For Sunday March 12, 2023
Join Us This Sunday To Meet Our Archdeacon!
The Church of St. Paul in the Desert has recently been named a Giving Partner by Bombas, a US based sock manufacturer that is in the business of donating socks to the homeless. Socks are the most requested clothing item at homeless shelters in the US. Bombas is fervently committed to improving the plight of America’s homeless and has adopted a one-for-one corporate business model: for each pair of socks purchased from Bombas, a pair is donated to the homeless.
Through this partnership, St. Paul’s has been gifted thousands of socks annually to distribute to those in need. This year we have been able to partner with the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego in distributing socks beyond the Coachella Valley. Please join us this Sunday at the 10:30AM service to hear from Archdeacon Cindy Campos about how those socks are making a difference in the lives of others in our neighboring communities. If you attend our earlier service, the Archdeacon will be our special guest at the What is A Deacon? Class that happens immediately following the 8AM service, where she will be available to answer questions.
Daylight Saving Time
ATTENTION! Daylight Saving Time begins Sunday, March 12, 2023, at 2:00 AM. Don’t forget to “spring forward” by setting your clocks ahead by one hour.
Lent is a time when we are invited to ponder the end of our mortal journey. As a part of that, we are also invited to think about our legacy. St. Paul’s is starting a Legacy Society that will help all of us consider how our resources can continue to make a difference in the lives of others beyond the grave. You are invited to be a charter member. There is no minimum amount to join.
In order to be a part of Charter Membership in The Church of St. Paul in the Desert’s Legacy Society, your Legacy Gift Intention Form (check your email, the Legacy Table at coffee hour, or stop by the office) must be returned to the church office no later than March 15, 2023
Of course, you can still become a member of the legacy society after that date, but the opportunity to be a charter member will have closed. Once St. Paul’s has received your form, do mark your calendars for Sunday, March 26. You’ll receive an invitation in the mail with the details of the Charter Member Event.
Download the “My Legacy Gift Intention” Form
Dear Beloved Parishioners,
We are writing to request your consideration of two important areas in the life of our parish. As you eagerly accepted at our Annual Meeting in January, our parish is now focused on seven major objectives as a part of our 5-year Strategic Plan. Perhaps the most pertinent of these objectives are #5 (Empower staff to advance the church’s mission.) and #7 (Enhance fiduciary strength and stability.). One of our biggest needs is to hire a parish administrator, and thanks to your generosity in our annual stewardship pledge drive, we are able to do that! Our hope is to have a job description posted in the next week. We will need to recruit, interview, hire, and onboard this critical employee.
Several unforeseen events have diverted energy away from being able to do a proper search for this key position in our future staffing model until now. First, we have been onboarding a new Vestry team after a busy January with the Bishop’s visit, Strategic Plan finalization, and leading one of the most important Annual Meetings in the parish’s recent history. During this onboarding process (including a weekend long retreat), two Vestry members courageously admitted that, while supportive of the direction of the Strategic Plan that they voted for, they would not be able to devote the necessary time and energy required by Vestry members to get the Strategic Plan off the ground. We have supported them in this difficult decision and ask that you respect their privacy as they transition into new roles in the life of the parish. The good news is that our bylaws only require eleven Vestry members and our current Treasurer (who was not on Vestry) has been voted in by the Vestry to temporarily fill-in-the-gap so that we do not have to focus on recruiting Vestry members instead of hiring a parish administrator. At a later date, should the need arise, we can address filling the remaining term of the twelfth Vestry member.
Second, we have been in the process of transferring the bookkeeping system. While taking longer than anticipated, this is no surprise as there are usually bumps when transferring an entire system to an outside vendor. The hope is that this new system will allow our new administrator to focus more on communications and event organization and less on the nuts and bolts of financial data entry. In other words, we are basically hiring an assistant (through the outside vendor) for bookkeeping so that the parish administrator can have the freedom to be more of a generalist in managing the operational affairs of the campus.
