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Preparations for The Desert Harvest Festival on Oct. 28th are moving into overdrive.  Laura Ward of Tenth Generation Farm in Apache Junction is bringing her team of Clydesdales to plow the new chile field during the Festival. The Farmer's Market has added a hydroponic produce grower and CSA (Community Shared Agriculture), along with a free range poultry and egg producer and and a pumpkin patch.  Two chile producers, will be displaying and selling with powder, roasted chiles, chipotles, and chile jellies. and lots more.  Not to mention a chile cook-of, an ice-cream truck a hot dog truck, and continuous live music!  More news to come. Watch this space!!!

A group of indomitable painters from Transfiguration recently ventured into the heart of Phoenix and transformed a dirty, dated classroom at Refugee Focus into a space that is welcoming and conducive to learning. Thanks to Pat Gutsch, Craig and Heidi Kinney, Eileen Halladay, Jan and Bob Saik, and Lee, Cheryl and Dea Podhajsky who constituted our paint crew. A special thanks to Pat who took on the task of turning a hideous mural into a magnetic blackboard. The classroom that was painted is used for teaching basic English and literacy skills to refugees from many countries. Conflicts, war, attempted genocide and other acts against humanity are the source of refugees. Worldwide there are over 16 million refugees and less than 1% will ever be resettled. Of that 16 million about 80% are women and children.

The Episcopal Church has served immigrants new to the U.S. since the late 1800s, when the Church opened port chaplaincies to minister to sojourners on both coasts. In the 1930’s, local parishes collected donations to provide steamship passage for those fleeing Nazi Europe. Out of this effort, the Presiding Bishop’s Fund for World Relief was born, the forerunner organization to Episcopal Relief & Development and Episcopal Migration Ministries. Through the mid- and late 20th century, this agency partnered with other faith organizations to resettle those oppressed by the Iron Curtain and the genocides of Southeast Asia. In the 1980’s Episcopal Migration Ministries was formally established and established partnership with a network of affiliate agencies, including Lutheran Social Services which is the sponsoring agency for Refugee Focus. Today Episcopal Migration Ministries is one of only nine national agencies through which all refugees enter the United States.

The Episcopal Church’s commitment to this ministry is rooted in the book of Mathew and also in the Baptismal Covenant which includes these words, “Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?”

In the book of Mathew it is written:

35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Herberger Theater                                   

On Tuesday, June 20, 2017 a group from Transfiguration attended the Herberger Theater to see 29-Years For 13-Seconds: The Injustices of Justice.  This gripping play chronicles the life of Vance “Duke” Webster, who served 29 years in prison for a 13-second crime he witnessed as a teenager. He refused to cooperate with the district attorney (honoring the “no-snitching code”) and was given a life sentence. The play, however, is less about his time in prison and mostly a snapshot of his belief that prisons are filled with “good kids” whose lives are shaped by good parents who, unfortunately, make and model bad choices.   This one-act play chronicles his journey.

Bashas Western Art Museum

On Tuesday, July 25, approximately 19 members from Transfiguration visited Basha Western Art Museum which is located in Chandler.  This museum is free to all and shouldn’t be missed if you enjoy Native American and Western art. The collection contains over 3,500 pieces of art including paintings, sculptures, and baskets.  Eddie Basha grew up captivated by the American West. In 1971, Eddie began collecting art. His hobby grew into an inspirational passion, combining his keen interest in the history of the American West, his admiration of the American Indian and his appreciation for art.  His collection is one of the largest private collections of contemporary Western American and American Indian art in the world.     Afterward the musum all of us had a great time and went to lunch.  The picture includes many of the people who joined us for lunch.  We hope that others will join us on future church outings.

Hale Theater

On Saturday, June 3, a group from Transfiguration saw the performance of Aida at the Hale Theater in Gilbert. Winner of four 2000 Tony Awards, Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida is an epic tale of love, loyalty and betrayal, chronicling the love triangle between Aida, a Nubian princess stolen from her country, Amneris, an Egyptian princess, and Radames, the soldier they both love. We thoroughly enjoyed the performance and then went to Joe’s BBS for dinner.  What a great time we had!

Diamondbacks Game

On Friday, August 25, a group from Transfiguration attended the  Diamonback vs the Giants game at Chase Field.  We were joined by other members of the diocese for Family and Faith Night.  There was a post-game concert featuring the Newsboys.

If you have any ideas or suggestions about places that we could go as a group please share them with Jan Saik.  We hope more of you will join us during these events.  It’s a great time to relax and to enjoy others from our church community.

