July 18, 2020

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. John 10:14-16

I never thought that sheep would have such strong significance in my life. I especially like (and envy) the character of sheep: gentleness, innocence, purity, trusting, sweetness, meekness, obedience. Those may not be the characteristics that you would assign to sheep, but I guess it’s all a matter of life experience.

In my childhood years, I guess you could say I was a “bit of a shepherd”. . . though not a fully engaged, responsible one. I grew up on a farm in Iowa, and, in those days, farming was a whole family experience --- you had no choice but to become involved; you simply couldn’t choose to watch TV or play video games, instead. We had lots of livestock, including herds of sheep. There were so many things about sheep that didn’t make sense to me in those days: ‘why are fragile, little lambs born in the cold, dark winter months (instead of the warmer months, closer to Easter, maybe)?’, and ‘why did so many of the births happen in the middle of the night?’. But, the real, burning question for me was: ‘why did so many ewes so easily abandon their newborn lambs?’. Such a cold, cruel world! (And, no . . . I still don’t have answers to all of these questions.)

During lambing season on the farm, I felt the two extremes: depression and joy. My Dad would get up several times during the night, put on his heaviest winter clothes and boots to trudge out in the snow ‘to check on the sheep’, especially the ones that he knew were close to birthing. The rest of us were still sleeping, but well aware that we were “on call” to help, just in case we were needed in our well-practiced roles of our so-called “lamb orphanage”. More often than not, he would come back to the house carrying at least one small newborn --- fragile, wet, shivering, and sometimes, half-dead. Despite his best efforts to coax the ewe to accept her little one --- and he had a variety of tricks to help make this happen --- our family, so often, took over the duties of caring for and nurturing yet another orphan lamb.

When my Dad walked in the door with a little lamb in his arms, it never failed --- my eyes would well up with tears at the sight of the suffering little newborn. My Dad understood how I felt, but each time, he would gently say, ‘we need to brush away our tears and tend to this little lamb’ --- it was just as simple as that. I would do exactly as I was told, mixing the formula, warming it, and then bottle-feeding the lamb. This was our nighttime routine.

As you bottle-feed a lamb, you’ll find that they look up and lock eyes on you for the entire time --- you’re the Mama! --- so, it’s important to talk to them, assuring them that someone is watching over them, even if they don’t understand people-talk. My brothers and I always named our orphans and they became our pets until they eventually joined the herd, and other

orphaned lambs cycled through the lamb pen. Did you know that a lamb truly does “follow you”? You may have heard the old saying: “the hardest part of stealing one sheep is stopping the rest of them from following’. Our herd of 15 to 20 orphan lambs gathered around us each morning as we boarded the school bus, and then came running out to meet us each afternoon when the bus returned home. In fact, at the end of the school day, our little herd of orphans was already huddled by the roadside --- anticipating our arrival --- as the bus pulled up. They were so sure that we would return! From the bus windows, we could identify each and every one of them by name. They all looked the same to the other kids on the bus, but we knew each one personally, from a distance. They were our flock, and we tended to their needs. Little did I realize back in those days, how much they would shape my life. They became my early understanding of God . . . Our Great Shepherd.

Every sheep needs a shepherd, and I’m so grateful to God for the many ways in which he “shepherds” all of us. He is always mindful of the condition of each one of us in His flock. He knows us personally, and when we listen to His voice, we can know that He’s always present to lead us to green pastures, bring us to fresh water, shepherd us through the tough times, and protect and guide us. When we live in faith, we can know that our Great Shepherd will not abandon us. Pope John XXIII said, “Christ’s flock is made up of sheep that not only listen to their shepherd, but are also able to recognize His voice, to follow Him, faithfully and with full awareness, on the pastures of eternal life.”

From one sheep to another: Don’t you just love being part of the Great Shepherd’s Flock?

Just a girl who loves sheep,

--- Mary Beth Spletzer
July 18, 2020

Meet in east parking lot at St John’s UMC 7:30 am | Plan to return by 12:30 pm

I walk and pray. It’s been my practice for several years. On a recent walk, I found myself singing the hymn “His Eye is on the Sparrow” (singing in my heart and soul). Maybe it was walking among the trees or taking note of wild flowers, it could have been the sparrows, I’m not really sure, the words just came to me…. “Why should I feel discouraged? Why should the shadows come? Why should my heart be lonely and long for heaven and home? When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is he; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me.”

