For Sunday, September 4, 2022
We have scheduled our next Newcomers’ Class, for anyone interested in exploring membership here at St. Paul’s. Join the co-rectors Sunday, September 25 at 9:15 AM (between the two services). We’ll meet in the Parish Office Library. Bring your questions and curiosity! All are welcome.
August 28th Sunday Sermon
Due to technical difficulties, we were unable to livestream last Sunday’s 10:30 worship service, so we’re sharing the sermon text here.
Pentecost 12 *** Proper 17 *** Year C *** August 28, 2022
Sermon given by the Reverend Jessie Thompson, Co-Rector
Proverbs 25:6-7; Psalm 112; Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16; Luke 14:7-14
Let me begin by reading something I’ve shared with the Vestry from a little book called The Episcopal Handbook: “How to Respond When Someone Sits In Your Pew…” 😊
“But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’…” (Luke 14:10)
“Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it…” (Hebrews 13:2)
April 3, 2010 was the night before Easter and I was holding vigil, just not for the savior’s resurrection. I was waiting at my parents’ home for the arrival of my first niece and for the call from the hospital that she was this side of the womb safe and sound. Like many first-time parents, my brother and sister-in-law wanted everything to be perfect and we were instructed not to wait at the hospital, but that when they were ready, they would call. The anticipation was killing me and I couldn’t wait! The call came so very late, and we were told that they wanted to get some sleep and would let us know in the morning a good time to come and meet this new babe. I slept only a few hours and awoke early, knowing it might be a while. I figured I would sneak away to an Easter church service while I waited and looked up the nearest Episcopal Church. I arrived on time but forgot the place would be packed with the yearly visitors. I slipped into the church and looked around for an empty spot. Not a single spot in the ENTIRE church was open, but then my eyes spotted a small pew in the back with just one empty spot. I made my way to the seat and was immediately tapped on the shoulder. Looking up, the stern eyes of an usher with a name badge judged me for being late and loudly whispered, “I’m sorry. This seat is reserved for the ushers only. You can’t sit here.” I was shocked. Embarrassed. Confused. Just then my phone buzzed, and I was being beckoned to the hospital to meet my sweet niece. So, I stood up from the pew that was clearly not meant for me, and I left the church…
Two years prior to the Great Easter Wounding 2010, as it became known, I was living in Seattle and had experienced a tragic loss that undid me at my core. You know the kind of grief that is at the root of all other grief you experience for the rest of your life? That kind of loss… And I was walking in the city and noticed a sign inviting me to walk a Labyrinth at a nearby church as part of a Lenten series. It was advertised as a simple dinner and time to walk a Labyrinth. (I am a sucker for Labyrinths!) I gathered myself to this strange church and knew that walking a Labyrinth would be healing and would be hope-filled. As I entered and followed the smell of savory soup, I found myself at the check-in table without any cash for dinner (it was $3). I offered my card or a promise to come back with money another time, but was told, “Yeah, we only take cash. Sorry.” Embarrassed by my lack of preparedness but not wanting to miss out on walking the labyrinth, I shuffled to a chair and sat and waited, watching others eat while I counted the minutes until dinner was over… (Did I mention it was only $3?) As the meal ended, folks were ushed to another room with a large canvas labyrinth on the floor; simple instructions were given to walk with care for others and I began. If you’ve ever walked a labyrinth, you know that it is meant to slow the walker down and allow space for contemplation and centering. As I slowed down, the weight of the grief I had been carrying rested on my shoulders and I began to weep. Tears streamed down my face and I couldn’t stop them. I was snotty and walking and with blurred vision I found the end and sat down. Not one person approached me. No one checked in on me or even acknowledged I was there. I had never felt more alone than I did in the church full of people who didn’t seem to notice a stranger, let alone feed or love her.
Churches are one of the few places that have some intrinsic power over us in how we feel about ourselves and our worthiness. Church can either be a place of deep wounding or deep welcoming… There is not a lot of room for neutral feelings.
My guess is that you have been in churches that have wounded… and in churches that have welcomed… My guess is that St. Paul’s has done both…
By now you have had a little chance to get to know Rev. Dan and myself, and we pray you have experienced with us our intentional desire for this parish to be a place of deep welcoming… We say often that we want all of us to be the kind of community we’ve always wanted to be a part of. Too many of us in this church have been part of churches that have broken our hearts and our spirits, that have damaged our sense of self and worthiness. That have contributed to the ways we feel about God’s desire (or denial) to see God’s image in us.
I imagine we could all share wounding stories… And for that, dear ones, my heart breaks with yours over those stories. You are too precious to have been caught in the wounds others perpetuated. And on behalf of any and all clergy who have ever wounded you, I am so sorry. You deserved better.
