Dea Podhajsky

Dea Podhajsky

 

Today at 9:15 a.m. is Adult Education. Each Sunday in Lent our time will be adiscussion of presiding Bishop Michael Currys encouragement to follow The Way of Love.  Education for our young people is at 9:45 a.m.; Choir Rehearsal is at11:45 a.m.

Please join us for Coffee Hour in the Parish Hall following both services. We will be celebrating March birthdays!

Thanks to all who helped make the Bishop’s visit to Transfiguration a special day.

 

Do you play an instrument and would be willing to share your talent twice a month at the new Saturday service? All instruments are welcome: guitar, bass guitar, flute, violin, anything!  Please contact Emily Anderson for more information at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 615-419-3251.

 

The Vestry would like to encourage people with questions to call MiriamWaddington, contact person for this month. Her phone number is (559)707-5810.

 

If you know of anyone who is in need of a prayer shawl or quilt, please contact Joan Crossman, Linda Jo Johnson, Jan Saik or the office.

 

We ask your prayers for those in our Prayer Circle, others whose names we do not know and for the following who have requested prayers:

 

 

Bob W

Lera E

Chet & Margie

Karl

Carolyn

Ken & Lydia

Dan H

Jack C

Juan & Bridget

Marilee

Willa D

Teds Family

Debbie

Mary

Larry & Elena

Richard

Lynn M

The Hugill family

Ed C

Don

Del & Lorraine

George M

Len G

Rev. Robin G

Bill S

Ivor C

Robin & Nate P

Cleta R

Chris R

Harrison Adams

Reid B

Paul G

Steve & Linda

Robert A

James S

Stacey & Family

Dylan

Tom

Barb Mac

Cathy G

Robbie F

Ruth & Mac F

Brenda

Millie

Mike & Mary

Christine

Isabel H

Danielle H

John

Jerry S

Merilee

Jonathan

Katharine

Jane H

Peter G

Ruth

John & Beth

Linda S

Ryan F

Casie J

George

Terry

Mary Ann

Dean

Andrew

Tim

Peggy

Dena

Mel & Russ

Jon

Fred

 

Prayer Circle names will remain on the list for at least a month. Please call the office at 480-986-1145 or record on the sheet additions or deletions, noting those

who should remain on. Thank you for understanding when names are removed.

 

In support of Brinton Elementary School, ECW is collecting anti-bacterial wipes, Kleenex and elastic waist pants and T-shirts sizes 5-12 for boys and girls.

 

Food Bank suggestions for next week: boxed cereals, crackers.

Upcoming Events

 

Monday, March 18 is Farm Workers and Project Ministry breakfast at 8:00 a.m.in the Parish Hall.

 

Tuesday, March 19 at 10:00 a.m. will be the next gathering of the Lords SoupKitchen in the Parish Hall.

 

Tuesday, March 19 at 7:00 p.m. the East Mesa Pops Orchestra will be performing at St. Marks Episcopal Church, Mesa.

 

Wednesday, March 20 in the Parish House at 8:00 a.m. is Walking on Wednesday; at 9:30 a.m. is Holy Eucharist; at 10:00 a.m. is Bible Study, all in the Parish House.

 

Thursday, March 21 at 5:00 p.m. is our Lenten Potluck and Bible Study on My Neighbors Faith. Books can be purchased from Jan. Please bring a dish to share.

 

Saturday, March 23 at 5:00 p.m. will be a Healing Service in the chapel of the Parish House.

 

Sunday, March 24 at the 10:00 a.m. service will be a Daughter’s of the Kingadmission service.

 

Saturday, April 6 at 5:00 p.m. will be a service in the Parish House.

 

Lenten Study

Our Lenten Study and Pot Luck will be Thursday at 5 pm. We will be using the book My Neighbors Faith as the basis. Please join us.

We are definitely on the home stretch. After spending Ash Wednesday with our family in El Hogar, we are now slowly making our way through Mexico. Our ETA is Palm Sunday. 

 

It seems that almost every day, oh yet one more person announces that he or she is willing to run for President in the 2020 election, well over a year from now.  This amazes me, because I would assume that one would have to be dragged kicking, biting, and screaming (likely difficult to accomplish simultaneously) to even run for, let alone accept, such an office.  An honour, yes; but also a crazy making constant stress level.  Thanks, but no thanks!

I was upset, though, when one candidate declared that he would, after all, rather be home with the wife and kids, but running for political office was more important.  My condolences to the family, but with that attitude, they may be better off if he IS out running for public office.  Safer, even.

This attitude – considering running for office as more important than the individuals in one’s life – irritates me just as does the phrase “collateral damage.”  The idea that we could ever so readily dismiss other human beings as either less important than public service, or, as  expendable for the sake of a supposedly more desirable objective. This perhaps unexamined attitude is to me not only dangerous to other humans, it seems rank with immorality.

The Lord our God is Creator of all that exists.  Scripture leads us to believe that God considers humanity as the crowning achievement of the creative process. Therefore, since we are clearly out of our league when it comes to creating, we might need to consider very carefully our attitude toward the rest of God’s creation.  We appear very callus toward much of creation, otherwise problems such as pollution, extinction, global warming, decreasing natural resources, to name a few, would not exist.  But to mistreat, neglect, and/or abuse another human seems most egregious of all.  The teaching of God, speaking through the prophets, and most of all through Christ, ought teach us when we sin against – in any manner harm another human, we most offend God.  On Ash Wednesday, we admit in prayer that “…against You only have we sinned…” thus acknowledging our conviction that indeed, by hurting each other, we hurt our beloved Lord.  

I would argue that anyone who considers running for public office as more important than other humans, especially family, is inherently not fit to serve in any position which defines itself as ‘public service.’  Dismissing those for whom one is most responsible as less important does not inspire even the slightest degree of trust or respect.  Nor can any official or agency that dismisses loss of human life as collateral damage,’ expect to be thought of as respectable or ethical, or even legal.

If we, as supposedly Christian, followers of the Incarnate Living God, cannot recognize that the very least of our obligation to God is that we recognize all other humans as God’s own beloved child, and the rest of creation as God’s beloved, we need truly to examine our own lives and consciences, and as our Presiding Bishop calls us to do, resolve to walk in love, following the path to which he ascribes seven steps, Turn, Learn, Pray, Worship, Bless, Go, Rest.

God grant each of us the wisdom, courage, and strength, so to do.

 

An approach to Social Justice through Food Equity in the Diocese of Arizona

The text of presentation by Bill Robinson in Sedona, Arizona 

Bill Robinson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> 

Food Equity exists when there is equal availability and affordability of adequate, healthy, nutritious, and culturally acceptable food. Food Equity does not exist In Arizona.  Nor does it exist within the Native American Nations.  In Arizona, according to statistics (correlated by the Feeding America Food Bank System, USDA, FAPA, and FEMA), 1 in 5 children, 1 in 5 adults and 1 in 7 seniors are at risk for daily food.  Nutritional deficiencies in our State's Indigenous population have led to America's highest rates of morbid obesity and type 2 Diabetes. 

Transfiguration in Mesa has two vigorous and successful programs that deal directly with Food Equity--A Million Meals for our Neighbors, and The Crazy Chile Farm.  While organizationally independent of each other, their objectives and outreach are carefully intertwined. Million Meals is a parishioner supported funding mechanism that funnels money through United Food Bank to support, primarily, UFB Agencies within a six-mile radius of the church. In the 12 years of the program’s existence, it has funded over 1,336,000 meals in our neighborhood.  The Crazy Chile Farm, on the other hand, functions as a revenue generator. Operating under the 501(c)3 of The Diocese of Arizona, the CCF is a ten thousand square foot commercial farm whose revenues cover its own expenses and whose profits are used to help support Transfiguration outreach programs--including Million Meals!

In 2004, the U.S. Dept. of the Interior proposed the Arizona Water Settlements Act, which laid out a plan to restore water to the entire 5000 sq. miles of Southern Arizona reservation land. It then took 10 difficult years for the various agencies of the Department of Interior, and the legislatures of Arizona and New Mexico to approve that proposal. But they did! In 2014, Tier-2 of The Settlement Act was approved.  The water restoration began in that year by using the 360-mile Central Arizona Project canal as a delivery system. Additionally, the Gila River, which had been reduced to an intermittent stream in the 20th Century, was allowed to flow with greater regularity. Since then tribal officials, educators and outside support groups have been working ceaselessly to recruit and train a new generation of O'odham, Yoeme (Yaqui), Pima, and Maricopa peoples to grow their traditional crops. But there is a high hurdle to overcome. As mentioned earlier, seeds of traditional crops are in extremelyshort supply.

The response of The Crazy Chile Farm at Transfiguration has been to repurpose 5000 sq. ft. (roughly 50% of our growing surface) to grow seed crops of specific indigenous food plants that are in very high demand and very short supply.  In some cases, the seeds we provide are from varietiesapproaching extinction. This past summer we qualified for a Bulk Seed Exchange Program with Native Seeds/SEARCH, a non-profit heritage seed bank in Tucson specializing in preserving and redistributing Native seeds. We were given Yoeme Blue corn seeds, which we grew in one of our fields. At the end of the season we were able to give back to NS/S 5 times as many genetically un-crossed seeds as we had received.  NS/S will redistribute these seeds, mostly into the O'odham, Gila River Pima and Pasqua Yaqui Communities. We kept some of the seeds for future crops at The Crazy Chile Farm. We have given other seeds to indigenous growers in the Gila River Community and to members of the Omaha tribe in Nebraska.

