“Uppity Women of the Bible” Coming to The Fountains

Uppity Women of the Bible, a DVD series featuring Hebrew Bible professor Dr. Lisa Wolfe, will be the focus of a Wednesday morning Bible Study at The Fountains beginning Wednesday, January 18th at 10am and continuing through March 1st. Our first focus will be six sessions on the book of Esther, a complex story that ranges from slapstick farce to Shakespearean tragedy.

uppitywomen

Our guide to Esther, Dr. Lisa Wolfe is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible at Oklahoma City University, the author of Ruth, Esther, Song of Songs, and Judith (Wipf and Stock, 2011), and is a self-described Bible Nerd. Combining careful scholarship with humor and fresh insights, Dr. Wolfe presents the stories of various Biblical women in a way that generates lively, thoughtful discussion and that sheds light on issues that are very contemporary.

Facilitated by Pastor David Felten, you’re invited to enter into an exotic and fanciful Persian kingdom complete with a dim-witted king, a defiant queen, an egotistical lieutenant and a loyal uncle – all the elements that make the book of Esther a timeless cautionary tale. With lavish banquets, extreme beauty treatments and dangerous liaisons at every turn, can the beautiful and courageous Esther avert disaster for her people? All this occurs in a Biblical book where God is never even mentioned.

Suggested tuition for this six (6) week module is $20. Email or call the office (480.837.7627) to sign up. Those who sign up ahead will receive a participant guide via email or mail so they can prepare for the first session. Grab your gragger and your hamantaschen and join Dr. Wolfe for this fascinating study of power, corruption, violence, and courage.

Sessions:

  • Jan 18th Who’s Who
  • Jan 25th Setting the Stage
  • Feb 1st The Defiant Queen
  • Feb 8th From Coronation to Doomsday
  • Feb 15th The King’s Scepter
  • Feb 22nd [break]
  • March 1st Uppity Esther?

CLICK HERE to go to YouTube to view a sample video from “Uppity Women.”

“Living the Questions” Study for Progressive Christians  

ltqpageIt’s back! The study that launched a thousand OpEd pieces (and at least 48 “Fact or Fiction” sermons in 2015!). “Honoring Creation,” the SECOND module of the popular DVD course “Living the Questions 2.0,” will be offered at The Fountains beginning Thursday evening, January 26th at 6:30 and will continue for seven (7) weeks.

Living the Questions  is a program created by Pastor David and colleague, Rev. Jeff Procter-Murphy as a progressive alternative to the pat answers of the evangelical “Alpha Course.” The DVD series, part of the LtQ catalog now in use by over 6,000 churches around the world, has also been published in book form by HarperOne, San Francisco.

The overall theme is “Reclaiming the World” and includes the topics of The Prophetic Jesus, Evil, Suffering, & a God of Love, and Debunking the Rapture.

Facilitated by Pastor David, these classes introduce participants to ways of thinking about the Bible, their faith, and how to interact with the world in ways that make sense in the 21st century. Participants will explore how taking the Bible seriously excludes a belief in the inerrancy (or infallibility) of scripture, how belief in a literal Resurrection is optional (and detrimental to contemporary Christianity), and how exchanging the prophetic Jesus of the Gospels for the saccharine Jesus of many people’s imaginations actually enriches our understanding of Jesus’ relevance for today.

Suggested tuition for this seven (7) week module is $20. Email or call the office (480.837.7627) to sign up. Those who sign up ahead will receive a participant guide via email or mail so they can prepare for the first session. Many have already completed LtQ 2.0’s first module (Sessions 1 – 7 ) and third module (Sessions 15 – 21). This module is the “second flight” of the program: Sessions 8 through 14.

Living the Questions 2.0: Reclaiming the World  2017

  • Jan 26th: 8. Restoring Relationships
  • Feb. 2nd: 9. The Prophetic Jesus    
  • Feb. 9th: 10. Evil, Suffering & A God of Love    
  • Feb. 16th: 11. The Myth of Redemptive Violence 
  • Feb. 23rd: 12. Practicing Resurrection
  • Mar 2nd: 13. Debunking the Rapture
  • Mar 9th: 14. Reclaiming the World

Join us and plan for stimulating input, great conversation, and a liberating view of Christianity. Childcare is available upon request – call the office (480.837.7627).

