Friday
January 22, 2021
THE LEAST OF THESE

I chuckle every time I hear the story of the little boy who was so excited after practice for the Christmas pageant that he practically jumped into the minivan when his mother came to pick him up. When his Mom asked him why he was so excited, he proudly announced, "I got the part of the hero!"

"You mean you are Joseph?" "Nooo, Mom." She pressed him, "The lead shepherd?" "No." "A king wearing a crown?" "No." Puzzled, she said, "Well, who are you?"

"I'm the Innkeeper!" the boy announced grinning from ear to ear. "Without the Innkeeper, there wouldn't have been any place for Jesus to be born! I'm the hero!"

The child had a point. Not much credit has been given to this guy across the centuries. He isn't included in the Nativity scenes. I don't recall any carols sung about the Innkeeper. Few famous paintings seem to include him. Yet he plays a significant role, especially if we think about why he did it.

The Bible does not say what his motive was that led him to give Joseph and Mary that stable in the back because every room in his inn was filled. If we imagine the best of intentions,we can assume that it was because he had a good heart and wanted to help this poor, tired couple on his doorstep. Actually then, the first present given at Christmas did not happen to be the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh given by the three Magi from the East, but instead was the caring concern of an Innkeeper who found lodging for strangers at his door.

That act becomes the clue to the real presence of Christmas for us as disciples today. Why do we care for the homeless, the less fortunate, the down-and-outers of society? It is simple. Jesus made it clear that he comes among us in many forms. As the person who is hungry. As the one who needs a warm coat or a pair of gloves. As the sick person who needs medicine and comfort. As the stranger who needs a welcoming place to stay. In as much as you have done it unto the least of these, you have done it unto me. (Matt. 25:40)

Unlike the excited child in the story, this doesn't make us heroes when we help a needy stranger or donate time and money to the church or civic organizations geared to care for the homeless and marginalized. It does make us, however, disciples who are following Jesus and fulfilling his command to share the good news of God's love.

And so, good friends, during Advent and at any time of the year that we do that, the real presence of Christmas has occurred.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth. . .on our planet. . .in our homes and neighborhoods. . .as it is in heaven. Amen.

-- Clyde Chesnutt (written in December 2020)
ASSISTANCE IN REGISTERING FOR VACCINATION
Friday, January 22 | 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
St. John’s is providing assistance in registering for vaccinations. Debby Smith will be at the west glass doors on the following days: Tuesday, January 19th, from 12:00-2:00 and Friday, January 22nd, 10:00-Noon. Debbie will help you fill-out the needed registration/application on-line. If you prefer to not come to the church, you may call Debby at 505-554-4238 and she will walk you through the process. If you come to St. John’s, please wear your mask. There will be no access to the rest of the building.
THE PRACTICE OF PRESENCE
time shift for TODAY ONLY | 12:00 pm
Susan Brumbaugh, staff mental health counselor at St. John's, is offering a FREE weekly gathering on FRIDAYS (normally at 9:30 am) to practice mindfulness meditation. Each 30-minute session begins with a brief welcome, a description of the focus (e.g., breath, body, senses, emotions, thoughts), a 15-20 minute guided practice, and an opportunity to debrief and share experiences. Anyone is welcome--no experience is necessary. (And, yes! It's okay for Christians to meditate.) If you want to learn more prior to starting, the sessions will be similar to ones she leads and records on YouTube. Each session will be hosted on Zoom. HERE is the zoom link. Please contact Susan Brumbaugh, counselor@stjohns-abq.org, or 505-506-6716, if you have questions.
Sundays | 9:30 & 11:00 am
St. John’s will live-stream a worship service on Sunday morning at 9:30 am (Contemporary) on the Abide Facebook page and 11:00 am (Traditional) on our Youtube Channel. We hope you’ll worship with us! (Pastor Pam will lead, along with Shea Perry, Jim Ahrend, and Matt Greer). We hope that you’ll participate by singing and praying at home! Any questions? Email Matt at mgreer@stjohns-abq.org.

Sunday Community Activities: Click HERE to view all Sunday School Classes & groups! Join us in the virtual Sonshine Coffee Zoom immediately following the 11:00 am Worship with church Leadership Team members hosting. Zoom link is HERE
#photosfromhome
"Shot last weekend at the feeding fields near Bernardo."
-- Bob McKeown
Please send me more #photosfromhome if you have any to share!! :)
-- Shea (communicate@stjohns-abq.org)
MEN'S ZOOM BIBLE STUDY: GOSPEL OF LUKE
Mondays February 8 - March 15 | 10:00 am or 7:00 pm
Luke is a gospel rich in detail and focused on the meaning of salvation. Unique to Luke are the extensive birth narratives and parables such as The Good Samaritan and Prodigal Son. As a Gentile, Luke brings an outsider perspective and show sympathies to other "outsiders" like women and the marginalized of his society.
Join other men on Zoom at either 10:00 AM or 7:00 PM on six Mondays starting February 8. Contact teacher Jack Nuzum at jcnuzum@juno.com or 265-5241 to sign up.
ST. JOHN’S EMAIL BIBLE STUDY
St. John's Email Bible Study continues with “What Must I Do to Be Saved? Part 3c, God wants you to have eternal life.” We have seen in the past portions of this study that the New Testament continues the Old Testament theme of salvation as saving our physical lives and health and giving us the abundance we need to be comfortable and content. For the first time, we also see unambiguous promises of life that is “eternal” or “everlasting.” Join us as we examine the scriptural basis for our belief in resurrection and eternity with God through Jesus Christ. To receive daily study tips by email, write or call Regina Hunter at drhunter@nmia.com or 294-2877. You can also download a study guide HERE.
Youth News
YOUTH SPRING SEMESTER SURVEY
As we live into this New Year, there are several key plans the Youth Ministry is plotting regarding camping, Confirmation, and CrownPoint; Parents and students, we need your individual feedback to help guide and steer these decisions. Please take quick 3-minute survey to help us; entries are put in a drawing for a $30.00 gift card to Starbucks or Keva Juice. Find the survey HERE.

