East Valley Tribune

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  • ‘Dirty Dancing’ ticket giveaway

    Coming to ASU Gammage Feb. 17-22, “Dirty Dancing — The Classic Story on Stage” makes for a great Valentine’s Day outing with that special someone. And while it may not star Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, this stage version of the 1987 film is sure to get your heart pumping thanks to plenty of dancing, lots of romance, and classic tunes including “Hungry Eyes,” “Hey, Baby,” “Do You Love Me,” and, of course, the Grammy Award-winning “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.” Tickets range from $28.30-$143.80 at ASUGammage.com or you could enter our ticket giveaway for the chance to win a pair of tickets to the Feb. 17 opening night production. To enter, e-mail your name, address and phone number to GetOutAZ@GetOutAZ.com, subject line: DANCING, by midnight Sunday, Feb. 1. Winners will be contacted on Monday, Feb. 2.

  • Elias stepping down as leader of Boys & Girls Club of the East Valley

    It was 1972 and Ramon Elias had just graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in recreation. He was looking for a job like any college kid fresh out of school.Elias saw a listing for a gym director at the Tempe Boys Club and was given the job. But that job would soon become a calling.Now, 40 years later, Elias, the president and chief executive officer of the Boys and Gils Club of the East Valley, plans to retire at the end of June.Every day was like a blank canvas and Elias enjoyed the spontaneity of his new job.“It was the type of job that was very spontaneous,” he said. “You could create whatever you wanted to do on the day that you were doing it. You could ask the kids, ‘What do you want to do today?’ And have fun with them and you realized how much of an impact you were having because the kids kept coming back.”By 1996 Elias had skyrocketed up the ranks of the Boys and Girls Club and had become the club’s president and CEO. When he took over he said there were only five East Valley Clubs and a budget of $2.8 million.

  • Gilbert Christian focused on basketball rather than court rulings

    The sun seemed to be shine on Gilbert Christian’s boys basketball program in November, and things were good.With the arrival of new coach Kurt Keener and a pair of transfers in 6-foot-9 junior forward Mitch Lightfoot and 6-foot-7 junior forward Tony Licavoli, the program seemed primed to make a push for a third state title in four years.What it didn’t see, however, was the storm clouds gathering in the distance.The Knights won three of their first four games and, although Licavoli didn’t play due to injury, Lightfoot, who is committed to play basketball at the University of New Mexico, did, and he was the catalyst for much of Gilbert Christian’s success.But the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) had questions about whether or not Lightfoot should be allowed to play for the Knights. There were questions regarding the AIA’s prior-contact rule that prevents coaches from recruiting players to come to certain schools.Lightfoot played for the Arizona Power basketball club team where Keener was a coach. Because Lightfoot had prior contact with Keener through the club team before Lightfoot’s transfer from Ironwood Ridge was complete, the AIA determined that Lightfoot was ineligible.

  • East Valley Women's League begins dress drive for 'Cinderella Affair'

    The East Valley Women’s League will be collecting new and gently used prom dresses and accessories from Feb. 1-28 to be given away for free in March and April to Arizona high school juniors and seniors during the “Cinderella Affair.”Dropoff locations can be found on the website, www.cinderellaaffair.org.  Accessories including shoes, evening bags and costume jewelry also are accepted, and Cinderella Affair organizers are in particular need of larger-sized dresses.This year, the dresses will be given away on five consecutive Saturdays in March and April at the EVWL’s new permanent location at 411 N. McKemy in Chandler.Giveaways are planned from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 21, March 28, April 4, April 11 and April 18. Last year, nearly 1,300 dresses were given away to students from throughout the Valley and around the state.“East Valley Women’s League members have as much fun giving the dresses away and spending time with the students as the students do going through the racks of dresses and trying on shoes,” said EVWL President Kathy Harris. “With our new location, we’re able to expand the days we give dresses away which means even more students from around the state will have the chance to visit and enjoy this incredible shopping experience.”Since the Cinderella Affair first launched in 2002, more than 8,000 dresses have been given away. The event also has provided dresses to exchange students from the Tempe Sister cities program, clients of Hacienda de Los Angeles and young ladies participating in the Miss Champion Pageant.

  • Gilbert resident recognized as a visionary by Specialty Food Association

    Gilbert resident James May was recently awarded the Vision award by the Specialty Food Association for his extensive work with stevia and his dedication toward bettering lives.Stevia is a plant that is commonly found in South America and can be used as a substitute for sugar as a sweetener.Although May was recognized for his leadership and his work, it didn’t come quite that easy for him.Originally, May was considered one of the founders of the kidney and dialysis transplant programs in Arizona, and was involved with the program for 15 years.“I was considered the foremost expert in my field in America,” he said.May was introduced to the world of stevia by a friend who had returned from being in the peace core in Paraguay and brought back a few stevia leaves.

