For Sunday February 12, 2023
Feast Day of Blessed Absalom Jones
Annually on February 13, we celebrate the Rev. Absalom Jones, the first African American ordained priest in the Episcopal Church. In 2023, we will observe this Feast Day on Sunday, February 12.
Blessed Absalom Jones (November 7, 1746 – February 13, 1818) was an African-American abolitionist and clergyman who became prominent in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Disappointed at the racial discrimination he experienced in a local Methodist church, he founded the Free African Society with Richard Allen in 1787, a mutual aid society for African Americans in the city. The Free African Society included many people newly freed from slavery after the American Revolutionary War.
In 1794 Jones founded the first black Episcopal congregation, and in 1802, he was the first African American to be ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church of the United States. He is listed on the Episcopal calendar of saints. He is remembered liturgically on the date of his death, February 13, in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer as “Absalom Jones, Priest, 1818.”
Absalom Jones was born into slavery in Sussex County, Delaware, in 1746. When he was sixteen, his owner sold him along with his mother and siblings to a neighboring farmer. That year the farmer kept Absalom, but sold his mother and siblings, and moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he became a merchant. Absalom was allowed to attend Anthony Benezet’s School where he learned to read and write. While still enslaved by Mr. Wynkoop (who was a vestryman of Christ Church and later St. Peter’s), Absalom married Mary King (an enslaved woman owned by S. King, a neighbor to the Wynkoops), on January 4, 1770. Rev. Jacob Duché performed the wedding ceremony.
By 1778 Absalom had purchased his wife’s freedom so that their children would be free; he asked for aid by donations and loans. (According to colonial law, children took the status of their mother, so children born to slave women were born enslaved.) Absalom also wrote to his master seeking his own freedom but was initially denied. In 1784, however, Wynkoop manumitted him, inspired by revolutionary ideals. Absalom took the surname “Jones” as an indication of his American identity.
Later, Jones applied for his freedom for the second time, and he was released from slavery on October 1, 1784. After being released from slavery, Absalom was ordained in September in 1804. This made him the first black person to be ordained in America by a well-known religion.
Adapted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia https://creativecommons.org/
Absalom Jones Fund
The Absalom Jones Fund for Episcopal HBCUs – Our Presiding Bishop, the Most Rev. Michael Curry invites us to support the hope-filled, life-impacting work of two historically Black institutions of higher education that were started by The Episcopal Church: Saint Augustine’s University in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Voorhees College in Denmark, South Carolina. These two schools were founded after the Civil War to create educational opportunities for formerly enslaved persons, and they continue to provide a liberal arts education to thousands of students today.
Bishop Curry has encouraged us to take up a collection for this fund on the Feast of Absalom Jones on February 12 (transferred). Blessed Absalom Jones was the first Black person ordained an Episcopal priest. All loose plate offerings donated Sunday, February 12, will go toward this important cause.
Upcoming Meetings & Events at St Paul’s
- Wednesday, February 15 – 6:00 PM – Mid-week evening service.
- Saturday, February 18 – Movie Night at St. Paul! – 6:00 PM – Parish Hall – “Harriet.”
- Sunday, February 19 – 9:00 – 10:00 AM – Book Review: “A History of Coachella and its People” – library – sponsored by the Latino Ministry.
- Monday, February 20 – 6:00 PM – Finance Committee – Library.
- Tuesday, February 21 – Shrove Tuesday – 5:00 – 7:00 PM.
- Wednesday, February 22 – Ash Wednesday 12:00 PM and 6:00 PM services.
- Thursday, February 23 – 6:30 PM – Vestry meeting.
- Saturday, February 25 – 2023 Palm Springs Black History Month Parade and Town Fair – parade begins at 11:00 AM, Palm Canyon Drive, Downtown Palm Springs.
- Sunday, February 26 – The First Sunday in Lent.
- Sunday, February 26 – “Last Call” – Library – Between services and 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM
The Latino Ministry Committee
The Latino Ministry Committee is presenting a summary of the booklet, “Coachella – A History of Coachella and Its People,” on Sunday, February 19, between the services, in the library. You are invited to come and hear about issues that have affected our valley cities and created our cultural diversity. The meeting will be conducted in English with a Spanish closing prayer. Gracias!