Another part of our response has been to work with the Ajo Center for Sustainable Agriculture in Ajo, AZ. The Ajo Center is operated as an Anglo/ Hispanic/ O'odham Farm and Food Cooperative. Last summer theyprovided The Crazy Chile Farm with indigenous seeds that are in short supply. We, in turn, grew the seeds at our farm in Mesa, taking care that the resulting plants were not cross-pollinated. At maturity, the seeds wereharvested, returned to the Ajo Center, and distributed among the three dry-land farms managed by Ajo. Most of the seed crops grown in these dry land farms are shared with other O’odham farmers. Remaining cropsgrown by Ajo are delivered to the Ajo Cafe, operated by the Center. There, traditional recipes are prepared for customers to introduce locals and visitors to nutritious traditional foods and recipes.   

Although our program appears very successful, its weakness is its small size. By ourselves we cannot keep up with the demand. We are constantlytold by NS/S, by the Ajo Center, and even by the Director of the Arizona State Department of Agriculture that the seed shortage within the TohonoO’odham and other indigenous communities in Arizona is endemic.  Obviously, for this project to reach its full potential we will need partner growers.

In the past year the outreach parameters of Transfiguration and the Crazy Chile Farm have begun to move in a new direction.  In addition to growing and selling chile products to cover our expenses, we have begun  

working with Native American farms and communities within the 4400 sq. mi. (2.8 million acre) Tohono O'odham Nation, and within the Gila River Pima Reservation.  We are working with them to help re-establish traditional agriculture and the historic, traditional (and nutritious) foods that result from those methods.

The rationale for this new direction is very compelling. The indigenous peoples of Southern Arizona lost both their water access and their water rights to Anglo farmers, developers, and the cities of Tucson, Casa Grande, and Yuma over the period of time from 1900 to 2014. This was part of the US Government’s stated policy of “pacification and assimilation”, which they believed was best accomplished by destroying the language, religion, family relationships, and traditional foods of all indigenous peoples—a policy that has been called “cultural genocide”.During that period when their water was cut off, a period of "imposed drought", four tribal groups occupying almost 5000 sq. miles, lost their 2000 year old system of self-sustaining agriculture, their traditional food supply, and their health; along with many aspects of their culture and traditional beliefs. Also during that time, seeds for the crops that had nurtured them for millennia all but disappeared.

To multiply our reach and our impact, we first thought about talking to other non-profit gardens and/or farms located at parishes, missions, or Episcopal schools within the Diocese of Arizona.  According to Brian Sellers-Petersen, author and former overseer of the Episcopal Relief and Development Abundant Life Garden Project, there are exactly three such garden ministries in this Diocese: The Crazy Chile Farm, Imago Dei middle school in Tucson, and St. Andrews Sedona.  And while three is better than one, it still represents a very small network.  Perhaps with time, with prayers and by God's grace (and maybe even an organized shove from the Diocese!), more of our churches will engage in this valuable and rewarding ministry.  But for now, because of those whose food supply is highly dependent on the seeds we produce, and the training we provide, our current recruiting efforts are focused on secular community gardens and farms, and on church gardens from other denominations. 

To that end, we are currently talking to The Association of Community Gardeners of Maricopa County, and have asked their member gardeners for help.  What we have requested is for individual gardens to set aside 100 to 200 square feet of their growing surface, and use seeds provided by The Crazy Chile Farm to do what is called a grow-out.  Then, when the crops are mature, they could harvest the seeds and return a threefold amount of what they were given.  The CGMC has 30 member gardeners, and if even ten agree to participate, it will have a big impact. It would enable us to provide a significantly higher volume of seeds than we could produce on our own.

As the efforts to grow seeds for the indigenous seed recovery program have gained momentum in the secular world, I am asked repeatedly, “Why haven’t you engaged your own church more?” It’s a fair question. There are 64 parishes/missions in the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona. Most of those churches have land; some of which could possibly be used for small scale growing.  Unfortunately, as mentioned earlier, there are only threeongoing “Community Gardens” at AZ Diocesan parishes, missions, or schoolsIf you know of others that may have been missed in the Episcopal Relief and Development survey, please let me know! If they are willing to set aside even a small plot of land for a seed grow-out, we would be pleased to provide seed stock and growing information.

There is also a way that we, The Council on Native American Ministries, can play an important leadership role in this project; a way that will not only enhance the unity and community of our Council, it will give us an opportunity and platform to engage more of the churches in our Diocese to work with us. Most importantly, we can help reclaim the traditional agriculture, diet, and cultural history of our often forgotten and frequently persecuted brothers and sisters of the Indigenous Nations of Arizona.

The bottleneck restricting that reclamation is clearly the shortage of the right seeds, specifically Tohono O’odham 60-Day corn, Yoeme Blue corn, four different varieties of tepary beans, and O’odham Ha:l squash. So, the question is this: Would you, as a group, be willing to work with me tooutline a plan to increase the volume of desired seeds? Furthermore, would any of you be willing to talk to your clergy, and to your Vestry/Bishop’s Committee about setting aside a small portion of your church’s property to grow seeds for Arizona’s indigenous people? As mentioned in our discussion of secular involvement, we are looking for relatively small plots of land—100 to 200 sq. ft. We will provide you with seed stock, growing instructions, and training if necessary. If your answer is “yes” to either of these questions, Transfiguration, through the volunteers at The Crazy Chile Farm will be delighted to work closely with you and your own church communities to help make this a rewarding and successful project—not only for this Council, but for both the Native Communities and the Diocese of Arizona. We will gladly provide you with any information and training you may need, as well as the sharing of our own experiences. We would also be willing to serve as the logistical interface between this project and the organizations distributing the seeds among the Nations.

I don’t expect an answer from you today, but I do hope you will share any initial reactions or comments you may have. Also, if you have any concerns, I would welcome the opportunity to address them today. But first we’re going to take a break from my voice to watch a short slide show.  It shows a year in the life of a 501(c)3 farm, along with some glimpses our community interaction, and it shows something of the love and excitement that can be generated by a small community agricultural project!

Our time is about up, and we need to make it a wrap—at least for today. Thank you for listening and being a part of this discussion. I appreciate your time. Transcripts of this talk and business cards are available on the front table. Pray about this. Let me know by phone or email what you have decided, or if you simply need more information. In closing, let me leave you with this thought: At its heart, the Indigenous Seed Restoration Program is about feeding people—one of the most frequently mentioned New Testament themes—one which I believe is at the heart of our Baptismal Covenant. From the wedding at Canna through the 21st Chapter of John, Jesus is constantly feeding people. Even our most sacred liturgy, the Eucharist, is within the context of a meal. If you decide to play a role in this ministry, I can promise you, you will be both challenged and deeply touched. You will experience the awe and wonder that Andrew experienced at the feeding of the 5000. And you will be responding YES to Our Lord’s final mandate, in the final chapter, of the final Gospel: “Feed My Sheep”.  Amen!

 

Election of Vestry

 

 

Lynn Whayne Graff—I grew up in the Episcopal Church and have seen the church grow and change. I have served in various ways that include: Altar Guild, Lay Reading, Chalice Bearer, Vestry, Daughters of the King, ECW and working in the Chile garden. I enjoy helping others and am willing to serve on the Vestry. My background includes work in administration with college student housing.

 

Heidi Kinney – Heidi is originally from Chicago, but attended high school & college in Cape Canaveral/Central FL.  After college she moved back to Chicago area where she worked for AT&T as a RF engineer and later in network engineering. Her job enabled her to travel both domestically and internationally upgrading cellular networks.  She has two children currently in college and two adult step-children. She retired in 2015 and is now focusing on her own health and education. She is currently in classes to become a Pilates fitness coach. Heidi is new to the Episcopalian church, but finds it’s a perfect match with her core beliefs and enjoys many of the different outreach programs at Transfiguration.  

David Milton-- I was born and raised in the Washington, DC area. I was in the Air Force from 1972-1993 as a medic. My post military career has been in a variety of executive positions in the Phoenix and East Valley for Iasis Healthcare and Banner Health. I now operate a stem cell distribution company. I have been involved in the Episcopal Church since the early 90s when my mother joined St. Christopher's in Springfield, VA. I went with her every time I was in town. Since we moved her here in 2017, I take her here to the Church of the Transfiguration. I have 3 children. My daughter works for the California Dept. of Corrections, my oldest son is an Army Reservist that just returned from his third deployment and my youngest son works for the Valley Ho Resort in Scottsdale.

Directory Planned

We are partnering with LifeTouch to create a church directory featuring pictures of all our parishioners. You may sign up for an appointment time at the following link: https://booknow-lifetouch.appointment-plus.com/ylgsmyd0/

 

Some years ago a colleague asked me whether I liked “Who-Dun-Its.”  I replied, “Sometimes.”  He then asked “Do you know how many priests read mysteries?”  “No idea.”  “Well, you’d be surprised, lots of priests read mysteries.”  This left me with no information whatsoever about percentages of priestly reading material; but several questions about the subject.  Why would a notable number of priests demonstrate a preference for mysteries?  Whose research was this?  A mystery, one supposes.  And scariest of all:  What did this penchant for reading mysteries say about folks in the priesthood, or for that matter, about all sorts and conditions of humanity

After making a few surreptitious inquiries among my colleagues – somewhat discreetly, I hoped – I found that my collrague was correct, many priests did in fact enjoy reading mysteries, I considered a few possible reasons, but arrived at no definite conclusion.  For example, had those years of undergraduate and graduate study left the poor souls mentally numb and searching for less challenging reading material?  Well, perhaps, but on the other hand almost all of them remained successfully functional in living out their call to serve the Lord our God, and the children of God.   Was this a form of post-graduate study intended to assist them in their search for Truth, both for their own satisfaction, and for the sake of their sisters and brothers in their respective parishes, and/or institutional ministries?  A mystery, indeed.