As we near completion of this bookkeeping transfer, we have another important milestone that will impact our fiduciary goals. Back in December, our Treasurer announced to the Vestry his plans to step down from his role by the summertime. We are grateful for the many years of service of Raffaele Alberto. He has been the treasurer during one of the most intense transitions in our parish’s history. Thankfully, Raffaele has graciously decided to give us several months to recruit and onboard a new treasurer. He has gone even further by deciding to take the step of joining the Vestry (the Vestry unanimously voted him on!) to help fill-in-the-gap with the unexpected vacancies mentioned above. Our current Treasurer has also expressed a desire to stay on the Finance Committee even beyond the summer to ensure a smooth transition during the new Treasurer’s first few months. The hope is that the potential treasurer candidate would start as the Assistant Treasurer while shadowing Raffaele with the eventual goal of taking over the Treasurer position as a Vestry member. So, we are actively looking for someone who might be interested and is willing to be trained for this complex, but essential role for good governance. A parish cannot function as a fiduciary and legal entity without a Treasurer. It is in an incredibly rewarding experience to be entrusted with handling the financial resources of the church.
At the same time as all of this, we are actively focusing on starting a Human Resources Committee at St. Paul’s. Our parish has never had a regular system for staff annual reviews. We also have very primitive job descriptions for existing staff, and our personnel manual is out of date. As we look to hire more personnel, it is vital to strengthen this area so that we can not only recruit quality staff, but retain them.
In short, if you have a background in HR and have any interest in helping us develop our HR Committee so that we can make sure that we are adequately serving our employees who do so much for our parish, please reach out. If you have a financial background, can lead a team in implementing protocols and procedures, and have the time to devote to a demanding role in the life of the parish, would you please consider putting your name forward as a candidate for Treasurer? Or perhaps you are not interested in becoming Treasurer, but you would like to contribute in some way to our financial health. Would you consider putting your name forward for involvement with the Finance Committee? If you are interested in any of these possibilities, please reach out to Rev. Dan at . We cannot accomplish any of the other parts of our strategic plan if we do not fill these vital areas in the life of our parish. Please pray that God would bring the right people at the right time so that we can continue to share the abundant love of Jesus to all we come in contact with. In the words of St. Paul, “but all things should be done decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40).
Our Treasurer has announced his plans to step down from his role and take a much-deserved rest. He has graciously given St. Paul’s an additional couple of months in his position so that he can train the next Treasurer. If you are passionate about seeing St. Paul’s thrive, have a financial background, the resource of time, and are feeling called to consider this role, please reach out to Rev. Dan for more information (). We are also recruiting for our Finance Committee and Human Resources Committee.
The Easter Safe Church Challenge
With the implementation of St. Paul’s Strategic Plan, one of the first core values that the Vestry and Co-rectors want to address is “Safety and Care.” We’d like St. Paul’s to be the safest church in the Coachella Valley and the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego.
We value being a safe church – safe from physical danger but also safe from discrimination, safe from emotionally hurtful actions, and safe from simply being ignored. Jesus calls us to love one another and thus care for one another.
The Episcopal Church has developed a new, online course, “Safe Church – Safe Communities,” replacing “Safeguarding God’s People.” This is a completely new course and includes 2 modules mandated by the State of California. The Episcopal Church requires that all clergy, staff and volunteers – Vestry, Sunday School Teachers, Worship Leaders, Eucharistic Ministers, office volunteers, and ministry leaders be certified in this course. The “Safe Church” course models ways for us to be in safe, respectful working relationships in our parish and ways that we as leaders can create a safe, respectful environment in which to worship and serve Christ on our campus.
We’re challenging all those required to take this course to complete its curriculum by Sunday, April 2nd, Palm Sunday. You’ll be receiving more information in the coming days from the Parish Office if you are required to take this course. This may be something that you can make a part of your Lenten spiritual journey. Or, if you haven’t received the email from the Parish Office by March 3rd, but feel you want to be a part of our call to be the safest church in the Diocese, then please send a note to the email address below!
