Monday
August 17, 2020
SHED THE SAWDUST!

“Therefore, do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. -- 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Do you remember the heart-warming classic, “The Velveteen Rabbit”, written by Margery Williams in the 1920’s? Like so many children’s stories, the book is packed full of hidden wisdom . . . perhaps intended more for adults, than children.  

The book follows life in a little boy’s nursery where a newcomer --- a sawdust-filled rabbit covered with inexpensive fabric --- copes with the insecurity of being surrounded by and compared to other, fancier toys in the nursery. The author writes, “he was quite naturally shy, and being only made of velveteen and sawdust, some of the more expensive toys quite snubbed him”. But as the story progresses, the rabbit finds courage to take on a lofty quest --- not just to become the boy’s favorite toy, but even more so, to “become real”. He often consults with his experienced and trusted toy-friend, the Skin Horse, and their conversations are priceless.  

The dialog between the two toy-friends goes like this: “What is Real?” asks the rabbit. “Real isn’t how you are made,” says the Skin Horse, “it’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time not just to play with, but really loves you, then you become Real.” “Does it hurt?” asks the rabbit. “Sometimes,” says the Skin Horse, “but when you are Real, you don’t mind being hurt.” “Does it happen all at once, or bit by bit?” asks the rabbit. “It doesn’t happen all at once”, says the Skin Horse, “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out, and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But, those things don’t matter at all because once you are Real, you can’t be ugly, except to the people who don’t understand.”

I can identify with “loose in the joints”, can you? But, if we go deeper into this story, I think it so nicely mirrors our Christian walk. Deep in our heart and soul, we have an intense emotional longing to be Real . . . authentic Christians. It happens bit by bit, not all at once. Jesus was our supreme teacher on “Realness”, and we’re blessed to have this time of growth toward Christian authenticity (sanctification). Although the transformation is often gradual, we are not asked to sit back and wait for it to happen (it just doesn’t happen that way!). Like the Velveteen Rabbit, we’re on an urgent quest to become authentic Christians and our active participation is demanded of us. To help us along this journey and to encourage us through the “speed bumps” of life, we’re blessed with a whole range of support: our Bible readings and devotionals; our Sunday School classes and Bible studies; our prayer life, focusing on the practice of gratitude; our inspirational worship services; our supportive church staff which seems to know what we need and when we need it; the encouraging words of our Christian friends; and the many opportunities to give generously and humbly in service to others. These are the things that “grow us” toward authenticity. When we’re intimately connected with Christ, we shed all that is phony and false in our lives (our sawdust), and we learn to find the peace that comes when we focus on what matters most in life. When our life revolves around Christ, our simple thin glaze of Christianity becomes an ever-deepening rich icing of faithfulness and love.  

Ray Stedman, author of Authentic Christianity, notes that it’s not simply being a Christian that produces genuine virtues . . . rather, it’s living as a Christian. He says, when we are genuine (in Christ), “life comes into proper focus, a deep peace possesses the heart, strength grips the spirit despite outward trials, and kindness and joy radiate from us. This is real life! The wonderful story of new life in Christ absolutely shouts within us, demanding to be shared with others who still struggle.” 

Just as the Velveteen Rabbit wanted to feel “fully alive”, we are made “fully alive in Christ”, moving from our previous sawdust-filled selves to lives of genuine love and faithfulness. As the Skin Horse said to the rabbit, “once you are Real, you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always!” And then, ”a tear --- a real tear --- trickled down the shabby velvet nose of the Velveteen Rabbit”. At last, he was real, and “Real” is what endures.

Spiritual practice: 
What are the sources and resources that help you grow toward Christian authenticity? Are you taking full advantage of the opportunities around you? What might you add to the mix that would help in your Christian growth process . . . maybe a Bible Study or a Sunday School class? Do what you need to do to keep growing your faith so that kindness and joy will radiate from you!
  
--- Mary Beth Spletzer
A CALL FOR DAILY DEVOTIONALS
Would you be interested in submitting a daily devotional for the Newsletter? If so, send an email to Pastor Pam at prowley@stjohns-abq.org!

