September 2, 2020

Matthew 22: 39b “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

It’s 3:00 in the morning and I can’t get back to sleep – and so I write.

I’ve been thinking about my perceptions of others and how often they affect my thinking. There’s my older neighbor in my apartment complex who uses a walker and seemed to me to be an ordinary retired schoolteacher until I learned of her parachuting adventures -among others! And the several very successful people in my Zoom group whom I would have never dreamed had driven – like myself – rusty cars where if you removed the floor mats, you could see the road below! And the black guy – with pants so low and dreads so long – who apologized to me and then comforted me after his son’s large puppy scared me and my little dog. And that leads me to think of the guy at the Dairy Queen . . .

But let me stop here and tell you something else I am thinking about, part of what is keeping me awake right now.

Minneapolis. Kenosha. Those are my towns. I lived there, I shopped there, I walked the river in Minneapolis and the lake in Kenosha. I saw them as beautiful, lovely places to live. And now horrible things – unspeakable things – have happened there. George Floyd. Jacob Blake. Peaceful protests. Violence. Riots. Naked hate. And not just in these two places, of course – but these two places bring it all home - for Kenosha and Minneapolis were home to me.

I find it all hard to comprehend. Why would someone in the police force act with such mindlessness, such loss of control? Peaceful protests I understand – but why burn and wreck and hurt and destroy? And I have no magic wand to wave and fix everything. I want to help. Where do I fit in?

And now I am compelled to go back to the man at the Dairy Queen . . .

In June I had finally ventured out of COVID isolation to go to the DQ to get a Blizzard. It was a beautiful morning and as I sat in my car enjoying my treat, I saw up ahead a black man crossing the street heading toward the DQ. And I locked my door. I locked my door. Instinctively. Without thought.

But later - I thought about that moment - long and hard.

I want to be part of the solution. I’m not a racist. Yet – instinctively – I had profiled that man based on race alone and reacted defensively. Do I want to be like that? Of course not.

And yet I don’t want to discount my “spidey senses” - my intuition. And having worked in mental health nursing for years and having been involved in many a dangerous situation, I know how important my spidey senses are to keeping me safe. But looking at this objectively – there was absolutely no danger. Broad daylight, many people around, the person not even close, the person not even walking directly to my car – I was very safe. And yet I locked the door. I had perceived a threat when none existed - because his skin was black.

I have often heard that the first place to start making change happen is with yourself for that’s the only thing you can really control. And that’s hard – to look inward, to admit that there is a part of me that is a part of the problem. To admit that a part of me – even a little bit - is racist: oh Lord God – that really hurts.

And here I need to be honest – that’s what keeping me awake.

And so I bring this to the Light – to the One who can make wholeness out of brokenness. To the One who helps me look at myself, see myself as I am – and change.

And so I bring this to you, my church community, to let you know, that while seeing a part of me as racist and working to root it out is hard, it also feels triumphant – that even though isolated by COVID and slowed down by age - I can still be part of the solution. Thanks be to God.

Help me, Lord, to continue to look inward, knowing that I am loved by you just as I am, even as I seek to become more of what you would have me be.

I am also listening to “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man” with Emmanuel Acho on YouTube. The first is a monologue, the rest are dialogues. They are hard and challenging at times but very helpful and insightful.

-- Lyn Fitz
Claudia Giese is retiring from her position at St. John’s, effective October 1. Since 2013, Claudia has been an invaluable member of the music staff. She founded the St. John’;s Bach Project, and organized and shepherded countless rehearsals, concerts, and worship services. Her gentle presence and deep musical knowledge will be missed by our staff and congregation alike.

Because of accrued vacation, Claudia’s last day in the office was August 28. Stayed tuned for information about a special celebration of her ministry at St. John’s.

