Reel Faith Brown Bag Lunch & Conversation: “Romero”

On Sunday, August 24th at 11am, The Fountains will screen the feature film, “Romero,” starring Raul Julia as the El Salvadoran Archbishop who was converted from a bookish cleric into “the firebrand of Central America.” Father Ellwood Kieser described the film as the story of “a mouse of a man who became a tiger struggling for justice and defending the rights of his people. He knew his defiance of the military and denunciation of the oligarchy would cost him his life. Yet he chose to go ahead. His is a story of contemporary Christian heroism.”

As tens of thousands of Central American refugees, many of them children, seek asylum in the U.S., it’s important to look back into the not-so-distant past to try and grasp the complex political, economic, and religious causes that have led to today’s crisis. 35 years ago, as El Salvador was plunging into Civil War, one man, Archbishop Oscar Romero, became the “voice of the voiceless” and stood up publically for the rights of the poor and dispossessed in his country. His commitment to follow Jesus’ example was so threatening to the powers that be that he was assassinated. These powers are still at work in Central America — as they are in any setting where power and money are the primary motivating factors.

Released in 1989, “Romero” is the first Hollywood feature film ever financed by the Roman Catholic Church. Critic Randy Parker calls it “a compelling biography, a stirring drama, and, most importantly, an educational experience.”

If you’re interested in exploring some of the roots of our immigration crisis and understanding the complex realities of what following Jesus can lead to in a contemporary setting, mark your calendar to view “Romero” with us on the big screen in the sanctuary. A brief discussion will follow the screening. Bring a lunch and meet in the Sanctuary at 11am. Drinks will be provided.

Click here to see the “Romero” Trailer

Event: Screening of “Romero”
Date & Time:  Sunday, August 24th at 11am
Cost:  Free
Location: The Fountains, a United Methodist Church
15300 N. Fountain Hills Blvd. Fountain Hills, Arizona 85268

Families and Friends of LGBTQ Folks Meet this Friday

pflag phx logoThe monthly PFLAG meeting (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) for Fountain Hills and the surrounding communities meets at 7pm Friday, July 25th at The Fountains, a United Methodist Church.

The goal of PFLAG is to provide support and encouragement to the parents, families, and friends of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and “Questioning” (LGBTQ) individuals. Meetings are a safe and confidential place to discuss sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and be in dialogue with others on topics concerning LGBTQ people and their families. PFLAG is not only a support group for parents and friends of LGBTQ folks but includes the participation of LGBTQ folks themselves.

One of the Fountain Hills PFLAG participants shared that, “A friend wrote recently of their latest visit with a son and daughter-in-law in another state.” The couple’s son is gay, a realization that emerged over the previous year. It has been heartwarming to see their determination to make their home a “safe” place for their son. “What a super thing for home to be safe – and also a neat thing that PFLAG is a safe place,” he wrote.

So, if you’re looking for a safe place to ask questions, be encouraged by others, and discover that you’re not the only one in the world who has ever experienced the feelings you’re going through, then PFLAG is for you. The gatherings are confidential and no one is expected to say or share anything if they don’t want to.

Anyone is welcome to attend: folks who have an LGBTQ family member or friend, LGBTQ individuals themselves, and straight allies who support LGBTQ individuals and the advancement of LGBTQ civil rights. The Fountain Hills support group is one of seven monthly support groups in the Phoenix metropolitan area operated by PFLAG Phoenix (www.pflagphoenix.org). The Fountain Hills meeting is held the fourth Friday of each month at The Fountains, a United Methodist Church, located at 15300 N. Fountain Hills Blvd. For questions about the Fountain Hills group email  info@pflagphoenix.org  or call 602.843.1404. All contacts are kept confidential.

PGLAG meets at The Fountains the fourth Friday of every month.

The Fountains, a United Methodist Church is located at 15300 N. Fountain Hills Blvd.

For more info, call the church office at: (480) 837.7627

TBD is “Honest to God” This Summer

Dare you to read it! Double dare you!honest-to-god cover

This summer, join the TBD group as it explores the radical ideas laid out in a book that rocked more than just the theological world in the 1960s: “Honest to God” sparked a revolution across both the religious and secular worlds. Its ideas were so sweeping and comprehensive that most Christians still have not only never heard of them, but have been warned to beware of anyone that even whispers of the possibility of a conversation about them. Over the years, “Honest to God” has not been “suppressed,” but it certainly hasn’t been recommended to lay people, despite the fact that, in many ways, the whole of contemporary progressive Christianity can claim “Honest to God” as the source and inspiration for its existence.

