Pictures from the Front Porch

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries


We’re spending a lot of time at home these days.  Staying home is an important way all of us can protect each other, but we’re missing each other.  We’re missing our families.  We’re missing our friends.  We’re missing our co-workers.  A photographer in the Twin Cities is helping folks stay connected through photography.  He’s taking pictures of people on their front porches.  What a beautiful gift!  You can watch the story by clicking the link below.

We thought it’d be fun to join in our own way.  Take a picture of yourself on your front porch and share it along with the link to today’s post on our faith formation website with your family and friends.  Reach out to your Desert Cross family too!  It’s a fun way for us to stay connected!

Here’s a picture of my husband Mike and me at home.

Stay home.  Stay safe.  Stay connected.

Pictures from the Front Porch

Bible Project: Church at Home

Andrea Cain, Senior Pastor


Here is an excellent home bible study option for you to do alone, with family, or on Zoom with your friends and small groups. Last Advent, we introduced The Bible Project videos to you with word studies of our weekly themes of Hope, Love, Peace, and Joy. We use The Bible Project videos in Adult Forum on Sundays and also in Confirmation. The folks at Bible Project have used their gifts to create a resource for churches to use in this time of social distancing. Let’s come together around God’s word in a brand new way each week!

Use the link below to check it out. You can even sign up to receive it directly in your email from Bible Project. Share your comments with us by using the comment section below.

Bible Project: Church at Home

Acting on Acts 20:35

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries


My husband watches a lot of sports on television. I sometimes join him, but when it comes to ASU and U of A we’re a divided family. Go ASU!

Dave Pasch often broadcasts games we watch. He’s on so often that we jokingly wonder if he’s ever home. Well, he’s making a huge difference in his home state now. He’s helping others, and he’s challenging all of us to help as we can. Maybe it’s getting groceries for an elderly neighbor. Maybe it’s making a phone call and checking in with someone. In these strange days, maybe it’s sharing part of that coveted package of toilet paper!

Click the link below to read Mr. Pasch’s story. It’ll inspire you . . . and give you some hope. Use the comment section below to share your thoughts with us.

Acting on Acts 20:35

For the Good of All

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries


The following are excerpts from an editorial in The Washington Post. Good words for all of us to remember these days.

Prayers for peace and health to all.

From The Washington Post:

Amid dread and uncertainty, the American people are displaying extraordinary purpose and motivation to meet the coronavirus threat head-on. From darkening Broadway to silencing professional and amateur sports leagues, from closing Disneyland to shuttering cathedrals, we are witnessing the response of an open democratic society, with unfettered news and social media, and civic and political institutions and leadership ready to make hard decisions. This is America at its best.

Ever since experts began calling for social distancing to reduce transmission of the respiratory virus, people in the United States have demonstrated they were listening. Their actions have ranged from small acts of kindness, such as a young woman buying groceries for an elderly couple, to disruptive decisions that until recently would have seemed unthinkable, such as emptying sports stadiums and turning out the lights at universities. Costly, emotionally fraught choices have engendered remarkably little complaining or bitterness.

After a slow start, the nation is mobilizing impressively. We will all be called on to show patience, resilience and determination. There’s no way to know how long the test will last, but we have the capacity, as a nation and a society, to make it through.

Lent 101

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries


Our Lenten journey begins today with Ash Wednesday.  Ashes are only one of the faith practices of Lent.  Some adopt a devotional book.  Some add a new way to serve.  Others fast or pray.  Click the link below for Lent 101.  You may find a new way to practice Lent this year.

Lent 101


Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries


The dictionary defines Epiphany as the sudden understanding of something, a realization, an illuminating discovery.  For the Church, Epiphany is about the coming of the Magi to visit the newborn Jesus.  Today we’re sharing some information from our Methodist brothers and sisters about Epiphany.

Click the link below to learn more about the Season of Epiphany and how it’s celebrated around the world.


Peace & Hope

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries


As you know from my previous post, my husband and I made a trip “across the pond” to England, Scotland, and Ireland in October.  While there, we visited St. Anne’s Church in Cork, Ireland.  We were struck by a Peace Banner on display in the sanctuary.  The letters were formed by the handprints of children.  It was beautiful.  But even more amazing were the ways they defined Peace.

Jacobe wrote, “Peace is neutrality between all countries.”  Another child defined peace as “when my mum and I spend time together.”  Most striking were Anouck’s words:  “Peace means a quiet little haven where there is no war and everyone gets along.”  You can check out pictures of the banner and the definitions below.

The kids at Desert Cross made a similar banner during education recently. Their banner is a Hope Banner.  You can see it at the midweek Advent worship services on Wednesday.  We’ll be adding our definitions of Hope.


Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries


Our grandson, Miles, is being baptized Sunday.  Before this, our kids were brought for baptism.  Before that, my parents brought me for baptism.  Before that, my husband’s parents brought him for baptism.  And so on and so on.  Our faith is passed on from generation to generation.  Baptism has been on my mind for a few weeks because of something I saw recently.

