For Sunday, November 29th
A Letter from our Stewardship Ministry Co-Chairs
To: Grateful Giving 2021 Pledgers
It is with grateful hearts that the Stewardship Committee, the Vestry and Fr. David wish to thank and acknowledge all who have pledged for 2021. Because of your generosity and support, we can share joyful worship and continue our ministries for our parish family and the greater community. We are humbled by, and thankful for our parishioners who help us continue God’s mission for St. Paul’s. For those who have not yet submitted a 2021 pledge, it’s not too late. Please send your completed Pledge Card to the Parish Office. Or, go to the church website, scroll down to “2021 Grateful Giving Pledge,” and enter your pledge online.
We have much to be grateful for as we look forward to the coming year. God is surely among us and our blessings abound as we approach the new year with renewed energy and excitement. Our ministries are thriving and reinventing ways to reach people in these uncertain times. And we eagerly anticipate calling our new rector in 2021. We pray also that we will soon be back in our beloved Sanctuary, where we can worship together again and make a joyful noise of praise and thanksgiving unto the Lord.
With your help, we are “setting the table,” and we look forward to enjoying “the feast” with God’s love and grace.
Kathy Kilmer & Alexandra Christensen
Stewardship Ministry Co-Chairs
A Message from our Senior Warden
I hope during these most difficult times in our lives, you and your loved ones are safe and well. This is a year that without a doubt will be recorded in history as one of the most devastating for our nation. Please safeguard your health and those you love.
Even though the doors have been shut, your church never closed, and the work of St Paul has continued without interruption. The kitchen has been in use daily to sustain our mission with the Well in the Desert to feed the homeless. The lectors, priests, altar ministers, choir and staff have been working to produce our worship services for you to enjoy weekly. The St Paul Book Club and Bible Study have continued to meet via Zoom, and our Children’s Ministry participated in summer Bible School with the Diocese. We are happy to have stayed connected with you in these ways.
In late summer, we shared with you our financial status with regard to the 2020 pledge income which was falling behind. Without being able to worship in person it just slipped past some of us and we forgot about our pledge of support to the church, but you still have time. After sharing the deficit with you, the letters started arriving and the gap began to close daily. The gifts continue to come in.
We are thankful for your open hearts and are happy to report that our receipts are currently $61,865. Thank you for supporting your church and helping to bring our mission in Christ to the world.
Book Club is Zooming!
The next Book Club meeting will be Tuesday, December 1, 2020, at 1:00 PM, via Zoom. Meeting information will follow later. For December, Book Club has selected American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins.
A bookseller flees Mexico for the United States with her son while pursued by the head of a drug cartel.
New members are always welcome at Book Club meetings. For more information contact Alan Zimmerman at email@example.com.
St. Paul in the Desert Women’s Sacred Circle
The Women’s Sacred Circle invites you, your friends and neighbors to join us via Zoom at 1:00 PM Wednesday, December 9, as we begin to read and study “A New Way to be Human: 7 Pathways to Becoming Fully Alive,” by Robert V. Taylor. Proceeding through the book we will explore being human, the sacraments and their relationship to our spiritual gifts.
Our Circle is a revolving one, so feel free to meet with us as time and life circumstances allow; no permanent commitment needed. To receive a Zoom Invite, please contact Kaye Ball at firstname.lastname@example.org or Lena Granet at email@example.com. We look forward to “seeing” you there! Audrey Spencer 760.835.5506
African Team Ministries Returns with a “Virtual” Gift Store and Catalog
African Team Ministries is a Christian ministry working as an intermediary between African and American churches. They receive assistance from Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran and Anglican denominations, providing funding for orphan and refugee relief missions and evangelism in east Africa.
For many years St. Paul’s has supported the African Team Ministries and their help to African communities. We have always displayed their handmade crafts, jewelry, and clothing for sale in the Parish Hall during coffee hours throughout Advent. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this display will be offered virtually this year.
During the annual African Team Ministries sale, you can peruse and purchase crafts, jewelry and soapstone made by women in East Africa. This outreach program provides funding for orphan and refugee relief missions, clergy and lay education, clothing and books for students, and evangelism in East Africa. They are also focused on providing family-sized drip irrigation systems which provide a controlled release of water for maize (a staple food) using only 5 buckets of water daily. This important work relies on support they receive from parishes like ours.
Access the Virtual Display at https://africanteamstore.square.site/
A Message from our Interim Rector
THE MINISTRY OF VESTRY
Along with many other things in parish life, at this time of year we begin to contemplate the selection and calling of members to serve on the Vestry – those members who will be officially elected at the Annual Meeting in January.