TBD will be discussing one chapter a month beginning Tuesday night, June 3rd at 7pm at the church. See Barbara Sudderth at church for your copy of the book (or contact her at 480-816-9570). The $20 registration includes a copy of the book and handouts. TBD is open to all who are interested in building bridges of understanding towards whatever is next in the development of what has been called “Christianity.”

Some background:

Just over 50 years ago, the Bishop of Woolwich, John A.T. Robinson, published a little book that caused a firestorm of controversy. Universally condemned by traditionalists, “Honest to God” was hailed as a breath of fresh air by those who could no longer check their brains at the door of the church. Synthesizing the work of some of the most influential theologians of the 20th century (Paul Tillich, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Rudolf Bultmann), Robinson called for a revolution in Christian thinking and understanding about God. A British journal commented at the time: “It is not every day that a bishop goes on public record as apparently denying almost every Christian doctrine of the church in which he holds office”.
“Honest to God” makes a case for a reconfiguration of the sacred, a de-emphasis of the supernatural, and a new focus on the reality of our “being” and what lies underneath it. It argues that the belief in a “God-out there” who created the world and pulls our puppet strings is an outmoded and irrelevant creation of human efforts to contain the concept of the Divine.

LLoyd Geering has pointed out that “Honest to God” “sold more quickly and widely than any book of serious theology in the history of the world. I dare to suggest that this record may never be surpassed. Before long its publication had reached a million copies and it was available in 17 languages.” It’s unlikely that any theological book was read so widely in the whole of the twentieth century as this little volume.

So why haven’t you heard of this book? Partly because, while “Robinson’s revolutionary views found fertile soil and helped to cement a new culture of spiritual rediscovery in small segments of the Christian church, most of Christendom, including most of the church hierarchies and the fundamentalist wings of the church persisted with traditional Christian theology.” Isn’t it time that we revisit a book that Bishop John Shelby Spong credits with setting him on the path toward rethinking his beliefs? Are you intrigued by chapter titles like “Reluctant Revolution” and “The End of Theism?” Then get your copy of “Honest to God” and join TBD in great fellowship and good conversation on the first Tuesday of each month at 7pm.

From Robinson’s Preface:

“I am convinced that there is a growing gulf between the traditional orthodox suspernaturalism in which our Faith has been framed and the categories which the ‘lay’ world finds meaningful today. And by that I do not mean there is an increasing gap between Christianity and pagan society…but…many who are Christians find themselves on the same side as those who are not. And among one’s intelligent non-Christian friends one discovers many who are far nearer to the Kingdom of heaven than they themselves can credit. What dismays me is the vehemence–and at bottom the insecurity–of those who feel that the Faith can only be defended by branding as enemies within the camp those who do not [find the traditional framework of metaphysics and morals entirely acceptable].”

 

Liturgical Arts Workshops Image the Un-Imagable

FOUNTAIN HILLS – Imaging the Un-Imagable is a a weekend of liturgical arts workshops with poet, pastor, and retreat leader, Rev. Cynthia Langston Kirk. Recognized for her outstanding and creative work in the areas of liturgy, fabric arts, and unique ritual expressions of faith, Kirk will guide participants through a series of exercises and workshops which will have practical application in a variety of worship settings.

Sponsored by Cynthia Langston KirkThe Fountains’ “Love God with All Your Art” and worship teams, the workshops will be on Saturday, April 5th and Sunday, April 6th. Saturday afternoon from 1:00 – 3:00 the focus will be on “Worship Visuals as Welcome, Icon & Inspiration.” Participants will explore and design worship visuals that can then be used in any worship space, designing mini-worship settings and spaces that can be created for future use. From 3:30 – 5:30 is “Writing the Un-image-able” and a time to consider how to write in ways that represent the unnamable, unknowable I Am Who I Am.  Participants will explore fresh ways of expressing our relationships with Holy Mystery that can shake people to awareness and inspire them to Christ-like action. Time will be allotted to write/begin writing original prayers, liturgy and lyrics to familiar hymns as we focus on the themes of new life and resurrection.