Faith and Food Justice

earth-dayThe “Green Team” of The Fountains, along with Arizona Interfaith Power and Light,  is pleased to present a three-part film series and discussion on “Faith and Food Justice.” The first film, “Preaching for the Planet,” provides an interfaith perspective on our stewardship role in the care of the planet in the face of global warming.
The second, award-winning, film, “A Place at the Table,” offers a look at the faces and stories of hunger in America. The third evening will be three short documentaries on how three different communities that are in the midst of what’s called “food deserts” (including one here in Phoenix) are responding to food insecurity, lack of access to healthy food, and social and environmental injustice.
The films will be screened at The Fountains from 7 to 8:30pm on on January 23rd, February 20th, and March 20th.
Don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to be in dialogue on faith, hunger and the role of the faith community in food justice.  Join us for fellowship and inspiration. For more information, email Patrick Grady.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS: 
  • January 23rd: Preaching for the Planet
  • February 20th: A Place at the Table
  • March 20th: Food Deserts

A Look at Sacred Geometry

shellAt this month’s BYOT (Bring Your Own Thoughts)*, Karen Klaassen will be our facilitator in “A Look at Sacred Geometry.”

Sacred geometry is found in nature, music, ancient structures, art, and architecture throughout the ages. It can be seen in human cultures and throughout our cosmos. Karen has colorful images for us to view to see how it’s been used both in the past and currently throughout the world.  She will demonstrate the use of Sacred Geometry as a meditative spiritual practice.  We will meet Tuesday evening, January 10th, in the Sanctuary from 7 to 9pm.

All are invited and welcome to join us!

For more information, email Barb Sudderth.

 

*NOTE: formerly TBD (To Be Determined).

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Celebrations

cmas2016

“Yule Love It!” – Celebration of Christmas Music

Yule Love It Flyer 2016 ver1Join us for a night of your favorite Christmas music done in a way only The Fountains can do it! Long-time Country Diva Jamy Culp joins husband Steve Culp, veteran keyboardist for the award-winning smooth-jazz group, “Turning Point” as they team up with band members and Fountain Hills Theater favorites Sandy Schlosser and Gina Tomkus for a night of fun and inspiring Christmas music and cheer. Musical interlopers include The Fountain Hills Saxophone Quartet PLUS a very special surprise guest.

ONE NIGHT ONLY: Sunday, December 18th at 6pm at The Fountains,  15300 N Fountain Hills Blvd. The suggested $20 donation (at the door) not only includes the entertainment, but a dessert and coffee/tea at intermission!

From “What Child is This?” to “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and everything in between, you’re sure to be entertained by this amazing collaboration of musicians – and all for a great cause! All proceeds go toward missions providing food, shelter, and job training to the less fortunate the whole year round.

Admit it! This is just the kind of delightful distraction you need before the last week of Christmas madness sets in! It’s a great show for a great cause – and you don’t even have to go to Lake Wazzapamani. It’s right here in Fountain Hills! “Yule Love It!”

CLICK HERE to DOWNLOAD THE FLYER

 

The Longest Night: A Service of Hope and Healing

Longest Night 2016 FlyerFor those experiencing loss or grief, the holidays can be an especially difficult time. The longer and longer nights can often add to a sense of sadness that make the joyful celebrations and holiday parties painful to endure.

For those longing for a touch of inner peace during the holiday season, a non-denominational and interfaith service of prayer and fellowship will be offered on Thursday, December 15th at 6:30pm at The Fountains, 15300 N Fountain Hills Blvd.

This “Longest Night” service, named for the longest night of the year, the Winter Solstice, aims to offer support, hope, and a space for healing of the spirit for all those in attendance. Anyone experiencing loss or grief is encouraged to attend – and not just the loss of a loved one to death, but the loss of a home, the “loss” of a loved one to dementia or mental illness, homelessness or other difficult life circumstances – including seasonal affective disorder.

This year’s gathering will center around the walking of the Labyrinth, a spiritual practice of Christians for hundreds of years. The Fountains has acquired a large indoor labyrinth around which participants will experience the depth and power of this ancient catalyst for healing and transformation. Nancy Garten, Stephen Ministry coordinator at The Fountains, sees acknowledgement of “The Longest Night” as “a natural expression and extension of what Stephen Ministers do, comforting and caring for people in times of need.”

Inevitably, this time of year rolls around for some with less joy than with an all-too-familiar sense of sadness. The Longest Night is a gathering with others who are also experiencing the pain and emotional challenges of the season.

Although one’s circumstances may not be able to be changed, we can gather together to find hope and healing through the love and support of one another this holiday season. Join us as we embrace the labyrinth as a symbol that grief is not a simple, linear journey.

