It's Happening at St. Paul's UCC

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

Pastor Sharon's View

Our advertising has started, and, as I reported in last week’s eblast, we have been getting “hits” on our website. It feels good to see people looking at our social media and have them consider St. Paul’s as their church home.

We have many “likes” — 100 at this moment — and two who took time to read the ad and respond that they do not like us. One person wrote “lies, lies and more lies” - I responded by thanking him for reading our web page and then he responded back that his comment was uncalled for. How nice is that?!

Aside from “likes” and “unlikes” we have had several individuals interested enough to write a question. And I will meet with one woman next week who wants to talk with me. As you can see, the advertising is producing visible results.

For our advertising, our target audience is the person in the 50-55 age range, who seeks a spiritual experience that is progressive in nature — and who is either spiritual but not religious, concerned about justice issues, or concerned about LGBT issues. With this target audience, we have reached 10,915 people. I hope you are as happy with the early results as I am.

When you do go to FaceBook, take time to add a comment. The more comments people see, the more valuable our advertising dollar becomes. Here is my feeling about posts: each post does not have to be original — you can excerpt an item that you think will be of interest to those who do visit our website (and eventually join us for church). Be sure that if you do repost, you attribute your information to the original author. Here is a for-instance: One UCC pastor wrote that her own cousin was a victim of the shooter in Charleston. The information that I posted was not about the family tie, but the pastor’s plea that our country come together to fight racial injustice. That is a UCC core value and, I hope, is of interest to those who are considering St. Paul’s UCC.

In several weeks, look for our sign on the monument that is being constructed outside our building (the holdup was City of Rio Rancho’s approval of same). With this sign, we will have a permanent identity at our church location though we will still place our sandwich board signs outside on Sunday mornings.

And, finally, Bill Canright who has been visiting for a few weeks would like to help St. Paul’s using a skill that he has. Well, he is a trained commercial artist and has agreed to help Sandra and me design brochures. We will look uptown!

St. Paul’s is growing up!


From the Editor's Desk
Ernie Dunn

The recent tragedy in Charleston  where nine people were killed by a stranger they had warmly welcomed to their Bible study has provoked a lot of discussion and spurred a number of people into action.  As I have subsequently listened to the talking heads positioned broadly on the political and religious spectra, the most common theme expressed is that this horrible incident is another tragic indication that, as a nation, we are encapsulated in a moral crisis, or as one speaker put it, "we have lost our moral compass."  At one point, I was reminded of a comment made by former President Carter due to his concern for "our endangered values."  In his book, the title of which is the previous quote, he wrote that we Americans have longed cherished the greatness of our homeland, we take pride in being an American.  However, we have in the process failed to realize, or chosen not to recognize "how extensive and profound are the transformations that are now taking place in our nation's basic moral values, public discourse and political philosophy."

A host of reasons have been offered to account for these radical transformations.  For example, Joseph Stiglitz argues that we are paying the price for the prevailing inequality that has divided our society and endangers our future.  Unrestrained power and rampant greed are "writing an epitaph for the American dream." The many are being sacrificed for the sake of a few.  Former Vice President, Al Gore, in response to the question, "why has American discourse become less focused and clear, less reasoned?", proposes that we have forgotten that American democracy, any democratic form of governing, requires an informed, engaged and rationally thinking citizenry.  "Faith in the power of reason, the belief that free citizens can govern themselves wisely and fairly by resorting to logical debate on the basis of the best evidence available, instead of raw power" is and remains the central premise of democracy.  However, it is now under attack - there is an "assault on reason."  Vision, wisdom, reasonableness and courage have been overshadowed by politics of destruction.  We do not proudly nor boldly assert that patriotism shouldn't be hostile, divisive and uninformed

David Niose takes Gore's argument a step further by asserting that the primary moral crisis we are confronting is that our nation "is killing itself through its embrace and exaltation of ignorance."  We have become an anti-intellectual society, and, as a result, we have created a large swath of people who are "motivated by fear and anxiety, susceptible to tribalism and simplistic explanations, incapable of emotional maturity, and prone to violent solutions."  It is our aversion to reason that has allowed violence to define our culture.

This consequence is not the result any natural propensity, it has been well planned.  Promoting anti-intellectualism is the key to conditioning America into conformity and passive acceptance of institutional and, in some instances, personal dominance.  It is not difficult to pull the wool over the eyes of a public that is largely uninformed and distracted.  

