Dr. Vernon Meyer at The Fountains: Widows, Orphans, & Aliens, Oh My!

Vern Meyer pointing croppedJoin the Rev. Dr. Vernon Meyer for this Spring’s annual three-part series on theology: Widows, Orphans, & Aliens, Oh My! The Political, Economic and Social Implications of the Biblical Vision. Hosted by The Fountains, the series will begin on Thursday morning, April 16th from 10am to 11:30 and continue on Thursday mornings April 23rd and 30th.

In this year’s sessions, Dr. Meyer will unpack three texts at the heart of not only ancient Israel’s prophetic tradition, but that served as the foundation of Jesus’ ministry of compassion and call for justice.

The Bible portrays God as having a “special place in God’s heart” for widows, orphans, and aliens – people who are particularly vulnerable to oppression, mistreatment, and abuse. In delving into Exodus 22:21-24, Deuteronomy 10:17-18, and Deuteronomy 24:17-22, Dr. Meyer will help us see what the texts tell us about ancient Israel and its world, and then bring them into the 21st century to consider the challenges these texts present to our current realities of budgets, political alliances, and social commitments.

 “A concern for and care of aliens, orphans, widows, the poor, the disadvantaged, the helpless, the disabled, etc., lies at the very heart of “true Christianity.” So what are the implications of the biblical tradition for our political, economic and social commitments and obligations today?”

The Rev. Dr. Vernon Myer is a former Catholic priest, who has an MA in Theology from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, an MA in Pastoral theology from the University of San Francisco, and a PhD in Theology from the University of Dayton. Dr. Meyer is currently the Director of the Arizona Center for Theological Studies (www.azcts.org) and a United Church of Christ minister in Sun Lakes.

All in the community are encouraged to attend. The classes are free, but donations are encouraged. The presentations will be in the sanctuary at The Fountains United Methodist, 15300 N Fountain Hills Blvd. Additional information may be obtained by calling The Fountains at 480-837-7627. Childcare is available upon request.

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“Widows, Orphans, & Aliens, Oh My!” Schedule:

April 16th  Exodus 22:21-24: “You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt. You shall not abuse any widow or orphan. If you do abuse them, when they cry out to me, I will surely heed their cry; my wrath will burn, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children orphans.”

April 23rd  Deuteronomy 10:17-18: “For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe, who exercises justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing.”

April 30th Deuteronomy 24:17-22: “You shall not deprive a resident alien or an orphan of justice; you shall not take a widow’s garment in pledge. Remember that you were a slave in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you from there; therefore I command you to do this. When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be left for the alien, the orphan, and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all your undertakings. When you beat your olive trees, do not strip what is left; it shall be for the alien, the orphan, and the widow. When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, do not glean what is left; it shall be for the alien, the orphan, and the widow. Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I am commanding you to do this.”

Head of Largest Family Homeless Shelter in Arizona at The Fountains

Lots of people have heard of UMOM, the largest homeless shelter for families in Arizona. Many have even volunteered at the downtown Phoenix institution without knowing that UMOM stands for “United Methodist Outreach Ministries,” one of numerous ways United Methodists work to bring people of all persuasions together for the good of the community.

 

Darlene-Newsom-003The Fountains is proud to welcome UMOM’s Chief Executive Officer, Darlene Newsom, to Fountain Hills on Sunday, April 12th. Darlene has worked in the non-profit sector in Arizona for over 35 years and has been a tireless advocate for the prevention of and end to homelessness in Phoenix. Recognizing her commitment to serving the homeless in Arizona, Darlene has been honored with numerous awards, including the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce’s Public Sector Athena Award in 2011 and the Phoenix Business Journal‘s 28 Most Admired Leaders in 2013.

This Sunday, she will not only be sharing some of the many success stories of UMOM over the last 50 years, but will also be bringing exciting news about plans for the future. Ms. Newsom will be speaking at both the 9am and 11:15 services at The Fountains, a United Methodist Church, 15300 N. Fountain Hills Blvd. For more information, call 480.837.7627

UMOM’s many programs and services include Family Homeless Shelters, Permanent Housing, Watkins Basic Needs Shelter, Veteran Programs, Child Care, Wellness and Educational programs. UMOM strives to keep families together, provide a continuum of care from emergency shelter to transitional housing and finally, permanent, affordable housing. Families at UMOM have the opportunity to gain the skills, medical care, quality childcare, and education they need to rebuild their lives and succeed when they leave. To find out more about UMOM, visit www.umom.org

FH Times UMOM 2015.04.08

Walking with Palestinian Christians

david-wildmanJoin guest speaker David Wildman for a discussion on the Biblical foundations for seeking the things that make for peace in Israel/Palestine today. “Walking with Palestinian Christians” will be in the sanctuary at The Fountains at 6:30 pm on Tuesday, March 24th.