The community is invited to join us at 6:30pm in the sanctuary at The Fountains (on the corner of Fountain Hills Blvd and Glenbrook). Childcare will be provided.

 

 

Building Committee & Now is the Moment Update

So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get a chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with people closest to us in the community of faith.” – Galatians 6:9

December 1st, 2016

Greetings Fountains folk,

Thank you to all who have contributed in so many ways to the initial success of our “Now is the Moment” capital campaign! We have already made significant inroads toward fulfilling our original vision of paying off our mortgage and realizing our dream of a new “connection center.”NITM keyfob logo

The generosity of our congregation has been demonstrated not only in the total of campaign pledges (totaling $874,500) but also in the sustained giving towards those pledges (currently having collected well over $475,000).

In May of 2015 we paid $66,232.80 toward our mortgage leaving a current principal balance of $231,872.49. Our monthly principal/interest payment is $3,187. The next opportunity to pay off the balance without a pre-payment penalty will be in July of 2018 ($194,395).

In the meantime, the Building Committee has been hard at work striving to meet the NITM vision of a new “connection center.” They have explored multiple options for floor-plans that include office space, education space, and community connection space. After considering various building plans, consulting with multiple builders, and reviewing initial cost estimates, the Building Committee is recommending that the ‘house’ be torn down and has a preliminary “Plan A” design as a replacement.

We Seek Your Feedback

More than likely, “Plan A” will require additional funds over and above what was initially pledged. So, the Building Committee, Church Council, and I seek your feedback on how to proceed. Our goal is to determine the congregation’s appetite for raising additional monies through:

  • inviting new members to contribute to the campaign
  • soliciting again from any current members who have yet to contribute
  • asking current contributors to extend their pledge for an additional year
  • borrowing the needed difference between the monies pledged and the final contract price
  • exploring other options (i.e. grants to support our Interfaith or LGBTQ outreach)
  • a combination of any and/or all of the above.

After a series of informational forums and feedback opportunities, our plan will then be to determine a consensus among the congregation. We intend to do this in a formal poll in January of 2017.

Come One, Come All!

In order to share with everyone where things stand currently and to generate the most relevant questions, three town-hall type meetings are being planned. Each will include a brief presentation about the vision of the Building Committee and an update of the NITM campaign financials. The bulk of the time will then be focused on answering your questions and documenting your suggestions and concerns.

  • Tuesday December 6th at 6:30pm
  • Sunday December 18th in between services (approximately 10:15am)
  • Sunday January 8th after second service (approximately 12:15pm)

All meetings will be in the Sanctuary.

Please join us as we hear from our Building Committee, receive an update on our “Now is the Moment” campaign progress, and share our ideas on how best to meet our collective vision for the future. Your prayerful consideration and participation in this process is much appreciated.

On behalf of the Building Committee and the “Now is the Moment” Campaign,

Rev. David Felten, Pastor

 

The Fountains’ Building Committee mission statement:

Our mission is to prayerfully lead in the design and delivery of a multipurpose space that better serves the diverse needs of our members and the community at large. Decisions will be made in the spirit of consensus and limited by the monies entrusted to us from the congregation. The results of our efforts will be a Connection Center that demonstrates from the outside, what we preach from the inside: ALL ARE WELCOME IN THIS PLACE.

The Fountains is Valley Interfaith Project’s Newest Member

vip logoWhat is Valley Interfaith Project?

In May of 2016, The Fountains’ Church Council voted to formally become a member of Valley Interfaith Project (VIP). VIP is a broad-based non-profit organization with a 16-year history in working to address community issues like homelessness, education, youth issues, healthcare, prison reform, and the environment. For a number of years, Pastor David has been involved with other VIP clergy leadership in a variety of efforts, most recently being an advocate to utilities to accommodate customers who are beneath the poverty line with a special reduced rate.

The Fountains joins two of the largest and most influential United Methodist churches in the valley – Dayspring and Paradise Valley – and forty other interfaith organizations as partners in moving from doing “charity” to doing justice – in other words, actively working to change the system, rather than just cleaning up the wreckage the system leaves behind.

What does Valley Interfaith DO?

Theologian Walter Brueggemann says, “I think church people are terribly naïve when it comes to systemic matters.”  We do a fairly good job at being generous and extending charity to poor people – all within a system that keeps chewing up and spitting out victims.

VIP helps us be intentional about asking the bigger, tougher questions: WHY are people hungry, homeless, and struggling? Could it be the system that we tacitly endorse by not questioning the values of our politicians and our community? We need to ask the questions that might make some people uncomfortable, but that further our call to work with people of all faiths to care for the widow, the stranger, and the orphan – and not just with charity.

