Thank you to all of the donors of water, time, money, and love.  We could not do this without you.  Here are the numbers from Week 6:

Volunteers contributed 156 hours.

As we hit the halfway point of this Heat Respite we thank all those who have made it so successful thus far.  We have served over 5,200 folks this summer, putting us on pace to be well over 10,000 by the end of the program.  We could not do this without the donations provided, the support given, and the 1,500+ volunteer hours so generously spent providing food, water, and shelter here at Grace.

Below are the folks who have come out to serve with us this summer so far.  I want to make special mention of Marlene Haller and Frank Soto.  These two have headed the kitchen and have collectively volunteered for almost 450 hours so far this summer.  These two are the brains behind some excellent breakfasts, lunches, and snacks that we are blessed to be able to serve.  Thank you again everyone and we look forward to another 6 weeks of the 2016 Heat Respite @ Grace Lutheran Church.

Alfredo Alvarado
All Saints Lutheran Church
Anthony Hendricks
Brendan O'Connor
Caroline Cerda
Charles Mack
Cheryl Shila
Christina Wright
Christine Robinson
Crystal Burnett
Crystal Robeson
Denisha Browining
Deven Bennett
Devonte Greer
Emine Ulu
Foundation for Intercultural Dialogue
Francis Blanden
Frank Soto
Frankie Gilchrist
Highlands Church
Jarvis Family
Katherine Roxlo
Kathy Spitler
Kate Sims
Kim Hall
Marlene Haller
Micheal T.
Nathaniel Hendricks
New Journey Lutheran Church
North Phoenix Baptist Student Choir
Olga Gilchrist
Rosalie Littrell
Saint Mary's Basilica
Sharyl Owens
Tarvis Mayweather
Vonda Bennett
Yvonne Parks
Zenasia Davis


Thank you to all of the donors of water, time, money, and love.  We could not do this without you.  Here are the numbers from Week 5:

Your donations not only allow us to provide shelter, food, and water. We are also able to connect participants with other services available to them. Throughout the summer we have visits from Health Care for the Homeless (HCH), Circle the City's Mobile Medical Clinic, Yoga by Tami Link, and substance abuse education from Sonoran Prevention Works.

  • HCH provides health care services for homeless individuals and families throughout Maricopa County through integrated primary care, mental health services, substance abuse services, case management, and nutrition services.
  • Circle the City's mission is, to create and deliver innovative healthcare solutions that compassionately address the needs of men, women, and children facing homelessness.
  • Tami Link is a Certified Yoga and Pilates Instructor, Certified Massage Therapist who "want(s) to be more than just a movement educator. My hope is to inspire a way of  living, moving and being that allows the pursuit of what is truly valuable in life. In making choices about our health, I believe in moving from a place of meaning and grasping our unique physical dignity."
  • Sonoran Prevention Works is a grassroots group of Arizonans working to end overdose and other vulnerabilities associated with drug use. We provide direct service to people who use drugs and their families by facilitating free trainings and by distributing risk reduction materials and condoms to prevent the transmission of blood-borne pathogens. We advocate for widespread Naloxone accessibility, a 911 Good Samaritan bill, and syringe decriminalization in Arizona. We do this all in solidarity with the individual's autonomy and right to self-actualization. 

Thank you again for helping us create this space of possibility.

2016 Heat Respite @ Grace Lutheran Church: Week 4 (July 4th - 8th)

Thank you to all our donors and participants.  Here are the numbers for week 4:

Our volunteers performed 259.25 hours of service.

We are now 33% through the 2016 Heat Respite.  Thank you so much to all those who donated water, due to your efforts, at this point we will have enough to make it through the summer and not only provide for those who come to Grace, but also share with a community of refuge and hydrations stations coordinated by MAG.  Click here for a map.

This week we would like to highlight St. Mary's Basilica.  They been part of a long term ecumenical connection with Grace, including participating in the heat respite.  This past Friday a group came out, lead by Olga Gilchrist, and provided a spaghetti lunch that folks really loved.  Many noted not just the flavor but the portion size, with enough for seconds and thirds for those who still had room.  We heard many compliments and wanted to share that with all of you.

As we head into the middle third of the Heat Respite @ Grace Lutheran Church we again want to emphasize how much we appreciate everyone who make this happens through their volunteering, donations, and prayers.  

As we are in such a good situation with water going forward  we are happy to take more donations (especially with the commitments some congregations and organizations have made), but if you are looking to donate anything else we are asking for the following:

Non-perishable goods

  • Noodles (any style)
  • Rice
  • Tuna
  • Canned Goods (beans, fruits, vegetables)

Clothing and Hygiene

  • Feminine hygiene products (tampons)
  • If you are donating clean used clothes to places like Goodwill think of us as well
  • Underwear and socks are items of the most frequent turnover and need


Thank you to our donors and participants.  Here are the numbers from week 3:

Volunteers logged 295.75 hours.

We closed June serving 2357 folks (including repeated visits) for an average of 139 people per day being able to find a place to escape the heat, receive water and food, and find a place of rest.  This does not happen with out the help of the 77 volunteers who provided 750.75 hours of service during the month of June.