It is vital that the tragedy in Charleston will lead to further discussions of several important and recurring issues in American culture, particularly institutional racism and gun violence.  However, Niose is convinced that "these dialogs are unlikely to bear much fruit until our nation undertakes a serious self examination."  (President Obama has been stressing this point for years.)  It is essential, it is appropriate and necessary, that we decry and condemn racism however and wherever it is manifested; gun violence is a topic that demands serious consideration. Distressfully, I am reminded of some lyrics of the song, "Blowing in the Wind" - "How many deaths will it take til we know, that too many people have died."  What will it take for us to realize that for too long we have ignored a key underlying pathology - anti-intellectualism?  The killings in South Carolina are vivid reminders that ignorance intertwined with hatred and fear sits at the root of racism and violence. 

We do not know very much about the intellectual capacity of Dylann Roof, exactly how powerful his aversion to reason.  What we do know, contrary to Fox News, is that he is a racist who "willfully allowed irrational hatred of an entire demographic to dictate his actions."  He is a product, a prime example, of a culture principally driven by fear and distorted emotions and not by rational thinking.  His heinous actions clearly reflect "the paranoid mentality of one who fails to grasp basic notions of what is means to be human."

I am in agreement with the notion that Americans can and should denounce the racist and gun crazed culture that shamefully resulted in nine innocent deaths.  But, again, denunciation is not enough.  More importantly, we need to dig deeper until we discover what Niose considers to be the core of all this dysfunction - the abandonment of reason, the embracing of ignorance.

Let me be clear, I am not suggesting (and I trust Niose is not) that we are always at our best when we are purely rational thinkers void of irrationality and emotion.  I personally subscribe to the notion that irrationality can be a means of freeing the mind, enabling us to focus on purely imaginative solutions, to break out of historic patterns of dependence and, thereby, into new patterns, new paradigms that allow us to move forward.  I am certainly not one who would shout "beware the irrational!" In fact I once wrote that "the irrational can on occasion provide a revolution in critical cognition."

What I am offering is that this devotion to anti-reason so prevalent in our time is a serious threat to us all.  And let me point out that while it is a major one it is certainly not the only one.  If we are to be a community, a nation, a world which is human centered, pragmatic and driven by sensible egalitarianism, all these things go hand in hand with heavy doses of critical, reasonable thinking.  Thinking and understanding that are free of dogma, religious or secular, superstition, half truths, distorted opinions and irrational authority that have no reasonable connection with reality and the betterment of our humanity.


CHEERS from the PUB
Sandra Chapin
Publications Manager

An act of perpetual hope: going to the mailbox. What will I find? Will there be a gem among the junk mail?  I check my email a couple of times a day, but not with the same level of expectation. Not that I don't appreciate emails. But, if the sender is like me, most of the time these are hurried snippets, bursts of communication. Some bit of info needs sharing and an email gets the job done. I like to send and receive email. It's easy, efficient, and often funny things get passed around quickly.

A letter on the other hand, a hand written letter, is a different animal. It doesn't gallop into the room. It curls up in your lap and purrs. Time to savor a cup of tea. Relax. Open the envelope. Feel the paper. Read the words. Lay it down. Daydream. Hold the paper again. Sure, you can do all that, most of that, with your mobile device. You'll be touching your smart phone screen, not paper. I see people do this and they seem focused. But they don't seem relaxed.

Remember stationery stores? Loved those places! (A few are still around.) The boxes the stationery came in were as lovely as the paper itself. I used to have sealing wax with metallic sheen and would imprint ornate designs in the drippings. And it was a must to coordinate the postage stamp with the color of the envelope. Once I told my mother, as she left to buy stamps, to get me 'something in mauve.' Which she did, much to the amusement of the clerk and customers in line.

Somewhere along the way, I lost my letter writing groove. But I haven't been able to part with my collection of stationery.

Where has the “art” of letter writing gone? Not just a quaint sentiment but a legitimate concern for journalist, Cokie Roberts. In a recent program on BookTV (weekends on C-SPAN) she spoke about her latest book, Capital Dames: The Civil War and the Women of Washington, 1848-1868. For this and her two previous works, she relied mainly on letters of the period, particularly the letters that women wrote. She said, “All of life is in the letters. They are funny and frank and feisty and honest.” When asked about future historians and what they would use for their research about our time, Ms. Roberts shook her head, dismayed, and indicated the information saved in the “cloud” would not measure up.

