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Northwest Connections Easter Morning Celebration for All Ages Easter is a time when we all celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and our hope of new life in Him! This year we will again celebrate new life with our annual petting zoo. And it's not just for the kids. It's for everyone! Last year we relocated our petting zoo to the rear parking lot so we could bring in even MORE animals but some of you missed us. Don't forget to make your way out back this year to cuddle with bunnies, chicks, ducks, ponies, and goats...maybe even a llama or two. The petting zoo will begin at 8:30 a.m. along with our annual Easter morning breakfast. Bring the kids. Bring teens. Bring other adults! Let's celebrate together!

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When Justice and Mercy Meet

By: Robert D Lupton

Compassion is a dangerous thing. It can open a person to all manner of risks. It causes reasonable people to make extravagant heart-decisions, from spending untold hours collecting supplies to assist flood victims, to journeying into harm’s way to feed starving refugees. Some have even left successful careers devoting themselves to a cause that gripped their hearts.

them jobs. I watched helplessly as one by one my young friends were pulled under by the survival ethic of the street. Mercy ministry alone, as some call it, is insufficient. Mercy is a force that compels us to acts of compassion. But in time mercy will collide with an ominous, opposing force. Injustice. Against this dark and overpowering force, acts of mercy can seem meager. What good is a sandwich and a cup of soup when a severe addiction has control of a man’s life? Or a night in a shelter for a young woman who must sell her body to feed her child?

Compassion is a powerful force, a stamp of the Divine nature within our spirits. It lies within us all—from tender child to hardest criminal— waiting for the right trigger to set it off: a bird with a broken wing, a lonely widow whose family and friends have moved on, a child orphaned by a terrorist car bomb.

Perhaps that is why the Bible places equal emphasis on both mercy and justice. The ancient prophet Micah succinctly summarizes God’s design: “He has told you, oh man, what is good and what the Lord desires of you—that you love mercy and do justice and walk humbly with your God.”

For me it was fatherless boys growing up on city streets with little chance of escaping the deadly undertow. So strong was that force within me that it caused me to leave a budding business career, depart secure surroundings, and move with my family into the inner-city.

Love mercy. Mercy is “compassion, kindness or forgiveness shown especially to someone a person has power over.”

Compassion beckons us into unexplored territory. Often it ushers us into a world of pressing human need—the destitute needing food and clothes, the homeless needing shelter, the refugee needing a connected friend. My focus became attention-starved boys. I forged friendships with them through all sorts of “testosterone-charged” activities: mini-biking, spelunking, deep sea fishing—enticing rewards for good grades and staying out of trouble. Friendship with them was the medium for showing them they were valued and loved by a God who carefully created them.

Do justice. Justice is “fairness or reasonableness, especially in the way people are treated or decisions are made.” Twinned together these commands lead us to holistic involvement. Divorced they become deformed. Mercy without justice degenerates into dependency and entitlement, preserving the power of the giver over the recipient. Justice without mercy grows cold and impersonal, more concerned about rights than relationships. The addict needs both food and treatment. The young woman needs both a safe place to sleep and a way out of her entrapping lifestyle. Street kids need both friendship and jobs.

Building relationships with street kids seemed so right, yielded so many positive changes, until young boys became young men and faced survival on their own. The need for immediate cash took precedence over school attendance. Basketball and outdoor adventure trips did little to enhance their earning capacity. Bible studies did not get

Mercy combined with justice creates: • immediate care with a future plan •emergency relief and responsible development • short-term intervention and long-term involvement •heart 2

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When Justice and Mercy Meet responses and engaged minds. Mercy is a door, an opening, an invitation to touch a life, to make a difference. But it is not a destination. Those of us who get stuck in mercy ministry find ourselves growing impatient with the recipients of our kindness, wondering why they don’t help themselves more, feeling a growing discomfort with the half-truths they tell to justify their persistent returns. Mercy that doesn’t move intentionally in the direction of development (justice) will end up doing more harm than good—to both giver and recipient. Mercy is a door. It is a portal through which we glimpse the heart of God. The tug on our heartstrings draws us in. But soon we encounter brokenness so overwhelming that neither tender heart nor inventive problem-solver feel up to the task. Our solutions fall short. Pathologies are too deep, poverty too entrenched. And we descend into our own poverty, a poverty of spirit, a crisis of confidence in our own abilities to rescue. And, like the broken, we find ourselves calling out to God for answers. When our best efforts have failed us, we are left with nothing to cling to but frail faith. In a strange twist of divine irony, those who would extend mercy discover that they themselves are in need of mercy. Out of our own need we are readied for service that is both humble and wise.

