Category: Newsletter

New Members

No Comments

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.

Kenneth P. Johnson

Clerk of Session

Categories: Newsletter

Happy Birthday Peoria Presbyterian Church

No Comments

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.

Ken Johnson

Categories: Newsletter

Session news

No Comments

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

April 12th.

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.


Ken Johnson

Clerk of Session

Categories: Newsletter

A Tribute to Tom Gilsdorf

No Comments

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.

-Gilsdorf Family

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?


Ken Johnson

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.

Mickey Gilsdorf and Family

Categories: Newsletter

Note from Pastor Terry

No Comments

An interim pastor has one overriding responsibility–to prepare the church for the coming of the next pastor. From the very beginning I have understood that I was not called here to be your permanent pastor I was here for the interim, to help strengthen the church and secure it for the immediate future. I think that’s happened. Finances have stabilized. Attendance is good. The staff is competent. The congregation, as far as I can tell, is content. We do have two looming issues. How do we grow or at least replace those who leave by inactivity, mobility or death? Ten years from now many of those sitting in the pews be worshiping in the church in heaven. And the second issue is the viability of the preschool. The Session has discussed these issues at some length.

At the December Session meeting I told the Session that as I contemplated my future here I had some thoughts. I felt “called”. What began as a “job” had developed into a “call.” A “call” means what the Lord requires of me. I asked Session just to hold on to that thought and we would have a fuller discussion about what that meant in the spring when it came time to renew my contract. At the March Session meeting with our presbytery representative Mary Lynn Walters attending, we had a good discussion about my ministry, about the church, and its future. The upshot of it all was that Session voted unanimously to extend my contract for another year. So I will begin my third year here in May. Let me say again that, as much as I love our church, I have never wanted to be your permanent pastor. I like the fact that you can give me sixty days notice and vice versa. It reminds everyone of my fundamental role–that I am an interim and together we are preparing for the coming of your next pastor.

So how long will I stay and when will the church begin the process of seeking a new pastor? The Session and I have had frank discussions about that. For now we have no time-table. I trust that you will know and that I will know when it’s “time.” I have always wanted to leave a church while I was still wanted. That’s healthy. Right now I feel energized, engaged, and very fortunate to be here. I believe God will reveal to us what’s next.

Categories: Newsletter


No Comments

Maybe I wrote about the Pepper tree some time back. If you read about the downed Pepper tree, skip over this and read better articles. If you have not heard about the Pepper tree, stay tuned.

Back, maybe 15 or 20 years ago, we had a Pepper tree in the church yard in front of the older part of the sanctuary and east of the railing and the flower bed.

I do not know where the name Pepper came from, whether the bark or the leaves were ground up for pepper. As far as I was concerned, the whole tree should have been ground up because it was dirty by constantly dropping leaves and causing me to work on the Sabbath. Sometimes we hear the excuse of working on Sabbath, “The ox got in the ditch”. Well, there was no ditch in the front yard for the tree to fall in but it still fell. Read on.

The Pepper tree was old and rotten to the core. It maybe was a transplant from Adam and Eve’s Garden of Eden.

The time was the first part of April. I happened to pass by the church on a Saturday evening about 9pm. The area had a windstorm earlier in the day and old faithful Pepper tree was not so faithful that day. As a matter of fact, Pepper turned out to be faithless. A majority of old faithful fell onto and broke the railing and covered the walkway to the front door. Even Tarzan would have had trouble to get through the downed timber. Even if Jane was inside waiting for Tarzan to join her for worship.

In April the sun is up by 6am or it is light enough to see. I loaded my gasoline powered chain saw and headed for the “woods”. The chain saw is LOUD. Across the street to the east where the garden plots are today, there were four small apartments. I was busy lumberjacking and a lazy sleepyhead yelled out, “Cut the noise out. We are trying to sleep.” I yelled back, “I need to clear the limbs so people can get to church after while.” The sleepyhead mumbled something. I was finished anyway. I hurried to load my saw, axe, gas, and got in the car before I had two black eyes. I did not dare invite him to worship or else I might have been responsible for his bad language, maybe. Anyway the timber is gone, the rail has been repaired, and the worshippers were able to get to the front door. I made it home in one piece and everyone lived happily ever after, except the sleepyhead across the street.

Categories: Newsletter

Billy Graham

No Comments

Leighton and Jeanne Ford were members of my church in Charlotte. Jeanne is the sister of Billy Graham and was an elder while I moderated Session. Leighton himself is a wonderful preacher, mentor to young pastors, and internationally known evangelist. Here is the article he wrote for “The Charlotte Observer” upon the death of his brother-in-law.

The Billy I Knew By Leighton Ford

In the early days of Youth for Christ all of us young preachers wanted to be like Billy– the star preacher with the stylish double-breasted gabardine suits, the flowery ties, the piercing blue eyes, the stabbing finger, the voice with a touch of Carolina thunder.

When he preached there was such power and passion and when he gave his invitation to come to Jesus always so many came forward. Almost always.

