Results from Congregational Meeting: New Council Members and Call Committee Elected

For the first time in its history Esperanza conducted its annual meeting online on May 17, electing new council members, approving the Ministry Site Profile and seating a call committee.

Our annual meeting is conducted in two parts, beginning with a January session to approve a spending plan for the year, then reconvening in May to discuss programs, elect officers and conduct other non-financial business. Council President Michelle Tinsley reviewed highlights of the year, including our financial status. She said we are doing ok now, but it’s crucial to keep up our giving.

We thanked Rachael Hanania and Jessica Meuller, who were stepping down from their seats on council. We elected Craig Peck and Michael Paradise to take their seats.

We approved the Ministry Site Profile, a document designed to acquaint candidates for pastor with our community, our history, our current circumstances and our goals for the future. We also elected the call committee, which will conduct the search for our new pastor. Members include Brian Cantoni, Jim Gisselquist, Beth Leaf, Jim Nelson, Paige Somero, Ron Tuszynski, Tom Vega and Tyler Willis.

We also voted to distribute seminary scholarship funds from our endowment in the amount of $6,491.83 to Julie Gerrish. Julie grew up at Esperanza and is preparing for the ministry at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary.

Last, we congratulated this spring’s graduates, including:

  • Jennie Schutt, Northern Arizona University
  • Brooke Comune, Desert Vista High School
  • Zach Fielding, Desert Vista High School
  • Caleb Somero, Mountain Point High School
  • Zac Chapman, Altadena Middle School
  • Brooklyn Hanania, Altadena Middle School
  • Ryan Mueller, Altadena Middle School
  • Tatum Willis, Altadena Middle School

Congregational Meeting May 17

Our annual meeting is this Sunday at 10 a.m. The meeting will be virtual, using the Zoom technology that has enabled us to gather for communion and coffee hour during this health emergency. Please see the Zoom invitation that you received in email or in the Words of Hope newsletter to connect. We are asking couples to log in together because Zoom limits the number of connections. If you have questions please contact Pastor Carol at 224-422-9552 or Michelle Tinsley at 480-229-2272. 

Matters that will be considered at the meeting include:

  • Review of the 2020 Annual Report
  • The Ministry Site Profile, which requires a vote of the congregation
  • The Esperanza Mission Endowment Fund — Council is proposing that the fund be dispersed to Julie Gerrish for the continuance of her divinity degree program. Read the resolution.
  • Welcome to our new members: Michael Paradise, Megan Healy, Taite Paradise, Jax Paradise, Kelly Edwards, Paige Edwards and Cindy Jackson.
  • Council Retirements and elections: Thank you to Rachael Hanania and Jessica Mueller who have completed their council term of office. Craig Peck and Michael Paradise have been nominated to fill the two available seats.
  • Call Committee: A vote of the congregation is required to seat the call committee that will conduct the search for a new pastor. The slate includes: Tom Vega, Beth Leaf, Jim Gisselquist, Tyler Willis, Jim Nelson, Paige Somero, Ron Tuszynski and Brian Canton

Read: Ministry Site Profile

At the May 17 Annual Meeting, the congregation will be asked to endorse the Ministry Site Profile.

This document, written by the Ministry Site Profile Team, will be forwarded to the synod for use by Bishop Deborah Hutterer and her staff to begin to identify candidates to be Esperanza’s next pastor. The Ministry Site Profile Profile team wrote the report based on a careful evaluation of the comments, insights, hopes, and dreams shared by the congregation through discernment conversations and completed surveys.

Not every thought or issue raised could be included in the Site Profile, but this is just one piece of the process. The Call Committee will have ample opportunity for extensive and thorough conversations with every candidate. Everyone involved is aware that the priority is finding the right person to both lead and walk alongside the people of Esperanza in the next season of our mission and ministry.

It’s not practical for the congregation to try to amend the Site Profile at the May 17 online meeting, so, if you spot something you consider to be a significant flaw or gap in the profile, it’s very important that you contact Rachael Hanania with your concern as soon as possible. She’ll talk over your concern with you and convey any necessary changes to the Site Profile Team for consideration. Reach out to Rachael by email (not phone, please) at Be sure to include your phone number.

A huge thank-you to the Ministry Site Profile Team for their work and to everyone who took the time to participate in a discernment conversation and/or complete the survey. Because of the effort of all involved, we are confident that this document gives an accurate picture of where we are as a congregation and where we hope to go.

Please be sure to thank the Ministry Site Profile Team members personally. They are Steven Thorpe (chair), Kristin Baldwin, Lauren Cantoni, John Gemma and Mike Willis.

Holy Week and Easter — Worship And Fellowship

Please join as we worship and interact virtually during Holy Week and Easter.

Invitations to the Zoom events will be in our email newsletters for security reasons. 

Maundy Thursday

Watch your inbox and the website for a meditation on Salvador Dali’s painting of the Last Supper written by Alice Schultze.

