It may feel very far away right now, but August 1st will be here before we know it!
I would like to invite you to be a part of a three-week period of intentional prayer and reclaiming the sacred in everyday life beginning on Monday evening, August 1st/ Tuesday morning, August 2nd.
A friend introduced me to a wonderful book, “Every Moment Holy: Volume 1.” It is a collection of prayers and illustrations that invites us to become aware of the Spirit’s work in our midst at every moment. For example, it includes prayers “For the Ritual of Morning Coffee” and “Before Consuming Media.” It includes liturgies “For Those Feeling the Impulse to Buy” and “For the Death of a Dream.” One prayer even invites God’s work to be done in us as we do laundry!
I hope this time steeped in prayer and a renewed awareness of God’s presence at all times and in all places may offer each of us a sense of renewal and wonder!
I am happy to place an order for the books for those who would like. Right now, they are listed at $16 for the pocket edition, which I have. If you’re unsure of the size of the type, etc. please feel free to take a look at my copy. Otherwise, the hardcover copy is listed for $23.50.
If this sounds even the slightest bit interesting, please come! And please invite a friend, neighbor, or family member to join us! The Spirit is with us every moment! What if we all became more aware of her presence? How might we be changed?
Mark 13.34 “Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables; without a parable he told them nothing.”
And yet, the Gospel of Mark has the least amount of Jesus’ parables of the synoptic Gospels! Only six!
However, if we investigate Mark and the other Gospels, we find that the authors tell parables about Jesus. That is, stories about Jesus are told in parabolic style repeatedly, so that, like Jesus, the Gospel writers also told parables.
Join us in a two week survey of parables about Jesus! The first week we will review some of these, and then I will send you on a scavenger hunt for others which we will discuss in the second session!
Bring your Bibles, fill up on the Spirit, and let’s have some fun!
Details: Please join us for a Congregational Meeting on June 19thimmediately following the second service (around 11AM). Please find the details below. The meeting will be in-person with a Zoom link for those who would prefer to join remotely (invite to come).
Greetings in Christ. This letter is to inform you of a Special Congregational Meeting called by the St. Tim’s Council to be held on June 19, 2022 immediately following the indoor service, about 11:00 AM, in the sanctuary. This meeting is called regarding the hiring of a ¼ time pastor who would concentrate in the following areas of ministry: outdoor worship development, Sunday School, Bible study, and preaching once/month. This pastor would be hired on contract, not by call, and the hiring would be for a three-year term. St. Tim’s council has identified an appropriate source of funding for this hiring, drawn mainly from our accumulated savings. The motion to hire a ¼ time pastor is the only agenda item for this meeting.
For those of you who wish to attend virtually, a laptop computer will be set up in the sanctuary and a Zoom meeting invite link sent out to the congregation beforehand. COVID-19 is still with us, so if you plan to attend in person, please remember that masks are still strongly encouraged indoors at St. Tim’s and to maintain social distance as much as possible.
The hiring of another pastor, even part time, is certainly a big step in St. Tim’s spiritual life together. A letter dated May 2, 2022 from the Personnel Team to the congregation explains the reasons behind this hiring. Summarized briefly, Pastor Rachael has chosen to share her gifts of preaching and teaching by accepting an (online) adjunct faculty position at Luther Seminary. To give Pastor Rachael sufficient time for those professional duties, a team approach to the full ministry at St. Tim’s with a new ¼ time pastor is needed. Given that a pastor with experience in several areas beneficial to St. Tim’s has relocated to Albuquerque, it seems as if the Holy Spirit is presenting us with a wonderful opportunity.
I encourage all of you to attend and be part of this conversation. May the Holy Spirit guide us in this.
As people of faith and a Reconciling in Christ congregation, our support of the LGBTQIA+ community is more critical than ever. Please join us at the 2022 ABQ Pride Parade on Saturday, June 11!
Festivities were held at EXPO New Mexico June 9-11, the PRIDE Parade was on 10 June. We had a booth at PRIDEfest in the EXPO. Juli Owen and Beth Neer coordinated and we had a few volunteering opportunities for those interested. First we had help creating the items we handed out at the booth. We had a variety of items to choose from, picture to color, and bags. Hope Neer gave a presentation about current events that are affecting the LGBTQ+ community during the Education Hour on May 1. She will held a Question and Answer session during that time as well. Bring your curiosity and compassion, all are welcome to any of these events. https://www.abqpride.com/ ➔ If you have questions please contact Juli Owen: jowen711 at gmail.com and Beth Neer: joyfulnoyz2001 at yahoo.com
What is Reconciling in Christ?
