Lenten Greetings to all in the Love of Jesus Christ:
I hope and pray that you are all having a meaningful journey through Lent, as we journey with Jesus on his road to the cross. Unlike the first Disciples, we know that resurrection and Easter are coming. But let’s not let that knowledge prevent us from acknowledging the very real experience of suffering in our midst. After all, new life is only necessary when it is preceded by death.
As our congregations are preparing for Holy Week, our Regional ministry is preparing for several events coming up after Easter. Registration is now open for three events: the Disciples Women Spring Event on April 22, the Church Narrative Project on April 28-29, and Summer Camp for our youth and children. You will find all three registration links in this newsletter. While I am excited about all three of these, I probably most need to explain the new event – the Church Narrative Project.
We are excited to welcome our General Minister and President, Terri Hord Owens, and our Associate General Minister, Yvonne Gilmore, back to Arizona for our Church Narrative Project – and I hope you will join us. We will gather at Foothills Christian Church on Friday evening for dinner and a night of storytelling featuring 9 Arizona Disciples. Then we’ll reconvene on Saturday from 9:00-3:00 for a day of training on the Transforming Community Conferencing process. This outstanding training will help leaders in churches with visioning, consensus building, conflict resolution, and more. I hope you will join us. This is a free event but we are asking everyone to register here so we can appropriately plan for the two meals.
As a brief example: what is the narrative you know about the United States? Is it a nation founded on the principles of liberty and well-being for all? Is it a Christian nation? Is it a nation built on the backs of enslaved Africans on land that was forcibly taken from indigenous peoples? Is it a nation of immigrants? Or a nation hostile to immigrants? What is the narrative you tell about the United States?
Similarly, what is the narrative you tell about the church? About Disciples? What have you been taught about who we are? The Church Narrative Project is a bold attempt to construct a narrative of who the Disciples are and who we want to be, built from the ground up by including Disciples from all over the Church. We hope you will be a part of constructing our narrative.
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.
26 – Iglesia Dios de Segunda Oportunidad led by Pastor Minerva Guzman
2 – General Ministries and the Easter Special Offering
9 – Office of the General Minister and President and the Easter Special Offering
16 – Larkspur Christian Church led by Pastor Job Cobos
23 – Saguaro Christian Church led by Pastor Kelley Dick
30 – Sun City Christian Church led by Pastor Brett Winters
The Wild Women of the West (WWOW) are hosting a virtual Disciples Women Inter-regional event.
When: Saturday, March 26, 2022 (9:30 AM – noon)
Where: In a virtual space on Zoom and FaceBook live.
Why: To connect across regions and the world in a worshipful space of rest and community that lets us see all the ways God Makes the Impossible Possible!
What: We will explore what it means to have a faith that can move mountains through Bible study with small group discussions, conversations with a panel of global sisters, and an inspiring worship moment led by our own sisters from Mills Grove Christian Church.
How: Join us! For more information or to register, click here.
Greetings to all in the Love of Jesus Christ:
Human beings are made for relationship. Near the very beginning of the Bible, the author of Genesis offers these words from the mouth of God: It is not good that the human being should be alone. Human beings are made for relationship. One of the hardest things about the pandemic was the sense of isolation. “It is not good” to be alone; and we WERE alone.
BUT … thanks to the wide distribution of the vaccine, we are beginning to be together again. I have enjoyed traveling to congregations, seeing many of you, and worshiping in person again. And I am especially excited that we are planning some region-wide in person events for the fall. I hope to see you at one or more of these events, details and registration links you can find throughout this E-AZ.
- August 7: Our national Disciples Virtual Gathering. This is not in person, obviously, but a chance to get a taste of what General Assembly is like for those of you who have never been. Click here to register.
- September 10-12: Disciples Women’s Retreat in Prescott. Two days of worship, fun, and celebration. Click here to register.
- September 24-26: Arizona Young Adult Gathering in Scottsdale. Click here to register.
- September 30: Congregational Pastors trip to Nogales, Mexico to bake and break bread at the border. More information will be sent to congregational pastors in the coming days. Email Rev. Pedro Ramos-Goycolea to RSVP or for additional details.
- October 2: JUNTOS: a regional gathering! This will be our first full in-person event for the entire Region, all ages welcome. In addition to worship and lunch, a bulk of our time will be spent around tables building relationships and discussing substantial questions with other Disciples from around Arizona. We are celebrating the chance to be together by forming new friendships with our siblings in Christ. Click here to register.
After more than a year of “living alone,” may our Regional Gathering be a foretaste of the day when all nations will gather together in the presence of Christ.
Dios les bendiga!
Regional Minister and President
We invite you to pray for the following congregations in the months of May and June. Visit our Regional Calendar of Weekly Prayers for our annual list.
25 – Saguaro Christian Church, Sol Food Initiatives, & Pastor Kelley Dick
1 – Community Christian Church (Marana), & Pastor Dave Hedgepeth, as they just broke ground on a new Outreach Center
8 – Alfa & Omega, & Pastors Elias Garcia, Leonela Burgos, & Julieta Vera
15 – Desert Heritage Church, a united church of UCC & DoC, & Pastor Derrick Elliot
22 – FCC Scottsdale & Pastor Jenny Wynn, celebrating their recent decision to become an Open & Affirming congregation
29 – Chalice Christian Church as they enter a time of transition & Pastor Abigail Conley (and Matt) as she accepts a call to a congregation in Nebraska
COVID-19 Resources for Congregations
My Dear Sisters in Christ,
2020 has turned out to be a year of challenges and changes to the way we have lived life in the past. In March we postponed our Spring Event until a later date, not knowing that almost 3 months later we are still under quarantine. Our future in this time of pandemic is still hazy. When will we be able to gather in larger groups of people than 10, or even 50? With that in mind and for the concern about the health and safety of our women, we will not be meeting in person for our Fall Retreat in September. Instead, we have reimagined what Retreat could look like using a different format.