For more information, please consult the Diocesan website: https://edsd.org/safe-church-safe-communities/. If you have further questions, please contact
Pink Sunday is Safety Sunday
Please join us next week for a special announcement from the Emergency Preparedness Taskforce with a Town Hall Q & A after the 10:30 AM service. You won’t want to miss this exciting news! And don’t forget to wear PINK!
Sunday class between services (9:15-10:15 AM) in library discussing Henri Nouwen’s book, The Way of the Heart, Desert Spirituality and Contemporary Ministry with Rev. Tom Clarke.
- Sunday class between services (9:15-10:15 AM) in Parish Hall on the Diaconate (What is a Deacon?) for those discerning a call and for those just curious with a variety of teachers.
- Tuesday evening class in library (5:00-7:30 PM) Opera Night: Resurrection in Erich Korngold’s Die tote Stadt (The Dead City)and Das Wunder der Heliane (The Miracle of Heliane) with teacher Joseph Casazza.
- Wednesday lunch class in library (11:00 AM-12:30 PM) on 30 Poems for Lent with teacher Ken Ballard.
- Wednesdays at 6:00 PMis our simple spoken mass. During Lent, we will be using Rite I. The church will be open for the hour prior (5:00-6:00 PM) for contemplative silent prayer.
- Wednesday evening class after Eucharist in the church (6:30-8:00 PM) on a Lenten Play: “Joan of Arc” with teachers Mick Welsh and Lou Armentrout.
- Mondays – Thursdays in Lent, log onto St. Paul’s Facebook page at 10:00 AM to join our Co-Rectors for Morning Prayer.
- Saturday, March 4 (9:00 AM-12:00 Noon) – Preparing for the End-of-Life morning retreat with Co-Rectors and several retired clergy.
- Schedule a time for Confession (see The Reconciliation of a Penitent).
- Join us in getting rid of stuff to make space (see #40BagsIn40Days).
See additional information regarding these offerings detailed below.
St. Brigid of Kildare and St. Patrick of Ireland
Holy Eucharist – Wednesday, March 15, 6:00 PM. A contemplative Celtic Eucharist of healing.
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
American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem (AFEDJ)
This important mission of the episcopal Church in the Holy Land is dedicated to raising financial support for schools, hospitals, and centers for children with disabilities in Palestine, Israel, Jordan and Lebanon. AFEDJ is a recipient of our annual Good Friday Offering. Learn more at
Lenten Spiritual Formation Opportunities 2023
SUNDAYS from 9:15-10:15AM in the LIBRARY w/ the Rev. Cannon Tom Clarke
*note: class is the first four Sundays of Lent—2/26; 3/5; 3/12; and 3/19
Discuss Henri Nouwen’s book, The Way of the Heart, Desert Spirituality and Contemporary Ministry
Henry J.M. Nowuen, one of the greatest of all spiritual writers, invites us to search deeply for the well-springs that nourish true ministry in his classic The Way of the Heart. Interweaving the solitude, silence, and prayer of the fifth-century Egyptian Desert Fathers and Mothers with our contemporary search for an authentic spirituality, The Way of the Heart not only leads us to a fuller encounter with God, but to a more creative ministry with our fellow human beings. Here is one of the most profound works from a writer known for his fresh and perceptive insights—and who stands alongside C.S. Lewis and Thomas Merton as an essential Christian scholar and thinker. This short book with just a prologue and chapters on Solitude, Silence, Prayer and Epilogue is only 100 pages, and lends to a focused class. For questions, please reach out to
SUNDAYS from 9:15 – 10:15AM in the PARISH HALL w/ Variety of Teachers
*note: class is the first four Sundays of Lent—2/26; 3/5; 3/12; and 3/19)
What is a Deacon? Class (for those discerning a call and for those just curious)
While many of us can picture a priest, a bishop, or a lay person, most people in the church scratch their heads when they hear the word “deacon.” What is a deacon? How might this misunderstood order for ministry be the missing link in St. Paul’s living into its full potential? Using Being a Deacon Today: Exploring a Distinctive Ministry in the Church and in the World by Rosalind Brown, we will explore the many facets of what it means to be a vocational deacon and how all Christians can support those called to the vocational diaconate and help carry out the unique work of a deacon.
