The Abundant Life – February 9, 2017


The Abundant Life



February 9, 2017                                For Sunday, February 12th


From The Rector




But, I Say – Reconcile!



Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is filled with instruction for his disciples. This is the third of four weeks that our Gospel selection has come from it. I believe Jesus is teaching here about the intent of biblical instruction – “the Law” – rather than the specific injunctions of the law. This is not to minimize the injunctions or overturn them, but to return them to their relational base.


The relationship is primary. The relationship between the people of God and God is at the heart of understanding our place in the world, our origins, and our aspirations. The scriptures teach that a holy relationship with God is deeply connected to a holy relationship with other people and ultimately with all that God has created. Jesus summarized this understanding by saying, Love God first and your neighbor as yourself.


Jesus takes an injunction of the Law – “Don’t commit murder” is a “safe” prohibition because it was unlikely to be broken by the average believer – and deepens it to encompass a more common brokenness. Breaking or destroying a relationship with a member of the community, especially by casting shame and stigma, is a deeper understanding of “murder,” and includes a larger part of the community. I have not killed anyone, but I have been guilty of destructive behavior.


The reality of life is that brokenness is everywhere and, to a degree, is a part of most relationships. While I don’t believe in a hopeless dystopian world, I am describing a world made up of people like me who often get it wrong and can become disconnected from one another and from God.


Jesus’ point in broadening the understanding of “murder” is not to cast shame, but to describe a reality that is common and guide his disciples towards what is most important: “Make things right,” be reconciled.


Reconciliation precedes religious observances. Matthew understands a faith practice that includes specific offerings at the Temple. Those who would follow Jesus are not to ignore these Temple offerings, but to put them in perspective. One must “make things right” with a neighbor before one can “make things right” with God.


Our world, nation, and community have more than enough brokenness. Our current challenge is to work at making things right with our neighbors, especially with those who have been shamed or stigmatized – or are in danger of the same – without resorting to a warfare of shame, denigration, and destruction against our opponents. Reconciliation includes the people without power, the people with power, and ourselves in the church. We represent the whole spectrum to whom Jesus teaches. Listen to him: Join in worship and learn, with one another, how to “make things right,” how to reconcile.



Fr. Andrew





Featured Scripture


Matthew 5:21-26 (CEB)


“You have heard that it was said to those who lived long ago, Don’t commit murder, and all who commit murder will be in danger of judgment. But I say to you that everyone who is angry with their brother or sister will be in danger of judgment. If they say to their brother or sister, ‘You idiot,’ they will be in danger of being condemned by the governing council. And if they say, ‘You fool,’ they will be in danger of fiery hell. Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift at the altar and go. First make things right with your brother or sister and then come back and offer your gift. Be sure to make friends quickly with your opponents while you are with them on the way to court. Otherwise, they will haul you before the judge, the judge will turn you over to the officer of the court, and you will be thrown into prison. I say to you in all seriousness that you won’t get out of there until you’ve paid the very last penny.”




A Change for the Bishop




I am very sad to report that our bishop will be resigning to accept a faculty position at the Virginia Theological Seminary. He will end his time as our bishop at the end of June


I rejoice for Jim and Terri as they take this new step. The letter below is his description of this transition.


Personally, I am very sad at losing his leadership in the mission of our diocese. We owe him so much in the building of a stronger and more united servant community. Now we need to take the next steps to lead our diocese forward.


He has been a pastor and friend to me. I hope aspects of that will continue as he moves into his new ministry.


Next steps are in the hand of the Standing Committee of the diocese. A member of our Parish, Br.

John Charles Westaway, currently sits on that board.


Please keep, Jim, Terri, and our diocese in your prayers.








Dear Friends in Christ,


At the General Convention in 2006, my friend and colleague, Duncan Gray, bishop of Mississippi, noted that we are all interim bishops. We form a bridge between those who have gone before us and those who will follow. Over the last twelve years, it has been the privilege of a lifetime to serve as your bishop. During a recent visit to Virginia Theological Seminary, I began to discern a call to a different ministry. It was a call not without conflict. As many of you know, Terri and I recently purchased and renovated a house in Point Loma, thinking that we would retire here. Yet over time, I realized this was an authentic call that I need to answer. On February 8, on nomination of the dean and president, I was elected to the faculty of Virginia Theological Seminary to serve as associate dean of students. This new ministry will allow me to honor our shared passion for teaching and formation that has been at the core of our work together.



Read entire letter




2016 Donor Giving Statements


Looking for your Giving Statement?


Most 2016 St. Paul’s Giving Statements were sent via email on Friday, January 27th.


The subject line should read “Your giving statement from St. Paul’s.”


If you haven’t received yours it may be because the sender’s email address is Check your spam folder for this email. To prevent emails from going to spam, please add this address to your contacts.





Taizé Worship



Enrich your Lenten experience in a quiet setting of candles, liturgical art, chants, personal reflection and prayer. Our next Taize Service is Thursday March 2 at 7:00 pm. Everyone is welcome. Contact Nathan Ensign for more details at 760-320-7488 ext. 225.





Concert at St. Paul’s




On Friday, February 24th at 7:30 p.m., we are excited to present Carter Johnson, a 20 year old pianist from British Columbia.  


With a long list of accomplishments in Canada and the United States, he will present a program including pieces by Schumann, Chopin and Debussy.  A reception will follow to greet this young artist and those attending. Donations are graciously accepted at the door.