Excerpted from TOXIC CHARITY by Robert D. Lupton.



Free to Laugh is a citywide event that enables anyone to make a difference who cares about helping rescue victims of child sex trafficking and preventing future ones. This year 100% of the $20 ticket price (Purchased before the event. Cost will be $25 at the door.) will go to Sold No More, a non-profit organization fighting child sex trafficking in Pima County and southern Arizona. Sold No More focuses on public awareness and education in order to prevent more children from being victimized. Sold No More also works with law enforcement agencies and those working with youth in order to help identify and rescue girls caught in sex trafficking and direct them toward the care they need to heal and be restored to the life God intended for them.

What’s the purpose of this Free to Laugh event? Some 100,000 children and youth are being sold for sex in the United States, most of whom were picked up as runaways. Over 1,000 girls run away each year in Pima County, and according national statistics, 1/3 of these girls are approached by sex traffickers within 48 hours of leaving home. We believe that if governmental agencies, churches, businesses and individuals stand up in our community to address this issue, we can make a difference and save many young girl’s futures.

Is this event appropriate for children? All Free to Laugh comedians are “clean,” which means they do not use inappropriate language or sexual innuendo. While the humor is definitely geared towards adults, older children will also enjoy the show. When deciding whether to bring your child, please keep in mind that the topic of child sex slavery will be mentioned at times during the program. 4


Happenings from Centennial! The Family Fun Festival at Centennial Elementary School was held on December 6 and everyone had a smashing good time. Santa and his elves ho-ho-hoed their way through hundreds of babies, school-aged children, and adults alike – everyone wanted to see Santa, get a candy cane from our cute elves, and have their picture taken! Once finished with Santa, the children had a choice of 12 new and different craft packets to purchase and put together or enjoy several games set up within the school to play. We had some new crafts this year which the kids enjoyed, although I believe Dotty might still have some glitter glue on her hands!

The Centennial PTO would like to thank all the volunteers who helped make our Family Fun Festival a huge success! A special THANK YOU to Santa and his elves, Stevie, Sophia, Lizzie, Debbie and many other great helpers from Northwest Community Church!



Calling all readers! Just imagine if this summer you didn’t have any books to read! Not one! Your Kindle no longer delivers books to you, your library card is expired until September, and that stack of books next to your bed has disappeared! Well, for some students at Centennial this scenario just might be a reality for them! We know that there are students who don’t have books at home to read, who don’t have an adult who will/can take them to the library to check out books, and many will not read one book the entire summer they are at home and not in school! We have talked this year about the importance of learning to read for students in Kindergarten – 3rd grade and the difference it makes. It is a huge determining factor of whether they will be successful during the remainder of their school years. Statistics show that many children who don’t read well end up being held back a grade, or end up dropping out of high school altogether. WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE! Here is how. 1. There are three months of school left. Can you give up one hour per week to go and listen to a child read? If you said YES, here is all you have to do. a. Go to the Flowing Wells District office on Prince Road and have your fingerprints taken at no cost to you. Once they are processed, you can let Debbie Oberin know and she will go with you to the school to introduce you to the staff and teachers and get you set up for your one hour a week! b. Would you like to be trained with The Reading Seed and be coached on how to make reading fun so students become independent readers who are excited about what they can learn? Reading Seed Coaches work with students in kindergarten through 3rd grade who are reading below grade level. They ask that coaches meet weekly with a minimum of two students for 30 each during the school year. To become a Reading Coach, attendance is required at a 4-hour introductory training workshop (paid for by Flowing Wells School District). You will also learn strategies to keep students engaged and interested, and ways to help them build their vocabulary, comprehension and confidence. See Debbie if you would like to sign up and be ready in August when school begins again! For more information about Reading Seed, please check out their web site at: 2. Let’s go through all those books we’ve purchased for our children and grandchildren and donate those gently used books they have outgrown. We want to do our part in making sure that those students in Kindergarten – 3rd grade at Centennial end school with their very own books to take home and read over the summer! Let’s make a different in their lives! We will be collecting books in the Welcome Center through May 11. 6