And if it wasn’t clergy, on behalf of ushers and dinner counter volunteers and labyrinth facilitators and vestry members and altar guild members and people who made you feel unwanted because you sat in their pews and others who didn’t value you because you were there at that time, I am sorry. You deserved better.
“Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it…” (Hebrews 13:2)
We have an opportunity right here and right now to be agents of healing and a balm of Gilead as the Church of St. Paul in the Desert. We have a biblical directive to love and show hospitality to strangers, and to create and live into the kind of church we have always dreamed of belonging to. Not just for the reward of entertaining angels—though in my eyes you are all angels—no, for the sheer fact that at one time, we were all strangers.
We all fumbled into pews and juggled bulletins and prayer books. We all didn’t know where the bathroom was or certainly coffee hour. We might’ve been lucky to have walked into this place with a partner, but many have lost their partners since that day. And if we grew up in this church and have never had the feeling of being a stranger here, the pandemic has leveled the playing field and we are all navigating the strangeness of re-entering and re-creating St. Paul’s…
We have all been strangers at one point.
And for that reason alone, we are called to show hospitality.
And you and I have no idea what each person in here is carrying with them this morning. The fact that many of you got out of bed today and made your way to worship at St. Paul’s is miracle! And we, as your community, are called to offer tender hospitality. Mutual love.
And this is vulnerable. And yet, if we do not do this, St. Paul’s will not be here long-term to welcome new generations of people who are searching for a community to walk with them in grief and love.
If not for Jesus, offer hospitality for the sake of former you, who despite all wounding communities of faith, found your way here at St. Paul’s.
So, here is the low-hanging fruit of hospitality—I want you to turn and introduce yourself to the person that sits next to you, behind you, in front of you in your pew. And more than making sure they know who YOU are, I want you to know the names of those who sit next to you. Ask them how long they’ve been here… Go ahead…
Beloveds, you and I have a choice about the kind of church we want to be part of. Are we going to be a place of deep wounding, or deep welcoming? Are we going to risk the vulnerability of greeting our pewmates by name—and being open to the fact that we are forgetful about names and that’s okay? Are we going to risk meeting new people at coffee hour after church? Maybe asking them to join us for lunch? Or are we going to pretend that the banquet is only for us, that we don’t go to church to make friends or meet people, and that we are better off just showing up and leaving when we got what we wanted out of church?
Let us be known for being a church that offers authentic hospitality, mutual love, and deep welcome; and let our actions even today here this morning at St. Paul’s bring healing in the Valley. Amen.
“But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’…”
“Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it…”
The next Book Club meeting will be held Tuesday, September 6, 2022, at 1:00 PM, via Zoom. Meeting information will follow later. For September, Book Club has selected Middlemarch by George Eliot. George Eliot’s timeless masterpiece, considered to be the greatest novel in the English language, examines provincial life in Victorian England.
Summer Mid-week Services
Throughout the summer, come worship with us at Evening Prayer or, for select weeks, a simple spoken mass (Contemplative Eucharist), one or the other, offered Wednesdays at 6:00 PM. The church will open at 5:00 PM for silent, socially distanced personal prayer.
Circle Supper Kick-Off
This Thursday, September 8, at 6:00 PM, ALL of you who signed up for the new year of Circle Suppers are invited to the Parish Hall to knosh a little and meet your new groups. Bring your calendars and enthusiasm for a great year!
Daughters of the King
St. Paul’s Chapter of the Daughters of the King (DOK) will be offering preparation for admitting new members starting in October. Our order is open to all women who desire a closer walk with the Lord. If you would like more information about the Daughters of the King, contact Patty Kiker at or 214-497-3034, Bonnie Stroock at , or Karen Nelson at . Requests for prayers to be added to the DOK confidential list can be emailed to .
Rectors’ Discretionary Fund
The first Sunday of the month, loose-plate offerings (i.e., general giving, not pledged giving) are designated for the Rectors’ Discretionary Fund (sometimes referred to as “Benevolence.”) The traditional uses of the discretionary fund are to assist the poor of the community.
Fall Sunday School Kick-Off
Sunday School teachers met recently to train and prepare for an exciting new year! Our Sunday School Kick-Off is Sunday, September 11th at the 10:30 AM service. Bring your backpacks and book bags to be blessed. (And working adults, you’re welcome to present your bags and laptops for blessings, as well.) Get ready for a fantastic year!
Sunday School Craft Supplies Needed
Do you have any craft supplies you’re not using that you’d like to donate to the children’s ministry? Fabric scraps, wooden blocks, pipe cleaners, felt, glue, or anything else that’s in good condition? Please bring what you have to the church on Sunday (or call the church for a drop-off this week). Sunday School teachers will be planning the new year next week and would love to get creative with teaching projects.
