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Building a House, La Flor Nicaragua

LaFlor Fam

This is part of the family of 13 where we helped to build a block house.

LaFlor house

The finished house in La Flor. Concrete floors. Tin roof and siding. 2 Windows. 2 doors. A grateful family of 13 to have this new, safe place for a part of the family. Thank you Woodbridge and Ktizo

Ktizo Christmas Concert

Sunday, December 13th, 7:00-9:00 pm Christmas Concert at Ktizo UCC. Andrew Hirst is hosting a Christmas concert with guests choirs coming in. Free, with donations to Ktizo Music Budget. 50/50 raffle. Silent auction (you can donate some items for the auction). Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest. Fun for all ages. See how you can help!

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Ktizo Farmers’ Market

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Our Ktizo Farmers’ Market will be opening Sunday, October 11th throughout May 2016. Join us every Sunday from 9:00 am – 1:00pm at Ktizo at 8724 N. 35th Ave. in Phoenix.  We will be partnering with the Community Exchange to provide fresh, locally grown fruits, vegetables, ornamentals, plants and seeds.  Check out our Facebook page Ktizo Farmer’s Market

Ktizo Update

As I write this on Tuesday morning, Pope Francis’ flight is leaving Cuba on his way to the United States. Historic? Life changing? Certainly more good press than faith and church usually gets. What is the fastest growing Christian group in the United States? “Nones”: The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. Yet, people say increasingly that they are “spiritual” but “not religious”. How can Ktizo provide a spiritual home for people who are seeking authentic welcome, a community in which they can ask questions and still be welcomed, where people find community and not just committees? How will they hear about Ktizo? And if they do dare to walk in, how will they be welcomed? This is how Ktizo will continue to grow and be a spiritual home for all, not some.

Sunday’s theme is about Spiritual Awakenings, how all of make the connections between God, Self, and Community in our lives.

Join us at 9:00 am for a reflective, meditative setting in worship.

Join us at 11:00 am for a family centered, lively setting in worship and Fearless Welcome Kids Band.

Choir rehearsal at 12:30

Ktizo lives out faith in community this week:

Wed. Breakfast, conversation and Heat Relief, 8:30-2:00. We welcome in 30+ people who live on the streets, some of whom are beginning a process of a new life off the streets.

A Course in Miracles: 5:-6:30, a group discussing Forgiveness and Spiritual growth.

5:30 Ktizo Building Committee

6:30 Ktizo Board of Directors monthly open meeting

Sat. Celebration of Life service for Nancy Jines, 1:00

Africa Forgiveness Project, David Pool, 5:00

Mon: St. Vincent de Paul Community Garden 7:30

Worship Team: 4:30 Elsenheimer’s Not only planning worship, but delving into spiritual journeys and community. All welcome

Nar Anon: 7:00 at Ktizo. Join a table of people who are on a journey of living and loving with someone who has addictions.

Tues: Men’s Breakfast, 8:30 Cracked Egg, faith, food, and

Looking ahead:

Neighbors in Need Offering, now through Oct. 4, a UCC offering which supports justice and community transformation.

Oct. 18: Special guests Leslie and Steve Penrose and perhaps a guest from La Flor Nicaragua. Leslie is the Executive Director of Just Hope, our Nica partner. Our Partnership Trip is Feb.3 through March 3, 2016. $200 deposit due 11/24.

Oct. 17: Manzanita Manor GAIN picnic10-2, Hoshoni Park, Ktizo will have a booth at this neighborhood picnic. A great way to invite people to Ktizo. See Sonny for details.

Blessings and Peace, Pastors Nancy and Ted

Ktizo Provides Hydration / Heat Relief

Ktizo is now a registered hydration and heat relief station for local homeless persons and their pets.  During the summer months, Phoenix temperatures can climb into the triple digits and make life on the streets dangerous for the unsheltered.  Every Wednesday, Ktizo opens it doors at 8:30 am and serves a healthy breakfast to our homeless friends. We also provide toiletries, snacks, clothing, feminine hygiene products, water and a cool place to be safe from the sweltering heat. We are currently  serving about 15 people and their pets each Wednesday. All are welcome.

From Pastor Ted

We strive to inspire, with love, the living experience of the Still Speaking God, in a community where all, not some, are welcome.

What do you see as the human condition? Do you start a conversation by declaring ‘humans are flawed, sinful beings’? Or do you start the conversation something more like, “Human beings were created by God for a sacred and Holy relationship”. Or, “Human beings are animated bits of evolved cellular structure that evolved over millennia from single cell organisms to what we are today?”

How you begin the conversation creates a perspective and path you will follow and a vantage point from which you will observe. Each perspective is true. Each offers different paths for understanding and outcomes. When we try to get it right, within our perspective, there are limited outcomes. If you are sure of your path’s rightness, you will create “Other” as wrong, and a belief in opposition, fundamental separation: friends and enemies. To be Right, we create wrong. To be Right, we discover the fear of wrong. To discover who I am, I discover what I am not.