You can  get  your  fingerprints  taken   for  free  at  1556  W.  Prince  Road  at   2:30  pm  on  the  following  dates:    

March 11            March  25          April  8                  

April 22                  May  6

Get trained now for the next school year! READING SEED TRAINING IS SCHEDULED FOR Thursday, May 15 1 pm – 5 pm

COMMUNITY IMPACT Flowing Wells Family Resource Center We were excited to speak with Jackie Franco, who runs the F.W. Family Resource Center, and learn that they are remodeling the Center. They have expanded the space, tore down a wall, and are in the process of painting cupboards and shelves, and preparing to have new flooring installed. Volunteers Needed: to help paint, put cupboard doors back on, move Jackie’s office furniture while they put in the flooring, restock the shelves, etc. If you have some extra time and would love to help, please give Jackie a call at 696-8614, she would be so grateful!

Centennial Study Skills Some kids get to take the bus home after school, or maybe they Jamie, the Director of Study Skills says her desire would be to see a few men from Northwest who would be willing to meet with these young men once a week, or every other week. They are in need of men in their lives, to see how Godly men live, to teach them how to toss a Frisbee or how to use a screwdriver, or maybe just to

live close enough to walk home each day, and then there are a large majority of kids who have to attend an after school program until their parents can pick them up. At Centennial Elementary they have Study Skills Monday – Thursday each week from 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm. Jaime Goodman, the Director, says there are about 160 children who participate each week, averaging about 80 kids per day. Their afternoon begins with a snack right after school, then they rotate through four groups: homework, reading, computer, and a recreation segment.

be there to show you care, to listen to

Jaime said when she originally took this position it was mostly

them, to offer them hope.

about the money, but now it has turned into a ministry as she

If God is leading you to walk together with these boys, please talk to Debbie Oberin and we will arrange a meeting with Jamie.

knows the children better and has heard their individual stories. There are between 5-8 young boys that come to the program each week, boys from single mom homes, who have no male influence in their lives. These are the ones who touch her heart (see side note) at night when she is away from school.


COMMUNITY IMPACT Paul’s BOOK IT EVERYDAY! continues to be a huge success with everyone involved! In January we hosted the 1st graders, teachers and their families for the evening and it was such fun for everyone there! Rob Wilson, brought his BIG book, “Caps for Sale” and had everyone in stitches as he told the story – you could actually see those monkeys up in

Upcoming Paul’s BOOK IT EVERYDAY! Tuesday, April 22nd with 4th Graders

that tree throwing down those hats! Before the end of the story, most of the children were shouting out correct answers to Rob’s questions and could hardly contain themselves, it was that much fun.

God continues to use this exciting ministry to open doors as we build relationships with more of the teachers and families from Centennial. It is exciting when a parent or student recognizes our NWCC volunteers and comes running over to give a hug or to visit together. We have parents who come early and are always asking if they can help us set up books or tables, it is great! We are also blessed to see so many of you from NWCC who come out and help us each month – we couldn’t do everything that needs to be done without your help! One month there was six of us for the night, and in January there were fifteen people from NWCC! God continually brings people to volunteer who can use their gifts and talents for a few hours and it is such a blessing. From putting food on plates, making lemonade, covering the tables with butcher paper, or setting out crayons and books, it is all a part of the evening and we are so thankful for everyone who steps in and joins us on these fun evenings. Being able to talk, joke and laugh with the families as they are reading or eating together is one of my favorite parts of the nights! We have two more classes to host between now and summer break, so please come and hang with us, it’s a blast! Because of your generous donations to our Christmas Eve offering this year, we are excited to announce that we were able to give $500 from this offering again this year to JobPath. They work with unemployed and underemployed folks who have graduated from high school, but are struggling with some issues that are preventing them from supporting themselves. JobPath provides personalized career counseling, mentoring, peer support groups and assistance with connecting with employers after completing education and training. Your AGAPE Tucson team had agreed early last fall that JobPath was definitely an organization that we wanted to continue to partner with in the coming years. If you would like to know more about JobPath, check out their website at 8

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10 Ways to Do Adulthood Well Don’t worry about aging. Worry about not aging well. By: Jared LaFitte It’s hard to say when a person reaches adulthood. Leaving mom and dad’s house, finishing college or getting a job don’t seem to automatically make a person an “adult” these days.

get a handle on our emotions. Think before you react, speak or tweet.

