December 16, 2020

Pleiku Vietnam, 1965

The size and shape of a package can be quite deceptive. I received a package, that from the outside, resembled an 18-inch section of the handle of a garden shovel. As I handled the package, the texture of the contents felt rough. There seemed to a hard central core surrounded by several rough, skinny pieces up and down the sides. I wondered what Nancy had sent.

It was mid-December and, knowing that woman as I did, I should have guessed what it was. Inside the package was a crude little prefabricated Christmas tree. The central stick was the main trunk. The various length pieces of wire were twisted around shreds of green plastic “foliage.” The wire “limbs” fit into holes pre-drilled up and down the trunk. When assembled, the conical shaped little monstrosity stood erect on its own base. There were even miniature decorations to adorn the scraggly dwarf bush. I was suddenly the proud owner of what may have been the only Christmas tree in Pleiku.

My Yuletide prize from home stood on my shipping crate “dresser” where a passerby couldn’t miss it. It prompted interesting reactions.

One guy, when he stopped laughing said, “Ya know, Dale, I think that’s probably the ugliest Christmas tree I have every seen.” He was still chuckling as he walked away.

In a few minutes, he was back. He stood in the doorway motionless and without comment for quite a while, looking at the tree. After several moments of reflective meditation, he said pensively, “But it is a Christmas tree. I like it.”

He left slowly and quietly. I didn’t disturb his thoughts.

-- Dale Amend, Excerpted from A Duck Looking for Hunters
Deadline Today
We are planning a special “virtual choir” video of “Joy to the World” for the Christmas Eve service, and we’d love to have has many St. John’s members as possible participate. All you have to do is take a quick video of yourself singing the carol while listening to a prerecorded track, and submit it for Jim Ahrend and Shea Perry to work their magic with. Your family’s video will be mixed with all the others to make a huge, joyful, congregational carol.

Click HERE for instructions on how to submit your video. All ages are welcome! Please submit your recording by Wednesday, December 16!
Wednesdays during Advent | 11:00 am - 11:30 am & 4:30 - 5:00 pm
Communion will be offered on December 16 and 23 in the west parking lot. You may “drive-by” between 11:00-11:30 and 4:30-5:00 p.m. Pastors Pam and Kelly will consecrate the elements with the gathered community at the beginning of each of these time slots. Individual cups with a wafer on the top will be provided. If you feel more comfortable bringing your own bread and juice, please feel free to do so. Chief Tim will also be assisting with the serving and with a prayer.

Ken Medema Livestream Concert
Join us for a very special St. John’s concert by Ken Medema, live from his home in northern California. This will be a very special hour of Christmas story and song. Join us!

Sol Calypso
Join Alexis Corbin, Hovey Corbin, and family members for a fun and festive Christmas concert.
Brian - “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear”
During Advent you are invited to participate in personal Advent Evening Prayer and Worship in the comfort of your home at the close of each day. Download this guide HERE.
"This is a favorite memory of mine. Our four children came home from college for Christmas, and sang with us in the Christmas Eve Choir. My Dad was snowbirding with us from New York. We were invited to light the Advent Wreath candles. Your Pastor Melissa was our Duke Divinity Intern here at Jarvis Memorial United Methodist Church in North Carolina."

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

-- Ann Phillips
Let’s share the spirit of Advent and Christmas by sharing photos of our at-home altar spaces, the lighting of Advent candles, and our holiday decorations! Please also consider sharing a favorite Advent & Christmas activity or memory! Email your photos and a description to Shea at
Would you be interested in submitting a daily devotional for the Newsletter? If so, send an email to Pastor Pam at! Please include the following items when writing a devotion:
  • A Focus Word or Phrase
  • A Scripture (it can simply be referenced)
  • One page of a Devotion
  • A Prayer or a Spiritual Practice
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! (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

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 registration is HERE.
Prayer Requests:
The Gruen family in the passing into glory of Marge

Ann Boland and family in the passing into glory of Bob

Roger and Donna Eaton in the passing of sister Virginia Davis

Donna Bruce in the passing of her brother

Karen and Hal Tidler in the passing of their brother-in-law
Kelly Giese is the recipient for the prayer quilt on display for December 7 - December 20.

In lieu of tying knots, please pray this prayer (or your own prayer) for Kelly: “Loving Lord, we ask that as Kelly moves forward to a new location and a new ministry, may your Holy Spirit lead and guide her and keep her steadfast, always abounding in your work and in your love. Amen."
 DECEMBER SPECIAL OFFERING: Two Ministries for Children
This month, we have the opportunity to support two wonderful ministries dealing with children. The Methodist Children’s Home in Waco, Texas, has helped troubled children (ages 12-18) find a place to heal and grow in a loving Christian environment for over 125 years. Younger children thrive in homes of loving foster parents. “They (MCH) are here for me when no one else is.” “They never give up on us.” “I now know that God’s going to be there for me.
      A second Methodist-supported haven for children is Providence Place in San Antonio, Texas. Its motto says it all: “Giving God’s Children a Faith, a Family, a Future.” “Providence Place loved me and helped me make the best decision for my child without any pressure,” said one birth mother in the open adoption program. And, as an adoptive couple puts it, “It is indescribable the joy that Abby has brought into our lives.” Providence Place also helps young adults with physical and/or cognitive disabilities develop their full potential and learn to live on their own with minimal assistance.  Both of these fine ministries rely on our generous donations.
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