June 18, 2020

First impressions are often wrong. Pause to take a second or third impression, and enrich your life.

Every day, all day, we see pictures on television of protests, people being angry or holding signs. One of my sons told me he had to turn off the TV and walk away from his friends because all he heard was anger. He had to take a walk and break down what he was seeing and hearing. Then my black, African American son had to call me, his mother, to help him sort things out, to make sense of it all.

I am a woman, a mother to 7 children, and an advanced practice nurse practitioner/clinical nurse specialist. I am also a Christian and a faith community nurse. My mother was mulatto (black and white), my father Navajo. I grew up perceiving myself as a marshmallow, a pale confection bobbing around in a sea of chocolate, never quite melting in. I constantly had to explain why I looked different from my family, that I had a German grandfather, but was really Native even though my hair was kinky and blonde. My childhood was spent living in and attending segregated schools that were either Navajo or for people of color. I could pass as white if I was not with my relatives, but inside my head I was indigenous. I started marching with Dr King when I was 14 and met and married one of Martin’s top aides when I was 19. I bore him 3 children before the strain of Dr King’s death broke up our marriage. I later took in and raised 4 more children of various ethnicities.

I say all this as a way of demonstrating that we all have prejudices and biases. ALL OF US! We are a product of our experiences. I don’t worry about those who admit their biases; I fear those who do not. The Creator has taught me to not go with the first impression, but to step back and take another look. Now when I see all the crowds, I try to focus on one person, ANY person, and concentrate on just that one. What is the expression on that person’s face: fear, calm, hatred, smiling, maybe a mixture of many emotions. What is that person’s body language trying to say? This is what reporters try to do, picking someone from the crowd for a 30 second sound bite before saying “Back to you, Ted”. Ever notice how the reporter usually picks someone of similar age and gender as themselves? Unconsciously the reporter feels like he “knows” that person, feels comfortable with them to ask questions.

I had a fearful reaction the first time I set foot in St John’s Church. All I saw was a sea of white faces, older people that I was sure I had nothing in common with. I didn’t belong here. Then a person came over to me and said “You look lost. You must be new. Let me show you around and introduce you to some people.” Instead of a sea of paleness, I started to connect to Barbara and Tom and Matt and George. I met Delores and Patsy and Jerome. They told me about themselves and I got 2nd and 3rd impressions. I did have something in common with them. They were parents and teachers and loved the outdoors and singing in choirs. My perceptions and biases changed.

In all four gospels of the Bible, the story is told of crowds following Jesus everywhere, sometimes even when he was tired. His disciples wanted to chase the crowds away. They were noisy and unruly; it was getting late and Jesus deserved some rest. But instead of seeing thousands upon thousands of people, it says in John, chapter 6, verses 1-13, that in the crowd Jesus saw a boy, with a lunch his mother had packed for him, that contained 5 barley rolls and 2 fishes. Jesus asked his disciple Phillip to bring the boy to him, then, asking permission of the boy to use his lunch to feed all the people. Jesus gave thanks to God and started breaking the lunch into small pieces. You all know the story from your Sunday School days. After all the thousands of people had eaten, there was still food left over! Many preachers and teachers emphasize the miracle that Jesus performed, that of feeding the 5000. I look at this story and marvel that, even if we are in the midst of a mass of people, somebody not very important in the eyes of this world, Jesus can still find us and use us for His glory. We need to pray that we become more like Jesus, not accepting first impressions, but taking another look and so to discover more.

Dee Billops
-- Clyde Stanfield
Would you be interested in submitting a daily devotional for the Newsletter? If so, send an email to Reverend Dr. Pam Rowley at!
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
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.
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.
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

You can download the order of worship here .

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
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

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 kicks off 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 is “Groundhog Day” (PG)

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.
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