Gather on Zoom at 7 p.m. for a brief worship service with Holy Communion. To participate in Holy Communion, be sure to have some bread and either wine or grape juice at hand before we begin.


Good Friday

Watch your inbox and our YouTube channel (Esperanza Lutheran Church – Ahwatukee) for a service of the Stations of the Cross, with a message and prayer by Bishop Deborah Hutterer and readings by Fiesta Conference pastors, produced by Pastor Christine Stoxen and the staff at Holy Trinity, Chandler. This will be available for viewing beginning at noon on Good Friday.


Easter Sunday

A recorded Easter service will be available on our YouTube channel beginning at 12:00am on Easter day.

Gather on Zoom at 10 a.m. for a brief worship service with Holy Communion to be followed by coffee hour. To participate in Holy Communion, be sure to have some bread and either wine or grape juice at hand before we begin.

COVID-19 and the Future of Esperanza Lutheran Church

We’re hearing from all sides that we will not be going back to an unchanged world after the immediate threat of the novel coronavirus passes. A lot of things will be different. It will take a while for people to get comfortable with physical contact—even the casual proximity we took for granted in the past. We’ll be on edge when we hear about any new strain of pathogen, anywhere in the world. Stores and restaurants are hard hit by this pause in business activity, and some undoubtedly won’t reopen. And, for many of us, our financial situation won’t return to what it was before—at least not quickly.

The landscape will be different in ways we can, and in ways we cannot, predict.

Individuals can alter some of the damage from this outbreak—by ordering more take-out from a favorite restaurant, for example. But the changes that may happen on a macro level are beyond our reach.

Still, one place where you can have a real impact is your church: Esperanza Lutheran Church. Your financial contributions are vital if Esperanza is going to come through this critical time looking fundamentally as it did going in.

For some of us, making a difference means keeping up with a pledge we’ve already made. For those of us who haven’t pledged, it could mean committing to giving regularly and generously starting now. Some of us may even find we’re in a position to give above and beyond for these few months—perhaps, as a couple of people have mentioned, by diverting  money saved on restaurant meals not eaten, or classes not taken or entertainment that’s temporarily unavailable.

This time is a challenging time, a time for each of us to shine with renewed intentionality and cheerful generosity. Now is the time for each of us to recommit to supporting Esperanza with our gifts of treasure, gifts that will help ensure the future of our church.

As soon as we get the “all clear” we want to be able to open our doors and return to joyful weekly worship, meaningful learning, impactful service efforts, and enriching fellowship. And, importantly, we want to be in a position to call a new pastor who will help to carry our life and spirit into the next season of Esperanza’s ministry.

So, even though we cannot gather together in our sanctuary, we can still make our offering to our church. Here’s how:

  1. First consider writing your check and mailing it to the church each week. Our mail is still being picked up and your check will be deposited that same week.
  1. Second, consider using your online banking to send your check. If you set up a monthly bill payment your gift will be sent automatically.
  1. Third, utilize Vanco, a faith-based payment system, which automatically withdraws your gift from your bank account and transfers it to Esperanza. Print the authorization form, fill it out and return it to Joni in the church office with a blank, voided check attached.

If you have questions or concerns about Esperanza’s finances, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with someone on the Finance Team: John Gemma, Herb Pinske, Rocky Armfield, Robert Elsaesser, or Mark Entsminger.

If you have questions or concerns about what’s happening at Esperanza in general, please get in touch with Pastor Carol ( or a council member. Council members are Michelle Tinsley, Rachael Hanania, Peggy Wagner, Doris Dorwart, Jessica Mueller, Liz Farquhar, Robert Elsaesser, Herb Pinske, and Paul Gerrish. If you need contact information for any of these folks, please call me at 224-422-9552 or Joni Thorpe in the office at 480-759-1515.

May God keep you safe and in good spirits. May this be a time of growth in faith for you. And may God keep our church strong and united.

Calling a New Pastor: Online Site Profile Survey Now Available

The Site Profile Team continues to move forward with completing our work in support of the pastoral call process. Last week we completed three live, online sessions and one for the youth in our congregation, which were designed to gather input for our pastoral call. Thank you to everyone who attended the sessions. Our goal is to provide several ways to gather feedback, guaranteeing that everyone who wishes to contribute may provide input.

Today, we are happy to announce the Online Site Profile Survey. This survey provides everyone in our community the opportunity to provide feedback in the call process. The survey has several questions that helps us provide an in-depth view of our history, our community and our needs. Your thoughts are valuable and critical as we continue on this journey, and we encourage everyone—even those who participated in the Zoom sessions—to complete the survey. The survey can be completed on your laptop, tablet or smartphone.

Complete the survey by clicking this link

If you know of someone who does not have access to a computer or other digital device, contact Joni in the church office at 480-759-1515 to obtain a paper copy through the U.S. mail.


