The Abundant Life – September 13, 2018

The Abundant Life

The Abundant Life Newsletter

For Sunday, September 16, 2018

From the Rector

Choose to Bless

In a world where so many problems seem too large to manage, our reading from James invites us to step back and examine ourselves. Large scale problems like global warming, gun violence, and regional warfare that leads to millions of refugees can overwhelm us and leave us feeling powerless as we face the world. The wisdom of James counsels us to take action on a small scale that will lead to larger and larger change. The tongue – the communication under our control – can curse or bless, and our consistent choices will make all the difference.

The perspective from which we speak or write or text or tweet affects our lives in several ways. It affects the way we feel about people and events around us, it can guide us to action, and it affects how our action impacts those people and events. When James likens the tongue to a rudder that can steer a large ship, his analogy touches on more than guiding our direction.

Our words may bless or curse, build up or break down, encourage or shame. It is critical that we choose to bless.

Sometimes our immediate reaction to an experience seems to demand an immediate, forceful, and combative or snarky response – a curse. Our unconsidered response may give immediate satisfaction, but has, in fact, torn down the other and has made tearing down others a little bit easier next time.

On the other hand, if I stop and reflect for a moment, I might choose to bless. I might find something that I see as positive and use my response to encourage more of the same or make the connection to a deeper truth that my correspondent could build on. (I know that there is hate speech and violent or hateful behavior that needs to be called out and opposed. But this is certainly not true for all of the occasions when I choose a combative curse and destroy the chance to bless.)

The more we choose to bless, the easier it becomes to choose blessing and the better we become at it. Someone has said that the more we repeat an idea, a criticism, a blessing, the more we believe it to be true. When we are thoughtful and sincere in blessing, we also raise the tone for others to emulate. Sometimes the whole conversation becomes blessed and we receive encouragement, too.

Join us as we are blessed by God in worship and learn to choose blessing others as our way of following Jesus.

Fr. Andrew



Featured Scripture

James 3:1-12 Common English Bible (CEB)

My brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers, because we know that we teachers will be judged more strictly. We all make mistakes often, but those who don’t make mistakes with their words have reached full maturity. Like a bridled horse, they can control themselves entirely. When we bridle horses and put bits in their mouths to lead them wherever we want, we can control their whole bodies.
Consider ships: They are so large that strong winds are needed to drive them. But pilots direct their ships wherever they want with a little rudder. In the same way, even though the tongue is a small part of the body, it boasts wildly.

Think about this: A small flame can set a whole forest on fire. The tongue is a small flame of fire, a world of evil at work in us. It contaminates our entire lives. Because of it, the circle of life is set on fire. The tongue itself is set on fire by the flames of hell.

People can tame and already have tamed every kind of animal, bird, reptile, and fish. No one can tame the tongue, though. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we both bless the Lord and Father and curse human beings made in God’s likeness. Blessing and cursing come from the same mouth. My brothers and sisters, it just shouldn’t be this way!

Both fresh water and salt water don’t come from the same spring, do they? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree produce olives? Can a grapevine produce figs? Of course not, and fresh water doesn’t flow from a saltwater spring either.



A Death in the Parish

Long time parishioner, Gary Piper, died August 6. Many will remember Gary as a frequent lector at our 10:30 Sunday services. Gary’s funeral service will be held Friday, September 14th, at 11 AM. His remains will be placed in St. Paul’s Columbarium. There will be a reception following in the Parish Hall. All parishioners are welcome to attend.




Sundays at 9:15 AM in the Library
The Episcopal Cafè


9/16 – Sticks, Stones & Power of Words  A Reflection on James 3: 1-12
Led by Audrey Spencer

9/23  – Responding in Times of Pressing Difficulty  A Reflection on Jeremiah 11:18-20
Led by Alan Zimmerman

9/30 – The Myth of the Good Old Days  A Reflection on Numbers 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29
Led by Gary Scott.

How to enhance your relationship with God on a daily basis.

Tuesdays at 5:00 PM in the Library. Please note new start time.
This series is designed to assist participants in developing and deepening a daily spiritual discipline.

9/18 – What is a Rule of Prayer?  Facilitated by Rev. Canon David Caffrey

9/25 – Creating your own Rule of Prayer  Facilitated by Jerry Di Noto



Sunday School News

St. Paul’s Sunday School is offered at the 10:30 worship service the first three Sundays of the month from September through June. It seeks to make a safe, happy, welcoming place for children where the Church’s gifts of grace may assist in their positive formation. Sunday School is conducted by two adults trained in the Diocese’s Safeguarding God’s People program. The children enter the church in the procession, then go to the Sunday School rooms in the Parish Hall, and then return to the church to receive Communion with family and friends. The fourth Sunday of the month our children participate in the worship service by reading lessons and prayers, serving at the altar, and/or singing choral works. Do you have children or grandchildren who might enjoy St. Paul’s Sunday School, or know of someone who does? For further information please contact Michael Howard, 760-323-1050.