February is Black History Month, and the 2023 Palm Springs Black History Parade is February 25
Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, and every American President since has designated February as Black History Month and endorsed a specific theme. The theme for 2023 is “Black Resistance” and “explores how African Americans have resisted historic and ongoing oppression in all forms,” since the nation’s earliest days.
In observance of Black History Month, the Palm Springs Black History Committee will host the 36th annual City of Palm Springs Black History Month Parade and Town Fair, Saturday, February 25, 2023. The parade begins at 11:00 AM at Palm Canyon and Arenas and ends at Francis Stevens Park. Following the Parade, the Town Fair will be well under way, located at the Downtown Park near the PS Art Museum. As in years past, The Church of St. Paul in the Desert will be represented in the Palm Springs parade. If you would like to walk or ride with the St. Paul’s contingent, please add your name to one of the sign-up sheets you’ll find in the Narthex OR call the Parish Office (760.320.7488).
Throughout February, St. Paul’s will honor these Black Saints:
- February 5 – The Rev. George Freeman Bragg
- February 12 – The Rev. Absalom Jones
- February 19 – The Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray
- February 26 – Frances Joseph-Gaudet
A letter to St. Paul’s Church from parishioner Rick Tinsley
My Dear St. Paul’s Siblings,
Many of you know that I have been working through a discernment process to hear what our loving God is saying about whether I should seek ordination in The Episcopal Church. It would be easy for me to fill pages about my experiences as I have been walking this path. It has been an adventure! Ever since I left the pastoral ministry in the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod over 30 years ago, I have felt like something has been missing. Some of you know the details of my story, but most of you probably do not. The short version is that I was outed and asked to resign.
For years I felt like something was missing in my life because I was not serving in active “official” ministry. As I draw closer to retirement I have been thinking and praying about the possibility of returning to active ministry as a priest in The Episcopal Church. Several key individuals encouraged me to walk the path of discernment as it is set up in our church to listen and see if this is indeed what God is calling me to do. The path as it has been developed is minimally a two-year process.
As I began the journey, I received numerous affirmations from the individuals and groups who help a “seeker” walk this path of discernment. Seemingly each step manifested a yes to the question. Ironically the closer I moved toward the goal of my quest, the more my heart said, “NO!” The work of discernment, as I have come to understand it is to ponder and pay attention to the interior movements of attraction and heaviness. It includes weighing facts and feelings about options, most often all good, leading to a choice about what is best. It is a process I would like to encourage others to consider using on a regular basis. (You can do a web search about the Ignatian process of discernment to find resources.)
Without going into lots of detail here, I have concluded that ordination is not the best path for me. There may be some of you who are surprised. I was pretty surprised myself, after years of longing, and in some way feeling like a victim, letting go of this quest was not what I expected. I am convinced that I have discerned properly, and I am very much at peace about the decision to withdraw my name as “nominee for ordination.” I am so very grateful to so many people who have participated in this journey with me. The journey is continuing, and I rejoice that as I continue limping to Zion, that I have you making the journey with me.
This does not mean that I will not be doing ministry. That is a part of who I am as a baptized child of God. It is a part of who you are, too. Please feel free to ask me questions if you want. This is not a sore subject for me at all. This has been an epiphany for me; another manifestation of God’s abundant unconditional love. It is my prayer that each of you will experience your own epiphanies in this season of Light.
Romans 12:2, ESV: Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
With much love and gratitude, I remain your sibling in Christ.
UPDATE: St. Paul’s Parish Directory – 2023
Looking to pick up your new directory?
You can stop by the church office Monday – Thursday from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM and check in with our volunteer at the front desk. You’ll be asked to sign the log to receive one (1) directory per household.
Need to update your household directory information?
If you find your information is not current or is missing, first, thank a volunteer for putting this directory together out of the goodness of their hearts (and thank the photographers for doing this pro bono too!). Then, EMAIL your correct information to . Make sure you write Attn. Photo Directory Update in the subject line. The updates will be gathered and published in The Abundant Life each week, so you can flip to the back few pages of your directory and add them. NO UPDATES will be published in the newsletter unless emailed to
Thank you to our volunteers who have been working on this project for the past eight months! Now get your directory and flip through it to see all God’s beloved children!