Deaths in the Parish







Ruth Kraus died at home on January 28th. She was 91. Please remember her, husband Oz and daughters Carol and Chris in your prayers.  The funeral service will be held on Friday, February 17th at 11:00 am.






Ruth Kraus – (6/8/1925 – 1/28/2017)




Funeral Services are set for:

John Buell, Thursday, February 23rd at 11:00 am at St. Paul’​s, followed by a reception in the Parish Hall.






Parish Life Book Club


The Parish Life Book Club is a social group that meets monthly to talk about a book they select to read. These are people who enjoy reading and talking about what they have read. The Book Club meets on the first Tuesday of the month at 1:00 pm in the Library. For more information contact Jackie Freeburn at




Hospitality Ministry



Please join us in the Parish Hall after each Sunday service for coffee and refreshments. 


Sunday’s coffee hour after the 8:00 am service is sponsored by Michelle Hathaway.


Please consider signing up to be a host.





Communion at Windsor Court


The next Communion Service at Windsor Court is Wednesday, March 8th at 10:15 am. The priest and the residents are always happy to have parishioners attend.








Mark your calendars for our next parish potluck for Tuesday, February 28, in the Parish hall!  Falling on Shrove Tuesday (or Fat Tuesday, depending on your tradition), we’re planning on a Mardi Gras-themed dinner before we enter the contemplative season of Lent. So, bring some beads, maybe a fun dish to share (something Cajun, perhaps?), and your cheerful spirit!  Sign-up sheets are in the Narthex and Parish Hall.  And if you have some festive ideas and would like to help with planning, your parish life team will be most grateful for your help.  



Fred Ross at (or 415-710-9180) or 

Gary Hiatt at (or 760-567-2300)


Also, many of us have been having great fun getting to know each other better through the smaller circle suppers in parishioners’ homes (usually 6-10 people).  The original sign-up sheets were circulated a few months back.  Now that our snowbird friends are here, we would you love for you to take part as well. Sign-up sheets for these are in the Narthex and Parish Hall.  For more information check with Fred or Gary at the above numbers.





Faith Building  2017

Sundays at 9:15 am in the Library – The Episcopal Cafè


2/12       We are all Syrian. We are all Muslim. By Rt. Rev. James Mathes,

             Led by Jerry DiNoto – Read about it


2/19        The Strength to Love – Matthew 5:38-48 

               Led by Br. John Charles


2/26       Where Does the Church Belong? 

               Led by Audrey Spencer





Tuesdays @ 7PM at Temple Isaiah 


Please RSVP to Temple Isaiah’s 24/7 reservation line – 760.844.7305.


“Psalm Springs”


A study of selected Psalms led by Rabbi David Lazar and faith leaders from Palm Springs churches.




2/14     Psalm 139   “Thou hast searched me and know me.”

            Presenter- Rev. Christine Dickerson, Palm Springs Presbyterian Church


Tuesdays @ 7PM at St. Pauls in the Library


A study of the Gospel of Matthew continued. Led by Gary Scott and team.

2/21      “Teacher and Lord”

2/28      Parish Mardi Gras Pot Luck – No Session.





Don’t Forget Roy’s!


With 2017 well underway, it’s time again to remember St. Paul’s continuing outreach to the homeless men, women and children at Roy’s Desert Resource Center. Your donations of homemade and store-bought baked goods help bring a cheerful weekly dessert service to Roy’s residents, and your cash donations help to purchase clean socks and underwear for those in need. Please celebrate the New Year by helping this important ministry. Contact Chris Kelly, 760.406.2978, for more information.






Report Misconduct
As part of our ongoing commitment to creating a safe haven for everyone, our diocese trains people in the prevention of misconduct and encourages all to report misconduct. All reported incidences are taken seriously and investigated thoroughly and confidentially. If you believe you have experienced misconduct of any kind, please contact Mr. John Seitman,, 858-793-4555 or the Rev. Janet Wheelock,, 952-240-8067.




Office Hours are 9 am – 4:30 pm Tuesday through Friday.  The office is closed on Mondays.
Should you call on Monday when we are closed to the public, please leave a message.  In case of an emergency, a priest will return your call.




Print a copy of The Abundant Life?


Click here




Sunday Worship Childcare
Childcare is available for both the 8:00 a.m. and the 10:30 a.m. services.




The Prayer Shawl Ministry invites you to join our circle on Wednesday’s from 10 am-1 pm in Hogarth Hall. Whether  you wish to learn to knit or crochet or are an  expert needleworker, we welcome you. Needles, hooks and yarn are provided. Please drop in  to create and enjoy our prayerfully made creations.




Bullying Behavior
Not Welcome Here

At St. Paul in the Desert we welcome all worshipers to a place that is free of violence and bullying.
Physical, verbal or emotional violence against others or against oneself is not acceptable because of our understanding of what it means to follow Jesus.  Please let Jesus’ command to love your neighbor as yourself be your guide.
“It Gets Better” is a series of video messages to encourage Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Transgender youth and let them know that they are loved as they are.
“A Blessing for Those Who Are Bullied” was written by the Rt. Rev. Steven Charleston, a Bishop of the Episcopal Church.
It is not enough to say “NO” to bullies. It is important to stand up for people and to provide resources for those who have been the targets.





The Church of St. Paul in the Desert

Local: 760.320.7488   //  Fax: 760.416.2441
Email:  Website:

125 West El Alameda

Palm Springs, California 92262

Categories Newsletters | Tags: | Posted on February 9, 2017

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