But not when he came to my home town in Canada to speak at our youth rally. The place was packed. His message was powerful. But when he invited people to the front no one moved.

I was so disappointed. We were sure all of our friends would respond. Billy saw my emotion, came over, put his arm around me, and said, “I am going to pray for you and if you stay humble God will use you.”

That night he also pointed me to Wheaton College where I met and fell in love with his sister Jean. On a cold December night in the old, old Calvary Church, he married us – with one slip of the tongue: he said we had exchanged “wings”! And I literally took “wings” as I preached around the world with him for thirty years.

He was as commanding a presence in person as in the pulpit. After one of his crusades he would come to the family home on Park Road. Mother Graham would serve her special Russian tea. And he would captivate us with his stories of where he had been and who he had met.

For years he was named as one of the world’s most admired men. Yet when he namedropped about famous people he’d been with he was like a farm boy in awe of where he had been and who he had met.

Now I think more now of the personal Billy, than the public one. To his family he was son and big brother Billy, and he showed in so many ways that he cared.

Jeanie was stricken with life-threatening polio in the epidemic summer of 194? Billy and Ruth had just arrived in Chicago for his first pastorate when he learned she was seriously ill. He immediately turned around and made the same long drive back to Charlotte to be with her

Our Debbie had a recurrence of breast cancer (from which she has fully recovered). At Mayo Clinic in Florida she was walking down a hall toward a test she feared might show the cancer had spread. Ahead she saw an old man sitting in a wheel chair. It was her uncle Billy. He was there for a checkup and had found out exactly where she would be. She ran to him, they hugged and cried, and he prayed. Later at his Montreal home she sat on his bed and said, “Uncle Billy, for me that was the best sermon you ever preached. It wasn’t you on a platform, me in the audience. It was you in a wheelchair. I in my fear. Both of us on the same level, with our needs.”

And he was human! Over the years he had many health problems, and he could be a bit of a hypochondriac. We joked that if he had a hangnail it could be a major threat! It was I suspect one way a public man could allow himself to be ordinary.

It’s been poignant to see this man who touched the world, spending his days in bed or in a wheelchair, unable to see or hear much. Yet when we stood by him and sang one of his crusade songs his lips would move in time with our song.

Some time ago I asked if, when God calls him home, he would like his sister to say something at his service. “I would be honored,” he slowly replied.

What would he like her to say? He paused, then slowly said, “He tried to do what he thought he should.” And what was that? In that subdued, aging voice, he said, “Preach the gospel.”

That is the Billy I knew. That is what he did. And that is what he lived.

Categories: Newsletter

Easter Breakfast

No Comments

Annual Easter Breakfast served by the youth, to support the youth programs. Join us for breakfast on Easter Sunday from 8:30-10:30am. Don’t worry – there will be plenty of bacon!

We will be raffling off 3 – $25 gift cards and 1 – $50 gift card as well! Raffle tickets are $1 a piece of 6 for $5. Put in as many tickets as you want to up your chances!

Pre-sale tickets will start March 4th – if you can’t make it, you can still support by purchasing a ticket. IF you don’t get a ticket – DO not worry, you are still welcome to join us and pay at the door! There will be plenty to go around!

Categories: Newsletter

Preschool news

No Comments

February was a busy month for our kiddos. We talked all about community help, transportation and of course friendship and love for Valentine’s. For Valentines we made Valentine hearts and talked about how much God loves us, and our love for family and friends.

March is another busy month. Spring is on the way and we will be doing a lot of science in the way of planting seeds to watch them grow along with more outdoor activities and enjoy this great weather. We will have wacky and crazy days with Dr. Seuss’s Birthday in March, so please keep a look out for information.

We are in the process of signing up with DES (Department of Economic Security) to start accepting children through DES. This is a great way to get some new enrollments and to get the word out about the preschool. Myself and Mrs. J have filled out all the paperwork, and took a couple of online training classes. We have worked with DES before and are familiar with the process.

Believe it or not we are planning for graduation and our summer program. We have families already singed up for our summer program, we are looking forward to another full fun summer. We had a new kiddo start this month, that now brings us up to 17 enrolled.

Thank you for your continued support and prayers for our preschool. A special thank you to Lynn Schell for her donations to the preschool. Every little bit helps to keep the preschool going and cost down.

Best Regards

Sunshine Tinker, Director

Categories: Newsletter

Annual egg hunt

No Comments

Please donate plastic Easter eggs and non-chocolate candy by 2pm on Saturday, 3/24 for our annual Easter Egg Hunt after church on Palm Sunday – March 25th. Note: we will Not be dyeing hard boiled eggs this year, so no need to donate any.

On Saturday, 3/24 at 2pm the youth and anyone who wants to join will be filling the plastic eggs with candy. Bring your tape! We’ll have some extra too! Kids will be practicing for the Palm Sunday palm processional Saturday as well, so make sure they’re there.

Categories: Newsletter