Not, of course, the sort of everyday mysteries that all we children of God commonly encounter; to wit:  Where was my cell phone when last I used it?  Or, wherever did I put my glasses?  (The frequent solution to this is simple – on top of one’s own head.) Or even, why does only one of a pair of socks vanish in the laundry? If one has grown children, the mysteries become more complex.  Grown children occasionally lead one to ponder, “However did I raise this child without her/ him being old enough to tell me how to do it?“  Truly mysterious.

Therefore, the solution must lay elsewhere.  The answer must be where all answers lie.  With the Most Holy.  We all solve puzzling mysteries each day, simple, vexing, irritating questions that arise in the course of daily life.  We also are confronted with issues that confound or confuse us, but we search out information that clarifies whatever it was that troubled us; or which leads us in the direction of a solution to the difficulty.  We like to consider ourselves resourceful.  But from the time we were children, we have questions for which there are no easy answers.  We are taught by those who love us, including our pastors, that many of these answers lie with God.  We live, always, with unanswered questions, we adhere to precepts we cannot fully explain, we believe many things for which we have no demonstrable proof.  We hear the phrase, ‘Holy Mysteries.’  And we are much reassured that though some things remain inexplicable to us, we are confident that we worship the Mysterious Holiness that is so profoundly more than we are.  We depend upon the mysterious Grace that renews and sustains us in the Eucharist.  And that, I believe, is at least a portion of the attraction of ‘mystery’ for us; that the unknown is not necessarily fraught with danger, but lies, as does all else,  within the purview of the Lord our God,  where we are eternally secure.

Annual Report

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Reverend Bob Saik, Rector

Gary Quamme, Music Director

Eileen Chandler, Director of Children’s Ministry

Linda Ostmeyer, Office Manager

 

2017 Wardens and Officers

Miriam Waddington, Senior Warden

Pat Mack, Junior Warden

Joan Crossman, Treasurer

Ann Williamson, Clerk

 

2018 Vestry

Elena Little                               Ruby Seyffert                           Barbara Turner

Meg Stresen-Reuter                  Eileen Chandler                        Gordon Noyes

Steve Dingle                             Dea Podhajsky                         Pat Gutsch

 

                  Table of Contents                        Page

  1. Annual Meeting Agenda           2
  2. Minutes of 2018 Annual Meeting 2-5
  • Candidate Information 5-6
  1. Rector’s Report 6-7
  2. Senior Warden’s Report 7-8
  3. Junior Warden’s Report 8-9
  • Ministry Reports 9-19
  • 2018 Financial Statements Review                              19-22
  1. Budget for 2019 22-24

 

  1. Annual Meeting Agenda

 

  1. Opening Prayer
  2. Appointment of Clerk, Recorders and Tellers
  3. Minutes of 2018 Annual Meeting
  4. Appointment of Senior Warden
  5. Election of Junior Warden
  6. Election of Treasurer
  7. Election of Vestry
  8. Election of Diocesan Convention Delegates
  9.  Rector’s Report
  10. Senior Warden’s Report
  11. Junior Warden’s Report
  12. Ministry Reports
  13. Recognition of Outgoing Officers and Vestry Members
  14. Financial Reports
  15. Presentation of 2019 Budget
  16. Celebration of Our Ministry
  17. Closing Prayer
  18. MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL MEETING

January 28, 2018

  1. Call to Order / Opening Prayers

The meeting was called to order at 11:54 am by Fr. Bob Saik.

Fr. passed out a survey to everyone for the upcoming Volunteer Appreciation event

  1. Appointment of the Clerk of the Meeting.

Ann Williamson was appointed clerk of the annual meeting by acclamation.

  1. Appointment of Recorders and Tellers

Lynn Graff and Peg Wier were appointed as tellers.

  1. Minutes of the 2018 Annual Meeting:

Some names were misspelled and corrected.  Joan Crossman moved to accept the minutes as corrected, seconded, and passed

  1. Appointment of Senior Warden

Miriam Waddington has been appointed as Sr. Warden.

  1. Election of Junior Warden

Pat Mack has been nominated as Jr. Warden.  James Stines moved to accept Pat by acclamation, seconded, and passed

  1. Election of Vestry

We have nine member-at-large members of the vestry, plus the officers.  They rotate at 3-year intervals.  Pat Gutsch, Gordon Noyes, and Barbara Turner have been nominated for the three member-at-large positions to be filled this year.  Don moved to accept the slate by acclamation, seconded, and passed.

  1. Election of Diocesan Convention Delegates

This year delegates will be voting on a new Bishop.  Clergy, Senior Warden, and Jenior Warden are automatically selected.  Five lay positions are available this year.  Candidates don’t have to be Vestry members. Nominees are Ann Williamson, Chris Whitehead, Bill Robinson, Lynn Graff, Ruby Seyffert (alternate) and Jan Saik.

Ken Sobiech moved to accept the slate by acclamation, seconded, passed.

  1. Junior Warden’s Report

The report is in the booklet.  Thanks to all who have helped throughout the year.

  1. Senior Warden’s Report

Bobbie is stepping down as Sr. Warden but will continue to work on the Strategic Planning. After discussing the importance of the Diocesan course "Saving God's Children/People", she thanked Fr. Bob for the opportunity to serve as Sr. Warden, then passed the Sr. Warden's medallion to Miriam.

  1. Rector's Report

In addition to Fr's remarks during the sermon, he wanted to recognize the ECW and other women.  He was open for questions, but none were asked.  The rest of his report in the packet.

  1. Deacon's Reports - not present
  2. Ministry Reports

Many reports from many people can be found in the booklet. Fr. asked that anyone with something to add may speak. 

Dea Podhajsky has revised/expanded the path for the walking group, everyone is welcome to email mileage.  She also promoted the upcoming volunteer event on Feb 10th.

Ruby Seyffert thanked all her helpers who stepped in during her daughter's recent health crisis/death.  She called attention to the Flower chart.  Each arrangement requires a $35 donation.

Bill Robinson discussed the relationship between Million Meals and the Chile Farm.  Over 1,300,000 meals have been provided so far, the equivalent of 184 miles of meals.

Ann Williamson invited the congregation to join the contemplative prayer group, also the Anglican Rosary and walking the labyrinth.

Eileen Chandler discussed helping with the Children's Ministry, looking for more volunteers.

  1. Recognition of Outgoing Officers and Vestry Members

Outgoing members are Bobbie Lafford, Don Strachota, Steve Lazlo, Lynn Graff, Pat Gutsch (who completed someone else's term and will stay on).  Others recognized: Gary Quamme, Linda Ostmeyer, Joan Crossman, Ann Williamson, Terry Ostmeyer, Nancy Robinson, and Jan Saik.

Intermission - Singing with Gary

  1. Financial Reports

Balance sheet:  Our credit union accounts have been closed out.  Investment accounts have increased to $94, 913.24.  The Diocesan investment was also closed and the balance was moved into an investment account. 

Treasurer’s Report:  The deficit of $2,700 for the year was paid by a parishioner.  We pay 16.9% of our income to the Diocese and get 1.5% refunded to us by the diocese.

Stewardship:  Pledges are over $10,000 from last year.  We have received 23 new pledges and lost some old pledges.

  • Presentation of 2018 Budget
  1. 16. Presentation of the 2018 Budget

 

 

This has already been approved by the Vestry, no discussion.

  1. 17. Celebration of Our Ministries

Sarah thanked "anonymous" for a merry Christmas.  More thanks to Bill Robinson and the Chile garden, Jan Saik, and Fr. Bob.  Bobbie thanked Marge Connolly for bringing her here, Francis Davis thanked Marge Connolly, Gary Quamme thanked his choir, Ruby thanked all members of this parish, Jan Saik thanked everyone who has helped with all of our events, Barbara Turner thanked her husband for helping with the Chile farm, the rototiller, etc.  Meg thanked Gary for his work as music director, Miriam thanked Jan for her organizing abilities, Fr discussed a thank you from an anonymous gentleman whom he has helped, Pat Gutsch thanked everyone for their support, Shirley Johnson thanked Linda Jo, Barbara Turner thanked everyone for the way they have received her grandson. There were a number of other thanks per the recording. 

  1. Closing Prayer
  2. Adjournment: The meeting was adjourned at 1:02 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Ann B Williamson, Clerk of the Vestry

 

  • Candidate Information

 

Appointment of Senior Warden\

 

Appointment of Miriam Waddington, our current Senior Warden

 

Election of Junior Warden

 

Re-election of Pat Mack, our current Junior Warden

 

Election of Treasurer

 

Debbi Bloom will be our treasurer

 

Election of Vestry

 

Lynn Whayne Graff—I grew up in the Episcopal Church and have seen the church grow and change. I have served in various ways that include: Altar Guild, Lay Reading, Chalice Bearer, Vestry, Daughters of the King, ECW and working in the Chile garden. I enjoy helping others and am willing to serve on the Vestry. My background includes work in administration with college student housing.

 

Heidi Kinney – Heidi is originally from Chicago, but attended high school & college in Cape Canaveral/Central FL.  After college she moved back to Chicago area where she worked for AT&T as a RF engineer and later in network engineering. Her job enabled her to travel both domestically and internationally upgrading cellular networks.  She has two children currently in college and two adult step-children. She retired in 2015 and is now focusing on her own health and education. She is currently in classes to become a Pilates fitness coach. Heidi is new to the Episcopalian church, but finds it’s a perfect match with her core beliefs and enjoys many of the different outreach programs at Transfiguration.  