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
#photosfromhome
Flowers on a trail near Copper :)
-- Shea
#PHOTOSFROMHOME
A CALL FOR SELFIES AND AT-HOME PICTURES
Hi there! I love showing you photos of what we are doing at the church, but what I think would be an even more amazing thing to share is a picture of you! Send me pictures and/or videos of you/your family/your pets/your garden/your cooking/etc with a short description. communicate@stjohns-abq.org
WEDNESDAY PRAYER SERVICE
Wednesdays | 8:00 am & 7:00 pm
Please join us on Wednesday mornings & evenings for a worship service of praise and prayer. This service will take place in the Memorial Garden of St. John’s on the west side of the building. This services is designed to be thirty minutes and will be led by Certified Lay Ministers Larry Luna & Joe Marshall. Please bring your own lawn chairs and sit six feet from your neighbor. In an effort to keep all of us safe and healthy, masks are required.
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 mgreer@stjohns-abq.org.
DRIVE-IN, DROP-OFF
Saturday, August 29 | 5:00 - 7:00 pm

Let’s rally together for the need of others! On Saturday, August 29, 5:00 – 7:00 pm in the east parking lot of St. John’s United Methodist Church (2626 Arizona NE), the Missions’ Team will be collecting any of the following items for Silver Horizons and the Four Corners Ministry:

·     Any non-perishable food
·     Toilet paper
·     Paper towels
·     Facial tissues
·     Hygiene products (shampoo, conditioner, men’s and women’s deodorants, toothpaste)
·     Bottled water

So, every time you go shopping this month or have products delivered to you, think about these two organizations and pick up some extra items. We’ll collect all these items on Saturday, August 29th!

If you’d rather give $$ instead of buying the products yourself, you can bring it that night, mail it to the church, or go to the St. John’s online giving. If you want the $$ split between the two organizations, write “Drive-in, Drop-off” in the memo field. If you’d rather it would go to an individual organization write either “Silver Horizons” or “Four Corners Ministry.”

The Missions’ Team thanks you so much for your generosity!!!
Online Groups
ZOOM TUTORIAL
The announcements below include using the program "Zoom" to group-video chat. You can find a tutorial on how to use Zoom HERE!
NEW YOUTH ZOOM FOR THE FALL
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: bit.ly/Fall2020UMYF (case sensitive).

SONRISE YOUTH CHOIR ZOOMS
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 sonrisechoir@gmail.com!
PARENT'S CLUB
Tuesdays | 7:30 pm
"COFFEE BREAK" WITH PASTORS PAM & KELLY
Wednesdays | 1:30 pm
Log in and have coffee (or tea) and chat with Pastors Pam and Kelly! Zoom link HERE.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT KIDS' BIBLE CLUB
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 tmacali@stjohns-abq.org for more information!
NEW SPIRITUAL MOVEMENT CLASS 101
Thursdays | 1:30 pm -- Starting August 6th
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.
"GETTING STARTED ON YOUR FAMILY HISTORY MANUSCRIPT" GENEALOGY CLASS
This Zoom genealogy class is for people who have amassed a lot of family information and are wondering what to do next. It will not teach introductory genealogy or memoir writing. Some of the types of manuscripts to be considered include ancestral reports, descendancy reports, biographies, and edited letters or diaries. Each class will be one to two hours long, depending on the topic. Weekly assignments will be given, and in six weeks, students will have all of the major parts of a family-history manuscript and an abbreviated version of the content. The cost will be $10 per person, which will go to the UMW. A minimum of 6 people will be required for the class; a maximum of 12 Zoom connections will be accepted. A preliminary Zoom tutorial will be offered if needed. Check out the complete syllabus for topics and dates. Enroll by emailing Regina Hunter at drhunter@nmia.com or Terri Link at terrilink@comcast.net.
THE PRACTICE OF PRESENCE
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, counselor@stjohns-abq.org, or 505-506-6716, if you have questions.
Congregational Care Corner
PRAYER SHAWLS
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 mapalook@comcast.net or 768-7013 if you would like a shawl. If you call, the basket will await your visit in their courtyard. Blessings -
VIRTUAL PRAYER QUILT
Ruth Vermillion is the recipient for the prayer quilt on display for August 17th through August 30th.

In lieu of tying knots, please pray this prayer (or your own prayer): “Father, please hold Ruth tight in your embrace sustaining her by your grace and giving her strength and courage for whatever challenges she may face.”

PRAYER SUPPORT
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: mapalook@comcast.net or submit them on our website HERE.

GO-FER TEAM
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 c.care@stjohns-abq.org

ONLINE COUNSELING SERVICE AVAILABLE
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 counselor@stjohns-abq.org for more details about session and cost information. Susan also has a Youtube Channel with mindfulness tips HERE.

VIRTUAL TAI CHI WITH KATHY
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
AUGUST SPECIAL OFFERING: WESLEY FOUNDATION
  School at UNM will be starting soon in some form this year. It will be an stressful time for all students, so our opportunity to financially support Wesley House, for both the students who live there and those who participate in other Wesley Foundation programs is more important than ever.

 Please pray for the students and their leaders as they reach out to other students on campus as well. Please pray that Wesley House may be a place where all may find God's love and peace in these difficult times. Please give generously.
ST. JOHN'S FACILITY IS CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
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!
CONTACT US
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
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