Desert Voice 1. March 10., 2021

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March 10., 2021

Shalom Prayer Tree


Continuing her sermon series on Lent in Plain Sight: Ordinary Objects Pastor Lesley looks at OIL this coming Sunday. She’ll be referencing Psalm 23, as well as Matthew 26:6-13 and Luke 10:25-37.

Once again, I invite you to stop by the Medita- tion Garden and add your prayers to our Shalom Prayer Tree. This is the Lenten discipline I’ve adopted this year, and I hope you are also praying intentionally for the many needs of our congregation and our world.

During my weekly email blasts I’ve been giving you ideas for prayer. Besides those we know and hold in our hearts I am also asking you to pray for other nations, other peoples, other causes.

Like the native peoples whose promises were broken. Or people challenged by mental illness.

Here’s my not-so-hidden agenda: If we can get that tree literally festooned with prayer strips, I will invite the media to come see it. This kind of press would be a great thing for St John, as we anticipate reopening on Easter.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t want you to pray in order to get in the newspaper. I’m suggesting you pray to deepen your relationship with God through prayer. But our Shalom Prayer Tree just might be the thing that calls someone to visit us; which is a whole other way of prayers being answered.

Some of you have said that you dropped off your fabric strip with your prayer. Please understand I am asking you to actively pray ALL THROUGH LENT. In other words, not just once, but many times.

The strips of fabric are there, as are the pens that work on that fabric. All we need is your partici- pation! (Plus, it will give you the chance to see how lovely our campus is looking in these early days of Spring)



Empowerment is the authority or power given to someone to do something. It leads to becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one's life and claiming one's rights.

I have been speaking with your Session about empowerment and how they move away from the “Pastor Lesley wants us to do this…” model to “We can serve God by doing this…” model instead.

Empowerment in business was all the rage a decade or two ago. Rather than having to get a return signed by 10 people at a department store, grant all employees the authority to accept returns. Rather than “I have to talk to my manager,” why not empower any employee to offer the discount you’ve requested?

The point is the organization (the church) is stronger when more employees (congregants) understand its mission and goals. Of course, in the church, we have a big library of books (a/k/a The Bible) making our mission and goals clear.

Some recent examples:

Susan Taylor looked around our campus and decided we could use more plantings. She solicited donations from the congregation, gathered a team, and planted a beautiful cactus garden in front of the office. She’s also working with a water management group to move us towards decreased water usage.

Dave Tabb, who is participating in our Hybrid Church model discussion, realized there were technical aspects of the technology migration that might require updates. He

researched the connectivity needs we would have going forward and came back with information crucial to our decision making.

All done with minimal or no checking in with the pastor!

I open this up now to all of you. If you have an idea for a project or program that you feel might improve the way we do things at St John, or the way we serve God, consult with any of our committees and their chairs, and then take it upon yourself to get the ball rolling. This is NOT an invitation to pass along your idea. It is an invitation to engineer and spearhead your ideas.

Here are our standing committees and their leadership:

Finance: Dave Tabb

Mission: Diane Kent

Susan Taylor: Buildings & Grounds

Worship: Marcia Soriano

Christian Education: Rob Dillon

Personnel/Nominating Committee: Susan Curwen

Safety & Security: (does not have a chair- person. Maybe YOU?)

Deacons/Membership Care: Eugenia Villafana

If you need to contact any of these folks, go to the St John Directory. And if you have forgotten how to access the online directory, contact Dave Tabb.

Shalom Pastor Lesley



Hello. It’s Rob.

There are amazing people who contribute their talents to the beauty of arts and crafts. Sophie is one.

She is in her 80s, and lives in Manitou, Colorado. She carves wood (cedar) and makes beautiful, storytelling quilts. One look and the themes are evident: flora, or fauna, or fantasy.

She is reclusive (but I guess most of us are now, right?) private and reticent. But with an underlying quiet humor. And of course, she is a creator. From her, over the years, has flowed her beautiful creations in wood and cloth. I’ve seen her at work.

I hope she works still, in our collective forced seclusion. Waiting to rejoin her enthralled visitors who see and wonder at her gifts.

Exodus 35:35 He has filled them with skills to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers…

We all have our gifts to share, don’t we? It’s up to us to use them and please! DO share them! Photos, stories, words, art, cloth - or what- ever!

Take a photo (or send your words) to me so we can appreciate what you did, or what you found. Be anonymous or announced, as you like. I’ll post in an upcoming ed piece so we can marvel together!

Send to: Title it: “Gifts to Share.”

Faith be your guide, Rob




One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) is one of four special offerings taken up each year by the Presbyterian Church (USA). Under the umbrella of OGHS are 3 programs – Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, the Presbyterian Hunger Program, and Self-Development of People – all designed to serve individuals and communities in need.

Through your gifts to One Great Hour of Shar- ing, you aid people in your community and around the world – rebuilding after natural or human-caused disasters, helping alleviate hunger, and working to educate and overcome injustice. These systems provide safety, provisions, and hope in a world where millions lack the access to food, clean water, sanitation, education, and opportunity.

You can give online at

give-oghs or mail a check to

OGHS, Presbyterian Mission Agency, PO Box 643700, Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700.


Susan Taylor, chair of Buildings and Grounds, and I have been looking at the too-easily-broken vertical blinds in Fellowship Hall and have decided to replace them with curtains.

