For Sunday, December 23rd

From the Rector

Almost There.

We are almost there. Our wait for Christ to come is almost over. The experience of Mary and her cousin Elizabeth as they greet one another is one more step towards the birth of Jesus. As they meet, the Holy Spirit animates Elizabeth’s child, who jumps for joy. The same Holy Spirit gives Elizabeth reason to rejoice as she celebrates God’s faithfulness. As we wait a few more days for Mary to be delivered in Bethlehem, we can ponder where we have experienced God’s faithfulness and where we are still waiting.

One of the standard greetings I receive this time of year is a question about my readiness for the holiday. I have been greeted this way since the middle of November. My half-joking response is that I’m never ready. It is true. Partly, I am a procrastinator, always putting off final preparation or decisions. And partly, I like to inhabit the space of “almost there” for as long as possible.

In our yearly sacred calendar, there are two major times of waiting, of being almost there. We have 40 days in Lent and less than 30 days during Advent. This time of waiting is a time of preparation, and I think the experience of these days is directly related to how each of us feels a need to prepare. Mary and Elizabeth are physically connected to the experience of preparation and each encounter offers them reason to ponder what is happening and what it might mean.

When I am reflecting at my best, two things happen. First, I have a handle on the details of what is happening. That includes all the planning for church as well as family activities, the assignment of tasks, and a timeline for completion. All these are important and need to be done, but they can become busyness and distraction. So, second, once I have a sense that the tasks are under control, I take the time to pay attention to what God might be doing in those same tasks. I often connect with people as a result.

I find that the worship and the holiday activities have touched a deep and unexpected place in the heart. Some need to stop and feel their way through it. Others will need to share the joy or sorrow with a caring listener. My waiting time, my pondering time prepares me to pay attention. I pay attention to what arises from my own heart, and what is tentatively offered by others.

As we worship on the last weekend of Advent we get to listen to two women with amazing stories. In listening, we might be more prepared to see God working in us – and others. Join us.

Fr. Andrew


Featured Scripture

Luke 1:39-45 Common English Bible (CEB)

Mary got up and hurried to a city in the Judean highlands. She entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. With a loud voice she blurted out, “God has blessed you above all women, and he has blessed the child you carry. Why do I have this honor, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. Happy is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill the promises he made to her.”

Calling all Elves!

Volunteers are needed to decorate the interior of the Church, the afternoon of Sunday, December 23rd. This annual event always turns out to be a lot of fun. If you can help, please join your fellow elves in the Church Lobby at 12:30 PM. A light lunch will be provided.

Donate Your Travel Stash to Those in Need!

Do you have travel-size soap, shampoo, toothpaste, or other useful necessities you’re ready to get rid of? STOP! The St. Paul’s Emporium, which provides socks, underwear and toiletries to our homeless brothers and sisters in the Palm Springs area can use and distribute these items.

Simply bring your items to the next church service and leave them in the parked basket in the Narthex. Ask an usher if you are unsure where to place your donations or contact Lena Granet at [email protected]. Your generosity will help many!

Mural Project

Click the image for full-size.

St. Paul’s, in cooperation with the Palm Springs Public Arts Commission, has commissioned a mural for the South-East side of the church facing the Little Flower Shop.

Bernard Hoyes is the artist and his mural is called “Cast Your Bread Upon the Waters.” He plans to begin the preparation for painting in late December. The mural celebrates iconic images of St. Paul the Hermit, Water, Agriculture, Hollywood-Palm Springs connections and the images of three local clergy who worked with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and on Civil Rights in Palm Springs. There will be an image from the Agua Caliente tribe, and affirmation of several of the cultures that are an important part of our community.


Adult Faith Formation

Sundays at 9:15 AM in the Library: The Episcopal Café
These sessions are designed to facilitate discussion of Sunday scripture readings.


12/23: The Saving Power of Christmas? Reflection on Hebrews 10
Led by Alan Zimmerman

12/30: History and Customs of the Twelve Days of Christmas
Led by Rev. Canon David Caffrey.


1/6: Do Not Fear I Have Redeemed You: Reflection on Isaiah 43
Led by Rev. Deacon Susan Green

Tuesdays at 5:00 PM in the Library

1/1: No Session: New Year’s Day

1/8: Manger and Incarnation — What WAS Christmas All About?
Led by Gary Scott

Parish Life Book Club

Parish Life Book Club meets on the second Tuesday of January at 1:00 PM in the Library. New members are always welcome.

For January 8, 2019, Book Club has selected Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. The book is an ode to the natural world, a coming-of-age story, and a mystery. For more information contact Alan Zimmerman at [email protected].

Adult Literacy Program

St. Paul’s Adult Literacy Program is accepting applications for English speaking adults who need help in learning to read or who want to improve their skills in reading, writing and comprehension. If you know of anyone who would benefit from participating in this program, please have them call Gary Scott @ 760.218.3180 or Sharon Strong @ 760.285.8910 to register for the program. Those registered will  be placed with a tutor as soon as possible.

Bishop Transition

We are well on our way to prayerfully selecting our fifth diocesan bishop. Final candidates for the fifth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego will be presented to the diocese in walkabout events held across the diocese from January 13-18, 2019. A feature of these events will be listening to the candidates respond to specific questions. Thank you for your participation as we travel this journey of change together.

Potluck Events

Save the Dates:
St. Paul’s Parish Life Committee announces the upcoming Potluck events…

Sunday 1/13/2019: Social Hour Brunch Pot Luck 11:45 AM to 1:30 PM

Wednesday 3/5/2019: Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper 5:30 to 7:30 PM

Thursday 4/11/2019: Spring Pot Luck: 5:30 PM-7:30PM

All of these festive events will take place in the Parish Hall

Hospitality Ministry

Seeking Coffee Hour Hosts
With the arrival of fall, we joyfully welcome our part time parishioners returning to the desert.  It’s a time for festive hospitality at our Coffee Hours following Sunday services.  Currently, there are several dates available, between now and year-end, to host a coffee hour. It’s easy!  All you do is provide offerings of fruit, pastries, cookies – anything, really, that you think others would enjoy.  The church provides coffee, tea, lemonade, and all service items.  If you would like to sponsor a future coffee hour, please sign-up today. You’ll find the sign-up book on the table just inside the Parish Hall entrance.

Questions?  Please contact Kathy Kilmer, 760.774.8233

Report clergy 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 John Seitman, 858-793-4555 or Equilla Luke, 760-583-0485.

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

Office Hours are 9 am – 4:30 pm Tuesday through Thursday and 9 am – 11:30 am Friday. The office is closed on Mondays.

Should you call on Monday or Friday afternoon 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.

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