deacon and serves as Executive Director of HART pantry, a mission project of Peoria First that provides weekend meals for high school students without food. At back to school time, Ruth is busy with providing backpacks for school children through HART pantry. Dick has served as treasurer of the Chris Harri Foundation, a financial fund to help area churches and drives for Northwest Valley Connect. They both faithfully prepare communion trays each month at church.”
P.P.C. has Five New Members
With five new member, this brings the membership total to about 140. Three of the five have been in Pastor Terry’s new member class. The other two probably went through a new member class in their former church. You decide if the time period of their class was long, long ago or recently.
Savannah is the granddaughter of members Al and Irma Rodriguez. Megan O’Kelly is joining by confession of faith. Megan is the daughter of members Seth and Lisa O’Kelly. Carsyn Tupper is also joining by confession of faith. Carsyn is the daughter of members Harold and Rebeka Tupper.
Having been members of their previous church before coming to P.P.C. we have Jean Charlton and Pamela Newton joining by reaffirmation of faith. Jean cuts grocery bags into strips and weaves them into sleeping mats for the homeless. It takes about 700 bags per mat. She also sings in the church Chancel Choir. Pamela recently moved to the area from Kentucky and has been faithful in attendance for worship here at P.P.C.
Please get to know our new members and find out more about them. WE ARE GLAD YOU ARE HERE AND HAVE JOINED P.P.C. AND ARE OFFICIAL MEMBERS.
If you are a new “kid” at P.P.C. you might be interested in some history of the early years. If you have heard the story you may be excused and go play.
Upon the completion of the Arizona Canal in 1885 the word got out to people in Peoria, Illinois that with irrigation water available in the desert making it profitable to clear the desert brush and plant crops. About twelve people came and settled thirteen miles northwest of Phoenix.
They named the new settlement Peoria after their former hometown after arriving in 1886. In 1889 H.C. Mann, his wife Jennie, and 15 year old daughter Alice arrived from Kansas. With no suitable housing, the Mann’s lived in a store which was the site for the first religious service. The closest well for domestic water was in Glendale, four or five miles away. Mr. Mann had a well dug 30 feet deep in now the old town business district. The water table is now maybe 300 feet deep.
Jennie Mann saw the need for a Sunday School and combed the area for children to meet in her home, the store building. This was the start of the first Presbyterian Sunday School in the 1890s. Adults also came for worship sitting on boards supported on boxes. There was no piano. In 1891 the first Peoria District #11 school building was built. Sunday School and worship was now held in the school house.
NOW FINALLY, a group from Peoria in 1891 affixed their names to a petition to request the Presbytery to organize a Presbyterian Church in Peoria. Their request was met and the Peoria Presbyterian Church was organized April 10, 1892. The group met in the schoolhouse until the present sanctuary (the north portion) was completed at the end of 1899 with the new being dedicated February 4, 1900. If my dates are wrong and if you were present at this time, lets talk.
Peoria was not the first Presbyterian Church organized. Before Peoria, Presbyterian Churches were organized in Prescott in 1876 following the first Presbyterian Church organized by Sheldon Jackson in Tucson, Arizona Territory. In 1879, P.P.C. in Phoenix; 1888 in Florence; 1889 the First Pima Indian Presbyterian Church; 1891 F.P.C. in Flagstaff; then Peoria in 1892.
There are some P.P.C. history books in the office, or there were or see me to borrow some if you do not find one. In the meantime, HAPPY BIRTHDAY PEORIA PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH FOR YOUR SERVICE OF 126 YEARS TO THE PEORIA COMMUNITY.
There was not much business that needed action in the April meeting and the meeting was closed with prayer about 6:15pm (a 45 minute meeting).
The treasurer’s report from January 1, 2018 to March 31, 2018, listed income.
Donna Davis was reelected as church treasurer, Lisa O’Kelly as the church financial secretary, and Ken Johnson as clerk of session serving in this position for 52 years straight. Once elected, it is hard to get out.