The song was inspired by Matthew 6:26 as Jesus talks with those who have walked with him around the sea of Galilee ,“Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Later in Matthew (10:29-31), Jesus continues on this theme: “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” Fear ye not, indeed. God’s eye is upon sparrows, robins, finches, hummingbirds, and all of us… all of us.

Remembering that God remembers us is important work. It gathers us to God’s presence and as the hymn suggests it shores up our despair, our discouragement, our loneliness, and our longing… “I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free, for His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me.” Scores of people have recorded this song, Amy Greer played it for worship last Sunday, it was beautiful. For me, walking and praying and singing the song named a sorrow I could not quite get at in other ways. And it opened a space in the presence of birds, trees, sky and God, to remember God’s watchful care. I invite you to come walk… to come pray… to come and find a quiet center… to walk together, safely distanced of course.

This month we travel to Juan Tomas Open Space, it is a 3.7 mile loop hike that begins at an elevation of a little over 7500 feet and goes to a low point of approximately 7,300 feet. There are lots of trees: pines, juniper, and pinons. It is rated as an easy to moderate trail. Driving distance from the church is about 20 miles.

St John’s UMC protocols require that we wear masks while on campus at the church. The bathrooms will NOT be opened, there is a bathroom at the Sandia Ranger District on the way out to the trailhead, where we can stop. Plan to take separate cars, families may ride together. The parking area at the trailhead has space for about 6-8 cars, when it is empty. There is other parking nearby if needed.

As with other hikes we will share scripture readings and reflections, we will also celebrate communion, with individual cups and wafers, hand-sanitizer will be available. Please bring a snack lunch and water. Sun-screen and hats are recommended.
7:00 pm
Come and worship in your car on Saturday, July 18 and gather in safe community to worship and praise God. We will gather in the east parking lot of St. John's (2626 Arizona Street NE). we will be collecting for two recipients - Zuni Elementary and the Four Corners ministry. Zuni really needs hand sanitizer of at least 65% alcohol content, Kleenix, sanitizing wipes and regular pump hand soap. The Four Corners ministry is in need of items to entertain the children: coloring books, crayons, small educational toys, and books with loving subject matter. All monies collected during those offerings will go to the Zuni special offering unless designated otherwise.
Gil Flores | JULY 18
Rev. Dr. Randall Partin| JULY 25
Food Ministry at St John’s UMC continues to break bread with people all over Albuquerque. Sunday, July 12, Chef Tim and Jenn Shields served over 80 people at Community of Hope. Through their commitment to quality and their desire to share meals that are both flavorful and healthy, this ministry offers people Christ by sharing food. Sunday’s meal included breaded catfish, green chile rice pilaf, Cajun spiced veggies and key lime bars.

Over the past month, they have served Casa Esperanza and Hopeworks. Tim is in conversation with Rev. Dr. Todd Selau about opportunities to work with his ministry X-ile. We are also working on providing boxed meals through St John’s food pantry in August.

This week, as we offer prayers over meals, whether alone or with family, let us remember that through our shared ministry, the ministry of food offered in the name of Christ, we are eating at a larger table and sitting on a wider bench, feasting together. May it be so. Amen. 
Cemetary in Galisteo, New Mexico 
-- Pam Rowley
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!
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
8:00 am & 7:00 pm
Please join us on Wednesday mornings and evenings for a worship service of praise and prayer. Both services will take place in the Memorial Garden of St. John’s on the west side of the building. These services are designed to be thirty minutes and will be led by Certified Lay Ministers, Larry Luna and 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. THESE WEDNESDAY MORNING AND EVENING SERVICES will continue for the summer (at least that is the plan now).
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!

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 at 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 at 1:30 pm
Join Pastor Pam for a 30-minute spiritual exercise. Space is limited, join the class HERE.
Fridays from 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
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:

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.

Families in the program are currently staying at Church of the Good Shepherd, off Tramway. This has been the centralized location since COVID-19 restrictions were put in place. St. John's still will be contributing food during our host week, July 26th - Aug. 1st. Laura Combs, director of Family Promise, has asked that we provide staples and dinners. If you wish to prepare a meal, deliver a meal, or do both please go to our SignUp Genius link

If you would like to contribute money please send in a check or contribute online here. For either, please indicate "Family Promise" on your donation. For additional questions, please contact Linn Furnish: or (505) 884-6626 or Jenn Shields: or (505) 450-9978.
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: Monday - Thursday, 8:30 am - 4:00 pm
Questions? Contact Shea Perry at