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 October


Sunday mornings

Worship Service
10:30 am

Social Hour
11:30 am

Wednesday mornings

Oct 5 and 12

Office Hours with Pastor Sharon
Starbucks across from Intel, on 528, Rio Rancho

9:30 – 11:00 am



Wednesday evenings

Oct 5, 12, 19, 26

DVD series: Myth in Human History

6:30 - 8:30 pm

See details below.

Saturday evening

Oct 15

"Oktoberfest" potluck

5 pm

See details below.

Monday mid-day

Oct 31

Spooky Stories from the Bible

Bring a sack lunch (if you dare!)
Your fright attendant: Sandra Chapin

Noon - 1:30 pm


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Other meetings at our location

11 am  Tai Chi

6 pm   Buddhist Meditation

Second Thursdays
1 pm   Parkinson's Support Group


Myth in Human History

Series continues through February 2017


6:30 – 8:30 pm


What are myths? How did they evolve? Why do we desperately need them? This course uses DVDs and books to examine myths (stories and beliefs) which try to make sense of the universe, link us to our ancestors, and harmonize our lives with reality. The history of myth is the history of humanity.


The DVD lectures are presented by Professor Grant L Voth, Professor Emeritus in English and Interdisciplinary Studies at Monterey Peninsula College. Books used to augment the lectures are A Short History of Myth by Karen Armstrong and The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers.


Topics for October and November


October 5
“Cosmic Egg and Ex Nihilo Creation Myths" and
“Earth-Diver and Dismembered God Creation Myths”


October 12
“Mesopotamian and Hebrew Flood Myths” and “Other Flood Myths”


October 19
“Myths of Cosmic Destruction” and “Greek and Norse Pantheons”


October 26
“The Great Goddess Remembered?” and “The Goddess - Inanna and Dumuzi”

November 2
“The Goddess – Isis and Osiris” and “The Eclipse of the Goddess”


November 9 
“Shamans and Vegetation Gods” and “Sky Gods and Earth Goddesses”


November 16
“Creator Gods” and “Gods and Goddesses of India”


November 30
“Hero Myths” and “Mystic Heroes- Gilgamesh”


Come, learn, question, discuss, have fun!


Pat Dunn

Chair, Faith Development Team



We're having Oktoberfest at St. Paul's!

Saturday evening, Oktober 15, 5 pm

Party – Potluck – Polka

Bring your pals!

Root beer provided


Search Committee News


Update: The process continues. Data gathering to complete the Local Church Profile document may finish this month. In August and September eight sessions were scheduled to offer interested members and friends the opportunity to ask questions and discuss topics that are included in the Profile. About two-thirds of those we see on a regular basis Sunday mornings participated. On behalf of the Committee and our Church Council, I thank you for your thoughful input.


Putting this amount of effort into the Church Profile will benefit us when prospective pastoral candidates read the document. At that point they will discern if there is a match between what those candidates bring (their skills and gifts) and the ministry direction that speaks to our interests.


A waiting person is a patient person.

The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and
live the situation out to the full
in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us.

(Henri J. M. Nouwen)


As with most important decisions and the process of change, the time that it takes is well worth it. I encourage all who consider St. Paul's “home” to continue to be reflective on what coming to St. Paul's means to each of you. Whatever you find of value, dig deeper into those experiences and find ways to share that with our Church family, and with others who may need to enter into such a family. Speak it, act it, live it. May your enthusiasm for St. Paul's shine!


Sandra Chapin

Search Committee Chair


You are invited to the
Retirement Party for Rev. Sharon Littrell

Sunday, November 13
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

The Rio Grande Retirement Community
2331 Westside Blvd.
Rio Rancho, NM

RSVP Carol Smith



Fund-raising for Haven House


“Wings of Change”

Purple Ribbon Initiative for Haven House
highlighting National Domestic Violence Awareness Month


Annual Mayor's Barbecue

Thursday October 13

5:30 – 7:30 pm


Haynes Park

2006 Grande Avenue, Rio Rancho


A fun-filled event to benefit Haven House
(offering services and shelter for victims of domestic violence).

Food, live music, Zumba, face painting, and more!


Children's Fun Run


Saturday October 22

9:30 – 11:30 am


Lincoln Middle School / Football field

2287 Lema Road, rio Rancho


Featuring a 1K run, obstacle course, prizes, food and children's activities.