David Widman is the executive secretary for Human Rights and Racial Justice with the United Methodist Church’s General Board of Global Ministries. He serves on the World Council of Churches Palestine-Israel Ecumenical Forum Core Group. David holds both an MDiv and MPhil (for doctoral work) in Social Ethics from Union Theological Seminary (NY).

Don’t miss this opportunity to dialog with one of our Board of Global Ministry’s Executive Secretaries in mission on behalf of United Methodists around the world!

Firing up a Dramatic Ash Wednesday

ash wednesday bonfire

Get your Ash On!

Lurking behind Ash Wednesday’s reputation of self-reflection and penance is a celebration of life. And fire. Yup, burning stuff. Palm branches in particular. Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent and kicks off the 40 days leading up to Easter. Ashes are smudged on our foreheads and we’re reminded that we’re going to die (like we need a reminder!).

But be careful about Ash Wednesday. Taken superficially, the gloomy “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” language can become a misguided downer of spiritual confessions of the “whoa is me” and “I’m such a worm” variety — used from time immemorial to convince earnest Christians of the need to spend 40 days in denial and self-loathing to prepare for Easter. But there’s another take on Ash Wednesday — one that goes back to its ancient roots in the early church.

At The Fountains, we celebrate as the ancient Christians may have done, outside around a bonfire. As participants take the dried palm branches used to celebrate Palm Sunday the previous year and place them on the fire to be consumed, they’re reminded how fleeting praise and glory is — and how quickly life can turn to ashes.

Dramatic and visceral, we’re reminded of the ultimate reality we struggle against, our mortality. We are reminded, both by the words we say and the burned palms imposed on our foreheads, that we will die. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. There’s no escape — so get crackin’! Every moment is precious before the looming fact that we only have so much time as short-lived expressions of the spirit tasked to love, serve, and live fully, before returning to dust.

Join us for this unique ritual that not only takes our mortal existence seriously but in a surprisingly hopeful way, celebrates the extraordinary and fleeting gift of being alive. Meet in the “olive grove” between the Church House and the Labyrinth at 7pm on February 18th at The Fountains, 15300 N Fountain Hills Blvd. While there won’t be a lot of reading, you might want to bring a flashlight to see lyrics and prayer responses. Just look for the bonfire!

Please, no pancakes.

10th Annual “Evolution Sunday” celebrates Darwin’s Birth

Jesus on DinosaurMore than 500 congregations across the country and around the world are marking this Sunday, February 15th, as a day to reflect on what it means to balance a religious world view with the knowledge gained from scientific progress. As the date closest to the anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin (February 12th, 1809), we’ll be marking the 10th annual celebration of Evolution Sunday at The Fountains, a United Methodist Church at both the 9am and 11:15 services.

Pastor David Felten says, “Pitting creationism against evolution reveals a very narrow reading of the Bible that shows disrespect to both the Bible and science. 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.”

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.

Those who demand that their religion trumps scientific knowledge are driving thinking people from the church – especially young people, who according to recent studies have stopped attending church because they 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.

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A Resolution affirming Evolution will be part of legislation considered at the Desert Southwest Annual Conference meeting in June, 2015. To view the text of the resolution, click on: Evolution and Science 2015.

 

 

Bible Study for Thinking Christians

LtQ2Fountain Hills – Why do so many Christians still hang on to outdated myths like the Virgin Birth? How come Christianity can’t deal honestly with its outdated dogma and violent past? Why does the church get all bent out of shape over so many sexual issues but remain silent on global issues of war, economic injustice, and racial discrimination?

These and many other questions will be considered in the third module (Sessions 15-21) of Living the Questions 2.0 at The Fountains, a United Methodist Church. These daytime sessions will begin on Wednesday, February 11th from 10am to 12 noon and will continue on Wednesdays through March 25th. The overall theme is “Call to Covenant” and includes the topics of Social Justice: Realizing God’s Vision, A Kingdom without Walls, and Embracing Mystery.

Living the Questions (www.livingthequestions.com) is a program created by The Fountains’ pastor, Rev. David Felten, and colleague, Rev. Jeff Procter-Murphy as a progressive alternative to the pat answers of the evangelical “Alpha Course.” The DVD series, now in use by over 6,000 churches around the world, has also been published in book form by HarperOne, San Francisco.