  • Glendale student to receive honor during pre-Super Bowl party in Tempe

    The celebration heading into next week’s Super Bowl matchup will include a party in Tempe to provide information about autism and recognize a Glendale student’s achievements.The second Super Kid Honors event, set for Jan. 30 at Joe’s Crab Shack in Tempe, is a Super Bowl preview tailgating party with a silent auction and a chance to win two tickets to the game in Glendale between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks on Feb. 1.The party doubles as an award ceremony for Mountain Ridge High School student Vincent Stover, who played on the offensive and defensive lines for the Mountain Lions last season and is a member of the National Honor Society. He also happens to be autistic.“He’s an amazing guy, and we want to show people what our kids can do given the opportunity and chance,” said Holly Robinson Peete, co-founder of the HollyRod Foundation and a board member for Autism Speaks.Robinson, known for her roles in “21 Jump Street” and “Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper” is coordinating the event along with her husband, Mesa native and former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete, whose connection with the disorder stems from their 17-year-old son, RJ. He was diagnosed with autism when he was 3 years old. It’s one reason she stumps for additional treatment options.“Being a mom, we’re impatient, and we want to see the newest, greatest treatments,” she said.

  • Pandora Festival highlights work of local playwright

    If the Super Bowl holds no interest for you, Arizona Women’s Theatre Company is offering an alternative  with the Pandora Festival — an annual event that presents 14 short, one-act and full length plays written by local female playwrights and directors.Every year since 2004, the Arizona Women’s Theatre Company has held open call auditions for female playwrights from Arizona to submit their work for the opportunity to be selected and featured at the Pandora Festival. Ahwatukee resident and playwright Robin Kramme has had her work selected for the festival for the past three years in a row,Kramme had a hard time finding her niche in the writing world before discovering Arizona Women’s Theatre Company, which aims specifically at embracing female writers and producing works that reflect women’s lives and interests.“It’s giving an opportunity to people who wouldn’t have that opportunity anywhere else,” Kramme says.After retiring from her long-time career in the hotel industry, Kramme persued her interest in writing. The first time she was selected for the Pandora Festival, Kramme says she thought it could have been a fluke. After being selected for a second year in a row, she thought it might be luck. But once she was selected for a third year in a row, Kramme says she realized she truly has a talent for writing plays.“I’m not trying to make a financial living out of being a playwright,” she says. “This is something I enjoy doing.”

  • Navigating the gridiron: Super Bowl Central, NFL Experience and more in Phoenix

    The last time the Super Bowl took place in Arizona, in 2008, Phoenix looked like an obstacle course. The city was wrapping up construction of a light rail and expanding its convention center. Partying was relegated to Scottsdale and to the Glendale suburbs, where the game will again be played Feb. 1 at University of Phoenix Stadium.This time Scottsdale and Glendale will still fill big roles, but Phoenix won’t be a benchwarmer. And its thriving light-rail line and new bike-sharing program make it easy for football fans to explore the city.Super Bowl CentralThe free fan event Verizon Super Bowl Central spans 12 city blocks, Jan. 28- Feb. 1, from Central Avenue to Fifth Street, between Van Buren and Madison streets. Giant XLIX Roman numerals representing the 49th Super Bowl will be set up for photo ops and selfies. Local talent will perform on one stage each afternoon, while another stage hosts NFL players for autograph sessions. Concerts and fireworks will take place each night. There will be food for purchase along with a beer and wine garden.The NFL Experience Engineered by GMC takes place Jan. 24-Feb. 1 at the Phoenix Convention Center. Admission is $35 (kids 12 and under, $20). Fans can play games testing their ability to kick field goals, throw like NFL quarterbacks or race 40 yards down a field. At the NFL Play60 Zone, kids can do arts and crafts, agility drills and other activities. Visitors can watch live NFL Network broadcasts, look at a collection of 48 Super Bowl rings and take photos with the Vince Lombardi Trophy, awarded each year to the Super Bowl champs.Just because Phoenix is in the desert doesn’t mean you can’t ice skate. CitySkate Ice Rink runs through Feb. 2 on Central between Washington and Jefferson streets next to the CityScape shopping center. CityScape is also the starting place for Meet Me Downtown, a free 3-mile walk/run held every Monday. It goes past local attractions, Arizona State University’s downtown campus and other sites, and includes restaurant discounts for that night.

