March 16, 2021

So we begin Lent, having placed ourselves on the way with Jesus to the cross. All of us long to follow Jesus wholly and completely on the way, but how often we fall short - so short. And as I was thinking about Lent, about looking inward, about self-examination, a phrase from poet and singer Leonard Cohen came to mind. I want to share it with you, hoping that it can shape your Lenten experience.

Cohen sings of “the Christ who has not risen from the caverns of the heart.” I want to repeat that: “the Christ who has not risen from the caverns of the heart.” And this got me thinking about the caverns of my heart - which I’ve marked “Closed” to his resurrection power, which I’ve marked “Off Limits” to his light, which I’ve kept under my own control, where Christ is, in a real sense of the word, still dead.

As I look at the caverns in my heart, I see that the stones rolled in front of these caverns to close them off are sealed up with reasonable, sensible, rational, good explanations. “My talents lie in other directions.” “I already give 15%.” “I just don’t have the right personality to be the one to reach out to her.” And even “I’ve been praying and this doesn’t seem like the right direction.” And on and on and on.

It’s not that these reasonable, sensible, rational, good explanations are always wrong for me. As a human being, I need boundaries and God wants me to have them. But they are wrong because in these cases I made a decision in the darkness, without Christ’s light, and then just sealed it all away, covered with reasonableness, in a cavern of my heart - where Christ has not risen . . . . . . yet.

So today I invite you to join me in looking for the caverns of our

hearts where Christ is not yet risen - and to ask him to roll the stones away. We don’t need to doubt his power. After all . . . it happened before!

“And very early on the first day of the week they went to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb? And looking up, they saw that the stone was rolled back. . . .”

Mark 16: 2-4 (The Message)

Prayer: Help me, Lord, to look inside myself and find whatever I have hidden from you, whatever I have decided for myself or even unconciously marked as “off limits” to your light. Help me to truely open myself to you.

-- Lyn Fitz
9:30 AM

Beloved, we are celebrating Palm Sunday together in community and in physical space once again! It has been a very long year, but we have stayed healthy and have endured through a pandemic. Praise be to God!

We are easing into a reopening with worship in the Family Life Center first and then in the sanctuary. The installation of the new HVAC system is almost completed, and efforts are underway to prepare cameras and needed electronics to continue the live-streaming of services. We will reopen incrementally over the next weeks. Please look for announcements in the E-Disciple and on the website about worship in the sanctuary, youth and children’s ministries, and small group meetings and studies. We will do our very best to communicate effectively as new “openings” occur and as we follow safety protocols to ensure optimal health for all of us and our guests.

Thank you for your steadfast prayers, your compassion and understanding, and especially your faithfulness in all regards during these difficult circumstances. “Consider it pure joy, brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that we may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4). We have persevered and endured, keeping our faith, friends, and we will soon be together again!

Blessings and peace in Jesus Christ, our Lord,
-- Pastor Pam and the Leadership Team
Each Lenten season, as a church community, we focus on a spiritual practice together. Many of us have our individual disciplines and practices for Lent, but it is very meaningful to have a spiritual practice that we are all nurturing and developing. In the past few years, we have engaged in Lectio Divina, Centering Prayer, Sabbath rest, the examen, and other spiritual endeavors. This Lent, we will practice Visio Divina. Each week, we will take the sermon text from Sunday, picking an image, painting, or photograph that we might find in a book or through Googling that scripture. Here are the steps for Visio Divina:

  • John 4:5-14
  • Look at the image you have found that relates to the scripture reading, and let your eyes stay with the very first thing that you see.
  • Keep your attention on that one part of the image that first catches your eye.
  • Breathe deeply and let yourself gaze at that part of the image for a minute or so.
  • Now, let your eyes gaze at the whole image. Take your time and look at every part of the photograph or painting. See it all. Reflect on the image for a minute or so.