Sunday afternoon from 1:30 – 3:30 will be an inter-generational, mostly hands-on workshop, “Creating Visuals for Worship Together.” Using scripture, quilt designs, paintings and ordinary objects as muses and materials, participants will work on worship visuals for the seasons of Easter, Pentecost and Ordinary Time. These ideas will be pre-planned to allow participants as much hands-on time as possible. Each participant will receive hand-outs about how to accomplish the same or similar visuals in their own sanctuary. Children who are able to use crayons or a paintbrush will be able to participate in this creative process. Children are free (but please be sure to bring along a registered adult buddy!)

Register online at Eventbrite: imaging2014.eventbrite.com. Workshops are $20 each OR $50 for all three. Saturday workshops ONLY (1pm & 3:30), registration is only $30. Group discounts for worship teams available online: Register three participants & the fourth registration is free! Child Care is available by request. Contact De De at 480.837.7627 for information. The Fountains is located at 15300 N Fountain Hills Blvd. in Fountain Hills. More info at: www.reachtouchteach.com or by calling 480.837.7627

Horizons Stewardship Planning Begins at The Fountains

DonaldSmith-thumb160x140Members of The Fountains are invited to meet and greet Don Smith, ministry strategist from Horizons Stewardship. Horizons is the group we at The Fountains will be working with to plan our church’s financial health over the next decade. The first event will be Tuesday, March 25, at Laura’s Place… 16758 Glenbrook Avenue, across the street from the church.  We will gather from noon to 1:15, with lunch on your own. A bio on Don is available here:  http://www.horizonsstewardship.com/who-we-are/our-team/.

The second meet and greet will be from 7:30-8:45 at Denny’s, 17053 Shea Blvd, Wednesday morning, March 26. Breakfast is on your own.

Space is limited to 30 people for each meet and greet; please RSVP to shar@sharonshawelrod.com, or call 480-251-2026.

Roger Wolsey Coming to The Fountains!

Wolsey lowrez

Christianity for People Who Don’t Like Christianity

FOUNTAIN HILLS — Roger Wolsey, author of “Kissing Fish: Christianity for People Who DON’T Like Christianity”, will be preaching at The Fountains, a United Methodist Church, 15300 N Fountain Hills Blvd, at 9am and 11:15 on Sunday, March 30th.  The morning will also include a Q&A at 10:15.

Wolsey is a free-spirited GenX-er who thinks and feels a lot about God and Jesus. He’s a Christian, yet he identifies with people who consider themselves as being “Spiritual, but not Religious.”

An articulate proponent of “progressive Christianity,” Wolsey is clear that what has come to pass as conventional or “pop” Christianity isn’t what following Jesus is actually about. God didn’t “need” Jesus to be killed. God isn’t wrathful or vindictive. There isn’t a hell (other than ones that we create here on earth) – and going to heaven after we die isn’t what the practice of Christianity is all about. Jesus and his message are instead about living in a way that goes against the religious status quo in pursuit of God’s vision for justice, inspiring us to follow his radical and challenging Way of being in the world.

An ordained pastor in the United Methodist Church, Rev. Wolsey has served as pastor for churches in Minnesota, Iowa and Colorado and has taught Introduction to Religion classes at Graceland University in Lamoni, IA. He currently serves as the Director of the Wesley Foundation campus ministry at the University of Colorado in Boulder and serves on of the board of directors of the Boulder International Fringe Festival. His popular blog for Patheos, “The Holy Kiss,” expands on the already comprehensive introduction to progressive Christianity found in his “Kissing Fish” book. For more information, call 480.837.7627 or email welcome@thefountainsumc.org.  Professional child care is provided throughout the morning.

 

Living Wills and Healthcare Directives

Do you have an up to date set of written instructions that specify what actions should be taken for your healthcare needs if you become unable to make decisions due to illness or incapacity? On Saturday March 22nd at 10:00AM Ron Wilson, an attorney from the DSUMF and the law firm of Morris, Hall & Kinghorn will be at The Fountains to discuss living wills and healthcare directives. This FREE seminar is open to the community so invite your friends, neighbors, family and acquaintances.  An RSVP is appreciated so we can plan materials and seating.  Questions and RSVP: 480-837-7627.