Movie Night at St. Paul’s
Have fun, meet friends, and share a movie and popcorn with your fellow parishioners. If you like, you can bring a pizza, a bucket of chicken, or just a snack, and have a great time in the Parish Hall at St. Paul in the Desert, February 18 at 6:00 PM. We will provide the drinks and popcorn; you create the fellowship. All are welcome, so invite your friends and neighbors. We’ll see you there!
This month’s featured film is Harriet. Based on the thrilling and inspirational life of an iconic American freedom fighter, Harriet tells the extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes. Her courage, ingenuity, and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history. – Focus Features
Join us as we prepare for Holy Lent
Shrove Tuesday, February 21, 5:00 – 7:00 PM
Burning of the palms, burying of the alleluias, and pancake supper.
Ash Wednesday, February 22
The Imposition of Ashes will occur at both services – 12:00 Noon and 6:00 PM.
Ashes-to-go will be offered downtown in front of Starbucks during the day. (More details TBA.)
Turkey-Syria Earthquake Response Fund
Episcopal Relief & Development is mobilizing with long-term partners after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake, as well as a 7.5-magnitude aftershock, hit Turkey and Syria on Monday, February 6, 2023. The earthquake killed over 20,000 people and caused widespread damage across the region.
Working through Action by Churches Together Alliance (ACT Alliance), Episcopal Relief & Development is rapidly responding to the disaster through existing networks. The organization is also in contact with other local partners as they assess the needs of their communities.
Episcopal Relief & Development’s partner Action by Churches Together Alliance (ACT Alliance) has:
- Distributed 40,000 winterization kits that include blankets, pajamas and mattresses.
- Provided over 230 buildings, including church halls, mosques, schools, and municipal halls, for shelters.
- Begun setting up child-friendly spaces, assisting in family reunification, and providing emotional support for unaccompanied children.
The local network of partners had supplies and staff prepositioned throughout the region, which allowed for rapid mobilization in the midst of complex weather and transportation conditions. Local partners are continuing to prepare for a long-term, sustained response. Please continue to pray for those who have been affected by the earthquake.
Donations to the Turkey-Syria Earthquake Response Fund will help the organization to continue to respond to communities impacted by this disaster. To make a donation to ERD for Earthquake relief, you may send a check to The Church of St. Paul in the Desert marked “Earthquake Relief” or donate online at https://support.episcopalrelief.org/syria-turkey-earthquake.
Annual Meeting Recap
Sunday, January 29, 2023
This past Sunday we celebrated our patronal feast day—St. Paul the Hermit—and held our 84th Annual Meeting and it did not disappoint!! After a visit from St. Paul himself (and his friend St. Anthony), we heard prayers offered from parishioners for this church for 2023. We voted on new leaders, we thanked “graduating” leaders, we celebrated a wonderful and full year, we gave the first Church of St. Paul the Hermit Service Award to Lena Granet, we unveiled the exciting Strategic Plan, we ate lunch and received our new parish directories, and we honored the news of exceeding our pledge goal by “dunking” one of our co-rectors! It was a full day of joy and good food and gratitude for this wild ride the Holy Spirit has called us in together!
Senior Warden: Alex Christensen (Appointed by the Co-Rectors)
Junior Warden: Ray Tackett (Voted on by the Vestry)
Treasurer: Raffaele Alberto (Voted on by the Vestry)
Clerk: Jan Wacker (Voted on by the Vestry)
New Vestry Members (Voted on at the Annual Meeting)
Alan Glass (First Three Year Term)
Jan Wacker (First Three Year Term)
Rick Nauman (First Full Three Year Term – Finished One Year Remaining Term of a Vestry Member who abdicated in 2022)
Alex Christensen (Second Three Year Term)
Diocesan Convention Delegates (Voted on at the Annual Meeting)
Missed the Annual Meeting?
Click Here To Read the Annual Report
Click Here To Read the Strategic Plan
Watch Gratitude for Steve Moore’s Service as Senior Warden
You are invited to the church on Wednesday evenings at 6:00 PM each week for contemplative Eucharist/Evening Prayer. The church will be open the hour prior (5:00-6:00 PM) for silent, personal prayer. Come and rest.
Winter Coat Donations Needed
Now that cooler weather has arrived in the desert, the Social Justice Ministry is seeking donations of new or gently used winter coats and jackets to distribute to our needy neighbors. Winter hats, scarves and gloves are also appreciated. Remember, donated used clothing should first be dry cleaned. Please place your donated items in the collection “barrels” located in the narthex.
