Holy Land Pilgrimage 2019

There’s really no better way to reshape and deepen your understanding of what it means to be a follower of Jesus than a trip to where it all started. There’s still room to join Pastor David and Laura Felten as they host a pilgrimage to the Galilee and Jerusalem in March of 2019.

“Laura and I are getting excited about heading back to the Holy Land in 2019 and invite you to join us to be on pilgrimage together. CLICK HERE to find a brochure with details on our itinerary and the options available, including extensions in Jordan and Jerusalem. We’ll be departing Phoenix on March 11, 2019 – a beautiful time of year to be in the Galilee and Jerusalem.” 

Having traveled on four occasions with Educational Opportunities, Pastor David and Laura are well acquainted with the quality arrangements and attention to detail that EO’s years of expertise bring into play. Every detail is thought through and planned for in order to guarantee each participant a safe, enjoyable, and enlightening trip.


2011 Fountains’ pilgrims relaxing in the Dead Sea


The total cost for TEN DAYS (including roundtrip airfare from New York (Kennedy), 1st class hotels, deluxe motor coaches, guides, entrance fees, and all meals but lunches) is $3,298. The cost for EO to arrange your Phoenix/New York airfare (roundtrip) is only $448, bringing the full cost to $3,746. If you arrange your own flights to Tel Aviv, the tour cost is only $1,998 (and you’ll have to arrange ground transportation to rendezvous with us).

In addition to the trip itself, Arizona-based pilgrims will have opportunities to participate in pre-departure events including itinerary-based Bible studies and cultural experiences. Leading up to departure, there will be several events in  January and February of 2019 preparing for what will be seen and experienced on the trip.

For more information,  CLICK HERE to visit EO’s website and explore the “Holy Land Classic” itinerary. There you’ll find details on a variety of options available (including more information on extensions).

Signing Up

When you sign up, you’ll enter Tour Code “HL19” departing March 11, 2019. You’ll also want to enter Pastor David’s ID code, #27209. If you have any questions about the tour, please feel free to contact The Fountains office at 480.837.7627 or by CLICKING HERE to send an email.

Don’t miss out on this trip of a lifetime!

“First Light” — Jesus Seminar Scholars Put Jesus in Context

Why did Jesus happen when he happened? Why the tiny, obscure villages around the Sea of Galilee?  What were the priorities of Jesus’ original message? How does Roman imperial theology continue to subvert Jesus’ message to this day? The consideration of these and many other questions feature in the discussion series, First Light: Jesus and the Kingdom of God at The Fountains, a United Methodist Church. Twelve evening sessions will begin on Thursday, November 29th at 6:30pm and will continue each Thursday (with a break for Christmas) through the end of February.


Travel Back in Time to Jerusalem and The Galilee

First Light is a 12-session series focusing on the historical Jesus with two of the world’s leading Jesus scholars and members of the Jesus Seminar, John Dominic Crossan and the late Marcus Borg. Each session includes DVD segments filmed on location throughout the Galilee and Jerusalem and is supported by a participant reader by Dom Crossan, who says: “[First Light] is all I have to say about Jesus after half a century of study — in succinct summary.”

Pastor David Felten, one of the co-creators of the series, will facilitate this in-depth study aimed at exposing participants to Biblical and historical details that are taught in our seminaries but which seldom trickle down to congregations. Sessions will be held in the sanctuary of The Fountains at 15300 N. Fountain Hills Blvd. Suggested tuition for this twelve (12) week series is $20. Contact the office to register: 480.837.7627. Those who register ahead will receive a participant guide via email or mail so they can prepare for the first session.

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

Schedule for First Light: Jesus and the Kingdom of God (Thursdays at 6:30pm):

  • Nov. 29th 1. The Matrix of Jesus
  • Dec. 6th  2. The Advent of the Messiah
  • Dec. 13th 3. God’s Great Cleanup
  • (break for two weeks)
  • Jan 3rd 4. Collaborative Eschaton
  • Jan 10th 5. The Lake as the World
  • Jan 17th 6. Parables as Lures
  • Jan 24th 7. Jesus as Lord
  • Jan 31st 8. Substitutionary Atonement?
  • Feb 7th  9. Demonstrations in Jerusalem
  • Feb 14th 10. The Crowd & the Crucifixion
  • Feb 21st 11. Resurrection as Resistance
  • Feb 28th 12. America as the New Rome

Click below to view an excerpt from “First Light”

Living the Questions: Invitation to Journey (Session 1-7)

If you’re new to The Fountains, looking to connect with some like-minded fellow Fountains folk, or just wondering what “THAT church” is up to, then Living the Questions 2.0 is for you! The first module of the course will be offered at The Fountains beginning Wednesday morning, Oct. 31st at 10am and will continue for seven (7) weeks (with a break for Thanksgiving).  [NOTE: This is a new, rescheduled starting date from previous announcements.] Each session consists of comprehensive reading material, DVD input from top scholars and teachers, and engaging conversation with your fellow participants. Check out the video trailer below or by clicking HERE.