David Milton-- I was born and raised in the Washington, DC area. I was in the Air Force from 1972-1993 as a medic. My post military career has been in a variety of executive positions in the Phoenix and East Valley for Iasis Healthcare and Banner Health. I now operate a stem cell distribution company. I have been involved in the Episcopal Church since the early 90s when my mother joined St. Christopher's in Springfield, VA. I went with her every time I was in town. Since we moved her here in 2017, I take her here to the Church of the Transfiguration. I have 3 children. My daughter works for the California Dept. of Corrections, my oldest son is an Army Reservist that just returned from his third deployment and my youngest son works for the Valley Ho Resort in Scottsdale.

Election of Diocesan Convention Delegates

 

The candidates for Diocesan Convention are Bill Robinson, Ann Williamson, Dea Podhajsky, Ruby Seyffert and Pat Gutsch and the alternate is Lynn Graff.

 

  1. Rector’s Report for the Annual Meeting – January 27, 2019

I wish to begin my report by thanking everyone in this congregation for their loving support.  It is a joy for me to be the rector at Transfiguration.  Jan and I appreciate the positive comments and the people who willingly volunteer.   I also am thankful for the welcome that you give to visitors and for the love you share with others.  We don’t often have disagreements and I hope we can always seek God’s will together in a positive and considerate way.  May the Holy Spirit continue to guide and strengthen us. 

Our liturgy is the central activity of the church.  Thanks to Steve Dingle, Chris Whitehead, and Ann Williamson for their assistance each week.  These three people make everything go smoothly during the service.  My special thanks go out to Ruby Seyffert and the altar guild members who prepare and clean up after each service.  I thank all the lay readers, acolytes, chalice bearers, and ushers.  Thanks to Gary Quamme who so faithfully leads our music program and thanks to the dedicated members of the choir for providing music.

I hope you will join us for the many activities we have outside of the Sunday service. We have coffee and fellowship after each service in the Parish Hall.  On Monday mornings, a group of men and women gather for breakfast and fellowship followed by completing projects including keeping our church property functional and beautiful led by Nancy Robinson and working in the chile garden led by Bill Robinson.  Thanks to Dea Podhajsky for continuing the walking group and a book club.  I hope that more of you will join her.  On Wednesday, we have either Morning Prayer or Eucharist in the Parish Hall followed by Bible Study.  Altar Guild, Daughters of the King and ECW meet on the first Saturday of the month.  I am thankful for the people who started the Lord’s Soup Kitchen.  Please join us and join me in thanking all those who volunteer to lead or work in these activities.

I think about all the events and activities of the past year including the Caregiving Seminar, the Spring Fashion Show, the Rummage Sale, the Alcohol and Drug Recovery Program, trips to Detour Theater, the Orpheum Theater, Organ Stop Pizza, and Hale Theater.  We have held Newcomer’s Dinners and we started a Contemplative Prayer group in Lent. Our vestry held a successful retreat to help us focus on our 2018 activities.  We moved our offices from the Parish Hall the Parish House.  We have fun together, learn together, worship together and eat together.  Our church is a place to engage with people spiritually. 

Outreach continues to be a major focus of our activities.  Our interaction with local nonprofit organizations has significantly increased this year.  Please see Peg Weir’s report in this booklet.  As we look to the future, I hope that we can seek new ways to interact with people who need our help.

Our Facebook page and web site continue to be an important way for us to keep in touch with regular members of the church and those who are just learning about us. 

Thanks to all those who work in our children’s ministry programs. 

Most especially, I wish to thank those who have served on our vestry, our treasurer, Joan Crossman, and our clerk, Ann Williamson.  Thanks to Miriam Waddington and Pat Mack for serving as our senior and junior wardens, respectively.  We are grateful for the service of retiring vestry members Steve Dingle, Elena Little, and Meg Stresen-Reuter. 

I am sure that I have missed many people who have volunteered their time and made this the joyful and loving and welcoming place that it is.  Thanks to you as well. 

I would also like to thank my wonderful wife, Jan, who has been such a dedicated volunteer and companion on this journey. 

We have many opportunities to grow our ministries to families, children, neighbors, visitors and those in need.  Some steps were taken to help us open our kitchen to provide food for the needy and to open a nursery for families with little children.  I hope projects like this will finally be completed.  Please pray that we will all find a way to do God’s work in this world.  

Blessings to each of you,

Bob Saik, Rector

 

  1. Senior/Rector Warden’s Report

 

It has been both a humbling and exhilarating year serving as Rector’s Warden. It has been great to share the joys and challenges of Fr. Bob's ministry. I feel that my most important role in this ministry is to pray for all of you in the Congregation and Fr. Bob.

I am honored to work with all of you weekly supporting our church's various minisitries including; The Crazy Chili Farm, newcomer's dinners, Daughters of the King, ECW, Sunday School, Project HOPE, Brinton School, United Food Bank and Prayer Shawl Minisitry.

Areas that we have grown in this year include our social media presence including our website and Facebook presence.  We have seen increased attendance and enthusiasm at our weekly Bible Study.  We have added The Lord’s Soup Kitchen and the meals have been welcomed by the congregation and others in need.  We were fortunate to host the event "Studying the Spirituality for the Second Half of Life," through the Diocese. The event was well attended and we plan to continue exploring this subject in the new year.

Our amazing Volunteers went above and beyond with the move of the Offices and creation of a Chapel in the Parish House. If you have not yet had a tour let us know. I am so proud of the work everyone has accomplished! With this change we now have an opportunity to establish a Nursery and have more space for our Sunday School, now Lord, "Bring us the children!"

The Kitchen is only one step away from being licensed. Once the floor is renovated and the license is in place it will allow us to do further outreach to the community by providing meals.

 

I also want to thank Jan Saik and Linda Ostmeyer for their patient guidance and assistance in the office.

Thank you for letting your light shine and loving one another. This is the important mission of Christ's Love.  I look forward to serving you and Fr. Bob again in this coming Year. Fr. Bob has been very gracious and accommodating of my travel schedule, thank you for your patience and understanding.             Prayerfully yours~Miriam Waddington

 

  1. Junior/People Warden’s Report

 

GENERAL MAINTENANCE--Changing AC Filters as needed, Septic System treatment weekly, Water softener system changed as needed, Replace light bulbs, Landscaping Pre-emergence weed control was completed in March, Graffiti was painted over.

Weekly critter and Pest control inside and outside of all buildings, Required water backflow inspection.

PARISH HALL-CHURCH AND PARISH OFFICE BUILDING (HOUSE)--A/C & Heating units were inspected, Annual inspection for Fire suppression system in Kitchen & Church (passed). Required water backflow inspection, Termite inspection & renewal of year to year contract

PARISH OFFICE BUILDING (HOUSE)--New lights have been installed where needed,

Required Emergency Lighting & Exit Lights were installed per Fire Marshall Regulations,

New Door Bell Installed, Old Altar found in garage was cleaned, put together, refinished and moved into new Chapel & looks great.  Thanks to Don Lucas for refinishing the altar.

Bathrooms were brought up to date. New shut off valves and new sinks were installed.

New doors were installed where needed.

Security cameras have been purchased for inside and outside for this building.

Rooms were converted to Conference room, rector’s office, secretary office, storage rooms.

Garage is storage for large garden equipment and Jr. Wardens supplies and tools.

PARISH HALL

Old Rector’s office is becoming a nursery. Several bids and options for type of flooring for Kitchen were looked at.  The floor will be replaced soon. A new 75 gallon hot water heater was installed to code. The one year old heater was moved to office building. A new commercial Freezer was purchased to code, the door needed replaced as it was damaged in transport. A new commercial coffee maker was purchased.    

GROUNDS

BBQ was repaired and painted. Planters in front of church were repaired. Benches that could be repaired after vandalism were, two new ones were donated and will be assembled.

CHURCH

General Maintenance performed: Kneeler in front of candles repaired, front door has new weather stripping. A baby changing station was installed in men’s restroom. Door lock and handle were placed on door to sacristy.

Jr. Warden attended AZ Diocese convention and cast a ballot for New Bishop. Attended a Disaster preparedness workshop.  Attended vestry retreat.

Three crosses made, donated and installed in front of church entrance.

Respectfully Submitted, Pat Mack, Junior/People Warden

 

Jr. Warden wants to thank everyone including Father Bob that made the job easier. 

THANK YOU

 

  • Ministry Reports

 

Daughters of the King

 

The St. Teresa of Avila Chapter of the Daughters of the King was reestablished at the Church of the Transfiguration in 2014.  The current officers are Lynn Whayne Graff, President, and Miriam Waddington, Secretary.  We usually meet monthly at 10 a.m. on the same Saturday that the Episcopal Church Women meet.  Membership has been stable with 10 members.

 

Three of our members attended the annual Daughters of the King Province VIII Spring meeting in Tucson.  The program centered on the development of a strategic plan for the organization as a whole to provide some direction and growth to all the chapters and members.

