Author Archive for pbyoffice

Justice in Education for Our Children

What are children concerned about at the beginning of the school year? Some worry if they will like their teachers, while others worry if they or their mothers will be subjected to violence during the night, and the next day be unable to concentrate during class. Some worry about finding friends, while others worry that they will be homeless or even if they will have dinner.

Children who are exposed to traumatic situations, including drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, poverty, neglect, domestic violence, etc. often have parents who are barely surviving, and who have little ability to nurture their children.

Roughly 30% of Arizona children have experienced at least two adverse childhood experiences—the highest rate in the nation. (source: Moving the Needle Series, May 5, 2019, The Arizona Republic)

Schools are working diligently to overcome the severe problems children bring to school but Arizona has the smallest ratio of school counselors to students in the country. Some schools have excellent resources, while in others children are falling through the cracks.

The good news is Arizona has excellent prevention programs—such as Healthy Families Arizona, the Nurse-Family Partnership, and Parents as Teachers—that help at-risk parents better support their children from birth. As mentioned in the Arizona Republic article, multiple studies have shown that Arizona’s early childhood programs “produce life-changing results that last for years.” But will our legislature replace the $3 million in funding that the federal government is taking away this fall from Healthy Families? 

Opportunities for Action

*Recognize that strengthening families is less expensive for us than dealing with the consequences when they fall apart.

* Learn about the voter-initiative First Things First, that funds a range of programs for parents, and perhaps staff a helpline or promote quality preschools and daycare facilities.

*Ask about volunteer programs at schools where you can help connect kids and parents with community role models (you?)

*Provide food at curriculum nights to boost attendance.

*Offer to volunteer at these agencies and at schools. They may have just the spot for you.

*Remember that children’s brains develop the most before they even begin school, Encourage parents to read, talk and experience activities with their children. Offer to mentor a family.

*Speak with your legislators about funding for vital programs. 

Joan Fenton

BIG EVENT Registration is Open NOW

Choose from over 20 Workshops!

Migrations – Immigration, Emigration, Oh Why?
Rev. Leslie Vogel, PCUSA Liaison for Guatemala and Mexico
What are the factors pushing and pulling Central Americans toward the U.S.?  How is the U.S. government responding and in what ways does that contrast with the actions of U.S. church people and community groups? How can we, as committed Christians, respond to our sisters and brothers migrating from Central America and other parts of the world? How is the PCUSA as a denomination – and how are the Presbyteries of Grand Canyon and de Cristo – addressing these and other concerns?

The Church isn’t Dying, it’s Leaving the Building
Rev. Alison Harrington and Tucson YAVs

Worried that the church is dying? Join this panel discussion with alumni of the Tucson Borderlands Young Adult Volunteer program to talk about where they saw and served God during their year of service. Hear stories about how these young adults connect with their faith in community, at work, through social movements, and in many other ways. Get a different view of church, and chime in with your own!

“When ‘It’ Hits the Fan: Moderating a Meeting When Tensions Rise”
PGC Reconciliation Team
As conflict mediators, we are sensitive to the factors that predicate a meeting meltdown. Out of that experience, we will share a few principles and practices for staying cool, clear, and connected when a session, congregational, or committee meeting gets intense. We will demonstrate how to structure conversations to encourage calm, open communication so that the issue at hand can be identified, addressed and potentially resolved.

 A Clerk’s Toolkit: Clerk of Session Training (Two hours)
Stated Clerk Bob Schulz, Jeanette Miller
What is the job of the Clerk of Session?  Topics will include anything in the Handbook with emphasis on those items that generated the most questions over the last year.  Questions on reading minute reviews will also be addressed.  Clerks of session will be polled, asking for specific topics for discussion during the training session.

Migrant Hospitality
Dan Abbott, University Presbyterian Church
Churches along the border with Mexico are being flooded with asylum seekers who, having been interviewed and released by Homeland Security, are on their way to sponsors’ communities across the country. The Presbyterian Church has a remarkable opportunity to demonstrate how people of the Word, specifically Matthew 25, reach out to the frightened, the traumatized, and the marginalized at this moment in our border history. We will examine the reality of the situation, the demands on people of faith, and the possible responses available to Presbyterians.

Understanding Privilege – Why it matters and how to cultivate best Practices in your Faith Community                                                                                                    Rev. Erin Tamayo      Many of us lament that Sunday morning continues to be the most segregated hour of the entire week.  Presbyterians have dedicated much effort to racial reconciliation, gender and cultural justice as well as antiracism training.  However, until we understand the concept of “privilege” in its various forms, and work to dismantle these systems, we will continue to find well-meaning people contributing to inequities and injustice.

