june 16 2021

On numerous occasions on Sunday mornings, I have witnessed a parent and a daughter or son serving communion together.  At Coolwater this has been a special moment for them to share as one held the bread and the other held the cup for people to come forward to take communion. In my days before Coolwater, serving communion most often involved holding the communion tray filled with the cups and the bread plate. The people went out to the congregation and passed the trays back and forth along the pews or seats. 

I was a teenager when I officially served communion at First Christian Church in Decatur, Georgia.  The day was even more special to me because my dad was also serving communion that Sunday.  I was very excited and very nervous.  I was excited because I felt I was being given an opportunity to do something very important in the life of the church.  I was nervous because wanted to do a good job.  I didn’t want to mess up and do something like drop the heavy communion cup tray that a scrawny, small teenage boy had to hold with one hand. 

I remember receiving words of encouragement from people who understood that I was learning.  They inspired me with confidence.  I also treasured the encouragement I felt from my dad through his looks and smiles.  That experience made me feel that church was a good place to be, and that I had a place there and a job to do.

The church is a place where we should be encouraging to one another and helping each other to grow in faith, love and service. The church should say, “You are important!”  In our broken world we need a place where we are built up.  In our world where often people just want to be left alone to live their lives, it is important to learn that together we can make a difference instead of just existing through life. One way we do that is through our life together as the church.  

It is also good to know of God’s love and the opportunity of a new beginning, love and grace – and people who can make those things real.  That is what the church must be.  We all need to help Coolwater be that kind of place, and together that is what we do as we share the life, love and hope of Christ.





Pastor Rick


june 2, 2021

At this time in June I am wearing an Atlanta Braves baseball hat.  My childhood is filled with memories of going to Braves games and watching them on TV.  In the Fall I wear Georgia hat for the University of Georgia because my undergraduate degree is from there.  During the winter months I change to a Duke hat since that is where I spent three fabulous years in seminary.  Professional teams in other sports would include the Phoenix Suns, the Arizona Cardinals, the Atlanta Falcons and the Kansas City Chiefs.   


We all wear different hats in our lives.  These hats reflect who we are at our jobs, at home, at school, in organizations, and many other places.  These hats reflect our roles, our relationships, and our responsibilities.  We are parents, grandparents, children, and friends. We may be students, teachers, committee members, employees, retirees, club members, church workers, fans…


We are also something else that is extremely important.  We are Ambassadors of Christ.  Paul tells us in II Corinthians 5:20, “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.”  So we are ambassadors for Christ.  You are an ambassador for Christ.


What does an ambassador hat look like?  It looks like the hat you wear everyday, wherever you are.  Wherever you are you are an ambassador for Christ.  That hat is one you wear all the time because you claim the name of Christian.  It is a hat you wear because you have confessed belief in Jesus and follow Him. 


Ambassadors speak for their country and represent their country’s beliefs and way of life.  That is our task as ambassadors of Christ.  As ambassadors, we represent the way of life He has shown us, and we demonstrate the way of life He calls us to live as best we can.  The world around us, wherever we are, needs to hear and see the good news of new life.  People need to experience and see God’s grace and compassion, and the love and reconciliation poured out into the world through Jesus Christ.  That is what you have planted inside you with your confession of faith, your baptism, and your living as a follower of Jesus.  You carry that with you wherever you go.  I am honored to be working alongside you, fellow ambassadors.


Pastor Rick

May 19, 2021

Coolwater celebrated the 10th Anniversary of our church building on May 16.  We gathered in person and online.  We shared remembrances, stories, music, prayer, laughter, special moments, a wide range of emotions, thoughts and feelings as each of us followed the journey of Coolwater Christian Church.  The service took us on a journey that traced our beginnings, the efforts to construct our building, and our and ministries up through the present day on into the future ahead for Coolwater.  The service offered a vaiety of stories, experiences, photos, videos, and music.  Near the end of the service, the people of the household of God gathered at Coolwater celebrated communion together.  

Thank you to all who participated in the service.  So the first thank you goes out to…all of Coolwater!  The 10th Anniversary shared the story that each of us has been a part of along the way.  We all participated in the sharing of the story of this congregation we call home.  

On Saturday, some people gathered to arrange the sanctuary for this special Sunday, organize the displays and put various parts together.  Karen Blue, Diane Foley and Dick Huggins had labored to gather Coolwater pictures from various places and people.  Dick arranged the pictures of Coolwater people and events into 3 slide shows.  The Coolwater 10th Anniversary DVD provided video segments used in the worship service.  Sonya Tinault pulled all the worship slides and video pieces together into a smooth flowing order in the tech room.  She tested the parts so that the service presentation would run smoothly.  She also decorated the table so wonderfully for the service.  

Special thanks go to those who offered their stories and experiences on Sunday: Karen Blue, Judy Cox, Diane Foley, Sonya Tinault, Chris Allen, Lynn Allen, Ross Niermann, Pam Huggins and Dick Huggins.  Rev. David Shirey and Rev. Katie Sexton sent in videos to share their remembrances and stories of Coolwater.  On Sunday we were delighted to welcome Jay Hartley, the Regional Minister of Arizona, to this special service.  Jay brought greetings and news from the other congregations in our Region.   William Sawyer, Alex Chen, Jenn LaDuke and Lynn Allen provided the uplifting music for our service.  