 

The focus of the Daughters of the King is prayer, service, and evangelism. Prayer concerns for the church or individuals are discussed at each meeting.  The Daughters pray for these needs throughout each month.  Our service has centered on providing receptions following funerals, memorial services or special events. There were two such events during 2018.  We also strive to support the minister in his work.  We will begin the new year with recruiting and training new members.            Respectfully submitted,  Lynn Whayne Graff, President

 

Outreach Report 2018                                               

Apache Junction Food Bank             1500 pounds of food including turkeys

Apache Junction Healthcare                     Over 20 Hug A Bears

Brinton Elementary School             $40, 401 units of school supplies, 50 Christmas presents, tissue, antibacterial bottles, underwear

CAAFA (Community Alliance Against Family Abuse)        $1,438.82 to UFB for food

Citadel                                              18  Hug A Bears

East Valley Hospice                         16 Bears

El Hogar school in Honduras         $305 for Christmas presents

Homeless girls in Florida                 12 handmade shawls

Hug A Bear donations                     6

Million Meals for our Neighbors      1,354,738 since the start of Transfiguration involvement

Native American Tribe  Tohono O'odham (through Maricopa County Community Garden Association, Ajo Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Native Seeds/SEARCH,  Ramona Farms)  Rare seeds from traditional Native American crops:  8 lbs. of tepary beans, 8 lbs. of Yoeme Blue corn seed, 200 lbs. of squash

Native Seed Search                           500 grams of  Yoeme  Blue corn seed

Project Help                                     $252.70      34 sets of handmade scarves and hats

Rosarito, Mexico Boys and Girls Club Delivered 21 computers from $2700 donations

Soup ministry                                  Homemade soup and bread delivered to persons who are shut in or ill

Sunshine Acres                                New sheets and pillowcases, toiletries

United Food Bank                           $1,000 for AZ Brain Food for Kids backpacks filled with food ($463.88 came from Chile Farm)

United Thank Offering                    $373 from fall ingathering

Wings of Life Worship Center        $200 via United Food Bank

 

Thanks to all of those who help with these efforts, Peg Wier

 

 

 

Altar Guild

 

A bit of background of your altar guild director:

I was baptized, confirmed and married in the same church.  During my youth the only time I ever saw a woman in the sanctuary was when I saw the altar guild preparing the altar.  In those days, there were no girl acolytes, no female lay readers, no female chalice bearers or lectors, and no females were ordained as priests.  When asked to be on the altar guild 25 – 30 years ago, to my mind I was following in my mother’s and grandmother’s footsteps.  I was living out a legacy.  This is what the women in my family did, they served on the altar guild.  That heritage was my connection and my motivating force.

It was a good time to be in the altar guild in the early 1970’s.  It was a time of change; the church had a trial prayer book; the altar was moved from the wall; the priest began to face the congregation “I am lucky to be born when I was born! I’m having a really good time learning, something that my mother and grandmother didn’t have” (and we don’t wear gloves and hats).  There is a meeting once a month on the first Saturday of the month and Fr. Bob will join us often. He may have a request and we have never turned him down.  He always tells us how very grateful he is for us.  In the early days of the church, the duty of caring for the altar and sanctuary was the concern of the priests and attendants.  Nuns now do the work in certain parts of the world.  Although the altar guild was primarily a Women’s Ministry, members today are of no particular age and/or gender.

2018:

We will be gearing up for Lenten/Easter services soon.

We have monthly meetings that are held on the first Saturday of the month at 11:00 a.m. in the church.  Our meetings are informational and for preparations needed for our Sunday services or special services.   There are special church services that require us to come together for seasonal preparations.

Should you join the altar guild, you would be serving with a partner at either the 8:00 or the 10:00 whichever service is your choice.  We as a guild work harmoniously together; lovingly preparing our lord’s table for the Eucharist.

We have increased our guild in 2018 by 2 members.  If your interest is to serve the lord by preparing his table for the Eucharist; become part of the altar guild.  Feel free to call me at any time for any information/questions:  Ruby Seyffert (602) 318-0568.  We look forward to having you as part of our altar guild family.

Respectively submitted,  Ruby Seyffert, altar guild director

 

Stewardship

 

Our 2018 Stewardship theme was “Journey to Generosity.”  Fr. Bob asked all parishioners to reflect on the question: Lord, what do You want me to do with all the gifts You have given me?  The challenge is that we cannot know what God wants from us unless we spend some time every day communicating with God.

This year we were asked to do three simple things.

  1. Make a commitment to spend more time in communication with God. Consider participating in a church activity during the week, in addition to attending church on the weekend.  Try starting our day with a few minutes of quiet prayer and ending our day with spiritual reading.
  2. When praying, don’t spend all the time telling God what problems you want God to solve in the world. Instead, be still and ask God what God wants you to do.
  3. Then listen carefully. Listen to hear if God is calling you to a more active, conscious participation in our parish – sharing your time, talents and treasure.

 

On November 12 we had the blessing of the pledges as we concluded are stewardship campaign.  As of January 21, 2018 we received 85 pledges totaling $184,956.  Last year we had 86 pledges totaling $177,558 so we have increased our pledge amount slightly with one less pledge.  We actually received 14 new pledges for 2019 but also lost several pledges from 2018.  Our total budget for 2019 is $219,539 so we will need to take in additional funds from the offering plate and other sources to cover the difference between pledge income and budget.

I’d like to thank everyone who so generously made a pledge to Transfiguration.  Without your support this church would not exist.  I’d also like to thank you for all of the volunteer work that occurs at Transfiguration.  It continues to amaze me how blessed Fr. Bob, myself and the church are to have so many dedicated people pitching in where needed.   You are an answer to our prayers.                         Faithfully yours,      Jan Saik

Improvement Fund 2019

 

Transfiguration has been so blessed by the generosity and hard work of so many people.  We are thankful for those who came before and helped this church to be a beautiful place. 

One of the gifts of the people of Transfiguration happened in 2012 when many of our members created and contributed to an Improvement Fund.  This Improvement Fund has been used over the last 7 years to provide many important items to keep the church looking beautiful and to fix problems that arose with the buildings and grounds of the church.   That fund has done its job but now it is time to create a new fund or to provide additional money to keep that fund in a meaningful way.  You may wish to see all of the things that were accomplished through the generosity of those who contributed to the Improvement Fund (originally called the Property, Landscape, and Liturgical Repair and Renovation List).

I am most concerned about the possibility that we will have to replace the four air conditioners in the church.  The current air conditioners have been in place for about eighteen years.  That is a long time to work in the heat of the Arizona desert.  There are some other potential projects that I would like to see us pursue including the completion of upgrades to the kitchen (repairs to the flooring, etc.), completion of a nursery (in progress), and installation of a newer organ.

Now is a time for us to discern what capital projects we would like to pursue.  Please look for more information about how you can help us plan our next steps. 

Bob Saik

The Crazy Chile Farm 2018

 

2018 was the fourth growing season for The Crazy Chile Farm, and by all calculations it was a record year, at least in terms of production.  For the year we picked 692 pounds of Campo Dorado Chile, 18 pounds of Yoeme Blue corn (10 pounds of cornmeal, 8 pounds of seed), 8 pounds of Tepary beans (all for seed stock), and 200 pounds of squash.  This extraordinary increase over previous years was enabled by the addition of a 5000 sq. ft. Field #2, by a new greenhouse, and by consistent and dedicated participation by a great group of farmers and support personnel.  Field #2 was built on the site of what was once a gravel parking lot. Transforming it from lot to field turned out to be a massive project. Bob DeSpiegleare did initial plowing, with a rented tractor. Laura Ward’s team of Clydesdales, under the skilled hands of teamster Todd Good, performed grading and disc work. Rows, furrows, and fencing were installed by hand under the direction of Lee Podhajsky and a cast of dozens. Irrigation was designed by Jim Soper and installed with help from Pat Mack and Walt Devonshire, and a new greenhouse and fencing were installed.  The resulting field was amazingly productive.  Harvesting and processing was conducted from May to November, by an exceptional cadre of volunteers that included Sharon Shane (with grandkids Kael, Cody, and Emma), Sarah Mihail (with kids Joshua and Noah), Caryll Prokosch (with grandteens Alex, Derek, and Skylar), Juan Chavez, Dea and Lee Podhajsky, Heidi Kinney, Dana Wittmann, Jim and Janet Zuber, Shirley Johnson, Julie K-L, Lynn Graff, Laura Whayne, Laura Ward, Todd Good, Art and Dawn Vernon, and our seasonal bookends, Barb and Gerry Ewert.

 

Total income for The Crazy Chile Farm in 2018 was $4,127.  This was comprised of an $800 cash grant from Seed Money LLC for the greenhouse and fencing,  $300 from the Diocesan Outreach rebate, and the balance of $3,027 from the sale of chile powder and cornmeal. 

 

While The Farm does not solicit donations, in 2018 we received a donated Troy Built Chipper Shredder (from Barbara and Dwayne Turner), a brand new gas powered string cutter (from Art and Dawn Vernon), half a day of tractor rental (from Bob DeSpiegleare and Liz Farmer), close to 100 hours use of a team of Clydesdales (from Laura Ward), and a container load of locally produced organic soil amendments valued at $10,000 (from David Hill at the Phoenix Desert Botanical Gardens).

 

Farm income was used to pay for all expenses, including irrigation water, farm maintenance, growing surface expansion, equipment failures, irrigation failures and, on two occasions, contract labor to help us deal with an out of control Bermuda Grass invasion.  As for outreach, $463.88 was donated to United Food Bank for the “Backpack Food” program during the 2018 teacher walkout.  $300 was given to Million Meals for the provision of 6000 meals. There is currently $595 in our account and we take in between $50 and $150 each Sunday.    

 

There is also a new dimension to our outreach, that began in 2018 and that will continue to grow significantly in 2019. We have made a commitment to assisting the indigenous communities of Southern Arizona (Tohono O’odham, San Xavier O’odham, the Akimel O’odham, the Maricopa, the Pima and the Pascua Yaqui communities) recapture their traditional agricultural heritage. By working with three other organizations (Native Seeds/SEARCH in Tucson, the Ajo Center for Sustainable Agriculture in Ajo, and Ramona Farms on the Gila River Pima Reservation), we are collectively enabling hundreds of Native American families to reclaim traditional crops and healthy diets.  Our part of the project is to grow seed stock of rare indigenous food plants, and to encourage and provide those seeds to indigenous farmers throughout the 5,500 sq. mi. of Reservation Lands in Southern Arizona.  In 2018 we grew and provided seeds of tepary beans, Yoeme blue corn, and Tohono O’odham squash to our new partners for distribution to indigenous farmers. Field #2 will be used exclusively to support this effort in 2018.        In Christ, Bill Robinson

 

2018 Native Plant Landscape Ministry

 

In 2008 a program was begun to Restore, Recycle, and Renew our landscape. This effort was led by then Junior Warden Jim Soper along with Bill and Nancy Robinson. Many others helped out on various projects.