Farm Worker Issues                                                                                
Phebe Packer, Peace and Justice Network
In the food production chain today, some of the hands that bring our food to the table are hidden.  In the United States today there are between 2.5 and 3 million farm workers.  Based on their experience in Arizona and other states, our presenters will describe the issues and challenges facing farm workers today.

Taking Action on Hunger: Engaging Youth and YOU!
Tamara Zivic, WHEAT Advocate
Hunger continues to be a major problem for people across our country.  This workshop will provide updated information on hunger in Arizona and will focus on ways that we can make a difference.  In particular, participants will learn about the Cents-ability funds and how to apply for funds for projects in your congregation that directly serve the hungry.

An Introduction to Financial Peace University
Rev. George Saylor and Dirk Van Dyke, Emmanuel Presbyterian
Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University is a Christian stewardship program for churches and their members and is an effective vehicle for meeting and serving neighbors outside the church.  The course lasts nine weeks.  Each week begins with a video presentation, followed by small group discussion.  Workbook lessons lead into the lesson weeks 2-9.   Marriages are strengthened, and anyone can benefit. Most congregations see higher and sustained rates of giving from FPU participants.

 Restoring Hope – How the church can prevent suicide                                                     Hilary Cummings, M, Ed
Suicide rates are climbing dramatically each year particularly among our young people, ages 15-24.  Yet, suicide is preventable, and the church family can help.  Building a care ministry to provide suicide prevention education and intervention skills training is an essential component to providing mental health help in our communities.  We all can help one another and ourselves with awareness, knowledge and compassion.

The Blessings and Challenges of Cross-Cultural Ministry
Clergy & leaders from cross- cultural congregations
Leaders from congregations involved in cross-cultural ministry will share and discuss some of the special opportunities, gifts and challenges these ministries experience.  Come to learn what is happening in some of our churches and to gain insights into how to bring cross-cultural ministry into your church.  Learn what it’s like to have a congregation with members drawn from nearly a dozen countries; or another with bilingual services; and yet another with Native American, Hispanic and Anglo members sharing in worship and service.  Share your own experiences, questions and insights.

Faith that Works – Service and Worship Together
RuthAnn Smithrud – Local Outreach Director – St. Andrew’s
Imagine the giving and receiving, the friendship and fellowship, the partnerships and spiritual growth, if a few times a year, instead of attending a Worship Service, you attended a Service Worship! What would happen, if in every month that has five Sundays, you set aside the 5th Sunday, and in place of regular worship services, you offered a wide variety of opportunities for service in your community for everyone in your congregation? Come find out how to put faith into action and glorify The Lord in your community!

Integrating Camp practices into the every-day life of your church                
Kellie von Borstel, Montlure Director
Montlure has embarked on a 3-year initiative, intentionally exploring sabbath practices at camp. With support of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, we have adopted five specific practices in order to help campers and staff find rhythms of rest in their life, amidst an anxious world. Come find out more about these sabbath practices and the ways your church, your youth group, or your faith community can embody these practices throughout the year. From concepts and ideas, to practical resources, we would love to partner with your community in the practice of spiritual formation.

Congregational Leader Workshop for Healthy Pastors Healthy Congregations- 2 parts
Rev. Clayton Cobb, Board of Pensions
Aimed at key Congregational Leaders (Pastors, personnel and finance elders, Clerks, and other key Session leaders) for those congregations that have enrolled in the Healthy Pastors Healthy Congregation program with the Board of Pensions.  (Those congregations and pastors wishing or are interested in enrolling in the program are invited, but need to bring the appropriate leadership in order to fulfill the program requirements.) For more information see:

 Vacation Bible School – Making A Big Impact On A Small Budget
Shannon Langston and Sheila Kyer, Peoria First
Starting a Vacation Bible School program can seem daunting. Where do I find the kids? Where do I find the money? How much money do I need? Do I even have enough money? Where can I find curriculum or resources to best fit my group and size? These are all questions that run through the minds of even the most seasoned VBS Directors and planners. Let’s add in, “I’ve planned for 60 kids, but what if we only have 35 kids show up?” We will walk you through all of these questions, planning timelines, the all-important budget question and more!

Pastor Finances 101
Rev. Clayton Cobb, Board of Pensions
Learn the basics of personal budgeting, as well as the varied benefits offered by the Board of Pensions that can help pastors address debt, increase their savings, and defray taxes and healthcare expenses.  It will also offer an overview of the Minister’s Education Debt Assistance and the Healthy Pastors Healthy Congregations Programs.