In the meantime if you would like to send greetings and good wishes to Claudia, you can email her at, or send her a card at 2626 Arizona St. NE
Wednesdays | 8:00 am & 7:00 pm
Please join us on Wednesday mornings & evenings for a worship service of praise and prayer. This service will take place in the Memorial Garden of St. John’s on the west side of the building. This services is designed to be thirty minutes and will be led by Certified Lay Ministers Larry Luna & 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.
Wednesday, September 2 | 7:00 pm
Come receive communion in your car on Wednesday, September 2 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).
A CALL TO HOME GARDENERS: The Food Ministry Wants Your Fresh Produce From Your Garden
St John’s Food Ministry continues to serve the people of Albuquerque--approximately 500 people per month!--with hot meals prepared in our kitchen,  Do you have a surplus of fresh produce from your garden that you would like to donate to St. John's to feed the hungry? If so, please contact Chef Tim at
I recently visited Ethyl the Whale at Santa Fe Community College. She reminds us to Rethink, Refuse, Reuse, Repair, Recycle.
-- Susan Quintana 
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.
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)
The Body of the Devotion (one page is a good guideline)
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 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
Women's Studies Via ZOOM
We will be offering all our classes via ZOOM so you can attend from the convenience of your own home - perhaps even in your pjs if you want!

Registration Information
  • No charge to take the class but you will need to purchase your own book
  • Information provided when you sign up for a class on possible sources for books
  • Depending on the class you choose, cost of book is usually between $10 - $16 plus shipping
  • Deadlines given to allow time to order and receive your book before class begins
  • Sign up for the class(es) you want by emailing Donna at
  • Maximum number of participants listed with each class so if interested in a particular class, please register as soon as possible
  • Waiting lists created for any classes that reach maximum number but still have ladies interested in participating
  • If there are enough on the waiting list for a particular class, a second session will be considered
Forgiveness, A Lenten Study, by Marjorie J. Thompson, led by Barbara Stanfield

This study started right before the stay-at-home requirement so only two sessions were held. Barbara will review those first two sessions on September 8 so anyone who might be interested in joining the class can still do so.

September 8 - October 6 (5 weeks), Tuesdays, 9:30 - 11:30 a.m.
Deadline for registration: now
Maximum number for class is 11; 7 are currently enrolled so 4 spaces available

Forgiving others and humbly asking for forgiveness are central disciplines for all Christian believers. Lent, a time to reflect on our Christian journey, is an appropriate time to deepen our understanding and practice of forgiveness. Using biblical examples and real-life situations, Thompson illustrates each chapter's theme in an informative and engaging way. With clarity, insight, and sensitivity, this book is the perfect resource for examining both our ability to forgive and our own need for forgiveness.
Grounded in Prayer, by Jim Cowart, Jennifer Cowart, Jorge Acevedo, and Matthew Hartsfield, led by Karen Tidler

September 8 - October 13 (6 weeks), Tuesdays, 9:15 - 11:15 am
Deadline for registration: now
Maximum number for class is 11

You don’t know God until you talk to God. Prayer is a crucial way for us to experience God’s grace. Jesus used The Lord's Prayer to teach all disciples about how to communicate with God. Christians also order their lives around their relationships with each other, and these relationships are strengthened through personal and corporate prayer with God. The Lord's Prayer is a template for how to bring our needs, concerns, and challenges to God, who cares for each of us.
God of Covenant, a Study of Genesis 12-50 by Jen Wilkin, led by Donna Bruce

October 6 - December 8 (10 weeks), Tuesdays, 6:30 - 8:30 pm
Deadline for registration: September 24
Maximum number for class is 11

In Genesis 12-50, we see our God as the Covenant Maker. Starting in chapter 12, Jen Wilkin walks through the stories of the fathers of our faith - Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. Through these chapters in Genesis, we witness image bearers who sin and wrestle to maintain trust in the only One who will fulfill every promise, the One for whom nothing is too hard.
Matchless, the Life and Love of Jesus, by Angie Smith, led by Donna Bruce

September 21 - November 9 (8 weeks), Mondays, 9:30 - 11:30 am
Deadline for registration: September 9
Maximum number for class is 11