 

RESTORE

Originally our acreage was low Sonoran Desert land. The plants that lived here survived on the rainwater that God provided. As wise stewards of the resources we have, we have chosen to install plants that are desert natives (Sonoran, Chihuahuan, Mojave) or desert adapted that can survive on rainwater alone, which in some years is less than the average annual of 7.5 inches.  Trees and shrubs that have been added to the landscape will need irrigation support until they are established (3-5 years). Perennials will need support for a shorter period of time. Most plants except creosote bush may need some irrigation support during a prolonged drought.

                                                              

RECYCLE

As part of our stewardship, we have chosen to Restore the landscape using primarily recycled plants. These have come from parishioners’ home gardens, gardens of their neighbors or homeowner association common lands, and plants rescued from being taken to the dump. Some of these plants were sizeable; others have a lot of growing to do. In the first two years of this program we recycled over 90 plants. We also recycled rocks and gravel through “bring a rock to church”, allowing us to defend vulnerable plants as well as providing dry stream beds for water harvesting when the rains do come.

 

RENEW

Renewal is a process, not an event. It takes time. The renewal of the landscape at Transfiguration comes as we continue to learn to be co-creators with God. By changing from a kill-all weed eradication program, to a manual program with plant identification prior to spraying, we have been blessed with many “planted by God and nurtured by gardener” trees, shrubs and perennials. Part of the renewal process is in the selection of plants for the landscape. Plants have been chosen that attract bees, butterflies and birds to help counteract the great loss of many of these species. Plants have also been chosen that have berries, pods and flowers that our resident and migratory wildlife look to for food. Native plants attract and nourish native wildlife as well as beautify God’s creation. We have a resident roadrunner along with quail, doves, hummingbirds, Gila woodpeckers, mockingbirds, cactus wrens, sparrows, finches, and the ever-present curvedbill thrashers. We also have lizards, desert cottontails, visiting coyotes and raptors.

 

In 2018 we have added 35 flowering plants including hesperaloe, pink fairy duster, candelilla, ocotillo, Engelmann’s prickly pear, desert milkweed, wooly butterfly bush, and buckhorn cholla. Most of these were 1-gallon size, so they have lots of growing to do before they are well established. We have also planted seeds of annual wildflowers and desert perennials, which should eventually germinate with the monsoon rains. In the coming year, as these plants begin to bloom, we hope to have a more colorful landscape.

Nancy Robinson

Book Group General Membership Report

 

Our group meets the third Friday of the month October through March at 10 am in the Parish House. The purpose of the group is to create a community of readers who are interested in exploring ideas relating to morality and religion. Our books selections are both fiction and non fiction. This year we have read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and The Sun Also Shines, a nonfiction biography of an innocent man who spent 30 years on death row. Death Comes for the Archbishop, a classic by Willa Cather dealing with the early church in New Mexico, is our January selection. In February we will read Beneath a Scarlet Sky and in March A Prayer for Owen Meany. All are welcome to attend. Please feel free to invite your friends who are readers. Details about selections can be found on our web page https://www.transfiguration-mesa.org

Dea Podhajsky

Social Media Report

 

Dea Podhajsky This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Our Sites – Webpage https://www.transfiguration-mesa.org/

YouTube: Transfiguration Mesa (Please subscribe. Check out the playlists.) (No subscribers)

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/transfiguration.mesa/ (222 follow)

Twitter [email protected] (13 followers)

Instagram transfigmesa (46 followers)

 

Our most popular site is Facebook (FB). Recently we had a post that reached over 1,500 people. It was a cartoon on gratitude. Our next most popular site is our web page. Our web page contains a section entitled Transfiguration Meditations that are blogs written by members. These blogs average 100 hits. We also have a calendar section on the webpage. We had eighty hits on our Christmas Eve Services. Fr. Bob’s sermons are also featured here in addition to Facebook. On the web the sermons average 50 hits. There is a section of the home page devoted to news. An article on our new chapel had 135 hits. A story about Detour Theater garnered 36 hits, Spirituality for the Second Half of life had 86 hits and Prayer Shawls had over 100. Although it is possible to order from the Crazy Chile Farm from our web page no one has. There is much more available on the web page. Please feel free to ask me to give you a tour on your mobile device.

 

To get an idea of how FB and the web page compare. Fr. Bob’s sermons on FB average 60 hits. The information on Detour Theater Company had 143 hits. The daily meditation posted by Dan Heron averages about 50 hits a day. The Farm Report has done well in the past. The key to success on FB is the sharing of a post.

 

We have recently added a YouTube channel. We need subscribers as we have none as yet. Class materials from the adult formation class on The Power of Love can be found there. Hopefully, we will soon have the sermon available here as well. Again I would be glad to help you to subscribe on your mobile device.

 

Our Twitter account is aimed at a younger audience and contains posts dealing with popular culture among other things. Part of the power of Twitter is the retweet. We follow 44 sites so one can expect to see retweets from sites we follow.

Instagram is the place to go to find images and the occasional musical number from our choir.

If you are interested in helping with social media, let me know.          Dea Podhajsky

 

Walking Group

 

Our walkers have logged 31,762 miles since our group’s creation. Last December we reached our goal of walking to Mt. Tabor in Israel. Starting in January we began our trek home, since than we have been in Switzerland, England, Scotland, and Ireland. We have walked the Camino de Santiago, stopped off in Spain, spent a few days in Morocco before heading off into the Sahara. There we had visits to Algiers and an Oasis. In Egypt we saw the pyramids and the Valley of the Kings. While in Africa we also stopped in Khartoum, Adis Abba, Nairobi, and Cape Town.  From Cape Town we headed to Australia and from there to New Zealand. We are currently in French Polynesia.

The group’s goal is to create community while improving our health through walking. We appreciate the miles contributed by all the people and dogs that have joined us for the journey. We welcome new walkers whether they join us in person or if they walk independently and report their miles. To become a member of our group either show up at the Parish House at 8:00 on Wednesday or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to be added to our mailing list. Updates on our progress can be seen at our website    https://www.transfiguration-mesa.org   Dea Podhajsky

Episcopal Church Women

 

Reflecting back on 2018 ECW has been really busy.   The ladies of Transfiguration are an incredible blessing to the community.  These ladies give of themselves on a daily basis without expectation of acknowledgement for their acts of compassion. 

Every first Saturday of the month the women, and sometimes Father Bob and other men, gather to break bread at a potluck luncheon and then hold their meeting where planning and decisions are made as to outreach to benefit the surrounding community.  

Ongoing projects of this group include supporting - Brinton school with items such as kleenex, clothing for the children and school supplies, - AJ Food Bank, Million meals, Hug a bear, and  Project Help.  Three New Ministries were formed:

- The Secret Prayer sisters was formed.  Secret sisters were picked and each sister holds their sister up in prayer and supports them throughout the year with little notes of encouragement and  small gifts to let them know they are being thought of.  The revealing of the sister occurs at a luncheon this coming week. 

- The Lords soup kitchen was formed and every month the ladies and gents get together to make soup and loaves of bread to be distributed to anyone who may be in need of comfort.  Many different types of soup are available in the kitchen freezer for distribution to whomever may need it. 

- Church support group was formed to help members of the church who need transportation, meals for the homebound etc. 

The annual Rummage sale was a success, perhaps not financially a windfall, but it served the community well.   The attendees of the sale seemed to need the items offered for a goodwill offering.  It was well attended and appreciated by the community at large.

Kitchen was cleaned up and organized by a dedicated group of ladies.  ECW hosted many events-Deacon Dan's retirement, Flowers for Mother’s day, Donuts for Dads, and Clergy appreciation to name a few.  Spring Luncheon and Style show was once again a great success.  It was well attended and everyone had a good time.   The ladies also supported Transfiguration by donating $5,000 to the general fund. 

This group is extremely busy.   All the events and activities could not happen if not for the commitment of all the ladies of ECW.   These ladies give of themselves freely and willingly.  The support of these women, the parishioners, Fr. Bob and Jan Saik and the faithful officers of ECW - Ruby Seyffert - vice president, Sharon Shane - secretary, and Joan Crossman - treasurer make my commitment so much easier.   I am most grateful to Linda Ostmeyer for her ongoing encouragement and knowledge and support.  

Respectfully Submitted, Jo Laslo, President

 

Transfiguration Children’s Ministry

                                    

The Sunday School teachers have remained flexible and steadfast this year despite the unpredictable number of attendees and young age span (2.5-8 years).  The staff prepared lessons and crafts for, on average, two children per class.  There have been consecutive Sundays of zero attendance and at times as many as four.  Accordingly, our teaching plans were “reset” to help prepare the child for the path, not the path for the child:

  • The curriculum we ordered last summer for all ages was used as a resource only, in order to teach younger children.
  • Integrated Old Testament stories with Jesse Tree ornament making to represent the story’s lesson and as an activity for the four Sundays of Advent.
  • The children participated in church worship by placing their ornaments on the Jesse Tree, the family tree of Jesus.
  • Teachers took the opportunity to meet informally and provided feedback to the director during class time when no children were in attendance.
  • Teachers kept class time organized, structured, and focused (one step ahead!) to manage the shorter attention span of the very young.
  • Emphasized family faith experiences by encouraging participation in summer/winter camps offered through our diocese. (Transfiguration families attended camp this year.)
  • Winter/Spring curriculum will include New Testament lessons and stories and new thoughts for the Easter egg hunt.