Council Seeks Call Committee Candidates

The Ministry Site Profile Team is hard at work, completing the ministry site profile. Thanks to all of you who participated in the zoom calls last week. If you were not able to be on one of those calls, no worries, soon we will be providing alternatives for you to provide your feedback. We would like to now start putting the call team together so we are ready to start the process soon after we can all be together again.  

If you are interested in being part of the call committee, please read the information below and email Rachael Hanania at by April 26, 2020, regardless of whether you have already notified another person of your interest.

The significance of serving on a call committee

Serving on a Call Committee is an opportunity to serve your church community, putting your faith in action by using your unique gifts. Many people report that serving on a Call Committee turned out to be one of the most important experiences they ever had as members of a congregation. It allowed them to witness firsthand how the Holy Spirit works through committed Christians to help the church be faithful to its calling.

How the call committee will be selected

The Call Committee is made up of six voting members plus two alternates.

  • The council will ask for nominees, but it is possible that some nominees may not be selected because the Call Committee must represent all groups that combine to form the congregation.
  • The list of nominees, approved by the counsel, will be presented to the congregation for a vote.

Who should be on the call committee?

  • People of prayer. The call process is Spirit-led, and members are expected to be in prayer daily throughout the entire process.
  • Willing to commit. The process can take a year or longer and members must be able to attend every interview.
  • Faithful. Call Committee members need to be people who are spiritually discerning, good listeners, and willing to trust a process.
  • Discreet. Members must be able to maintain appropriate confidentiality.

Who cannot be on the call committee?

  • No ordained ministers (active or retired)
  • No staff members or family members of staff members
  • No family members of church council members
  • No two people related to one another can serve together

After the Call Committee is selected, the Bishop will meet the Call Committee to provide information on the call process.

Leaders Wanted: Esperanza Council

The annual election is coming up in May. At that time, two of our leaders will be going off council: Rachael Hanania and Jessica Mueller. Please consider using your uniquely individual gifts in service to our community at this exceptionally challenging and exciting time. To place your name in nomination or to get your questions answered, contact Council President Michelle Tinsley or Pastor Carol.

Your Offering: Three Ways to Give

2 Corinthians 9:6-7 6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

If these words ring true and you are able to give during these times of uncertainty, you may be wondering how you can still give cheerfully while maintaining social distancing. Here are a few ways to easily and safely send your contributions to Esperanza.

1. First consider writing your check and mailing it to the church each week. Our mail is still being picked up and your check will be deposited that same week.

2. Second, consider using your online banking to send your check. If you set up a monthly bill payment your gift will be sent automatically.

3. Third, utilize Vanco, a faith-based payment system, which automatically withdraws your gift from your bank account and transfers it to Esperanza. Print the Vanco authorization fill it out and return it to Joni in the church office with a blank, voided check attached.

We are also working on a giving button for the website. When it is ready we will let you know!

News Update: Discernment Meetings, New Facebook Group, Sunday Worship

Here’s the latest from Esperanza:

Discernment Meetings

We’re underway with the online meetings we’ve set up to take the place of the day-long discernment workshop that had been set for March 22. Pastor Miguel Gomez-Acosta from the Grand Canyon Synod office is leading groups through a three-part look at Esperanza’s past, present, and dreamed-for future.

Last Sunday, March 22, was the first meeting. Thirteen people participated in the meeting, with three more listening in to capture notes. It was a great conversation and a productive meeting. Particularly interesting: Pastor Miguel shared Esperanza’s “trend report” that shows changes in such things as baptized membership, worship attendance, and our financial situation over the last eight years. Particularly encouraging was the response to his question: If money, volunteers, and time were unlimited, what do you dream Esperanza could do?

This morning,  11 of us engaged in an interesting and in-depth conversation, and 15 are scheduled for Sunday, March 29 (9 a.m.-noon). There’s room for more! Register by emailing Pastor Carol at or call or text her at 224-422-9552.

The thoughts shared in these meetings will feed into the writing of the Ministry Site Profile, which is the document the bishop shares with potential pastoral candidates for Esperanza. The Ministry Site Profile will be available for the congregation to read before it goes to the bishop.

New Facebook Group

For those of you who are on Facebook, we have a new group called Non-news Esperanza. News updates get posted on our official Friends of Esperanza page, which is public. This new group is visible only to members of the group and is intended to be what Liz Farquhar called a “virtual coffee hour”—a chance to stay connected, post photos, request prayer, and share mood-elevating inspirational messages, videos, and funny stuff. To join, just type “Non-news Esperanza” in the search bar, go to the group, and click “join group.”

Not on Facebook? No interest in being on Facebook? You can sign up for free and just do this one group, then deactivate your account when we can all get back together. Just a thought.

Sunday Worship

For this Sunday, March 29, we will not try to do any kind of online worship because we have the meeting with Pastor Miguel. The plan is to get something out to everyone on Saturday night so it’s available for you when you want it.

What exactly we’ll be offering week-to-week going forward is in flux. We do want to maximize opportunities to connect.


1 2 3