It's Happening at St. Paul's UCC!
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Faith Evolving, Lives Transforming
St. Paul's United Church of Christ
1101 Golf Course Rd SE
Suite 101
Rio Rancho, NM

Mailing address
P.O. Box 15755, Rio Rancho, NM 87174-0755


  Our core values…

Jesus Guided / Intentionally Inclusive / Peace Seeking / Justice Committed


Activities in June


Sunday mornings

Choir Rehearsal
9:30 am

Worship Service
10:30 am

Social Hour
11:30 am


Wednesday mornings

Office Hours for Pastor Sharon
Starbucks across from Intel, on 528, 
Rio Rancho
9:30 – 11:00 am


Wednesday evenings

“Lemons & Lemonade”

An informal look at Bible passages and conversation on
when life hands you lemons...
6:30 – 8:00 pm
Every Wednesday in June. See details below.


Sunday   June 26

Southwest Conference Designated Minister
Rev. Bill Lyons
will be with us for the 10:30 am worship service


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Faith Development Wednesday Evening Studies

will be on break this summer.

Look for more of our informative topics beginning in September!

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Let's talk about...

    "Lemons & Lemonade"    

Wednesdays in June
6:30 – 8:00 pm


We'll take some Bible scripture, add a twist, stir in imagination, sprinkle with examples...  The result may be a little tart, a little sweet, refreshing, and fun!

Sandra Chapin will blend it up for you.

Here's what you'll bring: a willingness to relax and share your thoughts.


We've all had some experience with that familiar saying “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.”

Keep your eyes and ears open for the lemons and lemonade in our world.

June 1
“Water, Wine, and Lemonade”
John 2:1-12 and Exodus 17:1-7

June 8
Genesis 29:15-35; 30:1-22

June 15
“Sackcloth and Lemon Juice”
Jonah 3 and 4

June 22
“Smoothie and Bumpy”
Acts 15:22-41


June 29
“Consider the Lilies / Lemons...”
Matthew 6:25-34 and Proverbs 27: 18, 23-27


Each session is a “thing” unto itself. Attend once or twice, or all five times.
Bring a guest. Lemonade provided. Ahhh...


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Other meetings at our location

6 pm   Girl Scouts

11 am  Tai Chi

6 pm   Buddhist Meditation


Missions Make a Difference




We are happy with what we have started this year!


We have assisted Haven House, a place for abused women and children and will continue to do so throughout the year. We are also still supporting Storehouse West, helped greatly by Dianne Müller.


Contributions for “Strengthen the Church” (the second of our 5 for 5 Missions this year) are dedicated to supporting new ideas for our UCC Churches, planting new Churches and helping the UCC youth. You'll find another round of special giving envelopes in the Sunday bulletins on June 5.


Our plans for the summer are to hold monthly game days during the donut/coffee time after the services. We hope it will be fun and time to just catch some “chill” on hot summer days.


Mission Committee: Anita Curtis, Trish Herron, and Karen Schafer


Happening in the Southwest Conference

Since January 29, 2015, after receiving formal recognition from UCC national office, the SW Conference Widening the Welcome Team Ministry has been meeting monthly in Arizona. Widening the Welcome has become increasingly more important and necessary for spreading the United Church of Christ message of inclusion in these difficult and stressful times. The team goal is to assist congregations to explore their "Justice" vision and develop the resources to do and promote projects within and outside of their congregations.


The resolution Called to wholeness in Christ: Becoming a church accessible to all (2005 General Synod) called for all churches to extend an 'extravagent welcome' to those with physical, mental and developmental disabilities. In each of our respective communities there remain so many of the marginalized and rejected who have not had an opportunity to know about the extravagant welcome that awaits them in a UCC church home despite their circumstances.


Congregations and individuals in the Southwest Conference are working to be accessible to all (A2A).