  • Get glimpse into language of ancient Israelites in local ‘pictographs’

    Pictographs that first appeared 3,500 years ago are the inspiration for a collection of works by Arizona’s Art Levy.“Paleo-Hebrew Pictographs: From Pictures to Pictures” explores the ancient symbols, which Levy, a former cardiovascular surgeon, says fell out of use after the Hebrews were taken into captivity by the Babylonians.Levy’s paintings, which are created using melted wax and pigments, are on view through April 1 at The Plotkin Museum at Congregation Beth Israel, 10460 N. 56th St., Scottsdale. For information, call (480) 951-0323.• Contact writer: (480) 898-6514 or azajac@getoutaz.com

  • See modern, historic examples of 1800s-style photography

    There’s a reason the term “oldies but goodies” came about.Take, as evidence, platinum prints — photographs with a velvety surface and a muted but luminescent palatte that ranges from slate to umber. Photographers figured out how to create them around 1873, and the process, despite its laboriousness and the current tidal wave of digital everything, is still in use today.Get a look at why this 19th-century innovation is still turning heads in two exhibitions open through March 1 at Phoenix Art Museum.In “Platinum: Contemporary Photography,” the masterful work of four photographers who have perfected the platinum process — Lois Conner, Scott Davis, Kenro Izu and Andrea Modica — is on view. That show is presented in conjunction with “All That Glitters is Not Gold: Platinum Photography from the Center for Creative Photography,” a chronological look at platinum photos throughout history.For information, call (602) 257-1222 or visit PHXart.org.

  • Visit storage container for traveling works on sex trafficking

    Art aimed at raising awareness of child sex trafficking is making a stop in the Valley, thanks to StreetLightUSA, a local nonprofit that’s served nearly 500 child victims since opening in 2011. “The Scarlet Cord,” housed in a 40-foot storage container parked for a limited time in Phoenix’s Roosevelt Row arts district, features 30 works.“[It] really moves you as it delves into the issue,” says Lea Benson, president and CEO of StreetLight USA, in a release. “While most people don’t like to think about under-aged girls being sexually exploited, this horrific injustice is happening in our own backyard. I am proud to share this with others in the Valley.”Created by artist Pamela Alderman to inspire healing for those impacted by the sex industry, the pieces are bound by a twisted scarlet cord meant to depict the trauma that connects victims to their traffickers.In addition, the artwork of Phoenix-area survivors of the sex trade will be shown.“The Scarlet Cord” is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily at 813 N. First St. in Phoenix. There is no charge, but donations will help fund therapeutic programs at StreetLightUSA. For information, visit PamelaAlderman.com or StreetLightUSA.org.

  • Q&A with ‘Sister Moses’ star Renee Davis

    On Jan. 29, Renee Davis takes the stage for the 22nd time as Harriet Tubman in Desert Dance Theatre’s production of “Sister Moses,” a multidisciplinary performance at Chandler Center for the Arts emphasizing Tubman’s famous and heroic life. GetOut caught up with her recently to chat about her long-time starring role, the production’s history, and it’s impact on the community.Q: How did you land the role of Harriet Tubman in “Sister Moses”?RD: I helped create the show, and I’ve been fortunate enough to play the role 22 out of 23 years. It’s pretty amazing! We’re a modern dance company, and usually in such you’d create a piece and perform it maybe three to five seasons and move on to something else, but this one just hasn’t died It’s sort of become our “Nutcracker” of Black History Month season.Q: How long have you been with Desert Dance Theatre?RD: My husband’s job brought us to Phoenix in 1985, and I found Desert Dance Theatre in 1986 and have been with them ever since, even with me being gone. I (currently) live in Austin, TX.Q: Is it hard putting the show together when you live out of state?

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  • Gilbert Chamber of Commerce to host ReferenceUSA workshop

    The Gilbert Chamber of Commerce is hosting a workshop teaching business owners how to use the ReferenceUSA database on Jan. 29. The workshop will run from 4-5 p.m. at the chamber of commerce building.ReferenceUSA helps business owners compile business and consumer data.For more information on ReferenceUSA and the workshop, visit www.business.gilbertaz.com/events.