Supporting Haven House is the special mission of St. Paul's for 2016.
Check out their new website for information and how you can make a difference for women and children who have suffered abuse in domestic situations.



Happening in the Southwest Conference

God loves beyond borders.

In the United Church of Christ we are called to an extravagant welcome of all God's children, no matter who they are or where they are on life's journey. At a time when the politics of fear and hate are overwhelming airwaves, people of faith are called to respond with love. As politicians build walls, we must build bridges. The UCC is building grassroots power to welcome immigrants and refugees and challenge a status quo that is responsible for the root causes of migration.


Joining the Movement with School of Americas Watch

Many congregations have participated in the annual protests at Fort Benning to close the School of Americas that was responsible for training death squads in Central America. For the first time, that protest is moving from Georgia to the militarized US/Mexico border. The change of the location is part of broadening the issue and expanding the fight against U.S. militarization at home and abroad.


The United Church of Christ Southwest Conference, UCC National Collaborative on Immigration and the UCC General Minister and President invite you to join! The UCC is involved in the planning process and Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer will be present to participate in the interfaith service at the border. The Good Shepherd UCC (just 40 miles north of the border) has been involved in border justice issues for years and has ample experience hosting UCC congregations from across the country for border immersion experiences.


Please come and join the October 10-11 Border Convergence in Nogales, Arizona/Sonora, at the U.S./Mexico border.



A Message from Our Conference Minister

Build a Budget, Don’t Cut One

By Rev. Dr. William M. Lyons


As a Christian and as faith leader for the United Church of Christ in New Mexico, I know that the moral solution to New Mexico’s financial crisis is adopting a state budget that includes spending levels and increased revenue streams sufficient to assure the wellbeing of all New Mexico residents.


New Mexico’s financial crisis was not caused by wasteful spending; it was caused by not replacing lost revenues while repeatedly cutting taxes, resulting in an inadequate revenue stream. New Mexico’s budget no longer needs to be balanced on the backs of the state’s most vulnerable residents.


So where have state leaders’ previous efforts to cut their way to a balanced budget led?


  • New Mexico has the highest child poverty rate in the nation.

  • 2 in 10 New Mexicans don’t have enough food; 70,000 New Mexicans are helped with food each week. That is equivalent of feeding the entire city of Santa Fe weekly.

  • New Mexico’s high school graduation rate is 47th in the nation; 40% of New Mexico high schools graduate less than 67% of their students.

  • Our crime rate is 43% higher than the national average (and the highest in the country per 100K people)

  • 44% of New Mexico’s released inmates are re-incarcerated

  • CRN Magazine ranks New Mexico 50th in quality of life; while CNBC ranks NM 39th in its list of top states for business.


New Mexico’s elected leaders have under-spent New Mexico into being one of the bleakest places to live in America.


This is a solvable problem! Instead of considering only budget cuts in the search for a solution, we must consider every option. Eliminate previously passed tax cuts and adopt fair and adequate tax increases. And don’t take “veto” for answer!


To do otherwise is...

to steal meals from the bellies of hungry ones
to wring dry already thirsty ones
to force families from their beds into homelessness
to close shivering ones out in the cold
to abandon sick ones and confined ones in their despair


For the complete article, go to



Meet me
w, m: ©2014, ©2016 Dianne Phelan Müller

Meet me where I am today, God:
time is filled with pain;
I can't come into your church,
can barely call your name.

Light my lamp today, good God,
you brighten all my darkness.

Meet me where I am today, God:
body won't behave.
With knotted bowel, I "Hospital!" howl;
sips of water crave.

Light my lamp today, good God,
you brighten all my darkness.

Meet us where we are today, God:
hear what we can't speak.
Feelings, and sighs, buried inside;
we strive through battles bleak.

Light my lamp today, good God,
you brighten all my darkness.

Within each lament, because we live,
there is a hidden Amen.

(chorus adapted from Psalm 18 ESV)


From the Editor's Desk
Ernie Dunn

One of the most, perhaps the most fascinating person in my matrilineage was my great great uncle. He was born in slavery, the son of his slave mother and his slave master father. He, at age nine, and his mother were emancipated soon after "that horrible war ended." He then took on the name Freed Man Hammond which eventually became Freeman Hammond. I carry his first name as my middle name.


