The Abundant Life – March 9, 2016


The Abundant Life


March 9, 2017                                For Sunday, March 12th


From The Rector



Complicated Blessings



On the first weekend in Lent, I invited worshippers to the observance of a Holy Lent, and a complicated Lent of the “one job” of reconciliation. This week Abram, AKA Abraham, is given a complex blessing by God, one that does not fit with common expressions of being or feeling “blessed.”


Abram will be respected. He will become a great – numerous – nation, and all the families of the earth will be blessed on his account. This story of blessing begins in an unlikely way that emphasizes the complexity of God’s promise: he is a 75 year old migrant without an heir.


He is on the move because he listened to God. He said yes to God’s promise. Haran, in present day Turkey, near the Syrian border, is not his first home, but is one stop on his journey. He and his family have been settled in this land for some years, and now God has called Abram to leave this measure of security and “home” to move on. In order to claim the blessing, he has to leave and migrate to new lands and peoples.


The people who receive Abram, his wife Sarai, and nephew Lot, will be blessed graciously in return. Yet, here is another complication. Those who are not gracious, but curse, are to be cursed in return. It would be understandable to see this in service of the simple polarization – blessers get blessed and cursors get cursed.


I don’t think this division is the intended outcome. The intended outcome is that “all the families of the earth should be blessed” by the faithful response of Abram. To fulfill that covenant, he will need to move beyond the “curse for curse” paradigm. And he does.


Later, after he is renamed Abraham, he negotiates a possible blessing for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. If ten righteous people – people who bless rather than curse – are found, even these communities devoid of hospitality and morality could be spared.


The growth of Abram into the blessing of all the families of the earth takes time, and many turns. It’s complicated. To learn to be a similar blessing we need to pay attention to Abram and to ourselves. We need to pay attention to Jesus, who blesses cursors and forgives them. He reminds us that all are blessed at his table and reconciled before God.


As we gather our complicated lives and offer them in worship this weekend, we look to that abundant table where forgiveness and healing are served and absolutely all are blessed.


Join us.

Fr. Andrew




Featured Scripture


Genesis 12:1-4 Common English Bible (CEB)


The Lord said to Abram, “Leave your land, your family, and your father’s household for the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation and will bless you. I will make your name respected, and you will be a blessing.


    I will bless those who bless you,
        those who curse you I will curse;
            all the families of the earth
                will be blessed because of you.”


Abram left just as the Lord told him, and Lot went with him. Now Abram was 75 years old when he left Haran.




Rest in Peace








The funeral and committal service for parishioner Barbara Jane Miller is next Saturday, March 11th, at 11:00 am. Please keep Jane’s son John Miller, daughter Marybeth McKenna and son-in-law Tom Lutgen in your prayers.












Taizé Worship – Thursdays @ 7:00 pm



Enrich your Lenten experience in a quiet setting of candles, liturgical art, chants, personal reflection and prayer. Our next Taize Service is  Thursday, April 6 at 7:00 pm.  Everyone is welcome. Contact Nathan Ensign for more details at 760-320-7488 ext. 225.





Spring Ahead!




The United Thank Offering (UTO)


. . . will be part of Lent this year at St. Paul’s. UTO is a ministry begun in 1871, where Episcopalians give thanks to God for their life blessings. Money collected goes to the UTO offices in New York, then is distributed to underwrite grants for deserving ministries in the US and overseas. For example, a parish in San Diego purchased a portable shower with a UTO grant, and that original purchase is now part of the “Showers of Blessings” program at our Episcopal Church Center. St. Paul’s hopes to bring the portable shower unit to St. Paul’s once a month for use by our homeless community. Available for your coins, bills or checks, UTO envelopes are in the pews, and a limited number of blue cardboard “churches” are available in the Narthex, the Parish Hall, the office and at Sunday School from Bonnie Stroock. Please take an envelope home this week. They will be available during March and collected at our three services on March 25th and 26th. Your offering of thanksgiving will be gratefully received and used to fund vital projects serving God’s people.





Lenten Organ Recitals





St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church (Palm Desert) hosts a series of organ recitals on Fridays at Noon (half hour) throughout Lent presented by local organists. Following each recital a light lunch of soup and sandwiches is available for everyone. Our own Nathan Ensign will be playing on March 17th. All are invited.





Seven Weeks for Water 2017


According to the Christian tradition, Lent is a time to prepare for the celebration of the death and resurrection of Christ. During this period many people engage in fasting and practise moderation or self-denial in order to focus on repentance and consecrating oneself to God. While water has a strong spiritual significance in the Christian tradition as a gift of God, this scarce resource is threatened and denied to millions around the world.


The World Council of Churches Ecumenical Water Network (EWN) invites you to use this season of Lent to reflect on water. Since 2008, the EWN has been providing weekly theological reflections and other resources on water for the seven weeks of Lent and for World Water Day on 22 March.


Please click here to visit the article.






“St. Paul’s 101” – Welcome! 



If you want to join St. Paul’s or learn more about the parish, come to “St. Paul’s 101.”  


The next single session class with Fr. Andrew will be Sunday, March 26, at 9:15 am in the Conference Room in the Parish Office.  In this informal setting, you will have the opportunity to ask questions about St. Paul’s and learn how to become a member.







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 and 10:30 services are hosted by John Hampson who’s celebrating his birthday.


Please consider signing up to be a host.





Communion at Windsor Court


The next Communion Service at Windsor Court is Wednesday, April 12th at 10:15 am. The priest and the residents are always happy to have parishioners attend.





Support Desert Blind & Handicapped



…by dining at Nicolino’s Restaurant in Cathedral City on March 9th from 5 pm to 8 pm. A full dinner is just $25.00 per person. The easiest way to buy tickets is by credit card at (Click on “Events.”) Providing needed transportation for 45 years!




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





Faith Building  2017

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


3/12       John 3:1-17 – The New Birth: Nicodemus’ and Ours.

              Led by Craig Ewing

              Read about it


3/19       John 4: 5-42 -Of Wells and Tents- The Samaritan Woman.

              Led by Br. John Charles

              Read about it





Tuesdays @ 7PM at St. Pauls in the Church


Ashes to Easter: A Gospel Journey through Lent


Evening Prayer and Lenten Reflection 


3/14      –on Divine Love – Led by Gary Scott


3/21      –on Forgiveness. – Led by Fr. David Caffrey
3/28      –on Healing – Led by Br. John Charles
4/4        –on Relationship with Jesus – Led by Jerry DiNoto





Wednesdays @ 11 am to 1 pm

Peace vs Violence: Moving beyond Helplessness
This four week Lenten series on Wednesdays 11 am to 1 pm sponsored by St. Paul’s and St. Margaret’s:
March 15th – Violence within Self
March 22nd – Violence within Family
March 29th – Violence within Community
April 5th     –  Violence with the World
Sessions will be held in Meyers Hall at St. Margaret’s Church. Luncheon and education materials will be provided. Sign up is required for the sessions you wish to attend due to the luncheon preparations. Sign-up sheets are in the church narthex and parish hall. You can also call Debby Jansma at 760.212.1991.


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 March 9, 2017

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Weekend Masses in English

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