Feb 26 – Introduction
Mar 5th – The Location of Diaconal Ministry
Mar 12th – The Shape of Diaconal Ministry
Mar 19th – The Groundwork of Diaconal Ministry
For questions, please reach out to
TUESDAYS from 5:00 – 7:30PM in the LIBRARY w/ Joseph Casazza
- March 7 and 14 – Die tote Stadt (The Dead City)
- March 21 and 28 – Das Wunder der Heliane (The Miracle of Heliane)
We will watch recorded performances of Erich Korngold’s Die tote Stadt (The Dead City) and Das Wunder der Heliane (The Miracle of Heliane), each opera divided in half, about an hour and fifteen minutes of opera at a time, each opera sung in German with English subtitles, with a discussion of a half hour to an hour to explore the theme of resurrection in the operas. Please bring some snacking food for yourself and some to share. For questions, please reach out to
Joseph Casazza received his AB from Harvard University his MA from the University of Texas at Austin. He has taught in private schools and has been a staff member of the Harvard University libraries, The Library of Congress, and The Congressional Research Service.
WEDNESDAYS from 11:00AM – 12:30PM in the LIBRARY w/ Ken Ballard
30 Poems for Lent
St. Paul’s 30 Poems for Lent, starting March 1st, will examine some of life’s most nagging and baffling imponderables. But Dietrich Bonhoeffer, David Bottom, Anya Krugovoy Silver, Jack Gilbert, Kwame Dawes, R. S. Thomas, and others don’t so much answer questions about the nature of salvation, the meaning of prayer, or how faith can be fleeting; as highlighting the difficulty of grasping what being in a relationship to God means. Given such dreadful seriousness, one might expect that the most satisfying aspect of our first ever Poetry and Brown Bags poetry series will be our brown bag lunches. Anyone for a quinoa, tuna, and chickpea salad? Or the more basic peanut and jelly? But the doubters will be proven wrong. As Hobbes realized, God does have a goofy sense of humor. And since we share that trait, the poems and our reaction to them will have us laughing an inordinate amount, at least during Lent, of the time. Though the same poems might have us baffled, awe struck, deeply appreciative, or even more closely connected to each other. So please join us, every Wednesday through March, at 11:00 am in the church’s library. For questions, please reach out to
Ken Ballard and his husband, Dale Carr, moved to Palm Springs last October, with the hope of being permanent, year-round residents. Over the last twenty plus years, Ken has enjoyed sharing poetry with a wide range of groups. First with the non-profit Write Around Portland, where he met with homeless teenagers, people with AIDS, elementary school kids, and those suffering from chronic mental illnesses. Then at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, also in Portland, he hosted at least one poetry series every year since 2010. And for the last three years, since the start of the pandemic, he’s facilitated a weekly Zoom Poetry for St. Stephen’s. But truth be told, he’s more obsessed with baseball and the start of spring training than Mary Oliver or Danez Smith.
WEDNESDAYS from 6:30 -8:00 PM in the CHURCH
w/ Mick Welch & Lou Armentrout
“Joan of Arc” Lenten Play
Do you want to meet one of the GREATEST SAINTS that has ever lived? Join us this Lent for a study group that will read aloud Armentrout and Welch’s “JOAN OF ARC”, an easy-to-read play that we’ll do in five parts each Wednesday, after Mass, in Lent. As we become the people in Joan’s life, we’ll see how she lived out her SACRED MISSION, and we’ll talk how each of us can do the same.