Living the Questions is a program created by Pastor David and colleague, Rev. Jeff Procter-Murphy as an alternative to the pat answers offered in many other churches. The series aims to help orient people to a more progressive perspective on the spiritual life and share some of the information and ways of thinking that is taught in our seminaries. The overall theme of the first seven sessions is “Invitation to Journey” and includes the topics of Taking the Bible Seriously, Stories of Creation, and the Lives of Jesus.

Suggested tuition for this seven (7) week module is $20. Contact the office to register: 480.837.7627. Those who register ahead will receive a participant guide via email or mail so they can prepare for the first session. Many Fountains folks have already completed the second and third modules (Sessions 8 – 14 and 15 — 21) of Living the Questions 2.0. This module circles back to the first flight of the program (Sessions 1 through 7) and is part of our multi-year rotation of these informative classes.

Living the Questions 2.0: Invitation to Journey    

  • Oct 31st: 1. An Invitation to Journey
  • Nov 7th: 2. Taking the Bible Seriously
  • Nov 14th: 3. Thinking Theologically
  • Nov 21st: BREAK for Thanksgiving
  • Nov 28th: 4. Stories of Creation
  • Dec 5th: 5. Lives of Jesus
  • Dec 12th: 6. A Passion for Christ: Paul
  • Dec 19th: 7. Out into the World: Challenges Facing Progressive Christians

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).

LiveStream Made Super Simple

The Fountains is now live streaming!  Follow the instructions below to be able to view the sermons from anywhere you are!



  1. CLICK HERE or go to:  https://livestream.com/thefountainsumc 

That’s it!  If the event is live, it will start automatically. If you are watching it as a replay, click on the event you want to watch, it will load and replay.

NOTE: If you are tuning in on Sunday mornings, log on about 9:30am AZ time. The only part of the service that is livestreamed is the Applying it to Life, which starts about half-way through the celebration. 



  1. CLICK HERE or go to The Fountains Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/thefountainsumc/) 

That’s it! If the event is live, it will start automatically. If you are watching it as a replay, click on the event you want to watch, it will load and replay.

NOTE: If you are tuning in on Sunday mornings, log on about 9:30am AZ time. The only part of the service that is livestreamed is the Applying it to Life, which starts about half-way through the celebration. 

Third Columbarium Unit Completed

The Trustees oversaw installation of a third columbarium unit late August. The Fountains Memorial Garden includes a cross-shaped concrete structure that eventually will hold ten columbaria, with 15 niches in each. Two were installed a decade ago. Homecoming, Inc., manufactures and installs the units.

This from the Columbarium page on The Fountains website, “For centuries, it has been the obligation of the church to serve its congregation from birth to death. As churchyard burial is no longer feasible for most churches, a columbarium provides a natural alternative. Besides the practical advantages of being much more affordable for the average family and being an environmentally sensitive and efficient use of space, it also strengthens the ties between families and their faith community. In addition, columbaria are quickly becoming one of the most popular choices of a final resting place in the United States. Arizona’s cremation rate has gone up to 70% in recent years.”











More information about the columbarium can be found here.  Members of The Fountains and community may purchase niches for themselves and their loved ones by contacting the church office (480-837-7627), Kim Bartman (480-244-7642) or Sharon Shaw Elrod (480-251-2026).

“Now is STILL the Moment!” Campaign

Three years ago, The Fountains embraced the moment to not only pay off our long-term debt but also fund a new building. With extraordinary generosity, the people of our church helped our Now is the Moment campaign exceed everyone’s expectations, as 88 households committed $877,744 in three-year commitments. As of July, $817,297 (or 93%) of those Now is the Moment pledges have been received. Although we’re not at 100%, your generosity helped us reach one of our primary goals: paying off our Sanctuary mortgage last month.

While the original 3-year commitment period for our Now is the Moment campaign is over, we’re happy to receive any remaining pledges from 2015 — PLUS, we don’t want to leave out any folks who’ve joined us in the last three years, so, while the last three years have been “the Moment,” Now is STILL the Moment!

Now is STILL the Moment!