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.

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 have already completed the first and second modules (Sessions 1 -7 and 8 – 14) of Living the Questions 2.0. This final module completes the program with Sessions 15 through 21.

 

Living the Questions 2.0: Call to Covenant      

Feb. 11th        15. A Kingdom without Walls

Feb. 18th        16. Social Justice: Realizing God’s Vision

Feb. 25th        17. Incarnation: Divinely Human

March 4th        18. Prayer: Intimacy with God

March 11th     19. Compassion: The Heart of Jesus’ Ministry

March 18th     20. Creative Transformation

March 25th     21. Embracing Mystery

 

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

Four Chaplains Memorial Ceremony

immortal_chaplains_stamp-300x176Tuesday, Feb. 3rd, 5pm

A torpedo from a German submarine sliced into the USAT Dorchester shortly after midnight on Feb. 3, 1943. Of the 902 young men on board, only 230 survived. Many of the survivors owe their lives to the courage and leadership exhibited by the four heroic chaplains, who, in sacrificing their lives, created a unique legacy in celebrating the common human values embraced by all the world’s religions.

In honor of their sacrifice, the first annual Four Chaplains Memorial Service will be on Tuesday, February 3, 2015 at 5PM at the Veterans Memorial in Fountain Park. The ceremony will be hosted by the American Legion Post 58 and the Fountain Hills Interfaith Alliance (A group of Fountain Hills faith groups). We are privileged to join thousands of others across the country who will be gathering on or near February 3rd to honor the Four Chaplains who sacrificed their lives for the sake of others.

Chaplains Fox, Goode, Poling and Washington were posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the Purple Heart, and in 1948, Congress declared Feb. 3 to be Four Chaplains Day.  Since 1951, The Chapel of Four Chaplains in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has spread the message of interfaith cooperation and selfless service, touching the lives of thousands of people across the country.

Please join us on Tuesday, February 3rd at 5pm! Following the Service, all are invited to Fountain Hills American Legion Post 58 for Chili.

“It was the finest thing I have seen, or hope to see, this side of heaven.”

— Survivor John Ladd, who watched the chaplains distribute life jackets, and when they ran out, removed their own and gave them to four young men. As Dorchester sank, the chaplains were seen linked arm in arm, praying.

 

PRAYS WELL LOGO 7Circles

 

 

Jesus Fatwah LtQ Study

TJF 2015 header

Thursdays at 6:30 pm

The Jesus Fatwah brings together seventeen Islamic and Christian scholars to offer reliable information about what Muslims believe, how they live out their faith, and how we all can be about building relationships across the lines of faith. Each session of this “Living the Questions” study includes DVD input and discussion. The participant guide, written by Rev. Ben Daniel, serves as a catalyst for constructive and inspiring conversation.

Tuition is $20 for all five sessions  (which includes the printed participant guide) 

Facilitated by Rev. David Felten

January 29th Session 1: “Islam 101: In Which We Tell You Some of What You Need to Know About Islam.”

February 5th Session 2: “Misconceptions about Islam: In Which We Help You Adjust Your Malarky Filter.”

February 12th Session 3: “Islam in America: In Which We Introduce You to People Who Love America and Pray Towards Mecca.”

February 19th Session 4: “Making Connections, Part 1: In Which Non-Muslims Make A Case.”

February 26th Session 5: “Making Connections, Part 2: In Which Muslims Have Their Say.”

Sessions will be in the sanctuary at The Fountains, a United Methodist Church, 15300 N Fountain Hills Blvd.

Watch the trailer here: Jesus Fatwah Trailer

 Contributors include:

Naser Ahmad imageNaser Ahmad – is the President of Ommana Foundation & CEO of NOMA Group of Companies. Ommana Foundation is a US-based Public Charity working internationally through its Community Uplift Centers with the goal of providing clean water, early childhood education, and vocational training for women. NOMA Group consists of companies that provide IT Consulting, Construction, Remodeling, Property Management & Real Estate Services.

 

Muna Ali imageMuna Ali – is a Ph.D. candidate in sociocultural anthropology at Arizona State University. Her research focuses on Islam in America and on issues of identity, intra-community relations, and civic engagement among Muslim Americans.