The Reconciling in Christ (RIC) Program is for congregations, synods, colleges, seminaries, and other Lutheran organizations. Lutheran communities that publicly welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are accepted onto the Reconciling in Christ Roster which now exceeds 813 settings. Most groups start the process of consideration by engaging in a study program or series of educational meetings. Hearing the experiences of LGBT people and their families often creates greater understanding and insights.
Update: 2/2/22 Visitors to St. Tim’s will no longer need to sign up prior to attending worship
The council decided that a sign up sheet prior to attending worship is not longer needed. All are welcome to attend in-person or online.
Pastor Rachael shares updates to changes to worship: communion options; outdoor worship music; and remote worship options
Tentative date for first St. Tim’s indoor worship offering: July 4th, 2021!
It continues to be a challenge to know what is best regarding a return to indoor worship. While the legal restrictions for worship gatherings have been lifted, we are still living in the midst of a global pandemic. We have been incredibly blessed with a vaccine for the deadly COVID virus, but many remain unvaccinated for a variety of reasons and are still vulnerable. So, the St. Tim’s council has decided to move forward with tentative plans to offer one, in-person worship at 10:15 a.m. with masks, distancing, signing up online, and other necessary precautions beginning on Sunday, July 4th. The council will have a final vote on Sunday, June 20th to determine whether or not this worship will move forward.
If we do move ahead with worship inside the sanctuary, we will continue to offer both of the other outdoor worship experiences on Sunday mornings at 8:30 and 9:20 AM. Also, we plan to continue the online worship offering for the foreseeable future. Please hold the St. Tim’s council in your prayers as they discern God’s direction. Thanks be to God for the hope we have been given as we move forward in faith together!
An Update from St. Tim’s Congregation President, Lee Wilson: Bernalillo County and Albuquerque are now in the “yellow” tier of Covid-19 state status. That allows for up to 33% attendance for indoor church services. This of course is subject to ongoing masking, social distancing and hand washing requirements. The church council executive team is considering our options relative to ongoing Sunday services (indoor versus outdoor), but no decision has been made on this issue. Council is aware of this update and will be monitoring the situation weekly. You may contact Lee Wilson,email@example.com if you have any questions or suggestions.
Introducing Outdoor Worship!
It feels like ages since we’ve been together for worship. Thanks be to God for the gift of technology that has allowed us to be “together” digitally even when we’ve been physically apart. Now, we have a small opening to come together in God’s grace and mercy to worship, thanks be to God! The St. Tim’s Council as well as the Worship and Music Team have been working hard to find a way we may gather while maintaining very clear physical distancing guidelines. Please read on to get the specifics about these important boundaries and parameters.
Before getting to the full description, however, here’s what you need to know: If you are in an at-risk population, especially if your age and medical situation place you at high risk for infection, please remember the stay-at-home recommendation from our Governor remains in place. We don’t want anyone to feel as if in-person worship participation is expected! Each individual needs to make a wise decision for themselves.
Unless further restrictions are again set in place, St. Tim’s will begin offering abbreviated, outdoor worship experiences beginning Sunday, June 7th. This will be an experiment for all us! We are excited to offer this worship opportunity and we fully expect to make changes as we move forward.
This is how it will work for now (i.e. important guidelines for participation):
12 or so people will gather at a time in the courtyard off of Jefferson Street (that 12 number sounds biblical, doesn’t it?). Seats will be placed at least eight feet from one another. A face covering is essentialfor each worshiper. If you don’t have one, don’t worry! Wonderful St. Tim’s folks will be making and providing them. Please bring your own if you have it!
Up to three worship times will be offered on Sunday mornings. Two other worship times will be opened up on Monday evenings if we have the wonderful problem of having too many people who want to participate!
Each worshiper will need to reserve their spot by signing up on our website – www.StTimsChurch.net, or following the link from our Facebook Page, or calling the church office 505-255-8001.