Social Justice Ministry Summer Clothing Drive
The Social Justice Ministry has reached out with a renewed appeal for donated clothing for the homeless. They’re particularly in need of summer apparel items, shoes, and hats. The preferred drop-off location for your donations is the home of John and Lena Granet in Palm Springs. Please call Lena at 760.322.2179 to arrange for delivery.
Sunset Labyrinth Walk September 21st
Save the date – Sunday, October 9, 2022
We’re calling it “Welcome Back Sunday,” and we consider it the unofficial launch of our new church Season. By then, our hot weather will have subsided somewhat, and we’ll begin to see the return of our “snowbird” and seasonal worshipers. It promises to be a festive day at St. Paul’s. We will be worshiping together in one fantastic service at 10:30 AM, followed by potluck fellowship, a ministry fair, and the directory photo shoot. You won’t want to miss this Sunday! Our Strategic Planning Consultant, along with the Co-rectors, will be sharing some exciting news about St. Paul’s and our future! We hope you can be a part of it.
Prayer Vigil at the Salton Sea October 10th
Desert AIDS Walk, October 29, 7:30 AM – 1:00 PM, Ruth Hardy Park
Registration starts at 7:30; the Walk will leave the park at 9:00 AM. Saint Paul’s has supported the Desert AIDS Project for over 30 years, providing donors and board members, and by participating in events. Please join us as part of the Community and register with our team. This year we will also be joined by contingents from St. Margaret’s and St. John’s. Take Action and walk on Saturday, October 29, 2022. Make an Impact by donating or collecting donations for Desert AIDS Project. You can also register at desertaidsproject.org or contact George at . Donations can be made at the information table set up in the Columbarium colonnade outside the church before and after services. Alternatively, you can give online or in the offering plate. AIDS Walk tee shirts are available for purchase from the Desert AIDS Project for $25.
New Testament I at the EDSD School for Ministry on Zoom this fall.
Online offerings from the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego School for Ministry are currently in transition. This fall, New Testament I will be offered completely online only, via Zoom. David Moseley, PhD will be teaching this course. He is a much beloved instructor who teaches all scripture classes at the school. The sessions will be held on Monday evenings from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM, from September 12 to December 5. The link to their website is EDSD: » School for Ministry. For more information, contact Andrew Trofka at 920.619.6392 or .
Production Assistant Trainees Needed
We’ve shared the text of Rev. Jessie Thompson’s sermon from Sunday, August 28, in this issue of The Abundant Life because we were unable to livestream the 10:30 service, as is our usual practice, due to technical limitations. The problems we encountered underscore our need for more volunteers to get involved in the production of our weekly broadcasts. We currently have no depth in the ranks of trained technicians to operate our audiovisual equipment. If you think you might be interested in being trained in this technology, we’d like to talk to you. The work is fun, it’s not difficult, and there is no prior experience required. We have technical experts who are available to do the training. Our hope is to get enough trained production assistants so the time commitment for any given individual would be lessened.
Church flower sponsorships
Fresh flowers on display in the church honor God and add to the beauty of our worship. We invite you to consider sponsoring flowers to recognize or honor special people and events. We currently have several open Sundays for sponsoring Narthex Flowers. These floral arrangements are smaller than altar arrangements; they are often created with beautiful, unique blooms not always found in the larger displays.
You can reserve your sponsorship Sunday(s) by calling the Parish Office (760.320.7488). Or you can sign up using the Flower Sponsor Register found in the Narthex on Sunday mornings.
Parish Directory Project
Work continues on the update of our member database for a new Parish Directory we plan to publish later this year. Volunteers are calling parishioners to confirm the contact information we have on file for each household. You can also update your information by completing the form you’ll find inserted in today’s bulletins. Please place your completed form in the basket in the Narthex as you leave today.
The Directory will also include member photographs. We have arranged for a photo shoot on site, after services on Sunday, October 9, to capture informal, outdoor photos of each parishioner. If you won’t be available that day, please contact the Parish Office at 760.320.7488 to learn of alternative options.
Prayers of the Church
For the Anglican Communion, and for the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby; for the Anglican Church of Australia, The Most Reverend Geoffrey Smith, Primate and Archbishop of Adelaide.
For the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania, The Rt. Rev. Audrey Cady Scanlan, Bishop.
For the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego, The Rt. Rev. Dr. Susan Brown Snook, Bishop; for the clergy and people of St. Dunstan’s, San Diego.
