April 23, 2020
Devotionals this week are provided by Stephen Ministers in-training.
Matthew 3 1-4 (NIV)

In those days, John the Baptist came, preaching in the desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:

“A voice of one calling in the desert,
prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.”

John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey.

The bible is silent on why John the Baptist went into the desert and how long he was there. What is clear, however, is that he came back transformed. Jesus also went into the desert (Mt 4:1-2) for 40 days to be tested. He too came back transformed and began his ministry. Mt 4:17 tells us: “From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

The bible also does not tell us who John or Jesus may have lived with while they were in the desert. Some scholars speculate that they lived with Essenes, a Jewish sect that lived apart, were very devout and aesthetic - they lived simply and worshiped God. John and Jesus were changed by their experience in the desert. They both came back into public life (John to Judea and Jesus to Galilee) preaching the word of the Lord and proclaiming repentance for sins.

We have been shut-in by the Coronavirus. While those of us in Albuquerque live in the desert anyway, now we are living apart - from our friends, families, and our church. Many of us feel like we are living a simpler life of reflection and are simplifying our lives by cleaning out our homes. From the posts I’ve seen on FaceBook, people feel like John in his camel hair cloak with wild hair from not visiting a barber or hair dresser. Our diets may be simpler as well from eating at home, but not to the point of eating locusts, although wild honey is a possibility.

As we work though this time of reflection and simplicity, what is God transforming in our lives and hearts? Are we changing as John and Jesus did? Is repentance happening? When we emerge from staying at home, how will we prepare the way for the Lord? How will we work to transform our world and fellow humans for Jesus?

I invite you to meditate and picture yourself returning to Albuquerque (or your home) after spending time alone hiking or camping in the desert or the wilderness. During this time you have been reflecting on God and praying for his guidance in your life. What message did you hear? How is God guiding you to prepare for the return of Jesus? Will you take on a mission, volunteer, or expand your service in another way? Write out your plan to do this.

-- Larry Luna, CLM, Stephen Minister in Training
St. John’s will live-stream a worship service 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
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!

Wednesdays at 1:30 pm
Log in and have coffee (or tea) and chat with Pastors Pam and Kelly! Zoom link HERE. Wednesdays at 1:30 pm.

Thursdays at 1:30 pm
Join Pastor Pam for a 30-minute spiritual exercise. Space is limited, and the Zoom link will be provided to the first 15 people to sign up! Sign-up is HERE. Thursdays at 1:30 pm.
We have been at home 
- just barely peeking out
- oh look! another spring came. 
Better wake up.  
All will be well with the world.  
 Norma Argo 
The Lenten Fish Fry Dinner committee wants to say “Thank You” for your generous support of the 2020 Lenten dinners. Both your volunteering and your support of the first responders and the Zuni & neighborhood contributions for free dinners were outstanding.

Because the Covid-19 virus shut us down after only two dinners, we will be very limited on the profits that we can give to organizations that feed the hungry of Albuquerque, including our very own St. John’s UMC Food Ministry.

We would like to use your donations for first responders, the Zuni school/neighborhood, and the donations from the online Bible study to add to the limited funds we have this year to help feed those in need throughout the coming year. However, we felt that if you donated as listed above, we need to ask your permission to take this course of action. So, if you agree with this approach, you do not need to do anything. If you would like your donation returned to you, please contact either Wayne Shirley at 294-1018 or or Doris Bowen at 299-6570 or

Please respond to us by April 28, 2020 if funds need to be returned. Otherwise we will add the remaining donations to the profits to be distributed as we normally do.

You all are indeed a blessing to St. John’s UMC and our Albuquerque community!!!
St John’s Food Ministry will be providing an evening meal at Hopeworks , Tuyesday, April 28th. At Hopeworks. Chef Tim and his crew will prepare a hot, homecooked meal for over150 people, and St. John’s “Go-phers” will drive the food to their mission on 3rd Street in Albuquerque.

The distribution of this food will be handled by staff at Hopeworks. St John’s staff will only prepare and deliver it. The Food Ministry will also provide hot, homecooked dinner for 30 people at Casa Esperanza on Thursday, April 24 and Thursday, April 30. We are able to fund this ministry through gracious gifts from Sunday school classes, individual donations from the congregation, and through a specific gift given to St John’s for use in our community and congregation for those in need. If you would like more information on this or other food ministry outreach meals contact Tim Nuzum at or Kelly Giese @ .
As part of our outreach during this unsettling time, the Music Ministry has launched “Music From St. John’s,” a series of video performances by local musicians. This is an effort to continue to provide beautiful music to our congregation and community, and also to provide work to local musicians who have been severely affected by cancelations. New videos will appear daily for the foreseeable future, and they are being created by Shea Perry. We hope you’ll enjoy and share the videos, and also consider making a donation to the New Mexico Musicians Relief Fund. The easiest way to view the videos is to go to the St. John’s Music Ministries Facebook page. Check back daily!
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!
Casa Esperanza has suspended volunteer dinners. Instead, they have asked for monetary donations. St. John's has a Casa Esperanza fund, please note "Casa Esperanza" on your check or on your online donation. For each $150.00 donation, Casa Esperanza will purchase dinner for the residents. Casa Esperanza is working with St. John's and local businesses, to provide meals. Questions?? Please contact Jenn Shields at or 505-450-9978.

Family Promise has decided to keep the families at Church of the Good Shepherd until May. Since we are not hosting in April, Family Promise is asking for money to help off set the costs. Checks sent to St. John's can be noted "Family Promise" or you can donate online directly to Family Promise here. If you are willing to donate games, gift cards, lawn chairs, mini refrigerator, microwave, the use of an RV or rental home for housing families, please contact Jenn Shields. If you have other questions, please contact either Linn Furnish at - 505-884-6626 OR Jenn Shields at - 505-450-9978.

Each year the funds we raise during the Lenten/Easter season go to many local ministries. A sample of those includes the following: Family Promise, Grace Meal, Asbury Pie Cafe, Wesley House, McCurdy Ministries, NM Ramp Project, Mobile Food Pantry, lunch bags for the homeless, Breaking Bread Meals, Silver Horizons and many more. In these difficult times these ministries need our help more than ever. Please give generously.
Please come to pray in the labyrinth any time of day. Park in the east parking lot near the front doors of the sanctuary/narthex doors. Our prayer labyrinth is directly to the south of the front doors. It is advisable to have one person on the labyrinth at a time. Enter the prayer labyrinth with a personal prayer and then quietly and contemplatively experience what God has to share with you during this time.
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.

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.
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
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