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Weekly Desert Cross Update -

February 23, 2024


Faith and Life with Pastor Andrea


“Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”

Matthew 14:27

A friend sent me this meme on Ash Wednesday. We had some fun with this image of a heart in place of a cross, but it really struck me. The traditional ash cross symbolizes the paradox of our mortality and the promise of new life now and eternal life held together. It reminds us that we are dust and to dust we shall return. It returns us to God as we remember God’s persistent love that chases after us no matter what. I was tempted to mark ash hearts that evening but followed in the centuries-old tradition of marking a cross to remind us of the baptismal promises of forgiveness and new life. 

But this image of the heart on our foreheads has not left me. What if this is how we saw every person we encountered? How might we interact with more compassion and kindness with people on a daily basis if we saw this visible reminder of God’s amazing love for each of us? And what if we saw ourselves in the mirror this way? What if we embraced self-compassion, self-love, and peaceful hearts? 

So many times we live and act in fear – fear of the unknown, fear of difference, fear of the other. And yet Jesus' words to the disciples in their fear in the middle of a storm are for us: “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” If we treated each other with that kind of love and peace, if we saw each person with a heart marking God’s love on their foreheads, our world would be a different place. If we saw ourselves the same way, we might take heart and respond to ourselves and others in compassion, peace, and love. 

God’s dream of shalom – complete peace between nations, people, and nature - would reign. 

May it be so.

Pastor Andrea

LENT 2024


Lent 2: 

Saturday, February 24 at 5:00 pm Tempe

Sunday, February 25 at 8:30 am & 10:30 am w/livestream Tempe;

9:30 am Gilbert

Wednesday, February 28: 

Holden Evening Prayer - Tempe 7 pm; Gilbert Soup Supper 6 pm, Worship 7 pm 

Lent 3: 

Saturday, March 2 at 5:00 pm Tempe 

Sunday, March 3 at 8:30 am & 10:30 am w/livestream Tempe;

9:30 am Gilbert

Wednesday, March 6: 

Holden Evening Prayer - Tempe 7 pm; Gilbert Soup Supper 6 pm, Worship 7 pm

Lent 4: 

Saturday, March 9 at 5:00 pm Tempe 

Sunday, March 10 at 8:30 am & 10:30 am w/livestream Tempe;

9:30 am Gilbert

Wednesday, March 13: 

Holden Evening Prayer - Tempe 7 pm; Gilbert Soup Supper 6 pm, Worship 7 pm 

Lent 5: 

Saturday, March 16 at 5:00pm Tempe 

Sunday, March 17 at 8:30 am & 10:30 am w/livestream Tempe;

9:30 am Gilbert

Wednesday, March 20: 

Holden Evening Prayer - Tempe 7 pm; Gilbert Soup Supper 6 pm, Worship 7 pm 

Palm Sunday: 

Saturday, March 23 at 5:00 pm Tempe 

Sunday, March 24 at 8:30 am & 10:30 am w/livestream Tempe;

9:30 am Gilbert

Lenten Devotional

Wandering Heart: Figuring Out Faith with Peter

A Sanctified Art has a Lenten Devotional to go along with our theme for Lent. The devotional includes scripture, poetry, commentary, reflection questions, artwork, and notes from the artists. The online devotional even includes music links inspired by Wandering Heart. Just click and listen! 

You'll find a link to the Lenten Devotional below. If you have any questions, contact Denise McClellan at or 480-730-8600.

Wandering Heart Lenten Devotional


📢 Urgent Call for Donations:

School-Age Undies and Socks!

We are reaching out with an urgent request from the Kyrene Resource Center. They are in need of school-age underwear and socks to support children in our community.

Your contributions can make a significant difference! We have set up a designated container in the Narthex where you can drop off your donations.

Thank you for your generosity and support.

📢 Gilbert Campus Town Hall Meeting 📢

Join us for a Town Hall Meeting at the Gilbert site this Sunday, February 25th, immediately following worship until 11:15 am. Your presence and input are highly valued as we discuss matters concerning our congregation.

Date: Sunday, February 25th

Time: After worship until 11:15 am

Location: Gilbert Campus

Let's come together to share ideas, address concerns, and strengthen our community bond. Your participation makes a difference! See you there!

Watch Our Tempe Kids Bring the Gospel to Life!

This Sunday, our Tempe kids will take center stage to perform a skit of the Gospel during both worship services. 

So, grab your crew and come on down to join in the fun. Bring your family, friends, and anyone else you can think of – the more, the merrier!

Donut Day

Sunday, March 17, 2024  

During our Education Time

We include a fellowship event each semester as part of our Faith Formation program. We'll gather at both sites for some extra fellowship time so folks of all ages can have some fun and make some connections. 

🐰🥚 Hop into Easter Fun at Desert Cross Gilbert! 🥚🐰

Sunday, March 17th, 2024

10:45 am to 11:30 am

Gilbert site

Get ready for an egg-citing Easter celebration! We're thrilled to invite you and your little ones to join us for a joyous Easter egg hunt right after worship on Sunday, March 17th, from 10:45 am to 11:30 am at the Desert Cross Gilbert campus.

But wait, there's more! We need your help to make this event egg-ceptional. We're seeking donations of candy (non-chocolate preferred) and other delightful treats to fill our eggs with surprises. Please consider contributing before March 10th, and we'll gather to stuff the eggs during fellowship on the 10th.

Invite your friends, families, neighbors, and even strangers to join in the festivities.

Feed My Starving Children Packing Event

Save the date for a Feed My Starving Children Packing Event. We'll gather at the FMSC packing site in Mesa. Use the link below to reserve your spot.