Consider the following questions:
  • What emotions and feelings does this image evoke in you?
  • What does the image stir up in you, bring forth in you?
  • Meditate on these thoughts.
  • How does this image lead you into an attitude of prayer? Let the prayer take form in you. Write it down if you desire.
  • Offer your prayer to God in a final time of silence.
  • Journal any thoughts or prayers that came to mind in heart during the practice.
Tuesday, March 16 | 6:30 pm
Rev. Craig Cockrell, Albuquerque District Superintendent, will be present with St. John’s UMC on Tuesday, March 16th at 6:30 p.m. for a special called Church Conference to approve the compensation package of Rev. Dr. Randall Partin. In addition, our beloved Jarrod Conyers, Director of Youth Ministry and Congregational Care, will be presented to the church body for recommendation and approval to pursue candidacy for licensed or ordained ministry in the United Methodist Church. This is an important meeting as we support and celebrate our new Senior Pastor AND a candidate for ministry! Please look in the March 16th edition of the E-Disciple for the Zoom link to join the Church Conference.
For more info email tmacali@stjohns-abq.org
 As you know our Pastor Pam has received a promotion and will be leaving us the end of June to be the El Paso District Superintendent. SPRC is planning ways to celebrate her ministry and at the same time help our new pastor Rev Dr. Randall Partin to get acquainted with us. This is one way we’d like to do that but we need to get started on it.

We would like for you to introduce yourself and your family to the new pastor! Some of you already know him but due to social distancing precautions, many of us will first meet Pastor Randall virtually. The SPRC Welcoming Committee is asking each member and family to create a short document introducing yourself and your family members and sharing a little bit about yourself and a picture. This will be a great resource for Pastor Randall who wants to get to know all of us so please participate. What would you like the new pastor to know about you?

We’d love a current picture but if you prefer you can reference a picture from the directory. Please send your document to SPRC@stjohns-abq.org or mail it to SPRC -New Pastor 2626 Arizona St. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87110. We would like to have it by April 1st.

Please keep it short, no longer than one page. If you have questions or would like help need putting your document together, please feel free to contact Stan Mortimer
Saturday, March 20 | 8:30 am – 12:00 pm

Albuquerque Volcanoes

Please join us Saturday, March 20th for a stroll through the volcanoes we all know from Albuquerque’s west horizon. In the spirit of our Lenten journeys, we will focus less on reaching mountaintops (the Park Service doesn’t allow summiting the main volcanoes anyway) and more on what is along the way. In this arid landscape, as in our lives, there are surprises and wonders for those who look for them. Please RSVP to Mike Furnish, mdfurnish@comcast.net. If you are interested in leading a devotion, please let me know!

Easy to moderate: 2.5 – 3.4 miles, some up and down, fairly even footing.

Meet at the church (east parking lot) at 8:30 or at the Volcanoes Day Use Area parking lot at 9:00 (when it opens). There is a restroom at the trailhead parking area.

Other near-future trips planned:
Palm Sunday, March 28th Joint trip with the Youth to Tomé Hill (afternoon; moderate).

Easter Sunday, April 4th: Sunrise walk to Travertine Falls outside of Tijeras (5:30 meetup; moderate).

April 18th: Moderate hike (Canon del Agua near Placitas?); save the date

May 15th: Moderate hike; save the date

We may add a couple of easy or strenuous hikes in here – please let me know if you’re interested!
Family Promise is celebrating Enrique and Raquel, and their small children, moving into their new home. This family is in need of all household items. If you can donate these items please contact Karen Erickson at karenerickson2016@yahoo.com.
If you wish to donate gift cards or money please send it to (indicate on the memo line and gift cards - "Graduation Donation"):

Family Promise                          
Attn: Laura Combs
808 Edith Blvd NE
Albuquerque, NM  87102
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
Saturday, March 27 | 1:00 - 3:00 pm

What their pantry needs:
  • Pasta
  • Spaghetti Sauce
  • White Rice
  • Tuna
  • Beans
  • Bisquick Mix
  • Crackers
  • Drink Mix (Tea/Lemonade)
  • Oatmeal
  • Top Ramen
  • Canned Vegetables
  • Canned Meat
  • Canned Soup
  • Mac and Cheese
  • Microwavable Paper Plates and Paper Bowls
  • Plastic Forks and Spoons
  • Plastic Cups
  • Napkins
  • Foil Pans for Dinners
  • Zip Lock Bags (all sizes)
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Food Storage Containers
  • Paper Towels
  • Coffee
  • Creamer
  • Sweetener
  • Stir Sticks
  • Trivets
  • Pot Holders
  • Hand Towels

