January 26, 2021

Psalm 19: 1-6

In the beginning of December, I was looking back on a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year” (to paraphrase the title of Judith Viorst’s children's book). I had endured, I had survived – but I was so looking forward to looking forward to anything! I now lived in a world where a trip to take my recycling down to the first floor of my apartment building was an EVENT!

And then I heard about the coming of the Christmas Star – the great conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn – that would be visible to the naked eye on December 21. And I could see it! No one had been able to see a Great Conjunction since March 4, 1226. Now this was something to look forward to! This was something I could not only look forward to, but some thing I could do, in person. I was excited.

So I put the date on my calendar, marking it “Christmas Star” in a bright color and setting a reminder on my phone so, in my world of sameness, it wouldn’t somehow slip by unnoticed and forgotten. And at sunset of the 21st, I walked down the street to a spot where the horizon was clearly visible. The night was warm and I found others of my neighbors there and we gathered in friendly camaraderie, waiting for full dark. And then someone exclaimed, “I can see it!” And we all started looking in the same direction and, one by one, we found it.

And my heart sang:

“Star of wonder, star of night,

Star with royal beauty bright,

Westward leading,

Still proceeding,

Guide us to Thy perfect light.”

I stood there a long while relishing the experience. The Great Conjunction was here – truly a Star of Light in a difficult year – and I had seen it, experienced it! I was awed.

And then suddenly, inexplicably – my mind made a big leap and I realized that, while I was looking at a Great Conjunction, it was not the greatest the world had ever seen.

A conjunction in space is a coming together; in language, it is words that link and connect. And in my mind I could see and feel truly the world’s Greatest Conjunction – God Himself, coming together and joining with humankind – in Jesus.

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14)

God among us! God among us! Imagine . . . a coming together, a connecting of God and man - almost beyond belief. My heart burst with the wonder of it all.

But there was more, for I realized that this, the Greatest Conjunction, doesn’t leave us! For Paul prays, “. . . that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” (Ephesians 3: 17) and then declares to us this mystery, which is “. . . Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1: 27)

And so I walked on home, knowing that while I had seen the Great Conjunction, I had experienced the Greatest Conjunction.

Lord, help me to experience your indwelling presence daily in my life, so that as I live out my years, I can be a tiny part of Your Hope in this world.

-- Lyn Fitz
St. John's Email Bible Study continues with “What Must I Do to Be Saved? Part 3c, God wants you to have eternal life.” We have seen in the past portions of this study that the New Testament continues the Old Testament theme of salvation as saving our physical lives and health and giving us the abundance we need to be comfortable and content. For the first time, we also see unambiguous promises of life that is “eternal” or “everlasting.” Join us as we examine the scriptural basis for our belief in resurrection and eternity with God through Jesus Christ. To receive daily study tips by email, write or call Regina Hunter at drhunter@nmia.com or 294-2877. You can also download a study guide HERE.
The 2020 end-of-year financial statements from the church will be mailed out on Tuesday, January 26. If you have questions email treasurer@stjohns-abq.org or call the treasurer Doris Bowen at 410-7213.
Friday, January 29 | 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
St. John’s is providing assistance in registering for vaccinations. Debby Smith will be at the west glass doors on Friday, January 29, 10:00-Noon. Debbie will help you fill-out the needed registration/application on-line. If you prefer to not come to the church, you may call Debby at 505-554-4238 and she will walk you through the process. If you come to St. John’s, please wear your mask. There will be no access to the rest of the building.
January 30 | 2:00 - 4:00 pm

Most Requested Non-Food Items needed:
  • Walmart or gas station gift cards
  • Knit caps, gloves
  • Lap blankets, warm shawls
  • Socks with gripper pads on soles
  • Magnifiers, flashlights
  • Basic hygiene/toiletry items
  • Most Requested Food Items needed:
  • Dry pasta (any type), Rice (any type)
  • Dry beans (any type)
  • Hot and cold cereals
  • Toilet tissue, facial tissue
  • Nutritional drinks (like Ensure)
  • Baking items (cake mixes with frosting, cookies mixes, flour, sugar, etc.)
  • Dry cat food
  • ANY Non-perishable food items
  • Monetary donations welcomed: bring to drive-in, drop-off event; mail to the church; online giving

Please write "SILVER HORIZONS" in the memo field of your check
Contact: Kathy Dieruf (kadieruf@gmail.com) with questions
You may have not been near St. John’s recently, but a community garden is now on the west side of the church (northwest corner). Because we are just getting started, our goals are simple:

· To provide produce for Chef Tim to use through the kitchen ministry, especially in feeding the hungry in Albuquerque,

· To give away produce from the garden to those in need, and

· To partner with Zuni Elementary kindergarten teachers on garden projects.

However, we have much grander aspirations once the garden is established but our main question will be “how are we neighboring?”
Therese and Crystal (a Zuni kindergarten teacher) partnered in the fall to give each Zuni kindergarten student a small packet containing soil, seeds, cups and instructions to teach and encourage gardening.

We currently have 4 4x8 garden boxes in the garden area with plans to add 4 4x4 garden boxes soon. In addition, 3 garden boxes have been placed along the south wall of the family life center with the purpose of mainly growing herbs and smaller vegetables to be used in the St. John’s kitchen (we call it “Tim’s Garden”). The wood for these garden boxes was donated by the New Mexico Ramp Project from the scraps they could not use on ramps!
Our immediate plans for the garden are: 1) complete the building of the garden boxes and get all filled and ready for spring planting, 2) build two hoop houses to start seedlings for the garden and 3) continue reaching out to Zuni with ways we can partner through the garden.

