October 23, 2020

Matthew 7: 3-5

In 1966 I was spending the summer as a summer volunteer with Wycliffe Bible Translators, living with a missionary family in northern Colombia, miles from anywhere in the jungle. The family had to bring in all the supplies for a number of months on a mule-train that we walked beside. A crucial part of their supplies was some food to give away to the native tribe of Kogis that lived there and so they packed in a lot of canned sardines, both for themselves and for the Indians. One day, as a family of Kogis was visiting, I was instructed to get a couple cans of sardines and give them to the family as a gift – and so I did. But I was later pulled aside and chastised for giving them the wrong kind! The family had cheap sardines to give away to the Kogis and more expensive, better tasting cans for themselves. I was crushed. And this incident contributed greatly to my young, idealistic self throwing the baby - Christianity - out with the bathwater.

And for years, even after returning to the faith, I kept this event in my heart – hating what the missionaries did and knowing I could never be so uncaring. I would never have such a tight fist.

Fast-forward about 45 years and I am still proudly carrying that little incident in my heart of what I would never be. I am living in a little town in northern Illinois and I have just finished grocery shopping and am loading my groceries into my car when I am approached by a woman slightly older than me, pushing her own personal filled-to-the-brim shopping cart. I get a little tense, wondering what she could want. Is she begging? I’m already on the defensive, so I’m completely unprepared for her request: “I’m a diabetic and I didn’t have enough money on my Link card to get some grapes, so I had to leave them on the check-out counter.” I looked at her quizzically as her words tumbled out in an embarrassed flow: “I am wondering if you would be willing to go buy them for me.” And I hesitate and look down and thoughts tumble disjointedly through my mind: “Don’t want to. . . . How come me? . . . Darn.” And then I look up, plaster a benevolent smile-like-I mean-it on my face and say, “Sure!”

So we walk up to the clerk in the check-out lane she was using, which has another customer in it checking out a large amount of groceries. I can see the grapes set back in the corner and we explain to the checker that when she is done with this customer, we would like to quick buy the grapes that she didn’t have the money to pay for previously. And then, without even looking up from putting her groceries on the counter to be checked out, the lady in line says, “Oh – just put it on my bill and give it to her now!” No hesitation. And then a real smile.

I walked back to my car mad at myself for my inability to say “Yes” quickly and genuinely. She was not wanting money for booze or street drugs. She wanted GRAPES! And I really didn’t want to buy them for her.

First sardines – and now grapes. The playing field had been leveled. Forget the missionaries and their sardines – I was the one with this huge log of self-righteousness in my eye! I was the one with the tight fist!

Well, there was no way to go back in time and do it differently. I knew there was only one way forward. As Jesus taught, “Judge not, and you will not be judged: condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven. . . . For the measure you give will be the measure you get back.” (Luke 6: 37-38) I was humbled and saw myself in a new light. I was able to ask God’s forgiveness and to move forward.

Thank you, Lord, for forgiveness for past mistakes. Help me to move forward with less judgment and condemnation and with more forgiveness and mercy and generosity. Help me to do and be to others as you have done and been for me.

-- Lyn Fitz
A beautiful day in Cerrillos, NM
-- Nancy Croker and Joe Gorvetzian
If only we could capture and share the scent of Albuquerque in the fall. Let’s do the next best thing and share our fall photos with each other here in the E-Disciple Newsletter! Photos can be of any fall-time activity/project (hiking photos, please!!), or nature photos! Email your photos and a short description to Shea at

October 24, 2020
Albuquerque Rio Grande Bosque
Difficulty: Easy (2 miles, level walking)
Meet in east parking lot at St John’s UMC at 8:30 am. Plan to return by noon.