You will need to make your reservation by the Thursday before worship. In other words, if you’d like to be in worship on Sunday, June 7th, you’ll need to reserve your spot by Thursday, June 4th. We’re sorry for the need to plan so far ahead!
Worship will be abbreviated. It will last no longer than 25 minutes and will include a time of prayer, Bible readings, a short reflection on the readings from Pr. Rachael, and Holy Communion. Sadly, we will not be able to sing together. That activity has been found to spread the virus quickly. We’ll enjoy the gift of congregational singing even more when we are finally able to do it again!
Worshipers will need to leave shortly after the worship experience so that the seats and communion plates can be disinfected for the next group. As much as we all love to just “hang out” together, thanks be to God(!), it is important that we do not congregate outside of the courtyard before or after each worship experience.
Unfortunately, access to the church building will not be available. Please be sure to use the restroom before you arrive! The possibility of spreading the virus through a public restroom is too great to make it available for Sunday morning worship times. Again, we’re so sorry for the inconvenience!
The full, on-line worship experience will continue for the foreseeable future, probably until a vaccine is discovered and has become widely available. Thanks be to God for Clara and her work to put this together for us each week!
Would you please consider if you’d like to participate in this worship offering? In order to plan the right number of worship services, we’d love to have some idea of how many folks are interested in participating. You don’t have to decide right now AND you can change your mind at any time! You can let us know by calling the church office 505-255-8001 or emailing Pr. Rachael at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to have a rough number for worship on June 7th by Monday, June 1st.
Thanks be to God for the gift of one another as we navigate this extraordinary time together!
St. Tim’s is keeping with CDC recommendations, here is the latest: Holy Communion resumes Sunday, May 24!! Pastor Rachael is in the clear! The folks she was contract traced to tested negative, thanks be to God! She looks forward to greeting anyone who would like communion from at least a six foot distance wearing our masks in the courtyard.
During Sunday Holy Communion from 8:30-10:30 a.m., 5 or less people can gather, and not to exceed 5 people at one time; please remain at the CDC recommended physical 6 foot distance from one another. When you arrive at the St. Tim’s courtyard off of Jefferson, feel free to enter as long as your presence will not cause the gathering to exceed 5 people and keeping the 6 foot distance between people. If 5 people are in the courtyard already, simply stand outside the courtyard until someone exits, and then enter. Individual cups of grape juice will be placed on tables with much space in between in order for those communing to remain physically apart from one another. For those who feel comfortable, the gift of Christ’s body and blood is available for you. May God give comfort and strength to us all as we move forward each day, trusting in God’s promises of life abundant.
God’s Peace, Pr. Rachael
Community Prayer everyday at 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
In this time of physical separation, you are invited to join with members of St. Tim’s and others in our community at 10 am and 3 pm each day. It could be a simple prayer for healing and hope, the Lord’s Prayer, or an extended time of reflection, Bible reading, and prayer. As you are able to engage in these prayer times each day, know you are deeply connected through the gift of the Holy Spirit in a community held together by the power of God’s love in Jesus Christ
Why do the two little words, “Flash Sale,” have such an impact on me? They’ve been popping up all week on my phone and on my computer. They’re inescapable! Every time I see them, my finger just itches to click on them. What if, in that flash sale, there’s the perfect gift for someone and I could get it for a bargain? I do love bargains. I don’t want to miss out! I wanna know: How much time is left? What’s included in the sale? Do they have free shipping?
Seriously, I’m hopeless.
My complete overreaction to the Flash Sale phenomenon has me thinking – How easy is it for us to picture God as a Flash Sale kind of God? I know it sounds strange, but stay with me. Have you ever thought or been told something like this?
I hope so-and-so confessed everything before they died. If not, they’re in trouble!
If you died today, would you be saved?
We’re almost through another fall of Bible readings from the Old Testament. And we’ve heard, week after week, that God is faithful. God is present. God is finding a way for God’s people from generation to generation. God is a force for love and life in God’s Creation day after day after day. The prophet Ezekiel comes at us with this affirmation again on Sunday. God is consistent, persistent and steady.
God in Christ is available to you as a friend, forgiver, and savior every moment of every day from now to life everlasting. God’s love for you is unconditional and without end. As the waning seconds tick by in the next flash sale, remember what remains steady for you, for me and for this world – God’s love in Jesus Christ. Amen?!