Building Team at work…

As with most building projects, the actual expenses to complete our Connection Center will be more than we have received in pledges. The Building Team has worked diligently to keep expenses down and has carried out a number of creative money-saving strategies to fulfill our vision (including our beautiful kitchen remodel in the Sanctuary).

But now that we’ve paid off the Sanctuary mortgage, we’d also like to do everything we can to pay off our construction loan as soon as possible.

To that end, we’re setting a new 1-year goal of $122,256 in pledges. Why that weird number? Because that’s the figure that will take our overall Now is the Moment pledges to exactly $1,000,000.00! 

The good news is, with the already promised extensions and new pledges from Church Council and the Building Team, we’ve already received pledges of over $25,000, taking our goal to $97,000.

Below is a link to a pledge card and a guide to help you prayerfully consider a level at which you could help us reach our goal. There are two ways we encourage you to participate:

  1. A one-time contribution/first-time pledge or
  2. the extension of your original Now is the Moment pledge by one more year.

The goal is to have these one-year pledges and extensions (payable anytime between now and August of next year) in by the time we get our Certificate of Occupancy in January, 2019.

If you’d like to discuss a large anchor, endowment, or legacy gift, please don’t hesitate to contact Pastor David. For general questions, feel free to contact Council Chair Hunter Lott, or Building Team Coordinator Sue Nelson directly.

$1,000,000 goal!

This is an exciting opportunity for the whole congregation to join together in making an already remarkable achievement even more remarkable!  We’re already SO close! The vision of a Connection Center we’ve been dreaming of is soon to become a reality!

Thank you to all who have already indicated their intention to participate in our Now is STILL the Moment campaign with both generous gifts and the extension of pledges.

…and thanks to all for your past (and continued!) generosity in helping support The Fountains and the vital ministries it is known for in Fountain Hills and beyond!

CLICK HERE or on the card image to download a pledge card. See a “One Year Giving Guide” below. Questions? Call the office at 480.837.7628

Put our Groundbreaking ceremony on your calendar:    Sunday, Sept. 2nd right after church!

Yvonne Parks burning the sanctuary mortgage (with Pastor David, Opal Thompson, and Al Lorenz) on Jan. 29th, 2018


Invest in Ed Act Petition Training

InvestInEd logo


What are details of the new citizen-led “Invest in Education” initiative? What are the rules for collecting signatures? In the wake of the recent #RedforEd actions, how does one get involved in supporting practical and effective reform in education funding in Arizona?

An information and training session will be hosted at The Fountains on Wednesday, May 16th at 4 pm.

The Invest in Education Act increases the classroom site fund by raising the income tax rate by 3.46% on individual incomes over a quarter million dollars (or household incomes over half a million dollars), and by 4.46% on individual incomes over half a million dollars (or household incomes over a million dollars); designates 60% of new funds for teacher salaries and 40% for operations; adds full day kindergarten and pay raises for student support services personnel as permitted fund uses; requires governing boards seek teacher and personnel input on fund use plans; defines teacher and student support services personnel.

The initiative is being promoted by a broad-based coalition including Valley Interfaith Project (of which The Fountains is a member), the Arizona Education Association, Children’s Action Alliance, One Arizona, the Arizona Interfaith Movement, and the Center for Economic Progress. If enough signatures are gathered, the Invest in Education Act will appear on the November ballot.

The training will be led by a Valley Interfaith Project volunteer and will include details on how education funding in Arizona fell to below 49th place in the nation, how the initiative will collect tax revenue, and train volunteers in how to collect valid petition signatures.

Teachers, interested parents, and other allies are encouraged to attend. 220,000 valid signatures need to be collected by the end of June to appear on the ballot in November, so everyone’s help is needed!

Questions? Call the church at 480.837.7627.  More information on the Initiative at www.InvestInEdAZ.com

CLICK HERE to go to the Facebook Event Page to share with your network. 

Life’s Inner Journey with Michael Morwood

Morwood Inner Journey cropped

Does your faith-life resonate with your inner wisdom and personal insights?

Join Michael Morwood to explore the conviction that people can cultivate wisdom (sage-ing) by consciously choosing to explore their faith in the context of their lived experience. Participants will focus on connecting the links between inner wisdom, reality, and a contemporary Christian spirituality. Michael will offer a range of reflective and interactive processes and tools that will enable participants to consider their unique journey of life.

Schedule: Friday evening May 4th : 7:30 – 9:00 and Saturday, May 5th 9:30 – 4:00

Cost: $50 (includes lunch on Saturday) $20 Friday night only.

