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


So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

2 Peter 1:19

Activities in April


Sunday mornings

Worship Service
10:30 am

Social Hour
11:30 am

- - - -

Wednesday evenings

6:30 pm

Films for conversation


Easter Sunday April 16

6:20 am

Sunrise service

followed by social time

10:30 am

Celebration Service



Sunday April 30

10:30 am

"Sacred Moments" service

We will gather around the tables for a relaxed program.

The sharing of a meal will be part of the experience.

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

Other meetings at our location



11:00 am - - - Tai Chi
12:30 pm - - - Overeaters Anonymous
6:00 pm - - - - Buddhist Meditation

Second Thursdays

1 pm - - - Parkinson's Support Group


Thanks for Sharing


Throughout March we raised $206 for the United Church of Christ yearly mission event, One Great Hour of Sharing. We appreciate your donations to this fund raiser – and all that you share in support of the ministry of St. Paul's. The time you give week after week in coming to Sunday services and other activities creates a community where we, and those who stop in to visit, feel at home.


Mission Matters


St. Paul's UCC has an opportunity to participate in a program to provide backpacks and diaper bags for foster children. It is a program of the Children, Youth & Family Department (CYFD) Rio Rancho Office.

An example of filled backpack for a child age 4-11 is:
1. Backpack
2. Throw blanket
3. Stuffed animal
4. Coloring book with crayons
5. Journal with pen
6. Nerf or other ball

There are similar lists for ages (0-3), and (12-18). It is a simple way to make a difference in the life of a child. If you are interested and would like to help, please speak with Karen Schafer.


Happening in the Southwest Conference

March 26, 2017

Dear Members and Friends,


As moderator of the Southwest Conference United Church of Christ, I am pleased to announce that the board of directors unanimously voted Saturday, March 4, to call Rev. Dr. William M. Lyons as our Settled Conference Minister. Bill has served as our Designated Conference Minister since January 1, 2016, and we have had the pleasure of seeing him immerse himself into our beloved SWC and walk with us into our future.


Since the beginning of 2016 we have been journeying down a road of discernment. We have learned things about ourselves, including the fact that there were some in the conference that were not on board with the designated decision, or at a minimum, wished they had been given a voice before this decision was made. We learned that there was some interim work to be done. Whenever changing leaders there is an adjustment period and important listening as we move forward. The various leadership groups for the conference have experimented with ways to adapt to our changing world, to better listen to the voices, and to notice what is happening in our communities so that we do our very best to live out our calling to transformative love.


Bill has mentioned numerous times his learning process, sharing what has been working well and what has been a bumpy road. He has noted the adjustments he is trying in his leadership style and his suggestions for the overall approach. Bill has worked hard to meet our amazing clergy and lay leaders, become connected with some key ecumenical partners, interact with emerging ministries, lead the Mission Planning Board through a re-visioning process, support many churches in their Search and Call process, put new focus on our youth leadership, invest in our Committees on Church and Ministry (COCAM A and B), streamline processes for clarity and efficiency, and engage in key areas of justice and witness. He has reaffirmed to the board his strong sense of call to conference ministry in the Southwest Conference.


I am excited for a future with Bill as our Settled Conference Minister and I hope you are too!


Rebecca Glenn
Scottsdale Congregational UCC, AZ
SWC Moderator




God is all without being any thing

while being the all in every thing.


God is the perhaps at the edge

of every moment of choosing.


God does nothing

but nothing does

without God.


God is the freedom to do

and the urge to act.


God does not exist

because God is existence.


God is change,

God is flow,

God is relationship:

In, with, and through.


God is love:

silently attracting,

never compelling.


God does not have power

because God is power.


God is the unforced force

coursing through all events.


God is the potential

for transformation

in all relationships.


To be God’s friend

is to pay attention

to the flow in all things…

even those that seem to stay still.

It is to savor what is behind and within

all appearances, events, relations.

It is to feel the allure of what could be,

latent in the wonder of what is.


James Bruklo 6-14-13


From the Editor's Desk
Ernie Dunn

I received a copy of a sermon written by a friend that contained a most fascinating illustration which was a dialogue exchange between two characters in a scene from the movie, The Crown. The two men are watching the coronation of Elizabeth II as Queen of England who is the niece of one of the characters. At the most solemn moment in the coronation, the anointing, they are prevented from observing it. When the question is raised as to why, the response is we are mortals and unable to untangle the "unfathomable web of arcane mystery and liturgy." What may sound crazy is perfectly sane. "Who wants transparency when you can have magic? Who wants prose when you can have poetry?" The thought that most impressed me was this: Pull away the veil and what you are left with is "an ordinary young woman of modest ability (and little imagination?) but wrap her up like this, anoint her with oil, and presto you have a goddess."