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In light of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Rincon Congregational UCC (Tucson) hosted a service for Healing From Sexual Assault on May 4th. "In prayer, song and silence, we gather as survivors of abuse, sexual violence and rape; spouses, family members, friends and allies. We are all people both in need of wholeness and with healing to offer one another. All are welcome." The aim was to "Break the Silence" surrounding not only victims but the topic of sexual assault in hopes of bringing us one step further along the road of healing.

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News from Ktizo (UCC) in Phoenix: It's here! Our first book of the Bible illustrated by the Ktizo kids. The story of Samuel and his calling is the first of many that we will illustrate and publish. The kids really engaged with the story and know it through and through now that they have illustrated each page. We are now going on to the calling of Saul to be King.


Good News New Mexico


Since 1976, Albuquerque Pride has worked at presenting a positive image of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, and Queer (LGBTIQ) community. Albuquerque Pride provides a safe space to network, come out and explore what the New Mexico LGBTIQ community is all about. Since becoming a non-profit organization in 1997, we continue our outreach educating the general public on the issues and lives of our community. Further, we build support among our allies and create a dynamic economic, political and vocal community for all issues of social justice and freedom. Albuquerque Pride is a member the International Pride Coordinator’s Association (InterPride). We are an all volunteer organization who works year round to create a community Pride event.


Albuqueruqe Pride Parade 2016

Saturday June 11th starting at 10 am

Eastbound on Central Ave SE from Girard Blvd SE to Gate 3 at Expo New Mexico


PrideFest 2016

Saturday June 11th starting at 11 am

Expo New Mexico – Gate 3, 310 San Pedro Dr NE


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On May 2 a community engagement effort was launched by the Children, Youth and Families Division of New Mexico, called PullTogether.


From the website –


As New Mexicans, we are all responsible for making our state a great place to grow up. We may face challenges, but our strong communities and diverse cultures make it possible to give all children the love, support, and guidance they deserve.


PullTogether is about enlisting parents, families, community members, and young people in the fight to make sure our children are safe, cared for, and ready to succeed.


Every mother, father, young person, and community member has the ability to be there for the children of New Mexico. What can you do to help? Donate your time to an organization that needs volunteers, assemble a backpack for a foster child, offer support to your neighbors and families in your community, and report child abuse when you see it.


If we all work together, we can make New Mexico the best place to be a kid.


One example: What can you do today that will make a difference in the life of a child? Buy a new backpack and fill it with new, unused items from one of three lists (infant, child, teen), and we will get it to a foster child who needs it. Once you've assembled your backpack, drop it off at your local CYFD office.


Infant Backpack (0–3 yrs)


Backpack or diaper bag

Receiving blanket


Bottle or sippy-cup

Stuffed animal

Baby toy


Child Backpack (4–11 yrs)



Throw blanket

Stuffed animal

Coloring book with crayons

Journal with pen

Nerf or other ball


Teen Backpack (12–18 yrs)



Throw blanket

Stuffed animal

Journal with pen

Coloring pencils

Stress ball


Encountering the Holy

O God, our Divine Parent, may your presence be ever revered. May your peace and justice dwell among us. May your love and compassion live within and between us. Nourish us daily with the necessities of life; sustenance for our bodies, and inspiration for our spirits. And may the forgiveness we give be that which we receive; the kindness we show be that which we perceive. Lead us on virtuous paths, and distance us from evil. For your world is our world, and your reign our reign; then, now, and always. May it be so.


Rev. Bret S. Myers


Pastor Sharon's View

During my years as a professional (sociologist, CEO and pastor) I have subscribed to many magazines and journals. They were mostly in print form, though in the last few years, I have tended toward paperless — just because there is less pure waste. Waste has become one of the things that entered my consciousness as our society opted toward being green. Just for the record, I have purchased many books in my effort to keep Barnes and Noble afloat. As I realized I wanted to read them, but probably would not, they too have found their way to the recycle bin. DVDs have recently invaded my home — some that have never been taken out of the shrink wrap, though I know someday they will be opened, just the same as I knew the books would be read.