To register: 

CLICK HERE to register online via Eventbrite.  OR, make your check out to “The Fountains” (with “Morwood Retreat” in the note line). Call the office (480.837.7627) for more information.

Life's Inner Journey - A Retreat with Michael Morwood is 5/4 & 5/5.  Click to get more information!

Life’s Inner Journey – A Retreat with Michael Morwood is 5/4 & 5/5. Click to get more information!

About Michael Morwood

With over 40 years’ experience as a sought-after retreat leader and educator, Michael Morwood is well known around the world. Bishop John Shelby Spong writes: “Michael Morwood…is raising the right and obvious questions that all Christians must face. He provides fresh and perceptive possibilities for a modern and relevant faith.”

With a dozen books to his name (two of which were banned before he resigned from the Catholic priesthood), Morwood brings an extensive background in spirituality to what he sees as the urgent need to reshape Christian thinking for a new millennium.

Be sure to visit Michael Morwood’s website at www.morwood.org

Phoenix Pride Parade 2018

Members and friends from The Fountains UMC marched in the Phoenix Pride Parade along with 6 other reconciling churches in the Desert Southwest Conference of the United Methodist Church.  Per the Arizona Republic, The Phoenix Pride Parade featured 2,000 individual participants with decorated vehicles, colorful floats and thousands of walkers, with more than 15,000 spectators.

Among the participants were Nelda Majors and Karen Bailey who have been together for 60 years and who were the first couple to receive their marriage license in Arizona, while advocating for marriage equality.

The following are the comments from Todd Elwood, who also marched in the parade.

“I had the honor of walking with The Fountains in this year’s Pride Parade. This was the first Pride I’ve attended, and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. The two things I found most surprising were the overwhelming positivity of the event, and an air of freedom from those in the parade, and from those watching.

The first one is easy to describe. Nine out of 10 signs emphasized goodness, instead of injustice. I saw signs saying, “We are all equal,” and “Love everyone,” and “Everyone is worthy” and “Love wins” and, of course, “Be proud.”  Most everyone carried a message of acceptance and hope and joy. It’s rare today to among such positivity and I thought it was refreshing.

About the air of freedom: This one is a little tougher to explain, but my sense from watching people interact with each other is, the Pride parade provided a place for everyone to be open and authentic. I’m not a gay person, but I can imagine going through this day-to-day world with defenses up and partially shielding who you really are because of hateful people. For one mile in downtown Phoenix, everyone was able to release the weight of those shields and be true to themselves, because they were among people who accepted them fully. It was amazing to witness, and it made me hope for a time when that sort of total acceptance would expand beyond a one-mile stretch once a year.” 

Here is a glimpse of the fun we had!

pride parade 2018


pride parade d

pride parade 4 pride parade e 

pride parade b

Civic Academy on Immigration

At 6:30pm on Tuesday night, April 3rd, The Fountains United Methodist and Valley Interfaith Project (VIP) will co-sponsor a special Civic Academy on the myths and realitiarizona under the glasses of immigration in Arizona. The keynote speaker is Joseph Garcia, Director of the Morrison Institute Latino Public Policy Center at Arizona State University. He also teaches at Arizona State University’s Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Geared primarily as an orientation for a group travelling to the Borderlands of Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora, this Civic Academy is open to all who want to learn more about the present and future demographics of Arizona, immigration policy, and how current trends will impact what will soon be the majority population of Arizona.

Joe Rubio, lead organizer for Valley Interfaith Project, says, “This will be a conversation examining the long-term implications for how we deal with the immigration issue and what kind of community we will become. Arizona has experienced immigration in a way that other states are only now discovering.”

Rev. David Felten, pastor at The Fountains, says, “Immigration is another one of those issues on which everyone has an opinion, but few have the facts. We’re grateful to host the Morrison Institute’s Joe Garcia to help us understand the numbers and the policies that are shaping the future of our state.”

There’s no charge for this event and all in the community are welcome to attend. The Fountains, a United Methodist Church, is located at 15300 N. Fountain Hills Blvd. (at Glenbrook) in Fountain Hills.

More on our speaker: Before joining the Morrison Institute, Garcia was an editor, columnist and news reporter at The Arizona Republic, The Daily Times (Farmington, N.M.), Tucson Citizen, USA Today and The Associated Press. In 2016, Garcia was honored nationally with the Anti-Corruption Award, sponsored by the New York City Independence Clubs, in acknowledgement of “the landmark work the Morrison Institute is doing to understand the emerging independent voter constituency.” In addition to his work on independent voters, Garcia helped bring the Citizens’ Initiative Review project to Arizona, where voters study, discuss and explain in everyday language complex ballot propositions.