I thank our teachers Sharon, Cat, Gordy and Bobbie for sharing their gifts of creativity, perseverance and patience.  We have bonded and become dedicated members of Transfiguration’s children’s faith ministry in Christ. 

We appreciate all who have offered their help and support: Dea-Volunteer Recognition and pageants, Jo-ECW Easter egg hunt, Joan and Linda Jo-the sewing ministry for the activity bags and new surprises inside, Emily-music ministry, Susan Smith-Allen-story-teller and especially, Joolz, the very creative and talented mother of Ian, who built the base for our humble Jesse Tree! Thank you one and all for your willingness to be a part of our church village.

Most importantly, thank you to the parents, grandparents, guardians who encourage (and make possible) a child’s faith development.  As teachers we would lose the opportunity to shepherd children on their journey, letting them know they are loved unconditionally and are unique in God’s eyes. Thank you for trusting us to serve and “do God’s work.” 

Ian summed it all up when he was walking by the Jesse Tree after communion and exclaimed to his mother, “That’s my tree”!  Yes, Ian, you are one of Christ’s own.

Prayerfully submitted,    Eileen Chandler, Director of Children’s Ministry

  • 2018 Financial Statements Review

Treasurer’s Notes

We had a good year.  Our Income was more than our Expenses by $1,071.  We did not have to take money from our Investment Account to pay our bills even in the summer when cash is low.  Our Investment Account, which is now $188,005 has been decreased due to the market value.  We were sorry that the pledge money we received was much less than pledges made for 2018 by $22,044.   On the bright side our following accounts were more than we budgeted:  non pledge, $7,389, plate $1,551, and visitor $1,946, leaving us with only $11,158 less than we planned for the year.  Our expenses were less also than we budgeted by $6,413. which helped with having more money at the end of the year.  Our office move has not been completed this year, but will probably be finished by the end of this month.  So far it has cost us $1,777, but we still have electrical work to be completed and a ramp to be put in front of the office entry door.  Also we are filling in the flower beds on the side of the Parish House, which is now the office site, with cement.  Our Improvement Fund, which started in 2012 when we needed many improvements, still has a balance of $14,439.  We did receive a check for $10,000 this year for our improvements.  Our other future expense will be the air conditioners for the church, which was estimated to cost almost $30,000.  These are the original air conditioners from when the church was built.  Our parking lot is also in need of help.

Thanks for all your help in keeping our campus in good condition.

Sincerely,   Joan Crossman, Treasurer         

Balance Sheet as of December 31, 2018

                     

Account Name

 

YTD Balance

 

Previous Yr Bal

 

Amount Diff YTD

   

ASSETS                                                   _______________  ____________  ________________

CURRENT ASSETS

Chase Checking

 

39,830.92

 

34,439.52

 

5,391.40

   

Chase Savings

 

200.00

 

200.00

 

0.00

   

Total Current Assets

 

$40,030.92

 

$34,639.52

 

$5,391.40

   
                     

INVESTMENT ACCOUNTS

Able Financial Invest Acct 1065

 

89,763.22

 

94,913.24

 

(5,150.02)

   

Able Financial Invest Acct 6766

 

98,241.53

 

105,906.31

 

(7,664.78)

   

Total Investment Accounts

 

$188,004.75

 

$200,819.55

 

($12,814.80)

   
                     

Total Assets

 

$228,035.67

 

$235,459.07

 

($7,423.40)

   
             
                     

LIABILITIES

Total Liabilities

 

$0.00

 

$0.00

 

$0.00

   
             
                     

FUND BALANCES

Chili Garden Balance

 

594.83

 

334.42

 

260.41

   

Diocesan Outreach Balance

 

1,707.47

 

1,329.24

 

378.23

   

ECW  Balance

 

5,543.54

 

7,616.64

 

(2,073.10)

   

Improvement Fund Balance

 

14,439.17

 

9,476.52

 

4,962.65

   

Memorial Fund Balance

 

854.28

 

454.28

 

400.00

   

Million Meals Balance

 

553.66

 

586.92

 

(33.26)

   

Music Fund Balance

 

13,966.29

 

14,211.29

 

(245.00)

   

Nursery Fund Balance

 

1,105.25

 

1,105.25

 

0.00

   

Stainglass Window Balance

 

867.40

 

867.40

 

0.00

   

Total Restricted Fund Balances

 

$39,631.89

 

$35,981.96

 

$3,649.93

   
             
                     

Total LIABILITIES and FUND BALANCES

 

$39,631.89

 

$35,981.96

 

$3,649.93

   

1.  Our Current Assets have increased by $5,391.

2.  Our investments have decreased due to the market value by $12,815.

       

3.  Our fund accounts have increased by $3,650

             

4.  Our Current Assets have covered the Fund Accounts by $399.

       

Treasurer’s Report

 

 

Treasurer's Report as of December 2018 (Vestry Reports)

                             
                             

Account Name

 

Previous YTD

 

YTD Balance

 

Budget YTD

 

Over/UnderYTD

+(-)+Budget

 

INCOME

   

General Fund Income

 

5,200.00

 

6,123.91

         

Non Pledge Income

 

17,787.00

 

25,738.66*

 

18,350.00

 

7,388.66

 

Plate

 

6,745.00

 

8,301.00*

 

6,750.00

 

1,551.00

 

Pledge Account Income

 

164,615.43

 

157,028.88

 

179,073.00

 

(22,044.12)

 

Visitor

 

1,450.30

 

2,966.00*

 

1,020.00

 

1,946.00

 

Total Income

 

$195,797.73

 

$200,158.45

 

$205,193.00

 

($11,158.46)

 
             
                             

EXPENSES

   

RECTOR EXPENSE

   

Rector Education

 

0.00

 

0.00

 

360.00

 

(360.00)

 

Rector Health Insurance

 

8,603.00

 

8,154.00

 

8,196.00

 

(42.00)

 

Rector Pension Expense

 

11,700.00

 

12,150.00*

 

11,000.00

 

1,150.00

 

Rector Phone Expense

 

420.00

 

420.00

 

420.00

 

0.00

 

Rector Stipend Expense

 

64,999.92

 

67,500.00

 

67,980.00

 

(480.00)

 

Rector Travel

 

0.00

 

0.00

 

1,200.00

 

(1,200.00)

 

Spouse  Health Insurance

 

1,096.60

 

1,131.80*

 

1,104.00

 

27.80

 

Total Rector Expense

 

$86,819.52

 

$89,355.80

 

$90,260.00

 

($904.20)

 
                             

ADMINISTRATION EXPENSE

   

Administrator Expense

 

17,118.00

 

17,509.92

 

17,510.00

 

(0.08)

 

Adult Education

 

716.21

 

113.85

 

500.00

 

(386.15)

 

Advertising Expense

 

265.00

 

33.79

         

Audit Expense

 

0.00

 

0.00

 

90.00

 

(90.00)

 

Childrens Sun. School Exp.

 

299.95

 

352.61

 

1,200.00

 

(847.39)

 

Convention Expense

 

931.00

 

540.00

 

850.00

 

(310.00)

 

Copier Lease Expense

 

3,092.99

 

2,889.55

 

3,160.00

 

(270.45)

 

Deacon Ministry

 

0.00

 

0.00

 

500.00

 

(500.00)

 

Interest Expense

 

47.70

 

883.14

         

Music Director Expense

 

16,500.00

 

18,588.25*

 

18,540.00

 

48.25

 

Office Phone Expense

 

2,236.95

 

1,851.96

 

2,400.00

 

(548.04)

 

Office Supplies Expense

 

1,882.96

 

2,642.50*

 

2,000.00

 

642.50

 

Payroll Administration Expense

 

502.00

 

432.00

 

480.00

 

(48.00)

 

Payroll Taxes Expense

 

2,570.43

 

2,754.43

 

2,760.00

 

(5.57)

 

State Corporation Fees

 

0.00

 

20.00*

 

10.00

 

10.00

 

Supply Music Director Expense

 

1,650.00

 

1,325.00*

 

600.00

 

725.00

 

Supply Priest Expense

 

1,300.00

 

2,500.00*

 

1,200.00

 

1,300.00

 

Youth Sunday School Expense

 

372.00

 

0.00

 

1,200.00

 

(1,200.00)

 

Total Administration Expense

 

$49,485.19

 

$52,437.00

 

$53,000.00

 

($1,479.93)

 
                             

OPERATING EXPENSE

   

Audio/Visual Expense

 

0.00

 

0.00

 

500.00

 

(500.00)

 

Diocesan Assessment Exp.