Please join us in this season of fall foliage colors for a time set aside for prayer, meditation, and hiking. The gift of water is precious in the desert. What other gifts must we treat carefully in our lives? Masks are required as we meet at St. John's and should be used any time we gather on the trail. Restrooms will be available at St. John's. If anyone would like to meet us on the way to the hike, please contact us.
Save the date for future hikes:
November 7, 2020
Mt. Taylor. This is one of the four sacred mountains in the Navajo tradition marking the cardinal directions, and is also considered sacred by the Acoma, Hopi, Laguna and Zuni tribes. We are guests, and should tread gently. In what other parts of our lives should we tread gently? The views from this mountain are amazing. The hike is strenuous (2,000 foot climb).

November 24, 2020
Canada del Ojo (~ 15 miles NW of Rt. 66 Casino; 47.5 miles from the church). Moderate (5 miles, a few hundred feet of vertical; some rocky walking)
Hidden in the desert and gentle mesas here are picturesque sandstone hoodoos and homesteads with interesting histories. This is set in the watershed of the Rio Puerco, an area with many stories of tribal conflicts and growth, histories of violent and gentle geologic events, and a stunning variety of living things. In this time of social distancing and stay-at-home, it is worth contemplating the many wonders that we share. (photos from this trip)

Contacts: Mike Furnish, CLM (884-6626; or Kelly Giese (
Saturday, October 24 | 3:00 - 5:00 pm
The Missions' Team will be hosting another DRIVE-IN, DROP-OFF on Saturday, October 24, 3:00 – 5:00 pm in the east parking lot of St. John’s United Methodist Church (2626 Arizona NE). The recipient is Mandy's Farm (, a nonprofit organization that assists individuals with developmental disabilities in achieving their goals for living, learning, and working in the community. Ruthie and David Robbins, St. John's members, are the founders of Mandy's Farm. The items listed below are the needs of Mandy's Farm:

printer paper
disposable gloves
masks (disposable or fabric)
hand sanitizer
toilet paper
paper towels
art supplies (crayons, colored pencils, paintbrushes, paint, watercolor paper)

So, every time you go shopping this month or have products delivered to you, think about Mandy's Farm and pick up some extra items. We’ll collect all these items on Saturday, October 24th!

If you’d rather give $$ instead of buying the products yourself, you can bring it that night, mail it to the church, or go to the St. John’s online giving. Be sure to write "Mandy's Farm" in the memo field of your check.

The Missions’ Team thanks you so much for your generosity!!!
Please take a few minutes to take the Spiritual Type Quiz. There are only 15 questions to answer and then you will know if you are a Sage, Lover, Prophet, or Mystic. Print out your type and save it for a Church Survey next week! Click HERE for the quiz.
Would you be interested in submitting a daily devotional for the Newsletter? If so, send an email to Pastor Pam at!

