For Sunday, December 9th

From the Rector

Smooth the Way For Justice

On this Second Sunday of Advent we meet the voice that is crying out in the wilderness. John the Baptizer is the wilderness prophet calling the people to be reconciled with God. The baptism he invites them to is their first step in seeking forgiveness. It is the sign of that first step – they were changing their hearts and lives. As the readers of Luke’s Gospel, we don’t yet know what needed changing, but we know the context is broad. This context starts with the emperor Tiberius, and funnels down through the layers of imperial governance and encompasses the religious leadership of Jerusalem. In this broad context, John hears God calling and acts to proclaim a salvation whose scope includes all governance and all humanity.

The work of John is not new. He is calling God’s people to return to thoughtful and regular participation in the covenant that defines the relationship of the people with God. When John quotes Isaiah about metaphorically making the way straight and leveling the road, I understand that as calling the people to the kind of justice that reverses the disparities of status and wealth to create wellness and makes room at the table for all. This will be a theme that is repeated throughout Luke’s Gospel.

How about “Consider as an example how the reports of the dire consequences of climate change show us the threat to the “wellness” of our earth home. And that while everyone will likely suffer, the heaviest burden will fall more heavily on the poor of the world.” While everyone will likely suffer, the largest burden will be on the people who have the fewest options for adapting. What would smoothing the way for God’s justice look like if we were to see all of creation participating in God’s covenant with us?

As we consider John’s preaching and God’s call to a renewed covenant – salvation – perhaps this Advent we might expand our vision. Imagine the people we pray and worship with each week as partners in smoothing the way for God’s salvation. And then imagine new partners who need to be included in our prayers and our consideration.

Join in our worship this weekend as the “voice of one crying in the wilderness” inspires our re-imagining of God’s justice and salvation for all people.

Fr. Andrew

Featured Scripture

Luke 3:1-6 Common English Bible (CEB)

In the fifteenth year of the rule of the emperor Tiberius—when Pontius Pilate was governor over Judea and Herod was ruler over Galilee, his brother Philip was ruler over Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was ruler over Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas—God’s word came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. John went throughout the region of the Jordan River, calling for people to be baptized to show that they were changing their hearts and lives and wanted God to forgive their sins. This is just as it was written in the scroll of the words of Isaiah the prophet,

A voice crying out in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way for the Lord;
make his paths straight.
Every valley will be filled,
and every mountain and hill will be leveled.
The crooked will be made straight
and the rough places made smooth.
All humanity will see God’s salvation.”

Fr. Andrew Green’s Anniversary

Fr. Andrew celebrates thirty years as Rector of St. Paul in the Desert. To commemorate this milestone, the Vestry and the Green Family are jointly hosting joyful coffee hour celebrations after both services today.

This is your opportunity to share your memories of Fr. Andrew, Susan and their children. Come join the festivities as we gather together to reminisce these past thirty years. Donations in honor of Fr. Andrew’s anniversary can be made to Well in the Desert.

Diocesan Ordination – Sunday, December 9th 4:00 PM

The Right Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, Assisting Bishop of San Diego, will ordain the Rev. Patricia Horkey at St. Paul in the Desert.

A reception will follow the ordination service at approximately 5:30 PM in the Parish Hall. All are invited.

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.

The transition committee asks for your help in drafting suggested questions about the candidates’ visions for our diocese. Please submit your suggested questions (with your name, church name and whether you are clergy or a lay person) by e-mail to: by December 19, 2018. Thank you for your help as we travel this journey of change together.

Christmas Flower Offering

If you would like to contribute toward the cost of Christmas flowers, please use the special offering envelopes found in the pew pockets.

Tuesdays During Advent

St. Paul’s Advent Tuesday services provide a quiet and thoughtful pause from what can be a hectic season, and a chance to focus on the blessings of Christmas and the joy of our savior’s birth.

Tuesdays @ 5:00 PM – December 11 and 18, in the Church.

Stations of the Nativity

This prayerful Advent meditation, done in the style of the Stations of the Cross, is based on fourteen events surrounding the Nativity of Jesus.

Following Stations of the Nativity, we invite you to join our meditative Taizé service.

Tuesdays @ 7:00 PM — December 11, and 18, in the Church.


This service, a mixture of song, meditation and Scripture, gives one an opportunity to experience God in a quiet, contemplative setting. Contact Nathan Ensign for more details.

Interfaith Dialogue Event

God as Light in Judaism and Christianity

6pm – Thursday, December 13, 2018
Palm Springs Art Museum
Free Admission

Facebook Event:

Website RSVP:

Adult Faith Formation

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


12/9: God’s Good Work in Us: Reflection on Philippians 1
Led by Br. John Charles

12/16: Crowd in the Crosshairs. A presentation and discussion on gun violence & prevention. See Social Justice announcement below…

Tuesdays at 5:00 PM in the Library

These sessions will resume January 2019

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

Social Justice

Sunday, December 16, during the 9:15 AM Episcopal Café hour, the Social Justice Committee will show the film, Crowd in the Crosshairs, a short documentary directed by Grey Ingrassia with the support of many, including All Saints, Pasadena, where the premiere screening took place. Ingrassia was inspired by his participation in the March 2018 March for Our Lives. The film is also available on YouTube.

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.

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 Your generosity will help many!

Bethlehem Handicrafts

On Sunday, December 23, a representative from Bethlehem Handicrafts will be in the Parish Hall. Bethlehem Handicrafts is a Christian organization supporting Christian families in Bethlehem through sales of their artistic creations. The artists and artisans in or near Bethlehem carve unique, beautiful handmade items including crosses, nativity sets, angels, crucifixes, ornaments, figures of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ, rosaries and more — all from Holy Land olivewood.

Proceeds contribute to the support of the carvers’ families and their ongoing efforts to remain in their homeland.

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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