July 27, 2020

Genesis 1:31 “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” RSV

Jack Nuzum has inspired me with his series on “Magnificent Metaphors” - rocks, trees, water, bread. But let me tell you about something unmagnificent and ordinary and even hated that has been a powerful symbol in my life. But first – the back story.

Ever since I got my first digital camera, I have been taking pictures of flowers. Of course I took other pictures – lots of kids and family, but through the years flowers have been my favorite. Not only are they beautiful, but they don’t make faces at you or wiggle or run away!

One day, driving out in the Illinois countryside, I saw some beautiful, pinkish wildflowers in the distance and stopped to photograph them. (see below) And I was hooked! Many varieties, gorgeous colors and all their stages of growth from bud to seeding made beautiful subjects. And through the years these wildflowers became one of my most beloved subjects.

Now of course I knew they were thistles! But I loved them. But then my husband, who was managing an organic truck farm, told me of a massive problem - Canada thistles had taken over a section of his best field. While he and his helpers fought them, I did some research and discovered why they were so hard to eradicate. They had a vertical root that went down 20 feet and many horizontal roots that could each spread out 20 feet and produce new shoots! And each plant could produce up to 5000 seeds which could not only germinate quickly, but could remain dormant up to 20 years. And even a 1/4” piece of chopped off root could produce a new plant! And so it happened that while my husband had an enduring enemy, I had an enduring symbol!

This thistle has become a wonderful symbol of the worldwide church for me – and especially speaks to me in our COVID-19 times in our need for endurance and persistence and our ability to do just that – both as individuals and as a worldwide church. The roots: think of how the church has it’s roots in Christ’s deep, deep love – we are “rooted and grounded in love.” (Eph 3:17) But also think how these roots are not just individual, separate roots, but are joined together – just as “we, though many, are one body in Christ.” (Romans 5:12) And the seeds: traveling near and far for new growth – just as we are called to “go into all the world” (Mark 16:15) And even if the roots were chopped into tiny pieces by my vigilant husband, more would grow from those pieces – just as when after Stephen was killed and Christians scattered because of persecution, they spread the Word! (Acts 11:19

Yes, I love the thistle. It will endure. And so will the world-wide church of Christ (that’s us as individuals too!) because we are rooted so deeply in God’s love. Even in these COVID times.

Hear – really hear – what Paul preached: “Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and God’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture. . . . I’m absolutely convinced that nothing – nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable – absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love.” (Romans 8:35,38 The Message)


-- Lyn Fitz
Drive-in church cancelled but a rainbow from God on the way home.
-- Nancy Shefelbine
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, and I will share them here and compile them for a project!
-- Shea Perry, Communications Director
Would you be interested in submitting a daily devotional for the Newsletter? If so, send an email to Reverend Dr. Pam Rowley at!
It’s summer and if you are gardening, it is quite possible that you have excess squash or other vegetables and fruits. We’ve got a plan for that!

St John’s UMC and the Food Ministry Team want to invite you to a zoom meeting with Bernalillo County Extension Agent John Garlisch. John will share information with us about how we can safely share our produce with Chef Tim in the kitchen and help feed people all across Albuquerque. The attached link will help you access the zoom meeting. The date: July 29th 2020 from 4-5 pm.

Please join us as we continue to gather, share food, and offer Christ to those around us! Questions? Contact Pastor Kelly at or Chef Tim at Zoom link HERE.
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 Minister Larry Luna. 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
Wednesday, August 5 | 7:00 pm
Come receive communion in your car on Wednesday, July 1 and gather in safe community to worship and praise God. We encourage you to bring your own elements (bread & juice). If you do not have your own elements, we will provide individually-packaged elements. We will gather in the east parking lot of St. John's (2626 Arizona Street NE).
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!

Sundays | 4:00 - 5:15 pm
IT IS SUMMER, and we have a new series for students exploring new games, discussions, and faith-building activities every Sunday from 4:00-5:15PM! Go to: (case sensitive) password if needed is 233374. NEW SUMMER URL
Wednesdays | 1:30 pm
Log in and have coffee (or tea) and chat with Pastors Pam and Kelly! Zoom link HERE.
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
Join Pastor Pam for a 30-minute spiritual exercise. 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.
WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED? Point 3b: God wants to give you abundant life.
St. John’s email Bible study returns to our study of salvation, and in particular to the idea that God’s plan for your salvation is broader than you think. Although there’s nothing in the Bible about “prosperity gospel,” scripture does say that God’s plan for your salvation includes a desire that you be healthy, safe, and comfortable and that you enjoy life in constant relationship with him.  Download the study guide, or sign up for daily study tips by email by writing or calling Regina Hunter at or 294-2877.
Congregational Care Corner
Jean Jorgensen is the recipient for the prayer quilt on display for July 20th – August 2nd.

In lieu of tying knots, please pray this prayer (or your own prayer): “Father, please hold Jean tight in your embrace so that she can be stronger than the challenges in her life.”

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.

For many years St. John's has had a special relationship with our neighbor, Zuni Elementary School. For example, over the years, we have provided school supplies, backpacks, after school programs, and a Back to School Luncheon for the staff.

This year, as you can imagine, Zuni's needs are a bit different. Hand Sanitizers and wipes, kleenex and pump soap top the list! You can donate in kind on Saturday nights. (See separate article for details) Or, of course, you may send monetary donations to the church any time.

Finally, please keep the students and staff of Zuni ( and all the schools in town) in your prayers. Starting up again will be different and stressful for everyone.
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