During the COVID-19 public health emergency, Esperanza Lutheran Church has suspended in-person worship services. Join us every week on YouTube for worship at Esperanza Lutheran Church – Ahwatukee.
Holy Communion is celebrated as a community during our Zoom meetings every Sunday at 10 a.m. For security reasons, the Zoom invitation is sent in our weekly e-newsletter, Words of Hope. Anyone may sign up to receive the newsletter, which includes meditations and news about programs, services and members. Subscribe here.
When we are able to worship again, join us at our church at 2601 E. Thunderhill Place in the Ahwatukee section of Phoenix, Arizona.
Quarterly giving statements were mailed on Wednesday to all those supporting Esperanza financially this year. Review your pledge, and if you are behind please catch up if you are able. Giving is one way we can participate in the exciting work that’s going on at the church, despite the pandemic! Craig Peck’s letter says it well.
It is now possible to give to the church using a debit or credit card in addition to a bank account using a new secure donation platform called GivePlus. Visit any of the following options:
If you already have electronic giving set up with Esperanza or have questions about the program please contact Michael Paradise by email at Michaelparadise.email@example.com or by phone at 703-595-8885.
I have one more week with you, then a couple of weeks before I begin at New Spirit Lutheran Church in Tucson, where I’ll share a two-year interim position with my husband, Fred.
It has been such a very strange time, and I haven’t had a chance to get to know nearly as many of you as I had hoped. But I have felt very much a part of Esperanza, and I will miss you. Thank you for welcoming me warmly and for many supportive messages along the way.
I will be praying for you and for the Spirit to be at work as you call your new “regular” pastor. God has given you each other for support and some new faces to work alongside you in the next months. May patience and unity prevail at Esperanza, and may God show you clearly the way to move forward.
Esperanzans, our church is humming. You can read about some of the new things going on in this newsletter: a new Children’s Ministry Coordinator, an online conversation on racial justice, an update on planning for the new school year at Children of Hope, reminders about ongoing service opportunities, and more.
Beyond all that, the Inviting and Welcoming Team is meeting weekly, the chairs and carpet in the sanctuary and fellowship hall have just been cleaned, people are coming by church to keep things running and looking nice, the Fellowship Team is thinking about fun options for small in-person events, our Promesa de Esperanza choir just connected again online, and our community continues to collect donations of food, drink, clothing and school supplies for area service agencies. Apologies if I missed something or someone!
Remember, you can catch up with Esperanza friends and make new ones by joining in Sunday morning Communion and Coffee Hour. And, if you’re on Facebook, don’t forget to join the Non-news Esperanza group to stay in touch.
You can always get in touch with me, too. My contact information is at the end of this newsletter.
Esperanza now has a Stewardship Team, a group focused on helping us think about our money, in the context of faith, and how we may grow in generosity. Thanks to Michael Paradise, Craig Peck, and Michelle Tinsley for getting this team underway.
Our new working teams are focusing on particular areas of our church and will ensure that things get done. But an additional benefit is that they are available to listen to your ideas and suggestions and to coordinate short-term volunteers and efforts. So, as a reminder, here is a list of current teams and their leaders:
Pastor Paul Campbell joins us beginning in July, when Pastor Carol Breimeier leaves to pursue a new challenge in Tucson. Here he talks about his background and ministry.
Pastor Paul Campbell
My early years were in an anti-church, no faith, home, and I hadn’t stepped foot in a church until I met my girlfriend/wife Donna at age 18. Following a Lenten service her pastor asked me what I thought of the service. I said, “not much” and he said “let’s talk about that,” which became the mantra in my ministry. I was baptized on my 19th birthday.
My undergraduate degree is in broadcast journalism from the University of Nebraska and I began my professional career working for the PBS network in Nebraska. While in school I began to feel the itch to grow deeper in faith and my relentless curiosity led me to work in a church as a layperson, enter seminary, and become an ordained pastor.
I served in a number of capacities in the ELCA including as a parish pastor in congregations in Nebraska, Minnesota and North Dakota. In 1989 while in Fargo, the ELCA Communications Department called me to serve as a communications director, and I had the privilege of writing the distance learning section of the Study on Theological Education.
In 1992 I decided to venture out, and formed my own company to help congregations and church colleges embrace the possibilities and power of the electronic communication revolution. Many of those organizations are now fully into the digital revolution.
