Category: Newsletter

A Girl Named Joe

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In the mid 1940s, there was a cute girl attending Peoria High School named JoAnn Riggs. JoAnn was a school cheerleader, leading cheers from the crowd hoping for a game win for the team.

JoAnn attended the Peoria Presbyterian Church and was active in the evening youth group called Westminster Fellowship.

JoAnn joined after high school. JoAnn left Peoria and returned about 1960 with a husband named James Pennock. James was a pharmaceutical salesman. James and JoAnn raised three children: Paul, Willie, and Patti Jo. James, Willie, and Patti predeceased JoAnn.

JoAnn joined Peoria Presbyterian on January 22, 1967 by confession of faith and adult baptism. Jo had a good voice, sang in the choir, and sang solos for special occasions. Jo just liked to sing. Jo was ordained a Deacon at P.P.C. on January 15, 1984 and served as a Deacon into the 2000s. Jo was a good and caring Deacon. Jo also was a part of the ladies sewing group.

At home there were several cats that were well fed. There were several feeding stations in the yard and in her garage. In the backyard, was a flock of chickens that were also well cared for. Jo was good to share fresh eggs with the church family. People saved their used egg cartons for Jo.

When the Pennocks went on vacation out of the area, they pulled a two wheel trailer with the words painted on the back; “Peoria, Arizona”.

After Jim died and the tree children were out of the nest, Jo lived alone with cats and the egg makers until she fell and broke bones and had to go into a care center which she enjoyed because she was able to entertain the residents with her singing.

We will miss Jo for choir practice and all church functions. As Jo joins the Choir of Angels she is not forgotten at P.P.C. Thank you Jo for your years of service at P.P.C.

Jo was also a registered nurse caring for a neighbor when he got his hand in his power saw.

Ken Johnson

Categories: Newsletter

The Shredder

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“As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” –Psalm 103:12

We have a shredder in our office at home. We take stuff like credit card receipts and copies of documents that have sensitive information and put them through the shredder.

I learned a few months ago that there is a new spiritual practice called “Shredding.” One man said, “I envision lists of my mistakes and sins kept somewhere by the Devil himself. I picture Jesus taking those lists and running them through the shredder. Evidence

destroyed. Gone forever.”

One woman said, “It’s a strange way of letting go of the past. It was my 25th high school reunion recently, and high school wasn’t great for me, so I didn’t go. And then I realized that I had all this stuff, old high school pictures, and I didn’t know why I was saving it. I was like, ‘Do I need this stuff in my life?’ So I shredded it. I shredded my prom picture. It was liberating.”

Shredding as a spiritual practice. Get rid of all that stuff, all those old insults and injuries and unkindnesses and carelessness. Why are you hanging on to them? Run ‘em through the spiritual shredder.

Since 2006, a group of people have celebrated an unusual event around the New Year. It’s called Good Riddance Day. Based on a Latin American tradition, individuals write down unpleasant, embarrassing memories and bad issues from the past year and throw them into an industrial-strength shredder. Or some take a sledgehammer to their good riddance item.

The writer of Psalm 103 goes beyond suggesting that people say good riddance to unpleasant memories. He reminded us that God bids good riddance to our sins. In his attempt to express God’s vast love for His people, the psalmist used word pictures. He compared the vastness of God’s love to the distance between the heavens and the earth (v. 11). Then the psalmist talked about His forgiveness in spatial terms. As far as the place where the sun rises is from the place where the sun sets, so the Lord has removed His people’s sins from them (v. 12). The psalmist wanted God’s people to know that His love and forgiveness were infinite and complete. God freed His people from the power of their transgressions by fully pardoning them.

Good news! We don’t have to wait until the New Year to experience Good Riddance Day. Through our faith in Jesus, when we confess and turn from our sins, He bids good riddance to them and casts them into the depths of the sea. Today can be a Good Riddance Day!

Categories: Newsletter

Crop Walk 2018

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We had a beautiful day for our Crop Walk this year. There were 75 walkers in all. We had 11 walkers from our church and turned in just over $1,000 and had plenty of delicious cookies that everyone enjoyed after their walk. Some of us walked just over 1 mile and several others walked the full 3 miles. We also were able to stop and visit with the workers at Justa Center. Justa Center is a day center that helps homeless seniors. They are the recipient of 25% of the money that was raised at the Crop Walk this year. Thank you to all those who walked, all those who donated and all those who made cookies.

You are an awesome and generous church family.

Categories: Newsletter

How we lost our parking lot and got it back

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One evening Session was meeting and a man entered the meeting. He had a facial feature a little different than some and I believe he was of a group of people that some are hard to deal with in the business world, you figure it out. If I say much more, I get in trouble. His name was Louis Becker. Louis drove an old car that should have been pulling a spare car, so if the front car broke down Louis could get in the spare car and continue on his way. Anyway, again, read between the lines.