My friend, the sermonizer suggests that what is being described is an "outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible grace - a spiritual transformation hinted at through metaphor and symbol." When these words first resonated in my mind, I was reminded of a paper I wrote and delivered at a folklore conference ages ago dealing with the subject of why over the centuries we have always been mythmakers.


I offered then, as I would now, that there are a host of reasons (I will mention just four) as to why we have been and continue to be mythmakers. One reason, perhaps at the most elementary level of mythmaking, is to embellish, to make our lives or a situation more inspiring, more uplifting than it really is, to render the ordinary quite extraordinary. The example of the coronation detailed above is a classic illustration - you can take a modest young woman with little talent and imagination and, with the appropriate magical, mystical and mythical incantations and ritual, ceremoniously transform her into a goddess capable of ruling a nation. Myths in this regard enable us to transform a bleak, black and white world into one radiantly splashing forth in brilliant colors.


Another reason for mythmaking is to explain the unexplainable, an attempt to understand the ineffable mysteries persons confront, to fill in the gaps which rationally cannot be explained via observation and/or experimentation. When we are unable to fathom the cause, or in some instances, refuse to accept the factual cause for some occurrence, good or evil, we endeavor to discover something or someone to praise or to blame. What/who was the cause for this catastrophe? Why did this happen? An answer is sought and thus a myth is often born and propagated. Mythology seeking to deal with the absurdities that may invade life such as the Myth of Sisyphus, would fall within this category.


As the conference that I attended was about folklore, the bulk of my presentation was centered around the notion that at a very deep cognitive level we are story tellers. Via our stories, we are able to imagine meaning and clarity for our lives, to satisfy our hunger for significance, to dare to believe that in spite of the chaos that occasionally presses in upon our lives, goodness will ultimately prevail. Our stories enable us to dream of a better world, provide refuge from pain and suffering. They provide the meaning and imagination to persevere. Our mythology is our collection and preservation of these stories.


Finally, I would offer mythmaking is about connection and unity. As I wrote years ago, "Mythology is a window on our cultural and spiritual souls, it is a connection to our origins, a link to our past, offering a sense of identity and purpose." Mythology, at its best, offers us a vital context in which to understand our present and to hope for the future. Although I was not impressed with the last Star Wars movie, I must admit that I am in agreement with the commentator who has suggested that we have been drawn to each episode because it appeals to hope and to justice, it encourages the struggle for good, it recognizes the necessity of compassion, and explains the need for the continued resistance against oppression.


Each movie has been a mythical presentation challenging us to envision a totally new world, to peer through a camera lens that refreshingly opens us to a future where a rich and diverse array of fascinating people and creatures are able to peacefully co-exist. In spite of my somewhat disappointment with the last feature, the movie still mythically offered a delightful world view in which science and religion finally complement each other. It reinforced the call that resonates inside each of us that it is only when we stand up, speak out, and take action for the benefit of all, can we build a beautiful and civilized future together.


Let us keep telling stories, creating myths that offer new creative possibilities, determination, courage and empowerment.


The Moderator Writes
Sandra Chapin


Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. [Isaiah 40:1]


One of the first things I do when I enter my apartment (or get out of bed in the morning) is turn on the television and go to the channel of my favorite news outlet. Political news. I must find out who said what that day (that hour) and have a dozen commentators help interpret its meaning. Usually it doesn't take long for me to get my fill and I'm off changing channels to find an old movie. Though when the movie is over... back to the news I go, like a moth to a flame.


Make no mistake, I am tired of the political wrangling. I don't like confrontation in my personal life and I cringe when the dialogue heats up among the guest commentators. But I resist the urge to disengage. Every day is another lesson in civics and civility (or lack there-of). Every day history is being made. I may not like it, but I can learn from it.


I learn from movies, too, as my readers know well. There is a list in my head of movies that I enjoy watching over and over again. It's comfort food for my mind and soul.


Last week I was having another “enough of that” moment and switched from the news station. I came across a classic black and white western – not my prefered genre. But this one, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), is a favorite of mine. It stars Jimmy Stewart. I can't think of a film I've seen him in that I don't like. His characters are almost always appealing. I believe he played a villian once or twice, but I'd probably find something redeeming in those roles.


