Greetings to all in the Love of Jesus Christ:
I continue to be blessed as I travel to and from Disciples congregations in Arizona. I thought I’d share a few highlights from just the last three weeks.
I had the great privilege to present the “Honored Minister Pin” to two of our clergy who are retiring this month. Rev. Judy Stall has served as Outreach Minister at First Christian Church (FCC) Scottsdale for many years, helping the congregation serve their community in so many ways. We celebrated Judy’s retirement on May 7. One week later, I presented the pin to Rev. Bob Howard at Community Christian Church (CCC) in Tempe. Bob has served several congregations in Arizona and has also taught preaching to several of our clergy. Bob’s last Sunday will be May 28 and CCC will have a retirement celebration on May 21, which you are invited to attend. What a privilege to witness the love and service of these two longtime Arizona Disciples clergy!
On the way to CCC, I was blessed by an hour of worship music and prayer at Alfa y Omega. The theme of the music was asking God to fill us up with the Holy Spirit that we might be living embodiments of God’s love. It is also worth noting that the seven musicians and two speakers that led the worship were all under age 30. What a blessing!
The previous week was a week of contrasts. One day I had breakfast with Rev. Brett Winters, the new pastor at Sun City Christian Church, as we discussed his first six months and the exciting future of Sun City Christian Church. Then I had dinner with Rev. Liz DeWeese, who just announced that she has been called to serve a congregation in Nashville, TN, and has about six weeks remaining as pastor of First Christian Church in Mesa. It was a blessing to share time with two dedicated Christian servants at different stages in their life cycle of ministry.
I also experienced the contrasts in the life cycles of congregations. On Tuesday, I shared a good but sad evening at Coolwater Christian Church as we discussed the future of their congregation now that they have put their building up for sale. Members had difficult and honest conversations as they processed the challenges the congregation is facing. Then on Thursday, I was blessed to witness the first “campus meeting” led by Minerva, Dulce, and Ruben Guzman of Iglesia Dios de Segunda Oportunidad as they grow and develop their campus in Glendale. IDDSO partners with Family Promise, DEHP, Headstart, Arizona Faith Network’s “cooling center,” and another congregation to provide a variety of ministries in Glendale.
On May 6, I was blessed to be part of the Anti-Racism training in Spanish. Our uber-talented Regional Moderator, Rev. Pedro Ramos-Goycolea, co-led the training which included leaders from four of our six Spanish-speaking congregations. Pastora Minerva Guzman and her team at IDDSO were gracious hosts.
And speaking of gracious hosts, this three-week travel journey began with the Church Narrative Project at Foothills Christian Church. Rev. Bekah Krevens and her team were amazing hosts for this weekend event, providing dinner and lunch to about 50 participants and handling everything with their gracious smiles.
Mixed in throughout this three-week journey were multiple conversations with the leadership at Comunidad Limen and First Christian Church in Tucson, including their pastors Rev. Pedro Ramos-Goycolea and Rev. Ailsa Guardiola-Gonzalez, as they work to expand their ministries with migrants and with border issues. Along those lines, my experience in worship with Desert Dove CC, who hosted a guest speaker from the Tucson immigration welcome center, led me to a tour of Casa Alitas and their welcome center, seeing the first place migrants arrive in Tucson once they officially apply for asylum in the U.S. I am grateful for all that our congregations are doing to help address the humanitarian crisis at the border. You’ll hear more about this soon.
As I said, it has been a rich three weeks witnessing and sharing in the ministry experiences of the Disciples of Christ in Arizona. I am blessed to share in ministry with all of you, and I look forward to seeing you soon.
Dios les bendiga!
Regional Minister and President, Christian Church in Arizona
Regional Calendar of Weekly Prayers
Join in praying for our Arizona Disciples Congregations.
View the full calendar at azdisciples.org.
21 – New Church Ministry and the Pentecost Special Offering
28 – New Church Ministry and the Pentecost Special Offering
4 – Comunidad Limen Christian Church led by Pastor Pedro Ramos-Goycolea
11 – Alfa y Omega led by Pastor Elias Garcia
18 – Casa de Adoración Discípulos de Cristo led by Pastors Arturo and Janett Laguna
25 – Chalice Christian Church led by Interim Minister Vernon Mayer