We live in a world where there is a lot of confusion about Jesus. Disillusion and doubt give us a distorted picture of who Jesus really is. Too often people want to shape Jesus and His message to fit their personal needs or agendas. How can we know the truth? Join Angie Smith as she uses her signature wit and insight to tell the beautiful story of our matchless Savior. As you dive into Jesus' message, miracles, and mission, you'll be challenged and invited to see Him in a new light whether you've walked with Him for many years or are meeting Him for the first time.
Online Groups
The announcements below include using the program "Zoom" to group-video chat. You can find a tutorial on how to use Zoom HERE!
Summer is past, and as we get back to school? Our Solid Ground youth group will resume meeting every Sunday at 4:00-5:15PM with new games, discussions, and faith-building activities plus new features of the student led Soap Box and Top 5s. Log-in. at: (case sensitive).

While we are not yet allowed to sing together, stay informed about the activities of the Sonrise Youth Choir, including weekly Zooms on Thursdays at 4:00 pm (Jackbox games!!), and musical workshops in the Fall! Email Shea at!
Tuesdays | 7:30 pm
Wednesdays | 1:30 pm
Log in and have coffee (or tea) and chat with Pastors Pam and Kelly! Zoom link HERE.
Wednesdays | 6:00 pm
Wednesday Night Bible Club is still on! Grade school friends join us on Zoom to get your weekly Bible lesson, watch the So & So Show, and pray with your friends. This summer we are taking a Focus on Faith! Don’t miss it! Email for more information!
Thursdays | 1:30 pm -- Starting August 6th
Meet by zoom with Pastor Pam for a 30 minute spiritual practice every Thursday afternoon. We will explore different ways to pray, to commune with God, to nurture our spiritual lives with Christ through the Indwelling Holy Spirit. Space is limited, join the class HERE.
Getting Started on Your Family History Manuscript: A limited number of openings are left in this Zoom genealogy class, and the deadline for enrollment is Saturday, August 29. Sign up today by emailing Regina Hunter at or Terri Link at
Most of us have read only read bits and pieces of the book of Daniel: “Daniel in the Lions’ Den” and “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the Fiery Furnace.” This brief episode of St. John’s email Bible study will examine what else happened to Daniel and his friends in Babylon. Download a study guide, or call or write Regina Hunter for daily scripture readings and study tips, at 294-2877 or
Fridays | 9:30 - 10:00 am
Susan Brumbaugh, staff mental health counselor at St. John's, is offering a FREE weekly gathering on FRIDAYS at 9:30 am to practice mindfulness meditation. 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. (And, yes! It's okay for Christians to meditate.) If you want to learn more prior to starting, the sessions will be similar to ones she leads and records on 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.
Congregational Care Corner
Lynn Pate is the recipient for the prayer quilt on display for August 31st through September 13th.

In lieu of tying knots, please pray this prayer (or your own prayer): “Father, please hold Lynn tight in your embrace sustaining her by your grace and giving her strength and courage for whatever challenges she may face.”

With the Church currently closed, the prayer shawls have taken up residence with Hunt and Ann. They are actually quite comfortable in the coolness of their new home but they would love to be of comfort to someone in need of God’s love. Please contact Ann at or 768-7013 if you would like a shawl. If you call, the basket will await your visit in their courtyard. Blessings -
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: or submit them on our website HERE.

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.

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
SEPTEMBER SPECIAL OFFERING: Sacramento Methodist Assembly
   As summer winds up this year, let's pause and remember the church camp experiences of our lives, wherever they may be.
You may remember youth camps, women's or men's conferences, marriage retreats, lay speaker schools and many more events Some people made their first commitment to Christ in a camp setting. Most remember growing closer to God.
   Sadly, this year most events at Sacramento and other camps were canceled by Covid resulting in not only lots of disappointment, but also serious financial hardship. We at St. John's have the opportunity this month to support our beautiful camp in the Sacramento mountains south of Cloudcroft and ensure future opportunities with other Christians to pray, worship, play and study in God's beautiful creation. Please give generously.
In accordance with the New Mexico Department of Health order, our facility will be closed until further notice. 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 (call only): Monday - Friday, 9:00 am - 2:00 pm
Questions? Contact Shea Perry at