Please include the following items when writing a devotion:
A Focus Word or Phrase
A Scripture (it can simply be referenced)
The Body of the Devotion (one page is a good guideline)
A Prayer or a Spiritual Practice
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 the homepage of the website. We hope you’ll worship with us! (Pastors Pam and Kelly 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
Missing getting together with your St John’s family after church? Join us in the virtual Sonshine Coffee Zoom immediately following the 11:00 am Worship. Church Leadership Team members starting with Jim Hickman will be hosting with the Pastors Pam and Kelly joining if they are available. Zoom registration is HERE.
Sunday School Classes &
Bible Study Groups
Sundays | 9:30 - 10:30 am
The class always welcomes new faces, whether they wish to become permanent members, are interested in a particular study, or need a Sunday School family while on temporary assignment in Albuquerque. We typically alternate between modern books and books of the Bible. We are currently nearing the end of I’d Like You More If You Were More Like Me, by John Ortberg. Contact Regina Hunter,, to be added to the invitation list on Sundays and to learn of the next book.
Sundays | 9:30 - 10:30 am
Family Spirit Class meets by zoom on Sunday mornings, 9:30 to 10:30. They are studying John Ortberg’s book The Life You've Always Wanted. Brian Eagan and Doug Sweet lead this study. Please contact Anita Hallstrom at if you would like to join this zoom class.
Sundays | 10:00 - 10:45 am
Bereans Class meets Sundays from 10:00 to 10:45. Some time ago the class adopted a long-term project to go through all of Paul’s letters in chronological order. August 30th started a new study on 1 Corinthians. To receive the weekly zoom link contact Daryl Lee,
Sundays | 3:30 pm
Christian Classics Sunday School Class is meeting by Zoom at 3:30 PM on Sundays. We are studying The Wisdom Jesus by Cynthia Bourgeault. Contact Jack Nuzum at to join in.
Mondays | 10:00 am & 7:00 pm
Men’s Bible Study for the fall, Mondays at 10:00 am and 7:00 pm, October-November. This study will be focusing on the book of Job. Watch for upcoming dates or contact Jack Nuzum at
First & Third Wednesdays of the Month | 12:00 pm
Wednesday Men’s Brown Baggers meet for virtual lunch, fellowship, and discussion from noon to 1:00 on the first and third Wednesdays of each month. They will soon begin reading A Gentle Answer by Scott Sauls, available on Amazon. The Brown Baggers are currently meeting by Zoom; contact to be added to the group.
Thursdays | 7:00 pm
NEW STUDY, a 7-week study on Peter’s Journey, beginning on October 1st. This class will be led by CLM Joe Marshall, via Zoom, Thursday evenings at 7pm for about an hour. One does not need to be a theologian to enjoy this study and is open to Men/Women and any age. Email Joe to register and receive Zoom Link,
Wednesdays | 12:00 pm
Join us for a new series of concerts live-streamed from the St. John's sanctuary! Concerts are a benefit for Albuquerque Healthcare for the Homeless.

Therese Macali, soprano
Shea Perry, soprano
Gabriel Longuinhos, piano

The Robert Lah Trio
Youth News
To better streamline all the ways we communicate, the Youth Group has adopted the Slack app to merge and integrate the our direct messaging, digital calendar, Zoom account, and all our online documents. It is easy to join the threads that apply just to you. Join in here:

Summer is past, and as we get back to school? Our Solid Ground youth group will resume meeting every Sunday at 4:00-5:15PM with new games, discussions, and faith-building activities plus new features of the student led Soap Box and Top 5s. Log-in. at: (case sensitive).

While we are not yet allowed to sing together, stay informed about the activities of the Sonrise Youth Choir, including weekly Zooms on Thursdays at 4:00 pm (Jackbox games!!), and musical workshops in the Fall! Email Shea at!
A CALL TO HOME GARDENERS: The Food Ministry Wants Your Fresh Produce From Your Garden
St John’s Food Ministry continues to serve the people of Albuquerque--approximately 500 people per month!--with hot meals prepared in our kitchen,  Do you have a surplus of fresh produce from your garden that you would like to donate to St. John's to feed the hungry? If so, please contact Chef Tim at
Online Groups
The announcements below include using the program "Zoom" to group-video chat. You can find a tutorial on how to use Zoom HERE!
MEN'S BIBLE STUDY: The Book of Job (and Esther and Ruth)
Mondays | 10:00 am & 7:00 pm
There are few more perplexing issues for people of faith than that of unmerited suffering. We understand when good people prosper and evil people suffer. But what about when good people suffer for nothing that they did? That is Job's situation and the book that bares his name is a complex examination of the issue.
Join us for a Zoom study of this book (for four weeks) and then the delightful Old Testament stories of Ruth and Esther the final two weeks. The Bible study will take place on Mondays, October 19-Nov. 23, 2020, at either 10 AM or 7 PM. You may join either class or jump between them. If interested, or if you have questions, contact Jack Nuzum at or 505-265-5241. Jack will be leading the discussion and will send out a Zoom invitation before each meeting.
Tuesdays | 7:30 pm
Wednesdays | 1:30 pm
Log in and have coffee (or tea) and chat with Pastors Pam and Kelly! Zoom link HERE.
Wednesdays | 6:00 pm
Wednesday Night Bible Club is still on! Grade school friends join us on Zoom to get your weekly Bible lesson, watch the So & So Show, and pray with your friends. This summer we are taking a Focus on Faith! Don’t miss it! Email for more information!
Thursdays | 1:30 pm
Meet by zoom with Pastor Pam for a 30 minute spiritual practice every Thursday afternoon. We will explore different ways to pray, to commune with God, to nurture our spiritual lives with Christ through the Indwelling Holy Spirit. Space is limited, join the class HERE.
Fridays | 9:30 - 10:00 am
Susan Brumbaugh, staff mental health counselor at St. John's, is offering a FREE weekly gathering on FRIDAYS 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,, or 505-506-6716, if you have questions.
Congregational Care Corner
Carmen Vargas is the recipient for the prayer quilt on display for October 12 - 25.