What then are we to say about these things? Romans 35.

It is all too common to build a life of fear, separation and loneliness … Yet throughout life there occurs moments of Holy instances where the miracle of oneness occurs to us. A moment where connection, wholeness and love come alive for us.

How can you create or recognize life? Can you learn new patterns: of living, perceiving, understanding, creating wholeness, community, oneness (with no need for rightness or wrongness), love.

Ktizoing: is the practice of creating community, re-cognizing the beauty of diversity, the awesomeness of our oneness, the opportunity for reconciling with all, not some, of creation. We are one: captive or free, male-female-neutral, gay-straight-bi-trans, rich or poor, alive-dead- or living-death, race, creed, or color(s), spotted owl, wetlands, bug or micro-carbon. Are you ready?

Ktizo’s Mission Trip to Nicaragua, UCC News

 

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Members of an Arizona church, whose name means “God creates community,” traveled to a rain forest in Nicaragua in late February with dozens of books and suitcases of school supplies as part of a partnership that has been changing lives of the villagers and the mission travelers for several years.

This mission, part of the global component of the United Church of Christ initiative, Reading Changes Lives, was an experience in which long-time teacher Barbara Johnson really wanted to participate.

“The benefits of reading start with the first book a baby hears and continue into childhood and throughout the child’s life,” said Johnson, a first-time traveler on this trip who has been teaching for 40 years. She and five other souls, ages 40-75, joined co-pastors the Rev. Nancy Nelson Elsenheimer and the Rev. Ted Elsenheimer of Ktizo UCC in Glendale, Ariz., on a journey to LaFlor, Nicaragua, to help build homes and a lending library in a small village of 60 families, primarily subsistence farmers and coffee workers. Ktizo UCC, birthed by the Phoenix Church of the Beatitudes UCC, assumed a partnership with the villagers in 2009, and every year since then, church members have traveled across the continent to help them bring civilization to their rain forest community.

“We fell in love with the people of a village in the rainforest that had nothing,” said Nancy. “They told us they wanted to build a church, though they didn’t have water. When we asked about that they said, ‘We put God first, and everything else will come.'”

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Since that first discussion about hopes and dreams, members of Ktizo UCC, working in covenant with the organization JustHope, have helped the villagers in this isolated mountaintop community above Santa Emilia create their reality. “They wanted clean water, education, medical care, a better life for their children,” Nancy continued. “They were in a remote place, had nothing, were hard to get to (have to hike across a suspension bridge into the village), were not ‘organized,’ but had willing hearts to meet and begin to trust Gringos.”

“JustHope provides translators and we struggle through with our Spanish,” she continued. “We meet with the Leadership Team and survey the work to be done. The work is always about ‘building relationships.'”

Through relationship-building, the people of LaFlor now have a church, clean water, electricity, medical care, and schooling, and this year, a lending library.

“Our partnership began with building a community center/church,” said Nancy, “and continued bringing chlorination to their water, latrines, a store created with the donations we brought, developing a leadership committee, education support, medical assistance (a nurse who provides them care), and help getting the kids to a high school in the next community that requires scholarships and bus transportation.”

The younger children (pre-school through 6th grade) are schooled in the village by the government, which provides the education and a rice and beans lunch program. Teachers get paid $25/month in a community where the average wage, Nancy says, is $1/day. Since sending a child to school costs the family $50/year, extra books and supplies are hard to come by.

“We took 50-60 books and three or four suitcases of school and art supplies to the three teachers, preschool-6th grade who are building a library,” Nancy said. “Many of the books were English-Spanish. They also need dictionaries, and basic supplies, markers, papers, backpacks. We celebrated graduations in the community: preschool-1st grade, 6th to high school, high school to university and one [from] university, giving small gifts to reinforce how important education is.”

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“I came late to reading,” said the Rev. Ted Elsenheimer. “If it had not been for a patient teacher who took me under her wing and encouraged me, I might have given up. She loved reading and she inspired me. I saw the children in LaFlor come alive with books in THEIR language and the opportunity to open a whole new world. Wow!”

“Reading exercises the brain, teaches children about the world around them, improves their concentration and vocabulary, develops their imagination. It also relaxes the body and calms the mind,” said Johnson, who was excited to share the group’s gifts with the Nicaraguan students. “Working with children is my passion. I would love to do this again next year. I would like to take not only books and art materials, but also some math activities, games, and puzzles.”

The Ktizo group and their hosts also found lots of moments for learning during their time in the classrooms and at work on their other project, building a concrete house for one of the local families.

“One day I took my iPad to the work site,” said Ted. “As I was taking a picture with it, one of the family’s children asked in sign if my iPad was just that. I opened the Pages program and showed her the keypad and how to type. At first she had terrible trouble figuring out how to use it. Then she erased everything and typed her name — Katerine Patricia Mejia Figueroa — and then everyone’s name in her immediate family. The whole family gathered for the event. Then I eventually opened Candy Crush and corrupted a child and generations to come in LaFlor.”

