Celebrating Darwin’s Birthday & “Evolution Sunday”

Evolution Sunday dino picHundreds of congregations across the country and around the world are marking Sunday, February 11th, as a day to reflect on what it means to balance a religious worldview with the knowledge gained from scientific progress. The Fountains’ annual celebration of Evolution Sunday falls the day before Charles Darwin’s 209th birthday and will include Evolution-themed messages at both the 9am and 11:15 services.

Why Evolution Sunday? Partly because so many people assume that all churches are irrational and “anti-science.” However, the United Methodist denomination officially endorses evolution, stating that “science’s descriptions of cosmological, geological and biological evolution are not in conflict with theology.” United Methodists are also encouraged to actively work to oppose “faith-based theories such as creationism or intelligent design” in public school science curriculums. It may seem strange that a church would oppose such allegedly “faith-based” options, but if you take the Bible seriously (and not literally), neither creationism or intelligent design are actually Biblical.

Pastor David Felten says, “I visited Ken Hamm’s full-sized ark replica in Kentucky this summer and was embarrassed for how foolish these obviously well-intentioned Christians come off. They clearly have no trouble bending both Biblical texts and scientific facts to fit their own pre-conceived fantasies. What they end up with misrepresents both science AND the Bible.”

As our national dialogue continues to include the discrediting of both scientific objectivity and the relevance of religion, it’s all the more important to declare one’s commitment to rational thought. Pastor Felten says, “Denying evolution demands the rejection of both reason and experience — two important guidelines our founder, John Wesley, urged all Methodists to utilize in their everyday lives.”

Scientific discoveries continue to create amazing opportunities to learn and grow and make the world a better place. 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 the gift of an evolving universe.

The Fountains is located at 15300 N Fountain Hills Blvd. in Fountain Hills. Services are on Sunday at 9am and 11:15. For more information, call 480.837.7627.

Mark your calendars: Michael Dowd, theologian and best-selling author of “Thank God for Evolution” will be at The Fountains on April 15th. More details to come!

For more info on Evolution weekend worldwide, CLICK HERE to visit the “Clergy Letter Project” online. The “Clergy Letter Project” is an endeavor designed to demonstrate that religion and science can be compatible and is officially endorsed by the United Methodist Church.


Welcome New Staff Members!

adriana bio picAdriana Hernandez — Office Manager

Adriana is the proud, bragging mother of three adults who not only taught her patience, teenage-survival tactics and pure joy but they also helped her see that she had a lot more to learn to teach them about their individual faith walks.  Adriana also has three handsome grandsons who taught her it is fun to let them do naughty things and eat junk food in order to provide paybacks (because she had to learn teenage-survival tactics).  

Adriana has experience in providing administrative support for non-profits and churches.  She loves organizing and Excel spreadsheets.  She is a lifelong member of the United Methodist Church.  Currently, she is an active member at First UMC Gilbert where she is a Stephen Minister, chair of the Missions team, teaches Senior High Sunday school, and updates their website.

Life is good, she is thankful for this and all her blessings and is very thankful for the opportunity to serve this congregation!  

Jennie Blomquist — Bell Choir DirectorJennie Blomquist

Jennie is a 47 year resident of Scottsdale, 27 of which she spent teaching in the Scottsdale school district. She is married to Roy Blomquist who was a long-term project manager for Motorola, American Express, and IBM. Roy is also an organist and handbell director. Between them, they have four children, 15 grandchildren, and 1 great-granddaughter.

Jennie has been involved in handbells for 35 years. She has played and subbed in a variety of church choirs over the years. She and her husband are members of Handbell Musicians of America and were in leadership roles in Arizona and Area 11 where they planned and attended many local and state events and attended many National Seminars around the country. For the last 17 years, she has been a member of Campanillas del Sol, an auditioned community bell choir. She has traveled extensively with bells, having attended international symposia in Australia and Japan, enjoyed a Campanillas performing tour to the Netherlands, Belgium, and France and most recently educational trips to Israel, Finland, and Estonia and last summer to the Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland.

Jennie’s other hobbies include cooking, reading, machine embroidery, and three Golden Retrievers.