For those commended to our prayers: Gordon Berry, Sr., Betty Dasteel, The Rev. Canon Victoria Hatch, Greg Gowdy, Robin Griffen-McLaughlin, The Rev. Deborah Seles, William Kennedy, Terry Moran, Uta Born, Nicole Phillips, Noble Pereira, Frank Riviers, Geraldine Rosato, David Smitherman, Jeff Peck, Wayne Watson, McLeaman Legg, Woody Wood & Doug Hairgrove, Martin Page, Don & Mary Hamilton, Roy Cody, Gale Enger & George Barros, Tony Ellerd, Josh Brown, Dirk Beach-Barrow, AJ Miller, Jim Randolph, the families and friends of Terry Harrington and Mike Lang, Ryker Alexander, Dick Hoffman, Ron McDaniel, Bonnie Ong, Rosalie Markley, Annie Shepherd, Eva Wilson, Tom Lutgen, Brian Nealy; pray for all those for whom no prayers have been said.
For those who have died: Mike Baltazar, Helen & Charles Falconio, Joe Migocki, Terry Harrington, Mike Lang, Marolyn Harvey, Mark Moran, Arthur McGhee Pollack, Michael D. Robinson, Jeff Adair, Sandra Mobley.
For those with birthdays: September 4: Pat Lutgen; September 5: Beth Owsley, The Rev. Canon Andrew Green; September 6: The Rev. David Olsen; September 8: Glen Noteboom; September 9: Bonnie Stroock.
For those celebrating anniversaries: September 10: Jacqueline & Jerry Gerard.
For those for whom flowers have been donated: Today’s Altar Flowers are sponsored by Mary & Roy Seger in thanksgiving for their anniversary. Today’s Narthex Flowers are sponsored by Cheryl & Ray Kelley, “in loving memory of our moms, Anna Kelley and Shirley Balin.”
For next Sunday’s Lectionary readings, go to www.stpaulsps.org, and click on “This Week’s Scriptures” in the Worship Services box. From the calendar, select September 11, The Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost.
More details are forthcoming, but MARK YOUR CALENDARS for the following events at St. Paul’s:
- Sunday, Sept. 18 – Daughters of the King Liturgy of Blessing at the 10:30 service
- Wednesday, Sept. 28, 6:00 PM – Feast of St. Michael & All Angeles (transferred) Evensong
- Sunday, Oct. 2 – Feast of St. Francis – pet blessing
For our summer Sundays, June 19 through September 25, I invite volunteer singers to join me in the choir “loft” to encourage and support congregational singing during the 10:30 AM liturgy. We will rehearse together Sunday mornings at 9:45, by reviewing the day’s music and singing through the full service. No vestments are required; just dress appropriately for the morning service. Come often or a few times; I would love to have you sing with me! See you at 9:45 in the “loft”!
Canon Phil, Interim Director of Music & Organist
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
Coffee/Social Hour Hospitality
For those wishing to sponsor refreshments for a specific Sunday Coffee Hour, please call or stop by the Parish Office to sign up. All our hospitality procedures and protocols are subject to any CDC guidelines and mandates that Bishop Susan may put into place, depending on prevailing COVID conditions.
The Abundant Life E-List
If you are not a current subscriber to our weekly electronic newsletter, it’s easy to sign up. Just go to www.stpaulsps.org, scroll down to find “Join Our E-Mail List,” enter your email address – and you’re all set. You will receive the newsletter each week, usually on Fridays.
If the newsletter ends up in your spam/junk folder, simply add to your email address book.
Episcopal Relief & Development
Episcopal Relief & Development is mobilizing with Anglican agencies and other partners to provide humanitarian assistance to people fleeing the violence in Ukraine. Working through the Action by Churches Together Alliance (ACT Alliance), Episcopal Relief & Development will provide cash, blankets, hygiene supplies and other needed assistance. Please pray for all those affected. To donate directly to Episcopal Relief & Development’s Ukraine Crisis Response Fund, visit (https://support.episcopalrelief.org/). If you prefer, you can donate through St. Paul’s Parish. Be sure to designate “ERD Ukraine” on your check or cash envelope. To date, donations processed through our church have totaled $1,918.
COVID-19 and Masking at St. Paul’s Update
The following changes will take effect in our public worship on Sunday May 1, 2022:
+ 8:00AM – vaccine and mask required
+ 10:30AM (& Wednesday nights) – vaccine and mask strongly recommended
In addition to the changes mentioned above, the following will continue:
+ Funerals, which often have many guests from out of state, will be mask required services (we will not check for vaccinations)
+ Ushers, altar ministers, lectors, and clergy will continue to remain masked unless reading, preaching, or celebrating the Eucharist. Staff singers/choir/ensembles will continue to remain masked during the services