Each critically important periodical eventually found its way to the trash — unread, though my intentions were always good as I wanted to keep abreast of timely news of my field. It did not matter whether it was American Sociological Review, JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) necessary for my Medical Sociology PhD, The Report of the Robert Wood Foundation for current nonprofit grant opportunities or The Christian Century. I read them thoroughly at first, then tapered off, to finally just adding them to “I want to read” pile.

When I subscribed electronically, I was just as bad — subscribed to those that seemed pertinent (by that time I was past university teaching so I left that category off the “necessary” list). At first, when they came to my email, I read them and sent critical links to colleagues. With the passage of months, then years, my eyes glazed over before I even opened them. Books and DVDs fell into the same category.

Today, I searched the internet for pertinent news. And I found some. I hope these will help keep each of us “in the know” about current church news.


From HUFF Post, The United Methodist Church has been meeting in Oregon to affirm beliefs, to foster community and to prepare for the future. A pressing issue has been acceptance of LGBTQI folk in the leadership of the denomination. The concept of openly gay ministers has been bogged down in committee (sound familiar?) and has not made it to the floor for a vote. One hundred LGBTQI ministers have outed themselves by writing a letter to urge openness in the leadership of the Methodist church. It did not work.

It makes me proud to be part of the United Church of Christ, even as straight pastor.

“Highly religious Americans are happier, more involved with family and more likely to volunteer than the less religious. But they are no more likely to exercise, recycle or make socially conscious consumer choices.”

I suppose trying to tie religiosity to healthy lifestyles is a bit of a stretch, though since gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins, those wishing to avoid this particular sin might be interested in exercising those pounds off.

Also from THE PEW RESEARCH CENTER, (maybe this is not surprising, but it is interesting) Donald Trump is the least religious candidate of those running for president in either party.

Would “high religiosity” lead to ethical decision-making or are there spurious variables that might interfere with some decisions swaying a president one way or another?

National Catholic Reporter on NBC News reported:
Pope Francis Signals Commission on Female Deacons in Catholic Church … is willing to create a commission to look at whether women can become deacons, signaling openness to a possible break with the Roman Catholic Church tradition of all-male clergy. …

Francis did not suggest he would allow women priests - he has previously said "the door is closed" on that subject - but when asked if he would create a commission to study whether women could be deacons, he said he was open to the idea, the National Catholic Reporter reported.

SADLY, NBC News also reported that:
The Rev. Daniel Berrigan, a Roman Catholic priest and peace activist who was imprisoned for burning draft files in a protest against the Vietnam War, died Saturday. He was 94.

Berrigan died at Murray-Weigel Hall, a Jesuit health care community in New York City after a "long illness," according to Michael Benigno, a spokesman for the Jesuits USA Northeast Province.

"He died peacefully," Benigno said.

Berrigan and his younger brother, the Rev. Philip Berrigan, emerged as leaders of the radical anti-war movement in the 1960s.

That was the end of an era for me. I told George that this man was important in portraying a positive view of the Roman Catholic Church (for me) - George expressed surprise.

Some of the above I heard/saw on national and local news media, others of these were less prominent. Trolling for news may not be such a bad idea.



From the Editor's Desk
Ernie Dunn

From time to time, in the flow of our ordinary lives, there is an extraordinary moment, an epiphany, an aha moment, a eureka moment or that moment when as C. S. Lewis describes it, we are "surprised by joy." It may emanate from listening to an "oldie but goodie" on the radio, having a stimulating conversation with an friend, perhaps, on rare occasion with an opponent, reading a quote on Facebook, sharing a moment with your elbow partner or from some words that leap off the page as you are reading an article or a book.


My latest such special moment came several weeks ago as I was reading a novel suggested by a long time friend. It is entitled, The Time of Our Singing, written by Richard Powers. From the outset of my reading, I was impressed with this author's incredible mastery of language and structure, his unique talent to draw you fully into what was being described, his ability to use words and phrases that paint glowing pictures in a reader's mindscape.


