June 20, 2020

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” Ephesians 1:3

I recently participated in the Zoom class, “You’ll Get Through This”, presented by Max Lucado, and led by Karen Tidler (thank you, Karen!). It focused on the stories of Joseph’s life, beginning with Genesis 37. The theme of suffering, as a test of character, dominates the Joseph stories. Though Joseph was righteous, he was not kept from suffering, but rather, was preserved by his faith through his suffering. Joseph always trusted God, and could see beyond his present circumstances.

So, as you might guess, Max’s study, “You’ll Get Through This”, deals with resiliency and perseverance; it’s timely for us, now, during this pandemic, but really applies to any and all situations of crisis and stress. As Max says, “We are drawn to those who won’t give up, won’t give in, and won’t stay down on the mat. In our hearts, all of us wish we had the strength and courage to get back up on our feet when life has knocked us down . . . again.” Joseph did it, and we can, too.

In one particular session of this video class, Max asked us to make a list of spiritual blessings that we have through our faith in Jesus. My first thought was, ‘where do I start, and how do I put these blessings into words?’. Some blessings come quickly to mind, while others are deeper, but no less significant. Giving it some thought as I went about my household chores, one spiritual blessing after another came to mind: we’re chosen by God to achieve a purpose (a destiny) --- we have unconditional love, given by God, not earned --- we are redeemed through the blood of Jesus --- we have knowledge that God is sovereign and in complete control . . . and the list goes on! I found this exercise to be encouraging, uplifting, comforting, and empowering! I’m keeping my list close by for easy access.

Creating such a list also prompts me to be grateful. As Max says, “Gratitude always leaves us looking at God and away from dread. It does to anxiety what the morning sun does to valley mist: it burns it up!”

And then, Max poses an interesting question: “what do you have that you can’t lose?” So, what comes to mind for you? These days, we think that we’ve lost a lot (mostly temporal things), so we often find ourselves in a state of grieving for the carefree pre-pandemic life. We mourn the loss of jobs, income, socialization, and freedom to come and go. And, as a double dose of grief, some of us are truly experiencing deep-down grief, due to the loss of loved ones or friends. These are exactly the times when our spiritual blessings can comfort and restore us, leading us to center ourselves, once again, on God. So, what do we have that we can’t lose? Our spiritual blessings! They’re not ‘of this world’, but given to us by God! With a spiritual blessings list, we can keep it handy, memorize it, make additions, and note how our blessings give us strength and perseverance during difficult times. Nothing can take away our spiritual blessings --- they’re God-given! We can stay focused on them, be grateful for them, and pull ourselves up off the mat . . . just like Joseph!

Spiritual practice: 
Create your own list of spiritual blessings --- written and personalized by you, and for you. Do it when you’re feeling especially positive, rather than at a time of discouragement, since it’s meant to be a “tool” from which you’ll draw strength, again and again. And then, keep your list close by, as a reminder, because your spiritual blessings will reinforce your resiliency during all types of difficulties. I’m grateful for our current sermon series in which we’re asked to identify our spiritual gifts --- another uplifting exercise! As we take inventory, we need to remember that our spiritual gifts are also spiritual blessings.

--- Mary Beth Spletzer
TODAY | Saturday, June 20
7:30 am
Mountain Cathedrals is headed out June 20 at 7:30 am from St Johns east parking lot. We will travel to a trail at the far corner of the Manzanita Mountains, called David Canyon, just south of I-40, less than 25 miles from St John’s. NOTE: due to church closure the bathrooms will not be open in our building before or after the hike. We will plan to stop on the way to the trail. We will also take individual cars, so no ride shares will be offered.

This hike of approximately 5 miles, includes ponderosa forest and magnificent views of the Manzano Mountains, making it feel like you’re in a remote wilderness. There are Gambel and wavy-leaf oak, as well as open meadows, wild flowers, lots of woodpeckers, hawks, and other birds. You may want to bring binoculars!

You will need to bring water and snacks or a light lunch for yourself. Make sure you have sunscreen and a hat. This is a moderate hike with an elevation gain of about 500 feet, that is gently sloped. We plan to return to the church between 1-1:30 pm. As with all of our hikes there will be time for reflection on scripture and we will celebrate communion with individual cups and wafers. As we gather at the church we ask you to wear masks. When we arrive at the trailhead, we will space out to at least 6 feet apart as individuals or family units. Masks will not be required on the hike unless you would like to use them.
TODAY| Saturday, June 20
7:00 pm
Come and worship in your car on Saturday, June 20 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). please consider bringing either toilet paper, dry beans, pasta, rice, or dry cat food. These items will be given to Silver Horizons for their senior clients.

