April 21, 2020
Devotionals this week are provided by Stephen Ministers in-training.

Phillipians 4:11; I Thessalonians 5:18

I moved to Albuquerque last June. I wanted out of the cold, the humidity and the mosquitoes in Illinois that locked me inside for much of the year. And Albuquerque was a good choice - as was St John’s. And I settled in - hiking with Mountain Cathedrals and friends, enjoying my new home. During the winter, I dreamed of all the things I could do and where I could go in New Mexico in the spring.

But then before spring came, along came COVID-19. Denial, then worry, then stay-at-home orders, masks and “no closer than six feet.” Not at all what I expected. Anything but what I had expected. I expected trips to see children and grandchildren; I got Facetime. I expected to explore New Mexican food in restaurants with friends; I got takeout - alone. I expected frequent trips with friends to scenic vistas ; I got friends who were also isolating, and a car on the fritz. I expected to invite friends over for game nights; I got to play Scrabble against the computer.

To say my expectations were upended would be an understatement. And it has happened to all of us.Our world is not the same and we are all profoundly affected. And the uncertainty and the change is not just for now - but for the future as well. Will anybody I know get COVID-19? Will I? Will anybody I know die of it? Will anybody in my family die? Will I?

So in very early March, as all this was starting to sink in, I did what came most naturally to me - I started to prepare. (I tell myself I am a person who has back-up plans to my back-up plans!) I bought staples of rice and beans and made sure I had necessary medicines. I got ready - and waited.

Now while I am very capable of practical preparation - it’s not always the same on the spiritual front. Too often I go about seeking a solution on my own, instead of calling on God. But this time, God gave me a gift of music and a gift of scripture that spoke to me and quieted my heart.

The music: one of my favorite hymns, “Now Thank We All Our God.” It is not my favorite just because of the words, but because of the story behind these words. It was written by Martin Rinkhart, a pastor in Germany during the time of the Thirty Year War and the Black Death. In a few years time, he presided over almost 5000 funerals and saw such famine come to the town that people fought over dead rats for food. Utter misery. And yet he could write this hymn,which has always humbled and inspired me - but this time it calmed me, centered me, brought me back from myself to God.

The scriptures: Phillipians 4:11. “...I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content.” And I Thess 5: 16-18 “...give thanks in all circumstances …” Again, a gift from God for me in this upending time - and a gift because through them God changed me.

And so now, I find myself, strangely (by the world’s standards) content. Not living in the future - but more than I have ever in my life - living in the now. And - miraculously - I am not even worrying if this state will last through this or other disasters and life changes. I am just so grateful for God’s gift of contentment to me in the here and now.

“God, thank you for being with us in this difficult time. Our needs right now are as varying as we are. Lord,just help us to look to you and not to ourselves in this time and to open

ourselves to receive your gifts to us. And we especially ask for the gift of Your contentment even in these times. Amen”

-- Lyn Fitz, 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 mgreer@stjohns-abq.org.
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.
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 jwshirleyabq@gmail.com or Doris Bowen at 299-6570 or bowen_g@msn.com

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!!!
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!
Christmas cactus December bloom.                                              
Again in April,why?                                                    
Hope for COVID-19 gloom !      
My way.   

-- Tony Argo
In accordance with the New Mexico Department of Health order, our facility will be closed through April 30. 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 jennshields200@yahoo.com 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 swimsew@comcast.net - 505-884-6626 OR Jenn Shields at jennshields200@yahoo.com - 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 counselor@stjohns-abq.org 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: mapalook@comcast.net

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 c.care@stjohns-abq.org
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 communicate@stjohns-abq.org