 

 

Sonya Brown imageSonya Brown – is currently a curate in the St Philip’s parish, Leicester and was ordained deacon in July 2010. Previously to beginning training for ordination she worked as a Development Worker for the Southwark diocesan organisation Welcare. She enjoys living and learning in the very multifaith context of Leicester.

 

Ben Daniel imageBen Daniel – is a Presbyterian minister in Oakland, California. He is a Huffington Post blogger and the author of Neighbor: Christian Encounters with “Illegal” Immigration and The Search for Truth About Islam.

 

 

Mohammad H. Fadel imageMohammad H. Fadel – is Associate Professor at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. He wrote his Ph.D. dissertation on legal process in medieval Islamic law while at the University of Chicago.

 

 

Aysha Hidayatullah imageAysha Hidayatullah – is Assistant Professor of Islamic studies at the University of San Francisco. Her research interests include feminist exegesis of the Qur’an; representations of women in early Islamic history; feminist methodologies in the study of Islam; and the pedagogy of Islamic studies.

 

Azra Hussain imageAzra Hussain – is the founder and president of the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Arizona, a non-profit, apolitical, educational organization founded in 1999. She trains speakers and facilitates educational and interfaith events for ISBA.

 

 

Hans Küng imageHans Küng – is a Swiss Catholic priest, theologian, and author. Since 1995 he has been President of the Foundation for a Global Ethic. He is author of many books, including On Being a Christian and Islam: Past, Present and Future.

 

 

Brian McLaren imageBrian McLaren – is a prominent Christian pastor, author, activist and speaker and leading figure in the emerging church movement. He is author of many books, including Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World and A New Kind of Christianity.

 

Zarihan Nadir imageZarinah Nadir – is an attorney in private practice and serves on the board of the Islamic Social Services Association-USA. For over fifteen years, she has been a dedicated grassroots community organizer particularly concerned with cultural sensitivity, youth empowerment, and women’s rights.

 

Rami Nashashibi imageRami Nashashibi – has served as the Executive Directhor of the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) since its incorporation as a nonprofit in January 1997. He has a PhD in Sociology from the University of Chicago and has lectured across the United States, Europe, and Asia on a range of topics related to American Muslim identity, community activism and social justice issues, and is a recipient of several prestigious community service and organizing honors. His work with IMAN have been featured on many national and international media outlets including the BBC, PBS and the Chicago Tribune.

Eboo Patel.imageEboo Patel – Named by US News & World Report as one of America’s Best Leaders of 2009, Eboo Patel is the founder and Executive Director of Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), a Chicago-based institution building the global interfaith youth movement. Author of the award-winning bookActs of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, he is also a regular contributor to the Washington Post, National Public Radio and CNN. He holds a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford University.

Stephen Prothero.imageStephen Prothero – is a professor in the Department of Religion at Boston University and the author of numerous books, including God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World–and Why Their Differences Matter and the New York Times bestseller Religious Literacy: What Americans Need to Know. He has commented on religion on dozens of National Public Radio programs, and on television on CNN, NBC, MSNBC, FOX, and PBS. He was also a guest on “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart, “The Colbert Report,” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

Alan Race.imageAlan Race – is dean of postgraduate studies at St. Philip’s Centre and priest of St. Philip’s Church, Leicester. He is author of Interfaith Encounter.

 

 

 

Feisal Abdul Rauf.imageFeisal Abdul Rauf – is an American Sufi imam, author, activist and public intellectual whose stated goal is to improve relations between the Muslim world and the West. Author of What’s Right with Islam Is What’s Right with America, Imam Rauf received national attention for his plans to build Park51, an Islamic Community Center, two blocks from Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan.

 

Samir Selmanovic.imageSamir Selmanovic – is a Christian minister who is known particularly for his work in interfaith dialogue. He is the founder of “Faith House Manhattan,” an interfaith community of Christians, Muslims, Jews and humanists/atheists. He also leads a Christian community named “Citylights,” and serves on the Interfaith Relations Commission of the United States National Council on Churches. He is author of It’s Really All About God: Reflections of a Muslim Atheist Jewish Christian.

Mark Toulouse.imageMark Toulouse – is Professor of the History of Christianity and Principal of Emmanuel College, Toronto, where he developed a Muslim Studies program. He completed his PhD at the University of Chicago.

 

Islamic Forum – January 13th at 7pm

Islamic Forum 2015

January/February Youth Events

Check out the upcoming activities for Cross Current youth at The Fountains! Camp, MLK, Souper Bowl, AND a cash scholarship: check our FACEBOOK page for the latest updates

2015 1st Quart Cross Current Flyer