Meditations for Harmonious Relationships

Curious about the spiritual practice of meditation? Are you interested in developing greater peace and happiness within yourself? In cooperation with the Kadampa Meditation Center in Phoenix, The Fountains is proud to host meditation classes in the Kadampa Buddhist tradition. In this series, participants will learn to cultivate positive minds in meditation, such as kindness and empathy. By cultivating these positive minds, participants will naturally develop deeper and more stable friendships and relationships.

These classes are on Wednesdays from 6:30 – 8:00 pm and are suitable for beginners. Chairs are provided. Each class includes a relaxing guided meditation lasting 15 – 20 minutes, a practical teaching on developing a peaceful mind, and time for questions. Everyone is welcome to attend. The classes are $10 per session – no registration needed, just drop in!

Meditation teacher Tia Stokes has been practicing Dharma for over 20 years, Kadampa Buddhism since 2013 and teaching since 2016. She teaches from her heart and provides students with practical methods to incorporate Buddhist wisdom into everyday life.

Location: The Fountains United Methodist Church (Haven Room) 15300 N. Fountain Hills Blvd, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268

Class Schedule for Meditations for Harmonious Relationships:

Jan 17 New Year New You
Jan 24 Opening the Heart
Jan 31 Interconnected in Kindness
Feb 7 The Mirror of Dharma

Upcoming Meditation Class Series in Fountain Hills: “Meditations for Letting Go”

Feb 14 A Special View of Others (with Buddhist monk, Kelsang Tabkay)
Feb 21 Letting go of Anger
Feb 28 Inner Strength
Mar 7 Letting go of anxiety
Mar 14 Developing Spiritual Confidence

Living the Questions Study

Taking the Bible Seriously, Not Literally

Even in the 21st Century, many people think that believing unbelievable things is a prerequisite to being a follower of Jesus. Outdated myths like the Virgin Birth and a literal six-day creation have become a barrier to thinking people taking the Bible seriously. The reality is that seminaries have long taught a more metaphorical approach to Christianity that simply doesn’t trickle down into the pews. If you’ve always thought there was more to it than you’ve been told and that clergy aren’t being completely honest, then Living the Questions 2.0 is for you.  (See the trailer below) 

LtQ2Living the Questions (www.livingthequestions.com) is a revolutionary discussion and study 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.

This winter’s evening sessions will begin on Thursday, January 18th at 6:30pm at The Fountains. They will continue on Thursdays through March 8th. The overall theme is “Transformation” and includes the topics of Social Justice: Realizing God’s Vision, A Kingdom without Walls, and Embracing Mystery. 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. While many have already completed the first and second modules (Sessions 1 – 7 and 8 – 14) of Living the Questions 2.0, they are not a pre-requisite to participating in the final module (Sessions 15 through 21).

Living the Questions 2.0: Transformation

  • Jan 18th              15. A Kingdom without Walls
  • Jan 25th            16. Social Justice: Realizing God’s Vision
  • Feb. 1st             17. Incarnation: Divinely Human
  • Feb 8th             18. Prayer: Intimacy with God
  • Feb 15th            19. Compassion: The Heart of Jesus’ Ministry
  • Feb 22nd           20. Creative Transformation
  • March 1st          BREAK
  • March 8th          21. Embracing Mystery

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).


Sock Puppet Party and “Parents Day Out”

Sock Puppet Party and Parent’s Day Out: December 23rd

Sock Puppet Party and Parent’s Day Out: December 23rd

Parents!  How about we wear your kids out with fun while you do that last minute shopping?  CLICK HERE: sockpuppetparty.eventbright.com

Still looking for time to do that last minute shopping? Then drop your kids off from 10am to 2pm on Saturday, December 23rd for a super-fun Sock Puppet Party! Your kids (7 year old+) will join professional puppeteer Spencer Lott as he inspires participants in the creation of their own unique puppet, teaches the basics of puppetry, and offers tips on how to bring a new character to life. Lunch will be provided followed by cookie decorating and watching a Christmas movie. Nursery care can be provided upon request.

Yes! Each puppeteer will get to take their new character home with them! All ages (7 year old+) are welcome to make a sock puppet – and parents are encouraged to take advantage of this events’ timing to leave the kids and get any of that last-minute Christmas shopping and errand-running done.

