For Sunday, March 17th
From the Rector
God’s Abundance Like the Stars of Heaven
Throughout the Sundays in Lent, as we walk with Jesus toward his self-offering, we also have readings from the Hebrew Scriptures which remind us of the abundance of God’s love for the people who follow God faithfully. This week we read Abram’s vision of God’s promise to him and his descendants. Despite the fact that Abram and his wife, Sari, are aging out – they are beyond their childbearing years – God has promised Abram an heir.
As readers we know that the heir is still years away and Abram will need ever more reassurance, but God gives Abram a sign. When Abram looks at the uncountable abundance of the stars in the heavens, he can have a taste of what his legacy will be. The abundant love of God is not something that only applies to Christians of the 21st century. It has been a feature of God’s creation of the world and is manifested in many of the interactions between God and humankind.
As Christians we link this abundance to Jesus and we celebrate it when we baptize, marry, or bury someone. Our first response is that in every age and corner of the world, God’s abundance is acknowledged by people of faith, and our role as believers in Jesus is to continue that belief by manifesting that God intends good by how we serve those in any need.
The second response asked of us is that we give thanks. Our baptism, weddings, and funerals are all built on thanking God. The main action we take at worship each week is to say thanks. The meal we share from Jesus’ table – Holy Communion – is the feast of thanksgiving.
In all the commotion and emotion of my final weeks here at St. Paul’s, I am keeping in mind two truths. God’s abundant love will continue for Susan and me, and I am viewing our life and work through the lens of gratitude. As we worship this weekend, I invite you to frame all your cares and concerns with trust in God for the future and with deep thankfulness for the ways in which God’s love has been revealed. Join us.
Genesis 15:1-6 Common English Bible (CEB)
After these events, the Lord’s word came to Abram in a vision, “Don’t be afraid, Abram. I am your protector. Your reward will be very great.”
But Abram said, “Lord God, what can you possibly give me, since I still have no children? The head of my household is Eliezer, a man from Damascus.” He continued, “Since you haven’t given me any children, the head of my household will be my heir.”
The Lord’s word came immediately to him, “This man will not be your heir. Your heir will definitely be your very own biological child.” Then he brought Abram outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars if you think you can count them.” He continued, “This is how many children you will have.” Abram trusted the Lord, and the Lord recognized Abram’s high moral character.
Music Fund Benefit Concert
Sunday, March 17th – 4pm
As a benefit for the Music Fund, we will present our own John Granet in a piano concert featuring works by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin and some of John’s most recent compositions.
No tickets are needed, but donations at the door will be gratefully accepted. A reception to greet John will follow in the Parish Hall.
Good Enough Project
In Father Andrew’s February 17, 2019 message in the service bulletin, he invited those who have experienced his ministry to share with him a story about how this interaction affected you (deadline is March 31).
Address them to “Good Enough Project”
125 West El Alameda
Palm Springs, CA 92262
For a submission or a brief Cell Phone Video.
We need your used clothing!
As part of its “Emporium” outreach to our brothers and sisters in need, St. Paul’s Social Justice Committee is holding a used clothing donation drive throughout the month of March 2019, in hopes of matching a generous donation of clothing left by St. Paul’s late sexton, Jeff Swanson. Bring your shirts, pants, shoes, coats and other clothing items (please no socks or underwear) to church any Sunday and leave them in the Narthex with the ushers (or contact Chris Kelly at [email protected] to make arrangements). Your support and donations are much appreciated.
ONE-PS Neighborhoods Fair
Saturday, March 23, 2019, Ruth Hardy Park, 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM.
St Paul’s will participate in this 12th Annual Picnic and Community Fair. We will have a tent/table to showcase our parish and all our events/activities. Come to the Fair for food, fun and prizes!
Women’s Bible Study
Women of St. Paul’s are invited to share in reading “Bible Women – All their Words and Why They Matter,” by Lindsay Freeman, an Episcopal priest. “Through these women, God spoke, intervened, changed, illustrated and proclaimed the story of redemption.”
We meet each Thursday at 2:00 PM and Deacon Susan will join us at our March meetings. Call Sharon Strong at 760.285.8910 if you wish to join us at her home.
Parish Life Book Club
Our Parish Life Book Club meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 1:00 PM in the Library. New members are always welcome.
For April 2, 2019, Book Club has selected The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty. At the heart of the novel is a letter that’s not meant to be read. Its discovery anchors a gripping story about how well it is possible to know our spouses and, ultimately, ourselves. 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 [email protected]
The United Thank Offering
The United Thank Offering of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, will be collected at all services on March 30 and 31. Please use the blue giving envelopes in the pew pockets or the special UTO collection boxes for your donations. Collection boxes can be found in the Parish Hall and the Narthex (Church lobby).
Since 1871, The Episcopal Church has gathered funds for this special offering as an expression of thanks for personal blessings. Donations fund grants in support of ministries in communities at home and around the world where there are no other sources of aid available. For more information please see the UTO information brochures in the pews. Take your copy with you today and read the interesting history of this missionary outreach ministry of the Episcopal Church. Questions? Contact Bonnie Stroock at 760.324.7949.
If you are interested in joining other church members to learn about our newly formed Latino Ministry, please plan to attend a meeting at 6:30 pm, Monday, March 25, in the Parish Office Library.
We’ll get acquainted, worship in Spanish and discuss ways to reach out to the local Latino community. Call Bonnie Stroock to RSVP – 760.324.7949
Newcomers Welcoming Session
If you want to join St. Paul’s or learn more about the parish, come to this single session class led by Fr. Andrew. In this informal setting, you will have the opportunity to ask questions about St. Paul’s and learn how to become a member.
The next session is Sunday, March 31, in the Parish Office Conference Room, at 9:15 AM.
Social Justice Committee
Time to get involved . . . ?
St. Paul’s Social Justice Committee, which advocates for a more just and peaceful world, is holding a combined fundraising and volunteer drive throughout the month of March 2019. From the Emporium project, which provides clothing and essential toiletries for the homeless and others in need, to the “Living Without Fear” initiative, which seeks to examine and curtail the epidemic of gun violence in our society, the Social Justice Committee has a project or cause that needs your financial support and time.
Simply leave your check in the Sunday collection plate earmarked for “Social Justice,” or contact Chris Kelly at [email protected] for volunteer opportunities or more information. Your help means everything to those in need.
Our last Taizé service for the season will be Thursday, April 4th.
As one person put it, “A Taize evening is a time to be still within as we quietly sit with our brothers and sisters in Christ and experience the Holy Spirit’s love and power through chant, scripture, sacred art and silence.”
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.
3/17: Bishop’s Visit. NO SESSION
3/24: Who’s to Blame? A reflection on Luke 13:1-9.
Led by Rev. Canon David Caffrey
Tuesdays at 6:00 PM, in the Library
Life Transformed: The Way of Love in Lent.
This series is based on the work of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. It will feature soup suppers and Lenten themed Scripture study.
3/19: Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ (Romans 6:3-11)
3/26: Deliverance Through Prayer (Exodus 14:10-15:1)
Fr. Andrew’s Retirement Reception
Save the Date!
On Sunday April 7, following the 10:30 A.M. service, please join us for a retirement reception honoring Fr. Andrew. More details will follow.
Coffee Hour after Services
We hope you will join us for coffee and conversation in the Parish Hall following our Sunday morning services.
And, please consider volunteering to be a Coffee Hour Host sometime during this new year. It can be a great way to honor and celebrate a birthday, anniversary or other special occasion. There are still many Sundays available. The Sunday Hospitality Sign-Up Book is on the table at the Parish Hall entrance.
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.