My husband and I took a trip to England, Scotland, and Ireland in October.  While we were there, we visited St. Anne’s Church, an Anglican church in Cork, Ireland.  We went to climb the clock tower and to ring the Shandon Bells.  You can check out the photos below of Mike climbing the 132 steps and ringing the bells.  We certainly got our exercise that day!

After that, we went in the sanctuary.  There we saw an amazing baptismal font.  The font was made in 1629.  The pewter bowl insert was added in 1773.  The font is still used for baptisms today.  How many people, young and old, have been baptized in that font?  How many generations have passed on the faith in, and outside, the walls of that church?  What a gift.  I’m including a photo of the font and a photo of the sign explaining its history.

Who brought you for baptism?  Who passed on the faith to you?   Use the comment section below to share your stories.

Clock Tower at St. Anne’s Church in Cork, Ireland
Mike Climbing the Steps in the Clock Tower
Mike Ringing Shandon Bells
Baptismal Font at St. Anne’s Church
Story of the Baptismal Font at St. Anne’s Church

Navigating the Digital Age

Andrea Cain, Senior Pastor


The digital age has changed how we work, communicate, learn, and play.  It’s even changing how we parent.  We’re sharing this article on our Adult page, and it applies to all of us, with or without kids.  It’s helpful for parents of young children in thinking ahead and parents with older children who are in the midst of navigating the digital world.  The article connects the digital world and social media with faith in daily life.  This is a new perspective in thinking about how we use our phones and how we guide our children in that world.

Click the link below to read the article.

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Navigating the Digital Age

Helping a Neighbor

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries


The Jewish High Holidays are here.  Tree of Life Synagogue was the site of a horrific shooting last year.  That congregation is still in mourning, but they’re opening their doors for worship.  In fact, they’re holding services at a nearby Episcopal church.  It’s an amazing demonstration of helping a neighbor.

Click the link below to listen to a story about this beautiful partnership.

Use the comment section below to share your stories of witnessing people of different faiths showing kindness and peace towards one another.

Helping a Neighbor

Peace in your Grief

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries


Stephen Colbert is better known for making jokes on late night television.  Anderson Cooper is better known for reporting the news.  In this powerful conversation, the two of them talk about their personal grief and how to get through such a difficult time in life.

Click the link below to watch the conversation. 

Use the comment section below to share your thoughts and experience with us.

Peace to you.

Peace in your Grief

Deep Sea Diving . . . In a Wheelchair

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries


During Sunday’s sermon, Pastor Andrea talked about how following the teachings of Jesus can change our perspective and make us think of things in new ways.  To demonstrate this teaching, Pastor Andrea referenced a TED Talk by Sue Austin.  She lives her life in a wheelchair.  Ms. Austin says the wheelchair is a tool for her that gives her freedom; yet, she discovered that others view it as a restrictive object of limitation.  To challenge this thinking, Ms. Austin came up with the idea of an underwater wheelchair for scuba diving.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Scuba diving in a wheelchair.  Talk about thinking with a new perspective!

Click the link below to hear Ms. Austin’s talk and to see the amazing video of her Deep Sea Diving . . . In a Wheelchair.

In case you missed the sermon, we’re including a link to it too so that you can listen to it.

When has your perspective changed? How was it changed? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Listen to Pastor Andrea’s Sermon–August 25, 2019

Remembering Rachel Held Evans

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries


Rachel Held Evans, Christian author and theologian, died a few months ago. Rachel was a popular, young voice in the Christian community. She grew up in a fundamentalist church, started exploring her faith, asked lots and lots of questions, and encouraged her readers to explore their questions with her. For some, her honesty gave them permission to not always have the answer.

We’re sharing some links with you to get to know Rachel a bit better. The first link is from a podcast called The Bible for Normal People. It’s one of the last conversations recorded with Rachel prior to her illness.

The second link is to another podcast called The Daily. It discusses the legacy of Rachel Held Evans.

The final link is to the message of hope delivered by Nadia Bolz-Weber, an ELCA pastor, at Rachel’s funeral.

Take a listen and share your thoughts below. Have you read any of her books? Do you want to recommend one to us? Please post a comment and let us know.

Interview with Rachel Held Evans

Legacy of Rachel Held Evans

Message of Hope

Join the Conversation


  1. I appreciate her comment about exploring, struggling with, and asking questions about the stories of the bible and not “expecting quick or easy answers” from it. This made me think of ChristCare groups at Desert Cross. In these groups we explore, share, question, make connections and more!


    1. Shannon, thanks for sharing your experience. I, too, have found ChristCare Groups to be a safe place to have doubts and to ask questions. It’s been a comfort and a joy to experience that kind of open conversation.


  2. We saw the church when we were in Cork. Your story and the age of the church is a reminder of the lasting grace and how important it is to pass the faith down to the ages.


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