Hospitality Ministry

Hispanic Heritage Month is a national observance, celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and South and Central America. From September 15-October 15, the Celebration incorporates the anniversaries of independence of over eight former Spanish colonies, including Mexico.

Fr. Miguel Hidalgo sparked the Mexican war of independence on September 16, 1821 with “El Grito,” the cry for freedom. In Mexico, this date is the official Independence Day (not Cinco de Mayo), and is observed like our American Fourth of July.

As the Episcopal Church welcomes the diversity and inclusiveness of all people, we are encouraged to embrace and celebrate the Hispanic/Latino Ministry, especially in the San Diego Diocese.

Please join us in the parish hall after the 8:00 and the 10:30 service in a celebration of the “16th of September” and enjoy a variety of tasty food offerings. Roberto Thais, Bonnie Stroock, Clinton Carbon, and Lucinda and John Hampson are hosting this special event.

Bienvenidos a Todos. Welcome to All.

There are many upcoming opportunities for you to sponsor a Sunday Coffee Hour after either the 8:00 AM or 10:30 AM service. The sign-up notebook is on the table as you enter the Parish Hall.



On Sunday September 23rd St. Paul’s will join the national Concert Across America to end gun violence. The Concert will take place on Sept. 23, the date designated by Congress in 2007 as a day of remembrance for murder victims. This nationwide event will bring together a network of organizations, activists and artists to remember the victims of gun violence across the nation and in our state. You are encouraged to wear orange on this day.



New Parish T-Shirts



Parish Tee-Shirts are available in the Office. Cost– $10








Parish Life Book Club

Parish Life Book Club meets on the first Tuesday each month at 1 PM in the Library and new members are always welcome. On October 2, 2018, Book Club has selected The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.  The Book Thief tells how book-stealing and story-telling sustain a young German girl amid the horrors of World War II.  Book Club is a group of people who enjoy reading and talking about the books they read. For more information please contact Alan Zimmerman at

The Palm Springs Library has 1 book and 1 audiobook to loan.





Taizé Services Resume

Our monthly Taizé service resumes for the Fall on Thursday, October 4th at 7:00 p.m. in the church. This service, a beautiful mix of prayer, song and Scripture, gives one an opportunity to experience God in a quiet, contemplative setting. All are invited to participate.



Blessing of the Animals

St. Paul’s invites members and friends of the Parish to a special ceremony on Saturday, October 6th, at 10:0 am. We will give thanks to God for the amazing gift of creation and especially for our Animal Companions. The special prayers will take place in the Church. All well-behaved animals are welcome and will receive a special blessing and affirmation of God’s love. (We believe the animals already know this, but the Human Companions enjoy a reminder.) Representatives from the Palm Springs Animal Shelter will be with us to promote their community programs.



Parish Life Pot Luck

Thursday, October 11th at 5:30 PM. Sign-up sheets are in the Church Lobby and Parish Hall. This is our first pot-luck of the season, come and enjoy fellowship and share food. Sign- up sheets are in the Church Lobby and Parish Hall. Join us as we celebrate a Palm Springs Oktoberfest!




Music Tour in Spain

Our “Vacation Organist” at St. Paul’s, Meg Irwin-Brandon, invites you to join a small-group tour for aficionados of the organ in Spain, October 23rd – November 2nd. Private visits to historic organs in churches and cathedrals, Salamanca, Tordesillas, Valladolid and more. Contact Meg for more information: 413-285-6881.



Have you chosen not to report clergy sexual misconduct?

The task force for the compassionate care of victims of clergy sexual misconduct would like to hear from you. We wish to understand better the choice not to report, from those who have made such a choice. Please contact the Rev. Paige Blair-Hubert at 858-755-1616 x 101 or or visit to connect with other members. We are committed to protecting your confidentiality and will share only what you give us express permission to share anonymously. Thank you, in advance, for helping us do our work. Please keep us in your prayers as the diocesan convention approaches and we prepare to offer our report and recommendations.



Compassionate Care Task Force

Our diocesan task force on compassionate care for victims of clergy sexual misconduct seeks to connect with those who have experienced misconduct. If you have reported clergy sexual misconduct and have information about the reporting or post-reporting experience that could be helpful to their work, please refer to the task force members, all of whom are listed on the diocesan website: Task-Force. Information on how to report misconduct is available here.



Church Office Hours

The Parish Office hours have changed for the summer. From Memorial Day, the Parish Office will be closed on Friday afternoons, beginning at 11:30 AM and will be unavailable for walk-in business. These hours will remain in place through the Labor Day weekend.

If 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.



Sunday Worship Childcare

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



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.



Categories Newsletters | Tags: | Posted on September 13, 2018

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