Louis had a paper showing that he had purchased the church’s lot. The church was delinquent with a legal matter and the lot went up for sale. The church could buy the lot back for what

Louis paid in the foreclosure sale. Also, Louis wanted a receipt for a donation in the amount of the full cash value of the property. Session did not like his request of the receipt but if we got the lot back, we played by his rules. Some people make their living this way. Remember my description of Louis.

The lot had grown up with tall weeds before it was paved. If a kid wanted to skip church, he could have hid in the weeds and his folks never would have found him until he came out into the open. At this time, we had no church family that came by the lot on Monroe Street (the south of the lot). If they did, the weeds covered the Public Hearing sign. Becker got his information from a government office in Phoenix, went to the hearing, and bought the lot for the delinquent small sum.

Member Roy Christy was the chairman of the Board of Trustees. The church did not have a street mailing address, only a P.O. Box 96. The delinquent notice was sent to Roy Christy 10236 North 83rd Avenue, Peoria. Unable to deliver the notice, it was returned and the lot was sold as abandoned property and Louis took advantage of us.

Later the lot was paved so now we should live Happily Ever After. Over the past years, the church business has not been a fun time but the lot is ours now.

Categories: Newsletter

Christian Education News

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I have such exciting news to share! Sheila Kyer (aka: Emilie & Natalie’s Mom) has been promoted from Sunday School Teacher/Youth Leader to our new Christian Education Coordinator!

Sheila has been coming to PPC since Lizzie and Emilie have been in preschool; they’re 13 now! She became an official member a few years ago with her husband Keith, but had been an “honorary member” for years.

Sheila has helped with VBS for many years and has been helping me to plan and prepare a lot of it for the past 3 years. She’s also been teaching Sunday school for a few years now and has always been a big part of our youth activities. Sheila is a hard working crafty person who goes above and beyond for the youth and education of the church.

I appreciate Sheila and all of the Christian Ed staff so very much. They all work diligently to ensure our church youth have a great experience, both educationally and fun wise here at PPC. Without them I couldn’t be an effective director or teacher.

Thank you all for all that you do!

If you see Sheila around, congratulate her on the new title and say thank you to any of the Christian Education staff for their hard work as well.


Shannon Langston

Christian Education Director

Categories: Newsletter

Session News

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Again, there is not much news to report from the November Session meeting.

Church Treasurer, Donna Davis reported from January 1st to October 31, 2018. In the past, the month before December is a better month for income received as people want to catch up by the end of the year. Thank you Donna for your detailed report. It is always appreciated.

It was approved to take part in the Christmas Joy Offering, December 9th and 16th. It is to help financially retired ministers who’s pension was frozen years ago and inflation has set in.

The Clerk reported that the Session record books were examined on November 3rd in Chandler and were approved without exceptions.

The Pastor’s, the Treasurer’s, the Deacons’, and all committee reports were received. The next regular Session meeting is December 10th at 5:30pm.

Categories: Newsletter

Operation Christmas Child

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For the second year in a row the youth of our congregation participated in the Shoe box Minis- try – Operation Christmas Child. After a successful spaghetti dinner and media sale, 7 kids and 4 adults went shopping. Each of our youth were responsible for shopping for two shoe boxes with a specific age range and gender. They were reminded of the customs restrictions of no food, liquids or war toys. We are so proud of the thoughtfulness, care and consideration that went into the planning and packing of each box! Not only were they filled with practical items such as toiletry kits and school supplies, each child received a new hat,

a hand knitted stuffed animal, and toys or art supplies. The youth packed 14 boxes total, which is 4 more than last year. Additionally, they have set a new goal for next year of 25 boxes. Many thanks to the congregation for your support in helping our youth achieve their service project goals.

Shannon and Sheila

Categories: Newsletter

What is Per Capita

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Per Capita is a tax on every Presbyterian member. It is used for General Assembly, the Synod, and the Presbytery administrative expenses. The General Assembly is all of the Presbyterian churches in the United States. They Synod of the Southwest is all of the Presbyterian churches in Arizona and New Mexico. The Presbytery of Grand Canyon (ours) is all of the churches in the Phoenix area extending to the New Mexico line to the east, to the California state line to the west and to the Utah state line to the north. Southern Arizona churches are in the de Cristo Presbytery.

Our Church Treasurer, Donna Davis, will send a check in from the General fund to the Presbytery of Grand Canyon to cover this. Per member tax for 2019 is $36.25. If each member is able to pay their tax of $36.25, that will be a big help for the church’s treasury. But if one is unable to pay their tax, the church will cover the amount with no questions asked. We are fortunate that we do not have to go to Jerusalem to pay our tax as was in the Bible days. When paying your Per Capita Tax, mark your footnote “Per Capita Tax”, please. END OF SERMON

Categories: Newsletter

I Am Your Church Budget

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Through me, families are launched in marriage, persons are baptized, the young are trained in Christian character.

I provide a Church School and youth activities for children. I provide music to enrich your worship, preaching and pastoral services to help you live more nobly.

I heat and cool your church buildings and try to keep it in repair for your comfort and use. I do your custodial work.

