July 2, 2020

“ Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy.“ (Psalm 98: 4,8 NIV)

Nothing seems to nourish my soul and feed my spirit more than spending time in Nature. There is something so soothing about gazing at an azure sky through the branches of tall pines, while hearing the rushing waters of a nearby river and the voices of chirping birds and squirrels. All of this is music to my thirsty soul, and the river’s sounds are like hymns to me. This is where I sense God‘s presence the deepest.

Much of my love for Nature is grounded in many years spent in Girl Scouting. As a camper throughout my youth until my last years serving as a camp counselor, the summers spent outside in God’s lovely creation brought joy and a sense of purpose to my life. A song that we often sang around the campfire was ” Peace, I Ask of Thee, Oh River”.

Now, as I write this, I am sitting near the banks of the beautiful Conejos River in southern Colorado. I am blessed to have friends who have lovingly shared their cabin with me throughout the years. It’s one of my favorite spots on Earth. The “hymn” that has played through my mind this week is “I’ve Got Peace Like a River”. This river reminds me of a PEACE, LOVE and JOY that can only come from my Heavenly Father. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) I am constantly reminded of His promise as I enjoy my quiet times of prayer, Bible study, and meditation in this place.

Much like our lives, rivers are constantly changing. The Conejos has certainly changed since I last visited. This time last summer, its banks were overflowing. Perhaps before our pre-pandemic days, our lives were overflowing as well—overflowing with busy schedules, too many commitments, little time to break away and enjoy the simple things of life. With the changes that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about, is God nudging us to slow down, refocus, and appreciate the beauty of His creation?

Change is never easy. We need God‘s strength, God’s wisdom, God’s power to continue on our journey and face the unknown. But as Christians, we have the assurance of the one thing that will NEVER change: The constant and abiding LOVE of Christ. Yes, life will change; He never does!

Just now, a beautiful swallowtail butterfly danced in front of me! Maybe it was the same one who visited me on Sunday as I sat by the river listening to our live-streamed worship service. Butterflies are special to me, and this one has reminded me once again of the care and comfort God has provided through some of the difficult seasons of my life.

When I return to the river next time, its speed and boundary waters may have changed, but I know that God will continue to be with me through whatever changes may come. And once again I will be refreshed because I have PEACE LIKE A RIVER.

Spiritual Practice:
Spend some time enjoying the beauty and quiet of the world outside. Let us reflect with peace in our hearts on things past, remembering that God has carried us each step of the way. He is the One who has, and will continue, to carry our burdens, comfort our hearts, order our steps, and grant us peace. I invite you to take a Nature escape and drink from the river of life!
Blessings and peace to all,
-- Kathy Dyer
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.
A view from the La Luz trail. Photo by: Calvin Shields
-- Jenn Shields
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
Dear beloved of St. John’s,

For several months, the St. John’s Leadership Team has been discerning when we might be able to start opening the facility for in-person worship services. And while we would love to throw the doors open and welcome everyone back just as before, the reality of the pandemic requires that we be cautious and take things step-by-step.
In that spirit, we are happy to announce that it is our intention to begin worshiping together in person, on a limited basis, beginning Sunday, August 2.

On that day, we will welcome the St. John’s community to a new worship service, which we are calling “Celebration.” This service will have a blend of traditional and contemporary elements, and will be held in the Family Life Center each Sunday at 9am.

Because space will be limited, prior reservations will be required, and we will have a team of volunteers who will check worshipers in, and seat them according to social distance protocols. (Families may sit together, of course!) Masks will be required for all worship attendees.

Also beginning August 2, the Abide service will be livestreamed at 10am, rather than 9:30. The traditional service will continue to be livestreamed from the sanctuary each Sunday at 11am.

In short, we will have three worship services each Sunday morning: one will be in person at 9am, and two will be online, at 10 and 11am.

We are all eager to be back worshiping together again, and we are thrilled about this first step toward reuniting the St. John’s community. This will be a new way of gathering, and we ask for your patience and grace as we work to make certain that the St. John’s family can begin to worship again together, while remaining as safe as possible.

We do want to let you know that this is, of course, a temporary schedule for all of our worship services as this is only phase 1 of our long-term plan for the church. We will be giving you more specific details regarding the execution of this alternative way of worshipping in the coming weeks. There will be no Sunday School or childcare during these gatherings, only worship for now. As we are able and time progresses, the leadership team will be modifying and adapting what we can do with the building usage.

We know you also are aware that the COVID-19 protocols are somewhat fluid and could alter our plans as we get closer to August 2nd. So, watch the announcements every Sunday morning during your worship hour and read your daily Disciple Connections for the latest updates.

Thank you for your patience and trust in our discerning and prayerful work. It is truly an honor to serve you and this church family we call St. John’s. May God bless all of you!

In Christian unity and love,
St. John’s Leadership Team

Rev. Dr. Pamela Rowley, Rev. Kelly Giese, Janice McCrary, Matt Greer, Mark Dodd, Karen Tidler, Jim Hickman, Jack Thompson, Larry Luna, Rachelle Luna, Doris Bowen, and Linn Reece.
Would you be interested in submitting a daily devotional for the Newsletter? If so, send an email to Reverend Dr. Pam Rowley at!
Saturday, July 4
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.

July 4   Rev. Dr. Scott Sharp
July 11  Rev. Dr. Todd Seelau
July 18  TBD
July 25  Rev. Dr. Randall Partin
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.
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).
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.

Gil Flores

Ingela Onstad, Michael Hix, & Amy Greer
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 Classes
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

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 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.
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.

The office will be closed on Friday, July 3 due to the July 4 holiday.
In accordance with the New Mexico Department of Health order, our facility will be closed until August 2! 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