I don’t like it in the wilderness. I’m not talking about the beautiful wilderness of New Mexico; I’m talking the biblical wilderness. We’re in Exodus this week in worship, as God’s people are beginning their long trek through a hostile environment. It feels like we’ve been maneuvering a hostile environment for ages, doesn’t it? But I’ve come to appreciate, once again this week, that it makes all the difference in the world who’s in it with you. In the last three days:
Anthony put the spare on my car, in the Walgreen’s parking lot, after my tire blew
Marie got the malware off of my computer
Michele supervised the installation of a touch-free bottle-filling station here at church to save water and keep our community safer
Debby brainstormed how we can help meet basic needs for our refugee neighbors
Beth encouraged us to stay strong in our Reconciling In Christ work
Elaine shared pictures of her family (four generations!) enjoying the faith activity boxes put together by Sharon
Rob filled snack bags for our neighbors in need of food and caring community
COAST connected us with a woman needing to get back to family in order to nurture her sobriety – St. Tim’s paid her bus fare
Raul practiced a Chopin piece in the sanctuary filling my office with beautiful music
Countless words of encouragement and support poured into my inbox and flowed through my phone
If I haven’t said it lately, thank you! Thanks be to God for this community and for the opportunity to love one another through this wilderness time. If you’re struggling and need some love, support and care call me: 505-255-8001. God’s given us the gift of each other so you don’t have to go it alone!
30 years ago, my confirmation class was something to endure. I would go once a week with about a dozen other middle-schoolers to meet with the pastor and work, quietly and seriously, through a standard curriculum. My pastor was a very kind gentleman who would lead us through our workbooks and assignments. We endured this together for two years. I celebrated my confirmation day with cake and a sense of relief.
So, imagine my overwhelming delight and gratitude, when our confirmands at St. Tim’s this year asked if we could have a confirmation retreat. God is good!
While many factors contributed to this “ask” by our confirmands, I think Ephesians 2:11-22 points to one very important one: joy. Joy was simply not on my radar at confirmation. This faith thing was serious business. But, in our reading this Sunday, the writer of Ephesians is overjoyed at what God has done for the world in Christ Jesus. God in Christ has broken down every dividing wall between human beings and has shown us that everyone is loved by God. Everyone is welcome in the household of God! Hallelujah!
I am so grateful to be a part of a congregation that welcomes and encourages joy. We celebrate together what God has done in Christ not because we are naïve to the sufferings of the world, but because we know all suffering will finally come to an end in Jesus! Confirmation, then, is an investigation into what a life of joy means. How do we love and support one another? How do we participate in God’s vision for the world where every barrier between human beings is removed and God’s love is poured out abundantly for all?
Now you wanna come to confirmation, too, don’t you?
I’ve been pondering something a friend said recently: “You know, as far as global pandemics go, this one was really short.” Short? Really?
We’re aware, of course, that the pandemic is not over. Variants continue to spring up all over the globe, and many countries do not and will not have widespread access to a vaccine for months or even years. We are witnessing injustice from a privileged position.
At the same time, I understand my friend’s assessment. For those who have been fortunate to receive the vaccine, the news keeps getting better. The vaccine has lasting effects and has proven up-to-the-challenge in neutralizing many of the variants. Cases are dramatically reduced. This Sunday, we’re heading back into the sanctuary for worship.
But it’s felt a lot longer than 18 months. Lost loved ones, jobs, homes, opportunities, and celebrations combined with intense loneliness, isolation and fear have made this time feel like years.
Just imagine if you were God’s people enduring the slow demise of their nation and homeland over decades.
This Sunday, we conclude our six-week stay in the book of Jeremiah. Jeremiah covers roughly 40 years of history. Throughout that time, those who listened to God’s word knew the worst was coming. They lived with the daily anxiety of knowing their homes would be destroyed and they’d be taken away in exile. Yet, as Sunday’s readings remind us, some remained faithful and even hopeful in the promises of God to make all things new.
I haven’t been the model of constant faithfulness and hope during these past 18 months. Many times, I’ve given in to anger, negativity, fear and selfishness. Thanks be to God, God’s promises to love, carry, and provide for us don’t depend upon our constant faithfulness. And, thank you, Jeremiah, for a little perspective.