If anything, adulthood is a daily and gradual process of choosing maturity over immaturity. It doesn’t happen in one big moment, but over years of wise decisions. Adulthood is a sculpture carved over time. It’s a process of a person casting away their childishness and taking the shape of Godly maturity in their thoughts, words and actions.

3. Learn the Difference Between Time Management and Energy Management This is one of the best lessons I have learned in my adult life. Some things take a lot of time but not a lot of energy, and some things take a little amount of time but a lot of energy. You can manage your time well but still stress yourself out because you spread your energy too thin across too many well-timed activities. Just because everything fits into your schedule doesn’t mean you’ll have the energy to handle it all.


So, as you go through this complex, sometimespainful journey of mature adulthood, here are some tips to help you do it well. 1. Realize You’re Not the Center of World We think as if the world revolves around us, even if we would never say it out loud. We develop unrealistic expectations of ourselves, careers, marriages, church and so on (and then we get depressed when our too-high expectations go unmet). The truth is, we don’t deserve anything, really. We’re not “above” any job or career, “above” a certain potential spouse or “above” a certain income level or lifestyle.

One of the secrets to time and energy management is learning how to say “yes” and “no” to things. Saying “yes” to one thing means saying “no” to something else, and vice versa. Learn how much time and energy you’re realistically able to devote to life, and prioritize the things that deserve the most time and energy. 4. Don't Live With Unhealthy Assumptions Some of us live in an imaginary world. In this imaginary world, a person spends hours thinking about hypothetical questions (“What if they think ______ about me?”) which quickly turn into to assumptions (“He/she probably thinks ________ about me”). Sometimes we make decisions and develop emotions and even damage relationships based on assumptions that may not be true. I know from experience this will drive you crazy. If you don’t know something to be true, don’t live as if it’s true. Reality’s complicated enough. Why add an imaginary layer on top of it?

When you start thinking with a measure of humility, you begin having realistic expectations of yourself and others. You begin to have a healthy vision of the type of life you should live. It’s been said that maturity is when your world opens up and you realize that you’re not the center of it. This is one of the most important aspects of adulthood. 2. Cultivate Emotional Maturity We hold on to bitterness against others as if we’ve never hurt anyone. We get moody. We’re quick to be bothered. We treat people according to how they make us feel, not according to who they are. We’re slow to forgive other’s flaws while expecting them to forget about ours. We almost like being offended sometimes. We react to life instead of responding to it. Ultimately, we don’t control our emotions; we let our emotions control us. Doing adulthood well requires that we

5. Invest in People Younger than You One of the quickest roads to maturity is to build relationships with people less mature than you as well as people more mature than you. We all need people further along the road of life to give us advice, and we all need peers. But a key ingredient for maturity is investing in people who aren’t as far along in life as you are. When you invest in people younger than you, it helps them grow and it pushes you to be mature. 9

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10 Ways to Do Adulthood Well Continued… 6. Embrace Deep Relationships Sometimes we don’t invest in relationships because we’re afraid of getting hurt. Or we think we don’t know how to go deep with somebody. So, we say things like “I suck at relationships” instead of actually trying.

10. Love the Lord This truth is so obvious you might miss it. Regardless how well you’re doing with your career, relationships, parenting and so on, if your life doesn’t revolve around glorifying God, your adulthood won’t be what it should be. Before getting a job, leaving your parents, building a career or starting a family, your deepest need no matter your age is to turn from sin, trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, and build your lifestyle around His honor.

It’s easy to keep it lighthearted and fun with everybody all the time, but we also need deep, significant relationships in order to have a healthy adulthood. Risk and awkwardness and vulnerability and pain are all parts of a healthy relationship, not reasons to avoid one. Whether it’s with your parents or with friends or with a potential marriage partner, embrace the beautiful messiness and joys of deep relationships.