FOURTH SUNDAY YOUTH FIELD DAY
Parents and Students, to keep our community going amidst the pandemic, yet socially safe, the Youth Ministry is going to host an ILR gathering at the church parkinglot/Zuni playground on the fourth Sunday of each month this semester. We will start this Sunday, January 24th, 4:00-5:15PM. All participants need to wear a mask, plus a coat, hat, and gloves, and stay 6-ft apart. Our usual Zoom Youth Group will not occur this Sunday, but will be back up next week. Zoom link HERE.

NEW YOUTH GROUP SPRING ZOOM
Happy New Year! Not only is there a new year, but a new Zoom, at Sunday youth group with new games, new series, new discussions, and new faith-building activities every Sunday from 4:00-5:15PM! Zoom link HERE.
DRIVE-IN, DROP-OFF FOR SILVER HORIZONS
January 30 | 2:00 - 4:00 pm

Most Requested Non-Food Items needed:
  • Walmart or gas station gift cards
  • Knit caps, gloves
  • Lap blankets, warm shawls
  • Socks with gripper pads on soles
  • Magnifiers, flashlights
  • Basic hygiene/toiletry items
  • Most Requested Food Items needed:
  • Dry pasta (any type), Rice (any type)
  • Dry beans (any type)
  • Hot and cold cereals
  • Toilet tissue, facial tissue
  • Nutritional drinks (like Ensure)
  • Baking items (cake mixes with frosting, cookies mixes, flour, sugar, etc.)
  • Dry cat food
  • ANY Non-perishable food items
  • Monetary donations welcomed: bring to drive-in, drop-off event; mail to the church; online giving

Please write "SILVER HORIZONS" in the memo field of your check
Contact: Kathy Dieruf (kadieruf@gmail.com) with questions
UNDERSTANDING MEDICARE
Thursday, February 4 | 10:00 am
"Understanding Medicare", presented by Karen Cooper, will be the focus of our upcoming meeting of United Methodist Women. We'll meet, via Zoom, at 10 a.m. on Thursday, February 4th, and we invite you to join us! Our meetings are open to all, including men, and we always welcome guests. If you'd like to receive the Zoom invitation, please send an email request to Regina Hampton at hamptonmason@msn.com. We look forward to seeing you on Zoom! 
VIRTUAL PRAYER QUILT
Donna Aubrey and family are the recipients of the prayer quilt on display for January 11 - January 24.

In lieu of tying knots, please pray this prayer (or your own prayer) for Donna and the Aubrey family: “Heavenly Father, we pray for peace and comfort during this time of mourning. Amen."
JANUARY SPECIAL OFFERING: Family Promise
  The pandemic has led to some significant long term changes for Family Promise. The families have been housed in one church since last March and other churches, including St. John's, have been providing meals and supplies on the usual rotating basis but without personal contact until Covid is behind us.
      That has worked well and the decision was made to obtain a permanent location which will double the number of families that can be served from 4 to 8. The good news is that a building has been found, but as you can imagine the costs are significant. Churches will continue to provide meals. Contact Jen Shields at 450-9978 if you are interested in helping.
  But the biggest way we can help now is to help pay the mortgage for the new location. Family promise has helped so many families find permanent housing, get jobs, learn parenting skills and more over the past 17 years. Let's help it continue to do this for the next 17 years. Please give generously throughout the month.
STEPHEN MINISTRY
Stephen Ministers are members of St. John’s who have gone through 50 hours of training to provide high quality, confidential Christian care to individuals experiencing a crisis or life challenge such as divorce, grief, job loss, hospitalization, relocation, or loneliness.

How does someone get a Stephen Minister?
If you or someone you know could benefit from the care of a Stephen Minister, please call the office 505-883-9717 or email stephenministry@stjohns-abq.org
Contact Us
www.stjohns-abq.org
(505) 883-9717
2626 Arizona St NE | Albuquerque, NM 87110
Office Hours (call only): Monday - Friday, 9:00 am - 2:00 pm
Questions? Contact Shea Perry at communicate@stjohns-abq.org