If you’re interested in being involved with the garden or being part of the garden team, please contact Regina Hampton at HAMPTONMASON1@msn.com.

Thank you, in advance, for helping us get the community garden going!
We’re now ready to take the next step with the St. John’s Community Garden – building two hoop houses (similar to greenhouses but not so elaborate) in the lower section of the garden in which we can start seedlings and produce plants for the garden plus share plants with others. Trustees have given us the nod to proceed. Del Jimenez, NMSU Horticulture Department, will be overseeing the construction of the hoop houses.

We have funding for one hoop house but need to raise $1500 for the 2nd one. The New Mexico Ramp Project has generously volunteered to provide the materials and labor for building the growing boxes that will be placed in the hoop houses.

Do you think this is a worthwhile cause? If so, we appreciate any help you can give us to make it happen. Please put “hoop house” in the memo of your check or online giving.
He Chose the Nails, What God Did to Win Your Heart by Max Lucado
  • February 23 - March 23 (5 weeks), Tuesdays, 2 - 4 p.m., via Zoom
  • Maximum number for class is 11
  • Facilitator: Karen Tidler
  • Register by emailing donnabruce@comcast.net; registration deadline: February 7

When Jesus took his last breath, did he secure salvation for humanity or perpetrate history's biggest hoax? Travel to Golgotha with Lucado and decide for yourself. With his characteristic insight, Lucado examines the extraordinary circumstances surrounding Christ's crucifixion and explains why the cross is central to our own search for significance.
Sundays | 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 our Youtube Channel. We hope you’ll worship with us! (Pastor Pam 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 mgreer@stjohns-abq.org.

Sunday Community Activities: Click HERE to view all Sunday School Classes & groups! Join us in the virtual Sonshine Coffee Zoom immediately following the 11:00 am Worship with church Leadership Team members hosting. Zoom link is HERE
Youth News
As we live into this New Year, there are several key plans the Youth Ministry is plotting regarding camping, Confirmation, and CrownPoint; Parents and students, we need your individual feedback to help guide and steer these decisions. Please take quick 3-minute survey to help us; entries are put in a drawing for a $30.00 gift card to Starbucks or Keva Juice. Find the survey HERE.

We have started an online on demand Bible Study over the book of Galatians for all ages. Find our discussion and post your own thoughts and observations through the following link as we explore this short and insightful book at a time that works for you. Link HERE.

Happy New Year! Not only is there a new year, but a new Zoom, at Sunday youth group with new games, new series, new discussions, and new faith-building activities every Sunday from 4:00-5:15PM! Zoom link HERE.
Thursday, February 4 | 10:00 am
"Understanding Medicare", presented by Karen Cooper, will be the focus of our upcoming meeting of United Methodist Women. We'll meet, via Zoom, at 10 a.m. on Thursday, February 4th, and we invite you to join us! Our meetings are open to all, including men, and we always welcome guests. If you'd like to receive the Zoom invitation, please send an email request to Regina Hampton at hamptonmason@msn.com. We look forward to seeing you on Zoom!
Mondays February 8 - March 15 | 10:00 am or 7:00 pm
Luke is a gospel rich in detail and focused on the meaning of salvation. Unique to Luke are the extensive birth narratives and parables such as The Good Samaritan and Prodigal Son. As a Gentile, Luke brings an outsider perspective and show sympathies to other "outsiders" like women and the marginalized of his society.
Join other men on Zoom at either 10:00 AM or 7:00 PM on six Mondays starting February 8. Contact teacher Jack Nuzum at jcnuzum@juno.com or 265-5241 to sign up.
Dwayne Ethridge is the recipient of the prayer quilt on display for January 26 - February 8.

In lieu of tying knots, please pray this prayer (or your own prayer) for Dwayne: “Heavenly Father, we pray for good health and recovery for Dwayne and ask that you make known the healing power of your hands. Amen."
  The pandemic has led to some significant long term changes for Family Promise. The families have been housed in one church since last March and other churches, including St. John's, have been providing meals and supplies on the usual rotating basis but without personal contact until Covid is behind us.
      That has worked well and the decision was made to obtain a permanent location which will double the number of families that can be served from 4 to 8. The good news is that a building has been found, but as you can imagine the costs are significant. Churches will continue to provide meals. Contact Jen Shields at 450-9978 if you are interested in helping.
  But the biggest way we can help now is to help pay the mortgage for the new location. Family promise has helped so many families find permanent housing, get jobs, learn parenting skills and more over the past 17 years. Let's help it continue to do this for the next 17 years. Please give generously throughout the month.
Stephen Ministers are members of St. John’s who have gone through 50 hours of training to provide high quality, confidential Christian care to individuals experiencing a crisis or life challenge such as divorce, grief, job loss, hospitalization, relocation, or loneliness.

How does someone get a Stephen Minister?
If you or someone you know could benefit from the care of a Stephen Minister, please call the office 505-883-9717 or email stephenministry@stjohns-abq.org
Contact Us
(505) 883-9717
2626 Arizona St NE | Albuquerque, NM 87110
Office Hours (call only): Monday - Friday, 9:00 am - 2:00 pm
Questions? Contact Shea Perry at communicate@stjohns-abq.org