Why? Because I have a strong connection to Jimmy Stewart's on screen persona. The men he portrays are layered. They seem gentle but have a firm moral compass. Humble but proficient in their work. Humor is often displayed, sometimes subtle and situational. Loyal. Looking to the good in others.
(Mr. Smith, won't you please go back to Washington?!)


I learn from every performance of his that integrity and authenticity matter. Mistakes happen. Poor judgment. But along with that, being willing to listen and change, fuels that feel-good quality of his films. His characters have... character.


In this particular story, Stewart is a lawyer who comes to the West seeking a new life. Quickly his life is in peril by a ruthless gunslinger, Lee Marvin, who has it in for him. Conflict. There's a woman, Vera Miles, a love interest not only for Stewart but also John Wayne. More conflict. Stewart detests how guns are used to settle differences, yet he relents and practices with a gun himself. Inner conflict.


Many of you have seen this drama, but I don't want to spoil it for you if you haven't. All I'll say is that it ends well, though there are bittersweet twists. And deep themes.


One theme that spoke to me while watching it this time is the freedom of the press. The small town's newspaper editor, flawed but idealistic, is pivotal to the plot. Also key is the importance of the vote. How the needs and wants of the 'regular' people come up against those of the wealthy. And though power can be bought (the hired gun), power also flows from those who regard the advancement of a free society more important than the desires of self-advancement.


What a movie!


Gathering my thoughts for this article, a quote came into my head – Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. I had to turn to the internet to determine its origin. This is a quote attributed to journalist and humorist Finley Peter Dunne who worked for the Chicago Evening Press in the late 1800's / early 1900's. He created a fictional Irish bartender, Mr. Dooley, who spouts wisdom in Irish brogue, including this gem which refers to the role of newspapers.


It is an aim that Dunne took to heart as his columns frequently targeted the president, Theodore Roosevelt – who appreciated the satire even when his feathers got ruffled. Dunne's columns were read aloud at weekly White House cabinet meetings. Here the powerful welcomed the ribbing and insights of what a journalist reflected as being the word on the street. Opinions dressed in humor. With undergarments of truth. Afflicting the comfortable.


And so I continue to mix MSNBC and Real Time with Bill Maher with Turner Classic Movies. I wish the folks in Washington would do the same.


St. Paul's UCC Leaders 2017

Pastoral Transition Team
Rev. Ernie Dunn, Lois Gray, Sandra Chapin

Music Director
William W. Williams


Church Council

Sandra Chapin

Anita Curtis

Financial Secretary
Yvonne Dudley

Assistant Treasurer
Assistant Financial Secretary
Carol Smith

Church Clerk
Yvonne Dudley
Sandra Chapin and Anita Curtis

Trish Herron and Karen Schafer


St. Paul's View Staff
Ernie Dunn
Sandra Chapin
Publications Manager




Stephen Rahn


Taken on June 5, 2012

Public domain


Core Values


The Gate of the Sun

Taken on April 22, 2015

Public domain




Martijn van Sabben

Sunset through a Dandelion

Nieuw-Weerdinge (a village in the Netherlands)

Taken on April 30, 2016

Public domain


Thanks for Sharing

Alan Levine

Blue Sun

I forgot to bring a camera this weekend, and snapped a photo of a ragged sunflower with my crappy Motorola cell phone. It was, in a word, bland. Bored, I went in Photoshop, did a little contrast bump, inverse the colors, and gave it the paint daubs filter.

Taken on July 15, 2007

Public domain


Missions Matter

Wenchleh Yang

26/365 Sunflower

Guanshan Twonship, Taiwan

Taken on February 4, 2017

Public domain


Happening in the SWC

Ben Cordia

Bright Yellow Sun

Uluru, Northern Territory, Australia

Taken on October 14, 2015

Public domain



Sigurour Smari Sigurosson

3 AM sun

Klettagaroar, Reykjavik, Iceland

Taken on July 5, 2015

Public domain


From the Editor's Desk



Poitou-Charentes, France

Taken on April 1, 2014

Public domain


The Moderator Writes

Alan Levine

2017/365/54 Turn the HDR Past 11

Taken on February 23, 2017

Public domain


St. Paul's Leaders

Alan Levine

Sun Roof

Through the high windows of the Peter B. Lewis building at Case Western... location for many of the sessions of the NMC 2006 Summer Conference.

Cleveland, Oho

Taken on June 5, 2006

Public domain


View Staff

Rene Saarsoo

Aknad taevasse

Taken on March 10, 2017

Public domain




morning glory

Taken in sometime in 2014

Public domain



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