I think there is always some confusion and misunderstanding about Vestry membership in the church and it might be helpful to briefly review what a Vestry is. Perhaps it would be useful to start with examining what a Vestry is not. It is not a committee or a board of directors – and it is decidedly not simply a glorified finance group. (We have a separate, stand-alone Finance Committee.) As the title of this paper suggests, this is a very special Ministry of the Church that is characterized by service to the congregation as leaders. It is not an honor or a privilege, but rather a calling to care for the life and work of St. Paul’s parish for what is typically a three-year term.
Put in a positive way, the vestry members are the “elders” of the congregation (but not in any chronological age context). This is the one group that is concerned about the entire life of the parish – not just one aspect or favored project. Yes, this includes working with the clergy and, yes, it involves dealing with financial and property concerns as well. But it also includes the spiritual, educational, and pastoral welfare of parish members. It is an “oversight” ministry of the whole picture, a function that is usually translated as “Bishop” in the New Testament. In effect, the vestry is a group of “bishops” (I will use the lower case here) of the parish – the local overseers of our church life together.
Vestry membership certainly calls for persons who are willing to take counsel for the practical matters of the church and who are willing to be involved, where able, in at least some areas of church life. It goes without saying such persons are regular in their worship with us, who pledge, and who want to be leaders and supporters of all facets of parish life and not just some limited part of it.
A team that includes the rector, wardens, some vestry members and other leaders will be meeting to discern and reflect on who we might call and invite to this ministry to begin their service in the coming year. Not everyone is suited to this office – any more than everyone should count money or do youth work or sing in the choir. It is a matter of gifts for ministry and using the gifts we have been given. It is never about being better than others or being more important. All of us who are baptized have been given different gifts.
Perhaps you will consider this ministry and decide if you are being so called. If you feel called to this description of ministry you could certainly share your thoughts with the rector or the wardens or a current vestry member. In any event, know this is a ministry that is a joyful responsibility for those who share it. I ask for your prayers for St. Paul in the Desert as we once again discern new leadership for the next chapter in our church life together.
The Rev. Canon David L. Caffrey
Prayer for an Election
Almighty God, to whom we must account for all our powers and privileges: Guide the people of the United States in the election of the President, the Vice-President, and other officials and representatives; that, by faithful administration and wise laws, the rights of all may be protected and our nation be enabled to fulfill your purposes; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. – Book of Common Prayer, page 822.
Looking for a home?
St Paul in the Desert has been endowed with a gift of residential real estate located in Sun City, Palm Desert.
One of our longtime parishioners has bequeathed a beautiful home to the church. The proceeds from the sale of the property are to be shared by St. Paul and two other parishes that were dear to the heart of the donor. The residence is currently on the market and is move-in ready. If you know of someone who is looking for a home in a quiet community, we ask you to share this information.View more about this home
Forward Day by Day
Our shipment of Forward Day by Day daily devotional booklets for November 2020/December 2020/January 2021 has arrived. Although St. Paul’s campus is not open for business due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you may pick up your copy of Day by Day at the Parish Office by appointment between 9:00 AM and 4:30 PM, weekdays.
Please call the church (760.320.7488) to schedule a pick-up time/date that works for you and the church office staff. If you are homebound, let us know and we will mail your copy to you.
Kay Walker – We have just learned of the death of parishioner Kay Walker, of Othello, Washington and Palm Springs. Kay passed away February 8, 2020, after a long illness. She is survived by her husband, Leon. May she rest in peace.
Prayers of the Church
For the Anglican Communion, and for the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Rev. and Rt. Hon. Justin Welby; pray for the Church of Bermuda (Extra-Provincial to the Archbishop of Canterbury), The Rt. Rev. Nicholas Dill, Bishop of Bermuda.
For the Episcopal Diocese of East Tennessee, The Rt. Rev. Brian Lee Cole, Bishop.
For the Diocese of San Diego, The Rt. Rev. Susan Brown Snook, Bishop; for the Clergy and people of St. Paul’s, Yuma; for the Dioceses of Province VIII: Oregon, San Diego, San Joaquin, Spokane, Taiwan, Utah. Let us give thanks this week for blessings we have received.