Sunday School Planning and Curriculum For the Small Church
Shannon Langston, Peoria First
Sourcing, choosing and implementing Sunday School curriculum that follows our Reformed tradition beliefs and engages our youth is a fine balance. It can be especially difficult in smaller churches with only a couple of classes with a mixture of ages. Choosing curriculum that will engage the older youth, and everyone in between is a big challenge. Learn some insider tips and ideas on how to help bridge that gap and make sure every child gets spiritually feed with the love and knowledge of our Lord.

Creative Use of Media in Worship
Rev. Steve Melde, Christ Presbyterian, Tucson
Integrating visual technology to enhance the worship experience. Making sermons and meditations come alive!

 Matthew 25 Initiative                                                                             
Rev. Rene Meyers, PC(USA) Mission Agency
Based on the General Assembly’s call to live into Matthew 25 as a church, the Presbyterian Mission Agency has established 3 focus areas for our work: eradicating systemic poverty, dismantling systemic racism, and building vital congregations.  René Myers, Mission Engagement Advisor, will discuss how we are living out the answer to, “When did we see you hungry…” and how we are working together to eradicate systemic poverty.

 Covenantal Restoration 
Phebe Packer and members of the Peace and Justice Network
Racism and oppression have a long and painful past and present. They are an open, aching human wound that reflects a fracture in our relationship with God. Understanding how this wound was promoted and is still alive and acting out in the construct of our beliefs and systems and structures is the beginning of restoration. This workshop feature one of the 12 films in a series developed by The Work of the People ( a great resource for congregations to use as they strive toward greater understanding and how to move toward God’s dream for humanity. Materials will be provided describing the full series and how it can be obtained.

Monastic Practices for Presbyterians: Staying Put, Listening Well, Being Changed by God                                                     Rev. Rachel Srubas, Mountain Shadows Presbyterian Church
For the past few decades, Presbyterians hungry for a deepened spiritual life have been retrieving practices that the historic Protestant Reformers trashed when they abolished monasteries. Monks (especially Benedictines) can teach us a lot about getting grounded in Christ and open to change—in our souls as well as our society. Presenter Rachel Srubas is a Presbyterian pastor, oblate (non-monastic affiliate of the Benedictine Order), and the author of two books on Benedictine spirituality. Join her for a lively introduction to monastic promises and practices that foster the faith even of people who will never be monks. Books will be available for purchase.

Community Ministry: Creating Connections Beyond Church Walls
Revs. Kristin and Brandon Willett
Most churches want to serve the wider community, but often find that most of their ministry targets those who are in their pews. Learn tips on how to create spaces within the community to minister to the wider population. Kristin and Brandon served PC(USA) congregations for 10+ years before stepping into the role of starting a new worshiping community in Anthem, AZ. Come learn from their last 2 years in this new ministry.

The Book of Confessions: A Source of Life for the Church                     
Rev. Gale Watkins, Westminster Presbyterian
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has a great treasure called the Book of Confessions. The purpose of this workshop is to gain access to this treasure so that it can be a source of life for members, leaders, and congregations. We will survey the confessions themselves, resources that can help us understand them better, and ways that can be put to use in the life of the church.

Stephen Ministry for the Health of the Congregation                                                                Gee-Gee Smith
What is Stephen Ministry and how can this contribute to the health of a congregation? Valley Presbyterian (Green Valley) explains their structure, who they serve and how has this helped the congregation overall  If you are considering a SM program for your congregation, this will be a helpful perspective in your considerations. If you have a SM program that is struggling, we may have ideas to help you grow. And if you have a strong SM program, we would like to hear what is working for you!

Starting and Maintaining a Food Pantry
Alice Smedley, Trinity
The workshop will cover ways and reasons for starting a Food Pantry.  We will discuss the physical space required for setup and the organizational chart required to keep the program running smoothly.  There are many avenues to explore for providing the food that can be given out at the pantry.  Your knowledge and input can form the bases for a food pantry at almost any location.

Translating the Alphabet Soup of Estate Planning
Maggie Harmon, Presbyterian Foundation
CRT, RMD, QCR, DPOA, CLT, RLT, DAF – what does it all mean? And more importantly what do you really need to know to help church members with the elderhood planning and philanthropic goals? In this workshop, Maggie Harmon, Ministry Relations Officer from the Presbyterian Foundation and attorney with over a decade of estate planning work, will translate the acronyms, explain how different estate planning tools fit together, and provide examples of how these can be used to help individuals meet their goals during their life and beyond.

