Thursday, October 27, 2011

Newsbrief: Behind the Scenes

Lots of things are happening behind the scenes.

This is an extremely busy season in the life of our church. Some of that work is very public (like the Pumpkin Patch!) and a whole bunch of it is happening quietly out of the limelight.

For instance, you may or may not know that our Restructure Team has been working for the last 10 months on rewriting our By-Laws. It is tiresome work, but crucially important. One of our major goals from Administrative Council this year was to rework our church structure so that we were organized in a way that better fit our ministry needs and opportunities. I am happy to tell you that those rewritten By-Laws are finalized and formally approved by the Administrative Council. You’ll hear a little more about it in the forthcoming edition of the Newsletter and from the recruiting phone calls of the Nominating Committee…

…which reminds me, the Nominating Committee is hard at work right now too! They have met, they have brainstormed their wish list, and they have even started asking folks to serve in certain positions. The big goal this year is not only to have a chairperson in charge of each of our Ministry Teams (including the new groups spelled out in the rewritten By-Laws), but in fact to have co-chairs for each Ministry. Big work indeed!

The Budget Team has begun laying the groundwork for 2012 and their task coincides with our Stewardship Campaign. We have several devoted church members pouring over the numbers and making plans for the future all the while celebrating the important ministry that happens right here at FCC Scottsdale. We’ll be kicking off the Stewardship Campaign this Sunday (with a great theme) and the official 2012 Budget will be submitted to Administrative Council at their November meeting.

Lots going on and lots of people to thank. My wholehearted thanks to the Restructure Team, the Nominating Committee, the Budget Team, our Stewardship Committee and everyone working so hard (and behind the scenes) to help lead our church into the future!

Yours in the journey, Rev. Brian

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Whiteboard: Ephesians 6:10-18

This coming Sunday is the day before Halloween, and I couldn't help but get into the the Whiteboard illustrates this week.

I'm straying from the lectionary this Sunday and instead we'll use Ephesians 6:10-18 as our guiding passage. In the season when everyone is putting on their costumes for Trick-or-Treating I thought it was a nice time to be reminded of those garments of faith that the Apostle Paul describes so beautifully for us.

Ephesians 6:10-18 reads as follows:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.
I'll see you this Sunday at First Christian Church!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Newsbrief: Indoor/Outdoor

We’ve had a change in plans.

This Sunday was originally scheduled to be the Outdoor Service, but we’ve had to move it inside for a laundry list of reasons that can best be summed up as…It is still too stinking hot to have worship outside!

So here is what we are going to instead. We’ll meet in the Sanctuary for worship and we’ll have the air-conditioning going, but I want you to come decked out in your best Outdoor Service apparel. I’m thinking Bermuda shorts and Hawaiian shirts, or sandals and a Fishing Hat, maybe sunglasses and a dollop of zinc oxide on your nose. Have fun with it! Come celebrate the Lord and help us to worship with our first Indoor (“pretending to be Outdoor”) Service!

You see, the church’s tradition recently has been to schedule to the Outdoor Service to coincide with the Children’s Sabbath. And we’ll still be observing the Children’s Sabbath (Sponsored by the Children's Defense Fund, the National Observance of Children's Sabbaths Celebration is a way for faith communities to celebrate children as sacred gifts of the Divine, and provides the opportunity for houses of worship to renew and live out their moral responsibility to care, protect and advocate for all children. Click here to learn more.). We will still celebrate our children, seek God’s guidance in helping them grow strong in the faith, and listen for the ways that we can boldly journey together into the fullness of the future that God envisions for us all. We’ll just do it in a little bit different way this year.

So come join us this Sunday at First Christian Church Scottsdale for our Indoor (“pretending to be Outdoor”) Service. Come decked out in your favorite outdoor duds…I’ve already got big plans for what I’ll be wearing! I’ll see you this Sunday in the Sanctuary.

Yours in the journey, Rev. Brian

Check it Out: Church World Service Video and CROP Hunger Walk

Check out this amazing new Church World Service video. Then scroll down to learn how to sign-up to support FCC Scottsdale's CROP Hunger Walk Team!

This year, the CROP Hunger Walk will take place on Sunday, November 13th. The website for the walk is and our team name is First Christian Church of Scottsdale.

To register, go to the walk website and click on "Register/Donate Online." Click "Sign up" on the next page and then "I want to JOIN a team!" Find our team in the list and click "Join Team." Enter and submit your information and you're ready to go!

If you're on facebook, be sure to "Like" or page (, too!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

From FCC Scottsdale's Open Air Market

Check out these great pics that Al Beasley got from our first ever FCC Scottsdale Open Air Market!