  • Gilbert family opens bakery shop

    Some passions seem to never truly fade or go away.Jay and Danielle Lunt, who are from Gilbert, found this notion to be evident when they decided to open their bakery business, Rise Up Bakery, in Gilbert this past December.The idea of opening a bakery didn’t just come out of the blue.Jay originally began in the bakery business back in 1993 when he and Danielle lived in Las Vegas.While in Las Vegas, Jay became the owner of the Whole Grain Natural Bread Company bakery shop.He found success and happiness with the bakery in Sin City, but he and Danielle ultimately made the decision to close-up shop and move to Arizona to be closer to family.

  • Ground broken on Mesa Riverview office project

    On Wednesday, Lincoln Property Management broke ground on the Class A office space in Mesa Riverview, which it announced back in June.The development, now called Waypoint, is located at 1138 Bass Pro Drive and is scheduled to move in its first tenant, the headquarters of American Traffic Solutions, along with some 500-plus jobs, in November.“Three years ago, Harvard didn’t have any projects in the city of Mesa,” Craig Krumwiede, president and director at Harvard Investments, said. “We wouldn’t be in Mesa without the city’s commitment to responsible development.”Krumwiede went on to say that the city’s fast tracking of development permissions and other aid allowed the project to meet the deadline necessary to attract ATS to the site.“It’s a great collaborative effort to build something that purposeful, that fits with our culture,” James Tuton, president and CEO of ATS, said. “It’s a beautiful property. I’m excited about it.”Tuton went on to express his satisfaction in setting up his company’s headquarters in Mesa.

  • Gilbert resident recognized as a visionary by Specialty Food Association

    Gilbert resident James May was recently awarded the Vision award by the Specialty Food Association for his extensive work with stevia and his dedication toward bettering lives.Stevia is a plant that is commonly found in South America and can be used as a substitute for sugar as a sweetener.Although May was recognized for his leadership and his work, it didn’t come quite that easy for him.Originally, May was considered one of the founders of the kidney and dialysis transplant programs in Arizona, and was involved with the program for 15 years.“I was considered the foremost expert in my field in America,” he said.May was introduced to the world of stevia by a friend who had returned from being in the peace core in Paraguay and brought back a few stevia leaves.

  • Revenue from the sky lifts Valley airports this week

    As fans and visitors descend upon the Valley for the week leading up to the biggest sporting event of the year, so are dollars for the area’s private airports.Falcon Field in Mesa, Glendale Municipal Airport, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, Goodyear Airport, Chandler Municipal Airport and others are part of a coordinated program established by the federal government to handle anticipated traffic into and out of the area via charter and private craft.“We are affected quite a bit by the Super Bowl,” said Glendale Municipal Airport manager Walt Fix.While Federal Aviation Administration planning was months in the making, the execution has only ramped up in the past week or so, Fix said. The timing is attributed to the fact the Super Bowl’s participants — Seattle and New England — were decided Jan. 18 with the conference championships. “After last Sunday, reservations accelerated,” Fix said.The uptick in activity will raise revenues for the operators of these airports, and by extension, the municipalities where they are located.Falcon Executive Aviation, the company in the industry referred to as the fixed-base operator of Mesa’s Falcon Field, will reap a yield from the services it provides aircraft operators, said Dee Ann Thomas, the airport’s marketing and communications specialist.

  • East Valley cashes in on Super Bowl

    Super Bowl Sunday and the week heading into it are expected to increase consumer spending exponentially and not just in the region surrounding University of Phoenix Stadium.The Feb. 1 title game between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks marks the first time since 2008 Arizona has hosted the Super Bowl, and the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee anticipates the game will have a $500 million economic impact. The most obvious location that will benefit from the game and complementary events is the Westgate Entertainment District just outside the host stadium.“I think there’s no question the Super Bowl will be the best sales day of the year for the Westgate Entertainment District,” said Jeff Teetsel, Westgate’s development manager. “The Super Bowl will be another level of sales.”He attributed the boost in sales not just to the people attending the game, but to the thousands of people who are willing to pay $60 to park and visit one of the district’s restaurants, along with people who linger after the game to celebrate or mourn the result.“It will truly be an all-day peak demand,” he said.Business leaders throughout the region say that demand will extend to the East Valley as well.