Monetary donations welcomed: bring to drive-in, drop-off event; mail to the church; online giving
Please write "CASA ESPERANZA" in the memo field of your check
Contact: Donna Bruce (donnabruce@comcast.net) with questions
Mondays, February 22 - March 29 | 7:00 pm
Weekly Lenten Zoom Study, based on the book Wind in the Wilderness: A Lenten study from the Prophets (D. J. del Rosario; available from Cokesbury). Tuesdays at 7 PM, led by our Certified Lay Ministers, beginning Feb. 16th. The chapters: Building a skyscraper, Sticks and stones, Worst baby names ever, Nine words that changed everything, Present in the waiting, A taste of the good life, and If a tree falls in the woods... . The first chapter raises interesting questions about when we find ourselves in a deep hole as the Israelites did during the Exile and how the experience changes us, drawing on texts from Isaiah 9 and 53. It goes from there. There are daily Scripture readings as well. To register please contact Michael Furnish (mdfurnish@comcast.net ). We are exploring continuing this after Easter with Adam Hamilton’s The Walk, led by Joe Marshall, CLM.
FAMILY SPIRIT SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS: Explore The Sermon on the Mount!
Sundays | 9:30 - 10:45 am
The Family Spirit Sunday School Class welcomes EVERYONE! We currently meet on Sundays from 9:30 am to 10:45 am using video conferencing on Zoom.us. We are a small group of friendly adults who like to study, watch educational videos about books, and then discuss questions, pray and socialize.

We are currently studying this book and video series: Sermon on the Mount: a Beginner’s Guide to the Kingdom of Heaven.

The Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5 to 7, contains some of Jesus most profound and most memorable teachings. What might these teachings have mean to his disciples, and to the others who first heard them? How do they enhance our reading of the rest of the Gospel of Matthew, and how do they speak across the centuries to listeners today? How, if we pay careful attention to his words, does Jesus provide us a road map to living as God would have us live?

In Sermon on the Mount: A Beginner's Guide to the Kingdom of Heaven, author Dr. Amy-Jill Levine introduces the major topics in the Sermon on the Mount, explains historical and theological contexts, and shows how the words of Jesus echo his Jewish tradition and speak forward to reach hearts and minds today.

This book provides a rich and challenging learning experience for the individual reader and also makes a wonderful, multiple week group study with the additional Leader Guide, a DVD of Dr. Amy-Jill Levine speaking (a series of 6 lessons, to be watched and discussed over a series of weeks). Plus, the option of daily readings for 40-days if you want to go in depth.

Discover new insights – watch this quick (94 second) introduction video, to hear from Dr. Amy-Jill Levine the author of the book.

Do you like videos? Want to learn more? Watch Session 1 in the 6-part series about the book.

And to view the rest of the video series, please join us in class to watch on Sundays. This class is taught by Rev. Doug Sweet. For more information on this free class, including the zoom video conferencing link, please contact Brian A. Eagan by email: eagan.brian@gmail.com
LENTEN OFFERING: Special offering for March
  Lent is the time of preparation, a time of sacrifice, a time of renewed focus on God, a time of giving.
Traditionally at St. John's, the Lenten Offering goes to support many and varied local ministries. In the past we have supported such ministries as, the Ramp Project, Mobile Food Pantry, Hopeworks, Asbury Pie Cafe, Wesley House, McCurdy Ministries, Barrett House, Silver Horizons , lunch bags for the homeless and many more.
   During the pandemic this past year, St. John's has been very generous in supporting ministries that help our community, the need being greater than ever this year. So as we think of Jesus great sacrifice for us, may we sacrifice in our own small way and continue to give generously to those in need.
Paul and Lois Volchansky (friends of Joyce and David Apple) are the recipients for the prayer quilt on display for March 5 - March 18.

In lieu of tying knots, please pray this prayer (or your own prayer): “Lord, we place Paul and Lois before you and ask for your blessings of peace and strength in their lives. Amen”
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