 

Youth Update

Youth Invited to Movie “Paper Clips”

Fountain Hills – On Sunday, February 23, 2014, Cross Current Youth Group will be viewing the poignant film “Paper Clips” at our 4pm – 6pm meeting.

Cross Current youth have been examining diversity among faiths over the past months, and will use this screening to now embark on an appreciation of Judaism. After the film we will share open discussion and a learning experience. Members of the congregation Beth Hagivot have been invited to join us for the evening.

The “Paper Clips Project” was a mission started in 1998 by middle school students from the small Tennessee town of Whitwell as a visual monument for the Holocaust victims in Nazi Germany. What began as a lesson about intolerance soon evolved into a movement gaining worldwide attention and support. At last count, over 30 million paper clips had been collected, 11 million of which are enshrined in inside an authentic German railcar standing in the schoolyard.

All those interested are invited to attend this free movie screening, you do not need to be a part of the youth group. Please bring your favorite movie snacks & treats to enjoy during the film, comfortable clothes, and if you have a favorite big pillow or air mattress you’d like to sit on, please feel free to bring it along too.

Event: Paper Clips Movie showing

Date & Time:  Sunday, February 23, 2014, 4pm – 6pm

Cost:  Free

Location: The Fountains, a United Methodist Church

15300 N. Fountain Hills Blvd. Fountain Hills, Arizona 85268

More Info:  Jennifer Graham:  480.837.7627 OR  jennifer@thefountainsumc.org

paperclips

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evolution Sunday 2014

kissing fishThe Fountains to Celebrate “Evolution Sunday” & Darwin’s Birthday

Even in 2014, many religious groups reject the theory of evolution, claiming that a literal and inerrant reading of the Bible requires them to reject both reason and science. But there are also those who find there to be no conflict between the theory of evolution and a vital Christianity.

Sunday, Feb 9th, marks the 9th annual celebration of Evolution Sunday sponsored by “The Clergy Letter Project.” In Fountain Hills, you’ll find the opportunity to celebrate Evolution Sunday at The Fountains at both the 9am and 11:15 services. More than 500 congregations across the country andaround the world are marking this date closest to the anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin (February 12th, 1809) with time set aside to reflect on what it means to balance a religious world view with the knowledge gained from scientific investigations.

While there are still those who demand that their religion trumps scientific knowledge, Pastor David Felten says, “Of course Christian faith can accommodate acceptance of Darwin’s theory. Denying evolution demands the rejection of both reason and experience — two important guidelines our founder, John Wesley, urged all Methodists to bring to bear in both their faith and life. Plus, trying to pit creationism against evolution reveals a very narrow reading of the Bible that shows disrespect to both the Bible and science.”

Not only does the United Methodist Church officially endorse evolution in its Book of Discipline, stating that “science’s descriptions of cosmological, geological and biological evolution are not in conflict with theology,” it has resolved to work to oppose “faith based theories such as creationism or intelligent design” in public school science curriculums.

As a recent Barna Group study on young adults who stopped attending church revealed, one in four young adults surveyed consider Christianity to be “anti-science.” Evolution Sunday is an expression of the sincere desire of those who seek to correct that impression, moving forward with an alternative to those who continue to attack science in the name of religion.

Every day, new scientific discoveries are creating amazing opportunities to learn and grow and be amazed. Evolution Sunday is a day to affirm the work of the Spirit in the process of evolution and embrace the diversity and complexity of life as a gift of God.

 

NOTE: The celebration of “Evolution Sunday” will continue in March when special guest, Rev. Roger Wolsey, author of “Kissing Fish: Christianity for People Who Don’t Like Christianity,” will speak at The Fountains on March 30th.

Arizona Opry Dinner Theatre Event

azoprydinnertheatre

Join Friends on

Friday, February 28, 2014

For a

MATINEE PERFORMANCE

Doors Open – 11:30/ Meal – 12:30/ Showtime – 1:30

Featured Meal:

Roast Beef, mashed potatoes, homemade stuffing, gravy, vegetable, baked apples and “Opry chocolate cake”

Make Your Reservation by February 14, 2014

$40 per person ($3 will go to the Sound System fund)

Make checks to Fountains

Any questions call:

David James (419-946-1578)

Sharon Price (319-361-2464)

Email: js-price@hotmail.com