If you have any questions, contact Denise McClellan at or 480-730-8600.

Feed My Starving Children Registration

Feed My Starving Children Registration

Adult Forum

Sundays  9:45 - 10:15 am  

Tempe Community Center Adult Classroom


Sundays  10:45 - 11:15 am  

Gilbert Sanctuary

Meeting February 25

We're choosing a monthly theme based on the lessons read during the worship services. We'll explore the theme by discussing the lessons and using the Adult Playlist posted each month on our Faith Formation Website.

For more information, contact Pastor Andrea at

or Pastor Thadd at

Meditation Group

Tuesdays at 7:00 pm

Tempe Sanctuary

Meeting on February 27


Thursdays at 9:00 am

Tempe Community Center Youth Room

Meeting on February 29

Do you want to try meditation? If so, please join Elaine Kraemer on Tuesday evenings or Thursday mornings. Elaine is hosting weekly meditation groups. Elaine has practiced "passage meditation" for many, many years. She'll share the whys and hows of meditation and help you get started with this faith-growing spiritual practice.

To sign up or for more information, please contact Elaine Kraemer at or 480-812-2084.


March Mission - Community Baby Shower

Sweet babies always need LOTS of diapers! So once again we will be helping Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest, as they partner with The Family Resource Center in Mesa to host the annual Community Baby Shower.

Many expectant parents of a new infant have no family support, so the goal is to set them up for success. In addition to workshops, services, and ongoing coordinated care, each family receives a fully stocked diaper bag. The plan is to cover 60 babies with what they need. And that’s where DCLC can help! The list is short, but VERY important. Please consider donating any of these 4 items: 

  • Diapers sz. 1-4 (lots!);
  • Baby toy;
  • Baby rattle;
  • Baby board book (bilingual if possible)

Also, all Hunger Jar donations from March 1 to March 29 will be used toward purchasing items from the list, especially diapers! Place your donations in our designated box in the narthex. Thank you for helping so many sweet babies!

Serve 40

Desert Cross Celebrates 40 Years of Ministry!

In celebration of our 40 years together, let's each commit to serving 40 hours outside the walls of Desert Cross in 2024. Keep track of your volunteer service hours out in the neighborhood. When you reach 40 hours, contact Denise McClellan at or 480-730-8600. We'll announce how many of us Serve 40 at the end of the year.

🍲 Souper Bowl Food Drive - Tempe

Warm hearts and help fill bowls this February by participating in our Souper Bowl Food Drive! Throughout the month, we're collecting non-perishable food items to support two fantastic causes: Grace Lutheran and Kyrene Resource Center.

🥫 **How to Donate:**

Look for the big soup can placed in the narthex, ready to receive your generous contributions. Every can and box you donate brings us closer to making a positive impact in our community.

🤝 **Community Outreach Committee:**

If you have any questions or need more information, please don't hesitate to reach out to our dedicated Community Outreach Committee.

Thank you for your generosity!



55+ Event

Organ Stop Pizza

Sunday, March 3rd at 3:30 pm

All are welcome to join the 55+ Group at Organ Stop Pizza on Sunday, March 3rd at 3:30 pm. Organ Stop is located at 1149 E Southern Ave, Mesa, AZ.

Please RSVP to Glenda Friesth by Friday, March 1. A fun time will be had by all!!

Snack & Chat

When you attend one of our Sunday worship services in Tempe, don't forget to stop in at the Fellowship Hall after the 8:30 am service or come a little early for the 10:30 am service to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea and a cookie or two with your friends. You might even make a new friend! We hope to see you on Sunday!

Wise Guys

Mondays at 9 am

Tempe Fellowship Hall

Are you wise? Are you a guy? If so, then you are invited to this fellowship group that meets on Mondays for coffee and conversation.


🍲✨ Join Us in Gilbert for Soup Suppers Every Wednesday During Lent! ✨🍲

On Wednesdays throughout the Lenten season, we invite you to join us at the Gilbert site for Soup Suppers at 6:00 pm, followed by Holden Evening Prayer at 7:00 pm.

All are welcome to attend!

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Dana Hargis via email at

Don’t Trim Your Palm Trees

Please bring your palms to the Tempe church by Saturday, March 21st for Palm Sunday decorations. You're welcome to stay after the 10:30 am service to embellish the Sanctuary. Thank you!

Communion Kits

If you are unable to attend worship in person and would like a communion kit to use as you watch the live stream, you can pick one up from the office in Tempe. We have gluten-free options available.

Volunteer Opportunities

If you are looking to become more involved in our Tempe and Gilbert Faith Communities, please click "Read More" and find out today where you can be of value. You'll find all the needed contact info right there on the page.

We are actively looking for more volunteers in all areas of service.

Read More

Information on Baptism

If you are interested in having your child baptized, reach out to Pastor Thadd at

News Submissions

Do you have a news item, event, or ministry story to share? Please send the information to Joni at by the TUESDAY of the week that you wish to have it advertised.

May the Lord bless you in all your endeavors this week!

For your convenience, we have online giving up on our website or you can use the button that says "GIVE" at the top of this email. As always, we continue to appreciate all who are continuing to support the many ministries of Desert Cross!

You can also simply text the word "GIVE" to 833.636.1502 and complete the payment information. It securely saves your information and makes it possible to donate in 5 seconds once it has been set up!

Lastly, you can scan the QR code included in our live stream services and in the weekly Worship Aid. Giving is easier than ever - check it out!

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Desert Cross Lutheran Church | Gilbert & Tempe | 480-730-8600 |