I know very little about how he survived into manhood. Based on my mother's recollections, I do know that he was a fine singer, he sang in his church choir one Sunday morning just three days before he died at age 107. He was also known as a "conjure man," a homeopathic healer. He provided homemade medicines and cures to both whites and blacks in his rural community. According to my mom, he even knew how to make folk medicines using snake venom. They say he was never sick a day in his life. Perhaps he followed the mandate, "physician heal thyself."


Legend had it that because of the color of his bluish grey eyes and that his mother claimed that he was born with "veils over his eyes," he had the ability to see into the future. People would seek him out for advice whenever difficult decisions had to be made.


In the few times that I had the opportunity visit with him as a young child, what I remember most was that he was a great story teller, very dramatic in his presentation. This talent and the stories were passed on to my mother. I can recall many a summer's evening when we would sit on the front porch eagerly awaiting for a tale to be told which always began with the phrase, "Back in days."


Years later, I would be able to categorize these stories as ghost tales, trickster tales, moral tales, and explanatory tales. A number of these explanatory tales had to do with why there were black and white people. Some of these tales were quite hilarious and would provoke a lot of laughter. Looking back, I would hazard to guess that they were of black origin, a healthy way of poking fun at some particular feature. There were, however, stories of this sort that were originally told to justify that peculiar institution called slavery and white superiority, then later to confirm institutional racism and white privilege.


Along with my learned colleagues, I am presently reading a book entitled, The Genesis of Liberation, by Emerson Powery and Rodney Sadler. Imagine my surprise when in a section of the book dealing with "The Cultural Context of Race Origins," I came across two stories that were almost verbatim renderings of the way my mother told them. Suddenly I was 70 years younger, sitting on the porch listening intently to her. Even back then I found myself wondering why she shared those particular stories with us, they were certainly not "feel good" stories. It seems that I remember that when she shared such a story her facial expression would change, the smile would give way to a look of grave concern.


But then I had my first in your face encounter with racial prejudice and then another and another, and then I knew. She was preparing us for what was to come, preparing us to live and survive in a white dominated world. Sometimes the discrimination would be out in the open, but most of the time it would be subtle, sometimes not recognized by the discriminator. In Shelly Tochluk's book, Witnessing Whiteness, she shares with us an incident concerning her own experience in this regard. She wrote: "Looking back at it now, I know that part of the problem was my incomplete understanding of myself as a racial being, affected by my own whiteness in ways I did not perceive. At the time, I was unable to hear my Black peers complaints of racism without requiring them to prove the validity of their experiences. I could not recognize the unequal ground we had traveled to achieve the same position. Nor was I able to see our difficult moments together as openings for deepening friendship as opposed to causes for rejection."


There are many who may be as oblivious to white privilege as was the aforementioned author, yet I hastened to add that there are probably just as many who are fully aware who justify racial inequities to preserve their own sense of deservedness. Racial disparity insures racial advantage.


Since John Dorhauer has become our denominational President and General Minister, he has been made white privilege a topic of great concern. He and others have been constantly reminding us that white privilege is the difference in power between white people and people of color, resulting in advantages whites consciously and unconsciously automatically take for granted. Steps can and should be taken to dismantle white privilege at both the institutional and personal levels. These steps will only be taken with recognition and acceptance of how such privilege truly operates.


This will prove to be a monumental task as there are so many who feel that dismantling white advantage is a deep threat to white identity. The news is filled with such testimony. One is reminded of highly conservative evangelicals who interpret their inability to impose their beliefs on others as a threat that will result in the destruction of Christianity.


I can appreciate that owning up to the fact that we live in a racist culture can be very uncomfortable, powerfully painful, and maybe even fear engendering. However, denial or resistance is not the solution. The sooner we move beyond the stages of denial and resistance, the sooner we will be able to accept the reality of how things truly are. Only then will we be able to begin to construct a society, a nation, that is better for all.


Cheers from the PUB
Sandra Chapin
Publications Manager


Balloons! By the time this issue of the View is... viewed... our skies will be dotted with colorful shapes. A scene that brings smiles and a sense of wonder. Just seeing a half dozen or even one hot air balloon floating nearby during the year sends a current of joy through me. When Balloon Fiesta arrives I have sensory overload.


This is the ninth Fiesta since I moved to Albuquerque, and I have yet to visit the site of the launchings. Being in crowds is something I try to avoid. But Lois, who has crewed with a balloon team for years, described some of her experiences recently, and in my mind's eye, I was there.