The event is FREE, but pre-registration is required so we can plan for materials, food, and supervision. Register by Thursday, December 21st at sockpuppetparty.eventbrite.com  Childcare for younger than 7 year olds is available on request by calling: 480.837.7627. The puppet shindiggery will be at The Fountains, 15300 N. Fountains Hills Blvd.

WARNING: Only the wackiest and silliest puppet people need apply!


Spencer Lott is a maker, writer and puppeteer living in Brooklyn. His puppetry credits include Sesame Street, America’s Got Talent, The Relationtrip (Premiered at SXSW 2017), Good Morning America, Scarecrow (X-factor’s Alex and Sierra), No Strings International and Disney’s The Muppets – 90th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Spencer co-wrote and directed the short puppet film Melvin the Birder (PDN Photo Annual Award 2014) for Heather Henson’s Handmade Puppet Dreams film series, now distributed by the Jim Henson Company. Spencer has been the recipient of multiple Jim Henson Foundation grants for his original puppet theater productions and is the Associate Artistic Director of Trusty Sidekick Theater Company (NYC). Find out more at: www.misterlott.com


Photo credit: Spencer Lott by Richard Termine

Special Church Conference Unanimously Approves New Building Plans!

NITM keyfob logoOn Tuesday, Dec. 5th, a Special Church Conference approved, by unanimous consent, plans to proceed with the building of The Fountains new Connection Center.

“I move that the Building Team of The Fountains, in cooperation with and supervised by the Church Council and Trustees, be authorized to proceed with the construction of a new Connection Center as described in plans presented on December 5th, 2017 — financing to be provided by funds from Now is the Moment campaign, a construction line of credit, and additional funding as it becomes available.”

The floor plans and drawings on display that night are available for your review, along with samples of materials, surfaces, and other construction details, through December in the back of the Sanctuary. Details of the final estimates on demolition, site preparation, and building expenses are also available. You can also click this link for a pdf of renderings and floor plans: 12.05.17 CHURCH CONF

Including contingency fund and all the elements of a move-in ready building (including new furniture, A/V, etc.) the cost estimate for our new move-in ready Connection Center will be approximately $810,000. After paying off the Sanctuary mortgage in July of 2018, there will be $550,000 left in the “Now Is The Moment” fund to put toward our new facility.

There are multiple options for funding the additional $260,000 (estimated) needed to complete the campus renovation:

  • A number of “Now is the Moment” pledgers and Church Council members have already indicated that they intend to extend/increase their capital pledge.
  • Plans are already in the works for an appeal to new members who have joined after our NITM campaign and missed a chance to subscribe to the campaign. Our Horizons Stewardship strategist, Don Smith, will be returning to Fountain Hills to assist us in this effort.

Wells Fargo has already approved a low-interest construction line of credit (with no pre-payment penalty) to fund anything over our funds on hand (which is presently estimated, before further fundraising, to be $260,000)

Art Endres, chair of our United Methodist Building and Location Committee for the East District was present at our Church Conference and affirmed the outstanding work and attention to detail demonstrated by our Building Team. The District Building and Location Committee is currently reviewing our site plans, construction plans, and finance plans to provide objective evaluations and redundancy in making sure we’ve covered all the bases. Once approved, we will have the green light to proceed.

If all goes according to plan, demolition and site prep may be underway as soon as mid-to-late January 2018. Whenever we begin, our new Connection Center should be completed within six months. If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, you are welcome to reach out to Sue Nelson (our Building Team chair), Hunter Lott (our Church Council chair), or Pastor David.

Thanks again to everyone for your generosity and support. Your investment in “the campaign for our future” is coming to fruition in wonderful ways! Together we can continue to impact our community and world for the better as we reach, touch, and teach by living and sharing the stories of Jesus!

Modular view 2


Special Church Conference: December 5th

NITM keyfob logo

You’re invited to a very special gathering in the life of The Fountains. Our Building Team will be updating us on their progress in the task you’ve set before them: planning for the building of our new Connection Center.

This update will include:

• Floor Plan and detailed drawings
• Samples of materials, surfaces, and other construction details
• A construction timeline
• Final estimates on demo, site prep, & building expense
• Answers to any questions you may have

We’ll also be sharing the latest on our “Now is the Moment” campaign receipts (at 81% as of October, 2017!) and strategies for funding the difference between funds available and the estimated cost of a move-in ready building.