So, go deep with a community of other Christians. Soak yourself in God’s Word. Make the greatest hope of your life that others will love Jesus because of you. This is the foundation of truly healthy adulthood, and without it you’ll be at an epic disadvantage.

7. Manage your money This goes almost without saying. If you want to be a healthy adult, learn how to use money to live a stable life, not to serve your whims. Live within your means. Figure out what you’re making, then figure out how much of it can go to debts, housing, food, shopping and so forth. Establish credit (but don’t go crazy). Spend in such a way that you make money your servant, not your slavemaster. I highly recommend using a budgeting app such as

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jared lives with his wife Mandy in Louisville, Kentucky, where he serves on staff at Forest Baptist Church. He’s a Wheaton College graduate and an M.Div student at Southern Seminary. He blogs regularly, and he once made a rap album with a Grammy-nominated producer. Twitter @jaredlafitte.

8. Make a Plan There are too many twenty-something’s coasting through life because they don’t have a vision for what they should be doing. Set for yourself a six month, one year, two year, etc. plan so you have a goal to work toward. Even if it doesn’t work out, at least you’re living purposefully and not just drifting. IF YOUR LIFE DOESN’T REVOLVE AROUND GLORIFYING GOD, YOUR ADULTHOOD WON’T BE WHAT IT SHOULD BE. 9. Learn how to rest well You can’t work well if you don’t rest well. Some of us work too hard, have nothing left to give and get stressed out. It’s important to prioritize your schedule (and cut things out if you can) to allow yourself some rest. Your phone needs to be constantly recharged, and you do too.


CHILDREN’S MINISTRY Summer 2014 VBS at Night! Mark your calendars for this years VBS program, Big Heart Farms, June 9-13, 2014 from 6:00-8:30 p.m. You read it right. I said, 6:00-8:30 PM!! This year NWCC is out to try something new so that we can beat the heat (a little), make VBS more accessible for those who work all day when you want to become a VBS volunteer, and… well... to reference Isaiah 43:19, "Behold, I am doing a new thing!" This year we will transform NWCC into the Big Heart Farms, where God's fruit grows! Children ages 3 years through 5th grade are invited to explore Galatians 5 Fruit of the Spirit. There will be farmers, gardeners, farmhands and sprouts! We'll have plowing fields, a fruit stand and maybe chew some cud around the watering hole. All week long we will use gardening tools to plant Bible seeds in young hearts!

NWCC MOPS MOPS Continues to thrive at NWCC. Our Mom’s have enjoyed taking in a variety of guest speakers and activities while their kids are having a blast in back with Moppet volunteers! If you’d like to check out the group or have questions please contact Corey at or stop by one of our meetings! We’d love for you to join us!



1 & 3 Wednesday Monthly ~ MOPS Meetings Wednesday March 12 ~ Mommy and Me Book Club Wednesday March 19th ~ SPRING BREAK~ NO MOPS! Friday March 21st ~ Mom’s Night Out Wednesday April 9th ~ Mommy and Me Book Club Friday April 18th ~ Mom’s Night Out Wednesday May 14th ~ Mommy and Me Book Club Friday May 23rd ~ Mom’s Night Out 11