Special thanks to Marlene Haller and Frank Soto who lead the kitchen crew and combined to volunteer almost 250 hours in June.  Additionally, last week we had a visit North Phoenix Baptist Student Choir who graced us with song and kitchen help.  As well as, folks from CHEEERS Recovery Center.

We received an enormous water donation from Mountain View Lutheran Church totaling 377 cases of water.  This is critical as we maintain triple digit temperatures.  It is not just these large donations that make this happen but those also who have brought in one or two cases, clothes, socks, hygiene, a smile, or prayer and blessings.

As we move into the second month of the 2016 Heat Respite @ Grace Lutheran Church we again thank all of those who make this possible and all those who participate.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact richard at outreach@graceinthecity.com.


Thank you for all the donations and to all the participants last week, here are the numbers:

Volunteers logged 255 hours.

It is not without the generosity of many that this program has existed for the past 11 years.  We all feel blessed to be the vessel through which your love can be shared with others.

We had a special visit from the Turkish Cultural Center at the Foundation for Intercultural Dialogue.  The folks that came out prepared böreks, a meat filed pastry, on-site for over 170 people. Ramadan Kareem!

2016 Heat Respite @ Grace Lutheran Church: Week 1 (June 13th - 17th)

Thank you to all for your donations, time, and prayers. We could not do this without your help. Here are the numbers of guests from the first week of the heat respite:

Volunteers logged 218.25 hours

As you can see, numbers increased steadily with the temperatures.  Though the days will start to get shorter as we passed the summer solstice Monday, the heat does not seem to be leaving and we have seen this trend continue.

Thank you to all our donation and ministry partners, with a special note to Desert Cross Lutheran Church for the donation of 4 pallets of water, totaling 988.65 gallons of water.

Thanks to those who donated in the past week:

  • St. Andrew's Lutheran Church
  • Katherine Roxlo
  • Our Saviour's Lutheran Church, Phoenix
  • Waste Not
  • Mountain View Lutheran Church
  • Arizona Coalition to End Homelessness
  • Linda Schwall
  • Carol Lindsay (in honor of her mother June Lindsay)
  • Yvonne Parks
  • Kathy Spitler
  • Damsel in Defense
  • Richard Gayer
  • Christ Lutheran Church
  • First Congregational UCC
  • Sons of Norway, Sol Byer Lodge
  • Mount of Olives Lutheran Church
  • Alvin and Virginia Kitts
  • Mary J. Reed
  • Ross Orr
  • Desert Streams Lutheran Church
  • Clarence Harvey
  • Pete Boshen
  • Freddie Roberts
  • Michael Tetrick
  • Alice Bauder

Sermon: Maundy Thursday, 2016

Sermon: Maundy Thursday, 2016

About nine months ago, someone in our community sat in my office, and we talked about life.  This was not an unusual situation.…  I spend a lot of time talking with you who are part of the Grace community about life, about illness and death, about unemployment and vocation, about school and relationships, about questions you have about God and the world.  So, when I sat with this particular person in my office to discuss life, it was not unusual.  What was unusual was that, after talking about her own life, this person turned to me and asked me questions about me and about my life, the kind of questions I would normally ask other people, questions that revealed she really had been listening to me.

Sermon: March 20, 2016

Sermon: March 20, 2016

These days, we can’t get away from politics.  

I don’t own a TV, but even I can’t get away from the political ads and political news...Facebook and other social media, NPR, the front page of the paper.  Everywhere, we hear about Donald Trump and Ted Cruz and John Kasich, Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.  Everywhere, we hear about issues like health care and foreign policy, education and climate change.  Everywhere, we hear about political math, the changing demographics of voters, and superdelegates.  These days, we can’t get away from politics so much so that even today’s gospel is political…but in a way far removed from—and I do apologize if I offend—the absolute ridiculousness of current US politics.

Easter & Holy Week at Grace Lutheran Church

Easter & Holy Week at Grace Lutheran Church

Holy Week is upon us, and this year we are excited to be celebrating the Easter Vigil worship service, the oldest of the worship services that persist to this day.

While the Easter Vigil was traditionally the service where Christians read 12 of the foundational stories of faith from the Bible and celebrated with a bonfire, Holy Baptism, and Holy Communion, the service we will share with St. John’s Lutheran in Glendale will be far simpler.

Sermon: March 6, 2016

Sermon: March 6, 2016

In Luke chapter 15, Jesus shares a series of lost and found parables.  Sheep are lost and found.  Coins are lost and found.  Sons are lost and found.  Jesus shares these parables because 1) tax collectors and sinners gathered around him and 2) the scribes and Pharisees were grumbling.  What they were grumbling amongst themselves was: This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.

We Journey Together: Pete Pero from the Classroom Seat

As I walked into the classroom two things were clear to me – I had a marginal idea of what this class was about, and I wasn’t doing it out of some kind of theological curiosity. I signed up for a class on “The Theology of Martin Luther King, Jr.” mainly because someone I liked was in that class. 

As you can see, I would never claim to be a paragon of virtue.