St. Paul’s T-Shirts Now Available
St. Paul’s T-Shirts have arrived! This blue apparel comes in M, L, and XL. It features the Church’s new logo on the back and the phrase, “We respect the dignity of every human being” on the front (part of our baptismal covenant). If you would like to purchase one, a booth will be set up at coffee hour. You can also pick one up by stopping by the office. The cost is $25 per shirt (the cost of materials + shipping – St. Paul’s is not making any money off of these).
EXACT CHANGE ONLY (by check or cash).
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, March 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. See you there!
This month’s featured film is Chocolat, nominated for 5 Academy Awards including Best Picture.
When mysterious Vianne and her child arrive in a tranquil French town in the winter of 1959, no one could have imagined the impact that she and her spirited daughter would have on the community stubbornly rooted in tradition. Within days, she opens an unusual chocolate shop, across the square from the church. Her ability to perceive her customers’ desires and satisfy them with just the right confection, coaxes the villagers to abandon themselves to temptation – just as Lent begins.
Juliette Binoche, Johnny Depp, Lena Olin, Judi Dench
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!
You are invited to the church on Wednesday evenings at 6:00 PM each week for contemplative Eucharist/Evening Prayer. During Lent, our Wednesday services will be Rite I.
The church will be open the hour prior (5:00-6:00 PM) for silent, personal prayer. Come and rest.
Formation and Social Justice Opportunity for Parishioners: Desert Interfaith Council
St. Paul’s has joined other Coachella churches, temples, and mosques as a member of the Desert Interfaith Council. The Council helps members learn about other spiritual traditions with a focus on Coachella social justice. The Council 1) holds monthly one-hour meetings that include stimulating presentations, 2) distributes weekly Words of Faith, 3) shares information from member faith communities, and 4) most importantly, turns faith into action by addressing Coachella social justice issues. Find out more: desertinterfaithcouncil.splitrockstrategies.com/Desertinterfaithcouncil/
You’re invited to join Sacred Circle
St. Paul’s Sacred Circle is a band of women who wish to deepen their spirituality and build community. We would be pleased to have you join us. Our in-person meetings are scheduled every other Wednesday, 1:00PM-2:30PM, in the library. Our next meeting is March 15th. For more information, please contact Rev. Marian Stinson at or 860.212.2505.
St Paul’s Book Club
The next Book Club meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 4, 2023, at 1:00 PM, via Zoom. Meeting information will follow later. For April, Book Club has selected The Sleeping Car Porter by Suzette Mayr. Set in 1929, this novel brings to life an important part of Black history in North America, from the perspective of a queer man living in a culture that renders him invisible in two ways. When a mudslide strands a train, Baxter, a Black sleeping car porter, must contend with the perils of white passengers, ghosts, and his secret love affair.
New members are always welcome at Book Club. For more information, please contact Alan Zimmerman at
Prayers of the Church
For the Anglican Communion, and for the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby; for The Church of South India (United), The Most Reverend A. Dharmaraj Rasalam, Moderator and Bishop of South Kerala.
For the Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida, The Right Reverend Dabney Tyler Smith, Bishop.
For the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego, The Right Reverend Dr. Susan Brown Snook, Bishop; for the clergy and people of Trinity, Escondido; for all who are discerning a call to holy orders.
Prayer for those affected by the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria – Comfort them, Lord, in this disaster. Be their rock when the earth refuses to stand still and shelter them under your wings when homes no longer exist. Embrace in your arms those who died so suddenly. Console the hearts of those who mourn and ease the pain of bodies on the brink of death. Lord, bring them comfort, strength, and renewed hope. Amen.
For those commended to our prayers: Greg Gowdy, Gigi Noonan, Earl Dumler, Nikko, Tish & Elliot Kahn, Roddy Delson, Bonnie Woods, Irina & Gary Manata, Anna Gospodareva, Bob & Linda S., Gene Metzger, Forest Irons, Brea Fyke, JoEllen Doering, Marge Horstman, President Jimmy Carter, Jessica Scott, Marie Ratnam, Bruce Berlage, Dick Cushing, Judy Roa, Lisa & Tony Porto, The family of Susan W., Teresa Ball, Joel Cutler, Paula Davis, Justin, Monique, Dirk Beach-Barrow, Matthew Patton, Ken Smithler, Rus Butler, Omana, Missy Martinson, Eliott Kahn, Marna & Rick Hill, John Ketchum, AJ Miller, Tom Lutgen, Brian Nealy; pray for all those for whom no prayers have been said.