One of the ways VIP helps us to start asking those bigger, tougher questions are through “House Meetings.” These are small-group listening sessions intended to identify stories and issues that participants are concerned about.

House Meetings with neighbors also happen to be a “best practice” of new church starts. They help a church find out what makes a neighborhood tick so they can get engaged in making a difference. If you wonder how the church can be seen as relevant in the community, it makes sense that we need to understand what is relevant to our community.

House Meetings are not complaining or offering opinions or dictating solutions. They’re about sharing stories and really listening to one another – and many of us need to learn the art of listening! As Simon Sinek has said, “There’s a difference between listening and waiting for your turn to speak.” As with a spouse or partner, actually listening to one another can both build and strengthen deeper relationships — within the congregation and in the larger community.

 VIP at The Fountains

If you find yourself frustrated with the way the world is and at a loss as to how you can make a difference, then you’ll find VIP is a valuable partner in helping us work together for change.

We already have a VIP core team that’s been planning and training over the summer. We want to be intentional about empowering one another to take action, so VIP’s lead organizer, Joe Rubio, will be at The Fountains once again this Saturday, October 15th at 2pm to continue training Fountains folk in the art of facilitating House Meetings. Then on Sunday, October 16th, we’ll get to experience what a House Meeting is like in both services.

One thing to keep in mind: becoming a member of VIP is committing to playing the long game. Committing to work as a member of VIP is a commitment to changing a system that doesn’t like change. VIP’s current focus includes Education funding reform, Prison Reform, and Immigration reform – any one of which means years of organizing, setbacks, and grassroots work. It’s Jesus work, it’s “Kingdom” work – and work that is worth it in the long run!

For more information or to get involved, CLICK HERE to email Darlene Blackwell. 

A Note on Funding:

Since VIP is strictly non-partisan, it accepts no political contributions or government grants and depends on dues from its member organizations (recommended at 1% of an institution’s operating budget, and active leadership participation in the organization). The Fountains’ dues for our inaugural year is an introductory $2,000, $1,000 of which was generously provided by a committed donor. Members of the Church Council have already contributed toward the second thousand. If you’d like to help us get off to a good start, you can make your check out to The Fountains and note it as being for VIP.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pastor David to Receive “Local Heroes” Award

Spotlight on Success logo

The Fountains is proud to announce that Pastor David is being honored with the “Spotlight on Success” Local Heroes Award for 2016. The award will be presented by ONE Community at a luncheon ceremony recognizing community heroes for their commitment to diversity.

Among the award recipients are:

  • Executives from Uber
  • Vice President of GoDaddy
  • Director of Human Resources from Fry’s Food Stores

And…

  • Reverend David Felten, Pastor, The Fountains United Methodist Church

One Community says:

As pastor of The Fountains, Rev. Felten has been a singular faith voice for inclusion in Fountain Hills. In 1999, he was one of the founders of No Longer Silent: Clergy for Justice, a group advocating for the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in both the church and the community. Since then, he and other colleagues have stood in the midst of the tension in the United Methodist Church which finds its Book of Discipline stating that gay and transgender people are of sacred worth and yet are somehow incompatible with Christian teaching.

Rev. Felten’s church has hosted monthly PFLAG meetings for many years, is a “Reconciling Congregation” in the United Methodist tradition, and has signed One Community’s Unity Pledge. The Fountains continues to engage the community in ongoing study to deepen awareness and transform barriers into opportunities. Outspoken against SB 1062, Rev. Felten has been a public voice for inclusion on both marriage equality and gay and transgender equality and inclusion. Standing for the sacred worth of all people has sometimes come with both a personal and professional cost.

So, Rev. Debra Peevy, Faith Director for One Community, says, “You have spoken out, shaken up, and helped to stir the hearts of many United Methodists to take a journey toward full inclusion. This journey has been taken in faith and the outcome remains unclear, but your voice, your leadership, and your standing up to be counted when it counts, has made you our first choice to receive the Spotlight on Success Heroes Award for Faith Leadership in 2016.”

COST: $40 (normally $100 each — underwritten by One Community and the Peg Beavis Scholarship Fund)  Contact the office for information on reserving your seat: 480.837.7627

WHERE: The Sheraton Downtown, 340 N. 3rd Street, Phoenix

WHEN: October 28th, 2016 — 11:00 Doors Open, 11:30 luncheon