TUCSON CHRISTIAN YOUTH FARM TCYF THANKS NWCC! As many of you know, the Tucson Christian Youth Farm moved onto a five-acre ranch property in Northwest Tucson just five months ago. Since October 15, 2013, TCYF has invited more than one hundred children and teens to the farm with nearly half of these young people now registered and attending one or more TCYF program each week. Programs only officially began in January of this year! Not to mention the many adults that have visited the farm, including a recent 3-day work retreat with employees from Sedgwick CMS. Our NWCC family enjoyed it on the night of Christmas caroling when we all took in the coziness of the TCYF farmhouse, candles, campfire and (of course) the animals. Not only has the farm environment enriched the lives of children but many adults as well! At a cost of nearly $4000 each month to run, Tucson Christian Youth Farm is currently sustained 100% through volunteer service and donations. Northwest Community Church plays an important role by acting as the TCYF fiscal sponsor, insuring all TCYF donations are accounted for and tax-deductible. God has faithfully provided for our farm needs each month, largely through the tremendous outpouring of support from the NWCC church family. Many of you have given financial support and served tirelessly by praying, building fences, painting, cleaning, assisting with programs, feeding animals, handling paperwork and registrations, volunteer management... the list goes on and on. Additionally, many NWCC youth group and children's church members have served on volunteer work-days and by providing leadership to younger children attending farm programs. Currently TCYF offers several programs for young people of all ages. Preschoolers are invited to our Books in the Barn program to read with the animals, play games and create! School age children and youth have the opportunity of becoming Barn Buddies to learn all aspects of animal care and interaction and to teach one another as well. Preschool through middle school kids can all participate in our Saturday Bible in the Barn program to connect farm, garden, art and volunteerism projects with a lesson from the Bible as well. Teens also have the opportunity of participating in volunteer days, special events and leadership training. Details about programs and how to get involved can be found at Thank you to so many of you at NWCC who have given in many ways and continue to do so. I am reminded of Paul's prayer to Philemon, "I always thank my God when I pray for you... because I keep hearing about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all of God’s people. And I am praying that you will put into action the generosity that comes from your faith as you understand and experience all the good things we have in Christ. Your love has given me much joy and comfort...for your kindness has often refreshed the hearts of God’s people." (Philemon 1:4-7). Truly, you have put into action the generosity that comes from your faith because you understand and have experienced all the good things we have in Christ. And, dear friends, your kindness has often refreshed my own heart. 13

COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT JEAN RISNER JEAN RISNER We know that Sunday mornings are hard to get to know everyone who attends Northwest. This is an opportunity to get to know some of those you may see, but not really have the chance to meet. We want to introduce someone who has had a long history with Northwest Community Church: Jean Risner. How long has Jean been a part of Northwest? Jean has been a part of Northwest Community Church since it first started in the late 1970s. In fact, she and her late husband 'Pug' were charter members. After Jean and her husband relocated from Colorado to Tucson they met Bill Curtis, the founding pastor of Northwest, who invited them to help be a part of this new church. Up until this point Jean and her husband weren't really involved in church. Bill baptized both of them, and they were a faithful part of Northwest from then on. In what ways has Jean been involved? Jean was involved in many different ways at Northwest, but perhaps the two most notable ways are she, along with her husband, helped to find and finance the property where the church building is located. Jean was also involved with the dessert auction, when it was held to help raise money for the church budget, and other ministries. What is Jean up to now? In short, enjoying retirement! After many years in Tucson and at 92, Jean made the decision this past fall to relocate to the Denver, Colorado area to be near her son and her grandchildren. But her heart is still with Northwest. In fact, she plans to have her funeral at Northwest and be buried in Tucson. She currently lives is a retirement community and would love to hear from you.

Jean Risner The Inn at Greenwood 5565 Yosemite St. Apt 221 Greenwood Village, CO 80111



PAUL’S BOOK IT EVERY DAY HAS BEEN A HUGE SUCCESS! Mark your calendar for our last Book It event of the school year on Tuesday April 22nd!

JOIN US FRIDAY APRIL 29TH FOR CAREER DAY AT CENTENNIAL! Last years event was a huge success and many of our NWCC professionals participated. Mark your calendars and plan on joining us again for this great event. More details will be available soon!

WOMEN'S RETREAT AT TRIANGLE YMCA RANCH. MAY 2-4. This year's theme: Getting God's Perspective on Stress. Learning to live in freedom and joy.

FREE 2 LAUGH IS FRIDAY MAY 9th. 100% of the ticket sales go to Sold No More. Last year nearly $40,000 was raised! Fundraising and promotions are available. Visit their website at or to learn more about this great cause.

JOIN US FOR VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL THIS SUMMER! June 9th- June 13 we will transform NWCC into the Big Heart Farms, where God's fruit grows! More information will be available very soon!


Northwest Community Church 505 W Hardy Rd. Tucson, AZ 85704 520-742-5122 Email: Website:

Our Church Staff Pastor Dan Acker Laurie Acker: Director of Worship Randall Hartman: Director of Student Ministry Debbie Oberin: Director of Community Impact Tara Kelly: Communication Coordinator

Winter 2014 newsletter  
Winter 2014 newsletter  

The Quarterly Newsletter of Northwest Community Church-Tucson, Arizona