There is a scene in the novel, which is narrated by the main character's younger brother, dramatizing an encounter of the two brothers with one of the other students at the music school they are attending. They were playing the game of "Name That Tune" and to the surprise and delight coupled with outrage and dismay on the part of the brothers, the student, even though she may not have ever heard the musical piece, "she could almost always zone in on its origin and figure out its maker." How could she do this?


Upon later reflection, the older brother has a moment of illumination. "Music itself," he determines "like its own rhythms, played out in time." Aha, this was her special talent! From her years of study she had come to understand that "A piece was what it was only because of all the pieces written before and after it. Every song sang the moment that brought it into being. Music talked endlessly to itself." Music is endlessly evolving.


The words in bold above caused me to close the book and then take a long journey down the road of thoughtful meditation. Music is evolving, life is evolving, our universe is evolving, hopefully our faith is evolving, and thought is evolving. All of life is interconnected, the now is connected to what was and what will be. The universe and all therein appear to me to be an ongoing thought.


I eventually went in search of a book, praying that I had not given it away. Thankfully, there it was on the shelf, Original Thinking, by Glen Parry. In the volume, the author shares with us an experience at a conference where participants were asked "is it possible to come up with an original thought?" A very thought provoking question. We are informed that a rather unusual thing happened that Parry found particularly significant. Virtually all of those whom he labeled as "Western" participants "took the meaning of original as a challenge to think of something novel, something that had never been thought of before." By contrast, the Native American participants "took the question as an invitation to reconnect with a deep place of origin."


What accounted for this distinct difference? Language was suggested as the key. The syntax of English demands "beginnings, middles, and ends. However, this is not the case with Indigenous languages. In these languages, what is designated past, present and future in English, "can be spoken of at once." When an English speaker thinks of original, it implies a beginning. But for the Native American it does not; "rather, it implies something that was always there and is ongoing.


If you will simply stop and look around you at our universe, you will see that its nature is growth. Everything on our earth is in a continuous state of evolving, adapting, refining, enhancing, and, unfortunately, at times "going to pot" as there are moments when humanity is evolving in the direction of not doing what it should. Overall we should be made aware of our infinite capacity for being and evolving.


And this may subsequent invite us to ask the question, as nothing remains the same, why should our lives be the exception? Why would we be the only ones that exist in all creation whose purpose is not to grow? (Barbara DeAngelis)


And so I challenge all of us to do the three "Es": Explore, Experiment, and Evolve.



Cheers from the PUB
Sandra Chapin
Publications Manager

This morning on a movie channel I watched part of the 1960 film “Song Without End: The Story of Franz Liszt.” A European composer in the mid 1800's, Liszt also gained fame as a concert pianist. Movies about composers, scientists, explorers and other notables – “bio pics” – have been big box office draws ever since the first flicker on the silver screen. In more recent times I believe filmakers have been more attentive to historical accuracy, but I still like the old, embellished ones.


Here's a conversation between Liszt and his mother I particularly enjoyed...

[Liszt] I've been invited to play for the Czar.

[Mother] What an honor!

[Liszt] … For the Czar.


Liszt may well have had an “attitude” as they say. An overactive ego. As a starting point for what I write here, I name that attitude confidence.


On Pentecost Sunday, Pastor Sharon came up with a list of words that one might associate with the Holy Spirit – blaze, wind, breath, and more. A word was included with each bulletin and used as a focus for a quick time of sharing with our “Elbow Partners.” Dianne was my EP. Her word was zest and she spoke to me about music being her ministry, since she has had a zest for music for a very long time. I looked at my word and said, “I have confidence.” That tickled us so I said it again, holding up the printed slip of paper, “I have confidence, and here it is!”