Blessing,    Jan Saik

Altar Guild

According to an article in the National Altar Guild Association, Altar Guild in the Episcopal Church began in the late 19th century as a natural outgrowth of what had been from the beginning, an exclusively male world. In our earliest days of the church, followers of the church gathered in private homes to break bread together and share their memories of Christ.  Presumably the head of the household provided whatever was required for the meal. As Christians multiplied and gathered in larger buildings, certain people were given the task of caring for these places, while the worshipers provided the meal. By the fourth century the parochial ministry of today, a local Christian family, had become established.

For hundreds of years thereafter certain leaders (later referred to as clerics, the sacristans) were responsible for everyone that is now considered Altar Guild ministry. The sacristan’s position was a very important one. He was required to be devout, sensible and even tempered. He was required to see that a list of servers be posted on the wall for every service in the week and everything was ready before the service began on Sunday—the vestments laid out, the candles lit and the charcoal heated.

Women were given some duties, but very limited, and never in the sanctuary. In the late 19th century, our ministry went through another change. Women of the Altar began serving behind the scenes, providing care of the linens, polishing the brass, caring for albs, vestments and chalices, and assisting priests and deacons in the preparation for the Eucharist. By the end of the 20th century, men again were welcome participants in the preparation of the churches for worship and altar guilds became a joint lay ministry.

I have been blessed to be a part of the Altar Guild ministry for many churches over the years since I was a preteen. Our congregations are grateful for this ministry. Others are not aware of all the behind the scenes work that goes into preparing for all of the services.

Altar Guild is far more of a force in the parish than the holy housekeeping tasks that need to be performed. It is a spiritual community –the spirit in which it lives ripples out to affect the feel of the entire congregation. Altar Guild members become real team players. The seasoned members are neither rulers giving orders, nor doers taking care of everything themselves. Instead they are leaders and teachers.

Another spiritual issue is hospitality. Transfiguration welcomes new members and uses the Altar Guild ministry as a way to build relationships. We feel this creates the mood of the church to be considerably warmer and friendlier.

A certain spirit floats out of every sacristy the way an aroma floats out of a kitchen. It sets the tone of the worship and more than that, it sets the tone of congregational life. A well-set service with the corporal and lavabo bowl in just the right place is a good thing. However, there are more important intangibles in this ministry—care for each other, building up each others’ competence and confidence, welcoming and including new members and above all, prayer and fellowship.

Our meetings are held monthly, normally on the first Saturday of each month at 11:00 a.m. in the church. These meeting last about an hour. The meetings include preparations needed for our Sunday services and any tidying up in the sanctuary/sacristy or church. There are special seasons that require us to come together for seasonal preparations. We are so thankful to have our Monday morning group members come together with us to help make the Easter services and our Christmas services festive and meaningful.

We invite you to take a look at this ministry. Feel free to ask any member about our ministry or myself (Ruby Seyffert: 602/318-0568) should you be interested. You would serve at the altar with a partner once a month at either the 8:00 a.m. or 10:00 a.m. Sunday service, whichever service is your choice to attend.  We are a ministry that works harmoniously together, lovingly preparing our Lord’s table for the Eucharist celebrations and other services. We invite you to join our ministry or just check us out to see if this is a ministry for you. We would love to have you as part of our family.

Ruby Seyffert      Altar Guild Director

Members of the Stitchery Ministry made special bags which include books, crayons and small toys.  We have put the bags in the back of the church for small children to entertain themselves during the service.  There are boys and girls bags.  There are also small bags with Bible coloring books and crayons available that they can take home to remember us.  We have a carpet in the back if they want to play on the floor during the service. 

Organ Move

On Wednesday, July 19. 2017, a group of parishioners from Transfiguration (Gary Quamme, Peter Lafford, Pat Gutsch and Bobbie Lafford) went to the San Pablo Episcopal Church in Phoenix to look over the condition of the Rodgers organ and assess the benefits of moving it to our church. San Pablo (formerly St. Paul’s Episcopal Church) acquired the organ in the late 1990s, shortly before the parish became Spanish-speaking and changed its name to San Pablo.  At the time of the organ’s purchase, Peter Lafford was the (bilingual) Senior Warden at St. Paul’s, so he was aware of the existence of the organ and the fact that it has not been used in a service in almost 20 years (the Spanish-speaking service does not utilize the organ). This fact was brought to Fr. Bob’s attention and he deputized the interested parishioners to evaluate the current state of the organ and explore the possibility/feasibility of moving it to the East Valley. As Fr. Enrique was away, Deacon Sally let us into the sanctuary and Gary spent almost an hour evaluating the instrument.

