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Rio Rancho Presbyterian Church

1004 24th Street SE, Rio Rancho, NM 87124   (505) 892-6664    

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Category Archives: Pastor Kathy

From the Pastor’s Heart … Sept 2017

    As many of you know, I feed my gardener’s heart with patio planters each year. This year, I was really late planting (first of July late!). I planted, not knowing what might happen, but since by July seedlings are all on clearance, at least I hadn’t made a huge investment. Well, the flowers by my front door have bloomed nonstop since planting, and are growing wonderfully, as have the geraniums on my back patio and some pretty yellow flowers whose name I do not know. My tomato plant is slow, but does have blossoms, as does my sweet pepper plant. Buy my New Mexico chile plant – it is bearing wonderful fruit! Nothing to harvest yet, but I’ve never had a plant produce that well since moving here!

     The lesson here, at least for me, is that late planting is still better than not planting at all. Even if we are slow in reaching out, in saying thank you, in offering forgiveness, in seeking reconciliation; they are still seeds of God’s love being planted, both in and through us. It is never too late to plant seeds that can bear fruit of God’s Spirit in the world. New life is always possible.

     Who might you need to reach out to today? Who might you have been slow in forgiving or thanking? It’s not too late. For even late seeds blossom, even late plantings can bear fruit.

Serving Christ with you,
Pastor Kathy    

For more information/help, email to: Pastor

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From the Pastor’s Heart … Aug 2017

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     For the next several weeks I will be preaching on topics that have been selected by members of the congregation. This means that I am leaving the lectionary for those weeks, that cycle of scripture readings that many denominations use throughout the year. Each week we are given an Old Testament reading, a psalm, a reading from the epistles and one from the gospels. Each week I have four texts from which to choose in preparing the theme for the sermon and the worship service. The lectionary is a comfortable place to be most of the time, particularly when you have been preaching as long as I have. Even when new insights are found they are within the bounds of what is familiar.

     Preaching without the safety net of the familiar has placed me outside of my comfort zone. I find myself doing sermon preparation and worship planning differently. There are no easily accessible resources, you can’t talk over the texts with other preachers, because they are not preaching on the same thing. At times it can feel like you are out of sync with everyone else.

     But doing this from time to time also stretches me, not just as a preacher, but as a disciple of Jesus. I look at scriptures that I might not otherwise consider, I must be more diligent in listening to the movement of the Spirit, and I certainly feel more humble as a preacher.

     Going outside our comfort zone in the life of faith is important, for it is how we grow as disciples. It causes us to ask different questions, listen to different voices, see life and the world from a different viewing point.

     When did you last leave your comfort zone? How does your faith grow, your relationship with God deepen? I can tell you, it’s not easy, but the outcome is rewarding.

In Christ’s service with you,
Pastor Kathy  

From the Pastor’s Heart . . July 2017

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     I have just returned from my triennial family reunion. Every three years 50+ Barlows descend upon the YMCA camp at Estes Park, CO for a few days of food, fun, games, stories and love. This year was no different in that it had all those elements and ends up being a “good for the soul time”. 

     My family is quite the motley crew. I’m not sure that if we weren’t bound by some sort of relation as family that we would necessarily choose one another as friends. We are all over the religious, political and social spectrum.  We are everything from college professors to running road construction equipment to a specialized pediatric nurse. Our ages range widely as we span four generations now. You can still see the blond hair and blue eyes of the founding Barlows, but it is certainly mixed in with those adopted, married and fostered into the mix.

     We’ve had our differences. If the reunion falls in the year of a presidential election things can get pretty tense. But in the midst of it all, through divorces, unemployment, disagreements small and large, we have hung in together. Because we are family. It is how we were raised.

     I thought about that as I was with my fellow Barlows. That teaching about family has held me in good stead over the years of being a part of the church. For that too is quite the motley gathering of people. We like to think we’re all in agreement on everything and see faith and life the same, but we don’t. We’ve had our disagreements and arguments, but in spite of all that I have chosen time and again to hang in there. Because we are followers of Jesus, God’s family. It is how I was raised.

     And just as I have come to appreciate all the differences among Barlows, I appreciate the diversity of the church family. I learn from those I don’t always agree with. I continue to broaden my understanding of the scope of God’s love and grace. I like to think that I am more faithful as a disciple because of wondrous variety of people God calls to be the church. Bound by love and grace, it is the family I cherish and stand by.

Serving Christ with you,

Pastor Kathy  

For more information/help, email to: Pastor

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From the Pastor’s Heart. . . May, June 2017

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Vacation Bible School

     Vacation Bible School – your pastor’s favorite week of the year! For five days the church is filled with high energy and enthusiasm, love and friendship, and the opportunity to extend the hospitality of Jesus to our younger neighbors, as well as the children of our own congregation. It is an exhausting week, to be sure, but it is the most extensive seed planting we do each year. We are planting a variety of seeds in some pretty fertile soil; seeds of love and friendship, seeds of the story of Jesus and how he teaches us to live; seeds that the church is a place that is safe and welcomes children just as they are, while inviting them to grow.

     Our Vacation Bible School is June 19 – 23. The week of June 5 – 9 a mission team of youth and adults will be leading a Vacation Bible School for the communities of Chacon and Mora in northern New Mexico. This is an opportunity to spread seeds in these young lives working alongside our brothers and sisters of the Presbyterian Churches in those communities. In addition, to help address the food insecurity among the children in these communities we are serving breakfast and lunch to the children. All this is possible because of a grant from the Presbytery of Santa Fe and a gift from the family of Doris Patterson.

     I would ask you to partner with us in making each of these weeks a success. Please pray for the children that will come to learn that they might be open to what God plants in their hearts. Pray for the leaders that they may exhibit the love and welcome of Jesus and share their faith in sincere and meaningful ways. With your prayers, we know God can do marvelous things!

Serving Christ with you,
Pastor Kathy  

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From the Pastor’s Heart. . . April 2017

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     As I sit here at my desk there has been a bunny hopping around my office patio. On the one hand, I know the patio is a safe place for the bunny from coyotes and other predators. But, I have lovely pansies on my patio as well. So, while I welcome the bunny to enclosed area, I also love the beautiful flowers that have been planted (hopefully out of reach). Thus, the bunny and I must learn how to share this space, each respectful of the other. I’m not sure the bunny understands it, but each of us, flowers, bunny and I, have a right to live and be what God created us to be.

     A lot of what we have to learn in life is about sharing life and space. The balance of using the earth, but not abusing it. The respect for neighbors so that we can all live peaceably. Understanding that we are but part of God’s good creation. This would be impossible without a God who helps us understand how good the creation is, how important love is to life, and the call to be a people who are called to love and serve our neighbors. It’s not always easy, the balance is sometimes difficult to maintain – sometimes the bunny is captured by the coyote or I have to persuade the lizard that he would really be happier outside rather than in my office. But when the balance is there – the rabbit can stay, the flowers can bloom, and I can enjoy the blue sky – that is a God given moment of the Kingdom. It is my prayer that you all will have many Kingdom moments in this season.

In Christ’s Service with you,
Pastor Kathy  

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