What can open a door into your soul for someone else to step through and find encouragement? What can reveal your heart to another who would be stirred to know how close in heart and mind you really are? Nothing says “you matter to me” like a note with the words... “You matter to me.”

I want to do something that matters and I'd like folks (that means you) to join me. I'll be camping out at Panera Bread on 528 (across from Burlington Coat Factory in ABQ) on two Saturdays, August 15 and August 29, from 2 to 4 pm. I'll bring an assortment of note cards to share. We'll share some fun together and send best wishes to those in our thoughts. It's a simple act. Sometimes those are the best.

Compassion. Caring. It's in the mail.


Supporting People in Need

Our Church reaches across Albuquerque, as well as Rio Rancho. We have a connection with the ABQ Ronald McDonald House through the cheerful efforts of Yvonne Dudley.

For those unfamiliar with this organization, the following is from their website:

Many families travel over 50 miles for pediatric treatments in Albuquerque. The treatment may last a day, a month, or longer. It's a long time to be away, or to divide a family.

Our Ronald McDonald House offers temporary lodging for 30 families nightly. The House asks each family to donate $15 per night; however, if it’s not possible to pay, the fee is always waived. Families who stay better communicate with their child’s medical team and keep up with complicated treatment plans.

To benefit the R McD  House, Yvonne collects the pull tabs from soda cans and any other aluminum cans (such as canned vegetables, soups, pet food and other products). Several times a year she delivers bags of tabs to the local administrative office. The tabs are recycled and the money received goes toward their expenses.

This program has been around a long time. When Yvonne and her family relocated from Brooklyn to Rio Rancho in 1982, she brought along her tab collection, having discovered a R McD House in our area. Folks from St. Paul’s have been giving her tabs ever since.

Why tabs? Why not whole cans? Although the whole aluminum can is valuable, the tab is much cleaner and easier to collect in large quantities than whole cans. The tab of a standard soda can is made of high quality, high-grade aluminum.

Yvonne is committed to continuing this activity. “It’s a ministry,” she said. “We are helping children with medical issues and their families. It shows them that someone cares. What we need in our world is a little more caring. Little bits of caring add up and can change lives.”


Keep It Coming

Talking about food donations. A collection box is available every week for non-perishables. Duane Cuthrell and Gary Roccapriore head up this ministry. Our thanks to them and to all who remember the hungry in our community.

St. Paul's has donated a total of 112 pounds of food this 2nd quarter for a total of 318 pounds for the year to Storehouse West
We sincerely appreciate your donations and continued support.
Le Nien Mueller, Friday Volunteer
Storehouse West



Special Sunday Services

July 5
10:30 am
We will celebrate an Agape Meal. (Brunch)
This is a time for recalling the meals Jesus shared with his followers during his ministry. It expresses the “koinonia” (community) enjoyed by the Church. All such meals derive from Jewish and early Church meals which are referred to by Paul in his letters. Scripture will be read, and testimonies and stories of faith shared.
You may bring a brunch item to share.
More Agape Meals are being planned for the months ahead.

July 12
10:30 am
Our gathering will be led, in part, by David Craft, one of the leaders of the Buddhist Meditation group that will be meditating in our church on Tuesday evenings beginning July 14th.

This service will be a "collaboration" between David and me (Pastor Sharon) - with me leading off and David leading the meditation time for all of us. If you are experienced in meditation, this will be a treat for you. If you have not meditated or have tried and found that it is "not for me" I urge you to come and experience this time with David. Bring a friend.

At the conclusion of our time of group meditation, we leave the sanctuary in silence. This means we will not have coffee and conversation that morning.

July 19
10:30 am
Our service will be geared toward children. But adults will enjoy it, too! Bring the young people in your life. We’ll have ice cream after the service.


Book Discussion

See you in September for the next Sunday afternoon Book Group
September 13, 2 – 4 pm

Our selection:
If Women Ruled the World:
How to Create the World We Want to Live In

Edited by Sheila Ellison

The book includes over 200 short experiences, stories, thoughts or meditations written and shared by women around the world. Some will be first person accounts, others in interview or story form. Contributors are women of all ages, racial, economic and social backgrounds. Authors, celebrities, experts and politicians are included as well, creating a book that is a humorous, moving, questioning, take-action, opinionated, warm and informative as it examines the many ideas, solutions and directions women would choose if they had a chance to rule the world.   []

All are invited to be a part of the discussion.
To learn more, please contact Loretta Stein.