I reach out to your community and country, preaching, teaching and healing in Christ’s name. I help train ministers in seminaries and I provide assistance to those who have retired after years of faith service to God in the church.

It is through me that the sick find spiritual strength, the troubled and discouraged are steadied. I go out into the world, preaching the Gospel in every language.

I carry God’s Word to every race and nation.

I am your church budget. Believe in me, support me, that I may carry on in your name. With your help I make possible all these services. As your budget, I am You at work.

Your contributions are my foundation.

I am your money, your prayer, your concern – -translated into action.

Categories: Newsletter

Ira Hayes, An Arizona Pima Native, A Marine WWII Hero

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Ira Hayes was born into a Presbyterian Family in Sacaton, Arizona, on the Pima Indian Reservation south of Chandler, east of now I-10 in 1923. In 1942 Ira joined the Marines and became a paratrooper, graduating from Parachute Training School in November 1942.

After several assignments fighting the Japanese, he helped capture Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima. Ira was one of the six Marines that raised the Stars and Stripes on Mount Suribachi on February 28, 1945. An AP photographer took the photo of the flag raising which became one of the most published front cover photos on magazines during the war.

One of the six Marines was Harlon Black who was killed on Iwo Jima in March 1945. (Remember this for more details later in the story).

Ira and two flag raisers were sent to Washington D.C. per President Roosevelt to promote the sale of war bonds to help pay for the war. People would recognize Ira and, “Come on, let me buy you a drink”. For several years an Indian could not buy alcohol. Like many white people, they could not hold the spirits but that did not stop them from using alcohol.

Ira was discharged from active duty December 1, 1945 and returned to the Pima Reservation and attempted to lead a normal civilian life. “I kept getting hundreds of letters, people would drive through the reservation, walk up to me and ask, “Are you the Indian who raised the flag on Iwo Jima?”. So use your imagination for the next gesture.” Ira rarely spoke about the flag raising, but talked more about his service as a Marine with great pride. Ira was bothered mentally about his buddies that never made it back stateside alive.

Ira was disturbed that Harlon Block was misrepresented in the flag raising photo with another name. He walked and hitchhiked 1,300 miles to Weslaco, Texas from the Gila River Indian Community to Edward Block’s (Harlon’s father) farm to reveal the truth about their son. The Blocks were grateful for Ira’s efforts. They and Ira were instrumental in getting the mistake resolved by the Marine Corps in 1947.

In 1949 Ira appeared as himself in the Sands of Iwo Jima with John Wayne. After this, Ira was unable to hold a job for a long period as he had become an alcoholic. He was arrested 52 times for intoxication.

Over 100 years ago the Gila River Pima Reservation farmed with water from the Gila river, which comes from the Arizona eastern state line with New Mexico and flows into the Colorado near Yuma. White man constructed Coolidge Dam southeast of Globe in 1924-1928 and dried up the farms on the Gila reservation. The tribe raised hay and grain, selling it to the U.S. Army Cavalry for their horses. The tribe was fighting for water so they sent Ira to Washington D.C. to represent the tribe for water. According to the movie “The Outsider”, Ira got drunk and missed the water appointment. Returning to the reservation the tribe disowned him because he had let the tribe down. Then he ran for tribal council and lost.

Now some Johnson history. My father and I had a family small dairy. We had a radio in the milk barn. Every morning at 6:15, station KOY called the Arizona Highway Patrol, M.C.S.O. and Phoenix Police for a night’s action report. One night in January 1955, on it was cold in the open milk barn. So cold the cows should have produced milk-cicles from their teats instead of warm milk. The news come on that Ira Hayes was found dead from exposer on the cold night in the Gila Reservation. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Sometime later, the surviving family members were sent to Arlington for the Memorial Day Services. Ira’s mother said, “This will be a better trip in warmer weather (May)”. Ira was buried February 2, 1955, and it was cold. “Ira did not like cold weather.”

I feel the movie title, “The Outsider” with Tony Curtis was a slap in the face for Ira’s survivors. Our church secretary, Kira, found about 20 pages on the life of Ira. Toward the end of the article on Ira’s life, the story dwells on his problem with alcohol and sometimes my mind drifts away from IRA, AS A MARINE HERO to the tribe’s “Outsider”. I look at the movie title meaning. Ira was a failure and was put outside of the tribe’s daily life. That is my opinion. Think about it.

In closing, I wrote this article about a Presbyterian family member, Arizona Native that served his country in World War II. For the surviving family members of Ira in both of the movies and the life story that Kira found on the computer, would it have been better not to make an issue of Ira’s alcohol problem?

The movie title “THE OUTSIDER”, leaves I my mind that Ira was socially disowned by the tribe. Even if it was true, what good does it do to list Ira’s faults. I would feel better to remember Ira as a WWII hero and not an alcoholic. And probably Ira’s family DID NOT need to be reminded of Ira’s downfall. That is my opinion. Think about it.

Ira, like thousands of other men and women, fought for the freedom that we enjoy. Many lost limbs or even their lives for the American people and it is appreciated today.

Categories: Newsletter