Each of the vendors paid an entry fee that goes straight to our Outreach Ministries here at First Christian Church. There were vendors with fresh veggies, fresh brewed coffee, beautiful arts and crafts,  and homemade candies along with face painting, raffles, and live music.

Monica, Bonnie, Adeline and Vern at the DWM booth.

Laverne (artist, vendor, Disciple, and co-chair of the Arizona Region's Global Ministries Team) waves to the camera. Special Note: The beautiful cross necklace I was wearing on Sunday morning came from Laverne's booth. Exquisite stuff.

Kay and the crowds at the Farmer's Market.

 Vikki, Carrie, and Lloyd enjoying some "old fashioned ground coffee."

Folks enjoying the shade on a warm day at the Outdoor Market!

Whiteboard: Children's Sabbath

This coming Sunday in worship we will observe the Children's Sabbath.

Copying straight from their website to make sure and get it right, "Sponsored by the Children's Defense Fund, the National Observance of Children's Sabbaths Celebration is a way for faith communities to celebrate children as sacred gifts of the Divine, and provides the opportunity for houses of worship to renew and live out their moral responsibility to care, protect and advocate for all children."

So on the Whiteboard this week you have my version of the Children's Defense Fund's amazing logo...along with the date of our Children's Sabbath worship service. 

We'll observe the Children's Sabbath with scripture readings, special prayers, and a sermon based on Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17 (where God is proclaimed as the dwelling place for all generations) and Matthew 22:34-40 (one of the first scripture lessons we teach our children -- Jesus' Great Commandment). 

For more information about the Children's Defense Fund and the Children's Sabbath please click right here.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Newsbrief: Camp DeBenneville Pines

Greetings friends!

I’ve spent the last four days away from the office, enjoying a little vacation time with my wife and son during Henry’s Fall Break.

It is nice to get away, recharge the batteries, reconnect with my family, and relax for a handful of days. I appreciate the church giving me this time off.

We’ve been at Camp Debenneville Pines – my wife’s denomination’s Church Camp Facilities in the mountains of California. We gathered there with some clergy friends of ours and their young families and have had a wonderful time being out in nature, enjoying community potluck meals, and unwinding in this beautiful environment.

I’ll be back in town late Thursday night and back in the pulpit on Sunday. I look forward to seeing you all then!

Yours in the journey, Rev. Brian

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Whiteboard: Global Ministries Sunday

This Sunday we will celebrate our first ever Global Ministries Sunday at First Christian Church Scottsdale.

Global Ministries is the joint ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ that focuses on nurturing relationships with international partners on behalf of Disciples and the UCC.

Several of us from the church attended a Global Ministries training even in Casa Grande back in the spring. There we learned about the incredible things that our church is doing all over the world through Global Ministries. You'll be amazed to hear some of the stories this Sunday, learn about some of the international partners we are working with, and hear about how you can be an even bigger part in this ministry. 

At that Training Event back in the Spring we were invited to participate in the first ever Global Ministries Sunday. And that is just what we are doing this coming Sunday at 10:15 in the sanctuary. There will be a special music (including guests playing the Philippine Gongs), prayers written by our international ministries, and a luncheon in the Fellowship Hall featuring African cuisine lovingly prepared by our own Seth Duhnke! 

Come and join us this coming Sunday for Global Ministries Sunday at First Christian Church. And if you want to learn more about Global Ministries in advance of our special worship service please visit their excellent website by clicking here.

Newsbrief: FCC Q&A

We’re trying something new this Sunday right after worship.

In our continuing efforts to share the story of First Christian Church Scottsdale, we are going to have a special session for visitors and friends to learn a little bit more about our church.

And we’re calling it FCC Q&A!

This Sunday right after worship I’ll lead a short session (about 20-minutes) right in the sanctuary for anyone who wants to learn more about our church. Letters have been sent out to recent visitors and folks who might be interested in hearing about our church’s mission work, denominational identity, and the unique things that make us the community of Christ that we are.

The FCC Q&A sessions are designed primarily for visitors and friends, but if there are members of the church who would like to stick around and learn something new about our beloved FCC Scottsdale then by all means hang out in the sanctuary after worship with us!

It will be a fun, casual time for us to welcome our visitors and get to know them a little better as they get to know our church. If there is somebody special you would like to invite to the session then feel free to pass on the invitation. And if this Sunday doesn’t work in your schedule, then don’t worry because we’ll be having these sessions on the first Sunday of each month!

Yours in the journey, Rev. Brian