June 20 Rev. Dr. Todd Seelau
June 27 Rev. Dr. Randall Partin
July 4   Rev. Dr. Scott Sharp
July 11  Rev. Dr. Todd Seelau
July 18  TBD
July 25  Rev. Dr. Randall Partin
Gecko Convention on our Patio: Actually, one is "conventional" ..... and the other is not!
-- Susan Perry
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
June Kleber will turn 100 on June 22. She has been a member of SJUMC since 1958. If you would like to sent June a card, mail to;
June Kleber
3606 Colorado Ct NE
Abq, NM 87110
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

Over the next five weeks we are exploring our spiritual gifts in our sermon series, Discovering our Spiritual Gifts. Please take a few minutes to discover your gifts by taking the Spiritual Gift Inventory from Discipleship Ministries of the UMC  HERE. At the end of the inventory, you will have the opportunity to print out the results. Keep that list and pray over your spiritual gifts as you discover how to use those gifts for the kingdom of God.
Wednesdays at 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.

Muni Kulasinghe, violinist
Jim Ahrend, pianist

Lara Manzanares

Gil Flores

Ingela Onstad, Michael Hix, & Amy Greer
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, July 1
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).
Youth News
Next Saturday, June 20, we are going to team up with the Mountain Cathedrals group to hike David’s Canyon. To keep social distance, each youth needs a parent to go with them to drive, each hiker needs to wear a mask, and everyone needs to stay 6 feet apart. Meet at the church East Parking lot @7:30AM; we will be back by 1:30PM. Pack sunscreen, hiking boots, and a lunch for this 5 mile hike.

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

The Reel to Real 2020 Season continues this Wednesday @:1:00PM. Make sure you are: 1. are using Google Chrome on a computer, 2. are logged into Netflix, and 3. Have downloaded the Netflix Party app. We will email and text out the unique URL address to join the party at 12:45 that day. This week’s feature film about racism and society is “The Help” (PG-13)
Online Classes
The announcements below include using the program "Zoom" to group-video chat. You can find a tutorial on how to use Zoom HERE!

Sundays from 4:00 - 5:15 pm
Students, come join us for games, discussion, community, and faith-building every Sunday from 4:00-5:15 pm! Go to: (case sensitive) with the password: 048658

Mondays from 7:30 - 8:30 pm
Is distance learning with your child harder than you thought? Are the challenges of parenting in close quarters overwhelming at times? Or do you just miss talking with other parents? I know that I certainly do, so join us for Parents Club on Zoom Monday evenings from 7:30-8:30 pm! Email

Wednesdays at 1:30 pm
Log in and have coffee (or tea) and chat with Pastors Pam and Kelly! Zoom link HERE.
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 (hopefully weekly) gathering to practice mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness is about developing the ability to be present in the moment with non-judgmental awareness.
Formal meditation can build neural pathways that help us stay anchored during emotional storms and help us build resilience. Meeting together virtually gives us an opportunity to have company on the journey. 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. If you want to learn more prior to starting, the sessions will be similar to ones she leads and records for  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.
ST. JOHN'S EMAIL BIBLE STUDY: Theology in Popular Music - Mostly the Good
Last year’s study, “The Songs of Summer” seemed to be a hit, so we’re going to do it again. This summer we’ll listen to some popular music that sings about prayer and healing, some international music, some bluegrass and country, some great young singers who are the future of the Church, and some show tunes.  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.

We recently heard that the Bernalillo County clothing bank called Locker #505, which serves APS, was broken into and items taken were some of their most expensive items to replace. Locker 505 provides clothing for students that they feel good about wearing, so they can concentrate on their school work and not worry about how they look. If we remember back to our school days (I know- a long time ago for many of us!), I am sure we can remember how important feeling good about our appearance was! With schools not in session since March, donations of lightly used clothing and money are down and they have not been able to have the two fund-raisers they desparately need to have items available for the children. New coronavirus procedures are in place so that students can still be served. We are collecting all the month of June for Locker 505 so please give generously. You can give on-line or send your check to the church. Be sure to designate "Locker 505" in the memo field of your check or on-line giving.
In accordance with the New Mexico Department of Health order, our facility will be closed until further notice. A re-open date is to be determined! 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