I meant to keep that slip of paper, to put it in my purse and carry it around. I want confidence close by. I need reminding when I get flustered and anxious, which happened just today. My word-processing software on my home computer went kablooey (a technical term). Oh, no! Oh, no! I wrung my hands, in my quick-to-panic mind, as I figured I would have to reinstall the program. Reinstall? Yikes!


What you may not know about me is that I have a certain amount of techno-phobia. I bought a digital camera when I started seminary in 2004, managed to overcome enough of my reluctance to take some photos, which then remained inside my camera. I laid that camera down and never got back to it. In 2013 I decided I wanted to try taking photos again, but since that camera was so “old” (and since I have no idea where it is now), I bought a new one. Took some photos. Got tense. Put the camera down, though I do know where it is.


Not a tale of woe, you say? It is because I really, really want to take photos. And I want them out of my camera and into my computer. When I am thinking rationally, I know I can do it. I know because once I am familiar with a technology, I exceed my own expectations. I can manipulate documents to my heart's content (when my word processing program is cooperating). I can make MailChimp, the email platform I use to produce the newsletter, dance to my tune. Dance, Chimp, dance. Here, have a banana.


From experience, once I get beyond my initial feelings of being overwhelmed, I am okay. More than okay. Confidence kicks in. Hey, I made the switch to Windows 10! All things are possible...


Here is the best thing about confidence: You can borrow someone else's. Many in our congregation take digital photos, left and right and upside down. They make it look easy. And our Rita is a professional photographer. I'm surrounded by patient, caring, willing-to-help people. This is what “community” is about. May I borrow your confidence? I can loan you some laughter.


Franz Liszt had teachers who helped him become a pianist and composer extraordinaire. He hung around his musical friends – Frédéric Chopin, Richard Wagner, Hector Berlioz, Camille Saint-Saëns, Edvard Grieg, and Alexander Borodin. They encouraged one another, prompting creativity, building up confidence, rejoicing in the accomplishments of each. Few get far alone.


The story of community is a song without end.


St. Paul's UCC Leaders 2016
Rev. Sharon Smith-Littrell, PhD

Music Director
William W. Williams


Church Council

Darrell Taylor

Anita Curtis

Financial Secretary
Yvonne Dudley

Assistant Treasurer
Assistant Financial Secretary
Carol Smith

Church Clerk
Yvonne Dudley
Faith Development
Patricia Dunn

Sandra Chapin

Anita Curtis and Trish Herron


St. Paul's View Staff
Ernie Dunn
Sandra Chapin
Publications Manager
You may submit articles to



Papa Pic

La tormenta que no fue...
Paseando por Valle Hermoso, Misiones.


Taken on January 8, 2015

Public domain


Core Values

gregory lejeune


Section from a larger image

Taken on February 22, 2015

Public domain





Taken on May 7, 2016

Public domain



Special Olympics Osterreich

Special Olympics European Summer Games 2014


Taken on September 18, 2014

Public domain


Happening in the SWC


Rainbow Bridge – Lake Powell

Taken on August 31, 2014

Public domain


Good News NM

D Coetzee

Man tying rainbow bandana on dog at Gay Pride Parade


Taken on June 28, 2009

Public domain


Encounter the Holy

Bradley Fortner

2015-11-04 at 7.24.20

Taken on November 4, 2015

Public domain


Pastor Sharon's View Free Stock Photos


Taken on June 28, 2013

Public domain


From the Editor's Desk


recursive triangles 3

And a bit more recursion applied to "recursive triangles 2" (Mathematica)

Uploaded on April 4, 2013

Public domain


Cheers from the Pub


Enter at Your Own Risk

Kreative People group "Treat This" challenge #120

Taken on January 27, 2016

Public domain



Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine

Ethernet switch

1GbE switch & colorful ethernet cables

Taken on January 19, 2011

Public domain


View Staff

gregory lejeune


Section from a larger image

Taken on February 22, 2015

Public domain



Tanay Mondal

89-color-ful-Olga Filonenko_Colorful Impression of the Day_YUdgRA

Uploaded on October 13, 2015

Public domain


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