In 1999 I was asked to serve as an interim pastor in River Falls and later in Hudson, Wisconsin before being called as the executive director at Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center in Carefree. In my 12 years there I was able to lead the center through several transitions in programming, staff development, and in service to our guest. I retired at the end of 2015.
Beginning in 2017, I served as the interim pastor at Ascension Lutheran Church in Paradise Valley, helping them create their vision, mission, and strategic plan. I departed when their long-term pastor arrived last October.
Donna and I have been married for 49 years and are blessed with three children and three grandsons, all of whom live in Minnesota.
When Grand Canyon Synod Assistant to the Bishop Mark Holman first talked to me about serving as an Interim Pastor at Esperanza, his first comment was “How would you like to serve a healthy congregation?” My conversations with Michelle Tinsley, Pastor Carol and your church council have confirmed that Pastor Mark’s assessment is accurate.
Having said that, we know that transitions are challenging. You said goodbye to a pastor of 20-plus years and were just digging into the call process when the pandemic hit. Then you learned Pastor Carol was moving on to a fantastic opportunity with her husband. A transition on top of a transition! Together we will navigate these turbulent waters.
Last Sunday a group of dads and youth cleaned up the patio at church where we have formed so many happy memories.
During a recent wellness outreach call, a council member talked with a church member who expressed concern about the unkempt look of our patio. Forced to suspend in-person meetings and worship due to the pandemic, the church council decided to suspend landscaping services. In the weeks since, nature had begun to reclaim the patio and parking lot.
So, the group responded to the call and went to work on fallen leaves, wilted plants and overgrown branches. Volunteers included Denzil Klein, Randy Wright, Ron, Blake and Danny Tuszynski, Brian Cantoni, Craig Peck, and the Paradise boys (Taite and Jax). The team worked hard, beautifying our gem of a campus.
You can help too! Our member landscaping team is gathering at 7 a.m. tomorrow to continue the work.
Please bring your trimmers, gloves, rakes, brooms, and other tools to help spruce up Esperanza while getting some exercise and fellowship. Wear sunscreen and a hat. For the health and safety of all, we will maintain social distancing and wear masks when in close proximity to each other. Refreshments will be served.
If you can’t participate at 7am, feel free to stop by anytime and enjoy a walk around the beautified campus. It is very peaceful and will give you a burst of energy – we promise!
“The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.”
Ida B. Wells
The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many others have deeply affected people throughout our country and around the world. Demonstrations have rocked our cities, and many are shining a light on social injustice.
How are Christians called to respond in crisis?
Tomorrow, from 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., we will hold a vigil in the sanctuary for study, prayer and meditation. Printed materials including scripture readings and essays about social justice will be available for your use if you wish.
Individuals or family groups may sign up to enter the sanctuary in 30 minute intervals. For safety during this pandemic, only two individuals or small groups may be in the church at the same time. To sign up for a time, please click here.
O’Neil Filloon sent the following note to the parents of confirmation and youth group kids as he finished his time at Esperanza. A big thank-you to O’Neil for his loving, engaging, supportive, and fun presence with the kids this past year. And best of luck with med school!
Hello Esperanza families and friends!
With the conclusion of the youth group calendar year and final Zoom session, I wanted to take the chance to say thank you for welcoming me into the Esperanza community this past year and treating me like someone who had been around for years. This year was so fun working with the kids, the front office staff, and jamming with the band for service.
Unfortunately, after discussing with Pastor Carol how my availability has changed, I won’t be able to be a part of this moving forward. I had hoped to be part of this community for two years, but the pandemic has pushed the medical school cycle behind two to three months, and I won’t be able to commute to and from Phoenix and Tucson while keeping my job in the ER full time and continuing to apply/test/interview with schools for the next seven to eight months as I had been doing this past year. These past several months have been challenging for all of us uniquely, and sadly my path has been redirected.
I thoroughly enjoyed all the time we spent this year together, and although this year was different with the change in leadership and the pandemic changing course, I hope I was able to bring some joy and lessons to your kids. They are so tight-knit, and they have such bright futures! I hope they stay this close together, and that the church continues to be a backbone for them.
Esperanza has been such a great learning experience for me, and I pray for the best for you all and this community!