In lieu of tying knots, please pray this prayer (or your own prayer) for Carmen: “Heavenly Father, we lift up Carmen and ask for your guidance as she seeks your will in her ministry for your kingdom."

With the Church currently closed, the prayer shawls have taken up residence with Hunt and Ann. They are actually quite comfortable in the coolness of their new home but they would love to be of comfort to someone in need of God’s love. Please contact Ann at or 768-7013 if you would like a shawl. If you call, the basket will await your visit in their courtyard. Blessings -
It seems like a very long time since we have been able to be together as a church family. Our staff has worked hard to keep us connected through virtual worship services, drive-in or small in-person services, and some Sunday School classes and other groups have been able to continue via Zoom, meeting safely at the church, in homes or even in parks. The Leadership Team wants to make sure everyone in our church family is being contacted in some way, especially those of our members and friends who might not have regular contact with people. We are looking for volunteers to help us call a small number of members to find out how they are, to let them know we are thinking of them and to find out how the church can help them. If that sounds like something you would enjoy doing and sending information back to the church about these members, please contact Barbara Stanfield, Thank you for considering helping in this important ministry of reaching out to our St. John’s family.
How we support you and your family in prayer during this difficult time? Prayers for health, employment, peace? Please send your prayer requests to the Prayer Team: or submit them on our website HERE.

It is hard to get out and many people shouldn’t. Is there something you need delivered from the store? If we are able to help, we have a few volunteers who would like to serve as Go-fers for people who need something but cannot get it on their own. Please pass any requests on to Jarrod at

The St. John's staff includes a licensed mental health counselor who is available to meet virtually (using a smartphone or computer) in a secure online platform during these anxious times. If you or someone you know is struggling emotionally, counseling is available. Click here or contact Susan Brumbaugh at 505-506-6717 or for more details about session and cost information. Susan also has a Youtube Channel with mindfulness tips HERE.

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
OCTOBER SPECIAL OFFERING: World Communion Offering 
     This month we will be remembering our unity with Christians around the world. Our special gifts will go to students like Kennedy. She lost her father when she was eight and her family struggled to find enough to eat. But with the help of her church, Lotus UMC in Maryland, and a World Communion scholarship, Kennedy is on her way to giving back to the community as a physician.

  Far away in Nigeria, Obinna grew up without electricity or clean water. Yet, today with the help of the Global United Methodist Church via a World Communion scholarship, he is studying to be an engineer.

  Nelson Mandela once said," Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world." Please give generously any time in the month of October.
In accordance with the New Mexico Department of Health order, our facility will be closed until further notice. We will keep you apprised as things develop.

Your St. John's pastors and staff are still very much on the job, and are available to you during this time. Please reach out to us if we can help you in any way!
Office Administrator, Debbie Brown, will be answering the phone at St. John’s every weekday from 9:00 am-2:00 pm. Please call the office if you have any concerns or pastoral care needs. Debbie will get messages to Pastor Pam and Pastor Kelly. The office number is 505-883-9717.
Contact Us
(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