For Sunday, March 31st
From the Rector
The Abundance of God’s Love Never Ends
We have reached the mid-point in Lent, when the readings all turn towards God’s mercy, forgiveness, and steadfastness in abundant love. The commentary on Joshua 5:9-12 by Bryan J. Whitfield on WorkingPreacher.com is spiritually deep and gives significant background on the transition of the children of Israel from slavery under Pharaoh to the abundance of the promised land, part of which is the wilderness wandering.
All of the readings for this weekend emphasize the abundance of God’s love, especially in a time of transition – a time of letting go, of giving thanks, and of moving into a new vision of God’s Mission. We are in the beginning of that transition. Deacon Susan and I, the Vestry, Staff, Key Volunteers, and the whole Parish are just beginning a time in the wilderness that can’t be denied or hurried.
The most immediate sign of the wilderness will be my and Susan’s departure on April 7th. Once we end our relationship with the Parish at the end of the 10:30 service on April 7th, we are no longer the pastors for St. Paul’s. That action marks the entry into the wilderness – for Susan, me, and for the Parish – as surely as the crossing of the Red Sea marked the transition into the wilderness for the people who followed Moses from Goshen.
The next sign is the increase in anxiety that all who enter the wilderness may experience. It is the wondering about what is next, what will the new normal look like, and how long will it take to get there? I can testify that this is true for Susan and me. I believe it is true for Parish and Diocesan leaders, and for many of the St. Paul’s community. This is holy anxiety and a time of pondering. The followers of Moses fought against every stirring of anxiety and tried to escape it, rather than trusting God and the wilderness process. It is one reason they were in the wilderness for 40 years. Susan and I are not making any permanent decisions now. We will take a break and leave the desert for a few weeks, even as we embrace the wilderness process.
The most important lesson from the transition of the Israelites from Pharaoh, to the wilderness, to the promised land, is that God is faithful – all the time. God had fed them on Manna in the wilderness and led them to a land of abundance where they could eat what grew there. They lacked nothing from God in the wilderness, but they had great difficulty restraining their anxiety. Not unlike passengers on a road trip that seems never ending, they were constantly grumbling, “Are we there yet?”
None of us are “there yet” and our different journeys need time to develop for us to redefine ourselves and understand where God would lead us. In our worship this and every weekend, we feast together on the abundance of God’s love at Jesus’ table. This banquet, though simple like Manna, is a constant sign of God’s provision for all of us – and each of us – who are led through the wilderness. Join us.
Joshua 5:9-12 (NRSV)
The Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away from you the disgrace of Egypt.” And so that place is called Gilgal to this day. While the Israelites were camped in Gilgal they kept the passover in the evening on the fourteenth day of the month in the plains of Jericho. On the day after the passover, on that very day, they ate the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. The manna ceased on the day they ate the produce of the land, and the Israelites no longer had manna; they ate the crops of the land of Canaan that year.
Next Sunday, April 7, is a day that we will remember always. Be sure to join us for our farewell reception to honor our retiring Rector and friend, Andrew Green, and our Deacon, Susan Green.
The main reception will be in the Parish Hall after the 10:30 service. Restaurant Eight4Nine will cater the event. Smaller gatherings will follow the 4:00 PM and the 8:00 AM services. While you will miss Andrew and Susan, you do not want to miss this opportunity to celebrate the 30 years we’ve shared with them.
Our last Taizé service for the season will be Thursday, April 4th at 7:00 PM
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.”
Social Justice Committee
Time to get involved . . . ?
St. Paul’s Social Justice Committee, which advocates for a more just and peaceful world, has been conducting a combined fundraising and volunteer drive throughout the month of March 2019. To be sure, the Committee has a project or cause that needs your financial support and/or volunteer time.
Simply leave your check in the Sunday collection plate earmarked for “Social Justice,” or contact Chris Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org for volunteer opportunities or more information.
We need your used clothing!
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 “gently used” items to the church and leave them in the Narthex with the ushers (or contact Chris Kelly at email@example.com to make arrangements). Your support and donations are much appreciated.
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. For more information contact Alan Zimmerman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maundy Thursday, April 18
Sign-up sheets for our Maundy Thursday Soup Supper, and for Watch with Jesus, the all-night Vigil of prayer before the Altar of Repose, are available in the Parish Hall.
The United Thank Offering
The United Thank Offering will be collected at all services this Saturday & Sunday. 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).
Your donation goes to our San Diego Diocese and to dioceses nation-wide to serve Christ’s people. Thank you for your generous spirit! St. Paul’s Daughters of the King chapter is pleased to facilitate this ministry.
Women’s Bible Study
All women of St. Paul’s are invited to attend our upcoming Thursday sessions. We will study “Bible Women — Their Words and Why They Matter.” Priest Lindsay Freeman gives life to these vital strong women as God “spoke, intervened, changed, illustrated and proclaimed the story of redemption through them.”
Join us at 2:00 PM on Thursday April 4 and April 11. Both sessions will be at the home of Lena Granet. Please let Lena know if you’re planning to attend at 760.322.2179
Spring Parish Potluck
April 11, 2019, from 5:30 – 7:30pm in the Parish Hall.
Please join us for the last potluck of “The Season.” Sign up forms are in the narthex (foyer of the church) as well as in the Parish Hall. Dinner will begin at 6:00, following the blessing. It will be an excellent time to be together following Fr. Andrew’s last Sunday at St. Paul’s. Please come.
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 this Sunday, March 31, in the Parish Office Conference Room, at 9:15 AM.
Easter Sunday Flower Donation
Sunday, April 21st
If you would like to donate to our Easter floral display please use the envelopes in the pews or note on your check memo line, “Easter Flowers.”
Donations must be received by April 7 to be acknowledged in the Easter Sunday Bulletin.
Holy Week Worship Schedule
April 13-21, 2019
The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday
Saturday, April 13, 4:00 PM
Sunday, April 14, 8:00 AM and 10:30 AM
Blessing of palms and entry into Jerusalem.
Tuesday in Holy Week – April 16
The Service of Tenebrae at 7:00 PM
Candles are extinguished and the darkness grows.
Maundy Thursday – April 18
Supper at 5:45 PM (sign up)
Holy Communion at 7:00 PM
Altar of Repose at 8:00 PM
Watch with Jesus through the night (sign up)
Good Friday – April 19
Good Friday Liturgy – St. John’s Passion at 12:00 PM
Stations of the Cross at 7:00 PM
Holy Saturday – April 20
The Great Vigil of Easter at 8:00 PM
The First Communion of Easter
Easter Day – April 21
Service and Music at 7:00 AM.
Family Service with Choir at 9:00 AM
Easter Egg Hunt at 10:15 AM
Festival Service with Choir at 11:00 AM
All services are Holy Communion
(Childcare provided at 9:00 and 11:00 AM)
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.
3/31: Gilgal – Rolling It Away: A reflection on Joshua 5:1-9.
Led by Gary Scott
4/7: NO SESSION: Fr. Andrew’s Farewell Receptions after Services.
4/14: The Events and Liturgical practices of Holy Week and the Triduum.
Led by Jerry DiNoto.
Tuesdays at 6:00 – 7:30 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.
4/2: Learn Wisdom and Live (Proverbs 8:1-8, 19-21; 9:4-6)
4/9: A New Heart and A New Spirit (Ezekiel 36:24-28)
Coffee Hour after Services
We hope you will join us for coffee and conversation in the Parish Hall following our Sunday morning services.
This weeks Coffee Hour hosts are the Altar Guild and the Altar Servers.
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.