“Every life touched by our group expanded the minds of our young LaFlorians,” said Laura Taliaferro, a former teacher who has made this trip several times. “Curiosity fueled by iPads, binoculars, cell phones, piñata’s, books, smiles, laughter, and hugs create a spark. That flare ignites a sense of wanting to know more — reading fans these ever-growing minds. It was a pleasure to witness this time and again.”

“We are watching the kids grow up and graduate, new babies being born, and the community trusting us as partners,” said Nancy. “We listen to their hopes and dreams, and try to help what they do become sustainable. Their community is growing because LaFlor is getting discovered by others seeking a better life.”

Here and There and Everywhere

The Lenten Season Is Upon Us   As each of you travel your journey through the season of Lent, I pray for you peace-filled hearts, that you may find connectedness to God. I pray that grace and mercy be your constant companions as you traverse deserts and valleys and pathways that aren’t always clear. I pray that you feel loved by God and family and community. I pray that you are relentless in your search for your truth and that the smudge of oil and ash on your face gives you strength for your journey.

Farmers’ Market: Sundays from 8:00 am – 11:00 am, Ktizo’s Farmers Market will be in business. A beautiful Farmers’ Market Stand has been donated and built, thank to Mary Bielsik and Friends of Ktizo. Fresh vegetables will be coming through our Friend of Ktizo Tonopah Rob. It is hard to find fresh food on our West Phoenix side. We hope to see this grow and flourish!

Ktizo Illumination Lab: A discussion group spotlighting topics of spiritual interest, personal experiences, traditions, philosophies, and social/cultural/ environmental issues and trends.

Every Second and Fourth Sunday of the month at Ktizo South Building Great Room 6:00-7:30 pm. February’s discussion was on Food Justice. Information on Friends of Ktizo Facebook Page.

Imagine School Ktizo teams go every Wednesday to Imagine School at Cortez Park to be in relationship with 40 children who came as refugees from Burma. What fun we have playing math and word games, building stories, and learning about each other. Clare Broyles, Coorindator.

Nar-Anon meets Monday evenings in the center building at 7:00 pm. This group is for families and friends of those struggling with addiction. Janice Morrison is the coordinator.

School Gardens It is planting season at our school partnership gardens. Worms, weeds, water!

Choir Thursday nights at 7:00 pm is a workout: singing, laughing, sharing in a Spirit. Come in and see!

Worship Team is making plans for Lent and Easter, continuing our Practical Love series, having the Nica Team present upon their return, Palm Sunday (parading through the neighborhood), Maundy Thursday service (7:00 pm with Middle Eastern snacks at 6:30), Easter services at 9 and 11. Watch Weekly Updates and Facebook for details.

Nicaragua Our Ktizo team of 8 has arrived in La Flor, Nicaragua. We will be building a concrete block house (only the 2nd in La Flor), supplying money to upgrade the water system, meeting our Micro Credit women, and doing amazing art projects with the children. There are children ‘graduating’ from preschool to 1st grade, 6th grade to high school, high school to university, and 1 University graduate. Thank you to all who are supporting our team.

Theology on Tap Third Friday night at Ktizo 6:30-8:00 Discussion on The Lost Gospels, Bradford Wright, coordinator.

Men’s BreakfastEvery Tuesday at Fast Eddie’s 8:30 am

Women’s Lunch Third Thursdays (March 19) at Los Compadres on Northern and 23rd Ave. Noon.

A Lot Is Happening Here!

On February 21st, Ktizo will be having a Yard Sale in the parking lot. It is also the Grand Opening of our Farmers’ Market. Come meet your local fruits (and vegetables). The Farmers’ Market will begin to operate regularly every Sunday after that.  Fresh Organic Produce.

Farmers Market

Ash Wednesday: Ktizo will be having Drive-up Ashes throughout the day, meaning that people can drive through the parking lot and receive ashes and prayer. Ktizo will also have a 5:30 potluck dinner and 7:00 pm service in the Great Room.

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We have a new Facebook Page – “Ktizo United Church of Christ”. This is in addition to our “Friends of Ktizo” Facebook Group. “Like” the new page. This new page will allow us to reach out to a greater number of people and to further our mission to spread the news of the Still-Speaking God in a community where ALL, not some, are welcome.

Souper Bowl of Caring

We are collecting canned goods for ICM Food and Clothing Bank in honor of the Souper Bowl of Caring. Food needed includes soup, peanut butter, tuna, canned meats, macaroni and cheese. Financial donations are also welcomed. Collecting now through Feb. 1 (Super Bowl) Sunday. You can drop off your canned goods at the church on Sundays from 8:30am – 12:30pm till February 1st.