Ballooning is a spiritual event for Lois, even without being on board. She and others gather round the basket, holding on to the rim while passengers and the pilot get ready for flight. They await and respond to the pilot's direction: Hands on, weight off. At this point just a touch of the their fingers is used to keep the basket steady as burners swoosh and hot air fills the balloon enough to provide lift. The ground crew releases and Lois' spirit ascends along with the massive fabric and metal machine rising in front of her. She spoke about it with her arms up and out, head titled back, her voice conveying tender awe – as if in prayer.


So many gaze upward. Families and friends point and speak in hushed tones. Or break out in applause and laughter. Together spectators are a community bonded by the delight of balloons drifting overhead. No doubt some imagine themselves soaring over a landscape of river and rock, homes and fields. Magic for those on the ground. Magic for those floating free.


Before we get too carried away by this magical mystery tour, we can assume that some of the 950,000 people who attended last year are afraid of heights. Floating free in one's imagination can be perfectly satisfactory for some who long to soar. During Fiesta we have a closeness to the experience. We may be drawn to it.




Some people soar by being their true selves. I just saw the movie “Steve Jobs” that came out last year. You may recognize that name as the one who was the driving force behind Apple computers. This movie revealed some of the significant moments in his remarkable life, though we can assume bias and artistic license are interwoven. This is clear: Steve Jobs was a visionary who often operated on a wavelength so different that even the talented computer engineers around him had trouble relating to his direction. In this portrayal, he was also dismissive and combative, with a super-sized ego that casted a shadow over most relationships. Insufferable and misunderstood. Still, a genius with the popularity of a rock-star.


People were drawn to him. Was it his technology-bending ideas that others wanted to be close to? His passion to “invent the future” or inspire others? A computer with ease of use for anyone, everyone, is like having a “bicycle for the mind” he said – able to take human thought farther and higher.


Those who worked at Apple when he was at the helm may have been devoted to him, and the many more who enjoy their Apple computers (and other technology we didn't know we couldn't live without!) are loyal fans. A community of workers, a community of users, all because of one mind, a fertile ground from which shimmering ideas took flight.




In the Hebrew Bible we find the text of Micah, a prophet, a visionary:


In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as
the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised up above the hills.
Peoples shall stream to it...
(Micah 4)


In the process of being drawn higher, the people are interacting in new ways. A new community is formed where swords are turned into plowshares and spears become pruning hooks. Implements of war are reconfigured into tools of growth and mutual benefit.


Vision. Innovation. Spirits are lifted and fear dispelled. Connections are made.
The invitation to soar is all around us.


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

Music Director
William W. Williams


Church Council

Darrell Taylor

Sandra Chapin

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





Banner Free Stock Photos


Taken on March 23, 2015

Public domain


Core Values


who's hues? 1

Uploaded on November 5, 2015

Modified by Sandra Chapin

Public domain



Image Catalog

Female Photographer by Autumn Lake

Source: Unsplash

Taken on October 25, 2010

Public domain



Myth in Human History

Lisa Ann Yount

City Goddess

Taken on October 20, 2008

Public domain






Taken on April 28, 2014

Public domain



Search Committee

Mark Cameron

Boswell Hospital View – Sun City

My mom is recovering from a broken hip this past week. She is now in rehab in Phoenix. Thanks to the staff at Boswell Hospital for helping her to a quick recovery.

Taken on November 6, 2015

Public domain



Retirement Party

Lisa Ann Yount

red-and-yellow chrysanthemums 1

Taken on November 24, 2008

Public domain



Wings of Change

Michelle Grewe

Butterfly Pen Space for Text 2

Taken on March 24, 2015

Public domain



Happening in the SWC

Lisa Ann Yount

orange cactus flower

Taken on November 29, 2009

Public domain



A Message from Our Conference Minister

Picdrome Public Domain Pictures

Drop of water hitting orange bowl

Taken on September 22, 2011

Public domain




Lisa Ann Yount

autumn reflections

Taken on May 22, 2010

Public domain



From the Editor's Desk


Herbst! Aubinger Lohe, Munchen

Munich, Germany

Taken on November 3, 2015

Public domain



Cheers from the PUB

Image Catalog

Group of Hot Air Balloons

Taken on June 22, 2014

Public domain




Image Catalog

Orange Pumpkins

Taken on September 28, 2014

Public domain



View Staff


who's hues? 1

Uploaded on November 5, 2015

Public domain




Lisa Ann Yount

rusty car 2

Taken on July 12, 2006

Public domain



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