For our Parish in Transition: Almighty God, giver of every good gift: Look graciously on your Church, and so guide the minds of those who shall choose a rector for this parish, that we may receive a faithful pastor, who will care for your people and equip us for our ministries; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen (BCP p. 818)
For those commended to our prayers: Terri and Judi Miller-Steele, Charlotte Jean Messenhimer, Robert and Duane Beach-Barrow, Jeanette Davis, Bonnie Ong, Alzinia Jackson, Brian Nealy, for health care workers everywhere, and for all those for whom no prayers have been said.
For those who have died: Kay Walker, Johnny Coleman, Oz Kraus, John (Jay) Cubbage, Shirley Winters.
For those with birthdays: November 22: Anthony Jewiss; November 24: Katie Martin; November 25: Patrick Von Bargen; November 27: Luis Valdez, David Hayden, Alan Glass; November 28: Allan Offermann.
For those celebrating anniversaries:November 22: Sandra Shaw & Bruce Blauvelt; November 25: Gary Scott & David Hayden; November 26: George Holliday & Rick Tinsley; November 28: Peter Smurthwaite & Patrick Von Bargen.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
For this Sunday’s Lectionary readings Click Here. From the calendar, select November 29th.
October 30, 2020
As stated in our update of October 9, 2020, we were waiting for our Office of Transition Ministry (OTM) form and our Parish Profile to be reviewed by our diocesan contact. That review has taken place and the documents have been returned to us with edits and suggestions. I have enlisted the aid of our co-chairs and teams to assist me in weighing those suggestions and making the necessary edits. We hope to have them back in the review and approval process by early November.
The documents will once again go through proofing and approvals by the Vestry and Diocese. Once approved, our diocesan contact will publish our OTM form and rector position materials on the national website, while the Parish Profile will be posted on our parish website.
This process, which, by design, is a long one, has been extended even more, due to COVID restrictions on gatherings. Our sessions for writing and editing documents have been conducted via Zoom and the Transition Committee worked through the summer to complete these tasks. We learned a great deal about the process and the amount of time it can take while working exclusively online. The Committee has worked steadily, prayerfully and through discernment to get us to this point. Once we have the documents published, we will know better how to adjust our next steps and will post a new timeline in the near future.
We appreciate your understanding, continued prayers, and support.
Clinton L. Carbon
Pray for our Parish in Transition: Almighty God, giver of every good gift: Look graciously on your Church, and so guide the minds of those who shall choose a rector for this parish, that we may receive a faithful pastor, who will care for your people and equip us for our ministries; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen (BCP p. 818)
Daughters of the King Prayer List Requests
St. Paul’s Order of the Daughters of the King chapter maintains a confidential prayer list, praying daily for our families, friends, congregation, and the world. If you would like to ask the Daughters to pray for you or someone else, email your requests to email@example.com. Confidentiality of this list means that names on our list are not shared beyond our chapter members and Chaplain.
Questions? Contact Patty Kiker, 214.497.3034
Fraud Email Alert
A recurring threat to churches is email-based impersonation scams targeting key personnel. The scheme involves cybercriminals mimicking clergy or other staff through the use of phishing emails. Criminals typically pose as personnel in positions of authority and ask victims to perform money transfers, pay invoices, or to send the attacker sensitive data. Scammers will often manipulate the “from” email address and name so that it appears to be coming from someone you know.
Churches and dioceses across The Episcopal Church and across other denominations have been a target of these email impersonation attacks. Scammers use a free email account (such as Gmail) and register it with an impersonated name. They then send an email to an unsuspecting recipient asking for immediate help in order to get a task done (such as purchasing a gift card or wiring money). Attention to detail can be a lot of help in combating cases of impersonation. Users should check sender details carefully. Any suspicious email message should be investigated before replying. Also, proper attention should be given to the message content, including attachments and URLs.
While there is no way to stop these scams, you can minimize risk by taking these steps:
- Check the return email address. If the address doesn’t match the name of the sender, be wary.
- Never open attachments from unknown sources.
- Be wary of generically addressed emails like “Dear Friend” or Dear Customer.”
- If there are links in the email, hover over them without clicking on them. This will show where the link will actually take you.
- Be wary of email with grammatical or spelling errors in the text.
- Check the address at the bottom of the email. If it says ”Pastor Jim” and Jim never goes by “Pastor,” it’s fake.
Finally, if after all these steps it looks safe and the sender is asking for money or access to secure data, call the person directly to get verification.
Your best defense for this is to simply delete the email; do not click on any links or reply to the sender.
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
Due to the COVID-19 health crisis, the Parish Office is closed to the public until further notice.
Office phone: 760.320.7488
If you call, please leave a message. In case of emergencies, a priest will return your call.
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.