We will still be meeting on Friday evening, September 11th and on Saturday morning, September 12th but it will be online. At this time we are exploring how we will present this. We have a program planned out and are in the process of putting things together. Put the dates of September 11th and 12th on your calendar now. We will be sending out more information as soon as we have it all arranged.
This will be an amazing opportunity for women who have not attended in the past few years because they are unable to travel or cannot tolerate the altitude. What a blessing that will be to meet again with those we have been missing every year. This will also be an opportunity for anyone who has thought about attending Retreat in the past, but has been hesitant, to come and check us out!
Chapel Rock was very gracious and has moved our reservation to 2021, the same second weekend in September, September 10-12, 2021.
Look for more information sometime in July!
Peace and Blessings,
Linda Sexton, Disciples Women’s Ministry Coordinator
Disciples Women’s Ministry (DWM) Table
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REPORT ON THE GLOBAL MISSION BOARD PILGRAMAGE TO SRI LANKA AND INDIA
Submitted by LaVerne Thorpe, Global Mission Board Member
Allbyhand313@yahoo.com | 313-407-4951
First let me introduce myself, I am LaVerne Thorpe a long time Disciple woman. I have served in many ways within the church at all levels from the local, regional, national and international levels. From kitchen clean up and cook to representing the church at the world conference in Brazil and serving as Vice President of the International Disciples Women’s Ministries.
In 2018 I was nominated and accepted the call to serve on the Global Ministries Common Board. In that position I was honored to be invited to be a part of the Global Ministries Pilgrimage to Sri Lanka and India in September of this year. This trip is part of the kick off for the South Asia initiative to learn about our mission partners and to generate support for our Christian brothers and sisters in that part of the world.
I am available to share this information with you and your church in any format you require. Possibilities include a women’s meeting, during Sunday morning worship, or during the Sunday School hour or perhaps as a bible study. If this is something you would like to schedule feel free to contact me at 313-407-7951 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Pilgrimage started in Colombo Sri Lanka with the Church of the American Ceylon Mission. We were warmly greeted by Rev Sullivan, church leaders and members. The church leaders gave a presentation on the history of the church and an overview of the political situation in the country, the many mission efforts and their hopes for future projects. There have been dramatic consequences from the 2019 Easter Sunday bombings by unknown ISIS suicide terrorists that killed 290 and injured 500 people. Christians were targeted at the three churches, three hotels and two guest houses that were bombed on Easter Sunday in three cities. Many people have left because of fear of further violence. The church has to contend with real and dangerous religious discrimination in a mostly Hindu country. After the bombings the church has worked hard to initiate gatherings of inter-faith groups to promote peace and the freedom of religions or beliefs and the rights of all persons. In spite of the challenges the church is thriving and serving the communities with day care centers, career training centers, efforts to prevent human trafficking and homes for orphan children. I am truly impressed with the scope and breadth of the church’s mission work. In light of the hardships they have faced from a painful church split, religious discrimination, racial discrimination and fallout and fear resulting from the recent bombings they are serving the needs of their communities in meaningful ways in 67 churches and church centers. They are determined to heed and follow God’s word to “feed my sheep” and to be peacemakers.
The next leg of our pilgrimage took us to New Delhi, India and to the Church of North India. We were again greeted warmly by the church leaders and members. We were in time for a morning worship service and served tea and cookies after service. We were give an in depth overview of the church history, goals, mission work and challenges via a power point presentation. In 1970 six churches, the Council of Baptist churches, the Church of the Brethren, Disciples of Christ, the Church of India, The Methodist Church and the United Church of Northern India all joined together to form the church of North India. The church currently has 27 dioceses. Being a minority religion in a Hindu country they also have huge problems with discrimination and persecution. It is not unheard of for Christians to be martyred for their faith in horrible ways. Over a period of several months in 2008 hundreds of Christians were killed, houses burned and women were raped for refusing to denounce Christianity in favor of Hinduism. This practice has decreased but it has not stopped. Another huge issue the church is working with is human trafficking. They have several programs to educate people about this crime and also try to stem the tide of people being pulled into modern day slavery. Recovery efforts are also done when possible to rescue persons trapped in slavery. The church also operates a hospice, a health and wellness program, a school of theology that has trained 430 evangelists, a strong women’s program, job training and a comprehensive youth program. Again this church is also heeding God’s word to “feed my sheep” and to be peacemakers.
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DWM Pray and Play Spring Event
Join us as we explore Acts 2:42-47 through play and prayer
Saturday, April 27th 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
First Christian Church, Tucson
740 E. Speedway Blvd.
Cost $25.00 Lunch included Registration is open
Registration Deadline is APRIL 23rd.
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2018 Women’s Retreat
September 7-9, 2018
Chapel Rock Retreat Center, Prescott, AZ
Keynote Speaker: Rev. Katie Sexton, Coolwater Christian Church
Registrations are due August 20, 2017
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Register ONLINE Today!
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