The organ is composed of two parts: first, the original pipe organ that sits atop the altar canopy; and, the Rodgers electronic components, heard through speakers at the choir side of the canopy. The console is a little dirty, but, is otherwise functional. The bench is not of standard spec, and will not fit over the pedal board. The current shape and layout of the chests and case are circular, and will not function in our space. Any use of the pipework will require new chests and case.

Our options are

  • To take only the electronic part of the organ, which would include the console and speakers. Installation will have some expense for correct placement of speakers at the back, and for reconfiguration and voicing of the electronic sounds.
  • Or, to take the console, speakers, and pipework. The pipes can be transported and stored in boxes until they are ready for installation at Transfiguration.

Certainly installation of the pipework and electronic sounds is the ideal, adding tremendous beauty to our worship, and would provide greater opportunity for public performance in the East Valley.  The general consensus of the Transfiguration group was that it was worth asking the Vestry to consider moving the organ from San Pablo to Transfiguration, as part of our goal to enhance the cultural presence in the East Valley.

ECW

Looking for a way to become more involved in church activities, get better acquainted with your fellow parishioners and share some of your time and talents with others?  Consider attending a meeting of the Transfiguration ECW (Episcopal Church Women) which meets the 1st Saturday of each month (unless holidays or summer breaks change the schedule).

This dynamic, loving and welcoming group of women (and a few men) begin their time together at Noon with a light potluck followed by the business meeting concluding at 2:00. Activities range from supporting our many outreach projects to sponsoring several large events during the year.

Of course, our projects and activities are enthusiastically and faithfully supported by the congregation and would not be successful without all of you. Two such projects recently completed were the annual school supplies drive for Brinton Elementary School and setting up and furnishing a welcoming area for children in the back of the sanctuary. 

          Linda Ostmeyer, President

Altar Flowers

Take a few minutes to check out our Altar Guild Flower Chart in the narthex. There are dates for anyone to sign for a loved one they would like to have flowers for on the altar. More than one person can sign up for any particular Sunday.

Ideas for Altar Flower occasions include: Birthdays, Anniversaries (of any kind), Memorials, Blessings and Thanksgivings. If you would like to participate just sign your name, name of persons to honor and the occasion—we will take care of the rest. If you wish a particular type of flowers, we can usually do that as well. Linda Ostmeyer and I check the chart regularly or you can call the office at 480/986-1145 or me at 602/318-0658 to schedule a date.

The cost of the flowers is $35, however, the florist we use gives us arrangements that would cost much more so we are blessed. Flowers make our church so very festive!

Ruby Seyffert

Tree Removal

After consulting with several people knowledgeable about trees, we decided to remove one of the Palo Verde trees in front of the church.  It had become so large that the bricks in the planter were breaking.  What worried me more was the concrete near the tree had started to lift up and people were stubbing their toe as they walked.  A minor reason for removing the tree is that clean up of the concrete in front of the church     will be easier.  We will all miss this beautiful tree but it needed to be removed.  We will decide shortly what we should place in the planter.  Thanks for your understanding.

On August 18th the Church of Transfiguration was home to a Memorial Service for those who lost their lives in Operation Starlite or the Battle of Van Tuong. This battle was the first major offensive regimental size action conducted by a purely US military unit during the Vietnam War. The operation was a combined arms assault involving ground, air and naval units. US Marines were deployed by helicopter, and in amphibious landings.

Our Parishioner, Chet Wauters, fought in this operation. The memorial was a way to honor his fallen comrades. The service included an honor guard from the Apache Junction American Legion Post 27 and members of the Young Marines. The honor guard, along with presenting the flag, also read a poem and a prayer, had a bugler play reveille and taps, and retired the colors. The Young Marines demonstrated flag folding with a narration by Chris Whitehead on the meaning of each fold. The significance of the POW  of the congregation held flags representing the various branches of the military to form a tunnel through which the procession and recession walked.

Chet Wauters gave a reflection on his experience in the battle. The full text follows this article. Father Bob also gave thoughts on the nature of war and sacrifice.  A reception followed in the Parish Hall. The reception featured food provided by members of the congregation, a rum and Coke toast and music from the era selected by Chet.

Chet’s Reflections

My wife and I want to thank you for coming. It is greatly appreciated. Over in the hall is some rum and Coke my wife brought. Rum and Coke was the last drink my fellow Marines and I had the night before the operation. Every 18 August I have a rum and coke. Today it is more coke than rum.

The uniform I’m wearing is the same my fellow Marines wore back then with the exception of Cpl. Carpenter who would have had a silver star, MSgt. Marino and SSgt Collier might have had Korean War Medal. Some of the men would have had good conduct medals and all except for Bell and me would have also had marksman badges.