Simple curtains with a simple system for moving them along a curtain rod (Grommets?


The curtains do not need to be

room darkening or blackout curtains. They need not be lined.

But they do need to be wash- able. Multiple panels will be needed.

Do you sew? Can you organize and manage a project like this for us? (see my Pastor’s Pencil about empowerment). You’d need a small crew of people who can sew on a sewing

machine, as well as some willing person to help you hang the curtains. All the work can be done at St John.

All I ask is that you run the costs and fabric by Susan Taylor for approval.

Please let Susan or me know if you’d like to participate. Better yet, let us know if you want to be in charge!


Lord, we offer these prayers for . . .

John Deering, cancer

Jim Toole, cancer, pastor/Head of Staff at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church

Sy Millerand his wife Jill Jackson-Miller collaborated to produce a song that has become the signa- ture music devoted to world peace and harmony among peoples. After Jill unsuccessfully attempted suicide in 1944, she felt she was on earth for a special purpose. She and Sy Miller were married in 1949 and Jill began writing songs. In 1955, she wrote the lyrics and Sy composed the musical score for Let There Be Peace on Earth. The song’s focus on peace and understanding of God’s love made it easy to share around the world.

Let there be peace on earth And let it begin with me.

Let there be peace on earth The peace that was meant to be.

With God as our Father Family all are we.

Let us walk with each other In perfect harmony.

Let peace begin with me Let this be the moment now.

With every step I take Let this be my solemn vow.

To take each moment And live each moment With peace eternally.

Let there be peace on earth, And let it begin with me.




Why do bees stay in their hives during winter? Swarm

Just so everyone’s clear, I’m going to put my glasses on.

I lost my job as a stage designer. I left without making a scene.

Never buy flowers from a monk. Only you can prevent florist friars.

How much did the pirate pay to get his ears pierced?

A buccaneer.

I once worked at a cheap pizza shop to get by. I kneaded the dough.

Why is ‘dark’ spelled with a k and not c? Because you can’t see in the dark.

Why is it unwise to share your secrets with a clock?

Well, time will tell.

Scientists got together to study the effects of alcohol on a person’s walk, and the result was staggering.

I’m trying to organize a hide and seek tournament, but good players are really hard to find.

What do you say to comfort a friend who’s struggling with grammar? There, their, they’re.

What did the surgeon say to the patient who insisted on closing up their own incision? Suture self.

Dad, are we pyromaniacs?

Yes, we arson.














Remember, Pastor Lesley is in the office every Tuesday from 9-Noon

Wednesday from 9:30– 1

and is available just about any time by appointment.

Wed. Mar. 10 – National Ranch Day: (It’s not what you think!) A day to try using ranch

dressing on all different sorts of foods.

(Get creative, people!)

Fri. Mar. 12 – Plant a Flower Day: It doesn’t matter if you use a pot or sow seeds in your yard or garden. Add a splash of color to places every- one can enjoy!

Sun. Mar. 14: Daylight Savings Time Begins:

(Everyone outside Arizona sets their clocks ahead one hour) This year marks 104 years of observation in the United States. Created by George Hudson, a New Zealand native, the practice of changing the clocks was intended to give the scientist more time to collect insects. DST was adopted during World War I by many countries as a way to save on coal usage.

Mon. Mar. 15 – National Napping Day: Napping has been proven to be a better energizer for you than coffee or energy drinks. Many successful people claim naps improve their alertness and productivity.



Paraprosdokians are figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected and is frequently humorous.

Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.

We never really grow up -- we only learn how to act in public.

Knowledge, is knowing a tomato is a fruit.

Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism.

To steal from many is research.

In filling out an application, where it says,

"In case of an emergency, notify..."I answered

"a doctor."

You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.

I used to be indecisive, but now I'm not so sure.

Going to church doesn't make you a Chris- tian, any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

You're never too old to learn something stupid.

I'm supposed to respect my elders, but it's getting harder and harder for me to find someone older than me.


Most seniors never get enough exercise. In His wisdom God decreed that seniors become forgetful so they would have to search for their glasses, keys, and other things, thus doing more walking. And God looked down and saw that it was good.

Then God saw there was another need. In His wisdom

He made seniors lose coordina- tion so they would drop things, requiring them to bend, reach, and stretch. And God looked down and saw that it was good.

Then God considered the func- tion of bladders and decided seniors would have additional calls of nature, requiring more trips to the bathroom, thus

providing more exercise. God looked down and saw that it was good.

So if you find, as you age, you are getting up and down more, remember, it's God's will. It is all in your best interest even though you mutter under your breath.



Web Site

Pastor Lesley Abrams




2695 N. Houghton Road, Tucson, AZ 85749 520-749-3615 Elders

Joy V’Marie (23) Clerk of Session David Tabb (23) Treasurer

Diane Kent (21) Mission

Susan Taylor (21) Buildings & Grounds Rob Dillon (22) Christian Education Georgia Bernheim (23) Communications and



Helen Tabb Parish 1 Sandi Tinsley Parish 2 Rita Rasmussen Parish 3 Kay French Parish 4 Eugenia Villafana Parish 5 Barbara Bledsoe Parish 6

Newsletter Editor Georgia Bernheim

Newsletter Publisher Susan Patton





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