Farewell to Our Conference Minister

By the time you read this edition of The View, Rev. John Dorhauer will be the incoming President and General Minister for the United Church of Christ! What a great leader he will be for our denomination.

As part of his leaving the Southwest Conference, John will be visiting four areas of the conference for a Pastor's dinner followed by a reception for all congregation members. The date he will be in Albuquerque is July 15. The reception begins at 7 PM.  All are invited to help give John a send-off worthy of his ministry to the churches of the Southwest Conference.


July 15    7 PM
First Congregational Church
Lomis and Gerard in ABQ


A search is in progress to find John's successor. For the time between John's leaving in August and the time a successor is named, Rev. Lee Albertson, retired pastor of First Congregational Church, ABQ, will be our interim. His leadership is a blessing to our conference.



Voices in the Southwest Conference


As part of the EPIC initiative of the Conference [Education, Participation, Innovation and Communication], each SWC church is including an article in its newsletter written by someone in the Conference that tells a story about interdependence. Ernie Dunn has coordinated the project.
This month’s article is written by Rev. John Dorhauer.
My seven years here as your Conference Minister have proven to me the value of living in an interdependent, we-need-each-other kind of way. I have spent a good deal of time over the last weeks reflecting on all that you made happen while I was here as a witness to those good works. What is so amazing is how you find a way to build those partnerships across such great distances.

One pastor holds up a sign in front of a New Mexico Court House that says that she will perform same sex marriages, and a year later Arizona becomes a marriage equality state and 150 clergy are seen holding the same signs and in one day do over 200 marriages.

A church in Yuma, AZ gets a call in the middle of the night letting them know that a group of women and children have been abandoned by border patrol agents at a Walmart parking lot, and a coordinator in Silver City, NM organizes churches in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, and Washington to provide resources to help them.

The Arizona legislature passes a regressive Immigration bill, and Southwest Conference leaders gather overnight to write a resolution calling to boycott the State of Arizona. One church in Sun City, AZ agrees to wait two years to host an annual meeting while another in Albuquerque, NM steps up to host the next annual meeting so we can honor the boycott. The boycott works, and a year later three new bills are introduced to the Arizona legislature, even more regressive than the first. Every single one of them is defeated – all on the same day.

I could go on. This is what you do; over and over again. You have helped me understand the value of these relationships and the strategic value of adding together a conglomerate of disparate pieces whose total is always greater than the sum of their parts.
As I leave for another setting in ministry, I have a challenge for you. Help me help the denomination play this game. Or, to borrow more biblical language – let your light shine!

See the Wider Church and its vast array of partnerships as players on this field with you.

There is no Marriage Equality resolution in 2005 without a vast network of Open and Affirming churches affecting the way the body thinks, moves, and has its being; without the Bill Johnson scholarship fund a decade before that; without Bill’s ordination by a courageous Association in San Francisco 25 years before that.

We are a complex multiplicity of peoples and places struggling to find common cause, common voice, and common purpose. Our failure to see not only the beauty of these connections, but the impact of their collective energy is a lingering impediment to our future success.

Take what you do so well and dream bigger dreams with wider horizons. You are among the few who do this so well. Let’s play this game on a bigger stage. Let’s establish partnerships that broaden and deepen your impact.

I will be watching, and looking for those places where your gifts will serve others; where new partnerships will create new opportunities; and where new visions will inspire new hope.

Thank you for the time we have shared, the work we have done, and the roads we have traveled together. I leave with a clear, strong sense of what a better future looks like thanks to you. 