St Paul’s Book Club
The next Book Club meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 7, 2023, at 1:00 PM via Zoom. Meeting information will follow later. For March, Book Club has selected The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore. The true story of two kids with the same name from the same city: One went on to be a Rhodes Scholar, decorated combat veteran, White House Fellow, and business leader. The other is serving a life sentence in prison. Told in alternating dramatic narratives, it tells the story of a generation of boys trying to find their way in a hostile world.
New members are always welcome at Book Club. For more information, please contact Alan Zimmerman at
Lenten Retreat – Plan Your Own Funeral
Saturday, March 4, 2023, 9:00 AM – 12:00 Noon, in the church (coffee and donuts served 8:30 – 9:00 AM). Thoughtfully led by our co-rectors and retired clergy, explore planning your funeral, final things, legacy, and more. Further details forthcoming.
In Memoriam – Gary Koch
It is with deep sadness that we inform the parish of the passing of Gary Koch, a longtime member and friend of St. Paul’s. There will be a Zoom service on Saturday, February 18th at 11:00 AM. Zoom link details will be in next week’s Abundant Life. Grant to Gary eternal rest. Let light perpetual shine upon him. May his soul and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
O God of grace and glory, we remember before you this day our brother, Gary. We thank you for giving him to us, his family, and friends, to know and to love as a companion on our earthly pilgrimage. In your boundless compassion, console us who mourn. Give us faith to see in death the gate of eternal life, so that in quiet confidence we may continue our course on earth, until, by your call, we are reunited with those who have gone before, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayers of the Church
For the Anglican Communion, and for the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby; for The Episcopal Church in the Philippines, The Most Reverend Brent Harry Alawas, Prime Bishop.
For the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi, The Right Reverend Brian R. Seage, Bishop.
For the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego, The Right Reverend Dr. Susan Brown Snook, Bishop; for the clergy and people of St. Peter’s, Del Mar.
For those commended to our prayers: Russ Butler, Omana, Missy Martinson, Eliott Kahn, Marna & Rick Hill, Stan Spooner, Frank Riviers, Amber Burns, Chris Rogers, Griff Linsenmayer, John Ketchum, Ashley Mount Family, Bert M., Darlene Noon, Charles Russuel Thomas, Jr., Tim Johnson, Bret Caton, Ken Smithers, George Dodge, Candace Rinette, Don Hamilton, Spencer, Connie, AJ Miller, Tom Lutgen, Brian Nealy; pray for all those for whom no prayers have been said.
For those who have died: Billy Kiker, Margaret Phillips, Gary Koch, Rita Leary, Deborah Caraway, Betty Burris, Tom English, Shirley Harrison, Gordon Zentner. Rest eternal grant to these, your servants, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon them. Amen.
For those with birthdays: February 12: John Stephens; February 14: Tom Kieley; February 15: Autumn Shih; February 16: Michael Sonner; February 17: John Alex Houlton, Carole Rutkovsky, David Hale; February 18: Annabella Hampson.
For those celebrating anniversaries: February 14: Carolyn & Zachary Scott; Linda Richard & John Sanders.
For those for whom flowers have been donated: This week’s Altar Flowers are sponsored by Ray Tackett & Larry Wilson, in memory of Fern Wilson, and in thanksgiving for their anniversary (February 7), AND by Cheryl Kelley in thanksgiving for Ray Kelley’s 35 years of sobriety and 28 years of living cancer-free.
Send us your Prayer Requests via email — You may request prayers, “For those commended to our prayers” or “For those who have died,” by sending requests to Weekly print deadline is Wednesday noon.
For next Sunday’s Lectionary readings, go to www.lectionarypage.net and click on February 19, 2023, The Last Sunday After the Epiphany.
Sunday Service LiveStreaming
We are livestreaming our 10:30 AM Sunday Eucharist every week. The livestream project was made possible through a generous gift from a “snowbird” member from Philadelphia who wintered in Palm Springs for many years and worshiped at St. Paul’s every Sunday. You can view the livestream on our Home Page, YouTube Channel, and Facebook Page.
Missed a service? Or want to rewatch a liturgy? All our past services are available to watch either on our YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/StPaulintheDesert or on our Facebook timeline: https://www.facebook.com/stpaulinthedesert
Episcopal News Services
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