2019 Registration form-FINAL

Mission Priority Grant Applications available now

Call for Mission Priority Grant Applications Through The Congregational Resourcing Team (CRT):

Your mission giving makes a difference; not only far away, but right here in the Presbytery of Grand Canyon.  As congregations fulfill their mission pledge commitments, a portion of these monies goes toward grants to support mission projects for congregations and faith groups of the Presbytery. The generosity of congregations in mission giving makes it possible for the Mission Priority Grants to be awarded.

The Congregational Resourcing Team is now accepting applications for this summer’s round of Mission Priority Grants. Grant applications will be received until July 15, 2019. Grants will be awarded in August.

The application form may be found on the Presbytery of Grand Canyon’s website under the Congregational Resourcing tab. Click on the link to download a copy of the application.

Please look at the first page of the application to see what qualifies as a Mission Priority Grant through the Presbytery.

For further information or if you have questions, contact:

Terry Palmer, Mission Priority Grant CRT Sub-Committee Chair at: or Shannon Langston, CRT Chair at:

MP Grant Application – 6_1_19

International Peacemaker coming to Phoenix

The Peace and Justice Network uses its grant funding for multiple activities, including hosting an International Peacemaker each year.  Last year, we were honored to host Mary Mikhael from Syria.  Mary spoke at multiple events throughout her visit and approximately 517 participants heard her message in various forums.

This year we will host Thang Van Lian from Myanmar in late September. He will speak about the Rohingya crisis, the current civil war on ethnic minority groups, the silence of the Myanmar churches and what a faithful response of Christians and the Christian church might look like to a humanitarian crisis such as the one being faced in Myanmar today.

Native American Presbyterian Women’s Conference

“Anchored in Faith”



~JULY 12-14, 2019~

A three-day event located near the Puget Sound in the state of Washington! Please join us on the Port Madison Indian Reservation in Suquamish, WA at the Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort! We welcome you to this momentous occasion to reflect upon and celebrate women’s roles in society and how to grow and continue our walk in faith with Jesus Christ!


2232 E. 28th St.

            TACOMA, WASHINGTON 98404

Please contact: Reverend Irvin Porter at (cell) 253-740-7180 / Danelle McKinney at / Donna Bradley at or April Paddock at

Anchored In Faith

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain” –Hebrews 6:19

Registration form 2019

An appeal for help from Border Ministries (REVISED)

My Dear Christian Brothers and Sisters,

In John 21:15-17, Jesus asks Peter three times if Peter loves him. Each time Jesus tells him to care for and feed his sheep. Jesus is our shepherd. We are his sheep. In the case of these displaced humans, seeking asylum from gangs and oppression, we are Peter and have been called to feed the sheep. The need at our border is real.  In addition to praying for a safer and better life for the migrants and their families, we are being called to feed God’s sheep.

The Congregational Resourcing Team (CRT) of which I am a member, has given us full backing—–not just for this one time, but as ongoing work. We need continued humanitarian efforts and prayers for our brothers and sisters, who are trying to make better lives for themselves and their families.

My hope is that you can collect these supplies from your congregations starting as soon as possible. Please contact me at   when you’d like us to pick up the items.We originally planned to take everything to Douglas on the weekend of June 8-9. We found that we needed more time, so have changed our trip date to the weekend of June 22 and 23. We welcome others to make the trip with us, in celebration of the season of Pentecost, and the birth of our Christian Church. What better way to celebrate Christ than continuing his ministry?

Many Blessings,

Teri Conrad, CRT Member      Shannon Langston, CRT Chair

Items Needed:








Bars of soap

Diapers in many sizes

*Underwear for *children and adults

*Socks for *children and adults

Shoes for children and adults

Toilet paper



Trash bags

Feminine hygiene supplies

*Cleaning supplies – of all kinds

*Cleaners – like Fabulosa

*Laundry soap


Coloring books


Books in Spanish




* = Items most in need of right now

With exception of deodorant, they need large volume packages, not the individual containers you get at hotels. These supplies will help the asylum seekers, who are waiting for a place in line. The are currently staying in a crowded Catholic shelter.

Thank you for your generosity.

Mission Priority Grant Workshop

The next opportunity for Mission Priority Grant awards will be August 2019. The application deadline is July 15th.

To help congregations prepare, the Congregational Resourcing Team will host a Grant Writing Workshop

When: Saturday, June 1st at 9am – 1pm
Please arrive between 8:35-8:45am to check-in.
There will be refreshments and light snacks provided prior to and throughout the workshop.

Where: Memorial Presbyterian Church, 4141 E Thomas Rd. Phoenix, AZ 85018

To help walk you through the grant application process-what qualifies for a grant, how to address each question and how to strengthen your application, the CRT Grant Sub-Committee members will be leading this workshop.

Applications will be made available online on May 17th on the Presbytery website, as well as a hard copy to the workshop participants the day of.