Carpenter, Principe and I first met at Pendleton. We were all going to our first duty station – new PFC’s. We realized we would be assigned to the same company. When we reported for duty we were also assigned to the same platoon. SSgt. Collier, Sgt. Williams, Sgt. Bush and LCpl. Hailer were all members of the 3rd Platoon. There were others. Although, I still can see them; I can no longer remember their names.

After our first landing in Vietnam, six Marines were detached from the 3rd Platoon and assigned to the 2nd Platoon. For a second landing Sgt. Gilford, LCpl. Flores, PFC Bell, Sgt. Massey, Cpl. Duval and myself made up the six from 3rd Platoon  who were assigned to the 2nd Platoon. After that landing the 2nd Platoon detached us and assigned us to 2/4 in the field. We did not rejoin the 3rd Platoon until the beginning of August.

MSgt. Marino, PFC Brown and I met in the 2nd Platoon and they along with Cpl. Kailue, Cpl. Craig, LCpl. Pass, Pfc. Reeff were on the supply operation with me along with about 33 or more whose names I don’t remember. I spent most of my time detached from the 3rd Platoon and the six of us spent most of our time attached to the 2/4.

The battle was 52 years ago and it seems like yesterday to me. I still see the men who served with me - some more vividly than others. Some I see clearly in my memory and wish I could remember their names.

In this operation, we carried on a tradition of our parent units. Our battalion was destroyed in WWII, Our company was destroyed in Korea and in Vietnam it was our platoon. We started the operation with a reinforced platoon of around 42. Twenty-four hours later there were eight Marines walking and one being supported.

Pfc Bell was a special Marine. My wife remembers him most. When the six of us were finally ordered to rejoin the 3rd platoon SSgt Collier had orders to send one of us on R and R. He picked me. But, I wasn’t interest. The discussion between the SSgt and me became a little heated. Pfc Bell interfered and offered to go in my place.

The platoon that was assigned from our company for the operation was made up of tracks from all three platoons. Pfc Bell’s track was assigned from the 3rd platoon and since Pfc Bell was gone on my R&R, SSgt Collier assigned me to take his place. After we left for the operation SSgt Collier was informed that the plane Pfc. Bell was on, the plane I should have been on, went down and all hands were lost. Pfc. Bell was dead.

Being assigned to Bell’s track was ok with me as I knew both Sgt. Gilford and LCpl Flores from Hawaii. We had been detached together since March. LCpl Flores was an excellent Marine. You could always count on him. To be fair, except for one Marine who didn’t leave Hawaii with us, you could count on everyone always. To be poetic, when the drums rolled, bugles sounded and pipes played you never had to look to see if the Marine was where he was supposed to be. They were. The last time I saw Flores he was next to me in a paddy, he turned to say something and was shot in the head.

Cpl. Kaluie I saw around, he was in the maintenance section. It was a matter of manhood with Cpl. Duval that we never had maintenance work on our track. I swear things were held together with bailing wire and bubble gum. But, Cpl. Kaliue was assigned to us for this operation. When we made the landing Cpl. Kaluie asked to do a perimeter patrol. During this patrol we came across a number of dead VC and Cpl. Kaluluie asked me to make him a promise. He asked. I refused. He asked again. I refused. He asked again. I agreed. I kept that promise but not in the way we both thought.

When we were assigned to column 21 Cpl. Kaliue joined our crew – don’t know if he was assigned to us specifically or if he just joined us. He was in the rear port hatch. The last time I saw him, I was making sure he was dead. A round had hit the port hatch and killed him.

Other Marines died that day - some in my arms - others next to me. The only other one that hits me is Pfc. Brown. He was a 2nd Platoon Marine who I had become friends with when we were ordered back to the beach for two week maintenance. I had been assigned mess duty to keep me out of trouble – it didn’t work. Pfc. Brown was a good friend. I didn’t know he had been killed or how until I was in the Army Hospital in Okinawa.

18 August 1965 – we were supposed to be going to another Marine Company. It didn’t happen. Instead we were led to a battalion area. The only problem was we weren’t on the same side. Twenty four hours later we were defeated. Nine made it out alive.  We brought our dead back with us.

It’s been a long time since that August day in 1965, but I remember that day and my friends and all the Marines that were there with me. Those memories still affect me.  Those Marines, who I remember to this day, served us and the citizens of South Vietnam. I have been told that a veteran is a person who signed a blank check to their country, payable up to and including his or her life. My friends signed that check and paid it in full. Today we honor them and all who paid that check in full.

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