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  • Wilmot: Keeping our spiritual lives flexible

    Spandex and spiritual workouts — this may be the stretch you’re looking for.There was a time when I would have avoided pants with the word spandex on the label in the same way that I try hard to avoid catching the flu! My short-lived experience of spandex was to try some nifty spandex leggings to get in the right frame of mind for a workout. That lasted about as long as most people’s New Year’s resolutions. It took some time, but I finally got to a place in my life where I was willing to give spandex another chance. Fortunately, spandex was not the only fiber listed on the label, just one of them. Plus, it became increasingly difficult to find any pants that didn’t have spandex in them. Anyway, the new stretchy and forgiving pants turned out to comfortable and pretty flattering (yep, that’s my opinion). Sometimes change really is good.No good shopping experience, including actually finding pants that are comfortable, fit well, and look good should never go unexamined for a spiritual connection. In fact, if we embraced more of the qualities of the expansive give and forgive of spandex, our lives would be easier, simpler, and a lot more peaceful. Looking back at our Judeo-Christian history for a moment, it seems that there’s not much give in the attitudes of some religious leaders we come across. With few exceptions the message from the Scribes and Pharisees was pretty much my way or the highway. Jesus recognized their problem in the parable of the new wine and old wineskins from Luke 5:37-38: “And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins.” Those old wineskins just couldn’t handle the new wine that Jesus embodies, teaches and is ultimately willing to die for in order to fulfill God’s plan of salvation. God’s hands are always stretching out to touch us. God’s gifts are always available to bless us expansively and abundantly. Through our faith in Christ Jesus, our earthly lives expand beyond time and space and into everlasting life in Him.Old ways and old habits can become so comfortable that we’re not willing to risk faith, or stretch ourselves. Our mindset can become precisely that: set, fixed, immovable and unchanging. If our thinking is atrophied and our hearts hardened, then we’ve stopped allowing the Holy Spirit to keep our hearts supple and our minds exercised in God’s word, and stretching to discern God’s will. If that’s happened or happening, is it an issue of who’s in control? How stubborn are we being in holding tightly onto some aspect of our lives, shutting out God’s healing and cleansing light? Is ego getting in the way of the Way? Or perhaps it’s about fear. Are we frightened to look at the new gifts God is offering, or worried about the new opportunities God is preparing us for?Trusting in the Lord is one important element to keeping ourselves open to God’s will for our lives, and prayer is the key to building that trust. If prayer isn’t a regular habit yet, this may be a stretch, yet prayer is a kind of spiritual spandex. It helps us to stretch ourselves toward the Lord, and gives us the kind of flexibility and strength we need to reach out to serve others. Prayer is an awesome way to keep us in shape. Dwelling in God’s word, otherwise known as stretching the horizons of our understanding of God’s living word, is another great way to get a spiritual workout. It helps to be part of a community of faith to explore the real shape of some of the strange dips and bumps in our spiritual journeys that we all experience from time to time. Finding a community of faith is equally important when (notice I didn’t say “if”) we’re feeling stretched to the max by life’s demands — work, career, family, financial pressures, time constraints, or spiritual discontent — and can’t seem to find answers to our most pressing questions or issues. Keeping our spiritual lives flexible, helps us to grow in all the right ways!• The Rev. Susan E. Wilmot is priest-in-charge at St. James the Apostle Episcopal Church, 975 E. Warner Road, Tempe. Reach her at rector@stjamestempe.orgor or at (480) 345-2686.

  • Take me home: Sweet Bubba is a typical hound dog

    Bubba is a 2-year-old Basset blend. He landed at Friends for Life Animal Rescue in Gilbert by way of the Yuma Humane Society, where he was considered a stray.Bubba is a “typical hound,” He’ll follow his nose anywhere (which might explain how he got lost in the first place).His ideal home would be one with some knowledge of hound behaviors. Bubba likes to cuddle with his people. He’d probably do fine with older children. He has met a few dogs and is vocal (like hounds are) when he meets them, but he does play with other dogs.Bubba is neutered, microchipped, vaccinated and licensed. He has tested negative for heartworm. Bubba’s adoption fee is $225 and he’s patiently waiting for his new family at Friends for Life’s adoption center.For more information, call (480) 497-8296 or visit www.azfriends.org.

  • Valley churches have differing opinions on performing same-sex weddings

    Under an Oct. 17 federal court ruling, gays and lesbians have the right in Arizona to marry, but homosexual couples may still find themselves unable to wed here in the church of their choice and ahead of a pending decision on the issue from the U.S. Supreme Court.Some denominations and individual houses of worship reserve their decision against performing the services, citing the Bible — the very source other churches use to support their decision to marry same-sex couples. As confusing as it may seem, the dueling positions are part of the landscape upon which the state is forging ahead in the new era of homosexual rights in what’s considered one of the most fundamental of those rights — that of two people who love each other to be legally united.“We continue to live in the dichotomy of that truth,” said Debra Peevey, a retired pastor who served as faith director for Why Marriage Matters Arizona, an organization formed to promote and facilitate marriage equality prior to last fall’s ruling.“There are plenty of churches that won’t do it. The good news is there are plenty of churches that would,” she said.Generally speaking, churches or denominations that have more freely performed services include United Universalist, the United Church of Christ, Episcopalian and a number in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA). Roman Catholic, Mormon, Baptist, and Church of Christ (different from the United Church of Christ) churches are unlikely to conduct weddings.But the lines do blur. Certain Lutheran churches, such as Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Tempe, don’t perform same-sex weddings.