For those who have died: Robert Quirk, Beth Reed, Shirley Gilchrist, Willie B. Holland, Paul Goree, Dennis Barajas, Billy Kiker, Margaret Phillips. Rest eternal grant to these, your servants, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon them. May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
For those with birthdays: March 12: Sandi Austin; March 13: Karen Shepherd, John Hampson; March 15: Daria Lightner-Eder, Jim Watkins; March 16: Christine Kennedy; March 18: Tim Johnson.
For those celebrating anniversaries: March 14: Tim Johnson & Bret Caton; March 17: Rex Comer & Lanny Tucker.
During Lent the altar is not to be decorated with flowers.
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 March 19, 2023, Laetare Sunday, The Fourth Sunday in Lent.
Upcoming Meetings & Events at St Paul’s
- Wednesday, March 15 – 1:00 PM-2:00 PM – Library – Sacred Circle (Women’s group—all invited!)
- Wednesday, March 15 – 6:00 PM – St. Brigid of Kildare and St. Patrick of Ireland – Celtic Eucharist
- Saturday, March 18 – 6:00 PM – Parish Hall – Movie Night – “Chocolat”
- Sunday, March 19 – LAETARE (“PINK”) SUNDAY & SAFETY SUNDAY!
- Monday, March 20 – 6:00 PM – Library – Finance Committee
- Wednesday, March 22 – 6:00 PM – The Feast of the Annunciation (transferred) – Choral Solemn Evensong
- Thursday, March 23 – 6:30 PM – Library – Vestry
- Wednesday, March 29 – 1:00 PM-2:30 PM – Library – Sacred Circle
The Reconciliation of a Penitent: Remembering Confession in Lent
The Book of Common Prayer contains two orders of service for private confession, known officially as the Reconciliation of a Penitent. Making a private confession is a traditional and powerful spiritual practice, and the choice to confess or not confess to a priest is governed by the old adage: All may, some should, none must. This Lent, Rev. Jessie and Rev. Dan will be reserving time for hearing confessions and will be available by appointment. If you would like resources or help preparing for confession, or if you would like to set up a time for this sacrament, please email or
Reconciliation of a Penitent: What Is It and What Can I Expect if I Try It?
Here is an excerpt from the Rev. Hillary Raining’s book, Joy in Confession: Reclaiming Sacramental Reconciliation:
Reconciliation of a Penitent Explained
The theological explanation of reconciliation is both complicated and simple. At its heart, reconciliation is the very cornerstone of our faith—the love of God proclaimed in the forgiveness and healing offered to us by Jesus. We often hear the phrases “Jesus died for our sins” or “Jesus died to save you.” Yet, understanding how that forgiveness works in our day-to-day life can be difficult. The Rite of Reconciliation exists so that we can live into the forgiving action of Jesus as found in his Body, the community of the Church, and as people of God.
In the Episcopal tradition, Reconciliation of a Penitent (as defined in the Book of Common Prayer) it “is the rite in which those who repent of their sins may confess them to God in the presence of a priest, and receive the assurance of pardon and the grace of absolution.” It is often referred to as “private confession.”
Reconciliation invites us to leave our tombs (our sins and failings) and live the life God calls us to. Reconciliation means we become one again with our Lord and Savior—that we experience the Easter promise of new life. When people truly embrace and practice Reconciliation of a Penitent, they will be transformed—as will the world around them.
What to Expect When Making Confession
Although each location will be different according to your church’s traditions and the style of your confessor, here are some things that you can expect when you make a confession.