Each year the Presbytery has an event, THE SENIOR SERVICE AWARD. Each church selects a couple (married) or a single person, 65 or older, that has been outstanding in service to their congregation. Dick and Ruth Langford were selected from P.P.C. Ruth is serving as a Deacon and Dick has served on Session. They prepare the communion trays and started the HART Pantry providing food to high school students for those without food when school is closed on weekends for several high schools in the area. Also, bicycles for transportation. Dick has been a driver transporting people to appointments to name a few. They were honored at a luncheon with other seniors
P.P.C. is part of a group of churches receiving money from the Chris Harri Foundation. Chris was a bachelor with no survivors upon his death. He owned several acres on 19th Avenue from Bethany Home to Camelback. Maybe hundreds of acres. He was thrifty, sleeping on a hay wagon and eating clabber (sour milk with brown sugar). Every quarter interest money is given to churches in the cluster to be used for maintenance.
Session is grateful to the church Deacons for their services, namely they host a lunch for the family and those attending a memorial service upon a family member’s death. There are different bowls of salads, desserts, and whatever they prepare at home and it is good eating. The most recent meals were for the Hazel Heinz and Tom Gilsdorf memorials. DEACONS, IT IS APPRECIATED ALONG WITH YOUR OTHER DUTIES AT P.P.C. AND WE LOVE YOU.
Session is pleased with the new church secretary, Kira. The Sunday Bulletins and the April Newsletter were well done. Thank you Kira.
A going away, a thank you, we will miss you, and a best wishes reception was given for Karen Neely during coffee hour recently. Karen is moving to Georgia to be closer to her children.
Karen served on Session for six years, was the Chairperson of the Christian Ed Committee, and sang in the Chancel Choir to name a few of her P.P.C. chores. I called Karen “my little sister”, that is how much I thought of her.
KAREN, OUR BEST WISHES GO WITH YOU AND FRECKLES (her dog). AGAIN, THANK YOU AND WE LOVE YOU.
Thomas Lee Gilsdorf passed away on March 27, 2018. He proudly served his country for over 20 years, then worked as an Aerospace Master Mechanic for Honeywell for over 26 years. He loved spending time with his family. He enjoyed working on old cars with his sons, brothers and his grandchildren, passing on his knowledge of how to breath new life into them. Tom will be missed dearly by all his family and friends.
Tom had brain surgery in 2017 and was in good spirits when I visited him in the hospital. He was even dressed in street clothes and not a hospital gown that shows your back end while out of bed and walking. He was in church not too long after surgery.
Tom was not a member of Peoria Presbyterian but was part of the church family. His wife Mickey is a member since 1969. They were sweethearts in Peoria High School and Tom graduated in 1968. He joined the Air Force in 1969 and served his country for over 20 years. He then worked as an aerospace master mechanic for Honeywell for over 20 years.
Tom’s hobby was working on old cars and was a member of The Grumblers’ Car Club.
I taught Jr. High Sunday School in the early 1960s and Mickey was in my class as a young girl. She is currently serving on Session as an Elder and is the chairperson of the worship committee. Besides Mickey, Tom is survived by sons Schott and Roger, five brothers, grandchildren, his mother, nieces, and nephews.
Tom’s suffering is over but he will not be forgotten. Every time we see an antique car on the road we will think of Tom, “Did Tom get a bucket of bolts running” as it zooms past us?
THANK YOU TOM FOR 68 YEARS OF SERVICE TO THE PEORIA COMMUNITY.
My family and I would like to thank all of you for the kind thoughts, prayers, cards and wonderful food that you have blessed us with since the death of my husband, Tom. Even though we knew he wouldn’t be with us much longer, we always thought we’d have just a little more time. But his suffering has been relieved and he is at peace. I know he watches over us and that we will be together again someday. Again, thank you all. Your caring and support is truly appreciated.