There are 3 general Mission Priority Grant qualifications:

  • Congregational Development and / or Collaboration Among Congregations:
    • Congregational development includes both programmatic and leadership development that help churches gain clarity, purpose, focus, energy to fulfill God’s call to them. Most of this development work must come from within a congregation, its members and leaders.
  • Starting New Worshiping Communities:
    • We affirm God’s continuing call to this mid-Council of the Presbyterian Church that growth in the membership and mission of our part of the body of Christ can and needs to happen, in part, by adding more worshipping communities. However, the most promising energy in recent years has come from people with a passion for this work, coupled with the commitment of one or more congregations to nurture and support.
  • Supporting Regional Programs:
    • Regional programs will support existing congregations and Presbytery sponsored organizations in their serving or nurturing the faith development of its members. Examples of programs include: Montlure Camp, UKIRK, and the Arizona Faith Network.

Mission Priority Grants are grants funded from the Presbytery’s Mission Pledges. Since October of 2017, we have been able to fund $158,800 out of $359,275 in application requests.

Click here to register for this workshop
by May 29th

If you have any questions please let us know. We hope to see you there!


Shannon Langston
Chair, Congregational Resourcing Team
Presbytery of the Grand Canyon


“With God all things are possible “

– Matthew 19:26

Presbyterian Women/Synod Fall Gathering



Toll free: 886-737-5751 Office Phone: (520) 744-3400; FAX: (520) 744-8021; Website:

7101 West Picture Rocks Road, Tucson, AZ 85743-9645
Click here for REGISTRATION form

Send registration form and make payment to:

Presbyterian Women Synod Southwest
Susan Keil-Smith, 3813 Inca St NE
Albuquerque, NM 87111

From Foster Care to Trafficking, Children at Risk: Pentecost Offering

The practice of child sex trafficking has grown into a massive industry. Professional traffickers know where and how to find vulnerable victims. In the United States, that often means preying on children involved in the child welfare system. (source:

In 2015, California Attorney General Kamala Harris reported that 59% of children arrested on prostitution-related charges in Los Angeles County had previously been in foster care. According to Dr. Gerald Mallon, children in care have an increased susceptibility to being manipulated by false promises of security and acceptance.

Another author, Withelma Pettigrew writes: “[Children] who grow up in foster care express how it is common household knowledge that many caregivers take them in primarily for the paycheck…Therefore when youth are approached by traffickers…they don’t see much difference between their purpose of bringing money into their foster home or to traffickers.”

According to statistics from the OL Pathy Foundation, 75% of all child sex  trafficking victims were at one point homeless, and 1 in 3 homeless teens are lured into commercial sex trafficking within 48 hours of leaving home.

Running away from home is not the only pathway to homelessness for foster children. 22% of youth who “age out” of the system end up homeless. Between 1999 and 2013, a staggering 230,000 youths were discharged from foster care in the U.S.

Approximately 25 states and the District of Columbia have extended foster care to age 21. Arizona did not extend foster care as of November, 2018, but may allow some extended services for housing and educational assistance. Most youth in Arizona, however, do not receive these services.

Opportunities for Action

  • Ask your Arizona representatives to pass The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act, which would allow our state to receive federal reimbursement of costs associated with helping youth remain in foster care.
  • Become a member of and familiarize yourself with ECPAT-USA’s programs that combat child sex trafficking.
  • Most parents charged with neglect do not desire to hurt their children, and are rarely malicious. Child traffickers, however, are. Encourage and redirect Arizona’s efforts away from foster care and toward preventive, family preservation services. Offer to mentor and provide support to parents within your congregation and community.
  • Learn to recognize and report signs of trafficking.
  • Request that policy makers, case workers and foster parents be required to educate foster children on the risks of trafficking, and for them to be aware how to handle encounters with traffickers.
  • Use your congregation’s portion of the Pentecost Offering for programs that help at-risk children.


Joan Fenton

Older Adult Ministry in a Changing Era

Major demographic changes are taking place in our society.  This provides both challenges and opportunities for today’s churches.  Several articles in this issue of PNN share insights on some of the opportunities that folks are addressing:
· MEMO from Membership by Linda Rauenbuehler
· NEXT Church Gathering by Quentin Holmes
· A Renewed Approach to Aging: Wise Eyes – Fresh Eyes by Michele Hendrix
· Addressing the Challenges of Aging Well in a Remote Location by Lynnette Wood

Other articles in this issue include:
· We Just Wanted to Serve Our Neighbors A Bowl of Soup! by Carrie Macaluso
· A Contemplative Article by Wesley Lachman

Click here to download and read the complete Spring PNN.