  • Take me Home: Well-mannered Riley is sweet and snuggly

    At 5 years old, Riley the terrier mix has grown into a well-mannered gentleman. This sweet, mellow, friendly guy has an honest face you can read like a book. Scratch his ears and the adoring look on Riley’s face will make you blush. Give Riley the belly rubs he enjoys so much and you’ll witness a dog turning into putty right before your eyes. Riley is an incredibly snuggly dog — all he wants in life is to be as close to his people. He likes being held, hugged, and kissed and will return the favor. He loves to curl up in the curve of your stomach to snuggle. Riley likes sitting on your lap. He enjoys outings with his people and rides well in the car. Riley would also be more than satisfied with a 20-minute daily walk. He walks great on a leash as long as you don’t mind giving him opportunities to roll around on the grass.Riley does fine with dogs and cats alike. He’d also be just as happy having his people all to himself. He is a great fit for a variety of families. All Riley asks is his new family spend lots of time with him and look forward to having him snuggle on their lap after the days’ activities are done. The family that brings Riley into their home is hitting the jackpot ten times over.If interested in learning more about Riley, fill out an application for him today at www.azrescue.org.

  • Marz: Mission: What is your purpose?

    As a parent, we find purpose in caring for children. Our mission might be to raise children who grow up healthy, who are loving, and who contribute to the world. Many people are fortunate to live their lives finding purpose in their work. Their mission might be to help others or to make it a better world by solving problems at work. Others might see work only as a means to achieve a purpose of leisure or providing for one’s family. Regardless of who we might be, we all give effort to achieve goals. We all dream. We all seek to live with a purpose — a mission.Mission can be defined as our reason for being — our purpose.Faith communities can help people to live a mission-focused life. By her very nature a church community is mission. Mission is not one thing the church does among a plethora of other programs. Mission is her very being and her everyday doing.Mission in the church is rooted in what God is doing to reconcile the world to God. The church has a unique purpose. While lots of places can provide friends, help meet people’s felt needs, provide a place for people to use their gifts, or even provide services to people, the church community’s missional purpose is to be the reconciling presence of God in the world. That is unique.What is your unique mission?If it is hard for you to align your daily activities in life to what you really see as your missional-purpose, begin by asking some questions. In the church community, we ask future-thinking-vision questions. Since our mission is to be a community that invites all people into a love relationship with God, how are our current actions living this out? If we do things that do not fit that mission, we probably should stop doing that. If we are doing things that really further the mission, we put more time into those areas. It is bad when we say that our mission is one thing and do things that are opposite. This is hypocrisy. Whether in our church or individual lives, could it be that we say this is what we want to do, but we are just hoping it will happen without much thought or strategy? All talk and no walk.

  • East Valley religious coalition receives $100K grant to help homeless

    An East Valley religious coalition received a $100,000 grant from Dignity Health to provide aid for the homeless.Dignity Health’s grant, which covers the 2014-15 fiscal year, is divided equally among the three organization — Tempe Community Action Agency, Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest, and the Chandler Christian Community Center — to provide case management services for homeless individuals. The three churches created a coalition, The East Valley Interfaith Homeless Emergency Lodging Program (I-HELP) in 2010 to provide shelter, food and necessary life skills to indigent people.“These churches and religious establishments are kind enough to open their doors and provide crisis shelter and food for the underprivileged and homeless community,” said Deborah Hutterer, director of congregational relations and volunteers at Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest.Hutterer said Dignity Health’s grant provides a sizable amount of funding for case management services. Case managers are assigned to review the needs of their clients once a month to find trends about what resources the organization should offer.In addition to the professional supervision, I-HELP searches for peer monitors who will mentor its clients and support them as they continue down their desired path. Peer monitors receive a stipend from the coalition for their assistance.I-HELP’s case management initiative is a major reason for receiving its second consecutive grant from Dignity Health. Kathleen Dowler, director of community integration at Dignity Health, admires its long-term focus.

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