Mission Month

February, 2017

UPC has never shied away from controversial issues facing our community and culture, dating back to its founding in 1951 on the campus of then Arizona State College.

Throughout our 2016-2017 ministry year we have been exploring the concept of “Restorative Justice,” using Howard Zehr’s Little Book of Restorative Justice (available at Amazon.com).

Beginning February 4, 2017 we will be hosting its 23rd annual Mission Month—a month-long dialogue around challenging and controversial issues facing us today. In the past UPC has engaged the intersection of science and religion, issues of justice and the global economy, and most recently “Race, Racism and the Bible,” just to name a few.

This year we are taking our year-long emphasis and focus on U.S. Prisons through the framework of Restorative Justice. The prophet Micah calls the people to God’s justice:

What does the LORD require of you,
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?

Join us Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings for conversation and continued faith exploration as we seek to more deeply follow call from Christ to compassionate service!

Children are welcome at the Saturday forums. Childcare is available during worship, and Sunday School is offered for all ages during the Sunday forums.

Week 1 — Feb. 4-5, 2017
An Insider’s Perspective

Our first two guests share an insider’s understanding of the U.S. prison system. However, they have experienced prison from very different vantage points. We welcome their perspectives as we begin our month of study on the blending of Restorative Justice and the U.S. prison system.

Bryan Smith
Mitigation Specialist, Pima County Public Defender’s Office

After serving over 25 years in prison, Bryan was released from San Quentin State Prison in 2007. He has coupled his experience with a degree in Psychology to develop support services and assist inmates. Bryan is highly respected in the field of Re-entry and is a regular trainer/speaker at universities, colleges, sober living environments, and faith-based communities. He has consulted on re-entry projects as well as mayoral and state congressional campaigns.

Paul Scofield
North Central Regional Food Services Administrator
Bureau of Prisons, Administration (retired)

Paul has a distinguished career working in the federal prison system in Oregon, Colorado, and Kansas, rising through the ranks, first as a supervising cook, then a trainer and an administrator. Ultimately, he served as a regional administrator responsible for overseeing 20 federal prisons and feeding 25,000 inmates per day.

Saturday, Feb. 4 6:00 p.m. POTLUCK — at the home John and Linda Risseeuw (Dinner begins at 6:30 p.m.)
Please click here to RSVP by Thursday, Feb. 2nd
Address and directions will be emailed on Friday.
Sunday, Feb. 5 9:30 a.m. WORSHIP
Paul Smith preaching:
“The Inside Job and 25 years of Prison”
11:00 a.m. ADULT FORUM — after worship in the Sanctuary
Bryan and Paul will share their experience in the prison system, looking through the lens of Restorative Justice.

Week 2 — Feb. 11-12, 2017
Understanding Restorative Justice

This week we will grow in our understanding of the practice of Restorative Justice as it relates to our prison systems.

Barbara Toews, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Criminal Justice and Social Work Program
University of Washington, Tacoma

Barb is an experienced restorative justice practitioner and has taught restorative and design courses in both university and prison settings. Her publications include: The Little Book of Restorative Justice for People in Prison, co-authored with Howard Zehr, and Critical Issues in Restorative Justice, co-edited with Zehr. Her current research focuses on the impacts of restorative justice and environmental design.

Saturday, Feb. 11 6:00 p.m. POTLUCK — at the home of Jim and Laura Knorr (Dinner begins at 6:30 p.m.)
Please click here to RSVP by Thursday, Feb. 9th
Address and directions will be emailed on Friday.
Sunday, Feb. 12 9:30 a.m. WORSHIP
Dr. Barbara Toews preaching
11:00 a.m. ADULT FORUM — after worship in the Sanctuary

Week 3 — Feb. 18-19, 2017
A Wild Ride with an Untethered God

In our final week, we will learn about applying Restorative Justice principles and practices in real life with real people.

The Rev. Karen Spencer-Barnes
Ordained Deacon in the United Methodist Church

When they retired, their work had just begun. Rev. Karen and her husband moved to Mesa and joined in the worship, fellowship, and justice missions of Red Mountain United Methodist Church. She has focused on education, immigration reform, workforce development, Native American empowerment, and the formation of a prison ministry. Karen’s experience is impressive and her energy is contagious!

Saturday, Feb. 18 6:00 p.m. POTLUCK — at the home of Carol Rickel (Dinner begins at 6:30 p.m.)
Please click here to RSVP by Thursday, Feb. 12th
Address and directions will be emailed on Friday.
Sunday, Feb. 19 9:30 a.m. WORSHIP
Rev. Karen Spencer-Barnes Preaching:
“A Wild Ride with an Untethered God”
11:00 a.m. ADULT FORUM — after worship in the Sanctuary

Our entire community, both UPC and beyond, is invited to participate in the presentations and dialogues throughout the three weeks of this year’s Mission Month. For more information call our church office at (480) 966-6267.

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Full Month Calendar

This week…