On the Calendar


Worship service
10:30 am

Social Hour
11:30 am


Wednesdays: July 1, 8, 15, 22
Office Hours for Pastor Sharon                                                         
9:30 – 11:00 am
Einstein Bros Bagels
(near the corner of Wellspring Ave. and Unser Blvd. In Rio Rancho)         

Wednesday evening adult studies will resume in September                      

July 5
Sunday service Agape meal – with prayer, singing, discussion         
10:30 am

July 12
Sunday service featuring meditation and spirituality of Buddhists  
10:30 am

July 19
Sunday service focusing on young people (adults welcome!)           
10:30 am
Wednesdays: August 19 and 26
Office Hours for Pastor Sharon                                                         
9:30 – 11:00 am
Einstein Bros Bagels
(near the corner of Wellspring Ave. and Unser Blvd. In Rio Rancho)         

August 15 and 29
Meet Sandra Chapin at Panera Bread for notecard-writing fun!    
2:00 – 4:00 pm

When you care enough to put a stamp on your best wishes!
In ABQ, Cottonwood Park shopping area (not Cottonwood Mall)
3550 South Highway 528 NW (Alameda)
Across from Burlington Coat Factory

Looking ahead to September…
September 10
Choir begins rehearsal schedule on Thursday evenings                     
7:00 pm


St. Paul's Leaders 2015


Rev. Sharon Smith-Littrell, PhD

Music Director
William W. Williams


Church Council

Darrell Taylor

Loretta Stein

Financial Secretary
Anita Curtis

Assistant Treasurer
Assistant Financial Secretary
Carol Smith

Church Clerk

Yvonne Dudley

Trustees Chairperson
Carol Kromer

Faith Development
Patricia Dunn


Sally Moore

St. Paul’s View Staff
Ernie Dunn

Publications Manager
Sandra Chapin

You may submit articles to




SMU Central University Library
The Valley of Temerd
Demerdzhi Mountain valley, near Alushta, Crimea
April 7, 1856

Creator: Carlo Bossoli, 1815-1884

Core Values
Internet Archive Book Images
Image from page 74 of "What and how; a systematized course of hand work, for primary grades, for rural schools, and for the home"
Circa 1908

Pastor Sharon’s View
The U.S. National Archives
5 PM Traffic on Route 2 in Bayamón
San Juan, Puerto Rico

Environmental Protection Agency
‎February‎ ‎1973
Photographer:  John Vachon, 1914-1975

From the Editor’s Desk
The Library of Congress
Main Reading Room. View from above showing researcher desks.
Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C.
Photographer:  Carol M. Highsmith, 1946 -

Cheers from the Pub
Miami (Ohio) University Libraries
James Pyle's Pearline Washing Compound
Caption: “U. R. Suretofind Enclosed Advice O. K.”

People In Need
The U. S. National Archives
One Example of Wall Construction in Experimental Housing Using Empty Steel Beer and Soft Drink Cans near Taos, New Mexico. Cans for Non-Load Bearing Walls Such as This Can Be Laid Horizontally and Will Be Plastered over When the House Is Completed.
Environmental Protection Agency
June 1974

Photographer:  David Hiser, 1937-

Keep It Coming
Internet Archive Book Images
Image from page 119 of "The sunbonnet babies in Holland; a second reader"

Special Sundays
Internet Archive book Images
Image from page 348 of "Travels in the Pyrenees: including Andorra and the coast from Barcelona to Carcassonne"

Book Discussion
Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Maida Kemp has been active in the trade union movement for almost 50 years--from participating in the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) general strike of 1933, to coordinating a meeting of African trade union women in 1978 in Kenya. Born in Panama, at the age of seven she immigrated with her mother to New York City. In 1975 as vice-president of the NCNW she attended the International Women's Year meeting in Mexico City.
The Black Women Oral History Project interviewed 72 African American women between 1976 and 1981. With support from the Schlesinger Library, the project recorded a cross section of women who had made significant contributions to American society during the first half of the 20th century.
Photographer:  Judith Sedwick
March‎ ‎7‎, ‎2014

Farewell to Conference Minister

The U.S. National Archives
Vacationers on motorcycles
South Park (Colorado) flat
May 1972
Photographer:  Boyd Norton

Voices SWC Conference
Internet Archive Book Images
Image from page 636 of "Gazette des beaux-arts" 
Subjects: Art Collectors and collecting

George Eastman House
McCall Magazine Cover, Girl In Rain

St. Paul’s Leaders
Florida Memory
NASCAR race at Daytona International Speedway

Newsletter Staff
Internet Archive Book Images
Image from page 124 of "Mouldings, mirrors, pictures and frames."

Internet Archive Book Images
Image from page 39 of "Examples of Chinese ornament selected from objects in the South Kensington museum and other collections"

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