- Begin your journey to reconciliation with prayer and self-examination. Knowing that this opportunity is a call to grace and not a call to feel shame, ask God for clarity in those parts of your life that may need healing and change.
- When you feel the desire to seek reconciliation, call your church to make an appointment with your priest or make note of any previously scheduled times of confession that are posted in your church.
- The place where you make your confession will be confidential and sacred. Very few Episcopal churches have confessional booths; however, if yours does, simply enter and either sit or kneel as the priest takes her or his place on the other side of the screen. If your church does not have a booth, you will most likely be invited to kneel at the altar rail or meet with the priest in his or her office. The confessor may sit facing you or in such a way as to not make direct eye contact with you; this may make the moment more comfortable for you and is a sign that your confessor is listening deeply on behalf of God.
- Using one of the reconciliation rites from The Book of Common Prayer, you will confess your sins and ask God for forgiveness. Don’t worry if you can’t remember everything! God knows what is on your heart.
- The priest may offer pastoral conversation and some spiritual practices (such as a psalm, prayer, or hymn to be said or something to do) to offer as a sign of penitence and an act of thanksgiving.
- The priest will then absolve you from your sins and remind you of the wonders of God’s grace and forgiveness that you have received.
- Spend some time in prayer afterward to revel in the freedom and joy that God offers you in this pastoral gift of reconciliation.
The 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge
Searching for a Lenten Practice that will have you looking at what you have, getting rid of what you don’t need, and creating literal space for God’s Spirit to flow and your home to be a place of resurrection?
Join us this Lent with the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge.
You determine the size of the bags, and going through each room, drawer, closet, and cupboard, each day collect the items you don’t need, don’t use, or have too much of and discard, recycle or find a new home for those items. Ask yourself, can I donate my unused clothing to those in need? Do I let food go to waste? Am I spending my money on new possessions when I am not using the ones I have or when I could be helping those in need?
While this might seem a different Lenten practice, Lent is a time of prayer, sacrifice, and self-denial. Getting a little uncomfortable is what Lent does, allowing us a time of confession, reconciliation, and new habits as we deepen our spiritual lives. Clearing out our space isn’t just the new ‘minimalist’ fad. We are called to be good stewards of our things and the more things we have, the more energy we take in keeping them up, and the less time we have to spend with those we love and with those we are called to serve. By using/having less and by being less wasteful, we can make more room for prayer and to hear God’s Voice.
Join us. #40bagsin40dayslentchallenge
1 Front porch/steps/yard
3 Hall Closets
4 Kitchen drawers/cabinets
5 Under the kitchen sink
7 Dining room table/shelves/drawers
8 Towels and linen closet/drawers
9 Bathroom closets/drawers/shelves
10 Under the bathroom sink
12 Cleaning supplies
13 Junk drawers
14 Living room shelves/cabinets
15 Family room shelves/cabinets
16 Master bedroom drawers/shelves
17 Bedroom closet
18 Guest room drawers/shelves
19 Guest room closet
21 DVDs/VHS tapes
23 Jewelry/other accessories
24 Kids’ bedroom drawers/shelves
25 Kids’ bedroom closets
26 Dog/cat toys/blankets/etc.
29 Office desk
30 Office shelves/drawers/stacks
31 Craft room drawers/shelves
32 Craft room floor/piles
33 Christmas stuff
34 Other holiday stuff
35 Sports equipment
36 Laundry Room
37 Garage cabinets/shelves
38 Cars (center consoles, floor, trunks, glove compartments, etc.)
39 Back porch/yard
40 All piles of paper
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.
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
Subscribe to the Weekly Newsletter of the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego – The EDSD News is full of event announcements, church news, death notices, clergy changes, bishop-related notes, and current opportunities for service. Go to https://edsd.org/communications/ and scroll to the bottom of the page where you’ll find space to add your name and email address. Then click on SIGN UP TODAY. You’ll receive the EDSD News on Wednesday, every week.
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