 

33,734.00

 

33,708.82

 

35,421.00

 

(1,712.18)

 

Electric Expense

 

8,295.26

 

8,109.00

 

8,760.00

 

(651.00)

 

Fire Protection & Insp. Expense

 

1,704.00

 

2,191.00

 

2,600.00

 

(409.00)

 

Grounds Maintenance Expense

 

2,361.66

 

736.86

 

2,400.00

 

(1,663.14)

 

Property Insurance

 

6,928.50

 

5,693.75*

 

5,200.00

 

493.75

 

R & M  Expense

 

3,965.65

 

4,094.07

 

4,800.00

 

(705.93)

 

Refuse Expense

 

398.37

 

440.54*

 

400.00

 

40.54

 

Water Expense

 

1,988.32

 

2,321.06*

 

2,160.00

 

161.06

 

Total Operating Expenses

 

$59,375.76

 

$57,295.10

 

$62,241.00

 

($4,945.90)

 
                             

Total Expenses

 

$195,680.47

 

$199,087.90

 

$205,501.00

 

($7,330.03)

 
             
                             

Difference

   

$117.26

 

$1,070.55

 

($308.00)

       

1.  Income was less than the pledged amount by $22,044.  The other items were over budget.

   

2.  Most of our Expenses were close to our budget.

               

3.  The highlighted Operating Expenses were less then we budgeted, by $4,946.

       

4.  Our income was $1,071 more then our expenses

               

 

IX.            Budget for 2019

Annual Budget Report 2019

 

 

                     

Account #

 

Account Name

 

Yr Beg 01/2019

 

Yr Beg 01/2018

 

 

INCOME

   

 

4.100.001

 

Pledge Account Income

 

184,956.00

 

179,073.00

 

 

4.100.002

 

Non Pledge Income

 

21,873.00

 

18,350.00

 

 

4.100.003

 

Visitor

 

2,110.00

 

1,020.00

 

 

4.100.004

 

Plate

 

6,800.00

 

6,750.00

 

 

4.100.005

 

Holidays

 

500.00

 

600.00

 

 

4.105.000

 

General Fund Income

 

0.00

 

0.00

 

 

4.213.000

 

ECW   Income

 

5,000.00

 

5,000.00

 

 

   

Total Income

 

$221,239.00

 

$210,793.00

 

 

EXPENSES

   

 

RECTOR EXPENSE

   

 

5.506.001

 

Rector Stipend Expense

 

68,000.00

 

67,980.00

 

 

5.506.003

 

Rector Pension Expense

 

12,150.00

 

11,000.00

 

 

5.506.004

 

Rector Health Insurance

 

7,692.00

 

8,196.00

 

 

5.506.005

 

Rector Travel

 

1,200.00

 

1,200.00

 

 

5.506.006

 

Rector Education

 

360.00

 

360.00

 

 

5.506.007

 

Rector Phone Expense

 

240.00

 

420.00

 

 

5.506.008

 

Spouse  Health Insurance

 

900.00

 

1,104.00

 

 

   

Total Rector Expense

 

$90,542.00

 

$90,260.00

 

 

ADMINISTRATION EXPENSE

   

 

5.508.001

 

Music Director Expense

 

18,540.00

 

18,540.00

 

 

5.508.002

 

Supply Music Director Expense

 

800.00

 

600.00

 

 

5.509.001

 

Supply Priest Expense

 

1,300.00

 

1,200.00

 

 

5.509.005

 

Deacon Ministry

 

500.00

 

500.00

 

 

5.519.005

 

Administrator Expense

 

1                  18,510.00

 

17,510.00

 

 

5.520.000

 

Convention Expense

 

850.00

 

850.00

 

 

5.532.000

 

Payroll Taxes Expense

 

2,760.00

 

2,760.00

 

 

5.533.000

 

Payroll Administration Expense

 

480.00

 

480.00

 

 

5.543.001

 

Office Supplies Expense

 

2,000.00

 

2,000.00

 

 

5.551.006

 

Office Phone Expense

 

2                   3,720.00

 

2,400.00

 

 

5.558.003

 

Copier Lease Expense

 

3,135.00

 

3,160.00

 

 

5.620.005

 

Childrens Sun. School Exp.

 

1,200.00

 

1,200.00

 

 

5.620.006

 

Youth Sunday School Expense

 

1,200.00

 

1,200.00

 

 

5.621.005

 

Adult Education

 

500.00

 

500.00

 

 

5.655.001

 

State Corporation Fees

 

10.00

 

10.00

 

 

5.715.000

 

Audit Expense

 

90.00

 

90.00

 

 

   

Total Administration Expense

 

$55,595.00

 

$53,000.00

 

 

OPERATING EXPENSE

   

 

5.150.001

 

Cleaning Service

 

3                    5,000.00

 

0.00

 

 

5.220.000

 

Altar Guild Expense

 

1,000.00

 

1,000.00

 

 

5.509.006

 

Bonus

 

4                    2,500.00

 

1,500.00

 

 

5.563.005

 

Electric Expense

 

8,952.00

 

8,760.00

 

 

5.564.006

 

Water Expense

 

2,160.00

 

2,160.00

 

 

5.566.006

 

Refuse Expense

 

440.00

 

400.00

 

 

5.568.000

 

Fire Protection & Insp. Expense

 

2,900.00

 

2,600.00

 

 

5.574.006

 

R & M  Expense

 

4,800.00

 

4,800.00

 

 

5.580.000

 

Grounds Maintenance Expense

 

2,400.00

 

2,400.00

 

 

5.591.001

 

Property Insurance

 

6,000.00

 

5,200.00

 

 

5.621.006

 

Hosp/Kitchen Mgr

 

5                       500.00

 

0.00

 

 

5.629.000

 

Audio/Visual Expense

 

500.00

 

500.00

 

 

5.630.000

 

Social Media

 

250.00

 

200.00

 

 

5.711.000

 

Diocesan Assessment Exp.

 

36,000.00

 

35,421.00

 

 

   

Total Operating Expenses

 

$73,402.00

 

$64,941.00

 

 

   

Total Expenses

 

$219,539.00

 

$208,201.00

 

 

WE HAVE A BALANCED BUDGET!  I WOULD LIKE TO THANK ALL WHO HAVE PLEDGED AND MADE THIS POSSIBLE.

 

INCREASES IN OUR BUDGET FROM LAST YEAR

             

 

1.  Our Administrator was given a $1,000 increase

             

 

2.  We now have 2 lines coming into the church which increased our phone expense.

       

 

3.  We need a cleaning service for our buildings so we allowed $5,000 for this expense

     

 

4.  The bonus was increased by $1,000.

             

 

5.  When our kitchen is certified we will need a kitchen manager.

             

 

                                         

 

NOTES

Sometimes when I say “I’m okay,” I want someone to look me in the eyes, hug me tight and say, I know you’re not.”

One of my favorite songs in high school was Turn! Turn! Turn! by The Byrds  based on Ecclesiastes. The idea that everything has a season made a great deal of sense to someone growing up in Iowa We had corn season, football season (Go Hawks!) ice skating on Cherry Lake season and the season of the flood. When reading over this week’s prompts I was drawn to the prompt beginning with the word “Sometimes.”  Sometimes is a season and I am a firm believer in the occasional season of self-pity. The season when one suddenly uncontrollably begins to chant 

“Nobody likes me, everybody hates me
I think I'll go eat worms!
Big fat juicy ones
Eensie weensy squeensy ones

I am convinced that I am unloved, underappreciated, overlooked, taken for granted, forgotten, neglected, and generally ill-treated.

There is only one cure for this malady, a good wallow in self-pity.  To qualify as a good wallow there must be certain elements. I must be alone. I only wallow at night. I only wallow in candle light or in front of a fire. The wallow must have music. My music of choice is sad, soulful, sung by a woman and frequently in French. Nina Simone and Barbara Streisand are definitely on the play list. In fact back in the days of cassette tapes Lee made me a cassette of my favorite wallowing songs. I titled in Dea’s Depressing Dabblings 

Red wine is a necessity as well. I need the visual of the wine swishing in its glass as the  firelight transform the  red liquid into a reflecting prism of the wrongs the world has dealt me. I shout out the lyrics to songs like Barbara Striessand’s Free Again or Janis Ian’s I learned the truth at Seventeen. The lyrics are only tangentially connected to my mood. The songs are selected to evoke a mood. They are the sound track of a wallow. But eventually I notice the candle wax is dripping onto the coffee table, the wine glass is empty, and the music is becoming maudlin. I blow out the candles, take my glass to the sink realized how blessed I am. I am now chanting  

For the beauty of the earth, 
for the glory of the skies, 
for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies. 
Christ, our Lord, to you we raise 
this, our hymn of grateful praise.

Wallow over. It is the season to dance.

Dea Podhajsky

Lonely is when no one else will do

A year after my divorce I found myself in a living arrangement that turned abusive. Maybe that was self-punishment or maybe just a match for wounded self-worth. But when I got choked in the shower, I walked from Phoenix to Tempe and found a retreat where I could regroup. I delved into my spiritual studies that no-one before seemed to understand. I practiced my yoga and I read

Someone up above saw my efforts. I searched deep to determine where I was failing. By now I blamed no-one for my aloneness. I wanted to know why everybody fled when I loved them or why I frustrated the last one who called me a malcontent. Nobody could make me happy. Something was missing. I wasn’t a complete person.

So I turned back to Christ, my childhood idol. My rock. I read all the Gnostic gospels -what had I missed? What did they say about my Lord. Who was Magdalene and who was Thomas really. And this Phillip, who wrote (or told) about Jesus and Mary. These were new discoveries and I found they explained a lot. Or at least made me wonder, Who was the real Christ. And who were these wise men from the East who knew of His coming. How did he transform himself? I began this relationship with knowledge and found the living Jesus guides us and is present.

 

There is no loneliness when we we get very still and let the chaff of the wheat fall away. But you have to let it go, let go of the opinions of yourself and others -those are all judgements and have no value. I think love is a gift that is there by Grace when we become centered and find that point within that connects us to the Divine. Then God comes down to meet us and bestow us with Faith. So this is what I nurture, my Faith. And it takes effort, on my part, every day to not waste the gift.  I’m never alone. Or lonely because I can now reach out, I don’t expect anything. I do my part. I make the effort, and God notices and reciprocates.

Dana Wittman

Page 1 of 4