Join us for this important and informative meeting. It is hoped that the outcome of this Special Church Conference will be to give our Building Team the go-ahead to proceed with the overall project. Your presence and input is welcomed and encouraged!

This meeting has been authorized by District Superintendent, Rev. N. Susan Brims and will be attended by the Chair of our United Methodist District Committee on Building and Location, Mr. Art Endres.




“EATS WELL WITH OTHERS”: Interfaith dinners for 6

multi ethnic crowdWhen a meal is shared in a casual atmosphere around a dinner table at home, a genuine connection is made. Connecting with others through open dialogue and discovering commonalities as well as differences in faiths’ can lead to mutual respect and understanding, support, and lasting relationships. Join us in learning about one another’s faith traditions by getting together in groups of six to share three meals in one another’s homes. 

How it works:

  • Sign up – either as a couple or single, including phone and e-mail or (CLICK HERE to contact DeDe)
  • Groups are put together by the interfaith dinner coordinator at The Fountains
  • Groups meet a total of three times – preferably one time in each home
  • Groups meet between the months of January and March
  • The home that hosts the group will provide the main course and the beverage. The other people bring sides and dessert.
  • Everyone who signs up will meet Monday, January 8th at 7pm at The Fountains for “orientation.” This kick-off meeting to share details, answer questions, discuss diet restrictions and be a chance for small group members to meet and set their three dinner dates.

Sign up today!

What “Respectable” Churches Don’t Teach You about Jesus

FirstLight_logoMost people don’t know that the titles many Christians associate with Jesus are actually titles for Caesar Augustus, plagiarized by Christians: Divine, Son of God, God from God, Lord, Redeemer, Liberator, and Savior of the World. All Caesar. Early on, Jesus followers adapted them for their own – thus emphasizing the political conflict between empires: the empire of Caesar or the empire of God.

If you’re interested in learning about this and many other insights that are taught in our seminaries but clergy just don’t share with their congregations, then the next Living the Questions class at The Fountains may be for you!

Facilitated by Pastor David Felten, First Light is a 12-session DVD and web-based study of the historical Jesus and the Kingdom of God with two of the world’s leading Jesus scholars, John Dominic Crossan and the late Marcus Borg. Filmed on location throughout the Galilee and Jerusalem and with a participant reader by Dom Crossan, participants will discuss the surprising answers to questions like: Why did Jesus happen when he happened? Why the tiny villages around the Lake? What were the priorities of Jesus’ proclamation of the Kingdom? And how does Roman imperial theology continue to subvert Jesus’ message to this day?

These and many other questions will be considered in First Light: Jesus and the Kingdom of God at The Fountains, a United Methodist Church. These daytime sessions will begin on Wednesday, November 29th from 10am to 12 noon and will continue on Wednesdays (with a break for Christmas) through February. Member of the Jesus Seminar and prominent scholar, Dom Crossan Crossan says: “[First Light] is all I have to say about Jesus after half a century of study — in succinct summary.”

First Light (www.livingthequestions.com) is a program created by The Fountains’ pastor, Rev. David Felten, and colleague, Rev. Jeff Procter-Murphy. The 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 and plan for stimulating input, great conversation, and a liberating view of Christianity. Childcare is available upon request – call the office (480.837.7627).

First Light: Jesus and the Kingdom of God. Wednesdays at 10am

  • Nov. 29th          1. The Matrix of Jesus
  • Dec. 6th             2. The Advent of the Messiah
  • Dec. 13th            3. God’s Great Cleanup
  • Dec. 20th           4. Collaborative Eschaton
  • (break)
  • Jan 3rd             5. The Lake as the World
  • Jan 10th           6. Parables as Lures
  • Jan 17th            7. Jesus as Lord
  • Jan 24th           8. Substitutionary Atonement?
  • Jan 31st            9. Demonstrations in Jerusalem
  • Feb 7th             10. The Crowd & the Crucifixion
  • Feb 14th            11. Resurrection as Resistance
  • Feb 21st            12. America as the New Rome

Planned Giving Information Form

The Planned Giving Information Form is now available online. This Form provides information regarding members’ intent to give to the church through estate planning, wills, life insurance policies and all forms of planned giving. Please go HERE to access the form. It can be printed and returned to the church office when completed.