There was a wonderful spirit, an energy if you will, present on Sunday.  There was a spirit of joy, a feeling of accomplishment, a renewal of purpose as we relived our story.  It is fitting that this next Sunday is Pentecost.  The Sunday after we celebrated the story of Coolwater’s birth and mission, we gather on Pentecost to celebrate the birth and mission of the whole Church, that began in Jerusalem and is now all around the world.



Pastor Rick

Sr. Interim Pastor


may 12, 2021

Many people look forward to the arrival of Spring, especially those who have spent time in colder places than this part of Arizona.  Spring doesn’t happen all at once.  The arrival of Spring is a gradual process.  It takes time for those signs of Spring to develop.  You become familiar with the signs that Spring is on the way.  You wait with anticipation.  The temperature becomes warmer.  Trees and flowers develop buds that in time become leaves and blossoms.  You can look at trees and flowers and know that Spring is coming along and It is near.  

This Sunday, May 16, Coolwater celebrates 10 years in our church building.  Over ten years ago the people of Coolwater watched and waited with anticipation and purpose.  Reaching the goal of having a church building on the site of 56th and Dynamite took time.  It took years of growing and developing.  There were Capital Campaigns and plans.  There were also setbacks and struggles along the way.  There were hopes, dreams, and new plans.  Throughout this time, the people of Coolwater watched and waited with anticipation and purpose.

One momentous day, the project was approved.  People gathered on the property for a groundbreaking service. Construction began and signs of a building taking shape emerged on our property.  The congregation watched the progress of the construction with growing anticipation and excitement.  A place to call home.  No more gathering at a school.  No more setting up before the service at the school and taking down at the end.  A place to put down roots. 

It is the same way with Coolwater as a church and as a people.  This Sunday we are celebrating 10 years in the building.  But that is just part of the story.  We really gather to celebrate our history as a church, and as a people who seek to faithfully follow Jesus.  The building is a sign that God is at work in the world.  The building is a sign that people who serve Christ are meeting to be filled so that we can go out into the world to serve the Lord.  Just as Spring takes shape over time, so do we as people of God – taking root, growing, developing and blooming into who God shapes us to be in the name of Christ in our time and place.


Pastor Rick


may 5, 2021

Every Sunday is significant.  Every Sunday is a celebration of the life we have in Jesus Christ our Lord.  Every Sunday is a proclamation of the good news through song, prayers, Scripture, spoken words and the gathering at the table for the Lord’s Supper.  Some months, though, may contain Sundays of extra significance in the life of a congregation.

May is a month full of very significant Sundays for Coolwater.

May 2 was when Coolwater welcomed our new Music Director, William Sawyer.

May 9 is Mother’s Day!

May 16 is the Tenth Anniversary Celebration of our Church Building!

May 23 is when we gather for Pentecost Sunday.

May 30 is Memorial Day Sunday.

May 2 – Last Sunday the congregation welcomed our new Music Director, William Sawyer.  Coolwater began a new chapter in our music experience as a church.  William brings new ideas, experience, and evident talent to Coolwater to help us experience the richness music offers to a worship service. 

May 16 – Coolwater has the Tenth Anniversary Celebration of our Church Building. In May, 2011, ten years ago, Coolwater Christian Church moved into the building at 56th and Dynamite.  The excitement had been building (pun intended!) for many months.  People from Coolwater watched the progress of the construction with mounting anticipation.  Finally, the day arrived for our first Sunday.  A group of our people made a procession from the elementary school, where we had been meeting, to our church property.  A joyful spirit filled our sanctuary as we gathered for worship.  It was the culmination of years of dreaming, planning, serving, and giving.

Sunday, May 16 we gather to celebrate ten years of ministry and mission from this location.  Our worship service will track Coolwater’s history from our earliest days up to the present and beyond.  We will hear personal remembrances, view pictures of Coolwater people, and watch video clips from previous times in our church.  These parts of worship will be interspersed with uplifting music.  We will also gather around the communion table in celebration of the life we have in Christ through sharing the Lord’s Supper, as we have every Sunday in our sanctuary. 

This will be a very special Sunday to celebrate our journey as a church, and the people who have made Coolwater possible, from past, to present, and into our future as people following where Jesus leads us.



Pastor Rick

april 28, 2021

Last Sunday Coolwater thanked Dale Lamphear for his work as our Interim Music Director.  Dale had capably provided music leadership since early October.  The plaque he received as a gift from the congregation appropriately read, “From Coolwater Church to Dale Lamphear - Thank You for Your Gift of Music & Song.”  As a congregation we are grateful for his talents and the variety of music selections and styles he brought to our worship.


William Sawyer begins as our Music Director this coming Sunday, May 2.  William first served as a music director in Maine when he was in college.  After he moved to Arizona, he served as the Music Director for East Mesa Christian Church.  He has led music in worship for 11 years.  He is married to a wonderful lady named Amanda.  Their very recent big news is the birth of their first child, a daughter named Hazyl, on March 19. 


William works as a music teacher at Empower College Prep. He teaches choir, keyboard, guitar, and theater production.  Engaging young people and moving them along musically both individually and as a group takes skill and dedication.  Now William brings his experience and leadership to Coolwater.   In his interview, William said that music was a vital way for people to participate in the act of worship and to be in the spirit of worship.  I think we have rich musical experiences ahead of us at Coolwater. 


Pastor Rick